Hot off her Best Supporting Actress Oscar win, Lupita Nyong’o has signed with CAA. The 2012 Yale School of Drama grad made her feature debut in the Steve McQueen-helmed Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave playing cotton plantation slave Patsey opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender. Nyong’o was a darling of Oscar season, storming red carpets and media appearances in what marked her breakthrough year during which she racked up numerous critics’ awards, a SAG Award, and Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. The Kenyan-Mexican actress also appeared in Universal’s airborne thriller Non-Stop with Liam Neeson. She’s also repped by D2 Management and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.
EXCLUSIVE: When seasoned agents leave one major percentery for another, the tale is told by how many clients change addresses with them. Back in March, Stuart Manashil made the leap to WME after spending the past 6 1/2 years at CAA and before that spent six years at UTA. In what marks the third case — Dan Aloni and Warren Zavala were the first two — where agents pried their clients away from CAA, Manashil has strengthened WME’s writer-director roster quite a bit.
Related: Selena Gomez Signs With WME
Here’s who he brought with him:
FX Productions has closed an overall production deal with Noah Hawley, the writer, executive producer and showrunner of Fargo, FX‘s first limited series as part of the cable network’s push in event programming. The two-year agreement for Hawley and his 26 Keys banner covers development for all television, both cable and broadcast. “As is evident by the universal acclaim and extraordinary reviews pouring in for Fargo, Noah Hawley is one of the most talented writer/producers in this business,” said FX Networks and FX Prods President of Original Programming Eric Schrier. Inspired by the 1996 Coen brothers movie, Fargo tells a new story. Hawley wrote all episodes of the limited series, which earned great reviews. It launched to so-so premiere audience of 2.65 million but has grown in time-shifted viewing, amassing 6.3 million viewers in Live+3. “Making Fargo for FX has been the highlight of my career,” Hawley said.”A writer can search his or her whole career for a network partner who truly understands and encourages their vision. For me, the search is over. When John Landgraf announced ‘at FX, we’d rather make something great for somebody, than something good for everybody,’ I knew I’d found a home.”
The long road of Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher to the big screen finally has a finish line. Sony Pictures Classics has set a November 14 release date for the pic starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, which last week landed a competition berth at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s a prime awards-season spot for the drama, which tells the true story of Olympic wrestling champion brothers Mark Schultz (Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and their relationship with the eccentric John du Pont (Carell), heir to the DuPont Chemical fortune, that led to murder. Right now it will share the November 14 date with Universal’s Dumb And Dumber To, Sony/Columbia’s Brad Pitt war drama Fury and Relativity’s Blackbird.
Foxcatcher was being primed for a big AFI Fest bow and an Oscar-season splash last fall before pulling out at the last minute. SPC said the move was so filmmakers “can have more time to finish the film.” It had been set for a December 2013 release. AFI Fest later set August: Osage County for the gala premiere spot.
Food Network and Cooking Channel today unveiled 35 new series that will roll out during the next several months. Among the new additions on Food Networks’ slate, announced during Scripps Networks Interactive‘s upfront in New York, is The Valerie Bertinelli Project (wt) set for a September premiere. It features the Hot In Cleveland star and bestselling cookbook author and her husband preparing dinners for family and celebrity friends in their Los Angeles home. Bunim/Murray is producing. Also on the slate is an expansion of the Chopped franchise set for a July premiere. The five-episode Chopped Teens Tournament features 16 talented teenage chefs who must create the perfect appetizer, entree and dessert as they navigate through each round. The winner from each episode heads into the finale with a chance to win a $25,000 grand prize and culinary school scholarship. Notional is producing for Food Network. New Food Network and Cooking Channel series include:
The comedy starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will hit theaters on December 18, 2015. Pitch Perfect helmer Jason Moore directs The Nest, about two disconnected sisters cleaning out their parents’ family home who throw one last high school rager for their now-grown former classmates. Universal hopes it’ll serve as a counterprogramming option to Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Episode VII, which also opens that weekend along with Sony’s thriller Inferno. Jay Roach is producing The Nest alongside Fey, with Poehler exec producing. SNL and 30 Rock scribe Paula Pell penned the script.
EXCLUSIVE: Josh Berman tenure at Sony Pictures Television will be crossing the decade mark with a fourth consecutive overall deal. Under the new, three-year pact, Berman continues as executive producer and showrunner of Sony TV’s Lifetime series Dead Drop Diva. He created the dramedy, now in its sixth and final season, under his first overall pact at the studio. He also will continue to develop projects for network and cable. Berman began his career as a junior writer on the first season of CBS’ CSI. He remained on the long-running procedural for six years, rising to executive producer. He went on to create the Fox drama Vanished and spent four years on the network’s veteran procedural Bones. While at Sony TV, Berman, repped by CAA and attorney Ken Richman, also co-created and executive produced the Fox drama Mob Doctor.
UPDATED: CBS investors apparently became more comfortable with the Aereo news from the Supreme Court as the afternoon wore on. The broadcasters’ shares edged back into positive territory, closing +0.1%, and narrowed the striking gap with the S&P 500 that opened right around the time justices began questioning lawyers in the case.
PREVIOUS, 11:00 AM: Can’t say for sure, but the timing leads me to think that there’s a connection. CBS has the most at stake in the Aereo case among Big Media companies because it’s so dependent on broadcasting — including retransmission consent fees which, in theory, could be jeopardized if the streaming service can tap over-the-air transmissions without payment. CBS was up about 0.8% this morning, in line with the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500, until shortly after noon ET — during the court’s questioning period — when it fell sharply to -0.8% without a corresponding change in the S&P. Shares have begun to creep back up, but are still -0.2% in afternoon trading. This should be a good day for the broadcaster: This morning Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne reiterated a “buy” recommendation for CBS, saying that even a loss at the Supreme Court would have “no impact” on existing retransmission consent deals. The analyst added that a loss also “likely leads to a legislative response in ’15 ultimately confirming the networks’ ability to …
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency, RatPac Entertainment and Plan B have acquired 3 Videotapes, a pitch by Ian McCulloch that puts both companies in the low-budget genre game. The film is an elevated thriller with aspects of The Ring and Memento. RatPac’s Brett Ratner is executive producer. New Regency’s Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston brought in Plan B last fall after they collaborated on Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave. They recently acquired The Operators, which will be developed as a star vehicle for Brad Pitt with Animal Kingdom helmer David Michôd to write and direct The latter project is also being done with RatPac, with Pitt producing with his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, and Ratner exec producing. WME reps McCulloch.
Len Wiseman (Total Recall, Sleepy Hollow) is set to direct Black Chapter, about an FBI agent drawn into a top secret military program in which spies train in paranormal abilities. Skydance Productions is co-financing and producing the science fiction thriller, scripted by Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand) from a story conjured up by Penn and Wiseman. “Black Chapter is a science fiction story that draws from our own history,” said Len Wiseman. “I’ve always been fascinated by the mysteries surrounding the CIA’s astral projection program during its MK-ULTRA era. What if those experiments had actually worked? Would we even know?” Wiseman will also produce for his Sketch Films banner alongside Skydance’s David Ellison and Dana Goldberg. Skydance’s Paul Schwake is exec producing alongside David Bernardi for Sketch Films. Wiseman is repped by CAA and Behr & Abramson. Penn is repped by CAA and McKuin Frankel Whitehead, LLP.
Cannes? Who needs Cannes?
Last night in Hollywood, COLCOA, the “biggest” French film festival got underway with the North American premiere of legendary director Claude LeLouch‘s 44th film, We Love You, You Bastard to an overflow audience at the Directors Guild Theatre. Actually it should be noted organizers call this the “biggest” French film fest held outside of France. No, it’s not bigger than that one that happens in May that we keep talking about but with a record 61 French films of all shapes and sizes it’s a nice alternative until we can get to the South of France in 3 weeks.
This is the 18th year for Colcoa, which stands for City Of Lights, City Of Angels and is produced by the Franco-American Cultural Fund which is a partnership of the DGA, WGAW, MPA and French Society for Authors, Composers and Music Publishers. 20,000 French film fans are expected to hit the DGA all week through closing night next Monday with the North American Premieres of a new Catherine Deneuve film In The Yard, which doesn’t even open in France until this week, and a thriller, Mea Culpa. That announcement was held until last night’s opening. According to Francois Truffart (not to be confused with Truffaut, the great French director who died 30 years ago and has a theatre named in his honor during the fest) there are 37 U.S., North American and International Premieres this week, many of them without U.S. distribution so this could be a rare chance to see what he calls a real “cocktail” of French cinema.
Dimension Films has acquired N.A. rights to 47 Meters Down, a thriller set at the bottom of the ocean about two sisters trapped in an undersea observation cage who must survive a dwindling oxygen supply and the hungry great whites circling nearby. The contained two-hander is being touted as “Gravity, but underwater.” Copy that. Pic will be directed by Johannes Roberts (Storage 24) with Mark Lane and James Harris producing for their The Tea Shop and Film Company. Dimension’s Matthew Signer, Keith Levine, and Robert Walak are overseeing for the studio. Roberts is repped by WME. Walak and Michal Steinberg negotiated the deal with Altitude Film Sales’ Mike Runagall on behalf of the filmmakers. Altitude is repping worldwide sales.
Corporate governance watchdogs probably won’t like the fact that CEO Joseph Ripp will also be chairman of the 10-member board after Time Warner spins off its publishing unit. After all, the directors are supposed to hold the CEO accountable. But at least the Time Inc board doesn’t have any apparent shrinking violets or corporate novices. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says the group has “a wealth of experience in publishing, electronic media, advertising, consumer-facing businesses, and technology that is vital for Time Inc’s future.” In addition to Ripp, the board will consist of: Interpublic Group former CEO David Bell, National Geographic Society former CEO John Fahey, Gartner Inc former CEO Manuel Fernandez, Tribune Co former CEO Dennis FitzSimons, Kraft Foods former co-CEO Betsy Holden, USA Networks founder Kay Koplovitz, former IBM SVP J. Randall MacDonald, former Cravath, Swaine & Moore partner Ronald Rolfe, and former Sony CEO Howard Stringer.
If you thought that the legal dispute between Aereo and the broadcasters was combative, it paled compared with today’s one-hour hearing at the Supreme Court. In oral arguments before the nine Justices, both sides took some heavy blows, but the Barry Diller-backed streaming service definitely took one to the jaw from Chief Justice John Roberts. “Your technological model is based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don’t want to comply with,” Roberts told Aereo attorney David Frederick during the presentation before a packed chamber. “There’s no reason for you to have 10,000 dime-sized antennas except to get around the Copyright Act,” he said. Added Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: ”You are the only player so far that pays no royalties whatsoever.”
Coming after arguments from the broadcasters by former Solicitor General Paul Clement and current Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart, Frederick started off his presentation by saying “this is a reproduction rights issue masquerading as a public performance case.” The Justices didn’t seem to buy it.
Despite Roberts’ comments, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer were by far the most inquisitive during the presentation with concerns over cloud computing taking up almost as much time as the copyright issue at the heart of the lawsuit filed by an armada of Big Media companies — including CBS, Disney, Fox, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal — as well as the federal government. “I don’t understand if the decision I write for or against you will affect other technologies,” Breyer told Frederick. ”It’s not your problem — but it might be,” Breyer deadpanned to a big laugh from the courtroom.
“I think the cloud was the winner today,” MPAA boss Christopher Dodd said after the hearing. “But I think the Justices see Aereo as gimmicky and want to address that.” Dodd’s comments mirrored remarks made by Clement during the presentation.
During Clement’s three-minute rebuttal at the end of the hearing, Sotomayor directly asked the lawyer about the consequences of a potential ruling. “If it’s just a gimmick, then they deserve to go out of business and no one should shed a tear,” Clement said of Aereo’s prospects should it lose at the high court. The lawyer added that if Aereo’s technology was innovative, it would persevere in one form or another regardless.
Said Frederick in a statement after the presentation: “We’re confident, cautiously optimistic, based on the way the hearing went today that the Court understood that a person watching over-the-air broadcast television in his or her home is engaging in a private performance and not a public performance that would implicate the Copyright Act.”
Originally scheduled to start at 11 AM ET, today’s hearing was pushed back 30 minutes because of readings of other opinions from the bench. In the sundrenched chamber with its strategically lit red velvet drapes and engraved marble walls, almost all of the nine Justices asked questions from their high-backed chairs. As is common, the only Justice not to ask a question was Clarence Thomas, though he did take time during the presentation to whisper asides to Justice Antonin Scalia.
The court likely will rule by late June.
WEtv has dropped a trailer for its first original scripted drama The Divide. Written by Richard LaGravenese (Behind The Candelabra) and co-created by LaGravenese and Tony Goldwyn (Conviction), The Divide explores the personal cost of morality, ambition, ethics, politics, and race in today’s justice system through the eyes of Christine Rosa played by Marin Ireland (Homeland, Boss, Side Effects), an impassioned caseworker with The Innocence Initiative, and Adam Page played by Damon Gupton (The Newsroom, Prime Suspect), an equally passionate district attorney and political rising star. The eight-episode series, produced by AMC Studios, premieres in July. Have a look:
EXCLUSIVE: As many as 13 VH1 staffers have been let go, we have learned. That represents the bulk of the network’s New York development and production team who have overseen such series as Mob Wives. Among the departing are VPs East Coast production and development Brad Abramson and Kari McFarland. The move comes a month after VH1 brought in veteran showrunner Nina Diaz (Mob Wives) as SVP East Coast Production and Development. She is expected to build a new New York development and production team. Additionally, some of the vacated positions are expected to be filled by people with different skill sets, including some servicing the network’s app. “With ratings on an upswing and the pace of development increasing cross platform, we felt it was the right time to examine our overall production and development structure in New York,” VH1 said in a statement to Deadline. “It’s imperative we accurately structure our teams to deliver the content that our growing number of viewers want from VH1 today.” VH1 has operations on both coasts with its development headquarters located in Los Angeles where new EVP Original Programming and Production Susan Levison is based.
EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Channel, which decided Sunday to scrap its much ballyhooed live Mount Everest jump after a weekend avalanche there killed 13, will instead telecast a special documenting the disaster. In much the same way the Naudet brothers happened to be at the World Trade Center towers the morning of September 11, 2001, filming a documentary about members of Lower Manhattan’s Engine 7, Ladder 1 firehouse, and wound up instead producing the docu 9/11, so too were camera crews for the Discovery Channel jump at Everest at the time of the single deadliest incident in the history of the peak. NBC News’ Peacock Productions crews, which were to have produced the live jum, was at base camp at the time of the avalanche. Crews had been shooting footage in advance of Discovery’s planned five nights of live programs culminating in Joby Ogwyn’s May 11 jump.
The special will document last weekend’s disaster that struck at 7 AM Friday, Nepal time, and will follow the Sherpa community’s reaction, grieving, and ceremonies for the victims. Ogwyn will be interviewed for the special; he and his team were involved in recovering the bodies from the mountain.