There is a casting change on HBO‘s miniseries Criminal Justice, the passion project of the late James Gandolfini. John Turturro has stepped in to play the role of Jack Stone, originally played by Gandolfini in the pilot. …
John Turturro To Replace Robert De Niro As James Gandolfini’s Successor In HBO Mini ‘Criminal Justice’
EXCLUSIVE: BET Networks is targeting millenials with a new daily talk show hosted by actress-singer Keke Palmer. The Keke Palmer Project (working title), which has been picked up for an initial four-week run, will premiere in July, airing Mondays-Fridays. Telepictures is producing. Judge Greg Mathis, whose long-time syndicated court show Judge Mathis is produced by Telepictures, is executive producing after being instrumental in bringing together the Warner Bros TV syndication division and Palmer.
At age 20, Palmer will become the youngest talk show host in TV history. Her show will cover such topics as fashion, pop culture, social issues, sex, and will feature celebrity interviews, “on the street” bits and undercover segments. It stems from Palmer’s interaction with fans on social media. “I like to read quotes that touch on how I am feeling,” she said. “If I am dealing with confusion, I will read quotes about clarity and peace of mind. I started posting these quotes on my Twitter page, and the fans responded so positively! I realized that many of them were dealing with similar issues, and the quotes helped to open up a genuine dialogue between us.”
We’re heading into the homestretch of pilot season as the broadcast networks are beginning to view and test the completed pilots, a process that will continue for about two weeks before the nets move on to making pickup and scheduling decisions. Based on buzz around town, here are the most talked-about pilots three weeks before the upfronts.
Related: PILOTS 2014: Early Buzz Edition
Every year, there is at least one pilot that comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone. We may have that this season in ABC‘s multi-camera Cristela. It was not even supposed to be a pilot. Developed at 20th TV-based 21 Laps/Adelstein for more than a year, the semi-autobiographical project co-created by and starring rising Latina stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo was sold to ABC last summer with significant penalty. But when pilot-pickup time came along, ABC quickly loaded on high-profile sitcoms, including the 20th TV-produced The Winklers, starring Henry Winkler, and the untitled Kevin Hart project starring Romany Malco. Cristela didn’t get a pilot order, but the producers, who also are behind ABC’s Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing, decided to take the penalty, which I hear was about $500,000, and use it to shoot a presentation. (ABC called it “proof of concept.”) Cristela ended up filming a full-length pilot on the stage of Last Man Standing using that sitcom’s crew, led by director/co-exec producer John Pasquin, with very little time to rehearse and prep. Because it was supposed to be a presentation, Cristela was not budgeted to get a testing, but I hear 20th TV brass liked the finished product and had it tested. I hear the results blew expectations, with Alonzo, who has no previous acting experience, scoring higher than most stars in recent 20th TV comedy pilots, including Allen, New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel and The Crazy Ones‘ Robin Williams.
It has been a three-way race for renewal among three bubble ABC comedies: sophomore The Neighbors and freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology, There seems to be some movement within the pack, with the youngest, midseason entry Mixology, gaining momentum. I hear the network and the studio already have put in place a leadership plan for next season, with creators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore set to take over the reins as showrunners from Ira Ungerleider, who will be leaving after running the series for its original 13-episode order. What’s more, in a sign of confidence to Lucas & Moore and their show, I hear ABC Studios is in negotiations with the duo for an overall deal. At the same time last year, ABC Studios inked an overall deal with Dan Fogelman, with his freshman comedy The Neighbors going on to clinch the only comedy renewal for ABC Studios a few weeks later. Mixology – set in a bar over the course of one night — quickly built a core fan base and has supporters at ABC, including network topper Paul Lee. Its ratings have been lackluster at best, but so have been the numbers for Trophy Wife and The Neighbors. Relaunching a heavily serialized comedy in the fall four months after a brief midseason run would be a challenge, though I hear the story might be reset for Season 2.
The CW has unveiled its summer schedule, which includes originals on all five nights the network programs. That includes the reboot of Whose Line Is It Anyway? which originally launched last summer, now moving to a new night, Mondays. It will be joined by original episodes of Beauty And The Beast, which has been benched for the rest of the season; two new scripted offerings, Canadian comedy Seed and web-to-TV comedy Backpackers; docu-reality series Famous In 12; and two magic series, Penn & Teller: Fool Us and a Masters Of Illusion revival. Here is the CW summer schedule with premiere dates and descriptions of the new series:
Netflix has released its second season trailer for Jenji Kohan’s prison dramedy Orange Is The New Black. Featured are returning stars Taylor Schilling, Jason Biggs, Laura Prepon and Kate Mulgrew, along with new addition Lorraine Toussaint. Season 2 premieres June 6, with all 13 episodes available at once.
Megan Ellison’s film production and finance company Annapurna Pictures (American Hustle) has set its first major TV project, a series focusing on the intersecting lives of Hollywood icons and rivals Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Written by Angela Robinson …