Profits may be up 20% at its UK parent company, but ITV Studios America today found its relationship with the Writers Guild of America East taking a steep fall. As contract talks between the two parties grind on, the scribe guild claims that ITV Studios America has been depriving about 150 of its writers and producers of up to $30,000 a year in deserved overtime pay on its unscripted shows including A&E’s The First 48, Nat Geo Wild’s Cesar 911 and TLC’s Four Weddings. The WGA East says that up until two weeks ago, the Sherman Oaks- and NYC-based company has been making employees put in 60- to 80-hour weeks without any of the compensation that are entitled to under federal and state laws. Under pressure from the guild, the company began giving associate producers overtime pay two weeks ago and not retroactively. That’s only a partial solution, says the WGA East. “Companies like ITV simply cannot insist that employees devote every waking moment to the company, month in and month out,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson today. The situation at ITV Studios America comes as the WGA is taking a short break from its sometime-tense negotiations with the studios and the networks over a new 3-year contract.
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EXCLUSIVE: Another popular blog by a twenty-something woman is heading to primetime television, this one with the endorsement of one of TV’s biggest producers. CBS has put in development Granny Is My Wingman, a multi-camera comedy based on Kayli Stollak’s blog GrannyIsMyWingman.com, which is executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Co-written by Stollak and Donald Todd (Samantha Who?), Granny Is My Wingman chronicles the dating lives of a twenty-something woman and her grandmother. Todd, Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman will executive produce, with KristieAnne Reed co-executive producing and Stollak serving as supervising producer. Warner Bros. TV and studio-based Jerry Bruckheimer TV produce.
Twenty-five-year-old New Yorker Stollak started her blog in July 2011 to document her experience with online dating and asked her 76-year-old grandmother, Gail, of Florida, to join her in the experiment. The two started providing humorous accounts of their dating adventures, and the blog quickly took off, generating a lot of online traffic and giving its two writers celebrity status (Watch them below on Good Morning America). This is the third comedy project based on a blog by a twenty-something female creator to sell to a broadcast network in the past three days, following 20-Nothings at CBS, based on Lauren Bachelis’ Hollywood Assistants Tumblr blog, and F*ck I’m In My Twenties at NBC, based on the Tumblr blog of Emma Koenig. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hostages, a drama from writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff, Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Warner Bros. TV, has landed at CBS with a pilot production commitment. Based on an Israeli format, the project centers on a family caught in the middle of a grand political conspiracy that will change their lives forever. Hostages was originally developed for Israel’s Channel 10 by Alon Aranya, Omri Givon and Rotem Shamir. The show has not been produced in Israel, but an U.S. adaptation written by Aranya found its way to Bruckheimer TV, which bought the rights and then brought in Nachmanoff (Traitor). Nachmanoff is set to write and direct Hostages as well as executive produce it with Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Givon, Rotem Shamir and Chayim Sharir. Aranya and KristieAnne Reed serve as co-executive producers.
This is the latest big commitment for Jerry Bruckheimer TV this season. The company has a pilot order at NBC for drama The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives and put pilot commitments for The Bureau, an FBI drama penned by Aron Eli Coleite, at CBS and docu-style military comedy At Ease, from writers Josh Bycel & Jonathan Fener, at NBC. It also has comedy The B-Side, from writer Sheri Elwood, set up at NBC. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, At Ease, a single-camera comedy from writers Josh Bycel & Jonathan Fener (ABC’s Happy Endings), Jerry Bruckheimer TV and Warner Bros. TV, has gone to NBC with a put pilot commitment. At Ease is a documentary-style comedy about the the relationships, jobs, bosses and social lives of a group of young people who happen to live and work on an active military base in the middle of a desert country that is just coming out of a war. The project, whose setup is reminiscent of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, M*A*S*H, is inspired by real-life experiences of retired U.S. Navy officer Dan Conley and U.S. defense contractor Aaron Hendricks, who serve as consulting producers, along with Emerson College screenwriting professor Martie Cook, who brought the idea to Bruckheimer. Bycel and Fener came on board to write via a blind script deal they had at Warner Bros. TV. The duo executive produce with Bruckheimer TV’s Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman, while KristieAnne Reed co-exec produces.
This is Bruckheimer’s third project at NBC. The company has drama pilot The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives casting and single-camera comedy The B-Side, from writer Sheri Elwood, in development. Comedy seems to be a big priority for drama player Bruckheimer TV this season, with its two pitches … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has put in development The B-Side, a single-camera comedy from Jerry Bruckheimer Television and writer Sheri Elwood, creator of the Canadian comedy series Call Me Fitz. The project, which has received a script commitment, centers on a thirty-something woman in a divorce-triggered life meltdown who reunites with her best friends from high school. Elwood is writing the script and will executive produce with Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman for Jerry Bruckheimer TV and Warner Bros. TV. KristieAnne Reed will co-executive produce.
Bruckheimer TV got a head start this development season with a June pilot order at NBC for soapy thriller The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives. The B-Side is part of the company’s effort to establish a foothold in comedy after building up its TV brand in drama procedurals with such series as the CSI franchise and reality with perennial Emmy winner The Amazing Race. In addition to Call Me Fitz, which airs on HBO Canada and on DirecTV in the U.S., Elwood has worked on drama series FlashForward and Defying Gravity. She is with CAA and Madhouse Entertainment.
Related: NBC Greenlights Soap/Thriller Drama Pilot Produced By Jerry Bruckheimer
The Italian press has criticised the Venice jury president for handing out two major awards to his friends: his ex-girlfriend Sofia Coppola who received the top Golden Lion award, and his mentor Monte Hellman who was given a special career award. Paolo Mereghetti, film critic for Italian daily Corriere della Sera, wrote this morning that “the [jury] presidency of Quentin Tarantino runs the risk of being the most obvious conflict of interest, given that Somewhere and [Hellman’s] Road to Nowhere seemed charming and intriguing but nothing more”. The London critics weren’t particularly wowed when they reviewed Somewhere after its Venice premiere. “For all the similarities, this does not have the brilliant seriocomic moments of Lost In Translation. If that was her hit single, then this is the B-side,” said the Guardian. The London Evening Standard said the film lacked drama. Tarantino has rejected suggestions of awarding his friends. “I wasn’t going to let anything like that affect me at all,” he told reporters after the awards ceremony. “I was just going to literally respond to the film. There was no me steering any direction.” Tarantino said Coppola’s award had been a unanimous jury decision. “It enchanted us from the first,” said Tarantino, “Being her friend didn’t affect me or make me sway the jury in any way. The other members of the jury don’t know her at all. They just loved the film. We kept coming back to it, as one … Read More »
The director’s fourth film sees her back in Lost in Translation mode rather than the camp period drama of Marie Antoinette, agree London critics. This time it’s Stephen Dorff rather than Bill Murray who’s playing an actor living an affectless life in a flat, blank hotel room. “For all the similarities, this does not have the brilliant seriocomic moments of Lost In Translation. If that was her hit single, then this is the B-side,” says the Guardian. The London Evening Standard says the film has no dramatic moments. Critic Derek Malcolm thinks Somewhere may last in the memory a little longer than Marie Antoinette, if not quite as long as her breakthrough second film. Read More »