VH1 is bolstering its New York programming team with the hire of Jennifer McGovern as VP, Development, East Coast and Ken Martinez as VP, Current Production, East Coast. They will report to Nina L. Diaz, SVP, East Coast Production and Development. In addition, Vivian Gomez has been promoted to Director, Current Production.
McGovern will be responsible for the development of all East Coast original unscripted programming and lead the East Coast development team. She comes from Oxygen where she was Director of Development and Production since August 2010, working on such series as The Glee Project, I’m Having Their Baby and the upcoming Funny Girls and Nail’d It! Before Oxygen, McGovern was Manager of Alternative Series at TLC, working on Sarah Palin’s Alaska, Brace For Impact: The Chesley B. Sullenberger Story and Police Women Of Broward County, and worked as manager of development at Fox TV Studios.
Martinez will head up production on all East Coast original programming and manage the network’s slate of current unscripted series. He comes from Big Fish Entertainment, where he was an executive producer on the VH1 series Black Ink Crew. He also worked as a producer on Celebrity Wife Swap for ABC and From G’s To Gents on MTV as well as VH1′s Rock Of Love, Gotti’s Way, Flavor Of Love and My Fair Brady. In her new role, Gomez will executive produce multiple series, including Love … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Why did the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 of Broadway‘s 40 designated theaters, sign off on a deal to buy New World Stages, the five-theater underground off-Broadway complex owned by Dutch entertainment mogul Joop van den Ende? Sources tell me the answer has nothing to do with the arts and everything to do with real estate — along with the unique, not to say wacky, world according to Shubert, a $410 million nonprofit that coincidentally owns the most powerful commercial theater company in the U.S.
The company, whose theaters housed Les Miserables, A Chorus Line, Cats, Fiddler On The Roof, Amadeus and countless other legendary shows, has been Broadway’s reigning landlord for nearly a century. In recent years, the Shubert Organization has sold air rights above its landmarked Times Square theaters to the tune of $50 million. This spring, the Witkoff Group, a building consortium, paid $18.3 million for 45,000 square feet of air above the Shubert-owned Booth and Gerald Schoenfeld Theatres on West 45th Street. That deal will allow Witkoff’s project, the Times Square Marriott Edition hotel at 701 Seventh Avenue, to grow to 500 feet high.
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Oxygen Media is getting a makeover. The network debuted its new logo and tagline – “very real” – today at Summer TV Press Tour. It’s part of Oxygen’s rebrand targeting young modern women initally announced in April and scheduled to launch on Tuesday, October 7 across all platforms. The network also announced two additional series It Takes A Sister and After Happily Ever After, for a total 9 new shows, along with three development projects, The Assistants, Party Inc., and Stranded At Work. They join Oxygen’s upcoming lineup including Sisterhood Of Hip Hop, Nail’d It, My Crazy Love, Street Art Throwdown, Funny Girls, Living Different, Fix My Choir and a second season of the hit series Preachers of L.A. Here are details on Oxygen’s newly picked up series and projects in development: Read More »
Diane Haithman is a contributor to Deadline Hollywood
Could this year’s Emmy Reality and Reality-Competition categories turn into a food fight?
Perhaps more important: Should there be a law preventing a chef from wrapping zucchini around a toasted marshmallow, creating the S’More from hell (observed in a recent installment of Chopped)?
The stage — or should we say table — has been set. In 2010, Bravo’s Top Chef knocked The Amazing Race off its 7-year pedestal by taking home the Emmy for best Reality-Competition program (Race came back for another two wins before being unseated by The Voice in 2013). “I believe it was the first prominent, prime time food show to win the category,” says Primetime Emmy Award chair Bob Boden. Read More »
Add Viacom to the companies cozying up to online video networks. The entertainment company swapped its gaming focused digital properties — casual game developers Addicting Games and Shockwave, and video unit GameTrailers – for an unspecified minority stake in Defy Media. It picks up a seat on Defy’s 10-member board which is chaired by former Nickelodeon and Oxygen Media chief Gerry Laybourne and includes reps from Lionsgate, ZelnickMedia and ABS Capital. (The network company, popular on YouTube, was formed last year when Alloy Digital and Break Media merged.) In addition to the transaction, Viacom and Defy have agreed to syndicate content and develop and distribute entertainment, although they don’t provide details. Viacom picked up Addicting Games and Shockwave in 2006 as part of its $200M acquisition of Atom Films, and bought GameTrailers in 2005.
But Viacom “was not investing materially in them,” Defy President Keith Richman tells me. That should change with the new ownership. Gaming “is core to our business,” he says. CEO Matthew Diamond adds in a statement that the properties Viacom is contributing “represent meaningful and diverse revenue opportunities we aim to expand across our existing brand portfolio.”
This is the latest instance of a traditional entertainment company strengthening bonds with an online video company. Lionsgate recently forged an alliance with RocketJump Studios. Disney committed about $1B to pick up Maker Studios. Time Warner led a fundraising round at Machinima. And last year DreamWorks Animation … Read More »
Oxygen Media‘s new docuseries Sisterhood Of Hip Hop features up-and-coming female emcees in a music genre traditionally dominated by men. The eight-episode series from 51 Minds (TI And Tiny: The Family Hustle, Below Deck) showcases female artists (the “femcees”) who are discovered and mentored by hip hop stars Bia, Brianna Perry, Diamond, Nyemiah Supreme and Siya. The series will also include appearances by Eve, Lil Jon, Travie McCoy, Rick Ross, Tank, and Irv Gotti. Sisterhood Of Hip Hop premieres August 12 at 9 PM following a preview special on Tuesday, July 22 at 8:15 PM. Grammy-Award winning recording artist T.I. serves as executive producer, along with Christian Sarabia, Rabih Gholam and Roy Orecchio.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC‘s Emmy-winning comedy series Modern Family will continue with both of its dads in place. After difficult negotiations, the show’s co-creator/executive producer/co-showrunner Christopher Lloyd, who had been without a contract since the end of last season, closed a complex new overall deal late last night with Modern Family producer 20th Century Fox TV. The series’ writers had been working on the upcoming sixth season since last Tuesday without Lloyd, who stayed home while his deal was being negotiated. He is returning to work today, joining fellow co-creator/exec producer/co-showrunner Steve Levitan. “Chris is an incredibly gifted writer who — along with Steve — has created not just a hit series but one that is already considered a classic,” 20th CEO and Chairman Gary Newman told Deadline. “It’s a testament to their dedication and commitment that six seasons in, both he and Steve are still running the series and the quality of the episodes remains at an all-time high. On a personal note, my relationship with Chris goes back a long time, and I have great respect and admiration for him. I couldn’t be happier that he is staying ‘in the family’ — both literally and figuratively.”
Related: ABC Renews ‘Modern Family’
Lloyd is also very well liked by the writers, cast and crew of Modern … Read More »
Writers convened yesterday to begin work on the sixth season of ABC‘s Emmy-winning comedy series Modern Family. Leading the charge was co-creator/executive producer Steve Levitan, while fellow co-creator/executive producer Christopher Lloyd was a no-show. The reason — while Levitan in March closed a rich new overall deal with Modern Family producer 20th Century Fox TV, Lloyd has no deal for the show after his most recent pact expired at the end of Season 5. Talks between Lloyd’s reps and 20th TV for a new deal did not start until after Lloyd returned from a break following the late-March wrap of Season 5. He originally had been approached by the studio at the same time as Levitan but deferred deal conversations until after he was done with the season. I hear he considered a straight show deal for Modern Family without a development component but talks eventually focused on extending his overall deal with the studio. However, when the two sides finally met face-to-face before the upfronts, they were very far apart. About a month later, there has been some progress but not significant enough, leading to Lloyd’s absence from the show. He also was out today, with conversations between his camp and 20th TV ongoing and insiders cautiously optimistic. Interestingly, Lloyd showed up at the Modern Family Emmy event last week, held by 20th TV (see photo).
Related: ABC Renews ‘Modern Family’
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For the first time NBCUniversal bookends Broadcast Upfront Week — culminating in this afternoon’s NBCU Cable Entertainment Group at the Javits Center, including Bravo, E!, Esquire Network, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, and USA Network.
The presentation will have a hard time topping Joan and Melissa Rivers in the E! Red Carpet Mani-Cam, doing spot-on finger impressions of Lea Michelle and Sharon Stone for Giuliana Rancic and Ross Matthews. Kim Kardashian adjusted her engagement ring to make sure it was caught on the Mani-Cam in all its glory, then declared her fingers ugly and pulled out.
Here’s how it went:
4:20 PM ET: Big question of this upfront seems to be who is going to host it. NBCU Cable Entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer opened the orgy of new and returning show plugging by assuring us she’s not hosting, and touting the fact this combined network presentation boasted “120 of our on-air talent — that’s 120 wonderful humans.” She continued: “I know how grueling it can be running around town, sitting through umpteen presentations. .. We hope to earn a few brownie points saving your time… shoe leather and taxi fares.”
4:35 PM ET: NBCU’s ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino calls herself the Kim Kardashian of NBCU Cable. Kim Kardashian walks out and says “Hold on I believe I’M the Kim Kardashian of NBC Universal.” Yaccarino tries to give the two of them a name: Kardino?
“Enough about that,”Kim … Read More »
Oxygen Media has announced five new projects in development as part of its planned rebrand targeting young, modern women. The projects include Sister Witches, which focuses on three sisters in their twenties who practice witchcraft. Finding My Father follows women as they put the missing pieces together and reconnect with the father they never knew; Aunt Nikki centers on six sisters back under one roof looking for a fresh start; Love On The Line takes a new twist on online dating where young romantics who have never met will have to first meet their significant other’s friends and family, and Wantrepreneur features millennial entrepreneurs who help guide and invest in young budding tycoons to help them turn their passions into successful business ventures. Today’s announcement follows Oxygen’s recent greenlighting of seven new series. Here is more detail from the network on the new projects: Read More »
Dimension Films has acquired N.A. rights to 47 Meters Down, a thriller set at the bottom of the ocean about two sisters trapped in an undersea observation cage who must survive a dwindling oxygen supply and the hungry great whites circling nearby. The contained two-hander is being touted as “Gravity, but underwater.” Copy that. Pic will be directed by Johannes Roberts (Storage 24) with Mark Lane and James Harris producing for their The Tea Shop and Film Company. Dimension’s Matthew Signer, Keith Levine, and Robert Walak are overseeing for the studio. Roberts is repped by WME. Walak and Michal Steinberg negotiated the deal with Altitude Film Sales’ Mike Runagall on behalf of the filmmakers. Altitude is repping worldwide sales.
Bravo Media has unveiled its slate of original programming at its upfront including 15 new series (two scripted), 16 returning series and three new projects in development. That includes Bravo’s first scripted comedy, Odd Mom Out, a half-hour series based on the life of author and fashionista Jill Kargman which captures the outrageous world of uber-wealthy momzillas of New York’s Upper East Side. It joins Bravo’s first scripted series, the recently greenlighted hourlong dramedy Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce. The upcoming unscripted slate includes offshoots of Bravo mainstays Real Housewives and Top Chef. Among returning series, the network has confirmed a second season of Below Deck, a third season of Don’t Be Tardy, a seventh season of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Season 6 for The Real Housewives Of New Jersey. Returning this fall also is a 12th season of the Emmy Award-winning culinary competition series Top Chef, season 8 of The Millionaire Matchmaker, The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 7, and The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills Season 5. Here are descriptions of Bravo’s new series and projects in development:
Related: Oxygen Greenlights Seven New Series As Part Of Upcoming Rebranding
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Oxygen Media unveiled seven new original series for its 2014 slate today under new president Francis Berwick and said it is planning a rebrand for later this year “targeting modern, young women.” Docu-series on the roster range in subjects from finding the next female hip-hop star (executive produced by rapper T.I.) to comediennes, and competition series involving street artists and nail designers. They will join returning series Preachers Of LA, which recently was picked up for a second season after becoming the most-watched freshman series in network history among adults 25-54, averaging more than 1 million total viewers. It will premiere in summer. The network said today it will soon begin casting new Preachers editions in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit. Berwick, the president at sister NBCUniversal network Bravo, was tapped in September to oversee Oxygen. Here is more detail from the network on the new series:
Related: Bravo Unveils 15 New Series, 3 Projects In Development, 16 Returning Series
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With a chorus line of 40 Samba-dancing Vegas showgirls parading through the audience to the stage for a performance of a song from the upcoming Rio 2 (4/11), 20th Century Fox got its CinemaCon presentation off in style. And the studio earned high marks for attempting to put a little showmanship that has been missing from some other presentations this week. Hey this is Vegas. Let’s liven it up, folks. And Fox did.
This is not to say the rest of their “show” was not all about showing off footage from their 2014 slate. It was, but clearly they put a lot of work into impressing these theatre owners who responded strongly to what Fox was offering. Distribution President Chris Aronson appeared with a feather headdress on (he looked pretty hot) but quickly took it off for a more corporate look as he welcomed the crowd and got things rolling including those previously reported remarks regarding NATO ‘s John Fithian and 12 Years A Slave. He pointed out that the studio’s total worldwide boxoffice was $3.39 billion, the fifth consecutive year they have exceeded the $3 billion mark. He then introduced 20th’s Chairman Jim Gianopulos who expertly hosted the event as he does each year, actually managing to sound like he’s not reading stuff off a prompter – an art both he and Disney’s M.C. Alan Horn have mastered. He launched right into it by announcing “we are starting summer in April this year” and bringing on Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann to introduce clips of their comedy The Other Woman. Then it was time for the “tentpoles” as he intro’d a clip package featuring the opening scene and trailer from X Men: Days Of Future Past (5/23), extended footage from How To Train Your Dragon 2 (6/13) from their partnership with DreamWorks Animation and a harrowing scene from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (7/11) , the latter really whetting the exhibitors appetite. Let’s just say it involves a couple of drunk guys, a playful-seeming ape and an Uzi. Wow. Even Shailene Woodley, star of 20th’s June 6th romantic drama The Fault In Our Stars, said she was still shaking from the Apes footage when Gianopulos brought her on. Read More »
The consolidation of independent unscripted production companies continues, with FremantleMedia buying a 75% stake in SallyAnn Salsano‘s 495 Prods. with the option to acquire the remaining 25%g in the future. Founded in 2006 by Salsano, 495 Prods. is behind such unscripted series as MTV’s Jersey Shore and spinoffs Snooki And JWOWW, The Show With Vinny and The Pauly D Project; Spike TV’s Tattoo Nightmares, which FremantleMedia distributes internationally, and Repo Games; MTV’s dating show Friendzone and the daytime syndicated talk show The Real. The company also produces Jerks With Cameras for MTV, Tattoos After Dark for Oxygen and CMT breakout hit Party Down South. “Our ambition is to continue to grow 495 Productions in the U.S. and to broaden its global footprint even further through our extensive distribution and production network,” FremantleMedia CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz said. Read More »
Tracey Lentz joins AMC from 3Ball Productions/Eyeworks USA, where she was VP of development. In her new role as VP unscripted programming, Lentz will focus on developing unscripted series for the network. She will be based in L.A. and report to Eliot Goldberg, SVP unscripted programming. At Eyeworks, Lentz was involved in the development and sale of shows including Celebrity Splash (ABC), Catch A Contractor (Spike), Hungry Investors (Spike), My Big Fat Revenge (Oxygen), Funniest Wins (TBS), Remote Survivor (Nat Geo) and Opposite Worlds (Syfy). She also helped manage American Chopper and the re-launch of Trading Spaces. She previously held creative positions at Current TV, ABC Media Productions, TLC, GSN/Game Show Network and Showtime Networks.
Bravo Media made a number of promotions today including Lara Spotts to SVP Development, and LA-based Jenn Levy and Kathleen French to SVP Production. Additionally, David O’Connell, SVP Production Operations, and David Brewer, VP Program Strategy & Acquisitions, have expanded their oversight of Oxygen Media while continuing to supervise Bravo. Based in New York, Spotts will lead Bravo’s scripted and non-scripted developments on both the East and West Coast for pilots, casting reels and original concepts. She reports to Frances Berwick, President of Bravo and Oxygen Media. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Bravo Media is officially a scripted series player. The cable network has greenlighted its first original scripted series, the hourlong Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce starring House alumna Lisa Edelstein. The project, from writer-producer Marti Noxon and Universal Cable Prods, has received a 13-episode order for a 2015 premiere. Based on the best-selling “Girlfriends’ Guide” books by Vicki Iovine, the series follows Abby (Edelstein), a self-help book author who hides the fact that she’s separated from her husband, as she starts to navigate her life as a single woman in her early 40s in Los Angeles. She finds herself seeking advice from her divorced friends instead of her married ones, which leads to some unexpected and life-changing experiences. This is the second series order for Noxon this month, following Lifetime’s 10-episode pickup of Un-Real. I hear Girlfriends’ Guide has the Buffy The Vampire Slayer alumna in first position. She is executive producing the Bravo series with Dawn Olmstead, Iovine and Weinstein Co.’s Meryl Poster and Adam Brooks, who directed the pilot. The series co-stars Janeane Garofalo and Beau Garrett, with Paul Adelstein and Carrie Fisher featured in the pilot.
Related: Lifetime Picks Up Marti Noxon’s ‘Un-Real’ To Series
Girlfriends’ Guide was originally set up at Showtime in 2012 as a half-hour spec by Noxon. Bravo took the project in early last spring and converted it to one-hour. It’s been a smooth sailing ever since, with a pilot order in August, the hire of Brooks to direct and Edelstein to star, leading to the series order. “From the minute we saw this script, we felt this was really on brand for Bravo — it’s got lots of humor, lots of fun, and it’s incredibly stylish,” said Frances Berwick, president Bravo and Oxygen Media. “More than anything, this is a real passion project for Marti who is a big Bravo fan.” There is no plan yet how to launch Girlfriend’s Guide but Berwick suggested that “we have the benefit of having great natural big-reach shows to launch out of” and “with the comedy and drama in (Bravo’s) heavily serialized reality shows, there is a natural connection” that would make for an easy flow from them to the scripted Girlfriend’s Guide. Read More »