This should give the Discovery chief a little more job security at a time when the air is filled with deal talk following Comcast’s $42.5B agreement to buy Time Warner Cable. Liberty Media Chairman John Malone gave …
Exactly a decade after CBS launched the most recent CSI spinoff, CSI: NY, the network is at it again with a new planted spinoff, which will air as an episode of the venerable crime drama this spring. Just like CSI spinoff CSI: Miami and CSI: Miami offshoot CSI: NY, the new spinoff will be written by CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker, longtime CSI showrunner Carol Mendelsohn and former CSI: Miami showrunner Ann Donahue. The new series, from CBS Studios and Bruckheimer TV, will mark a departure from criminal forensics, which has been the subject of the first three CSI series, focusing instead on cyber crimes, an area Zuiker had been exploring for several years. The new project is not related to the Cyber Crimes drama Zuiker created for CBS four seasons ago. Inspired by the work of Irish cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken, the proposed CSI spinoff centers on Avery Ryan, Special Agent in Charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI in Quantico, VA, who is tasked with solving major crimes that start in the mind, live online, and play out into the real world. Zuiker, Mendelsohn and Donahue are executive producing with Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman. Aiken will serve as a producer. Given the new setting for the latest CSI spinoff, it is unclear if it would keep the CSI moniker or switch to a new one the way CBS did with NCIS, which was spun off from military drama JAG. CBS is looking to spin off both of its long-running crime procedurals this season with NCIS prepping a New Orleans-set planted spinoff starring Scott Bakula, which also will air as an episode in the spring.
After his successful TV debut with Netflix’s House Of Cards, David Fincher is spearheading the U.S. adaptation of another British series, this time at HBO. The pay cable network, which aggressively pursued House Of Cards when it was shopped, has teamed with Fincher for Utopia, a drama series project based on the Channel 4 series created by Dennis Kelly and produced by Kudos. Fincher is set to direct the adaptation, which will be written by Gillian Flynn, reteaming with Fincher whose upcoming feature Gone Girl is based on her novel. Both Gone Girl and Utopia are in the thriller genre. The series revolves around the die-hard fans of an iconic, underground graphic novel who are suddenly launched into their own pop-culture thriller when they learn that the author has secretly written a sequel. Unfortunately, the new manuscript is much more than just a book and those on the hunt for it suddenly find themselves in a game of shifting loyalties, conspiracy and shocking twists as the true meaning of the book is slowly revealed (watch a trailer for the original series below).
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. With Gerwig on board, the project, which had a pilot production commitment, has been given a formal pilot greenlight. 20th Century Fox TV, which is behind the original series, is producing. In addition to starring, Gerwig — who has co-written several features — will serve as a producer on HIMYD and is expected to write. Her deal comes after a lengthy courtship, with the excitement among TV casting executives about the prospect of her doing a series comparable to that when another indie princess, Zooey Deschanel, agreed to do a pilot three years ago with New Girl (also at 20th TV). Getting Gerwig to do HIMYD was considered so important that the studio is willing to move production of the series to New York for her after the pilot, which will be shot in Los Angeles. Written/exec produced by Emily Spivey and How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, How I Met Your Dad is described as kindred spirit of HIMYM, telling the story from a female point of view. That will come from Sally (Gerwig), a female Peter Pan who has never grown up and has no idea of where she’s going in life. After breaking up with her husband of less than a year, Sally finds a solid circle of support in her friends and family. HIMYM‘s Pam Fryman is directing.
EXCLUSIVE: What if Robin Hood and his traditional nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham, were the same person? That is the premise of Nottingham, a Game Of Thrones reinvention of the classic mythology in the works at BBC America. The series project is written by Dracula creator Cole Haddon, who again takes on a classic villain character. Sony Pictures TV and studio-based Davis Entertainment, the companies behind NBC hit The Blacklist, are producing, with Haddon and Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox executive producing. Described as a soapy class drama, Nottingham centers on the Sheriff of Nottingham whose wife is killed by King John’s men. When nobody is brought to justice, the Sheriff launches a one-man war against the Crown. By day, he remains the reviled Sheriff, loyal servant of the King, but by night he puts on a hood and, using the intelligence he gains from his office, attacks the King where it hurts the most — his coffers.
HBO Gives Series Order To Comedy Pilot ‘The Brink’ Starring Jack Black & Tim Robbins, From Jay Roach & Jerry Weintraub
EXCLUSIVE: In a very quick turnaround, HBO has given a series order to The Brink, its comedy pilot starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins, directed by Jay Roach and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub. Written by former Weeds executive producer Roberto Benabib and his brother Kim Benabib, The Brink is an epic dark comedy focusing on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander (Robbins); Alex Coppins (Black), a lowly Foreign Service officer; and Zeke Callahan (Pablo Schreiber), an ace Navy fighter pilot. These three compromised souls must pull through the chaos around them to save the planet from World War III. Aasif Mandvi, Maribeth Monroe, Geoff Pierson, Esai Morales and Eric Ladin co-star on the series, executive produced by Roberto Benabib, Weintraub and Roach. Kim Benabib and Susie Ekins co-executive produce.
This marks the first HBO series for Weintraub and Roach, who both have deals with the pay cable network and established relationships there. Weintraub executive produced HBO Films’ Emmy-winning movie Behind The Candelabra, while Roach directed and exec produced the Emmy-winning HBO movies Game Change and Recount.
The Brink’s road to HBO’s primetime started with an email Weintraub received while in Europe, which contained the Benabibs’ script. “I read it and I fell in love with it,” he said. When he came back to Los Angeles, Weintraub had lunch with Roach about a movie project where Roach mentioned that he had been looking to do a half-hour comedy. Weintraub ran to his office and brought Roach The Brink script. Joking that Roach “is famous for taking three years to make up his mind” on anything, Wentraub heard from the director the very next day. “He calls me and he says, ‘I’m in, the script is too good’.”
Speculation has been swirling around a Warner Bros acquisition of Netherlands-based TV producer Eyeworks for several weeks. Warner Bros Television Group now says it has entered into an agreement to acquire all of Eyeworks’ businesses outside the U.S., in 15 territories across Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. The purchase is an important part of WB Television Group’s growth strategy as it aims to establish a strong foothold in major TV production markets around the world. Ronald Goes, EVP and head of Warner Bros International Television Production, said today, “Eyeworks has the scale to help grow our presence in the global marketplace, as well as quality production capabilities and broadcaster relationships. I am confident that, as part of Warner Bros, it will continue to create and produce high quality content that can become franchises and be exported to create local versions in other markets around the world.” Among shows Eyeworks already makes are Celebrity Splash!, Extreme Weight Loss and Test The Nation. The company also recently signed a development deal with Fox Television Studios to jointly develop scripted programming originating from Scandinavian writers for the U.S. and international markets.
The acquisition by Warner Bros, for which financials were not provided, is subject to regulatory approval. The deal will add 13 new territories to Warner’s existing network of local production companies. Warner already has a majority stake in UK production group Shed Media and in BlazHoffski Holdingan, an indie producer that operates in The Netherlands and Belgium.
EXCLUSIVE: Modern Family executive producer Dan O’Shannon will be leaving the Emmy-winning comedy series at the end of this season for a three-year overall deal at CBS TV Studios. Under the pact, he will develop new comedy projects for network and cable. This marks a return to CBS TV Studios for O’Shannon, who was under an overall deal at predecessor Paramount TV more than a decade ago. Back then, he served as executive producer/showunner of the studio’s flagship comedy Frasier having previously spent four seasons as a writer and, later, exec producer on mothership series Cheers.