First 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. 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 »
Fourth in a series.
Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia
With all its car crashes, explosions, and hair-raising stunts, the film and TV industry is a notoriously dangerous business. But your chances of getting killed while making a movie go up dramatically the minute you step foot inside a helicopter. Indeed, helicopter crashes have taken more lives on film sets than any other type of accident in modern times. Since 1980, 33 film and TV workers — nearly one a year — have been killed in helicopter accidents around the world, 14 in the U.S. and 15 more for American companies shooting abroad.
Related: Safety On Set: Camera Crew Outnumber Stunt Personnel 4-To-1 In On-Set Deaths
In the 1980s, two crashes alone — both being shot on the cheap in the Philippines by the same production company — claimed nine lives in the span of just two years. The ’80s were by far the deadliest decade for helicopter crashes on movie sets, accounting for all but five of the 31 helicopter-related film and TV production fatalities in the last 34 years. The list:
Related: Safety On Set: Three Workers Speak Out
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We should have seen this coming. AwesomenessTV’s comedy videos make it a big deal for teens and kids in the YouTube world, and it has a series on Nickelodeon. That makes it a natural to get into the licensed merchandise business. The DreamWorks Animation owned operation says this morning that it hired former Claire’s Stores CEO and former Disney Stores Worldwide president James Fielding to be AwesomenessTV’s Global Head of Consumer Products and Retail. “AwesomenessTV has built an amazing brand in a very short time, engaging teens around the world,” he says. “This is an incredible opportunity. I look forward to building a long-term business strategy around consumer products and retail experiences that speaks to our fans in new and innovative ways.” He has a lot of running room: AwesomenessTV still isn’t a big moneymaker for DWA. The online video operation contributed just $2.4M in profit and $11.4M in revenue to the studio last year after it committed $33M — with potentially $117M more if it meets performance targets — in May to acquire it. DWA still believes in online video: Last week it agreed to pay $15M for Big Frame, another online multi-channel network operation.
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY AM: The behind-the-scene drama on Sam & Cat is not subsiding. I hear the show has been put on a “permanent hiatus” a few episodes early, with everyone on the crew let go except for those working in post-production.
PREVIOUS, TUESDAY PM: Nickelodeon‘s comedy Sam & Cat has been a runaway success by any measure. The series, from proven hitmaker Dan Schneider, brought together two popular characters from two popular Nick series – iCarly’s Sam Puckett and Victorious‘ Cat Valentine — played by two of the network’s best-known stars and best friends, Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande, respectively. The series has been a ratings hit, quickly becoming Nickelodeon’s highest-rated series. In July, only a month into Sam & Cat’s run, Nick doubled its freshman order from 20 to 40 episodes. Its hourlong January 18 episode drew 4.8 million total viewers and ranked as Nick’s highest-rated telecast with kids 6-11 in two years.
Related: Nickelodeon Greenlights New Comedy From Dan Schneider
But as Sam & Cat is wrapping production on its 40-episode first season, there is no word on Season 2 — a very unusual development for such a successful series. There has been talk about discord on the set, with emotions running high and McCurdy and Grande sometimes showing up late. The grueling, 40-episode shoot has been taxing on everyone. Additionally, McCurdy had been going through a difficult time in her personal life for the past six months and recently had to deal with the leak of racy photos, while Grande’s music career has taken off a big time. Both have been at Nickelodeon for a long time, McCurdy for more than seven years and Grande for more than four. Both are entering adulthood, and word is both feel constrained at kids-focused Nickelodeon and are ready to move on. Read More »
The former CMO at Turner Animation has a new gig. Brenda Freeman is joining DreamWorks Animation as Head of Television Marketing. Before Turner, where her duties included marketing strategy for Cartoon Network, Freeman was SVP Integrated Marketing and Promotions for Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group. She also had stints as VP Consumer Marketing for VH1 and Executive Director of Marketing and Special Events for ABC Radio Networks. “Brenda’s vast experience in the branding, marketing and distribution of family and kids programming will be invaluable as we continue to grow our television division,” DreamWorks Animation CMO Dawn Taubin said.
Don Buchwald & Associates has restructured its young performers division with several key hirings and naming of leadership roles in both NY and LA. The expanded team will be led in NY by Leslie Zaslower, formerly Director of Casting at Nickelodeon. Pamela Roth Goldman has been tapped to head the youth commercials division working directly with agents in DBA’s on-camera and voice-over departments headed by Robyn Stecher. In Los Angeles, Tim Weissman, has moved to DBA from CESD as agent. The youth division works within the film, television and theatre departments of both coasts.
Six major studios, and what many have been referring to as a seventh major (Lionsgate/Summit who have the week’s number one film Divergent and what appears to be Hollywood’s latest franchise player), will be presenting, in one form or another, their goods to exhibitors this week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. This major convention, coming only three weeks on the heels of the Oscars, is promising to show off the most commercial flicks the studios have in store, not necessarily the most awards worthy. You get the drift? Paramount opened the studio portion of the convention tonight with a brief reel highlighting its 2014 slate, but then really focusing on just three of those movies: Hoped-for summer blockbusters Hercules (with MGM), starring Dwayne Johnson; a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cinematic reboot from producer Michael Bay; and Bay’s fourth go-round with Hasbro’s Transformers franchise, Age Of Extinction. Each got the full-court press from Par’s Vice Chairman Rob Moore who said he stopped by the convention in between trips to “Vatican City and New York City” on behalf on the studio’s terrific, but sure-to-be-controversial, Friday release, Noah. The latter shown in some brief footage represents the kind of ambitious and daring fare studios tried more often before the Hollywood corporate takeover started dictating more obviously commercial and exhibitor-friendly kinds of movies like Paramount’s big summer slate promises.
Johnson … Read More »
In a sign of the ongoing pull of the UK as a filming location, Disney Channel‘s new multi-part movie Evermoor is gearing up to shoot in Britain. Disney Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) has co-commissioned the longform live-action mystery/adventure/comedy with Disney U.S. It will air on Disney Channel in 160 global territories from the fall. Liverpool-based The Only Way Is Essex producer Lime Pictures, which is owned by All3Media, will make Evermoor for Disney. The story follows Tara Bailey, an American teen who is uprooted from her city home in the U.S. and brought to a beautiful but isolated village on the edge of some very creepy moors in middle England. As her famous novelist mom and step-dad are busy unpacking at Evermoor Manor, Tara, her brother, and her British step-siblings try to adjust to life in their new home. It’s not long before danger, mystery and intrigue unfurl.
Evermoor breaks new ground for Disney, becoming its first live-action movie produced in the UK for broadcast on Disney Channel in the U.S. But it’s no surprise such a Disney project would land in Britain. Already, the movie studio consistently films big features at Pinewood — including the next Star Wars installment later this year. And Marvel titles are regularly shot at Shepperton. But overall, new and expanded TV and film tax credits have made Hollywood sit up — and in some cases line up — to access the market which has a skilled crew base and great facilities. Read More »
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CNN To Test Michael Smerconish, Jake Tapper, Bill Weir & Don Lemon In Piers Morgan’s Time Slot; Morgan’s Last Day March 28
By Lisa DeMoraes – EXCLUSIVE: Piers Morgan’s last day hosting Piers Morgan Live will be March 28, after which CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker is going to try out Michael Smerconish as well as Jake Tapper, Bill Weir, and Don Lemon in the time slot for a few weeks, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Deadline.
R.I.P. Comedian David Brenner, Johnny Carson’s Favorite on ‘Tonight Show’
By The Deadline Team – Comedian David Brenner died today at his home in New York, NY. He was 78.
Nick D’Agosto & Andrew Santino To Star In CBS’ ‘HIMYM’ Spinoff ‘How I Met Your Dad’
By Nellie Andreeva – Masters of Sex‘s Nick D’Agosto and Mixology‘s Andrew Santino have been cast as leads alongside Greta Gerwig, Drew Tarver and Krysta Rodriguez in CBS’ comedy pilot How I Met Your Dad, rounding out the How I Met Your Mother spinoff’s primary cast. Read More »
Former Ryan Seacrest SVP Development and Current Unscripted Programming Heather Schuster has launched her own reality production company, Morocco Junction Entertainment, which is being backed by All3Media. It will be based out of All3Media America’s Los Angeles offices. During her tenure with RSP, Schuster oversaw such series as the recently announced Dream Date for Fox, Girls In The Game for Vh1, Go Viral for Nickelodeon, as well as The Wanted Life for E! and How I Rock It for Esquire. Before that, Schuster spent four years at Reveille and worked as a producer on the first five seasons of The Apprentice. Morocco marks the first company to join Studio Lambert USA under the umbrella of All3Media America, which was established last year.
Nickelodeon has given a 20-episode order to Henry Danger, a new crime-fighting comedy from the network’s top creator Dan Schneider who is behind eight Nick live-action series from the past two decades, Sam & Cat, Victorious, iCarly, Zoey 101, Drake & Josh, The Amanda Show, Kenan & Kel and All That. Additionally, at its upfront today Nick is announcing the pickup of two other new live-action comedy series. High school/cheerleading sitcom Bella And The Bullfrogs, which has a 12-episode order, was written by Gabriel Garza and Jonathan Butler (The Haunted Hathaways). Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn, greenlit for 13 episodes, centers on a set of quadruplets. It was created by Matt Fleckenstein. Here are details on the new series. Read More »
UPDATED: Nickelodeon is expanding its 26-year-old Kids’ Choice Awards franchise to include the world of sports, and will debut four new preschool series as part of its 2014-2015 slate, it announced today at its upfront. The inaugural Kids Sports Choice 2014 will honor kids’ favorite athletes, teams and sports moments from the year. It’s set for July 17 at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion with Michael Strahan as host. The event will also feature a daring, slime-filled sports stunt performed on a star athlete’s home turf, a special halftime live musical performance and top athletes competing outside their sports realm for a KCS, according to Nickelodeon. A Kids’ Choice Sports council consisting of influencers in the sporting world will lend their expertise and experience to help inform the awards show, consult on the nominee process and give feedback on categories. Members of the committee include: Baron Davis, Ken Griffey Jr., Lisa Leslie, Cal Ripken Jr., Deion Sanders, and Misty May-Treanor among others. Ian Stewart and Hamish Hamilton of Done and Dusted will executive produce, with Hamilton also serving as director of the show. Constance Schwartz of SMAC Entertainment is also an executive producer.
Related: Nickelodeon Greenlights New Comedy From Dan Schneider, Two Other Live-Action Series
Nickelodeon says it will roll out four new preschool series in 2014-15. They are Shimmer & Shine, an animated show starring twin genies-in-training and featuring an emotional-intelligence curriculum; and Fresh Beat Band Of Spies, an animated version of the hit live-action series The Fresh Beat Band. They join Dora and Friends: Into the City! and Blaze And The Monster Machines, In all, Nickelodeon says it’s is premiering more than 100 new episodes of educational preschool series. Here are details on the new series.
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CEO Philippe Dauman just disclosed his plan to add Spike to Viacom‘s overseas pay TV offerings, joining a portfolio that includes MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and the Paramount Channel. “We’re doing a little bit of proof of concept,” he said today at the Deutsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference. He’s optimistic because “we have been creating a lot of original programming on Spike itself,” and much of it — especially scripted shows — is “able to travel.” Overseas expansion is “a big, big opportunity” for Viacom and he sees distribution deals in countries including Brazil, Italy, and Russia helping to “fuel long-term growth” for the cable operation. In addition, “we look at India and think of our company a quarter century ago. It’s a great value creation opportunity.” Dauman also is taking a global view for Paramount. Read More »
Jack Donnelly has signed with Gersh. He stars as Jason of the Argonauts on the BBC America series Atlantis, which recently was picked up for a second season. Donnelly’s TV credits also include Dancing On The Edge, Misfits and the first season of Nickelodeon’s House Of Anubis. He continues to be repped by Lou Coulson Associates.
Trivia game app QuizUp has signed with WME for representation in all areas to develop its brand and content across entertainment platforms. Plain Vanilla Games’ QuizUp was the most-downloaded free app on iTunes shortly after its November release and has reached more than 10 million users.
EXCLUSIVE: Steve Youngwood, EVP and General Manager of Digital for Nickelodeon, is leaving the company. The 14-year Nick veteran announced his departure in an internal memo to the staff today. Youngwood has led and managed the network’s digital content businesses and operations since 2006. His oversight included Nick.com, NickJr.com as well as gaming, publishing, and video across all retail and digital platforms. He also oversaw the acquisition and integration of several companies, including Neopets, AddictingGames, Shockwave, and Babunga. Youngwood previously was SVP Media Products for Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products and before that was in the Corporate Business Development and Strategy Group. His departure follows last month’s exit of two other high-ranking Nick veterans, EVP Paula Kaplan and SVP Sal Maniaci.
Gravity and Captain Phillips took home the big feature awards tonight — for Best Sound Effects & Foley work and Best Dialogue/ADR, respectively — as the Motion Picture Sound Editors doled out annual awards recognizing achievement in sound editing. HBO’s Game of Thrones, AMC’s Breaking Bad, FX’s The Bridge and FX’s Sons of Anarchy took home honors on the TV side. Feature films, long- and short-form TV, animation, and docus were on the docket at the black tie affair at L.A.’s Bonaventure Hotel where George Lucas presented the annual MPSE Career Achievement Award to Skywalker Sound’s Randy Thom and Ray Dolby was feted in a special tribute introduced by Walter Murch. Scroll down for full list of winners: Read More »
Sony Pictures and Ubisoft Motion Pictures are teaming on a full-length feature film based on the Rabbids, the bad guys from Ubisoft’s Rayman video games that have spawned spinoff TV series, merchandising, comic books and even a theme park attraction in France. It’s the latest feature film play for Ubisoft based on its vidgame properties. Ubisoft is working with New Regency on developing Splinter Cell starring Tom Hardy, with Fox on Assassin’s Creed starring Michael Fassbender, and again with Sony based on Watch Dogs. Here’s today’s release:
LOS ANGELES — February 10, 2014 — Today, Ubisoft and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that the studios are partnering to develop a full-length feature film based on the Rabbids, the irreverent, wacky characters from the popular TV series and video games.
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EXCLUSIVE: ABC Family star Avan Jogia is keeping busy as the network’s teen mystery-drama Twisted concludes its first season this month. The former Nickelodeon star (Victorious) has joined the cast of Ten Thousand Saints opposite Hailee Steinfeld and Asa Butterfield. American Spendor duo Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are directing the adaptation of Eleanor Henderson’s 2011 novel in which Jogia will play Teddy, who knocks up Eliza (Steinfeld) and overdoses, sending his best friend Jude (Butterfield) into the straight-edge hardcore punk scene of 1980s New York City. Anne Carey, Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler are producing the pic which is now filming in NYC.
Related: Hailee Steinfeld In Talks For Straight Edge Punk Adaptation ‘Ten Thousand Saints’
Jogia’s also in talks for a role in Painstaking Pictures, Haven Entertainment, Bona Fide, and Anonymous Content’s 1970s-set Shangri-La Suite opposite Emily Browning and Luke Grimes. Pic is directed by first timer Eddie O’Keefe from his script with Chris Hutton and follows two young lovers who meet in a mental hospital. The Bonnie & Clyde-esque pair set out to fulfill what one believes is his destiny – to kill Elvis Presley. Read More »
David Michel, co-founder of and general manager of French’s leading animation production company Marathon Media is stepping down, effective March 31. 2014. Michel co-founded Marathon Media in 2001 with Vincent Chalvon, who also recently left. The two sold the company to Zodiak media in 2008. Michel had been Marathon general manager since 2007 and added a role as SVP Group Marketing for Zodiak Media in 2011. During his time with Marathon, Michel served as co-creator and co-producer of 13 international series in the children & family space, including Totally Spies, which was #1 on Cartoon Network, as well as Get Blake, produced for Nickelodeon in the U.S. I hear Michel is in conversation with media companies in both US and Europe about co-production and other opportunities. Read More »