The Originals – Family is power. The Original Vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together, always and forever. Now, centuries have passed and the bonds of family are broken. Time, tragedy and hunger for power have torn the Original Family apart. When Klaus Mikaelson, the original vampire-werewolf hybrid, receives a mysterious tip that a plot is brewing against him in the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter of New Orleans, he returns to the city his family helped build. Klaus’ questions lead him to a reunion with his diabolical former protégé, Marcel, a charismatic vampire who has total control over the human and supernatural inhabitants of New Orleans. Determined to help his brother find redemption, Elijah follows Klaus and soon learns that the werewolf Hayley has also come to the French Quarter searching for clues to her family history, and has fallen into the hands of a powerful witch named Sophie. Tensions between the town’s supernatural factions are nearing a breaking point as Marcel commands his devoted followers and rules with absolute power. For Klaus, the thought of answering to his powerful protégé is unthinkable, and he vows to reclaim what was once his – the power, the city and his family. While they wait to see if their sister Rebekah will leave Mystic Falls and join them, Klaus and Elijah form an uneasy alliance with the witches to … Read More »
About A Boy – Based on the best-selling Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”) novel, writer Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) and director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Revolution”) present a different kind of coming-of-age story. Will Freeman (David Walton, “Bent,” “Perfect Couples”) lives a charmed existence as the ultimate man-child. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He’s single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona (Minnie Driver, “Good Will Hunting,” “Barney’s Version”), a needy single mom and her oddly charming 11-year-old son, Marcus (Benjamin Stockham, “1600 Penn”), move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will’s not so sure about being a kid’s new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. That changes everything and a deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will’s son and, in return, Marcus is allowed to chill at Will’s house. Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy the visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid. In fact, this newfound friendship may very well teach him a thing or two that he never imagined possible — about himself and caring for others. Writer Jason Katims, director Jon Favreau, Tim Bevan (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Eric Fellner (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Liza Chasin (“Les Misérables,” “About … Read More »
Last year, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association might have helped fuel Homeland‘s surprise Emmy win by awarding its top drama prize to the then-rookie Showtime series. But with today’s announcement of nominees for its 3rd annual Critics’ Choice TV Awards, the group might make more noise with what it spurned than what it honored. HBO and FX lead the network tally with 21 and 19 noms, respectively, and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and FX’s American Horror Story each drew six to top all programs. However, a look at the Best Comedy and Best Drama races reveal some surprising omissions. Missing from the BJTA’s comedy series hopefuls are three-time defending Emmy champ Modern Family (supporting actress Sarah Hyland is the show’s lone nominee), along with recently wrapped perennial 30 Rock and, perhaps most glaringly, HBO’s hipster darling Girls. And conspicuously absent from the drama series combatants is four-time Emmy winner Mad Men, which also earned only a single nom, for lead actress Elizabeth Moss.
Instead, vying for the Critics’ Choice Award for best drama are Homeland, HBO’s Game Of Thrones, PBS’ Downtown Abbey, CBS’ The Good Wife and AMC’s Breaking Bad — all of which also were nominated in the category last year — along with FX’s freshman The Americans. Up for best comedy are Modern Family‘s Wednesday night companion The Middle, landing its first major awards recognition, as well as Big Bang Theory, FX’s Louie, Fox’s New Girl, NBC’s Parks and Recreation and HBO Veep. (No sign of last year’s winner Community, led by new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio.) Netflix’s House Of Cards made an entrance into the awards circles with two acting noms, including one for star Kevin Spacey.
Last year, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association likely helped fuel Homeland‘s surprise Emmy win by awarding its top drama prize to the then-rookie Showtime series. But with today’s announcement of nominees for its 3rd annual Critics’ Choice TV Awards, the group might make more noise with what it spurned than what it honored. HBO and FX lead the network tally with 21 and 19 noms, respectively, and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and FX’s American Horror Story each drew six to top all programs, though the latter is not among the six finalists for Best Drama Series. However, a look at the Best Comedy and Best Drama races reveal some surprising omissions. Missing from the BJTA’s comedy series hopefuls are three-time defending Emmy champ Modern Family, along with recently wrapped perennial 30 Rock and, perhaps most glaringly, HBO’s hipster darling Girls. And conspicuously absent from the drama series combatants is four-time Emmy winner Mad Men, which earned only a single nom, for lead actress Elizabeth Moss.
Instead, vying for the Critics’ Choice Award for best drama are Homeland, HBO’s Game Of Thrones, PBS’ Downtown Abbey, CBS’ The Good Wife and AMC’s Breaking Bad — all of which also were nominated in the category last year — along with FX’s … Read More »
UPDATE 4:15 PM: Here is Ang Lee’s statement about his departure from Tyrant.
It is with disappointment that I must confirm I have withdrawn from my commitment to direct the upcoming FX pilot Tyrant.
It is one of the most brilliant ideas for a series that I’ve seen and one about which I was very excited.
However, after spending over four years making and promoting Life Of Pi, I have recently realized that I need some rest .
Because I cannot give 100% to this exciting project at this time, I cannot allow myself to do anything that may affect the potential for this exciting new series.
I wish FOX 21 and FX the best with this remarkable project.
EXCLUSIVE2:50 PM: Oscar-winning director Ang Lee has pulled out of directing high-profile FX drama pilot Tyrant, from Homeland executive producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff and Six Feet Under alum Craig Wright. Lee committed to Tyrant shortly after winning a second directing Oscar (and third overall) for Life Of Pi. But after 4 1/2 years devoted to making Life Of Pi, a year to promote it and another six months of Oscar campaigning, I hear Lee felt he didn’t have gas left in the tank. Additionally, he had made other previous commitments including his current role as a juror at the Cannes Film Festival. I hear Lee called Gordon this morning from Cannes. In a very emotional … Read More »
First off, congratulations to all writers, producers, actors and agents who landed new series this week. I know it wasn’t easy. Here is Deadline’s annual list of those who excelled at the upfronts. I tried to be inclusive, but if I’ve missed anyone who’s had a banner week, let me know. I’ve also compiled a list of pods and independent producers with multiple broadcast series.
Cougar Town co-creator Bill Lawrence and his Doozer banner had three new series unveiled at the upfronts this week: comedies Undateable on NBC, Surviving Jack on Fox and Ground Floor on TBS. Also, TBS recently renewed Cougar Town for a fifth season.
J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot claimed one of the top new drama series last season with NBC’s Revolution and one of the hottest sophomore shows with CBS’ Person Of Interest. The company is keeping the momentum with two new series orders for next season: Almost Human at Fox and Believe at NBC.
Independent producer Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment received two new series orders from the broadcast networks: Back In The Game at ABC and Friends With Better Lives at CBS. Additionally, his freshman ABC comedy The Neighbors was renewed and his ABC pilot Bad Management is in serious contention for a series pickup. Kaplan also received two cable series orders in the past month, for Chasing Life on ABC Family and Instant Mom on NickMom, and also has comedy series Wendell & Vinnie on Nick at Nite and pilot HR at Lifetime.
Writer-producer Julie Plec also landed two new series this week, both at the CW: She wrote/executive produces the planted Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals and executive produces The Tomorrow People. Additionally, she executive produces TVD, giving her three series on the air next season. (Fellow Tomorrow People executive producer Greg Berlanti has two, including returning CW hit Arrow.)
Another drama writer-producer, former ER showrunner David Zabel, saw both of his pilots picked up. He is the writer/exec producer on ABC’s Betrayal and co-writer/exec producer on ABC’s Lucky 7. Read More »
This is a — and possibly “the” — key question for Big Media investors coming out of the major broadcast and cable networks’ upfront programming presentations this week. As the sales pitches wore on it became clear that execs plan to spare no expense to recover from a year of dreary ratings. There’ll be 25 new programs on the Big Four networks, up from 18 planned this time last year. What’s more, “all of the broadcast networks are moving toward year-round original schedules, less re-runs [and] more frequent ‘mini-events’,” Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger says. He adds that networks continue to depend on star power — for example CBS landed Robin Williams for its sitcom The Crazy Ones and Turner enlisted off-camera help from Michael Bay (Transformers), Dick Wolf (Law & Order), Howard Gordon (Homeland), Frank Darabont (The Walking Dead), and Jerry Bruckheimer (CSI). “These guys don’t come cheap, and we presume they must participate significantly in the back-end,” Juenger says. Execs no doubt feel confident that their bets will pay off. For example, hit dramas could play well in international syndication. Mini-series also should appeal to streaming services including Netflix and Amazon where subscribers like to binge view.
But domestic advertisers still provide lions’ share of revenues for TV shows. And if networks are optimistic about that market, it has as much to do with whether they believe consumers will buy lots of cars as with the merits of what programmers put on the screen. “Auto represents about 13% of annual TV ad spend and is seen as a pivotal player in this year’s upfront,” says Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible. That may be good news for the networks: Car companies appear to be headed for a big year as the economy improves and consumers take advantage of today’s low interest rates. As a result, Wible says “the tone of the upfront was more in favor of the sellers than we had anticipated” — leading him to forecast “substantial CPM [unit cost] increases that will offset recent ratings losses.” UBS Investment Research’s John Janedis forecasts that cable CPMs will be up as much as 7% with the major broadcasters “slightly better,” although some advertisers will just shift dollars for late this year from the scatter market to the upfront “which will make the total dollars look a little better.” Read More »
U.S. director Jeremy Saulnier used Kickstarter to help fund thriller Blue Ruin which has its world premiere in Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes on Saturday. The story follows a peaceful vagrant whose life is upended by dreadful news which sets him off to his childhood home to carry out an act of revenge. Macon Blair and Homeland’s Amy Hargreaves star. Saulnier directed 2007’s Murder Party and was the DP on this year’s Sundance title I Used To Be Darker. Here’s a clip:
Three weeks into the re-launch of soaps All My Children and One Life To Live online, I’ve learned that producer Prospect Park is adjusting their release schedule to two new original episodes each week instead of four as it is now. Starting next Monday, fresh episodes of All My Children will be uploaded on Monday and Wednesday, and new episodes of One Life To Live on Tuesday and Thursday. (Friday will continue to be day for recaps, which will now run as a single show). I hear Prospect Park has started to notify producers and have obtained a letter by the company’s principals Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz to fans about the change (read it below).
I hear the decision to reduce the number of new episodes a week was made after Prospect Park studied the data for the first 2.5 weeks of viewing. On traditional TV, soap fans come in and out of their favorite shows, usually watching 2-3 shows a week. But because all aired episodes of AMC and OLTL are available online, viewers don’t rush to watch them right away and then try to see what they missed at once, leading to binge viewing. While that is not a problem for shows like Breaking Bad, Homeland and House Of Cards, which offer 13-episode seasons, catching up on four new episodes of both soaps proved difficult for online viewers, many of whom have already fallen behind. To accommodate them, Prospect Park will keep all aired episodes of AMC and OLTL on the free Hulu platform for now, instead of migrating the older ones to Hulu Plus with only the 10 most recent segments available for free. The decision was made to make the viewing load more manageable before fans start giving up. Read More »
The CW schedule features far more sweeping changes than any network this year. Like last fall, the CW is introducing three new series this fall — The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, costume drama Reign and sci-fi drama The Tomorrow People — with three more series — dramas The 100; Star-Crossed; and reality show Famous In 12, from the TMZ team — on tap for midseason. For a second year in a row, the CW will hold its fall launches until October to avoid the blitz of new shows and allow for more uninterrupted originals. Here is the schedule, followed by analysis and descriptions of the CW’s new series:
8-9 PM – The Carrie Diaries (NN)
9-10 PM – America’s Next Top Model
The CW is shaking up its schedule big time, with changes on every night. In all, only the network’s two top series, The Vampire Diaries and Arrow, are staying put. They are being used to launch two of the CW’s highest-profile new series, the Mary, Queen of Scots drama Reign and the Greg Berlanti-Julie Plec produced futuristic The Tomorrow People. CW brass has high hopes for female-centered reign, so it opted to launch the series behind the network’s series with the highest concentration of female viewers, Vampire Diaries.
Homeland‘s Mandy Patinkin has signed on to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter pic Wish I Was Here. Braff announced the casting today on the film’s Kickstarter page where the film surpassed its initial $2 million goal in just four days. Braff directs and stars in the film which is based on an original screenplay he wrote with his brother, Adam Braff. Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg (Django Unchained, Contagion, Garden State, Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction) are producing through their company Double Feature Films. Wish I Was Here tells the story of Aidan Bloom (Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband who at 35, is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life. He and his wife are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he’d always dreamed he’d be as a little kid. Patinkin will play Braff’s character’s father. His feature film credits include Yentl, The Princess Bride, Everybody’s Hero, Pinero, Lulu On The Bridge, Ragtime and Dick Tracy. Patinkin is repped by ICM Partners. Read More »
ICM, IFT Repping Jerry Lewis’ ‘Max Rose’; Actor Headed To Cannes ICM Partners is repping domestic and International Film Partners has foreign on Max Rose, the official selection title that is part of an homage to its star Jerry Lewis. Claire Bloom, Kevin Pollak, Kerry Bishé and Mort Sahl also star in the Lightstream Pictures production directed by Daniel Noah. Lewis plays an aging jazz musician who goes on a journey through his past after the death of his wife. A restored version of Lewis’ The Ladies Man is also running in Cannes Classics. The legendary actor who, has a long relationship with the festival, will be present in Cannes for the tribute. Read More »
Jack Bauer is back! I’ve learned that, after marathon negotiations, Kiefer Sutherland has closed a deal for a new installment of24 on Fox. With him on board, I hear Fox has greenlighted the real-time drama as a limited series and will announce it during its upfront presentation today. The continuation is a brain child of longtime 24 showrunner Howard Gordon, now executive producer of Showtime’s Homeland. His 20th Century Fox TV-based Teakwood Lane will co-produce the new 24 alongside original series producers Imagine TV and 20th TV, with Imagine’s Brian Grazer returning as executive producer. This will mark Fox’s second event series under the network’s push into that arena, joining the just-greenlighted M. Night Shyamalan’s Wayward Pines starring Matt Dillon.
CAA-repped Sutherland most recently starred on the Fox/20th TV drama Touch. The original 24 was created by Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran, who executive produced with Gordon, Brian Grazer, Sutherland, Evan Katz and Tony Krantz. At the 2006 Emmys, the show won five awards, including best drama series and best actor in a drama series for Sutherland.
NBC FALL 2013-14 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 p.m. – “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. – “THE BLACKLIST”
8-9 p.m. – “The Biggest Loser” (New Day and Time)
9-10 p.m. – “The Voice” (New time)
10-11 p.m. – “Chicago Fire” (New Day and Time)
8-9 p.m. – “Revolution” (New Day and Time)
9-10 p.m. – ”Law & Order: SVU”
10-11 p.m. – “IRONSIDE”
8-8:30 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation” (New time)
8:30-9 p.m. – “WELCOME TO THE FAMILY”
9-9:30 p.m. – “SEAN SAVES THE WORLD”
9:30-10 p.m. – “THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW”
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood” (New Day and Time)
After a couple of days of intense and complex negotiations between NBC and Sony TV, all four projects that were part of the talks received orders by NBC. That includes TheBlacklist, the highest testing NBC drama pilots in 10 years, blended family comedy pilotWelcome To The Familyand off-cycle medical drama pilotThe Night Shift, all picked up to series. (Sony’s fifth pilot at NBC this year, comedy Brenda Forever, remains in contention.) And of course, Community. A day after the cult comedy ended its fourth season, it got a fifth. The renewal is for 13 episodes. Here are descriptions of NBC’s newly picked up Sony series:
For decades, ex-government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, “The Office,” “Boston Legal”) has been one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as “The Concierge of Crime.” Now, he’s mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone, “Law & Order: Los Angeles”), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it’s going to be one hell of a first day on the job. What follows is a twisting series of events as the race to stop … Read More »
The clock may start ticking again on Fox. I’ve learned that the network is looking to bring back its signature real-time drama24 as a limited series. Kiefer Sutherland is in talks to reprise his Emmy-winning role as Agent Jack Bauer. No deals are in place, but Fox is eying 24 as part of its recent push in limited event series. Since 24 ended its eight-season run on Fox in 2010, there have been efforts to continue the story as a feature, which ultimately didn’t take off. I hear the idea to do another 24 chapter on TV came from longtime 24 showrunner Howard Gordon, now executive producer on Showtime’s Homeland. I hear he pitched the plan, which would start from scratch with a new story arc, to 24 producers 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Imagine TV as well as Fox, which all jumped on board. Gordon will likely executive produce through his 20th TV-based company Teakwood Lane. In addition to Homeland, Gordon executive produces the newly picked up TNT series Legends and high-profile FX pilot Tyrant, which is being directed by Ang Lee. Sutherland most recently starred on the Fox/20th TV drama Touch, which is being cancelled after two seasons. The original 24 was created by Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran, who executive produced with Gordon, Brian Grazer, Sutherland, Evan Katz and Tony Krantz. At the 2006 Emmys, the show won … Read More »
TNT has greenlit spy drama Legends, starring Games of Thrones alum Sean Bean and executive produced by Homeland‘s Howard Gordon and Alexander Cary. TNT has ordered 10 episodes of the series, which is being produced by Fox 21, for a 2014 debut. (Watch trailer below) It joins another “popcorn” new TNT drama, the Michael Bay-produced The Last Ship, which was picked up yesterday. They will likely join the network’s Sunday lineup anchored by sci-fi drama Falling Skies. With the pickups done, TNT is now expected to move to cancelling Monday Mornings and Southland.
Gordon, Cary and Jonathan Levin serve as executive producers on Legends, along with showrunners Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris. Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Mark Bomback serve as consulting producers. The pilot was directed and executive-produced David Semel and written by Nachmanoff, who developed the story with Gordon and Bomback. Based on the book by master spy novelist Robert Littell, Legends centers on Martin Odum (Bean), an undercover agent working for the FBI’s Deep Cover Operations division. Martin has the uncanny ability to transform himself into a completely different person for each job. But he begins to question his own identity when a mysterious stranger suggests that Martin isn’t the man he believes himself to be. “Legends has everything you want in a good spy drama: intriguing characters, multi-layered plots, a terrific cast and lots of action and suspense,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright. Read More »
I hear that there is a strong possibility the current third season of Showtime‘s Borgias is the papal drama’s last as a regular series. No final decisions have been made, with Showtime brass expected to wait until Season 3 ends its run, but I hear the drama, created by Neil Jordan, is considering wrapping its story with a two-hour movie.
The Borgias producers originally envisioned the series starring Jeremy Irons as the cunning Pope Alexander VI as going for four seasons, matching the run of Showtime predecessor The Tudors. But during the recent launch campaign for Season 3, Jordan indicated that he had changed plans. “I would like to finish it with a two-hour movie,” he told the British press. “Another 10 episodes is kind of exhausting. I’ve mapped out a movie, which, if (Showtime brass) agree, will shoot in June with the same cast, and finally the Pope will die horribly.” I hear at the moment Showtime toppers are leaning toward not doing a fourth season of Borgias, though that may change as the series is gaining ratings momentum, The 10-episode third season launched on Showtime last month to 582,000 viewers, down slightly (4%) from the 2012 second season opener. But the most recent Episode 3 drew the biggest audience (674,000 viewers) and largest total night viewership (918,000) of the season. Some continuation of Borgias beyond Season 3 would be in line with Showtime entertainment president David … Read More »
Coogan, Brydon & Winterbottom To Take Another ‘Trip’ Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are reteaming with Michael Winterbottom for a second series of The Trip. The BBC Two comedy, released theatrically in the U.S. by IFC, set Coogan and Brydon off on a road trip to tour the UK Lake District’s best restaurants. Memorable for the duo’s attempts to best one another at celebrity impressions, the first season was highly improvised. The second season will be set in Italy on a road trip that retraces the footsteps of the Romantics, Coogan told Empire Magazine.
UK Touts Tax Incentive For High-End TV Productions
The British film industry celebrated the UK’s new Creative Sector Tax Reliefs this morning in London. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey were on hand to outline the importance of the new incentives which will see qualifying high-end TV and animation productions receive up to 25% in tax relief. The scheme came into effect on April 1. Vaizey said “The UK’s creative industries are a real success story, worth more than £36 billion a year. We know that the television and animation sectors make a real difference to the UK economy and these new tax reliefs will be instrumental in expanding our potential.” Iain Smith, producer and chair of the British Film Commission, encouraged the industry to “continue to fight rigorously to maintain our position as a leading center of production.” There was also a case study of HBO’s Game Of Thrones, which is shooting its fourth season in Northern Ireland. HBO SVP Jay Roewe noted the new measures “will make filming in the UK an even more viable proposition.” The BFC recently hosted events in Los Angeles and New York to educate studios, broadcasters, producers and agents on the incentives. Read More »