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Full Series Rankings For The 2009-10 Broadcast Season

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 11:49pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

I’ve been doing complete season listings of all broadcast series ranked by adults 18-49 rating and total viewer average for years, and a lot of people in the TV industry have told me they find them very helpful. So here they are: the series rankers for the 2009-10 season in adults 18-49 and total viewers (scroll down for that). A few fun facts from the lists: The highest-rated new series this past season: CBS’ Undercover Boss. The highest-rated new scripted series: Fox’s Glee (in 18-49) and CBS’ NCIS: LA (in total viewers). The highest-rated series to get canceled: Fox’s 24. The lowest-rated scripted series to get renewed on the Big 4 networks: CBS’ Medium (in 18-49) and NBC’s Parks & Recreation (in total viewers).

2009-10 SERIES RANKER IN ADULTS 18-49 (rating/share) Live +7






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‘Ghost Whisperer’ To End After Deal With ABC To Pick Up The Show Fell Through

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 6:32pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

After some encouraging early signs out of ABC following CBS’ cancellation of Ghost Whisperer last week, I hear the financial aspect of ABC picking up the veteran drama starring Jennifer Love Hewitt ultimately could not be worked out. (The show is owned 50/50 by ABC Studios and CBS Studios.) Ghost Whisperer executive producers Kim Moses and Ian Sander just issued the following statement:

“After five wonderful seasons and over 100 episodes, we are disappointed to announce Ghost Whisperer will not be returning for a sixth season.  We’ve had an incredible experience and owe a debt of gratitude to everyone involved.  We continue our relationship with ABC Studios and look forward to developing many more successful projects together in the future.”

Ghost Whisperer is one of two cancelled CBS series that has been looking for a new life on ABC, along with comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine. I hear the chances of Old Christine don’t look good either but the producers are expected to make one last effort to make a deal with the network.

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Marvel Taps ‘No Heroics’ Creator For ‘Runaways’ Duty

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 6:27pm PDT
Mike Fleming

720037runaways7_001_superEXCLUSIVE: Several surprise hires in the Marvel universe today. First, Fox taps James McAvoy to play the young Professor Xavier in the Matthew Vaughn-directed X-Men: First Class. Now, Marvel Studios has picked a writer to draft Runaways, the live action film based on the cult favorite comic book (created by Lost writer Brian K. Vaughan) about the children of supervillains who try to use their evil powers for heroic purposes.

The job has gone to Drew Pearce. Considering the number of scribes who wanted the job, Pearce is a relative unknown but seems a good match for the subject matter when you consider his previous superhero work. Pearce is a British writer who created No Heroics, a humorous UK television series about a bar that’s a hangout for superheros, who aren’t allowed to use their powers while knocking back pints. Pearce will draft Runaways for Pete Sollett, the Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist director who was set in April to direct. His deal’s being made by WME, and here’s a peek at Pearce’s No Heroics:

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Alex Graves In Talks To Direct ‘Terra Nova’

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 6:19pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ALEXGR~1Alex Graves is in early negotiations to direct the pilot episode for Fox’s midseason series Terra Nova, which is executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin. The direct-to-series project, which was well received at the network’s upfront presentation, features a family from 2149 when the planet is dying who are transported back to pre-historic Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization. While the producers of the show initially were looking to cast a lead first, the priority quickly shifted to finding the right director. The West Wing director-producer Graves, who has helmed several pilots, including the one for sci-fi Fox series Fringe, emerged as the top choice last week. He then met with all key producers and executives involved in the project and, after his final sit-downs with Spielberg and Fox’s entertainment chairman Peter Rice today, which I hear went very well, he received an offer to direct the pilot. Fox has not scheduled Terra Nova yet because of the extensive post-production and visual effects involved. But the network’s brass are hoping to launch the series as early as the week after the Super Bowl to use the big sporting event as a promotional platform. Terra Nova, from 20th TV, DreamWorks TV, Kapital Entertainment and Chernin Entertainment, is executive produced by Spielberg, Chernin, the pilot’s writers Craig Silverstein and Kelly Marcel, showrunner Brannon Braga, David Fury, Aaron Kaplan, Katherine Pope, Justin … Read More »

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Platinum Dunes Steers ‘Turtles’ Relaunch

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 5:28pm PDT
Mike Fleming

turtlesEXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon have brought Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form on to produce Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the live-action film that reboots the film series launched by New Line in 1990. Bay, Fuller and Form will  produce with Galen Walker and Scott Mednick.

The producers will begin meetings with writers in the next few weeks. The deal puts Bay in the center of two Paramount franchises, as he started production May 17 on Transformers 3, and is zeroing in on Rosie Huntington-Whitely to replace Megan Fox as love interest for Shia LaBeouf. TMNT, a co-production between Paramount and Nickelodeon, is an outgrowth of the $60 million acquisition made by Nick last October for global rights to the entire Turtles franchise. Right around the same time, Paramount made a first look deal with the Platinum Dunes partners, who will generate genre projects but also want to expand their scope. While they’ve already set up several projects including a Rob Cohen-remake of Fright Night, the Turtles film puts them into new territory.

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2ND UPDATE: Behind Ken Starr Indictment

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 5:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE WRITE-THRU 1:30 PM: The indictment of financial advisor and accountant Kenneth Starr has the potential to be every bit as serious as the one that gripped Hollywood when Cassanda Group’s Dana Giacchetto fell from grace after defrauding some of Hollywood’s biggest names in the 1990s.

Starr was arrested along with an associate, Andrew Stein, the former New York City Council president who’s accused of making false statements to the IRS. A 37-page complaint unsealed today in Southern District Court bares the detail of how Starr allegedly helped himself to client money, and then moved money from other client accounts to cover shortfalls when questions were asked.

The complaint describes by profession, but doesn’t name, several of the cheated clients who helped sniff out trouble when they questioned irregularities in their statements. I’ve heard that “the actress” is Uma Thurman, and the “former talent agency exec” is Jim Wiatt, and the “elderly heiress” is Bunny Mellon. There is a jeweler who, the complaint alleges, is missing millions, and word is that’s Yakov Arabov, aka “Jacob the Jeweler” to customers who include many hip hop celebs.  Also, sources said that authorities have been investigating Starr for months. I’m told that, while press reports list scores of well known clients, many including Martin Scorsese left with their business managers well before today’s indictment was leveled — and likely emerged unscathed.

One of those is celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, who issued this statement: “News of Ken Starr’s arrest does not come as a complete surprise to … Read More »

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Brian Koppelman & David Levien Ink TV Deal

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 4:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

kopplemanEXCLUSIVE: Feature writer/ producer/ directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien are making a push in television with a first-look deal at 20th Century Fox TV, the duo’s first formal TV deal. Koppelman and Levien, whose latest feature Solitary Man opened last week in limited release with the highest per-screen average, have dabbled into TV before. They wrote the 2003 ABC drama pilot The Street Lawyer and created and executive produced the ESPN series Tilt, on which they also directed the pilot. But now Koppelman and Levien are looking to become hands-on TV producers. The two first met with 20th TV chairman Dana Walden and EVP Jennifer Nicholson Salke eight months ago. “We were incredibly impressed with their taste and energy and enthusiasm to be in television and the kind of voices we wanted to bring,” Nicholson Salke said. Koppelman and Levien said their main focus will be working with young writers, including playwrights and other up-and-coming talent from New York where the two are based. They said they are looking to discover new writers for TV the way they did on the feature side with Neil Burger and Alice O’Neill as well as bring feature scribes to the small screen. Of course, 20th TV brass are hoping that CAA-repped Koppelman and Levien might also write or direct a TV project themselves.

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‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ Moved Up By Disney

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 4:20pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Sorcerers Apprentice BannerDisney has slightly shuffled its summer release schedule, moving the Nic Cage-starrer The Sorcerer’s Apprentice to Wednesday July 14. It had been set for Friday, July 16. The Jon Turteltaub-directed film also stars Jay Baruchel, Monica Bellucci and Alfred Molina. The film’s produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, whose pic The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time squares off against Sex and the City 2 this Memorial Day

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WME Signs ‘Nowhere Boy’ Director Sam Taylor-Wood

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 3:49pm PDT
Mike Fleming

samtaylorwoodWME has signed Sam Taylor-Wood, the British photographer/conceptual artist who made her feature directing debut on Nowhere Boy, the BAFTA-nominated film about the childhood of Beatles frontman John Lennon. The  Weinstein Co will release the film October 8 in the U.S. Taylor-Wood had been repped by UTA.

Taylor-Wood went from still photography to moving film with Love You More, the short film written by Patrick Marber and produced by Anthony Minghella.

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SyFy In Reality Expansion With New Series

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 3:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

syfylogoNew York, New York – May 27, 2010 – Marking a major expansion of its reality programming, Syfy today announced it is greenlighting three new series, Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen (wt), Paranormal Witness (wt) and Face Off (wt). This broad-based slate builds upon the success of the channel’s unscripted programming such as the Ghost Hunters franchise and Destination Truth on Wednesday nights, along with Syfy’s new Thursday reality block of Mary Knows Best and Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, which premieres July 15.
Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen
Utilizing the science of cooking, Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen stars one of America’s most notorious chefs, molecular gastronomist Marcel Vigneron (Top Chef). In each episode, Marcel and his new catering and event company will be hired by a demanding client to produce an extraordinary celebration or event. Based on the client’s requests, Marcel will dream up a theme and cuisine for the event, which range from a fairytale graduation party and a Goth-rock fashion show to a birthday dinner held on a platform

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Final 2009-10 Season Network Rankings

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 2:22pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Full Series Rankings For The 2009-10 Broadcast Season

The final stats on the 2009-10 broadcast TV season, which ended last night, are in. No surprises at the top. Fox won in the key adults 18-49 demographic for a record sixth straight year; CBS was No.1 in total viewers for the 7th time in the past 8 years. All Big 4 networks except for ABC were boosted significantly by sports this season: CBS (Super Bowl/NFL Sunday overruns/Playoff Games/NCAA), NBC (Sunday Night Football/ Playoff Games/Winter Olympics) and Fox (NFL Sunday overruns/Playoffs Games/College Football Championships/MLB post-season). NBC was also hurt by the dismally rated Jay Leno Show and the fact that its last season totals were inflated by the Super Bowl. ABC and CBS were both negatively impacted by the erosion of some long-running series, including ABC’s Desperate Housewives (down 17% in the 18-49) and CBS’ CSI (down 25%). But CBS had sports as well as more over-performing series, including breakout reality hit Undercover Boss, new drama NCIS: LA and comedy Big Bang Theory, which was the biggest gainer vs. last season, up 39% in the demo. ABC’s strongest new addition was comedy Modern Family. And at Fox, hit new dramedy Glee helped offset the decline of American Idol and departing 24.

Adults 18-49: Rating/Change from last season

Fox 3.7/+3%

CBS 3.2/+3%

NBC 2.7/-4%

ABC 2.7/-7%

Adults 18-34: Rating/Change from last season

CW 1.1/+10%

Total Viewers: Viewers In Millions/Change from last season

CBS 11.8/+0.1%

Fox 10.0/+2%

ABC 8.6/-4%

NBC 8.2/+5%

CW 2.0/+1%

Median Age:

Fox 44

NBC 48

ABC 50

CBS 54

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UPDATE: Did Uma Thurman, Jim Wiatt And Bunny Mellon Help Flush Accused Investment Advisor Ken Starr?

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 2:02pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATED WRITE-THRU: The indictment of financial advisor and accountant Kenneth Starr has the potential to be every bit as serious as the one that gripped Hollywood when Cassanda Group’s Dana Giacchetto fell from grace after defrauding some of Hollywood’s biggest names in the 1990s.

Starr was arrested along with an associate, Andrew Stein, the former New York City Council president who’s accused of making false statements to the IRS. A 37-page complaint unsealed today in Southern District Court bares the detail of how Starr allegedly helped himself to client money, and then moved money from other client accounts to cover shortfalls when questions were asked.

The complaint describes by profession but doesn’t name several of the cheated clients who helped sniff out trouble when they questioned irregularities in their statements. I’m not sure who all of them are, but I’ve heard that the “elderly heiress” is Bunny Mellon, “the actress” is Uma Thurman, and the “former talent agency exec” is Jim Wiatt.  Also, sources said that authorities have been investigating Starr for months, and that while press reports list scores of well known clients, many including Martin Scorsese left with their business managers well before the indictment was leveled today and likely emerged unscathed.

One of those is celebrity photographer Annie Liebovitz, who issued this statement: “News of Ken Starr’s arrest done not come as a complete surprise to me, and I will follow … Read More »

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WME Signs Justin Long

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 12:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

justin-long1EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Justin Long, the actor who was in play since leaving UTA last week.

Long continues to be managed by Principato-Young. He’ll next be seen onscreen starring with Drew Barrymore in the Warner Bros/New Line pic Going the Distance, and he just wrapped the Robert Redford-directed The Conspirator with Robin Wright, James McAvoy and Evan Rachel Wood. Long is just ending his run in the Mac computer commercials.

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Village Roadshow Pictures Gets More Money To Finance Films

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 11:49am PDT
Mike Fleming


LOS ANGELES, CA., MAY 27, 2010—Village Roadshow Pictures Group (“VRPG”) today closed a $1 billion film finance credit facility to finance its current and future slate of motion pictures. JPMorgan Chase and Rabobank acted as joint syndication agents and, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, are co-bookrunners and co-lead arrangers.

Said Greg Basser, Chief Executive Officer of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group (“VREG”), the parent of VRPG and Concord Music Group, “At a time when capital is at a premium, we’ve managed to attract the confidence of a diverse group of investors and secure significant financing. We are grateful to all involved with the close of this deal and to our unwavering partners at Warner Bros.”

Since its formation in 1997, VRPG has been one of the industry’s leading financiers and producers of studio released motion pictures, amassing a library of 65 films, 61 of which have been released in partnership with Warner Bros. – representing the studio’s longest continuous relationship with an independent film financing and production company.

Said Bruce Berman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of VRP: “We are in the business of making movies. This new financing enables us to expand upon the solid foundation we’ve established within the industry and grow our slate of tentpole and star-driven films.”

“We have had a long, successful relationship with Village Roadshow, and are very pleased they will continue to be our partners in making

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Bruce Willis Digging ‘The Tomb’ At Summit Entertainment

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 11:11am PDT
Mike Fleming

bruce-willisSummit Entertainment is in early talks with Bruce Willis to star in the prison escape drama The Tomb, with Antoine Fuqua circling to direct. Willis is in talks to play Ray Breslin, the world’s foremost authority on structural security.  After analyzing every high security prison and learning a vast array of survival skills so he can design escape-proof prisons, his skills are put to the test. He’s framed and incarcerated in a master prison he designed himself. He needs to escape and find the person who put him behind bars.244.fuqua.antoine.092706

The script was written by Miles Chapman and rewritten by Jason Keller, and Robbie Brenner and Mark Canton are producing. The hope is to fast track the film.

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‘Off The Map’ Creator Jenna Bans Inks Overall Deal With ABC Studios

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 10:59am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

image001EXCLUSIVE: Off The Map creator Jenna Bans has signed a new two-year overall deal with ABC Studios. Under the seven-figure pact, Bans will serve as head writer on Off The Map, which she is executive producing with Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers. The medical drama, set at an under-stocked clinic in the South American jungle, will launch in midseason behind Desperate Housewives on Sunday. Coincidentally, Desperate Housewives was the series that launched Bans’ career.

Bans is a homegrown ABC talent. For her first series gig, she joined Housewives in its first season as a staff writer. She then went to Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Private Practice where she served as a producer and most recently was a co-executive producer on Grey’s. Off The Map marks her first stab at development and her third consecutive medical drama series, following Practice and Grey’s. Bans has no medical background but could’ve easily been a lawyer. She had been accepted to the University of Chicago Law School but deferred while trying to break into writing. She ran out of deferring options and was about to enroll in law school when she landed her job on Housewives. Bans is repped by ICM and attorney Jared Levine.

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‘Alice’ Hits $1 Billion Mark As Disney And Other Studios Tap Public Domain Tales

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 10:37am PDT
Mike Fleming

alice-in-wonderland-2010-20090721105733595_640wDisney has come through the rabbit hole and pronounced that the Tim Burton-directed 3D conversion Alice in Wonderland surpassed the $1 billion mark in global box office. For non-sequels, that puts the picture behind only Titanic and Avatar.

Given that happy ending, it’s small wonder that Disney and other studios have placed a premium on public domain fairy tales. I’m hearing Disney has been flirting with Timur Bekmambetov as possible director for its Mitchell Kapner-scripted origin story The Great and Powerful Oz. That project had Adam Shankman and Sam Mendes mentioned as possible filmmakers, and it’s just one of a slew of Oz pictures percolating. The Wanted director also is circling Disney’s Jungle Cruise, the long-gestating action-adventure movie idea based on the Disney theme park ride. Timur pitched a take to film’s Mandeville producers and writers are meeting on the project.

Back on the fairy tale front, Disney recently made the seven-figure deal for a reinvention of Cinderella that will be scripted by The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna.

Disney Pays Seven-Figures For Aline Brosh McKenna’s Live-Action ‘Cinderella’ Pitch

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MRC, Universal Make 20 Pic, Five-Year Pact

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 9:56am PDT
Mike Fleming

key_art_mrc_studiosEXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital and Universal Pictures closed a deal that will put up to 20 MRC-generated films through the studio distribution pipeline over a five-year period. The pact begins in 2011.

While MRC partners Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu have done repeat business at Universal, this is a new wrinkle in their formula of  assembling and funding film packages with big stars and directors, and then licensing distribution to studios on a case by case basis. Those deals were structured to give creative freedom and maximum upside to stars and directors, and eventual ownership stakes in the films when copyrights revert back to MRC years down the line.

AY32505021_440x500The Universal deal is a rent-a-system deal in which the studio will supply its marketing and distribution expertise for a distribution fee. Universal doesn’t have first look at MRC projects, and MRC can pre-sell films domestically and in foreign territories. Universal can possibly opt in as an investor in these films. or not. What the deal gives MRC is a guaranteed major studio distribution outlet, to entice artists as it tries to expand its filmmaking program.

The deal doesn’t impact Universal’s homegrown film slate.

Universal has been involved in MRC’s highest profile movie packages. The relationship began with the Sacha Baron Cohen-starrer Bruno, which Universal acquired for North American and some offshore territories for $42.5 million, just as buzz was growing on Borat. The film grossed $60 … Read More »

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Maura Tierney In Talks For ABC’s ‘Truth’

By | Thursday May 27, 2010 @ 9:55am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

El Capitan TheatreFormer ER star Maura Tierney is in negotiations for the lead in ABC’s new legal drama The Whole Truth, a role left vacant after the recent departure of Joely Richardson. Tierney, who had to pull out of NBC’s dramedy series Parenthood last fall while undergoing breast cancer treatment, was originally approached for the role in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced The Whole Truth during pilot season when she fielded multiple offers. After taking a medical break, Tierney recently returned to acting, rejoining FX’s Rescue Me where she has had a recurring role. The Whole Truth, on which she would star opposite Rob Morrow, would bring Tierney back at  Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind ER, on which she starred for 9 seasons. The Whole Truth, which chronicles the way a case is built from the perspective of both the defense and prosecution, is slated to air Wednesdays at 10 PM this fall. Richardson departed the project after the pilot citing personal reasons.

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