FXX has ordered 10 episodes of half-hour comedy Man Seeking Woman, from Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video. It’s slated for a 2015 premiere. Jay Baruchel stars in the project based on Simon Rich’s book The Last Girlfriend On Earth, Man Seeking Woman. It centers on Josh Greenberg (Baruchel) a naive romantic on a desperate quest for love. When his longtime girlfriend dumps him, Josh enters the dating scene, a nightmarish hellscape of untold horror. Despite the agony, Josh continues his search in the hopes of finding someone who will make all the misery worth it. Eric André (The Eric André Show, Don’t Trust the B– in Apartment 23), Britt Lower (Unforgettable) and Maya Erskine (Betas) round out the cast.
The game is on — again!, BBC One tweeted this afternoon. That was following clues it left Monday night alerting Sherlock fans that a surprise was in store for today. In the first missive, the channel — which had changed its handle to “Sherlock – #221back” for the occasion — posted a GIF of Andrew Scott as Moriarty from the last episode of Season 3, and the question, “Did you miss me?” An hour later, BBC One wrote, “It’s all gone dark… Something’s coming… Or someone. Details at 2.21pm tomorrow.” And now we’ve solved the mystery. The BBC has confirmed the sleuthing drama will return for a special, followed by a series of three new episodes. Shooting on the special will start in January 2015, with the series shooting later next year. “We’re ready to unleash the most shocking and surprising series of #Sherlock yet. The only thing is to expect is the unexpected…,” said BBC One today. A fourth season has unofficially been afoot for some time, but dates have never been specified — a lot of juggling is necessary given the big screen demands on stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Today’s confirmation follows reports on Sunday that the high-functioning sociopath and sidekick/best pal Dr John Watson would be back for a special in 2015. Freeman told The Telegraph a period of filming looked “pretty likely” in early 2015 and that he thought it “might be for next Christmas.” Either way, fans have had to wait long periods before to catch up with the characters, and their fervor has not abated. When Season 3 kicked off on BBC One and PBS in January this year after a two year hiatus, it was the series’ most-watched episode ever, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Starz will develop an adaptation of FremantleMedia North America’s Neil Gaiman urban fantasy novel American Gods. Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller and The River and Heroes executive producer Michael Green will write the pilot and showrun the series. The 2001 novel, which has been translated into more than 30 languages, and centers on a looming war between the traditional gods of biblical and mythological roots and the upstart pantheon of gods who stand for society’s fixation with money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. The story’s main character, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman and older god. Both set on a cross-country mission to gather forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
Telemundo and Sony Pictures Television today announced a three-year agreement, under terms of which which SPT will produce one primetime series per year for Telemundo in the U.S. The Telemundo international sales division, Telemundo Internacional, will distribute the series worldwide. As part of the agreement, Sony Pictures Television’s production company Teleset will produce the series in México in association with Telemundo Studios. Production of the first series will begin in early 2015.
“We are very proud to enter this agreement with Sony Pictures Television to produce scripted content with the highest quality standards and talent selection,” said Marcos Santana, president, Telemundo International. “This agreement will provide us with appealing and attractive content at the level our international clients have come to expect from Telemundo Internacional.”
“We look forward to working with Telemundo in the coming years to bring these three new primetime series to life,” said Angélica Guerra, senior vice president and managing director of production for Latin America and U.S. Hispanic for Sony Pictures Television.
CBS Gives Series Order To Adaptation Of James Patterson’s ‘Zoo’ From Midnight Radio, Cathy Konrad & James Mangold
With Under The Dome last year and Extant this week, CBS has made the addition of a new thriller event drama series the highlight of its summer schedule. The network has locked in its high-profile drama entry for summer 2015 with a 13-episode straight-to-series order to Zoo, a drama based on James Patterson‘s best-selling global thriller. The project, which had a rare pilot production commitment for a pitch originating from sibling CBS TV Studios, hails from writer-producers Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg. The four are working under their new Midnight Radio moniker (formerly Space Floor) which has inked a two-year first-look deal with CBS Studios. Also producing are Cathy Konrad and James Mangold via their CBS Studios-based Treeline Films, with Mangold set to direct.
Fox said tonight that it is not moving forward with the midseason action-adventure drama it ordered in October. The network picked up the project straight to series so it could spend pilot money across multiple episodes but subsequent scripts and stories weren’t coming together as hoped. Written by Travis Beacham and originally developed several seasons ago, Hieroglyph centered a notorious thief (Max Brown) who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharoah (Reece Ritchie), navigating palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and even a few divine sorcerers. Anna Fricke was tapped as showrunner in March, when she signed an overall deal with 20th, which produced the show with Chernin Entertainment. A trailer for the series was played at Fox’s upfront presentation in May to mixed reaction, triggering speculation that the network may shelve the project. Kelsey Chow, Condola Rashad, John Rhys-Davies, Caroline Ford and Antony Bunsee co-starred. Beacham also was an exec producer along with Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope and Miguel Sapochnik, who also directed the pilot. “We wanted to do a show about deceit, sex, intrigue in the court and fantastical goings-on — no better place to set that than ancient Egypt,” then-Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly said when the series was greenlighted. Beacham’s fantastical action-adventure spec narrowly missed a Fox pilot order during the 2011-12 season.
Community has done it, beating the odds and overcoming a cancellation to score a sixth-season order. After a couple of weeks of negotiations, series producer Sony Pictures TV has closed a deal with Yahoo for 13 new episodes to air this fall on Yahoo Screen. Talks went down to the wire as the options on the cast were set to expire today. Ever since NBC canceled Community last month, there had been interest from multiple outlets in continuing the cult comedy. I hear the list of possible suitors also included rebranded cable network Esquire; streaming service Hulu, which already has off-network rights to the series; and the Sony-owned Crackle.
Dan Harmon created Community and is returning as executive producer with Russ Krasnoff, Gary Foster and Chris McKenna. “I am very pleased that Community will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo,” Harmon said in the announcement of the deal. “I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online. I vow to dominate our new competition. Rest easy, Big Bang Theory. Look out, Bang Bus!”
With its devoted following by a core group of passionate fans, Community is the type of show digital platforms crave. Complicating the series’ options was the fact that it has a digital syndication deal in place with Hulu, in addition to a cable off-network pact with Comedy Central.
Jim Sharp has been promoted to EVP Original Programming and Development West Coast, reporting to Kent Alterman, President, Content Development and Original Programming. Sharp, formerly Senior Vice President, will oversee development and production on all West Coast-based original pilots and series and in his new and expanded role, will also manage all digital development on CC:Studios.
Sidney Kimmel Entertainment has optioned the rights to Busted: A Tale Of Corruption And Betrayal In The City Of Brotherly Love, a police crime thriller written by Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker. It will serve as SKE’s debut television project with True Detective producers Anonymous Content.
Sex and the City‘s Sarah Jessica Parker is attached to star in one of the two main roles in the hourlong show. David Frankel is attached to direct and executive produce the pilot. Don Roos will write the pilot. SKE President Jim Tauber, SKE President of Production Carla Hacken, and Steve Golin, Managing Partner of Anonymous Content, announced it.
Book is based on investigative reporters Wendy Ruderman’s and Barbara Laker’s non-fiction book of the same name. Published by Harper Collins in March, it chronicles their efforts to uncover one of the biggest police corruption scandals in Philadelphia’s history. The 2009 10-month series of articles in the Philadelphia Daily News entitled “Tainted Justice” earned them a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.
This becomes the latest series to congeal with movie elements. Frankel has directed The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me, Hope Springs and most recently, One Chance. Roos’ screen credits range from Single White Female to Marley & Me. Both worked with Hacken at Fox 2000, and she got the book rights from WME while she was an indie producer. She brought it to SKE when she was hired as president of production. She will be exec producer.
“Wendy and Barbara have written an amazing true story, and …
Diane Sawyer Stepping Down As ‘ABC World News’ Anchor, David Muir New Anchor, George Stephanopoulos Named Chief Anchor Of ABC News
Diane Sawyer will lead “new programming,” the network said, “tackling big issues and extraordinary interviews.” George Stephanopoulos, who anchors Good Morning America and This Week, will add the title Chief Anchor of ABC News — he will be the chief anchor during all special reports and breaking news. David Muir, who has anchored newsmag 20/20 since 2013 as well as the weekend newscast, will become anchor and managing editor of World News starting September 2.
EXCLUSIVE: Alex Russell has been tapped for a starring role in AMC drama pilot Galyntine. Written by Halt And Catch Fire‘s Jason Cahill and executive produced by Scott Free and The Walking Dead‘s Greg Nicotero, the fantasy-action adventure with hints of sci-fi is set in a postapocalyptic future without technology where a band of survivors is forced to adapt to isolation and the challenges of their new world. Nicotero is also directing the pilot, stepping in to replace original director David Mackenzie, who left in May owing to creative differences.
Russell, repped by UTA and United Management in Australia, will play Roman, an orphan who was unofficially adopted by his best friend Aethys’ family, and he hopes to marry Aethys’ sister Essyn to make his membership in the family official. A very public victory appears to cement his status as a future leader of the colony, but a twist of fate (and a deeply wounding betrayal) set him on a different, more dangerous path. Catherine Dent and Charlotte D’Ambroise already have been cast in the pilot, which was greenlighted in November for 2015 series consideration.
Russell recently wrapped Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and Cut Snake. His previous film credits include Carrie and Chronicle.
Gangster Squad helmer Ruben Fleischer has closed an overall deal with Universal Television. Under the two-year pact, Fleischer will develop new drama and comedy programming for both network and cable. He also will work with and supervise other writers on projects that he will executive produce and occasionally direct. In addition, Fleischer announced the formation of his new production company, The District, and has brought on David Bernad, most recently with RipCord Prods, as producing partner.
Disney Television Animation has launched production on a new series about a pair of unlikely buddies: an emotional pickle and a freewheeling peanut. Jon Heder and Johnny Pemberton provide the respective voices for Pickle & Peanut, which is slated for a fall 2015 premiere on Disney-branded channel and platforms around the world. Created by Noah Z. Jones (Fish Hooks), the series mixes 2D animation and live-action in telling the story of small-town underdogs trying to be anything but ordinary. Joel Trussell (Yo Gabba Gabba!) developed Pickle & Peanut and serves as executive producer with Jones. Mark Rivers is the story editor. “We see very few pitches that are as funny and original as Pickle & Peanut,” said Eric Coleman, SVP Original Series at Disney TV Animation. “We instantly fell in love with these characters, and Noah and Joel have built a world with a visual style and sensibility unlike anything on TV.” The toon unit also said today that it has ordered a third season of its Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts and Season 2 of Craig McCracken’s comedy Wander Over Yonder.
Starz has greenlighted The Girlfriend Experience, a 13-part anthology series inspired by Steven Soderbergh‘s 2009 Magnolia Pictures film. Soderbergh and Philip Fleishman executive produce the half-hour series, from Transactional Pictures, which explores the relationships of the most exclusive courtesans who provide their clients with far more than just sex. These purveyors – or GFEs (Girlfriend Experience) – share intimacies more common to romantic partners or husbands and wives, becoming quasi-lovers and confidants who are richly paid for their time. “Many of these women are extremely accomplished,” said Fleishman. “They range from musicians in major orchestras to PhD candidates in the sciences and often feel empowered by the control and economic freedom their work as GFE’s affords them. The question is whether they define a new genus of contemporary relationship, or have relationships always been transactionally based in one form or another?”
Soderbergh and Fleishman executive producer along with independent filmmakers Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz, who will also write and direct on the series. “We’re in an exciting period of auteur-driven television right now,” Soderbergh said. “When Philip floated the idea of a Girlfriend Experience-inspired television show, I thought: ‘let’s make it a different woman in a different city, let’s pair two independent writer-directors, one male and one female, and let them do the whole thing.” Soderbergh said he’d known Lodge for 20 years and became a fan of Amy’s when he saw her first feature, Sun Don’t Shine, last summer. The series reunites Soderbergh with Starz CEO Chris Albrecht 11 years after the two worked together on the improv Washington DC comedy K Street.
Days after greenlighting its first comedy pilot for 2014 – Cameron Crowe’s Roadies, executive produced by J.J. Abrams – Showtime has ordered a second half-hour from well-known filmmakers: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, from feature writer Aline Brosh McKenna, with The Amazing Spider-Man helmer Marc Webb set to direct.
The comedy features musical elements, a first for Showtime. “This pilot is an exciting change of pace for us,” said Showtime President David Nevins. Co-created, written and executive produced by Brosh McKenna and writer/actress/comedian Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend stars Bloom as Rebecca, a successful, driven, and possibly crazy young woman who impulsively gives up everything – her partnership at a prestigious law firm and her upscale apartment in Manhattan – in a desperate attempt to find love and happiness in that exotic hotbed of romance and adventure: West Covina, CA.
Brosh McKenna and Bloom sold the project to Showtime last fall. The pay cable network landed it in a competitive situation with what what I heard at the time was a commitment equivalent to a put pilot. Webb is joining the project at the pilot stage as director/exec producer. CBS TV Studios is producing. This marks the second pilot at Showtime for its sibling studio, following the 2011 Andrew Garland Project. Filming is slated to begin in California in the fall. “I am so happy to be working with Rachel Bloom, who is not just a powerhouse musical comedy talent but also a fabulous writer and creator,” said Brosh McKenna. “I feel very lucky to have found her videos online.”
Following 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 will 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.
Chelsea Handler has lined up her next TV gig and it is the one she’d wanted all along — a talk show on Netflix. After months of negotiations and speculation, the streaming service has announced a deal with the comedian that includes a talk show, to launch in early 2016, as well as stand-up special and four docu-comedy specials.
Like her E! late-night show, which will end its seven-tear run on August 26, the Netflix talker will feature Handler’s unfiltered opinions on topics of the day as well as guest interviews. It has not been determined yet what frequency the show will be released with — daily, weekly or in between — with Netflix only noting that it will debut simultaneously in all Netflix territories. “The Internet has disrupted many of the conventions of traditional television and together with Chelsea Handler, Netflix is looking forward to reimagining the late night talk show for the on-demand generation, starting with the late-night part….” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. That means that Netflix’s model of delivering content on demand and not tied to a time period has rendered the late-night label for Handler’s talk show obsolete.
In Handler’s now infamous Howard Stern Show radio interview in March, in which she called E! “a sad, sad place to live” and “a failure,” Handler suggested that after she leaves the cable network she would be interested in going to an outlet like …
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate Television and Tandem Communications have set crime drama Sex, Lies And Handwriting at ABC. The project, now in development, is intended as straight-to-series, with a fall production start in Vancouver eyed should ABC move to greenlight the pilot script.
Sex, Lies And Handwriting is the first project to come out of the joint venture Lionsgate Television and Tandem Communications, a Studiocanal company, launched last year to co-finance and distribute hourlong dramas using the straight-to-series model Tandem employed for its first drama series, Crossing Lines, as well as its miniseries including The Pillars Of The Earth and its follow-up World Without End. As expected, the partners tweaked Tandem’s existing approach, in which the Munich-based company financed its series (mostly though international pre-sales) and completed the projects before taking the finished product to the U.S.. With Sex, Lies And Handwriting, an American network, ABC, is brought in much earlier in the process for more simultaneous sales in the U.S. and Europe and Canada. Other network development partners already on board for the potential series include Bell Media (Canada), TF1 Network (France) and ProSiebenSat.1 (Germany). The series would be produced in Canada by Sea To Sky, the Canadian studio joint venture between Lionsgate and Thunderbird Films.
After a few weeks of dealmaking, Showtime has finalized a pilot production order to Roadies, a comedy written, directed and executive produced by Cameron Crowe. The project, executive produced by My So-Called Life creator Winnie Holzman and J.J. Abrams, follows the day-to-day life of a successful rock tour as seen through the eyes of the crew members who help get the show on the road. It marks a return to the rock world for former Rolling Stones reporter Crowe, who previously tackled it in his semi-autobiographical feature Almost Famous.
Crowe wrote the script and will direct the pilot, with Holzman serving as showrunner. The two executive produce with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Bryan Burk, with the company’s Kathy Lingg co-executive producing. Warner Bros. TV, where Bad Robot is based, will produce the project, described as an inside look at the reckless, romantic, funny and often poignant lives of a committed group of characters who live for music and the de facto family they’ve formed along the way. Gail Levin who was the casting director for many of Crowe’s features including Almost Famous, We Bought a Zoo, Elizabethtown, Vanilla Sky and Jerry Maguire, will be casting the pilot.
This marks Showtime’s first comedy pilot order for 2014. Last year’s crop of pilots yielded one half-hour series pickup, Happyish. The network is yet to make a decision on the future on the project, which has been in limbo following the sudden death of star Philip Seymour Hoffman in February. On the drama side, the network greenlighted pilot Billions in March.