At Least Four UK Nets Lining Up To Bid For FA Cup Rights
A bidding war reportedly is gearing up in the UK for TV rights to soccer tournament the FA Cup for the three seasons to 2017-18. Financial Times reports that BT, ITV, BSkyB and the BBC are entering bids. BT and ITV currently share rights to the FA Cup until the end of the 2013-14 season. FT says analysts predict that having all four in the ring could significantly push up the cost of the rights. In January 2012, ITV acquired free-to-air broadcast rights for 16 FA Cup games per season, along with some of England’s home qualifying games, for an annual cost of £43M. But the BBC is understood to be concerned about its lack of live soccer during the regular season. BT and BSkyB are still expected to be the most aggressive bidders.
Shanghai Now Second-Biggest Box Office Among Chinese Cities
Shanghai box office has become the second biggest of all mainland Chinese cities and is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the next few years, spurred on by investment from U.S. studios Disney and DreamWorks, according to a study by Artisan Gateway. In 2012, Shanghai’s box office was $214.2 million, a 22.2% year-on-year growth. The city, regarded as the birthplace of Chinese cinema, has 122 movie theaters, just two more than the No. 1 Beijing market. The U.S. Consulate, which sponsored the study, said it plans to contribute more to protecting IP rights, Shanghai Daily reported. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Annet McCroskey of Artistic Endeavors has been elected President of the Talent Managers Association, the non-profit organization created in 1954 to promote the talent management biz. Three months ago Phil Brock of Studio Talent Group stepped down from the post after serving for two years. Then-Board of Directors VP McCroskey filled in back in March when Brock suddenly vacated the position. She’ll now become the organization’s first female president in 20 years. Longtime Harrison Ford manager Pat McQueeney was elected to the post in 1980 and Christina Applegate’s manager Tami Lynn served in 1993. “Many of us were moved by Laura Linney’s acceptance speech this week at the WIF Crystal + Lucy Awards about women in entertainment and how much more progress we have to make as an industry,” said McCroskey. “As an organization we strive to be equally inclusive of all of our members and mentor other managers to adhere to our strict code of ethics.” McCroskey’s priorities include the annual industry Heller Awards planned for September 19, 2013.
Related: Laura Linney On Gender Inequality In Film Business: ‘It’s Unhealthy”
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Time Warner Cable raised a lot of eyebrows when it paid $3B for TV rights to the LA Lakers for the next 20 years and then a record $8B for LA Dodgers rights for the next 25 years. When the Dodgers deal launches in 2014, the cable company will have four new networks for all that content. But the plan to partially pay for those new channels via boosting TWC customers’ fees — even from Southern California users who don’t want the channels and have no way to opt out of the bundles — apparently is not sitting well. Some of those customers filed a class action suit in LA Superior Court today targeting TWC, the Lakers and the Dodgers for restitution and injunctive relief for violating California Business & Professions Code 172000. The complaint (read it here) says unless restrained by the court, TWC will “pass these costs along to its total Southern California subscriber base, resulting, directly or indirectly, in additional fees passed onto subscribers beginning with the 2014 season of approximately $4-$5 per month per subscriber … which together add (or will if unrestrained) $100 per year to the subscriber’s TWC bill”. Read More »
Fox Business Network had some business advice for Tobin Smith today: Find work elsewhere. The investment manager and author who has been a familiar face on Fox News confirmed his sacking to the Wall Street Journal, which reported earlier in the day that Smith was in hot water over “sponsored investment research.” His NBT Equities Research collects checks to tout the stocks of small companies via such paid research, which the businesses count on to boost their share price and volume. And last week, Smith – a regular panelist on Fox News’ Bulls & Bears – sent out an email and ad flier via his new Next Big Thing newsletter touting Petrosonic Energy. The campaign came with a disclaimer saying it was paid advertising, for which NBT banked $50,000, and he did not mention Petrosonic on the air at Fox News. But some investors who bought into the company based on Smith’s recommendation contacted WSJ‘s Market Watch blog, apparently not having read the disclaimer. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek, John Krasinski, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina and Quvenzhané Wallis have all joined the voice cast of Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, the animated feature film written and directed by Roger Allers, whose animation credits include directing Disney’s The Lion King and Open Season and whose writing and storyboard work encompasses such films as Aladdin, Beauty And The Beast, and The Little Mermaid. The film is being produced by Hayek, Clark Peterson, and Ron Senkowski. Participant Media and Doha Film Institute are financing and are exec producers.
Allers’ script was inspired by The Prophet, the iconic book that is one of the biggest sellers in history, north of 100 million copies in over 40 languages since it was first published by Alfred Knopf in 1923. Allers is directing the narrative story, while individual chapters based on Gibran’s poems are being helmed by animation directors from around the world, including Tomm Moore (The Secret Of Kells), Joan Gratz (Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase), Bill Plympton (Guard Dog And Your Face), Nina Paley (Sita Sings The Blues), Joann Sfar (The Rabbi’s Cat), Paul and Gaetan Brizzi (Fantasia 2000), Michal Socha (Chick) and Mohammed Harib (Freej).
The Prophet is on track for completion in spring of 2014.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Oxygen has quietly given the green light to Secret Celebrity, a reality series produced by T Group Prods, which Wendy Williams executive produces as part of her first-look deal with the cable network. Per Oxygen’s description when the project was announced in February as being in development, Secret Celebrity features stars in disguise as they surprise unsuspecting fans, friends and family. I hear celebrities who already have filmed episodes of the show include Nick Lachey, Ice-T & Coco and LuAnn de Lesseps, who just signed on to return to The Real Housewives Of New York on sibling Bravo. T Group’s Jenny Daly executive produces with Williams and Gunnar Wetterberg.
Alcon Entertainment‘s Dolphin Tale grossed $95.4M worldwide when it was released in September 2011, and now the producer-financier is close to diving in for a sequel. Charles Martin Smith, who directed the first pic, is set to helm Dolphin Tale 2 from his own script, and the original cast that included Harry Connick Jr, Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman and Kris Kristofferson are in negotiations to return. Warner Bros, which has an output deal with Alcon, today set a September 19, 2014 release for the movie. The original film centered on the true-story friendship between a boy and a dolphin (Winter played himself) whose tail was lost in a crab trap. The plot for the second movie will also revolve a true story inspired by Winter, but also involves a baby dolphin named Hope who was rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2010. Smith is repped by APA.
“We’re been talking about the idea for it and working on a pitch,” said Guillermo del Toro today about a Pacific Rim sequel. “And there will be a Mexican Jaeger,” he joked about the giant robots that fight the giant Kaiju monsters in the movie, out July 12. This isn’t the first time del Toro has floated a sequel to the upcoming monster adventure movie, but the director was more confident about where it would fit in the Legendary Pictures property’s trajectory. “Having had two to three years pass from the first Pacific Rim to the second movie, we can also prepare a good video game, continue the graphic novel and continue the mythology,” the director added. Del Toro wrote the script for the first Pacific Rim with Travis Beacham, who is writing the prequel graphic novel
Related: Legendary; Decision On Staying With Warner Bros Within Next 60 Days
As enthusiastic as del Toro was about another Pacific Rim movie at a media roundtable Tuesday, Legendary CEO Thomas Tull cautioned about getting too premature about sequel talk before the movie comes out. “We’d like to do it but it’s up to the audience — ultimately we’ll have to see how it does,” Tull said.
EXCLUSIVE: Montecito and Paramount have tapped scribes Eyal Podell & Jonathon Stewart to write Juliet, based on the book by Anne Fortier. Tree Line’s Cathy Konrad will produce with Montecito. The project was set up in fall, 2011 for James Mangold to direct. In the book, a young woman learns that the legend of Romeo & Juliet is actually real, and that Shakespeare’s version was simply the most popular retelling. More compelling is that she is Juliet’s direct descendant, but was kept in the dark to protect her. Podell & Stewart are coming on the project hot after having their script Seuss reach the second slot on the latest Black List. They are represented by Verve and Industry Entertainment.
Fox announced today that the most popular drama on the WIGS slate, the Julia Stiles-starring Blue, is available on Hulu and its subscription service Hulu Plus beginning today in TV-length episodes. In the near future fellow WIGS series Lauren, starring Troian Bellisario and Jennifer Beals, and Jan, starring Caitlin Gerard, Stephen Moyer and Virgina Madsen, will become available. The expansion of the scripted drama series is part of Fox’s multi-year programming, marketing and distribution partnership with WIGS inked in February, with an eye toward building digital content that can be programmed on Fox and/or other channels. Blue, written and directed by WIGS co-founder Rodrigo Garcia, recently passed 20 million views on YouTube. It stars Stiles as a single mom trying to protect her son from the consequences of her secret career as an upscale escort. Mark Consuelos, Sarah Paulson and Holly Robinson Peet co-star.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning documentary maker Alex Gibney just returned the serve the United States Tennis Association made on Friday when it sued the makers of a documentary about Venus and Serena Williams. The USTA told the U.S. District Court in New York that Venus And Serena uses film footage that infringed the organization’s copyrights including scenes — presumably Serena’s tirade at the 2009 U.S. Open — that are “not in the best interests of the sport.” Gibney, the film’s executive producer, says the USTA is trying to “censor this film about America’s most inspiring female athletes.” His colleagues “were entirely within their legal rights to use a small amount of widely seen footage” citing the ”fair use” doctrine, which enables filmmakers and others to use copyrighted material without permission when it serves the public interest. The concept “is vital to filmmakers trying to tell truthful stories and embodies the essence of the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution,” he says. “Indeed, without the fair use doctrine, copyright itself would be unconstitutional. By its actions, the USTA is assaulting the very principle of free speech.” Read More »
The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, the adaptation of the first of Cassandra Clare’s novels, opens August 21 in the U.S. and the UK. The trailer below is a slightly different take on the first which was released last November. Lily Collins stars as Clary, a seemingly ordinary girl who discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. Jamie Campbell Bower, Lena Headey, Aidan Turner, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Kevin Zegers and Jared Harris also star. Director Harald Zwart is starting the sequel, The Mortal Instruments: City Of Ashes, this fall.
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
How many writer-producers does it take to make an Emmy-winning comedy? In the case of Modern Family, it’s a staff of 12 including co-creators/executive producers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. Like many series creators, Levitan and Lloyd mostly tapped colleagues from comedies they had either created or worked on to assemble a writers room where the team speaks the same language. Before creating Modern Family, Levitan and Lloyd worked on three comedies together: Wings, Frasier and the short-lived Back To You, which the pair co-created. Most members of Modern Family’s creative family are descendants of those three shows and/or two other comedies created by Levitan: Just Shoot Me and Stacked. AwardsLine has ventured deep into sitcom history — stripping the banana peel all the back way to 1990 — to trace the writing roots of Modern Family. Please note that this is not intended to represent each writer-producer’s complete, or necessarily best, credits. It covers only comedy series that have at some point included two or more Modern Family writer-producers on staff (as writer-producers unless otherwise noted).
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
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France’s Éclair Group Raises $16.6M Digital Switch, Development
Here’s some good news for France’s troubled postproduction sector. The Éclair Group has raised €12.4M ($16.6M) to complete its digital transition and speed up development across all of its businesses. The recapitalization was financed by the company’s current management, France’s Fonds de Consolidation et Développement des Entreprises, and by Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications. (Ben Ammar had acquired 43% of Éclair back in 2007 and was keen to merge it with his LTC Laboratories but was blocked by the competition authority at the time.) Éclair will also use the funds to strengthen its restoration business and to equip French cinemas in partnership with Deluxe and HP.
OWN Programming Heading Down Under
OWN and Discovery Networks International are planning a weekly block of OWN programming for Discovery Home & Health in Australia. Starting August 4, Aussie viewers will have access to shows that include Oprah’s Next Chapter, Super Soul Sunday, America With Lisa Ling and The Oprah Winfrey Show: Behind The Scenes. The Australia bow will follow the recent UK launch of OWN programming on TLC. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment is in early negotiations with Dean Parisot to direct the Noah Oppenheim-scripted feature about Harry Houdini that Summit has been developing the project for several years. It’s based on the William Kalush and Larry Sloman book The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America’s First Superhero. The tale paints Houdini as more than a master illusionist: He was a spy and a true renaissance man across the globe. This project had Hunger Games helmer Gary Ross involved for a bit, but he fell off the project. There have been several Houdini projects in development, including at DreamWorks, but like a lot of magic movies, they’ve faltered. I’ll tell you more when I know it. WME-repped Parisot just wrapped the Summit Entertainment sequel Red 2, with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren returning, and Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones among the new castmembers.
Related: ‘Red’ Scribes Re-Sign For Third Pic
EXCLUSIVE: Last night marked the second-season finale of Lifetime‘s drama series The Client List. Last year, the network renewed the show a month into its freshman run, upping the order from 10 to 15 for Season 2. This time around, the show had a quieter run despite the recent flurry of publicity surrounding star Jennifer Love Hewitt‘s pregnancy announcement. Last night’s finale pulled 2 million viewers, down from the 2.7 million who watched the Season 1 closer.
Still, I hear the ratings dropoff is not the reason for the holdup and the main issue factoring in Lifetime’s decision whether to order a third season. The network and the series producers are figuring out how to deal with Hewitt’s pregnancy creatively and logistically. (Hewitt announced two weeks ago that she was three months along.) I hear a major sticking point has been demands from Hewitt, who serves as an executive producer on the series, about the storyline for Season 3. I hear Hewitt has asked that Brian Hallisay, her real-life fiance and father of her baby, also play her character Riley’s baby daddy on the show in a major story arc next season. I hear that is at odds with the ideas from the Client List showrunner, who I hear pitched the series’ male lead Colin Egglesfield, and the network brass, who I hear have not settled on a character as they are looking to … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios is moving quickly to expand its original slate. After focusing on comedies and kids programming in its first batch of 14 pilots, five of which — two comedies and 3 kids shows — were picked up to series three weeks ago, the company is already setting its sights on the next target — launching a drama series. I’ve learned that the streaming service has greenlighted its first drama pilot, Bosch, a police procedural based on Michael Connelly‘s novels about Harry Bosch, a veteran police homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. I hear the pilot was written by Connelly and Treme co-creator/executive producer Eric Overmeyer, who are executive producing with Fabrik’s Henrik Bastin and Mikkel Bondesen. Bosch has been at the center of or featured in 20 novels by Connelly, starting with the 1992 The Black Echo and most recently, last fall’s The Black Box. This marks Fabrik’s second pilot order in the past month. The company is also behind The Comedians, starring Billy Crystal, at FX.