Miss Deadline’s top TV stories? Catch up on the week now:
Bob Costas Returns To Sochi Olympics Coverage Monday (Photo)
By Lisa De Moraes – Bob Costas returned to the NBC Olympics studios at the International Broadcast Center in Sochi, Russia, today to prepare to resume his primetime and late night hosting duties tomorrow night.
‘Snake Salvation’ Star Dead From Snake Bite; NatGeo To Air Tribute Episode
By Jen Yamato – With the first season fully filmed National Geographic had no plans for a second season of Snake Salvation, says a network rep. Now in the wake of Jamie Coots‘ death NatGeo is working up a special tribute episode “so people can understand Pastor Jamie and his method of worship and see that he died doing what he believed was his calling.”
Actors Added To Fox’s Matt Hubbard, ABC’s Jeff Lowell Comedy Pilots
By Nellie Andreeva – Ely Henry (Suburgatory) and Asif Ali have been cast as leads in Cabot College, Fox‘s multi-camera comedy pilot from Matt Hubbard, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
R.I.P. ‘The Waltons’ Patriarch Ralph Waite
By The Deadline Team – The man who played the patriarch on CBS’ long-running series The Waltons has died. Ralph Waite was 85. He also had been recurring since 2008 as Papa Gibbs, the father of Mark Harmon’s character, on NCIS.
Greta Gerwig To Topline CBS’ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Spinoff
By Nellie Andreeva – Indie darling Greta Gerwig will lead the cast of How I Met Your Dad, CBS’ spinoff from long-running comedy series How I Met Your Mother. Read More »
Dwayne Johnson is headed to HBO‘s primetime. The pay cable network has picked up to series half-hour pilot Ballers toplined by the wrestling and movie star in his first major series gig. He is executive producing the series with his Pain & Gain co-star Mark Wahlberg; Wahlberg’s manager/frequent producing partner Steve Levinson, on whose original idea the project is based; showrunner Even Reilly; and Peter Berg, who directed the pilot. Written by Levinson in his pilot-writing debut, Ballers is exploring the lives of a group of former and current football players. Johnson stars as Spencer Strasmore, a retired athlete. The cast includes Omar Benson Miller as Charles, an affable former pro athlete who is searching for his next career; Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington as Ricky, a highly competitive and highly spiritual pro athlete; Rob Corddry as Joe, a financial advisor who tries really hard to fit in; Troy Garity as Jason, a top-tier sports agent; Donovan Carter as Vernon, a deeply family-oriented pro athlete; Jazmyn Simon as Julie, wife of an ex-pro athlete; Taylor Cole as Michaels, an ESPN sideline reporter who is romantically involved with Spencer; and LeToya Luckett as Tina, widow to one of Spencer’s closest friends.
The series pickup for Ballers, which will start production later this year, comes on the heels of the series order on Tuesday of another half-hour project with marquee stars from a top director and producer, The Brink, starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins. Jay Roach, who directed the pilot, and Jerry Weintraub are executive producing. Both series have been touted as capable of attracting broad audiences, something Johnson already has done in primetime as his WWE alter ego The Rock and on the big screen. He next reprises his role on the Fast & Furious 7 movie, whose production has been delayed by the death of star Paul Walker, and also has feature Hercules and TNT reality series Wake Up Call coming up. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rob Corddry is set to co-star opposite Dwayne Johnson in Ballers, HBO‘s half-hour dramedy pilot, which chronicles the lives of several Miami-based active and retired athletes. Corddry will play former all-pro running back Spencer’s (Johnson) boss, a financial advisor who tries really hard to fit in and who is confident but clueless at interpreting social cues. Peter Berg is directing the pilot, which Johnson is exec producing with Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson, and Evan Reilly serves as showrunner. The deal for Ballers will allow Corddry to continue on Childrens Hospital, the Emmy-winning show he created, exec produces and stars in. The actor, repped by WME, Principato-Young and Ken Richman, just wrapped the Sony feature Sex Tape and plays the one of the leads in MGM’s Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Hart is signing on to star with LeBron James in Ballers, the basketball comedy for Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. Brian Grazer and Michael Rosenberg are producing.
Hart will first co-write the comedy along with his scripting teammates Joey Wells, Chris Spencer and Harry Ratchford. He’ll then star as a man who lives in the shadow of his NBA superstar brother (James), but gets a chance to prove himself when he and some pals attend a weekend fantasy basketball camp in Miami. Hart is certainly dominant in the stand-up arena, but posting up against this screen sibling could be dangerous. Hart is under 5’3″ while James is a towering 6’8.” That kind of sibling size differential hasn’t been seen since Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in another Universal comedy, Twins. They’ll sign a director when Hart and his cohorts turn in the script. The plan is to start production next summer when James has time off. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Denzel Washington‘s son John David Washington is following in his father’s footsteps with his first major acting role, signing on as a regular in the HBO pilot Ballers toplined by Dwayne Johnson. Also cast in the half-hour dramedy, which chronicles the lives of several Miami-based athletes, is former Bruins player Donovan Carter. Washington will play Ricky, a highly competitive and highly spiritual pro athlete. Carter will play Vernon, a deeply family oriented pro athlete. Washington, whose only previous acting credit is a small part in his dad’s 1992 movie Malcolm X, played football in college and did a stint with NFL’s St. Louis Rams. Read More »