Samuel L. Jackson Part Of Saturday’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:59am PDT

samuel-l-jackson-quentin-tarantino-sliceOrganizers have treated Film Independent’s staged reading of Quentin Tarantino’s latest script The Hateful Eight like a national security matter, restricting things like cell phones and computers and staying mum on casting ahead of Saturday night’s event. But I have confirmed that Tarantino staple Samuel L Jackson will play a part at reading set for the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. What role he might read remains unknown, but it begs the question what other Tarantino regulars might also participate in the event. (Any guesses, Deadline readers?) Tarantino is casting and directing the show, whose $200 tickets are the hottest in town. That’s no doubt because of the heat surrounding the Western screenplay, which was leaked prematurely and ended up on Gawker — much to the consternation of Tarantino, who then told Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr that because of the breaches he wasn’t going to turn the script into a movie. He later sued Gawker for posting it and a January 27, 2015 trial date has been set; the two sides are currently in court-ordered mediation. Film Independent first fueled the Jackson speculation with a tweet just now:

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Campaign Calls For Crew Boycott As ‘Midnight Rider’ Heads To L.A. For Pre-Prod

By and | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 5:12pm PDT

Sarah Jones death Midnight RiderCrew around Los Angeles are getting word that pre-production on Midnight Rider is starting up in a few weeks back in L.A. with Randall Miller at the helm. Deadline broke the news earlier this week that Miller and his Unclaimed Freight banner were trying to resume filming on the Gregg Allman biopic following the tragic death of camera assistant Sarah Jones in Georgia. The decision to continue with the film has prompted a flurry of tweets to Allman and has given rise to a new Facebook page called “I REFUSE to work on Midnight Rider” which the daughter of director John Frankenheimer said everyone should join.

Midnight Rider Facebook Boycott

Jones, 27, was killed February 20 in Wayne County, GA in a train collision during filming on the pic. Seven other crew members were injured and multiple investigations are underway to determine the responsible parties.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

“Morally how can he continue, knowing that his decision cost Sarah Jones her life? He had the ability to say no,” said Frankenheimer, who works as a location manager. “As the daughter of a director and I know that the director is the final voice. And if the director and producer allow it to happen, they have to accept responsibility.” She added: “It infuriates me. I find it an affront to all of us. “He doesn’t deserve a crew of any kind. No one should agree to work on this film. I find it shameful. I cannot believe that this man has the chutzpah to do this. If you don’t speak up then that’s just as bad.”

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Ciaran Foy To Direct ‘Sinister’ Sequel

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 4:55pm PDT

Blumhouse and Entertainment One have inked Ciaran Foy to helm Sinister 2, the sequel to the micro-budget horror movie. Production starts in July on the follow to the Lionsgate/Summit pic, which starred Ethan Hawke and grossed more than $77M worldwide on a budget of $3M. Foy’s first writer-director effort, Citadel, won the Midnighter Audience Award at SXSW in 2012. That pic (check out the trailer for it below) carries some of the same DNA as the original Sinister, which starred Hawke as a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a supernatural nightmare. Scott Derrickson, who directed the original and co-wrote the script with C. Robert Cargill, announced Foy got the gig today on his Twitter feed:

Derrickson and Cargill are back as co-writers for the sequel. eOne is financing and Blumhouse International is handling foreign sales via a worldwide distribution and servicing deal with IM Global. Executive producers are Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Charles Layton, and Xavier Marchand and Patrice Théroux for eOne.

Here’s the Citadel trailer:

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Selena Gomez Leaves CAA; Signs With WME, Brillstein

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 4:33pm PDT

Selena Gomez WMEFormer Disney star and recording artist Selena Gomez has exited as a client of CAA and has signed with WME. The 21-year-old singer and ex-Wizards of Waverly Place actress has also signed with Brillstein Entertainment Partners as she restructures her team and transitions from teen star to more adult projects. I hear the change has been long in the works as Gomez has taken meetings around town with various management firms. Last year she made a bold leap playing a partying coed in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. Gomez has a huge social media following, with 57.9M Facebook fans and 19.3M Twitter followers. She’ll next be seen in William H. Macy’s directorial debut, Rudderless, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Gomez continues to be repped by attorney P.J. Shapiro.

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How Social Media Helps Drive ABC’s ‘Scandal’

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 4:12pm PDT

ABP-8201 Scandal KeyArt.inddABC‘s D.C. fixer drama Scandal has built big ratings in three seasons with a potent mix of often ridiculous plot twists and creator Shonda Rhimes’ savvy use of social media, which has bound fans closely to the show and its stars. That combo has paid off: Ahead of tonight’s season finale, which is certain to feature another signature shocker, Scandal has added 3 million viewers (for 11.5 million total). It’s up even more in the key adults 18-49 demo, +43% compared with last season, according to Nielsen. That demographic also represents most of the heaviest social-media users and is fervently sought by marketers.

Related: ‘Scandal’: Shonda Rhimes Does It Again With Season Finale

Scandal table with red borderScandal‘s OMG moments, and the chance to feverishly chat about them online as they happen, have glued fans to the show’s actual broadcasts, instead of waiting to watch an episode later on DVR, VOD or Hulu. To further stick fans to their TV-side seats, Rhimes and other show principals including star Kerry Washington also take part, tweeting and posting with fans before, during and after airings. That close connection has been a crucial part of the show’s growth. According to RelishMIX, the social-media analytics firm, followings for those show-connected accounts have exploded — led by Washington’s Facebook account, which jumped an eye-popping 466% in Season 3. That comes after an offseason filled with awards appearances that really fueled the show’s social-media growth. In fact, says RelishMIX CEO Marc Karzen, the biggest growth in Washington’s Facebook account happened in and around her (very pregnant) appearances at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Those red carpet photos set fans abuzz for days.

Related: ‘Scandal’ Among Peabody Award Winners

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Cannes Lineup: ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘Mr Turner’, ‘The Homesman’, ‘Maps To The Stars’ In Competition; Ryan Gosling, Wim Wenders In UCR; ‘The Rover’, ‘The Salvation’ At Midnight

Cannes2014_badgeCannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux is about to unveil the Official Selection lineup for the 67th running of the event which kicks off May 14 with Nicole Kidman in Grace Of Monaco. Folks are settled in at the UGC Normandie movie theater on the Champs-Elysées to get some clarity on the rampant speculation that annually precedes the daddy of all international festivals. Will Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice be in the mix? Which of the myriad French movies made the cut? Has Cannes pinned down the Foxcatcher premiere? I’ll be updating the titles as they are revealed, so keep refreshing for the latest.

Related: Cannes: Lineup Has Few Surprises, Big Canadian Presence & Lots Of Female Helmers

Cannes Film Festival Lineup 2014Opening Film: Grace Of Monaco, dir: Olivier Dahan
Closing Film: To be announced

COMPETITION
Winter Sleep, dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Clouds Of Sils Maria, dir: Olivier Assayas
Saint Laurent, dir: Bertrand Bonello
Maps To The Stars, dir: David Cronenberg
Two Days, One Night, dirs: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Mommy, dir: Xavier Dolan
The Captive, dir: Atom Egoyan
Goodbye To Language, dir: Jean-Luc Godard
The Search, dir: Michel Hazanavicius
Jimmy’s Hall, dir: Ken Loach
The Homesman, dir: Tommy Lee Jones
Futatsume No Mado, dir: Naomi Kawase
Mr Turner, dir: Mike Leigh
Foxcatcher, dir: Bennett Miller
Leviathan, dir: Andrey Zvyaginstev
Wild Tales, dir: Damian Szifron
Le Meraviglie, dir: Alice Rohrwacher
Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako

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Warner Bros Bringing ‘Godzilla’, ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’ & ‘Into The Storm’ To WonderCon

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 5:41pm PDT

warner_bros_logo-2__130321233618__130419003343__131121204956__131213030736__140121202406__140209183407__140215004412__140226000049The studio tweeted today that it is bringing three of its high-priority summer pics to the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend. Saturday’s Warner Bros panel will cover the rebooted creature feature Godzilla, Tom Cruise’s futuristic war pic Edge Of Tomorrow – whose teaser trailer aired during last night’s MTV Movie Awards — and tornado actioner Into The Storm. The annual sci-fi, movie and comic book confab runs Friday to Sunday.

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BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Captain America 2′ Tally $41.2M, ‘Rio 2′ Runs Afowl With $39.3M, ‘Oculus’ $12M Over Disappointing Opener ‘Draft Day’ With Only $9.7M

OPENING: Rio 2 (FOX) on Friday was expected to fly to No. 1 for $43.9M to $44.3M (Fox was the only one to predict $45M), then Saturday got its wings clipped by Captain America: The Winter Soldier and ended at $39.3M, Oculus (REL) was expected to scare up $12M to $12.8M for third spot and ended up at $12M; Draft Day (LGF) on Fri. was second round pick for $10.9M (although Summit estimated lower $10.5M) and ended the weekend with $9.7M. NOTEWORTHY: Captain America 2 (DIS) expected to fall 56% in second weekend but will take No. 1 with $40.5M to $41.4M to end the 3-day with $41.2M.

BoxOffice_logo__131122164403-275x206UPDATED, MONDAY, 3:37 PM:  Rio 2 opened to $39.3M right in line with the first film which opened in 2011 to $39.2M. That hurts, but overseas, the film has already grossed $63.4M, so it has already pulled in over $100M worldwide and it should get some decent multiples as there is really nothing standing in its way for some weeks to come … well, there is the long- in-release Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Muppets Most Wanted. But for the sequel not to surge past the first film, something went a little haywire. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the champ again this weekend and the final tally ended up at $41.2M but next weekend, it has competition when Warner Bros. opens the Johnny Depp sci-fi thriller Transcendence. The big disappointment of the weekend was the Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner football feature Draft Day (LGF). It took in only $9.7M. That’s three in a row for Costner that really didn’t thrill audiences — behind 3 Days To Kill and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, although the criticism for that film really was directed at Chris Pine not being a strong enough lead. Regardless, it’s too bad for all involved. Oculus, despite its C CinemaScore, was able to pull in $12M for the weekend which served Relativity well. Noah also bypassed Divergent to step into the Top Five. Read More »

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CBS’s Stephen Colbert Hire Shakes Up Late Night — And Far Right

LettermanColbert

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198The day after CBS’s bombshell announcement that Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman  on Late Show, when things calmed down a bit and reason returned to her throne, industry pundits began to contemplate the deeper meaning of the shift in the late-night landscape. Practically speaking, it means Comedy Central is now one late-night show short — and CBS may be as well, if Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, or the network, decides to call it a day now that Craig’s for sure not getting the 11:35 PM timeslot.  We’ve all been brought up to speed on the clause in Craig’s contract that landed him a pot of cash if the network settled elsewhere on its Letterman replacement. But Ferguson was quick to tweet his congratulations to Colbert the morning the news broke. That night, Ferguson opened his show with another shout out to Colbert, after which he teased viewers with cracks about resigning — but only for the length of a commercial break. Read More »

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Robert Downey, Jr. Finally Gets His Own Twitter Account, Reflective Of Social Media’s Importance To Film Marketing

Kodak TheatreThe Iron Man himself has finally joined Twitter. With only 4 tweets this morning, he’s dipped his toe into the social media universe. Within hours, Downey has tallied 912K followers. Wow, word travels fast. And why not? Iron Man is a billion dollar franchise for Marvel since they first introduced Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in 2008. Worldwide the first film grossed $585M, the second one, $623.9M and the third, $1.2B. The next Marvel title for the actor is Avengers: Age of Ultron which will bow May 1, 2015 from Disney. Welcome to the SMU, Mr. Downey, No doubt, Disney and Marvel are thrilled. The actor has long been a strong presence on social media due to his many fans who call him #RDJ. His fans post video bits from the actor from media, on-stage award shows, red carpet appearances, and other media events showcasing the wise-cracking, irreverance. His opening Tweet:

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‘Sharknado 2′ Producers Are Willing To Add An Extra Scene — If Fans Cough Up $50,000

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 9:01pm PDT

SharknadoIt seems everyone has an opinion on Sharknado — even if they never saw it. Maybe especially if they never saw it. Those who are obsessed or distressed over the hit Syfy telefilm now can vent their glee or anger by pitching in (or not) to pay for an extra scene in the upcoming sequel. The Asylum, which produced the 2013 original and is working on Sharknado 2: The Second One, has come up with a plan to use Indiegogo to raise $50,000 to create another scene for the new pic, which is due to air in July. Those who contribute to the campaign, which runs through May 30, will get some Sharknado 2 swag and an exclusive window on production, from behind-the-scenes footage to breaking news and advance DVD copies. Naturally, the more they plunk down, the better the booty: People who pony up for the “Platinum Rewards Level” get a paid trip to the premiere party, plus an associate producer credit. (Don’t forget to tell IMDb.) No details on what will happen in the new scene, if indeed it gets funded. Your guesses are welcome. Hey, maybe a sharknado will touch down in on a joint session of Congress! Or a Real Housewives convention! While we wait, here’s a reminder of how Round 1 of Humans vs. Sharknado went: Read More »

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Can Stephen Colbert Compete With The Jimmys In Late-Night Social Media Wars?

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 6:39pm PDT

late-show-with-colbert-logo_In all today’s news about The Colbert Report host taking over as host of Late Show sits one question David Letterman never really tried to answer: How will Stephen Colbert use social media to lock in a young, eagerly sought TV audience that isn’t much interested in mainstream entertainment?

Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet

The social-media crews behind late-night competitors Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have been flooding online audiences with viral YouTube videos and nifty posts on Twitter and Facebook, each trying to grab audience attention that will translate to TV ratings. Now, the team behind The Colbert Report, itself a social-media power, will attempt to transition its audience to broadcast TV and Late Show. Deadline reached out to our pals at RelishMIX, who analyze social-media engagement for TV shows and films, for a quick look at who’s doing what right now on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The verdict? Colbert is already in good shape on Facebook and Twitter, if he can transition his fan base, but he has a lot of work to do on YouTube, where The Jimmys rule by a massive margin. ”With the Fallon/Kimmel battle on YouTube, we’ll see how Colbert builds his team to compete,” said RelishMIX CEO Marc Karzen. “Is CBS betting that Colbert’s 13 million [social media] fans will move over with him? Stay tuned.”

Related: Moonves Takes A ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap

Here are the breakdowns by platform of followers for all the late-night contenders, according to RelishMIX. Remember that RelishMIX measures not just the official feeds from each show but also those of each show’s stars and other principals and, importantly, the “superfans” on each platform who are not directly connected to the show but are busily sharing and posting in support of the core brand. It’s designed to capture all the social-media connections being made around a show, not just the official stuff.

Twitter

Colbert’s show is fourth overall here, even after ceremonially (and quite amusingly) blowing up his @ColbertReport Twitter feed last week. The stunt was a clever bit of social-media jujitsu, done live in the presence of a Twitter executive after some activists perceived a tweet from the show to be racially insensitive. Colbert will need to be even lighter on his feet with Twitter under the glare of broadcast TV attention. As it is, though, Colbert already is leading Kimmel’s show by 2 million followers, or a whopping 42 percent.

RelishMIX-ColbertTWITTER

 

 

Related: Stephen Colbert Reacts To ‘Late Show’ Hire

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CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet Despite Practically Perfect Stephen Colbert Hire

CBS Late Show marqueeCBS’ 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. But don’t get out of your seats yet – the drama’s not over. CBS execs are thought to be frustrated with Craig Ferguson’s show that follows Dave’s (it is co-produced by CBS and Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, which will depart as Late Show producer when its boss retires.) Ferguson’s numbers have not broadened out as CBS had hoped, and there are rumblings that CBS isn’t done yet and we should expect another move to come. On the bright side, Ferguson will now benefit from the lucrative (reportedly in the neighborhood of $5M) succession clause in his contract, CBS having made its other choice.

Related: David Letterman On Stephen Colbert’s Hire

Asked about Ferguson’s future at the network, CBS chief Leslie Moonves today acknowledged Ferguson’s contract is up soon, adding, “we’re having conversations” and “there is nothing to report now.”

Craig Ferguson LettermanMoonves being a confirmed showman, his network went into information lock-down the instant Letterman announced his retirement last Thursday. Since then, until this morning’s Colbert news, network execs approached by reporters with succession questions took on the cautious reserve usually seen in cbs-logo__120711164808__121116195436__130108233101__130716162250__130926192712__131121001522better breeds of canines when offered a piece of green leafy vegetable by a stranger of whose bona fides they are not convinced. The reporters, who had flung themselves at their computers and pounded out their Dave Is Leaving copy in an ecstasy of Era-Ending Grief, tore through the list of supposed candidates, most of whom were dismissable:

* Leno, who went out on top in the late-night ratings — a storyline worth sticking with.

* Chelsea Handler, who had a jump-start over the others, having already begun her E! Is a Sad, Sad Place To Live Tour in search of a new late-night job, but who is one of those tough modern female comics, with their sardonic eyes and their freedom of speech and breadth of vocabulary, which made her a lousy fit for Moonves, who is passionate about legacy and prestige.

* Neil Patrick Harris, consummate song-and-dance man and a longtime player at The Les Moonves Repertoire Theatre, who, though a much better fit than, say Handler, took himself out of the running when he said late-night would be an insane amount of work, and he hadn’t actually been approached.

* Tina Fey, a member of The Lorne Michaels Repertory Theatre, who would have had to competing against Michaels’ exec produced The Tonight Show, now hosted by her former SNL Weekend Update partner Jimmy Fallon.

* Louis C.K., who only made the list because, on his FX comedy, he once played a version of himself who was in line to replace Letterman, and the media loves art-imitates-life gags.

* Jimmy Kimmel, who only made the list because he told TV Guide last month, “I’d definitely consider it,” when asked if he’d go to CBS to replace Dave, adding, “I am loyal to ABC and grateful to them for giving me a shot… I’m not looking to flee. But just getting a call from Dave would be big for me. So it’s definitely something I would listen to.”

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Stephen Colbert Reacts To ‘Late Show’ Hire

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 12:29pm PDT

Colbert-Report__130807045707-275x224CBS announced its decision today that its new Late Show host will be Stephen Colbert, who said how “thrilled and grateful” he was to get the gig when David Letterman retires in 2015. Colbert has now released statement confirming he will be retiring the faux conservative talk-show host character he has played on Comedy’s Central‘s The Colbert Report since 2005 when his run there ends at the end of the year. Here’s his statement today:

Related: David Letterman On Stephen Colbert’s Hire

“I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. I’m looking forward to it….​​”

Craig Ferguson, whose Late Late Show follows Letterman’s on CBS, tweeted his congratulations for Colbert thusly:

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Rupert Murdoch Talks About Succession, Politics, And His Greatest “Screwup”: Fortune

murdoch-rupertRupert Murdoch is all over Twitter. (“My family are horrified that I’m on it,” he says.) But in agreeing to sit down for a broad interview with Fortune, one of the media industry’s most powerful moguls signals that he’s finally ready to return in a serious way to the public stage that he has largely abandoned as he grappled with his UK hacking scandals and a bitter divorce, as well as uncertainty about the prospects for his media empire — which he split into two companies last year — and his succession plans. You should check out the piece by senior editor-at-large Pattie Sellers. Here are a few of the highlights:

Related: Rupert Murdoch Says There May Be Multiple ‘Avatar’ Sequels: Fortune

Succession: His sons James and Lachlan are first in line to take over although “I’m going to be here for a long time. And so will [Fox COO] Chase Carey and [News Corp CEO]  Robert Thomson.” murdochsThe effort to bring Lachlan back intensified after a private meeting with James at last year’s Allen & Co confab in Sun Valley. “We had two or three hours together. Lachlan was not not going to come back. It was a question of how we would work together.”

Related: Lachlan And James Murdoch Given Big New Roles At News Corp

Daughter Liz Murdoch’s decision not to join the News Corp board: Rupert says he’d “rather not go into that.” A lot of close families “have good arguments. That doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.” And it’s “more than possible” that she’ll return to the family business.

Who’ll be the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidate: Murdoch says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is “my number one” calling him “a man of very fine character.” He also has “particular admiration” for Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “could recover” from inquiries into his possible role in manufactured traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. Murdoch agrees with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on “a great number of things” but disagrees on foreign policy “too strongly perhaps to vote for him.”

His view of Hillary Clinton: He left open the possibility of supporting her but “it would depend on the Republican candidate totally.” He adds that he “could live with Hillary as President. We have to live with who we get. We don’t have any choice.” Read More »

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MIPTV: Is Turkey As Hot As It’s Cracked Up To Be? Can Formats Really Go West?

By | Wednesday, 9 April 2014 18:37 UK

mip tv logo 2For about six months, the industry has been buzzing about Turkey and its potential as a fresh source of adaptable formats. That’s been spurred on by recent deals with the U.S., a successful export track record in neighboring regions, and a growing need for unique formats on the part of Western buyers. But, in the half-year since 2013’s Mipcom, people are wondering whether Turkey can really emerge as a new proving ground to be cultivated by the West, or if executives have been prematurely excited by some groundbreaking in-roads.

turkish flagTurkey, which straddles Europe and Asia, has historically traded in series and soaps with largely local and historical themes. And its production industry is growing. According to data released at last month’s Discop market, it has surpassed Latin America to be the most prolific drama-producing nation outside the U.S. Other recent data says that a majority of Turkish channels air more than 100 new shows a year. Those are for the most part exported to the rest of the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, bringing in about $150M in 2013.

the end turkeyBut outside those territories there wasn’t much action until October last year. During the Mipcom market, Turkey made a big entrance into the U.S. with the first scripted format set up at a network by American producers when Ghost Whisperer alums Ian Sander and Kim Moses sold the Eccho Rights-repped The End to Fox. Unlike much Turkish output, the story is contemporary and has a universal feel. It centers on a woman who must navigate a web of lies and intrigue as she searches for her husband whom she presumed dead following a plane crash — but it turns out, he never boarded the plane. Produced by local powerhouse Ay Yapim, it aired in the first half of 2012. In the past six months, The End (or Son in Turkish) has been sold into Germany and Russia for local versions, while Shine France took an option and Netflix signed a non-exclusive agreement for the original in Sweden and the UK. The End has also aired on SVT in Sweden, the first time a Turkish drama had been shown in primetime on a national channel — it doubled the slot average. Read More »

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NBC Press Day: ‘Last Comic Standing’ Producers, Judges On Twitter, Upcoming Season & More

Twitter is not a comic’sNBCUniversal Events - Season 2014 best friend, the producers and judges of NBC’s exhumed Last Comic Standing said today at NBC Press Day.  “I want to see you on stage with that mike, then I’m going to get it,” judge Keenen Ivory Wayans said. “I don’t know where the jokes come from when they’re online. It’s not real to me unless I see you with a microphone.”

“I enjoy it, because I like to provoke people and get them pissed off,” judge Roseanne Barr jumped in. “The whole heckler thing is why I got into it. I like being fast with the retort…I like to block people too.”

Next month, NBC returns Last Comic Standing, with new judges Barr, Wayans, and Russell Peters, new host JB Smoove , new format, new celebrity guests, and invitation-only auditions. This reality television talent show aired its first seven seasons from 2003 to 2010. Last November, NBC announced the show’s latest 13-episode order. Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz of Push It Prods. executive produce for Universal Television through their deal with the studio, along with The Marriage Ref‘s Javier Winnik. Read More »

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Shorty Awards Winners Announced

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 8:52pm PDT

Jerry Seinfeld, Aaron Paul and Batkid were among the big winners tonight as the 6th annual Shorty Awards for the best in social media were handed out in New York. The trophy show, which this year added a category for best Vine video, honors various online video, business, entertainment, journalism and social-media stars. Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee was voted best web show, while Paul was tapped as favorite actor Parks And Recreation‘s Retta took the actress prize. Other winners included Patton Oswalt, Paul Feig and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson. Will Ferrell picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here’s Seinfeld’s taped acceptance speech. The full list of winners is after the jump:

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Maryland Passes Tax Credit Legislation With Eye On Keeping ‘House Of Cards’

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 8:33pm PDT

House of CardsFrank Underwood appears to have won his latest stare-down. After a tense standoff with House Of Cards producer Media Rights Capital, Maryland politicians have ended their holdout and are set to boost the state’s film tax credit program to keep the Netflix drama filming there. The General Assembly has approved the new legislation to increase the allocation ceiling from $7.5 million to $18.5 million, which likely would be enough to keep the show in the state. MRC, which had planned to start shooting the third season of the D.C.-set drama in early spring, received about $26 million in Maryland tax credits for its first two season, according to reports. The production company has been seeking a tax credit for Season 3 in line with Season 2′s $15 million, which had been impossible with Maryland’s cap at $7.5 million. Read More »

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