BBC Three Takes ‘Orphan Black’
In a west-to-east move, Britain’s BBC Three has acquired the BBC America original series Orphan Black. The 10-part drama, co-created by Graeme Manson (Flashpoint) and John Fawcett (Spartacus), centers on a street-wise chameleon whose life changes dramatically after witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks just like her. Taking on the woman’s identity, boyfriend and bank account, she is thrust into a kaleidoscopic mystery. Tatiana Maslany stars. BBC America just renewed the series in the U.S. It’s produced by Temple Street Prods in association with BBC America and Space.
‘The Face’ UK Names Models To Join Naomi Campbell
Sky Living has added supermodels Erin O’Connor and Caroline Winberg alongside Naomi Campbell for the UK version of model reality show The Face. The U.S. version, produced by Shine America, launched on Oxygen in February. The local UK format will be co-produced by Princess Productions and Shine TV. The three models will mentor three teams of four girls over eight weeks as they compete in photo shoots, runway shows and commercials. The last girl standing will be crowned the face of a globally known brand. Production starts in the spring. Campbell is exec producing. Read More »
CANNES: Below I’ve compiled this year’s list of what Cannes films are most often being mentioned by potential buyers. But already there’s been a bit of action in the marketplace, with Warner Bros acquiring domestic on the Ryan Gosling-directed How To Catch A Monster. Sellers feel a good appetite for deal-making is in the air. “This has been the busiest month we’ve had going into a Cannes Film Festival. The frenetic activity has never been this intense,” said Roeg Sutherland, who runs CAA’s independent film operation with Micah Green. “It’s not that a lot of new companies are jumping in like they did last year. But we’re seeing those companies coming back here with good slates, which is the healthiest thing for everybody.” I can tell you that sellers this year are cautiously optimistic this Cannes market will be closer to 2011′s when sales were made on the basis of sizzle reels. (Harvey Weinstein made a big bet on The Iron Lady after watching seven minutes of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, and John Hillcoat’s Lawless and Rian Johnson’s Looper sold on the basis of preview reels as well.) Not even rain in the forecast for the next couple of days can depress the upbreat attitudes here. After all, at last Cannes, the sellers market on the Croisette belonged to the umbrella salesman getting 40 Euros a pop in a nonstop torrential downpour that put a figurative damper on the entire market. We all known you cannot measure the success of Cannes the way you can Toronto and Sundance. If buyers don’t buy, sellers are in trouble. Here, a chance conversation with a high net worth individual can make the whole Cannes experience worthwhile. This is a festival of intangibles, and players have to make the time to hustle at the Hotel Du Cap where the billionaire investors roam and the movie stars are stashed until they have to come to the Croisette for premieres. That’s as glitzy as it gets here, but sellers and buyers tell me they do most of their business over a drink at the Carlton and Majestic Hotels, and to a lesser degree the Martinez. Agents especially have “how I won the war” Cannes stories of unexpected encounters that turned into game-changing deals.
Related: Hammond: Festival Kicks Off With Most Anticipated Slate In Years
“Beyond the competition and the exposure that is so good for the careers of your clients, it is an important place to create a moment that leads to films getting financed,” said UTA’s Rich Klubeck. “Two years ago, we met with the guys at Studio Canal who’d said they missed being in business with Joel and Ethan Coen. We had another meeting in New York and they wrote the check for Inside Llewyn Davis, which premieres here. It could not have been a better situation. They have proven to be perfect partners.” That deal allowed the Coens and producer Scott Rudin to shoot the 1960s folk movie without pressure to find early domestic distribution. The picture went to CBS Films after the filmmakers showed the finished product to a crowd of buyers. “We got to take our time, hear the marketing plans offered by each distributor, and pick the perfect situation,” Klubeck told me. “This is a good place where a lot of stuff happens.” Read More »
Oxygen Media is partnering with Lemuel Plummer (Vindicated, The Sheards) and Holly Carter (106 & Gospel) on Pastors Of L.A. (working title), set to debut this fall. The docu-series will center on six mega-pastors in Southern California who are willing to share diverse aspects of their lives, from their work in the community and with their parishioners to the very large and sometimes provocative lives they lead away from the pulpit. The cast includes Bishop Noel Jones, Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Wayne Chaney, Bishop Ron Gibson, and Pastor Jay Haizlip. Pastors of L.A. is produced by L. Plummer Media in association with Relevé Entertainment, with Lemuel Plummer, Holly Carter and Chris Costine serving as Executive Producers.
And just like we predicted a month ago, the CW has renewed all of its existing series. The last to get the nod today are The Carrie Diaries and Nikita. The network is not confirming the sizes of the pickups, but Carrie’s is automatically a 13-episode order as it is a midseason show, and I hear Nikita will return for a six-episode cycle. I had heard that could be the final chapter for Nikita, though if the limited event series format works, the CW may leave the door open to additional installments. The network had been looking to break into the limited series format for the last couple of seasons. Carrie Diaries and Nikita join previously renewed Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Hart Of Dixie and Beauty And The Beast.
CW Picks Up ‘The Tomorrow People’, ‘The 100′, ‘Reign’ & ‘Oxygen’
‘The Selection’ Dead At The CW Read More »
After two development cycles and two pilots, the CW is throwing in the towel on bringing Keira Cass’ book The Selection to the small screen. By all accounts, the second pilot, which was shot in Budapest, was an improvement over last year’s effort. But in the end I hear the finished product, while beautifully shot, was not compelling enough. I hear CW brass felt that there was no room for two kings-and-castles series on the schedule, and Reign came in stronger.
Related: CW’s ‘Tomorrow People’, ‘100′, ‘Reign’ & ‘Oxygen’ Ordered To Series
UPDATE: Reign and Oxygen from CBS TV Studios also just got picked up, bringing the total number of new CW series for next season for five, including The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals. The only remaining question is whether The Selection, which never found its footing, is dead. (UPDATE: It is. Click here for more.)
PREVIOUS: The CW also entered the pickup fray with series orders to drama pilots The Tomorrow People and The 100. Both have been frontrunners, coming from Warner Bros TV. The Tomorrow People is executive produced by Julie Plec and Greg Berlanti, meaning that Plec will have three series on the CW next season, The Vampire Diaries, spinoff The Originals and The Tomorrow People. Berlanti will have two, The Tomorrow People and Arrow.
‘The Selection’ Dead At The CW
CW’s ‘Carrie Diaries’ & ‘Nikita’ Renewed
Here are the network’s descriptions of the new shows: Read More »
It was a busy day in pre-upfront broadcast network land, with Fox deciding the fate of all of its pilots (nine picked up to series, six dead) and NBC narrowing down the field by passing on 7 pilots. No major surprises, with none of the hot NBC pilots getting the ax. That includes front-runners on the drama side Blacklist and Crisis (Rand Ravich), which are moving on, along with Ironside, Believe, I Am Victor and After Hours as well as strong comedies About A Boy, Welcome To The Family, Family Guide, Assistance, Sean Hayes, and Undateable, plus dark horses Craig Robinson and John Mulaney and even darker horse Robert Padnick, which is dead. And let’s not forget the potential Chicago Fire spinoff, which I hear turned out well.
At ABC, comedy pilot Spy is dead. So is Keep Calm. Trophy Wife seems to be a go, with reshoots already scheduled. Adam Goldberg and Cullen Bros. continue to be hot, and Rebel Wilson’s growing popularity continues to drive Super Fun Night toward a pickup despite some issues with the pilot. Multi-camera Divorce, one of the last ABC pilots to be delivered, came in surprisingly good, so it is in the mix, though fellow multi-cam pilot King John appears a more suitable companion for Last Man Standing. Bad Management, Middle Age Rage and Mixology … Read More »
Days after last year’s upfront in New York, History‘s Hatfields & McCoys burst onto the scene, shattering ratings records and reviving the limited-event series form. Over the last 12 months, event series have continued to gain momentum, with History launching another blockbuster in The Bible, and Fox, FX and Spike announcing big pushes in the arena. The genre also has been factoring into the network’s ongoing pilot discussions and may have presence at the upfronts next week. “It seems to be the du jour concept these days,” one industry insider said. “If you call a drama a limited event series, you maintain series options on the actors while at the same time maintain the project’s international value. And if you market them well, they bring in audience.”
One of the highest-profile drama prospects for next season, ABC’s Once Upon A Time spinoff, has been developed as a limited series to air 13-episode arcs every season in the vein of FX’s American Horror Story. Such a potential scenario also has been mentioned for a number of other serialized/high-concept drama pilots should they get a series order: ABC’s Gothica and Big Thunder, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and CBS’ Hostages. CBS already is branching into the genre this coming summer with Under The Dome, originally developed as a regular series. The CW, whose president Mark Pedowitz last season was among the first to embrace the concept, did midseason entry Cult as a limited-type series and is looking to do more next season, with The Selection among those considered for a limited run. Fox’s The Following and ABC’s Red Widow too had been conceived with cable-style shorter seasons in mind. Read More »
It’s pilot screening week, with the networks’ executives huddled in rooms watching the fruits of their development teams’ labor. The networks are still going through the process, with testing results just starting to pour in, but here is the latest pilot buzz I’ve compiled from various sources around town.
Related: Complete Primetime Panic Pilot Listings
NBC had the breakout new drama of last fall, Revolution, and now the network has what could be the strongest drama pilot this season with Blacklist. I hear Blacklist and Crisis (aka untitled Rand Ravich) are considered front-runners on the drama side at NBC, buoyed by very strong testing. In fact Blacklist might be the highest-testing drama pilot at NBC in about a decade, and I also hear the male lead played by James Spader is one of the highest-testing characters ever for producing studio Sony TV. Also in the running are the J.J. Abrams-produced Believe; TV star vehicles Ironside, with Blair Underwood, and I Am Victor, with John Stamos; as well as medical drama Night Shift (aka After Hours). Also possibilities are late deliveries The Sixth Gun and the Chicago Fire spinoff. Read More »
It’s pilot screening time. CBS just started viewing its pilots, with the other networks slated to follow over the next few days. Feedback from the screenings and extensive focus group testing inform the networks’ series pickup decisions and are capable of catapulting a pilot from an also-run to frontrunner status overnight, as it happened with CBS’ Blue Bloods three years ago. Here is what I hear as of this weekend, with information still missing on a few late pilots.
Related: Complete Primetime Panic Pilot Listings
Drama Lucky 7 may live up to its name. The blue-collar ensemble about gas station employees who win the lottery seemed a little off brand for ABC and its glitzy dramas. But I hear the project based on a British format, which hadn’t drawn much attention, came in above expectations, making it a contender in what’s shaping to be a very tight race. It’s tight because two slots have already been penciled in for Marvel‘s S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Once Upon A Time spinoff, whose early footage I hear ABC brass liked. Also boosted by corporate synergy is major contender Big Thunder, based on the Disney ride. Word is ABC may choose one of its two soapy pilots, Westside and Betrayal, with Westside having the edge at the moment. (However, Betrayal‘s David Zabel has two irons in the fire as he is also behind Lucky 7.) The gothic soap Gothica has cooled off a bit while high-concept The Returned, about deceased coming back to life as their old selves, is heating up after another great pilot directing performance by Charles McDougall who, in his typical fashion went over on filming days (by 4 I hear) but delivered a strong pilot. Among the character procedurals, Murder In Manhattan, Doubt, Killer Women and Influence all seem in the mix. Read More »
Following several years of declines in the number of drama pilots shot in Los Angeles, the City of Angels staged a comeback this season with 14, reclaiming the top spot as the most popular drama pilot destination after falling for the first time to No. 3 last year behind New York and Vancouver. Los Angeles benefited from the increased overall pilot volume this season, housing 13 of this year’s 48 hourlong pilots, up from 8 (out of 41) last year and 11 (out of 42) the year before, and just short of the 2010 haul of 14 pilots (out of 43).
New York, fresh off luring back The Tonight Show, has become a comedy pilot magnet. The Big Apple already has solid comedy credentials on the cable side with FX’s Louie and HBO’s Girls, but I can’t think of any major half-hour broadcast pilot shot in New York since NBC’s 30 Rock, which just ended its seven-season run. This year, there were a whopping five (all single-camera): NBC’s Michael J. Fox project, which has straight-to-series order, and Assistance; CBS’ Jim Gaffigan and untitled Rottenberg & Zuritzsky project; and Fox’s Us And Them. In some cases, the choice of location was dictated by talent (like Fox). In others, the producers felt it was hard to fake New York or the East Coast in Los Angeles, where virtually all comedy broadcast series have been filming. The 2010 New York filming tax program, which already led to the explosion of NY drama pilot production from zero pilots in 2010 to 11 last year, is helping rein in production costs, which are still higher than a Los Angeles-based half-hour pilot but not by as much as before. With the comedy boon, New York managed to post a new record of 13 pilots, though the number of dramas slipped from 11 to eight. Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
It’s now been 22 years since Jonathan Murray and his late partner Mary Ellis Bunim created MTV‘s The Real World and thereby unofficially launched the reality television genre in its current form. The show is still on the air, in its astonishing 28th season, and Murray took a few minutes to reminisce this afternoon following a panel for his second-year Oxygen tattoo competition reality series Best Ink. He was asked how long Real World could conceivably run. The short answer: It will definitely see at least a 29th season (currently in pre-production) and has demonstrated that it still has some gas left in the tank after a slow start to Season 28, rising 77% in ratings since its premiere. As for how long Real World can remain on the air, Murray reveals that the question has been posed to him repeatedly over the years. “What I say is, it will be on the air as long as people want to see it,” he says. “We love doing it and every year is a challenge. Every year we come away saying we could have done this better, done that better. But every year we change the location, we tinker with it, we sort of reinvent it every year.” Murray also says he spends little time worrying about where the reality genre is heading. “The good stuff rises, finds an audience, stays on the air,” he stresses. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After making a successful expansion into television, feature writer Chris Morgan is setting up TV shop. Morgan is launching a TV offshoot of his Chris Morgan Prods., which will be housed at 20th Century Fox TV with a two-year pod deal. Under the pact, Morgan will write and produce new series for the studio, as well as supervise other writers and develop projects for all networks.
Morgan, writer of the hit Fast And Furious movie franchise, first tested the TV waters this development season when he sold a few projects, two of which, Gang Related at Fox and Big Thunder at ABC, went to pilot. What’s more, both pilots have been garnering strong early buzz and appear strong contenders for series orders. Morgan wrote and executive produces Gang Related and co-wrote the story and executive produces Big Thunder. He has been in first position on Gang Related, which is produced by 20th Century Fox TV. The pilot was directed by Allen Hughes and stars Ramon Rodriguez, Terry O’Quinn and RZA.
After such a “fast & furious” start in TV, Morgan was pursued by multiple TV studios for a deal but opted to go with 20th TV because of what he said was “an amazing experience” with the studio’s executives during the development and production of Gang Related. “I have big goals in television, and I look forward to achieving them with the studio as my creative partner,” Morgan added. Read More »
We’re about a week from starting to get more definitive feedback on this year’s pilots when the networks start screening them. That is probably my favorite part of pilot season, when dark horses and underdogs that had stayed largely under the radar suddenly race to the front of the pack. Until then, here are how pilots stack up now based on inherently subjective intel.
Related: PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC – More Early Buzz
Chuck Lorre’s Mom stamped its ticket to the fall schedule with a very well received taping on Friday night, so there goes the assured multi-camera CBS slot for next season, likely Mondays 8:30 PM. The Robin Williams starrer Crazy Ones looks pretty solid on the single-camera side. If CBS decides to go with multiple new multi-camera series, Friends With Better Lives and the untitled Greg Garcia project appear particularly strong (It is still early on the Tad Quill pilot starring Matthew Broderick). On the single-camera side, The McCarthys has buzz, with Ex-Men, Bad Teacher, Super Clyde and Rottenberg/Zuritsky also in the mix.
On the drama side, Beverly Hills Cop is entering the screening stage as a frontrunner. Hostages also looks strong, possibly for midseason given its serialized nature. The in-house CBS contenders include the NCIS: LA spinoff, The Surgeon General and The Ordained, while Intelligence is led by the type of hunky actor, Josh Holloway, CBS brass love. (Alex O’Loughlin anyone?) Wild cards include Hart Hanson’s Backstrom. Read More »
After lengthy negotiations, Fox‘s musical dramedy Glee has been picked up for next season. And the season after that. The network has given a two-year renewal to the series for Seasons 5 and 6. The negotiations took longer because the network starts footing the bill after Season 4. Given the complications of the talks, a two-year pickup is common practice so the network won’t have to do it again next year. Even if Glee‘s ratings continue to slip, the dramedy has an off-network syndication deal with Oxygen, which makes a longer run attractive for Fox sibling 20th TV, the studio that produces Glee with Ryan Murphy TV. Glee now joins veteran Bones, freshman drama The Following and comedies New Girl, The Mindy Project and Raising Hope, which all have been renewed for next season. Read More »
There is exactly one month to go until the broadcast networks begin to unveil their 2013-14 schedules to advertisers during premiere week. The first completed pilots have just started to come in, but we’re still a couple of weeks away from getting a more realistic picture of the this year’s pilot standings. For now, the info we share is based on buzz (thus the headline), and early insights from table reads, tapings, dailies and rough cuts. So don’t forget to pick up a large grain of salt before reading this. Now that you have been warned:
Chuck Lorre has done it again. Not that his clout alone was not enough to make his newest pilot Mom an instant frontrunner for the fall schedule the day it was greenlighted by CBS in December. Still, for CBS’ peace of mind, they were hoping the show would come together well. The network brass just got their wish with a rousing table read. The only remaining question surrounding Mom is where it will land on the schedule. I hear Monday 8:30 PM as a likely possibility. It makes a lot of sense, as How I Met Your Mother is already a strong launching pad that most recently helped establish 2 Broke Girls last year. Next season, the veteran comedy is expected to get extra sizzle from the fact that it is going into its final season that will finally reveal who the mother is. Plus, HIMYM and Mom will likely share sensibilities as they share the same director, Pam Fryman. As I wrote in my first early pilot buzz post, CBS brass appear very pleased with their comedy development this season, so if they pick up more multi-camera pilots, Friends With Better Lives is hot, and the Greg Garcia multi-camera pilot starring Will Arnett is coming off a solid table read. Competition is shaping to be as cutthroat on the single-camera side where CBS will likely opt for at least two shows to form a single-camera block. Greg Garcia’s Super Clyde was an early standout, with Crazy Ones boasting an in-form Robin Williams. The Bad Teacher remake and Irish American family comedy The McCarthys also seem to be in the mix, with the long-brewing Rob Greenberg pilot and Rottenberg/Zuritsky garnering positive very early buzz. Read More »
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ITV Studios Global Entertainment has secured pre-sales for the 13th and final series of ITV Studios’ iconic detective drama Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Based on crime writer Agatha Christie’s famous novels, series 13 of Poirot has been acquired by eight broadcasters worldwide: TMC (France), ABC (Australia), Prime (New Zealand), Chungwa (Taiwan), Latvian Television, RTV (Slovenia), HRT (Croatia), Sanoma (Hungary) and Digiturk (Turkey). WGBH in the US will co- produce and air two of the Poirot films – The Big Four and Dead Man’s Folly. The deals were brokered by David Wilcox, VP North West Cluster; Jennifer Ebell, VP South East Cluster; Nancy Wang, Senior Sales Executive, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; Dan Edwards, Senior Sales Executive, Australia and Jemma Losh, Sales Executive, New Zealand for ITV Studios Global Entertainment. Read More »
Amy Aquino (Being Human) rounds out the cast of ABC‘s multi-camera comedy pilot Divorce: A Love Story, from Sony TV and ABC Studios. Based on an Israeli format, Divorce centers on Kenny (Jason Jones) and Robin (Andrea Anders), a recently divorced couple who were bad together but discover they’re even worse apart and can’t seem to stay out of each others’ lives. Aquino, repped by Greene & Assoc. and manager Randy James, will play Kenny’s overbearing mother whose obsession in life is to see Kenny and Robin back together.
Comedian Seaton Smith rounds out the cast of another comedy pilot, NBC’s John Mulaney project. Written/exec produced by Mulaney and exec produced by Robert Carlock and Lorne Michaels, the comedy is a young ensemble focused on John (Mulaney), whose naïve and often pointles, desire to “be a good person” challenges his friendship with his roommates, Jane (Nasim Pedrad) and Seymour (Griffin Newman). With no real compass in life, John takes advice from his game-show host mentor Lou (Martin Short), a comic named Motif (ICM Partners-repped Smith), and his tough elderly gay neighbor (Elliot Gould).
Here is some news that may make some seasoned pilot actors, who didn’t book anything this season, jealous. Seven-year-old Maggie Elizabeth Jones, repped by Caliber Media and Osbrink, got two pilots. … Read More »