Bresha Webb, who was among the finalists for the new cast member spot on SNL, has landed the female lead opposite Romany Malco in ABC‘s multi-camera comedy pilot Keep It Together, from actor-comedian Kevin Hart. Written by Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan based on Hart’s life and stand-up, the project takes a candid look at the post-divorce life of a couple, Derek (Malco) and Lorraine (Webb), who are trying to forge a friendship for the sake of their kids, despite their differences. Webb, repped by Greene & Assoc., Mosaic and Karl Austen, is recurring on Grey’s Anatomy and next will be seen in the feature Home.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
Brianna Brown (Devious Maids, Homeland) has been added to in ABC drama pilot The Visitors, from Amblin TV. Penned by Soo Hugh, it chronicles the race against the clock to defeat an unseen alien enemy out to destroy the world. Brown will play Lena, who discovers that her daughter is being turned against her by a covert alien operation. She refuses to play victim and joins forces with her husband Wes (Barry Sloane) and Claire (Lily Rabe), revealing herself as the most ruthless fighter of all in order to get her daughter back. Brown, repped by Pakula/King & Assoc., manager Gladys Gonzalez and attorney Marcy Morris, recurs on USA’s Graceland.
2ND UPDATE, 8:45 PM: The tributes to Sarah Jones continue to pour in. Below is a photo posted at WhoSay featuring Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev of CW’s The Vampire Diaries, the CW drama on which Jones worked. And action continues at the Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which now is past 21,500 likes. Other below-the-line workers are getting in on the act as well; among the more recent pics posted to the site are tributes to the late camera assistant adorning a walkie-talkie and a large power tool.
UPDATE, 6:00 PM: The Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which is gathering tribute photos for fallen Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones from production crews around the world, has now passed 18K “likes.” The online petition to include Jones in Sunday’s Oscar In Memoriam segment eclipsed its goal of 10,000 signatures within 12 hours Tuesday and now is approaching 13K. It will be submitted to the Academy on Friday.
PREVIOUS, 11:35 AM: A campaign to include Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones in this weekend’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute is gaining traction online, but time will tell if the Academy will acknowledge the increasingly vocal outcry within the production community to her tragic death. Jones, 27, died Thursday in a train collision on the set of director Randall Miller‘s Gregg Allman biopic that left several others injured in Jesup, GA. Her death has raised growing concerns within the industry about set safety and culpability as investigations into the accident continue.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Member Killed In On-Set Train Accident
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SyFy star Emily Rose (Haven) has landed a recurring role on USA Networks‘ police drama Graceland. She’ll play Jessica Foster, the FBI’s sexy and forceful Assistant Deputy Director who’s both Mike’s (Aaron Tveit) superior and his ally (and potential love interest). Rose returns to SyFy’s Haven this Spring for its split 26-episode Season 5. She’s with Domain and Forward Entertainment.
Actress Idara Victor (Vegas) has booked a recurring role in AMC‘s new series Turn. She’ll play Abigail, a 26-year-old African American woman who was sold into the Strong household at the age of 13 and grew up alongside Anna Strong (Heather Lind), becoming her confidante and her housemaid. The period drama centered on the American Revolutionary spies known as The Culper Ring and is adapted from Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies. It premieres April 6. Victor is repped by Untitled Entertainment.
By this time, USA Network series White Collar would normally be deeply in preproduction, getting ready to start filming in March. But not this year. It’s already mid-February, and there is still no decision on the future of the buddy crime drama whose most recent fifth season ended two weeks ago. I hear there has been some communication between USA and White Collar producer Fox TV Studios but no meaningful dialogue so far. Given the way Season 5 ended — with a cliffhanger involving the abduction of Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) — it is safe to assume that there will be some sort of continuation, likely a conclusion for the series. The question is what that sixth and final installment will be. I hear the network has been mulling a short miniseries to wrap the story in the vein of Showtime’s The Big C, while the studio would prefer a traditional final season. While Collar‘s status as one of USA’s signature series would weigh in favor of the second option. All of USA’s other established series – Monk, Burn Notice (also produced by FtvS), Psych and In Plain Sight — have received a proper send-off with a final season (While USA prefers to announce the end of its series when their last seasons hit the air for tune-in reasons, all producers are told at the time of the final renewal so they can plan … Read More »
Courtney B. Vance is set co-star in ABC’s medical drama pilot Warriors, from writer Chris Keyser, Mandeville TV and ABC Studios. Inspired by the Walter Reed Military Medical Center, Warriors follow the best and brightest active-duty military doctors and nurses as they practice trailblazing medicine. Vance will play Navy Lt. Hennessey Fiske, an orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in neurology, a resident genius who can build anything including and special wheelchairs and prosthetics for the many young soldiers who come home minus their limbs. This marks the first collaboration between Keyser and Vance, who were in the same class together at Harvard. “Although I didn’t know Courtney in school, I’ve followed his career with the pride of a classmate,” Keyser said. “It’s only taken me 25 years to find the perfect part to bring to him. For this part of Dr. Fiske, Courtney was our first and only choice.” Read More »
Former Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles star Thomas Dekker is returning to Fox as a regular on the network’s new drama series, Backstrom. Dekker will reprise his guest starring/recurring role from the pilot as Gregory Valentine, a whip-smart young gay man — an ex-hustler turned fence/entrepreneurial crook who is Backstrom’s (Rainn Wilson) tenant, decorator and underworld connection. Created by Bones creator/executive producer Hart Hanson based on the Swedish book series by Leif G. W. Persson, Backstrom centers on Everett Backstrom (Wilson), an overweight, offensive, irascible detective who’s engaged in a constant struggle with his self-destructive tendencies. Dekker is repped by Resolution and The Schiff Co.
EXCLUSIVE: Meet the first two new series regulars on Fox‘s 24: Live Another Day. The Wire alum Gbenga Akinnagbe and Giles Matthey (Jobs) have been cast in the next chapter in the 24 franchise that will be set and filmed in London. The limited series, from 20th TV, Imagine TV and Teakwood Lane, picks up the story four years after the 24 series finale, which left Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) as a fugitive from justice. Four years later, he is back on the run, this time in Europe. Akinnagbe, repped by Silver Lining and Nelson Davis Wetzstein, will play the much-easier-to-pronounce Erik Ritter, a strong, sharp, arrogant and ambitious CIA field operative. He has recurred on The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie and Graceland. Matthey, repped by Gersh, Untitled and Independent Talent UK, will play Jordan Reed, a smart and sophisticated CIA computer tech. He previously recurred on True Blood. The two join returning 24 castmembers Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kim Raver and William Devane as well as the just-cast Judy Davis, who will have a villainous recurring role.
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Hollywood is mourning the loss today of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela. Here are some of the thoughts on his passing:
Idris Elba, portrayed Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom:
“I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth; I only feel honored to be associated with him. He is in a better place now. What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Related: Mandela Death Brings News Schedule Changes
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, U.S. distributor of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom:
“One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity. We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.”
Morgan Freeman, portrayed Mandela in Invictus:
“Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve—a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Shane Coffey has landed the lead in USA Network’s recently greenlighted drama pilot The Novice, from Fox 21. Written by Hell On Wheels creators Joe and Tony Gayton, The Novice centers on Kyle (Coffey), a charming and highly intelligent recent college graduate who is forced to move back home with his parents and siblings when his job search stalls. However, after a strange quirk of fate proves oddly fortuitous, he lands a position with a Korean crime organization. The Gaytons executive produce with Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy, Becky Clements, Matt Ochacher, Michael Pelmont and Brian Volk-Weiss. Coffey, repped by New Wave and Pakula/King, has recurred on Pretty Little Liars, Perception and, most recently, The Originals. USA has history of breaking young talent in lead roles, most recently with Patrick J. Adams on Suits and Aaron Tveit on Graceland.
Related: Matt Passmore Set As Lead In USA’s Sean Jablonski Pilot
A month after Burn Notice wrapped its seven-season run on USA Network, the series’ creator Matt Nix is eying a return to USA’s primetime with gritty medical drama Complications. The project, from Burn Notice producer Fox TV Studios where Nix is under an overall deal, is one of three drama pilot orders at USA, along with two projects for FtvS corporate sibling Fox21: Novice, from Hell On Wheels creators Joe and Tony Gayton, and Rush, from filmmaker Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies). The three pilots join the recently ordered untitled Sean Jablonski hourlong pilot as well as period/sci-fi drama pilot Horizon, now in production, as the network is ramping up development with some of its long-running shows coming to an end. Burn Notice is over, with Psych expected to follow it out the door with its upcoming final season. Meanwhile the future of Necessary Roughness is uncertain. The bet on Nix’s Complications mirrors USA’s strategy with new drama Graceland, recently renewed for a second season, which comes from the creator of another of USA’s signature series, White Collar‘s Jeff Eastin. The new pickups also expand USA’s efforts to break out of the network’s blue sky, popcorn entertainment comfort zone with grittier, darker projects. “These pilots illustrate our continued commitment to creating the next evolution of powerful original dramas for which USA is well known,” said USA president Chris McCumber. “This particular mix of dramas comes from some of the top writers and producers in the industry, each of whom bring a distinct point of view and unique talent for developing high stakes storylines and compelling characters.” Here are details about the three newly picked up pilots: Read More »
Two days before Graceland‘s first-season finale, the USA Network drama from White Collar creator Jeff Eastin has received a 13-episode second-season renewal. Graceland, which represents edgier fare than the blue sky series USA has become known for, got off to an OK though not great ratings start in June with 3.3 million total viewers and 1 million adults 18-49 against Game 1 of the NBA Finals. With high double-digit Live+7 bumps, Graceland has averaged 4 million total viewers (+74%) and 1.8 million adults 18-49 (+90%) in its most current ratings, ranking as the No. 1 new cable scripted series of the summer in 18-49. “Jeff Eastin has once again delivered for USA Network,” said USA President Chris McCumber. “We’re proud to be the home of one of the summer’s top new cable dramas and anticipate Graceland will be a long-term player for the network.” Read More »
Actor Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Nightmare On Elm Street) has signed with Resolution. He previously was a client of WME. The 25-year-old most recently graced TV screens on The CW’s The Secret Circle and HBO’s Cinema Verite with James Gandolfini. His indie film streak of late includes Gregg Araki’s Kaboom, Catherine Hardwick’s Plush, and The White City. Dekker is also repped by The Schiff Co and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
Onetime Dancing With The Stars contestant-turned-DWTS co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet has signed with CAA. She’s going into her seventh season co-hosting the ABC show, which she won in season 7. Burke-Charvet continues to be managed by Bx2 Management and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano. Read More »
Tom Hollander Stars As Dylan Thomas In Andrew Davies Drama
Tom Hollander (Rev, Any Human Heart) will play Dylan Thomas in the one-off drama A Poet In New York by Andrew Davies’ (Mr Selfridge). Modern Television is producing for the BBC to mark the centenary of Thomas’ birth. The story kicks off with the Welsh poet’s arrival in Manhattan on his fatal visit and covers the last days of his life as well as his stormy relationship with wife Caitlin. Essie Davis, Ewen Bremner and Phoebe Fox also star. Shooting is underway, with the drama due to air on BBC One Wales and BBC Two next year. Read More »
Alcon Television Group, the television division of Alcon Entertainment, has acquired rights to the New York Times bestselling series The Expanse. Written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck under the pen name James S.A. Corey, Expanse centers on a high-stakes conspiracy and cover-up of humanity’s first discovery of alien life. Alcon Television President Sharon Hall will executive produce. Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Iron Man, Children Of Men) developed the pitch and will write the pilot for the hourlong drama. They also will executive produce. Sean Daniel (Graceland, The Mummy) and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Company developed the original pitch with Fergus and Ostby and also will executive produce. Alcon will develop the script with Fergus and Ostby internally prior to shopping to networks. Fergus and Ostby are repped by CAA and Mark Gochman.
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Squash Those Petitions! Why Ben Affleck As Batman Is Good Move For Warner Bros
By Mike Fleming Jr - OPINION: I was as surprised as anyone when Ben Affleck was named the new Batman by Warner Bros.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Naming New Film Marketing Team; Russell Schwartz And Dana Precious In, Terry Curtin Out
By Nikki Finke - EXCLUSIVE: I understand that New Line veteran Russell Schwartz is already signed to become President of Theatrical Marketing. And Marvel veteran Dana Precious is in final talks to assume the newly created position of President of Creative Advertising and Research.
Fox Makes Epic First-Look Deal With Online Venture For Film-Centric Journalism
By Mike Fleming Jr - EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has made a two-year first-look pact with Epic, a fledgling online platform designed to be a catalyst for film-centric investigative longform journalism that had formerly been the domain of national magazines.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Sets ‘Act Of Valor 2’: Scott Wiper To Write/Direct About SWATs
By Nikki Finke - EXCLUSIVE: Relativity and the Bandito Brothers scored a #1 domestic opening when they brought Act Of Valor about U.S. Navy SEALS to the big screen in February 2012 and grossed over $70M all in.
Clint Eastwood In Negotiations To Direct ‘American Sniper’ For Warner Bros
By Nikki Finke - I’ve learned that Warner Bros wants to fast-track production for the first quarter of 2014 and is in “tentative negotiations” with Clint Eastwood to direct.
‘The Butler’ #1 Again, ‘Mortal Instruments’ #3, ‘The World’s End’ #4, ‘You’re Next’ #6
By Nikki Finke - As Summer 2013 … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (The Right Stuff, The Natural, Passion of the Christ) has directed just two features to date. Now 25 years after his last helming effort, Deschanel is eyeing his third trip to the director’s chair with the Elvis Presley biopic Growing Up Graceland, for upstart studio BiteSize Entertainment. The based-on-a-true-story pic is told through the eyes of Elvis’s younger stepbrother David Stanley, who moves with his family into Elvis’s famed Graceland estate after the singer’s return from the Army in the fall of 1960. Graceland will chronicle the bond between Elvis and his little brother as both siblings deal with the loss of their parents amid Elvis’s growing success.
Related: BiteSize Entertainment To Launch As Vertically Integrated Studio Read More »
Nick Thiel has been promoted from co-executive producer to executive producer on USA’s White Collar, from Fox TV Studios. He will take on responsibilities of co-showrunner alongside series’ creator/executive producer/showrunner Jeff Eastin, helping Easting with the day-to-day running of the show as Eastin is juggling two series — White Collar and USA freshman Graceland, which is looking good for renewal. Thiel, repped by UTA and Rain Management Group, previously worked as co-executive producer on USA’s Burn Notice, also from FtvS. He also served as executive producer/showrunner on Lifetime’s Army Wives. Season 5 of White Collar, starring Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay, premieres Oct. 17.
Is Miles getting a new love interest? Jessica Collins (Zero Dark Thirty) is joining the cast of NBC’s post-apocalyptic drama Revolution for a major recurring role. According to the producers, Collins, who is already booked for the first four episodes of Season 2, will play Cynthia, a beautiful young woman of deep faith, whose winning humor and blazing intelligence capture the heart of one of Revolution’s leading characters. They wouldn’t elaborate which character but Miles Matheson (Billy Burke) is in need of a new lady love following the death of Nora in the freshman season finale.
HBO’s Game of Thrones has cast the first major role for Season 4. Chilean-born Pedro Pascal (Graceland) is set to play Prince Oberyn Martell, aka the Red Viper, who comes to Kings Landing seeking revenge for the death of his sister, per EW.com