Aiming to launch more television and film projects while connecting its performers with managers who will work closely with the comedy troupe, Second City announced a new partnership Monday with a Los Angeles-based management and production company, Thruline Entertainment/Tagline Pictures.
“It gives us a real proper infrastructure in L.A. and also will be giving our talent a chance, once they’re prepared to move on (from Second City), to have a place to land in L.A.,” Second City co-owner/CEO Andrew Alexander said Monday afternoon. “Thruline will be spending a lot of time in Chicago keeping an eye on the talents as they come through the system. Obviously we want to have a stronger presence in the television industry, and we think this is a good partnership for us to succeed in that area.”
Second City — whose illustrious alumni include such current major players as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Keegan-Michael Key and Adam McKay — has been eager to become a bigger player in the TV/film world. Tagline produced the recently completed eight-season run of “Psych” on the USA Network as well as short-lived ABC sitcom “Man Up!” and NBC drama reboot “Ironside” reboot.
“Their footprint is everywhere in film and television,” said Thruline/Tagline partner Ron West (not the Second City alumnus of the same name), who co-founded his company in 2002. “I certainly think what we’re trying to do here is a natural and some would say long-overdue extension of their business.”
“I just don’t know that they’ve had the focus and the manpower to focus on their brand in Hollywood, and that’s a priority for them now,” Thruline/Tagline partner Chris Henze agreed.
At the same time, Alexander said that over the past five or six years, managers and agents have been signing on Second City performers much earlier in their careers than previously — say, as a touring company member rather than mainstage performer — and the effect can be “disruptive.” Alexander said his hope is that performers will see Second City as a place that can get them representation and nurture their careers in a more unified way in Chicago and beyond.
Thruline’s clients include Michael Cera and Eric Stonestreet.
“This management company understands our culture, which is why we went with them,” Alexander said.
“We will have kind of a unique access to people coming out of their various platforms — their shows, their classes, their touring companies — and identify and help develop the next generation of great comedy voices,” West said.