A&E Network‘s new drama series Bates Motel, from executive producers Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights), will debut on Monday, March 18 at 10 PM. Bates Motel is a contemporary prequel to Hitchcock’s classic Psycho, chronicling how Norman Bates’ psyche unravels through his teenage years. It tells the dark, twisted backstory of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and how deeply intricate his relationship with his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga), truly is. Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nicola Peltz, Nestor Carbonell and Mike Vogel co-star.
UPDATE: In response, Michael Camacho tells Deadline: “I was in charge of unscripted television at UTA when his agency signed several of the principal characters of Pawn Stars. I have never met or spoken to the former agents or the clients and was unaware of any claim.”
The former agents of the stars of History’s Pawn Stars today sued the network, executives Nancy Dubac and Mary Donahue, A&E and former UTA agent Michael Camacho for allegedly poaching their clients. Citing $5 million in lost commissions and damages (read complaint here), Venture IAB claims that it set up Pawn Stars’ Richard B. Harrison, Richard K. Harrison, Richard C. Harrison and Austen Russell on the reality show. The agents say they signed the group as clients in 2007 and again in 2009. Pawn Stars debuted on History on July 19, 2009. It was not long after that things started to go sour between the staff of Las Vegas’ World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and their agents. “In or about January 2010, the Harrisons and Russell terminated the Agency agreements, and thereafter entered into agency contracts with Michael Camacho and UTA. As a result of the intentional interference with the Agency Agreements, Plaintiff has lost millions of dollars of income,” says the complaint. Venture IAB claims it’s “entitled to 10% of all compensation received by the Harrisons and Russell” from Pawn Stars.
Storage Wars star Dave Hester today sued A&E and the producers of the reality show, calling it a staged “fraud on the public”. Represented by attorney Marty Singer in his suit (read it here), Hester is seeking more than $750,000 in damages and fees from the network and Original Productions for their actions and for firing him from the show. “When Plaintiff David Hester (“Hester”) complained to producers that A&E’s fraudulent conduct of salting and staging the storage lockers was possibly illegal, he was fired from the Series. As further evidence of Defendants’ outrageous conduct, they purported to rescind their written exercise of an option retaining Hester’s services this coming season,” says the 14-page complaint, which is suing for wrongful termination, breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, unfair business practices and declaratory relief.
Reality shows are often accused of sleight-of-hand manipulation of events, contestants and other participants, but Hester’s suit tarnishes Storage Wars almost from top to bottom. “Nearly every aspect of the Series is faked, even down to the plastic surgery that one of the female cast members underwent in order to create more “sex appeal” for the show, the cost of which was paid for by Original,” the suit claims. “Original regularly ‘salts’ the storage lockers that are the subject of the auctions portrayed on the Series with valuable or unusual items to add dramatic effect, even going so far as to stage entire storage units. Original also manipulates the outcome of certain auctions by paying for storage units on behalf of the weaker cast members who lack the both the skill and financial wherewithal to place winning bids,” it adds. Hester is seeking a jury trial.
A&E’s drama pilot Those Who Kill has landed Chloë Sevigny as one of the leads. The project, an adaptation of a Danish crime series based on the books by Elsebeth Egholm, revolves around a police detective and a forensic profiler who possess a deep understanding of the serial killers they hunt. In a rich cable casting deal, Sevigny will play female lead Catherine Jensen, the newly appointed Detective in the Boston Police Department’s Homicide Division who is intelligent, fearless, strong and determined. Joe Carnahan is directing Those Who Kill from a script by Glen Morgan. Imagine Television and Fox 21 produce, with Morgan, Carnahan, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Peter Bose and Jonas Allen executive producing.
A&E has given a cast-contingent pilot order to Occult, a drama produced by Transformers helmer Michael Bay and written by veteran genre writer, The X-Files alum James Wong. The project, which draws parallels to X-Files and Fringe, centers on a FBI agent who returns from administrative leave after going off the deep end while investigating his wife’s disappearance. Eager to be back on the job, he is paired with an agent with her own complicated backstory who specializes in the occult. Together, they will solve cases for the newly formed occult crimes task force. Wong executive produces with Bay and his partners at Platinum Dunes Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. There is no studio attached yet.
The changing of the guard in A&E’s unscripted lineup continues. Following the cancellation of Dog The Bounty Hunter in May after eight seasons, the cable network is ending another veteran docu-reality series that helped put it on the map, …
EXCLUSIVE: A&E Network in staying on the “war”path. The cable network has ordered new 26-episode seasons of its flagship series Storage Wars and hot freshmen Storage Wars: Texas and Shipping Wars. All three will launch this summer. The season 2 premiere of Storage Wars last summer became the A&E’s most watched series telecast of all time with 5.1 million total viewers and the highest-rated in adults 18-49 and 25-54 with 2.9 million viewers in each demo. The series’ second season averaged 4.7 million total viewers, up 68% from Season 1, with Storage Wars ranking as A&E’s No.1 series of all time and the No. 3 non-fiction show on cable among adults 25-54. Spinoff Storage Wars: Texas premiered this past December with 4.1 million total viewers and 2.1 million adults 25-54 for the most-watched original series launch in the network’s history in both categories. A month later, Shipping Wars debuted to solid 3 million total viewers.
EXCLUSIVE: The world that provided fictional backdrop to such films as The Fighter and The Departed, will come to life in a new unscripted project at A&E executive produced by Departed star and The Fighter star/producer Mark Wahlberg. Tentatively titled Teamsters, the project, which has received a pilot order, features the Teamsters Local 25 in Boston. Wahlberg is executive producing with Stephen Levinson, Kevin Harrison and Bill Thompson. “A&E strives to remain ahead of the curve while delivering first-class auspices to our audience,” said Bob DeBitetto, President and General Manager, A&E and BIO Channel. “We’re so proud to collaborate with this group of producers and offer an authentic point of view from the unique characters this world provides.”
Teamsters – produced by Wahlberg’s Closest to the Hole, Levinson’s Leverage and Harrison’s Transition Prods — provide a first-hand glimpse of the legendary union in the most aggressive and territorial city in America: Boston. Here, the Teamsters Local 25 battle for the rights of their 11,000 members. “We believe A&E is the perfect venue to create a cutting-edge show that promises to be like nothing else on television,” Levinson said.
A&E said today that it is in early development on Bates Motel, a drama series that serves as a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic Psycho. Bates Motel, from Universal TV and writer Anthony Cipriano, will delve into how Norman Bates’ dark, twisted backstory from childhood through his teen years and will chronicle how his mother, Norma, and her lover damaged Norman, helping shape the most well-known serial killing motel owner in history.
Also in development at A&E is Those Who Kill, an adaptation of a Danish series which in turn was based on author Elsebeth Egholm’s books. The project, from Imagine Television and Fox21, centers on a female police detective and a “profiler” (forensic psychiatrist), on the hunt for serial killers. Glen Morgan will write the script and will executive produce with Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Peter Bose and Jonas Allen.