The fanboy Super Bowl is over. Who made the most of San Diego Comic-Con and who spit the bit? Here’s the view from Deadline staffers who endured endless movie and TV show presentations. We’ll start with features:
WARNER BROS.: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jupiter Ascending, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
The best Comic-Con panels show fans things they’ve never seen before. From that standpoint, Warners Bros changed the game by making the Hall H experience seem larger. It turned the dark curtains covering 450-feet down the sides of the auditorium into a wraparound multimedia visual experience that left jaded geeks looking left and right in wonder at images that complemented the onstage presentation. Expect others to rip this off. For starpower: Zack Snyder introduced his Batman v. Superman stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot and offered glimpses of the film. Warner Bros also wowed with explosive footage from Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that looks like it could be the answer someday to this Trivial Pursuit question: what movie transformed Tom Hardy from a great actor into a big fucking movie star? Warner Bros also brought Middle Earth excitement to Hall H with a lengthy Hobbit: The Five Armies panel and footage that had LOTR fans aflutter.
Related: Q&A: Peter Jackson On His Middle … Read More »
The CW today unveiled a new two-hour special titled The World Dog Awards for January 2015, which promises to combine Hollywood award season and man’s best friends. The gist: dogs will be celebrated for their work in entertainment, health services, the military, and the Internet (sample category: Best Actor in a Supporting Role to a Dog). The location of the show? Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar, of course. There will be viewer voting, edible trophies and musical performances from some of today’s biggest acts (Snoop Dogg, anyone?).
Also for noting on network TV schedules: NBC said it will again air a three-hour block for its American Ninja Warrior international competition. USA Vs. The World, featuring five of the top U.S. competitors against a group from Japan and Europe on the show’s finals course, will air Monday, September 15 from 8-11 PM. It will encore the next night on NBCU sibling Esquire Network. Among the names not on the U.S. roster: Kacy Catanzaro, the first woman to make the show’s finals. Her Dallas run has more than 8 million views on YouTube. Maybe they’ll make an exception?
EXCLUSIVE: J.R. Ramirez has been cast as Ted “Wildcat” Grant on the upcoming third season of the CW‘s Arrow. The show’s executive producer Marc Guggenheim announced at Comic-Con this past weekend that the character would be introduced on the show in Season 3 but did not reveal casting information. The role is envisioned as a potentially recurring. In the DC Comics, Ted Grant is a member of the Justice Society for America, as well as the mentor and trainer of other masked vigilantes including the Black Canary.
In Arrow, Grant will be a former boxer who now runs a gym for underprivileged youth. A man with a mysterious past, he will play a pivotal role in Laurel Lance’s arc this season. Wildcat is one of two major DC comic book characters to be added to Arrow this coming seaso, along with villain Ra’s al Ghul. This marks Ramirez’s return to the CW where he recurred on Emily Owens, MD. The actor, repped by Mavrick Artists and manager Marie Mathews, has been recurring on Starz’s drama Power.
After lurking as a presence in Arrow throughout the second season, villain Ra’s al Ghul finally will appear in Season 3, as will the hero Wildcat, fans at Comic-Con’s mega-screening for Warner Bros TV and DC Comics properties learned tonight. While his face was not identified, the criminal mastermind was seen in full costume and with a sword in a new preview clip. Following up on a Facebook hint by Arrow lead Stephen Amell that Ted “Wildcat” Grant would join the show, producer Marc Guggenheim tonight confirmed both additions to the hit CW drama. A longtime DC villain, Liam Neeson played the character on the big screen in 2005’s Batman Begins and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.
The Arrow revelations came at the end of the first nighttime presentation for SDCC, screening a smorgasbord of upcoming WBTV shows in massive Hall H.
“You saved the best for last,” said WBTV Marketing chief Lisa Gregorian to the thousands in the hall in kicking off the 3-hour event. The extravaganza not only was a testament to the rise of superheroes but also WB and DC properties. “I remember being at Comic-Con when we were the only DC property on television,” said Amell, the night’s emcee, as he named off The Flash pilot, the world premiere of Batman prequel Gotham, plus a preview of NBC’s new supernatural thriller Constantine and … Read More »
The late-night talk show host’s pet side project won’t make a cameo on the upcoming Primetime Emmys telecast that he’s hosting, but Seth Meyers mentioned during The Awesomes panel at Comic-Con that his team is writing “filmed segments featuring many of this year’s nominees.”
Season 2 of his animated superhero Hulu series is upping its profile with the addition of his Saturday Night Live pals Amy Poehler, Maya Rud0lph and Will Forte voicing new characters. While Season 1 focused on a ragtag misfit superhero team (inspired largely by DC’s Justice League), in Season 2 we find The Awesomes getting more respect. Meyers’ lead toon hero Prock falls in love with a fierce lawyer, Jaclyn Stone (Poehler), who when it comes to fighting adversaries in court will “sue their dicks off.” There’s also a new vigilante hanging around, Metal-fella, who is a lot like Marvel’s Iron Man. Whether the production will face any litigation from Marvel, Meyers quipped: “No one knows who came up with which one first. Maybe we’ll sue people.” We’ll also see the family members of Season 1 villain Dr. Malocchio (fellow SNL alum Bill Hader) including Lady Malocchio (Rudolph) and Malocchio Jr. (Forte), the latter plotting revenge. Other zany plotlines for Season 2 include Perfect Man (voiced by brother Josh Meyers) getting in a bind and learning he needs the help of The Awesomes in court. Said Seth Meyers: “Perfect Man is a racist because he’s stupid. He’s even against Atlantic Islanders, the people from Nantucket.” Read More »
The Comic-Con crowd got its first look at Season 3 of the CW’s Arrow today. Get a gander at the series newcomers Brandon Routh, returning to the superhero scene as Ray Palmer, and Karl Yune as Maseo — as well as Colton Haynes in costume as Arsenal. Oh, and there’s a shot or two of Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy:
iZombie executive producer and co-creator Rob Thomas told potential fans today at Comic-Con that he wasn’t screening the CW pilot at the fanboy confab because it’s not ready yet. “We’re recasting some of the roles and have three more days to reshoot. We wanted to have a finished product that is ready to air.”
As reported by Deadline on May 20, Alexandra Krosney in the iZombie pilot was being replaced. Krosney played Peyton, the best friend of do-gooder Seattle medical student-turned-zombie-tuned-PI Liv Moore (Rose McIver).
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Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has a problem. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is preparing to sweeten his offer for the owner of Warner Bros, CNN, and HBO after it rejected an $80B cash-and-stock proposal last month. And Bewkes, who says he wants to keep Time Warner independent, has few takeover defenses. What can he do? Here are a few of the leading options that Time Warner execs and their advisors at Citigroup are weighing.
Combine with CBS: This would make Time Warner toxic for Fox: The FCC would not allow Murdoch to control two of the four biggest networks, and two of the largest TV station groups with overlaps in the nation’s largest markets.
And the business logic of a Time Warner-CBS combination is compelling. CBS chief Les Moonves would like to diversify his company to make it less dependent on domestic TV advertising. (He has already said that he’d like to buy CNN if Fox prevails with Time Warner and puts the news channel on the block.) Moonves also has made it clear that he’d like to play a bigger role in movies — his CBS Films appears to be struggling to figure out its identity. CBS could address these concerns by blending with Time Warner’s cable channels and movie studio.
The chief obstacle is that CBS is controlled by Sumner Redstone, who also owns Viacom. He hasn’t wanted to give up either property, and some bankers believe he’d prefer to … Read More »
The CW is pulling the plug on its latest attempt to launch scripted comedies. Online-to-TV transplant Backpackers and Canadian import Seed are coming off the schedule immediately. Next Monday, the CW’s lineup was already pre-empted for the Young Hollywood Awards. For the two following Mondays, the network will air Arrow repeats behind an original and encore of Whose Line Is It Anyway? On August 18, the 21st cycle premiere of America’s Next Top Model will air in the hour, where the veteran reality series will spend six weeks before moving to its regular Friday 9 PM time slot. (Its lead-in will be Whose Line original and repeat on August 18 and magic series Masters Of Illusion and Whose Line rerun starting the following Monday.) Top Model originally was slated to return on August 22 it its Friday 9 PM berth. It now will be double-pumped for the first six weeks, with repeats airing on Fridays.
Related: CW Fall Dates: Premieres Begin October 2 After IHeartRadio Music Fest
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Composers from a number of Marvel and DC film and TV projects will be talking about their craft at the second annual “Musical Anatomy of a Superhero” panel tomorrow, Thursday, July 24th, from 3-4 PM in the Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom. John Ottman (X-Men: Days of Future Past,Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer), Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy, Salem) Brian Tyler (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Blake Neely (CW’s The Flash, Arrow) and Christophe Beck (Frozen, Edge of Tomorrow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will take attendees behind the scenes on their musical process and show clips, some never-before-seen. The event is produced by Costa Communications.
EXCLUSIVE: Turn co-star Angus Macfadyen is set for one of the lead roles in The Pinkertons, Canadian companies Rosetta Media and Buffalo Gal Pictures’ upcoming 22-episode action-adventure detective series that is set to premiere in first-run syndication in the U.S. this fall. It has been cleared in more than 85% of the country by Rohrs Media Group on station groups including Tribune, Weigel, Hearst, LIN, Meredith, Cox and the CW PLUS.
Drawing on the real cases of Pinkerton Detective Agency, The Pinkertons follows founder Allan Pinkerton (Macfadyen), his son, William, and America’s first female detective, Kate Warne, as they solve crimes throughout the “Wild West” of the 1860s (Pinkerton is known for revolutionizing detective work by developing use of surveillance, undercover work and the mug shot). In part because of his commitment to AMC drama Turn, on which he is a regular, Macfadyen is will be a recurring guest star on The Pinkertons, not appearing in all episodes. Turn was renewed in June for a 10-episode second season to air in the spring. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: While SAG-AFTRA officials have been touting all the benefits of the union’s proposed new film and TV contract, they’ve remained mum about one key issue: How will the 17% of actors’ earnings that employers pay into the union’s two separate pension and health plans be allocated? It’s a key question because the two plans – the SAG Pension and Health Plan and the AFTRA Health & Retirement Fund – have different eligibility requirements and offer different benefit packages.
Related: SAG-AFTRA Posts 10 Reasons To Vote Yes On New Contract; Do Members Agree?
Deadline has learned that SAG’s Pension and Health Plan will receive contributions from new one-hour network shows (mostly dramas), new half-hour basic cable shows (mostly sitcoms), and everything new made for syndication, other than shows made for the CW. Contributions on earnings from new TV shows made for new media, pay TV and home video also will go into the SAG plan.
Related: (Non) Shocker! SAG-AFTRA Board Approves New Contract
AFTRA’s Health and Retirement fund will receive contributions on earnings from new half-hour network shows (mostly sitcoms) and new one-hour basic cable shows (mostly dramas), all new longform TV shows (such as miniseries and telefilms), and everything made for CW. Read More »
James Garner just made it all look too easy.
That’s the only explanation I can give for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences failing to vote him an Honorary Oscar over these last few years of Governors Awards. More than once I wrote a column of “suggestions” including those egregiously overlooked artists deserving of the industry’s top award, and always near the top was my annual reminder of Garner. But I guess it is just too late now. Garner, who died Saturday night at age 86, probably just would brush off the honor anyway, thinking those more “obvious” choices were more likely to ever get an Oscar. But it is precisely because he made it all seem so effortless that he was annually passed over.
It couldn’t have been because he was also a major television star could it? Nah. Maverick , The Rockford Files, those fine TV movies, and those magical Polaroid commercials he did with Mariette Hartley were all great. And no one can deny the power of those TV movies he did including Promise, Barbarians At The Gate , Breathing Lessons, Decoration Day, The Long Summer Of George Adams and My Name Is Bill W to name a few. These showed off an actor of real range. If it were just a career in television, it would be incredibly impressive but all the obits this morning calling him a TV legend, which he certainly was, missed the point of just what Garner’s remarkable acting achievement … Read More »
CW chief Mark Pedowitz still is hopeful he’ll get a Supernatural spinoff on his schedule, despite passing on a long-gestating one this past May. “The Supernatural spinoff that came in, creatively did not quite get to where we wanted it to go,” he told TV critics this morning, echoing sentiments he expressed to reporters the morning of his Upfront presentation to advertisers in May. “We have told [the exec producers] we are very open to do another spinoff; we’re waiting for them to come in with whatever the next concept is,” he said, calling Supernatural “a franchise that has a lot of legs to it.”
Supernatural exec producer Jeremy Carver thinks so too, telling TV critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “There’s so much story left to tell – which is remarkable given that we’re in season 129 already,” he quipped during the Q&A session to discuss the start of its 10th season. That said, when the show finally throws in the towel, “I know [show creator] Eric Kripke always had an ending in mind,” Carver said. However, he insisted the writers “minds are wide open” to a “happy accident” producing some new idea for the show wrapper, adding, “The show is continuing on beyond any of our wildest dreams and I don’t want to limit myself.”
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“We’re incorporating almost everything from the mythology into it and have added a whole new backstory” with the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, Geoff Johns, CEO of DC Entertainment, said today during the panel for the new CW series. The series, starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, is a spinoff of CW’s Arrow.
The producers also announced today that Wentworth Miller will guest star on the series as Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold. The series premieres October 7 in the Tuesday 8 PM slot.
Johns said “the most faithful DC Comic adaption ever” includes using as many characters from the comic series as possible. He appeared on the panel with executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and cast members. Read More »
CW‘s new series Jane The Virgin, is not a straight adaptation of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana La Virgen - more telenovela meets Gilmore Girls, writer Jennie Snyder Urman told TV critics attending Summer TV Press Tour 2014. Jane The Virgin chronicles the story of aspiring writer Jane Villanueva, a virgin, who accidentally is artificially inseminated at a hospital, and subsequently struggles to navigate her relationships with the biological father, her boyfriend and her mother and grandmother.
“The show is a little less broad [than ABC's telenovela adaptation Ugly Betty],” Urman explained, calling it “the strange mark I’m trying to hit….I wanted it to have a fairy tale, whimsical quality.” At the same time, she hopes to use the tropes of the telenovela – “Evil twin” and things like that, while keeping the characters “grounded and relatable” which she acknowledged, is a “tricky tone” to pull off.
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