Jeremy Davies (Justified) and Robert Knepper (Prison Break) have been cast in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Davies, repped by Paradigm, Silver Lining Entertainment and attorney Karl Austen, will play Sgt. Ephraim Knowles, a shifty rogue whose only thought is for his own survival who reluctantly joins the Rangers to avoid being executed for desertion. Knepper, repped by Innovative Artists and Kramer Management, will play Empresario Buckley, an unshaven bombastic slob. He is the only law in the town of Victoria, and he abuses his position to further his own agenda and make himself rich in the process.
TruTV has greenlighted six new series as it changes its brand, targeting a young audience of “funseekers.” Over the past eight months, truTV has been reshaping its brand, turning over a slate of more than 30 projects in development. The network’s slate of new shows includes Fake-Off, a Kabuki-inspired, pop-culture-themed talent competition series; Way Out West, a reality Western about three rival outfitter families in the Idaho backcountry; How To Be A Grown Up, a comedic take on the relatable trials and tribulations of true adulthood; Local News (working title), a look at the playful rivalry between the news teams at two small-town television stations; and Hair Jacked, a new ambush game show that gives contestants the opportunity to win big money or go home with the cut of the day. Additionally, after sneak peeking new series The Carbonaro Effect on April 1, the network ordered 13 additional episodes before the first-season launch of the Michael Carbonaro starrer, debuting Thursday, May 15, at 10 PM. The network also ordered another season of Impractical Jokers, which finished the first quarter of 2014 ranking as basic cable’s No. 1 program in its Thursday night time slot with adults 18-34, as well as a spinoff series, Jokers Wild! Here’s a rundown of truTV’s five main programming categories, with details about the new series and projects:
EXCLUSIVE: BET Networks is targeting millenials with a new daily talk show hosted by actress-singer Keke Palmer. The Keke Palmer Project (working title), which has been picked up for an initial four-week run, will premiere in July, airing Mondays-Fridays. Telepictures is producing. Judge Greg Mathis, whose long-time syndicated court show Judge Mathis is produced by Telepictures, is executive producing after being instrumental in bringing together the Warner Bros TV syndication division and Palmer.
At age 20, Palmer will become the youngest talk show host in TV history. Her show will cover such topics as fashion, pop culture, social issues, sex, and will feature celebrity interviews, “on the street” bits and undercover segments. It stems from Palmer’s interaction with fans on social media. “I like to read quotes that touch on how I am feeling,” she said. “If I am dealing with confusion, I will read quotes about clarity and peace of mind. I started posting these quotes on my Twitter page, and the fans responded so positively! I realized that many of them were dealing with similar issues, and the quotes helped to open up a genuine dialogue between us.”
EXCLUSIVE: While the second unit crew shooting Everest were in the vicinity when a tragic avalanche struck Mount Everest and so far has killed 13, there were no injuries or fatalities on the film, I can report. Principal photography on the Baltasar Kormakur-directed film is nearly over and they are finishing in Pinewood in England, but the second unit was setting up to go and shoot at Base 2 on Mount Everest near Nepal. Fortunately for the crew, they were acclimating at the foot of the summit and weren’t up where the disaster took place, when a wall of ice 1,000 feet up fell off at the left shoulder of the mountain and crashed down on Base 2. Most of the fatalities were experienced sherpas that guide climbers to the summit. Several of the sherpas involved with the Everest production rushed to help. The production will now have to wait to assess whether a trek back up the mountain to finish shooting is feasible.
The guides were carrying equipment and supplies to camps for climbers getting ready for peak trekking season — including those preparing to participate in Discovery Channel‘s Everest Jump Live, produced by NBC News Peacock Prods. Seven NBC News staffers on site are accounted for and unharmed, and Discovery said it has not had conversations as to how the disaster might impact the event’s scheduled May 11 air date.
Rhys Coiro (Hostages) and Joe Egender (Hunger) have landed lead roles in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Coiro will play Vern Elwood opposite Bill Paxton, Ray Liotta, Brendan Fraser and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Egender will play Beans Wilkins, a Ranger who is always hungry and looking for his next meal.
A&E Network has given the green light to unscripted series D.O.A. (working title) from Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf and Left/Right Productions. The series follows an elite team of detectives who will re-examine controversial murder cases in which unresolved questions linger long after the verdict. Production begins this spring on eight hour-long episodes. The team includes Chicago homicide detective Michelle Wood, Miami PD detective Joe Schillaci, and retired NYPD detective and supervisor and Kevin “Spider” Gannon. The three will begin their investigation at a reconstructed crime scene and work the case interviewing first-person players and forensic specialists. The question is whether they agree with the original verdict or if the wrong person is behind bars. This marks the latest reality play for Wolf, who has also cracked the reality space with TNT hit Cold Justice, which wrapped its second season last month. The network in February ordered six more episodes to air this summer. Wolf’s Law & Order: SVU, the longest-running drama series currently on TV, is now in its 15th season.
Jake Busey has been cast in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Busey will play the older brother of “Big Foot Wallace”, Samuel Wallace, who recites the legendary admonition “Remember the Alamo.” Busey, repped by TalentWorks and manager Steven Jensen, also can be seen in Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn on El Rey Network.
A+E Networks‘ new lifestyle channel FYI has picked up two hourlong unscripted pilots as it ramps up for its July 7 launch. You’re The One (working title), hosted by journalist and documentarian Cherry Healey, follows men and women as they embark on a mission to find a lost love. Through social and mass media, communities around the world are mobilized to engage in the hunt, leading up to the final face-to-face meeting. Marry Me … Today (working title) is described as a breakthrough wedding concept for the modern generation. The show partners with website The Knot to follow an ambitious groom-to-be as he surprises his girlfriend with a proposal, engagement and marriage all in one day, using his girlfriend’s online wish list to plan and execute her fantasy wedding.
UPDATE: Focus’ ‘Theory Of Everything’ Set For November; Relativity Dates ‘November Man’ For August; Disneynature’s ‘Monkey Kingdom’ Due In 2015
Eddie Redmayne stars as physicist Stephen Hawking in Theory Of Everything, which Focus Features has set for a platform release on Friday, November 7, 2014. It will then expand the following two weekends. The Working Title biopic directed by Man On Wire‘s James Marsh focuses on the relationship between Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), the arts student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960s. Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake and Harry Lloyd co-star and the script is by Anthony McCarten.
Relativity Media said today it has dated the Pierce Brosnan spy thriller November Man for Wednesday, August 27, 2014. Olga Kurylenko and Luke Bracey co-star in the pic directed by Roger Donaldson based on Bill Granger’s novel There Are No Spies. The release date news comes a week after Relativity acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film, with a commitment to a wide release this year. Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek wrote the screenplay, which centers on a former CIA operative who is brought back in on a very personal mission and is pitted against his former protégé in a deadly game involving high-level CIA officials and the Russian President-elect.
Geoffrey Blake (Forrest Gump) and Dillon Lane (Bucket And Skinner’s Epic Adventures) have joined the cast of History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Blake, repped by Michael Levine of Levine Management, will play Colonel George Hockley, Sam Houston’s most trusted confidant and adviser, who senses the unrest among the men before the Alamo, but supports Houston even as others question his leadership. Lane will play Yancey Burns, one of the youngest Rangers who goes on a dangerous mission to help rescue his friend Truett Fincham’s family.
MIPTV Briefs: Baltasar Kormakur To Direct & Produce Icelandic Series ‘Trapped’; ‘Boom!’ Goes To Spain; Japan’s Wowow Boards Scorsese Doc; More
Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, who segues between Hollywood and home-based projects, is set to direct and produce serialized crime series Trapped in his native country. From Kormakur’s RVK Studios, it’s based on his original idea and written by Sigurjon Kjartansson and Clive Bradley. Trapped follows the investigation of the grisly murder of an unidentifiable man found in the water after an international ferry arrives in a small town at the bottom of a fjord. Soon after, a powerful blizzard hits the town with deadly force, making the only road in or out impassable. The 10-part series, the most ambitious Icelandic commission ever ordered, will air locally on public broadcaster RUV. RVK’s Magnus Vidar Sigurdsson is also producing and RVX, the effects arm of RVK, will design the VFX. Dynamic Television’s Daniel March and Klaus Zimmermann are executive producers and are handling worldwide distribution. Kormakur, whose The Deep was shortlisted for the Foreign Language Oscar in 2012, is currently directing Everest for Universal, Cross Creek Pictures and Working Title Films.
UPDATE: CNBC Orders More ‘The Profit’, Beefs Up Reality Slate; ‘Restaurant Kickstart’ Looks “Under The Hood”
UPDATE, 11:40 AM: One of CNBC‘s new series Restaurant Kickstart adds to the business network’s roster of reality-competition fare. Debuting in July, it follows wannabe restaurateurs launching pop-up establishments with $7,500 in seed money, on Melrose Avenue. Start-ups, chef and co-star Tim Love said today at the network’s NBC Press Day panel, are getting to be “more and more focused,” he said, citing The Meatball Shops that have opened up around New York, and one of this show’s would-be restaurateurs who wanted to serve all her meals in waffle cones — “she thinks that’s the next big thing,” he said. In this new program, competitors must create and open a pop-up restaurant almost overnight. Love and show host Joe Bastianich then decide, based on the results, whether to invest more heavily in the entrepreneur. Unlike the pantheon of food competition series on TV these days, “it’s not a restaurant show — it’s an investment show,” Love insisted. “It really looks under the hood,” chimed in exec producer Eden Gaha.
PREVIOUS, 8:51 AM: Coming off its best quarter among adults 25-54 in more than a decade, CNBC today announced an extended order of episodes for Season 2 of The Profit. The series, which airs Tuesdays at 10 PM, follows serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis who saves struggling businesses while investing his own cash in the process. Last Tuesday’s episode of The Profit was the most-watched original series telecast ever for the network among P25-54 and total viewers. And among P25-54, season two is up +115% from last year’s first season. CNBC added eight additional episodes to season two for a total of 16 one-hour episodes. The additional episodes, which have yet to be shot, will air in October. The Profit is produced by Machete Productions with Amber Mazzola as executive producer. The network also greenlit two new primetime summer series, Restaurant Kickstart with restaurateur Joe Bastianich, and celebrity chef, Tim Love set for July; and Filthy Rich Guide to debut in August. In addition, CNBC unveiled three series in development: Restaurant Confidential: New York (working title), Hard Money (working title) and More Money More Problems (working title). The announcements were made today by Jim Ackerman, SVP, Primetime Alternative, CNBC. Here are descriptions of the new greenlit series and projects in development:
Bravo Media has unveiled its slate of original programming at its upfront including 15 new series (two scripted), 16 returning series and three new projects in development. That includes Bravo’s first scripted comedy, Odd Mom Out, a half-hour series based on the life of author and fashionista Jill Kargman which captures the outrageous world of uber-wealthy momzillas of New York’s Upper East Side. It joins Bravo’s first scripted series, the recently greenlighted hourlong dramedy Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce. The upcoming unscripted slate includes offshoots of Bravo mainstays Real Housewives and Top Chef. Among returning series, the network has confirmed a second season of Below Deck, a third season of Don’t Be Tardy, a seventh season of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Season 6 for The Real Housewives Of New Jersey. Returning this fall also is a 12th season of the Emmy Award-winning culinary competition series Top Chef, season 8 of The Millionaire Matchmaker, The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 7, and The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills Season 5. Here are descriptions of Bravo’s new series and projects in development:
Oxygen Media unveiled seven new original series for its 2014 slate today under new president Francis Berwick and said it is planning a rebrand for later this year “targeting modern, young women.” Docu-series on the roster range in subjects from finding the next female hip-hop star (executive produced by rapper T.I.) to comediennes, and competition series involving street artists and nail designers. They will join returning series Preachers Of LA, which recently was picked up for a second season after becoming the most-watched freshman series in network history among adults 25-54, averaging more than 1 million total viewers. It will premiere in summer. The network said today it will soon begin casting new Preachers editions in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit. Berwick, the president at sister NBCUniversal network Bravo, was tapped in September to oversee Oxygen. Here is more detail from the network on the new series:
The reality TV destination has 44 new and returning series on tap for the 2014-15 season. TLC‘s lineup includes seven new specials and a half-dozen news series including a new series starring The King Of Queens alum Leah Remini and her family and a Breaking Amish spinoff. Specials include a return look at Kate Gosselin and her brood and A Duggar Leaves Home, about a cousin of the Duggar clan from 19 Kids & Counting who moves to Nashville to pursue a singing career. Here a look at TLC’s new programs for the coming season, covering the family, relationships and wedding genres:
OWN Orders ‘Belief’ Series That Explores Search For Meaning & First TV Film Starring Toni Braxton As Darlene Love, Picks Up More Tyler Perry, Sets Octavia Spencer Mini
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today six-time Grammy-winning artist and actress Toni Braxton is set to star as Darlene Love in the network’s first scripted TV film My Name Is Love: The Darlene Love Story. In addition, superstar Justin Timberlake will kick off a star-studded new season of Oprah’s Master Class on May 11, and Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer will star in a two-night event mini-series Tulsa (working title) currently in development.
The network also announced today a groundbreaking seven-part television event Belief presented by Oprah Winfrey, which explores humankind’s search for meaning and connection. Also, Tyler Perry’s popular drama series The Haves And The Have Nots and previously announced new series Single Moms Club (working title) each have received 20-episode orders. Here’s a look at the shows:
Animal Planet Details First Dive Into Scripted Programming With ‘Moby Dick’ From Whale’s Point Of View
Animal Planet is plunging into scripted territory with a retelling of the story that inspired the novel Moby Dick, in Revenge Of The Whale (working title). Starring Martin Sheen, this two-hour film tells a dramatic story of a time when whales were hunted for their oil. The BBC co-production re-imagines what happened when the magnificent sea creature finally turned on its killers. Here’s a complete look at Animal Planet’s new slate:
Syfy has greenlighted The Wil Wheaton Project (working title), a 12-episode summer series hosted by actor, blogger and geek culture expert Wil Wheaton. The 30-minute weekly comedy show is slated to premiere May 27 at 10 PM. Each week, Wheaton will dissect the week’s most popular and trending topics across science fiction film, television and pop culture, video games, viral videos and news. “Wil Wheaton’s rock star status within the genre fan base, along with his insatiable passion for all things pop culture, make him the ideal arbiter of what’s hot and what’s not in the genre space,” said Syfy President Dave Howe. Recently, Wheaton has recurred on Syfy’s Eureka, TNT’s Leverage and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. He played Axis of Anarchy leader Fawkes in Felicia Day’s web series The Guild and currently hosts Falling Skies: Second Watch for TNT. Wheaton also is the creator, producer, and host of web series Tabletop, which is in its second season. Wil Wheaton Project is a production of Pilgrim Studios, with Craig Piligian and Mike Nichols (Ghost Hunters) executive producers.
The Herbert Brothers (working title) follows five brothers who launched an advertising empire after creating the No. 1 Super Bowl commercial. A&E Network has ordered the new nonfiction series from Zig Zag Productions. Production is underway on eight half-hour episodes with the series slated to premiere this summer on A&E. The Herbert Brothers made advertising history when their homemade commercial won the “Doritos Crash the Super Bowl” contest and ranked No. 1 on the USA Today ad meter. The brothers took their $1,000,000 winnings, established an advertising agency in their hometown of Batesville, IN and continued developing commercials for major companies like Pepsi, Go Daddy and Shasta. Matt Gould, Danny Fenton and Mark Efman are executive producing for Zig Zag Productions. Lily Neumeyer is exec producer for A&E Network.