Jeff Wachtel launches Future Shack Entertainment, Patti with Roku

Jeff Wachtel launches Future Shack Entertainment, Patti with Roku

TV industry veteran Jeff Wachtel raised funding and assembled a small team to launch Future Shack Entertainment, a production banner focused on developing TV for global markets.

Wachtel has struck a deal with former NBCUniversal executive Sam Michaels and Yusik Choi, former CEO of Rothschild & Co. and Credit Suisse investment banker, to launch the banner with significant funding from private equity funds.

Future Shack has also partnered with Blink49 Studios, the Endeavor Content-supported banner launched last year by Entertainment One and former Alliance Atlantis member John Moryaniss. Future Shack also has a first deal with Roku Channel, one of the many ad-supported channels offered on the MVPD digital platform.

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Jeff Wachtel
Adam Olszewski / NBCUniversal

“This is the most disruptive and exciting moment our company has seen in more than a generation,” said Wachtel. Variety. “The opportunity exists for a company that has taste, determination and vision. We believe we can be a creative and commercial springboard, enabling the best artists to find the best path to success. “

Wachtel aims to focus Future Shack on international co-production. Numerous seasoned US producers are seeking creative deal and talent scouting opportunities in markets outside the US thanks to the rise of streamers with global subscriber bases. There is a big push among US industry veterans to take advantage of lower production costs outside of the US, as well as copyright rules in the UK and other markets that are more favorable to independent producers.

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Sam Michaels

“We are creating a new partner-friendly organization that is not afraid to break the precedent to enable creative freedom and deliver the most impactful stories for our business partners,” said Michaels, who was previously a corporate executive on the cable side of NBCUniversal.

The deal with Roku Channel specifically covers Future Shack’s development of the “blue sky” drama series that Wachtel became famous for during his tenure as head of programming for NBCUniversal’s US network – think “Suits”, “Psych”, “Royal Pains”, “White Collar” and “Burn Notice”. Wachtel noted that the language in the chord is fun and specific to the genre he knows well.

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Yusik Choi

“We believe the rapid growth of the FAST and AVOD networks will continue to create new demand for ad-friendly content and we are well positioned to deliver stories to meet that growing demand,” said Choi.

Also at the launch of Future Shack is Larry Sullivan, previously with Conaco of Conan O’Brien, as president of the creative division. Pamela Parker, formerly of Sony Pictures International TV, is in charge of commercial affairs. Frances Manfredi, former top content sales manager for NBCU, is a consultant for Future Shack.

Future Shack is currently developing projects with famous author Walter Mosley, most notably his novels “The Long Fall”, “Futureland” and “Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore”. The company is working on what is described as a “radically new version” of Orson Scott Card’s novel “Ender’s Game” with Gigi Pritzker’s Madison Wells. A limited series on the theft of 1991 works of art from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is also in preparation.

Wachtel handled programming for the USA Network during the height of its success with the originals starting with Tony Shalhoub’s lead character “Monk,” which aired from 2002 to 2009. He moved on to the presidency of Universal Content Prods. in 2013. He spent two years in London overseeing NBCU’s international television production operation before releasing in 2020.

Wachtel’s time in London and experience as a manufacturer and trader made him realize it was a good time to start an agile manufacturing operation that could bring some funding to the table. The amount of investor interest in independently produced content was pleasantly surprising, he said. Wachtel did not delve into its private equity partners, but said the company has ample funding to get started.

Future Shack intends to hire a few more executives as the company becomes operational.

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