EXCLUSIVE: One of the most hotly pursued actresses this past pilot season, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, has been tapped as one of the leads in Carlton Cuse’s 10-episode A&E Network drama series The Returned. Also cast in the adaptation of the acclaimed French series are Sandrine Holt (House Of Cards, Hostages) and Agnes Bruckner (24). Returned, from A+E Studios and FremantleMedia, focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, bringing with them both positive and detrimental consequences. Winstead plays Rowan, the girlfriend of late musician Simon (Mat Vairo) who had a very difficult time getting past his death 10 years ago and now will have to adjust to his return. Holt, repped by D2 Management and Innovative, plays Julie, a competent compassionate doctor who is struggling in her personal life. Bruckner, repped by APA and Radius, plays the sheriff’s chief deputy.
Related: Jeremy Sisto To Co-Star In A&E Series ‘The Returned’
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A&E Network is getting on the hot social experiment reality trend with new series Love Prison, to premiere this summer. In it, a couple that have met online meet in person for the first time in a camera-wired cabin on an isolated island and spend a week together. It is one of four new unscripted series A&E has picked up, along with Dogs of War, about a married couple matching war veterans with dogs, Godfather of Pittsburgh, about nightclub and restaurant owner Vince Isolde, and Lone Star Lady, about a Texas football mom whose life changes after her family stikes oil. A&E also unveiled four unscripted pilots, some previously announced: 8 Minutes, about a group trying to save teen girls from prostitution, The Unproduceables, about producer Mark Efman working with a cast of senior citizens to create a reality series, the Mark Wahlberg-produced Big Brew Theory, about MIT students starting a micro-brewery, and the Dick Wolf-shepharded Nightwatch, about a team of emergency responders. “We are making a significant investment in growing our unique slate of quality original nonfiction programming,” said A&E EVP David McKillop. Here are detailed descriptions of A&E’s new series and pilots Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Following the success of Wahlburgers, A&E has greenlighted another Boston-set reality pilot executive produced by Mark Wahlberg about a fledgling business enterprise. Tipping its hat to hit comedy The Big Bang Theory, the half-hour project is tentatively titled Big Brew Theory. It follows four quirky and highly intelligent MIT grad students who have pooled their life savings to achieve their dream of creating a home grown micro-brewery and team up with a beautiful MIT undergrad to launch their business. The Big Brew Theory reunites frequent collaborators Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Stephanie Drachkovitch and Bill Thompson. This marks Wahlberg’s fourth reality pilot at A&E, all set in his native Boston. Two of them, Wahlburgers, which he produces with Levinson and Drachkovitch, and Breaking Boston, which he produced with Levinson, Drachkovitch and Thompson, went to series. Wahlberg, Levinson and Thompson also previously produced a Boston teamsters pilot for the network. Read More »
A U.S. version of the acclaimed and popular French drama The Returned (Les Revenants) is a go. A&E has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to the project, also titled The Returned, which had been on fast-track development since the network acquired the rights to the French series last fall. Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel) wrote the first episode, and he and Raelle Tucker (True Blood) will write and executive produce the supernatural/suspense series, a co-production between A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America, with three scripts already completed. Casting will begin immediately.
Based on the International Emmy-winning French suspense series by Fabrice Gobert, which in turn was inspired by the French feature film of the same name directed by Robin Campillo, The Returned focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people, who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, bringing with them both positive and detrimental consequences. As families are reunited, the lives of those who were left behind are challenged on a physical and emotional level as strange phenomena begin to occur. I hear A&E’s version is faithful to the original. “The Returned has the potential to be one of the most compelling drama series on cable, thanks to phenomenal scripts written by Carlton and Raelle,” said A&E general manager David McKillop. This marks the second straight-to-series order for Cuse at A&E, where he also has Psycho prequel series Bates Motel, recently renewed for a third season. With the pickup of The Returned, Cuse ties Julie Plec as the writing drama producer with the most series on the air, 3: Bates Motel, and The Returned at A&E and the upcoming horror series The Strain at FX — not too shabby for the former Lost co-showrunner who had been eyeing a slower pace following his intense stint on the complex ABC series.
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Netflix has set August 1 for the premiere of the six-episode final installment of The Killing, and A&E has slotted Monday, June 2 (10 PM) for the third-season premiere of Longmire. The Killing stars Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman will return for the final chapter of the series, which was cancelled by AMC in 2012, then resurrected with a third-season order. It staged yet another comeback after being canceled by the network again in September. It was then picked up by Netflix for the final installment. Longmire, A&E’s No. 1 original drama series of all time in total viewers, will return for Season 3 with star Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire, along with Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase, Cassidy Freeman and Adam Bartley.
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.
Related: Could It Be Curtains For The ‘Law & Order’ Franchise This Season With End For ‘SVU’?
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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.
Good news and bad news for fans of A&E‘s new drama series Those Who Kill, which was pulled two weeks ago after two low-rated airings. The good news: The series is coming back on the air staring this coming Sunday. The bad news: It will air on A&E sibling LMN TV (aka Lifetime Movie Network), not exactly a vote of confidence to the show by A+E Networks brass who kept the announcement of the series’ relaunch super low-key with a post on Those Who Kill‘s Facebook page. LMN, part Lifetime Entertainment Services, airs a mix of female-skewing TV and theatrical movies. It only began airing original series last fall with a handful of offerings in the nonscripted investigative/crime space. This will be LMN’s first scripted series. In what looks like a burn-off run, new episodes of Those Who Kill will air at 10 PM Sundays. The first original episode this Sunday will be preceded from 8-10 PM by rebroadcasts of the show’s first two hours that already premiered on A&E. Read More »
A&E has pulled its other Wahlberg docu-series, Breaking Boston from its lineup after just one episode because…well, 311,000 viewers. The series, about four working-class women coming of age in hardscrabble Boston, was inspired by the tough, hard-as-nails female characters in Mark Wahlberg‘s Oscar-nominated movie The Fighter. A&E ordered the pilot in November 2012 and picked up the series last May. It debuted Thursday, March 13.
A&E Network already was home to Wahlberg‘s family restaurant docu-series Wahlburgers which, last month got an order for 18 additional episodes. But that project, from 44 Blue, Closest to the Hole and Leverage, has averaged 3.5 million total viewers since its debut last month in the post-Duck Dynasty slot. News of Breaking Boston’s cancellation was first reported by Variety, which said it noticed the show was missing from newspaper and interactive program guides for tonight.
A&E Network has promoted Mark Apter to the post of SVP Program Planning & Acquisitions, where he will lead the network’s scheduling team. The 15-year A&E veteran, based in NY, had been VP Scheduling & Acquisitions since 2010 and helped orchestrate the rollout of network hits like Duck Dynasty and Bates Motel. In his new role he’ll be tasked with developing and implementing the network’s programming, scheduling and acquisition strategies including on digital platforms like VOD. He reports to A&E EVP and GM David McKillop.
A&E Network has elevated Drew Tappon to the post of SVP Development & Programming, from his current position as VP Non-Fiction & Alternative Programming. David McKillop, EVP & General Manager, A&E, announced the appointment today. Tappon will be responsible for the development and production of A&E’s nonfiction, alternative and reality series and will report to McKillop. He is based in A&E’s New York City headquarters. “Drew is a talented and well-respected executive who has brought enormous energy and experience to A&E’s unscripted programming team,” said McKillop. “I am certain that he will continue to reinforce A&E’s standing as a leader in providing premium content and contribute to the growth of the network.”
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UPDATE MARCH 24: After a two-week hiatus, Those Who Kill is returning on the air but on a different network, A&E low-profile sibling LNM (Lifetime Movie Network). Beginning March 30, the freshman drama will be airing every Sunday at 10 PM. For more details, read our story here.
PREVIOUS: A&E will be going back to the drawing board with underperforming new drama series Those Who Kill. The series has been pulled after two episodes in the the Monday 10 PM slot, behind Bates Motel. The Psycho prequel series now will move back to the 10 PM slot where its first season aired. The series premiere of Those Who Kill starring Chloe Sevigny drew a soft 1.4 million viewers, down from the series debuts of A&E’s Bates Motel (3 million) and Longmire (4.1 million) and holding onto less than half of its Bates Motel lead-in. The freshman’s audience dropped to 830,000 in the second episode. There is no conclusive evidence that the move to 9 PM has had a significant impact on Bates Motel, with its second-season premiere up a smidgen from Season 1 and the second episode down. Despite Those Who Kill‘s paltry ratings (0.5 in 18-49 for the premiere, 0.3 for Episode 2), A&E brass want to give the show another shot, with a relaunch at another time, likely of the entire 10-episode first … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A&E Network has put in development a high-concept drama from Immortals writers Charley & Vlas Parlapanides and producer Michael London. The project’s title, The 36, stems from the mystical Jewish concept of the Righteous 36, which stipulates that at all times there are 36 people in the world possessing special powers who don’t necessarily know each other but if even one of them was missing, the world would come to an end. A version of the premise was recently used on the Fox supernatural drama Touch where such 36 people were hunted by a shady organization. The 36 is set in the world of the biblical fallen angels. These dark angels, or Nephilim, live among us and are only kept in check by The Righteous 36. Set in New York, The 36 centers on Dane, a complicated hero who soon learns that he’s right in the middle of this battle for the soul of mankind. The Parlapanides are writing the script and will executive produce with London through his Groundswell Prods. for A+E Studios.
The 36 joins another project about angels on Earth, Syfy’s series Dominion, based on the feature Legion. Groundswell recently produced the Amazon comedy series Betas and is also producing ABC’s straight-to-series drama The Astronaut Wives Club. Additionally, the company is developing a series adaptation of Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A … Read More »
Breaking Boston will premiere Thursday, March 13 at 10 PM on A&E Network, which already is home to producer Mark Wahlberg‘s family restaurant series Wahlburgers. The new docu-drama will center on four working-class women coming of age in hardscrabble Boston and was inspired by the tough, hard-as-nails female characters in Wahlberg‘s Oscar-nominated movie The Fighter. A&E ordered the pilot in November 2012 and picked up the series last May. “These are real women telling their original stories of trying to break out of what’s expected of them,” said Wahlberg who himself was raised in Boston and just earned his high school diploma at age 42. “The odds are difficult, but I believe they can make it.” The series is from 44 Blue Prods, Wahlberg’s Closest to the Hole Prods, Leverage Entertainment and Bill Thompson Prods. Wahlberg, Stephen Levison and Thompson are executive producers. Executive producers for 44 Blue are Stephanie Drachkovich and Jennifer Colbert. Lily Neumeyer and Devon Graham are exec producing for the network. Read More »
Actors/pop singers/producers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg can add reality TV stars to their resumes with A&E’s Wahlburgers. While A&E’s flagship Duck Dynasty has lost some of its ratings prowess this season, it has helped launch a potential new breakout for the network in freshman reality series Wahlburgers, which chronicles brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg’s efforts to expand their burger restaurant business in the Boston area. Three weeks into Wahlburgers‘ run, A&E has ordered 18 more episodes of the series, double its original order of 9 episodes. Wahlburgers, which follows Duck Dynasty, has seen audience growth week to week, averaging 3.5 million total viewers to date. “Viewers are responding to the heartwarming dynamics of Boston’s first family as they balance living in the Hollywood spotlight and growing a business,”said David McKillop, General Manager and EVP of A&E. Wahlburgers is produced by 44 Blue Prods., in association with Closest to the Hole Productions, Leverage Entertainment and Donnie D Productions. Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Donnie Wahlberg exec produce with 44 Blue’s Rasha Drachkovitch.
Former VH1 executive Shelly Tatro has joined A&E Network of SVP Development & Programming. Based in New York, she will oversee the development and production of A&E’s nonfiction, alternative and reality series, reporting to EVP and general manager David McKillop. “Shelly has a great reputation for having her finger on the pulse of the industry,” McKillop said. Tatro joined VH1 in 1996 as Director of Series & Specials, and served as SVP Production & Programming from 2003 until October 2013 when she exited the network. At VH1, Tatro oversaw development and production for such shows as Mob Wives, Love And Hip Hop, Hogan Knows Best, I Want To Work For Diddy and Black Ink Crew. Tatro and her team also launched the I Love the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s franchise and Rock Docs. Additionally, Tatro developed Jersey Shore before it premiered on sister channel MTV and developed and produced the pilot for another project that migrated to MTV, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila. Before joining VH1, she was a freelance producer in New York and also was part of the launch team for Barry Diller’s home shopping network Q2.
Playing a police detective who tracks down serial killers on A&E Network‘s dark new drama series Those Who Kill could be draining, star Chloe Sevigny said — but not nearly as draining as guesting on The Mindy Project. ”I did Mindy and went home and cried,” she told TV critics at the TCA Winter TV Press Tour today, because she thought she’d done terribly on it. At the end of each work day on Those Who Kill, however, she went home and thought she’d done alright. Doing HBO’s polygamist drama Big Love was also trying, she said, because “everybody was yelling at her all day because everybody thought I was the bad guy.”
Related: TV Teaser: A&E’s ‘Those Who Kill’
Those Who Kill is based on a popular Danish crime series format inspired by the bestselling work of author Elsebeth Egholm. The series centers on Catherine Jensen (Sevigny), a freshly minted and incredibly smart police detective who tracks down serial killers. Jensen enlists the help of Thomas Schaffer (James 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 of her missing brother. Read More »