‘Boardwalk Empire’s Shea Whigham In ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

Mike Fleming

Boardwalk Empire‘s Shea Whigham has joined the cast of David O Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook alongside Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro. Whigham just wrapped the second season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and will next be seen … Read More »

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NBCUniversal Pumps Up Owned & Operated Stations, Adds 130 New Jobs

By | Monday October 31, 2011 @ 8:25am PDT

NEW YORK, NY – October 31, 2011 – NBCUniversal today announced a number of enhancements at its 10 owned television stations that are the result of a major investment the company is making to further strengthen the news gathering operations at the stations and ensure they have the resources necessary to effectively compete in their markets. Valari Staab, President of the NBC Owned Television Stations, said the 10 stations are hiring more than 130 new people, producing more local news, launching new consumer and investigative units in five markets and making other enhancements.

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Producer Steve Stark Named President TV Production For MGM

By | Monday October 31, 2011 @ 7:28am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Veteran TV producer Steve Stark has joined MGM as President, Television Production. He will oversee all aspects of television and content development and production, including the development of new TV projects and projects based on titles … Read More »

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‘Shame’, ‘Tinker, Tailor’ And ‘Tyrannosaur’ Lead Brit Indie Award Nominations

The three UK movies have received seven nods apiece for this year’s Moët British Independent Film Awards, due to take place in London on December 4. Each of them is battling for Best British Film Award, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor/Actress. The nominations were announced in London this morning. We Need To Talk About Kevin and Kill List each received six nominations, with Submarine following closely with five. Rebecca Hall (The Awakening), Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre), MyAnna Buring (Kill List), Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur) and Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin) are vying for Best Actress. Leading men competing for Best Actor include Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor), Michael Fassbender (Shame) and Brendan Gleeson (The Guard).

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Disney-ABC Strikes New Streaming Deals With Netflix And Amazon

Disney’s announcement with Netflix this morning extends and expands a current deal, giving the streaming service rights to several shows 30 days after the last episode of the season airs. The one with Amazon is new and includes more than 800 library episodes. Both include prior seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and all episodes of Lost. They also both landed ABC Family’s The Secret Life Of The American Teenager and Phineas and Ferb. Beyond that there are a lot of differences, with Amazon landing prior seasons of Marvel’s animated shows including X-Men Evolution and Netflix getting ABC Studios’ Army Wives. Here’s the release for Netflix:

BEVERLY HILLS and BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 31, 2011 — Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Disney-ABC Television Group today announced that they recently entered into an extension of their previous existing licensing agreement. The extension allows Netflix to continue to stream hundreds of library episodes from ABC Studios, Disney Channel and ABC Family over the Internet. As part of the deal, Netflix is also adding new content to its lineup of Disney-ABC series and TV movies.

The agreement adds to the growing selection of content that can be streamed from Netflix in the United States. Episodes from new seasons of current Disney-ABC series will be made available to Netflix 30-days after the last episode of each season airs. Among the series and TV movies extended as part of the deal include:

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Hot Teaser: ‘ParaNorman’

By | Sunday October 30, 2011 @ 11:19pm PDT

Just in time for Halloween, here’s a teaser for the stop-motion animated ParaNorman, from LAIKA and Focus Features, the partners that made and released the deliciously dark Coraline. Directed by Sam Fell (Flushed Away, The Tale of Despereaux) and Chris Butler (who also wrote the screenplay), it’s about a boy … Read More »

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Relativity Responds To Critics Of Filming In China: ‘We Would Never Knowingly Do Anything To Undermine’ Human Rights

By | Sunday October 30, 2011 @ 9:50pm PDT

Responding Sunday evening to criticism of Relativity Media for filming scenes from the upcoming buddy-debauchery movie 21 and Over in a province of China where a blind activist has been held under brutal house arrest, the company issued this statement:

“From its founding, Relativity Media has been a consistent and outspoken supporter of human rights and we would never knowingly do anything to undermine this commitment. We stand by that commitment and we are proud of our growing business relationships in China, through our partnership with Sky Land, its strategic alliance with Huaxia Film Distribution Company. As a company, we believe deeply that expanding trade and business ties with our counterparts in China and elsewhere can result in positive outcomes.”

Criticism in the news media from activists in China and via Twitter in the U.S. appeared to catch executives at Relativity off guard, with the dust still settling from recent but unrelated industry fallout over bad publicity surrounding Hilary Swank’s appearance at Chechnya tyrant Ramzan Kadyrov’s birthday party. Reports surfaced earlier Sunday about human rights activists protesting Relativity’s decision to film the now already completed scenes of 21 and Over in the Chinese city of Linyi. The city is tainted by its location in Shandong province where blind activist Chen Guangcheng remains under house arrest in his village of Dongshigu and reportedly subjected to government thuggery. Read More »

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CBS Buys Adaptation Of Hit Israeli Comedy ‘Life Isn’t Everything’

By | Sunday October 30, 2011 @ 8:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

CBS has bought Life Isn’t Everything, a comedy based on the successful Israeli sitcom of the same name (Hahaim Ze Lo Hakol in Hebrew). The creator of the original series, Daniel Lappin, will be involved in the writing of the U.S. version. Lappin will co-write the script for CBS with comedy veteran Mike Sikowitz (Friends). Sony Pictures TV, where Sikowitz has an overall deal, will produce with Reshet, the Israeli company whose Channel 2 broadcasts the original series. Sikowitz is already in business with CBS and Sony TV – he serves as an executive producer on Rules Of Engagement. Noa Tishby, who was involved in bringing to the U.S. In Treatment, the Israeli series that sparked U.S. networks’ interest in formats from the Middle Eastern country, shepherded Life Isn’t Everything‘s trip to Hollywood. She is executive producing with Sikowitz, Lappin and an executive from Reshet.

CBS’ multi-camera Life Isn’t Everything is about a middle-aged, recently divorced couple who were bad at marriage and discover they are now really bad at divorce – messy, can’t help but being involved in each others’ lives, still have sex, etc. “It is a romantic comedy about a couple who are divorced but can’t get out of each other’s lives,” Lappin said. Added Tishby, “you can’t divorce your ex.” Read More »

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Bruce Helford On ‘Anger Management,’ Working With Charlie Sheen And His Return To TV After A 3-Year Break

By | Sunday October 30, 2011 @ 5:44pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

After a 3-year break, The Drew Carey Show creator/showrunner Bruce Helford is making a splashy return to the business with Anger Management, the new Charlie Sheen sitcom which just sold to FX with an initial order for 10-episodes, which if successful will be followed by a 90-episode pickup. Helford will write/run the series, based on the 2003 Adam Sandler-Jack Nicholson movie about a mild-mannered man (Sandler) ordered to attend group anger-management sessions led by a volatile therapist (Nicholson). But while the movie centered on Sandler’s character, the series will be about the therapist, played by Sheen, and his life. “It’s all about Charlie’s life as a therapist who has as many or more problems than his patients,” Helford said. “He is a guy who has anger issues and wants to work on them.” Like Sheen’s previous series, Two And A Half Men, where the lead character was tailored to reflect Sheen’s image at the time of the show’s creation – a bad-boy swinging bachelor – Anger Management too will incorporate elements from Sheen’s current life. His character has an ex-wife whom he is close to as well as a 13-year old daughter. “He is always on call for his family and his patients,” Helford said, adding that Sheen’s character won’t only see his patients in the office but will also do appointments in real-life social situations.

Helford landed the gig on Anger Management thanks to his extensive comedy showrunner experience, his instant rapport with Sheen … and Skype. Helford’s last project before Anger Management was the 2008 Fox pilot Starting Under starring Bernie Mac. Three months after shooting the pilot, Bernie Mac passed away, and his sudden death had a profound effect on Helford. “I said to myself: life is too short, I should be hanging with my kids after so many years of barely seeing them because of crazy 18-hour work days.” He did just that, but now that both of his children are in college, he started thinking about returning to television. (He also got a nudge from his wife who became increasingly frustrated by him hanging around the house for so long.) But he didn’t plan to do it right away and took a summer vacation. Helford, who doesn’t fly, had just come off a ship in New York after a trip to the U.K. to visit his daughter in college when he got a call about a meeting with Sheen and producer Lionsgate TV on Anger Management. “Can you fly back to meet with Charlie?” they asked. “Not really,” was Helford’s answer. “I’m always in the wrong place,” he laments. Lionsgate set up the first meeting between Helford and Sheen via Skype while the writer-producer was still in New York. It took him 4 days to drive from New York to Los Angeles. He used that time to flesh out his idea for the show and kept in touch with Sheen via Skype as the two had hit it off right off the bat. Like anyone else, Helford was aware of Sheen’s controversial media blitz this past spring that resulted in the actor’s firing from Two And A Half Men. But when he met him, Helford found him to be the same Charlie Sheen he remembered from their days at ABC when the two crossed paths a number of times, mostly when doing promos for Spin City, where Sheen replaced original star Michael J. Fox, and The Drew Carey Show. Read More »

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Bill Maher & Seth MacFarlane Croon Sinatra

By | Sunday October 30, 2011 @ 1:56pm PDT

At a party tossed by Family Guy creator/runner Seth MacFarlane this week, MacFarlane was joined onstage by Bill Maher to belt out the Frank Sinatra tune Star. It turns out both guys have decent chops, even after a cocktail or two. Of course, that shouldn’t be a huge surprise in the … Read More »

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The Coming Of (Digital) Age Of The CW

By | Sunday October 30, 2011 @ 1:51pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

For its entire existence, the CW has been battling criticism that its target young (and primarily female) demographic is way too narrow to support a broadcast network. The drumbeat grew louder as TV audiences started migrating online, with younger … Read More »

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ACLU Sues LA Sheriffs’ Dept Over Alleged Harassment Of Photographers

By | Sunday October 30, 2011 @ 1:43pm PDT

Asserting that harassment of photographers taking pictures in public places is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds, the ACLU has filed suit in federal court in Los Angeles against the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. Video shows photographer Shawn Nee’s encounter with a deputy who stopped Nee for taking photos of … Read More »

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Hilary Swank Fires Manager Jason Weinberg

I’ve confirmed that the actress has axed her manager of 8 years Jason Weinberg, the founding partner of Untitled Entertainment whom she thanked in her 2005 speech for winning the Best Actress Oscar for Million Dollar Baby. The firing was … Read More »

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Snow Ices Box Office: ‘Puss In Boots’ #1, ‘Paranormal’ #2, ‘In Time’ #3, ‘Rum Diary’ #4

By | Saturday October 29, 2011 @ 10:01pm PDT

SATURDAY PM, 5TH UPDATE: Jeez, Jeffrey Katzenberg must have enemies in higher places than anyone thought possible. … Read More »

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‘Mad Men’ Creator Matthew Weiner Tells All (…To His Big Sister)

By | Saturday October 29, 2011 @ 9:21pm PDT

Deadline frequent contributor Allison Hope Weiner interviews her younger brother, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, this month on this fascinating hour-long video about his show’s origins, his difficult contract negotiations, and his inspirations when writing the series, as well as Big Media issues and a lot of personal reminisces with his … Read More »

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AFM: Robert De Niro, John Travolta Team For ‘Killing Season’

By | Saturday October 29, 2011 @ 2:50pm PDT
Mike Fleming

LOS ANGELES, CA – Millennium Films, Corsan Pictures and FilmEngine will begin production January 16 on “Killing Season,” starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta. Mark Steven Johnson (“Ghost Rider,” “Daredevil”) will direct from a script by Evan Daugherty

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Doris Day To Receive Career Achievement Honor From L.A. Film Critics

By | Saturday October 29, 2011 @ 1:03pm PDT

Doris Day, the actress whose girl-next-door image helped her to become a  huge Hollywood box office draw in the 1950s and ’60s, has been named to receive this year’s Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Although Day … Read More »

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‘Iron Man 3′ Joins Movie And TV Production Exodus To North Carolina

By | Saturday October 29, 2011 @ 1:14am PDT

“The rumors are true,” a North Carolina TV station announced when the governor flew to the hometown movie studio to break the news this past week. “Tony Stark and the third installment of the Iron Man movie franchise will fly into Wilmington.” Great news for North Carolina maybe but for the Los Angeles movie and TV community it felt like a punch in the gut. Thanks to the state’s generous 25% production credit, North Carolina’s EUE/Screen Gems Studios sealed the deal. Manhattan Beach-based Marvel Studios considered making the third movie in Los Angeles just like the first two, but the 25% credit proved too hard to resist. California has a 25% credit — which excludes big budget studio productions. Marvel also considered Michigan and New Mexico but North Carolina won out because of the size of the facility as well as the tax credit. Read More »

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