Global Showbiz Briefs: Voting Glitch Fixed For Brazilian ‘Rising Star’; ‘Boom!’ Big In Israel; ‘Host In The Box’ To Spain; More

By | Thursday, 17 April 2014 06:00 UK

Brazil’s ‘Rising Star’ Glitch Fixed; ‘Boom!’ Blowing Up In Israel
The second airing of the local adaptation of Rising Star in Brazil went off without a hitch on Sunday after a glitch during the premiere last week meant boom!that some viewers were unable to enter their votes. Keshet International reports today that Superstar, as it’s known locally, had a 30% average audience share in its sophomore outing at 11pm Sunday on Rede Globo. The interactive app that allows viewers to vote whether an act moves ahead has been downloaded 1.4M times with 2.5M votes cast during Episode 2. Closer to home, Keshet’s super-hot Mip-TV format Boom! grew in its second airing on Israel’s Channel 2 last week with a 41.5% share; ratings were up across major demos as well. Boom! sold to the U.S. (Fox), France (TF1), Spain (Atresmedia), Hungary (TV2) and Belgium (VTM) during last week’s market in Cannes.

Cuarto Bringing Endemol’s ‘Host In The Box’ To Spain
Host in the BoxEndemol’s Host In The Box format has sold to Spain’s Cuatro, with Endemol producing locally. The factual entertainment format, created by Endemol Germany, previously sold to Hungary, where it aired for eight episodes on Super TV2; it originally launched on ProSieben in Germany. In each instalment, a different host is locked inside a wooden box and shipped off to an undisclosed location in the home country.

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Hot Trailer: Pawel Pawlikowski’s ‘Ida’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 11:12am PDT

Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Ida follows a young nun in 1960s Poland who’s on the verge of taking her vows but discovers a dark family secret dating back to the Nazi occupation. Agata Trzebuchowska and Agata Kulesza star in the film, which won the international critics’ FIPRESCI Prize at Toronto and Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival last year. Ida is Polish-born Pawlikowski’s first film set in his homeland following his breakthrough films The Last Resort and BAFTA-winning My Summer Of Love. Ida opens May 2 in Los Angeles at Laemmle’s Royal. Have a look at the trailer:

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UPDATE: Warner Bros Taps Former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers As Communications Chief; Sue Fleishman Exiting

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 10:41am PDT

UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM MYERS AND FLEISHMAN: DeeDeeMyersWarner Bros has hired former White House Press Secretary and longtime political strategist/analyst Dee Dee Myers as EVP Worldwide Corporate Communications and Public Affairs replacing nine-year veteran Sue Fleishman. The move comes after Fleishman had to negotiate through a very rocky transition at the studio through several shakeups in 2013. That included the ascension of new Warner Bros Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara and the exits of the other two WB biggies angling for that gig — Warner Bros TV boss Bruce Rosenblum last May and Warner Brothers Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov the next month.

warnerbros_logoMyers is coming into a studio rocked by these exits. And although Warner Bros is still reaping the benefits of the pictures greenlit by Robinov — Gravity, The Lego Movie, 300: Rise Of An Empire, and others — it is being led by a studio chairman who has been in the job only a year and is seen as still trying to get his footing. The question is what will happen once the studio blows through all the projects set in motion by Robinov and what characteristic mark will Tsujihara make during his tenure? Fleishman was seen as Barry Meyer’s guy, which is kind of interesting because so was Tsujihara so go figure. Fresh blood now.

Warner Bros. has had a terrific run at the box office from those aforementioned films and is a force to be reckoned with TV powerhouse with such properties as The Big Bang Theory, The Voice, Two and Half Men, The Following, to name a few. They are also partnered with CBS in the CW Network where they produce Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Shameless, and syndicated hit The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Myers is a smart, aggressive woman who is not afraid to speak up. In fact, she wrote a book Why Women Should Rule The World about how things might be better worldwide if more women were in leadership roles. Her husband has long worked as a journalist (at the New York Times and Politico) and is currently the national editor and political correspondent at Vanity Fair (where Myers also wrote). DeeDeeMyersClintonOriginally from Los Angeles, she worked for many years with former Mayor Tom Bradley and other politicians before heading to Washington, working with Walter Mondale’s campaign, Michael Dukakis, Dianne Feinstein, and then, of course, with President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton as the White House press secretary for the first two years of the administration. She was the first female press secretary and one of the youngest to hold the job.

She is certainly not the first political press secretary/strategist to make the move to Hollywood. Years ago, Anna Perez, Barbara Bush’s press secretary, was hired at CAA. Zenia Mucha, currently EVP and chief communications officer at Disney, worked  for Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and NY Gov. George Pataki. And Kori Bernards at Universal Pictures previously worked at the MPAA and in D.C. for 13 years with then-Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi (now House Minority Leader). “There is a fair number of people who go back and forth,” said Myers. “There’s an affinity between politics and entertainment but that being said, it’s very different and there will be a transition for me.” Read More »

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Pivot Picks Up Sky Series ‘Fortitude’, Sets Development Slate, Revamps ‘TakePart Live’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 9:02am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

pivotParticipant Media‘s network Pivot today announced the pickup of Sky Atlantic’s 12-episode drama series Fortitude starring Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon. The series became available in the U.S. in December when Starz, which originally had committed to the project, pulled out. Pivot is designed as a younger skewing network than Starz, with its target demo being 18-34. As part of its upfront presentation, Pivot also announced an overhaul of its nightly topical series, TakePart Live. Beginning Monday, May 12, the hour-long late-night program will move to primetime (10 PM) with a new producer, Michael Davies’ Embassy Row, which is behind Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead/Bad. Also undergoing makeover is the hosting team of Jacob Soboroff and Cara Santa Maria, with only Soboroff coming back, joined by Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain and comedian Eddie Huang.

Pivot also unveiled a development slate that includes eleven projects from production companies including IAC’s Electus, Universal Cable Prods., FremantleMedia North America/Pukeko Pictures, Funny or Die, and Eyeworks, and revealed premiere 2014-15 dates, including an August 8 debut for the sophomore season of coming-of-age comedy, Please Like Me, and the comedy Human Resources. “Our second slate demonstrates our significant investment in, and commitment to, groundbreaking content for the thought-leading segment of Generation Y we call ‘Upstanders,’” said Pivot president Evan Shapiro. Here is Pivot’s full slate: Read More »

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Frank Spotnitz, Nicholas Meyer & Carnival To Investigate ‘Freud: The Secret Casebook’

frankspotnitzX Files veteran Frank Spotnitz moved to London for Cinemax/BBC series Hunted a few years back, and in 2013 launched London-based Big Light Productions. Now, he’s digging even further into the UK TV scene. Spotnitz and Nicholas Meyer (Houdini) have created crime series Freud: The Secret Casebook. NBC Universal-owned Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films will produce with Big Light. The period drama will see Sigmund Freud become the world’s first criminal profiler. Set in early 20th century Vienna, the series will focus on Freud as he uses his startling new theories about psychology to help solve crimes, and will blend Sigmund_Freudepisodic murder mysteries with the on-going tale of the psychoanalyst-cum-detective’s tangled and provocative personal life. The project is out to cast and directors. Downton‘s Gareth Neame is exec producing with Nigel Marchant for Carnival; Alan Gasmer (Vikings), Matt Baer (Unbroken) and Christian Popp and Alexander Keil of Germany’s Producers at Work are also exec producing. Spotnitz is keeping busy in Europe these days. He was at Mip-TV in Cannes last week to talk about his gig as showrunner on the second season of TNT pick-up Transporter The Series, and he also unveiled Big Light’s new first-look distribution deal with Tandem Communications. Transporter, which he boarded in season two, will air on TNT later this year.

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Patric Verrone’s Campaign E-Mailers To WGA Members Raise Questions

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 8:31am PDT

verroneEXCLUSIVE: Thousands of emails sent to Writers Guild members from former WGA President Patric Verrone soliciting donations for his run for a seat in the California state senate are raising questions about how he got those email addresses and about the ethics of using his years of service to the guild to acquire them. Verrone, who led the guild in a contentious 14-week strike six years ago, is in a tight primary race to represent California’s 26th senatorial district. Numerous guild members report that they have received emails from Verrone soliciting donations and giving updates on his campaign. The WGA says it didn’t supply Verrone with a mailing list.

Related: Patric Verrone Eyeing California State Senate Seat With ‘I Won The Strike’ Boast

wgaw“We have had some members ask about this and we have made it clear that we have not provided him with a mailing list,” said WGA spokesman Neal Sacharow. “Outside of official guild business, we allow use of our list in two instances. As required by federal law, guild members may use the list in connection with internal union election campaigns. We also make the list available during awards season to studios, networks and certain publications for the purpose of mailing screeners or other awards-related communications. In both of those situations, we do not provide the list itself but rather, arrange for the mailing through a guild-approved mail house.”

Verrone told Deadline that he sent his campaign emails to “a couple of thousand” WGA members. Asked if a “couple of thousand” is two or three thousand, he said, “between two and three thousand.” He also acknowledged that he came by those email addresses in the course of his service to the guild. pv“I was president and secretary-treasurer and a board member for all those years,” he said. “I communicated with hundreds of members and they communicated with me. I have their email addresses. I didn’t get anything from the Writers Guild.” Read More »

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More National Geographic Shakeup: David Lyle Exits, Courteney Monroe Upped To CEO, David Hill Named Chairman

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 7:06am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

hillmonroeGary E. Knell, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society, and Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, today completed the sweeping changes at the top of the National Geographic Channels that started yesterday with the announcement that the channels’ president Howard Owens will be leaving in June. “Today, the worst kept secret is over — I am taking my leave as CEO of National Geographic Channels,” David Lyle, who had served as National Geographic Channels CEO since 2011, wrote in an internal memo (read it in full below the post.). “I am exhilarated but somewhat saddened also.” Lyle will be replaced by a marketing executive, Courteney Monroe, who has served as Chief Marketing Officer for National Geographic Channels’ domestic networks since 2012 and is now beingnatgeo upped to CEO. She will report to the Board of Directors of the National Geographic Channels. Additionally, David Hill, Senior EVP of 21st Century Fox and a member of the National Geographic Channels Board of Directors, will now add the title of Chairman of National Geographic Channels U.S. His role is described as “providing counsel to the executive and programming leadership team.” Coming from marketing, Monroe has no production experience. Hill, who had an oversight of NGC prior to Lyle’s 2011 hire, will remain a member of the NGC Board and also continue to oversee production of American Idol.

The moves continue to expand the domain of Hill, who is one of Rupert Murdoch’s trusted lieutenants. In 2012, the long-time chairman and CEO of Fox Sports was elevated to senior EVP for News Corp. Then last summer, following the departure of Fox alternative chief Mike Darnell, he was put in charge of the network’s The X Factor and American Idol. Since then, X Factor has been cancelled while American Idol is finishing up its lowest-rated season. Meanwhile, the National Geographic Channels have done very well under Lyle and Owens. “I’m exhilarated that NGC and NG WILD are in rude health with EBITDAs (profits) at all-time highs, and with programming featuring the most watched specials, series and year in the channels’ history,” Lyle wrote in his memo. That makes the executive housecleaning puzzling. It follows speculation about a discord between Hill and NGC’s leadership team of Lyle and Owens who turned the network around in the past three years. When Hill gave up direct oversight of NGC in 2011, the move was explained with a clash of cultures between him and the team at National Geographic.
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UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘Rio 2′ Soars With $63.4M; ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Blasts Past $300M Overseas; ‘Noah’ Adds $36.2M; ‘Divergent’ Nearing $50M

Highlights: Rio 2 (FOX) has $63.4M weekend, lands $12.6M in China debut; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) crosses $300M international; Noah (PAR) adds $36.2M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) nears $50M; Spanish Affairs (UNI) has 5th No. 1 weekend in Spain…

cinemaworld4th UPDATE, 7:15 PM, PST: The final Divergent  numbers are in, with the film nearing $50M but not yet crossing it; it stands at $48.1M. The film is based on the YA novel of the same name (part of a trilogy) and Lionsgate is hoping it will become another big franchise. This is the same company that launched the wildly successful Hunger Games series. Divergent is at $124.7M in the U.S. after the 3-day weekend for a worldwide gross of $172.8M+.

3rd UPDATE, Monday, 1:52 PM, PST:  New grosses are in for Rio 2, The Grand Budapest Hotel, 300: Rise Of An Empire, The Lego Movie, Spanish Affairs and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Rio 2 did better than previously expected internationally over the weekend, with a total tally of $63.4M to date; the worldwide cume on the animated family picture is over $100M.

2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 12:45 AM PT: Last weekend, Captain America: Read More »

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TV Land Picks Up Darren Star’s Comedy ‘Younger’ To Series

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 2:05pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: TV Land has given a 12-episode series order to Younger, the single-camera comedy pilot written and executive produced by Sex And the City creator Darren Star. The show, starring Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar and Miriam Shor, will premiere in the fall. It will be the first TV Land series to be produced in New York where Star’s signature HBO series also was set and filmed. “There’s nothing better than making a single-camera film comedy in New York – and I’m thrilled to be doing this one with TV Land,” Star said.

Based on the novel by Pamela ReYoungerdmond Satran, Younger follows 40-year old Liza (Foster), a suddenly single mother who tries to get back into the working world, only to find it’s nearly impossible to start at the bottom at her age. When a chance encounter with a young guy at a bar convinces her she looks younger than she is, Liza tries to pass herself off as 26 – with the help of a makeover, courtesy of her best friend Maggie (Mazar). Armed with new confidence, she lands a job as an assistant to the temperamental Diana (Shor) and teams up with her new co-worker and twentysomething Kelsey (Duff) to make it in the career of her dreams. Now she just has to make sure no one finds out the secret only … Read More »

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‘The Brink’ Co-Star Aasif Mandvi To Also Serve As Writer-Producer On HBO Series

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 1:47pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

mandviAasif Mandvi is expanding his role on the new HBO half-hour comedy series The Brink. The Daily Show correspondent has a co-starring role on the show, directed by Jay Roach and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub. In addition to that, he now will serve as a writer/co-producer on the series. Additionally, his memoir No Man’s Land, an account of a second-generation immigrant’s search for meaning and identity in an increasingly confusing world, will be published in October.

Related: 2014 HBO Pilots Read More »

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Pulitzer Prize Board Honors The Guardian And The Washington Post For Snowden Coverage

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 3:13pm EDT

Pulitzer PrizeThe big question today was whether the Pulitzer Prize board would support the papers that published Edward Snowden‘s revelations about the National Security Agency’s widespread secret surveillance — which former Vice President Dick Cheney said made him a “traitor.” And the organization did, giving The Guardian and The Washington Post the Public Service award. The Guardian helped to “spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy,” the board said, while the Post “helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.”

In the letters and drama prizes: Donna Tartt won the fiction prize for her coming-of-age novel The Goldfinch. The drama award went to Annie Baker’s The Flick, about three employees of a Massachusetts art house movie theater. The biography award went to Megan Marshall’s Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. In general non-fiction, Dan Fagin won for Toms River: A Story Of Science And Salvation, an examination of the links between local water and air pollution and childhood cancers. Read More »

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Bill Pullman, Tony Hale Join Lionsgate’s Jesse Eisenberg-Kristen Stewart Action Comedy ‘American Ultra’

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 11:19am PDT

pullmantonyhaleBill Pullman and Tony Hale have been tapped to round out the cast of American Ultra, the action comedy that Lionsgate shelled out $7M for in March. Production begins today in New Orleans on the pic, which stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mike, a stoner slacker whose secret past as a highly-trained sleeper agent upturns his small-town life with girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) as he’s thrust into a covert government operation. Project X‘s Nima Nourizadeh is directing from a script by Max Landis (Chronicle) with Topher Grace, John Leguizamo, and Walton Goggins also co-starring. The PalmStar, Likely Story, and Circle of Confusion co-production is produced by Anthony Bregman, Kevin Frakes, Raj Brinder Singh, David Alpert, and Britton Rizzio. Ray Angelic is exec producing with Lionsgate’s Jason Constantine and Eda Kowan overseeing. FilmNation is repping international sales. Pullman is at ICM. Hale is repped by UTA.

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Netflix Sets Second Season Premiere For ‘Hemlock Grove’

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 7:36am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Hemlock GroveThe second season of Eli Roth‘s Netflix original series, Hemlock Grove, will premiere on Friday, July 11th at 12:01 AM PT, with all ten episodes available. Based on Brian McGreevy’s novel of the same name and produced by Gaumont International Television, Hemlock Grove stars Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron  and Dougray Scott. It is a supernatural thriller which explores the strange happenings in a small Pennsylvania town and focuses on the unlikely friendship between the founding family’s young heir, Roman Godfrey (Skarsgård), and gypsy newcomer and outsider, Peter Rumancek (Liboiron). Each holds a monstrous secret that has been unleashed. “I cannot wait for fans to see what’s in store for season two – it is going to blow away all expectations,” Roth said.

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Director Talks Tonight’s Shocking Episode, Teases “Confrontation” Of Season 4 Finale

By | Sunday April 13, 2014 @ 7:00pm PDT

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s episode of Game Of Thrones.

Game of thrones season 4 ep 2If you’re searching for an understatement, rock royalty Queen’s “another one bites the dust” could sum up the events of tonight’s Game Of Thrones. But it wasn’t just anyone who bites the dust: it was a King who was killed on the second episode of the blockbuster HBO series’ fourth season. Granted it was a crazed sadistic boy King whom no one besides his mother/sister loved, but it was a death early in the season that most shows would have saved for a finale. However, as fans familiar with the books by George R.R. Martin on which the HBO fantasy drama are based know, the blood soaked Red Wedding that served as the shocking penultimate episode of Season 3 of GoT was just the opening act for the poisoning of Joffrey at the Purple Wedding in tonight’s episode. Joffrey’s death is quickly succeeded by the accusation that his uncle Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage) is the murderer and from that, the fallout will follow for the rest of the season – a season that started on April 6 with record high viewership. In short, intrigue and bloodshed have been taken to a whole new level on a show already drenched in both.

Related:
Spoiler Alert: Was ‘Game Of Read More »

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Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin Exits To Become CEO Of Atlanta Hawks

By | Sunday April 13, 2014 @ 4:08pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

kooninAfter 14 years as Turner Broadcasting, Tuner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin is leaving for what he describes as a dream job, to become CEO of NBA team Atlanta Hawks. A native Atlantan, Koonin has spent his career so far holding top positions at two blue-chip Atlanta-based companies, Coca-Cola and Turner, spending 14 years at each. He now plans to finish his career in his hometown with the post at Atlanta Hawks. The gig stemmed from conversations he recently had with the sports organization about coming in as an investor which grew into Koonin joining as CEO and Part-Owner. Koonin has had a 28-year association with the NBA, including his stint at TEN, whose network TNT carries the league’s games.

Koonin’s departure comes a month before TEN’s upfront presentation where he has been a staple. (Who can forget his memorable improv when the network’s video system temporarily shut down three years ago). In a memo, Turner Broadcasting Systems president David Levy said a search for Koonin’s replacement will start right away with both internal and external candidates expected to be considered. He indicated that the company would use the changeover at the top to bring in “fresh eyes” for evaluating TEN’s positioning in a rapidly changing media landscape. The process needs to be relatively quick so the networks have a leadership in place for the important upfront buying process when advertisers make the bulk of their commitments for the next year.

Koonin joined Turner in February 2000 as a head of TNT, eventually taking over the entire entertainment division, which also includes TBS, TruTV and TCM. He led both TNT and TBS into original scripted programming and spearheaded their rebrands with slogans “We Know Drama” (TNT) and “Very Funny” (TBS). He leaves the division in good shape. TNT traditionally has commanded the highest ad prices in basic cable and has produced a string of major hits in the past decade with The Closer, spinoff Major Crimes and Rizzoli & Isles, while TBS has been running high with off-network Big Bang Theory. TruTV is going through some rough times, with Koonin last year tapping MTV’s Chris Linn to lead a turnaround. Here is Koonin’s internal memo announcing the departure, in which he quotes Green Day’s Time Of  Your Life, as well as the memo by Levy:

Steve Koonin:

I set my guiding principle as a very young man that living in Atlanta, the home of my family and friends for multiple generations, was the key for lifetime happiness. For the past 28 years, I have been able to live and work in a senior leadership role in my hometown for two fantastic companies. I was very lucky to be a part of Coca-Cola’s incredible global growth in the 80′s and 90′s.

In February 2000, I walked into Turner Broadcasting after being invited to run TNT. I was 42 years old, had a full head of brown hair and dreams of taking the consumer lessons I learned from Coca-Cola and apply them to TV. I am truly gratified in saying that TNT, TBS, TCM and truTV have become familiar and beloved brands to TV viewers all over the USA.

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PILOTS 2014: Early Buzz Edition

By | Saturday April 12, 2014 @ 1:52pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

panic-buttonWith less than a month until the upfronts, we’re kicking off our annual Pilot Buzz series. As usual, the first edition only includes a limited number of projects that have been garnering early attention as many pilots are still filming. So, if a pilot is not mentioned, it probably means it is too early to weigh in or the feedback I’ve received is inconclusive at this time.

ABC_logo_2007Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis. Need we say more? ABC’s sexy suspense legal thriller How To Get Away With Murder, executive produced by Rhimes and starring Davis, is packing some heat early on. Secret & Lies starring Ryan Phillippe also is getting encouraging early response. It also has a seven-figure penalty and is directed by Charles McDougall, whose strong pilot record includes Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and most recently, Resurrection last season. Then there is Marvel’s stealth Agent Carter project. Last year, the company went into Fort Knox mode on its Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, which was kept under lock and key. They took that a notch further this year with carterAgent Carter. Because there is a prototype — the project is inspired by a one shot, which was featured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3word has been that it would forgo a pilot and go straight to series. The script was finished more than three months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star Hayley Atwell came up and was extended, but the green light never came. Now there is talk that a pickup for Agent Carter may come along with a renewal for Marvel’s freshman Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the new series possibly serving as a bridge between the fall and spring portions of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Also getting various level of early traction at ABC is mystery Sea of Fire and several dark horses, alien drama The Whispers (aka The Visitors), medical drama The Warriors and mystery Clementine. Read More »

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Obamas Attending ‘A Raisin In The Sun’ On Broadway Tomorrow

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 7:20pm PDT

dezel washington barack obamaBroadway has made no secret of casting Hollywood A-listers in the past few years in an effort to fill more seats, and tomorrow the Great White Way will be getting two particularly prestigious patrons. If all goes to plan, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are set to attend the 8 PM performance of the revival of A Raisin In The Sun at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The president will be in NYC earlier in the day on official biz. This latest version of the revered 1959 Lorraine Hansberry play stars Denzel Washington in the Oscar and Tony winner’s first return to Broadway since 2010′s Fences. The Kenny Leon-directed and Scott Rudin-produced play sees A Raisin In The Sun return to the very theater where it first opened more than 50 years ago. Having had previews last month, the play — which is set on Chicago’s South Side, where the Obamas have a home in the upscale Kenwood neighborhood — opened on April 3 to a limited engagement that sees it running just to June 15. I’m assuming the Obamas, who will be heading back to D.C. after taking in the show, didn’t have to pull too many favors to get tickets to the nearly sold-out run. But with a hot commodity like this, it helps that they know people.

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Kurt Wimmer At Center Of Feature Deal For Wired Magazine Article ‘See No Evil’

Mike Fleming

seenoEXCLUSIVE: Parkes/MacDonald Productions and Condé Nast Entertainment have partnered on the drama feature See No Evil, an adaptation of a Wired magazine article published in April. Kurt Wimmer has been set to turn the article into a fictionalized drama based on Alfred Anaya, a car stereo installer in California who became in demand because of ability to design traps, or secret compartments that often are used to conceal everything from drugs to cash and weapons.

The article was written by Brendan I. Koerner and the film will be produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald with Marc Resteghini exec producing. CNE’s Dawn Ostroff and Jeremy Steckler also will produce, in the latest deal for a movie and TV property based on product from the Condé Nast magazine stable. Wimmer, whose credits include Salt and Law Abiding Citizen, most recently scripted Point Break for Alcon, the remake that will star Gerard Butler, and the Charlize Theron starrer Agent 13 for Universal.

Once Anaya’s skill was discovered by the DEA, the feds tried to turn him as an informant. Terrified that informing on his clientele would put his family in danger, Anaya refused. He was arrested and charged as a conspirator in a drug ring that spanned from California to Kansas.
Parkes said the twists and turns of Anaya’s clash with DEA was a strong match for Wimmer in what he said was “this remarkable story of car hacking, drug smuggling, and what happens when you go toe-to-toe with the American justice system from written word to the big screen.” Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Participant Media Boards Malala Yousafzai Docu; ‘Rising Star’, ‘Master Class’ Headed To Asia; More

Participant Media Boards Docu About Pakistani Girl Wounded By Taliban
Malala YousafzaiParticipant Media has come aboard as a co-financing partner on the Parkes + MacDonald Productions documentary about Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai. An Inconvenient Truth’s Davis Guggenheim is directing. In 2012, student activist Yousafzai gained international recognition when she survived a brutal assassination attempt by the Taliban at age 14. Shot in the head and neck when gunmen opened fire on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, she was targeted for speaking out on behalf of girls’ education in her community. Production starts in early July 2014, in association with Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are producing, with a release eyed for early next year. In addition to its financial commitment, Participant will collaborate with Image Nation to launch a social action and advocacy campaign to expand the reach and impact of the film. Read More »

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