Fox TV Studios president David Madden has signed a new long-term contract with 20th Century Fox Television to remain at the helm of the boutique cable production company for at least four more years. Madden, a respected veteran TV executive and producer, was elevated to the top FtvS post in 2010 after a stint shepherding the company’s development as EVP creative development and production. He helped establish FtvS’ identity with such series as FX’s The Shield and The Americans, USA Network’s Burn Notice and White Collar, AMC’s The Killing – which he helped bring back from cancellation twice, once at AMC and once at Netflix. Because of the health of the company on Madden’s watch, FtvS was kept as an independent label after the company was put under the purview of 20th TV Studios CEO and chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman and not merged with 20th TV’s own successful cable arm, Fox21. “David encourages creators to take big swings, and the results have been breakthrough programs, from The Shield and The Killing to Burn Notice and The Americans,” Walden and Newman said. “He’s a smart, strategic leader who is beloved by both the creative community and his colleagues. We couldn’t be happier that he’ll be with us for many years to come.” In addition to White Collar and The Killing, which are heading into their final seasons, and The Americans, which is about to be renewed for …
Renny Harlin, who most recently helmed Summit’s The Legend Of Hercules starring Kellen Lutz, has boarded Fallen Cross, a Chicago-set actioner from Umedia that is set to go into production this winter. The pic, scripted by David Christopher O’Neill, centers on a reformed ex-Mafia enforcer Timothy Cole in his desperate struggle to protect his family from the crime syndicate he once served, the Chicago Cross. But first he must escape the confines of prison and return to his ruthless killer ways before the Cross can get to his children. Umedia’s Adrian Politowski and Karl Richards are producing. Harlin, repped by UTA, has been busy on the TV side, directing USA Network series like Burn Notice, White Collar, Covert Affairs and most recently Graceland. Producer-distributor Umedia’s development slate includes Universal War One, based on the Marvel comics, which Skip Woods is adapting; the Rob Cohen action pic Risk; and the romantic comedy Priceless helmed by Thomas Bezucha.
Carmine Giovinazzo (CSI: NY) and Jon Sklaroff (24, Life) have landed recurring roles on USA Network‘s police drama Graceland. Giovinazzo will play Sid Markham, the head of LAPD’s Gang Task Force. Sid is more mind than muscle and uses his intelligence and ability to read people as a way to build relationships and close cases — but that doesn’t mean he’s not prone to acts of violence here and there. Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) grows close to him, seeing Sid as a helpful tool in taking down a cartel. Sklaroff will play Fritz, who has has made his living in the vilest way possible: through human trafficking. He uses intimidation and brutality to keep “his property” in line. The depravity of his operation leaves the team reeling.
Related: 2014 USA Network Pilots
USA Picks Up Medical Drama Pilots ‘Rush’ & Complications’ To Series, Confirms ‘White Collar’ Renewal
Dr. Lawson, meet Dr. Rush and Dr. Ellis. USA Network has given 10-episode series orders to two medical dramas whose protagonists share DNA with the lead in Royal Pains, ER physician-turned-concierge doctor Hank Lawson. Rush, from writer-director Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, stars Tom Ellis as on-call doctor. Complications, from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix and Fox TV Studios, stars Jason O’Mara as an ER doctor. It’s been a big week for Nix with two series pickups, comedy The Comedians at FX and now Complications.
Related: 2014 USA Network Pilots
Complications appears to be part of a two-project deal between USA and FtvS that also includes the renewal of White Collar for a six-episode sixth season, which we scooped last night. As usual, USA does not acknowledge whether this is White Collar‘s final season and likely will make the announcement closer to the show’s airing, as it most recently did with Psych.
John Kapelos (The Breakfast Club, Justified) and Lindsey Haun (True Blood) have landed recurring roles on USA Network’s police drama Graceland. Kapelos will play Lawrence, manager of the garage through which the Solano cartel smuggles its drugs. He’s with Glick, Characters Talent Agency and A.D.S. Management. Haun, repped by Talent Works and Bohemia Group, will play Romona, a “working woman” from Fort Worth, TX, who propositions Jakes (Brandon Jay McLaren).
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
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.
USA Network has given a 10-episode series pickup to the untitled drama pilot created by Sean Jablonski. The order marks a very quick return to primetime for former Glades star Matt Passmore who was cast as the lead in the USA pilot the second he was released from The Glades following the series’ cancellation by A&E. Produced by Universal Cable Prods., the Sean Jablonski project is described as a provocative drama exploring a marriage that has grown stagnant. It follows investment banker Neil Truman (Passmore) who accidentally discovers his wife’s (Stephanie Szostak) involvement with an escort. Jablonski, who helped get USA’s hit legal drama Suits off the ground as showrunner on its first season, is executive producing the new series with Russ Krasnoff (Community) of Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment. It will film in Atlanta, Georgia for a premiere this summer. “This is a powerful new addition to our drama slate and marks the next generation of sophisticated storytelling for USA,” said USA Network President Chris McCumber. The Sean Jablonski series continues USA’s efforts to expand its drama brand beyond the blue-sky, fun drama procedurals with appealing leads that put it on the map and propelled it to the top cable ratings spot. Those efforts have included darker cop show Graceland as well as the recently ordered six-episode thrilled drama event series DIG starring Jason Isaacs. With the pickup of Sean …
OSCARS UPDATE: Production Community Rallying To Add ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Member To In Memoriam Tribute
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
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 …
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.”
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.”
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:
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.
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.