In a repeat from last year, NBC‘s perennial bubble comedy Community just snagged a 13-episode renewal. There have been some significant changes on the show over the past 12 months though. When NBC renewed the show last May, it still had creator Dan Harmon as showrunner and Chevy Chase as co-star. Immediately after the upfronts, Harmon was replaced with David Guarascio and Moses Port. Then in November, Chase too departed. The bitter feud between Chase and Harmon was a major factor in destabilizating of the show for a couple of seasons, leading to public outbursts and profane voice messages. Now that Chase is gone, emotions have cooled down and all sides involved have had time to reflect, there is speculation that Harmon may come back, especially if this turns out to be Community‘s final chapter. (I’d heard that, with the show’s future at NBC in limbo, there were a number of suitors clamoring to pick up Community for a final installment.) There are no deals in place but I hear there certainly is interest in bringing Harmon back in some capacity.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Michael Haneke Feted By Spain, BBC To Air Record-Breaking ‘You Will Be My Son’
Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts has gone this year to Amour director Michael Haneke. The two-time Palme d’Or winner was given a $65,000 prize to go with the honor. The jury hailed his “constantly evolving” filmography and praised his “dazzling mastery” that employs “radical sincerity, keen observation and extreme subtlety” for an “original and highly personal approach to fundamental issues that concern and affect us both individually and collectively.” Established in 1980, the Prince of Asturias awards honor an individual or institution whose work “constitutes a significant contribution to mankind’s culture heritage.” Pedro Almodovar is a previous recipient.
BBC’s Cup Runneth Over With Record-Breaking ‘You Will Be My Son’
Moviegoers who went to see Gilles Legrand’s You Will Be My Son during its first week of UK and Ireland release in December were given a free glass of wine as a means to entice folks during a week that also saw the bow of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The movie ultimately stayed in theaters for a record-breaking six months, and indie distributor Swipe said today that it’s been acquired by the BBC for TV broadcast. The French wine film is set in St. Emilion and stars Niels Arestrup as a vintner who plots to disown his own son and pass the …
The final curtain is about to fall on one of the industry’s top bond guaranty companies. International Film Guarantors has been gutted by its parent company’s decision to switch its allegiance to IFG’s main rival, Film Finances Inc.; Fireman’s Fund instead will insure that firm’s film-completion guarantees starting in early summer. That leaves IFG out in the cold, and the Santa Monica-based company that has bonded hundreds of films over more than two decades soon will be shuttered. Deadline hears that IFG will continue to take new bonding business through July 1, when the Fireman’s-Film Finances deal is expected to close, but will wind down from there. All bonds issued by IFG through that date will continue to be backed by Fireman’s Fund. We hear that there have been no immediate layoffs at IFG but that all staffers including top management will be exiting – some leaving by July and others staying into the fall to work on projects already bonded by the company.
UPDATE: While they were quick to announce Hotel 33 with Nicolas Cage, Foresight Unlimited has the benefit of hindsight and is backing off a bit. “We have learned that the deal with Nicolas Cage on Hotel 33 is not yet closed,” the company said in a statement tonight. “We therefore feel it is prudent to let the parties finalize their negotiations before we move forward with international representation of the film.”
Foresight Unlimited, Emmett/Furla Films and Envision Entertainment are gearing up with their third project together after 2 Guns and Lone Survivor. Described as a surreal thriller, Hotel 33 stars Nicolas Cage and is based on the presumed event surrounding the disappearance of 32 people on the opening night of the Grand Hotel in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1953. Cage plays a detective investigating the happenings when four teenagers break into the abandoned hotel and things go mysteriously awry as two of the kids disappear. First time feature helmer Kellie Madison wrote the script and will direct with production to start in September. Open Road is releasing in the U.S. and Foresight is selling international. Randall Emmett and George Furla are producers. Envision’s Remington Chase, Stepan Martirosyan and Vitaly Grigoriants, and Foresight’s Mark Damon are exec producers as is Malek Akkad.
EXCLUSIVE: Looking to stir up a bit of early Oscar buzz, The Weinstein Company has slotted the Lee Daniels-directed The Butler to an August 16 release date. It had been skedded for October 18. That slot has done well for films that include The Help, Julie and Julia and Eat Pray Love, and TWC will hope to follow suit. The film looks at the life of Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents from 1952 to 1986 and had a birds eye view of the Civil Rights movement. He was long retired when Barack Obama became the first African American president, but was invited back for the inauguration. The cast includes Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and Robin Williams. Here’s the trailer:
The Weinstein Company‘s Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters really has some bite now. A series of actors have signed on to the film based on the best-selling book series by Richelle Mead. Sami Gayle, who appears on CBS’ Blue Bloods is playing Mia, the nemesis in the books. Cameron Monaghan (Shameless), Ashley Charles (White Buffalo) and Claire Foy (White Heat) also have boarded the pic which stars Olga Kurylenko, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry and Danila Kozlovski. The New York Times best-selling books tell the tale of Rose Hathaway, a 17-year-old girl who has a mental and spiritual bond with her vampire best friend Lissa. The two girls attend a special school for vampires who struggle to retain some humanity while other Vampires become more feral. Monaghan plays the role of Mason Ashford, best friend to Rose, who becomes a romantic interest. Mark Waters is directing from a script by Daniel Waters. Gayle appears with Robin Wright and Paul Giamatti in The Congress, which is premiering at Cannes. She also just wrapped Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage opposite Kristin Wiig and Guy Pierce. Gayle is repped by CAA and Intellectual Artists Management, Monaghan by UTA and Industry Entertainment, Charles by CAA, Dallas Smith in the UK and manager Eric Podwall and Foy by WME …
This was one of the most expected cancellations at NBC and yet it was probably one of the most difficult; that’s why it came down last. Smash was a passion project for NBC topper Bob Greenblatt, which he originally developed at Showtime and brought with him to NBC. It was one of his first pilot orders and the series launched with one of the biggest marketing campaigns in years on the night after NBC’s broadcast of the Super Bowl last year. The big-budget musical drama started off well, helped by a big lead-in from The Voice. But creatively, it couldn’t live up to the pilot and in renewing it for a second season, NBC changed showrunners. When it returned this midseason on Tuesday and without The Voice lead-in, Smash couldn’t regain traction, crashing in the ratings before getting exiled on Saturday.
UPDATE: ABC Picks Up ‘Once Upon A Time’ Spinoff, ‘Mixology’, ‘The Returned’, ‘Killer Women’, ‘Lucky 7′, ‘Betrayal’, ‘Trophy Wife’, Cullen Bros, ‘Influence’, ‘The Goldbergs’, ‘Super Fun Night’, ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ To Series
When all was said and done tonight, ABC picked up a total of 12 new series — seven dramas and five comedies. All comedies are single-camera as ABC passed on both of its multi-camera pilots. Here is how it all came down today as the network opened the pickup process with one Disney-friendly shoo-in pilot, Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., and closed it with another, the Once Upon A Time spinoff. Descriptions of all ABC series and first-look photos at the bottom of the post.
ABC’s Once Upon A Time is officially a franchise as the network just ordered spinoff Once Upon A Time In Wonderland to series, joining the original series, which also was renewed.
Also picked up at ABC are ensemble comedy Mixology, which had been heating up, drama The Returned, now called Resurrection, said to be one of Paul Lee’s favorite pilots, and female procedural Killer Women, executive produced by Sofia Vergara and Ben Silverman. The Malin Akerman starrer Trophy Wife also has gotten a series pickup.
It’s a great day for David Zabel, who just got a pickup call for both of his ABC pilots, dramas Lucky 7 and Betrayal.
Two more series pickups at ABC to two 20th TV pilots, the Cullen Bros. comedy starring James Caan and executive produced by Aaron Kaplan, titled Back In The Game, and the Steve Zahn-Christian Slater procedural Minds Games (formerly Influence).
Also getting a series pickup at ABC is comedy frontrunner Adam Goldberg, whose autobiographical 1980s dysfunctional family comedy is now called The Goldbergs.
ABC wants to be in the Rebel Wilson business. The network’s first new comedy series pickup went to Wilson’s Super Fun Night. The pilot was not perfect, but with Wilson’s star rising so fast, the network couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have her on its air.
No surprise here — ABC’s first new series order for next season has gone to Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., from The Avengers’ Joss Whedon. The network will air a first-look at the series, officially titled Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., during the season finale of Once Upon A Time on Sunday. This marks the first pilot and first series for Disney-owned Marvel on ABC.
4TH UPDATE 6 PM: Also getting a pass is nearly frontrunner and Disney-friendly drama Big Thunder, based on the Disney Parks ride, and dramas Reckless and Doubt. Venice aka Westside is not going forward either. It started off well but was eventually overshadowed by fellow soap Betrayal. Also dead is multi-camera comedy Divorce, so ABC ended up passing on both of its multi-cam pilots, including King John, which will make it harder for such pitches next year. Comedy pilot Bad Management is not going for fall but is alive.
3RD UPDATE FRIDAY 5:30 PM: Welcome to Part 2 of ABC’s “pass” calls. Not going forward are comedies Spy, Middle Age Rage and Pulling. I hear Pulling was well liked but ABC brass felt it was too cable in sensibility. I hear ABC Studios plans to shop it elsewhere.
2ND UPDATE 7 PM: Dramedy Murder In Manhattan, about a mother-daughter sleuthing duo, also is not going forward. However, I hear that ABC Studios, which produced the pilot starring Bridget Regan and Annie Potts, is high on it and plans to shop it to cable. With its premise, Murder In Manhattan appears suitable for Lifetime, where ABC Studios successfully migrated another dramedy pilot that narrowly missed at the cut at ABC last year, Devious Maids. ABC is expected to continue with the pass calls tomorrow when it also will pick …
The last piece has fallen into NBC‘s comedy puzzle, with the network canceling Ryan Murphy‘s freshman comedy The New Normal. To recap, of all current NBC comedy series, only two, Parks & Recreation and Community, made it to next season as the network is betting heavily on its half-hour pilots. The New Normal has garnered a lot of attention (and some controversy) with its subject of a gay couple having a baby. It recently won a GLAAD Award but largely failed to gain traction with viewers.
This a costly cancellation for Disney-ABC. Despite OK ratings and a financial windfall for sibling ABC Studios from international sales, ABC pulled the plug on procedural Body Of Proof after three seasons. The network is replacing it with another female-driven procedural, newly picked up Killer Women. The appeal of star Reba McEntire was not enough to save freshman comedy Malibu Country, leaving Last Man Standing as literally the last man standing for multi-camera comedy at ABC. As expected, ABC-owned freshman The Neighbors prevailed over 20th TV’s How To Live With Your Parents for a second-season renewal. No surprise in the Red Widow demise.
This has got to be one of the most surprising moves this season: I’ve learned that CBS has passed on the Beverly Hills Cop reboot from Shawn Ryan and Eddie Murphy. It is likely that the project, which had multiple suitors before landing at CBS in a bidding war last fall, will be shopped elsewhere. Beverly Hills Cop originally was produced by Sony TV. After it had already been picked up to pilot at CBS, Paramount – which is looking to enter the TV business — exercised an option to buy into the show, creating an odd pairing between former corporate siblings Paramount and CBS and making odd bedfellows of Les Moonves and Brad Grey. I hear the pilot, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, will likely be shopped to other networks. It stars Brandon T. Jackson as Axel Foley’s son and Murphy reprising his signature role as Axel.
As expected, ABC has cancelled Happy Endings after three seasons. But not all is lost for the cult comedy. Sony TV, the leading studio behind the underrated comedy series, had reached out to a couple of networks, including USA, about the possibility of continuing the comedy there if ABC did not renew it. USA, which has been looking to break into the half-hour original series space, had expressed interest and has had discussions about picking up Happy Endings in case of a cancellation. No real conversations had been held, with the series now officially available, such are expected to begin.
If the financials can be worked out, a Happy Endings pickup would be fortuitous for USA, which has been actively developing half-hour comedies and has ordered several pilots but has yet to greenlight a half-hour series. USA had been looking to have an original comedy on tap for the fall premiere of its marquee off-network series Modern Family. Happy Endings would be a suitable companion for Modern Family as it already spent two seasons on ABC paired with the Emmy-winning family comedy. Happy Endings did well behind Modern Family, but its fortunes changed this past fall when it was moved to Tuesday to form a comedy block with Don’t Trust The B—- At Apt. 23 in a crowded comedy hour. Despite strong cult following and critical praise, Happy Endings struggled mightily on Tuesday and in its last Friday slot. ABC brass had been strongly supporting the show …
NBC & Sony Make Deal: ‘Community’ Renewed; ‘Blacklist’, ‘Night Shift’ & ‘Welcome To The Family’ Picked Up
After a couple of days of intense and complex negotiations between NBC and Sony TV, all four projects that were part of the talks received orders by NBC. That includes The Blacklist, the highest testing NBC drama pilots in 10 years, blended family comedy pilot Welcome To The Family and off-cycle medical drama pilot The Night Shift, all picked up to series. (Sony’s fifth pilot at NBC this year, comedy Brenda Forever, remains in contention.) And of course, Community. A day after the cult comedy ended its fourth season, it got a fifth. The renewal is for 13 episodes. Here are descriptions of NBC’s newly picked up Sony series:
For decades, ex-government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, “The Office,” “Boston Legal”) has been one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as “The Concierge of Crime.” Now, he’s mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone, “Law & Order: Los Angeles”), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it’s going to be one hell of a first day on the job. What follows is a twisting series of events as the race to stop …
EXCLUSIVE: Brad Furman will finally get behind the camera on a feature film about Colombian drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar. The Lincoln Lawyer director has long sought a way into a biopic of Escobar and now has Inside Llewyn Davis star Oscar Isaac aboard for the lead role, which is based on the Black List script by Matt Aldrich. Isaac will be in a lot of conversations before and after that Coen brothers pic comes out December 6. Relativity Media is the distributor and will sell the project in Cannes. Raging Bull Entertainment’s Joseph Khouri and Joe Isgro will produce with Scott Pictures’ Scott Steindorff, Film 360′s Scott Lambert, Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh and Tucker Tooley. Scott Lastaiti and Dylan Russell are exec producing. Filming begins in September in Colombia. Steindorff is producing and funding Jane Got Gun, the pic that finally came together with a final piece of casting in Ewan McGregor, who stars with Natalie Portman, Noah Emmerich and Joel Edgerton. The pic is near the end of production under helmer Gavin O’Connor.
Isaac is repped by UTA and Inspire Entertainment, Furman by CAA and Aldrich by CAA and Jewerl Ross.
Cannes: Atlas Independent And Relativity Team For Timothy Olyphant-Starrer ‘The Man On Carrion Road’
LOS ANGELES, CA, MAY 10, 2013 – Atlas Independent, the affiliate company of Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment and Relativity International, the newly formed international division of Relativity Media are pleased to announce a two picture deal in which Atlas Independent will produce and Relativity International will co-finance and sell internationally. The first film of the two will be the Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego helmed The Man on Carrion Road. Relativity International, led by President Camela Galano, will commence international sales at Cannes. Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego (Apollo 18) will direct The Man on Carrion Road based on rising screenwriter, Nils Lyew’s, script. Timothy Olyphant is currently attached to star. William Green and Aaron Ginsburg of Atlas Independent will produce. Atlas’ Andy Horwitz will executive produce. Atlas Independent is also currently in post-production on Lopez-Gallego’s feature, Open Grave.
Listen to (and share) episode 34 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman as Deadline’s Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at out-of-whack CEO pay; a Washington threat to the Pay TV oligopoly; YouTube goes subscription with 30 new channels; and why Time-Warner’s Jeff Bewkes thinks blockbusters make sense financially.
Like its six predecessors, Star Wars: Episode VII will be filmed in the United Kingdom, Lucasfilm announced today. “We’ve devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of Star Wars as inspiration for our process on the new movie, and I’m thrilled that returning to the UK for production and utilizing the incredible talent there can be a part of that,” company president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement posted on the official Star Wars website Friday. “Speaking from my own longstanding connection to the UK with films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Empire of the Sun and recently War Horse, it’s very exciting to be heading back.” Portions of the previous Star Wars films were shot at British studios such as Shepperton and Pinewood. Production should be starting soon on Episode VII as the J.J. Abrams-directed and Michael Arndt-scripted movie is expected out in 2015. In fact, Kennedy and the rest of the Jedi gang might be back in Britain for a while. Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in October and immediately announced that three new Stars Wars films would be coming in the next several years. The return to the UK also likely includes some sweet tax benefits for the hugely successful franchise. The online announcement noted that “earlier this year, representatives from Lucasfilm met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in London to establish an agreement to produce Star Wars in the UK” and had a gushing comment from the government minister …
UPDATE: Midseason drama Golden Boy and veteran comedy Rules Of Engagement too have been officially cancelled. Golden Boy did give us Brit Theo James, who looks like a movie star in the making. Meanwhile, Rules will go down as one of the most under-appreciated utility players in TV history. The sitcom, which never got much love, successfully plugged any hole on the CBS schedule it was assigned to, most recently replacing swiftly cancelled freshman comedy Partners on Monday this season. Its producer Sony TV fought hard for renewals in the past but this time, with the cast’s deals up, it didn’t make much sense, especially with the show safely over the 100-episode mark.
PREVIOUS: CBS has started to cancel existing series. I’ve learned that veteran CSI: NY has been axed, joining fellow spinoff CSI: Miami, which ended its run last season. Also over is freshman Vegas. Coincidentally, the two shows shared the same Friday 9 PM slot this season. None had been expected to survive. CSI: NY, starring Gary Sinise, had a respectable nine-year run. With it gone, the mothership CSI series, already renewed for next season, is the only member of the powerful CSI franchise still on the air. Period drama Vegas, which starred Dennis Quaid and Michael …