In its ongoing bid to transform from a mini-major movie studio to a fully-fledged entertainment company, one of the biggest names in feature animation is forging into unexpected territory.
As reported by Deadline, DreamWorks Animation has officially announced that it will expand into the world of live-action TV with a new production unit. The studio has tapped Katie O’Connell Marsh (formerly of Gaumont International TV) to run the unit as the company’s head of Global Live-Action Television. Marsh will be based at Dreamworks Animation’s main Glendale headquarters, where the live-action unit is expected to begin operations next year.
“Television has quickly grown into one of our most successful businesses and, as the demand for kids and co-viewing content continues to rise, extending the DreamWorks Animation brand to live-action TV in a strategic and financially disciplined way will spur even further growth,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Katie’s proven track record of developing hit live-action television programming, coupled with her success in quickly building television businesses from the ground up, makes her the perfect executive to lead us into this new genre.”
“Our move into live-action will enable DWA to further capitalize on the evolving television landscape by creating new opportunities on both traditional and emerging platforms for our branded series,” added Ann Daly, President of DreamWorks Animation. “Moreover, live action will give us yet another creative lens with which to explore our library of rich storytelling and memorable characters that have resonated with audiences for the past two decades.”
Per statements by Jeffery Katzenberg, this move comes as a firm confirmation of what has kept DreamWorks Animation afloat in a year that has only seen one film offering (Home) as the company refocuses its feature film output: the rapid expansion of its TV and New Media divisions (AwesomenessTV and DreamWorksTV on Youtube).
Dreamworks is currently in the midst of its pact with Netflix for 300 hours of original programming, one of the largest content deals ever for Netflix at the time. Said deal has resulted in seven shows that are currently streaming (with Dawn of The Croods set to join the pack this month).
It’s too early to know if any of the live-action productions will be Netflix exclusives or will end up anywhere else, but what’s intriguing here is that – like with most of the animated shows – DreamWorks Animation will utilize its existing properties for live-action TV shows. So maybe we can expect something…Dragons-related in the near future? (never mind the improbability of doing Dragons in live-action on a TV budget).
What do you think? Any thoughts on DWA’s move into live-action television? Is this the right time for DWA to do this?
Edited by: Kelly Conley