There will be less Scandal on ABC‘s schedule this season than originally planned. The network has reduced the order for the hot Shonda Rhimes drama from 22 to 18 episodes. The network wouldn’t give a reason for the cutback but, of course, it is not because ABC doesn’t want a full season of Scandal — it would gladly take 40 episodes a season from its new flagship drama series if it could. But Scandal star Kerry Washington is pregnant, and it’s getting hard to hide the pregnancy in loose-fitting clothes for the normally super stylish and elegant Olivia Pope — and it’s hard to reduce Washington’s workload as Pope is the show and in most scenes. The episode reduction would probably be an unexpected but welcome relief for Scandal‘s writers as it is extremely hard to sustain a dense serialized drama like Scandal for a 22-episode season. (The show did seven episodes in Season 1 and 22 in Season 2.) Scandal cannot be hotter — season-to-date, the series is up 57% in adults 18-49 (4.4) and 50% in total viewers (12.6 million) vs. last year. It is the fastest-growing returning series this season and in the so-important C3 ratings that determine ad revenues, Scandal just moved ahead of NBC’s breakout The Blacklist (3.58 rating vs. 3.55). Scandal also has been regularly building on its Grey’s Anatomy lead-in, by a best-ever 29% last night. A pregnancy …
Global Showbiz Briefs: New Revelations In Phone-Hacking Scandal; Claire Danes To Host Nobel Peace Prize Concert; More
Hacking Trial Lawyer: Brooks And Coulson Had 6-Year Affair
The phone-hacking trial taking place in London was the source of new revelations Thursday as prosecuting attorney Andrew Edis told jurors that defendants Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson carried on a six-year “secret” affair from 1998-2004. Brooks is the former head of News International (now News UK), the British press arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, and Coulson was editor of the now-closed News Of The World before leaving to join Prime Minister David Cameron’s team as his communications director. As part of his opening remarks, Edis stressed that he was not bringing up the relationship between Brooks and Coulson, which the prosecution said was evident from a letter to Coulson that was found on one of Brooks’ computers, to intrude on their privacy or pass judgment. “The point that I’m going to make in relation to that letter is that over the relevant period, what Mr Coulson knew, Mrs Brooks knew too. And what Mrs Brooks knew, Mr Coulson knew too — that’s the point.” He told the court the affair spanned the period covered by the phone-hacking conspiracy charges the pair is facing, according to The Times. “Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson are charged with conspiracy,” Edis said, “and, when people are charged with conspiracy, the first question a jury has to answer is how well did they know each other? How much did they trust each other?” At the time of the letter in 2004, Brooks was editor of The Sun and Coulson was at NOTW.
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Morris has fallen out of directing Songbyrd, one of E!‘s first two scripted pilots. Morris, who previously directed seven episodes of NBC’s Smash, was to reunite with Smash executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who executive produce the music-themed Songbyrd that centers on songwriter Lauren Byrd (Bethany Joy Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Diane Warren, and her staff. The move comes amid controversy surrounding photos released on Tuesday of Morris, a married father of three, kissing Smash star Katharine McPhee. Ironically, Morris’ most recent credit is directing the second episode of ABC’s new drama Betrayal, which chronicles an extramarital affair.
The Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts is about to get a taste of some Olivia Pope – kind of. On the day of the Season 10 debut of Grey’s Anatomy, President Barack Obama today used some of his patronage power and appointed Shonda Rhimes, the creator/EP of the medical drama and Scandal, to the Center’s Board of Trustees. Obama also appointed the Carlyle Group’s CEO David Rubenstein Empire Global Ventures’ CEO Alexandra Stanton, Chicago art gallery owner Amalia Pera Mahoney, FI Investment Group CEO Frank Islam and Entravision Communications’ CEO Walter Ulloa to the Board Thursday as well. “I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” said Obama in a statement when making the announcements. Rhimes was a big supporter of Obama’s campaigns for President as both a donor and even worked in a phone bank with Private Practice actress Kate Walsh for the candidate. Season 10 of Grey’s Anatomy premieres tonight on ABC with Season 3 of the D.C. political drama Scandal set to launch on October 3rd.
Joanne Kelly, who is finishing a five-year run on Syfy’s top-rated drama Warehouse 13, has been tapped for a major recurring role on the new CBS drama Hostages. She plays Vanessa, an ambitious ambassador and the sister of the First Lady of the United States (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Kelly is with Domain and Joannie Burstein.
Heroes alum Jack Coleman has been cast in a multi-episode arc on ABC’s Scandal. Per Shonda Rhimes’ gag order, little is known about his character Daniel Douglas, who is a charming Southerner with ties to one of the gladiators. He’s repped by Domain and Framework.
Ex-Food Network star Paula Deen took a step toward career rehabilitation today with her first live public appearance since her June mea culpa media blitz. Despite the N-word scandal that axed her TV reign and ended multiple endorsement deals for Deen, 1,500 attendees were on hand at Saturday’s $95-per-ticket Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Houston where she and sons Bobby and Jamie Deen put on a pair of cooking demos. The Southern cooking maven reportedly earned a standing ovation. “I’ve said all along that the one place I’d want to make my first step back out is Texas. Y’all’s hearts are as big as your state,” Deen said per The Houston Chronicle. The Deen showcase kicked off the first day of the annual cooking confab, where Deen and son Bobby are also slated to appear tomorrow. Last month Deen made a pre-taped cameo on Fox’s MasterChef.
Related: Food Network Chops Paula Deen After N-Word Slur
Paula Deen On ‘Today’ Tearfully Begs Sponsors Not To Dump Her
Publisher Drops Paula Deen After J.C. Penney, Sears, Kmart And Walgreens Join Exodus
Paula Deen Lawsuit Dropped
EXCLUSIVE: A Friend-ly gladiator is joining the gang on Shonda Rhimes’ hot Washington DC drama Scandal. Friends alumna Lisa Kudrow has been tapped for a recurring role on the ABC series’ upcoming third season. In typical Shonda fashion, details about Kudrow’s character are kept under wraps, but I’ve learned that she plays a politician. On the Kerry Washington-starring drama, Kudrow is joining her long-time producing partner Dan Bucatinsky, who received an Emmy nomination for his recurring role as Cyrus’ (Jeff Perry) long-suffering husband. This marks Kudrow’s biggest series acting commitment in a long time. Since the end of Friends and her follow-up series, the cult HBO comedy The Comeback, Kudrow has been focused on producing as well as her online-turned-TV improv show Web Therapy.
Global Showbiz Briefs: UK To Charge Ex-Newspaper Staffers In Bribery Scandal; Yahoo Taps Dawn Airey For SVP Post; More
Ex-Daily Mirror, Sun Staffers Among 9 Charged In Bribery Scandal
Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said today that nine people would be charged in relation to allegations of illegal payments to public officials. Among them are former Daily Mirror journalist Greig Box-Turnbull, and ex-Sun staffers Graham Dudman, John Troup and Vince Soodin. Box-Turnbull is being called up on two charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office with regard to alleged payments to prison officers for information. The prison officers also are being charged as co-conspirators. Dudman is alleged to have requested the authorization of payments to one or more police officers and to have authorized payments to public officials in his capacity as Sun managing editor. Troup is charged as a co-conspirator. Soodin will be charged with conspiring with a police officer to commit misconduct in public office. The remaining defendants are a police officer and a hospital employee. All will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on September 5. The new charges come a few days after the revelation that Scotland Yard is actively investigating Sun owner News International (now News UK) for possible criminal violations related to the phone-hacking scandal and allegations of illegal payments. News UK is the British press arm of News Corp.
Dawn Airey Tapped As Yahoo’s SVP Europe, Middle East And Africa
Yahoo has appointed UK television veteran Dawn Airey as SVP Europe, Middle East and Africa. Beginning November 1, Christophe Parcot, who has served as Yahoo’s interim lead of EMEA, will take on a new role focused on expanding the web giant’s business in the region. Airey joins Yahoo from RTL Group. She has also held high-level executive positions at Five, ITV, BSkyB and Channel4.
Warner Bros Domestic Television Distribution a broadcast weekend off-net window for the TNT drama Rizzoli & Isles in 95% of the country for a fall 2015 debut. The detective series debuted its fourth season June 25 as the highest-rated cable premiere of the summer, drawing 6.6 million total viewers, with 2.3 million adults 25-54 and 1.8 million adults 18-49 — up double digits in viewership and the key demos compared with the previous season. Rizzoli & Isles has been sold into 170 markets including stations owned by Fox, CBS, Sinclair, Hearst, Gannett, Lin, Local TV, Cox, Raycom, Weigel, Meredith, Mission, Nexstar, New Age, Journal, Scripps, Gray, Grant, Max Media, London, West Virginia, Media, Lockwood, Drewry, Cordillera, Bonten, Bahakel, Citadel, Diversified, Woods, Schurz and Mckinnon. The show was developed for TV by Janet Tamaro, who serves as executive producer with Bill Haber and Michael Katleman. The series is from Hurdler Productions and Ostar Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television.
BET Networks has licensed rights to air current season episodes of ABC’s Scandal. The pact calls for each episode to air on BET no earlier than eight days after its original broadcast on ABC, exclusively starting in the fall. BET also will debut the first two seasons of the series this summer and is also licensing exclusive off-network cable rights to the series starting in …
BREAKING… EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: Few Hollywood business executives have as distinguished a record of success as Richard Nanula. Now Deadline has learned from Colony Capital that the former Walt Disney Company SEVP/CFO has taken an unexpected leave of absence for personal reasons from the investment firm where he is a Principal and Miramax, where he actively manages that entertainment banner’s strategy. There is no return date pending, which indicates his future with both companies is being left open. Nanula is now the second major movie/TV executive this year alleged to have crossed the line between personal and professional behavior because of a private sex scandal. In March, Hearst Entertainment & Syndication President Scott Sassa left after his company became aware of an extortion plot and sexting scandal involving a stripper. Nanula’s surprise leave of absence comes nearly two weeks after Deadline began receiving tips that TheDirty.com was identifying Nanula in online photos having sex with a porn star. That post now appears to have been removed by the website. But Deadline learned that another website, GenesisOnline, re-posted the story and screen shots under the headline Ex Disney Exec Shoots a Porno with Wicked Contract Girl Samantha Saint on June 18th and made allegations it had related “old texts” involving Nanula. (Deadline did not write about the online stories at the time because it doesn’t post about personal lives.)
Nanula received recognition when …
EXCLUSIVE: Baltasar Kormakur, who most recently helmed Contraband and The Deep, has got studios hot and bothered over a new film he’s putting together to produce and direct. It’s an English-language thriller based on a story he hatched from his own research that centers on a real-life corruption scandal involving the release of inmates for a day to serve as hired killers for crooked politicians. These same events inspired the Filipino movie On The Job, which recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Kormakur will produce through his Blueeyes Productions. XYZ Films, the production and sales company that represents the international rights to On the Job, will also produce. On The Job will be part of the package. Stay tuned. I think this will land at a studio quickly. Kormakur wrapped 2 Guns with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg starring.
Spoiler alert! Jake Ballard probably won’t rot in that hole for long. Scott Foley, who recurred as romantic foil Jake on Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal this season, has closed a deal to join the hot ABC drama as a regular for its upcoming third season. “Shonda and company have created a troupe of layered complex characters and to be able to be part of that is both exciting and humbling,” Foley said. The explosive Season 2 finale saw black op operative Jake thrown into a hole in the ground after saving Olivia (Kerry Washington) from assassination. Foley, repped by ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment, had an option to become a regular after joining Scandal as a recurring last season when he was a regular on another show, Fox’s comedy The Goodwin Games. Today’s news comes after Deadline reported yesterday that Foley will be making his feature directorial debut this summer with Ward’s Wife starring himself, Donald Faison and Patrick Wilson among others.
UPDATE: In other promotions on Rhimes shows, recurring Grey’s Anatomy players Camilla Luddington, Gaius Charles, Jerrika Hinton and Tessa Ferrer — who play Interns Jo, Shane, Stephanie and Lea, respectively — have been upped to regulars for season 10, TVLine reports. Tina Majorino, who plays the fifth intern, is keeping her recurring status as she is a regular on …
EXCLUSIVE: It’s a family affair. Scott Foley and brother-in-law Patrick Wilson are teaming up to produce Ward’s Wife starring former Scrubs star Donald Faison. The Scandal and The Goodwin Games actor’s feature directorial debut will also be produced by Mob Doctor actor James Carpinello, and Marcus Chait for their and Wilson’s Lost Rhino banner. Joe Hardesty is also a producer on Ward’s Wife. As the title suggests, the dark comedy focuses on Ward (Faison) a man who has just had enough of being emotionally and verbally beaten down by his spouse and decides to kill her to free himself. Written by the Felicity alum, Ward’s Wife also stars Foley’s real life sister-in-law and Wilson’s spouse Dagmara Dominczyk as Ward’s wife. Nicollette Sheridan will also be appearing in Ward’s Wife. This is Sheridan’s first film role since her wrongful termination suit against ABC and Desperate Housewives ended in a mistrial on March 2012. Foley, Insidious’ Wilson, Carpinello as well as Marika Dominczyk, Amy Acker and Greg Grunberg are also in the film. Ward’s Wife is scheduled to begin production in LA later this month. Starring in the upcoming Kick-Ass 2, Faison is repped by APA and Intellectual Artists. Carpinello is repped by APA and Untitled Entertainment. Wilson is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content. Foley, who appeared in a major role in the last half of Scandal this season, is repped by ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
With longtime host Jon Stewart taking his first extended hiatus from The Daily Show, correspondent John Oliver took over the desk for the first Monday. The bespectacled Brit will host the venerable Comedy Central strip for eight weeks of original episodes while Stewart shoots his feature directing debut. After introducing himself, Oliver’s first words to the Daily Show audience were, “Let’s all just acknowledge for a moment that this is weird.” The political gods must be smiling on Oliver: It hasn’t exactly been a slow news week in D.C. In this clip from Monday’s show, the NSA scandal provides fodder for a new segment called “Good News! You’re Not Paranoid”: