Platinum, First Family Take Comics to TV

Platinum Studios is teaming with First Family, headed by former Disney and UPN president Dean Valentine, to produce half-hour TV series and direct-to-DVD movies based on the Platinum graphic novels Meet the Haunteds and Spaced.

Valentine, who was the only Disney executive to ever supervise the three divisions Walt Disney Television, Touchstone Television and Walt Disney TV Animation, will executive produce both projects along with Platinum chairman Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and First Family exec Scott Imergut. Rosenberg previously brought the Men In Black property to Sony from his Malibu Comics label.

The deal marks the first expansion into half-hour sitcoms and DVD premieres for Platinum, which controls one of the largest independent library of comics in the world. The company has comics-to-film adaptation deals in place with Sony for Cowboys & Aliens, Disney for Unique and Miramax for Mal Chance. It also licensed its Jeremiah to Showtime for a primetime sci-fi drama that returns to Friday nights starting September 3.

First Family Entertainment was formed to develop and produce niche-oriented programming for family audiences that will premiere on DVD. First Family has an exclusive worldwide, multiyear output deal with MGM.

The new deal follows on the heels of Platinum’s acquisition of film and television rights to leading independent comics publisher Top Cow Prods. Inc. The graphic novels for both Spaced and Meet the Haunteds will be released in 2005 as part of that arrangement.

In Spaced, teenager Danny Mason finally gets his shot at popularity after a teenage alien named Bok pops into his body. While Danny still looks normal, he inherits great strength, speed, and even the ability to defy gravity. The tradeoff is that he has to share his body with a rowdy, impetuous alien. Adam Rifkin, director of Detroit Rock City and The Dark Backward, is writing and directing the pilot. Rifkin’s past writing credits include Mousehunt and Small Soldiers, as well as the upcoming Where’s Waldo for Paramount/Nickelodeon, Underdog for Spyglass and Zoom’s Academy for Revolution Studios.

Meet the Haunteds is a family comedy described as a supernatural culture clash about a white family that has just moved into an old mansion that turns out to be haunted by the ghosts of an African-American family. First Family and Platinum plan to take the property to television as a half-hour sitcom, and also to produce a series of two-hour, direct-to-DVD movies.