Numbers co-star Peter MacNicol is returning to CBS with a co-starring role on another crime procedural, CSI: Cyber. MacNicol is set as a regular on the upcoming series opposite Patricia Arquette and Charley Koontz.
Inspired by the work of real-life CyberPsychologist Mary Aiken, CSI: Cyber centers on Special Agent Avery Ryan (Arquette) who heads the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI, a unit at the forefront of solving illegal activities that start in the mind, live online, and play out in the real world. MacNicol will play Ryan’s supervisor, Assistant Director Stavros Sifter, a career FBI insider and savvy networker who quickly rose up the ranks and positioned himself in a job where he is the clearinghouse between FBI Cyber and all other branches of government. Read More »
NBC has put in development Big Kids, a half-hour comedy project from longtime Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre performer Joe Wengert and UCB alum Ed Helms. Loosely based on Wengert’s life, Big Kids centers on Andy, a young professional with a messiah complex who is constantly trying to control and “fix” his little sister and their young, blue-collar parents. Wengert will write the script and co-executive produce for Universal TV. He is not attached as an actor. How To Live With Your Parents and Accidentally On Purpose creator Claudia Lonow will executive produce and serve as showrunner. Helms will executive produce through Pacific Electric, the production company The Office alum launched last fall. This marks the first full development season for Pacific Electric, which has a first-look at Uni TV.
Wengert, repped by CAA, Mosaic, and Morris Yorn, has written for Kroll Show, Playing House and Comedy Bang Bang and was named a “New Face” at the 2012 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. His first half-hour stand-up special recently aired on Comedy Central. Helms is repped by CAA, Principato-Young, and Schreck, Rose. Lonow is with WME and Del, Shaw, Moonves.
In an early buy for the upcoming development cycle, Fox has given a script commitment plus penalty to a drama from NYC 22 and Criminal Justice creator Richard Price. Like those two shows, the untitled new project, from sister studio 20th Century Fox TV, is a crime drama set in New York. It centers on a twentysomething Wall Street portfolio manager who unwittingly becomes a pawn in the DA’s attempts to take down a criminal organization. Price’s rookie-cop drama NYC 22, produced by Robert De Niro, aired on CBS in 2012. The upcoming HBO limited series Criminal Justice is loosely inspired by the BBC series of the same name created by Peter Moffat. The pilot starred James Gandolfini, with De Niro and later John Turturro stepping in to play the role after The Sopranos star’s death. On the feature side, Oscar-nominated Price (The Color Of Money) recently wrote the upcoming thriller Child 44.
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
Like last year, it has been slow going early in the pitch season. Once again there is a concern that many experienced writer-producers, especially on the drama side, are tied to series and not available to develop.
After taking things day by day on Wednesday and Thursday, I’ve learned that Warner Bros TV has tentatively slated production on Season 8 of The Big Bang Theory to start next Wednesday, August 6. That is a week after the CBS series’ eighth season was originally supposed to kick off with a table read last Wednesday, July 31. Of course, holding the postponed table read on August 6 will be contingent on the five original cast members closing new deals. I hear talks continue with Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, Helberg and Kunal Nayyar. The contracts of all five expired at the end of last season. The only Big Bang cast members who have deals in place and available to start work immediately are Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik, who renegotiated their contracts last fall.
For now there is no danger of Big Bang not being able to make its hourlong premiere on September 22. There is talk that the delay might lead to a minimal order reduction from 24 to 23 episodes, but I hear that could be avoided by shortening planned hiatuses or extending production in the spring. Like the 2010 salary renegotiations, Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco would likely end up with equal pay, more than doubling and likely tripling their most recent salary of $350,000 an episode as well as their current back-end ownership, said to be around .25 point. Helberg and Nayyar, who are … Read More »
Summer turned out to be the place to launch for midseason NBC series. Multi-camera comedy Undateable has been picked up for a 10-episode second season, following a similar renewal for drama The Night Shift. Both found a way to transform themselves from summer burn-offs to solid performers to returning series. Airing back-to-back originals, Undateable premiered with a 1.3 rating in adults 18-49, almost doubling the debut of NBC’s 2013 comedy series Save Me to post the highest-rated summer comedy premiere on the Big 4 networks in five years (since ABC’s toon The Goode Family on 5/27/2009). It even edged one of NBC’s fall Thursday comedy debuts, Welcome To The Family (1.2 on 10/2/13). Undateable‘s numbers slipped but largely stayed above the original broadcast comedies that aired last summer and kept clear of the lows posted by several NBC fall comedies last season, like The Michael J. Fox Show, Sean Saves The World and Welcome To The Family. Undateable, whose first season consisted of 13 episodes, also regularly topped Fox drama Gang Related. “Overexcited to do 2nd season of Undateable on NBC,” executive producer Bill Lawrence tweeted tonight. The renewal of Undateable, from Warner Bros. TV and Lawrence’s Doozer, bodes well for NBC’s midseason entry One Big Happy which was going to be the single multi-camera comedy on the network’s schedule next season. Created by Adam Sztykiel based on the book by Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle, Undateable stars Chris D’Elia as a carefree single … Read More »
VH1 is bolstering its New York programming team with the hire of Jennifer McGovern as VP, Development, East Coast and Ken Martinez as VP, Current Production, East Coast. They will report to Nina L. Diaz, SVP, East Coast Production and Development. In addition, Vivian Gomez has been promoted to Director, Current Production.
McGovern will be responsible for the development of all East Coast original unscripted programming and lead the East Coast development team. She comes from Oxygen where she was Director of Development and Production since August 2010, working on such series as The Glee Project, I’m Having Their Baby and the upcoming Funny Girls and Nail’d It! Before Oxygen, McGovern was Manager of Alternative Series at TLC, working on Sarah Palin’s Alaska, Brace For Impact: The Chesley B. Sullenberger Story and Police Women Of Broward County, and worked as manager of development at Fox TV Studios.
Martinez will head up production on all East Coast original programming and manage the network’s slate of current unscripted series. He comes from Big Fish Entertainment, where he was an executive producer on the VH1 series Black Ink Crew. He also worked as a producer on Celebrity Wife Swap for ABC and From G’s To Gents on MTV as well as VH1′s Rock Of Love, Gotti’s Way, Flavor Of Love and My Fair Brady. In her new role, Gomez will executive produce multiple series, including Love … Read More »
CBS TV Studios has brought in Meghan Lyvers as SVP Drama Development and Brianna Bennett as VP Drama Development. They will work under Julie McNamara, EVP Drama Development, Broadcast and Cable.
Lyvers comes from Television 360, a division of Management 360, where she oversaw the department’s development and production slate including Avenues Of Spies, Heartland Trucking and The Terror, among others. She previously served as VP Development & Production at Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Productions where for more than 10 years she oversaw the feature film and television slate.
Bennett joins CBS from Fox where she was Director, Drama Development, working on Sleepy Hollow, The Following, Gang Related, Almost Human and the upcoming Red Band Society, Empire and Backstrom. This marks her return to CBS TV Studios where she worked as an assistant in comedy development before joining the CW as a drama development coordinator.
Here is a look at Netflix‘s next original series, the irreverent (and a little trippy) adult animated comedy BoJack Horseman, which premieres August 22. The PSA-style promo introduces BoJack (Will Arnett), the failed legendary star of the favorite ’90s family sitcom Horsin’ Around, who has been trying to find his way through a muddle of self-loathing, whisky and failed relationships. Now, in the presence of his human sidekick Todd (Aaron Paul) and his feline agent and ex-paramour Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), BoJack is primed for his comeback. The cast of the 12-episode series, which marks Arnett’s return to Netflix following last year’s installment of Arrested Development, also includes Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins and Patton Oswalt. Raphael Bob-Waksberg created the comedy, from Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Co., and executive produces with Arnett, Paul, Steven A. Cohen and Noel Bright. BoJack was designed by graphic artist Lisa Hanawalt and animated by ShadowMachine.
Sara Just, a 25-year ABC News veteran, is leaving the network to become executive producer of PBS NewsHour and SVP at WETA, the public television station in Washington, DC. Just, who has been ABC News’ Deputy Washington Bureau Chief since April, will join News Hour on September 2, succeeding Linda Winslow, who is retiring. During her tenure at ABC News, Just also served as Senior Washington Producer for Good Morning America and spent 17 years as a producer at Nightline, working with longtime anchor Ted Koppel.
Just’s hire comes on the heels of WETA taking over NewsHour from MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, the company named after former anchors Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, on July 1.
UPDATE 7:30 PM: I’ve learned that Warner Bros TV has made the call — there will be no table read for The Big Bang Theory tomorrow. Production on Season 8 of the hit CBS comedy originally was scheduled to start today, but with the five original castmembers still without contracts as negotiations between their teams and WBTV continue, the studio cancelled the table read, pushing it by a day. Now I hear production has been postponed one more day as talks continue. In its statement confirming the production delay this morning, WBTV did not set a return date, so it still stands.
PREVIOUS 9 AM: There is no agreement yet in the contract negotiations between the original cast of The Big Bang Theory and Warner Bros TV, leading to the studio’s decision to push the production start date for Season 8, originally slated for today.
“Due to ongoing contract negotiations, production on The Big Bang Theory — which was originally scheduled to begin today — has been postponed,” WBTV said in a statement. I hear the postponement is for one day, and the situation would be evaluated day by day as the two sides continue to negotiate and are close to deals, something that could happen as early as today.
While Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar worked during the 2010 salary renegotiations that also dragged on over the summer, they were under deals back then. The situation is different this time as the quintet’s contracts all expired at the end of last season. The only Big Bang cast members who have deals and would’ve shown up today are Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik, who renegotiated their contracts last fall. Read More »
Emmy-winning TV movie and miniseries producer Robert Halmi Sr. has died. At 90, he was still doing what he had loved doing for the past three and a half decades — producing television — until his sudden passing this afternoon in his New York home from a brain aneurysm.
A freedom fighter in his native Hungary, where he had been jailed and sentenced to death twice — once by Nazi invaders, then by the communist regime — Halmi was able to emigrate to the U.S. in 1951, arriving with a Leica camera and $5 in his pocket. He started off as a “diaper photographer,” taking pictures of babies for a diaper service, before becoming one of America’s leading magazine photographers. He then switched to television, becoming one of the most prolific longform producers in the genre’s heyday during the 1980s and 1990s. His more than 200 movies and miniseries included such hits as Gulliver’s Travels, Merlin, The Odyssey and Tin Man. Together, they have earned 136 Emmy Awards (and 480 nominations), as well as Golden Globes, Peabodys, Christophers and Humanitas Prizes.
“I cannot retire, I would go nuts,” Halmi told me five years ago, when he was still jetting around the world to the sets of his movies, with that still camera still around his neck. Recently, he was working on the latest big-scope project, Syfy’s 13-part series Olympus, which started filming three weeks ago for a 2015 premiere.
Halmi … Read More »
After spending the last couple of months locking in a director and lead cast, HBO has officially greenlighted for production Show Me A Hero, a six-hour miniseries from The Wire co-creator David Simon. Inside Llewyn Davis leading man Oscar Isaac is set to star and Catherine Keener to co-star in the mini, which will be directed by Paul Haggis (Crash).
Penned by Simon and Baltimore Sun journalist/The Wire writer William F. Zorzi, Show Me A Hero is based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Belkin. It tells the story of Nick Wasicsko (Isaac), the youngest big-city mayor in the nation who finds himself thrust into the center of a racial controversy when a federal court orders him to build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town, Yonkers, N.Y.. His attempt to do so tears the city apart, paralyzes the municipal government and, ultimately, destroys his political future. Keener, repped by Gersh, plays Mary Dorman, an East Yonkers homeowner who comes to a remarkable realization during the battle over where to build low-income housing. Read More »
Girls co-star Allison Williams has been cast as the title character in NBC’s December 4 live staging of Peter Pan Live!. Williams, who has sung on her HBO show and in various other projects, is a classically trained singer whose online singing videos have logged millions of views. (watch below one of the most popular ones, which she uploaded shortly after graduating from Yale in 2010) She will star opposite Christopher Walken, who had been cast as Captain Hook. “We think she will bring the perfect blend of ‘boyish’ vulnerability and bravado to save the day against Christopher Walken’s powerful Captain Hook,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. Williams, daughter of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, said that she’d wanted to play Peter Pan since she was about 3, “so this is a dream come true.” “I’m very excited to get to work with this extraordinarily talented team. And besides, what could go wrong in a live televised production with simultaneous flying, sword fighting and singing?” Craig Zadan and Neil Meron executive produce the special.
The casting of the lead proved crucial for the success of NBC’s live staging of The Sound of Music last year as Carrie Underwood’s broad fan base came out in droves, especially in the middle of the country where there were numerous viewing parties. Williams, who landed the role on Girls right out of college, is not yet a household name and doesn’t have a following of the size of Underwood, a country superstar. The … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that British actor Simon Kassianides (Quantum Of Solace) has joined the second season of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a major recurring role. He will play Bakshi, a confident right-hand man who’s not afraid to do the dirty work. Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres September 23. Kassianides, repped by Don Buchwald & Associates and Sanders.Armstrong.Caserta Management, is one of several new cast additions, along with Lucy Lawless, who will play longtime S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Isabel Hartley; British actor Nick Blood, playing a mercenary; and Reed Diamond. Kassianides will next be seen in Relativity’s Desert Dancer.