Veteran showrunner René Echevarria has signed a premium two-script deal with Legendary Television. No concepts have been set yet, but I hear Echevarria may explore titles from Legendary’s movie library. He has background in shepherding big properties to the small screen with his tenure on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Echevarria also served as executive producer/showrunner on Fox’s Terra Nova and executive produced MTV”s Teen Wolf. Additionally, he co-created USANetwork’s The 4400 and worked on Medium and Castle.
After giving her a Career Aptitude Test that included such questions as “Would you like (an) office to have corners, or would you like it not to have corners?” and “Do you enjoy constant, nonstop criticism?” — and after observing how artfully she pivoted his question about her having said she and hubby Bill Clinton were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 to talk about her concern that Stewart’s target demo can’t get ahead in this economy — Jon Stewart concluded last night his The Daily Show guest Hillary Clinton had just declared she was running for POTUS in 2016.
They’re not quite ready to declare the production state of emergency in the City of Angels over, but today even the notorious pessimistic FilmLA saw things looking up – especially in the TV categories. A Q2 2014 report released by the nonprofit permitting group this morning said total on-location television production in LA County roared up 33.7% over the same quarter last year to 5,761 PPD. The report attributes the “ unseasonably strong” results to shifting production schedules as broadcasters get episode of shows like the upcoming TNT series, Legends in shape for summer airing. The news was nowhere near as good today when it came to feature film production in L.A. County this quarter compared to Q2 2013 but minimal ground was lost, which is a victory unto itself as the region as been hit so hard by runaway production in recent years. Quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year, Q2 2014 dipped 5.3% from Q2 2013 to 1,665 PPD. That reasonably steady result gets a bit sour when you look at Q1 2014. That quarter saw a 24.2% rise compared to the year before for features. However, this quarter, both features and TV production exceed their respective 5-year quarterly average with the former up a mere 0.1% while the latter rocketed up 34.0%.
Wednesday, July 23 — Preview Night
6-10 PM, Ballroom 20
Warner Bros. TV Pilot Screening: Constantine, The Flash, iZombie, Teen Titans Go!
Thursday, July 24
10-11 AM, Ballroom 20
Fox’s 24: Kiefer Sutherland, EP Jon Cassar returns to Comic-Con to show off highlights from 24: Live Another Day.
10:30-11:30 AM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Legends Of TV Land: Betty White (The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland) and other TV celebs will answer questions about their work and making history on television. Sneak peek of animated episode of Hot in Cleveland, airing July 30th.
Christopher Walken has been cast as Captain Hook in NBC’s live broadcast of Peter Pan. “He might be the first tap-dancing Hook you’ve ever seen,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told TV critics this morning at Summer TV Press Tour 2014.
Walken, who is currently seen dancing in Clint Eastwood’s screen version of Broadway hit Jersey Boys, began on the Broadway stage in musicals, and has appeared in a number of film musicals, including Hairspray, and the Steve Martin film Pennies From Heaven. He’s well known to NBC’s audience, what with his having hosted Saturday Night Live seven times — where he sometimes performed song-and-dance numbers. Walken won the Academy Award for his role in the Oscar-winning The Deer Hunter, and is also known for his performances in such films as Sleepy Hollow, Pulp Fiction, Wayne’s World, True Romance and Annie Hall. He did his own choreography for the memorable Fatboy Slim video Weapon of Choice, for which he won the MTV Video Music Award for best choreography.
NBC has yet to say who’s been cast in the lead role of Peter Pan, though Greenblatt admitted that they’d approached Kristen Bell who was not available. Last January, following the successful live staging of The Sound Of Music, NBC announced its followup musical — James M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, which will be broadcast Dec. 4. The Sound Of Music‘s exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return in that role …
Today’s TCA panels on new VH1 shows were preceded by EVP Original Programming and Production Susan Levison begging TV critics to approach VH1’s new series Dating Naked without “preconceived notions”. (Check out the clip below).
This was a tall order since the executive also said that the show had not been screened for critics because the production team was still putting “the final blurs” over the daters’ genitalia. Still, the audience chuckled good-naturedly at a clip in which a naked male dater setting out on a date on the water said: “If I get excited, we’re going to need a big boat.”
But both the exec and the creative forces behind MTV’s new docuseries Virgin Territory (launching July 16) said they believe MTV is doing a public service by examining the young generation’s thoughts on virginity.
“Incest is hot, and we’re going to have fun!” MTV‘s Happyland star Bianca Santos said this morning during the new series’ Q&A session at the TCA Summer TV Press Tour. “Now we have our lead!” responded journalists, in their heads — and one said out loud, in a follow-up question.
Right before the Q&A started, critics were treated to a clip from the pilot episode of the soapy teen comedy exploring the underbelly of a popular theme park. At the every end of the clip, Santos’ character, Lucy — around whom this show’s universe revolves — makes out with the theme park’s new hottie, only to discover they’re siblings– oh, yeah, SPOILER ALERT.
Understandably, that informed the questions they asked of the show panel up on stage – to the surprise, and weirdly, the annoyance of some panelists.
MTV’s new original family drama Finding Carter centers on a teenager (Kathryn Prescott) who learns the woman who she thought was her mother actually abducted her as a toddler and must adjust to life with her biological family while looking for her on-the-lam “mom” (whew).
One questioner today at TCA pointed out an unusual occurrence for the TV press tour: The 8-person panel of actors and executive producers included only one man. (The lineup: actors Prescott, Anna Jacoby-Heron, Milena Govich, Cynthia Watros, lone-guy Alexis Denisof and EPs Terri Minsky, Deb Spera and Maria Grasso.)
MTV has greenlighted a fourth season of docu-drama Catfish, the network announced today at TCA. Hosted by Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, the series is based on the 2010 documentary Catfish, which tracked the deceptive online romance in which Schulman became caught up. Catfish wrapped its third season earlier this week.
MTV Moving Forward On ‘Shannara’ Series With Jonathan Liebesman Taking Directing Reins From Jon Favreau
In December, MTV gave a script-to-series commitment to Shannara, a drama series based on Terry Brooks’ massive fantasy book series. Jon Favreau was set to direct and Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar to write, marking one of the most ambitious moves on the network’s scripted side since since Susanne Daniels became president. Now the fantasy is a reality, with a twist: MTV has greenlighted 10 episodes of the series, but scheduling conflicts have forced Favreau to exit the director’s chair, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ director Jonathan Liebesman coming aboard to direct first two episodes. He also will have an executive producer credit.
Favreau will stay on as executive producer. Gough and Millar, who worked with Daniels at WB Network on Smallville, will write and executive produce along with Brooks and Dan Farah (The Crow remake), and Sonar Entertainment is producing with MTV and distributing worldwide. The greenlight is set to be announced today at MTV’s session at TCA.
Shannara features plenty of young-adult adventure and romance to suite MTV’s target demographic (it would be compatible with MTV’s only successful drama series so far, Teen Wolf, which also has supernatural elements). The books — originally set up as a feature film at Warner Bros — are set in our world, thousands of years after the destruction of our civilization. The story centers on the Shannara family, whose descendants are empowered with ancient magic and whose adventures continuously reshape the future of the world.
Producers plan to base the show’s first season on The Elfstones Of Shannara, the second title in the series and credited with setting the series’ place in the fantasy world. The first book in the series came out in 1977 and has spawned sequels, prequels and graphic novels, with the time-shifting and complexity of the series great enough that there’s even a page on Brooks’ website suggesting the best order in which to to read them.
Discovery Communications announced this morning Holzman will oversee strategy and all day-to-day operations for Animal Planet. Previously, Holzman served as EVP Programming and Scheduling for Animal Planet and Science Channel. He will continue to report to Marjorie Kaplan, Group President of TLC and Animal Planet.
From today’s announcement:
“Rick Holzman is one of the most brilliant minds in the media industry and a key driver of Animal Planet’s significant growth as an entertainment destination over the last several years,” said Kaplan. ”His leadership, knowledge and incredible passion for this brand make him the perfect General Manager for Animal Planet.”
Holzman has been with Animal Planet since November 2007, during which time he has been instrumental in the network’s rebrand and breakthrough growth, guiding Animal Planet’s programming by overseeing the network’s commissioning, acquisitions, co-productions and scheduling strategy. The best-performing series in network history – including RIVER MONSTERS, TREEHOUSE MASTERS, WHALE WARS, FINDING BIGFOOT and CALL OF THE WILDMAN – have all come to fruition during his strategic tenure, as did MONSTER WEEK, the week-long programming event that propelled Animal Planet to rank among the top-five, ad-supported cable networks.
Prior to joining Animal Planet, Holzman served as Vice President, Programming and Scheduling at Discovery Channel from 2004 to 2007. Under his guidance, the network launched a Tuesday-night slate of programming which included two of Discovery’s most popular franchises ever, DEADLIEST CATCH and DIRTY JOBS. He also commissioned the network’s first-ever game show, the Emmy®-winning CASH CAB, as well as the popular series, STUNT JUNKIES and
Robbie Amell has booked a recurring role on CW’s The Flash, based on the DC comic. The project, from Warner Bros TV and Berlanti Productions, is an origin story about Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), a Central City assistant police forensics investigator who arrives in Starling to look into a series of unexplained robberies that may have a connection to a tragedy in his past. Amell will play Ronnie Raymond, better known to the DC Comics universe as ½ of Firestorm. He is a maintenance worker at S.T.A.R. Labs and Dr. Caitlin Snow’s fiancé who plays an integral part in the particle accelerator accident that transforms Barry Allen into The Flash. In the DC Comics mythology, Raymond is a man who bonds with another to form the nuclear powered super hero, Firestorm.
Amell, repped by WME, Protégé Entertainment, and Coast To Coast, just wrapped feature The Duff for CBS Films and is currently shooting the indie feature Max. On the TV side, Amell recently appeared on the CW’s The Tomorrow People, and has had recurring roles on NBC’s 1600 Penn, MTV’s, Zach Stone Is Going Be Famous and ABC’s Revenge.
After tapping two new VPs and a Director of Development in April, Hollywood-based TV and film production company Dakota Films has promoted Tally Barr to EVP Development and Production. Barr has more than a decade in comedy, animation, unscripted, and shortform production with credits including Celebrity Deathmatch, Brand X With Russell Brand, Status Updates, Popzilla, the Emmy Awards and the MTV Movie Awards under her belt. She recently served as associate producer on Arrested Development on Netflix and is supervising producer on Dakota’s Deadbeat for Hulu.
Angela Courtin has joined Relativity Media in the company’s newly created Chief Marketing Office role. Courtin will lead marketing, branding, digital, and ad efforts in film, TV, and sports departments. She’ll also oversee all branding and ad campaigns across the company. The new gig starts effective July with Courtin reporting directly to Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh and President Tucker Tooley as Relativity moves into a quiet back half of 2014 starting with today’s opener Earth to Echo, followed by The November Man (Aug. 27), limited release Hector and the Search for Happiness (Sep. 19), Michelle Monaghan romance The Best of Me (Oct. 17) and drama Beyond the Lights (Nov. 14).
Courtin joins the company following the May exit of Dana Precious, who spent a year as President of creative advertising and research. Precious joined Relativity in 2013 with Russell Schwartz, replacing Terry Curtin.
Wish We All Could Get California Cash: Fox’s Beach Boys Pic & BET’s ‘Being Mary Jane’ Among Tax Incentives Winners
Just under a month after the California Film Commission plucked this year’s recipients of the state’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program in a lottery, we learned today who the winners are. Fox’s movie musical revolving around the songs of the Beach Boys and Universal’s Scarface reboot are among the 11 feature films getting a piece of this year’s incentive pie. (See the full list below.) In a rare runaway production reversal, a victory for those who want to bring Hollywood home and a very early renewal, BET’s Being Mary Jane will be relocating from Atlanta to L.A. for its upcoming third season thanks to the Golden State’s tax credits. This is the first news of the high-rated Gabrielle Union-starring show, which just got its official second-season green light back in February, getting a third season. Being Mary Jane joins 12 other basic cable TV series and two TV movies getting money to be made here.
Unlike the years since the credits were first introduced in 2009, the list of initially successful projects was not released almost right away by the state Commission because it wanted to make sure everyone was truly eligible. But now that due diligence has been done and the lucky ones have been privately informed, the Commission has revealed that a total of 26 …
UPDATE: 7:30 AM: The Daily Show said so long to its longest running writer.
J.R. Havlan who, with 2,821 episodes to his credit, pre-dated host Jon Stewart — his tenure dates back to the Craig Kilborn days. Stewart closed out last night’s telecast with a Moment of Zen devoted to Havlan. Watch here:
Helbig, the former YouTube face of website MyDamnChannel who now hosts her own Youtube channel It’s Grace, announced the venture with production company Astronauts Wanted at Vidcon today in Anaheim during “Industry Day” of the giant fan festival. The show, #HeyUSA, will launch July 1 and will be executive produced by Billy Parks and Nick Shore of Astronauts Wanted, the online-media shingle of former MTV CEO Judy McGrath. The show has “a little bit of a traditional show” mentality in it, Parks said, but still with lots of the interactive elements that make YouTube productions so much more involving for young fans. During shooting through the summer, the two online stars will be featured about three times a week in behind-the-scenes video shorts as they visit fan-suggested sights in eight U.S. cities. The weekly shorts would typically run 2- to 5-minutes long, Parks said. Another friend and YouTube notable, Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen, is also expected to appear. This fall, the site will post eight more -finished, longer episodes pulling together all the events in each city. “It’s dizzying if you don’t love the platform,” said Parks of the complicated two-way process of creating the show. “Here’s a great way to connect with an audience if you love the way this audience works. If you create varied platform-specific content, it gets less dizzying.”