EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, A&E has landed Blood, Sweat & Tears, a drama project from feature and TV writer Chad Feehan (Southland, Paranormal Activity 4) and director Joe Carnahan (Narc). The project, from CBS TV Studios and studio-based Timberman-Beverly Prods., is a serialized drama set in Texas, which centers on the world of amateur bull riding. Feehan is writing the script and serves as co-executive producer. Carnahan is set to direct and will executive produce with Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly.
This marks a return to A&E for Carnahan, who is on a hot pilot streak. Both pilots he directed this year, A&E’s Those Who Kill and NBC’s The Blacklist, garnered a lot of buzz and went to series, with Blacklist scoring NBC’s best drama pilot testing results in a decade and landing the post-Voice Monday 10 PM slot on the fall schedule. He is with CAA and Stuart Rosenthal. Feehan, repped by CAA, Management 360, and Michael Schenkman, has a couple of feature projects in the works, including Beyond The Pale, based on his Black List 2011 script, and The Man From Primrose Lane, which has Bradley Cooper attached. CAA-repped Timberman-Beverly has four series on the air, Elementary and Unforgettable on CBS, Masters Of Sex at Showtime and Justified on FX.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s conference coverage.
A group of cable network execs and producers shared their views on the ever-evolving reality TV landscape and how the sales game is changed this afternoon during a Produced By panel sponsored by Deadline Hollywood and entitled, “Reality Isn’t What it Used to Be: Selling Nonfiction Television.” “You used to be able to sell a show off of paper; you didn’t need tape,” recalled Stephanie Drachkovitch, a principal in 44 Blue Productions. “That’s much harder to do now. Also, what would have been a brilliant idea three years ago doesn’t make the bar. It’s not big enough, it’s not loud enough, it’s not gonna move the needle, it’s not gonna break through.” The reason for needing bigger and noisier programming ideas, she believes, is the sheer number of networks and venues doing original reality program content and vying for eyeballs. A&E’s Senior VP of Talent and Production Neil Cohen agreed that it takes a lot more juice for an idea to get sold and gain traction than it did even a couple of years ago. “It’s much more competitive and the expectations are much higher,” he said. “It used to be enough to enough to put a very primitive team together to sell to people like us. Now there’s the expectation that we’ll get a sense of the tone and storytelling style in the concept in the sizzle tape.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that A+E Networks has finalized a plan to launch an in-house studio for scripted and unscripted programming. It will be run by Bob DeBitetto, who will be leaving his post as president and General Manager of A&E Networks and BIO to head the new entity. I hear the move is part of a company-wide restructuring by newly named president and CEO Nancy Dubuc, which also includes the hire of veteran BBC executive Jana Bennett to run LMN and Bio, which we reported last month. I hear the announcement will be made later today.
Launching an in-house production company has been a long-time goal for A+E Networks, with DeBitetto among the top proponents of the idea. The studio will allow the company to work closer with talent and the creative community. Under DeBitetto, A&E has been on fire lately, with the success of Duck Dynasty and new drama Bates Motel. DeBitetto has experience running a cable network’s production company. Before joining A&E in 2003, he served as TNT’s President of Original Programming, where he also ran Turner’s Los Angeles–based production studio. Additionally, he worked in feature production early in his career, and at A&E, he founded and oversees A&E IndieFilms, the network’s documentary feature film division, which has earned two Oscar nominations in its first five years.
EXCLUSIVE: Agnes Bruckner, who plays Anna Nicole Smith in Lifetime’s upcoming biopic of the former Playboy model, has been cast in another A+E Networks project. Bruckner is set to co-star opposite Josh Lucas and Lynn Collins in A&E‘s drama pilot Occult, produced by Transformers helmer Michael Bay and written by veteran genre writer and The X-Files alum James Wong. Occult, which draws parallels to X-Files and Fringe, centers on Dolan (Lucas), an FBI agent who returns from administrative leave after going off the deep end while investigating his wife’s disappearance.
Related: Josh Lucas & Lynn Collins To Topline A&E Pilot ‘Occult’ Read More »
After 13 seasons, A&E‘s Intervention is coming to an end. The final five episodes of the Emmy-winning series will air beginning Thursday, June 13 at 9 PM, the network announced today. Intervention brings attention to the social, economic and environmental cost of drug addiction, alcohol abuse and compulsive behavior. Each episode follows addicts through their daily life and the devastation their dependency has brought to their family and friends. Upon reaching the brink, their loved ones stage a surprise intervention conducted by one of four specialists. In the end, they are pushed to get the help they need with the hope of turning their lives around before it’s too late. Intervention is produced by GRB Entertainment for A&E Network. Gary Benz, Michael Branton and Dan Partland are executive producers. Sam Mettler is executive consultant. A&E executive producers are David McKillop, Elaine Frontain Bryant and Brad Holcman.
EXCLUSIVE: A&E has given a six-episode order to an untitled docu-reality series executive produced by Mark Wahlberg, which is set in his native Boston. This marks the first unscripted series for Wahlberg, who is executive producing through his Closest to the Hole Prods along with frequent collaborator Stephen Levinson of Leverage, Bill Thompson of Bill Thompson Prods. and veteran reality producer Stephanie Drachkovitch of 44 Blue Prods as well as Jennifer Colbert who serves as showrunner.
The initial impetus for the project, which was first ordered as a pilot by A&E in November, came from the tough, hard-as-nails female characters in Wahlberg‘s Oscar-nominated feature The Fighter. Wahlberg and Thompson were inspired by the women’s spirit and set out to find a group of those types of Boston girls going through challenging times and tell their story. Read More »
Expanding into comedic family reality series has been a priority for A&E Network. Now the network behind Duck Dynasty has greenlighted new nonfiction series Modern Dads. The project, which has received an order for eight half-hour episodes, revolves around four stay-at-home dads in Austin. It follows their exploits as they navigate manhood. juggling the requirements and social expectations of being both a “modern man” and “modern dad”. Sirens Media is producing, with Rebecca Toth Diefenbach, Valerie Haselton Drescher, Jen Mayer Kulp, Lucilla D’Agostino and Adam Paul executive producing.
UPDATED: Lifetime‘s soapy mystery dramedy Devious Maids, executive produced by Desperate Housewives‘ Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria, will premiere on Sunday, June 23, at 10 PM. The project, originally developed and piloted by ABC last season, stars Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez, Edy Ganem and Judy Reyes as five maids with ambition and dreams who work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills, where murder and mayhem collide in the mansions of some of the wealthiest and most powerful families. Read More »
Previous: A&E’s Pilot ‘Those Who Kill’ To Get Series Order
A&E Network has given an official series pickup to drama Those Who Kill, from Imagine TV and Fox 21. The project, starring Chloë Sevigny and James D’Arcy, has received a 10-episode order to premiere in 2014. Production is slated to begin this fall. Based on a Danish crime series format inspired by the bestselling work of author Elsebeth Egholm, Those Who Kill centers on Catherine Jensen (Sevigny), a freshly minted and incredibly smart police detective who tracks down serial killers while also attempting to come to terms with her past by continuing to investigate her stepfather, who she suspects may be a serial killer, and her brother who went missing as a sixteen-year-old. Jensen enlists the help of Thomas Schaffer (D’Arcy), a forensic psychiatrist, to help her get into the minds of serial killers, all the while luring Schaffer into her own personal investigation. Both characters possess a deep psychological understanding that connects them to the killers’ victims and to the killers themselves. “Those Who Kill is not a crime procedural about serial killers – it’s a deep serialized character portrait of two compelling yet damaged individuals coming together through the revelation of their dark past,” said Bob DeBitetto, A&E’s … Read More »
Just a few weeks after its March 18 debut, Bates Motel was been picked up for a second season, A&E announced today. Production on Season 2 is set to start later this year on the Psycho prequel of a sorts, with 10 new episodes to air in 2014. Read the release from A&E here:
NEW YORK – April 8, 2013 – A&E Network has picked up a second season of the acclaimed drama series, “Bates Motel” starring Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore from executive producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin, it was announced today by Bob DeBitetto, President and General Manager of A&E Network and BIO Channel. The premiere of “Bates Motel” garnered 4.5 million total viewers and 2.5 million adults 25-54 and 18-49, based on Live+7 viewership, making it the most-watched original drama debut in the key demos in the network’s history.
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I have learned that A&E is finalizing a deal for series order to drama pilot Those Who Kill, starring Chloë Sevigny and James D’Arcy. The project, from Imagine Television and Fox 21, is an adaptation of a Danish format and revolves around police detective Catherine Jensen (Sevigny) and forensic profiler Thomas Schaffer (D’Arcy), who possess a deep understanding of the serial killers they hunt. Thomas is described as a handsome and intellectual college psychology teacher with a PhD who focuses on serial killer behavior. Joe Carnahan directed the Those Who Kill pilot from a script by Glen Morgan. Morgan, Carnahan, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Peter Bose and Jonas Allen executive produce. The Those Who Kill pickup comes on the heels of the strong debut of A&E’s latest series, Bates Motel. Those Who Kill was one of two drama pilots A&E ordered last fall. The other, Occult, just cast its leads with Josh Lucas and Lynn Collins.
A&E announced today that Storage Wars and American Hoggers will be back next month for new seasons. Storage Wars, the abandoned locker bidding series, returns for a fourth season with back-to-back episodes April 16 at 9 PM and 9:30 PM. A big hit for A&E, Storage Wars was the network’s top show last year among adults 18-49 and the third-most-popular non-fiction show on cable adults 25-54. Its Season 3 averaged 4.2 million total viewers. American Hoggers is also back April 16 with dual episodes. Returning for a third season of hog hunter Jerry Campbell and his Texas family, the series will air back-to-back new shows at 10 PM and 10:30 PM.
Related: A&E Gains 1st Amendment Victory In ‘Storage Wars’ Lawsuit Read More »
Round 1 of the Storage Wars legal battle looks to have gone to A&E. In a hearing today, a judge threw out the unfair business practices claims of the series former star Dave Hester’s wide-ranging lawsuit against the network and producers of the reality show. LA Superior Court judge Michael Johnson ruled that the claim fell short under California’s anti-SLAPP law. The Judge also sided with the defendants that their First Amendment rights would be violated if he were to agree to Hester’s attorneys’ request for an injunction against Storage Wars for alleged staging of the show.
A&E had requested that the unfair business practices claim be striped from the five-claim suit and their Constitutional rights affirmed in their January 28 response to Hester’s initial December 11 complaint. Johnson told the downtown hearing that in granting the requested injunction he would essentially be telling A&E what they could and could not programming on their network, something he did not agree was right or warranted. Additionally, he demanded more information on the wrongful termination aspect of Hester’s complaint for the suit to progress in the courts. Hester and his lawyer Marty Singer now have 20 days to amend their initial complaint. Read More »
After a lengthy casting process, Josh Lucas and Lynn Collins have been set as the leads of A&E‘s drama pilot Occult, produced by Transformers helmer Michael Bay and written by veteran genre writer, The X-Files alum James Wong. With Lucas and Collins on board, the project, originally picked up in September as cast-contingent, is going into production. Occult, which draws parallels to X-Files and Fringe, centers on Dolan (Lucas), an FBI agent who returns from administrative leave after going off the deep end while investigating his wife’s disappearance. Eager to be back on the job, he is paired with Noa Blair (Collins), an agent with her own complicated backstory who specializes in the occult. Together, they will solve cases for the newly formed occult crimes task force. Wong executive produces with Bay and his partners at Platinum Dunes Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. The pilot was laid off at ABC Studios, marking the studio’s first collaboration with A&E. Read More »