HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Deal With Amazon Prime

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 9:07am EDT

HBOTake that, Netflix. Beginning on May 21 the multi-year agreement will enable Amazon Prime subscribers to stream series including The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, and later — about three years after episodes initially air — GirlsThe Newsroom and Veep. In addition, by year end Amazon will offer HBO GO on its new Fire TV platform. (It’s already available to HBO subscribers on other devices including Google’s Chromecast.) The shows will still be available on HBO’s platforms, but the companies say that this is the first time the premium pay TV channel’s shows have been licensed to an online-only streaming service. “As owners of our original programming, we have always sought to capitalize on that investment,” HBO EVP Business and Legal Affairs Glenn Whitehead says.

Related: Will HBO’s Deal With Amazon Change The Online Video Game?

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2014 International CESAmazon shares are up 1.4% pre market, and Netflix is down 2.7%, following the announcement. That suggests investors didn’t fully accept Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ claim on Monday that the streaming video providers can peacefully coexist. “It’s a very much not a zero-sum game and we are building this ecosystem together that’s about Internet video and the more players there are in Internet video, the bigger that ecosystem gets,” he said. “The big theme is Internet video is taking share away from linear video. So we are all participating in that transformation.” He has more mixed feelings about HBO: In January he joked that HBO chief Richard Plepler’s Netflix password was probably: “Netflix bitch.”

AmazonPrimeInstantVideoStifel analyst Benjamin Mogil says HBO probably made its deal with Amazon, instead of Netflix, because there’s less overlap among their subscribers. Still, it’s “clearly a negative for Netflix, given the high profile nature of the HBO content” and could “somewhat limit” the streaming company’s just-announced plan to raise its prices for new customers. He notes, though, that HBO and Amazon released few details about the deal terms and that it doesn’t include all HBO shows.

Here’s today’s announcement from HBO and Amazon: Read More »

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Mitch Hurwitz Inks Multi-Year Deal With Netflix For New Series

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 4:50pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

hurwitzEXCLUSIVE: Mitch Hurwitz is staying in the Netflix fold with a multi-year deal, a rare pact with a writer-producer for the streaming giant. Under the multi-tier agreement, the Arrested Development creator will create and produce new original series for the Internet TV network through his banner The Hurwitz Company. Additionally, he will develop projects with other creators as a non-writing executive producer and will consult for Netflix on comedy series. Hurwitz first worked with Netflix on a new season of his Emmy-winning comedy series Arrested Development, which netflix_logo__121008075714-200x92__130701074658was released last year. “We are lucky to be in business with Mitch Hurwitz, a true genius with one of the most distinctive voices in comedy today,” said Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “Mitch’s inventive approach to Arrested Development — one of the top TV comedies of this generation — was ahead of its time, and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.”

Related: Netflix Says It May Raise Prices For New Customers

After winning six Emmys for its three-year run on Fox from 2003-06 — including three for Hurwitz, for best series and two for writing — Arrested Development‘s fourth season on Netflix earned three more Emmy nominations for the show, bringing the total to 25. Hurwitz executive produced and co-directed Season 4, and it was that collaboration with Netflix, which Hurwitz describes as being “the best professional experience of my life, even topping some of my favorite unprofessional experiences,” that led to the new deal. “It is incredibly inspiring to get to produce for Netflix, a company that not only doesn’t resist change but is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone in forging it,” Hurwitz said. “The fact that I’m also getting one month of their streaming right to my TV or Xbox free … well, it really takes the sting out of buying that Xbox.”

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‘Mad Men’ Debut Jumps With Live+3-Day Viewing

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 1:45pm PDT

MAD MEN SEASON 7 DEBUT 3The return of Mad Men for the first part of Season 7 on Sunday clocked 3.7 million viewers when Live+3 viewing stats are added in – a 62% jump from the previously reported 2.3 million for Live+Same Day. That’s good news for AMC, given those Live+SD stats had been the acclaimed drama series’ lowest season premiere since 2008’s Season 2.

Related: ‘Mad Men’s’ Season 7 Big Hollywood Premiere Buzz

Mad Men is one of TV’s most DVR’d series. In key demos, for instance – 18-49 and 25-54 – Sunday’s premiere telecast of the seventh-season starter bagged even bigger gains when delayed viewing through three days was factored in. In 18-49, the tally popped to 1.8 million viewers, up 74% from the initially reported ratings. In 25-54, Mad Men climbed 73%, to 1.9 million. The period drama’s return is still, however, down compared to its Season 6 opener on April 7, 2013, which snagged 4.5 million overall viewers, 2.1 million 18-49 viewers and 2.3 million in the 25-54 age bracket in Live+3 viewing. That two-hour debut was the show’s second-most-watched episode ever. It closely followed the Season 5 debut of March 25, 2012, which was seen by an audience … Read More »

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Deadline Awards Watch 70: The Cannes Lineup Assessment Podcast

By and | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 8:39pm PDT

Deadline Awards Watch podcast 70In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom assess the just-announced lineup for this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which competing films have serious Oscar hopes and which pics Pete can’t wait to see when he hits the Croisette for Deadline next month. Today also was the last day for would-be Emmy voters to make themselves eligible with the TV Academy, and Pete and David take a look at the Emmy campaigns that are heating up, while also grumpily acknowledging the first Oscar campaign of the 2015 season. Finally, Pete gives his take on the weekend’s notable movie debuts, including Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence, the Woody Allen-John Tuturro collaboration Fading Gigolo and faith-based hit-in-the-making Heaven Is For Real. Read More »

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HRTS Hitmakers Panel Jabs At Polarizing Emmy Categories

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 6:12pm PDT

HRTSThe lines between TV comedy and drama get blurrier by the season with such genre-straddling shows as Nurse Jackie, Louie, Californication and Justified. Two hourlong series, Shameless and Orange Is the New Black, will compete as comedies at the Emmys this year after previously being submitted as dramas at awards shows. The subject was batted around during today’s HRTS Hitmakers panel at the Beverly Hilton, which featured Orange Is The New Black and Weeds creator Jenji Kohan as well as Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel, Lost) and Michelle Ashford (Masters Of Sex). Moderator Michael Schneider asked the trio if there’s such a thing as comedy and drama on TV anymore. “Only for the Emmys, apparently,” Cuse replied. Added Kohan, “I just wish there was an hourlong category and a half-hour category. I wish everyone wasn’t so focused on category.” For the record, the semi-word “dramedy” didn’t come up in the discussion.

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OSCARS: Paramount Courts Academy Voters For ‘Noah’ And It’s Only April!

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 3:51pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Are you kidding?

Did Paramount just officially start the 2014 Oscar campaign even as we are barely getting the Emmys off the ground and theRussell Crowe as Noah Tonys are two months away? Uh, yes. Looks like it. One top studio exec (not from Paramount) forwarded me an email he got yesterday from the Paramount Awards Office that pronounced free admission starting April 15th - two by two for Academy members and a guest- to screenings of Noah at theaters nationwide – but only Monday thru Thursday since most theater owners usually don’t like to give up seats on the weekends, especially to rich and famous movie types.

Related: Can ‘Noah’ And ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Overcome Oscar’s Greatest Curse: A March Release Date?
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EMMYS: Major Deadline Looms And New Online Voting Process Rolls Out As The Race Takes Off

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:25pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Emmy season is revving up already even though the primetime awards show won’t be happening until the end of summer Emmyslogo_new(Monday August 25th on NBC). But if you want to vote, the first major deadline looms tomorrow April 17, the last day to join the Academy, renew your membership or apply for hyphenate ballots in order to cast a ballot in this year’s contest. There is always a surge  of interest in joining the Academy around this time of year. In fact, last season there was a substantial increase in membership, primarily in order to cast an Emmy ballot. It’s not uncommon to see applications coming in bulk from staffs of shows that want those nominations, but unless these hopefuls apply by Thursday they will have to wait until next year.

In addition to the deadline, the Television Academy (as it now calls itself – and full disclosure I am on the Board Of Governors representing Writers) just sent out a formal letter this week to the eligible membership (now well over 16,000 and climbing) regarding instructions for online voting, which is being instituted for the first time this season. Read More »

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‘True Detective’ Now Most Watched HBO Freshman Series Ever

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 11:58am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

true-detectiveWith delayed viewers factored in, the gross audience for HBO‘s buzzy new drama series True Detective starring Matthew McConaughy and Woody Harrelson has risen to 11.9 million viewers per episode, making it the most-watched first-year series in HBO’s history. True Detective edged the previous record for first-year gross viewership held by Six Feet Under, which averaged 11.4 million. The murder mystery also was ahead of the Season 1 cume viewership for Game Of Thrones, which holds the record for HBO’s most-watched series overall, averaging 14.4 million viewers for its most recent third season.

Related: Emmys: ‘True Detective’ To Compete As Drama Series

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EMMYS: John Landgraf Calls For Tougher Category Rules, Says ‘True Detective’s Entry As Drama Series “Unfair”

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 9:53am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf today threw his hat in the debate over what constitutes a drama series and a miniseries for Emmy consideration and whether an hourlong series american_horror_story_coven_cast_a_lcan enter as a comedy, challenging the TV Academy to stiffen its criteria and create stricter category guidelines.

FX anthology series American Horror Story shook up the Emmy landscape three years ago when it opted to submit itself as a miniseries, not a drama series. The race was jolted again this year when HBO’s True Detective took the opposite stance, identifying itself as a drama series. “In our minds this is a series, and the only reason to enter it as a miniseries was a cynical reason that didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Deadline last week.

2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6Landgraf today defended the network’s decision to submit AHS as a miniseries, objected to HBO’s decision to have True Detective compete as drama series, and called on the TV Academy to better define its categories. “I don’t think it’s cynical to enter AHS as a miniseries,” he said. “I don’t look at it that way. The definition should be a miniseries has a story that ends, a series has a story that continues on.” Landgraf argued that limited series have the advantage to attract bigger-caliber actors, like True Detective‘s Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as well as Billy Bob Thornton who toplines FX’s limited series Fargo. Emmyslogo_new“It’s unfair for HBO to get actors that you can’t normally get to do a series who would do a close-ended show and pack the (drama actor) category. That is patently unfair to people like (The Americans’) Matthew Rhys who signed for seven years.” Right now, TV Academy defines shows like AHS and True Detective as having “dual eligibility,” with the series producers left to decide in which of the two categories they are eligible for they would compete.

Related: FX & FXX To Double Original Output, ‘Simpsons’ To Debut On FXX With A Bang, ‘Americans’ Nears Season 3 Renewal

Read More »

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FX & FXX To Double Their Original Output, ‘Simpsons’ To Debut On FXX With A Bang, ‘The Americans’ Nears Season 3 Renewal

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 8:34am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FX_Americans_s640x427FX Networks had been ramping up development, with some dozen pilots ordered in the past year. It is part of a major original expansion. At an upfront press event in New York, CEO John LandgThe Simpsonsraf said the company will go up from 11 originals to 20 across FX and FXX during the next year. FX Networks’ $750 million acquisition, The Simpsons, will make its debut on FXX in August with 12-day marathon. “It will be the longest continuous marathon in the history of television,” Landgraf said.

Related: EMMYS: John Landgraf Calls For Tougher Category Rules, Says ‘True Detective’s Entry As Drama Series “Unfair”

On the renewal front, a formal third-season renewal of The Americans is expected soon, he said. “We look forward to it being on our schedule for quite some time,” he said, later adding that he was “confident in the [show's] long-term prospect.” While the series’ live numbers may have dipped, it has been a DVR growth story. The Americans‘ DVR numbers are “unlike anything I have ever seen,” Landgraf said. “Live viewing is essentially just 20% of whole.”

Landgraf and his team will wait for the seasons of Legit and Chozen to end before making a decision on their future but that would be coming soon. Landgraf also touted the new season of Louie as being “amazing” and upcoming limited series Fargo as being “so good I can’t close the door” on another installment. “If it comes back, it will once again be located in North Dakota or Minnesota but telling a different story with different characters.” However, “the bar is high, it has to be an extraordinarily good story.”

Related: Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton & Charlie Day Ink Big New 3-Year Deal With FX Prods

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NBCU Press Day: Comedy Stars Not Fans Of Multi-Cam, Question ‘Shameless’ Decision To Compete For Emmy As Comedy

Mindy KalingIt is the golden age of comedy now, Mindy Kaling told reporters at NBCU Press Day, because whereas once you used to have to wait 2 1/2 years for Larry David to get around to writing another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, “now there’s always something happening” in comedy on the TV landscape. She was joined by stars of other Universal TV comedies airing on NBC and elsewhere.

Related: Mindy Kaling Exits UTA

andy-sandbergJenna Elfman is a big fan of single cam comedies, like her new Growing Up Fisher, because “with the Internet … audiences are more savvy, and with a single camera you can home in on nuance more than with multi-cam and capture the smarter side of the story.”

Related: NBC Press Day: Bill Lawrence Talks ‘Undateable’

Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg chimed in: “I was on SNL, which was live, but everything I did was pre-taped, so I was already headed in that direction. Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott said there a “weird thing” about doing comedy on a multi-cam. “If you don’t say a joke with a particular inflection, the laughs just don’t occur. I did very badly in that format.” But he acknowledged, “Shows like Cheers were able to make it work.” Read More »

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Tribeca Film Festival Jurors Announced

Tribeca 2014 marqueeThe judges are set for 13th annual edition of the event founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff. The seven competition juries for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival include 33 filmmakers, writers, producers, actors, journalists and entrepreneurs. The World Narrative Competition judges are Lake Bell, Steve Conrad, Bart Freundlich, Catherine Hardwicke and Ben Younger. Jurors for other categories include Toni Collette, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Goldblum, Alfonso Arau, Heather Graham, Anton Yelchin, HBO’s Sheila Nevins and Google’s Regina Dugan. The Nas rap docu Time Is Illmatic will open the fest, which runs April 16-27 in NYC. The recently re-retitled Begin Again closes it. Here is the full list of jurors and categories:

Related:
Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate
MSG Entering Into Strategic Deal With Tribeca Enterprises

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UPDATE: David Letterman Ends An Era, Announcing He Will Retire In 2015

UPDATED THROUGHOUT, 7:35 PM: CBS late-night star David LettermanDavid Letterman Retiring Late Night With David Letterman surprised his studio audience this afternoon when he announced he is retiring in 2015. “The man who owns this network, Leslie Moonves, he and I have had a relationship for years and years and years, and we have had this conversation in the past, and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance. And I phoned him just before the program, and I said ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, and the network has been great, but I’m retiring,’” Letterman told his Ed Sullivan Theatre crowd, who reacted with stunned silence. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Letterman only notified Moonves this morning.

Related:
David Letterman Through The Years: Video
Watch David Letterman Announce His Retirement Read More »

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Deadline Awards Watch 68: The March Oscar Jinx Podcast

By and | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 5:58pm PDT

Deadline Awards Watch podcast 68In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom, talk about whether seemingly awards-ready hits Noah and The Grand Budapest Hotel can overcome their early-year release dates and make a big run during Oscar season. We’ll also get Pete’s report from the premiere party for the last season of Mad Men and assess whether it has any chance to grab a few more Emmys against stiff drama category competition that now will include HBO’s True Detective.

Finally, Pete and David give their takes on the weekend’s notable movie debuts, which will be dominated this weekend by Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They also take up the Drake Doremus-directed romantic drama Breathe In, with Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan, and The Unknown Known, the latest documentary from Oscar winner Errol Morris, about former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Listen to the podcast in your choice of formats here:
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 68 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 68 (.M4A version)

The M4A version of this podcast is designed to run on any device using Apple’s iTunes software, and includes enhanced graphics and links to stories and other resources. The MP3 version of this podcast is designed to play on virtually any device capable of playing digital audio.

Those with “podcatcher” software may subscribe to AwardsWatch and have it automatically downloaded to them at this … Read More »

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EMMYS: HBO’s Michael Lombardo On The Decision To Enter ‘True Detective’ As Drama

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 3:48pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

True DetectiveMore than a week after HBO announced that its buzzy True Detective will compete as a drama series at the Emmys, shaking up the drama race as a potential frontrunner, the decision is still a hot topic of conversation, with pundits debating whether the eight-episode series, created by Nic Pizzolatto and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, belongs in the drama or miniseries category. The latest to weigh in was Mad Men creator Matt Weiner. “I was surprised they did it but I bet that everyone who is in that Drama category said ‘oh s***’,” he told Deadline‘s Pete Hammond. “That makes me think HBO did the right thing.”

hbo45__130924185923-275x112__140114010318HBO had not commented on its Emmy category choice for True Detective until now. Here is what the network’s programming president Michael Lombardo had to say about it. “This project was pitched to us, it was produced by us and marketed by us as a series. Nic never thought of this as a miniseries, and we always treated him as a creator of a series. In our minds this is a series, and the only reason to enter it as a miniseries was a cynical reason that didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”
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‘Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston Writing Memoir

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 2:35pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BryanCranstonAfter completing his run as tortured meth maker Walter White that won him three Emmys for Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston has made a deal with Scribner to write his memoir, to be published fall 2015. Cranston, who began his career in comedic roles that ranged from Seinfeld to Malcolm In The Middle, took a dramatic detour in the Vince Gilligan-created AMC series that now defines his career. He’s currently starring as LBJ on Broadway’s All The Way. “Walter White taught me a lot — some of it useful, some of it dangerous,” said Cranston. “With this book, I want to tell the stories of my life and reveal the secrets and lies that I lived with for six years shooting Breaking Bad.”

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‘Mad Men’s’ Season 7 Big Hollywood Premiere Buzz: How Does It All End? Why Can’t The Cast Win At Emmys? And Why Does Matt Weiner Welcome HBO’s ‘True Detective’ To Drama Series Race?

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 12:03pm PDT
Pete Hammond

AMC threw a Hollywood premiere Wednesday night to kick off what was termed “the beginning of the end.” mad-men-logo-300x165AMC president Charlie Collier, Mad Men creator Matt Weiner and cast and crew were at the Arclight Theatre for the “Time Zones” episode that begins the first half of Season 7 premiering April 13th. The season marks the final go-round of the landmark four-time Emmy-winning Best Drama Series. The protracted goodbye will be split between seven episodes this spring and the final final episodes in spring 2015.

It was all very bittersweet last night as production actually was just beginning on those even as the premiere was kicking off.  In fact, executive producer Scott Hornbacher, who directed the “Time Zones” episode, was late to this party as he is also directing the first of those backend episodes. AMC's "Mad Men" Season 7 Premiere PartyHe told me later at the Chateau Marmont afterparty  that it’s going to be tough to end it, pointing to several people in the room he described as “family,” people  he saw every day.  That was the general consensus I got from so many cast members and AMC execs who have been with this since Day 1. One exec told me he was 24 when he first saw the pilot script. He’s 35 now. Life goes on. And so does Mad Men – at least to the conclusion for this iconic group of characters. CAA’s Bryan Lourd was seated next to me (he reps Weiner) and told me he wouldn’t have missed this event — even though CAA is having its retreat this weekend at La Costa near San Diego and he had to postpone a run-thru there to 11 PM so he could make it down the 405 freeway after the screening. Read More »

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R.I.P. Sports Director Sandy Grossman

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 10:06pm PDT

Sandy GrossmanThe eight-time Sports Emmy winner was a regular in the truck during NFL games called by the popular announcing duo of Pat Summerall and John Madden. Sandy Grossman has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 78. He spent 21 seasons with Summerall and Madden, first at CBS and later at Fox. Said Fox Sports President: “Sandy was part of the original heart and soul of Fox Sports. He was a brilliant director and a thoughtful colleague. He mentored many of us here and throughout the sports TV industry, and we learned more from him than he could imagine.” The Newark, NJ, native’s credits include directing 10 Super Bowls — more than anyone else — along with 18 NBA Finals and five Stanley Cup Finals. He also was in the director’s chair for coverage of multiple Olympics.

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‘HIMYM’ Co-Creator Craig Thomas Tweets Effusively Before, During And After Series Finale

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 8:48am PDT

himymfinaleAmong the many advantages of Twitter over, say, the Emmys as a public platform, is that while you may not walk away with a statuette, there is no pesky music cutting you off as you run through the list of people you’d like to thank for their support over the years. This How I Met Your Mother co-creator Craig Thomas took full advantage of that last night, as his long-running CBS comedy came to a close with a decisive demo win in its one-hour time slot. Thomas’ many exuberant tweets included:

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