2013-14 NBC New Series
About A Boy – Based on the best-selling Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”) novel, writer Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) and director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Revolution”) present a different kind of coming-of-age story. Will Freeman (David Walton, “Bent,” “Perfect Couples”) lives a charmed existence as the ultimate man-child. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He’s single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona (Minnie Driver, “Good Will Hunting,” “Barney’s Version”), a needy single mom and her oddly charming 11-year-old son, Marcus (Benjamin Stockham, “1600 Penn”), move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will’s not so sure about being a kid’s new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. That changes everything and a deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will’s son and, in return, Marcus is allowed to chill at Will’s house. Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy the visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid. In fact, this newfound friendship may very well teach him a thing or two that he never imagined possible — about himself and caring for others. Writer Jason Katims, director Jon Favreau, Tim Bevan (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Eric Fellner (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Liza Chasin (“Les Misérables,” “About … Read More »
Family comedies and action dramas dominate NBC‘s new series additions for next season. NBC is introducing six series in the fall — comedies Welcome to the Family, Sean Saves the World, and The Michael J. Fox Show; and dramas The Blacklist, Ironside and Dracula; with five more set for midseason– comedies The Family Guide and About A Boy, and dramas Believe, Crisis and Crossbones. (Dracula and Crossbones were carried over from last upfront/off-season). Not scheduled yet are newly picked up dramas Chicago PD and The Night Shift and comedy Undateable as well as last-minute renewal Community. On the returning series side, missing from the announcement are long-time reality staple Celebrity Apprentice and well reviewed freshman drama Hannibal as NBC is yet to make a pickup decision on both. Here is NBC’s fall and midseason schedules with analysis and new series descriptions underneath. As expected, the network is spreading its launches between the fall and spring, tied to its Winter Olympics coverage:
NBC FALL 2013-14 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 p.m. – “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. – “THE BLACKLIST”
8-9 p.m. – “The Biggest Loser” (New Day and Time)
9-10 p.m. – “The Voice” (New time)
10-11 p.m. – “Chicago Fire” (New Day and Time)
8-9 p.m. – “Revolution” (New Day and Time)
9-10 p.m. – ”Law & Order: SVU”
10-11 p.m. – “IRONSIDE”
8-8:30 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation” (New time)
8:30-9 p.m. – “WELCOME TO THE FAMILY”
9-9:30 p.m. – “SEAN SAVES THE WORLD”
9:30-10 p.m. – “THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW”
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood” (New Day and Time)
8-9 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
9-10 p.m. – “Grimm”
10-11 p.m. – “DRACULA”
7:00-8:15 p.m. – “Football Night in America”
8:15-11:30 p.m. – “NBC Sunday Night Football” Read More »
After a couple of days of intense and complex negotiations between NBC and Sony TV, all four projects that were part of the talks received orders by NBC. That includes The Blacklist, the highest testing NBC drama pilots in 10 years, blended family comedy pilot Welcome To The Family and off-cycle medical drama pilot The Night Shift, all picked up to series. (Sony’s fifth pilot at NBC this year, comedy Brenda Forever, remains in contention.) And of course, Community. A day after the cult comedy ended its fourth season, it got a fifth. The renewal is for 13 episodes. Here are descriptions of NBC’s newly picked up Sony series:
For decades, ex-government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, “The Office,” “Boston Legal”) has been one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as “The Concierge of Crime.” Now, he’s mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone, “Law & Order: Los Angeles”), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it’s going to be one hell of a first day on the job. What follows is a twisting series of events as the race to stop … Read More »
Pop culture icon Annette Funicello, who began her TV and movie career as a 13-year-old member of the original Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s and grew into a movie star and singer and a teenage boy’s fantasy, died today at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield. She was 70. The Walt Disney Company said she passed peacefully from complications due to multiple sclerosis, a disease she battled for over 25 years. Disney CEO Bob Iger commented: “Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mousketeer, and a true Disney Legend. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life.”
According to Disney’s official obituary, Funicello was born October 22, 1942, in Utica, NY and was 4 years old when her family moved to Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. She was discovered by Walt Disney at age 13 while dancing the lead in Swan Lake at the Starlight Bowl … Read More »
UPDATED: FX has given the green light to the first limited series under the cable network’s push in that programming area — an adaptation of Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 comedic crime drama Fargo.
Additionally, FX president John Landgraf announced several high-profile limited/miniseries projects in development as the genre will become a cornerstone for FX’s sibling FXM (Fox Movie Channel): Grand Hotel from Sam Mendes, about a fictional terrorist plot in Paris; Sutton, from Alexander Payne and Michael De Luca, about the infamous bank robber; Mad Dogs, from The Shield‘s Shawn Ryan, based on the British black comedy/psychological thriller miniseries; and Mayflower, from producers Paul Giamatti and Gil Netter (Life Of Pi). (See their descriptions below.)
Related: FX Officially Unveils FXX Channel To Launch In September Read More »
With Merlin casting its final spell on BBC One last Christmas, the team behind the fantasy-adventure series is getting to work on its latest fantasy project, Atlantis. Shooting starts next month in Wales and Morocco on the 13-part BBC One drama series created by Merlin writer Howard Overman and exec produced by Overman and Merlin creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy. The ambitious project is set in the mythical city of Atlantis, and re-imagines Greek myths and legends for a new generation. Mark Addy (The Syndicate, Game Of Thrones), Juliet Stevenson (The Hour, Truly Madly Deeply), Sarah Parish (Mistresses), Robert Emms (War Horse), Jemima Rooper, Jack Donnelly and Aiysha Hart star. Atlantis will begin airing in Merlin‘s old BBC One timeslot on Saturday nights in the fall. Bethan Jones is exec producing for Doctor Who producer BBC Cymru Wales.
BBC One/BBC America co-production The Musketeers is a 10-part drama that puts a new spin on the classic Alexandre Dumas tale. My Week With Marilyn scribe Adrian Hodges is penning the series that’s due to air next year. The ensemble cast now includes Peter Capaldi (The Hour, The Thick Of It) as the shadowy Cardinal Richelieu and Luke Pasqualiano (Skins, The Borgias) as D’Artagnan. Santiago Cabrera (Merlin, Heroes), Tom Burke (The Hour) and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Howard Charles are the titular Musketeers. Also starring are Hugo Speer (next up in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac), The Inbetweeners Movie and Being Human’s Tamla Kari and Maimie McCoy. Shooting starts next month.
The Musketeers is a contemporary take on the classic story about a group of highly trained soldiers and bodyguards assigned to protect King and country. It’s set on the streets of 17th century Paris and will feature a fresh story each week, kicking off when skilled fighter D’Artagnan meets Musketeers Athos, Aramis and Porthos while on a mission to avenge his father’s death. Hodges said, “This series is all about passion, romance, heroism and action.” The most recent screen adaptation of The Three Musketeers was Paul W.S. Anderson’s 2011 feature that starred Matthew Macfadyen, Milla Jovovich and Luke Evans. Read More »
Harry, He’s Here To Help and Lemming director Dominik Moll has come aboard to helm the The Tunnel, the Franco-British adaptation of Scandinavian series The Bridge. Shooting starts this month on the Sky Atlantic/Canal Plus co-production from Kudos Film and TV and Shine France Films in association with Filmlance. As I reported last week, the 10-part drama stars Harry Potter actress Clémence Poésy and Game Of Thrones‘ Stephen Dillane as detectives investigating the death of a French politician who are forced into an uneasy partnership as they seek out a politically-motivated serial killer. Also joining the cast are Game Of Thrones‘ Joseph Mawle, Da Vinci’s Demons‘ Tom Bateman, Dancing On The Edge and Merlin‘s Angel Coulby, Silent Witness‘ Tobi Bakare, French actors Jeanne Balibar, Thibault de Montalembert and Mathieu Carrièrre and British actor Jack Lowden. The second episode will also feature Upstairs Downstairs‘ Keeley Hawes and veteran British actress Liz Smith.
Merlin will cast its final spell on BBC One this Christmas. The fantasy-adventure show that’s loosely based on Arthurian legend airs on Syfy in the U.S. and will end after five seasons. Co-creators and exec producers Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy say the series is bowing out at its natural climax, with the finale bringing an end to the battle for Camelot. Capps and Murphy have also announced they are leaving Shine TV, producer of the show, at the end of the year to start their own production company. Shine and FremantleMedia Enterprises, which handles the show internationally, are in the early stages of developing potential Merlin spinoffs using the universe created in the series. Any future shows would be produced by Shine’s Kudos in partnership with FME. Merlin debuted in 2008 and stars Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Katie McGrath, Angel Coulby, Richard Wilson and the voice of John Hurt. Its other international broadcast partners include Germany’s Super RTL, France’s Canal+ and Australia’s Network Ten.
Syfy and Hulu have acquired Primeval: New World. Syfy has picked up the US basic cable rights to the Primeval spinoff series for a 2013 premiere. It joins a growing slate of acquired series on the sci-fi cable network, including Lost Girl, Merlin and the upcoming Sinbad. The original Primeval series aired on BBC America where it was a top draw. Syfy sibling Hulu has acquired the SVOD and AVOD U.S. rights to Primeval: New World for its Hulu and Hulu Plus services. The deals were made by Entertainment One, which distributes the series produced by Omnifilm Entertainment. Read More »
Tom Hopper has become the first actor cast in Black Sails, Starz’s eight-episode series executive produced by Michael Bay. Set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, the series chronicles the adventures of fabled buccaneer Captain Flint and his men aboard the Walrus. Hopper will play Billy Bones, the first mate of The Walrus who is caught in the middle of the power struggle between Flint and his main dissenter Singleton. Hopper, repped by Paradigm, Station 3′s Peter McGrath and UK’s Waring and McKenna, played Sir Percival on the BBC series Merlin for the past two seasons.
Nick Chinlund (Desperate Housewives) has been cast in a recurring role on ABC’s new thriller drama series 666 Park Ave, set at the Drake, a spooky Manhattan apartment building. He will play Victor Shaw, a powerful adversary to the building’s owner Gavin (Terry O’Quinn) who tries to take control of the Drake. Chinlund is with Gilbertson Entertainment and Innovative Artists. Read More »
Caleb Landry Jones has been cast in the lead role in the John Boorman-directed Broken Dream. The project was set to move into production with River Phoenix nearly 20 years ago until River’s untimely death. Boorman has been searching for the right actor to play the role ever since. The story is described as a love story that takes place in a futuristic world. Boorman co-wrote the script with Neil Jordan. Boorman will also produce with Kieran Corrigan of Merlin Films in Ireland. John Hurt is attached to play Jones’ father. Casting for the female lead opposite Jones is underway.
BREAKING: In a move that was expected, writer/director David Dobkin has moved from CAA to WME, rejoining his longtime agent Dan Aloni. The Wedding Crashers helmer is right in the midst of casting Arthur & Lancelot, his rendering of the Knights of the Roundtable tale that he sold in a spec deal north of $2 million. Dobkin and Warner Bros have overcome obstacles–an original $130 million budget prompted the studio to let Dobkin shop it elsewhere, and Kit Harington and Joel Kinnaman came and went, as did another incarnation with Colin Farrell. The studio and Dobkin found common ground on budget, and Warner Bros is in talks with Gary Oldman to play Merlin. There have been rumblings of thesps like Tom Hardy, but that depends on his Fury Road schedule. Dobkin is producing through his Big Kid Pictures banner.
As a writer/producer, Dobkin recently wrapped photography on RIPD for Universal, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, and produced the Bryan Singer-directed Jack The Giant Killer for New Line, starring Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, and Bill Nighy. He’s developing The Judge as a directing vehicle, with Robert Downey Jr. attached to star, and is producing the reboot of Vacation for New Line.
Dobkin is one of the last of Aloni’s tenured clients to jump ship, and he was with the agent for 15 years. Among the clients that joined Aloni at WME are Chris Nolan, Mike Myers, Jay Roach, David Goyer, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Setting the leads for Arthur & Lancelot is proving as elusive as pulling the sword from the stone. Colin Farrell, who’d been in early talks to play Lancelot in the latest configuration of the David Dobkin-directed film for Warner Bros, is out. Scheduling is the reason, I’m told. There is a lot of prep and training required for the action heavy role of Lancelot, and it didn’t work out. Warner Bros, which rejected the project because it cost $20 million more than the $110 million that the studio was willing to spend, got back in the mix with the idea of pairing Farrell with Gary Oldman (for Merlin) and an actor to play King Arthur (I heard the studio approached James McAvoy and other actors). Warner Bros, which paid $2 million to acquire Dobkin’s script last summer, is eager to make the movie and cast will materialize quickly, I’m told.
This is the second cast configuration. Warner Bros, which dated the film for a March 15, 2013 release, had cast Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington to play Arthur and The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman to play Lancelot. Even though Kinnaman was subsequently cast in the title character of MGM’s Robocop remake and Harington returns as a major character in the second season of the HBO series, the studio was being nervous about a big budget with unproven stars.
BREAKING: Warner Bros, which late last year put the brakes on David Dobkin’s Arthur & Lancelot, is once again in active talks to make the movie. I’m hearing that Colin Farrell is in the center of talks that aim to revive the project. The killer role in the movie is Lancelot, I’m told, and that’s the one that Farrell is eye-ing. I’ve also heard that Gary Oldman, who was offered the role of Merlin but didn’t take it, is likely to be re-approached. They haven’t figured out who’s pulling the sword from the stone and are looking for an Arthur.
You might recall that the studio, which paid $2 million to acquire Dobkin’s script last summer, wouldn’t make the movie because its $130 million budget was $20 million more than Warner Bros was willing to spend. Under terms of the deal, Dobkin got to shop his project around to other studios but nothing happened.
Where Farrell fits into the picture isn’t exactly clear. Warner Bros, which dated the film for a March 15, 2013 release, had cast Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington to play Arthur and The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman to play Lancelot. Even though Kinnaman was subsequently cast in the title character of MGM’s Robocop remake and Harington returns as a major character in the second season of the HBO series, the studio was being cautious about Dobkin’s contemporary style re-imagining of the Sword And The Stone with two unproven … Read More »
At age 88, Robert Halmi Sr is starting anew. The Emmy-winning producer of TV movies and mini-series is leaving RHI Entertainment, Inc., the company he founded 33 years ago with his son Robert Halmi Jr as Robert Halmi Inc. Since then, the company’s productions have won more than 100 Emmys and built a library of more than 1,000 titles. But it’s been a bumpy road for the last few years. The Halmis sold their company to Hallmark in 1994 and bought it back in 2006, but took on too much debt and eventually declared bankruptcy. Additionally, the broad, big-event movies and miniseries that were at the core of Halmis’ business went out of fashion at the major networks. Eventually, after emerging from court protection in March 2011, Halmi Jr left and Halmi Sr inked a long-term deal. Now, Halmi Sr is leaving too. The Hungarian immigrant plans to launching a NY-based production venture to continue “to do what I always loved the most.” Meanwhile, RHI chairmain Gabriel de Alba indicates that the company is exploring a move into new formats. Here is the release: Read More »
Fox and its partner, Colombia’s RCN Television Group, say that they expect MundoFox to be carried on TV stations that reach 75% of all U.S. households. Affiliate deals in top Hispanic markets are “being finalized,” they add. Programming will come from RCN, Fox International Channels, sports channel Fox Deportes, the Shine Group, RCN’s news and sports channel NTN24, and third-party suppliers. “There is an increasing demand for quality Spanish-language content in the U.S. from both viewers and advertisers,” says Fox International Channels CEO Hernan Lopez. “FOX saw similar dynamics in play 25 years ago when it launched the Fox network, and it would be a missed opportunity not to provide an alternative for the 50+ million Latino viewers who currently have limited options in Spanish-language broadcast television. Our partnership with RCN will help us do this and we aim do it in a big way.”
But it may be hard for MundoFox to find its place. Univision, widely believed to be gearing up for an IPO, is already a tough competitor: It’s the No. 5 network, and frequently beats English-language stations. And NBCUniversal is investing in Telemundo. It surprised many analysts in October by winning a bidding war to provide Spanish-language telecasts of soccer’s World Cup games in 2018 and 2022. They’d been a staple on Univision since 1978. Here’s the release about MundoFox:
Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The advance accolades for Gary Oldman’s work in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has put the actor in high demand. He’s Warner Bros’ choice not only to play the role of The Colonel in Akira (Garrett Hedlund will star in one of the two leads in the Jaume Collet-Serra-directed film), but also to play Merlin in Arthur & Lancelot, which David Dobkin will direct from his own script. The studio likes Joel Kinnaman for the Lancelot role and will test actors shortly for the role of Arthur. Oldman is working for the studio right now in the Chris Nolan-directed The Dark Knight Rises, which is shooting in New York at the moment.The big question is whether Oldman gets some love from the Academy this time. It’s hard to believe that this actor hasn’t been nominated once in his great career. He’s managed by Douglas Urbanski and agented by APA’s Jim Osborne.