Global Showbiz Briefs: Tom Jones To Star In ‘Under Milk Wood’; Marco Frazier Upped To SVP At AMC/Sundance Channel Global

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 10:00pm PDT

Tom Jones, Sian Phillips & Michael Sheen Join ‘Under Milk Wood’ Cast
tom-jonesTom Jones, Sian Phillips and Michael Sheen have joined the cast of Under Milk Wood, BBC Wales TV’s adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ “play for voices.” Jones stars as the blind and tormented Captain Cat, with Sheen among several actors playing First Voice and Second Voice, including Matthew Rhys and John Rhys Davies. The cast also includes Jonathan Pryce, Ioan Gruffudd and opera star Bryn Terfel. Since its debut on radio 60 years ago, the tale of the residents of the fictional Welsh village of Llareggub has been adapted as a stage play, an opera, and a 1972 starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Fading Gigolo’, ‘The Final Member’, ‘Cesar’s Last Fast’, ‘That Demon Within’, ‘Tasting Menu’, ‘Small Time’

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 6:05pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)After making a mega-splash at the box office last year, Woody Allen gets some time in front of the camera with John Turturro‘s comedy Fading Gigolo, which he also stars in along with Sharon Stone. Millennium Entertainment will open the title in limited release. Two docs are among this weekend’s crop of new Specialty releases, including Sundance title Cesar’s Last Fast as well as penis documentary The Final Member from Drafthouse Films. China Lion is opening action-crime feature That Demon Within, which co-stars Nick Cheung who recently won Best Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in Unbeatable. Magnolia is rolling out Tasting Menu, hoping to re-create a recipe of lofty box office returns from its previously released food-oriented fare. And Anchor Bay will open Small Time from first time filmmaker Joel Surnow in just over a dozen locations.

Fading Gigologigolo
Director-writer: John Turturro
Cast: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber
Distributor: Millennium Entertainment

John Turturro directed Woody Allen’s one-act play Honeymoon Hotel in 2011. “I was thinking it would be interested to do something with Woody, but I didn’t know if we’d have chemistry,” said Turturro about the beginnings of what would become Fading Gigolo. The comedy centers on Fioravante who decides to become a Don Juan as a way of making money for his cash-strapped friend, Murray. The pair wind up in the sex business. “I didn’t know how I’d approach it but we exchanged notes,” said Turturro. “I did research on living that kind of life and on the Hasidic community. I wanted to make a human comedy and [Woody Allen] encouraged me to take that route.” Read More »

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OSCARS: Paramount Courts Academy Voters For ‘Noah’ And It’s Only April!

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 3:51pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Are you kidding?

Did Paramount just officially start the 2014 Oscar campaign even as we are barely getting the Emmys off the ground and theRussell Crowe as Noah Tonys are two months away? Uh, yes. Looks like it. One top studio exec (not from Paramount) forwarded me an email he got yesterday from the Paramount Awards Office that pronounced free admission starting April 15th - two by two for Academy members and a guest- to screenings of Noah at theaters nationwide – but only Monday thru Thursday since most theater owners usually don’t like to give up seats on the weekends, especially to rich and famous movie types.

Related: Can ‘Noah’ And ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Overcome Oscar’s Greatest Curse: A March Release Date?
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Pivot Picks Up Sky Series ‘Fortitude’, Sets Development Slate, Revamps ‘TakePart Live’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 9:02am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

pivotParticipant Media‘s network Pivot today announced the pickup of Sky Atlantic’s 12-episode drama series Fortitude starring Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon. The series became available in the U.S. in December when Starz, which originally had committed to the project, pulled out. Pivot is designed as a younger skewing network than Starz, with its target demo being 18-34. As part of its upfront presentation, Pivot also announced an overhaul of its nightly topical series, TakePart Live. Beginning Monday, May 12, the hour-long late-night program will move to primetime (10 PM) with a new producer, Michael Davies’ Embassy Row, which is behind Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead/Bad. Also undergoing makeover is the hosting team of Jacob Soboroff and Cara Santa Maria, with only Soboroff coming back, joined by Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain and comedian Eddie Huang.

Pivot also unveiled a development slate that includes eleven projects from production companies including IAC’s Electus, Universal Cable Prods., FremantleMedia North America/Pukeko Pictures, Funny or Die, and Eyeworks, and revealed premiere 2014-15 dates, including an August 8 debut for the sophomore season of coming-of-age comedy, Please Like Me, and the comedy Human Resources. “Our second slate demonstrates our significant investment in, and commitment to, groundbreaking content for the thought-leading segment of Generation Y we call ‘Upstanders,’” said Pivot president Evan Shapiro. Here is Pivot’s full slate: Read More »

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ABC’s ‘World News Tonight’ Beats ‘NBC Nightly News’ In News Demo, With ‘Mad Men’ Pitching In

dianesawyerabcABC World News With Diane Sawyer ranked as the No. 1 evening newscast in the news demo for the week of April 7 — its first weekly demo win this season. Sawyer beat NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams by 12,000 Adults 25-54 (1.882 million vs. 1.870 million).  It was ABC evening newscasts first demo win since the week of July 22, 2013. Last July — one year after ABC’s Good Morning America snapped NBC’s Today show weekly winning streak, ABC’s evening newscast outstripped NBC’s in the news demo by 38,000 demo viewers, ending NBC’s  newscast’s ratings winning streak of nearly five years. During the week of April 7, Sawyer’s newscast covered breaking news –  high school stabbings in Pennsylvania, California bus crash, Terry Moran in Central African Republic with UN Ambassador Samantha Power covering refugees and violence — but the newscast also featured a broadcast exclusive with Mad Men stars and creator as they debuted the AMC series’ final season.  The week of April 7 also marked the newscast hitting 1 million likes on Facebook, which some have correlated to the weekly demo win. ABC’s was the only broadcast up in the demo from one year ago during the comparable week (1%) – NBC’s newscast tumbled by 18% and CBS’s Scott Pelley-anchored newscast dropped 10% in the demo.
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AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ Season 7 Premiere Lowest Since 2008

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 11:28am PDT

MAD MEN SEASON 7 DEBUT 3The end is nigh for Mad Men, and last night the series had its lowest season premiere since 2008′s Season 2. The return of AMC’s acclaimed series for the first part of its 7th and final season drew 2.3 million viewers at 10 PM last night, just ahead of the 2.06 million who watched the Season 2 debut on July 27, 2008. The widely promoted 1-hour debut was down 32% in total viewers from the 3.4 million viewers that watched the Matthew Weiner-created series’ Season 6 premiere on April 7, 2013. That two-hour debut was the second-most-watched episode ever of the period drama. It closely followed the Season 5 debut of March 25, 2012, which was seen by an audience of 3.5 million. In terms of the key demos, last night’s Season 7 debut pulled in 1.1 million viewers among Adults 25-54 and 1 million among the 18-49s. While one of the most DVR’d shows on TV and certain to see a rise when the digital numbers start coming in, last night’s premiere was a dip from the 1.4 million viewers among adults 18-49 and 1.7 million viewers among adults 25-54 that Season 6′s premiere had.

Related: On Eve Of ‘Mad Men’ Premiere, Matthew Weiner Near Millennium Deal For Pic ‘You Are Here’

Now seeing Don Draper thoroughly bicoastal, among other things, last night’s Season 7 start also was down from the … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Cosmos’, ‘Once Upon A Time’ & ‘Dateline’ Fall, ‘Crisis’ Up, ‘Resurrection’ Dips

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 9:23am PDT

There was a lot of competition from cable last night with the return of AMC‘s Mad Men, Showtime’s Californication and Nurse Jackie and Week 2 of the latest season of Game Of Thronesplus Silicon Valley and Veep on HBO. However the networks weren’t letting down their game with a slate of originals from everyone. Still, lmost everyone was down in adults 18-49 from last week.

COSMOS APRIL 13Fox started the night with its usual animation block of Bob’s Burgers (0.8/3) and American Dad (1.1/4). The two ‘toons were down 11% and 8%, respectively, from their April 6 airings. They were followed by The Simpsons (1.6/5) and Family Guy (2.1/6), which fell 16% and 9% respectively. However, the latter was the highest-rated show on primetime last night. The biggest blow of the night for Fox was for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (1.2/3). Up against GoT and more, the sixth episode of the Neil deGrasse Tyson-hosted series took a 20% dive from last week in the key demo. That’s a low for the rebooted science show. Read More »

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On Eve Of ‘Mad Men’ Premiere, Matthew Weiner Near Millennium Deal For Pic ‘You Are Here’

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 11:07am PDT
Mike Fleming

you-are-here_-torontoEXCLUSIVE: Millennium Entertainment is near a deal to distribute You Are Here, the film written and directed by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner that premiered at the last Toronto Film Festival.

mattweinerIt is the first film Weiner directed since What Do You Do All Day, the 1996 helming debut Weiner made before he developed his edgy voice on The Sopranos and then Mad Men, the celebrated AMC drama which begins its final season Sunday. The film stars Owen Wilson as bored TV weatherman Steve and Zach Galifianakis as eccentric shut-in Steve. The two childhood best friends embark on a road trip back to their hometown after the latter learns he has inherited a large sum of money from his recently deceased estranged father. There they do battle against Ben’s formidable sister (Amy Poehler) and deal with his father’s 25-year-old widow (Laura Ramsey). No confirmation on the deal, but I’m told reliably it’s happening and that the film will come out later this year. The film is produced by Gilbert Films’ Gary Gilbert, Jordan Horowitz, Scott Hornbacher, and Weiner.

Pic was packaged and sold by CAA and ICM Partners.

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‘Charlie Sheen’s Bad Influence’ Pilot Part Of WE TV’s 2014-15 Slate

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 9:27am PDT

We_tv_logo_2011 (1)WE tv‘s slate of unscripted original programming for 2014-2015 includes a one-hour pilot of Charlie Sheen’s Bad Influence, a relationship-based competition show in which Sheen puts engaged couples to the ultimate test by challenging how well they think they know their intended. "Scary Movie V" - Los Angeles PremiereThe pilot is currently in production in Los Angeles and was announced today during WEtv’s upfront presentation. The network also greenlighted the new series Match Made In Heaven, Mystery Millionaire and David Tutera’s CELEBrations and renewed the popular shows Kendra On Top, Marriage Boot Camp and the Braxton Family Values spinoff Tamar & Vince. In addition to the network’s growing unscripted efforts, WE tv will debut its first original scripted series, The Divide, this July. The network previously announced the fourth season of Braxton Family Values, second season of SWV Reunited, and the new series Love Thy Sister debuting this summer. Here’s a complete description of its slate: Read More »

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Diane Sawyer Begins Her ‘Mad Men’ Exit Interview Tomorrow

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 4:28pm PDT

Are there any questions left to ask the cast and creator of AMC‘s Mad Men? ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer gives it a whirl on her World News tomorrow night; additional portions of the interview will follow on Nightline and Friday’s Good Morning America. Part 1 of Mad Men’s final season kicks in Sunday, April 13. Here’s a preview of the interviews:


ABC US News | ABC Business News

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Fox TV Studios Topper David Madden Reups

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 4:01pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

davidmaddenFox TV Studios president David Madden has signed a new long-term contract with 20th Century Fox Television to remain at the helm of the boutique cable production company for at least four more years. Madden, a respected veteran TV executive and producer, was elevated to the top FtvS post in 2010 after a stint shepherding the company’s development as EVP creative development and production. He helped establish FtvS’ identity with such series as FX’s The Shield and The Americans, USA Network’s Burn Notice and White Collar, AMC’s The Killing – which he helped bring back from cancellation twice, once at AMC and once at Netflix. Because of the health of the company on Madden’s watch, FtvS was kept as an independent label after the company was put under the purview of 20th TV Studios CEO and chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman and not merged with 20th TV’s own successful cable arm, Fox21. “David encourages creators to take big swings, and the results have been breakthrough programs, from The Shield and The Killing to Burn Notice and The Americans,” Walden and Newman said. “He’s a smart, strategic leader who is beloved by both the creative community and his colleagues. We couldn’t be happier that he’ll be with us for many years to come.” In addition to White Collar and The Killing, which are heading into their final seasons, and The Americans, which is about to be renewed for … Read More »

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Paramount TV Unveils First Development Slate That Includes Series Takes On ‘Narc’ & ‘Truman Show’, Firms Up Executive Team

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 10:41am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

trumanA year after Paramount Studios signaled its re-entry in TV with the relaunch of Paramount Television, the start-up division has set its first development slate. As expected, it includes mining well-known properties from the Paramount movie library. That includes a crime drama with roots in Joe Carnahan’s Narc, with Carnahan writing and directing the pilot, and a re-imagination of the Jim Carrey hit The Truman Show. Additionally, Paramount has boarded the Terminator TV series, joining Skydance Television and Annapurna Pictures, who announced the project back in December. Paramount TV also has in the works an adaptation of hit feature Ghost with filmmakers Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner.

paramounttvOther projects on Paramount TV’s inaugural slate include a drama series inspired by Caleb Carr’s best-selling novel The Alienist, with Anonymous Content (True Detective) executive producing; a limited series event based on A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer-winning biography Lindbergh; and an adaptation of Peter Moffat’s BBC series The Village with Sundance Productions and All3Media. They join previously announced mutli-project deal with Craig Brewer for original scripted dramas. “While we are just getting started, there has been a terrific amount of momentum at Paramount TV as we look to develop new ideas as well as harness some of the studio’s most iconic titles,” said Paramount TV president Amy Powell. Read More »

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MacKenzie Porter Joins AMC’s ‘Hell On Wheels’; Salli Richardson-Whitfield In BET’s ‘Being Mary Jane’

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 4:01pm PDT

Canadian country music singermackenzieporter1 and actress MacKenzie Porter has been cast as a series regular in AMCs Western drama series Hell On Wheels, from Entertainment One, Endemol USA and Nomadic Pictures. Porter, repped by Red Management in Canada and KLWGN Entertainment, will play Naomi, Cullen Bohannon’s (Anson Mount) wife and mother of his child who is torn between the restrictive Mormon way of life (all she’s ever known), and the exotic adventure promised by life with her gentile husband outside the Mormon fort. Principal photography on the series’ fourth season begins later this month in Calgary. Porter was last seen in the features Tom, Dick & Harriet and Killer Among Us.
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MIPTV Briefs: Germany Finds ‘Utopia’; eOne Sells AMC Titles; ‘SAF3′ Secures 2nd Season; ITVSGE Adds Major Series; More

mip tv logo 2Social experiment format Utopia is getting a German version. The ProSiebenSat.1 Group has acquired rights with the local version to be a co-production between Talpa Media and its German partner, Schwartzkopff TV. In the States, Talpa Media U.S. is working with Fox on the American version for launch later this year. The reality series features a group of everyday people whisked to an isolated, undeveloped location for an entire year and challenged to create their own civilization. Read More »

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Debbie DeMontreux Joins Embassy Row As SVP Developing & Programming

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 12:51pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

demontreuxFormer IFC head of original programming Debbie DeMontreux has joined Michael Davies’ Sony TV-owned production company Embassy Row as SVP of Development & Programming. DeMontreux, who is starting this month, will oversee development of new projects as well as all programming currently in production. DeMonreux spent 25 years at AMC Networks, most recently as SVP of Original Programming at IFC for the last 7 years, until resigning at the end of last year. Under her watch, IFC launched its flagship comedy series, Portlandia, as well as Comedy Bang! Bang!, Maron, sketch comedy The Birthday Boys, executive produced by Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller; and Will Ferrell’s miniseries The Spoils of Babylon. Read More »

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AMC’s Revolutionary War Spy Drama ‘Turn’ Unfurls With 2.1 Million Viewers Watching

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 12:18pm PDT

On a very competitive night that included HBO’s Game of Thrones season opener, CBS’s Academy of Country Music AMC's TurnAwards and, yes, WrestleMania 30 on pay-per-view, AMC‘s new crunchy-gravel drama Turn logged a hefty 2.1 million viewers at 9 PM last night. With the repeat viewing at 10:30 PM, that crowd grew to a cumed 3 million viewers.  Among the premiere telecast’s 2.1 mil were 669,000 demo viewers; with the 10:30 PM repeat factored in, that stat grows to  1.1 million. Even better, the quarterly stats throughout the 90-minute premiere remained consistent, which means viewers did not look at a few minutes of the period piece and respond “Yikes!” Read More »

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Syfy Orders Zombie Action-Horror Series From ‘Sharknado’ Producers

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 9:17am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Syfy is entering the hot zombie genre with Z Nation, sharknado-attacka 13-episode series from Asylum, the company behind the network’s hit schlocky horror franchise Sharknado. Executive produced/showrun by Karl Schaefer (Eureka), Z Nation is set three years after the zombie virus has gutted the country, and a team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood. Although the antibodies he carries are the world’s last, best hope for a vaccine, he hides a dark secret that threatens them all. syfylogo1With humankind’s survival at stake, the ragtag band embarks on a journey of survival across three thousand miles of rusted-out post-apocalyptic America. “Z Nation is a unique new journey into the long established zombie genre,” said Syfy SVP Chris Regina. “Instead of existential despair, the series offers hope that somehow, some way, humanity will not only survive, but triumph.” Added Schaefer, “Our everyday heroes take the fight to the zombies.” Z Nation, set to premiere this fall, will be produced by Asylum, in its debut doing a regular series, and sold internationally by Dynamic Television. Schaefer is repped by APA and Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox & Light LLP.

Related: Syfy Picks Up 13-Part Mythological Drama ‘Olympus’

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Cynthia McFadden Makes NBC News Debut: Video

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 6:56am PDT

CynthiaMcFaddenCynthia McFadden, who left ABC News after 20 years to become NBC’s new senior legal and investigative correspondent, made her debut on her new network’s Today this morning to discuss Oscar Pistorius taking the stand in his own murder trial. Last month, McFadden jumped from her job as co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline to join NBC. Watch her debut here:

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‘Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston Writing Memoir

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 2:35pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BryanCranstonAfter completing his run as tortured meth maker Walter White that won him three Emmys for Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston has made a deal with Scribner to write his memoir, to be published fall 2015. Cranston, who began his career in comedic roles that ranged from Seinfeld to Malcolm In The Middle, took a dramatic detour in the Vince Gilligan-created AMC series that now defines his career. He’s currently starring as LBJ on Broadway’s All The Way. “Walter White taught me a lot — some of it useful, some of it dangerous,” said Cranston. “With this book, I want to tell the stories of my life and reveal the secrets and lies that I lived with for six years shooting Breaking Bad.”

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