Five years ago, Carlos Amezcua took Los Angeles media circles by surprise with his move to KTTV to co-anchor the station’s 10 PM newscast after a 14-year stint on the morning show of rival KTLA, which he helped launch in 1991. Now Amezcua is out at KTTV. His departure was announced in the newsroom at 3:15 PM this afternoon. Amezcua’s final day was last Friday after making his debut on the station on September 17, 2007. There is no immediate replacement, and a spokesperson confirmed an external and internal search is underway. In 2007, Amezcua replaced longtime KTTV anchor John Beard whose contract was not renewed after a 14-year stint at the station. At the time, KTTV and general manager Kevin Hale went aggressively after Amezcua, offering him a rich long-term contract that also included a producing component with KTTV parent Fox. “After more than five years on KTTV’s Fox 11 10 p.m. News, Carlos Amezcua has decided to step down from the news desk to expand his own media and technology company, Carlos Media Corp. here in Los Angeles,” Hale said today in a statement. “Having won over 10 Emmys throughout his career, Amezcua has made many contributions to this community, as well our newsroom.”
ABC Buys Dramas From David Diamond, David Weissman & Temple Hill; Jonathan Abrams, Marcus Wiley & Julia Franz
Writers David Diamond and David Weissman (The Family Man) have sold dual-reality drama The Double Life Of Emily Reed to ABC through ABC Studios and studio-based Temple Hill. Emily Reed is a 35-year-old divorcee from New Jersey with two kids who’s at a tipping point in her life when she makes the life-changing decision to move herself and her kids in with her mom. Just when she gives up on all her dreams, Emily magically wakes up the next morning in a gorgeous Soho loft lying next to an even more gorgeous naked man. And thus begins the double life of Emily Reed, where she lives each day twice — once as a divorced mother of two in suburban New Jersey, and again as a successful independent New York business woman.
After taking a lot of flak over the four-month break it imposed on freshman Revolution last season, which seemed to hurt the serialized drama, NBC vowed not to repeat the mistake with its new hotshot in the Monday 10 PM …
Halle Berry is set to executive produce Hannibal (working title), a miniseries about the great generals in antiquity — Hannibal Barca and his archrival Scipio Africanus — who went head-to-head in the Second Punic War. Oscar-nominated writer Jeffrey Caine (The Constant Gardener) is penning the script for the project, co-produced by A+E Studios and Red Arrow Entertainment. “Hannibal was not only the greatest African general to ever live, he may have been the greatest general, period,” said Berry. “His story is an intricate and captivating ride, and I’m thrilled to get this project off the ground with our partners at History.”
EXCLUSIVE: Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who are behind NBC‘s upcoming live staging of The Sound Of Music, are developing another ambitious event program for the network. The duo has teamed with NBC for Nemesis, an eight-hour miniseries about famous Prohibition agent Eliot Ness, who was portrayed by Kevin Costner in Brian Fe Palma’s Oscar-winning The Untouchables. The project, from Sony Pictures TV — where Zadan and Meron’s Storyline Entertainment has a long-form deal — is based on the book Nemesis: The Final Case Of Eliot Ness by William Bernhardt. It tells the true story of Ness in 1935, post-Untouchables, as Cleveland’s newly appointed Director of Public Safety. Bodies have started turning up — each one decapitated and dissected with a doctor’s skill and a madman’s bent. The police are baffled and the population is terrorized over America’s first serial killer, the so-called “Torso Killer.” Though it’s not his turf, Ness is forced to take over the case, but the more energy he pours into the investigation, the more it takes over and threatens to destroy his life.
Development Season 2013: Fewer Dramas, Bigger (And Overblown) Commitments, Early Orders, Spinoffs, Adaptations & Remakes
Network drama has been on a roll with a string of strong premieres the last two seasons — Revolution, The Following and Arrow last season and The Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Originals this fall. But the genre will have to rely heavily on the quality vs. quantity principal if its wants to continue its hot streak as the volume is definitely not there for next season. The drama buying got off to a very sluggish start in the summer and never found a higher gear. Drama pitches were down across the board. For instance, I hear NBC took in 280 hourlong pitches, down from 330 last season. It eventually ordered 20-30 fewer drama scripts this year vs. 2012. “It was like Halloween with the networks living on a street where no one came to trick or treat,” one industry insider lamented. “They were open for months but no one was knocking on their doors.” Why was that? Likely because network dramas are not that special any more.
For decades, the broadcast networks were the home of drama series everyone was watching and critics loved. Then in 1999, David E. Kelley almost didn’t go out on stage to receive a best drama series Emmy for his ABC series The Practice. In his defense, he said he “thought they had made a mistake, and that The Sopranos had won.” It hadn’t, and broadcast dramas held their grip on the top a category for four more years until HBO’s mob drama in 2004 became the first cable show ever to win the best series Emmy in a precursor of the tidal shift to come. Cable dramas now have won the top Emmy for the past seven years, with no signs of them letting up, while the U.S. commercial broadcasters were shut out completely from the category the last two years. Right now, working on a cable drama is more prestigious that writing on a broadcast one. With broadcast dramas no longer the syndication cash cows they once were, studios don’t pay a premium for writers to develop such shows anymore. “If they are not getting real money to develop for broadcast, writers may as well do cable for the creative freedom,” one observer noted. Besides the prestige and awards recognition, cable dramas also are becoming more lucrative financially because of services like Netflix where serialized series are a top draw. And let’s not forget that the highest-rated scripted series on television for the past two years is a cable drama, AMC’s The Walking Dead. All that has led to an exodus of broadcast showrunners to cable. The writers room of Emmy-winning first season of Showtime’s Homeland alone featured enough showrunner-level writers to service several broadcast dramas.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC Family‘s upcoming drama series Chasing Life has not been assigned a premiere date yet, but it just received a back order for seven episodes. The cast was given the good news today, just in time for Thanksgiving. The back order brings the first season of Chasing Life to 20 episodes, which is ABC Family’s standard for a full season. Chasing Life, from Kapital Entertainment, Lionsgate, Televisa and BV Family Prods, hails from the same pilot batch as ABC Family dramas The Fosters and Twisted. The other two had initial orders for 10 episodes and received back 10 orders after strong early ratings performance last summer. For Chasing Life, whose original order was for 13 episodes, the back order comes ahead of its premiere, slated for next year, representing a strong vote of confidence by the network.