NFL Announces 2014 Schedule; Flex Option For ‘Sunday Night Football’ To Start Six Weeks Earlier

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 5:06pm PDT

nfl-logo1The NFL is coming off most-watched program in U.S. TV history with the Super Bowl, and its just-released 2014 schedule arrives today with a couple key differences from last year – one of which is bound to make NBC execs smile. The league said that its “flex” scheduling for the Paeaock’s Sunday Night Football games can begin as early as Week 5, moving up from Week 11 in the past. That means the NFL can move any scheduled day game into primetime to air on what has been the No. 1 show in primetime viewership for four consecutive years and tops in the adults 18-49 demo for six straight. But there is a catch: The flex option can be exercised only twice between Weeks 5 and 10, whichSunday_night_football means Fox or CBS won’t have to give up their best matchups every week during that span. The flex-scheduling say-so remains with the league, which must make the call no fewer than 12 days ahead of time. (Regular Sunday night flex scheduling remains in play after Week 10.) Meanwhile, the NFL also is introducing a plan to “cross flex” Sunday day games on CBS and Fox, which have over-the-air rights to the AFC and NFC, respectively. In previous years, a game between two AFC teams had to be on … Read More »

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David L. Cunningham Launches First Hawaii Transmedia Content Accelerator

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 4:51pm PDT

gvsFilmmaker David L. Cunningham (The Seeker) has launched the first ever transmedia content accelerator in the state of Hawaii, where he was raised. Launching in June, the Global Virtual Studio (GVS) Transmedia Accelerator will highlight startups with IP that has wide commercial appeal for their program, which will grant $50K in seed funding and mentorship to six selected companies. Eligible IP must be owned by companies based in Hawaii and be applicable to least three separate potential revenue generating platforms. The accelerator is a joint effort between global transmedia co. GVS, private investors, and the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, Hawaii’s Creative Industry Division, and the County of Hawaii. Honua Studios will play host to the accelerator, which is open to content ranging from film and TV projects to apps and digital properties. Founder Cunningham was raised in the Aloha State and in addition to his studio work produced and directed Hawaii-based indies Beyond Paradise and the Kiefer Sutherland-starrer To End All Wars. He’s repped by UTA. Cunningham himself will provide direct membership to the selected accelerator participants alongside mentors including Ralph Winter (X-Men, Fantastic Four), producer Grant Curtis (Spider-Man Trilogy, Oz: The Great & Powerful), entrepreneur Mike Frank (co-founder of Level 3 Communications), game developer Lance Priebe (creator & co-founder of Club Penguin), digital innovations entrepreneur James Snook (head of Starbucks Innovations), and others.

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Legendary TV Options Max Brooks’ Horror Comic Series ‘Extinction Parade’

Legendary Television and Digital Media extinctionparade has optioned World War Z and Zombie Survival Guide author Max Brooks‘ horror comic series The Extinction Parade for development as a TV series. Brooks will assist in development of the project and pen the pilot episode, Brooks and Avatar Press said today. Extinction Parade pits zombies against vampires in a world where the zombie plague has put the human race on the endangered species list, according to a description of the series on Avatar’s website. Fearing the end of their food supply, the vastly outnumbered vampires enter into an all-out subdead war with the zombies, with humans caught in the crossfire. Read More »

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Warner Bros Slapped With Second ‘Conjuring’ Rights Lawsuit By Producer

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 4:08pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEHard to tell if it’s more paralegal than paranormal but something is definitely haunting The Conjuring franchise that Warner Bros is trying to create. Today the studio and its New Line division were named among the defendants in another breach of contract lawsuit. This time 87-year old Lorraine Warren herself, whose the conjuringinvestigations into the seemingly supernatural with her late husband were the basis for last year’s hit thriller, was also listed as a defendant. Filed in federal court in Texas like the last such suit, today’s new jury trial seeking complaint (read it here) wants to stop any sequels going forward, a declaratory judgment of rights and a series of unspecified actual, punitive and statutory damages likely to run into the millions. And what do the other side say? “We have not been served,” a WB spokesman told me today of the latest filing.

Related: Warner Bros Hit With ‘Conjuring’ Rights Lawsuit, Lionsgate Exited TV Series Deal

Like the March 28 complaint this latest 33-page suit comes from producer Tony DeRosa-Grund and his Evergreen Media over announced sequels to the scary 2013 hit. Unlike the last lawsuit, this time DeRosa-Grund has brought some company and claims of copyright infringement to the party. Alleging that a republication of the 2002 book The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed & Lorraine Warren was “fraudulently concealed” and shifted to a new publisher … Read More »

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Warner Bros Acquires Global Book Sensation ‘The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair’; Ron Howard To Direct

Mike Fleming

Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair MovieEXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the Joel Dicker novel The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair for Ron Howard to direct and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer to produce with him. Deals are also in the works for Eugenie Grandval and Claire Lundberg to produce as well. Since published by the Swiss author, the novel has been a publishing phenomenon in Europe and especially in France, where is finished just behind Fifty Shades Of Grey, and Italy and Spain, where it outsold Dan Brown’s Inferno. It has sold over 2 million copies and won the prestigious Grand Prix du Roman and was nominated for the Prix Goncourt. Book was published by Bernard de Fallois’s Editions de Fallois.

ronbrianPublished in France under the title La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert, the novel is about a young superstar novelist who finds himself embroiled in a sensationalized murder mystery when his mentor, an icon of American literature, is implicated in the crime of a missing 15-year-old girl who turns up dead in the author’s backyard. Penguin will publish the book in the U.S. in May. Read More »

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Indie Distribution Vet Jeff Lipsky Goes Global On Vimeo With Trio Of His Own Pics: Video

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 3:31pm PDT

jeff lipsky twelve thirty“Independent American films are largely considered anathema to foreign distributors these days,” says Jeff Lipsky. The distribution veteran, who’s also a John Cassavetes-mentored filmmaker, knows a thing or two about the indie business. He co-founded October Films with Bingham Ray in 1991, and is also a former executive at New Yorker Films, Samuel Goldwyn Films, and Skouras Pictures. In 2011, he launched Adopt Films with Tim Grady, which recently handled Oscar nominee Omar. As a director, Lipsky has made five movies, and is shooting a sixth this fall. Some of his own films have been in official selections at VimeoSundance and San Sebastian, and seen U.S. releases, but none has ever been distributed internationally. And that’s why he’s taking things into his own hands, making three of them available via Vimeo On Demand worldwide as of May 1: Flannel Pajamas (2006), Twelve Thirty (2010) and Molly’s Theory Of Relativity (2013). Among the stars of those movies are Justin Kirk, Julianne Nicholson, Mamie Gummer, Jonathan Groff and Cady Huffman. Two of them also have actor Reed Birney in common with In Your Eyes, the micro-budget Tribeca title that writer and exec producer Joss Whedon just announced is going out worldwide via Vimeo. The timing was pure coincidence, Lipsky says as he sings the service’s praises. “There is great potential for indie filmmakers. It doesn’t require legal contracts, you can geoblock and call your own shots… It’s not rocket science.” (Post continues below)

He says Vimeo’s quality is the same as “any of the big boys.” Although a fan of Netflix and Amazon, Lipsky contends the “problem” with those services is that they are “fantastic for consumers, but little to no money can be realized by filmmakers or distributors.” Vimeo allows for an “instantaneous” revenue stream, which is “as it should be in this world we live in.” The split with the site is 90% to the rights holder and 10% to the service, Lipsky tells me. The only risk, he says, is that it’s “not the 800-pound gorilla. You have to do a little more” to market, but it’s “whatever I want.” What he hopes is that when his next movie is completed in 2016, the Vimeo experience will create “an expectant audience clamoring to see the film in many countries.” Here’s a clip from Lipsky latest, Molly’s Theory Of Relativity, with Tony winner Huffman and God’s Pocket‘s Sophia Takal: Read More »

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USA’s ‘Chrisley Knows Best’ Scores Best Stats In Season Finale; Lifetime’s ‘True Tori’ Opens With 1.2M Viewers

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 3:20pm PDT

Chrisley Knows Best - Season 1USA Network‘s Chrisley Knows Best went out with a whoop last night clocking 1.5 million viewers — 890,000 of them in the 18-49 demo and 803,000 of them in the older 25-54 age bracket. That’s up by double digits over the previous week’s 1.2 million viewers. Last week, paired with USA’s off-network family comedy Modern Family, Chrisley Knows Best — following the antics of Atlanta-based multimillionaire Todd Chrisley, his wife Julie, and their five children — hit what was then the show’s season high with 823,000 demo viewers and 742,000 in the older bracket, as well as that  overall crowd of 1.2 million. (Last week’s ratings had been a jump of 34% in adults 18-49 and 10% in total viewers from the previous week). Read More »

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Apple CEO Says HBO Gave Amazon “Older” Content, And Talks Up Apple TV

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 3:15pm PDT

Tim CookTim Cook hinted in his call with analysts today that Apple wants to become a bigger player in TV. He says that the company has already sold 20M of its Apple TV streaming boxes, which accounted for $1B  in sales last year. That helps to explain why, in February, he stopped calling the product a “hobby.” As it has grown, and become more sophisticated, “it didn’t feel right to me” to treat it so dismissively. He doesn’t appear to feel threatened by Amazon’s deal today to land several popular shows from HBO and add HBO GO to the Amazon Fire TV platform. “We  have HBO GO already on Apple TV,” the Apple CEO says. As for the programming: “They got some older content from HBO. I haven’t had a chance to evaluate exactly what it is.” While Apple fans eagerly wait to see what new products the company might unveil this year, Cook says “I’m feeling very good about that [TV] business and where it can go.”

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Joel David Moore To Direct Euthanasia Road Trip Pic ‘Youth In Oregon’

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 3:00pm PDT

Joel David MooreEXCLUSIVE: Avatar actor Joel David Moore is set to direct comedic drama Youth In Oregon, about a man who must drive his 80-year-old father-in-law cross country to be euthanized. It’ll mark Moore’s third feature behind the camera after his 2007 thriller Spiral and the upcoming comedy Killing Winston Jones starring Richard Dreyfuss. Youth In Oregon is scripted by Andrew Eisen and will be produced by Stefan Nowicki, Joey Carey and Morgan White for Sundial Pictures, whose recent films include Obvious Child, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and Pariah. Moore recently starred in ABC pilot Forever and in Adam Wingard’s Sundance pic The Guest. He has a recurring role on Bones and next stars on the big screen in Sony thriller Grace. Moore is repped by ICM Partners, which is also repping domestic sales on Youth In Oregon, as well as Underground and Nelson, Davis, Wetzstein, LLP.

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2015 Art Directors Guild Awards Set For January 31

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 2:58pm PDT

ADG logoThe 19th Annual Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Awards, honoring production design in theatrical motion pictures, TV, commercials and music videos will be held Saturday, January 31, at the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton. Here’s the timeline announced today: Read More »

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Chip Off The Austrian Oak? Patrick Schwarzenegger Joins ‘Scouts Vs. Zombies’

Mike Fleming

Schwarzenegger,_Patrick_Headshot[1]-1EXCLUSIVE: Patrick Schwarzenegger has been cast in Scouts Vs. Zombies, the Paramount genre mash-up that will be directed by Christopher Landon. Schwarzenegger, son of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, here plays the popular high school quarterback who is a rival to the boy scout troop. Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joseph Morgan and David Koechner also star. Andy Fickman, Todd Garner, Bryan Brucks and Betsy Sullenger are producing. Shooting is set to begin May 8.

Patrick can next be seen in the Kevin Connolly-directed Dear Eleanor opposite Josh Lucas, Jessica Alba, Liana Liberato and Isabelle Fuhrman. He is repped by Management 360 and Bloom Hergott.

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Immigrant’

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 2:46pm PDT

Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner star in the James Gray period drama The Immigrant. It centers on Ewa Cybulski (Cotillard) and her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan), who immigrate to New York from their native Poland to start a new life. The two women are separated when doctors discover Magda is seriously ill and she is quarantined. Ewa then falls into the hands of Bruno (Phoenix), a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. She later meets Bruno’s cousin Orlando (Renner), a magician who sweeps her off her feet and is her best chance to escape the nightmarish life she’s been enduring. Have a look at the new trailer for the Weinstein Co pic, which doesn’t have a release date:

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Zooey Deschanel & Anton Yelchin Topline Dark Comedy ‘The Driftless Area’

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 2:46pm PDT

> on April 19, 2014 in New York City.deschanelzooeyAnton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel will star alongside John Hawkes in The Driftless Area, a dark comedy from director and co-writer Zachary Sluser. A resourceful bartender (Yelchin) moves back to his hometown after his parents die, falls for an enigmatic woman (Deschanel) and is unwittingly pitted against a volatile crook (Hawkes). Ciaran Hinds and Alia Shawkat co-star in the dark comedy based on the novel by Tom Drury, who co-wrote the screenplay. Shooting starts May 14 in Vancouver for Unified Pictures and Bron Studios. Keith Kjarval and Aaron L. Gilbert are producing with Nicole Romano as exec producer. Radiant Films will be selling international rights at the Cannes Film Market next month, and CAA is handling domestic.

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Scott Speedman Joins Patricia Clarkson For ‘October Gale’

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 2:36pm PDT
Mike Fleming

speedmaEXCLUSIVE: Scott Speedman is set to star opposite Patricia Clarkson in October Gale, the drama written and directed by Ruba Nadda. She also wrote and directed Cairo Time, which starred Clarkson. Speedman plays a mysterious man who, during a violent October storm, washes up on the shore of Helen Matthews’ remote island cottage, unconscious and bleeding from a gunshot wound. Clarkson plays the recently widowed doctor who takes him in, only to find that the shooter is coming back to finish the job and that the storm has cut them off from the mainland. Daniel Iron will produce through Foundry Films, and Christine Vachon will be exec producer through Killer Films. The film shoots in Canada in five weeks. Read More »

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WME Signs ‘Warrior’ Helmer Gavin O’Connor

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 2:25pm PDT
Mike Fleming

warrior-oconnorEXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Gavin O’Connor, the writer-director of the superb generational fighter tale Warrior, the indie Tumbleweeds, cop drama Pride And Glory, and the U.S. Gold Medal-winning hockey team saga Miracle.

warrO’Connor most recently directed the pilot that launched the FX series The Americans, and he came on to save the day when he signed on to direct Jane Got A Gun, the drama that stars Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor and Rodrigo Santoro. Relativity acquired the Western for release and will open the film later this year. O’Connor had been at CAA.

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Meg Ryan To Voice The Mother In CBS’ ‘How I Met Your Dad’

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 1:45pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Meg Ryan How I Met Your DadMeet the future Mother. I have learned that Meg Ryan has been quietly tapped as the narrator in CBSHow I Met Your Mother spinoff How I Met Your Dad. In the way that Bob Saget supplied the voice of future Ted (Josh Radnor) in HIMYM, Ryan will voice future Sally (played by Greta Gerwig) in the spinoff, telling her kids the story of how she’d met gerwigtheir dad. Like Saget, Ryan will never be seen on the show. CBS and How I Met Your Dad producer 20th Century Fox TV declined comment. In the vein of the original series, HIMYD tells the story from a female point of view, that of Sally (Gerwig), and revolves around a new group of friends in New York, played by Gerwig, Drew Tarver, Nick D’Agosto, Andrew Santino and Tiya Sircar. The spinoff pilot has been garnering strong early buzz and is considered a leading candidate for a series pickup for next season. Ryan is with ICM Partners.

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Radius/TWC Sets Elisabeth Moss-Mark Duplass Pic ‘The One I Love’ For August

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 1:44pm PDT

The One I LoveThe romantic comedy premiered at Sundance and screens this week at Tribeca. Radius/TWC acquired worldwide rights to The One I Love within 24 hours of its Park City bow and now has set an August 15 release date. Charlie McDowell directed the pic, which stars Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass as spouses in a crumbling marriage who escape for the weekend in pursuit of their better selves and end up facing an unusual dilemma. Ted Danson co-stars, and Justin Lader wrote it. Here’s a clip:

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Apple Fiscal Q2 Earnings Blast Past Analyst Expectations As It Raises Dividend

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 1:32pm PDT

Apple shares are up more than 8% post market after it released a lot of news designed to please investors — including a 7-for-1 stock split, an increase in stock repurchases to $90B from $60B, and an 8% increase in the quarterly dividend.apple__121030091136 “We are confident in Apple’s future and see tremendous value in Apple’s stock,” CEO Tim Cook says. The announcements come as the consumer electronics company released earnings for the first three months of the year that trounced Wall Street forecasts.

Apple generated net income of $10.22B, +7.1% vs the period last year, on revenues of $45.6B, +4.7%. Analysts thought the top line would come in at $43.5B. Earnings at $11.62 a share far exceeded the consensus prediction of $10.18. Some of the upbeat news comes from higher-than-expected iPhone sales. Apple sold 43.7M units, up 17% vs the period last year. But iPad sales slipped 16% to 16.4M units while Mac computers were +5% to 4.1M and iPods fell 51% to 2.8M. Read More »

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Contestant On New Season Of ‘The Bachelorette’ Dies In Accident

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 1:26pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Eric HillEric Hill, one of the contestants on the upcoming season of ABC‘s The Bachelorette, has died as a result of injuries sustained in a paragliding accident over the weekend that was not part of the show. By then, Hill had completed filming The Bachelorette, presumably after being eliminated, so his death won’t impact the outcome of the show but it is expected to be addressed on the new season, which premieres May 19. “We are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic passing of our friend, Eric Hill,” The Bachelorette producers said in a statement. “Eric inspired us every day with his passion, his courage and his adventurous spirit, and for that we are very thankful. On behalf of our cast, crew and producers, we send our love, our thoughts and our prayers to Eric’s family during this difficult time.”

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