CBS has bought two drama projects with spiritual elements: a procedural from The Defenders co-creator Niels Mueller and producer Aaron Kaplan and Maybe Angels, a legal drama with a supernatural twist from former Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Krista Vernoff and producers Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly. Both projects hail from CBS TV Studios. Additionally, CBS has closed the pilot order deal for Tweaked, a half-hour, single-camera spec written by Iron Man director Favreau. Favreau is executive producing and directing the pilot, which chronicles life and dating among single parents in Santa Monica. The pilot, from CBS TV Studios, is already casting.
The untitled Niels Mueller project centers on an ordinary man making an extraordinary impact on people’s lives. CBS has a tradition of feel-good spiritual shows with Touched By An Angel. But, unlike Angel and another popular series about angels, NBC’s Highway To Heaven, the new project does not have religious overtones. WME-repped Mueller (The Assassination Of Richard Nixon) is executive producing with Kaplan and Laura McCorkindale.
While the lead in Mueller’s project does extraordinary things but is not an angel, the leads in Vernoff’s drama are just that. Maybe Angels is a legal show about two angels who help their former spouses. CAA-repped Vernoff, who created ABC’s drama pilot Grace last season, is writing as well as executive producing with Timberman, Beverly, Mark Waters and Jessica Tuchnisky. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: This is a writing team configuration that is sure to get people’s attention: Jon Favreau, Roberto Orci, Seth Green and Michael Dougherty. It certainly got ABC’s — the network has handed out a put pilot commitment to Ex-Comm, a sci-fi drama with humor, which will be written by the quartet. Iron Man helmer Favreau is set to direct the potential pilot, with 20th Century Fox TV and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci’s studio-based K/O Paper Products producing. Ex-Comm is described as a present-day “presidential procedural” and a cross between the paranormal suspense of The X-Files and the political intrigue of The West Wing. It follows a newly-elected President and his top secret “Executive Committee” (a.k.a. Ex-Comm), the government’s covert team of America’s most elite minds who investigate and protect our nation from the strangest occurrences and “conspiracy theory truths” out there. Tonally, the show aims to be fun but grounded, with everything in it operating within the realm of possibility. Favreau, Orci, Green and Dougherty are executive producing with Kurtzman, K/O’s Heather Kadin and Green’s producing partner at Stoopid Monkey Matthew Senreich.
How did the writing team on Ex-Comm get assembled? Robot Chicken co-creator Green and Superman Returns/X Men 2 co-writer Dougherty hatched the idea and took it to Kurtzman and Orci’s company. Meanwhile, Kurtzman and Orci co-wrote this past summer’s Cowboys & Aliens movie, which Favreau directed. While abroad doing press for the film with the rest of the cast and crew, Orci was working on the Ex-Comm pitch, and that’s how Favreau heard about it and came on board. Read More »
Can News Corp Escape The Scandal Unscathed?
U.S. prosecutors are checking to see if News Corp violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. They have have written to request info on alleged bribes paid by its employees to UK police, Bloomberg reported. The inquiry comes on the heels of a Justice Department and FBI probe investigating claims that victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had their phones hacked by News Corp employees. The request for information in the bribery case doesn’t carry the same legal force as a grand jury subpoena, which would compel a response under law. News Corp is the target of three UK police investigations and a Parliamentary probe on phone hacking by reporters at the News of the World. The company shut down the newspaper and abandoned BSkyB takeover plans after allegations that its reporters deleted voice mails from a murdered schoolgirl’s phone.
In London meanwhile, Scotland Yard said it won’t force reporters at The Guardian to reveal their sources on the bribery and phone hacking cases after all. They had sought the names under the UK’s Official Secrets Act, normally used to prosecute spies. “This decision does not mean that the investigation has been concluded,” the police said in a statement. The department said their probe “has always been about whether a police officer has leaked information and gathering any evidence that proves or disproves that.” The Daily Telegraph and Sky News have … Read More »
UPDATE, 8:10 PM:
Scotland Yard has blocked the release of the names of several News of the World journalists who ordered a private detective to hack into mobile phones belonging to six public figures. The agency declined comment today but has in the past prevented the release of facts surrounding the case on the grounds its investigation would be compromised. The names could show how widespread the practice was at the paper, which was closed down by Rupert Murdoch last month.
PREVIOUS, 3:54 PM: While Rupert Murdoch and his son James await a likely summons to the UK High Court to answer more questions under oath about News Corp’s involvement in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, there is a report today that lawyers for News Corp arm News International are looking into reporting practices, financial records and emails at their UK newspapers — specifically to see whether there’s anything there that could be construed as violations of the U.S.’ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Meanwhile, the inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice that would include questions to Rupert and James Murdoch could get underway by October. Prime Minister David Cameron and other politicians also could be called. A UK Telegraph report said letter already have been sent to potential witnesses, who also could include former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both former NOTW editors. Read More »