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Oscar Winner James L. Brooks Inks With WME

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 4:00pm PDT

Oscar Winner James L. Brooks Inks With WMEJames L Brooks, who created iconic TV series including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Taxi and The Simpsons and who three Oscars as writer, director and producer of Terms Of Endearment, has inked with WME. The 20-time Emmy winner is founder of Simpsons producer Gracie Films and has 10 Academy Award nominations overall including for writing and producing Broadcast News (1987), producing Jerry Maguire (1996) and producing and co-writing As Good As It Gets (1997). He will continue to be represented by Sam Fischer at Ziffren Brittenham.

WME also recently signed writer-producers Ian Goldberg (Once Upon A Time) and Patrick Harbinson (Homeland).

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Comic-Con: Guillermo Del Toro Stresses Diversity On ‘The Strain’ & Circular Route To Series

By | Sunday July 27, 2014 @ 4:27pm PDT

Comic-Con: Guillermo Del Toro Stresses Diversity On ‘The Strain’ & Circular Route To Series“For me, it is very important for this show to have Latin characters and Mexican characters that defy the stereotype of gang bangers,” said Guillermo del Toro today at Comic-Con about his series The Strain.

del toro cuse the strain comic con 2014In what was a wide-ranging panel discussion of the new show, the Mexican-born director wasted no time revealing to a packed Hall H his specific intentions for the characters of the vampire series. “I want Gus to become not only a complex character but a full-fledged hero who will kick some ass,” del Toro said of the just-out-of-juvie Augustin “Gus” Elizalde role played by Miguel Gomez. The director also noted that the sense of cultural difference was part of the casting of Mia Maestro and the Dr. Nora Martinez character she plays. “Her being a Latin woman and me being a Latin man, we are very aware of otherness and I thought she could be a good counterpoint to Eph’s (Corey Stoll’s Dr. Ephraim Goodweather) scientific method. “God willing, next season, we have a masked Mexican wrestler to also kick ass,” del Toro added to big laughs.

The vivid and highly stylized The Strain chronicles the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, played by Stoll as he, fellow scientists and others try to figure out a mysterious viral outbreak that seems to have arrived in America via a European-originated plane of seemingly dead passengers. There … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Sean Bean Mocks His Onscreen Deaths At TNT’s ‘Legends’ Panel

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 2:02pm PDT

Comic-Con: Sean Bean Mocks His Onscreen Deaths At TNT’s ‘Legends’ PanelWith a giant banner looming over Comic-Con from the nearby Marriott and marketing all over the San Diego International AirportLegends made a splash in its geekfest debut before a word was spoken or a clip was played on today’s panel. Not that the upcoming TNT spy thriller didn’t seal the deal with the 1,000 plus fans in Room 6A  of the Convention Center – especially when the star Sean Bean showed up, kind of.

Before the short panel got under way, the audience was treated to a full preview of the first episode of the TNT show introduced by Bean himself. Via video, the actor apologized for not being at Comic-Con but joked that “maybe that’s a good thing” for the crowd’s safety as the former Game Of Thrones and Lord Of The Rings star is of course one of the most killed off actors around. “If you were me, one does not simply avoid death on a daily basis,” Bean deadpanned to howls from the fans in the room.
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Former UTA Agent Steven Fisher Joins Underground As Manager

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 5:49pm PDT

Former UTA Agent Steven Fisher Joins Underground As ManagerEXCLUSIVE: Former UTA and ICM talent agent Steven Fisher has joined management and production company Underground as a manager. Fisher exited UTA last month after working out of the agency’s NYC office for three years. Before that he was at ICM for seven years. Fisher’s making the move cross-country with his family to L.A., where he’ll work with Underground’s Trevor Engelson, Evan Silverberg, Chris Dennis, and Josh Turner McGuire while Noah Rothman works out of Underground’s NYC offices. “I wanted to get back to L.A. and roll up my sleeves, and most of my clients are writer-performers in L.A.,” said Fisher. He joins Underground with clients Desi Lydic (MTV’s Awkward), Jamey Sheridan (Homeland), John Phillips (Pittsburgh Heat, Dirty Grandpa), Liz Carey (Chelsea Lately, Walk Of Shame), Mike Zegen (Frances Ha, Boardwalk Empire, Girls), Miles Fisher (Bad Advice, J. Edgar, Final Destination 5), Rus Blackwell (Banshee), and Jessie Ennis (G.B.F., Shards). Read More »

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USA Series ‘Dig’ Pulls Production From Israel

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 12:31pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

USA Series ‘Dig’ Pulls Production From IsraelA day after FX series Tyrant made the decision to permanently relocate production of its freshman season from Israel to Turkey, USA Network limited series DIG too is officially pulling out of the country torn by the violence in Gaza. “Given the current situation and after careful consideration, we are relocating the production of Dig partly to Albuquerque and are continuing to explore other locations,” USA said in a statement. “Our experience filming in Israel was very positive and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to capture such an authentic landscape that will be threaded throughout the series.”

When the Gaza attack started a week Israelflightsbanago, DIG extended its planned hiatus by week while the network and producers were exploring alternatives and holding conversation with the project’s insurance company. The series, starring Jason Isaacs as an FBI agent investigating a troubling murder of a young woman archeologist in Jerusalem, took a break after filming the first episode of its six-episode order. The pilot episode was shot throughout Israel, including Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. The decision comes as FAA this morning banned all flights to Israel for the next 24 hours following reports of a Palestinian rocket strike landing close to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. And yesterday, the US Department of State warned Americans against traveling to Israel and the Gaza Strip. Read More »

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FX’s ‘Tyrant’ To Stay In Turkey For Remainder Of Season 1 Shoot

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 6:13pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FX’s ‘Tyrant’ To Stay In Turkey For Remainder Of Season 1 ShootWith the violence in Gaza showing no signs of subsiding and the US Department of State today warning Americans against traveling to Israel and the Gaza Strip, Fox 21 has made a decision to finish the first season order of its FX series Tyrant in Turkey, where the series relocated on a temporary basis a week ago when the conflict started. The show did some filming in Istanbul during the past week with the hope that production could return to Tel Aviv where Tyrant had built elaborate sets. With the death toll rising and a cease-fire still out of reach, that possibility has been ruled out due to safety precautions, with the show set to film the remainder of the last two episodes in Turkey. The writers used the past week to rewrite the last two scripts to account for the location change and lack of sets. Fox 21 moved the Tyrant production to Israel after filming the pilot in Morocco.

Another drama filming in Israel, USA’s limited series DIG, recently extended its planned hiatus by week while the network and producers explore alternatives and discuss them with the project’s insurance company should the situation remain too dangerous to film. A final decision has not been made. DIG only has shot the first of its six-episode order. CBS’ biblical miniseries The Dovekeepers also originally eyed shooting there before deciding to go elsewhere, ultimately settling on Malta.

In September, Fox 21′s Showtime series Homeland moved third-season scenes that … Read More »

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TCA: Throwing The Serial Killer Premise Off ‘The Bridge’ In Season 2

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 3:26pm PDT

TCA: Throwing The Serial Killer Premise Off ‘The Bridge’ In Season 2“I didn’t want to do the serial-killer-of-the-year story. I can’t compete with the genre that’s out there,” The Bridge executive producer Elwood Reid said today at TCA about his primary objective for Season 2 of the FX thriller.

“If I’m going to tell a story about the U.S.-Mexican border, one which these characters warranted, I couldn’t fx_connectedtell that story while they were tracking a serial killer,” said the EP. Departing Bridge EP Meredith Stiehm, who developed the series with Reid before returning to Homeland, also shared the same second-season vision.

“Meredith was right there with me in wanting to break the old mode of the show,” said Reid, “We looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s get these figures up on the bridge and finish this part of the story.’” Read More »

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TCA: When FX Hosts ‘Tyrant’ Q&A Featuring Show’s Critics, Howard Gordon Says He’s The Series’ “Midwife”

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 3:04pm PDT

TCA: When FX Hosts ‘Tyrant’ Q&A Featuring Show’s Critics, Howard Gordon Says He’s The Series’ “Midwife”“This is an adopted child for me,” Howard Gordon told TV critics this afternoon about FX‘s controversial drama series Tyrant. “I’m the midwife… it came to me and this is what it is.”

Gordon came to TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 to discuss the series that debuted last month. He was joined onstage by representatives of various groups that have blasted, to varying degrees, the series. 2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 14They came to discuss the ways in which they have complained about the series and the degree to which they have effected change. According to a network spokesman, some of the people onstage participated in a three-hour conversation with Gordon and others involved with the program which was a “very educational experience.” Their leader seemed to be Cynthia P Schneider,  who co-directs the Los Angeles-based Muslims On Screen and Television, and teaches at Georgetown University. Read More »

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TCA: Fox’s Peter Rice On New Executive Structure; Future Of Pilot Model; More ’24,’ ‘Bones’

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 11:17am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA: Fox’s Peter Rice On New Executive Structure; Future Of Pilot Model; More ’24,’ ‘Bones’With the departure of Fox’s previous top programming executive and the network’s new co-heads not in place yet, their boss, Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice, took the stage on his own at the network’s executive session at the TCAs this morning. Top question of the day: Fox’s new executive structure, in which the network and sibling 20th TV are both under the oversight of the same executives, Dana Walden and Gary Newman.

“We’d been the odd man out,” Rice said, a reference to the other broadcast networks, which have closely integrated with their studios. “As competition for talent has become more intense, it has put us at a disadvantage, and to have the network and the studio aligned would be helpful.”

Rice was asked to elaborate on the ways the previous setup disadvantaged Fox. “The old structure had a clear advantage for the studio: a big independent studio that was able to sell to everyone, which it has done extremely successfully,” Rice said. “But the network was increasingly disadvantaged. The ability to be reactive only because you are a buyer, that funnel became narrower and narrower as the (landscape) became more competitive… By putting these things together, we’re telling the creative community, we have this great network and a great studio, you can speak to us in a single voice.” Read More »

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TCA: ‘Ray Donovan’s Jon Voight Rehearses For Emmy; EP Takes On ‘Sopranos’ Comparison

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 7:37pm PDT

TCA: ‘Ray Donovan’s Jon Voight Rehearses For Emmy; EP Takes On ‘Sopranos’ ComparisonHomeland producers grumbled about their 2014 Emmy nomination snub for drama series at today’s TCA, but Jon Voight seemed happy to carry the Emmy nom flag for Showtime at today’s panel on his second-season series, Ray Donovan. The supporting actor nominee appeared on the panel with stars Liev Schreiber, who plays the title character, a Hollywood fixer, Paula Malcomson, Season 2 guest stars Hank Azaria and Wendell Pierce, creator/EP Ann Biderman and EP Bryan Zuriff.

For Zuriff, this marks a return to the executive producer ranks of the series following his high profile arrest and subsequent indictment for allegedly running an illegal gambling operation this time last year that prompted his temporary exit from the show. Zuriff actually touched upon his history when the cast and producers were asked to attest to the accuracy of some of the crazy storylines on the show. “We’ve all had a little bit of a past, so there’s stuff that we can draw on in the writers’ room that we can have some fun with,” he said.

Related: ‘Ray Donovan’ Executive Producer Bryan Zuriff Pleads Guilty In Gambling Ring Tied To Russian Mob

Earlier this year, Voight won a Golden Globe for his performance (star Schrieber got a nom for lead actor in a drama). When asked about Emmy, Voight could have been rehearsing his Emmy speech. The abridged version of his reply: “Let me just say, I feel very blessed and very fortunate to have had so many wonderful experiences as an actor. I am really enjoying this family that’s making Ray Donovan. It’s almost like I earned this role over years of struggling and failing and experimenting and succeeding…” He praised the “wonderful artists” he works with on Ray Donovan and reached back into the past to praise earlier collaborators John Schlesinger, Dustin Hoffman, Hal Ashby and Andrei Konchalovsky. Read More »

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TCA: ‘Homeland’ Producers Defend Season 3 From Critics’ Jabs, Tease New Details

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 2:54pm PDT

TCA: ‘Homeland’ Producers Defend Season 3 From Critics’ Jabs, Tease New DetailsOK, he admits it: Homeland showrunner/executive producer Alex Gansa said the lack of a drama series Emmy nomination in 2014 “hurt.” The critics hurt, too. “I don’t know how you can look at the last episodes of the season, especially the last two episodes [and not believe] they are the best we’ve ever done,” Gansa said at today’s TCA. “But we’re going to get back on the mountain again.”

Gansa was speaking at a luncheon panel along with executive producers Alexander Cary and Meredith Steihm. The three revealed a few plot developments for Season 4, which Showtime announced earlier in the day would premiere October 5.

Homeland Season 4Gansa started off with the joking promise to “only kill most of your favorite characters,” adding to laughter: “I can guarantee that Dana Brody will not be back for Season 4” (a reference to Brody’s moody teenage daughter whom many critics thought got way too much moping screen time in Season 3).

But the writer-producers dropped a few real story tidbits: Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison’s bipolar illness has stabilized and in her new Middle Eastern setting will be on the tail of a new character, “someone whom she’s recruiting and trying to get his trust.” Steihm added that this is just one of “5 or 6 new characters” who will be added. Steihm confirmed that the character Carrie pursues as a recruit is portrayed by Life Of Pi‘s non-CGI star Suraj Sharma. Read More »

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TCA: Premiere Date Set For Season 4 Of ‘Homeland’; Key Art, First Trailer Released (Video)

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 1:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA: Premiere Date Set For Season 4 Of ‘Homeland’; Key Art, First Trailer Released (Video)The upcoming fourth season of Showtime‘s flagship drama Homeland will debut October 5. The announcement was made at the top of Homeland‘s TCA presentation when the show also unveiled its first Season 4 trailer (watch it below). Set in the Middle East, the season was shot in South Africa after three years in North Carolina. It sees Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) assigned to a volatile and dangerous CIA station in the Middle East.

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‘House Of Cards’ Emmy Nominee Carl Franklin Signs With Paradigm

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 4:52pm PDT

‘House Of Cards’ Emmy Nominee Carl Franklin Signs With ParadigmEXCLUSIVE: TV and film director Carl Franklin, who’s up for an Emmy for helming the Season 2 opener of Netflix drama House Of Cards, has signed with Paradigm.  He won the Indie Spirit Award for helming 1992 crime pic One False Move from a script by Billy Bob Thornton; last week Franklin earned his first Emmy nod for Outstanding Direction for House Of Cards episode “Chapter 14.” He was most recently on ICM’s client roster. Read More »

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Leslie Hope Joins FX’s ‘Tyrant’; Raymond J. Barry In CW’s ‘The 100′

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 4:38pm PDT

Leslie Hope Joins FX’s ‘Tyrant’; Raymond J. Barry In CW’s ‘The 100′Leslie Hope has booked a recurring role on FX’s Tyrant from Homeland executive producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff and Six Feet Under alum Craig Wright. It tells the story of an unassuming American family — Barry (Adam Rayner); his strong, smart and idealistic wife Molly (Jennifer Finnigan); and their kids Emma (Anne Winters) and Sammy (Noah Silver) — drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle East nation. Hope, repped by Domain and manager Perry Zimel, will play Lea Exley in the final three episodes of the season. Hope can currently be seen in Guillermo del Toro‘s The Strain, also on FX, and will next be seen in del Toro’s feature Crimson Peak. Hope’s many previous TV series credits include The River for ABC and the first season of Fox’s 24.

Raymond J. Barry (Training Day) is set as a recurring on the CW’s The 100. Set 97 years after a nuclear war destroyed civilization, it revolves around 100 juvenile delinquents sent back to Earth to investigate the possibility of re-colonizing the planet. Barry will play Dante Wallace, a passionate painter and leader. Barry is represented by Bob McGowan and Tom Markley at Metropolitan Talent Agency.

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Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’ Dips & ‘Masters Of Sex’ Down In Season 2 Debuts

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 12:44pm PDT

Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’ Dips & ‘Masters Of Sex’ Down In Season 2 DebutsIt was a double blast of returns from Showtime on Sunday with the Season 2 premieres of Ray Donovan and Masters Of Sex. With the former having moved from 10 PM to 9 PM and the later at 10 PM, the shows pulled in 1.22 million and 825,000 viewers, respectively. While the Donovan debut ray donovan seaosn 2was down 13% from the Season 1 finale last fall, it slipped  just 9% from the 1.35 million who watched its series premiere on June 30 last year – that served as the lead-out for the strong debut of the last season of  Dexter and become the best-ever series debut in Showtime’s history. For Sex, Sunday’s number was 17% down from the 998,000 who saw its Season 1 opener last fall. Over all plays on Sunday, Ray Donovan was seen by 1.76 million while Masters Of Sex was seen by 1.12 million. Read More »

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‘24: Live Another Day’ Considered Killing Off Jack Bauer For Finale Says EP

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 7:01pm PDT

‘24: Live Another Day’ Considered Killing Off Jack Bauer For Finale Says EPSPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s 24: Live Another Day finale.

Amidst a near-war with China, a sword-induced beheading, a time shift and the loss of a longtime character, tonight’s finale on Fox of 24: Live Another Day could have seen the final curtain come down on Kiefer Sutherland’s anti-terrorism agent, says the series’ former showrunner. “We certainly tried out a lot of different endings and we rearranged the furniture every which way in the room,” reveals LAD EP Howard Gordon of the limited-event series and Jack Bauer’s fate. “So we knew what it looked like for other characters to have met with different ends and we tried them all on, up to and including Jack himself. This has always been a show that is really about the days and the life of this man and no day is probably as intense as a person’s last day. So killing Jack was something that was intriguing to us all but it had to be done just right. And that didn’t present itself to us,” the EP adds.

Related: Photo Gallery: The Best Of ‘24’ & Jack Bauer

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAYWhat ultimately did present itself for the one-hour finale was the death of Audrey Boudreau, a character on the show since its fourth season in 2005 played by Kim Raver. “This was a really challenging decision to make and a difficult one to make because she was a such a … Read More »

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FX’s ‘Tyrant’ Moves Production From Israel To Turkey Amid Gaza Violence

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 4:54pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FX’s ‘Tyrant’ Moves Production From Israel To Turkey Amid Gaza ViolenceWith 2 more episodes left to shoot from Tyrant‘s 10-episode first-season order, production on the FX drama was moved from Israel to Turkey yesterday amid escalating violence in the Gaza strip. The move is temporary, and I hear the hope is to return to Jerusalem where Tyrant has built expensive sets but the situation is evaluated day by day, with the safety of the cast and crew a top priority. Another drama filming in Israel, USA’s limited series DIG, just extended its planned hiatus by week while the network and producers explore alternatives and discuss them with the project’s insurance company should the situation remain too dangerous to film. DIG only has shot the first of its six-episode order.

By today, the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza had killed 186 — all of them Palestinians — with at least 1,390 wounded, according to Palestinian health authorities. The death toll has now surpassed the number killed in Gaza during the 2012 war. There is a cease-fire proposal on the table which the Israeli government is willing to consider while Hamas has dismissed it as a “joke.” Fox 21 moved the Tyrant production to Israel after filming the pilot in Morocco. Last September, the studio’s Showtime series Homeland moved third-season scenes that were planned to be shot in Israel to Morocco over concerns about the situation in Syria. With production on all three series impacted due to the constant flareups of violence in the region, it would be harder for US … Read More »

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TCA: USA Network’s ‘Dig’ Extends Hiatus To Assess Jerusalem Production Shoot

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 11:27am PDT

TCA: USA Network’s ‘Dig’ Extends Hiatus To Assess Jerusalem Production ShootA scheduled hiatus in production on USA Network‘s new series Dig has been extended a week while producers assess the situation and decide if they can continue to shoot the six-episode series in Jerusalem. ”This caught us off-guard and we are assessing,” Gideon Raff told TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014, of the violence in the region. The network is “looking at all options and hopefully things will calm down, and we’ll go back” to Jerusalem to shoot the remaining episodes. “If not, we’ll sort it out” he said, noting “Jerusalem is a key element in our show. We chose to shoot there because of its history.”

The action adventure drama, from Tim Kring and Raff — creator of the Israeli series on which Showtime’s Homeland is based — centers on Peter (Jason Isaacs), an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of an archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. The series is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. Anne Heche co-stars. Read More »

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It’s Official: 20th TV’s Dana Walden & Gary Newman Add Oversight Of Fox In Restructuring

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 8:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It’s Official: 20th TV’s Dana Walden & Gary Newman Add Oversight Of Fox In Restructuring21st Century Fox just announced a long-rumored restructuring, which will see 20th Century Fox TV chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman overseeing a new business unit within Fox Networks Group, Fox Television Group, which will combine Fox Broadcasting Co. and 20th  TV. The two will assume their new expanded duties later this month, reporting to Peter Rice, Chairman of Fox Networks Group. The appointment fills a void at the top of the network left by the departure of chairman Kevin Reilly in May. (Walden and Newman had previously reported to Chase Carey, president and chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, as 20th TV was not part of the Fox Networks Group, while Reilly had reported to Rice.) The move reverts to a structure from a decade ago when Fox and 20th TV too were part of the same unit, Fox Television Entertainment Group, run by Sandy Grushow.

Fox logoIn their new roles as chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group, Newman and Walden will be responsible for most facets of running Fox including programming, digital and marketing, with only ad sales and affiliate relations not under their purview. They also will continue oversight of 20th TV, which they have led for the past 15 years. “As we look to the future of the broadcast television business, it is clear that the best path forward is to operate our creative and broadcast divisions under the leadership of a single team, and that Gary and Dana are the perfect executives to take on this new role,” said Carey. “While TCFTV and FBC will each continue as an open supplier and an open network, respectively, the closer alignment of these two properties, coupled with a unified vision from Dana and Gary, gives us a clear advantage in creating even more hit content that will benefit both businesses.”

As news of Walden and Newman’s expanded responsibilities started to trickle down over the past few days, the reaction from industry types has been positive as many praised the duo’s work at 20th TV. Whether it has a good selling season or a not-so-good one, it is a very well-run studio, observers say. However, there was some trepidation among rival networks that they may no longer have access to 20th TV’s best projects, which could be steered to Fox, a network in dire need of a ratings turnaround. Walden and Newman moved in swiftly to assuage possible concerns with an internal memo this morning, in which they vowed no preferential treatment for 20th TV-produced shows at Fox and stressed that 20th TV will continue to sell to everyone. Read More »

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