San Diego is about to get a Gothic horror visit from Victorian England today and John Logan is about to let Penny Dreadful get truly uninhibited. “A lot of Season 1, for me, was actually putting the playing pieces on the board,” says the Oscar nominated scribe of the Showtime series of 19th century iconic supernatural misfits he created. “Now I feel we’ve had 8 hours to do that, to establish the landscape and so now I really get to play,” the first time showrunner adds with a laugh. “I can create more and more complex patterns of the relationships of the characters and of the supernatural element as well,” the Gladiator and Skyfall writer says. “In terms of the second season, I’ve written all but two of the episodes. So, the last two are yet to be written. So I’m well ahead of the game there, and the actors will all be getting it the end of this month.
In just over a month since Dreadful’s rather spectacularly blood soaked Season 1 finale, Logan will be taking the stage in Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center this evening with cast members Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney and Josh Hartnett. If he returns next year, he may be bringing a few more people with him and not just absent leads Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. “I’m teasing out from the characters I really love … Read More »
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has a problem. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is preparing to sweeten his offer for the owner of Warner Bros, CNN, and HBO after it rejected an $80B cash-and-stock proposal last month. And Bewkes, who says he wants to keep Time Warner independent, has few takeover defenses. What can he do? Here are a few of the leading options that Time Warner execs and their advisors at Citigroup are weighing.
Combine with CBS: This would make Time Warner toxic for Fox: The FCC would not allow Murdoch to control two of the four biggest networks, and two of the largest TV station groups with overlaps in the nation’s largest markets.
And the business logic of a Time Warner-CBS combination is compelling. CBS chief Les Moonves would like to diversify his company to make it less dependent on domestic TV advertising. (He has already said that he’d like to buy CNN if Fox prevails with Time Warner and puts the news channel on the block.) Moonves also has made it clear that he’d like to play a bigger role in movies — his CBS Films appears to be struggling to figure out its identity. CBS could address these concerns by blending with Time Warner’s cable channels and movie studio.
The chief obstacle is that CBS is controlled by Sumner Redstone, who also owns Viacom. He hasn’t wanted to give up either property, and some bankers believe he’d prefer to … Read More »
Comic-Con 2014 officially opens today and tens of thousands are descending on San Diego to pick up their passes and prepare for four days of special screenings, studio and network panels, and previews. Having already hit the ground running, Deadline is here with Mike Fleming Jr leading our film coverage along with Jen, while Dominic and Anthony D’Alessandro handle the TV side. (Dominic will also be moderating FX’s Archer panel this year.)
Of course, veteran heavyweights like HBO’s Game Of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead will be packing the mammoth Hall H on the TV side. HBO’s True Blood, a longtime fave in its final season, is set to make its Comic-Con bow Saturday in Ballroom 20, as is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, which just wrapped its first season and has its panel this evening. Repping the big screen side, studios are putting their tentpole wares out there with presentations by Marvel and Warner Bros with The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and Mad Max: Fury Road among others.
Below we spotlight a few special events on the schedule that you don’t want to miss. (For the full TV and film lineups, go here and here.) Read More »
Once again it’s the networks that have poured big money into blanketing downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter in promo materials, with a few exceptions. Besides Showtime’s Penny Dreadful being on all the lanyards for the more than 130,000 attendees, here’s what’s greeting Comic-Congoers on the ground as Wednesday’s Preview Night kicks into gear ahead of the Thursday-to-Sunday rush (check back for more glimpses from geek ground zero throughout the week):
Related: Comic-Con 2013: TV Outrunning Film As Race To Blanket San Diego Hits High Gear (PHOTOS)
NBC’s Constantine (above) has a blazing standee of star Matt Ryan on display to get audiences used to seeing the Welsh thesp as DC Comics antihero John Constantine. Show debuts October 24. Elsewhere around Comic-Con’s downtown HQ, a massive banner for TNT’s August-premiering series Legends, starring Sean Bean and Ali Larter, has taken another chunk of prime eyeball real estate. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Former UTA and ICM talent agent Steven Fisher has joined management and production company Underground as a manager. Fisher exited UTA last month after working out of the agency’s NYC office for three years. Before that he was at ICM for seven years. Fisher’s making the move cross-country with his family to L.A., where he’ll work with Underground’s Trevor Engelson, Evan Silverberg, Chris Dennis, and Josh Turner McGuire while Noah Rothman works out of Underground’s NYC offices. “I wanted to get back to L.A. and roll up my sleeves, and most of my clients are writer-performers in L.A.,” said Fisher. He joins Underground with clients Desi Lydic (MTV’s Awkward), Jamey Sheridan (Homeland), John Phillips (Pittsburgh Heat, Dirty Grandpa), Liz Carey (Chelsea Lately, Walk Of Shame), Mike Zegen (Frances Ha, Boardwalk Empire, Girls), Miles Fisher (Bad Advice, J. Edgar, Final Destination 5), Rus Blackwell (Banshee), and Jessie Ennis (G.B.F., Shards). Read More »
A day after FX series Tyrant made the decision to permanently relocate production of its freshman season from Israel to Turkey, USA Network limited series DIG too is officially pulling out of the country torn by the violence in Gaza. “Given the current situation and after careful consideration, we are relocating the production of Dig partly to Albuquerque and are continuing to explore other locations,” USA said in a statement. “Our experience filming in Israel was very positive and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to capture such an authentic landscape that will be threaded throughout the series.”
When the Gaza attack started a week ago, DIG extended its planned hiatus by week while the network and producers were exploring alternatives and holding conversation with the project’s insurance company. The series, starring Jason Isaacs as an FBI agent investigating a troubling murder of a young woman archeologist in Jerusalem, took a break after filming the first episode of its six-episode order. The pilot episode was shot throughout Israel, including Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. The decision comes as FAA this morning banned all flights to Israel for the next 24 hours following reports of a Palestinian rocket strike landing close to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. And yesterday, the US Department of State warned Americans against traveling to Israel and the Gaza Strip. Read More »
With the violence in Gaza showing no signs of subsiding and the US Department of State today warning Americans against traveling to Israel and the Gaza Strip, Fox 21 has made a decision to finish the first season order of its FX series Tyrant in Turkey, where the series relocated on a temporary basis a week ago when the conflict started. The show did some filming in Istanbul during the past week with the hope that production could return to Tel Aviv where Tyrant had built elaborate sets. With the death toll rising and a cease-fire still out of reach, that possibility has been ruled out due to safety precautions, with the show set to film the remainder of the last two episodes in Turkey. The writers used the past week to rewrite the last two scripts to account for the location change and lack of sets. Fox 21 moved the Tyrant production to Israel after filming the pilot in Morocco.
Another drama filming in Israel, USA’s limited series DIG, recently extended its planned hiatus by week while the network and producers explore alternatives and discuss them with the project’s insurance company should the situation remain too dangerous to film. A final decision has not been made. DIG only has shot the first of its six-episode order. CBS’ biblical miniseries The Dovekeepers also originally eyed shooting there before deciding to go elsewhere, ultimately settling on Malta.
In September, Fox 21′s Showtime series Homeland moved third-season scenes that … Read More »
The Square, a harrowing documentary about the Egyptian revolution as seen through the eyes of six of its participants, was Oscar-nominated in the 2013 Best Feature Documentary race. So how come it is suddenly a major contender at the Emmys too? Inquiries have come to our attention, including one calling for its withdrawal from Emmy competition, so I decided to check it out.
The film, which accounts for four of the impressive 31 Emmy nominations Netflix received this year, was picked up by the streaming service and qualified last year for the Oscar race with a seven-day run, according to the Television Academy, which has assured me they thoroughly examined this one. “The Square was not in general release prior to it TV appearance; rather, it qualified for the Oscars under the ‘one week NY-LA limited screening rule’ which would not have affected Emmy eligibility. Please know that we and the documentary peer group vetted the hell out of this one, and it’s good to Emmy go,” according to John Leverence, SVP Awards for the TV Academy. Read More »
Homeland producers grumbled about their 2014 Emmy nomination snub for drama series at today’s TCA, but Jon Voight seemed happy to carry the Emmy nom flag for Showtime at today’s panel on his second-season series, Ray Donovan. The supporting actor nominee appeared on the panel with stars Liev Schreiber, who plays the title character, a Hollywood fixer, Paula Malcomson, Season 2 guest stars Hank Azaria and Wendell Pierce, creator/EP Ann Biderman and EP Bryan Zuriff.
For Zuriff, this marks a return to the executive producer ranks of the series following his high profile arrest and subsequent indictment for allegedly running an illegal gambling operation this time last year that prompted his temporary exit from the show. Zuriff actually touched upon his history when the cast and producers were asked to attest to the accuracy of some of the crazy storylines on the show. “We’ve all had a little bit of a past, so there’s stuff that we can draw on in the writers’ room that we can have some fun with,” he said.
Related: ‘Ray Donovan’ Executive Producer Bryan Zuriff Pleads Guilty In Gambling Ring Tied To Russian Mob
Earlier this year, Voight won a Golden Globe for his performance (star Schrieber got a nom for lead actor in a drama). When asked about Emmy, Voight could have been rehearsing his Emmy speech. The abridged version of his reply: “Let me just say, I feel very blessed and very fortunate to have had so many wonderful experiences as an actor. I am really enjoying this family that’s making Ray Donovan. It’s almost like I earned this role over years of struggling and failing and experimenting and succeeding…” He praised the “wonderful artists” he works with on Ray Donovan and reached back into the past to praise earlier collaborators John Schlesinger, Dustin Hoffman, Hal Ashby and Andrei Konchalovsky. Read More »
Showtime’s new drama The Affair follows two married people – a school teacher played by Dominic West, and a waitress played by Ruth Wilson — who embark on an affair. The first 10-episode season of the series, debuting October 19, looks at their relationship from their sometimes very different recollections. Showtime topper David Nevins and show creator Sarah Treem both said the series is an exploration of marriage; Treem said she wanted to tackle the subject “in a Rashomon” way, showing differing perspectives and without judging either character, both of whom are in “very vulnerable places and, by chance, meet someone who they come to believe is their true love.” (In the series, West’s wife is played by Maura Tierney, and Wilson’s husband by Joshua Jackson – watch a new teaser below.)
One critic noted West had played a number of characters who were married but involved with someone else, and characters who were not married themselves but involved with someone who was – and even a married person involved with someone who was also married, as in this series. The critic asked West if there is anything different about playing one of these characters and playing someone who’s involved in a relationship that’s adultery-free. Read More »
“Sorry I was late, I was out looking for a head coach,” Kobe Bryant said after showing up about half an hour late to plug his autobiographical Kobe Bryant’s Muse, debuting on Showtime in the fall.
To pass the time, Showtime distributed bottles of sports drink, BodyArmor — a company in which Bryant is a major investor. On the bottle were tags that reminded TV critics the TV project is “a portrait of an elite athlete’s professional and personal journey.” Showtime has said Kobe Bryant’s Muse takes an in-depth look into the life, inspirations and challenges facing one of the most successful figures in professional sports.
Bryant said he came up with the idea for Kobe Bryant’s Muse while lying in bed, mulling what to do for his next Nike campaign. He decided that, “now that my career is coming to an end” it would be “pretty cool to tell the genesis of where the mentality came from.” That’s the difference, he said, between this Kobe Bryant docu-mercial and an earlier Spike Lee Kobe Bryant documentary — the one that debuted on ESPN in 2009 and focused on one day of the Los Angeles Lakers star’s season. Read More »
Showtime‘s Shameless switching from drama to comedy was part of the Emmy category rules debate of the past several months. “There is always a degree of arbitrariness,” Showtime boss David Nevins said about the Emmy category assignments. He argued that whatever genres and categories are out there, Showtime’s DNA would be to defy them and push the limits. In the case of Shameless, he said executive producer John Wells had always wanted to submit the show as a comedy, with Showtime backing him up this year after competing as a drama for three years. The move paid off, with star William H. Macy earning a first lead actor nomination. “He is giving a comedic performance,” Nevins said.
Nevins gave an update on the status of Happy-ish, the dark comedy project the network had just picked up to series when star Philip Seymour Hoffman suddenly died in February. “I’m sitting on five scripts from (creator) Shalom Auslander that I think are brilliant,” Nevins said. “If we cast it the right way, I would make it.” Showtime had been quietly reaching out to A-list actors for the past few months to take over the role played by Hoffman. If the lead is recast, “it wouldn’t necessarily go straight to series.” But Nevins was adamant that the pilot starring Hoffman would not air.
Nevins confirmed that the TV series adaptation of Halo is still on track despite Microsoft’s announcement yesterday that it would shut down its XBox Entertainment Studios division, which was to develop and produce the series with Amblin TV in partnership with Showtime.
Read More »
OK, he admits it: Homeland showrunner/executive producer Alex Gansa said the lack of a drama series Emmy nomination in 2014 “hurt.” The critics hurt, too. “I don’t know how you can look at the last episodes of the season, especially the last two episodes [and not believe] they are the best we’ve ever done,” Gansa said at today’s TCA. “But we’re going to get back on the mountain again.”
Gansa was speaking at a luncheon panel along with executive producers Alexander Cary and Meredith Steihm. The three revealed a few plot developments for Season 4, which Showtime announced earlier in the day would premiere October 5.
Gansa started off with the joking promise to “only kill most of your favorite characters,” adding to laughter: “I can guarantee that Dana Brody will not be back for Season 4” (a reference to Brody’s moody teenage daughter whom many critics thought got way too much moping screen time in Season 3).
But the writer-producers dropped a few real story tidbits: Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison’s bipolar illness has stabilized and in her new Middle Eastern setting will be on the tail of a new character, “someone whom she’s recruiting and trying to get his trust.” Steihm added that this is just one of “5 or 6 new characters” who will be added. Steihm confirmed that the character Carrie pursues as a recruit is portrayed by Life Of Pi‘s non-CGI star Suraj Sharma. Read More »
Dinesh D’Souza and the team behind the recently released documentary America: Imagine The World Without Her still want to know why Google won’t display the show times for their movie. Earlier this week, lawyers for the conservative author/filmmaker sent a second letter to the tech giant’s chief legal officer David Drummond trying to get the situation resolved, I’ve learned. The July 16 letter from Sheppard, Mullin attorney Kelly Crabb requested “that Google correctly display information for America: Imagine The World Without Her in the same way it displays information for other movies currently in theaters.”
You’d think that would be a simple enough request for one of the world’s top search engines. But in this case, you’d be wrong. “I don’t know what the point of a search engine is if people can’t access the information they’re looking for,” a frustrated D’Souza told me today. In addition to no showtimes listed, no click-through poster for the pic appears in the Google banner search result — though 2004′s Team America, Fox’s The Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the as-yet-unreleased The Avengers: Age Of Ultron do. Read More »
The upcoming fourth season of Showtime‘s flagship drama Homeland will debut October 5. The announcement was made at the top of Homeland‘s TCA presentation when the show also unveiled its first Season 4 trailer (watch it below). Set in the Middle East, the season was shot in South Africa after three years in North Carolina. It sees Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) assigned to a volatile and dangerous CIA station in the Middle East.
Former A&E Networks executive Chris Davis has been named VP Television at Echo Lake Entertainment, which has made its name in feature films, financing and management. The move comes after the 2013 additions of managers Dave Brown and Zadoc Angell, who brought several TV clients with them from Artist International. Davis will work alongside Echo Lake VP Film & Television Ilda Diffley to grow the company’s TV development slate, which has development projects set up at HBO, Showtime and ABC Studios among others. Both will report to Echo Lake president Andy Spaulding and founder and CEO Doug Mankoff. Read More »
Universal’s comedy The Nest has added actress Renée Elise Goldsberry in the role of Kim, a longtime friend of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s characters who throw one last house party at their parents’ pad. Goldsberry recurs as Assistant DA Geneva Pine on CBS’s The Good Wife and also recently appeared on Fox’s The Following and NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She’s also set to do a stint on the second season of Showtime’s Masters of Sex. Goldsberry is repped by Innovative Artists and Sweet 180. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: TV and film director Carl Franklin, who’s up for an Emmy for helming the Season 2 opener of Netflix drama House Of Cards, has signed with Paradigm. He won the Indie Spirit Award for helming 1992 crime pic One False Move from a script by Billy Bob Thornton; last week Franklin earned his first Emmy nod for Outstanding Direction for House Of Cards episode “Chapter 14.” He was most recently on ICM’s client roster. Read More »