EXCLUSIVE: Tatiana Maslany, who earned a Golden Globe nod for her starring role on the BBC America sci-fi series Orphan Black, has been cast in indie feature The Paper Store. Maslany stars opposite Penn Badgley (Greetings From Tim Buckley, Margin Call, Gossip Girl) and Richard Kind in a revenge tale about a former college student who forges essays for cash, the client who becomes her lover, and their professor. Katharine Clark Gray penned the script with husband Nicholas Gray, who will direct. Jonathan Gray and Bonnie Timmermann are producing. Filming is set to begin next month in New York. Maslany is repped by Resolution, Magnolia Entertainment and Characters Talent Agency. Badgely, whose upcoming films include Ethan Hawke’s Cymbeline and Parts Per Billion with Frank Langella and Teresa Palmer, is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.
The lines between TV comedy and drama get blurrier by the season with such genre-straddling shows as Nurse Jackie, Louie, Californication and Justified. Two hourlong series, Shameless and Orange Is the New Black, will compete as comedies at the Emmys this year after previously being submitted as dramas at awards shows. The subject was batted around during today’s HRTS Hitmakers panel at the Beverly Hilton, which featured Orange Is The New Black and Weeds creator Jenji Kohan as well as Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel, Lost) and Michelle Ashford (Masters Of Sex). Moderator Michael Schneider asked the trio if there’s such a thing as comedy and drama on TV anymore. “Only for the Emmys, apparently,” Cuse replied. Added Kohan, “I just wish there was an hourlong category and a half-hour category. I wish everyone wasn’t so focused on category.” For the record, the semi-word “dramedy” didn’t come up in the discussion.
Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum has been tapped to write the sequel to the 1993 hit comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, which is in development at Fox 2000 and has star Robin Williams and director Chris Columbus attached to return. It’s been 21 years since Williams donned a wig, dress, and prosthetics in the original film, about a San Francisco father named Daniel Hillard who who dons drag to spend quality time with his kids as he undergoes a divorce. Sally Field co-starred as Hillard’s wife, with Pierce Brosnan, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson, Lisa Jakub, and Harvey Fierstein rounding out the cast. After two decades of stalling out through numerous scripts, Berenbaum’s is an original take. Columbus and Williams haven’t officially signed deals for the sequel but Columbus is producing for his 1492 banner and is creatively shepherding the project.
EXCLUSIVE: Now might be the perfect time for more faith-based features to get in on the box office hunger that’s propelled Christian-themed fare like Fox’s Son Of God and Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead into the Top 10. True-tale biopic Noble is one such film aiming to join the fray as it makes festival rounds and screens for buyers this month in LA and NY before heading to Cannes. Deirdre O’Kane (Moon Boy) stars as Christina Noble, a humanitarian and author who channeled her deprived and destitute childhood growing up on the streets of Dublin, Ireland into a lifelong mission to help children in need in Vietnam and Mongolia. Noble founded the Christina Noble Childrens Foundation in 1989 and wrote two books about her life’s work. Stephen Bradley wrote and directed the film, based on Noble’s life, which also stars Downton Abbey‘s Brendan Coyle, Game of Thrones‘ Liam Cunningham, and Sarah Greene. Melanie Gore-Grimes produced the UK/Irish pic, which was filmed in Vietnam, Liverpool, and Cumbria. Michael J. Hunt exec produced for his Ansty Productions. Noble won the Panavision Grand Prize at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Dallas International Film Festival, and next stops by the Nashville Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Fest. Continental Media is repping sales. Check out the trailer exclusively on Deadline:
With just days to go before they meet their Aereo foes face-to-face at the Supreme Court, the broadcasters this week took one last swipe at what they claim is the “blatant and unapologetic copyright infringement” by the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. “Aereo is in the business of retransmitting performances of the copyrighted works of others to the public for a profit,” said bluntly in a final reply brief filed by Disney, CBS, NBC, Fox and the other plaintiffs on April 14 with the SCOTUS (read it here). Aereo and the broadcasters are set to present their respective oral arguments in a 1-hour hearing before the High Court on April 22. In their March 26 response to the broadcasters’ February 24 filing, Aereo insisted that they are not engaged in public performance of copyrighted works. The company also said “this Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from lawful and logical advancements in technology or from the economic consequences of their transmitting works for free over the public airwaves.”
With the previously recused Judge Samuel Alito now joining the case the court docket revealed today, the stakes have gotten higher for all concerned, as it is impossible for the SCOTUS to have a tie on …
Weekly Column: Few things in this world are more painful than the realization that an estrangement has occurred between two news organizations who had worked amiably together investigating doctors and lawyers squashing benefits claims of miners dying of black lung, at the behest of the coal industry. That is just what has happened after the Center for Public Integrity won a Pulitzer Prize this week for an investigation into this medical travesty, after other organizations had jointly awarded CPI and ABC News for the report. ABC claims CPI threw its staffers under the bus to soak up all the Pulitzer glory; CPI claims ABC News doesn’t deserve to share the Pulitzer because it only parachuted in periodically on the lengthy investigation, produced “sporadic” reports for television — not print — and repeatedly had to be saved from making embarrassing factual errors on its broadcast segments about the investigation.
Meanwhile, White House Correspondents Dinner organizers took on the air of folks being pushed towards dangerous machinery in which they would prefer not to become entangled. That group already has announced it is giving its Edgar A. Poe Award to CPI and ABC News for the black-lung report, specifically because the two organizations “showed how a true collaboration between media partners can break significant new ground on an already well-reported story.” Joel McHale, who’s been booked to provide comedy at that annual black-tie dinner/celebrity petting zoo, is going to have a hard time topping that one for laughs.
A judge in Florida has ruled in favor of Sony Pictures Television in a $50 million lawsuit over the reality TV show Shark Tank. “Sony Pictures Television won a directed verdict and the entire case was settled afterwards,” said Sony TV spokeswoman Paula Askanas today. The suit against the producers of the entrepreneurial reality show was filed by Florida attorney Bobbie Cellar. He claimed that he’d hired two of the show’s “sharks,” Daymond John and Robert Herjavec, to appear at an event he called the “Shark Tour,” an expo for people trying to start their own businesses. The suit claimed that Sony Pictures Television coerced John and Hervavac to withdraw from Cellar’s event because SPT didn’t want anyone to think the show and his expo were in any way connected. Cellar was unavailable for comment.
EXCLUSIVE: R&B singer John Legend and Step Up: All In scribe John Swetnam are teaming on coming-of-age dance drama Breaking Through, which has locked independent financing and is gearing up for a summer shoot. It’ll be the first feature of its kind to combine two subgenres — dance movies and found footage — in a plot described as a “documentary-style dance drama for the YouTube generation.” Casting starts soon on the pic, which is looking to discover new dance talent a la the Step Up films.
Megan Ellison’s film production and finance company Annapurna Pictures (American Hustle) has set its first major TV project, a series focusing on the intersecting lives of Hollywood icons and rivals Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Written by Angela Robinson and Alex Kondracke (Hung), the project is set in the Golden Age of Hollywood and explores the relationships of the starlets with such notable figures as John Gilbert, Mercedes de Acosta, Tallulah Bankhead, Alla Nazimova, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, and John Wayne, among others. (You can watch the Hollywood Rivals TV documentary about Garbo and Dietrich’s relationship below.) Annapurna Pictures will finance or produce, with Ellison serving as executive producer. Just like the movies she takes on, telling the Garbo-Dietrich story has been a passion project for Ellison, who is paying WME-repped Robinson and Kondracke to write it on spec. Annapurna’s Stephen Feder will be the executive overseeing day-to-day development and production. Robinson is wrapping up an overall deal at HBO, as part of which she serves as an executive producer on True Blood and is directing a key episode from the vampire drama’s final season.
Are you kidding?
Did Paramount just officially start the 2014 Oscar campaign even as we are barely getting the Emmys off the ground and the Tonys are two months away? Uh, yes. Looks like it. One top studio exec (not from Paramount) forwarded me an email he got yesterday from the Paramount Awards Office that pronounced free admission starting April 15th - two by two for Academy members and a guest- to screenings of Noah at theaters nationwide – but only Monday thru Thursday since most theater owners usually don’t like to give up seats on the weekends, especially to rich and famous movie types.
EXCLUSIVE: Punk rock journalist-turned-American Psycho director Mary Harron has signed with APA. Harron is attached to direct the Salvador Dali biopic Dali And I and is currently co-adapting the script from art dealer Stan Lauryssens’ book. Harron made her feature screenwriting and directorial debut with the award-winning 1996 Sundance and Cannes entry I Shot Andy Warhol, which nabbed her an Indie Spirit nomination. Her next film, the polarizing 2000 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, went on to achieve cult status and garnered Harron a Director of the Year nod from the London Film Critics’ Circle. She reteamed with American Psycho co-scribe Guinevere Turner for 2005′s pinup biopic The Notorious Bettie Page, which she also produced, and adapted Rachel Klein’s novel The Moth Diaries in 2011 for her most recent feature of the same name.
Open Road Films is set to release the Eli Roth-directed The Green Inferno on September 5 after acquiring it at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. It’s Roth’s first directing gig since 2007′s Hostel 2, and he co-wrote the horror thriller with Guillermo Amoedo and produced the pic, which follows a group of students who travel from New York City to the Amazon to save a tribe from extinction. Unfortunately, the tribe has other plans for them. Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy and Daryl Sabara star. Here’s the first trailer, which promises some Roth-esque craziness but reveals none of it:
It would have been obscene if Yahoo had matched the $35M in stock awards it gave Marissa Mayer in 2012 to woo her over from Google. So her total compensation was down for 2013 the company’s latest proxy shows, even though all of the components aside from stock awards were up in a year when Yahoo shares appreciated 103%. Her package: $1M salary, $2,250 bonus (only because she’s a co-inventor on some pending patents), $8.3M in stock awards, $13.8M in option awards, $1.7M in non equity incentives, and $73,863 in other compensation. The “other” category includes $50,000 for security (not including the protection she receives at work and on business travel), and $18,248 to reimburse for attorney fees. Yahoo says that twice last year family members and guests joined Mayer on the company plane during a business trip. It didn’t include that in her compensation “because we leased the entire aircraft and were not charged based on the number of passengers.” The board said that Mayer “revitalized the Company’s employee base, continued to build her leadership team, increased the pace of product innovation and refreshes, spearheaded the acquisition of Tumblr, and attracted new customers and increased traffic.” Former COO Henrique de Castro, who was bounced in January, didn’t receive a bonus “because the Compensation Committee believed that he did not meet the performance standards necessary to receive an annual bonus for 2013,” the proxy says. Still, Mayer’s former pal was …
The stock is down about 5.6% in post market trading on the disappointing results, which include a 9% year over year drop in the average cost per click. The search giant reported net income of $3.45B, +3.2% vs the first three months of 2013, on revenues of $15.42B, +19.1%. If you factor out the impact from the sale of the Motorola Mobile business to Lenovo Group then earnings per share would have come in at $6.27, below the $6.33 that the Street anticipated. Revenues also were lower than the $15.51B analysts expected. Google says that revenues from its sites improved 21% to $10.47B while partner sites were +4% to $3.4B. But revenue costs, primarily for the data centers, jumped 25.8% to $2.73B while operating expenses were +31.2% to $5.34B. Per usual, CEO Larry Page had little to say in the company release: He noted that “We got lots of product improvements done, especially on mobile. I’m also excited with progress on our emerging businesses.”
Emmy season is revving up already even though the primetime awards show won’t be happening until the end of summer (Monday August 25th on NBC). But if you want to vote, the first major deadline looms tomorrow April 17, the last day to join the Academy, renew your membership or apply for hyphenate ballots in order to cast a ballot in this year’s contest. There is always a surge of interest in joining the Academy around this time of year. In fact, last season there was a substantial increase in membership, primarily in order to cast an Emmy ballot. It’s not uncommon to see applications coming in bulk from staffs of shows that want those nominations, but unless these hopefuls apply by Thursday they will have to wait until next year.
In addition to the deadline, the Television Academy (as it now calls itself – and full disclosure I am on the Board Of Governors representing Writers) just sent out a formal letter this week to the eligible membership (now well over 16,000 and climbing) regarding instructions for online voting, which is being instituted for the first time this season.
NBCU’s Wilshire Studios Inks Overall Deals With Producers Stephanie Bloch Chambers & C. Russell Muth
NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s Wilshire Studios is ramping up its unscripted development slate, inking new overall deals with Stephanie Bloch Chambers (Chrisley Knows Best, Married To Jonas) and C. Russell Muth (DEA, Bordertown Laredo). Chambers worked on Bravo’s Toned Up, It’s A Brad Brad World and three seasons of Bethenny Ever After. Muth produced shows for Discovery Channel and TruTV such as American Chopper, American Casino, Tiger Team, and America’s Toughest Bars. He also produced Coast Guard Alaska for the Weather Channel and Big Easy Justice for Spike. Wilshire Studios also is growing its internal development team, hiring reality vet Benny Reuven as VP Development and Programming. Reuven previously served as a development executive at OWN and produced shows including Chef Wanted for Food Network.
TLC, the network that brought us obsessive coverage of families with armies of children, obsessive coverage of little people, and obsessive coverage of people with obsessions, now appears to be going off the deep end with programs about emergency medical responders. The network that recently ordered 35 MORE episodes of Sex Sent Me To The ER today announced a series that explores the fast-paced lives of emergency medical techs, called OMG EMT! The four-episode series try-out launches Saturday, May 3 at 10 PM ET. TLC’s announcement promises the new series will feature some of the “most memorable and unusual emergency calls…from the ridiculous to the downright crazy.” The premiere episode, for example, will feature an elderly woman with a prizefighter’s temperament and a dog with a taste for rescue team members, and the inevitable incredibly stupid college guys doing, yes, something incredibly stupid and involving a stairway. Future episodes involve a man with chest pains and a love triangle, a baby delivery on the spot, a man who rises from the dead, etc. OMG EMT! is produced by Fly on the Wall Entertainment for TLC.
Fox News’ New Take On Female Panelist Daytime Talker Will Feature One Guy And Be Called ‘Outnumbered’
Fox News Channel finally announced the replacement program with which it will fill the void left when Megyn Kelly moved to primetime — Outnumbered. It’s kind of like The View, in that it’s a panel of women taking on the day’s top news/pop culture headlines — only with an FNC spin in that it’s got one rotating slot for a guy, who’s, you know, outnumbered. The announcement comes the same day The View announced it had talked all of its current and former co-hosts — including the ones who left under a cloud — to return to the show May 15 to say so-long to Babs Walters, who is retiring as show on-air Den Mom, though she’s continuing as show exec producer.
Outnumbered debuts Monday, April 28 at 12 PM ET; Fox Report Weekend anchor Harris Faulkner and Fox Business Network’s Sandra Smith are among the panelists named today. Additional personalities to be featured include co-hosts of The Five, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Andrea Tantaros; along with FNC contributors Jedediah Bila, Katie Pavlich and Kirsten Powers. Each of the panelists maintain their respective roles on FNC and FBN.