He will run Wild Mercury Productions independently, but benefit from the infrastructure of and be housed at his previous firm, Kudos, which is behind Humans, The Hour and recent BBC One effort Capital.
Wild Mercury launched with a project in place at BBC One, Troy: Fall of a City, which will be produced in association with Kudos. The show is billed as theatre writer David Farr’s “visceral retelling of the Trojan War”.
A “number” of other dramas include a recently announced Cicero project, an adaptation of Robert Harris’ trio of political thrillers set in Ancient Rome coproduced with Endemol Shine-owned Kudos, and a “slate of contemporary dramas”.
Wax becomes the latest long-serving Kudos exec to set up shop on their own. Co-founders Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone have both left in the past 18 months, with Garrett creating Night Manager coproducer Character Seven and Featherstone unveiling Sister Pictures, which recently hired Kudos co-CEO Dan Isaacs.
Wax will continue as executive producer on the second season of Humans, which is for Channel 4 in the UK and AMC in the US.
He joined Kudos in 2005, before it was part of Endemol Shine predecessor Shine Group after producing BBC One’s Red Productions series Sparkhouse and miniseries Sex Traffic for Channel 4.
At Kudos, his creditd include Abi Morgan-penned BBC Two series The Hour, cult series Lip Service for BBC Three, Tsunami the Aftermath for BBC Two and HBO, and range of Peter Bowker collaborations, including From Here to There and Capital.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time for original drama, and the autonomy Wild Mercury brings makes this a thrilling new chapter for me,” said Wax. “Working alongside the wonderful Kudos family, I look forward to creating bold, original dramas with the best writing talent on projects which will truly resonate with audiences in the UK and around the world.”
Diederick Santer, who now runs Kudos as its sole CEO, said: “Derek is one of the most in-demand and talented creatives in TV drama, so we’re delighted that as he kicks off Wild Mercury, Kudos is able to continue working with him, building on our ten-year association. We look forward to a whole new wave of extraordinary drama.”