Adult Swim’s ‘The Boondocks’ Big In Return

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 2:42pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

boondocksLike The Game, which set ratings records when revived by BET, another comedy series targeting black audiences came back roaring after a lengthy break from television. Last night’s Season 4 bow of the Sony Pictures TV-produced animated series The Boondocks on Adult Swim set series highs across all key demos, including adults 18-34 (1.40 million) and adults 18-49 (1.9 million), up 50% from the show’s previous season averages. It was Adult Swim’s most-watched primetime telecast among key adult demographics in at least five years. The Boondocks premiere was the No. 1 TV program in all of television last night — broadcast or cable — among Adult Swim’s target 18-34 demographic, topping NBC’s The Voice (1.36 million) and TNT’s NBA Playoffs coverage (1.16 million).

Related: Adult Swim Greenlights Live-Action Comedy Series ‘Black Jesus’

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Hot TV Trailer: TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’

By | Monday April 21, 2014 @ 9:29am PDT

TNT has released the new trailer for Season 4 of alien invasion drama Falling Skies, executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Connor Jessup, Maxim Knight, Seychelle Gabriel, Mpho Koaho, Colin Cunningham and Sarah Carter star. Season 4 premieres on June 22 at 10 PM. Check it out:

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A&E Greenlights Reality Series ‘D.O.A.’ From Dick Wolf

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 11:45am PDT

A&E logo1A&E Network has given the green light to unscripted series D.O.A. (working title) from Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf and Left/Right Productions. The series follows an elite team of detectives who will re-examine controversial murder cases in which unresolved questions linger long after the verdict. Production begins this spring on eight hour-long episodes. The team includes Chicago homicide detective Michelle Wood, Miami PD detective Joe Schillaci, and retired NYPD detective and supervisor and Kevin “Spider” Gannon. The three will begin their investigation at a reconstructed crime scene and work the case interviewing first-person players and forensic specialists. The question is whether they agree with the original verdict or if the wrong person is behind bars. This marks the latest reality play for Wolf, who has also cracked the reality space with TNT hit Cold Justice, which wrapped its second season last month. The network in February ordered six more episodes to air this summer. Wolf’s Law & Order: SVU, the longest-running drama series currently on TV, is now in its 15th season.

Related: Could It Be Curtains For The ‘Law & Order’ Franchise This Season With End For ‘SVU’?

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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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FilmLA: Feature Production Surges In Q1 2014 While TV Sitcoms Fall

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 12:07pm PDT

Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - April 01, 2014It isn’t the golden days of the 1990s, but FilmLA. reports today that feature film production is on the rise in Los Angeles while TV production slipped from last year. A Q1 2014 report released today by the nonprofit permitting group said on-location feature production in LA County jumped 24.2% over Q1 2013 and that the category had a big leap of 39.4% over its five-year quarterly average. Despite the small number of tentpole pics made in California and the lure of hefty incentives in other states like Louisiana and NY as well as Canada and the UK, the latest results build on similar advances in past quarters and shows increasing traction from the all-time lows of 2009.

Related: Bring Blockbusters Back to California With Increased Film Incentives, Says FilmLA

imgres-12__130108220458__130410052538It is no coincidence that 2009 was also the same year California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program was first introduced. With overall production steady with Q1 2013 and  legislation presently moving ahead in Sacramento to expand and evolve the program, FilmLA today praised California’s incentives as helping to stem the tsunami of exiting production. “This quarter’s report hints at what would be possible if California were to truly step up and compete for new film projects and jobs,” said the organization’s President Paul Audley in a statement. “Just imagine where we could be five years from now if current efforts to expand the state’s incentive program are successful.”

Related: New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill Unanimously Passes First Hurdle In Sacramento

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Sharon Stone Joins Jesse Eisenberg-Kristen Stewart Action Comedy ‘American Ultra’

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 10:35am PDT

Sharon Stone is the latest to snag a rolesharonstone in the Jesse Eisenberg-Kristen Stewart starrer American Ultra. Production began yesterday in New Orleans. The action comedy that Lionsgate ponied up $7M for in March focuses on Mike (Eisenberg), a stoner whose small-town life with his live-in girlfriend (Stewart) is upended when his past catches up with him, putting him in the crosshairs of a government operation bent on wiping him out. Stone joins recently cast Bill Pullman Tony Hale, along with Topher Grace, John Leguizamo, and Walton Goggins in the pic directed by Project X‘s Nima Nourizadeh and penned by Chronicle writer Max Landis. Stone, repped by Gersh and manager Chuck Binder, will play Victoria Lasseter. 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. Stone recently wrapped the TNT pilot Agent X and can currently be seen in Fading Gigolo with Woody Allen and Jon Turturro.

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Deadline’s Best TV Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday April 13, 2014 @ 8:15pm PDT

A recap of Deadline’s top TV stories this week:

stephen_colbert-350x262 Stephen Colbert Named CBS’ New ‘Late Show’ Host
By The Deadline Team
A week after David Letterman announced his retirement, CBS has named his successor. Stephen Colbert has inked a five-year deal to take over Late Show, a move that is effective as soon as Letterman officially steps aside from the late-night show he has headlined since its launch on CBS in 1993.

Related:
NBC’s Jimmy Fallon And Seth Meyers Welcome Stephen Colbert To ‘Late Show’: Video
Moonves Takes A ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap
Stephen Colbert Does Not Envy Whoever Replaces David Letterman (Video)

David Letterman On Stephen Colbert’s Hire

CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet Despite Practically Perfect Stephen Colbert Hire
By Lisa De Moraes
CBS’ announcement today that Comedy Central rock star Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman as host of its late-night show in 2015 caps a whirlwind week in which the network jumped from being just a little footnote in the coverage of The Battle Of The Two Jimmys to the undisputed star of the late-night drama. 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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Could It Be Curtains For The ‘Law & Order’ Franchise This Season With End For ‘SVU’?

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 8:37am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

svuThat is one of the most intriguing questions heading into the upfronts this year. Of Dick Wolf‘s five Law & Order series, only one — first spinoff Law & Order: SVU – is still on the air. But its renewal is being complicated by financial issues. Now in its 15th season, Law & Order: SVU is the longest-running drama series currently on TV. As a high-end drama at that age, it is inherently expensive, leading to periodic budget reviews. Last year, SVU, nbclogoalong with Wolf’s then-freshman Chicago Fire, received early pickups. This year, Chicago Fire and freshman spinoff Chicago P.D. were among the shows to get early renewals by NBC last month, but SVU wasn’t. (All three are produced by NBC sibling Universal TV, where Wolf is based.) I hear the holdup has to do with a pay cut Wolf had been asked to take in order for SVU to come back, something he has been unwilling to do.

Related: On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

Both sides have a point. Wolf’s camp could argue that SVU is having one of its strongest seasons in years, with star Mariska Hargitay getting notices for her nuanced performance. Averaging a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating (most current), SVU ranks as the No. 4 NBC scripted drama this season behind The Blacklist (4.3), Chicago Fire (2.9) and Grimm (2.6). Last night, the show matched its best 18-49 Live+Same Day rating (2.1) since the season premiere, up 21% from last week. SVU also is up double digits vs. last season, by 21% in 18-49 and by 17% in total viewers, and has an off-network deal with USA. Plus, I hear Wolf had taken a pay cut on the show once and is reluctant to do it again.

chicagopdfireOn the other hand, as solid as they are, SVU‘s numbers still are nowhere near the show’s heyday, prompting the network’s request for cost reduction. Ironically, NBC is in position to hold firm in part because of Wolf’s success with the Chicago Fire franchise. With young series like The Blacklist, Grimm, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. (2.4 in 18-49) doing as well or better than SVU, the network is far less dependent on the veteran than it was just a couple of years ago. Read More »

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TNT Greenlights ‘The Librarian’ Offshoot Series Starring Rebecca Romijn; Noah Wyle Closes Deal To EP, Recur As Flynn Carsen

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Librarian TV Series TNTWith all producing deals closed and a cast in place, TNT has given the green light to The Librarians, a 10-episode series follow-up to the network’s hit movie trilogy The Librarian, for a premiere in late 2014. The series will have a female lead played by Rebecca Romijn, returning to TNT where she played one of the leads in King & Maxwell. Noah Wyle, who toplined the movies, is executive producing aromijnnd reprising his role in a recurring capacity because he is the star of another TNT series, Falling Skies. Romijn leads a cast that includes Christian Kane (TNT’s Leverage), Lindy Booth (Copper) and John Kim (Neighbors) as well as John Larroquette. Joining Wyle from the movies are Bob Newhart and Jane Curtin, who also will reprise their roles, with Matt Frewer (TNT’s Falling Skies) also set to recur. The series, which will be produced by the company behind the movies, Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment, is part of TNT’s continued expansion into the action-adventure genre and will likely run in the TNT-logo__120721000844__121002154527network’s popcorn entertainment Sunday slot where Falling Skies airs. “The Librarian movies have been a huge success for TNT, and we jumped at the opportunity to build a series around the incredible world Dean Devlin and his creative partners created,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright. Read More »

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The Black List And Fox Team To Find New TV Drama Writers

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT
Mike Fleming

blacklistEXCLUSIVE: Fox Broadcasting Company has partnered with The Black List to find television drama writers for Fox projects. The way it will work is, The Black List will solicit scripts to be evaluated by its in-house readers, and will recommend a short list of scribes to Fox for consideration. If Fox likes them, a drama script deal or drama staff position might be the result. Writers can begin submitting material today, to www.blcklst.com/fox, and the program ends May 1 at 11:59 PM. Read More »

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MIPTV: Italian Actress Violante Placido Joins ‘Transporter – The Series’

By | Monday, 7 April 2014 11:58 UK

violante placidoEXCLUSIVE: France’s Atlantique Productions is set to premiere footage from the second season of Transporter – The Series here in Cannes tomorrow, with showrunner Frank Spotnitz on hand. Based on Luc Besson’s Transporter film franchise, the series stars Chris Vance as professional transporter Frank Martin, who can always be counted on to get the job done — discreetly. Joining Vance is Italian actress Violante Placido who will play Caterina Boldieu, a former French intelligence officer who first met Frank when he rescued her from captivity in North Africa. Two years on, the brilliant strategist has come to work transporter__140123184524for him. Placido, repped by APA and The Lasher Group, broke out at home in L’Anima Gemella in 2002 and was nominated for a David di Donatello Best Actress award for Gianni Veronesi’s 2004 Che Ne Sarà Di Noi? Her feature Hollywood credits include Anton Corbijn’s George Clooney-starrer The American and 2011′s Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance. Most recently, she starred in French crime drama Le Guetteur, directed by her father Michel Placido and starring Daniel Auteuil and Mathieu Kassovitz. TNT acquired both seasons of Transporter earlier this year and will air it in fall 2014. Read More »

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MIPTV: Social Experiments On The Rise As U.S. Buyers Hunt For Formats; Comedies Eye Comeback

mip tv logo 2Television executives are always on the hunt for the proverbial Next Big Thing, and for the past year or so, the Mipcom and Mip-TV markets have emerged as important hubs where some of the hottest new formats are unveiled. Following a strong showing at last fall’s Mipcom, Keshet‘s Rising Star sold around the world, including to ABC in the U.S. What will be the breakout format at Mip-TV which kicks off tomorrow? With the U.S. reality market yet to yield a new tentpole franchise since NBC premiered The Voice three years ago, and most established series more than a decade old, the necessity of finding reinforcements is ever more urgent and means execs need to be constantly vigilant as to where the new possibilities may be hidden. Likening the search to digging for truffles, Jennifer O’Connell, head of Core Media’s U.S. Television Division, says, “We’re really going to be sniffing around everywhere.” It’s important to keep a “very open mind to where a great idea can come from.” Regardless of the provenance, U.S. broadcasters are more apt to take a second look “if someone else did it first… It can be almost like an insurance policy,” she says.

keepyourlightshiningMost agree that the biggest proving grounds for new programming remain the UK, the U.S. and the Netherlands. Israel has also been coming on … Read More »

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JB Smoove’s Converge Media Inks First-Look Deal With Storyville

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 10:27am PDT

converge logoConverge Media Group, the management, production and branded entertainment company founded last year by actor/writer/comedian JB Smoove, Rick Dorfman, Conan Smith and Adam Benowitz, has signed a first-look reality TV deal with newly launched Storyville Entertainment. This is Storyville_2014_Logo_Final_Goldthe first co-production deal for both companies and will give Storyville access to develop and produce unscripted and branded opportunities for Converge’s comedic clientele. That list includes Smoove, Rich Vos, Lynne Koplitz, Pete Dominic, Chris DiStefano, Carly Aquillino as well as producers Ryan Ling (Guy Code, Girl Code) and P.J. Morrison (Impractical Jokers, Restaurant Stakeout), and writers such as Frank Santopadre (The Joy Behar Show, The View).
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Wil Wheaton To Host Summer Comedy Series On Syfy

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 2:19pm PDT

syfylogo1Syfy has greenlighted The Wil Wheaton Project (working title), a 12-episode summer series hosted by actor, blogger and geek culture expert Wil Wheaton. Chris Hardwick Book Release Party For "The Nerdist Way"The 30-minute weekly comedy show is slated to premiere May 27 at 10 PM. Each week, Wheaton will dissect the week’s most popular and trending topics across science fiction film, television and pop culture, video games, viral videos and news. “Wil Wheaton’s rock star status within the genre fan base, along with his insatiable passion for all things pop culture, make him the ideal arbiter of what’s hot and what’s not in the genre space,” said Syfy President Dave Howe. Recently, Wheaton has recurred on Syfy’s Eureka, TNT’s Leverage and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. He played Axis of Anarchy leader Fawkes in Felicia Day’s web series The Guild and currently hosts Falling Skies: Second Watch for TNT. Wheaton also is the creator, producer, and host of web series Tabletop, which is in its second season. Wil Wheaton Project is a production of Pilgrim Studios, with Craig Piligian and Mike Nichols (Ghost Hunters) executive producers.

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Danielle Nicolet Joins ‘Good Session’; Natasha Henstridge To Recur On ‘Selfie’; David Paymer In ‘Red Zone’

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 4:15pm PDT

Danielle Nicolet (Family Tools) hasNicolet1 joined the cast of CBS’ single-camera comedy pilot Good Session. Written by John Hamburg and Matt Miller and directed by Hamburg, the project revolves around a happy couple, Joel (James Roday) and Lindsay, who go to a therapist (Tracey Ullman) to help them decide if they should have a baby but quickly discover they have more to discuss. Nicolet will play Andrea Fisher, the no-nonsense, straight-talking wife of Joel’s best friend Seth (Rich Sommer). Nicolet, repped by Innovative Artists and KLWGN, most recently recurred on BET’s The Game.

Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
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Warner Horizon’s Craig Erwich Joins Hulu As Head Of Content

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 11:04am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

erwichHulu is making a statement in the original content arena with the hire of seasoned TV development executive Craig Erwich. Erwich, who recently exited his post as president of Warner Horizon, has been tapped as SVP and head of content to lead the content and programming strategy for Hulu and Hulu Plus. This marks one of the first major hires for new Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins, who made the announcement. “Craig is ready to hit the ground running hulu5__131120195159-275x122and lead us as we increase our overall content offerings,” Hopkins said. “Craig is the perfect guy for the job — he has been developing shows and programming networks for over 20 years. He has impressed me and others who’ve met him with his collaborative approach, humility and tenacity to do what he believes.” While Hulu has had traction with some originals, including animated comedy The Awesomes, which returns for Season 2 this summer, the online service has been overshadowed by rivals Netflix and Amazon, which have established slates of network-quality comedy and drama series that, in the case of Netflix, already go toe to toe with the traditional network fare for awards consideration. Hiring an experienced TV executive like Erwich signals Hulu’s intention to become a major player in the arena and possibly expand into drama. Hulu’s next original series, comedy Deadbeat starring Tyler Labine, debuts April 9. Read More »

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Kathryn Busby Joins SPT Networks As SVP Programming & Production

By | Friday March 28, 2014 @ 4:21pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

busbyEXCLUSIVE: After four years at Turner, Kathryn Ann Busby has joined Sony Pictures Networks as SVP Programming & Production at a time when the international channel division of Sony Pictures TV is looking to ramp up its original series portfolio. Busby will oversee sourcing, development and early production of SPT Networks’ original series slate, working with the EVP Programming and Production and Network Programming heads around the world on all aspects of original development for the three main Sony channel brands – AXN, SET (Sony Entertainment Television) and Animax. Busby most recently served as VP of TNT and TBS Original Productions after a stint as VP Comedy Development for TBS, overseeing the network’s scripted development. Before that, Busby was supervising producer for The Aisha Tyler Show and SVP Production at New Line Cinema, where she served as exec producer on the Sex And The City movie and senior executive on Rush Hour 3. She also served as SVP/head of development at former indie powerhouse Carsey-Werner, where she oversaw the development of Grounded For Life. Busby began her television career as director of comedy development at Universal Television, following several years in the record industry.

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Shane Brennan Inks New Overall Deal With CBS TV Studios

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 11:57am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Shane BrennanEXCLUSIVE: NCIS: Los Angeles executive producer/showrunner Shane Brennan has signed a new two-year overall deal with the studio behind the hit CBS crime drama. Under the pact, Brennan will continue to run NCIS: LA as he has done since the series’ 2009 launch. Now in its fifth season, NCIS: LA already has been renewed for a sixth. Additionally, Brennan will develop new series for the studio through his Shane Brennan Prods. Australian-born Brennan joined mothership series NCIS at the beginning of Season 4 in 2006, taking the reins as showrunner the following season. He created spinoff NCIS:LA and ran both series for two years before focusing his attention solely on NCIS: LA. The spinoff series is broadcast television’s second most watched drama only behind NCIS, averaging nearly 16 million viewers per episode. It landed a $2 million-plus episode off-network syndication deal with USA only seven episodes into its freshman run, a record for a fast syndication sale. “Shane has propelled NCIS:Los Angeles into one of television’s most beloved dramas,” said CBS TV Studios president David Stapf. “His ability to combine great storytelling, action and humor make him an exceptional showrunner.” Read More »

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