Michelle Obama Books Cameo In Military-Themed ‘Nashville’ Episode

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 1:14pm PDT

obamamichelle__130219150049First Lady Michelle Obama will play herself in a cameo appearance on ABC‘s country music drama Nashville on May 7, an episode titled “All Or Nothing With Me” that is set at the Fort Campbell Army base. This comes a couple months after she was set for a cameo on the season finale of Parks And Recreation on April 24, that appearance to promote her “Let’s Move” program targeting child obesity.

Aside from numerous late-night appearances and docu-series, Obama has appeared in only a couple  scripted series including Sesame Street in 2009 and in a cameo on Nickelodeon’s iCarly in 2012. Michelle Obama Appears On The Set Of "iCarly"Obama taped the iCarly appearance in June 2011 while in LA to promote a series of PSAs targeting her “Joining Forces” initiative, designed to raise awareness of military families; iCarly‘s lead character was the daughter of a U.S. service member stationed overseas. That plan was unveiled at the WGA Theatre during a panel sponsored by the Hollywood guilds (and moderated by JJ Abrams) designed to create a dialogue among film and TV folks about ways to share those families’ stories. The Nashville appearance would seem to jibe with that initiative: ABC says the episode’s storyline involves Reyna (Connie Britton) organizing of a charity concert on the Army base after finding out Luke (Will Chase) has been injured in Afghanistan, cutting short his tour. Read More »

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Faith-Based ‘Noble’ Hoping To Catch Wave Of Recent Christian-Themed Hits: Trailer

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 5:36pm PDT

nobleEXCLUSIVE: Now might be the perfect time for more faith-based features to get in on the box office hunger that’s propelled Christian-themed fare like Fox’s Son Of God and Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead into the Top 10. True-tale biopic Noble is one such film aiming to join the fray as it makes festival rounds and screens for buyers this month in LA and NY before heading to Cannes. Deirdre O’Kane (Moon Boy) stars as Christina Noble, a humanitarian and author who channeled her deprived and destitute childhood growing up on the streets of Dublin, Ireland into a lifelong mission to help children in need in Vietnam and Mongolia. Noble founded the Christina Noble Childrens Foundation in 1989 and wrote two books about her life’s work. Stephen Bradley wrote and directed the film, based on Noble’s life, which also stars Downton Abbey‘s Brendan Coyle, Game of Thrones‘ Liam Cunningham, and Sarah Greene. Melanie Gore-Grimes produced the UK/Irish pic, which was filmed in Vietnam, Liverpool, and Cumbria. Michael J. Hunt exec produced for his Ansty Productions. Noble won the Panavision Grand Prize at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Dallas International Film Festival, and next stops by the Nashville Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Fest. Continental Media is repping sales. Check out the trailer exclusively on Deadline: Read More »

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On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 2:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

networklogosIt is very difficult for showrunners to wrap production on a season without knowing if their series would get another season. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the network business, and about two dozen shows go though that every year. Here is a look at each network’s comedy and drama series in peril and their odds for survival.

With all the drama carnage at ABC this season (Lucky 7, Betrayal, Killer Women, Mind Games, The Assets), the network is pretty lean on the hourlong side, and all shows currently on the air have a good shot at coming back. agents of shieldThat includes two freshman series, fall drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., despite slipping in the ratings, and midseason entry Resurrection. Of returning dramas, there is no doubt about renewals for Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy, especially with stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey signed on, and Scandal, as well as Castle and Once Upon A Time. While it was heavily on the bubble last season, country music drama Nashville appears in a stronger position this spring and looks likely to continue. And, despite its ratings erosion, Revenge remains a signature, upscale drama for ABC that the network also owns. Because of its heavy mythology with a revenge storyline that has been central to the show since the pilot, it is unlikely that ABC would abruptly end the series without giving it a final chapter to wrap things up.

Things are far murkier on the comedy side where there are three shoe-ins, anchors Modern Family and The Middle and freshman The Goldbergs. None of these hail from ABC’s sister studio, and building a steady comedy pipeline at ABC Studios has been important for the overall health of the company. There are three ABC Studios-produced comedy series on ABC at the moment, all on the bubble: freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology and sophomore The Neighbors. The network will likely renew at least one comedy from its own studio. (Last year, it picked The Neighbors vs. 20th TV’s How To Live With Your Parents.) Of the three, Trophy Wife seems to have the biggest support and is the most promotable, with KATE SIMSES, ADAM CAMPBELLa star cast led by Malin Akerman and Bradley Whitford. But the name cast also makes Trophy Wife the most expensive, and its ratings are pretty soft. The Neighbors, which comes from prominent Disney writer Dan Fogelman, costs way less, and, while only doing so-so on Fridays, it could deliver something ABC Studios has not seen in a while: a third-year comedy. (Fogelman also has comedy pilot Galavant in the running at ABC.) Then there is Mixology, which has not done well behind Modern Family. It stands out with its unusual structure — set in a bar over the course of one night — it has quickly built a core fan base and has supporters at ABC. But relaunching a heavily serialized comedy in the fall four months after a brief midseason run would be a challenge and growing ratings for such a show with a continues storyline would be very difficult. ABC has a recent history of sticking with narrow, quirky relationship comedies like Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- but all were eventually cancelled. 20th TV’s Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen is quietly wrapping its third season. It has done a decent job as a Friday 8 PM anchor and is ABC’s only multi-camera series. With several high-proile multi-camera pilots, the network could use Last Man Standing as a building block. (How about Allen paired with another comedy vet, Henry Winkler of The Winklers?). Read More »

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Duo Join Netflix’s New Thriller Drama Series; Trio Book Recurring Roles In Pilots

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 8:00pm PDT

Mia Kirshner (The L Word) and zuaiter1mikirshner1Waleed Zuaiter (Revolution, Homeland) have booked recurring roles on Netflix’s untitled psychological thriller drama from Sony Pictures TV. Written and executive produced by Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler (KZK), the 13-episode series centers on a close-knit family of four adult siblings (Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz) whose secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep brother (Mendelsohn) returns home. Kirshner, repped by APA, Wishlab and Characters, most recently shot a guest role on ABC pilot Clementine. Zuaiter, repped by Stone Manners Salners Agency and Ramos Management, will play Major Eckhardt, a mysterious authority figure in the Florida Keys who is having an affair with Meg Rayburn (Linda Cardellini). Zuaiter is coming off a starring role in the Oscar-nominated film Omar.
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Tribeca Film Festival Jurors Announced

Tribeca 2014 marqueeThe judges are set for 13th annual edition of the event founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff. The seven competition juries for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival include 33 filmmakers, writers, producers, actors, journalists and entrepreneurs. The World Narrative Competition judges are Lake Bell, Steve Conrad, Bart Freundlich, Catherine Hardwicke and Ben Younger. Jurors for other categories include Toni Collette, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Goldblum, Alfonso Arau, Heather Graham, Anton Yelchin, HBO’s Sheila Nevins and Google’s Regina Dugan. The Nas rap docu Time Is Illmatic will open the fest, which runs April 16-27 in NYC. The recently re-retitled Begin Again closes it. Here is the full list of jurors and categories:

Related:
Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate
MSG Entering Into Strategic Deal With Tribeca Enterprises

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CAA Ups Eight From Trainee Program

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT

CAAlogo_rCAA has promoted eight members of its its trainee program to agent or executive status, boosting the ranks in four cities. In Los Angeles, Jordan Harnsberger has been promoted to executive in CAA’s Sports department, Carey Schwartz has been promoted to executive in Marketing, and Jacquie Katz and Andrea Weintraub are now agents in the Television department. In New York, Shelby Kelleher has been upped to executive in the Property Sales department and Zack Stone has been promoted to agent in Music Sponsorship. Additionally, CAA’s music department has promoted Kylen Sharpe to agent based in Nashville and Rebecca Nichols to agent based in London.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: NBC Dramas, ‘Criminal Minds’ & ‘Nashville’ Rise, ‘Modern Family’ & CW Dramas Slip

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 9:20am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Criminal_Minds_Season_9_Episode_20NBC’s Wednesday lineup returned refreshed from a break. Revolution (1.3) was up a tenth from its last original on March 19, Law & Order: SVU (1.7) was up 13%, and Chicago PD (1.6) was up 14%. On the opposite side, the CW dramas were down. Arrow (0.8) fell 11% from last week. After a promising start, new drama The 100 (0.6) posted a second week of double-digit declines, down 14% and falling under 2 million viewers (1.9 million). There was little change at the other networks. Fox’s two-hour American Idol (2.1) matched last Wednesday’s fast national. CBS’ Survivor (2.2) slipped a tenth from last week but still edged Idol in the demo for a fourth consecutive week. Criminal Minds (2.5) was up 14% from its last original two weeks ago and is poised to edge Idol in 18-49 in the 9 PM hour for the first time, while CSI (1.9) was down a tenth. Read More »

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TLC Unveils Programming Slate

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT

TLC_logo__130912234353The reality TV destination has 44 new and returning series on tap for the 2014-15 season. TLC‘s lineup includes seven new specials and a half-dozen news series including a new series starring The King Of Queens alum Leah Remini and her family and a Breaking Amish spinoff. Specials include a return look at Kate Gosselin and her brood and A Duggar Leaves Home, about a cousin of the Duggar clan from 19 Kids & Counting who moves to Nashville to pursue a singing career. Here a look at TLC’s new programs for the coming season, covering the family, relationships and wedding genres:

Related: TLC ‘Say Yes To Dress’ Scores Record Ratings With Seth Meyers

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Hulu Inks Exclusive Streaming Deal With NBCUniversal Series

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 8:56am PDT

hulu5__131120195159-275x122The exclusive licensing deal announced today makes Hulu Plus the exclusive destination for all previous seasons of Universal TV’s The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, with BrooklynNineNine.episodicBravo series like The Real Housewives and Top Chef franchises and E!’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians also available exclusively in the coming weeks — and Parks And Recreation coming non-exclusively. The multi-year SVOD rights deal follows similar Hulu pacts inked in February — one an extension with CBS for 2,600 new episodes of shows including Undercover BossUnited States Of TaraEverybody Loves Raymond, Ghost Whisperer and library fare like The Brady Bunch and Laverne & Shirley; and another with Disney/ABC Television group that netted SVOD rights to Nashville. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced the deal via a blog post today.

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‘House Of Cards’, ‘Scandal’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Bridge’, ‘Key & Peele’, ‘Orphan Black’, ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Win Peabodys

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 7:08am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Netflix and BBC America each has two scripted series on the list PeabodyAwardsof a record 46 programs to receive Peabody Awards this year. Joining Netflix’s Washington drama House Of Cards and prison comedy Orange Is The New Black is another DC drama, ABC’s soapy Scandal; BBC America’s clone thriller Orphan Black and Broadchurch, which is being remade by Fox as an event series; FX’s The Bridge, which itself is a remake of the Danish-Swedish series; Danish political drama Borgen; acclaimed French zombie drama The Returned; AMC’s Breaking Bad, awarded a second Peabody for its final season; Comedy Central’s hit sketch comedy Key & Peele; CNN’s travel docu-series Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; as well as Burka Avenger, the Pakistani animated series about a girl superhero; and two documentaries from newcomer Al Jazeera America. Additionally, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, who recently announced he is battling cancer, will receive an individual Peabody Award. Here is the full list of recipients of the 73rd Peabody Awards, bestowed by the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism. They will be presented May 19 at a luncheon ceremony hosted by Ira Glass at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. A special on the Peabodys will air later on Pivot, which recently inked a rights deal through 2016: Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE UPDATE: ‘Modern Family’ Beats ‘American Idol’ In Viewers For First Time, ‘The 100′ Down In Week 2

ED O'NEILL, SOFIA VERGARAUPDATE, 2:28 PM: The final numbers are in and it’s a solid victory for Modern Family in terms of viewers. The ABC comedy held onto its first-ever overall viewership win over American Idol with 10.09 million watching Wednesday. That makes Modern Family the night’s most watched show. Although Idol also saw a rise in its audience from the early numbers’ 9.15 million to 9.33 million, it was also beaten by Survivor, which ended up with 9.85 million watching. That’s the first time the CBS show has beaten the Fox show in total viewers. Despite two previous weeks of demo wins, Survivor had failed to hold its viewership lead in the final numbers. In terms of demo adjustments, Idol, Suburgatory and Modern Family were all up a tenth.

SURVIVOR MACH 26 2PREVIOUS, 9:15 AM: It was a night of quitters, rockers, gamblers, royals and winners on primetime on Wednesday. The quitting came on CBS’ Survivor (2.3/7), where the latest season saw its first self-deporter as well as the standard elimination. Dipping 8% from last week’s show to a season low among adults 18-49, but with its biggest viewership (9.76 million) of the cycle so far, Survivor was also once again the winner in the battle of the veteran reality shows as it bested American Idol (2.1/6) for the third week in a row in their common hour.
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TriStar Options Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey’s Memoir, Which Launches Company For Actors Ben McKenzie, Logan Marshall-Green

Mike Fleming

WINDEXCLUSIVE: Actors Ben McKenzie and Logan Marshall-Green have joined forces to launch the shingle A Thing Or Two Productions. They come to the table in a big way. Tom Rothman’s TriStar Pictures has made a deal on a baseball memoir which the duo will produce with Michael De Luca. TriStar has optioned Wherever I Wind Up, the memoir by pitcher R.A. Dickey about his unusual life journey. Buzz Bissinger has been set to write the script. It becomes another eclectic project for Rothman’s upstart division.

DICEKMcKenzie first starred on Fox’s The O.C. and now is playing the lead role of Detective Jim Gordon in the Bat-prequel series Gotham, while Marshall-Green played his brother on O.C. and has co-starred in Brooklyn’s Finest, Prometheus and As I Lay Dying. He just shot the pilot Quarry. They have been friends since doing theater together at Williamstown in 2001 and talked about partnering in a production company. It all crystallized when both sparked to Dickey’s memoir. Neither is looking to play the pitcher in the feature. Read More »

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4 Join Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 6:39pm PDT

Eric Closenavid-negahbanNavid Negahban (Homeland), Eric Close (Nashville), Eric Ladin (Boardwalk Empire) and Rey Gallegos (Gang Related) have joined the cast of American Sniper for director Clint Eastwood. The film stars Bradley Cooper as decorated marksman Chris Kyle, whose memoir American Sniper: Rey GallegosEric_LadinThe Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. Military History serves as the basis for the Warner Bros film. Village Roadshow is co-producing and co-financing. Filming starts at the end of March in Morocco. Negahban plays Sheikh al-Obeidi, an Iraqi local who is willing to help the SEALs find their target, for a fee. Ladin is Squirrel, a Southern California surfer kid who is part of the SEAL team. Gallegos plays Tony, chief of the SEAL team and one of the instructors during training. No details were available on Close’s character. Read More »

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ABC Sets Season Finale Dates

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 10:34am PDT

ABC has announced theABC_logo_2007 finale dates for its current series. The Neighbors is the first to close out the season on April 11 and The Middle, Modern Family and Mixology are the last to wrap on May 21. Here is the full list:

Friday, April 11
8:31-9 PM The Neighbors

Thursday, April 17
10-11 PM Scandal

Friday, April 25
8-8:31 PM Last Man Standing

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Survivor’ Tops ‘Idol’ For First Time Ever, ‘Mixology’ & ‘Suburgatory’ Hit Lows, ‘SVU’ & ‘Modern Family’ Steady

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 9:10am PDT

survivor march 12 2In its third week of its 28th season, CBS’ reality veteran Survivor finally topped Fox rival American Idol head-to-head for the very first time in the key adults 18-49 demo and in viewers. Survivor pulled in a 2.5/8 rating and 9.86 million viewers Wednesday night, with a live two-hour Idol drawing a 2.3/8 rating and an audience of 9.57 million in their common hour of 8-9 PM. The real question now is if those numbers will hold, with pre-emptions on CBS in about 2% of the country due to ACC and SEC college basketball games. Survivor: Cagayan was up 4% from last week in the demo and up 2% in viewers on a night that saw one of the tribes actively throw a challenge and still beat another tribe that stumbled from bad to worse. All of which means that there was a lot of bad blood when the inevitable came and a contestant was sent home.

Criminal Minds (2.3/7), Survivor‘s lead-out and the night’s most-watched show with 10.72 million viewers, fell 12% from last week. On the other hand, after going down last week, CSI (2.0/6) was up 18% this week.

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Oliver Hudson & Will Chase Promoted To Regular On ABC’s ‘Nashville’

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 5:21pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

hudsonEXCLUSIVE: Nashville‘s Rayna James is gaining a full-time friend and a full-time foe for next season. Recurring players Oliver Hudson and Will Chase are being promoted to regulars for Season 3, contingent on the ABC series getting a renewal, something considered likely as most of the network’s freshman dramas have struggled mightiBN-AT300_nashvi_E_20131211171906ly this season. Hudson, who joined Nashville in the second episode of this season, plays arrogant Edgehill label head Jeff Fordham. Chase, who was introduced in Episode 5, plays Luke Wheeler, a country superstar and Rayna’s (Connie Britton) current significant. Hudson is repped by ICM Partners, Management 360 and Ziffren; Chase is with Gersh and AC Management.

Related: 2014 ABC Pilots

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ Steady, ‘SVU’, ‘Chicago PD’ & ‘Arrow’ Fall, ‘Criminal Minds’ & ‘Suburgatory’ Rise

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 9:03am PST

AI MARCH 5It was all American Idol (2.7/8) as usual last night on Fox with things up a bit from last week. The 2-hour live show saw this season’s Top 12 belting out tunes, including Emily Piriz taking on Jennifer Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud” right in front of the judge herself. It also saw Idol bopping up 4% from last week’s demo rating and steady in total viewers with 10.5 million, in line with the 10.6 million total from the show’s February 26 episode. Fox won the night among the key demo and among total viewers. CBS’ Criminal Minds was tops for the night in total viewers with 11.37 million and second  in the key demo with a 2.6/7, an 18% rise over last week. Criminal Minds did beat Idol again in viewers head-to-head, as the Fox show pulled in 10.58 million during their common hour. The demo result was also the closest the CBS show has ever gotten to Idol. Read More »

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Music Producer Timbaland Joins Fox Drama Pilot ‘Empire’

By | Tuesday March 4, 2014 @ 10:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Fox‘s hip-hop industry drama Empire continues timbalandto add boldface names. Top music producer/songwriter Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley is the latest to board the pilot starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, which hails from Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and Imagine’s Brian Grazer. Timbaland will serve as songwriter and song producer on Empire, a family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire, which will feature a mix of new and existing music. Timbaland’s involvement resembles Nashville‘s signing of T Bone Burnett for the pilot and the first season. Empire centers on Lucious Lyon (Howard), a charismatic, savvy music superstar who is about to take his company, Empire Entertainment, public. Raised on the streets, he has never backed away from a fight and will resort to any measures, fair or foul, to defend his beloved Empire. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Mixology’ Soft In Debut, ‘Chicago P.D.’ Hits Series High With ‘SVU’ Crossover, ‘Survivor’ Steady In Return

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 9:37am PST
Nellie Andreeva

mixologyAfter so many duds this season, you start to root for a new ABC show to open. Upcoming drama Resurrection now remains the network’s last and only hope after back-to-back disappointments from the launches of drama Mind Games and comedy Mixology this week. Last night’s debut of Mixology (1.8 in adults 18-49) ranked as ABC’s lowest-rated comedy premiere this season and the third lowest overall for a Monday-Thursday comedy, only behind NBC’s now defunct Welcome To The Family (1.1) and Sean Saves The World (1.4). And that’s with one of the best comedy lead-ins on television, Modern Family, marking the lowest-rated debut following ABC’s flagship comedy. Yes, Modern Family is not the ratings powerhouse it used to be, with last night’s episode (3.1) down 11% from the last original to a season low. But still, Mixology‘s premiere rating was down a big 38% from the short-lived How To Live With Your Parents that premiered behind Modern Family last spring. The rest of ABC’s series also were down from their pre-Olympics originals. The Middle (1.8) was down 18%, Suburgatory (1.5) down 12% and Nashville (1.2) down 8%, all tying season lows. Read More »

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