Jessica Rhoades’ Pacesetter Productions has sold two one-hour projects to NBC – dramedy Monsoon Wedding from writer Rohit Kumar (13 Reasons Why) and The Village creator Mike Daniels and drama Sidekicks, from NCIS: Los Angeles Co-Executive Producer Jordana Lewis Jaffe. Both will be produced by Universal Television. The network sales come as the company expands its executive team, hiring former Chelsea Handler Productions exec Rachel Polan as SVP. In her new role, Polan will help identify and foster development for the company and add support to the current productions.
“I’ve been a fan of Rachel’s for some time,” said Rhoades. “She’s got fantastic taste and is a champion of creators. I know how supported and connected the writers who work with her feel. Nothing matters more to me. As we continue to build Pacesetter, finding team members who share my commitment to writers and their vision is paramount, and I look forward to expanding with Rachel on board.”
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Described as Monsoon Wedding meets Fools Rush In, Matched, written by Kumar, follows two millennial Indian-American singles who decide to go on the ultimate journey together: an arranged marriage. As their decision ripples through the rest of their lives, affecting their friends and families, we’ll watch as our couple take their first complicated, messy, and always chaotic steps on this strange road to “I love you.” Matched re-teams Rhoades with The Village creator Daniels, who serves as an executive producer through his Universal TV-based 6107 Productions.
Written by Jaffe, Sidekicks follows a disgraced Taekwondo Olympian who upends her life when she discovers her fiancé is having an affair, moves back home, and joins her former teammate and rival at her flailing PI firm in Orange County.
Prior to joining Pacesetter, Polan most recently served as Vice President of scripted development for Chelsea Handler Productions, developing, selling and co-executive producing shows such as Blair for HBO Max, and Wiped Out for Peacock.
Polan was previously an executive at Lionsgate, where she was creatively involved in some of the Television Group’s biggest accomplishments, including securing Nashville a fifth season at CMT; shepherding the first season of Casual, which garnered a first-ever Golden Globe nomination for Hulu; selling Epix one of its first scripted shows, Graves; and developing Dear White People for Netflix.
Polan has worked on series such as Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and Weeds; WGN America’s Manhattan; E!’s The Royals; and FX’s Anger Management. She has also helped develop shows including Ascension on Syfy, and Harold & Kumar on Adult Swim.
In addition, Dana Echt has been named Manager at Pacesetter. Echt has risen over the years at the company, starting as Rhoades’ assistant, and was previously at WME.
Rhoades is currently an executive producer on the upcoming HBO Max limited series Station Eleven, from creator Patrick Somerville, along with The Venery of Samantha Bird, which is in development at Starz from writer Anna Moriarty, with Jessica Yu attached to direct.
She most recently served as an executive producer on Gillian Flynn’s Amazon Studios Utopia, starring Sasha Lane, John Cusack, and Rainn Wilson. She was an executive producer on season two of the critically acclaimed Alexandra Cunningham-created series Dirty John, starring Amanda Peet and Christian Slater, on USA Network.
Previously, Rhoades executive produced the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-nominated HBO series Sharp Objects, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn and adapted by Marti Noxon, starring Amy Adams and directed by Jean-Marc Vallee. Her other credits include Showtime’s The Affair and NBC’s The Village.
Prior to founding Pacesetter Productions, Rhoades was the Head of Television at Blumhouse Productions.
Pacesetter Productions is repped by UTA and attorney Adam Cooper at Jackoway. Jaffe is repped by UTA and Bruce Gellman at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman. Kumar is repped by Verve, Scott Stoops and David Baggelaar at Good Fear Content, and Joe Weiner at Miloknay Weiner.