Warner Bros Animation’s EVP Creative Affairs Sam Register has been promoted to President, Warner Bros Animation and Warner Digital Series. The second part of the title refers to Register’s role as head of a newly formed live-action digital content production unit where he will oversee the development and production of original live-action digital series, working with both Warner Bros TV-based creative talent as well as outside writers and producers. The studio already has such a division in Studio 2.0, which has spawned series like Childrens Hospital, which migrated to TV via Adult Swim. It is unclear whether Studio 2.0 will be absorbed by the new unit or remain autonomous. Register also will continue to run Warner Bros’ television animation unit as president, after having served as EVP Creative Affairs for the past six years. He will continue to report to Warner Bros Television Group President and Chief Content Officer Peter Roth.
USA Network is shaking things up this summer with a schedule that features four returning series moving to new time slots, joined by two new shows, dramas series Rush and Satisfaction, paired together. This is a rare new drama series launch on USA where the newbies are not slotted behind established series. Rush and Satisfaction (formerly untitled Sean Jablonski) will premiere July 17, airing Thursdays at 9 PM and 10 PM, respectively. Rush, from writer-director Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, examines the world of renegade physician Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis), a “medical fixer” who privately caters to LA’s elite. Satisfaction, from Universal Cable Prods, stars Matt Passmore and explores modern marriage at its midpoint. (watch the first trailer below).
EXCLUSIVE: Mitch Hurwitz is staying in the Netflix fold with a multi-year deal, a rare pact with a writer-producer for the streaming giant. Under the multi-tier agreement, the Arrested Development creator will create and produce new original series for the Internet TV network through his banner The Hurwitz Company. Additionally, he will develop projects with other creators as a non-writing executive producer and will consult for Netflix on comedy series. Hurwitz first worked with Netflix on a new season of his Emmy-winning comedy series Arrested Development, which was released last year. “We are lucky to be in business with Mitch Hurwitz, a true genius with one of the most distinctive voices in comedy today,” said Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “Mitch’s inventive approach to Arrested Development — one of the top TV comedies of this generation — was ahead of its time, and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.”
After winning six Emmys for its three-year run on Fox from 2003-06 — including three for Hurwitz, for best series and two for writing — Arrested Development‘s fourth season on Netflix earned three more Emmy nominations for the show, bringing the total to 25. Hurwitz executive produced and co-directed Season 4, and it was that collaboration with Netflix, which Hurwitz describes as being “the best professional experience of my life, even topping some of my favorite unprofessional experiences,” that led to the new deal. “It is incredibly inspiring to get to produce for Netflix, a company that not only doesn’t resist change but is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone in forging it,” Hurwitz said. “The fact that I’m also getting one month of their streaming right to my TV or Xbox free … well, it really takes the sting out of buying that Xbox.”
Like The Game, which set ratings records when revived by BET, another comedy series targeting black audiences came back roaring after a lengthy break from television. Last night’s Season 4 bow of the Sony Pictures TV-produced animated series The Boondocks on Adult Swim set series highs across all key demos, including adults 18-34 (1.40 million) and adults 18-49 (1.9 million), up 50% from the show’s previous season averages. It was Adult Swim’s most-watched primetime telecast among key adult demographics in at least five years. The Boondocks premiere was the No. 1 TV program in all of television last night — broadcast or cable — among Adult Swim’s target 18-34 demographic, topping NBC’s The Voice (1.36 million) and TNT’s NBA Playoffs coverage (1.16 million).
EXCLUSIVE: FX Productions has signed a two-year overall production deal with writer-producer David Manson and his production company Sarabande Prods. Under the pact, Peabody Award-winning Manson will develop, write and produce series for FX Networks. The pact stems from Manson and FX’s recent collaboration on the network’s drama series pilot Hoke starring Paul Giamatti. Manson serves as executive producer on the project, from writer/executive producer/director Scott Frank, which just wrapped production. Manson first worked with FX on the limited series Thief, which won star Andre Braugher an Emmy. “David is an incredibly talented writer-producer and highly respected in the creative community,” said FX Networks and FX Prods President Nick Grad. “It’s great to have him under the FXP umbrella, and we expect to announce some projects with him very soon.”
I have learned that Amazon Studios has assembled the cast of Really, a single-camera comedy pilot, written, directed by and starring Jay Chandrasekhar, part of comedy team Broken Lizard. Sarah Chalke will play the female lead opposite Chandrasekhar in the project, executive produced by Jamie Tarses. Also cast in the pilot, fully financed and produced by Main Street Films, are Selma Blair, Luka Jones, Travis Schuldt, Lindsay Sloane, Hayes Macarthur and Collette Wolfe. Really, which was quietly picked up to pilot more than a month ago, revolves around a social and opinionated group of thirtysomething friends in Chicago. It centers on two of them, happily, messily married neurologist Jed (Chandrasekhar) and lawyer/mom Lori (Chalke). Their group of friends includes Fred (Jones) and his wife Joanna (Blair), Mike (Schuldt) and his wife Margaret (Sloane) as well as Hayes (Macarthur) and his significant other Alison (Wolfe). The dynamic in the group changes forever when Jed accidentally catches Mike and Joanna having a sexual liaison.