David Ellison, a major film financier and provider of Paramount’s biggest movies, is getting into the television business. Skydance Productions, Ellison’s company that co-finances and co-produces big-budget films like the recent hit “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” will launch a TV division May 1 and has hired former Fox executive Marcy Ross to run it.
The announcement comes less than a week after TheWrap reported that Paramount CEO Brad Grey wants to bring TV production back to the studio and has been meeting with candidates to help run a new division. There is no mention of Paramount in this announcement, but because Elllison already bankrolls many of Paramount's biggest movies, he would seem a logical partner in the studio's TV efforts.
Ross most recently served as executive vice president of current programming at Fox, overseeing shows like “Glee,” House” and “Family Guy.” She has also worked at Studios USA, the Jim Henson Company and Sandollar Television, developing such series as “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” “The Muppet Show” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”
“During her tenure at Fox, Marcy has developed and produced some of the best shows on television that have entertained audiences around the world,” Ellison said in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome her into the Skydance family to help pioneer our entrance into this wonderful medium of storytelling.”
Ellison is the son of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison — one of the richest men in the world — and the brother of Megan Ellison, who has spent her money in the world of independent film production, supporting auteurs like David O. Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson.
David Ellison has engineered his company around the expensive, lavish films studios yearn for. He is co-financing and co-producing most of Paramount’s biggest films this year, from “G.I. Joe” to “Star Trek: Into Darkness” to the Brad Pitt zombie film “World War Z.”
He has now set his sights on an even more lucrative medium, television. It remains unclear how many shows he’ll make or whether he’ll sign a deal with a network.
His publicist would not elaborate.
Two things we do know? He’s ambitious, and he’ll have plenty of money to spend.
"When I met David and the Skydance team, I knew I had found the creative partner I was looking for,” Ross said in a statement. “I am so impressed with the success that David, Dana Goldberg and Paul Schwake are achieving in the feature film side and I trust that once we open our doors wide to the television community, we will find the same success building a fun, nurturing place to create programming.”