Tony winner Harriet Harris (Desperate Housewives) has been cast in NBC’s multi-camera pilot Lifesaver. The odd couple comedy centers on the uptight, controlling and a bit neurotic Dr. Graham Permenter (Cgristian Borle) and loose cannon Leon (Jonathan Ryland), who become inextricably linked after Leon saves Graham’s life by giving him a kidney. Harris, repped by BRS/GAGE, plays Christian’s mother Liz Parmenter. She recently finished a run in the original cast of Cinderella on Broadway.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
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Joanna Going (House Of Cards) has been tapped for a series regular role in DirecTV’s gritty drama series Navy St. From Byron Balasco and Endemol Studios, the dark family drama is set against the backdrop of Navy Street, a Venice, CA-based mixed martial arts gym owned by Alvey Henderson (Frank Grillo), a former fighter who never made it big due to a drug addiction but is now sober. Going will play Christina Hyatt, Alvey’s ex wife and mother to Jay (Jonathan Tucker) and Nate (Nick Jonas). Going, repped by AKA and Vanguard Management, co-stars in the upcoming Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic!
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CBS, Disney, Fox, and Time Warner are the easy answers — and the ones that many financial types believe are eyeing the independent programming network companies following Comcast’s $45.2B agreement to buy Time Warner Cable. But Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger takes the conversation a step further today with an intriguing report that suggests several less obvious potential buyers for AMC Networks, Scripps or Starz. Distributors including DirecTV, Dish Network, Charter, AT&T and Verizon might want to take a page from Comcast’s playbook when it bought NBCUniversal. DirecTV doesn’t offer broadband, so it has “additional motivation to take some action to future-proof the business,” possibly by offering exclusive access to certain networks, Juenger says. Charter and Dish are long shots: Charter probably could only afford AMC. And Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen seems intent on acquiring airwave spectrum, although “nobody really knows Mr. Ergen’s potential plans, and they could change.” AT&T and Verizon’s corporate cultures are “a step (or three) further removed from the content business.” Yet here, too, they might take a leap since “their historical core businesses are not exactly growing, and they could amass the financial resources.”
Related: What A Comcast-TWC Could Mean For Hollywood
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In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at the big Dish-Disney deal and what it might mean for other media companies and even a possible sports-free online pay-TV service. They also discuss Disney’s continuing headaches with its Interactive unit, whether FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s new rules for local broadcast alliances go far enough and look at the speculation about Carmike, the big exhibitor whose strong quarter fueled speculation that it will be a fat takeover target.
Deadline Big Media podcast 75 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 75 (.M4A version)
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After months of speculation, maneuvering, campaigning, champagning, Q&Aing and ever so much more, the 2013-14 awards season is done, done, done, and in this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom wrap up the winners and notable moments from this years Academy Awards ceremony. They’ll look at which studios (hint, the initials are W and B) and stars were big winners, why 12 Years a Slave is a lot like The Godfather, and why The Hammond Rule proved so durable throughout the season.
Pete and David also review the Oscar Lite ceremony that was Saturday’s Independent Spirit Awards, with winners in nearly every award exactly tracking the Oscar wins. Read More »
The Tribeca Film Festival continues to roll out its lineup for this year’s 13th edition, which kicks off April 16. Here is the program slates for the Spotlight, Midnight, Special Screenings and Storyscapes sections. The fest’s shorts program will be unveiled Tuesday. Here are today’s films, which include Spotlight spots for Roman Polanksi’s Venus In Fur, the Robin Williams-starrer Boulevard from Dito Montiel, world premieres of films directed by actors Chris Messina and Courteney Cox, and of course the horror comedy Zombeavers:
Related: Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate
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In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom wrap up the overseas perspective on the last big awards shows of the 2013-14 season, beginning with Foreign-Language Oscar winner The Great Beauty, which lifted spirits throughout home country Italy even as director Paolo Sorrentino called for more investment in Italian cinema.
Related: Italian Exhibitors Blast TV Airing Of ‘The Great Beauty’; More
At France’s Cesar Awards, the big winner was Les Garcons et Guillaume a Table, though the potential scandale around one nominee proved far more muted than the French press or awards show broadcaster Canal Plus might have hoped. Nancy and David also take a look at the potential global bump in box office for Oscar’s two biggest champs, Best Picture 12 Years a Slave and seven-time winner Gravity.
Related: OSCARS: The Complete Winners List
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We got a peek at horror pic Oculus back in January and now Relativity has dropped the official trailer. Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites star as siblings Kaylie and Tim, whose parents were killed 1o years ago in a brutal act blamed on Tim. When he’s released from custody, Kaylie sets out to prove a malevolent supernatural force was really behind their parents’ murder by returning to their childhood home. Katee Sackhoff and Rory Cochrane also star. Mike Flanagan directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jeff Howard, based on their short story. Oculus hits theaters on April 11.
While California Gov. Jerry Brown is still “not committed” to expanding the state’s film and TV tax credit, Los Angeles is seeing another drop in broadcast pilot production to what appears to be an all-time low. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been doing photo ops with Disney and Marvel execs to celebrate their commitment to film some 60 episodes of Marvel’s four Netflix series and a miniseries in the Big Apple. And now New York, which also lured The Tonight Show franchise away from Los Angeles, has more reasons to celebrate after another very strong pilot performance, returning this year to the top as the most popular drama location and reinforcing its strong position in comedy.
A record 15 broadcast pilots will be filming in New York this year, including 10 — almost a third — of the 34 drama pilot/direct-to-series projects filming within the regular cycle that have set their locations (two remain TBD). That is up from 13 total and eight dramas last year and just shy of the city’s all-time drama record of 11 in 2012. (Keep in mind that the number of NY-based was zero just four years ago, before the state implemented its aggressive tax break program.) New York is chipping away at Los Angeles’ comedy dominance. LA used to own the comedy space, with virtually every pilot filming here. Just two years ago, it housed 100% of the broadcast comedy pilots. The percentage dropped to 89% last year and is at 85% (39 out of 46) this season. New York made a big move in the arena in 2013 after seven years of no major broadcast comedy pilot presence there. A whopping five broadcast half-hour pilots were filmed in the city last year, including straight-to-series The Michael J. Fox Show. Proving that that wasn’t a fluke, New York matched its comedy haul this year with another five pilots, including NBC’s straight-to-series Tooken. Like last year, all five are single-camera. What’s more, a hybrid comedy, How I Met Your Dad, which is filming the pilot in Los Angeles, will move to New York if it goes to pilot. In most cases, the NY location is talent-driven (Irreversible star David Schwimmer, Dead Boss‘ Jane Krakowski, How I Met Your Dad star Greta Gerwig, Lowell and Gaffigan are all based in NY). But studios wouldn’t have been as open to setting shop in New York had the tax incentives not been strong enough to rein in production costs on comedies, especially the expensive single-camera format, which are still higher than a Los Angeles-based half-hour pilot but not by much. One drawback of comedy series filming in New York has been the shortage of writing talent as broadcast shows have to compete with such cable comedies as Louie and Girls, but with New York-based comedy production appearing to be here to stay, more writing talent may relocate there to support them.
Related: Culver Studios To Shutter After Sale; Condos Next?
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UPDATE, 5:20 PM: The companies have officially announced a “wide-ranging” deal, which “will result in dismissal of all pending litigation between the two companies, including disputes over PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop.” The agreement calls for Dish to disable AutoHop functionality for ABC content within the C3 ratings window. The pact also for the first time allows Dish customers to access Disney’s authenticated live and VOD products. The full release is below the original story.
PREVIOUS, 3:59 PM: They both made big concessions as part of a new — and long-awaited — program carriage deal that Dish Network cut with Disney, The Wall Street Journal reports. It says that Dish Network has agreed to disable the Hopper DVR’s “Auto Hop” feature for ABC shows for the first three days after they air. Disney, in return, will drop out of broadcasters’ suit against Dish. They’ve said that the DVR’s feature that automatically jumps past ads on some recorded shows infringes on their copyrights and violates carriage contracts. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has steadfastly cast himself as a champion for his customers’ interests, saying that Hopper simply automates what DVR owners already can do with their remote controls. Now that Dish and Disney have agreed to allow ad zapping after three days, we’ll have to see whether other broadcasters can accept similar terms. CBS chief Les Moonves said in November that he’s “very flexible. We’re willing to negotiate.” Last month Ergen said that he was “cautiously optimisic” about striking a deal with Disney, in part because CEO Bob Iger — who’s also a member of Apple’s board – “has looked at [terms] in ways that others have not.” Read More »
This morning, in the walk-up to its broadcast of the 86th Annual Academy Awards, ABC brought out ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chiefNate Silver and its general editor Walter Hickey to share results of their controversial number crunching about Best Picture Oscar winners through the ages on the network’s Sunday Beltway show This Week. Here are their six big takeaways:
1. It’s All About Adaptation
Silver and Hickey calculated that nearly 40% of best picture nominees originate from books, while about 18% originate from plays.
2. Oscar Hearts NYC
The Big Apple is an Oscars favorite, with about 20% of nominees taking place there. Next in popularity are London and Paris, while Washington D.C. and Los Angeles just barely make the top five.
3. 1930s or Bust
The 1930s turned out to be the most common decade to have a film set. “Since 1939, about one in seven best picture nominees have involved World War II in some way, shape, or form,” Hickey told ABC News’s Lara Spencer, best known as Good Morning America‘s lifestyle anchor. Overall, time periods filled with dramatic events are more likely to be seen in best picture nominees. “Decades that were more tumultuous – the ’30s, the ’40s, the ’60s probably – create more ground for really fertile, rich topics than happy decades like the ’90s, or the ’50s,” Silver said.
Related: OSCARS: Pete Hammond’s Final Predictions In Every Category
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In this week’s podcast, Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at the many implications of Netflix’s big, big deal with Comcast to ensure better video quality of its shows streamed by their mutual customers. The deal could affect the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, net neutrality issues, the business of online video and much more, and likely will serve as a template for other content-quality deals to come. They also take a peek at a multimillion-dollar production-incentive package that persuaded Disney to shoot a Netflix-only Marvel series in New York City and preview another interesting Disney online-content venture, this one involving live streaming online of this weekend’s Oscar telecast on ABC.
Deadline Big Media podcast 74 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 74 (.M4A version)
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In this week’s audio podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom look at the possibility that frenemies John Malone and Rupert Murdoch will combine and snap up the UK’s Channel 5, even as a booming ITV opts out; and Amazon’s new combination platter of Prime services that are challenging Netflix more aggressively in Britain, including through a partnership with the BBC to revive the cancelled period drama Ripper Street. They also preview those other big awards this weekend, France’s Cesars, and take their weekly look at the international box office, as both Frozen and The Hobbit 2: The Desolation Of Smaug continue to rack up huge cumulative grosses.
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 27 (.MP3 version)
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 27 (.M4A version)
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Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed the number, which includes hardware and software sales for the streaming video device, at the company’s annual shareholder meeting today. And at $1B in sales “it’s a little hard to call it a hobby anymore,” he says. He continued his Dance of the Seven Veils with his promise to introduce products that will excite consumers — and investors, who’ve grown anxious as the iPhone and iPad have lost market share to Android-powered rivals. “I’d like to unveil some new products today,” he told shareholders before adding: “I was just kidding about that last part.” He did say, though, that the company increased its spending on research and development by 32% and that will become evident in new products including ”some things that are extensions of things you can see and some that you can’t see.” Cook told an investor that he wanted to keep his plans secret because “you can see we’re getting ripped off left, right and sideways.” Activist investor Carl Icahn planned to use the meeting to lobby for a resolution urging Apple to repurchase $50B of its stock, but he abandoned the effort early this month saying that he was content with its current spending.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom do their annual Oscar preview ahead of the weekend’s festivities, to help you fill out that Oscar ballot with Pete’s choices and dark-horse candidates in all the major categories. David and Pete also preview Hollywood’s favorite beach party, the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday. This year, nominees for the Spirit Awards don’t feel that independent with all the familiar names also up for Sunday’s kudos. Finally, David and Pete discuss the weekend’s notable movie debuts, led by the airplane thriller Non-Stop and the very Russian war movie Stalingrad.
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 67 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 67 (.M4A version)
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‘Pretty Little Liars’, ‘Gossip Girl’, ‘ER’ Getting Local Versions In Asia
Warner Bros Television Group series Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and ER have been commissioned and optioned as local versions in the Philippines, Thailand and India, respectively. In the Philippines, ABC Development Corporation is in production on Pretty Little Liars with the 22-episode adaptation to air on TV5 in April. The show ranks as the No. 1 original series of all time on ABC Family, where its 5th season will air this summer. In Thailand, Kantana Public Company Limited is producing an 18-episode local adaptation of Gossip Girl. In India, ER is under option with Gold Television Network. This follows the announcement last month that a Colombian version of the show was going forward. Read More »
“I believe the Governor and his staff are very interested in the progress of this legislation — I don’t think they’ve committed one way or another nor would I expect them to them to at this point in the progress, ” new LA Film Czar Ken Ziffren said today about the proposed expansion to California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. With nearly 60 co-sponsors from across the state, the new legislation introduced last week looks certain to pass the Assembly but it still has to also get the approval of the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been openly weary of adding new expenditures to the state’s now stable budget.
Related: California Pols Unveiling Bill Today To Expand Film & TV Tax Credit Program
While Ziffren stressed during a conference call this morning that he wanted to see production in California return to its heights of the mid-1990s, he would not commit to a dollar figure he thought the new legislation should seek; the pending legislation has left the funding level blank as political wrangling takes place in Sacramento. However, industry sources have cited $400 million as the target amount for which the program should aim. “Our office is not committed to any number but to make sure all the legislators understand the need for improvement and modernization of legislation,” Ziffren said. “The number will follow depending on a number of factors like the economy, the size of the surplus, and other constituents in California.” Today was Ziffren’s first significant public statements since, as I exclusively revealed February 8, the heavyweight entertainment lawyer was tapped by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to replace Tom Sherak as the first head of the City of LA’s Entertainment Industry and Production office after Sherak died January 28.
Related: It’s Official – Lawyer Ken Ziffren Named New LA Film Czar
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Rumors over the last week have David Fincher circling the Aaron Sorkin-scripted Steve Jobs biopic based on the Walter Isaacson book about the Apple genius at Sony. Fincher hasn’t even had a meeting on the project yet, but he certainly has a close relationship with producer Scott Rudin from The Social Network. Will it happen? Who knows? At this point he read the script and they will have a conversation, and this is as far as this has gone — no negotiations at this point. But there is a rush right now to publish tips from tracking boards that make it difficult to not be compelled to run every single rumor.