Eion Bailey To Recur On ‘Ray Donovan’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:30am PDT

Eion Bailey (Fight Club, Almost Famous)eionbailey has booked a recurring role on Showtime‘s Ray Donovan. Bailey, repped by Paradigm and Industry Entertainment, will play a charismatic motivational speaker/self-help guru who needs Ray’s help. Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as LA’s best professional fixer, the man called in to make the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls’ most complicated and combustible situations go away. Bailey most recently recurred on ABC’s Once Upon A Time. His other TV credits include Band Of Brothers miniseries, Dirty Little Secrets, Covert Affairs, Law & Order: SVU and ER. The 12-episode second season of the Mark Gordon-produced Ray Donovan is set to premiere Sunday, July 13.

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Showtime Greenlights Documentary On NBA Star Kobe Bryant

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 10:07am PDT

kobebryantmuseKobe Bryant’s Muse takes an in-depth look into the life, inspirations and challenges facing one of the most successful and complex figures in professional sports, according to Showtime. Gotham Chopra (Decoding Deepak, ESPN’s upcoming 30 For 30 film, The Little Master) directs the feature-length docu set to debut in the fall. “Kobe Bryant’s Muse will offer viewers a deep character portrait of a professional athlete who has transcended his sport to become a culture-moving personality,” said Stephen Espinoza, EVP and General Manager, Showtime Sports. “We are thrilled that Kobe has given us this unprecedented access, which will allow our viewers to witness such a challenging period of time in the life of one of the NBA’s greatest players.”

The docu will follow the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s career, detailing his mentorships, allies and rivalries that have helped shape his 18-year tenure in the NBA. A 16-time All-Star and winner of five NBA championships, Bryant dominated professional basketball until a series of recent injuries threatened to derail his career. He is scheduled to return to the NBA next season. Kobe Bryant’s Muse is executive produced by Kobe Bryant and Gotham Chopra in association with Mamba Media.

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HRTS Hitmakers Panel Jabs At Polarizing Emmy Categories

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 6:12pm PDT

HRTSThe lines between TV comedy and drama get blurrier by the season with such genre-straddling shows as Nurse Jackie, Louie, Californication and Justified. Two hourlong series, Shameless and Orange Is the New Black, will compete as comedies at the Emmys this year after previously being submitted as dramas at awards shows. The subject was batted around during today’s HRTS Hitmakers panel at the Beverly Hilton, which featured Orange Is The New Black and Weeds creator Jenji Kohan as well as Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel, Lost) and Michelle Ashford (Masters Of Sex). Moderator Michael Schneider asked the trio if there’s such a thing as comedy and drama on TV anymore. “Only for the Emmys, apparently,” Cuse replied. Added Kohan, “I just wish there was an hourlong category and a half-hour category. I wish everyone wasn’t so focused on category.” For the record, the semi-word “dramedy” didn’t come up in the discussion.

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Liev Schreiber, Jaden Smith Set For Slavery Pic ‘The Good Lord Bird’ Adapted From James McBride Bestseller

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 2:37pm PDT

Liev Schreiber Good Lord Bird Jaden Smith Good Lord BirdEXCLUSIVE: Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) and Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid, After Earth) are set to star in The Good Lord Bird, a big-screen adaptation of the 2013 National Book Award winner by James McBride (Miracle At St. Anna, Red Hook Summer). McBride is aboard to produce the pic about The Good Lord Bird movieHenry “Onion” Shackleford (Smith), a young slave who links up with radical abolitionist John Brown (Schreiber) in 1856 Kansas and travels the nation with Brown’s motley crew of freedom fighters. Story is told with a satirical bent through the eyes of Onion, who wears a dress and is at first mistaken for a girl, as he bears witness to Brown’s historic campaign and encounters the likes of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman en route to the bloody Harper’s Ferry raid that helped spark the Civil War. McBride’s NY Times bestseller made Publishers Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year list and has drawn comparisons to Mark Twain’s classic novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Fifteen-year-old Smith is coming off a run of feature turns in Sony’s Karate Kid reboot with Jackie Chan and sci-fier After Earth, opposite dad Will Smith. He’s set to return for sequel Karate Kid 2, which hired Breck Eisner to helm last week. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Cosmos’, ‘Once Upon A Time’ & ‘Dateline’ Fall, ‘Crisis’ Up, ‘Resurrection’ Dips

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 9:23am PDT

There was a lot of competition from cable last night with the return of AMC‘s Mad Men, Showtime’s Californication and Nurse Jackie and Week 2 of the latest season of Game Of Thronesplus Silicon Valley and Veep on HBO. However the networks weren’t letting down their game with a slate of originals from everyone. Still, lmost everyone was down in adults 18-49 from last week.

COSMOS APRIL 13Fox started the night with its usual animation block of Bob’s Burgers (0.8/3) and American Dad (1.1/4). The two ‘toons were down 11% and 8%, respectively, from their April 6 airings. They were followed by The Simpsons (1.6/5) and Family Guy (2.1/6), which fell 16% and 9% respectively. However, the latter was the highest-rated show on primetime last night. The biggest blow of the night for Fox was for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (1.2/3). Up against GoT and more, the sixth episode of the Neil deGrasse Tyson-hosted series took a 20% dive from last week in the key demo. That’s a low for the rebooted science show. Read More »

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L.A. Mayor Praises “Dear Friend” Tom Sherak In State Of The City Speech

garcetti april 10 speechThe city’s first Film Czar was praised by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti today in his inaugural State of the City address. “With the help of my dear friend the late Tom Sherak and Ken Ziffren, who’s continued the fight, we reignited the movement to expand film tax credits in Sacramento,” said the SAG-AFTRA card carrying politician this evening. A couple of months after Garcetti took office, the former AMPAS president and studio exec was named head of LA’s Film Office late last September in an effort to expand and evolve production in the city after years of decline due to runaway production. After

sherak__130926172434Sherak passed away on January 28, heavyweight entertainment lawyer Ziffren was appointed LA’s second Film Czar on February 10. “In just nine months, we are changing the landscape—one summer job, one red button, one film production and one balanced budget at a time.”

Related:
L.A. Move For Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Unlikely As Pols Continue To Pitch CBS
New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill Unanimously Passes First Hurdle In Sacramento

One production that looks pretty likely not to be coming to LA is CBS’ Late Show when Stephen Colbert takes over from David Letterman next year. Despite personal pitches earlier this week from Garcetti and Ziffren, the late night show seems certain to stay in the Big Apple. Still, Garcetti also made a point in his speech at the California Science … Read More »

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Pivot Ups Belisa Balaban To EVP Original Programming

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 11:10am PDT

For more than a year, belisab1Belisa Balaban has been responsible for Pivot’s alternative programming including the network’s popular series HitRECord and documentary Teach. Now Participant Media’s Pivot has promoted Balaban to EVP Original Programming for the network targeting millenials. She’ll be based at Participant’s Los Angeles offices and will report to Pivot President, Evan Shapiro. Balaban’s prior projects include the 10-episode documentary series The Swell Life and the Emmy-nominated special It Gets Better. As co-founder of Snackaholic, she executive produced pilots and series, including Tabloid Wars for Bravo, and Bollywood Hero, a three-hour musical comedy for IFC, as well as the recent Grammy nominee From The Sky Down about the making of U2’s Achtung Baby. Previously Balaban oversaw and developed pilots and series for Actual Reality Pictures including, Freshman Diaries for Showtime, Military Diaries for VH1, and Thin for HBO Documentary Films.

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EMMYS: John Landgraf Calls For Tougher Category Rules, Says ‘True Detective’s Entry As Drama Series “Unfair”

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 9:53am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf today threw his hat in the debate over what constitutes a drama series and a miniseries for Emmy consideration and whether an hourlong series american_horror_story_coven_cast_a_lcan enter as a comedy, challenging the TV Academy to stiffen its criteria and create stricter category guidelines.

FX anthology series American Horror Story shook up the Emmy landscape three years ago when it opted to submit itself as a miniseries, not a drama series. The race was jolted again this year when HBO’s True Detective took the opposite stance, identifying itself as a drama series. “In our minds this is a series, and the only reason to enter it as a miniseries was a cynical reason that didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Deadline last week.

2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6Landgraf today defended the network’s decision to submit AHS as a miniseries, objected to HBO’s decision to have True Detective compete as drama series, and called on the TV Academy to better define its categories. “I don’t think it’s cynical to enter AHS as a miniseries,” he said. “I don’t look at it that way. The definition should be a miniseries has a story that ends, a series has a story that continues on.” Landgraf argued that limited series have the advantage to attract bigger-caliber actors, like True Detective‘s Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as well as Billy Bob Thornton who toplines FX’s limited series Fargo. Emmyslogo_new“It’s unfair for HBO to get actors that you can’t normally get to do a series who would do a close-ended show and pack the (drama actor) category. That is patently unfair to people like (The Americans’) Matthew Rhys who signed for seven years.” Right now, TV Academy defines shows like AHS and True Detective as having “dual eligibility,” with the series producers left to decide in which of the two categories they are eligible for they would compete.

Related: FX & FXX To Double Original Output, ‘Simpsons’ To Debut On FXX With A Bang, ‘Americans’ Nears Season 3 Renewal

Read More »

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NBCU Press Day: Comedy Stars Not Fans Of Multi-Cam, Question ‘Shameless’ Decision To Compete For Emmy As Comedy

Mindy KalingIt is the golden age of comedy now, Mindy Kaling told reporters at NBCU Press Day, because whereas once you used to have to wait 2 1/2 years for Larry David to get around to writing another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, “now there’s always something happening” in comedy on the TV landscape. She was joined by stars of other Universal TV comedies airing on NBC and elsewhere.

Related: Mindy Kaling Exits UTA

andy-sandbergJenna Elfman is a big fan of single cam comedies, like her new Growing Up Fisher, because “with the Internet … audiences are more savvy, and with a single camera you can home in on nuance more than with multi-cam and capture the smarter side of the story.”

Related: NBC Press Day: Bill Lawrence Talks ‘Undateable’

Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg chimed in: “I was on SNL, which was live, but everything I did was pre-taped, so I was already headed in that direction. Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott said there a “weird thing” about doing comedy on a multi-cam. “If you don’t say a joke with a particular inflection, the laughs just don’t occur. I did very badly in that format.” But he acknowledged, “Shows like Cheers were able to make it work.” Read More »

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Tribeca Film Festival Jurors Announced

Tribeca 2014 marqueeThe judges are set for 13th annual edition of the event founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff. The seven competition juries for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival include 33 filmmakers, writers, producers, actors, journalists and entrepreneurs. The World Narrative Competition judges are Lake Bell, Steve Conrad, Bart Freundlich, Catherine Hardwicke and Ben Younger. Jurors for other categories include Toni Collette, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Goldblum, Alfonso Arau, Heather Graham, Anton Yelchin, HBO’s Sheila Nevins and Google’s Regina Dugan. The Nas rap docu Time Is Illmatic will open the fest, which runs April 16-27 in NYC. The recently re-retitled Begin Again closes it. Here is the full list of jurors and categories:

Related:
Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate
MSG Entering Into Strategic Deal With Tribeca Enterprises

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Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ & ‘House of Lies’ Log Record Finales

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 10:44am PDT

shameless-season-4In the face of stiff competition, Showtime‘s Shameless and House Of Lies wrapped their fourth and third seasons, respectively, with best-yet wrap-up stats. Shameless’s surprise finale — in which, during closing credits (SPOILER ALERT) Jack pulls up to the Gallagher household, looking for all the world like a resurrected Jimmy/Steve — delivered its biggest telecast of the season and highest-rated finale ever with 1.93 million viewers at 9 PM and 2.83 million viewers for the night, outperforming the Season 3 finale by 18% (2.39 million) and its Season 4 premiere by 23% (2.3 million). House Of Lies, meanwhile, ended its third season with 731,000 viewers at 10 PM and 1.4 million viewers for the night — the show’s  best finale night ever,  outperforming its Season 2 finale and Season 34 premiere by 16%; both had delivered 1.2 million viewers. It too was fraught with drama including (SPOILER ALERT) busy Marty Kaan about to be indicted and having admitted love to Jeannie, who comes off looking pretty bad. Read More »

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Chernin Group’s Billy Parks Joins Astronauts Wanted As CCO

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 10:09am PDT

astronauts-wanted-no-experience-necessary-85965507Astronauts Wanted, No Experience Necessary, the joint venture between Judy McGrath and Sony Music Entertainment, has tapped Billy Parks as chief content officer. Parks is moving to Astronauts Wanted from The Chernin Group where has served as EVP Digital Production and Programming, it was announced today. At Astronauts, he will be responsible for developing and producing series and branded content aimed at young, social-savvy consumers. “Billy’s talent as a creative storyteller is perfect for Astronauts Wanted as we look to engage young people in bold new ways,” said McGrath. “He has a unique understanding of today’s young adults and how they consume, create and share content. Engaging this generation of content creators is our mission. Billy will team with Nick Shore, our Chief Creative Strategist, to develop content with and for the new wave of social media stars.”
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‘Homeland’ Season 4 To Film In South Africa, Will Be Set In Middle East

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 9:23am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

homelandAfter three seasons in Charlotte, NC, Showtime drama Homeland is leaving the US to film its fourth season in Cape Town, South Africa. The end of Season 3 found Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) taking a job as a station chief in Istanbul. Showtime wouldn’t specify where exactly Mathison would work as the new season is still being mapped out, only saying that she is being “assigned to one of the most volatile and dangerous CIA stations in the Middle East where she is back on the front lines in the war on terror.” At TCA in January, Showtime president David Nevins already shed light on the setup for Season 4 with Mathison in the field overseas. “Homeland is a show that is deeply about a field operative (Carrie), and we haven’t seen her much in the field,” he said. “In Season 4 you will likely see her on the ground in a foreign capital doing her job,” adding that co-star Mandy Patinkin will continue to be “central and important” to the show. Read More »

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EMMYS: HBO’s Michael Lombardo On The Decision To Enter ‘True Detective’ As Drama

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 3:48pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

True DetectiveMore than a week after HBO announced that its buzzy True Detective will compete as a drama series at the Emmys, shaking up the drama race as a potential frontrunner, the decision is still a hot topic of conversation, with pundits debating whether the eight-episode series, created by Nic Pizzolatto and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, belongs in the drama or miniseries category. The latest to weigh in was Mad Men creator Matt Weiner. “I was surprised they did it but I bet that everyone who is in that Drama category said ‘oh s***’,” he told Deadline‘s Pete Hammond. “That makes me think HBO did the right thing.”

hbo45__130924185923-275x112__140114010318HBO had not commented on its Emmy category choice for True Detective until now. Here is what the network’s programming president Michael Lombardo had to say about it. “This project was pitched to us, it was produced by us and marketed by us as a series. Nic never thought of this as a miniseries, and we always treated him as a creator of a series. In our minds this is a series, and the only reason to enter it as a miniseries was a cynical reason that didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”
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Omar J. Dorsey Joins Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’; Carole Weyers In WGN’s ‘Manhattan’

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 12:45pm PDT

Omar J. Dorsey (Django Unchained)omardorsey2 has landed a recurring role on Showtime‘s Ray Donovan. Dorsey will play Cookie Brown, a powerful music business entrepreneur recently released from prison. Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as LA’s best professional fixer, the man called in to make the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls’ most complicated and combustible situations go away. Dorsey’s other TV credits include Fox’s Rake and HBO’s Eastbound & Down.

Caroleweyers1Newcomer Carole Weyers is set for a multi-episode arc on WGN America‘s 13-episode scripted series Manhattan, from writer Sam Shaw and director Thomas Schlamme, Skydance TV, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate TV. Set during the clandestine mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, NM, Manhattan follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families. Weyers, repped by D2 Management and Element Talent Agency, will play Elodie, a French switchboard operator at Los Alamos.

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UK’s Channel 4 Hires Simon Maxwell To Spearhead International Drama Co-Pros

By | Thursday, 3 April 2014 09:17 UK

Channel 4 logoBritain’s Channel 4 is embellishing its strategy with a new purview to invest in international drama co-productions. The net, which already invests in original British drama as well as boundary-pushing factual entertainment, is joining the likes of ITV, the BBC and Sky in its bid to spread its wings. To spearhead the initiative, former Red Arrow Entertainment Head of Drama & Comedy, Simon Maxwell, is joining Channel 4 in the newly created role of Head of International Drama. Maxwell launched the Red Arrow Group’s UK scripted operation and has worked with U.S. broadcasters including NBC and History Channel. Prior to Red Arrow, he was Head of Film & TV at indie Greenroom Entertainment where he ran a slate that included DirecTV crime drama Rogue. He also exec produced feature Killing Bono, for which he co-wrote the screenplay. Channel 4′s move towards international co-pros should see it benefit from the high-end TV tax credit that has electrified the local production sector and attracted U.S. projects over the past year. Maxwell will be responsible for commissioning a slate of high quality, ambitious drama with international appeal. Among the channel’s recent local commissions are Babylon, for which Danny Boyle directed the pilot, and mystery/sci-fi series Utopia. Its U.S. and European pick-ups include upcoming series Fargo, France’s The Returned, Showtime’s Homeland, comedy Brooklyn Nine Nine and new Norwegian thriller Mammon .

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Amazon Introduces $99 Streaming Device: Amazon Fire TV

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 12:23pm EDT

Amazon Fire TVHere’s Amazon‘s long-awaited answer to Apple TV — and other streaming devices including Google’s Chromecast and Roku TV. It’s a lot more expensive than the $35 Chromecast, but Amazon says that its Amazon Fire TV packs better technology and offers access to more services — including access to Amazon Instant Video, Netflix Showtime Anytime, Hulu Plus, and WatchESPN (but not HBO GO) — as well as potentially thousands of games. The Fire comes with 2GB of memory,  a quad core processor, and Amazon logodual band Wi-Fi. CEO Jeff Bezos boasts that the voice search feature “actually works” which means “no more typing on an alphabet grid.” The remote control works even if it isn’t pointed directly at the device. And for those who have state-of-the-art home theaters, it outputs 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. As you might expect from a data-driven company, Amazon Fire has a feature that tries to predict the movies and TV shows you’ll want, and buffers them so they’re ready when you are. It also offers the company’s X-Ray service that enables users to see info about movies, TV shows and music (including lyrics for karaoke fans) — but not its full array of retail products. It syncs with the Amazon Cloud Drive so users can access their personal photos and videos.

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Toby Kebbell Joining ‘Fantastic Four’; Archie Panjabi Set For ‘San Andreas’; Gabriel Basso Stars In ‘The Whole Truth’

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 4:47pm PDT

Toby Kebbell squareToby Kebbell is in negotiations for the main villain role in Fox’s reboot of Fantastic Four. He will play Doctor Doom, aka Viktor von Doom, a genius scientist who has a history with the superhero quartet’s leader Reed Richards (Miles Teller). Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell also star for director Josh Trank. Kebbell recently starred in the British miniseries The Escape Artist, and his credits also include War Horse, Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time and Rockarolla. The actor next appears in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and has a role in 2016′s Warcraft. He is repped by CAA.

Archie Panjabi squareArchie Panjabi has been cast in New Line’s action thriller San Andreas from director Brad Peyton. Dwayne Johnson stars as a rescue worker trying to save his ex-wife and daughter during the largest earthquake in California history. Panjabi will play Serena, a reporter doing an investigation on the disaster. She won an Emmy for playing Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife, and her credits also include The Widower and The Fall. She next appears in Fox Searchlight’s I Origins. Panjabi is repped by Gersh. Read More »

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Sony TV Presidents Of Programming Zack Van Amburg & Jamie Erlicht Ink New Deals

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 3:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

erlichtvanamburg copyThe importance of Sony Pictures Television within Sony Pictures Entertainment has been on the rise. Last fall, Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Corp. of America, announced a significant company shift “in emphasis from motion pictures to higher-margin television.” The company’s TV division was untouched by the recent company-wide cuts. And now its leadership has been secured for the next few years. After Steve Mosko signed a new long-term contract as president of Sony Pictures Television a year and a half ago, his top lieutenants, presidents of U.S. programming and production Jamie Erlicht and sptZack Van Amburg, too have re-upped with the company. I hear their new contracts are for three years, taking the duo to a decade at the helm of Sony TV’s primetime operations. Van Amburg and Erlicht were young, home-grown executives at an SVP level when Mosko picked them to succeed Russ Krasnoff in the top TV programming position in 2005. “What Zack and Jamie have accomplished is nothing short of amazing,” said Mosko. “I’ve always believed in them and they’ve become the best in the business.” Read More »

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