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Lionsgate and Thunderbird team for TV

Lionsgate and Thunderbird Films are jointly creating a new TV production unit, Sea To Sky Entertainment. It will focus on scripted programming targeted at US and Canadian broadcast networks and cable nets.

Lionsgate founder and former chairman Frank Giustra bought into Canadian producer Thunderbird earlier this month and has now forged this pact with his former company.

There are several projects in development and Sea To Sky has optioned upcoming book An Uncommon Youth, the first-person account of the events and family dysfunction surrounding the 1971 kidnapping of billionaire heir Paul Getty.

Sea To Sky will also develop a one-hour drama from Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone author Dennis Lehane.

“We are delighted to be reunited with our old friend and founder Frank Giustra,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “Teaming with Frank and Thunderbird will help us explore new strategies for producing programming for the broadcast networks cost-effectively as well as expanding our TV business into other exciting new areas.”

“I’m thrilled to return to my Lionsgate roots and partner with Jon Feltheimer, Kevin Beggs and the rest of the Lionsgate team,” said Giustra. “They have built Lionsgate’s television business almost from scratch to a nearly $400 million-a-year diversified operation since I founded Lionsgate, and I’m pleased to participate in the continued growth of the Company’s television business.”