EXCLUSIVE: Nancy Dubuc is not wasting any time putting her stamp on A+E Networks. While she doesn’t officially transition into her new role as president and CEO of the company until June 1, I hear Dubuc already is working on plans for the brands. With A&E and History in top shape and Lifetime well into the rebuilding process, Dubuc is focusing her attention on the group’s next tier of networks, Bio, LMN and H2. As part of her turnaround plans, I’ve learned that veteran BBC executive Jana Bennett, who helped usher TLC into mainstream programming in the early 2000s, has been tapped to run LMN and Bio. (Dirk Hoogstra is in charge of H2.)
Bennett spent more than 30 years working for the BBC, most recently as president of worldwide networks and the global BBC iPlayer for the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, a position she held until departing late last year. In the US, Bennett is best known for her three-year stint as EVP and general manager of Discovery Communications’ then-The Learning Channel, where she shepherded the channel’s transformation and ratings growth by introducing reality and home makeover shows, some based on British formats, under the slogan Life Unscripted. They included such audience pleasers as Junkyard Wars and Trading Spaces. Bennett left in 2002 to return to London as director of BBC Television.
This turned out to be the first big bidding battle of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which is now winding down. The Weinstein Company won out after sparking to the seven-minute teaser reel shown to buyers during the fest, outbidding others including Focus Features. Now it will join the distributor’s already bursting awards-season slate that includes Sundance winner Fruitvale Station, August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, Long Walk To Freedom with Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, the Lee Daniels-directed The Butler, Grace Of Monaco with Nicole Kidman, and the Shane Salerno-directed documentary Salinger. Here’s the official release:
CANNES (May 23, 2013) – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today from the 2013 Cannes Film Festival that they are acquiring distribution rights in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Spain to director Stephen Frears’ (HIGH FIDELITY, THE QUEEN) dramedy PHILOMENA. Seven minutes of the film were shown to buyers in Cannes on May 16th, with TWC outbidding a number of other studios vying for rights. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope penned the screenplay, which is based on the 2009 novel The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith. The project stars Judi Dench (NOTES ON A SCANDAL, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL) and Coogan (THE TRIP, WHAT MAISIE KNEW) and was produced by Coogan, Tracey Seaward and Gabrielle Tana. Baby Cow’s Henry Normal, BBC Films’ Christine Langan, Pathé’s Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken and Magnolia Mae Films’ Carolyn Marks Blackwood executive produced.
Starz/BBC series The White Queen will debut on Starz on Saturday, August 10, following the Friday season finale of Magic City. The 10-episode drama, based on the bestselling historical novels by Philippa Gregory, is set against the backdrop of England’s Wars of the Roses and stars Max Irons, Amanda Hale, James Frain, newcomers Rebecca Ferguson and Faye Marsay and Oscar nominee Janet McTeer. Colin Callender is executive producer for the series, produced by the UK’s Company Pictures. Hot TV Trailer: ‘The White Queen’
Shine-owned production company Kudos has partnered with Imaginary Friends Productions for an exclusive two-year, first-look deal. Imaginary Friends is run by Broadchurch writer and exec producer Chris Chibnall. He’s coming off the first season of the hit ITV show which had all of Britain engrossed. Kudos will have first crack at co-developing and co-producing Chibnall’s new scripted projects. As with Broadchurch, he would exec produce alongside Kudos CEO Jane Featherstone. Shine International will rep sales. Broadchurch was renewed for a second season and will air in the U.S later this year on BBC America. Chibnall previously worked with Kudos as a writer on Life On Mars and a showrunner on Law & Order: UK.
Just For Laughs, the producer of the Montreal International Comedy Festival, has signed with UTA. The company was at CAA. Just For Laughs is looking to ramp up its production slate with stand-up specials, scripted and unscripted television and digital content and to expand into social media and licensing. Founded in 1983, the Just For Laughs Group is behind the Montreal comedy fest, which annually attracts more than 1.5 million attendees, with additional festivals in Toronto, Chicago and Sydney. Just For Laughs is a leading producer of stand-up comedy specials that have aired on CBC, The Comedy Network and HBO in Canada as well as the BBC and Channel Four in the UK and HBO, Fox, BBC America, TBS and Showtime in the U.S. The company also has produced original series including Bullet in the Face, starring Eddie Izzard, for IFC and The Tournament for CBC in Canada and Versus in the U.S. Read More »
Brooklyn Nine-Nine — From Emmy Award-winning writer/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur (“Parks and Recreation”), and starring Emmy Award winners Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) and Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age,” “Homicide: Life on the Street”), BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is a new single-camera ensemble comedy about what happens when a talented, but carefree, detective gets a new captain with a lot to prove. Detective JAKE PERALTA (Samberg) is a good enough cop that he’s never had to work that hard or follow the rules too closely. Perhaps because he has the best arrest record among his colleagues, he’s been enabled – if not indulged – throughout his entire career. That is, until the precinct gets a new commanding officer, Captain RAY HOLT (Braugher), who reminds this hotshot cop to respect the badge. Jake may have collared more criminals, but Detective AMY SANTIAGO (Melissa Fumero, “One Life to Live,” “Gossip Girl”) is close behind, and she’s keenly aware of how many arrests she needs to close the gap. Amy grew up with seven brothers who were all cops. She’s the first girl in the family to put on a police uniform, and suffice it to say: she’s extremely competitive…about everything. Also working cases in Brooklyn’s 99th precinct is Sergeant TERRY JEFFORDS (Terry Crews, “Bridesmaids,” “Everybody Hates Chris”), a linebacker of a man who’s lost his nerve, not because he’s a wimp, but because a year ago, his wife … Read More »
Last year, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association might have helped fuel Homeland‘s surprise Emmy win by awarding its top drama prize to the then-rookie Showtime series. But with today’s announcement of nominees for its 3rd annual Critics’ Choice TV Awards, the group might make more noise with what it spurned than what it honored. HBO and FX lead the network tally with 21 and 19 noms, respectively, and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and FX’s American Horror Story each drew six to top all programs. However, a look at the Best Comedy and Best Drama races reveal some surprising omissions. Missing from the BJTA’s comedy series hopefuls are three-time defending Emmy champ Modern Family (supporting actress Sarah Hyland is the show’s lone nominee), along with recently wrapped perennial 30 Rock and, perhaps most glaringly, HBO’s hipster darling Girls. And conspicuously absent from the drama series combatants is four-time Emmy winner Mad Men, which also earned only a single nom, for lead actress Elizabeth Moss.
Instead, vying for the Critics’ Choice Award for best drama are Homeland, HBO’s Game Of Thrones, PBS’ Downtown Abbey, CBS’ The Good Wife and AMC’s Breaking Bad — all of which also were nominated in the category last year — along with FX’s freshman The Americans. Up for best comedy are Modern Family‘s Wednesday night companion The Middle, landing its first major awards recognition, as well as Big Bang Theory, FX’s Louie, Fox’s New Girl, NBC’s Parks and Recreation and HBO Veep. (No sign of last year’s winner Community, led by new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio.) Netflix’s House Of Cards made an entrance into the awards circles with two acting noms, including one for star Kevin Spacey.
Music Box has acquired German hit tragicomedy Oh Boy from Beta Cinema. The movie won six Lolas earlier this year including Best Film, Best Script, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Jan Ole Gerster’s first film is a Berlin-set ironic portrait of a young man and the city he lives in. Earlier in the market, Beta sold out in all Europea territories along with Japan, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Music Box managing director Ed Arentz said, “We’re thrilled to be working on one of the most entertaining debut films in some time. Writer/director Jan Ole Gerster has created a seemingly off-hand Berlin-set Catcher In The Rye and found a perfect lead in Tom Schilling. With the release of this film in the U.S., we disavow any responsibility for the likely increased influx of American slackers to Berlin.”
Last year, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association likely helped fuel Homeland‘s surprise Emmy win by awarding its top drama prize to the then-rookie Showtime series. But with today’s announcement of nominees for its 3rd annual Critics’ Choice TV Awards, the group might make more noise with what it spurned than what it honored. HBO and FX lead the network tally with 21 and 19 noms, respectively, and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and FX’s American Horror Story each drew six to top all programs, though the latter is not among the six finalists for Best Drama Series. However, a look at the Best Comedy and Best Drama races reveal some surprising omissions. Missing from the BJTA’s comedy series hopefuls are three-time defending Emmy champ Modern Family, along with recently wrapped perennial 30 Rock and, perhaps most glaringly, HBO’s hipster darling Girls. And conspicuously absent from the drama series combatants is four-time Emmy winner Mad Men, which earned only a single nom, for lead actress Elizabeth Moss.
Instead, vying for the Critics’ Choice Award for best drama are Homeland, HBO’s Game Of Thrones, PBS’ Downtown Abbey, CBS’ The Good Wife and AMC’s Breaking Bad — all of which also were nominated in the category last year — along with FX’s … Read More »
Steven Moffat is returning for another Doctor Who season, the BBC officially confirmed today. The current series finale aired tonight ahead of a 50th anniversary special slated for November 23 starring Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman, David Tennant, Billie Piper, and John Hurt. Moffat “is already plotting a brand new run of adventures for the Doctor,” the network announced on their blog. Brian Minchin will executive produce alongside Moffat.
First off, congratulations to all writers, producers, actors and agents who landed new series this week. I know it wasn’t easy. Here is Deadline’s annual list of those who excelled at the upfronts. I tried to be inclusive, but if I’ve missed anyone who’s had a banner week, let me know. I’ve also compiled a list of pods and independent producers with multiple broadcast series.
Cougar Town co-creator Bill Lawrence and his Doozer banner had three new series unveiled at the upfronts this week: comedies Undateable on NBC, Surviving Jack on Fox and Ground Floor on TBS. Also, TBS recently renewed Cougar Town for a fifth season.
J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot claimed one of the top new drama series last season with NBC’s Revolution and one of the hottest sophomore shows with CBS’ Person Of Interest. The company is keeping the momentum with two new series orders for next season: Almost Human at Fox and Believe at NBC.
Independent producer Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment received two new series orders from the broadcast networks: Back In The Game at ABC and Friends With Better Lives at CBS. Additionally, his freshman ABC comedy The Neighbors was renewed and his ABC pilot Bad Management is in serious contention for a series pickup. Kaplan also received two cable series orders in the past month, for Chasing Life on ABC Family and Instant Mom on NickMom, and also has comedy series Wendell & Vinnie on Nick at Nite and pilot HR at Lifetime.
Writer-producer Julie Plec also landed two new series this week, both at the CW: She wrote/executive produces the planted Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals and executive produces The Tomorrow People. Additionally, she executive produces TVD, giving her three series on the air next season. (Fellow Tomorrow People executive producer Greg Berlanti has two, including returning CW hit Arrow.)
Another drama writer-producer, former ER showrunner David Zabel, saw both of his pilots picked up. He is the writer/exec producer on ABC’s Betrayal and co-writer/exec producer on ABC’s Lucky 7. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: John Lesher‘s Le Grisbi Productions is teamed with DCM Productions on The Kings Of Rome, a script that will be written by Don MacPherson. The writer penned the upcoming BBC mini Fleming, detailing the exploits of James Bond creator Ian Fleming during WWII. The drama is about an American investigator sent to Rome to collect a debt. There, he gets sucked into a Dantean underworld of corruption, sex and murder that reaches to the highest echelons of the Vatican. It’s the second pic Lesher is doing with DCM; they are teamed on Harmony Korine’s untitled followup to Spring Breakers. DCM is a Berlin-based production company which co-financed and produced the Dustin Hoffman-directed Quartet, and the Best Foreign Language nomineeKon-Tiki. Lesher’s currently in New York shooting the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed comedy Birdman, and the Guillaume Canet-directed Blood Ties, which is premiering here in Cannes. He’s also producing the David Ayer-directed WWII tank drama Fury that stars Brad Pitt, and is in pre-production on Black Mass, the story of the alliance between Boston mobster Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) and FBI agent and childhood pal John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) that drove Bulger’s rise to power and helped him escape when he was about to be arrested. Barry Levinson is directing.
SPOILER ALERT!UPDATE: Steve Carell reprised his role as former Dunder Mifflin manager Michael Scott after all — appearing about 45 minutes into The Office finale to be Dwight’s “bestest mensch” (read: best man) at his wedding to Angela. After Michael unexpectedly appears, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) says: “Michael, I can’t believe you came.” His former boss replies: “That’s what she said.” Later in the episode, he tells the documentary crew: “I feel like my kids all grew up and married each other — it’s every parent’s dream.” Carell earned six Emmy noms for the role but never won. He left the series after its seventh season.
PREVIOUSLY: No, Michael Scott is not going to turn up at Dunder Mifflin on Thursday. Really. Ken Kwapis swears to Deadline [and lied to us, the asswipe - NF] that longtime star Steve Carell does not appear in this week’s series finale of The Office. “I sure wish Steve had done a cameo. It would’ve been a wonderful touch,” said Kwapis, who also directed the pilot episode of the midseason-replacement comedy that aired in March 2005. “Sadly, he didn’t.” So why did NBC choose to sneak a peek of Carell into its finale promo after last week’s episode? A spokeswoman said the network would maintain its “no comment” stance but noted the footage of the erstwhile Office manager could be a clip from an old episode.Read More »
[LOS ANGELES, CA, May 17, 2013] – Open Road Films announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Ketchup Entertainment to handle distribution for Ketchup Entertainment’s theatrical titles across multiple windows including home entertainment, pay television, free television and non-theatrical lines of business. In addition to ancillaries, the deal includes the opportunity to partner on theatrical distribution for upcoming Ketchup Entertainment titles. The deal was announced today by Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films, and Gareth West, CEO of Ketchup Entertainment.
‘Rectify’ Season 2 Will Bow on Sundance Channels In Europe And Asia
ITV Studios Global Entertainment has commissioned the second series of Sundance Channel’s original prod Rectify for distribution on all Sundance Channel Global networks throughout Asia and Europe. The territories include Turkey, France, Iberia, Benelux and CEE. Rectify follows the life of Daniel Holden (Aden Young) after his release from prison after serving 19 years on Georgia’s Death Row. Abigail Spencer, Clayne Crawford, Adelaide Clemens, J. Smith Cameron and Luke Kirby also star. Rectify was created and written by Ray McKinnon (The Accountant, Deadwood, Sons Of Anarchy) and executive produced by Gran Via’s Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein (Breaking Bad). It debuted on April 22 on Sundance Channel US.
‘The Fall’ Is BBC Two’s Best Drama Launch In 8 Years
The Gillian Anderson-Jamie Dornan psychological drama The Fall became BBC Two’s biggest drama series launch since 2005, winning its slot with an average audience of 3.5M and 15.4 share, peaking at 3.6M. It was the channel biggest drama debut since Rome and also beat the BBC Two slot average of 1.79m (7.4%) for the past 12 months. Written by Allan Cubitt and produced by Artists Studio, The Fall follows a police investigation uncovering the intricate story of the lives touched by a series of murders — both the killer’s and the victims’ families.
UK distributor Kaleidoscope has picked up Maiken Baird and Michelle Major’s Venus & Serena from K5 International. The documentary follows the tennis-playing Williams sisters through a year of their lives. The film will get a release timed to the 2013 Wimbledon Championship in June. The BBC will also broadcast it this summer. The film is exec produced by Alex Gibney with music by Wyclef Jean. Magnolia is releasing in the U.S. this summer.
Duran Duran will be in town next week to headline Amfar’s 20th anniversary Cinema Against Aids benefit, and they’ve also got a movie screening in the market. Arclight Films, in collaboration with Little Studio Films, is selling international rights to Duran Duran Unstaged. The David Lynch-helmed concert film previously had a one-light live online stream on YouTube and Vevo but the special director’s cut has never before been released to the public. Read More »
BBC Three Takes ‘Orphan Black’ In a west-to-east move, Britain’s BBC Three has acquired the BBC America original series Orphan Black. The 10-part drama, co-created by Graeme Manson (Flashpoint) and John Fawcett (Spartacus), centers on a street-wise chameleon whose life changes dramatically after witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks just like her. Taking on the woman’s identity, boyfriend and bank account, she is thrust into a kaleidoscopic mystery. Tatiana Maslany stars. BBC America just renewed the series in the U.S. It’s produced by Temple Street Prods in association with BBC America and Space.
‘The Face’ UK Names Models To Join Naomi Campbell Sky Living has added supermodels Erin O’Connor and Caroline Winberg alongside Naomi Campbell for the UK version of model reality show The Face. The U.S. version, produced by Shine America, launched on Oxygen in February. The local UK format will be co-produced by Princess Productions and Shine TV. The three models will mentor three teams of four girls over eight weeks as they compete in photo shoots, runway shows and commercials. The last girl standing will be crowned the face of a globally known brand. Production starts in the spring. Campbell is exec producing.Read More »
HBO’s Family Tree hasn’t started with very strong viewing roots. The 10:30 PM debut Sunday of the new comedy pulled in 794,000 viewers. That is a big drop off from the 1.2 million who watched its lead-in Veep and down from the 872,000 who tuned in for the debut of Girlsin the same slot on April 15, 2012. Over two plays, Family Tree had about 975,000 viewers, down from the 1.1 million Girls had. Bridesmaids’ Chris O’Dowd stars in the mockumentary series co-created by Christopher Guest as a recently single and unemployed thirtysomething who seeks to discover himself by investigating his wacky extended family. The series is set to premiere on BBC2 in the UK this month. Also on HBO, Game Of Thrones’ four-week record viewership streak came to an end Sunday, with the flagship show drawing 4.8 million viewers for its 9 PM broadcast. It’s still a strong number but down from the 5.3 million who watched the 9 PM episode May 5. Over two plays for the night, Thrones had 6 million viewers, down from last week’s 6.8 million. Veep, meanwhile, was even with its Season 2 debut April 14. The Julia Louis-Dreyfus-starring political satire drew 1.5 million viewers over two plays Sunday.
Gang Related — Drama
Produced by Chris Morgan Productions, Skeeter Rosenbaum Productions, Imagine Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television. From writer/executive producer Chris Morgan, director/executive producer Allen Hughes and executive producers Scott Rosenbaum, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo:
Surviving Jack — Comedy
Produced by Doozer Productions in association with Warner Bros Television. From writer/executive producers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumaker and executive producers Bill Lawrence and Jeff Ingold: