Just in time for back-to-school, the two-hour special Teach, which looks at the American education system through the eyes of teachers, will premiere at 8 PM September 6 on CBS. Directed by Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), the documentary asks the question, “What does it take to be a teacher?” and traces a year inside the classrooms of a fourth-grade teacher and a high school algebra teacher in Denver, a middle school math educator in Kuna, Idaho, and an AP history teacher in Los Angeles. “We all have had a teacher who’s shaped us, inspired us, even scared us, and who we can credit with having empowered us to become who we are today,” said Jack Sussman, EVP Specials, Music and Live Events at CBS Entertainment. “This special celebrates those educators who, despite many hurdles and obstacles, aspire to bring inspiration to their students to succeed.” The special — Guggenheim’s third education-themed docu after The First Year and the DGA-winning Waiting For Superman — is produced by Little Room and presented by Participant Media and Pivot TV.
Universal And Scott Stuber Acquire ‘Weaponized’; ‘Safe House’ Scribe David Guggenheim Adapting Novel He Co-Wrote
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has closed a deal to turn the David Guggenheim and Nicholas Mennuti novel Weaponized into a feature with Scott Stuber producing through his Bluegrass Films banner. Guggenheim, who wrote Safe House for the studio and Stuber, will adapt the novel he co-authored. Deal was high six-figures for the book and seven-figures factoring in Guggenheim’s scripting fee.
The novel, to be published by the Little Brown suspense imprint Mulholland Books on July 30, is a thriller set in Southeast Asia. A wanted man having fled the U.S. to escape charges exchanges passports with another American tourist. Bad things result. There is a bit of topicality to the NSA-surveillance back story and the exiled protagonist, given recent developments involving Edward Snowden.
Stuber is coming off Identity Thief and Ted, and he’s producing the Michael Cuesta-directed Kill The Messenger with Jeremy Renner, and the Seth MacFarlane-directed A Million Ways To Die In The West. His exec Alexa Faigen will oversee the project with Uni’s Sara Scott. Deal comes as Guggenheim and Stuber are currently working on a sequel to the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds 2012 thriller Safe House, and Black Box.
Weaponized marks Guggenheim’s debut as a novelist. His other scripting projects include Lionsgate’s Puzzle Palace and Fox’s Narco Sub. He’s repped by Paradigm, manager Adam Kolbrenner of Madhouse Entertainment and attorney Jamie Afifi. Mennuti is represented by Jonah Straus of Straus Literary.
Now there are two: Guggenheim Digital Media and KKR have dropped out of the bidding for the video streaming service, CNBC reports from the Allen & Co. conference that draws hundreds of moguls each year to Sun Valley, Idaho. The sole remaining bidders for Hulu are DirecTV and the Chernin Group/AT&T partnership. Meanwhile, Bloomberg is reporting that Time Warner Cable offered to acquire a stake in the company. Hulu’s owners Fox and Disney want about $1B for the company. (Comcast also is a co-owner but relinquished control over Hulu’s affairs as a condition to win government approval to buy NBCUniversal.)
Few consumers are welcoming the new Los Angeles Dodgers/Time Warner Cable TV deal because they’re going to get screwed out of more hard-earned money per month. They can thank Guggenheim Partners which bought the Dodgers with an ownership group including Magic Johnson and Peter Guber for $2.15 billion last year. Guggenheim plans to carry the games on a new regional sports network it’ll own called SportsNetLA. It’s got Time Warner Cable doing the heavy lifting as its charter distributor, exclusive advertising and affiliate sales agent, and channel operations manager. But now there’s a problem: the January deal has yet even to be submitted to Major League Baseball for approval. The reason is that MLB wants to know exactly what its cut of the $7 billion, 25-year television deal will be. And Guggenheim looks like it’s trying to pitch curveballs to the league. Trust me, if you think Hollywood studios are greedy, you’ve never seen sports team owners or their leagues. So this is greed vs greedier vs greediest.
To summarize what’s in dispute, the current collective bargaining agreement’s base portion of the revenue-sharing plan calls on MLB teams to contribute 34% of net local revenue. But the way that figure gets calculated is becoming increasingly blurred by stuff like these regional sports networks and who owns them. Guggenheim’s deal is even blurrier. So now everything from rights fees, naming rights, guaranteed carriage money, and other revenue expected to go into Guggenheim’s wallet can be picked by MLB’s revenue-sharing plan. That’s the crux …
BREAKING: Universal Pictures paid seven-figures for Black Box, a script by Safe House scribe David Guggenheim that attracted several serious bids including DreamWorks and Warner Bros, the latter of which I’d heard was bidding for Bradley Cooper. The studio has put back together some of its Safe House creative team, with Scott Stuber coming aboard to produce along with Madhouse Entertainment. The latter’s Adam Kolbrenner manages Guggenheim and worked on the deal with Paradigm’s David Boxerbaum.
This chase went on most of the day as the town shakes off the Toronto Film Festival and gets busy looking for the next batch of tent poles. This is the second big spec this week, after Sony paid $1 million for Epsilon for the Wernick & Reese script Epsilon. Black Box‘s logline is this:
When Air Force One crashes into the Atlantic ocean, the black box recording reveals the accident was a result of pilot and mechanical error. Some three years later, the journalist husband of one of the aides killed in the crash receives an anonymous recording of the real black box, which proves the plane was actually attacked. He is forced to go underground to unravel a larger conspiracy against the US, while simultaneously discovering his wife was leading a secret double life.
After several rounds of bidding, Guggenheim Partners together with Peter Guber’s Mandalay Entertainment and Allen Shapiro’s Mosaic Media Investment Partners today announced an agreement to purchase Dick Clark Prods. from RedZone Capital Management. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, though the number floated out by insiders is in the ballpark of $370 million. Guber was the largest shareholder of dcp before selling it to RedZone in 2008 for $175 million. He recently partnered with Guggenheim in the $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Guggenheim, Mandalay and Mosaic Media, which outbid a slew of suitors, including CBS, CORE Media and Ryan Seacrest, plan to “continue dcp’s tradition of providing its network partners with devoted and growing audiences across dcp’s premier programming,” the group said. Founded by the later Dick Clark, dcp produces such programs as the Golden Globes, the American Music Awards, the Academy Of Country Music Awards, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and So You Think You Can Dance. Here are statements from the new owners as well as dcp CEO Mark Shapiro:
Hollywood and Washington come together in director Davis Guggenheim‘s The Road We’ve Traveled, a 17-minute video for President Obama narrated by Tom Hanks. The president’s campaign committee teased the production last week, and posted it on YouTube last night. The theme: Facing a collapsing economy and overseas wars: “Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt had so much fallen on the shoulders of one president.” Putting aside your views of the president, what do you think? Is this an effective work of political persuasion — or, as some Republicans say, a too-slick piece of propaganda that viewers will just dismiss?
Those who claim Hollywood is an ant’s nest of Democratic and liberal activism are already riled up over Saturday’s debut of HBO’s Sarah Palin pic Game Change. Now they will have more reason to shake a fist at the entertainment community with today’s unveiling of the 2-minute trailer for The Road We’ve Traveled, a new campaign video for President Obama’s re-election effort. Narrated by Oscar-winner Tom Hanks at his most passionate and directed by Davis Guggenheim (director of Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth), the 17-minute film will be released March 17. The trailer, which debuted this morning on social media sites like Facebook, features comments from Vice President Joe Biden, former Chief of Staff (and current mayor of Chicago) Rahm Emanuel, former economic advisor Austan Goolsbee and others. Republicans are already foaming at the mouth over the trailer, while the Obama faithful are waiting anxiously for the remaining 15 minutes. Such is life in the 2012 election season.
EXCLUSIVE: David Guggenheim, who scripted the hit Universal Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds thriller Safe House, has just landed a deal to co-write his first novel. Exile will be published by Little, Brown imprint Mulholland Books in 2013. Guggenheim will collaborate with Nick Mennuti. The writers met while they matriculated in the Dramatic Writing department of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Guggenheim describes Exile as “a fast-paced, Hitchcock-esque thriller about an American businessman living in exile in Cambodia, who gets mistaken for a mysterious government operative,” he said. “It’s an idea that I’ve wanted to bring to life for a long time and I’m thrilled to be collaborating with Nick.” Both were repped by Jonah Straus at Straus Literary, and Guggenheim is repped on the feature side by Paradigm’s David Boxerbaum and Madhouse’s Adam Kolbrenner. Mulholland Books senior editor John Schoenfelder will edit the book.
Several more directors have closed deals to helm broadcast pilots this season. David Nutter is now set to direct produce the CW Arrow, described as a modern retelling of the story of DC Comics character Green Arrow. The project, from Berlanti Prods and Warner Bros TV, was written by Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim based on a story by Greg Berlanti and Guggenheim. The three are credited as writers on the pilot and will executive produce with Nutter. This marks Nutter’s return to the superhero genre — he directed the pilot for the long-running WB/CW series Smallville. He also helmed the pilot for Smallville‘s companion, veteran CW sci-fi drama Supernatural. WME-repped Nutter previously teamed with Berlanti on Berlanti’s WB drama series Jack & Bobby, whose pilot was directed by Nutter.
Oscar-winning documentary-maker Davis Guggenheim has been tapped to direct CBS’ drama pilot Widow Detective, written by David Hubbard and produced by CSI maven Carol Mendelsohn. The project, from CBS TV Studios and Mendelsohn’s studio-based production company, centers on a decorated police detective who, after losing three partners in the line of duty, becomes surrogate husband, lover and father to their families. All 4 pilots Guggenheim has directed so far have gone to series, including 2 at CBS, The Unit and The Defenders. His most recent music documentary, From The Sky Down, about the creation of U2′s acclaimed 1991 album Achtung Baby, was acquired by Showtime.
EXCLUSIVE: In a symbolic move, on the day Chuck, whose pilot McG directed, is ending its 5-season run on NBC, McG has closed a deal to direct his first pilot since Chuck, Fox’s Guilty. The legal drama, from Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, centers on a brilliant, morally questionable defense attorney who, after being falsely convicted of fraud and stripped of his legal license, uses his unorthodox methods to solve the cases he’s been banned from handling and to exact revenge on the men who set him up. The project, written by Guggenheim who is a former lawyer, hails from Warner Bros. TV where Berlanti and McG’s companies are based. As part of McG’s deal, his Woderland Sound and Vision banner will join Berlanti Prods. and WBTV as a production entity on the show. In addition to directing the pilot, McG will executive produce the pilot and the potential series alongside Berlanti, Guggenheim and Wonderland’s Peter Johnson. Berlanti Prods.’ Melissa Kellner Berman co-executive produces.
Guilty, which will be filmed in New York, reunites WME-repped McG with Fox where he directed his only other previous pilot besides Chuck, Fastlane, which also went to series. It also reunites him with Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly who, in the same capacity at NBC, developed Chuck and picked it up to series before his abrupt departure from the network. On the feature side, McG’s next feature, This Means War, opens on Valentine’s Day.
Fox has picked up two more pilots, both dramas that had put pilot commitments — a serial killer project from Kevin Williamson and a legal drama from Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim. Both projects are produced by Warner Bros. TV where Williamson and Berlanti are based.
The untitled Williamson project is described as an edge-of-the-seat thriller about a diabolical serial killer who uses technology to create a cult of serial killers, and the FBI agent who finds himself in the middle of it. Vampire Diaries co-creator/executive producer Williamson, whose writing debut was the 1996 serial killer/horror smash Scream that launched the movie franchise, wrote the script and is executive producing.
The Berlanti-Guggenheim project, entitled Guilty, centers on a brilliant, morally questionable defense attorney who, after being falsely convicted of fraud and stripped of his legal license, uses his unorthodox methods to solve the cases he’s been prohibited from handling and to ultimately exact revenge on the men who set him up. Guggenheim, who is a former lawyer, wrote the script and is executive producing with Berlanti. This is the third pilot order for Fox today, which also picked up Dana Fox’s comedy Ben Fox Is My Manny. All 3 were packaged by WME.
Twentieth Century Fox acquired the action thriller spec Narco Sub from David Guggenheim with Tony Scott attached to direct. Simon Kinberg’s Genre Films is producing with Tony and Ridley’s Scott Free shingle. Guggenheim developed the script with Kinberg and it has become a priority at Fox which is home to Scott Free and Genre. Described as reminiscent of Scott’s Crimson Tide and Man on Fire, plot for Narco Sub involves the semi-submersible crafts South American drug cartels employ to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. Tony Scott last directed Unstoppable for Fox with Denzel Washington starring. Kinberg is writer/producer of Fox’s This Means War as well as a producer on the just wrapped Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Neal Blomkamp’s Elysium. Guggenheim has a bunch of works in progress. His script Santiago based on a pitch Fox bought last year is out to filmmakers with Kinberg producing. Guggenheim also has Safe House opening February 10 with Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Also in post is Guggenheim’s spec project Medallion with Nic Cage directed by Simon West from Millennium Films. McG also just signed to direct Guggenheim’s Puzzle Palace for Summit, and Guggenheim just sold another pitch 364 to Universal for Ron Howard to direct. Steve Asbell will oversee Narco Sub for Fox, Michael Costigan and Elishia Holmes for Scott Free and Aditya Sood for Genre Films. Guggenheim’s agent is David Boxerbaum and manager is Adam Kolbrenner at Madhouse.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has gotten back in business with its Safe House scribe David Guggenheim. The studio has preemptively acquired 364, a drama that will be produced by Imagine Entertainment. Ron Howard is attached to direct. The title refers to the number of days in a year that a normal guy spends each year figuring out the heroic deeds he will perform on the one day each year that he has super powers. Brian Grazer will produce and Erica Huggins will be executive producer.
Guggenheim is quite a story in his own right. He was an editor at Us Weekly when he wrote Safe House, and quit that job only after he sold it to Universal. That film just wrapped, with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds starring for director Daniel Espinosa. Since then, Guggenheim sold the Fox pitch Santiago, which has Simon Kinberg producing, and he set Puzzle Palace at Summit Entertainment, with Temple Hill producing. APA and Madhouse Entertainment rep Guggenheim.
Showtime has acquired Davis Guggenheim’s upcoming music documentary From The Sky Down, about the creation of U2′s acclaimed 1991 album Achtung Baby. The docu, which will premiere Thursday at the opening-night gala for the Toronto International Film Festival, will make its Showtime debut Oct. 29 to tie in with the 20th anniversary of the album’s release.
EXCLUSIVE: Greg Berlanti has sold his first project under his rich new overall deal with Warner Bros Television — a legal drama to be written by his frequent collaborator Marc Guggenheim. The project, entitled Guilty, has landed at Fox with a script commitment with penalty said to be in the put pilot range. It centers on a brilliant, morally questionable defense attorney who, after being falsely convicted of fraud and stripped of his legal license, uses his unorthodox methods to solve the cases he’s been prohibited from handling and to ultimately exact revenge on the men who set him up. This marks the latest legal drama project for Guggenheim, who is a former lawyer. His first produced work was an episodic script for The Practice. He also worked on NBC’s Law & Order and ABC’s In Justice, and co-created with Berlanti the supernatural legal drama Eli Stone. Guggenheim, who also is a longtime comic book writer, most recently executive produced alongside Berlanti the ABC Studios superhero family drama No Ordinary Family. Their joint credits also include this summer’s feature Green Lantern, which the two co-wrote, and the short-lived WB drama series Jack & Bobby, which Berlanti co-created/executive produced under his first overall deal with Warner Bros TV. Berlanti recently returned to the studio after a five-year stint at ABC Studios. Guggenheim and Berlanti are executive producing Guilty for WBTV and Berlanti Television.
EXCLUSIVE: Marc Guggenheim, one of the writers who brought the DC Comics hero Green Lantern to the screen, will next launch Nowhere Man, a new comic book series through Liquid Comics. The story takes place 500 years in the future, where an oppressive government monitors the population, down to its thoughts. Everyone on Earth has been infected with a nano-tech virus that makes computerized thought analysis possible. A group of rebels combat this by generating a genetically altered child born immune to the virus. He grows up to become the Nowhere Man, mankind’s best chance to topple the invasive regime.
The deal was put together by Liquid Comics’ Sharad Devarajan and Gotham Chopra, and the series will launch with a four-issue arc, starting in November in print and digital formats. Artwork was done by Liquid’s in-house artist Jeevan J. Kang. These Liquid launches usually lead to film development deals, and this sounds like it has cinematic potential. It is something that Guggenheim has been thinking about for a long time.
“This has always been a project that’s near and dear to my heart,” Guggenheim said. “I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a writer in the interim, so I’m really looking forward to tackling this concept and helping to create a new and vibrant science fiction universe.” Guggenheim has also been a writer-producer on TV series No Ordinary Family, Flash Forward and Eli Stone.
CAA has signed Davis Guggenheim, director of the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Guggenheim, who is at work on a documentary about U2, last directed Waiting for Superman, winner of the Audience Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Guggenheim, who’d been repped by WME, also previously directed and produced the riveting music docu It Might Get Loud with U2′s The Edge, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and White Stripes’ Jack White, and he directed the biographical film on Barack Obama that aired during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He also directs a lot of television, including The Unit and The Defender, and has an overall deal with CBS/Paramount Television.
Eli Stone co-creator Marc Guggenheim has set up an event-type serialized drama project at ABC with writer Jennifer Robinson and director-producer Gary Fleder. Meanwhile, Sam Raimi has sold a pitch to CBS in the first development season since Stars Road Entertainment, his company with Joshua Donen, focused on primetime TV with a first-look deal at Sony TV. Both projects have gotten script commitments.
The Guggenheim/Robinson project, which the two are co-writing, follows the White House Office of Crisis Management as they tackle one huge global crisis per season. The first season would chronicle a crisis with a ticking clock on board the international space station. Producing alongside Guggenheim and Robinson are Gary Fleder and Mary Beth Basile via their ABC Studios-based Mojo shingle. If the project goes to pilot, Fleder will also direct. Under his overall deal with ABC Studios, which is producing the new project, Guggenheim is currently a consulting producer on the studio’s new drama series for ABC No Ordinary Family. He also co-wrote the upcoming Warner. Bros. feature Green Lantern.
The Raimi-produced CBS project, from writer Andrew Lipsitz (CSI, CSI:NY) is titled Lancaster and centers on a Scotland yard detective who joins the LAPD. The project reunites Stars Road’s top TV executive Robert Zotnowski with CBS where he previously served as SVP drama.