INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014; ‘Captain America’ Passes $500M; ‘Frozen’ Highest Animated Grosser Ever; ‘Rio 2′ passes $200M Overseas

Highlights: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (SONY) opens in 14 markets with $47M; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) passes $500M; Transcendence (WB) opens to $17.4M, mostly from China; Rio 2 (FOX) flies past $200M. Noah (PAR) at $197.4M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) at $18.1M  for $75.3M cume; The Other Woman (FOX) bows with $5.3M in four markets; Spanish Affairs (UNI) phenom as Spain’s top local-lingo pic ever, still No. 1 … twice the marketshare of Spider-Man 2′s bow.

cinemaworld__140406143949 UPDATED, Sunday, 6:50 PM. PDT: More estimates have been added for Rio2, Divergent, and further analysis on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. There will be another update tomorrow, but no territory by territory breakdown this week. It’s always interesting to see a snapshot of the top international pictures so far in 2014. Disney’s has the two lead spots right now with  Frozen $462M) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($385.1M), followed by The Wolf of Wall Street ($262.5M), which is being handled by Universal and many other distribs. The difference between the No. 2 and No. 3 pictures is a substantial $122.6M so far. Surprising, no? Rounding out the top five is Warner Bros.’  duo The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($244.5M) and 300: The Rise of an Empire ($223M).

Amazing Spider-Man 2PREVIOUSLY, 10:27 AM, Sunday, PDT: Marking the biggest opening internationally of 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has taken the markets by storm, grossing an estimated $47M as it bows in such major territories as the U.K., Spain, Germany and Belgium, Mexico and Australia. All told, 14 markets. It was a big box office weekend internationally with several major pics playing well throughout the world. But all eyes are on Spider-Man, which opened strong in territories earlier in the week. The top market for the Sony franchise is the UK/Ireland which grabbed $15M. It marks a 49% bigger opening than Winter Soldier in the territory but in 2012, the first installment has a UK opening weekend tally of $17.1M. The same group of market, Sony says, opened comparably to the first installment — and true, some are higher and some are lower. Of note is a huge $2.3M from 50 IMAX screens to equal a monster $47,000 per screen average in the UK/Ireland. The first installment of The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012 grossed a total of $40.3M in this territory in 2012, so this is an all-important market for the studio. Since it is a big school holiday in the UK, kids are out in numbers now so perfectly timed to capitalize on the influx.

Spider-Man has done particularly well overseas traditionally, although it has yet to top the $1B mark like other Marvel titles have done. China should be a great box office catch for this film as the first installment did exceptionally well, grossing a total of $48.8M in 2012. It will bow in China on May 4th, two days after the its domestic launch. Latin America is also usually very strong for Spidey. Japan, Korea and Russia — which together brought in $96.8M in 2012 — will be part of the 21 pack of territories it will open in next weekend.

ASM2’s production budget is said to be around $255M, with about $180M to $190M spent on marketing. Read More »

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‘Frozen’ Is Highest Animated Int’l Grosser Of All Time As Disney Reaches $1B In Record Pace

By | Sunday April 20, 2014 @ 9:20am PDT

FROZENBased on the phenomenal grosses from Frozen and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Disney (which crossed $1BM worldwide earlier this month) now can boast that it crossed $1B internationally in record time. Frozen has just surpassed Ice Age 4 to become the worldwide leader as the highest-grossing animated film of all time in international markets with a total tally of $729.3M. In comparison, Ice Age: Continental Drift grossed $715.9M in 2012. In addition, Frozen is hovering at $400M domestically and should reach that watermark next weekend. It just skated across the $100M in Japan while Captain America 2 opened there as its final territory in its international run. Disney boasts the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the country now with Frozen leading the way.

So far this year, the studio also commands the top two positions internationally of all films in the marketplace … Frozen is No. 1 with $462M and Captain America is $385.1M for the second spot. To show the dominance internationally, the No. three movie – The Wolf of Wall Street — is $122.6M behind the Cap.

Related: INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Global Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014

captain-america-the-winter-soldier01Marvel’s Captain America 2 has now grossed over $500M. In China alone, it is on the verge of passing $100 million. The sequel, 199% ahead of what the first installment did in its full run of $194M, has already passed the total international box office cumes for Iron Man 2 ($312M) and Iron Man ($267M) as well as Thor ($268M) and it did so in four weeks. In Japan, it grossed $2M, more than doubling the opening weekend of the first installment. It is still No. 1 in Korea four weeks running, too.

Related: Box Office: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ Rises High; ‘Transcendence’ Descends Into Hell

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Fading Gigolo’ Seduces In Limited Opening; ‘Under The Skin’ Passes $1M

Indie FilmsFading Gigolo cashed in at the box office this Easter weekend, catapulting itself to the second-highest theater average of 2014 among specialty releases. The feature directed by John Turturro and starring Turturro, Woody Allen and Sharon Stone opened in five locations in New York and LA on Friday, grossing an estimated $198,399 through Sunday for a solid $39,680 average. That outranks A24′s strong debut for Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson, which opened at the beginning of this month. That film, incidentally, passed the $1M cume mark this weekend, with the Jonathan Glazer-directed experimental sci-fi pic grossing $140K in four theaters for a $35K average. The top opener by far of course is Fox Searchlight’s sizzling The Grand Budapest Hotel, which bowed to a record $202K per-theater average March 9.

Related: Box Office: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ Rises, ‘Transcendence’ Descends Into Hell

FadingGigoloThe opening for Fading Gigolo portends a good run for the comedy, which centers on Fioravante (Turturro), who decides to become a Don Juan as a way of making money for his cash-strapped friend Murray (Allen). Turturro told me last week the film had sold to “top notch” distributors worldwide with strong opens in some international territories ahead of its U.S. launch. “It’s a date movie and even people in their 20s like the movie,” he said. “If they like the movie, then anyone will like the movie.” Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee said this morning that Fading Gigolo is performing better than even hoped. “We saw a spectacular jump from Friday to Saturday, which goes to show that audiences were craving a funny and heartfelt film,” he said. Millennium will hold in NY and LA next week expanding the film to 25 runs in both metropolitan areas. It will head to San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Miami on May 2, then to additional markets May 9.

Related: INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Global Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014

Under The Skin saw a sizable expansion and grossed more than $467K in 176 theaters, averaging $2,656. Last week, the film grossed over $309K from 54 runs ($5,727 PTA). Its cume now stands at $1,086,241.

Related: Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Fading Gigolo’, ‘The Final Member’, More Read More »

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Box Office: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ Rises High; ‘Transcendence’ Descends Into Hell; ‘Captain America’ Will Pass $200M And Flips The Bird As ‘Rio 2′ Perched at No. 2

OPENING: Heaven Is For Real (SONY) best opener est. $21.5M to $22M+  (3-day) and $29M+ (5-day); Transcendence (WB) No. 4 with $11M+; A Haunted House 2 (OPRD) $8.8M rounds out top five; Bears (DIS) hibernating with $4.8M at No. 10 – if it doesn’t get pushed out by holdover Noah.

BoxOffice_logo__131122164403-275x206

Related: INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014

UPDATED: SUNDAY, 7:18 AM: $200M, as expected, for Captain America: The Winter Soldier today as it parades in with a $26.7M weekend on Easter Sunday and $201M+. It now stands at $586.6M worldwide. This is the 12th Marvel film to cross that threshold. Easter weekend is up 8% over last year at this time. The holy holiday brings a couple of other surprises as the best newcomer of the weekend, Heaven Is For Real, is now expected to have a 3-day gross of $21.5M to $22M+ for a $9,200 per screen, far above any other picture in the Top Ten. And, depending how much of a drop off there is today, it may end its 5-day run with $29M+. That’s a nice sum for a picture that Sony says has a $12M negative cost (not including marketing). Captain-America-2-The-Winter-Soldier-TrailerKudos to filmmakers Randy Wallace, co-screenwriter Chris Parker, producers T.D. Jakes and Joe Roth and its stars Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly and Connor Corum. “The film definitely played not only to a faith-based audience but to a mainstream audience as well,” said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution. “The title itself provokes dialogue no matter what you believe. It’s based on a book and the true story of this family, so it makes it all that more compelling.”

Related: Specialty Box Office: ‘Fading Gigolo’ Seduces In Limited Opening; ‘Under The Skin’ Passes $1M

The other surprise of the weekend was that Fox’s animated film Rio 2 didn’t get off the ground as everyone expected at the start of the 3-day; it will make about $22.5M this weekend (down 43%) in its sophomore frame for a total cume of $75.3M (according to Fox) although all others have it higher. And the Johnny Depp starrer Transcendence started its slow descent for Warner Bros. and Alcon when it opened to lackluster numbers on Thursday and then received its C+ CinemaScore on Friday when its core audience got a look-see. The pic will make only $11M+ for the weekend. However, in China, it opened bigger than in the U.S. on 2,180 more screens, of course. It grossed $11.4M in China. Right under that is A Haunted House 2, the comedy/horror film that will end up with $8.8M for the weekend.Heaven Is For Real Open Road Films said it was a $4M negative (not counting marketing costs), so perhaps when this finishes its run, it may make a bit of cash. Btw, Open Road is the only distrib. to expect it to gross higher; they are saying $9.1M.

Related: ‘Frozen’ Is Highest Animated International Grosser Of All Time

Disney’s Nature film Bears slept through the weekend with only $4.8M and may not make it into the Top Ten as Paramount’s four-week holdover Noah may end up in that spot. If Noah rounds out the box office top ten, there will be three heavenly related films — Heaven is For Real, God’s Not Dead and Noah — this Easter Sunday. Noah is tracking at $4.8M by all distribs but Paramount who has it at $5M. Can’t call it for Noah yet. Draft Day, in its second weekend, dropped only 40% and its cume is hovering around $19.5M for Lionsgate (Summit) after another $5.8M 3-day, stepping around Divergent to come up a notch in the standings. The horror film, Oculus, dropped off 56% in its second weekend; it’s cume is at $21.1M. Here’s the chart:

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Veteran Fox TV Executive Fired Over Fundraising Campaign For Relatives Of Missing Malaysia Plane Passengers

By | Sunday April 20, 2014 @ 7:15am PDT

Fox Cable NetworksFox Cable Networks Group VP Standards and Practices Darlene Lieblich Tipton has been fired for using her company email address to organize a fundraising campaign to benefit relatives of passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing last month. “The conduct and communications at issue were not authorized by Fox and were in violation of company policy,” a spokesman said in a statement. “As soon as we became aware we took appropriate steps and, while we cannot discuss the particulars, we can tell you the employee is no longer with the company.” Tipton had been at Fox for 24 years, 11 at Fox Broadcasting and 13 at Fox cable.

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‘What Maisie Knew’ Scribe Hit With $3M Libel Suit By Ronee Sue Blakley

What Masie KnewThe perils of co-habitating with a screenwriter are playing out in a $3 million libel suit filed by actress and singer-musician Ronee Sue Blakley against her former lover, screenwriter Carroll Cartwright. In her suit (read it here), filed yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Blakley, the Oscar-nominated leading lady in the 1975 classic film Nashville, claims that she was falsely and maliciously portrayed in Cartwright’s screenplay for the 2012 film What Maisie Knew starring Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard. “The primary thrust of the lawsuit is simple,” read the 15-page suit, which is is requesting a jury trial. “Cartwright wrote the screenplay to further his own feelings of hatred for Blakley by maliciously and falsely portraying her as a selfish and uncaring mother, when in fact she was a devoted and loving parent. This false depiction of Blakley has damaged her reputation and caused her to suffer severe emotional distress.” Read More »

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UPDATE: Supreme Court Allows Feds To Argue In Aereo Case Next Week

By | Saturday April 19, 2014 @ 12:48pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEUPDATE, 12:48 PM: Looks like three isn’t a crowd for the Supreme Court when it comes Aereo-logo__130126232434-200x206__131008001115__131212200214__140110201424__140211193750to the upcoming Aereo hearing. The high court has decided to let the Solicitor General’s office participate in the one-hour oral arguments session between Aereo and the broadcasters Tuesday in Washington D.C. “Motion of the Deputy Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument GRANTED,” said the SCOTUS yesterday. The granting of the motion comes more than a month and a half after the federal government’s top legal office filed a brief supporting the broadcasters in their showdown with the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. That was followed by the Solicitor General’s office requesting the time to directly make its points. The broadcasters have given the federal lawyers 10 minutes of their time. Though the broadcasters have a couple of former Solicitors General on their team, the current Solicitor General will not be involved; before he took his present post, Donald Verrilli Jr. argued Hollywood copyright cases before the SCOTUS and hence has recused himself. The likely candidate will be Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler, who submitted the March 13 motion. Read More »

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WonderCon: Warner Bros Still Earns Cheers With Largely Star-Less Presentation & Jaw-Dropping ‘Godzilla’ Tsunami Clip

By | Saturday April 19, 2014 @ 12:47pm PDT

Bill Paxton WonderconNext to the all-star fireworks Warner Bros unleashed at CinemaCon last month with Adam Sandler, Johnny Depp and Clint Eastwood, the studio kicked off WonderCon’s Saturday movie schedule on a sleepy note with a low wattage of stars. Comparisons to Disney’s previous D23s are inevitable, especially due to the fact that the Mouse House has trotted out such megastars at this same venue — the Anaheim Convention Center Arena — in its previous confabs, i.e. Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, and Robert Downey Jr. First up for Warner Bros today was a fresh Edge of Tomorrow trailer, spotlighting co-star Bill Paxton as a Kentucky sergeant. Paxton later took the stage, but Edge of Tomorrow star Tom Cruise didn’t show; the crowd Godzilla 2014 logodidn’t seem to mind, though, rolling their cheers in appreciation for the Aliens thespian, but still — Cruise isn’t here. Nor was Godzilla castmember Bryan Cranston, a fave for his panel appearances for Breaking Bad at ComicCon.

Related: WonderCon: 20th Century Fox Executes Bryan Singer PR Control During ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Panel

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PILOTS 2014: More Early Buzz

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 9:01pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

panic-buttonWe’re heading into the homestretch of pilot season as the broadcast networks are beginning to view and test the completed pilots, a process that will continue for about two weeks before the nets move on to making pickup and scheduling decisions. Based on buzz around town, here are the most talked-about pilots three weeks before the upfronts.

Related: PILOTS 2014: Early Buzz Edition

ABC_logo_2007Every year, there is at least one pilot that comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone. We may have that this season in ABC‘s multi-camera Cristela. It was not even supposed to be a pilot. Developed at 20th TV-based 21 Laps/Adelstein for more than a year, the semi-autobiographical project co-created by and starring rising Latina stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo was sold to ABC last summer with significant penalty. But when pilot-pickup time came along, ABC quickly loaded on high-profile sitcoms, including the 20th TV-produced The Winklers, starring Henry Winkler, and the untitled Kevin Hart project starring Romany Malco. Cristela didn’t get a pilot order, alonzobut the producers, who also are behind ABC’s Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing, decided to take the penalty, which I hear was about $500,000, and use it to shoot a presentation. (ABC called it “proof of concept.”Cristela ended up filming a full-length pilot on the stage of Last Man Standing using that sitcom’s crew, led by director/co-exec producer John Pasquin, with very little time to rehearse and prep. Because it was supposed to be a presentation, Cristela was not budgeted to get a testing, but I hear 20th TV brass liked the finished product and had it tested. I hear the results blew expectations, with Alonzo, who has no previous acting experience, scoring higher than most stars in recent 20th TV comedy pilots, including Allen, New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel and The Crazy Ones‘ Robin Williams.

Related: Bubble Watch 2014: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

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Gwen Stefani In Talks To Take Christina Aguilera’s Chair On NBC’s ‘The Voice’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 7:50pm PDT

Gwen StefaniNBC will have two “new” judges for The Voice in the fall as Gwen Stefani is in talks to replace the pregnant Christina Aguilera as a coach for Cycle 7, which starts taping in June. According to informed sources, Stefani also had been in talks for a judge position on ABC’s Rising Star, the interactive singing competition that’s set to premiere June 22. And she has experience on these kinds of shows, having mentored on Fox’s American Idol. The No Doubt singer and fashion icon might have given fans at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival TheVoice__121109194015-200x112__130425000858__130502160756__130516211150something of a Voice fall preview last week when she joined Pharrell Williams onstage for a take on her 2005 solo hit “Hollaback Girl.” NBC announced last month that Williams will join The Voice next season, replacing CeeLo Green, who had announced his departure in February.

Related: Chris Martin Joins ‘The Voice’ As Show Makes A Format Change
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Universal Studios Japan Sets Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Opening For July 15

UniversalPotterJapanThe Japan branch of Universal Studios Parks & Resorts and Warner Bros’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction was originally unveiled in May 2012 with a target late-2014 opening date. They made it: The opening day will be July 15. The announcement was made today in Osaka during a ceremony that included Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Harry Potter production designer Stuart Craig, who helped plan and build the themed land. The new attraction will be similar to the one in Florida and will include Hogwarts castle — the first of the new attractions to be unveiled today — Hogsmeade and multiple attractions. This will be the second Wizarding World franchise to get up and running following a lucrative launch at Universal Studios Orlando in June 2010 that revitalized that park. Last April, the LA County Board of Supervisors ended a seven-year process that cleared the way to begin construction on NBCUniversal’s 25-year Evolution Plan, which allowed work to begin on Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood last summer.

Related: Warners, J.K. Rowling Prep ‘Harry Potter’-Inspired Film Series

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BUBBLE WATCH 2014: Freshman ABC Comedy ‘Mixology’ Heating Up For Renewal

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 5:22pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Mixology Season 2 Renewal ChancesIt has been a three-way race for renewal among three bubble ABC comedies: sophomore The Neighbors and freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology, There seems to be some movement within the pack, with the youngest, midseason entry Mixology, gaining momentum. I hear the network and the studio already have put in place a leadership plan for next season, with creators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore set to take over the reins as showrunners from Ira Ungerleider, who will be leaving after running the series for its original 13-episode order. What’s more, in a sign of confidence to Lucas & Moore and their lucasmooreshow, I hear ABC Studios is in negotiations with the duo for an overall deal. At the same time last year, ABC Studios inked an overall deal with Dan Fogelman, with his freshman comedy The Neighbors going on to clinch the only comedy renewal for ABC Studios a few weeks later. Mixology – set in a bar over the course of one night — quickly built a core fan base and has supporters at ABC, including network topper Paul Lee. Its ratings have been lackluster at best, but so have been the numbers for Trophy Wife and The Neighbors. Relaunching a heavily serialized comedy in the fall four months after a brief midseason run would be a challenge, though I hear the story might be reset for Season 2.

Related: Bubble Watch 2014: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

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Deadline Big Media 81: Previewing The Aereo Arguments

By and | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 6:43pm EDT

Deadline Big Media ep 81In this week’s podcast, Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom preview what could be a very big day in the history of broadcasting and technology, as the Supreme Court hears legal arguments Monday about Aereo and its business model. The Davids talk about what’s at stake and how it might play out, where broadcasters might go if they lose and whether a win will turn the broadcasting business upside down. They also look over that very messy, and pricey Disney acquisition of online video powerhouse Maker Studios, and examine why ESPN, pay-TV’s most valuable brand, felt compelled to pitch investors that it’s just fine despite competition, cord-cutting and other existential challenges.

Listen to the podcast in your choice of audio formats here:
Deadline Big Media podcast 81 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 81 (.M4A version)
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Ryan Seacrest Nears Deal To Continue On ‘American Idol’, Likely To Stay In NBCU Fold

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 3:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ryan_seacrest_20110720152348Ryan Seacrest will split his allegiances on May 1 when Fox‘s American Idol, which he hosts, airs against NBC‘s iHeartRadio Music Awards, which his company produces with Clear Channel. The programs involve all three of Seacrest’s major employers: Fox, where he has been making $15 million a year hosting Idol; NBCUniversal, where he has a wide-ranging deal spanning Today, the Olympics and E!; and Clear Channel, where he has his radio show and has been involved in the iHeartRadio franchise as host and producer. Two of the three deals — the Fox and NBCU ones — are coming up in the next few weeks, while the Clear Channel radio pact has another year on it. It seems neither Fox nor NBC has objections to Seacrest promoting programs that compete against each other as both companies are looking to extend their relationship with him. Seacrest is near a deal with Fox to continue on Idol, which is set to return for a 14th season next year despite its ratings slide. He also is expected to reach a new agreement with NBCU, though its scope is still in flux. Seacrest has a long history at both places, which launched his TV career, and loyalty has marked a lot of his business decisions so far.

Related: Jennifer Lopez To Star In NBC Drama Produced By Ryan Seacrest

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Michelle Obama Books Cameo In Military-Themed ‘Nashville’ Episode

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 1:14pm PDT

obamamichelle__130219150049First Lady Michelle Obama will play herself in a cameo appearance on ABC‘s country music drama Nashville on May 7, an episode titled “All Or Nothing With Me” that is set at the Fort Campbell Army base. This comes a couple months after she was set for a cameo on the season finale of Parks And Recreation on April 24, that appearance to promote her “Let’s Move” program targeting child obesity.

Aside from numerous late-night appearances and docu-series, Obama has appeared in only a couple  scripted series including Sesame Street in 2009 and in a cameo on Nickelodeon’s iCarly in 2012. Michelle Obama Appears On The Set Of "iCarly"Obama taped the iCarly appearance in June 2011 while in LA to promote a series of PSAs targeting her “Joining Forces” initiative, designed to raise awareness of military families; iCarly‘s lead character was the daughter of a U.S. service member stationed overseas. That plan was unveiled at the WGA Theatre during a panel sponsored by the Hollywood guilds (and moderated by JJ Abrams) designed to create a dialogue among film and TV folks about ways to share those families’ stories. The Nashville appearance would seem to jibe with that initiative: ABC says the episode’s storyline involves Reyna (Connie Britton) organizing of a charity concert on the Army base after finding out Luke (Will Chase) has been injured in Afghanistan, cutting short his tour. Read More »

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ABC Family Gives Pilot Order To Paranormal Crime Procedural Drama

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 1:07pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

abcfamily1ABC Family has handed out a pilot order to drama Stitchers. Written by Jeffrey A. Schechter (Overruled), Stitchers follows a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave. Schechter executive produces alongside Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken. Production is slated to begin in June. ABC Family got a vacancy on its drama pilot slate when the network pulled the plug on Saudi Arabia-set Alice In Arabia four days after greenlighting it to pilot after pressure from a Muslim advocacy group. Stitchers joins two other recently picked up ABC Family drama pilots:  Recovery Road, based on Blake Nelson’s novel about a teenage girl dealing with addiction, and Unstrung, about a brother-sister tennis player duo. Schechteris with Resolution.

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Ian Gomez Joins CBS Pilot ‘Cuz-Bros’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 12:56pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Ian GomezEXCLUSIVE: Another actor from a comedy series whose fate is up in the air has boarded CBS’ multi-camera odd-couple comedy pilot Cuz-Bros. Cougar Town co-star Ian Gomez has been cast in the pilot, toplined by Geoff Stults and Parker Young of Fox’s Enlisted. Cuz-Bros, from writers David Caspe and Erik Sommers, Sony TV, CBS Studios and Fanfare, centers on Nick (Stults), a successful, suave ladies man working as a sportscaster for a local Los Angeles TV station whose perfect life gets turned upside down when his mess of a cousin, Barry (Young), needs a place to stay. Gomez, repped by APA, Intellectual Artists Management and attorney Jonathan Moonves, plays Phil, Nick’s boss at the TV station. He is being cast as a guest star as he is in second position to Cougar Town, the way Stults and Young are to Enlisted, making Cuz-Bros a rare pilot where most of the primary cast are formally tied to other shows. Cougar Town‘s fifth season ended its run several weeks ago, but TBS is yet to make a decision on a renewal.

Related: 2014 CBS Pilots

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‘Good Morning America’ Promotes Lara Spencer To Co-Anchor

laraspencerBurying his lead, new ABC News President James Goldston sent around a memo to staff today — in Paragraph 6 of which was the announcement he’d promoted Good Morning America‘s Lara Spencer to co-host of the program along with Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. Roberts recently signed a new contract to stay with the show; ditto Spencer. Stephanopoulos’ contract was due to come up later this year — his reps are in talks with ABC News now.

Related: ‘GMA’ Beats ‘Today’ By Biggest Margin In Three Months

Spencer was the only one of three GMA-ers whose contracts came up around the same time as Roberts’ who re-signed. The two guys — Sam Champion and Josh Elliott both got poached by NBC, whose Today show saw its longtime ratings record snapped two years ago by GMA.Which brings us to Goldston’s memo: celebrating tomorrow’s anniversary of GMA ending Today’s 852-week winning streak. Here’s the memo:

Related: Michael Strahan Debuts On ‘Good Morning America’: Video

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Discovery Channel’s Mount Everest Jump Date In Question After Avalanche Kills 13: Video

EverestNBC News, whose Peacock Productions is producing Discovery’s Mount Everest live jump, said this morning “the future of the production will be assessed at the appropriate time” after the deadliest disaster ever recorded at the peak killed 13 Sherpa guides last night. The guides were carrying equipment and supplies to camps for climbers getting ready for peak trekking season — including those preparing to participate in Discovery Channel‘s Everest Jump Live, produced by the NBC News division.

Related: ‘Everest’ Movie Crew OK After Tragic Avalanche

Discovery, which had just announced Monday the live two-hour event would air May 11, said this morning its star Joby Ogwyn was at base came at the time of the avalanche, which struck a group of about 50 — mostly Nepalese sherpas — at more than 20,000 feet. Four people remain missing, according to Nepal’s Tourism Ministry. Discovery said it has has not had conversations as to how the disaster might impact its plans. ”The avalanche last night on Mt. Everest is a terrible tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who are lost and with their families. The immediate priority for Joby and the team is to assist the search and rescue efforts in anyway possible.”

Related: Discovery Channel Preps For Big Leap With Five Nights Of ‘Everest: Live From Base Camp’

NBC News said its crews were on Mt. Everest preparing for Discovery’s special — in which Ogwyn is scheduled to climb Everest and leap from the summit wearing only a winged suit equipped with cameras – when the avalanche struck.

“The biggest tragedy of this is that it’s the very beginning of the [climbing] season and to lose this number of people at the very beginning of the season may be the end of the season here,”  cameraman Ed Wardle told NBC’s Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie.

“I think a lot of people are wondering whether it’s appropriate to go on, given the scale of this tragedy,” Guthrie quickly jumped in when Wardle’s “biggest tragedy” talk took that cold turn.  (Video after the jump)

NBC News issued a statement this morning saying, “We are grateful and relieved that the seven NBC News staffers on site are all accounted for and unharmed. Tragically, 13 Nepalese sherpas from a number of expedition companies who prepare the mountain each year for climbing season lost their lives, and the rescue mission continues. We are working closely with the team on the ground to assist however we can, and our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families.”

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