Jeff Wachtel teams up with fellow NBCU alum Sam Michaels for Future Shack Entertainment

Jeff Wachtell, Sam Michaels & Yusik Choi

Jeff Wachtell, Sam Michaels & Yusik Choi

Former NBCUniversal international studios boss Jeff Wachtel has launched production outfit Future Shack Entertainment.

Wachtel has partnered with fellow NBCU alum Sam Michaels and ex-Rothschild & Co investment banker Yusik Choi to develop and co-finance TV shows for the international market, aiming to capitalise on the space for ‘true’ indies.

Future Shack has launched with investment from John Morayniss’ Endeavor Content-backed Blink49 Studios, with the companies forging 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.

Elsewhere, Future Shack has inked a first-look development deal with The Roku Channel.

Wachtel, a former USA Network president and UCP founder, will serve as chief executive, Michaels is chief operating officer and Choi is chief financial officer.

Additionally, Conaco Entertainment (People of Earth, People of Earth, Final Space) head of development Larry Sullivan has joined as president of creative, while former Sony Pictures Television exec Pamela Parker is head of business affairs.

Future Shack is developing projects with author Walter Mosley, including his novels The Long Fall, Futureland and Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore. Also in development with Madison Wells Productions is a radical 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 more than $500m from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1991, is also in active development.

“This is the most disruptive and exciting time our business has seen in more than a generation,” Wachtel said. “The opportunity is there for a company that has taste, drive and vision. We believe we can be a creative and commercial launchpad, enabling the best artists to find the best path to success.”

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

Choi said Future Shack would also target the “rapid growth of FAST and AVoD networks”, which “will continue to create new demand for advertising-friendly content, and we are well positioned to deliver stories to meet that growing demand”.

Wachtel exited NBCU in 2020 after internal discussions at a senior level were held over concerns raised about respect in the workplace.

Michaels, who previously served as head of strategy and business development at NBCU, left in December of the same year, while Choi who has also held roles at Credit Suisse and Ernst and Young, left Rothschild in 2019.