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.”
Thomas Dekker Moves To Resolution; CAA Signs Brooke Burke-Charvet; ‘Graceland’ Director Ron Morales To APA
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.
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.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Before today’s TCA panel on USA‘s new series Graceland, USA co-presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel touted the network’s scripted series as their “signature strength.” They added that USA Network will be “diving into comedy in a big way in 2013” and hailed the addition of a “small show called Modern Family as an important part of our lineup.”
After the session, McCumber added that comedy “is an area that we’ve always wanted to move into, comedy has been a part of what we do; take a look at Psych, it’s always been in our DNA,” McCumber said. “When we have this platform we should be able to launch a true comedy series off of, we’d be crazy not to look at the half-hour world. It’s going to be a tough nut to crack, comedy is just a little more difficult.”
Here is a first look at USA Network’s new drama series Graceland. Created by White Collar creator/executive producer Jeff Eastin, Graceland follows a group of diverse agents — from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations and U.S. Customs — whose worlds collide while forced to live together in an undercover beach house in Southern California. It centers on Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit), a freshly minted FBI agent just out of the Academy, who is joining the group. Daniel Sunjata, Vanessa Ferlito, Brandon Jay McLaren and Manny Montana co-star in the series, produced by Fox TV Studios. The website at the end of the trailer will go live Tuesday during the summer finale of Eastin’s other USA series, White Collar.
USA Network is doubling its bet on Jeff Eastin. The cable network has picked up to series Graceland, the new pilot from White Collar creator/executive producer Eastin. The one-hour drama, from Fox TV Studios, follows a group of diverse agents — from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and U.S. Customs — whose worlds collide while forced to live together in an undercover beach house in Southern California. Sean Daniel served as executive producer on the pilot, which was directed by Russell Fine. “Graceland is very much in our sweet spot — it has that fantastic and rich look associated with most of our shows, but we also want to go to very edgy and dark places with it,” USA co-president Jeff Wachtel said. “The characters’ day job takes them to places we haven’t gone with our original series.”
Eastin will run both Graceland and White Collar, whose fourth season premieres July 10, on the heels of what is shaping up to be a big opening for Magic Mike, which features White Collar star Matt Bomer. Because both series are with the same network, USA, and the same studio, FtvS, their schedules will be synched up so Eastin can give his full attention to both. That is the reason Graceland was picked up off-pattern. Eastin is already assembling a writing staff for the new series, with the goal to go into production shortly after filming on Season 4 of White Collar winds down. Graceland brings the number of FtvS-produced series on USA to three, along with White Collar and Burn Notice.
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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.”
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.”
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.
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:
Global Showbiz Briefs: Tom Hollander Plays Dylan Thomas; Turkey’s ‘The End’ Sells To Russia; Pathé’s ‘Pride’; 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.
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.
Missed them first time round? Check them out:
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 …
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
As we reported earlier this week citing the Financial Times, CORE Media Group is exploring a sale of Elvis Presley Enterprises as well as Muhammad Ali Enterprises. There had been no official comment on the potential sale until now. Deadline has obtained exclusively a statement from the Presley family about the development. “Our family enjoys a strong working relationship with CORE and is supportive of their process,” the statement says. “Lisa [Marie Presley] will maintain her interest in EPE and ownership of Graceland Mansion and looks forward to whatever opportunities enable the best long-term interests of the family.” Lisa Marie Presley owns 15% of EPE, which manages the assets of the Elvis Presley estate, including the 100-acre property in Memphis, Tennessee. CORE’s predecessor, CKX, bought the other 85% in 2005. (The Muhammad Ali family retains 20% ownership in MAE.) The Presley and Ali assets are estimated to fetch more than $200 million but CORE is not dead set to sale and may retain the properties if it is not satisfied with offers.
CORE Media Group is said to be testing the market to sell off Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion and rights to images of Presley and Muhammad Ali. The Financial Times reports the assets could fetch more than $200M. Citing people familiar with the matter, the FT says CORE, which co-produces American Idol, is eyeing bidders in Asia, Europe and the U.S. for Elvis Presley Enterprises and Muhammad Ali Enterprises. The Raine Group has been hired to advise. However, if it is not satisfied with offers, CORE could retain the properties. Combined, the assets generate about $60M a year in revenues.
USA Network unveiled its drama development slate today and said it will start production this summer on the pilot Horizon, the period genre drama from The Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd that the network pushed in February. The new slate (see the full list below) includes Complications, the latest from Burn Notice‘s Matt Nix; the new Rob Thomas project Blanco County; and works from Doug Liman and David Semel. The news comes on the heels of the network’s newest original series, the Jeff Eastin-created Graceland, joining the summer drama schedule with a premiere set for June 6.