Leading reality production company A. Smith & Co. Productions has added veteran unscripted producers Jay Bienstock and Eugene Young as co-managing directors. The two will join the A. Smith’s senior leadership team alongside CEO Arthur Smith, president Kent Weed, and COO Frank Sinton. Bienstock and Young have spent the last three years running Bienstock Young Media, producing more than a dozen pilot and series, including Animal Intervention on Nat Geo Wild, Big Food for CMT, and Times Up at MTV. The company will now be dissolved, with A. Smith & Co absorbing part of the Bienstoc -Young production slate. Last year, Bienstock and Young formed a partnership with Jay and Phil McGraw, which yielded several pilots in contention at A&E.
UPDATED: Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun’s TV/digital/film production company has set up shop at MGM for television and film. BermanBraun, which just came out of a five-year stint at NBCUniversal, has signed an exclusive multiyear production deal with MGM Television to create and develop scripted and unscripted programming for broadcast and cable. The agreement, the first such production pact for MGM Television, which has been in a rapid expansion mode, came together pretty quickly only two weeks after BermanBraun’s most recent deal at NBCU expired. “It was a real meeting of minds,“ said Roma Khanna, President, Television Group & Digital, MGM Television.”The idea of this deal is to say that our appetite is large for quality productions, that we want to work with the best talent and are smart about the TV projects we put together.”
Berman and Braun took several meetings but ultimately opted to go with upstart MGM vs. a traditional TV studio because of their plan to aggressively build their TV operation. “We’re exited to be part of their expansion, it gives us an unique opportunity to spread our wings,” Berman said.
BermanBraun and MGM TV both have experimented with not-traditional production models, something BermanBraun is employing in their summer NBC series Camp, which was done as a straight-to-series, lower license fee show. MGM TV is behind History’s Vikings, which went straight to series and is made as an international co-production, as well as FX’s straight-to-series limited series Fargo. Khanna noted that MGM “got lucky” to land the two straight-to-series orders but is staying “flexible”, pursuing both non-traditional and traditional pilot development and willing to deficit finance/co-finance its projects. MGM’s focus remain on cable dramas, though Khanna hopes to expand into unscripted series via BermanBraun’s expertise in the arena. Meanwhile, BermanBraun had serviced NBCU’s cable networks, including producing Syfy’s Alphas, though its primary focus for the past five years has been on broadcast, supplying NBC. The deal with MGM “really allows to get (the cable drama) part of our business jump-started, so our interests aligned beautifully in that,” Berman said,. In addition to Khanna, BermanBraun will work with Steve Stark, President, TV Production, MGM Television. On the BermanBraun side, Gene Stein, President of Television, will be leading their team in the new venture.
MGM has also signed BermanBraun to a first-look deal on all theatrical projects they are developing and will work directly with Jonathan Glickman, President, Motion Picture Group, MGM. The theatrical executive from BermanBraun is Andrew Mittman, Head of Feature Film Development.
DreamWorks Animation shares are up more than 9% pre-market while Netflix is up more than 5% after striking what it calls its largest-ever original content deal. The studio will produce at least 300 hours of programming exclusively for Netflix that will run across its global markets over several years. DWA says that makes this “a cornerstone of a major initiative” to “greatly expand its television production and distribution worldwide.” The shows will be “inspired by” DWA characters as well as ones from the Classic Media library it bought last year. The first series in this deal will air in 2014. (The companies had previously announced that DWA will produce an animated series for Netflix, Turbo F.A.S.T, that will be available in December.) Although the companies are short on details, the news reassures investors that Netflix and DWA can carry on nicely after each allowed carriage deals with Viacom to lapse.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show and PBS‘s Sesame Street led the 40th Daytime Creative Arts Emmys with six wins apiece at the annual awards presented Friday night by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. CBS tied PBS as the most-awarded network as honors were doled out in over 55 categories, while Leeza Gibbons won in her first Emmy nomination in 15 years. Embattled Sesame Street fixture Kevin Clash won three Emmys for his work on the children’s show as co-exec producer, performer, and director. Here’s the full list of winners:
Maria Sansone, co-anchor of Good Day LA on KTTV Fox 11 in Los Angeles, has signed with 3 Arts Entertainment. Sansone was named co-anchor of Good Day LA alongside Steve Edwards in September after four months of tryouts following the departure of original co-host Dorothy Lucey. She is a former field reporter for WNBC 4 New York who appeared daily on New York’s LX TV. She has contributed to Access Hollywood, Extra, ABC, NBC, MTV, TV Guide Network, Yahoo!, CBS Sports, NESN and ESPN. Sansone, who didn’t have prior management representation, is repped by Ken Lindner and Assoc.
Girl Code, a spin-off of MTV2′s Guy Code has been picked up for a second season by MTV. The series features female comics giving viewers tips about womanhood, covering everything from frenemies, girl fights and cutting bathroom lines, to dancing drinking and dating. Two new episodes are set to air Tuesday at 9:30 PM and 10:30 PM. Girl Code ranks as the No. 1 original cable series in its time slot with P12-34, and is the No. 1 program across all TV in its time slot with W12-34. Additionally, it’s currently the most social MTV reality series on air, and ranks in the Top 10 for all TV shows each week. Girl Code, an original production by Viacom Media Networks, was developed by Ryan Ling who also serves as executive producer. Darin Byrne and Paul Ricci executive produce for MTV. Laura Murphy directs.
The Monte-Carlo Television Festival wrapped in Monaco tonight with the Golden Nymph Awards handed out at the Grimaldi Forum. Hungarian coming-of-age TV movie Aglaja, directed by Krisztina Deák, was the big winner with four prizes. Breaking Bad, Modern Family, Borgen and Fresh Meat were also singled out. The festival has been attracting an increasing number of high-profile talent to the principality with cast members and execs in attendance this year from such shows as The Big Bang Theory, Breaking Bad, Crossing Lines, Dallas, Grimm, Hatfields & McCoys, Once Upon A Time, Revenge, Revolution and Scandal. Donald Sutherland received a Crystal Nymph Award earlier this week. Below is the full list of tonight’s winners for excellence in international television:
Best Television Film
M-RTL ZRT, Hungary
Krisztina Deák, Aglaja
M-RTL ZRT, Hungary
Arsher Ali, Complicit
Many Rivers Films, UK
June 13, 2013 – Santa Monica- Jason Weiss has joined Myriad Pictures as Senior Vice President, Production, it was announced today by Myriad CEO Kirk D’Amico. In this role, Weiss will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of Myriad’s growing production and development activities. Myriad’s current production projects include the recently announced Weightless starring Jessica Alba, written and to be directed by Academy Award nominee Milo Addica, the action thriller Caught Stealing starring Patrick Wilson and Alec Baldwin, and the comedy Guidance starring Seann William Scott and Leslie Bibb.
Here’s the first full trailer for Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. Steve Coogan stars as the eponymous radio host, a character he created with Veep‘s Armando Iannucci in 1991. The socially awkward Partridge is an iconic figure in Britain where the highly anticipated film bows via Studiocanal on August 7. Coogan and Iannucci penned the script with frequent Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Peter Baynham and Neil and Rob Gibbons. It sees Partridge’s Norwich, England radio station under siege and the host forced to act as negotiator between the police and the disgruntled employee who’s holding the station hostage. Sean Pertwee, Colm Meany and Anna Maxwell Martin also star. Declan Lowney directed.
Just days after Texas tripled its film and TV production tax incentives, Nevada has gotten into the game. Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed the state’s first program aimed at luring productions away from California and elsewhere. Starting Jan. 1, productions that shoot at least 60 percent in-state and spend $500,000 to $40 million there will be eligible to earn a transferable tax credit worth 15%-19% of their in-state qualified expenses up to $20 million. The tax credit can be used on all Nevada cast, crew, labor, materials, rentals and such. The bill, introduced in February by Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, moved quickly through the Legislature. It establishes a pilot program to be operated by the state Office of Economic Development. The OED will stop taking applications at the end of 2017, but those with unused credits will get the benefits until the program expires on June 30, 2023. Among those who testified for the state legislature to approve the program was Nicolas Cage. The actor went to Reno in May to speak with state officials.
The multimedia celebrity — in her new role as Chief Creative Officer of NUVOtv — spoke in broad terms at the cable industry confab this morning about plans for this summer to reignite the English-language network that targets young Latinos. Channels such as MTV and BET attracted viewers “with music first and the network grew from there,” she says. But for NUVOtv scripted programming is “a big thing for me…One show can launch a network. One amazing show.” Her production company, Nuyorican Productions, will be in the mix, and she’ll appear on air “because I was available.” In addition to star power, Lopez says she can help the network with her relationships, including with CAA, which she called “a great agency with a wealth of writers, directors and actors.” Lopez says her title at the network isn’t just ceremonial. “I had a lot of ideas about the network and what it should be.….It represents something bigger than television. It represents a community” that’s been ignored, she says. But Lopez declined to discuss whether she might play a role in the revival of American Idol. “That’s just a rumor,” she says. “I have no announcements to make on that.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: Corus, Telefilm Canada Pact; ITV Cooks With Gino D’Acampo; Izabella Wiley Joins A+E; More
Corus, Telefilm Canada Create Fund For Family Movies
Corus Entertainment and Telefilm Canada have launched the Family Feature Production Fund to encourage the production of Canadian English-language live-action family movies for theatrical release. The fund will provide financing for as many as two films a year with budgets between $3.5M and $5M. The pilot initiative will be open to Canadian feature producers with a fully developed film script and a comprehensive plan for market viability. Corus and Telefilm will jointly evaluate the applications with Corus contributing financing, a broadcast commitment and marketing support from its portfolio of networks which includes Movie Central, W Movies and YTV.
ITV Series Will Follow Chef Gino D’Acampo Around Southern Italy
ITV Studios Daytime has been commissioned by ITV to produce Gino’s Italian Escape, a six-part series set in Southern Italy. The half-hour program will be presented by chef Gino D’Acampo who is known to local auds for his participation on ITV’s This Morning show. ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which is handling world sales, has also brokered a deal with Hodder & Stoughton for a cook book to accompany the series. For the lifestyle, travel and cooking series, D’Acampo will cross Southern Italy in search of the region’s best kept secrets. This is ITV Studios Daytime’s first factual commission for ITV primetime and will air in September.
With longtime host Jon Stewart taking his first extended hiatus from The Daily Show, correspondent John Oliver took over the desk for the first Monday. The bespectacled Brit will host the venerable Comedy Central strip for eight weeks of original episodes while Stewart shoots his feature directing debut. After introducing himself, Oliver’s first words to the Daily Show audience were, “Let’s all just acknowledge for a moment that this is weird.” The political gods must be smiling on Oliver: It hasn’t exactly been a slow news week in D.C. In this clip from Monday’s show, the NSA scandal provides fodder for a new segment called “Good News! You’re Not Paranoid”:
Rachel Brill has been promoted to vice president of unscripted programming for TNT Originals. Brill, who most recently served as director of unscripted development for TNT, is responsible for supervising development of unscripted series, collaborating with directors and producers on developing new ideas, providing creative oversight of unscripted pilots from pre-production through production and post-production; and supervising the continued development of series once they’ve been greenlit. Brill is based in Los Angeles and reports to David Eilenberg, senior vice president of unscripted development for TNT and TBS.
‘Entourage’ Movie, ‘Justified’, ‘Teen Wolf’ & ‘King And Maxwell’ Among Winners Of California Tax Credit Production Lottery
The Entourage movie, the fourth season of MTV’s Teen Wolf, the fifth season of Justified, the upcoming CBS Studios-produced King And Maxwell and Pretty Little Liars Season 5 are among the 31 projects picked this year in the state’s $100 million film and TV tax credit lottery, the California Film Commission announced today. Also on the list of winners is a previously unannounced sequel of Blumhouse’s upcoming horror/thriller feature The Purge, which debuts on June 7 from Universal.
Given the green light by Warner Bros back in January, the feature version of HBO’s eight season Hollywood series was always going to film a portion of its big screen debut in California but now they have a 20% tax credit to use. Among the others selected, Shane Brennan’s P.I. series King and Maxwell is one of the few new TV series to get subsidies this year and with a 25% tax credit, a move to California as a Relocating Series. Ordered earlier this year for 10-episode season by TNT, the pilot for the series, which stars Rebecca Romijn and Jon Tenney, was shot in Canada. There were a lot of familiar names this year too. This is the second year that Teen Wolf has received an allocation from the state program. It was selected as a Relocating TV Series in 2012, which made it automatically eligible this year under the Film Commission’s rules. TV series Justified and Pretty Little Liars, who already film in the Golden State and received tax credits last year as well, were re-eligible this year under regulations that place previously selected TV series at the top of the queue for future seasons. See the names of all of the winners of the 2013 California Production Tax Credit Lottery after the jump.
The agreement provides Amazon with “hundreds of TV shows and thousands of TV episodes” including “a collection of TV shows that customers won’t find on any other digital video subscription service,” the companies say. But it’s especially interesting because it comes days after Viacom’s streaming carriage agreement with Netflix expired. Although execs said last week that they’re still negotiating, Netflix made it clear that it now favors deals that would give it exclusive access to programming. “We valued [Viacom's] content for sure, we just disagreed about the value of the content,” Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told investors at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit. “We’re into a whole new space about what people are watching and what it’s worth.” But Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told the same gathering that he doesn’t want to be tied down. “There isn’t a player or potential player doesn’t come by our door and we work with all of them.” Streaming, he added, “is a continuing good overall opportunity for us and any growth opportunity for us.” Viacom shares are up about 2% in early trading. Here’s today’s release:
RSA has hired Arrow Kruse to be an executive producer at Ridley Scott’s commercials production company, running the Branded Content, Digital and Entertainment division. He is currently overseeing the RSA/Machinima partnership for RSA president Jules Daly and Ridley Scott. Said Daly, “I am thrilled to have Arrow onboard at RSA as we continue the company’s legacy of innovative work — creating new definitions and platforms to deliver branded content that pushes the boundaries of expectations. Arrow’s extensive experience with reinventing and expanding global campaigns, and establishing new brands makes him the perfect fit for us here”.
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman had better hope he doesn’t have to testify at a congressional hearing where Sen. John McCain’s asking the questions. The entertainment exec gave the back of his hand today to the Arizona Republican’s new campaign to promote a la carte pay TV pricing. McCain “got a lot of publicity for his solo sponsored bill which he’s been doing for 15 years now,” Dauman told investors at the Nomura Global Media & Telecom Summit. The proposal has “no co-sponsors, [and is] going nowhere.” One big reason, Dauman says: The current pay TV bundles are “great for consumers. Consumers are enjoying what many call the golden age of television because we have a number of networks….come from nothing and know that they have distribution.” But he says “the opposite would be true” with a la carte pricing. “Consumers would get fewer channels without saving any money.” Although some analysts wonder whether online video will promote cord cutting, Dauman still sees the businesses as complementary. MTV will introduce an app for streaming programming “very soon,” following Nickelodeon’s which the CEO says has been “very successful.” Indeed, he says that channel apps “can be the method by which you get TV Everywhere” as opposed to apps from pay TV distributors. Viacom’s program carriage deal with Netflix expires at the end of this week…