FEBRUARY 08, 2019 10:35am PT by Lesley Goldberg
The ‘Mr. Robot’ creator, who also is behind Amazon’s ‘Homecoming’ and USA’s upcoming ‘Briarpatch,’ was getting offers from other platforms.
Sam Esmail is staying put at Universal Content Productions.
The Mr. Robot creator has opted to renew his overall deal with UCP. The news comes as Esmail was drawing interest from other outlets, including Amazon — for whom he produces Homecoming via UCP. (The studio recently changed its name from Universal Cable Productions to Universal Content Productions in a move to signify its expansion to streaming — it has Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, among others — and NBCU’s upcoming SVOD platform.)
Under the rich, multiple-year deal, Esmail and his Esmail Corp. will create and develop new projects for all of UCP’s linear and streaming brands — including NBCUniversal’s recently announced streaming service.
“Sam is a visionary creator who inspires us on a daily basis,” UCP president Dawn Olmstead said. “He’s a risk-taker, a ground-breaker and a hit-maker. On top of all of this, he is a great person, and we are beyond excited to continue this collaboration.”
Added Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCU’s direct to consumer and digital enterprises: “There are no limits to what we plan to build with Sam and Esmail Corp. in the future.”
The news arrives as Esmail is poised to wrap up his critically praised USA Network drama Mr. Robot with its fourth season this year. The Rami Malek starrer saw USA redefine its current slate of scripted originals from its former “Blue Skies” brand to more dark and edgy offerings. Those include Esmail’s upcoming Briarpatch, starring Rosario Dawson and from Andy Greenwald.
Since first signing his UCP overall deal in 2015 — his first such pact — Esmail has gone on to exec produce Amazon’s Homecoming, the first season of which starred Julia Roberts. (She will not return for season two.) He’s also developing limited series Angelyne — based on The Hollywood Reporter article — with his wife, actress and exec producer Emmy Rossum, and adapting Fritz Lang’s seminal 1927 sci-fi classic Metropolis.
“As a creator, nothing is more important to me than the integrity of a story and staying true to the vision I’ve created,” Esmail said. “Working with UCP has always given me the opportunity to do so, while pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling. The studio has been my home for the past four years, and I’m thrilled to continue this supportive and trusted partnership, while having the unique opportunity to create for every possible platform across the industry.”
Esmail is repped by CAA, Anonymous Content and McKuin Frankel.
The deal arrives as competition for top creators like Esmail continues to escalate as billion-dollar spenders Netflix, Amazon and Apple drive up demand — and the price of such overall pacts.