EXCLUSIVE: Add Manny Coto to the names of 24 team members who have been signed on to Fox’s real-time action drama’s event-series reboot. Coto has closed a new two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television and will join Evan Katz as an exec prod/ showrunner on 24: Live Another Day, from 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine Television. Coto, who was an EP on 24 during its Fox run, is currently an exec prod/writer for Showtime’s Dexter. “Manny is an incredible talent who wrote some of 24’s greatest episodes, and we’ve been eager to develop with him ever since,” 20th Century Fox TV chairman Dana Walden said of WME-repped Coto.
EXCLUSIVE: Another high-profile member of the 24 team has signed on for the event series reboot of the Emmy-winning real-time drama. Evan Katz is set to join fellow 24 alums — showrunner Howard Gordon, writer David Fury and director Jon Cassar — as an executive producer on Fox‘s 24: Live Another Day. The stint is part of a new two-year overall deal Katz has signed with the studio behind the 24 franchise, 20th Century Fox TV.
Next to Gordon, Katz was probably 24’s longest-serving writer. He joined at the beginning of Season 2 and won a WGA Award for the first episode he ever wrote on the show, the Day 2 hour in which Jack Bauer fakes killing the son of a terrorist in order to force him to talk. Katz started as a consulting producer, becoming co-executive producer in Season 3 and executive producer in Season 4, staying with the series until its end in May 2010 after eight seasons. He shared in 24‘s best series Emmy win in 2006.
Q&A: Imagine’s Brian Grazer On ‘Arrested Development’ & ’24′s Comebacks, More ‘Development’ In Works & New Projects
Imagine Television is not giving up easily on its shows. Within the past year, the production company of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard managed to revive both of its signature series, the Emmy-winning Arrested Development and 24. Arrested Development got a new season on Netflix, while 24 is coming back as an event series for Fox. Both were able to do it with their key auspices and stars on board. Imagine now has five shows on the air, a record for the 20th TV-based company. They are returning NBC dramedy Parenthood, which landed the high-profile Thursday 10 slot for fall, new dramas Gang Related on Fox, from hot Fast & The Furious writer Chris Morgan, and Those Who Kill on A&E starring Chloe Sevigny, as well as Arrested and 24: Live Another Day. The company also has an animated presentation at Fox with 50 Cent loosely based on the rapper’s childhood and Conquest, a sweeping period drama at Showtime that has Howard attached to direct. In an interview, Grazer and Imagine TV president Francie Calfo talk about how Arrested Development and 24 came back, whether there would be another season of Arrested, how 24 foreshadowed the era of binge-viewing and what new projects the company is working on, including a hybrid comedy/reality presentation for Fox.
DEADLINE: Arrested Development‘s new season premiered more than seven years after the last original had aired on Fox. How were you able to resurrect the show and bring everyone back?
BRIAN GRAZER: It was an unified effort that was spearheaded by Mitch Hurwitz, Arrested Development‘s creator, producer and sometime director, and Ron Howard. They kept their arms wrapped around the subject of Arrested Development and were able to keep the team of actors unified, wanting to do the show. The key was finding a way to unlock it logistically. Gratefully, Mitch did. A lot of it was made possible by the success of the DVDs, which kept the show alive in the hearts of the minds of its core audience. Arrested Development is one of those shows that is one of the first things someone walking into our offices talks about, there has been such a desire for the show. Luckily, Ted (Sarandos) had the same experience on Netflix.
DEADLINE: Netflix executives recently indicated that they’re open to another season of Arrested Development. Will we see Season 5?
GRAZER: It’s up to Ted. If Ted is into it, we would be very excited то pursue it.
FRANCIE CALFO: It’s also up to Mitch, who is probably resting right now as he put everything he had into these episodes and hasn’t had a chance to think beyond that.
DEADLINE: What about the Arrested Development movie, which the new season was intended to lead to?
GRAZER:We’re hoping that we could do that; the popularity of the series will inform that decision.
Global Showbiz Briefs: India’s ‘24’, ITV Shifts Mike Blair, iTunes Prices In Oz, Plus JFK & Afghan Docs
Clock To Start Ticking For Indian ’24′
Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor is getting to work on the Indian version of the TV series 24. The actor, who was featured in the final season of Fox/20th TV’s real-time drama, will produce via his Anil Kapoor Film Co. He’ll also play the Jack Bauer character, now reportedly named Jai Singh Rathod, in the local take. According to BollywoodLife, production was due to kick off this week at Kapoor’s Stage 21 studio near Mumbai. Delhi Belly director Abhinay Deo is helming the series and Rensil D’Silva, who’s directing Sanjay Dutt’s Ungli, is scripting. The local broadcast partner is Viacom-owned Colors. Kapoor will next be seen on the big screen in Shootout At Wadala directed by Sanjay Gupta.
EXCLUSIVE: Former 24 executive producer Evan Katz has sold an untitled heist drama to ABC through ABC Studios and Marty Bowen & Wyck Godfrey’s studio-based Temple Hill (Revenge). It is described as a fun, twisty adventure about members of a former army special forces team who are betrayed, and decide to become thieves, in order to go after the people who are responsible for the deaths of their friends. The idea for the project was brought to Katz by Twilight producer Temple Hill and feature writer Chris Morgan (Fast Five). It stems from the deal Katz inked with ABC Studios in June, which included him developing a script in addition to joining the studio’s ABC drama Body Of Proof as executive producer/showrunner.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on Showtime‘s Homeland, co-creator and executive producer Howard Gordon was asked about another on-again, off-again project: Whether there is still a chance of a 24 movie. He says yes — possibly. “My understanding of that is, having gone quiet in a way that I didn’t think boded well for that, there’s been some stirrings recently, so I think it’s something everyone’s gunning for,” said Gordon, also an executive producer of 24. “As far as whether my work on [Homeland] will impede that — not at all. There’s a script that’s been written, and I think the issues now are more about the director’s schedule and Kiefer’s [Sutherland] schedule.”
After the panel, which also included executive producer Alex Gansa and series stars Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Morena Baccarin, Gordon also had a comment about the failure of the NBC series Awake, on which he was also an executive producer. “I knew it was a very steep challenge,” he said.
But back to Homeland, whose new season will open with two episodes shot in large part in Israel, standing in for Beirut. Aside from questions about the development of the lead characters, questions arose about whether Danes’ pregnancy would affect production. “We’re about midway (through Season 2), we’re shooting Episode 6; this hasn’t run into any interference,” Danes said. She added that the physicality of her role had her a “little concerned” at first, but “it’s proven to be a non-issue. All is well and Carrie remains fervently nonpregnant.”
UPDATE, 11:16 PM: The 24 movie postponement broken by Deadline this morning is getting interesting. Word is racing around agency circles that Kiefer Sutherland was not only unhappy about the pic’s postponement, but also what I’d heard was a $1 million offer to play Jack Bauer in a deal that was heavily back-loaded to reward success. Insiders said that Sutherland would have gotten at least $2 million, though that was below his original $5 million and then $3 million ask. Fox wanted a budget around $30 million, while the filmmakers wanted $45 million to $60 million. Fox’s idea was always to make the film at a cost, and reward in the upside. The studio’s proposal, made a couple weeks ago, wasn’t addressed until this week, and when the crap hit the fan yesterday, the studio felt there wasn’t enough time to pull the picture off in seven weeks of prep. The studio was following its experience with X-Files, a TV property turned into a hit film, but made at a cautious budget. I’m told that Fuqua’s deal hadn’t been made yet. Sutherland, Imagine and Fuqua stood to reap up to about 25% of the proceeds after breakeven, to make up for the low upfront payments. I reached out for comment to Sutherland and Imagine this morning, but no one returned yet.
Ray Richmond is a Deadline contributor
This is a very good time to be Howard Gordon. At the same time he published his second novel in as many years — the acclaimed Hard Target, released in January — he’s the toast of television … again. Less than two years after serving as an executive producer on 24, he’s co-creator and exec producer of the first-year Showtime drama Homeland. The series just took home two Golden Globes — for top drama and lead drama series actress Claire Danes — as well as a pair of WGA Awards and the AFI honor for TV Program of the Year. All of that, plus Gordon is helping to ramp up the coming 24 feature and has another series premiering tonight at 10 on NBC: the midseason drama Awake starring Jason Isaacs. Gordon took time out from his insane schedule to speak with Deadline Hollywood about the insta-classic that is Homeland, how writing novels is different from crafting TV, and why he’s often mistaken for being a hardcore political conservative (blame his friend Joel Surnow).
DEADLINE: How is writing books different than writing for TV?
GORDON: When you’re writing a novel, you’re still telling a story. But you’re telling it very differently. It’s a craft like anything else. I’m still probably on the early part of the learning curve. I have a ways to go as a novelist. But what’s great is, well, I frankly enjoyed the solitude. And I enjoyed being able to tell characters what to say and do without negotiating with an actor. In a novel, the only budgetary limitations are that of your imagination. In a novel, the relationship between writer and reader is such a pure one.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Kiefer Sutherland said Sunday during Fox’ TCA panel for his new science-meets spirituality drama series Touch that he begins work shooting the long-discussed 24 movie in late March/early April. That jibes with what Deadline had previously reported as Sutherland’s schedule opens following his work on his new series, from Heroes creator Tim Kring, which has a special preview on January 25 before settling on March 19 into the Monday 9 PM time period — better known at Fox as “The Kiefer slot.” If the fact he’s jumping back into Jack Bauer’s well-worn shoes doesn’t make it clear, Sutherland said Sunday he has no interest in distancing himself from the eight years he spent saving the world on 24. He described having had little interest in diving back into the TV waters so quickly but was left little choice after reading the pilot script for Touch. “I remember getting to Page 35 and thinking, ‘Shit. I’m in real trouble here,’ ” Sutherland recalled. “The character is so vastly different (from that of Bauer), the tone of the piece is so vastly different. And that’s part of its appeal.”
You wouldn’t know that the Hulu auction was a failure based on the way News Corp COO Chase Carey describes the owners’ plans. They decided to hang on to the digital video service because its value to them “dwarfed some of the values that were being put on it” by bidders including Dish Network and Google. Keeping Hulu reflects “a judgment that this digital space is incredibly important and is going to be, over the next five years and beyond, the most important field we have to navigate.” As a result, he told the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference, “we’ll do what’s necessary to make it grow.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean adding movies to the package to make it more competitive with Netflix. ”Me-toos aren’t a great place to be in this business,” Carey says. “We want to look at it with a fresh eye.”
Investors strangely seemed uninterested in the News Of The World hacking scandal. But one of the consequences — News Corp’s decision to abandon its effort to buy BSkyB — was a concern. Carey says that it’s “one of the things we have to figure out” because he says the company gets ”a fraction of credit” it believes it deserves for its 39% stake in the UK media company. News Corp must ”do a better job communicating value.” Still, he didn’t leave investors empty-handed: Carey says that News Corp’s recently launched round of share repurchases is “certainly not a one-time thing. It’s an important part of our capital allocation,” he said, adding that News Corp shares are ”woefully undervalued.”