EXCLUSIVE: Haley Joel Osment is set to co-star opposite Will Ferrell, Tobey Maguire and Kristen Wiig in The Spoils Of Babylon, IFC’s six-episode miniseries produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die. In the vein of The Thorn Birds and Winds Of War, the epic story of The Spoils Of Babylon chronicles the sexy and dramatic lives of the Morehouse family who made their fortune in the oil business.
BREAKING… 21st Century Fox replaces the previously announced name Fox Group for the independent media and entertainment company. The publishing side will retain the name News Corp when the Big Media corporation splits off its two main businesses. The new name will be effective with the separation and “draws on the Company’s creative heritage, while also speaking to the future as well as the innovation that defines its portfolio of businesses,” according to today’s press release. (I hear Rupert Murdoch‘s giant actually hired a naming company for this rather obvious choice unofficially pictured here.) Under the 21st Century Fox umbrella will be a global portfolio of cable and broadcasting networks and properties, including FOX, FX, FXX, FS1, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Network, National Geographic Channels, Fox Pan American Sports, MundoFox and STAR; film studio Twentieth Century Fox Film; and television production studios Twentieth Century Fox Television and Shine Group as well as its pay-television services in Europe and Asia, including Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and its equity interests in BSkyB and Tata Sky. On June 28, 2012, News Corp announced the separation of its businesses into two separate independent companies, with the other containing newspapers, information services, and integrated marketing services, digital real estate services, book publishing, digital education and sports programming and pay-TV distribution in Australia. The split still needs federal regulatory approval. Here is Murdoch’s memo to all employees about the new name announcement:
Three of FX’s comedy series — flagship It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League and Legit — will help launch new sibling FXX (formerly Fox Soccer), along with late-night show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. Sunny, The League and Legit have been renewed for Season 10, 6 and 2, respectively. Additionally, Totally Biased will expand to five nights a week after it moves to FXX when the network launches September 2. The plan for FXX is to start with four original comedy series and one late-night show. The fourth original comedy will likely come from one of FX’s half-hour pilots, FX president John Landgraf said. Live talk show Brand X With Russell Brand will be moving over to FXX if the show returns for a third season. Langraf said a decision on that would made in the next few months. The new network’s original offerings will go up to six comedy series by the second year and to gradually introduce dramas.
BREAKING: Universal Pictures has set Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis to star in One Night On The Hudson, a TJ Fixman-scripted comedy that will be directed by Seth Gordon. Mary Parent and Cale Boyter are producing at Disruption. This shapes up as a re-team between Day, Sudeikis and Gordon from Horrible Bosses, the New Line comedy that is in the process of being sequelized. The logline: rookie cop and the criminal he caught go on the lam from crooked cops.
Sudeikis continues as a castmember on Saturday Night Live and next stars in New Line’s We’re The Millers, while Day continues to star in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. He also is part of the ensemble of Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, which Parent produced for Legendary Pictures. Gordon just directed the hit comedy Identity Thief for Universal. Gordon is producing as well. Fixman is repped by WME and Fourth Floor Productions’ Jeff Silver.
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) is set to star opposite Will Arnett in CBS‘ untitled Greg Garcia multi-camera comedy pilot. The project, written and executive produced by Garcia, centers on Jack (Arnett), a recently divorced guy whose life gets more complicated when his parents have marital problems of their own. Their mother (Margo Martindale) moves in with Will, while their father moves in with Will’s sister Debbie (Ellis) and her husband. Perfect Couples alumna Ellis, repped by Evolution and CAA, recurred on New Girl.
After a busy year spent securing exclusive streaming deals and producing original programming, Netflix is stretching its muscles again by getting into the awards game — sort of. The service will honor the viewing habits of its members with the Flixies Awards, which features nominees culled from the service’s most popular streamed selections (and also Netflix’s original series House Of Cards). Categories for the inaugural edition include Best Hangover Cure, Best PMS Drama and Best Tantrum Tamer and aim to reflect the way people consume Netflix content. Voters can also write in categories for possible inclusion in future Flixies. Voting is open to Netflix customers and online visitors from any of the 40 countries and the Netflix Facebook page (check out the main page here). Voting ends March 10, with the top three winners from each category announced the next day. Here are the nominees:
First American soccer lost its biggest star, British import David Beckham, now it is about to lose its dedicated cable channel. Fox Networks is planning to relaunch its Fox Soccer Channel as an FX-branded entertainment cable network, a sibling to the cable network that airs Sons Of Anarchy, Louie and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Information about the plan, which is in advanced stages and is already being presented to ad buyers to gauge their interest, was reported by Broadcast & Cable and the LA Times. According to sources, the FX offshoot, dubbed FXX, would be geared towards younger viewers with an emphasis on comedy, creating a cable tandem similar to TNT-TBS where TNT is more older-skewing and drama-focused and TBS goes for younger viewers with comedies. Like its big brother FX, FXX would feature original programming, in addition to some repurposed shows and theatrical movies from FX and fellow sibling FX Movie Channel. There is talk about moving some younger-skewing comedy series from FX to FXX to further differentiate the two networks’ identities. Fox has yet to begin talks with MSO and satellite operators about switching Fox Soccer Channel and its 75 million homes to FXX.
The future of the Fox Soccer Channel had been in limbo ever since Fox and ESPN in October lost the rights to the English Premier League to NBC and its fledgling NBC Sports Network. The remaining soccer …
FX’s ‘Sunny’ Likely To Go To Season 10, ‘Anger Management’ To Air 45 Eps A Year, John Landgraf On AMC Showrunner Firings
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is the only one of what FX president John Landgraf called the “four cornerstones” of FX (The Shield, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck and Sunny) that is still on the air. The comedy has already been renewed for a ninth season, and it will likely won’t be the last. “There is a high likelihood for a 10th season,” Landgraf said during the FX portion of TCA this morning. “Whether it goes beyond that depends on whether the people who created the show want to go and whether the audience still wants to watch. But there will definitely be one more year, probably two.”
Landgraf also shed light on FX’s scheduling plans for the back 90 episodes of Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management. “It will stay on the air with no interruption for two years, basically 45 episodes a year,” Landgraf said. That means that, save for major holidays and sports pre-emptions, there will be an original of Anger Management on Thursday night for two years, starting with the Season 2 premiere January 17. The biggest change made following the initial 10 episodes was the addition of Martin Sheen as Charlie Sheen’s father for a multi-generational dimension on the series.
ABC, which has one family comedy with a male lead on the air in Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, is developing another multi-camera family half-hour centered on a guy played by a stand-up comedian. The network has bought Big Children, written/executive produced by Scott Marder (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) and starring actor-comedian Rory Scovel (The Life And Times Of Tim). Produced by ABC Studios, it centers on a thirtysomething “only child” (Scovel) who must move home and parent his parents after they retire and revert to acting like children with too much time on their hands. Scovel is repped by CAA, which also reps Marder, Mosaic and Isaac Dunham.
On the heels of FX renewing its comedy Wilfred for a third season, Wilfred producer FX Prods has inked an overall deal with the series’ executive producer/director Randall Einhorn. The pact locks in a key player on the show following the recent departure of executive producer/showrunner David Zuckerman. (Writer-producers Reed Agnew and Eli Jorné are taking the reins of the comedy in Season 3.
Guillermo del Toro is bringing his vampire novel trilogy The Strain to television as a drama series, which will be run by former Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse. In a very competitive situation with multiple cable networks offering major commitments, FX has landed the project, ordering a pilot that will be co-written, directed and executive produced by del Toro. Co-writing the pilot script is Chuck Hogan (Prince Of Thieves), who also co-authored the books with del Toro. Lost alum Cuse will help develop the series and serve as executive producer/showrunner. Like Lost, The Strain is envisioned as having a limited run. Del Toro tells Deadline he believes the books have enough juice to fill three to five seasons of series, and that he would like to helm as many episodes as his feature schedule allows. Del Toro, Cuse and Hogan exec produce with del Toro’s long-time manager/producing partner Gary Ungar.
In the opening book of the series, the 2009 The Strain, a Boeing 777 lands at JFK with no communication or signs of life. Eph Goodweather, who investigates biological threats for the CDC, is called in and discovers all the passengers dead, and signs that a strange being had been aboard the vessel. Soon, he teams with ex-professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian and they assemble a ragtag group that represents mankind’s only hope when a swarm of vampires quickly turn civilization into a buffet spread. Fittingly for male-driven FX, unlike the traditional, romanticized portrayals of vampires as tuxedo-clad studs, The Strain‘s bloodsuckers have no seductive powers — they are parasites, husks of their former human form with stingers that drain blood for nourishment, while spreading capillary worms that convert victims into more vampires under the control of The Master.
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has set another key member of the Schrute clan. Veteran Tom Bower (Die Hard 2) has been cast as Dwight’s (Rainn Wilson) great uncle Heinrich in The Office spinoff project, which will be introduced in an episode of the veteran NBC comedy’s upcoming final season. Titled The Farm, the spinoff has Dwight (Wilson) living at the Schrute family beet farm and bed & breakfast. Bower will play the Dwight siblings’ (Wilson, Majandra Delfino, Thomas Middleditch) great uncle Heinrich Manheim, who is charming, greedy, manipulative… and may have had to spend time in Argentina following World War II, thanks to his German National Socialist roots. Co-starring in the project is Matt Jones as Dwight’s cousin Zeke. Bower, repped by UTA and Principal, will next be seen in the feature Out Of The Furnace and reprising his role as Pop Pop on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
LOS ANGELES (May 20, 2012) – Proving that summer doesn’t have to mean the start of rerun season, Hulu today announced a full slate of new original and exclusive TV shows that begin premiering on June 4th on Hulu and the Hulu Plus subscription service. Hulu’s summer lineup offers new TV shows for all kinds of entertainment fans, from comedy, sci-fi, travel, reality and even a little magic. For a preview of the upcoming programming, visit www.hulu.com/hulu-summer-series.
Los Angeles – May 11, 2012 - Shangri-La Entertainment announced today that Danny DeVito has wrapped shooting on his apocalyptic thriller and is now in post-production. Directed by DeVito, the currently untitled project stars William Fichtner (THE DARK KNIGHT, BLACK HAWK DOWN and THE PERFECT STORM) soon to be seen in THE LONE RANGER, playing the nemesis to Johnny Depp’s Tonto; Lance Reddick, the imposing Lieutenant Daniels on hit series THE WIRE and currently starring in JJ Abrams’ popular THE FRINGE; and Constance Zimmer, the offbeat sex symbol Dana Gordon on award-winning HBO series ENTOURAGE.
Confirming the announcement, DeVito commented: “I was truly excited about getting behind the camera on this one. It is my first foray into the thriller genre and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of making an 89 minute edge-of-your-seater…”
Locomotive’s Colleen Seldin will commence sales of the Jersey Films and Shangri-La Entertainment-produced project at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.
The film revolves around a wounded cop, a wounded murderer and a sultry nurse. The three are thrust together, as war rages outside the only possible safe house, an abandoned City Hospital. With no doctors and only a few poor decrepit souls as witnesses, it becomes a rats’ maze as the antagonistic trio get separated, and we find out the real reason they are there.
On acquiring the film for international sales, Seldin commented “Danny is an extremely talented and experienced filmmaker with a unique gift for connecting with the audience, whether in front of,
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Peter Tolan delivered another R-rated hosting performance as the moderator of today’s Hollywood Radio and Television Society’s Hitmakers luncheon featuring showrunners Graham Yost (Justified), Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) Michael Patrick King (2 Broke Girls) and Liz Meriwether (New Girl). Like Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes, Tolan started off by showing more restraint than usual but that lasted about 10 seconds. ”I decided this year to be polite … it’s pilot season, and I do have projects out there. I’m not going to randomly go after it,” he said before adding, presumably referring to the audience in general: “You’re a fucking cunt.”
Turning to Mazzara, he said, “I thought The Walking Dead was the viewership of CBS,” adding with a grin, “None of my pilots is at CBS.”
Not surprisingly, the majority of FX’s executive session this morning was devoted to the network’s decision to pick up Charlie Sheen’s new series Anger Management. FX president John Landgraf admitted he walked into the pitch for the show “as skeptical as you might imagine I would be.” But he said that “it was just a really excellent pitch… It was a character Charlie ought to be playing.” The character has a ”checkered past, but (is) very self-aware, struggling but looking to do more positive things in his life.” Asked about Sheen’s own checkered past, including accusations of violence against women, Landgraf said he was “all for giving him the opportunity to turn things around.” If Sheen wants to ”get his house in order” after grappling with substance abuse and strained relationships with his family, and wants to ”do a show where he as an actor has more complicated positive relationships with women,” then that ”could be a really good thing not only for Charlie but for society…I believe in redemption.” Landgraf said the decision to pick up Anger Management was not a publicity stunt: FX wants to build a slate of off-network shows that it can strip. FX has had success with Two And A Half Men, but recently lost bidding for two other comedy hits: The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family. Building such properties internally takes time: It will take eight seasons for FX’s comedy It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia to …
Entertainment group CollegeHumor Media has set Coffee Town directed by Arrested Development and My Name Is Earl writer Brad Copeland for its first theatrical motion picture. Starring Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Steve Little (Eastbound & Down), Ben Schwartz (House of Lies) and Josh Groban (Crazy, Stupid, Love), the film — a modern-day workplace comedy for the present day’s job-hopping culture — will be produced by CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen. Principal photography begins February in Los Angeles. An operating business of Barry Diller’s IAC, CollegeHumor targets young adults age 18-34.
Fox has given the green light to one more pilot, a single-camera comedy from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia creator/star Rob McElhenney and the show’s executive producer Rob Rosell. The project, titled Living Loaded, is based on the book of the same name by Dan Dunn. It centers on a loose partying blogger forced to change his career plans when he becomes a radio host. Co-written by Rosell, McElhenney and Dunn, Living Loaded hails from FX Prods, where McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton’s company RCG has a rich production deal. McElhenney will serve as showrunner and executive produce with Rosell, Day, Howerton and 3 Arts’ Nick Frenkel and Michael Rotenberg. Dunn serves as supervising producer. In addition to Sunny and Living Loaded, McElhenney and Rosell are executive producing together FX’s upcoming animated series Unsupervised, which Rosell co-created. This is McElhenney and Howerton’s second comedy pilot for Fox following the 2009 Boldly Going Nowhere. To sum up, Fox picked up four pilots today: comedies Living Loaded and Dana Fox’s Ben Fox Is My Manny, and dramas Guilty from Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim and an untitled serial killer project from Kevin Williamson.
EXCLUSIVE: FX has teamed with Amy Poehler to bring cult Web series Broad City to television. Poehler will executive produce the TV series adaptation of the Web comedy created by and starring Upright Citizens Brigade alumnae Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. Jacobson and Glazer are set to write and star in the half-hour FX project, which has received a script commitment from the network. It centers on the Manhattan (and Brooklyn) misadventures of 20-something female best friends, played by Jacobson and Glazer. UCB co-founder Poehler’s relationship with Jacobson and Glazer goes back to their days together at the famous improv theater. The Saturday Night Live alumna is a fan of Broad City and has appeared in it (see trailer below), which led to her interest in taking the show to television. Poeler, Jacobson and Glazer, all repped by WME, will executive produce the FX project with Poehler’s manager, 3 Arts’ Dave Becky, and Jacobson and Glazer’s manager Samantha Saifer. Nancy Pimenthal is on board as supervising producer. FX has been aggressively building a slate of offbeat comedies with It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League, Louie and Wilfred. Broad City would mark the network’s first comedy series with female leads and all-female creators. Four-time Emmy nominee Poehler, who stars on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, received the 2011 Variety Power of Comedy Award last weekend.