Shaftesbury Films Inks First-Look ABC Deal
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On the heels of the debacle over ABC‘s summer series Weird Desk, the network has signed a first-look deal with Weird Desk producer Shaftesbury Films, Christina Jennings’ long-running Canadian production company. Weird Desk would’ve been the first U.S. series for the company, which in August 2011 set up a Los Angeles-based division run by Tom Mazza and Maggie Murphy targeting the American market. But after giving the project a straight-to-series order in early December, ABC shelved it a week later, reportedly under pressure from Marvel over alleged similarities to the company’s ABC pilot S.H.I.E.L.D., from The Avengers‘ Joss Whedon. Now Mazza and Murphy will be able to develop new projects for ABC. Like other U.S. divisions of international production companies like Gaumont and Cineflix, Shaftesbury is largely in the straight-to-series business. It recently shopped a spec as part of the January pitch season. In Canada, Shaftesbury recently wrapped production on a half hour comedy presentation for Bravo Canada.