FORMER USA & UCP HEAD JEFF WACHTEL LAUNCHES FUTURE SHACK ENTERTAINMENT, A NEW MEDIA VENTURE

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 Company partners with Blink49 Studios and The Roku Channel

(Los Angeles, CA: July 26, 2022) –Former USA Network and Universal Content Productions (UCP) President Jeff Wachtel and his partners Sam Michaels and Yusik Choi have launched Future Shack Entertainment, a new television production company. The company will focus on developing and co-financing shows for global audiences, taking advantage of a growing space in the market for non-affiliated production companies to service streamers and traditional linear networks.

 The new company will be led by Jeff Wachtel as the CEO. Wachtel was president of USA Network, and also founded and was president of NBCU’s cable studio, UCP. Most recently, he was president of NBCU’s international television studio, based in London.  

Sam Michaels, who led strategy, critical partnerships and negotiations for NBCUniversal’s cable portfolio, will be Future Shack’s chief operating officer. Yusik Choi, former TMT (technology, media and telecom) managing director at Rothschild & Co. and investment banker at Credit Suisse, will be the chief financial officer. 

While at NBCU, Wachtel spearheaded the company’s efforts to create broad value for shows generated from international auspices like Channel 4/UK, CTV/Canada and several Australian networks.  Those shows included We Are Lady Parts and The Undeclared War for C4 (which sold to Peacock and NBC), Transplant for CTV (which sold to NBC), The Capture for BBC (which sold to Peacock) and Stateless for ABC/Australia (which sold to Netflix).

The company is in advanced discussions with a leading asset management firm to secure a significant financing vehicle that will mirror this strategic approach.  The fund will allow Future Shack to supply international broadcasters with the final piece of financing for their series, with the company realizing upside from U.S. and global sales. 

Future Shack has also received a strategic investment from Endeavor Content-backed Blink49 Studios, with the two companies entering into a long-term development and production arrangement primarily focused on Canadian projects. Blink49 Studios will handle production and distribution of all Future Shack’s projects in Canada.   

Additionally, Future Shack has struck a first-look development deal with The Roku Channel, the exclusive home of Roku Originals. The partnership will focus on creating the type of “blue sky” programming that Wachtel helped pioneer for USA Network. 

Future Shack is developing a number of projects with legendary author Walter Mosley, including his novels The Long FallFutureland and Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore. Also in development with Gigi Pritzker’s Madison Wells media company is a radically new take on Enders Game, Orson Scott Card’s classic sci-fi novel. Restoration, a limited TV series that reveals the true story behind the theft of twenty paintings worth over half a billion dollars from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1991, is also in active development. 

Future Shack has assembled a leadership team with a deep track record of best-in-class storytelling and a strong background in international production and sales.

The company has retained industry heavyweight Frances Manfredi as senior advisor.  In addition to a distinguished career in content distribution, Manfredi brings a multidisciplinary mindset that will help combine all the facets of the company’s business model. 

Larry Sullivan has joined the company as President, Creative, after a successful seven-year run as head of development at Conaco Entertainment.   

Pamela Parker, who ran business affairs for Sony Pictures Television global television studios  and was most recently with Sony’s domestic studio, is the company’s head of business affairs.  

Wachtel said, “This is the most disruptive and exciting time our business has seen in more than a generation.  The opportunity is there for a company that has taste, drive and vision, as well as a deep respect for the specific challenges and possibilities of producing with international partners.  We believe we can be a creative and commercial launchpad, enabling the best artists to find the best path to success.”  

Sam Michaels shared, “We are creating a new, partner-friendly organization, not afraid to break precedent in order to enable creative freedom and deliver the most impactful stories for our business partners.”

Yusik Choi added, “We believe the rapid growth of FAST and AVOD networks will continue to create new demand for advertising-friendly content, and we are well positioned to deliver stories to meet that growing demand. 

The company is in the process of further building out its creative team.

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ABOUT FUTURE SHACK ENTERTAINMENT

Future Shack Entertainment focuses on developing and co-financing shows for global audiences, taking advantage of a growing space in the market for non-affiliated production companies to service streamers and traditional linear networks.

Future Shack CEO Jeff Wachtel is an award-winning television veteran who was president of USA Network during its programming heyday, supervising and launching series like Monk, Burn Notice, Suits, Mr. Robot and The Sinner.  He also founded and was president of NBCU’s cable studio, Universal Content Productions (UCP).  Most recently, he was president of NBCU’s international television studio, based in London. 

Future Shack is based in Los Angeles. For more information, visit https://future-shack.com

ABOUT BLINK49 STUDIOS 

Co-founded in 2021 by industry veterans CEO John Morayniss, Executive Vice Chair Patrice Theroux, COO Jeff Lynas and CFO Nelson Kuo-Lee, Blink49 Studios is a full-service indie studio focused on the development, production, and monetization of premium scripted and unscripted content for a global market. Headquartered in Toronto with offices in Los Angeles, Blink49 Studios was formed in partnership with its anchor investor and lead strategic partner Endeavor Content. With a combined experience of innovative deal-making and strong relationships in the creative community, Blink49 Studios takes a content-first approach by partnering with best-in-class writers, creators, producers, and talent as well as supporting new and diverse voices.  

Roku is a registered trademark of Roku, Inc. in the U.S. and in other countries. Trade names, trademarks and service marks of other companies appearing in this press release are the property of their respective holders.

Press queries

Ross Johnson (for Future Shack)

Ph: 877.947.2496  email: ross.johnson@johnsonpublic.com

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