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Producer Gigi Pritzker is a member of the wealthy Chicago Pritzker family, but she never wanted to go into the family business. And she didn't think she'd end up in Hollywood either, until an anthropology professor offered some unlikely career advice. As the CEO of Madison Wells Media, she's produced and helped finance lots of films but she'd never done TV. That is, until she started to develop a film based on the life of Albert Einstein, and found that it demanded to be a series. Pritzker talks about executive producing Nat Geo's first scripted program, Genius, which is in the Emmy race with 10 nominations.

Photo: Gigi Pritzker, CEO of Madison Wells Media

Hollywood news banter 6 MIN, 53 SEC

Matt Belloni, editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • Disney throws down and says it will pull its content out of Netflix and launch two streaming services of its own -- one for sports and one for family-friendly fare -- sometime in 2019. The move represents a giant shift away from the current business model and towards a more a la carte TV future.
  • As media companies like Disney begin to pull out of Netflix, the streaming giant continues to bulk up on originals so they can move towards owning more of their content. Its latest acquisition? David Letterman.
  • John Stankey, the man who will run Time Warner (pending its merger with AT&T goes through) doesn't really watch television. He says he'll be relatively hands-off when it comes to the creative side of things, but some people are wondering if he'll stick to his word.

Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Producer Gigi Pritzker on Nat Geo's 'Genius' 19 MIN, 59 SEC

The production company OddLot Entertainment has made or invested in quite a range of projects in recent years, including the coming-of-age dramedy The Way, Way Back, the film adaption of the sci-fi novel Ender's Game, Jon Stewart's directorial debut Rosewater, and last year's best picture nominee Hell or High Water.

OddLot's founder is Gigi Pritzker, and film production is just one division of her company, Madison Wells Media, which also has projects in virtual reality and live theater.

It's been a good year for Pritzker. Hell or High Water was in awards contention and so is her first television project, Genius on National Geographic.

If Pritzker is a familiar name it may be because her family is one of the richest in the country. Gigi Pritzker could have gone into any of a number of family businesses, but when she spoke to us from her home town, Chicago, she said she knew in college she didn't want to do that. Though she wasn't planning to get involved in Hollywood, either. She tells us about how her plans to run an NGO in Nepal got derailed by a professor who recommended she go to film school.

She also shares how she ended up executive producing the Nat Geo anthology period drama Genius, the first season of which focused on Albert Einstein (Picasso is up next for Season 2). The series is nominated for 10 Emmys this year--including Outstanding Limited Series. Actor Geoffrey Rush is in the race for his performance and Ron Howard is nominated for directing.

Pritzker spent years trying to make a film about Einstein but found that the project wasn't working--until it shifted into television. This was new territory for her--as well as for a lot of other players in the series. She tells us about the transition from film to TV and how it ended up being a lot of women who brought the Einstein story to life.

Gigi Pritzker, film producer and philanthropist


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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