After a year without an agency representation in television, Peter Chernin’s production company has landed at UTA. Chernin Entertainment was signed by UTA Managing Director Jay Sures and partner/head of the TV department Matt Rice who will represent it. Chernin Entertainment, which is behind Fox’s flagship comedy New Girl, is a very lucrative client, in part because of its very rich deal at 20th Century Fox TV. The pact, which has two more years on it, has big on-air commitments from Fox built into it as part of Chernin’s exit package from News Corp. Four-year-old Chernin Entertainment got off to a flying start in television and was previously repped by WME until the two sides parted ways last June. While there, Chernin had multiple shows on the air, most recently New Girl, Touch and Ben & Kate this past season. This year, the company has no new series picked up for next season but New Girl just landed the coveted post-Super Bowl slot. Chernin Entertainment’s TV division is run by Katherine Pope.
UPDATE: According to Breaking Bad producer Sony TV, the studio has not closed a deal with Univision for a Spanish-language adaptation. The studio had shot and shopped a Spanish-language Breaking Bad pilot for the U.S. and Latin American markets but has not decided what network(s) it would go with or whether it would proceed with the series at all.
PREVIOUS, 1:31 PM: Spanish-language versions of Breaking Bad and Gossip Girl are among the new shows coming to Univision next season. Ahead of the network’s upfront Tuesday, Univision today unveiled its programming slate for next season. Along with a number of returning series, Univision itself will launch 21 new series plus eight new series on its youth-focused UniMás network and three on its sports-heavy Galavision outlet. The Univision shows include two new big telenovelas, La Tempestad (The Storm) and Mentir para Vivir (Lie So You Can Live). In addition to a lot of sports and 10 documentaries made with Participant Media, Univision will also for the first time adapt English-language series for the Hispanic market. UniMás, Univision’s second broadcast network, will be airing Metastasis, a U.S.-based series patterned on AMC’s Breaking Bad, and Gossip Girl Acapulco, a look at the scandalous lives of Acapulco’s elite based on the CW series. Both are set to debut in 2014, said Univision Communications president and CEO Randy Falco on a conference call today. Falco also said there were a few surprises left to be announced next week in NYC including some new awards shows and a musical reality series set to air in 2014 that Univision Studios is co-producing. Here are the details about the new shows: Read More »
Jon Snow and Ygritte are climbing the wall and they are picking up more viewers on Game Of Thrones. The 9 PM broadcast of the HBO fantasy drama Sunday pulled in 5.5 million viewers. With the Wildlings at the base of the wall that protects the Seven Kingdoms, that’s a new series high for Thrones for a fourth week in a row in its third season. The series drew 5.3 million viewers the week before. The show’s viewership across two plays on Sunday also hit a new gross audience nightly high with 6.8 million viewers.
Elsewhere in the cable universe, AMC’s Mad Men didn’t break any records this week but it was up a bit over its April 28 episode. The period drama had 2.4 million viewers on Sunday, with 1.103 million in the adults 18-49 demo. That’s a 3% gain in viewers and 6% in the demo compared with the week before. Mad Men returned for its sixth season April 7 with its second-most-watched episode ever with 3.4 million viewers. Read More »
Coogan, Brydon & Winterbottom To Take Another ‘Trip’
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are reteaming with Michael Winterbottom for a second series of The Trip. The BBC Two comedy, released theatrically in the U.S. by IFC, set Coogan and Brydon off on a road trip to tour the UK Lake District’s best restaurants. Memorable for the duo’s attempts to best one another at celebrity impressions, the first season was highly improvised. The second season will be set in Italy on a road trip that retraces the footsteps of the Romantics, Coogan told Empire Magazine.
UK Touts Tax Incentive For High-End TV Productions
The British film industry celebrated the UK’s new Creative Sector Tax Reliefs this morning in London. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey were on hand to outline the importance of the new incentives which will see qualifying high-end TV and animation productions receive up to 25% in tax relief. The scheme came into effect on April 1. Vaizey said “The UK’s creative industries are a real success story, worth more than £36 billion a year. We know that the television and animation sectors make a real difference to the UK economy and these new tax reliefs will be instrumental in expanding our potential.” Iain Smith, producer and chair of the British Film Commission, encouraged the industry to “continue to fight rigorously to maintain our position as a leading center of production.” There was also a case study of HBO’s Game Of Thrones, which is shooting its fourth season in Northern Ireland. HBO SVP Jay Roewe noted the new measures “will make filming in the UK an even more viable proposition.” The BFC recently hosted events in Los Angeles and New York to educate studios, broadcasters, producers and agents on the incentives. Read More »
After a long gestational period, ABC is proceeding with Sing Your Face Off, a six-episode talent variety competition series based on Endemol‘s international format Your Face Sounds Familiar. Casting is underway for five celebrities who each week will take on the identity of famous music artists. The assignments will be random, with the celebrities sometimes finding themselves transformed into someone much older or younger than them and even of a different gender. To accomplish that, the contestants spend hours in the makeup chair and days with choreographers and vocal coaches as they are judged on how they embody everything about the assigned icon — their walk, their talk, and their distinguishing mannerisms. There are no eliminations, but there is one winner announced in the finale. (The video below gives a pretty good idea of what the show is about using footage from international versions.) Created by Endemol Spain, the format has been sold to 20 countries across Europe, Latin America and Asia. This includes China, where the show is now in its third season, and Spain, where the show has delivered record ratings since its launch in September 2011.
Banijay, the group behind the original Stars In Danger: The High Dive and owner of Bunim/Murray Prods., has acquired 50% of Italian TV producer Ambra Multimedia. That company was recently founded by Marco Bassetti who has just been named Banijay Group CEO. Bassetti founded Endemol Italy in 1997 and was eventually appointed president of Endemol Group, taking over CEO responsibilities before stepping down in April 2012. Bassetti will be responsible for the international development of Banijay Group which is present in 12 countries in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. At the same time, Banijay EVP François de Brugada has been promoted to COO.
European Film Academy To Honor Comedy
Amour was the big winner at last year’s European Film Awards, and that was no joke. But the European Academy will add a bit of humor to the proceedings in 2013 with a new prize for European Comedy. The award is designed to “pay tribute to a genre which has proven that it is able to unite and entertain audiences across Europe and beyond,” the EFA said. Some of the top-grossing films and crowd-pleasers that have crossed European borders of the past few years have been local comedies including Intouchables and Welcome To The Sticks. A special committee will select three nominees from across Europe and the winner will be voted for by the full membership. The EFA also said today that it is relaunching prizes for European Sound Designer and European Costume Designer. The 26th European Film Awards will take place in Berlin on December 7.
Cut-Uncut Festival To Screen Censored Bollywood Films
A new film festival in New Delhi will celebrate scenes from Bollywood movies that have been deemed too racy for Indian viewers. According to AFP, the Cut-Uncut Festival is an attempt by the ministry of information and broadcasting to bolster a new, more open-minded approach to cinema. Until recently, long kissing scenes, nudity and scenes of rebellion against the government could all be censored, an official told the news agency. “We want to be more liberal, stop enforcing the old rules and instead recognize artistic endeavor,” the person said. The festival runs from April 25-30 and kicks off with a screening of the classic Karma starring Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani, whose onscreen kiss – the first in a Bollywood film – was cut in 1933. Documentary The Final Solution, about Hindu-Muslim religious rioting, will also be shown after it was previously banned. Bollywood is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with India the country of honor at May’s Cannes Film Festival. Read More »
TruTV said today as it meets with advertisers that it is shifting half its lineup to comedic reality series by year’s end, and has greenlighted three new original series and ordered seven pilots to go with current hits Impractical Jokers and Killer Karaoke. The network says the move targets “funseekers” — a demo evenly split between males and females with a median age of 35 “who look for comedic reality shows that are exciting to watch and prefer humor that is suspenseful, edgy and irreverent. They also look for mood-elevating shows that provide an escape and feature compelling twists and turns”. TruTV also officially renewed four series: Impractical Jokers, Guinness World Records Gone Wild, Upload With Shaquille O’Neal and the previously announced Hardcore Pawn: Chicago. Here are the network’s descriptions of the new offerings: Read More »
Related: AMC Developing Sci-Fi Drama From Joseph Kosinski, Hollywood Witch Hunt Project
AMC is making a slew of announcements at its upfront today. The cable network confirmed it will launch Talking Bad, a live companion after show to the final installment of Breaking Bad. It announced premiere dates for several new and returning series, including the last eight episodes of Breaking Bad, which will kick off August 11, a slew of scripted and unscripted projects in development, including Ballistic City and Ashland, an overall deal with writer Rolin Jones, and renewals of after show Talking Dead and reality series Comic Book Men and Freakshow. Here are the details:
Related: AMC Eyes ‘Talking Bad’ Companion Talk Show For ‘Breaking Bad’s Final Episodes
AMC will air a special weekly, half-hour live after show to accompany the conclusion of its Emmy Award-winning series, Breaking Bad. Talking Bad will analyze and dissect every detail of Breaking Bad’s final eight episodes beginning Sunday, August 11. Talking Bad will air at 11 PM, and will be produced by Michael Davies’ Embassy Row with Sony Pictures Television serving as the studio partner. Read More »
AMC will make Saturdays a third night of original programming with Hell On Wheels. The third season of the period Western will premiere on Saturday, August 3 at 9 PM and air on the night, once a popular destination for TV originals, which has rarely housed original series in the past decade. Meanwhile, AMC has established Saturdays as a destination for Westerns, airing acquired series and movies in the genre for over a decade. Along with the scheduling of Hell On Wheels, the cable network has picked up a selection of classic Western films from Paramount Pictures for Saturdays, including El Dorado (1967), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), The Shootist (1976) and The Sons Of Katie Elder (1965). “A new episode of Hell On Wheels on Saturday night after a full day of western fan favorites is going to be like the saddle on top of the horse,” said Charlie Collier, President and General Manager, AMC. “This is a programmer’s dream – to have a genre specific, 14-hour lead-in to one of your highest rated originals. The move follows AMC’s recent expansion into Thursdays with an all-unscripted lineup. Sunday remains AMC’s signature night of original programming where its other scripted dramas air. Read More »
Along with an emphasis on cross-border series, among the takeaways from this week’s Mip-TV market was the increased merging of technology and content. Of the 4,000 acquisition execs in town, 800 were VOD and digital buyers – a 30% jump on last year. Cinedigm did a digital/VOD deal for more than 1,000 episodes of TV shows from Australia’s ABC which CEO Chris McGurk said reflected the “ever-growing importance of efficient, cost-effective delivery of digital content worldwide.”
YouTube was part of the discussion. Tim Hincks, president of Dutch giant Endemol, which has over 100 YouTube channels, said the company will soon launch a new Fear Factor channel, effectively reviving the brand in the U.S. But he stressed that “It’s not how much you’ve got, it’s what you do with them. It’s tying them together and marketing to the consumers and YouTubers on the different channels.”
But BSkyB managing director of content, Sophie Turner Lang, urged attendees to “Talk about the shows, not the pipes.” It’s storytelling that engages audiences, she said, noting that creative meetings have reversed from mostly being about story and talent to being about “protection and digital delivery.” Read More »
Rebecca Eaton To Pull The Curtain Back On Masterpiece
Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton will publish a memoir this fall. Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind The Scenes Of Masterpiece Theatre And Mystery! PBS releases October 29 via Viking in the U.S. Eaton has presided over PBS’ Masterpiece, which airs such British and international hits as Downton Abbey and Sherlock, for 25 years. Eaton says, “As an Anglophile who loves books and great acting, I’ve had the perfect job.” For the book, she interviews actors, writers, directors and producers and is expected to share stories about Downton’s Maggie Smith, Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Radcliffe whose first TV role was as the title character in David Copperfield. Under Eaton’s leadership, Masterpiece has earned 44 Emmy Awards, 15 Peabody Awards, four Golden Globes, and two Oscar nominations. She’s writing the book with Patricia Mulcahy. Read More »
Rupert Murdoch Credits Inspiration Of Margaret Thatcher
The death of Margaret Thatcher has stirred intense reaction in the UK this week. The former British Prime Minister was a polarizing figure, but Rupert Murdoch has made no secret of his respect for her. Last year around this time, he told the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics that he remained “a great admirer.” Today, he penned a tribute in his London Times newspaper crediting her with being “an inspiration in my business life.” Murdoch had meetings with Thatcher around the time that he was bidding to acquire Times Newspapers, but has said he never asked her for any favors. Thatcher was famous for her stance against the unions during the 1979 strikes in Britain. Murdoch in his tribute called her “a risk-taker” who inspired his own position in the newspaper strikes of 1986, “the first major strike in private industry that had been won by the owners since the war.” Without that win, Murdoch writes, “We would not have the vigorous competitive press that is a feature of modern Britain. It was the same in the television industry. We took huge risks in creating satellite television which many critics derided as the end of civilization, but as a result, we created thousands of jobs and viewers now enjoy far greater choice.” In conclusion, Murdoch wrote, “Thanks to her I have experienced in Britain many of my defining moments as a businessman.” Read More »
The trend towards transatlantic series was further confirmed this week at Mip-TV which starts winding down today. Internationally-packaged dramas that were tubthumped here included Starz/BBC Worldwide’s Da Vinci’s Demons, Endemol/AMC’s Low Winter Sun, Netflix/Gaumont International TV’s Hemlock Grove, Starz/BBC’s The White Queen, eOne/DirecTV‘s Rogue and Tandem Communication’s Crossing Lines, which NBC picked up last month for a summer debut. Early on in the market, Starz announced it was partnering with Sky Atlantic on Fortitude, a drama written by Simon Donald, creator of the original British version of Low Winter Sun.
Apart from their international flavor, the shows also have in common that they were almost all picked up in straight-to-series deals. Horrormeister and Hemlock Grove exec producer Eli Roth said knowing that he had 13 episodes from the outset was “really an advantage.” It enabled him to keep working along the way on one aspect of the initial episodes – a character’s complex transformation into a werewolf. Tandem’s Rola Bauer, who’s exec producing Crossing Lines said, “I would encourage” Hollywood to do more straight-to-series orders, and “trust us.” During pilot season, she said, “everyone is chasing the same actors” and trying to access state and foreign tax credits at the same time, making for a frenzied atmosphere. But she allowed that “The UK and America are open to realizing the economic market needs to have a different way of working creatively… I hope the show makes it easier for people to come over here and make co-productions.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ahead of its upfront presentation in New York tomorrow, Syfy has given the green light to three unscripted series from top producers: Joe Rogan Questions Everything starring former Fear Factor host Rogan, from Arthur Smith (Hell’s Kitchen); Cosworld, from Mark Cronin (Flavor Of Love); and Fandemonium, from SallyAnn Salsano (Jersey Shore). The three new series will premiere later this year, airing alongside returning Syfy unscripted series including hits Face Off and Ghost Hunters as the cable network continues to expand its reality portfolio. Joe Rogan Questions Everything, in which Rogan investigates classic mysteries from Bigfoot to UFOs, will debut July 16. Six-episode docuseries Cosworld, set in the world of cosplay competition, will premiere August 27. And Fandemonium, also a six-episode docuseries that explores the fangirl and fanboy culture, will unspool in the fall. The project was first announced as part of Syfy’s development slate at last year’s upfront. Here are detailed descriptions of the series: Read More »
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ITV Studios Global Entertainment has secured pre-sales for the 13th and final series of ITV Studios’ iconic detective drama Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Based on crime writer Agatha Christie’s famous novels, series 13 of Poirot has been acquired by eight broadcasters worldwide: TMC (France), ABC (Australia), Prime (New Zealand), Chungwa (Taiwan), Latvian Television, RTV (Slovenia), HRT (Croatia), Sanoma (Hungary) and Digiturk (Turkey). WGBH in the US will co- produce and air two of the Poirot films – The Big Four and Dead Man’s Folly. The deals were brokered by David Wilcox, VP North West Cluster; Jennifer Ebell, VP South East Cluster; Nancy Wang, Senior Sales Executive, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; Dan Edwards, Senior Sales Executive, Australia and Jemma Losh, Sales Executive, New Zealand for ITV Studios Global Entertainment. Read More »
The dancing is back and the employees will become the bosses on Fox this May. The network announced today that So You Think You Can Dance will return for its 10th season in a two-night premiere May 14-15. Fox also said its new reality series Toxic Office: Does Someone Have To Go? will debut on May 23, right after Hell’s Kitchen; it originally was set to debut May 15 but has been pushed back. SYTYCD will again feature host Cat Deeley and judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy. Guest judges this year will include Minnie Driver, Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Wayne Brady, Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Rock Of Ages director Adam Shankman. The six-episode Toxic Office will put staff from different businesses in charge of the workplace, forcing them to make tough decisions including who gets to stay and who has to go to make things work better. The series is produced by Endemol USA with Cris Abrego, Ben Samek, Rabih Gholam and Fernando Mills executive producers.
Reporting from Cannes
The annual Mip-TV market, and its sister Mipcom, keep getting more interesting as star power grows and what’s on offer takes on an increasingly global feel. At October’s Mipcom, Kevin Spacey was in Cannes to support Netflix’s House Of Cards; Jane Campion presented BBC/Sundance Channel series Top Of The Lake; Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys were here for The Americans and even Harvey Weinstein turned up in support of The Weinstein Co.’s push into international TV sales. Mip-TV, which kicks off in earnest on Monday, will draw such speakers as BBC controller Ben Stephenson, eOne’s Darren Throop, Da Vinci’s Demons creator David S. Goyer, CSI franchise creator Anthony Zuiker, Homeland exec producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff, Endemol’s Tim Hincks and Discovery chief David Zaslav. Shine America CEO Rich Ross is also in town.
At these international markets, there’s an increasingly habitual fight between the big ticket drama and the reality format business. Both are lucrative in an expanding and fragmented market. But while certain companies are chasing the critical mass of the next Big Brother, others are finding it’s good to be in the scripted drama business, making deals that give them – and the shows – the most flexibility.
High-profile dramas that will be showcased here in Cannes this week include Da Vinci’s Demons which was picked up straight to series by Starz in October and premieres there on April 12. The BBC Worldwide co-production will roll out in 120 countries courtesy of Fox International Channels. (Starz is also in Cannes with the first episode of The White Queen which will premiere with star Max Irons in attendance.)
The straight-to-series deal is part of a growing trend that sees companies seek direct orders in the U.S. for a license fee, relying on international sales. Jens Richter of Red Arrow International, which sold cooking competition show The Taste to ABC, says that when it comes to drama, “For an indie, it only works if it goes straight to series. You can’t go through a pilot… and then take the risk.” Red Arrow also handles the Norway-set Lilyhammer with Steven Van Zandt which is a partnership with Netflix and is currently shooting its second season. “Everybody profits, you spread risk on various shoulders and go straight into production.” There’s also an upside for talent. They can take a backend position that’s worth “real money from day one.” Read More »