Global Showbiz Briefs: Egypt Extends Canadian Filmmaker’s Detention; Helen Flint Launches Little Island Productions; More

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 10:00pm PDT

Egypt Extends Detention Of Canadian Filmmaker Held Since August
Egyptian authorities have extended the detention of Canadian filmmaker John Greyson and his colleague Tarek Loubani, who have been held since August without being charged. Officials say they are being held during an investigating of items found in the men’s hotel room, including a camera attached to a small plane. The Canadian government has called for the release of Greyson and Loubani, who have been on a hunger strike in jail for the past two weeks. There also were several shows of support during the Toronto Film Festival. They were en route to Gaza on a humanitarian mission August 14 when they asked Cairo police for directions and were arrested. Amnesty International says scores of those arrested since have been deprived of their basic legal rights.

Helen Flint Launches TV Company Little Island Productions
Former Company Pictures exec Helen Flint has formed Little Island Productions with a view to producing scripted drama for the UK and global markets. Flint spent eight years with All3Media’s Company Pictures (The White Queen) and produced 2006 award winner Longford. Company’s Alex Protherough is joining Flint at Little Island as Production Executive. Little Island will also sport a production services arm to aid international and UK domestic companies seeking to benefit from the new UK TV tax credit. Read More »

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CBS Loses Its Raiders-Chargers Game To NFL Network Because Of Baseball Playoffs

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 9:58pm PDT

File this under “cable confounds broadcast again”: CBS is losing an NFL rivalry game between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers this Sunday because grounds crews won’t have enough time to convert the … Read More »

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Logan Marshall-Green Joins ‘Madame Bovary’; ‘Senior Project’ Adds Sterling Beaumon

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 7:15pm PDT

Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) has joined director Sophie Barthes’ Madame Bovary along with Cesar-nominated Olivier Gourmet and Downton Abbey‘s Laura Carmichael. The Occupant Entertainment-produced adaptation also stars Mia Wasikowska, Ezra Miller, Paul Giamatti, Rhys Ifans, and Henry Lloyd-Hughes and begins production this week in Normandy, France. Rose Barrenche and Barthes scripted from Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel about Emma (Wasikowska), who escapes her small-town life through marriage to a doctor and indulges in a string of adulterous affairs, with tragic consequences. Marshall-Green will play the Marquis, with Gourmet as Monsieur Roualt and Carmichael playing Henrietta. Marshall-Green is repped by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment; Gourmet is repped by Artmedia; and Carmichael is repped by Curtis Brown Group and Untitled Entertainment.
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Alicia Witt & Edi Gathegi Join FX’s ‘Justified’

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 6:58pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Alicia Witt and Edi Gathegi (The Twilight Saga, X-Men: First Class) have been cast in major recurring roles on the upcoming fifth season of FX/Sony TV’s drama series Justified. Witt will play … Read More »

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Broadcasters Ambushed By Hysteria Around ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 6:07pm PDT

It may be too much to say last night was the night cable overtook broadcast TV for good — as some media have claimed –  but it sure felt that way today. It’s not like broadcasters have never competed on Sunday against numbers like the 10.3 million Breaking Bad attracted in its series finale — HBO’s The Sopranos used to log those crowds on a weekly basis. But broadcasters definitely did not anticipate the media hysteria over the Breaking Bad wrapup, to which they had contributed mightily — most recently in the form of a big fat plug on NBC’s highly hyped Saturday Night Live season debut the very night before BB’s swan song. Breaking Badsteria first erupted one week earlier with the series’ Best Drama Emmy win. Sucks to be CBS, which aired the trophy show that launched AMC’s monster Breaking Bad marketing campaign that did so much to send CBS’ Premiere Week Sunday into double-digit declines in the ratings. (CBS didn’t suffer alone; ABC and Fox experienced same.) Between Breaking Bad‘s Emmy win and Sunday’s finale, AMC unspooled a weeklong full-run-of-series marathon while TV critics scattered role petals in its path. (After the finale aired, the critics got down to the serious business of arguing as to whether Bryan Cranston’s Walter White was TV’s ultimate winner or loser, an American hero or Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning — and if the show’s wrap meant the end, or the dawn of a bright new day, for the economy of Albuquerque, where the show was shot.)

Related: Walter White’s Odyssey Completed In ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale

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‘Runner Runner’ Director Brad Furman Boards Joe Weider Bodybuilding Pic ‘Bigger’

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 6:00pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: With his Runner Runner set to hit theaters this week, Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) has signed to write and direct Bigger for Bee Holder Productions. The biopic tells the story of the Weider brothers — bodybuilding icon Joe Weider, the Canadian entrepreneur who created the Mr. Olympia competition and mentored budding champ Arnold Schwarzenegger, and brother Ben, who co-founded the International Federation of BodyBuilding with Joe in 1946. Steve Lee Jones and his Bee Holder Productions have optioned the rights to the Weider brothers’ life story as well as rights to Brothers of Iron, the duo’s 2006 biographical tome chronicling their journey from dirt-poor sons of Jewish immigrants battling anti-Semitism to the owners of an international health and fitness empire. The Weider family business grew to include a supplements line, fitness magazines, and the Mr. Olympia, Ms. Olympia, and Masters Olympia bodybuilding contests. Bigger will chronicle the siblings’ rise thanks to Joe’s vision and Ben’s biz smarts. Read More »

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ABC Buys Drama From Don Todd & Jason Winer With Penalty

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 5:45pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Beverly Kills, a drama from Don Todd (Samantha Who?) and Jason Winer, has landed at ABC with significant penalty. The project, from 20th TV and Winer’s studio-based Small Dog Picture Co., is based on … Read More »

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EOne Names Eric Shiu VP Marketing & Communications

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 5:44pm PDT

Eric Shiu will oversee eOne TV‘s worldwide marketing and communications efforts from the company’s LA office, reporting to Peter Emerson, President, eOne Television International, the company announced today. Prior to eOne, Shiu spent 15 years in TV marketing and … Read More »

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Between ‘Hercules’ Set-Ups, Brett Ratner Becomes Media Mogul With Eye On China

Mike Fleming

Brett Ratner took a few minutes away from directing Dwayne Johnson in the MGM/Paramount film Hercules: The Thracian Wars to talk about being in the center of a herculean $450 million slate financing deal that RatPac-Dune Entertainment finally closed with Warner Bros. It is an arrangement that will cover as many as 75 of the biggest films made by Warner Bros and New Line for the next few years.

Ratner tells me that this is a straight financing deal, but one that will allow and his RatPac-Dune partners James Packer and Steven Mnuchin to build library assets. It is just one piece of what could become a very interesting puzzle. Ratner said that Packer, son of the late media mogul Kerry Packer, got out of the media holdings that were his father’s preoccupation and instead has put his money in a number of ventures that include casinos in Macau. That whetted his appetite for investing in China’s fast-growing film business.

Related: China’s Wanda & Hollywood: How Much Is Real?

“Part of our strategy will be to expand into China, to co-finance Chinese movies and films that not only work around the world but Asia in particular,” Rather told me. “We are already developing some movies we feel will work in the Asian market.” Read More »

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Disney And Dish Reach Short-Term Deal To Continue Retrans Talks

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 5:13pm PDT

The companies said today that they have reached a short-term extension of their carriage contract to keep Disney‘s channels on Dish Network‘s systems. The sides say talks will continue on a contract first inked in 2005 and set … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: James Franco’s ‘Sal’

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 5:00pm PDT

James Franco directs the pic about 1950s teen idol and Oscar-nominated actor Sal Mineo, who rocketed to fame with his turns in Rebel Without A Cause and Otto Preminger’s Exodus before he was stabbed to death at age 37. Sal, scripted by Stacey Miller with a … Read More »

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Fox Nabs Family Comedy From Chris Miller & Phil Lord, Johnny Depp And Chris Romano With Put Pilot Commitment

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 4:43pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: For their first sale through their overall deal at 20th Century Fox TV, Chris Miller and Phil Lord have teamed with Johnny Depp to produce Torched, a comedy project that has landed at Fox with a put pilot commitment. The single-camera family comedy hails from Blue Mountain State co-creator/star Chris Romano. It centers on a fast-talking, fun-loving dad, who through his very unique — and sometimes law-breaking — job, strives to give his young son the life he never had. 20th TV, Lord Miller and Depp’s Infinitum are producing, with Romano, Lord, Miller, Depp, Lord Miller President Seth Cohen and Infinitum’s Christi Dembrowski and Norman Todd executive producing. Miller and Lord previously worked with Depp on 21 Jump Street. Read More »

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Disney/ABC DGA Directing Program Submission Period Opens Oct. 1

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 4:30pm PDT

The Disney/ABC DGA Directing Program will accept applications from Tuesday, October 1 through Wednesday, November 27. Based in LA, the two-year professional directing program focuses on potential episodic directing opportunities on Disney/ABC series. Selected participants are offered … Read More »

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Ryan Seacrest Prods Adds Unscripted EVP

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 4:22pm PDT

Ryan Seacrest Productions said Izzie Pick Ashcroft will join the company as EVP Current, Unscripted Programming. She will report to CEO Adam Sher and start early next year. Pick Ashcroft is currently SVP Programming Development and Production at … Read More »

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BAFTA Opens TV Awards To Web-Based Broadcasters, Tweaks Other Rules

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 4:11pm PDT

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is adding new rules which will for the first time include web-based broadcasters to be eligible for its TV awards, a move that opens the field to the likes of Netflix. Here’s a release on this and other changes to the prizes which will be awarded in April and May of 2014:

London, 1 October 2013: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) today announced that, for the very first time, web-based broadcasters will be eligible to enter the British Academy Television Awards and the British Academy Television Craft Awards.

BAFTA’s Chief Executive, Amanda Berry, said: “We continually strive to ensure our Awards remain relevant to the industry, as well as reflecting the trends among the viewing public. We’re in a golden era for storytelling and programme-making, with top-class shows being broadcast online as well as on digital and terrestrial television; the latest update to our rules ensures we celebrate and reward the very best.”

The new Rule Books for both Awards are now published online, with full details on entry and eligibility, at http://awards.bafta.org/entry.

This important update to eligibility is one of a number of changes made to the Television and Television Craft Awards this year, presented in 2014.

Other changes include the expansion of the previous Comedy category, which becomes Comedy and Comedy Entertainment and encompasses programmes whose comedy is central to the editorial of the programme, including panel-led shows, chat shows where comic content plays a significant part, stand-up comedy shows, and comedy clips shows.

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Discovery Orders ‘Dukes Of Haggle’ And Shuffles Schedule To Debut Oct. 1

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 3:41pm PDT

Imagine if American Pickers and Duck Dynasty had a love child. You’d have Dukes Of Haggle – the latest iteration of the still-going-strong  “found money” reality TV genre. Discovery Channel has ordered 12 episodes of Dukes Of Read More »

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UPDATE: NBC Kills Its Hillary Clinton Miniseries; RNC Takes Credit

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 3:18pm PDT

2ND UPDATE 6:30 PM: The Republican National Committee is taking credit for NBC and CNN deep-sixing what the group calls “their Hillary Clinton infomercials”. In August, the RNC threatened to block both networks from the 2016 presidential debates if they were forward with their Clinton programs. Here RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski’s statement on their cancellation: “This was only the first step in the Republican Party taking control of our debate process. The purpose of our party’s debates is to better inform our grassroots and those participating in Republican primaries and caucuses. Now that CNN and NBC have canceled their Hillary Clinton infomercials, we will work on developing a new debate model that will address the timing, frequency, moderators and venues that will come in the next few months. Any media organization looking to be part of the debate process will have to comply with the new system.”

Related: CNN Bails On Hillary Clinton Documentary

UPDATED, 3:18 PM: Having lost its production partner on its Hillary Clinton miniseries back in August, and with all the brouhaha that had erupted over its Clinton mini (and CNN’s documentary), NBC planned to announce that its biopic was a goner sometime down the road, a source tells us. But when CNN this morning announced the demise of its Clinton documentary, NBC pounced on the opportunity to slip its news into the CNN story, rather than have reporters pound away with will-NBC-or-won’t-NBC sidebars and second-day stories. This is known as taking out all the dirty laundry in one afternoon — public relations 101.

Related: CNN Fires Back At GOP Over Hillary Clinton Docu & Debate Threat
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Melissa Rosenberg To Produce CIA Drama For ABC

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 3:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: More than a decade after Alias, ABC is eying another drama about a female CIA agent. The network has put in development Clandestine, an hourlong project from Melissa Rosenberg‘s Tall Girls Prods. Written … Read More »

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Hollywood Pics Pack UK Soundstages As Space Crunch Starts To Squeeze

Next year, Bond 24 and Star Wars: Episode VII will be shooting Walther PPKs and brandishing light sabers at Pinewood Studios outside London. That’s a lovely image for fans, and Pinewood bean-counters. But with Hollywood increasingly queueing up to shoot in Britain, and Pinewood’s application for expansion having been thwarted twice in the past year, a capacity crunch is coming to the UK at light speed — and some potential big-ticket tenants already have been turned away.

Among the films currently shooting at Pinewood are frequent client Disney’s Cinderella, QED and Sony’s Fury, and Fox’s Exodus. The new Star Wars installment is settling into its offices on the lot ahead of shooting in early 2014. Over at nearby Shepperton, Marvel currently has Guardians Of The Galaxy, with The Avengers 2 gearing up. Also there is Disney’s Into The Woods. Leavesden, the Warner Bros facility the studio acquired in 2010 and in which it invested £100M after shooting all eight Harry Potter movies there, is hosting Ron Howard’s Heart Of The Sea and Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The J.K. Rowling-penned Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is expected to shoot there when it goes. Read More »

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