Comic-Con 2014 officially opens today and tens of thousands are descending on San Diego to pick up their passes and prepare for four days of special screenings, studio and network panels, and previews. Having already hit the ground running, Deadline is here with Mike Fleming Jr leading our film coverage along with Jen, while Dominic and Anthony D’Alessandro handle the TV side. (Dominic will also be moderating FX’s Archer panel this year.)
Of course, veteran heavyweights like HBO’s Game Of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead will be packing the mammoth Hall H on the TV side. HBO’s True Blood, a longtime fave in its final season, is set to make its Comic-Con bow Saturday in Ballroom 20, as is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, which just wrapped its first season and has its panel this evening. Repping the big screen side, studios are putting their tentpole wares out there with presentations by Marvel and Warner Bros with The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and Mad Max: Fury Road among others.
Below we spotlight a few special events on the schedule that you don’t want to miss. (For the full TV and film lineups, go here and here.) Read More »
Michael Landes is set as one of the leads in ABC‘s straight-to-series Members Only (formerly The Club), an upstairs/downstairs drama set at a private country club from CBS TV Studios and ABC Studios. Landes, repped by UTA and attorney Harris Hartman, will play Malcolm, an athletic, charming, recently-widowed pediatrician and father of two who has mixed feelings about the Club. He and Leslie (Betsy Brandt) become fast friends. Coincidentally, Landes appeared in BBC’s recent remake of classic Upstairs Downstairs. He also starred opposite Anne Heche in the NBC comedy series Save Me.
Endemol has entered an exclusive first-look development and distribution deal with UK drama producer Mam Tor Productions Limited. The Big Brother producer will provide development funding and deficit financing during the three-year deal in return for exclusive first-look distribution rights to Mam Tor’s output. Mam Tor was founded in April by former film and TV agent Tally Garner who previously ran Curtis Brown’s in-house production company Cuba Pictures. Her credits include BAFTA winning drama Boy A with Andrew Garfield, and Rufus Norris’ feature Broken. She also exec-produces BBC One’s adaptation of Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell. Read More »
Less than a year after Tim Pastore joined National Geographic Studios, the production arm of the National Geographic Society, the veteran producer is moving to the National Geographic Channel as President of Original Programming & Production. Pastore’s hire completes the overhaul at the top of the National Geographic Channel, which started in April when CEO David Lyle and president Howard Owens stepped down, and the network’s head of marketing, Courteney Monroe, was upped to CEO, with David Hill, Senior EVP of 21st Century Fox and a member of the National Geographic Channels Board of Directors, regaining oversight as Chairman of National Geographic Channels U.S. Pastore, who will oversee development, production and production management, fills the void left by the departure of Owens as the network’s top programming executive. Working closely with Pastore will be Heather Moran, EVP, Programming & Strategy, who will continue to manage the network’s production team, and Alan Eyres, SVP, Programming & Development, who will continue to spearhead the development team. Both of them will now report to Pastore. (Geoff Daniels remains EVP and General Manager for Nat Geo WILD, reporting to Monroe.) Read More »
PBS chief Paula Kerger this morning made a slew of announcements from TCA Summer Press Tour 2014:
– Call The Midwife will be back for a fourth season. BBC announced in February it would produce a fourth season of the period drama about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London in the 1950s — only it will be set in the 60′s for the next season.
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André Rieu Concert Sets UK Box Office Record
Flying the flag for event cinema, André Rieu’s 2014 10th Anniversary Maastricht Concert became the UK’s highest-grossing music event of all time at the box office this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, CinemaLive screened the concert at 410 locations across the UK and Ireland, grossing $1.42M. The concert also screened at 234 moviehouses in European markets including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Romania, Finland and Croatia, bringing the total gross box office figure to more than $2.05M for the weekend. Rieu’s July 2013 cinema concert event set UK records with about $766K. The massive jump this year is one more feather in the cap of live event cinema which has been growing in popularity with music- and theater-loving crowds. Classical violinist Rieu, aka “The King of Waltz”, is known for his energetic and festive live performances. He has sold more than 35M albums worldwide. Further screenings of the concert will take place this coming weekend in Australia and New Zealand, followed by Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Russia and South East Asia to ultimately reach more than 1,000 cinema screens in 35 countries. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start adding these to my international weekend box office reports.
Venice Critics’ Week Lineup Revealed
The National Union of Italian Film Critics has unveiled its selection for the 29th running of Critics’ Week at the … Read More »
Fox’s Gracepoint, an American remake of the British series Broadchurch, is not a shot-for-shot recreation — though it may seem like it’s going in that direction in the first two two episodes, after which it will begin to differ substantially, the exec producers promised to dubious TV critics this afternoon at the TCAs.
The first portions of the British eight-parter were “so well done, why would we contort ourselves to tell it differently?” Carolyn Bernstein said when some critics commented about how the two episodes they’d seen of Gracepoint replicated early Broadchurch episodes. “We didn’t want to fix something we all thought was excellent,” Bernstein explained at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. She and EP/showrunner Dan Futterman promised it will begin to differ substantially.
Further muddying things, in October, Fox announced that Broadchurch star David Tennant had been cast in its 10-hour series. In Fox’s version, Tennant plays an American detective who is the lead investigator in a shocking murder that puts a small town under scrutiny. Though this time it’s set in an American town, like the original it follows the tragic and mysterious death of a young boy found dead on a beach surrounded by rocks and a jutting cliff face, from where he may have fallen. Although his cause of death remains unsolved, the picturesque seaside town where the tragedy occurred is at the heart of a major police investigation and a nationwide media frenzy.
The American version purports to have a different killer.
“I don’t … Read More »
BBC Worldwide has apologized for recent leaks of scripts and footage from the new series of Doctor Who. The commercial arm of the broadcaster said a damaging “mistake” resulted in the exposure of five scripts and the first six unfinished episodes from Series 8 on a publicly accessible FTP site. It thanked fans for their efforts at helping to contain the leaks and said it has put in place a plan using new technology and internal manpower to limit any illegal activity. “BBC Worldwide has taken this issue extremely seriously and disciplinary action has been implemented as a result of the incident,” it added, and offered “sincere apologies” to showrunner Steven Moffat, the cast and the production team. Doctor Who returns on August 23 with Peter Capaldi as the latest incarnation of the Time Lord.
Entertainment One has acquired Canadian factual programming producer Paperny Entertainment from partners David Paperny, Cal Shumiatcher and Audrey Mehler. With the acquisition, Canadian giant eOne says it intends to ramp up its activity in unscripted television production across North America. Vancouver-based Paperny also has operations in Toronto and New York. It has produced over 500 hours of programming since its inception in 1994. The company is expected to deliver a further 80 hours of original programming this year. Its recent and returning shows include Timber Kings (HGTV), Cold Water Cowboys (Discovery Channel Canada), Yukon … Read More »
Months after setting acclaimed theatre director Thea Sharrock to make her directorial debut with Me Before You, Warner Bros. has locked an August 21, 2015 release for the MGM-produced lit adaptation. Brit author Jojo Moyes penned the original script based on her 2012 novel and (500) Days Of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber then came aboard as writers. Story follows small-town girl Lou and wheelchair-bound Will, who share a series of life-changing adventures when he hires her as his caretaker. Sharrock’s TV directing resume includes Sam Mendes’ BBC miniseries The Hollow Crown and Call The Midwife.
All throughout the past month, we’ve covered the World Cup ratings bonanza for broadcasters from ABC, ESPN and Univision in the U.S., to BBC One, ARD, ZDF, and TF1 in Europe, among others. While we know a lot of those numbers don’t take into account folks watching in bars, cafés and town squares, what about fans who were in the air? The sky as a content destination is a fast-growing business with companies like Global Eagle, Gogo and Panasonic Avionics connecting entertainment and airline passengers in new ways. In a historic first, and courtesy of Panasonic’s in-flight Sport 24 channel, Sunday’s World Cup final was shown live by nine international carriers. According to the company, Germany’s defeat of Argentina was seen by 40,000 people, 35,000 feet above Earth. Bloomberg reports the figure is a record for a live in-flight TV broadcast. Throughout the World Cup and across such carriers as Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and Emirates, Panasonic estimated that 1.5M passengers will have seen the tournament live on its systems. The matches were delivered over satellite WiFi and shown free of charge — in all classes. Carriers in the U.S. also allowed travelers to watch many of the matches via traditional satellite TV services from DirecTV and Dish Network, Forbes reported. ESPN is beamed directly to seat back televisions in many aircraft, but not ABC which showed many weekend games and the final.
In a further push into China’s entertainment sphere, e-commerce giant Alibaba has pacted with Lionsgate to launch Lionsgate Entertainment World, a subscription streaming service for the mainland. The service will be available exclusively through Alibaba’s set-top boxes and will give users access to high-profile Lionsgate titles including Divergent (which has not had a theatrical release in China), pics from the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises, and TV series The Royals, Nashville and Mad Men. The deal gives Lionsgate bigger exposure in the fast-growing Chinese market where many consumers watch content online — which has traditionally flown lower under the radar of the Middle Kingdom’s famous censors. Alibaba filed for a U.S. IPO earlier this year and recently took a majority stake in ChinaVision Media Group, now Alibaba Pictures Group, as part of its bid to expand. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has also recently approached Chinese film studios about creating or acquiring content for its online service, and that it is eyeing further investment in local studios. Launch of Lionsgate Entertainment World is expected next month. David U. Lee, founder and president of Leeding Media, helped orchestrate the agreement. Read More »
Kevin Kline gets the French Kiss-off from Maggie Smith in BBC Films dramedy My Old Lady, which Cohen Media Group is releasing stateside September 10. Pic stars Kline as a down and out American who moves to Paris to claim a house willed to him by his estranged father. There he discovers he must wait for the current tenant, a spunky nonagenerian (Smith), to pass before he can assume ownership per French law.
Kristin Scott Thomas co-stars as Smith’s daughter in the U.S./UK co-production which marks writer-director Israel Horovitz’s debut. Producers are Gary Foster (Sleepless In Seattle, Community), Rachael Horovitz (Moneyball), David C. Barrot, and Nitsa Benchetrit. Check out the trailer: Read More »
With a little more than a month to go until Peter Capaldi fully regenerates as the latest incarnation of the Time Lord, the official Doctor Who trailer has been revealed. BBC One aired the latest look at Series 8 during halftime of the World Cup on Sunday night. After some much shorter glimpses into the new Who, this full-length trailer features Daleks, Cybermen, a dinosaur and Capaldi on a horse. Series 8 kicks off on the BBC and on BBC America on August 23 with a feature-length episode entitled “Deep Breath” in which Capaldi’s 12th Doctor makes his first full-episode appearance. Jenna Coleman returns as companion Clara Oswald and Samuel Anderson joins the cast as Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School, where Clara also works. On Friday, the BBC said it had added comedian, actor and broadcaster Sanjeev Bhaskar (The Kumars) to the cast. Guest stars in the new series include Michelle Gomez, Frank Skinner, Ben Miller, Tom Riley, Keeley Hawes and Hermione Norris.
Wednesday, July 23 — Preview Night
6-10 PM, Ballroom 20
Warner Bros. TV Pilot Screening: Constantine, The Flash, iZombie, Teen Titans Go!
Thursday, July 24
10-11 AM, Ballroom 20
Fox’s 24: Kiefer Sutherland, EP Jon Cassar returns to Comic-Con to show off highlights from 24: Live Another Day.
10:30-11:30 AM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Legends Of TV Land: Betty White (The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland) and other TV celebs will answer questions about their work and making history on television. Sneak peek of animated episode of Hot in Cleveland, airing July 30th.
Related: ‘Star Wars – Episode VII’ Not Presenting at Comic-Con 2014
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It’s become a billion-dollar fundraising fixture on British TV, but now NBC says it will collaborate with Comic Relief U.K. and Funny Or Die to bring Richard Curtis‘ Red Nose Day charity special to the United States. Curtis will serve as an executive producer for the NBC telecast, which will feature sketch comedy, standup, music and more from a variety of celebrities. Online humor site Funny or Die will create original content for the three-hour live show, which is set for next May and will be performed in front of a live audience.
“I am incredibly proud that NBCUniversal is broadcasting Red Nose Day,” Paul Telegdy, NBC’s President, Alternative and Late Night Programing, said in a release. “Once in a while in our jobs, we get to do things that can change lives and entertain at the same time.”
Other executive producers will be Hamish Hamilton and Ian Stewart of Done + Dusted Productions, which will produce. Hamilton will also direct. Red Nose Day in the U.K. has been going for a quarter century now, and has become one of the highest-rated Friday night shows on the BBC while raising more than $1 billion in donations. The NBC event will raise money for what the network called “established” charities working in both the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. Those charities and the show’s performers will be announced later.
Discussion of SundanceTV‘s new miniseries The Honorable Woman — a political thriller starring Maggie Gyllenhaal — began with a question about the girl who was cast as the young Nessa when she’s “darker” than Gyllenhaal. Apparently in the UK, where the show’s already debuted on BBC Two, it’s sparked some conspiracy theories — child-switching may be involved.
BAFTA-winning writer/director/producer Hugo Blick appeared to be unaware of the kerfuffle overseas, and said that when the young actress was cast she was “very much paler” than when she returned from a holiday, which they tried to correct in post — “but apparently not enough.”
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The original miniseries follows the story of Mei, a young woman born in China and raised by British parents who is called back to Guangzhou by her desperate birth mother after Mei’s brother is wrongly accused of murder. One Child stars Katie Leung as the woman who struggles in the face of crisis to determine her family loyalties, true identity and the meaning of family. Elizabeth Perkins, Donald Sumpter play her UK parents. SundanceTV will air the four-hour mini, which it acquired in the spring, on November 28 & 29. One Child is a BBC Drama production for BBC Two, co-produced with SundanceTV and distributed by BBC Worldwide North America. Hilary Salmon is the executive producer. It marks the former Sundance Channel’s third consecutive collaboration with BBC Worldwide, following the mini Top Of The Lake, which won a Golden Globe for star Elisabeth Moss, and the upcoming The Honorable Woman, toplined by Maggie Gyllenhaal.
‘Lucy’ To Open Locarno Film Festival
Luc Besson’s Lucy is set to open the Locarno Film Festival on August 6. Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman star in the sci-fi pic about a woman caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior. Besson showed extended clips at CineEurope in Barcelona a few weeks ago that handily demonstrated Johansson’s badass-ness in the vein of other of his strong female heroes. The director will be on hand in Switzerland to present the movie that’s produced by his EuropaCorp. Universal releases Stateside on July 25.
Brazil’s ‘SuperStar’ Gets Season 2 Renewal
Rising Star’s Brazilian version, SuperStar, has been renewed for a second season — this is the first renewal for a local version. Rede Globo has ordered a 14-episode second season of Superstar to air in 2015. The Keshet International format had its finale on Sunday and was the most-watched show of the night, peaking with a 33% share and 3M votes. It averaged a 31% share throughout the first season, during which the voting app was downloaded 3.2M times and about 25M votes were cast. The other international versions currently airing are in Portugal and the U.S. Season 2 of the original Israeli format is prepping up.
‘Mandela’ Getting Wide Release In China
In a first for a South African film in China, … Read More »