CBS TV Studios has brought in Meghan Lyvers as SVP Drama Development and Brianna Bennett as VP Drama Development. They will work under Julie McNamara, EVP Drama Development, Broadcast and Cable.
Lyvers comes from Television 360, a division of Management 360, where she oversaw the department’s development and production slate including Avenues Of Spies, Heartland Trucking and The Terror, among others. She previously served as VP Development & Production at Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Productions where for more than 10 years she oversaw the feature film and television slate.
Bennett joins CBS from Fox where she was Director, Drama Development, working on Sleepy Hollow, The Following, Gang Related, Almost Human and the upcoming Red Band Society, Empire and Backstrom. This marks her return to CBS TV Studios where she worked as an assistant in comedy development before joining the CW as a drama development coordinator.
UPDATE 7:30 PM: I’ve learned that Warner Bros TV has made the call — there will be no table read for The Big Bang Theory tomorrow. Production on Season 8 of the hit CBS comedy originally was scheduled to start today, but with the five original castmembers still without contracts as negotiations between their teams and WBTV continue, the studio cancelled the table read, pushing it by a day. Now I hear production has been postponed one more day as talks continue. In its statement confirming the production delay this morning, WBTV did not set a return date, so it still stands.
PREVIOUS 9 AM: There is no agreement yet in the contract negotiations between the original cast of The Big Bang Theory and Warner Bros TV, leading to the studio’s decision to push the production start date for Season 8, originally slated for today.
“Due to ongoing contract negotiations, production on The Big Bang Theory — which was originally scheduled to begin today — has been postponed,” WBTV said in a statement. I hear the postponement is for one day, and the situation would be evaluated day by day as the two sides continue to negotiate and are close to deals, something that could happen as early as today.
While Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar worked during the 2010 salary renegotiations that also dragged on over the summer, they were under deals back then. The situation is different this time as the quintet’s contracts all expired at the end of last season. The only Big Bang cast members who have deals and would’ve shown up today are Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik, who renegotiated their contracts last fall. Read More »
Warren Kole and Erik Stocklin have landed recurring roles in CBS drama Stalker. The Kevin Williamson series stars Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q as detectives from the Threat Assessment Unit who investigate cases of stalking. Kole, repped by The Kohner Agency, Silver Lining Entertainment and attorney Stuart Rosenthal, will play Detective Trent Wilkes, a lead detective in the Robbery Homicide Division of the LAPD who gets into a turf war with Jack (McDermott). Stocklin has been added as a recurring after appearing in the pilot. He will reprise his role of Perry, an introverted college sophomore. Kole appeared in the NBC pilot Salvation and recently recurred on USA’s White Collar and Fox’s The Following. Stocklin, repped by Domain and manager JC Robbins, appeared on ABC’s Mistresses.
The cable networks company known for its hits The Walking Dead and Mad Men could use the deal to further establish itself as a leading distributor of premium content — strengthening its ability to sell ads and negotiate high fees from cable and satellite companies. Bankers and executives are working on a cash and stock deal, I’m told — but with no dollar figures yet.
The arrangement would give AMC Networks just short of a majority stake in BBC America, unlike a previous representation arrangement with Discovery, which did not own equity. While BBC Worldwide would still control the channel and brand, AMC would be able to influence programming decisions and handle BBC America’s domestic ad sales and distribution. Talks have been ongoing for several months, but a deal isn’t complete. Bloomberg was first to report the negotiations.
AMC and BBC know each other well. They’re co-producers of The Honorable Woman, which premieres tomorrow on SundanceTV. Last year they partnered on Sundance’s Top Of the Lake, and they have an upcoming production, One Child.
Read More »
Jim Gaffigan single-camera comedy pilot is getting a series order at TV Land. After lengthy negotiations, the cable network has closed a deal for a 10-episode order to project, created by Gaffigan and Peter Tolan, which is now titled The Gaffigan Show. Originally developed and produced by Sony TV and twice piloted by CBS, the comedy will stay single-camera and will remain based in New York where Gaffigan lives with his family and where the two CBS pilots were shot. It will premiere on TV Land in 2015. Sony TV will have a passive role in the series, which became possible after TV Land was able to bring the budget down. Also boarding the project is TV Land sibling Comedy Central, which will air the episodes within one week after their TV Land premiere. The synergy is natural as Gaffigan is a very well liked comedian with strong following on Comedy Central, and the airings on the comedy-themed network would expose the series to a larger audience. While sibling Viacom channels have pitched in to help each other in the past, like Logo coming on board to co-produce Comedy Central’s Sarah Silveman Program to make its renewal financially possible, in this case the shared window is described as a purely promotional move, with TV Land footing the entire bill for the series.
Inspired by Gaffigan’s real life, The Gaffigan Show explores one man’s (Gaffigan) struggle in New York … Read More »
The company is careful to note in the proxy filed today at the SEC that CEO Jon Feltheimer‘s new package looks especially big because it has to count the full value of equity that actually vests over several years. Still, the sum for the fiscal year ending in March is extraordinary — and likely will make him one of the nation’s top paid CEOs this year. The Lionsgate chief’s package consists of: $1.5M salary, $11.7M stock awards, $41.5M option awards, $8.8M non-equity incentives, and $197,201 in other compensation. The “other” category includes $23,884 in club membership dues and $170,385 for personal use of the company aircraft.
Lionsgate’s board credits Feltheimer for leading “another strong year for the Company,” which included hits led by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Now You See Me as well as gains at Epix and a new partnership with CBS to run TVGN. Lionsgate shares only rose 6% in the fiscal year, though, as investors began to wonder whether the company could sustain its hot streak after 2015 when the Hunger Games series ends.
Last year, Vice Chairman Michael Burns’ compensation stood out, at $28.2M with a new contract. This year it came in at $8.5M.
Ethan Embry and Brooklyn Decker have been cast in Netflix‘s half-hour comedy Grace & Frankie, toplined by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The 13-episode series — created by Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, directed by Tate Taylor and executive produced by Paula Weinstein and Skydance Prods — centers on longtime nemeses Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin), who are facing the last chapter of their lives. When their husbands (Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston) announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married, the women find their lives both turned upside down and, to their dismay, permanently intertwined.
Embry, repped by APA and Nelson Davis Wetzstein, will play Coyote, the charismatic son of Sol (Waterston) and Frankie (Tomlin). More than a little self-destructive, he has a history of drug abuse; however, after 90 days of sobriety, he’s determined to get back his life. Decker, who comes off CBS’ Friends With Better Lives, will play Mallory, the younger daughter of Grace (Fonda) and Robert (Sheen). She is a classic beauty like Grace. She modeled her marriage after her parents and now that their relationship has blown up, she doubts all aspects of the choices she’s made in her life. She is repped by Gersh, Authentic and attorney James Adams. Read More »
The UK’s Arrow Media has received a commission for six more hours of its wildlife show Animal Fight Night which premieres on Nat Geo WILD in the U.S. on August 18 before rolling out internationally in September. Animal Fight Night was first launched in the U.S. in October last year. It was Arrow Media’s first move into natural history programming and the company later received orders for Building Penguin Paradise (Nat Geo WILD) and Dogs: Their Secret Lives (Channel 4). Each Animal Fight Night episode uses CGI to recreate and examine same species battles between animal world adversaries and dissects the science behind the tactics and bodily weapons that various creatures employ. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In her first new gig after leaving ABC’s The View, Sherri Shepherd is joining the cast of Universal’s Ride Along 2. The stand-up comic and actress has inked a role opposite Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in the sequel to this year’s $153M hit comedy Ride Along, which returning helmer Tim Story (Think Like A Man) will direct. Ken Jeong and Olivia Munn also are set for the January 15, 2016, release produced by Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez, Will Packer, and Larry Brezner and exec producer Scott Bernstein.
Related: Universal Stakes Out Martin Luther King Holiday Jr. 2016 For ‘Ride Along 2′
In addition to her seven-year run on talk show The View, Shepherd recently had a recurring role on CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Her TV comedy credits include Everybody Loves Raymond, 30 Rock, Hot In Cleveland, and her own Lifetime sitcom Sherri. “I’ve been blessed to interview Barack Obama; Bill Clinton is a big fan of mine – he loved that I played a hooker in One For The Money,” Shepherd told The View watchers earlier this month. She bids farewell to the show tomorrow. Post-The View, Shepherd’s ramping up her presence in features: She’ll next be seen in Chris Rock’s upcoming Toronto Film Fest dramedy Top Five. She’s repped by ICM Partners and Darris Hatch Management.
Related: … Read More »
Three weeks into its freshman run, CBS‘ new sci-fi drama series Extant is sliding an hour from the post-Big Brother 9 PM berth to 10 PM starting this Wednesday. The Halle Berry-starrer, which has been sliding in Live+Same Day viewing since the premiere, most recently logging a 1.1 in 18-49, will switch places with the Criminal Minds repeats that had been airing at 10 PM.
CBS is making the change after a similar switcheroo worked well on Sunday. There, new drama Reckless too was falling hard in the ratings at 9 PM, behind Big Brother, leading to returning Unforgettable at 10 PM. After CBS switched Unforgettable and Reckless, Unforgettable‘s numbers naturally went up (+43% in 18-49) with a stronger lead-in from Big Brother. But Reckless didn’t suffer any further drop among adults 18-49 in its transition to 10 PM, staying consistent in the demo and even picking up 5% in viewers. CBS is hoping for a similar outcome on Wednesday, with an established drama lead-in from a stronger, Big Brother-buoyed Criminal Minds stabilizing Extant.
The scheduling change is made with enough lead time for this Wednesday’s DVR listings to be updated, which is important for Extant. The series debut of the mystery drama has seen a 50% bump in 18-49 from Live+SD to Live+7.
NBC4 came away with a leading eight wins tonight at the Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, including the prestigious Daily Evening Newscast prize. ABC7 was next with six, followed by KCET with five. Spanish-language outlet KMEX, which won the evening newscast Emmy in an upset last year, went into the 66th annual trophy show with the most nominations of any station — 14 — and went home with four, tied with CBS2/KCAL5. NBC4 had 13 noms going in. Here’s the complete list of winners, along with the win count by station: Read More »
From the upbeat mood of The Big Bang Theory writers at this morning’s Comic-Con panel for the series, you wouldn’t think that there was an intense cast negotiation going on, potentially delaying production of the show. All signals transmitted to fans in Ballroom 20 today are that Big Bang is moving forward. A Warner Bros TV rep told the crowd that the show is returning September 22 with a full-hour premiere, as CBS has planned. “I’ve thought about how I want the show to end, but I’m not going to say right now,” said executive producer Steve Molaro. He also mentioned to another fan that he doesn’t know when they’ll reveal Penny’s last name; it might be when she marries Leonard. However, the Comic-Con hall monitors, who typically let most questions through to the panel, were definitely on guard. When a Deadline reporter tried to ask Bill Prady and Molaro a question about the cast negotiation, the monitor exclaimed, “We can’t let you ask about that — it’s a legal question.” Read More »
With the power of fans growing and the influence of TV reviews declining in the age of social media, the once marque summer TCA press tour has been taking a back seat to Comic-Con. Once again, the Los Angeles critics convention served as a warm-up for the San Diego geekfest, with the networks trying to save their noisy announcements for the Con. But what would’ve been another uneventful summer TCA was livened up by two big consolidation stories that broke in the first and second week — 21st Century Fox’s decision to put both the broadcast network and 20th Century Fox TV under the studio’s chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman, and the company’s (for now unsuccessful) bid to acquire Time Warner.
The first news, which had been widely expected, was met largely with approval as an inevitable move in an industry where owning content is becoming more and more important. CBS has helped grow CSI into a billion-dollar franchise for the parent company, which owns the show. Compare that with The Big Bang Theory, which CBS developed and nurtured to a blockbuster hit that would make as much as $3 billion — for another company, Warner Bros. TV. Watching how much money it has made for WBTV, with the Chuck Lorre series, and for 20th Century Fox TV, with How I Met Your Mother, the network focused on growing its own syndicatable comedies, recently renewing CBS Studios-produced The Millers for a second season. During CBS’ TCA executive session, chairman Tassler was asked whether ownership played a role in the decision to renew The Millers over two 20th TV freshmen, The Crazy Ones, which drew bigger DVR ratings increases, and Friends with Better Lives, which showed better retention. “We will never ever, ever discriminate based solely on ownership,” Tassler said. “We feel that The Millers has a lot of great story material still imbedded in the DNA of the show.” Read More »