ABC has firmed up its midseason scheduling plans. With Super Fun Night only getting a Back 4 order, the network will try out another new comedy series, Mixology, in the Wednesday 9:30 PM slot behind Modern Family. The high-concept series, which takes place at a bar over the course of one night and features a 10-member core cast, will premiere on February 26. ABC previously used flagship Modern Family to launch another single-camera young ensemble comedy, Happy Endings, which recently ended its run. Meanwhile, Suburgatory will return to its original Tuesday 8:30 PM slot where it was so successful in its first season, launching Season 3 on January 15 to succeed departing Back In The Game.
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ABC is making changes to some previously announced midseason moves. Once Upon A Time and Revenge are still slated to return from their winter hiatuses on March 9, joined by new drama Resurrection. But Revenge will move to 10 PM, with Resurrection taking over its 9 PM slot. With its supernatural theme (Resurrection is about deceased loved ones returning to a small town), it is considered a better fit for dark-ish fairytale drama Once than the glitzy soap Revenge. On Thursday, ABC was to launch adventure reality series The Quest, from The Amazing Race creators, on January 2. The competition has now been pushed to summer, with cooking reality series The Taste and CIA drama The Assets taking over Thursday night while Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal are on hiatus, returning on February 27. In another tweak, Nashville — originally slated to go on hiatus like Once, Grey’s and Scandal under ABC’s newly adopted split-season model before returning on February 26 — will now stay on, airing a total of four originals in January and February. I hear ABC brass felt that maybe they were taking too many dramas off, and Nashville‘s strong DVR following could help it through repeats. Of the freshman dramas, Betrayal will have aired its entire limited-run first season before it goes off the air, while Once Upon A Time In Wonderland will air its fall finale on Dec. 12 and will return with a few more originals in the spring. New procedurals Killer Women and Mind Games will split the Tuesday 10 PM slot previously occupied by cancelled drama Lucky 7. Here are ABC’s new mideason premiere dates, followed by descriptions of the new series: Read More »
Terry Kinney has been cast in ABC’s 13-episode limited series The Black Box. Written by Amy Holden Jones, The Black Box centers on Elizabeth Black (Kelly Reilly), a world-renowned neuroscientist who appears to have it all but is constantly haunted by her own struggle with mental illness. Kinney will play hospital medical director Dr. Owen Morely, Elizabeth’s former teacher and mentor. The Black Box is executive produced by Jones, Anne Thomopoulos, Bryan Singer, Oly Obst, and Ilene Chaiken, who serves as showrunner. Kinney is repped by ICM Partners and Brookside Artist Management.
Robin Weigert is going to be busy. The Deadwood alumna has been cast in a multi-episode arc in Chicago Fire spinoff NBC’s Chicago PD and in a co-starring role in the Showtime pilot Trending Down. Weigert was first introduced in Episode 23 of Chicago Fire and was brought back for Chicago PD where she will first appear in the series premiere. In Trending Down, Weigert plays Thom’s (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) co-worker at the advertising agency. Weigert, repped by Innovative and Thruline Entertainment, also can be seen as a recurring in Sons Of Anarchy.
Annabelle Stephenson has been booked as a recurring on ABC’s Revenge. She’ll play the role of Jenny, a no-nonsense beauty and spitfire who was raised in Long Island but far from Hampton’s society and a … Read More »
“We’re telling better stories, better this year,” Hell On Wheels showrunner John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), who is new to the show, told TV critics this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Wirth’s the guy who came to the show after the creators’ contracts were not renewed and the guy who took their place took a powder three days later. Naturally press-tour attendees were eager to hear what the new guy had to say. Addressing the ballroom full of TV critics, reporters, bloggers, and tweeters, Wirth said he’s kept “virtually the same writing staff” but is taking a very different approach than that of creators Joe and Tony Gayton. “The show kicked off with revenge being the motivation. That gets wearisome for people over time,” Wirth said. “So we shifted gears…shifting more into an area of redemption, or as we call it, ‘reconstruction’. It’s opened the show, and made the characters more embraceable.”
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It was a wake for a serial killer as Comic-Con bid farewell to Dexter tonight in the huge Hall H. With the confab fave and Showtime flagship series in its eighth and final season, producers and cast said they still haven’t gotten their heads around the show being over. “I don’t think everyone has processed it yet,” executive producer Sara Colleton said today. “I don’t think it’s hit any of us that it is over,” she added. Panelists revealed that filming on the last episode wrapped last week. Dexter Morgan himself, Michael C. Hall, said he didn’t think the end of the show would hit him for at least six months. Having said that, despite numerous probing attempts from the audience in their questions, nothing was really revealed about how the show will end. What was revealed is that Dexter is going to be on sale this fall. It was announced from the panel that the final season of Dexter would be available on DVD and Blu-ray on November 5, as will a full-series box set. Season 8 debuted June 30 on Showtime with a record-breaking 2.4 million viewers. The premiere continued Dexter’s unbroken season opener ratings growth since its 2006 debut. “In 25 years there will be a new series called Harrison and Dexter will have died and I will be his dead internalized father,” joked Hall to the almost-standing-room-only hall about a spinoff series based on the character’s son.
Related: David Nevins On Ending ‘Dexter’ & A Potential Spinoff
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Karine Vanasse has been tapped for a multi-episode guest arc in the upcoming third season of ABC‘s Revenge. The Quebec-born actress will play the role of Margaux, a French businesswoman and former acquaintance of Daniel’s (Josh Bowman) who comes to town to start a magazine. She joins stars Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Henry Czerny and recently cast Justin Hartley. Vanasse co-starred in ABC’s Pan Am and also appeared in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. She’s repped by WME in the U.S., UBBA in France, and Agence M in Canada.
Justin Hartley has been tapped to play a major role in the upcoming third season of ABC’s Revenge. The former Smallville and Emily Owens MD star will play Patrick, the long-lost son of Victoria (Madeline Stowe), in a multi-episode arc that was a hot one to nab around town. E! first reported the news. His addition is the latest most on the ABC soapy drama, which recently opted not to return Ashley Madekwe’s character Ashley to the cast for next season. It also said goodbye to Connor Paolo, whose character Declan Porter died in the Season 2 finale. The ABC Studios series also will have a new showrunner in Sunil Nayar, after Revenge creator/executive producer/showrunner Mike Kelley departed. Hartley’s repped by Innovative Artists.
Raul Esparza is being bumped up to series regular on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. He plays Assistant DA Rafael Barba on the Wolf Films/Univeral Television drama, which returns for its 15th season beginning September 25 and stars shooting next week in New York. Said executive producer Warren Leight: “Making him a series regular is a small way of acknowledging his enormous contribution to our show.” Esparza is repped by ICM Partners and Elin Flack Management.
Ray Liotta has joined Revenge Of The Green Dragons, the thriller helmed by Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo, with production beginning in New York. The triad thriller is executive produced by Martin Scorsese and is fully financed by IM Global’s prolific genre label Octane. Scorsese’s Best Picture Oscar-winning The Departed was a remake of Lau’s Hong Kong gangster film Infernal Affairs. Liotta will play the lead New York detective responsible for investigating the brutal gang and bringing them to justice. He is coming off The Iceman, The Place Beyond The Pines and Killing Them Softly. Also joining the cast are Justin Chon and Harry Shum. The film’s based on Fredric Dannen’s New Yorker article about the terror spree inflicted by the Green Dragons, the gang of Asian youths in Chinatown.
EXCLUSIVE: Their headline alerts show up in showbiz emails with regularity if not always hilarity. And recently the Hollywood & Swine blog embarrassed Variety when a content syndication deal resulted in legitimate media outlets confusing a satirical story with real news. (No, Sharon Stone wasn’t the prime suspect of French cops in that recent $1.4M Cannes jewel heist “after an IMDb search made her attendance at the film festival extremely suspicious”.) The humilitainment website jabs and keeps tabs on Tinseltown’s more moronic aspects but the TV and movie scripters behind it never get identified or punished. It’s a delicate and dangerous tightrope that the vast majority of WGA writers are too afraid to try — yet Andy Marx and Will McArdle have been walking it since January 2012. But this summer will mark if the duo fall off phone sheets or meeting calendars. That’s because I’ve learned that the writing team have at least two TV pilots going out to networks and one feature film going out to directors. Then it’s an opportunity for hot Industry players to exact revenge which, as we all know, is a dish best served cold.
Fiftysomething Marx and thirtysomething McArdle for some time now have managed to sweet-talk the media like LA Times‘ John Horn and The Guardian‘s Rory Carroll into keeping their identities out of the spotlight so Hollywood wouldn’t know they were biting the hands that feed them. (“After multiple requests, the duo finally agreed to an in-person interview on the condition that they not be publicly identified, lest they jeopardize their business relationships,” the LAT wrote.) McArdle is described to me as a nobody who was writing on the non-WGA fringes when manager Danny Halsted paired him with client Marx. He’s the well-known Groucho Marx and Gus Kahn grandson who previously had a successful script pitching partnership with fellow journalist-turned-screenwriter Andrea King before it crashed and burned. (“They sold over $2 million worth of pitches but didn’t like each other,” an insider told me. “In the rooms, they were great together. But both were repped by Halsted and, behind the scenes, it was Andy on Line 1 and Andrea on Line 2. So they professionally divorced.”) Marx wanted to continue working with a partner, and Halsted thought McArdle had a similar comic sensibility. The hope was that they all could make some coin together. Sweet and funny Marx had a hobby of skewering execs and actors in humorous emails sent to pals, so that led the longtime showbiz insider to begin writing anonymous Hollywood & Swine news parodies with McArdle. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ashley Davenport is done scheming on ABC‘s Revenge. I’ve learned that British actress Ashley Madekwe will not return to the soapy drama next season. Her option was not picked up due to what I hear were storyline reasons. Madekwe has been on Revenge since the pilot, but her character went through metamorphoses. Ashley was introduced as Victoria Grayson’s (Madeleine Stowe) event planner and a friend to Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), who brought her into the Grayson family. Driven by ambition, she fell for the diabolical Tyler (Ashton Holmes) and eventually managed to bed both Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny) and his son Daniel (Joshua Bowman). By the end of Season 1, Ashley’s storyline played out, but the producers found a way to bring her back in a new role as Conrad’s assistant and then PR for his political campaign. With Conrad winning the election in the second-season finale, that story arc also came to a natural conclusion. Madekwe is one of two regulars to depart Revenge heading into Season 3, along with Connor Paolo, whose character Declan Porter died in the season finale. Revenge also will be with a new showrunner in Season 3, with Sunil Nayar recently replacing creator Mike Kelley.
UPDATE FRIDAY PM: Madekwe tweeted about the exit of her character from the show. “My preference is that Ashley Davenport dies in a blaze of glory. Preferable whilst wearing Valentino couture….Or … Read More »
UPDATE SATURDAY 7:40 PM: It’s official, the deal has closed and The Neighbors has been renewed for next season.
PREVIOUS FRIDAY PM: Two members of ABC‘s freshman class, drama Nashville and comedy The Neighbors, will make it to a second season. The deal is not quite done for the Dan Fogelman comedy The Neighbors but is expected to close. Sophomores fared better, with four, red-hot Scandal, Open Upon A Time, Revenge and Last Man Standing all getting third season renewals. They’re joined by veterans Modern Family, The Middle, Grey’s Anatomy and Castle. ABC is expected to renew unscripted staples Shark Tank, Dancing With The Stars and The Bachelor on Monday.
Revenge executive producer Sunil Nayar has inked a new overall deal with ABC Studios. Under the two-year pact, Nayar will continue as executive producer of the studio’s Revenge, taking over as showrunner when the soapy ABC drama is renewed for a third season as expected. Nayar had been the heir apparent to Revenge creator/executive producer/showrunner Mike Kelley, who recently left the show. Nayar has been at ABC Studios since 2010, spending two seasons as executive producer of the studios’ ABC drama Body Of Proof before segueing to Revenge last summer. CAA-repped Nayar started off as an assistant to Tom Fontana on Homicide before landing his first writing gig on Fontana’s HBO prison drama Oz. Before joining ABC Studios, he was at CBS Studios, where he spent more than five years on CSI: Miami, rising to an executive producer.
Actor Gabriel Mann has signed with Jeff Berg’s Resolution Entertainment. He was at APA. Mann co-stars as tech billionaire Nolan Ross on the ABC drama Revenge. He will next be seen in Diego Luna’s Chavez, a biopic of civil-rights activist Cesar Chavez. His previous credits include features The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Life Of David Gale and a recurring role on Mad Men. Mann continues to be managed by Van Johnson and repped by attorney Allison Binder.