EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of her successful debut novel, New York Times bestseller Someday, Someday, Maybe, Lauren Graham is venturing into screenwriting. The actress has closed a deal with Warner Bros TV and Ellen DeGeneres‘ studio-based A Very Good Production for a series adaptation of her book, which was published April 30. Graham will write the script for the hourlong drama and executive produce with Very Good Production’s DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman. The project, which is expected to keep the book’s witty tone, centers on a young woman with six months left on her three-year plan to make a career as an actress in New York City. Graham and DeGeneres are friends, with the Parenthood star frequently visiting DeGeneres’ talk show. (Watch below her appearance from last fall.) Someday, Someday, Maybe reunites Graham with Warner Bros TV, the studio behind dramedy Gilmore Girls, which made Graham a household name. She is repped by ICM Partners, manager John Carrabino and attorney Adam Kaller.
Bobby Cannavale In Talks To Star In HBO Rock ‘N’ Roll Series From Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger & Terence Winter
Boardwalk Empire executive producers Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter are recruiting the series’ Season 3 star Bobby Cannavale for their next project at HBO. Emmy winner Cannavale is in negotiations to star in an untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll series, which Scorsese and Winter created with Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. The project, which has been in the works at HBO since 2010, has not been greenlighted yet but we’ve learned that it is gearing up for an early 2014 shoot with Scorsese directing the pilot that was written by Winter. Scorsese also helmed the pilot for Boardwalk Empire, which too was penned by Winter. Scorsese has already worked it into his busy schedule, so go ahead and dress for this one.
The untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll Project follows the exploits of Richie (Cannavale), a cocaine-fueled record exec in NYC circa 1977, when punk, disco and a new form of music called hip-hop collided. Richie is a talented A&R guy who is elevated to run a big label, even though he thinks he’s better suited to focusing on day-to-day music matters. Scorsese and Jagger, who worked together on the superb Rolling Stones documentary Shine A Light, began this project as a feature after Jagger told Scorsese they ought to make a movie like Casino in the world of the music biz.
Tribune’s WGN America is officially an original scripted programming player. Two months after Matt Cherniss was named president and general manager of WGN and indicated he would be looking for a scripted series to define WGN, the superstation has greenlighted its first original scripted series, drama Salem. The project, from Star Trek and 24 alum Brannon Braga, Adam Simon (The Haunting In Connecticut) and Fox21, has received a straight-to-series 13-episode order and is slated to begin production in the fall for a 2014 premiere.
Salem, originally developed for FX, is set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts and explores what really fueled the town’s infamous witch trials and dares to uncover the dark, supernatural truth hiding behind the veil of this infamous period in American history. The show, which centers on an epic romance, is said to deliver a new vision of witches who are real though they are not who or what they seem. Braga and Simon created the series and will serve as executive producers alongside Prospect Park’s Josh Barry and Jeff Kwatinetz. “Brannon and Adam have an amazing vision for the world and characters that comprise Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials and we believe that a great adventure full of supernatural, romance, and action awaits the viewer,” Cherniss said.
The initiative makes sense for the upcoming Lifetime drama series, which was created by Desperate Housewives‘ Marc Cherry and counts Eva Longoria among its exec producers. Devious Maids is based on the hit Televisa telenovela Ellas Son La Alegría Del Hogar and centers on five Latina maids (Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramírez, Roselyn Sánchez, Edy Ganem and Judy Reyes) with ambition and dreams of their own while working for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills — with murder and intrigue thrown into the mix. The network is making the pilot episode available early on digital platforms beginning Sunday in both English and Spanish. The sneak peak comes ahead of the series’ on-air debut June 23. Following the premiere, Lifetime will make each episode available in both languages the day after its Sunday 10 PM airing. “We are thrilled to work with our distribution partners on making Devious Maids available in both English and Spanish to maximize the show’s crossover appeal among the broadest range of their customers”, said Rob Sharenow, Lifetime’s EVP and General Manager.
As they say, for every cancelled broadcast series, like NBC’s Southland and ABC’s Cougar Town, that finds a second home, there are scores that don’t. Sony TV began exploring a possible future for its cult ABC comedy …
EXCLUSIVE: Agnes Bruckner, who plays Anna Nicole Smith in Lifetime’s upcoming biopic of the former Playboy model, has been cast in another A+E Networks project. Bruckner is set to co-star opposite Josh Lucas and Lynn Collins in A&E‘s drama pilot Occult, produced by Transformers helmer Michael Bay and written by veteran genre writer and The X-Files alum James Wong. Occult, which draws parallels to X-Files and Fringe, centers on Dolan (Lucas), an FBI agent who returns from administrative leave after going off the deep end while investigating his wife’s disappearance.
More than two weeks after its upfront presentation, NBC has decided the fate of its last remaining bubble series, giving drama Hannibal a 13-episode second-season renewal for a return next midseason or later. The series, based on the characters from Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, was developed for television by Bryan Fuller, who executive produces. “We’re so proud of Bryan’s vision for a show that is richly textured, psychologically complex, and very compelling,” NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said. “There are many great stories still to be told.”
Hannibal got off to a solid ratings start and was in serious contention for an early renewal. The numbers eventually tapered off, and NBC put the renewal decision on hold. Hannibal was well reviewed, and there overtures from at least one cable network in case NBC passed on a second season. Additionally, Amazon, which carries repeats of the show, had expressed serious interest in taking it on. Hannibal, from Gaumont International Television, is produced under a different model at a license fee that is a fraction of what dramas with similar production values cost.
EXCLUSIVE: After his scene-stealing turn on 30 Rock, the NBC series’ co-star Tracy Morgan is toplining his own single-camera comedy project, this time on cable. FX has given a pilot order to Death Pact, from writer-creators Rob Long (Cheers) and Tad Safran (The Long Weekend) and producers Eric and Kim Tannenbaum. In Death Pact, Morgan stars as a formerly lazy, pot-dealing assistant high school coach who returns to his hometown as a decorated war hero. He runs across three down-on-their-luck friends and former students and sucks them into his new radical self-help philosophy, which involves harsh consequences for failure. The pilot, produced by FX Prods, will film this summer in New York or New Jersey. “Needless to say anything starring Tracy Morgan could be off-the-charts hilarious and we’re betting this one is,” said FX’s EVP Original Programming Nick Grad. “Rob Long, Tad Safran, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum have delivered a terrific starring vehicle for Tracy. We look forward to casting the other three co-stars and getting started with production. This is going to be fun.”
The edgy FX should be a suitable home for Morgan’s sensibility, as showcased in his not-always politically correct stand-up. At the cable network, he would join other stand-up comedians including most notably Louis CK. Since 30 Rock ended its run in January, Morgan has been focusing on his stand-up with his international Excuse My French tour. Before his seven-season stint on 30 Rock, which earned him an Emmy nomination, Morgan spent seven years on Saturday Night Live. FX Networks is ramping up comedy development and production as the company is preparing for the launch comedy-focused channel FXX, which will join flagship FX.