EXCLUSIVE: Hailee Steinfeld is in negotiations to star as the lead in Why We Broke Up, the Fox 2000 comedy that will be directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller. It is based on the book by Daniel Handler, who wrote the Lemony Snicket series.
Steinfeld will play Min, a high school sophomore and cinephile who enjoys hanging out with friends at her favorite coffee shop. She falls hard for Ed, a senior and captain of the basketball team, and gets caught up in their whirlwind romance. The film unfolds a couple of weeks after the break-up, when she dumps a letter and box of seemingly meaningless mementos on his porch. Script was written by Handler, and Twilight Saga‘s Karen Rosenfelt is producing.
McCarthy-Miller has directed episodes of 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live and is attached to direct Melissa McCarthy in the New Line comedy Tammy. Steinfeld, who was nominated for her breakthrough role in True Grit, next stars in Romeo And Juliet, and is filming Ender’s Game. She’s repped by ICM and Coast to Coast. McCarthy-Miller is repped by CAA.
Lost director Jack Bender is set to direct and executive produce Syfy’s two-hour pilot Rewind, a thriller about a team of military field operatives and civilian scientists who use untested technology to travel back in time to alter past events in hopes of changing the future after a nuclear bomb destroys New York City. Bender will executive the pilot with its writer, Justin Marks, Tom Spezialy, Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun for Universal Cable Prods and BermanBraun. This marks a reunion for Bender and Syfy, UCP & BermanBraun — he also directed the pilot for their series Alphas. Here are some of the latest pilot director hires on the broadcast side:
Charles McDougall, who has directed the pilots for such hourlong series as Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and The Chicago Code, is taking on a half-hour pilot this season, helming Mindy Kaling’s single-camera Fox pilot. The Office player stars as a young Bridget Jones-type Ob/Gyn balancing personal and professional life, surrounded by quirky co-workers in a small office. The two previously worked together on The Office,where McDougall has directed half a dozen episodes. Read More »
New Line has tapped Saturday Night Live vet Beth McCarthy-Miller to helm Tammy, the comedy set up last year as a star vehicle for Melissa McCarthy. The Emmy-winning Mike & Molly and Bridesmaids star wrote the script herself to play … Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Comedy Series Director race.
Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock (NBC)
Why She Was Nominated: Because the trick that McCarthy-Miller turned here in handling a pair of live performances (one for the East Coast, one for the West Coast) was a huge one, recalling the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants trials from TV’s earliest days. It’s her seventh Emmy nomination and second for directing on 30 Rock (the other coming in 2009). Yet McCarthy-Miller still is seeking her first win despite being one of TV’s most respected directors.
Why She Has To Win: It’s safe to say that no one had a bigger series directing challenge during the past year than 30 Rock’s “Live Show.” As McCarthy-Miller told Deadline last month, “It’s fairly hard when you’re live to do that quick kind of dialogue and not fall flat on your face. … There were 108 camera shots before the first commercial break.” In case voters needed added incentive, no woman has won the Emmy for comedy directing in 18 years, or since Betty Thomas took it home for HBO’s Dream On in 1993. Talk about overdue.
Why She Can’t Possibly Win: See above about the last time a woman won in this category. Thomas’ win in ’93 also was the only time a woman earned the Emmy for directing, period. So the TV Academy may have issues giving this statuette to that gender. Too, Modern Family has three entries, and all are awfully strong. That mockumentary style is a director’s dream. Read More »
Here is the second-annual honor roll of the best and brightest at the broadcast upfront. First off, to all who got their pilots picked up to series — congratulations. You’re already winners. This is a list of those who took their upfront success to an extra level:
Whitney Cummings: The undisputed queen of Upfront 2011. She is behind two new comedy series that are among the highest-profile new half-hour entries next fall. She created, stars in and executive produces her eponymous comedy for NBC, which was assigned the network’s best comedy slot, following The Office. She also co-wrote on spec with Michael Patrick King the CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls, which broke records as CBS’ best-testing pilot (comedy or drama) ever. Both were the first comedy pilots to get a series order at their networks. Cummings, who also has a talk show in contention at E!, will serve as an executive producer on 2 Broke Girls but will be full-time on Whitney, which was in first position. I hope that doesn’t impact 2 Broke Girls, which King is expected to run/co-run, because the pilot indeed looks great. Honorable mention in the category of creators with multiple projects for Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. One of their two ABC pilots, Work It, was picked up to series, while the other, Smothered, is very much in contention for midseason.
What a comeback for J.J. Abrams! After his high-profile NBC drama Undercovers went bust last fall, some questioned whether the networks will continue to bet on him. But bet they did this upfront, with both pilots he produced, CBS’ Person of Interest and Fox’s Alcatraz, going to series. Person of Interest instantly became one of the most anticipated new fall series when CBS made it its new Thursday 9 PM anchor. The network also said it was its best-testing drama pilot ever. And over at Fox, Alcatraz prevailed over several high-profile pilots to land one of only two drama series spots. Then, as icing on the cake, Abrams’ modestly rated but well-liked Fox sci-fi series Fringe got a renewal for next season, bringing the producer’s series for next season to three. Read More »
Spike TV is recalibrating its male demo focus with a new scripted slate catering to the older portion of the 18-49 demographic. The cable network’s development slate features 6 comedies from such auspices as veteran SNL and 30 Rock director Beth McCarthy Miller, top reality producer Thom Beers, and Wild Hogs director Walt Becker as well as one drama. ”We have spent the last few years successfully bringing in Men 18-34 with a mix of action, outrageous comedy and fun infotainment.” said Spike TV president Kevin Kay. “Now we’re focused on bringing 25-49 year-olds with scripted fare that they can relate to – especially workplace and family humor.” He described Spike’s new development as “a little broader, more content (aka advertiser)-friendly and a little bit older.” The network’s projects also feature more strong female characters, Kay said. The goal is to find a companion for Spike’s hit comedy Blue Mountain State and launch a comedy block. As for drama F.T.W., Kay said he wasn’t looking to develop in the hourlong arena but loved the spec script and found it very timely as it deals with an undercover officer infiltrating extremist militia. The trend of Spike going older and broader is not limited only to the scripted side. In the reality area, it is exemplified by the recently greenlighted coal mining docu series from Beers. Here is a list of Spike’s new scripted projects with descriptions: Read More »