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NBC Sets Celebrity Reality Series Starring Survivalist Bear Grylls

Nellie Andreeva

NBC Sets Celebrity Reality Series Starring Survivalist Bear GryllsFollowing last year’s competition series Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls, NBC has slated a new unscripted show starring the adventurer and survivalist. The network has ordered six episodes of the hourlong alternative series Running Wild With Bear Grylls, in which Grylls takes celebrities into the remote locations in the U.S. and around the world for a 48-hour journey that Image (1) Bear-Grylls__131022005000.jpg for post 616305will feature such stunts as skydiving into the Catskill Mountains, rappelling down the cliffs of Utah and battling torrential wind and rain in Scotland. It will premiere July 28 and air in the Monday 8 PM slot. The celebrities lined up for the show, going one-on-one with Grylls, include actor Zac Efron, actor-director Ben Stiller, actor Channing Tatum, NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, actor Tom Arnold, and MSNBC and Today anchor Tamron Hall. Running Wild is produced by Electus and Bear Grylls Ventures, which were also behind Get Out Alive.

Electus used a similar strategy with Dwayne Johnson, who hosted a competition reality series, The Hero, for TNT last year, before returning to the cable network this year with a new docu-style unscripted show featuring close-ended episodes, Wake Up Call. Grylls will serve as executive producer along with Ben Silverman, Chris Grant, Corie Henson, Laura Caraccioli, Doug McCallie and Viki Cacciatore.

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Ben Stiller-Produced ‘Lonny’ Debuts Season 2 Online Amid Maker Cuts

By | Tuesday June 3, 2014 @ 8:50am PDT

Next time on lonny preview screenNext Time On Lonny, the satirical online video series executive produced by Ben Stiller‘s Red Hour Digital and Disney-owned Maker Studios, debuts the first three episodes of its second season on Maker.TV and, for today only, YouTube, with a raft of guest appearances by Hollywood notables including Adam ScottPatton Oswalt, Kal Penn, Jerry O’Connell, Kathy Baker, Haley Joel Osment and Paul Scheer. The entire season is being sponsored by Verizon, with more episodes rolling out twice a week on Maker.TV and Maker’s comedy hub, Nacho Punch. The show is a satire of reality TV, blending sketch comedy and imaginary film preview segments. It was created by Alex Anfanger, who also stars, and Dan Schimpf, who directs. Besides Stiller, Anfanger and Schimpf, executive producers of the show include Stuart Cornfeld, Mike Rosenstein and Debbie Liebling. Brillstein Entertainment Partners represent Anfanger and Schimpf.

makerstudios__140311194353-275x177Yesterday, reports surfaced that about 10% of the company’s 380 employees had been laid off, part of a continuing restructuring in the fast-changing online-video space. A Maker spokesperson declined to comment on whether any layoffs had occurred, but said, “Maker’s business is constantly evolving, and we routinely reassess our internal resources and make strategic adjustments, reducing staff in some areas while actively hiring in others.” A source close to the company emphasized the company is continuing to hire in some areas of its business. “If there is at any point a reduction, it’s not tied to the Disney acquisition,” the source said. “Maker is in a very healthy place, given the acquisition. It’s aligning its resources to its goals.” Read More »

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Ben Stiller Circling To Direct ‘The Current War’ At TWC

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 3:39pm PDT
Mike Fleming

wesinEXCLUSIVE: Just told you that Ben Stiller was in talks to play a role in the Alan Ball-directed I Am Chippendales, the film that’s in talks to land at The Weinstein Company. I also can tell you that Stiller is in discussions with TWC to direct The Current War, the Michael Mitnick-scripted fact-based drama about how electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse compete to create a sustainable system and market it to the American people. No deal yet, and they are still figuring out things like cast, but I’m told that Stiller has sparked to the project in a big way. The film will be produced by Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch and Timur Bekmambetov. Stay tuned.

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Ben Stiller Dancing With ‘Chippendales’; Alan Ball Pic Being Shopped With Weinstein Co In Pole Position

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 3:15pm PDT
Mike Fleming

stillerBen Stiller is in early talks to take a lead role in I Am Chippendales, a movie that Alan Ball wrote and will direct that’s being shopped right now. The Weinstein Company is the favorite to make a deal on the film. It’s an adaptation of the Rodney Sheldon book that sounds like a mix between Magic Mike and Scarface. Chippendales tells the story of Steve Banerjee, an immigrant who went from pumping gas in Culver City to running a high-end nightclub that evolved into Chippendales. As the male-stripper concept became a phenomenon in the 1980s at the height of the women’s lib movement, Banerjee was consumed by excess and competition. After hiring a New York choreographer to polish the all-male dance troupe, he  became wildly rich, and just as paranoid. Banerjee hired a hitman to murder the choreographer when negotiations went sour. After being arrested, Banerjee died in jail awaiting trial. Stiller will play the choreographer…. Read More »

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‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ Says “Not Sure” They Are Source Of “Walter Mitty’ Leak

ben stillerAs any guild member receiving screeners via courier the past few weeks know, the studios and networks are vehement about their DVDs not ending up in the wrong hands or wrong places. Well, seems someone on Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show isn’t quite with the War On Piracy program. A copy of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty that began popping up online a few days ago has been traced back to The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Producers on the syndicated talker are working with Mitty distributor Fox to investigate the matter but they are not sure if they are the source of the leak.  “Our show is sent advanced screeners of movies, mittysitcoms, reality shows, cds, etc. before guests appear on our show.  We do everything we can to protect the content and in 11 seasons nothing has ever leaked online from our show,” they said in a statement I was sent. “We’re not sure if this leaked from our show or not, but we are doing everything we can to find out and to make sure it never happens again.”

Kickstarter’s former CTO Andy Baio first noted the Ellen-screener leak connection on his blog yesterday. Fox confirms that the “Ellen DeGeneres 11/26/13″ watermark on the pic online seems genuine. The DVD was made for DeGeneres and her staff as background for her interview with the film’s star and director Ben Stiller that aired in early December. The pic itself came out on Christmas Day. Sources tell me the DVD was delivered to the show on November 27 and picked up a couple of days later. Somewhere in those couple of days someone uploaded it to the web or put in online storage to upload at a later date. Read More »

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Comedy Central Gives Series Order To Ben Stiller-Produced ‘Big Time In Hollywood, FL’

By | Friday January 10, 2014 @ 10:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

stillerComedy Central has picked up to series pilot Big Time In Hollywood, FL with a 10-episode order. The project, produced by Ben Stiller‘s Red Hour and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, is written by Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf. It follows two delusional brothers and self-proclaimed filmmakers, played by Anfanger and Lenny Jacobson, who are kicked out of their parents’ house and forced to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives, leading them on an epic journey in pursuit of their American dream. Kathy Baker and Stephen Tobolowsky play the brothers’ parents, and Jon Bass co-stars in the series, whose pilot was directed by Schimpf. “Ben, Alex and alexdanDan have fulfilled my career-long dream of having a show based in Hollywood, FL,” said Comedy Central president of original programming Kent Alterman. Added Stiller, “Big Time combines the directorial style of Hitchcock, the acting prowess of Streep, the budget of House Of Payne, and the nutritional value of Velveeta. I think people’s minds will be blown wide open. For real.” Stiller is executive producing the series with Anfanger and Schimpf, along with Red Hour’s  Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld and Mike Rosenstein, and Brillstein’s Lee Kernis and Brian Stern. Read More »

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Ricky Gervais Reprising In ‘Night At The Museum 3′

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 12:04pm PST
Mike Fleming

gervEXCLUSIVE: Ricky Gervais has been set to reprise his role as Dr. McPhee in Night At The Museum 3, which Shawn Levy is directing from the  script written by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant and David Guion and Michael Handelman for Fox. Ben Stiller is reprising his lead role, and Gervais is back as his boss. Robin Williams also is returning as Teddy Roosevelt in a film Fox has slotted for Christmas 2014. Gervais next will be seen in Muppets Most Wanted and is developing an animated feature based on his book Flanimals for Illumination Entertainment and Universal. He’s repped by WME and United Agents in the UK.

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Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films Inks Deal With Legendary Television & Digital

By | Friday December 6, 2013 @ 3:01pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

stillerIn Legendary Television & Digital‘s first major producing deal, the company has signed a multi-year pact with Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld’s Red Hour Films. The company’s TV development will continue to be run by Red Hour president Debbie Liebling, while Red Hour Director of Digital Mike Rosenstein oversees digital. “All of us at Legendary are thrilled to be working with Ben, Stuart and their Red Hour team,” Legendary TV & Digital president Bruce Rosenblum said. “Their comedic programming is broadly appealing, yet fulfills the edginess and irreverence that is so on brand for Legendary.” At Legendary, Red Hour’s development will be overseen by Tom Lesinski, President of Legendary Digital Media, on the digital side and Peter Johnson, legendaryEVP Scripted Entertainment, in the TV side. “We are very excited to partner with Legendary, though I am a little concerned that Bruce called me ‘Mr. Affleck’ when discussing the deal on the phone,” Stiller said. “Hopefully, he won’t realize he got the other Ben till after the papers are signed.”
Red Hour Films most recently had a TV deal at ABC Studios for the past two years where is developed and sold a slew of projects. Red Hour also recently received series pickups for Birthday Boys at IFC and The Meltdown With Jonah And Kumail at Comedy Central.

Red Hour’s digital deal will kick in when the company’s current pact … Read More »

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NYFF: Fox Unveils Ben Stiller’s ‘Walter Mitty’ — Does It Have The Goods?

By | Saturday October 5, 2013 @ 3:36pm PDT
Pete Hammond

20th Century Fox is hitting the New York Film Festival again today after last year’s big success with Life Of Pi, which opened the fest and went on to win four Oscars including Best Director for Ang Lee. Perhaps hoping lightning strikes twice, or maybe just praying for a commercial hit, the studio is holding the World Premiere tonight of its Christmas Day opener The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, which is directed by and stars Ben Stiller. Two and a half months before its release, critics and select press got a look at it earlier Saturday with precisely timed simultaneous screenings in New York and on the Fox lot in L.A. (An L.A.-based publicist told me they actually had a bicoastal countdown to the film’s start to make sure there was no unfair advantage.) And also like Pi, 20th earlier did an elaborate presentation during its April CinemaCcon event in Las Vegas to get exhibitors on board early for the movie they are hoping will be favorably compared to the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump. That move, which included 15 minutes of footage from the then-unfinished movie, also probably heightened blogger awards anticipation. Read More »

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Ben Stiller & Helen Childress To Revive ‘Reality Bites’ As Comedy Series For NBC

By | Thursday August 22, 2013 @ 4:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Reality Bites NBC TV SeriesReality Bites, the cult 1994 romantic comedy that examined the angst of Generation X college graduates, is heading to primetime. The film’s director Ben Stiller and writer Helen Childress have teamed for a TV series version of the movie that starred Winona Ryder, Stiller and Ethan Hawke. Childress will write the single-camera comedy project, which is set up at NBC. It centers on recent college graduate Lelaina Pierce, the character played in the movie by Ryder, as she struggles to make her way — romantically and professionally — in the recession-plagued, pre-Internet early 1990s. Set in Houston, the show, and Lelaina herself with her video camera, chronicles the lives of her “slacker” friends with whom she shares an apartment. The series is produced by Universal Television, sibling to the film’s producer Universal Pictures. Co-producing with Uni TV are Stiller’s Red Hour Television and Double Feature Films, the company run by Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, who were producers on the 1994 film. Red Hours’ Stiller, Debbie Liebling, and Stuart Cornfeld executive produce with Childress, Shamberg and Sher. WME-repped Red Hour has a pilot, Big Time In Hollywood, FL, and stand-up comedy series, The Meltdown With Jonah And Kumail, at Comedy Central and sketch comedy series … Read More »

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Ben Stiller-Produced Sibling Comedy Gets Pilot Order At Comedy Central, Casts Duo

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 4:06pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central has greenlighted Big Time In Hollywood, FL, a single-camera comedy from Ben Stiller‘s Red Hour. Kathy Baker and Stephen Tobolowsky have been cast in the project, written/executive produced by comedy duo Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf. Big Time follows two delusional brothers, who are self-proclaimed filmmakers, as they are kicked out of their parents’ (Baker, Tobolowsky) house and end up on an epic cinematic journey. Also executive producing are Red Hour’s Stiller, Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld and Mike Rosenstein and Brillstein Entertainment’s Brian Stern and Lee Kernis. Filming is slated to begin later this month. This is the second green light at Comedy Central for Red Hour, which also has recently ordered stand-up comedy series The Meltdown With Jonah And Kumail, which will spotlight hot comedians. The company also has sketch comedy series The Birthday Boys picked up at IFC. Anfanger and Schimpf, both NYU Tisch Arts 2008 graduates, met when they were randomly paired as roommates in their freshman year and immediately started collaborating by shooting comedic shorts. After graduation, they created the hit web series Next Time On Lonny, which is produced by Red Hour and is currently filming a second season. … Read More »

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New York Film Fest Locks Ben Stiller’s ‘Walter Mitty’ For Centerpiece Gala

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 11:48am PDT
Mike Fleming

After giving Captain Phillips the opening-night berth, the New York Film Festival has locked the Ben Stiller-directed The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty as the Centerpiece Gala presentation. It is a first-time experience for Stiller, who was raised in New York. Here is the official word:

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’

New York, NY, August 1, 2013 – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that Ben Stiller’s highly anticipated adaptation of James Thurber’s classic short story THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY which also stars Stiller alongside Kristen Wiig, will make its World Premiere on Saturday, October 5 as the Centerpiece Gala presentation for the upcoming 51st New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13).

Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’

By | Tuesday July 30, 2013 @ 10:12am PDT

The first official trailer has dropped for Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. Stiller directs and stars in the Fox remake of James Thurber’s classic story of a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker (Kristen Wiig) are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn and Sean Penn also star. It’s set to bow wide on Christmas Day. Check it out:

Watch this video on YouTube.

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Robert Downey Jr.’s Wish Leads To ‘Pinocchio’ Talks With ‘Mitty’ Helmer Ben Stiller

By | Thursday May 2, 2013 @ 12:53pm PDT
Mike Fleming

During one of a zillion press junket interviews for Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr was asked who he’d like to direct him in Pinocchio, after Tim Burton fell out. Downey said it would be his Tropic Thunder accomplice Ben Stiller. That got a lot of press play. The pair talked about it briefly at CinemaCon, where Stiller’s teaser reel for The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty got a rousing response from exhibitors. So guess what? Now, Stiller is in talks with Warner Bros to helm the film. No negotiations yet, but they have gone as far as starting discussions with writers for the film that Downey and his wife Susan Downey will produce under their Team Downey banner. Downey, who would play Geppetto, wants to change the direction of the film creatively from what he and Burton had originally conceived. The studio likes the new take. Dan Jinks is producing with Team Downey.

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Hollywood’s Proud Past Lives Again This Week With AFI, TCM Classic Film Festival And Danny Kaye Centennial

Pete Hammond

In Hollywood they say ‘everything old is new again’ and that has never been more true this week than with a massive celebration of classic films and stars. There is tonight’s AFI Night At The Movies with 13 classic titles (including Best Picture winners like In The Heat Of The Night  and Terms Of Endearment) taking up every screen at Hollywood’s Arclight Theatre complete with in-person introductions from their original stars (Shirley MacLaine, Cher, Sidney Poitier, Sally Field and Harrison Ford among them). There is a year-long centennial celebration of the great Danny Kaye and a reminder of his talent at year’s end with the Fox remake of a Kaye classic, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. And starting Thursday with the World Premiere restoration of Funny Girl, the 4th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival kicks off its four day run in Hollywood.

Even as competing fests this week at Tribeca and in San Francisco try to steal the spotlight for new films from a new generation, The Turner Classic Movies fest has become a big deal focusing on the past. And not only for the network, but as a signature event where studios can show off new digital restorations of classic films with the same hoopla that might have accompanied their original premieres. Though its stars Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif won’t be attending the Funny Girl restoration’s premiere at the Chinese Theatre tomorrow night (Sharif is in Europe; Streisand is sending a statement to be read by TCM host Robert Osborne) many vintage stars including festival honorees like Eva Marie Saint, Ann Blyth, Max Von Sydow and numerous others are expected to walk the red carpet. Competing for attention across the street at the Hollywood Roosevelt Pool will be TCM’s pristine digital presentation of 1958′s South Pacific with stars Mitzi Gaynor and France Nuyen on hand. TCM’s longtime talent exec, Darcy Hettrich has the herculean task of turning out all the great stars of Hollywood’s past  that keep these fans buzzing. Read More »

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CinemaCon: Fox Unveils Ben Stiller’s ‘Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’ Which Could Be Oscar Bound

Pete Hammond

20th Century Fox (“and it is called 20th Century Fox,” as Distribution President Chris Aronson wryly noted in his welcoming remarks) presented to theater owners at CinemaCon today. The highlight was about 12 minutes of selected scenes from the studio’s holiday release The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty as a “special presentation” at the end of Fox’s 2013 preview. Clearly, Fox is hoping to replicate last year’s success with unveiling 15 minutes of footage of The Life Of Pi.  The film directed and produced by and starring Ben Stiller is a reinvention of the 1947 Danny Kaye comedy which was based on the short story by James Thurber about a meek writer who lives vicariously through his rich fantasy life. Now Stiller is an ordinary photo editor imagining himself in numerous epic situations only to become immersed in a real life global adventure of his own. Like Life Of Pi this comedy-drama is hard to describe but the footage seemed to wow the exhibition crowd. One theater chain head told me it looked “phenomenal - the perfect holiday movie. This could be Ben’s Oscar chance.” Others compared it to the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump. Those will be music to the ears of the studio since this project had been in development through several different iterations and scripts and stars for years until Stiller and writer Steve Conrad cracked the code. Indeed, of all the footage on display this week at CinemaCon, at … Read More »

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Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Sells 2 Guy-Centered Family Comedies To ABC, Including One Written By And Starring Michael Ian Black

By | Monday December 17, 2012 @ 12:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Television has scored two more sales in its maiden development season for comedies You’re Not Doing It Right and Between Two Kings. Both have been set up at ABC with a script commitment through ABC Studios, where Red Hour is under a deal, and are executive produced by Stiller, Red Hour TV’s Debbie Liebling and Stuart Cornfeld.

Single-camera You’re Not Doing It Right is starring and written by Michael Ian Black who is also executive producing with his manager Ted Schachter. Based on Black’s book and set “in the wilds of Connecticut,” the show is described as a comedy about modern marriage and parenting and takes a hard look at what happens when you wake up, look around, and don’t recognize the life you are living as your own. Black is repped by UTA.

Between Two Kings is written/executive produced by Jeff Kahn. It centers on a divorced and devoted father with sole custody of his 11-year-old son who moves into his narcissistic father’s house to care for his ailing dad and finds himself torn between the constant needs of both his self-centered father and his demanding son. Kahn is repped by WME and Andy Cohen at Grade A Entertainment. Read More »

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Ben Stiller Honored By American Cinematheque, Called “Renaissance Man Of Comedy”

By | Friday November 16, 2012 @ 2:32am PST
Pete Hammond

“Of course we are all here for one reason, and that’s because Deadline Hollywood might tweet a link to a write-up about this and we all might get mentioned,” Ben Stiller joked in his very funny acceptance speech as the recipient of the 26th annual American Cinematheque Award on Thursday night at the Beverly Hilton. Friends and co-stars including Jennifer Aniston, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Laura Dern, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor among others offered tributes to the star-writer-director-producer-humanitarian the Cinematheque’s chairman Rick Nicita called a “Renaissance man of comedy” — to which Stiller said later, “I didn’t know you could be a Renaissance man of just one thing. It’s like  being a jack-of-all-trades of carpentry.” But judging from the numerous clips and in-person tributes, he is about much more than just “one thing”. Read More »

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Ben Stiller Cinematheque Set Presenters

By | Wednesday October 31, 2012 @ 8:26pm PDT

Jack Black, Patton Oswalt, Jennifer Aniston, Will Ferrell and Jeffrey Katzenberg will lend support as live presenters. Ben Stiller receives the American Cinematheque Award at the organization’s November 15 gala at the Beverly Hilton. The star of the upcoming The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as well as the Meet The Fockers, Madagascar and Night At The Museum movies plus Tropic Thunder, Zoolander, Along Came Polly, is the Cinematheque’s 26th honoree. Others signed up to poke fun at Stiller include Bob Odenkirk, Jay Roach, Laura Dern and Christine Taylor.

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