Shawn Ryan Inks Big Overall Deal With Netflix, Signaling Potential ‘Night Agent’ Universe Expansion

EXCLUSIVE: Shawn Ryan, whose thriller drama The Night Agent was the most watched TV series of 2023 on Netflix, has signed a big, four-year overall deal with the streamer, sources tell Deadline. The prolific creator, executive producer and showrunner landed at Netflix in a competitive situation, with his current studio home, Sony Pictures TV, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. TV among those who pursued him, I hear. The pact with Netflix will start after Ryan’s current overall deal with Sony TV expires at the end of October.

With Ryan’s deal in place, I hear Netflix is proceeding with opening a Season 3 writers room for The Night Agent. The Sony TV-produced series has currently been picked up through Season 2, which ramped up quickly after the strikes to start production in early February for a launch later this year. The writers room for Season 3 — a standard Netflix practice on successful series ahead of formal green light — opens next month, I hear.

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Having Ryan in the fold also would allow Netflix to easier scale up The Night Agent into a franchise with potential spinoffs that have been rumored since the series made a splash with its March 2023 debut, landing on the streamer’s Top 10 Most Popular English-Language Series list, where Season 1 remains at No. 6. Netflix has done franchise expansion with most series on that list, including Wednesday, Bridgerton, Monster, Stranger Things and The Witcher, and universe-building is a main goal for the A-list talent on its overall deal roster.

In a tough marketplace for overall deals amid overall industry contraction post-strike, studios and streamers put a premium on showrunners who can juggle multiple series. That’s something Ryan has done for most of his career through his MiddKidd production company alongside longtime executive Marney Hochman, who is making the move to Netflix with him.

Ryan’s deal, said to be in the eight-figure range with generous guarantees, has been described as “pretty remarkable” in the current economic environment.

Still, leaving Sony TV reportedly was not an easy call for Ryan as he is known for being loyal and staying in one place for a long time. He went out to test the waters this spring after 13 years of back-to-back overall deals at Sony. He did a similar round of studio meetings in 2011 after 12 years at 20th TV and sibling Fox TV Studios. Having an ongoing relationship with Bela Bajaria and her team at Netflix as well as the streamer’s global reach helped convince him to make the jump.

Sony TV remains an active overall/first-look deal player, recently signing pacts with Gail Berman, Jessi Klein, Third Rail, Steve Lightfoot and Judalina Neira.

Ryan will remain in business with the indie studio, though the level of his services is fluid and subject of negotiations, I hear. In addition to The Night Agent — which Ryan created, executive produces and serves as showrunner on — he is co-creator/executive producer/co-showrunner on Sony TV’s drama series S.W.A.T., which recently was renewed for an eighth season. It is run by executive producer Andrew Dettmann.

There is also American Hostage, a drama awaiting series green light at MGM+, which has Jon Hamm attached to star. Ryan co-wrote the pilot script with Eileen Myers and is expected to remain actively involved in the first season should it get ordered. Additionally, there are a handful of projects in different stages of development, which he continues to work on.

Ryan’s slate of series at Sony TV over the years also included Timeless for NBC, Last Resort for ABC and Mad Dogs for Amazon. At Fox, he created/executive produced his Emmy-winning drama The Shield for FX and executive produced CBS’ The Unit. Ryan is repped by CAA, manager Larry Shuman at The Shuman Co. and attorney Gendler, Kelly & Cunningham.

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