Skydance Television has entered an overall deal with writer-producers Patrick Massett and John Zinman, the company announced Thursday.
Massett and Zinman’s television careers began with “Veritas: The Quest” at ABC, which they co-created and executive produced. They went on to co-executive produce the Emmy Award winning “Friday Night Lights” at NBC, “The Chicago Code” at Fox, and “Last Resort” at ABC. The duo then co-executive produced “The Blacklist” at NBC. Their most recent television credit includes executive producers and showrunners at NBC’s “The Player.” They got their start in film by co-writing “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and their most recent film, “Gold,” was released in January.
The studio currently has several projects in development with the pair, including the first-ever live action television series for “Sword Art Online” (“SAO”), the massive Japanese novel and anime franchise to which Skydance acquired the global rights last year. Massett and Zinman will serve as writers, showrunners, and executive producers on the series. Together with Massett and Zinman, Laeta Kalogridis will write the pilot episode and serve as an executive producer on the series alongside David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross.
“Patrick and John have shown incredible range in their storytelling capabilities, from subtle character drama to big, world-building action, and we are beyond fortunate that they have joined the Skydance family,” said Skydance Television president Marcy Ross. “We’re already deep in development with Patrick, John, and Laeta on our larger than life Skydance ‘SAO’ series, in which we aim not only to satisfy the franchise’s enthusiastic sci-fi and anime fan base but also to appeal to new TV audiences the world over.”
“The fantastical world of SAO offers an unparalleled opportunity to tell stories that resonate on both an epic and human scale. We couldn’t ask for better partners than Skydance and Laeta to help us bring this global pop culture phenomenon to new life on television,” said Massett and Zinman in a joint statement.
“SAO” follows brilliant young beta tester Kirito and his group of friends when they are trapped, along with 10,000 other people, in a next-generation virtual reality online role-playing game filled with swordfighting, monsters, and mystery.