Last year, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association likely helped fuel Homeland‘s surprise Emmy win by awarding its top drama prize to the then-rookie Showtime series. But with today’s announcement of nominees for its 3rd annual Critics’ Choice TV Awards, the group might make more noise with what it spurned than what it honored. HBO and FX lead the network tally with 21 and 19 noms, respectively, and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and FX’s American Horror Story each drew six to top all programs, though the latter is not among the six finalists for Best Drama Series. However, a look at the Best Comedy and Best Drama races reveal some surprising omissions. Missing from the BJTA’s comedy series hopefuls are three-time defending Emmy champ Modern Family, along with recently wrapped perennial 30 Rock and, perhaps most glaringly, HBO’s hipster darling Girls. And conspicuously absent from the drama series combatants is four-time Emmy winner Mad Men, which earned only a single nom, for lead actress Elizabeth Moss.
Related: Critics’ Choice TV Awards: ‘Homeland’, ‘Community’ & ‘Sherlock’ Double Winners
Instead, vying for the Critics’ Choice Award for best drama are Homeland, HBO’s Game Of Thrones, PBS’ Downtown Abbey, CBS’ The Good Wife and AMC’s Breaking Bad — all of which also were nominated in the category last year — along with FX’s … Read More »
With Lucasfilm firmly ensconced in Disney land, production has begun the next animated Star Wars TV series. Two months after The Clone Wars was forced to surrender following a five-year run on Cartoon Network, Star Wars Rebels is massing its forces for a fall 2014 attack. It will premiere as an hourlong special before the series kicks off on Disney XD outlets worldwide. Produced by Lucasfilm Animation, the action series is set during the nearly two-decade span between Episode III and IV of the Star Wars films — a time frame never chronicled onscreen. The Empire is fortifying its hold on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion is taking shape, but plot details are in the vault (though check out a behind-the-scenes chat with executive producer Dave Filoni below).
Related: ‘Star Wars’ On TV Headed In “New Direction”
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EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a movie package that should be a hot one at Cannes. Protagonist and Thunder Road have teamed on Alive Alone, a drama that marks the feature directing debut of Khurram Longi. Bullhead star Matthias Schoenarts and Noomi Rapace are attached to play the leads in a thriller that focuses on the relationship between an ex-detainee of Guantanamo Bay, and a woman who is on the run from a crime boss. Longi’s script made both the Black List and the UK-centric Brit List. Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk is producing and Peter Lawson is exec producing, with production to start January in New York City. Protagonist Pictures will sell territories in Cannes while CAA reps domestic rights.
The teaming is intriguing: the Belgian Schoenarts made his breakthrough playing the tragic protagonist in Bullhead and followed starring with Marion Cotillard in Rust And Bone, and next appears in Bullhead helmer Mikael Roskam’s Animal Rescue for Fox Searchlight, the film that also stars Rapace and Tom Hardy. Since playing Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium trilogy in Sweden, Rapace has been building up her global profile in Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows, Dead Man Down with … Read More »
Sherlock is going home. CBS‘ drama Elementary will film its second-season premiere episode in London, marking the first time the series has shot on location outside New York. In the Season 2 premiere episode, Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is called to London to revisit an old case and, while doing so, is forced to face his past. Meanwhile, Watson (Lucy Liu) learns more about Holmes’ mysterious life and the company he kept before he left for New York. The shoot is “an opportunity to see Sherlock’s old stomping grounds and take a closer look at a life that, until now, we’ve only been able to glimpse through the lens of his recovery”, said creator/exec producer Robert Doherty. “Watson’ll have to keep up with a Sherlock who is both more comfortable in his surroundings and even bolder in testing the limits of those around him.” The two-hour Season 1 finale of Elementary will air Thursday, May 16.
EXCLUSIVE: HBO and Guillermo del Toro are teaming on Monster, developing a potential series culled from a series of 18 volumes of Japanese Manga by author Naoki Urasawa published by Shogakukan Inc. Del Toro will co-write the story with Steven Thompson, best known for his work on Dr. Who and Sherlock. Thompson will write the pilot, which del Toro intends to direct. The thriller is about the worldwide search by a young doctor for the most evil sociopath that has ever lived. He is a 12-year-old boy, and the doctor’s decision to save his life has unwittingly unleashed a Pandora’s Box that leaves the doc battling to stop a plot of mass genocide. This is certainly a departure for HBO, entering the Manga game, but for del Toro and Thompson, it allows them an incredible sandbox to play in. Del Toro will be executive producer and Thompson co-executive producer, with Angry Films’ partners Don Murphy and Susan Montford executive producing with Exile’s Gary Ungar. Shogakukan will be consulting producer.
This project was originally set at New Line, but proved too sprawling to confined to a feature film. It took del Toro a long time to woo creator Urasawa into being comfortable with Hollywood again, which sounds a lot like the process that D.B. Weiss and David Benioff went through with George R.R. Martin before they could get Game Of Thrones off the ground at HBO. Read More »
The timing of last year’s decision by the TV Academy to consolidate the four longform acting categories into two was baffling as it came a couple of days after the record-breaking debut of History’s miniseries Hatfields & McCoys and the network premiere of HBO’s Hemingway & Gellhorn, which had opened at the Cannes Film Festival. The TV Academy moved to cut the categories in half amidst a renaissance of the longform genre with such programs as British imports Downton Abbey, which started off in the miniseries field, Sherlock and Luther; History’s Hatfields & McCoys and FX’s American Horror Story, which was submitted as a miniseries. At the time, TV Academy’s SVP Awards John Leverence explained the decision by saying that the decrease in longform categories “corresponds to their primetime presence.”
But this week, just as the consolidation was about to take effect, the TV Academy reversed its decision, keeping the lead and supporting acting fields intact. “What a difference 13 months make,” Leverence said yesterday. He said the May 2012 vote “was based on how the longform (programming) was trending — the patient was on the table getting last rites.” But now “there has been a major revival of the longform. The consolidation was based on last year’s reality, not based on this year’s reality; what we thought was happening reversed itself.”
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Rebecca Eaton To Pull The Curtain Back On Masterpiece
Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton will publish a memoir this fall. Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind The Scenes Of Masterpiece Theatre And Mystery! PBS releases October 29 via Viking in the U.S. Eaton has presided over PBS’ Masterpiece, which airs such British and international hits as Downton Abbey and Sherlock, for 25 years. Eaton says, “As an Anglophile who loves books and great acting, I’ve had the perfect job.” For the book, she interviews actors, writers, directors and producers and is expected to share stories about Downton’s Maggie Smith, Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Radcliffe whose first TV role was as the title character in David Copperfield. Under Eaton’s leadership, Masterpiece has earned 44 Emmy Awards, 15 Peabody Awards, four Golden Globes, and two Oscar nominations. She’s writing the book with Patricia Mulcahy. Read More »
The fact that Sherlock is back in production and filming around the UK has drummed up a fan frenzy. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman recently shot in Bristol and Cheltenham with photos popping up across the Internet, leading to potential spoilers. Now, as the show heads to London, producer Sue Vertue has sent a plea to Sherlock lovers to let the team get on with its “punishing” schedule and ask that people avoid posting spoilers or daily locations. On the other hand, Sherlock network the BBC yesterday released official videos of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special shooting in Trafalgar Square. I hear the reasoning for getting in front of Doctor Who was because the shoot was “bang in the center of London” so already very public. But even a well-placed BBC insider says the Sherlock locations are something of a mystery. Click over for Vertue’s note: Read More »
UPDATED: NBC‘s Chicago Fire planted spinoff has cast Tania Raymonde (Lost) and Scott Eastwood, son of Clint Eastwood. As we first reported, the Dick Wolf-produced firefighter drama is eying a spinoff series, a cop drama about the Chicago Police Department, which is being developed by Chicago Fire creators/executive producers Derek Haas and Michael Brandt, executive producer Matt Olmstead and executive producer Wolf, whose company Wolf Films produces Chicago Fire with Universal TV. The potential spinoff is being introduced in the Chicago Fire‘s first season finale directed by Joe Chappelle. As reported by TVLine, Raymonde and Eastwood have been cast in the finale as new characters, police officers named Nicole and Jim, respectively. It is still unclear which Chicago Fire actors may transfer to the spinoff series. Chicago Fire‘s recurring cast includes Chicago PD Detective Antonio Dawson, played by Jon Seda, who is considered a likely potential co-star for the new project.
Game Of Thrones‘ Natalie Dormer has been tapped for a key arc on another freshman drama, CBS’ Sherlock Holmes procedural Elementary. In a three-episode stint, building to Elementary‘s two-hour season finale, The Tudors alumna Dormer will play Sherlock Holmes’ former lover, Irene Adler, whose name has been frequently evoked on the show as a key to Holmes’ past. Irene … Read More »
BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson and Piv Bernth, head of drama at Danish broadcaster DR, home of the original The Killing and The Bridge, shared their views on co-productions this morning in Cannes. The duo, who each work for public broadcasters, also touched on dealing with U.S. partners and the courage of their convictions. Scandinavia is a hot spot for drama, but Bernth says she only gets 4% of DR’s budget for drama so she’s “working with all kinds of different partners” and “trying to keep our feet on the ground.” She also confirmed that Killing creator Soren Sveistrup is working on a project for Cinemax, which he’ll present to the network within the next month.
Stephenson is careful to avoid the dreaded “Europudding,” or what he terms “Mid-Atlantic pudding,” but says, “In the past, all countries thought their drama was their drama, but today actually we all have quite a lot in common.” Even “the best microscopic local drama” can feel universal. Stephenson pointed to Downton Abbey, which is an ITV show, and to the BBC’s Sherlock as examples. They “are so British in their sensibility. They’re as English as English can get and that shows that if you do something well for your own country, the idea has attraction for abroad.” If Sherlock had been made expressly for international, Stephenson told me recently, it would have been cast differently. In the early days of the show, he said there were concerns that Benedict Cumberbatch’s high-functioning sociopath would not be embraced. “Couldn’t he be slightly nicer? Couldn’t you have a bigger star?” are questions he said were bandied about. “Ultimately it was the courage of convictions. It made Benedict a star and people love those rough edges.” Read More »
BREAKING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam have signed on to star in Legendary Pictures’ haunted house thriller Crimson Peak, which will be the next movie to be directed by Guillermo del Toro and is set to begin shooting in January 2014. Del Toro originally wrote the ghost story script with frequent collaborator Matthew Robbins and had set it up at Universal; he now is giving it a rewrite with Lucinda Coxon. Legendary will produce and be a participating financing partner, with Universal retaining an option to also finance at a later date. Legendary is also behind del Toro’s Pacific Rim, which is due out July 12 via Warner Bros. Warners will likely distribute Crimson Peak via its deal with Legendary.
Del Toro previously told Deadline that Crimson Peak is best described as “a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story. It will allow me to play with the conventions of the genre I know and love, and at the same time subvert the old rules.” Read More »
Hartswood Films, the production company behind Sherlock, is prepping new three-part drama The Guilty for the UK’s ITV. Episodes star Tamsin Greig plays a detective investigating the disappearance of a little boy in the story that’s set across two timelines, one in 2008 and the other in the present day. Mr. Selfridge’s Katherine Kelly and Darren Boyd, who starred in the British version of Spy, which ABC is remaking Stateside, play the parents of the missing child. Game Of Thrones alum Jamie Sives also stars. Sherlock’s Elaine Cameron is producing with Sherlock’s Beryl Vertue exec producing. Endeavour director Ed Bazalgette is helming from a script by Law & Order: UK’s Debbie O’Malley. Shooting runs through May. ITV is currently airing Broadchurch, another contemporary drama series about an investigation into the murder of a young boy, which BBC America will air later this year.
FremantleMedia is launching a new slate of scripted titles at Mip-TV which kicks off next week in Cannes, France. Among them are Wentworth, the reimagining of Prisoner Cell Block H, and The Making Of A Lady, from Runaway Fridge. Wentworth is a 10-part FremantleMedia Australia production that will premiere on Oz’s Foxtel in May. Event thriller Lady stars Linus Roache, Joanna Lumley and Lydia Wilson and is based on The Making Of A Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Read More »
With filming underway on the third season of Sherlock, the BBC has added British TV veteran Amanda Abbington to the cast. The role has yet to be identified, but I’ve confirmed she will “significantly impact” the lives of Martin Freeman‘s John Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Sherlock Holmes and could appear in more than one of the three feature-length episodes. (Abbington is also Freeman’s longtime real-life partner, and showrunner Steven Moffat last year said that one of the key words for this season would be “wedding”…) Abbington also stars in ITV’s Jeremy Piven period series Mr. Selfridge which makes its Stateside debut Sunday on PBS. In related news, Sherlock co-creator and co-star Mark Gatiss recently revealed that the title of the first Season 3 episode will be The Empty Hearse, which is believed to be based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure Of The Empty House, one of 13 stories in the Return Of Sherlock Holmes cycle. Holmes was last seen stepping off the side of a building in Season 2 finale, The Reichenbach Fall. Sherlock last aired in the UK in January 2012 and in the U.S. on PBS last May. The new trilogy is expected this winter.
Unified Pictures has added two animation vets to their upcoming take on the Biblical story. Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson will head creative on and executive produce Noah’s Ark, the animated musical written by Philip LaZebnik (Pocahontas, Mulan, Prince Of Egypt). Pic tells the familiar tale from the point of view of Gilbert, a lovable meerkat who leads a ragtag band of animals to the ark. Animation pro Cameron Hood (Shark Tale, First Flight, How To Train Your Dragon) will co-direct. The CG-animated feature will be produced in-house at Unified, an independent financing, production, and distribution company based in LA. Stevenson is repped by CAA.
Prime Focus Pulls Into China; UK May Shore Up VFX Industry
The gloomy VFX scene saw a few bright spots in the international market today. In the UK, the 2013 budget was unveiled and along with it, news that the Treasury will launch a public consultation on options to provide further support for the VFX industry via the tax system. In total, the creative industries received an extra £25M to help boost economic growth. Meanwhile, VFX specialist Prime Focus said it is setting up a Chinese joint venture with Hong Kong–based private equity group AID Partners and local partner Zhejiang Jingqi Wenhua Chuanbo Company. Prime Focus, which is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and has offices in the U.S., Canada, the UK and India, will invest $3M in the new operation which will provide services including 2D/3D conversion, VFX and post-production services on the mainland and in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. At the same time, AID, whose investments include Legendary Pictures and HMV Asia, has invested $10M in Prime Focus’ Netherlands subsidiary, Prime Focus World NV. The group’s credits include Shrek, Transformers 3, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Smurfs and Men In Black 3. Read More »
Organic Marketing To Split Marketing & Publicity
UK-based marketing and publicity company Organic Marketing will split into two along those lines, with its publicity department operating as a standalone division, it announced today. Emma McCorkell will head the new publicity wing as managing director, with Nick Leese remaining in charge of its marketing arm in an expanded role. The Target MCG company has seen growth in its publicity offering since the popular McCorkell came over from Rogers & Cowan’s UK arm in January 2011, carving a key slice of theatrical, international and online publicity. It recently expanded into production, hiring Harry Potter unit publicist Vanessa Davies and folding in her company, Romley Davies. Organic currently holds accounts for Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, Universal’s Kick-Ass 2 and StudioCanal’s Alan Partridge Is In Alpha Papa, which recently got a new teaser trailer.
Digital Film And TV Downloads Surge Down Under
Digital revenues for film and TV content jumped by 36% to $A127.8 million ($132.3 million) in 2012, according to the first ever study of that sector by the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association. VOD movies accounted for 56% of revenues, TV EST repped 23% and movies EST 21%. Digital sales are worth a bit more than 10% of the $1.174B home entertainment industry, which declined by 9% last year, said AHEDA CEO Simon Bush. The org said … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros may have finally found its The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I’m hearing that Tom Cruise is in early talks to star in the film that will be directed by Sherlock Holmes helmer Guy Ritchie. The original TV series ran from 1964-68, with Robert Vaughan and David McCallum playing Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, two agents of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. With gadgets and their wits and charm, they fought the evil forces of Thrush. Warner Bros has long been high on the project, especially when the studio had Steven Soderbergh ready to direct George Clooney in the lead. The actor dropped out because he needed surgery on his neck and back, and he wasn’t up for a physical role. After Soderbergh departed, the studio turned the project over to Ritchie and his producing partner Lionel Wigram. Read More »