Don Carmody jumps into the TV business

Don Carmody jumps into the TV business

March 4, 2013

The American and Canadian TV shoots driving production activity in Toronto hasn’t been lost on Don Carmody.

So the veteran movie producer is getting into the high-end event TV business.

Carmody is teaming up with ex-Mind’s Eye Entertainment exec David Cormican to launch Don Carmody Television.

The strategy has the producer duo developing their own TV series and mini-series along the lines of The Tudors or The Borgias, while also doing service work for Hollywood studios and other foreign partners looking to make TV series in Canada.

In both cases, the new indie producer will leverage Carmody’s rolodex, his long-standing ties to the Canadian production community and local tax credits and other production subsidies.

Carmody’s last TV project was in 1995 with The Late Shift, which earned four Emmys and one Golden Globe.

“I’ve been too busy,” the veteran movie producer, whose latest credits include Goon and the Silent Hill and Resident Evil movie franchises, said of getting into TV.

But John Barrack, the former COO at the CMPA and now chief counsel at marblemedia, convinced Carmody to reconsider and partner up with Cormican after he received persistent interest from Hollywood.

Carmody and Cormican also strengthened ties while working together on the zombie-horror feature film 13 Eerie.

“It’s mostly come from Los Angeles, from some of the studios I’ve been working with, asking whether I’d be interested in doing TV shows with them in Canada,” Carmody told Playback.

The major studios first started bringing their films to Carmody during the 1980s as time and again he matched Hollywood production values with lower budgets when shooting in Canada.

“You do a good job of bringing it in for way less. Can you do that on TV?” he said of conversations with the major studios.

That’s only on the service side.

Cormican and Carmody’s TV start-up is currently fielding scripts for possible co-productions with Europeans, or co-ventures with stateside partners.

Cormican said the first project out of the gate for Don Carmody Television will need to make a creative splash.

“We’re looking for stuff that plays to Don’s track record, and mine,” he insisted, with an eye to high-end limited series or mini-series.

And costume dramas need not be shot in Europe and posted in Toronto, as is usual with the current crop of Canadian-European co-productions like The Borgias and Vikings.

Carmody is to produce Pompeii, the Roman-era disaster movie, at Cinespace Film Studios in Toronto, as a German-Canadian co-production directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.

“There’s incredible things you can do with a green screen,” Cormican said, before adding Don Carmody Television will shoot abroad too, depending on what’s best, budget-wise.

Carmody added that working with Cormican as his TV point-man will allow him to maintain a full schedule of feature film production.

“The time is right for us to take advantage of the opportunities that are presently available in the global marketplace,” he added.

That means getting a slice of the fast-growing TV series production business in Ontario.

The latest OMDC data revealed domestic TV series shooting in Toronto, from Rookie Blue and Bomb Girls to Lost Girl and Degrassi, accounted for $698.2 million of total production spend last year.

And American TV series that shot in Toronto last year like Hannibal and Defiance left behind $270.6 million in total production expenditures.