BBC America‘s clone drama returned Saturday night with its best-ever A18-49 rating and now is the network’s second-highest-rated series in the demo, behind only Doctor Who. Orphan Black was the No. 1 television show on Twitter and Tumblr for the day and is the No. 1 basic cable drama on Twitter for the week.
Related: Hot TV Trailer: ‘Orphan Black’ Season 2
Orphan Black recorded a total of 785,000 across multiple plays — premiering with 620,000 total viewers and 391,000 demo viewers. On Saturday, the series reached a new high on Twitter, reaching 1.2 million unique users with more than 43,000 tweets about the show. This is up 185% from the previous best (Season 1 finale) and nearly six times greater than the series premiere. The premiere episode alone generated nearly 36,000 tweets, beating several high-profile premieres this season including Fargo, Homeland, True Detective, Vikings, The Americans, Turn and Arrow. On Tumblr, there were 1.8 million notes on posts about Orphan Black in the month leading up to the premiere, including 277,000 on Saturday.
Related: Amazon Prime Instant Video To Stream ‘Orphan Black’ Repeats
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Participant Media‘s network Pivot today announced the pickup of Sky Atlantic’s 12-episode drama series Fortitude starring Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon. The series became available in the U.S. in December when Starz, which originally had committed to the project, pulled out. Pivot is designed as a younger skewing network than Starz, with its target demo being 18-34. As part of its upfront presentation, Pivot also announced an overhaul of its nightly topical series, TakePart Live. Beginning Monday, May 12, the hour-long late-night program will move to primetime (10 PM) with a new producer, Michael Davies’ Embassy Row, which is behind Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead/Bad. Also undergoing makeover is the hosting team of Jacob Soboroff and Cara Santa Maria, with only Soboroff coming back, joined by Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain and comedian Eddie Huang.
Pivot also unveiled a development slate that includes eleven projects from production companies including IAC’s Electus, Universal Cable Prods., FremantleMedia North America/Pukeko Pictures, Funny or Die, and Eyeworks, and revealed premiere 2014-15 dates, including an August 8 debut for the sophomore season of coming-of-age comedy, Please Like Me, and the comedy Human Resources. “Our second slate demonstrates our significant investment in, and commitment to, groundbreaking content for the thought-leading segment of Generation Y we call ‘Upstanders,’” said Pivot president Evan Shapiro. Here is Pivot’s full slate: Read More »
X 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 episodic 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.
UPDATE: Our commenters have been beating on me like I owe them money for spoiling the ending of this episode and not immediately blaring spoiler alerts. I had this thing mostly written, meant to store it when a Brad Pitt break came over the transom but hit publish before it was properly polished with disclaimers. I am truly sorry if I spoiled the episode for anyone. I thought it was fair game after reading recaps all over about the events of this episode (and every other hot show such as The Good Wife, Vikings, Sons Of Anarchy, Boardwalk Empire, take your pick) after a major character is axed. But I’ll know better to be more careful next time.
Related: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Draws 6.3 Million Viewers To Shocker; ‘Silicon Valley’ & ‘Veep’ Steady
SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of Sunday’s episode of Game Of Thrones.
When I first saw the death of the cruel in-bred King Joffrey on Game Of Thrones a month ago, I paused it after that final scene, high-fived my son, and then we watched the scene again three times. When I told this last week to show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (the architects of the George R.R. Martin book adaptation), they tried to temper my enthusiasm going into last night’s episode. We were talking about their feature deal at Fox to write/direct the Stephen Hunter novel Dirty White Boys, but I had to start with Joffrey, and how they played his shocking, and shockingly satisfying, demise. “Didn’t you feel at least a little badly for him,” Benioff asked. “No,” I said. “I could have watched his death scene last the whole episode.” Said Weiss: “But the way we look at it, the actor who plays Joffrey, Jack Gleeson, is such a good guy, and now we don’t get to work with him anymore.” Me: “Sorry for Jack, but that last shot, the bulging eyes, spittle and snot and blood coming out of that nasty little face, I’d wear that on a T-shirt.” They warmed to this idea: “You could do that, and the front could say ‘Spoiler alert,’ and then you have the picture of a dying Joffrey on the back,” Benioff said. Added Weiss: “You could make a whole line of those spoiler T-shirts.”
Related: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Director Talks Shocking Episode, Teases Season 4 Finale
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‘The Good Wife’ Bombshell: Story Behind The Shocking Exit, Showrunners Speak
By Nellie Andreeva
The Good Wife creators/showrunners Michelle and Robert King, discuss a major character’s exit, its impact on the show and what lies ahead.
CNN’s Piers Morgan Signs Off With Final Blast At U.S. Gun Laws (Video)
By Lisa de Moraes
Piers Morgan wrapped his three-year CNN run on Friday night with (gasp!) a full hour of discussion about the missing plane. But in his four-minute final remarks, he couldn’t resist taking a parting shot at the NRA.
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It’s easy to see why the studio would rather focus on the 12-month results. With hit films including Skyfall and The Hobbit, and TV series Vikings and Teen Wolf, full-year revenues jumped 11% to $1.53B. Net income at $122.2M fell 5% but would be up 97% if you factor out the company’s asset sales in 2012 including its $55.6M gain from the sale of MGM Networks. “Growth in revenue and profitability was above our expectations and our operating income of $202 million is higher than any known or reported amount in MGM’s 90-year history,” CEO Gary Barber says. But we pretty much already knew that from the results in the first nine months. What about the new figures for Q4? The company has little to say about that. MGM had to report costs tied to the December release of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug before most of the sales rolled in. That contributed to a 69.6% drop in net income to $12.2M on revenues of $463.7M, – 69.6%. MGM appears to be unfazed as it crows about a 2014 film slate that includes 22 Jump Street, Hercules, If I Stay, and The Hobbit: There And Back Again, as well as a TV lineup that includes the new series Fargo.
History has renewed its first (and only for now) original scripted series Vikings for a third season. Four episodes into its 10-episode second-season run, Vikings has received a 10-episode third-season order to begin production in the summer for a 2015 premiere. Season 2 has averaged 3.4 million total viewers, 1.7 million adults 25-54 and 1.5 million adults 18-49, leading the Thursday 10 PM slot in cable. Additionally, the first two episodes have gotten a +51% lift in Live+7 vs. Live+Same Day viewing, averaging 5.1 million total viewers and +60% growth in adults 25-54 (2.7 million) and adults 18-49 (2.5 million). “Vikings has taken viewers by storm and has established itself as one of the most compelling, visually stunning dramas on television,” said History general manager Dirk Hoogstra. “With its large, passionate and loyal fan base, Vikings has cemented History firmly in the scripted series genre, just as we are the leaders in reality television.” Vikings, which centers on Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), a restless young warrior and family man who longs to find and conquer new lands across the sea and claim the spoils as his own, is produced by MGM Television, which is distributing outside of Ireland and Canada. Hirst executive produces along with Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000, John Weber of Take 5 Prods., Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn and Sheila Hockin.
History has given the green light to its next big-scope miniseries, the eight-hour Texas Rising (working title), for a 2015 premiere. The project, which had been in the works at the cable network for a year and a half, comes from Leslie Greif, the producer of History’s first miniseries, mega hit Hatfields & McCoys. It will feature a big-name cast led by Hatfield & McCoys star Bill Paxton, who earned an Emmy nomination for his role as Randall McCoy. The project will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers.
Paxton will play Sam Houston, the father of Texas. He is joined by Brendan Fraser as Billy Anderson, a Texas Ranger with Comanche Indian ties; Ray Liotta as Lorca, an Alamo survivor seeking brutal revenge; Jeffrey Dean Morgan as “Deaf” Smith, a deaf and grizzled veteran Texas Ranger with an advanced case of consumption; Thomas Jane as James Wykoff, a homesteader who finds himself living in the middle of hostile Indian territory; Olivier Martinez as President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the tyrant dictator of Mexico; Chad Michael Murray as Mirabeau Lamar, a spirited Texas soldier who helps win the battle of San Jacinto; Michael Rapaport as Sgt. Ephraim Knowles, a would-be deserter and coward turned hero; and Max Thieriot as Jack Hays, a volunteer freedom fighter who becomes the youngest Texas Ranger.
Roland Joffé is is directing the mini, from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America, produced by Thinkfactory Media with Greif serving as executive producer. Greif also co-wrote the script for all four two-hour installments with Hatfields & McCoys producer Darrell Fetty; Hatfields co-writer Ted Mann co-wrote Night 1 with them. “From Hatfields & McCoys to The Bible to Vikings, History has made a major commitment to high-quality scripted historical dramas,” said the network’s EVP Dirk Hoogstra, “The Texas Revolution is one of the most gut-wrenching and inspirational events in our history. Doing the story justice will be a massive undertaking and we’re excited to begin production with one of the best teams in the business.” Read More »
How ironic is it that Hollywood studios walk on eggshells with faith-based groups hoping their religious epics like Noah do a fraction of the business Mel Gibson did with The Passion Of The Christ, while those studios continue to shun Gibson like a leper? What better way to commemorate Passion‘s 10th anniversary than journalist Allison Hope Weiner‘s examination of her relationship with Gibson and how it evolved from harsh coverage to the point where she feels strongly enough about his good qualities and recovery to urge Hollywood to consider giving him another chance. Weiner has written about Gibson for Deadline before, as well as The New York Times and other national magazines. – MF
It has been a decade since Mel Gibson made The Passion Of The Christ and watched it become the biggest-grossing independent film with $612 million in worldwide ticket sales. In the years that followed, Gibson made several comments that went public, made him seem anti-Semitic and racist. They made him persona non grata at major studios and agencies, the same ones that work with others who’ve committed felonies and done things far more serious than Gibson, who essentially used his tongue as a lethal weapon. As a journalist who vilified Gibson in The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly until my coverage allowed me to get to know him, I want to make the case here that it is time for those Hollywood agencies and studios to end their quiet blacklisting of Mel Gibson. Once Hollywood’s biggest movie star whose film Braveheart won five Oscars and whose collective box office totals $3.6 billion, Gibson hasn’t been directly employed by a studio since Passion Of The Christ was released in 2004.
The Gibson I’ve come to know isn’t a man who’ll shout from the rooftops that he’s not anti-Semitic, or hold a press conference to tell media those audiotapes were released as part of a shakedown, and that he never assaulted the mother of his infant daughter. He won’t explain to people that he first got himself into a career spiral because he’s a long struggling alcoholic who fell off the wagon and spewed hateful anti-Semitic remarks to an arresting officer who was Jewish. He won’t tell you that he’s still got a lot to offer Hollywood as a filmmaker.
The fact that he won’t jump to his own defense is part of his problem, but also part of why I have grown to respect him. That is why on the occasion of this 10th anniversary of Passion, a film about an innocent man’s willingness to forgive the greatest injustice, I propose to Hollywood that it’s time to forgive Mel Gibson. He has been in the doghouse long enough. It’s time to give the guy another chance. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Following the success of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street, a series project at Fox TV Studios is taking an inside look into the Wall Street culture of greed and excess — this time from the vantage point of its newest recruits. FtvS has optioned journalist Kevin Roose‘s bestselling nonfiction book Young Money: Inside The Hidden World Of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits, an exposé that chronicles the lives and exploits of young Wall Street bankers after the crash of 2008. Burn Notice‘s Alfredo Barrios will write the adaptation, which will be shopped shortly. He is executive producing alongside Alan Gasmer (Vikings) and Peter Jaysen of Veritas Entertainment, who brought the book to FtvS. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) has chosen his next film. He will direct Southpaw, the drama written by Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter set in the boxing world. Jake Gyllenhaal is now set to star as a welterweight champion who rises in his profession while his personal life falls apart. The picture, financed by The Weinstein Company, will start before the cameras this summer. Fuqua was looking at a number of projects to helm but decided on Southpaw, and his deal closed last night. Still to cast is the other lead, Titus ‘Tick’ Willis, a former fighter who was forced to retire after losing an eye and was on his way to becoming a pro trainer but retreated after his son was killed. This is a movie that could include some breakthrough performances as the script plays to cultural diversity.
The project is being produced by Fuqua, Alan Riche and Peter Riche. Gyllenhaal is currently in production on Everest alongside Josh Brolin, Emily Watson and newcomer Clive Standen (Vikings) for Emmett/Furla and Universal. He last starred in the critically-acclaimed Prisoners and in Enemy which opens later this month in limited release via A24. The actor also stars in Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler which does not yet have a distributor. Fuqua is repped by CAA, Gyllenhaal is repped by WME.
Gustaf Skarsgård has signed with Paradigm. The actor who plays Floki on History’s Vikings, has appeared in the recent films Kon-Tiki, Autumn Blood and The Way Back and starred in the Swedish gangster miniseries Ettor och Nollor. Other credits include Kidz In Da Hood, Patrik 1.5 and Trust Me. Skarsgård is additionally repped by Agentfirman Planthaber/Kildén/Mandic.
Chris Hill has signed with Gersh. The British writer’s first feature — horror pic The Rules Of The Game, which he penned with Sam Michell — is in postproduction with director Edward McGown. Hill worked on the UK series Skins, which airs stateside on BBC America. He continues to be repped by Nick Marston of Curtis Brown Group in London,
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios has given a vote of confidence to the current leadership of MGM Television, extending the contracts for Roma Khanna, President, Television Group and Digital; Chris Ottinger, President, International Television Distribution and Acquisitions; Steve Stark, President, Television Production and Development; and John Bryan, President, Domestic Television Distribution until 2016. Khanna continues to report directly to MGM chairman and CEO Gary Barber, while Ottinger, Stark and Bryan will report to Khanna. “MGM television, under Roma’s direction, is stronger than ever, and is an important producer and distributor of content for television and digital platforms worldwide,” said Barber. MGM TV’s portfolio includes series Vikings and Teen Wolf, upcoming limited series Fargo as well as syndicated Paternity Court, Right This Minute and Let’s Ask America. Projects in development include a re-imagining of Fame with Nigel Lythgoe and Marta Kauffman.
The Irish Film and Television Academy has unveiled its nominees for the 11th annual Irish Film and Television Awards, which takes place on April 5 in Dublin. In the Best Film category are Neil Jordan’s Byzantium; John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary; Steph Green’s Run & Jump; Stephen Brown’s The Sea; and John Butler’s The Stag. Ruiri Robinson is nominated for director for his debut sci-fi feature film The Last Days On Mars alongside Butler, Jordan and McDonagh. The Best Actor category includes Brendan Gleeson for Calvary; Domhnall Gleeson for About Time; Ciarán Hinds in The Sea; and The Stag’s Andrew Scott. Antonia Campbell-Hughes is nominated for Best Actress in 3096 Days, alongside Saoirse Ronan in Byzantium; Jane McGrath in Black Ice; and Kelly Thornton in Life’s A Breeze. The male supporting race includes Colin Farrell for Saving Mr Banks; Michael Fassbender for 12 Years A Slave; Edward MacLiam for Run & Jump and Peter McDonald for The Stag. Female supporting actors recognized are Sinead Cusack for The Sea; Fionnula Flannigan for Life’s A Breeze; Amy Huberman for The Stag and Orla O’Rourke for Calvary. Up for Best International Film are 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, Philomena and The Wolf Of Wall Street. Among TV nominees is Gillian Anderson thriller The Fall; HBO’s Game Of Thrones; historical action drama Vikings; period crime series Quirke; and urban drama Love/Hate. Downton Abbey, Moone Boy and Dracula also scored acting nods. The full list of IFTA nominees is here. Read More »
Launching what it calls the UK’s “most complete digital video service” Amazon is upping the ante in its rivalry with Netflix. The online retailer will fold its LoveFilm streaming service into its British website as of February 26 and combine it with Amazon Prime which offers perks like premium delivery services and Kindle ebook borrowing. The combination will effectively make Amazon the UK’s largest digital TV and film streaming provider. LoveFilm, which Amazon acquired in 2011 for about £200M ($334M), will rebrand as Prime Instant Video. It has a catalog of over 15,000 movies and TV episodes and is the main rival to Netflix which launched in the UK in January 2012. Among its TV offerings are The Walking Dead and Vikings which are available the day after their U.S. broadcast. Amazon has pledged to increase its investment in original programming and Prime will offer new series and pilots from Amazon Studios. A la iTunes, the new service will also give users the option of digital downloads and rentals of some 50,000 titles including new releases. The service will come with a £79 ($131.55) annual subscription fee. Amazon says that’s a 35% savings compared to paying for LoveFilm and Amazon Prime separately. Customers who join this week ahead of the launch are being given a discounted rate of £49 ($81.55). Netflix goes for just under £72 … Read More »
After a ten-year hiatus, the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Awards are back and were awarded tonight in a black-tie ceremony with 500 in attendance at the Paramount Studios Theater. Fourteen categories were honored in film, television, commercials and live theater. Two of the films honored tonight — Jackass: Bad Grandpa and Dallas Buyers Club are also in contention for Best Achievement in Make-up and Hairstyling Oscars this year. Katherine Gordon won for hairstyling for American Hustle and although she is in London for the BAFTA Awards, she did send a friend to pick up the awards with a statement thanking Christian Bale “for having the courage of ten men and ten women for allowing that comb over.” Robin Mathews, who was honored for best make-up for Dallas Buyers Club noted that the entire movie was shot in 23 days and she only had a budget of only $250 which left many in the audience to gasp. Mathews actually used cornmeal and grits to give the illusion of dermatitis and had to make her actors look healthier and sick in the span of one day as the actors maintained their weight. Stephen Prouty and Tony Gardner (of Alterian) were on hand to receive the award for Jackass: Bad Grandpa and spoke about the three hours it took every day … Read More »
The much talked-about visual effects in Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller dazzled even the pros, as Gravity floated away with six wins at the VES Awards tonight. The pic won in all but one of its categories, including the big prize of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture. Cuaron capped off his film’s big night with the Visual Effects Society’s Visionary Award. Cuaron accepting his honor said briefly, “Finally, visual effects are merging into the whole process of the cinematic experience,” the filmmaker said in his acceptance speech. “It’s about the integration of lights, sets and even actors.” Gravity continued its awards-season momentum, following up on big wins at the Art Directors Guild Awards, the American Society of Cinematographers Awards and DGA Awards.
Related: What Does DGA Win Mean For ‘Gravity’s Best Picture Chances?
Meanwhile, Frozen further cemented its Oscar front-runner status with wins in all four of its categories. Pacific Rim, which entered the 12th annual VES Awards with six nominations, second only to Gravity, went home empty-handed. And, just like last year, HBO’s Game Of Thrones was the big winner on the TV side with three VES Awards, also missing out in just one of its nommed categories. The evening also featured a tribute to VFX pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died in May, and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Oscar and Emmy winner John Dykstra, whose credits range from the original Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Spider-Man and Django Unchained. As the 186-minute show ending, host Patton Oswalt quipped, “”Omigod! Who’s president now!?”
Here is the complete list of winners, followed by our live blog, with Anthony D’Alessandro on the scene: Read More »
UPDATE, 4:01 PM: The Motion Picture Sound Editors have announced all of its nominees for the 61st annual Golden Reel Awards, which are set to be bestowed February 16 at the the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites in LA. The group unveiled its film noms Wednesday and now has added TV, animation, computer entertainment and student work categories. Here’s is the complete list: Read More »