EXCLUSIVE: Sydney T. Poitier (Kendra) has been tapped for a five-episode arc on NBC’s upcoming Chicago Fire spinoff series Chicago PD with an option to become a regular. She will play a new detective, a role which will cross over on Chicago Fire. Poitier is with ICM Partners and Thruline Entertainment.
Private Practice alum Tim Daly is returning to his comedy roots with a multi-episode arc on TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland. The former Wings star will play Mitch Turner, a handsome private detective who recently lost 300 pounds after competing on The Biggest Loser. He’s the new owner of the detective agency where Joy (Jane Leeves) works. While she has an instant feeling that she’s met the man she’s going to marry, Turner is attracted to Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli).
EXCLUSIVE: Pablo Schreiber is set as a lead opposite Jack Black and Tim Robbins in The Brink, HBO‘s comedy pilot directed by Jay Roach from a script by Roberto Benabib and Kim Benabib. Also cast in the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: NBC is developing a contender for it Friday supernatural block anchored by Grimm, which is currently paired with Dracula. It hails from Dracula executive producer/head writer Daniel Knauf and is based on Universal Pictures’ Scott Stuber-produced 20… Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
Melissa Ponzio has booked a recurring role on NBC’s firefighter drama Chicago Fire. She will play Donna, a love interest to Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker). Ponzio, repped by Domain and Kass Management, recently recurred on The … Read More »
CBS has put in development Doc Ford, a drama project based on Randy Wayne White’s book series. Chris Gerolmo (Mississippi Burning, The Bridge) is writing the adaptation, about a retired NSA agent-turned-marine biologist who gets … Read More »
AMC has given pilot orders to dramas Knifeman and Galyntine. Both will be produced by AMC Studios next year for consideration for series for 2015. The scripts for Knifeman and Galyntine, along with White City, had been heating up for a pickup at AMC over the past month, with Knifeman and Galyntine now joining AMC pilot Line Of Sight.
Inspired by the biography of John Hunter by Wendy Moore, “The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching And The Birth of Modern Surgery,” Knifeman is set in 18th Century London. It tells the story of a charming, arrogant, decorum-breaking genius who challenges societal norms to transform his visions into cutting-edge discoveries. A surgeon or “barber” in a time when blood-letting and praying was the norm, John Tattersal is a hard drinking, hard living man not afraid to push the boundaries of modern medicine, even if it takes digging up a few graves to do it. While he makes his living running an unlicensed operating theatre out of his residence, he picks up extra cash harvesting organs for his brother Julian, favorite son and prized physician of the St. Stephen’s teaching hospital. Read More »
Wilmer Valderrama is the latest addition to the cast of Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series for Latino-themed El Rey network. On the 10-episode drama based on the cult horror film by Rodriguez and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Actor and Daily Show correspondent, Aasif Mandvi has been cast in The Brink, HBO‘s comedy pilot directed by Jay Roach from a script by Roberto Benabib and Kim Benabib. Exec produced by Jerry Weintraub, The Brink is an epic dark comedy focusing on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander (Tim Robbins), a lowly Foreign Service officer (Jack Black); and an ace Navy fighter pilot. Mandvi, repped by ICM Partners and Sweet 180 Management, will play Rafiq Massoud, a young Pakistani employed by the U.S. embassy whose love of America runs as deep as his resentment. He will be seen next in Million Dollar Arm.
Katherine LaNasa (Deception) is set to co-star in USA Network’s untitled Sean Jablonski pilot. The project, from UCP, follows investment banker Neil Truman (Matt Passmore) and his wife, Grace (Stephanie Szostak), as they struggle to sift through their stagnant marriage, looking for the spark they once had. When Neil discovers that Grace has been seeing a debonaire male escort (Blair Redford) his entire world is turned upside down.
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Lifetime is going two for two with its freshman scripted series. As expected, the cable network has given a second season pickup to drama Witches Of East End, starring Julia Ormond, Mädchen Amick, Jenna Dewan Tatum and Rachel Boston as a family of witches living in the secluded seaside town of East Haven. The series has received a 13-episode order for a 2014 premiere. “With its great story telling and amazing cast, Witches Of East End is leading a full-blown witch renaissance,” said Rob Sharenow, EVP and General Manager of Lifetime. Witches Of East End joins Lifetime’s freshman Devious Maids, which also has been renewed for a second season. One of Lifetime’s youngest skewing scripted series ever, with a median age of 46, Witches Of East End, from Fox 21, is averaging 3.0 million total viewers, 1.7 million Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 viewers, and 1.3 million Women 18-49 and Women 25-54 viewers on a Live+7 basis through five weeks. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Cinemax has given a pilot greenlight to Blanco, a drama project which has cast Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead) as the lead. Feature director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) will direct the pilot, … Read More »
Breakout Nick at Nite/NickMom comedy series Instant Mom has been picked up for a 20-episode second season. Additionally, Nickelodeon also has ordered six more episodes for the series’ current first season, bringing its total to 26 episodes. The multi-camera family comedy stars Tia Mowry-Hardrict as Stephanie, a party girl who trades in Cosmos for carpools when she marries Charlie (Michael Boatman), who already has three kids. “In just a couple months since its debut, Instant Mom has resonated remarkably well with the Nick at Nite and NickMom audiences,” said Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon’s President of Content Development and Production. The network has been high on the show from the get-go, ordering 7 additional episodes before its premiere. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Television has sold its second major broadcast project, this time on the comedy side. The company has teamed with James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment for a half-hour comedy at Fox, which will star top South African comedian Trevor Noah. The project, inspired by Noah’s comedy and life, is being written by Sameer Gardezi, who will executive produce along with LEG’s Norm Aladjem and Randy Chalawsky, and Overbrook’s Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett, brother of Pinkett Smith. Noah will produce. Noah’s comedy draws on his experience growing up in Soweto as the son of a Swiss father and South African mother and reflects his observations on race and ethnicity (check out a clip below). A popular comic on the African continent where he has sold more DVDs than any other stand-up, Noah has been crossing over to the U.S. Last year, he became the first South African comedian to appear on The Tonight Show and has since also appeared on The Late Show. His U.S. comedy special, African American, is currently airing on Showtime. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Marley Shelton (Eleventh Hour) is set as the lead in Lifetime’s dystopian-future drama pilot The Lottery, written by Timothy J. Sexton and directed by Danny Cannon. The Warner Horizon-produced conspiracy thriller is set in a world where women have stopped having children, threatening extinction of the human race. When 100 embryos are successfully fertilized, a national lottery is held to decide the surrogates. The series centers on Dr. Alison Scott (Shelton), the brilliant fertility specialist whose breakthrough in fertilizing 100 viable eggs may have life-and-death consequences she could not have anticipated.
Related: Lifetime Casts Trio In Pilot ‘The Lottery’
Noah Bean is reuniting with his Nikita co-star Aaron Stanford in 12 Monkeys, Syfy‘s drama pilot based on the 1995 Terry Gilliam movie. Also joining the pilot, from Universal Cable Prods. and Atlas Entertainment, is Emmy winner Željko Ivanek (Damages), who will guest star.
Related: Aaron Stanford & Amanda Schull To Topline Syfy’s ‘12 Monkeys’
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