Entertainment studio Topic Studios and New York-based production company Loveless have entered into an all-media first-look deal, partnering to develop scripted and unscripted projects across TV, film and podcasts.
Topic Studios, the entertainment studio from First Look Media, which recently produced the Golden Globe-nominated legal thriller “The Mauritanian,” and Loveless, the production company founded by Emmy-nominees Carly Hugo and Matt Parker, have come together for the new venture, with aims to curate a homegrown slate of new content. The new pact between has already produced an early development slate, which includes a scripted TV series, a docuseries and a feature film.
“Matt and Carly are two of the hardest-working and most innovative producers out there,” Maria Zuckerman, head of Topic Studios, said in a statement announcing the partnership. “With their prodigious relationships, endless creativity, and great eye, we at Topic Studios are excited to partner with Loveless and ignite many great new projects to come.”
Since 2004, Hugo and Parker have produced more than 30 films together, including the Emmy-nominated Nora Ephron documentary “Everything Is Copy.” In 2019, the pair produced “Share” with A24 and HBO, which won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award and Special Jury award at Sundance. Hugo and Parker also took home the Sundance Institute and Amazon Studios’ Producers Award that year. Loveless also recently produced the docuseries “Couples Therapy” for Showtime.
Of the partnership, Hugo and Parker said: “We are so happy to be working with the team at Topic Studios. Our relationship with Maria goes back over a decade, and we’re excited to formalize this partnership after having so many conversations about how producers can work together with studios to create better projects.”
The development slate includes:
“Masha From Russia,” a semi-autobiographical comedic film from writer-director Sasha Gordon. Gordon’s short-form pilot “Maggie” premiered in the Indie Episodic section of Sundance in 2019 and won the Grand Jury Award for Episodic Pilot at SXSW that same year.
“You’re Lucky to Have Me” is a scripted television series created by and starring Elna Baker and Hamza Syed. The verité half-hour relationship comedy follows Baker — an award-winning writer/producer for “This American Life” — and Syed — a recent transplant from the U.K., who is the co-host of an upcoming podcast series from the producers of “Serial” and “The New York Times.” “Despite their professional success,” a description for the show explains, “both individuals find themselves flailing when it comes to romantic relationships, stymied by their arrested development and strict religious upbringings.” The series, which is headed to market in the coming months, shows the pair as they “navigate sex, dating and love in a story about how we all need that brutally honest friend to wake us from our destructive patterns of behavior and help us accept ourselves.”
“Amateurs” is a new documentary series from Vogue sex columnist Karley Sciortino. The docuseries, which “explores and confronts the big issues of sex and love with Karley as our guide, finding comfort in the fact that we are all equally confused,” is set to go to market in the coming months. Sciortino also authored “Slutever: Dispatches From a Sexually Autonomous Woman in a Post-Shame World” and created/hosted Viceland’s “Slutever.”
Topic Studios’ SVP of Original Series Quan Phung is shepherding “You’re Lucky to Have Me,” while VP of Nonfiction Christine Connor oversees “Amateurs.” Ryan Heller, SVP Film & Acquisitions, is spearheading “Masha From Russia,” which is currently casting.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Ryan, Quan, Christine and the rest of the team,” Hugo and Parker said of working with the Topic Studios execs. “The support they’ve given us has allowed us to spread our wings, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Topic Studios, which develops, finances and produces content across theatrical, streaming, TV and podcast platforms also recently brought “Mucho Mucho Amor” to Netflix and co-released the documentary “The Fight” with Magnolia Pictures. The company is also behind Showtime’s Independent Spirit Award-nominated docuseries “Love Fraud” and the Emmy-winning series “16 Shots.” Recent films from the studio include “The Climb,” “Dream Horse,” and “The Nowhere Inn.” On the TV side, Topic Studios announced in December that they were developing the thriller “Savannah” as part of the studio’s first-look deal with Tracy Oliver with PKM Productions for Amazon Studios.
Variety's Angelique Jackson contributed to this post.