NBCU Taps Pair Of Execs In Pay-TV Division
NBCUniversal has appointed a pair of executives for its pay-TV channels operation. Satpal Brainch takes over as EVP and Managing Director of Universal Networks International effective May 8, and Duccio Donati assumes the newly created role of EVP of E! and Style starting in July. Brainch was President and Managing Director of CNBC International and will relocate from Singapore to London for her new role. Donati, who was EVP of Universal Networks International, will move from London to Los Angeles.
History UK’s New ‘Heroes Of War’ Focuses On Poland
History UK has tapped Sky Vision to produce Heroes Of War, a five-episode documentary series about unsung heroes from World War II. Each hourlong segment will focus on stories of heroism and sacrifice in Poland, where some of the worst atrocities of the war were committed. The series is due to premiere later in the year on H2 in the U.K. and on History in select European countries. Sarah Proctor is the Executive Producer for History UK. Read More »
With Merlin casting its final spell on BBC One last Christmas, the team behind the fantasy-adventure series is getting to work on its latest fantasy project, Atlantis. Shooting starts next month in Wales and Morocco on the 13-part BBC One drama series created by Merlin writer Howard Overman and exec produced by Overman and Merlin creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy. The ambitious project is set in the mythical city of Atlantis, and re-imagines Greek myths and legends for a new generation. Mark Addy (The Syndicate, Game Of Thrones), Juliet Stevenson (The Hour, Truly Madly Deeply), Sarah Parish (Mistresses), Robert Emms (War Horse), Jemima Rooper, Jack Donnelly and Aiysha Hart star. Atlantis will begin airing in Merlin‘s old BBC One timeslot on Saturday nights in the fall. Bethan Jones is exec producing for Doctor Who producer BBC Cymru Wales.
ABC has firmed up the bulk of its summer lineup, which will feature three original scripted series — Canadian crime imports Motive and returning Rookie Blue as well as homemade soap Mistresses. That is more than the 1-2 scripted originals each of the broadcast networks has offered in the last couple of summers. Motive, from The Mentalist‘s Daniel Cerone, is getting a boost with a special premiere after the Dancing With The Stars The Results Show finale on May 21 before the thriller drama moves into the high-profile Thursday 9 PM slot, leading to Rookie Blue. Also joining ABC’s summer schedule is Whodunnit?, a new mystery reality competition show from CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker, which will air in the Sunday 9 PM slot as the network is resting its serialized dramas that traditionally don’t repeat well — Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Revenge. Also set to take a break are Castle, replaced for some of the summer by Mistresses, whose previously announced premiere is being pushed by a week, and Once Upon A Time, by Celebrity Wife Swap. Other returning unscripted series this summer include The Bachelorette, Wipeout, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition and What Would You Do? There are still a couple of holes on ABC’s summer schedule which are expected to be filled soon. Here are ABC’s summer premiere dates: Read More »
New drama Mistresses, starring Alyssa Milano, Yunjin Kim, Rochelle Aytes and Jes Macallan, will premiere on Monday, May 27 at 10 PM on ABC. Meanwhile, the network has set the Season 9 premiere of The Bachelorette for Monday, May 20 at 9 PM. The following week it will move to its regular 8 PM time slot. Based on the UK series, Mistresses revolves around the scandalous lives of a sexy and sassy group of four girlfriends, each on her own path to self-discovery. The ABC Studios series is executive produced by Rina Mimoun, K.J. Steinberg, Robert Sertner and Douglas Rae. The Bachelorette is a production of Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television; Mike Fleiss and Martin Hilton are executive producers.
Here is an anecdote a producer shared with me during the pitch portion of this development season. He’d taken a writer to a network meeting. The writer poured his heart out pitching a show based on his life, but the network executive appeared uninterested, barely paying attention. As they were heading out, the producer mentioned he also had the rights to a book. Upon hearing the title, the executive’s eyes immediately lit up. “I’ll buy that show,” the exec exclaimed before even hearing what the book was about. This has been the case over and over this season, with the networks going hard and heavy after book adaptations and remakes of TV shows and movies, betting on underlying material as well as the familiar or catchy titles that come with it.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic Pages
In light of the blockbuster success of two series based on books, HBO’s Game Of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead, there are a slew of literary adaptations this season. The book-driven pilots include CBS‘ dramas Backstrom, based on the Backstrom books by Leif G.W. Persson, and Anatomy Of Violence, inspired by the non-fiction book by Adrian Raine; Fox‘s drama Delirium, based on Lauren Oliver’s book trilogy; Fox’s comedy I Suck At Girls, based on Justin Halpern’s book; NBC comedies Girlfriend in a Coma, based on Douglas Coupland’s book, and Undateable, based on the book by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle; NBC drama The Secret Lives Of Husbands and Wives, inspired by Josie Brown’s novel; the CW dramas The Hundred, based on the books by Kass Morgan, and The Selection, based on the book by Keira Cass; Fox comedy To My Future Assistant, based on the blog and upcoming book by Lydia Whitlock; ABC drama The Returned, based on an upcoming novel by Jason Mott; and CBS drama Intelligence, based on on an unpublished book by John Dixon, joined by CBS’ summer series Under The Dome, based on Stephen King’s book.
Related: PILOT SEASON 2013: The Overachievers Read More »
Orlando Jones and Katia Winter (Dexter) have been cast in Sleepy Hollow, Fox’s drama pilot co-written by Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci and directed by Len Wiseman. A modern–day supernatural thriller based on The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, the project, from 20th TV and K/O Paper Products, follows Ichabod Crane as he partners with Sleepy Hollow’s local female sheriff to solve the mysteries of a town ravaged by the battle between good and evil. Jones, repped by Paradigm and New Wave, will play Lt. Frank Williams, the serious and sternly professional detective transferred to Sleepy Hollow to investigate a double homicide. Swedish actress Winter, repped by Gersh and Schachter Entertainment, will play Katrina, Crane’s wife and a nurse with the 37thRegiment in the Revolutionary War. Kurtzman, Orci, Wiseman and Heather Kadin exec produce, co-writer Phillip Iscove serves as supervising producer.
Adam Campbell, Craig Frank and Vanessa Lengies (Glee) have been cast as three of the leads in ABC’s high-concept single-camera comedy Mixology, directed by Larry Charles from a script by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Set in the world of a sexy Manhattan bar, Mixology, from ABC Studios, chronicles the exploits of singles, five guys and five girls, in search of love — all over the course of one … Read More »
Danny Cannon is set to direct and executive produce the CW drama pilot The Tomorrow People, the Warner Bros./Berlanti TV-produced adaptation of the British sci-fi series. Phil Klemmer wrote the script and exec produces with Greg Berlanti, Julie Plec and Cannon. Cannon’s pilot directing credits include the CSI franchise and Nikita.
RJ Cutler, who directed the pilot for ABC’s freshman drama Nashville, will helm CBS’ drama pilot The Ordained. The project, from CBS TV Studios and writer Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, centers on the son of a Kennedy-esque family who leaves the priesthood and becomes a lawyer to prevent his politician sister from being assassinated. CAA-repped Cutler serves as an executive producer on Nashville.
Emmy winner Todd Holland has signed on to direct the NBC single-camera comedy pilot Donor Party, from writer Alex Schemmer and Universal TV. It is about a guy who discovers he’s got children from sperm donations he’d made years ago. Holland is joining with his producing partner Karey Burke who will executive produce through their Dark Toy banner. Holland executive produces with Burke freshman NBC comedy Go On whose pilot he directed last season. Read More »
After swiftly scrapping planned summer drama series Weird Desk last month, ABC has picked up another original drama for next summer, Canadian import Motive, from former Dexter and The Mentalist exec producer Daniel Cerone. The 13-episode CTV series focuses not on who did the crime, but why the crime was committed in the first place. The killer and victim are identified at the beginning of each episode, with the crime then explored via stylized flashbacks which piece together the connection between the two characters and what drove the killer to commit murder. In Canada, the series will premiere in the coveted post-Super Bowl slot this Sunday. Motive stars Kristin Lehman (The Killing), Louis Ferreira (Rookie Blue), Lauren Holly (NCIS), Roger Cross (Arrow), Brendan Penny and Cameron Bright. Read More »
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Golden Globes coverage.
Every year of awards shows, the meeting between the entertainment industry and the fashion industry keeps melding. The fashion houses depend on celebs to advertise the brands. The 70th Golden Globes was no exception. So what’s black and white and red all over? The aerial view of the entrance to the Beverly Hilton, with the majority of actresses opted for tried and true names like Chanel, Oscar De La Renta, Versace, and Dior. Besides black, there were varying shades of crimson from deep oxblood to candy apple. It all felt like an ultra chic Fellini funeral procession of widows in black and mistresses wearing scandalous red.
Related: Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking Golden Globes
That speck of spectral white, of course, would be the night’s Best Supporting Actress – Comedy or Drama winner Anne Hathaway. The actress, looking like a young French bride with a few cigarettes tucked in her garter, wisely chose a beaded Chanel that made her stand alone in a sea of chic. This year, it was about 53 degrees on the red carpet during arrival time and fashion commentators made a big deal about brave actresses with bare shoulders. Bah. As Renoir once said, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”
The red brigade began early, with Zooey Deschanel in a lot of Oscar de la Renta worn with a set of pearls and a high pert ponytail. Thankfully, the snug sweetheart bodice contrasted with her excess of skirt. Claire Danes followed in a lipstick-bright but simple Versace halter gown that just about did the trick. (Danes, with a newborn at home and currently nursing, gets high marks for showing up sans spit-up on her train.) Next, Jennifer Lawrence and Marion Cotillard both sashayed down the carpet in Dior Haute Couture red with matching gold-mirrored belts. (The two are contracted to always wear the venerable design house, so no surprises there.) I particularly liked Lawrence’s retro-inspired bodice and Cotillard’s hip, asymmetrical hemline. Read More »
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Modern Family is such a hit for ABC that entertainment president Paul Lee just referred to it as simply “Modern” during a morning TCA panel. Everyone on the planet would know what show he meant.
But if ratings are any indication, the TV viewership is not on such a first-name basis with another ABC Wednesday night comedy, The Middle. At today’s late afternoon panel on the show, executive producers DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler joked that they were going to go to a bar and have a drink for every time a TV critic calls the show “underrated.”
Related: ‘Body Of Proof’ Producers On Season 3 Changes: TCA Read More »
At a morning TCA panel, ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee said that ABC is high on soap operas, saying he’s delighted that General Hospital is “rocking and rolling” in daytime and adding that the series Scandal has reinvented the genre. (He also offered that the important Latina audience “loves that genre.”) “But you want to do something that breaks the rules,” the executive said.
Lee did not mention ABC’s new primetime soap Mistresses in his remarks about soaps, but at an afternoon panel the cast and producers had plenty to say about flawed women, the show’s abundant nakedness, adultery as a dramatic premise and how to “break the rules” without offending the audiences and the Standards department. Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The ABC entrepreneurial reality series Shark Tank from producer Mark Burnett and Sony TV came into its own as an unscripted dynamo during its third season, topping Friday nights in the key demos and earning a supersizing of its episodic order from 22 to 24. During a post-lunch TCA panel, Shark Tank exec producer Clay Newbill ruminated on why the series seems to have struck such a nerve. It’s no mystery to Newbill. “It embodies the American dream,” he said. “It shows people that entrepreneurism is alive and well in this country. It empowers viewers to believe, ‘I can do it!’” Newbill went on to emphasize that he hears from people who tell him the show changed their lives. It’s pretty heady stuff for a show that’s part of a genre that gets a consistently bad rap. The producer addressed that, too, admitting that reality “has this stigma that it takes advantage of people. Well, not this show. It’s reality TV at its best. It lets real people catapult their dreams into real business success and teaches young people with drive, with passion, and if they really apply themselves, they too can make it. Kids learn the power of the human spirit.” But besides that, Newbill credits the increased popularity to the fact it takes a while for a series like Shark Tank to catch on. “Sony and ABC stuck with us long enough, and we knew the third season would be the charm.”
Related: ‘Mistresses’ Producers Mull How To “Break The Rules” Without Offending The Audience: TCA Read More »
ABC‘s successful fairytale drama Once Upon A Time is all about the juxtaposition of good and bad and so were the opening remarks of the network’s topper Paul Lee at TCA today. “We have a lot to shout about and a lot to do,” Lee started off with. On the bright side, Lee touted ABC’s success with sophomore shows, including Scandal, which Lee said “is rocking and rolling,” and Once Upon A Time, as well as making “a great first step with family comedies on Friday.”
Related: ‘Mistresses’ Producers Mull How To “Break The Rules”: TCA
On the disappointment side: the soft ratings for the all-star edition of Dancing With The Stars (“We found out people like to see bad dancing as much as they like to see good dancing,” Lee said), and freshman drama Nashville‘s inability to connect with wider audiences off the bat despite very strong 18-34 ratings. Add to that the disappointing ratings performance of ABC’s other freshman dramas, Last Resort and 666 Park Ave, both of which have been cancelled. “I was disappointed that there have been no big breakout hits on any networks this fall, not just ABC,” Lee said, discounting NBC’s drama Revolution and the CW’s hot rookie Arrow.
Related: ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ “Embodies The American Dream”, Says Producer: TCA Read More »
Ahead of the debut of NBC‘s midseason drama Deception tomorrow, the network has given a straight-to-series order to another hourlong project from the Deception team of creator/executive producer Liz Heldens and Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun’s production company BermanBraun. Created by Heldens and Deception co-executive producer Peter Elkoff, Camp has been picked up for 13 episodes to air in the summer. This will be Heldens and BermanBraun’s third series on NBC following medical drama Mercy, which Heldens also created, and Deception. Elkoff also worked with Heldens on Mercy.
In the tradition of Meatballs and Dazed And Confused, Little Hawk Family Camp is a wicked slice of lake-side heaven. In the one-hour dramedy, parents decompress with gin while teenagers make gleeful mischief and fall in and out of love. “In our desire to make summer an exciting place at NBC along with our signature unscripted shows like America’s Got Talent, The Voice and American Ninja Warrior, we developed a scripted dramedy we love with BermanBraun that has rich and dysfunctional characters in that great setting where millions of families and young people go each summer: camp,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “Most of us have had great experiences at camp, and this show — created by two of our favorite producers, Liz Heldens and Peter Elkoff — is sophisticated, funny, and emotional, and we think it will be the ideal summer series for us.” Camp will be produced by Matchbox Pictures (The Slap) and BermanBraun. Heldens and Elkoff executive produce with Berman, Braun and Gene Stein. Production is scheduled to begin in Australia in March. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: That was quick — a week after ABC gave a 13-episode straight-to-series order to paranormal investigation drama Weird Desk, the network has put the project on hold. It will no longer be produced for summer as planned, and its status will be revisited after pilot season. While ABC brass had liked the Weird Desk concept and script for awhile, by the time the project got a green light, it proved hard to get production up and running fast enough for a summer launch while keeping the cost low, an important factor for a summer original series. Additionally, I hear there was concern, at Marvel and internally at ABC, that Weird Desk may be similar to Joss Whedon’s high-profile ABC pilot S.H.I.E.L.D., an offshoot of blockbuster vengers franchise. There is speculation about objections from Marvel, one of Disney Co.’s most prized possessions, to the new project. As a result, the network decided to put a pin in Weird Desk. ABC still has soap Mistresses on tap for summer. Read More »
After having the gals covered next summer with soap Mistresses, ABC also is setting up a show for the guys. The network has given a 13-episode straight-to-series order to mystery supernatural/UFO drama Weird Desk for summer 2013. The show hails from Christina Jennings’ Canadian production company Shaftesbury, which has a U.S. division.
Written by Carl Binder (Stargate) and David Titcher (The Librarian), Weird Desk is in the vein of The X Files. Based on the alleged real-life mysteries from this world and beyond, it centers on the workings of a clandestine organization rumored to be named “Weird Desk.” Working above the levels of top secret and above the office of the President, the unit is the destination for mysterious intelligence rerouted from the CIA and NSA. Tasked with investigating and solving occurrences of the paranormal, supernatural and sometimes extra-terrestrial, “Weird Desk” is led by Morgan, an obstinate, socially inept and brilliant man who would now be dead if it weren’t for his special forces trained partner, Rosetta. Produced by Shaftesbury and distributed by ABC Studios, Weird Desk is executive produced by Shaftesbury US co-heads Tom Mazza and Maggie Murphy. Read More »
BBC Worldwide Appoints Interim CEO
As the BBC regroups amid its ongoing crises, a game of management musical chairs is playing out. Paul Dempsey will take over as interim CEO of BBC Worldwide beginning next month. Dempsey, who is currently managing director for consumer products at BBCW, will oversee the division until Tim Davie takes over as CEO in March. Davie became interim director general of the BBC when George Entwistle resigned earlier this month, but had previously been named to follow outgoing BBCW CEO John Smith who leaves in December. Tony Hall is to become the official BBC director general in March. Dempsey joined BBCW in 1998 as UK sales director and has since held posts that include managing director of BBC Audiobooks and director of BBCW’s audio & music business. Read More »
Lyndon Smith has landed a major recurring role on the CW’s drama series 90210. In a six-to-nine episode arc, she will play Michaela, who is an exceptional singer – a cute, free-spirited girl trying to make a fresh start. We come to find out that Michaela has an unexpected connection to the gang, and will end up playing a very big part in one of our characters’ lives. Smith, repped by Don Buchwald-Fortitude and Main Title, is a regular in the MTV pilot Cassandra French.
Amir Arison has signed on for a recurring role on ABC’s midseason conspiracy drama Zero Hour. The actor will play scientist Theo Molars. Arison has recently guest starred on Showtime’s Homeland and FX’s American Horror Story. Anthony Edwards leads Zero Hour as a conspiracy magazine editor who becomes involved in a grand conspiracy when his wife is kidnapped. Amir Arison is repped by Bauman Redantly & Shaul and Sweet180. Read More »
ABC has put in development City Hall, a political drama executive produced by Bob Sertner. Written by Gideon Yago (HBO’s Newsroom), the project is being described as St Elmo’s Fire meets The West Wing set in the East Bay of San Francisco. It follows the mayor of Oakland and her irreverent City Hall staff of twenty- and thirtysomethings who take on the political and social establishment of a city in crisis while trying to maintain their own personal and social lives. Sertner will executive produce with former MTV host Yagofor for ABC Studios. Read More »