EXCLUSIVE: A+E Networks is venturing into half-hour comedy with Whitey, a pilot from Leslie Greif, the producer behind the blockbuster History miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. The Office alum David Koechner is attached to star in the sitcom project, which is being produced under the A+E Networks umbrella as part of the company’s longstanding relationship Greif and his company Thinkfactory Media. I hear Whitey is being earmarked for History though a decision about which A+E Network the project will go to will be made if the pilot is picked up to series. Greif is in the process of locking in a writer/showrunner for the pilot, which eyes a mid-June start date. Whitey centers on Guy “Whitey” White (Koechner), a bright, conservative and frustrated guy in his 40s who is struggling to understand the changing values of a country in a world that has forever gone with the wind. Whitey graduated high school, married his high school sweetheart and spent his career working at the local engine factory until he got laid off. Now what?
A&E and History both have original drama series on the air (The Glades, Longmire, Bates Motel, Vikings) though neither of them has taken a stab at half-hour scripted comedy. (Sibling Lifetime has in the past with Rita Rocks among other sitcoms, but Whitey is clearly … Read More »
UPDATED: Lifetime‘s soapy mystery dramedy Devious Maids, executive produced by Desperate Housewives‘ Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria, will premiere on Sunday, June 23, at 10 PM. The project, originally developed and piloted by ABC last season, stars Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez, Edy Ganem and Judy Reyes as five maids with ambition and dreams who work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills, where murder and mayhem collide in the mansions of some of the wealthiest and most powerful families. Read More »
A&E Network has added two programming execs to its ranks. Former Fox TV Studios Scripted Programming VP Gabriel Marano is joining the network’s West Coast-based scripted department as VP Drama Programming, and Dave Mace is coming aboard the East Coast-based non-fiction department as VP Non-fiction & Alternative Programming. At FtvS, Marano oversaw the development and production of the studio’s scripted cable series including The Americans, The Killing, Burn Notice and the upcoming Maron. At A&E he will report to SVP Drama Programming Tana Nugent Jamieson and help shepherd new pilots as well as the network’s slate of original scripted dramas including The Glades, Longmire and Bates Hotel. Mace, previously at MTV Networks as SVP VH1 Creative Lab and before that VP Original Programming at Logo, will report to A&E SVP Non-fiction & Alternative Programming Elaine Frontain Bryant and be tasked with developing new original non-fiction series ideas for the network.
This is the clearest sign yet of the thaw in the companies’ once-frosty relationship — and could intensify industry concerns about whether Netflix will cannibalize ad-supported TV. Warner Bros Television Group has agreed to license complete previous seasons of serialized dramas including Revolution, Political Animals, Longmire, 666 Park Avenue — and The Following, which debuts this month on Fox. Netflix also landed Chuck, Fringe and The West Wing. The companies say that in addition to these eight shows, Warner Bros may also make available “potential future shows.” Warners reserved the right to sell the programs into traditional syndication windows, via electronic sell-through services and on a catch-up basis for recently aired episodes. But Netflix has exclusive rights to subscription streaming. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Lou Diamond Phillips will both topline and co-write The Boys Of Eloy, based on the true story of a ragtag co-ed softball team in the prison town of Eloy, Ariz. Phillips, who currently stars in A&E’s Longmire as Harry Standing Bear, plays the coach who gets the team in shape and helps lead them to the 2000 Little League World Series of Softball. Michael Montijo and Noe Gonzalez co-wrote the screenplay with Phillips. The Boys Of Eloy will be the debut feature production for Montijo’s Majority Entertainment. Montijo, Phillips and Douglas Warner are producing. J.B. Roberts, Edward Michaels, and Michael Weiss are executive producing. Phillips is repped by Global Artists Agency and Thruline Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Two more drama projects landed slots on ABC‘s drama development slate: medical drama Warriors, from director-producer Chris Chulack (Southland), writer Steven Baigelman and Mandeville Television; and legal drama Grievances, from writers Nichole Millard and Kathryn Price and Neal Moritz’s Original Film.
ER alum Chulack is back on the medical beat with Warriors, which is inspired by the state-of-the-art Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The project, written by Baigerlman and to be directed by Chulack, will follow the best and brightest of active-duty military doctors and nurses as they practice trailblazing medicine on critically wounded warriors returning home from Afghanistan; on military families and veterans; as well as administering to Washington’s government elite such as the president, senators, Supreme Court justices — all while juggling their complicated personal lives and trying to maintain their sense of perspective, humor, and sanity. Chulack and Baigelman executive produce with Mandeville’s David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Maria Crenna. Warriors reunites Baigelman with UTA-repped Mandeville TV, where he developed The Oath, also for ABC. Baigelman, repped by UTA and Management 360, is developing the Miles Davis feature biopic Kill The Trumpet Player for Don Cheadle to star. The two recently co-wrote Mr. Inbetween for Showtime. Chulack, repped by UTA and manager Ken Goss, is executive producer/director on TNT’s Southland and directed the pilot for A&E’s breakout drama Longmire. Read More »
Bailey Chase, who co-stars on A&E Network’s Longmire, will star alongside Ashely Scott and Cuba Gooding Jr in Summoned, written and to be directed by Peter Sullivan. Chase plays a detective who lives and breathes his job and becomes suspicious when an acquaintance jumps to his death for no reason. He soon uncovers that a convicted killer may have returned from the grave for revenge. The supernatural thriller, said to be in the vein of Insidious, shoots in LA. Chase is repped by Gersh and Untitled.
EXCLUSIVE: One of the world’s greatest inventors of all time, Thomas Edison, is the leading man of a new period crime drama project in the works at NBC. Titled Edison, the drama is produced by Sony Pictures TV and Mark Johnson’s Gran Via Prods. Written by Daniel C. Connolly (A&E’s Longmire), it is described as a big, fun, genre-driven show about young Thomas Alva Edison. John Shiban (Breaking Bad, Hell On Wheels), who worked on the Johnson-produced Breaking Bad, is overseeing the script for the project, set in 1880s Manhattan. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Katee Sackhoff is joining Oculus, the horror movie from Intrepid Pictures that already has cast Dr Who sidekick Karen Gillan in the lead role. The plot begins a decade after a terrifying family incident left two young children orphans. Although her brother was charged with murder, Kaylie (Gillan) is convinced a haunted antique mirror is the real perpetrator and years later wants to prove that the mirror was responsible for destroying their family. Sackhoff, who stars on A&E’s Longmire, will play Marie, the mother to a younger version of Kaylie. Director Mike Flanagan co-wrote the script with Jeff Howard, and FilmDistrict is distributing in the U.S. It’s going to be a busy 2013 for Sackhoff: The former Battlestar Galactica star will also appear in the Chronicles Of Riddick sequel, Sexy Evil Genius and The Haunting In Georgia. She is repped by the Gersh Agency and managed by Bleu.
A&E Network has picked up its flagship drama series, The Glades, for a 13-episode fourth season to premiere in 2013. Starring Matt Passmore, Glades was the first A&E scripted series to stick and helped establish the network’s scripted brand. It was recently used to launch A&E’s breakout Longmire, which has already been renewed for a second season, also for a 2013 debut. In it third season, The Glades averaged 4.1 million total viewers for premiere episodes in Live+7, up 5% from Season 2. Read More »
The second season premiere of AMC’s Hell On Wheels last night drew 2.5 million total viewers; 793,000 of them in the 18-49 demographic; 1 million in 25-54. That was down from the series’ first season opener (4.3 million) and closer (2.9 million). The period Western was hit with a double whammy as it aired against the closing ceremony of the London Olympics at a time when AMC’s viewership continues to suffer from the lack of carriage on Dish Network. Add to that the fact that Hell On Wheels is a self starter this time around vs. airing behind hit The Walking Dead last season and that its ratings declined for most of its freshman season, and the drop is not that surprising but still alarming for the drama’s long-term prospects if it follows a ratings trajectory similar to Season 1.
Related: A&E’s ‘Longmire’ Ends Freshman Season On High Note, ‘Glades’ Wraps Third Cycle
Airing against the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, the season one finale of A&E’s breakout drama series Longmire drew 4.3 million total viewers and a 1.6 million adults 25-54 on Sunday. The latter was a series high for the crime drama, which has already been renewed for a second season. (In total viewers, the series couldn’t match its series high of 4.55 million viewers but was up from the previous time it faced the Olympics.)
Longmire, which ranks as A&E’s No.1 original drama series ever in total viewers and adults 25-54, has averaged 4.0 million total viewers per premiere episode and 5.4 million in Live+7 viewing (through its first 8 episodes). Leading into Longmire’s closer was the third season finale of The Glades, which was watched by 3.1 million viewers, 1.2 million of them in the adults 25-54 demo. That was close to the comedic drama’s season average. A&E is yet to make a decision on but the network’s brass likes the show, the first of its new crop of scripted originals to get traction, and a renewal appears a strong possibility.
EXCLUSIVE: Robert Taylor, star of A&E Network‘s Western-tinged drama Longmire, has signed with WME in all areas. The series was just picked up for a second season after it premiered with 4.1 million total viewers, making it A&E’s most-watched scripted series debut of all time and the highest-rated new cable scripted drama of 2012 among total viewers and adults 25-54. The Australian actor continues to be repped by Australia’s Marquee Management and attorney SMGSB.
EXCLUSIVE: A&E Network has secured U.S. format rights to Those Who Kill, the Danish crime series based on the books by Elsebeth Egholm, and has ordered a pilot. The original series revolves around a police detective and a forensic profiler who possess a deep understanding of the serial killers they hunt. Imagine Television and Fox 21 will produce the U.S. pilot; Glen Morgan wrote the script. Morgan, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Peter Bose and Jonas Allen will be executive producers. The project was originally announced as in development back in January at TCA, along with Bates Motel, which the network just picked up to series without a pilot. A&E also recently ordered a second season of its Western-flavored drama Longmire.
Mad Men scored big in last night’s ratings race, gaining its biggest season-finale number and finishing its fifth season as the most-watched ever. But it also scored big at the TV Academy on Sunday night, when 150 members and their guests had to be turned away for an event that featured the screening of the final episode and a Q&A with creator Matt Weiner and cast members. At least those 150 who didn’t get in didn’t go away empty-handed: Organizers gave them a jar of “Mad Men Olives” (the kind that go so well with those three-martini lunches) that was the parting gift for members of the audience. One woman, apparently confusing the Academy with Whole Foods Market, said she didn’t like olives and was wondering if she could exchange them for pickles.
Weiner, who flew in for the day from the North Carolina location of his feature directorial debut You Are Here and flew back right after the reception, had not wanted to screen the Season 5 finale in advance of its airing Sunday night but agreed it could be shown at this AMC-produced special event for Emmy voters (but not officially sanctioned by the Academy) two hours before airing on the East Coast. It was followed by the Q&A that also featured cast members Christina Hendricks, January Jones, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Jessica Pare, and Kiernan Shipka. Series star Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss and Jared Harris were advertised but all were said to be stuck overseas filming and didn’t make it. Read More »