EXCLUSIVE: One of the longest production relationships in the TV business is staying intact. Imagine Television has signed a new two-year deal with 20th Century Fox Television, where the company, overseen by Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer, has been for the past 14 years. During Imagine’s most recent pact with 20th TV, the partners successfully rebooted two of Imagine’s signature series: the Emmy-winning 24 and Arrested Development. A 24 follow-up, event series 24: Live Another Day, is slated to premiere on Fox in May, and a new season of Arrested Development was released on Netflix last year. And there may be more in store for both properties. Fox has indicated interest in making 24 an event franchise. Netflix had been in conversations with 20th TV, Imagine and Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz about more Arrested Development, and that now appears very likely, in the form of an original movie or another season.
Netflix‘s march into the major TV awards circles continues. After an impressive showing at the Primetime Emmy nominations, the streaming service, which has been an original programming player only since January, today received two Producers Guild Awards nominations: for best drama series, House Of Cards, and best comedy, Arrested Development. The double nomination puts Netflix in the same category as awards juggernaut HBO as the only two outlets with multiple scripted PGA nominations. (HBO’s contenders are drama Game Of Thrones and comedy Veep.) For House Of Cards, this is a first PGA nom, while Arrested Development continued its streak of four consecutive PGA nominations for each of its seasons — three on Fox and one on Netflix. Ironically, Netflix’s most buzzed about original series, Orange Is The New Black, didn’t make the cut, exposing again the PGA Awards’ outdated eligibility window — which includes series that aired between June 1, 2012-May 31, 2013, a month before Orange premiered.
Related: PGA Awards TV Nominees Unveiled
House Of Cards provided the only change from last year in the best drama series field. But it was a significant one as the newcomer replaced AMC veteran Mad Men, which had been nominated every year it had been eligible so far and won twice. Once the most dominant drama awards contender, Mad Men also was shut out from winning Emmys the past two years. Joining House Of Cards are returning PGA nominees Showtime’s Homeland, which won the award in January; AMC’s Breaking Bad, hot off winning the best drama Emmy; PBS’ Downton Abbey; and Game Of Thrones. U.S. commercial broadcasters were shut out completely for a second straight year, underlining the awards struggle for network drama.
There were no snubs on the comedy series side, with Arrested Development and Veep taking the spots vacated by Curb Your Enthusiasm and Louie, both not eligible this year. They join last year’s nominees, ABC’s Modern Family, which is aiming at a fourth consecutive PGA win; NBC’s departing 30 Rock; and CBS’ mega hit The Big Bang Theory.
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine.
The growing pain of a child actor eventually building their career as an adult is often a gamble, potentially taking a toll on their personal and professional lives. But then there are triumphs such as Jason Bateman. Once a centerfold in teen magazines for his pungent personas on such NBC ‘80s sitcoms Silver Spoons and It’s Your Move, Bateman transformed into a bankable leading man in feature comedies such as Couples Retreat and Horrible Bosses, thanks in tremendous part to his role as Michael Bluth, a decent, single father who is surrounded by the idiocy of his conniving, affluent family on the Fox millennial sitcom Arrested Development. Netflix revived the show this spring with a fourth season to mixed reviews and a moderate bump in subscribers. Nonetheless, 2013 is shaping up to be a banner year for Bateman: Not only did he earn his second Emmy nomination as lead comedy actor for Arrested Development, but his first production under his Universal label Aggregate Films, Identity Thief, was a solid winter hit ($174 million global B.O.). Next week, he’ll premiere his feature directorial debut, the dark comedy Bad Words, at the Toronto film festival, in which he also stars. And in two months, he’ll begin production on Horrible Bosses 2. Bateman spoke with us about the challenges with the fourth season of Arrested Development as well as his multi-hyphenate career as a producer and actor.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Lead Acting Handicap
AwardsLine: Why did you decide to return to Arrested Development? It’s not common for a marquee box office star in your position to return to a TV show he once headlined and make a 15 episode commitment. If you said ‘No’ the whole show might not have occurred.
Jason Bateman: Well, it’s not lost on me that this show was a rebirth for me. Without that show I’d be parking cars somewhere. There was a certain sense of wanting to do it out of loyalty as well as the fact it was one of the best jobs I ever had. So, to be able to work with all these people again and in the same capacity, it was a no brainer for me. So, I had no trepidation about it whatsoever, except for the format we were going to do. (Arrested Development creator) Mitch (Hurwitz) explained to me that it was going to be one episode per character and I thought, ‘I’m not sure that people are going to really love that.’ I’m willing to offer my services to be in every episode if you want, and if that seems budget-arily impossible, let’s not worry about that and I’ll make it work.
EMMYS Analysis: Web Series Become Major Contenders Via Netflix, ‘Louie’ Scores Series Nom, Broadcast’s Drama Drought Continues
Six years after the TV Academy changed its rules to allow online series to compete in the Emmy race alongside traditional shows, series that have not aired on broadcast or cable TV made it to the top categories for the first time. Leading the breakthrough is streaming giant Netflix with House Of Cards, which landed 9 nominations, including best drama series and best actor/actress for Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, and Arrested Development, with a best actor nom for Jason Bateman. Netflix, which scored a total of 12 noms vs. none last year, employed some non-traditional Emmy campaign tactics, including lawn signs and a BBQ food truck. This marks Bateman’s second nomination for his starring role on the cult comedy eight years after he was first nominated for the series’ second season on Fox. But while the comedy earned best series noms for each of its three seasons on Fox, this time around it missed the cut in the top category.
Related: EMMYS: 2013 Scorecard By Show
Meanwhile, FX’s Louie continued its awards momentum with its first best series nom. Over the past year, Louis C.K.’s edgy comedy landed its first Emmy in September, then first SAG, Golden Globe and PGA nominations and the top comedy prize at the WGA Awards. Now Louie, which is on a prolonged hiatus, netted its most Emmy nominations, six, including third consecutive noms for lead actor Louis C.K., and writing, a category won by Louis C.K. last year; as well as second nom for directing, also for Louis C.K. The stand-up comedian/Renaissance man, who writes, directs, acts and edits, surpassed his record of seven Emmy nominations last year, landing as many individual noms this year spread over Louie, his HBO special Oh My God and his hosting duties on Saturday Night Live, plus a best series mention for Louie, on which he serves as executive producer.
Looking to vote for Emmy-worthy comedies besides Modern Family, which has dominated recent awards? Deadline’s Pete Hammond weighs in with advice for voters overwhelmed by piles of screeners, trying to figure out what else is worthy. Among the shows he discusses are Episodes, Parks And Recreation, The Big Bang …
Paul Brownfield is an AwardsLine contributor.
On May 26 at 12:01 a.m., 15 new episodes of Arrested Development went live on Netflix; by 5 a.m., the series’ legions of fans probably had exhausted the new supply. The comedy’s cancellation of Arrested by Fox in 2006, after two seasons, prompted an afterlife of rumors and almost-announcements, as series creator Mitch Hurwitz worked on a feature script of his cult series. Like the fans, Hurwitz didn’t want to let go of his extended band of crazies, the Bluths, either. And then Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, suggested resurrecting the show to Imagine Entertainment’s Ron Howard. “And Ron said, ‘That’s a very nice thought, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,’” Hurwitz says. Except it did happen.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
AwardsLine: How different was the process in working with Netflix?
Mitch Hurwitz: I wasn’t turning scripts in, because of the nature of the thing. We weren’t shooting one a week. We’d shoot pieces of eight different episodes in any given week. We were shooting 12, 14 pages a day, shooting like crazy. We screened it at the premiere — it was the first time an audience had seen it, but it was also the first time I’d seen two (episodes) in a row. I’d just been making them and putting them in the pipeline. And I guess that’s the case usually with television. The difference with this one, though, is that it’s all coming out on the same day. And it will be viewed by some as an eight-hour movie.
Michael Ausiello is Editor-in-Chief of TVLine.
The gap between Modern Family and the rest of the Emmy comedy field has been so wide that even an imperfect third season landed the ABC family comedy a third consecutive best series win last year. But Modern Family is wrapping another uneven season, and with its ratings slipping and challengers gaining on it, a fourth statuette is far from guaranteed. HBO’s Girls is coming off a Golden Globe win, there’s a growing sentiment that CBS’ Nielsen juggernaut The Big Bang Theory is past due to be recognized, and former best comedy series Emmy winner Arrested Development is back. Will Modern Family’s winning streak come to an end this year? Here’s our assessment of the show’s chances, as well as the rest of the contenders.
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.
CNBC sat down with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on the sidelines of the AllThingsD conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA this morning. Hastings was of course mum on providing ratings data for its new original series Arrested Development, which premiered this week, saying the company was more interested in …
Emmy-winning comedy Arrested Development will premiere new originals on Sunday, May 26, on Netflix. All episodes from the show’s upcoming fourth season will be available simultaneously on the launch date, a strategy Netflix has used for all of its original series, most recently the first season of House Of Cards. As for the size of Arrested Development‘s fourth season, it keeps growing, with the final number now set at 15 episodes. As we reported in December, during production on the originally commissioned 10 new episodes, Arrested creator/executive producer Mitch Hurwitz shot more material than planned and also came up with ideas for additional scenes and storylines. Hurwitz and Arrested producers 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV approached Netflix, which agreed to expand the order. In January, Netflix announced that a 14-episode fourth season of Arrested will premiere sometime in May.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Jason Bateman spoke about the possibility of a forthcoming Arrested Development movie as if it were practically a sure thing during a TCA panel promoting the long-awaited return of the comedy with 14 new installments on Netflix after a decade-long absence. The show is set to debut in originals in May, with all 14 being made available simultaneously via Netflix. The fresh episodes are “basically just the first act that we hope to complete in a movie, which will be acts 2 and 3,” star Bateman said. “The episodes will set that up, and one will not work without the other.” But he quickly added, “This will, however, provide a satisfying conclusion if for some unfortunate reason the movie doesn’t happen.” In other words, this isn’t merely a one-time novelty return of Arrested Development but the first element in the franchise’s continued re-invigoration — they hope. Creator/exec producer Mitch Hurwitz explained after the panel that what became a series originally was conceived as a movie. “We’d mapped this out as a movie and then worked backwards to do these shows. So it might not be a movie. It might be something else. I’d be happy with it as ColorForms at this point.”