The hot cable comedy project, which has Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and executive produce, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix co-writing/executive producing and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directing/co-writing and executive producing, has been picked up by FX with a pilot order. TitledThe Comedians, the single-camera comedy, which was taken out earlier this month, is produced by Fox TV Studios, marking the first FX pilot to not come out of the in-house FX Prods.
In The Comedians, Crystal plays a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with a younger, edgier comedian for a late-night comedy sketch show. It is based on the 2004 Swedish series Ulveson And Herngren, starring comedians Felix Herngren and Johan Ulveson as they put together a sketch program. Charles is set to direct the pilot, which is said to be in the documentary style he perfected on another cable comedy starring a veteran stand-up comedian, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Charles, Nix and Crystal are co-writing with comedy writer-producer Ben Wexler, who previously worked with Nix on Nix’s Fox dramedy The Good Guys. The four executive produce with Nix’s manager, producer Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin, both of Fabrik Entertainment (formerly Fuse), which, like Nix, is under a deal at FtvS. Carl Molinder and John Nordling of Stockholm-based Efti AB, which is behind the original series, also executive produce. Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: Mike Lobell, the veteran producer whose 14-years of persistence helped make the remake Gambit happen, is getting close on three other projects with strong elements. He has re-teamed with former partner, writer-director Andrew Bergman, on A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner, an ensemble comedy which so far has Project X‘s Oliver Cooper, Shirley MacLaine and Robin Williams attached, with Rob Reiner making a cameo. Lobell reports that the film has added Sienna Miller, Isla Fisher and Audra MacDonald. Eisner is a comedy dealing with a young man making a documentary to learn what happened to his family during WWII. He is out looking for financing.
Gambit, by the way, ended up with Michael Hoffman directing a script by Joel and Ethan Coen. Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman star and CBS Films is releasing.
At the same time, Lobell is getting traction on This Man This Woman, the adult love story written by Frederic Raphael. The project has gotten a boost with the attachment of Richard Gere, who long ago sparked to a film which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a marriage. This was the picture that once nearly went into production with Meg Ryan and Sean Penn. Lobell and Gere will now look for a director and their female lead. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Winter’s Discontent is the 2008 Black List script by Paul Fruchbom which Sony acquired for Atlas Entertainment a few years back. The well-liked project, which taps into the current zeitgeist of adult comedies, is moving forward with Billy Crystal attached to star as a widower who moves into a reputed, active mature community in an attempt to reinvigorate his sex life. Frank Oz, director of such pics as In & Out and Death At A Funeral, has come aboard to helm. Sony Pictures will distribute domestically and has taken rights in select foreign territories. Atlas is producing and Sierra Pictures is financing. Sierra/Affinity starts foreign sales in Cannes. Charles Roven and Alex Gartner are producing. Exec producers are Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, Kelly McCormick and Jake Kurily. Crystal recently starred in Parental Guidance and is next up in Monsters University from Pixar. He’s repped by CAA and managed by David Steinberg and Larry Brezner. Oz is repped by CAA. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A hot comedy project is expected to hit the cable marketplace next week. I hear the untitled comedy has Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and executive produce, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix co-writing/executive producing and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directing/co-writing and executive producing. Fox TV Studios, where Nix is under an overall deal, is producing. Details about the premise are sketchy but I hear the project is based on an European format and is described as an edgy comedy. Charles and Crystal are co-writing with comedy writer-producer Ben Wexler, who previously worked with Nix on Nix’s Fox dramedy The Good Guys. The four executive produce with Nix’s manager, producer Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin, both of Fabrik Entertainment (formerly Fuse), which also is under a deal at FtvS. Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. Bondesen and Fabrik have experience adapting European formats for the U.S., most notably with the AMC drama The Killing, which is coming back for Season 3 next month. USA’s Burn Notice will kick off its seventh season also in June. Read More »
On his show last night, Jimmy Fallon re-created a comedy classic with a new take on Abbott and Costello’s Who’s On First? routine where we finally get to meet the team’s first baseman Who, second baseman What, and third baseman I Don’t Know. (you can watch the original skit below the new one.) Joining Fallon onstage are Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld (as well as Fallon announcer Steve Higgins as Costello and Fallon head writer A.D. Miles as What.)
Christmas with Bette Midler and Billy Crystal. 20th Century Fox and Walden Media have released the first trailer for Parental Guidance, which has Midler and Crystal looking after a trio of grandchildren. Directed by Andy Fickman from a story by Crystal and screenplay by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse, it … Read More »
Pixar‘s Monsters University, a prequel to 2001 hit Monsters Inc, meets up with Mike and Sulley back in their college days. Billy Crystal and John Goodman lead a voice cast that includes Steve Buscemi, Ken Jeong, Kelsey Grammer, Rob Riggle, Sean Hayes and JB Smoove. The movie comes … Read More »
The theatrical release schedule for this year continues to shuffle, with Fox moving Billy Crystal’s Parental Guidance from Thanksgiving weekend to Christmas day. The move gives the Andy Fickman-directed family comedy into a more favorable slot … Read More »
Not sure how many Broadway fans will get the hockey reference, but Neil Patrick Harris has made it a hat trick and agreed to host the upcoming Tony Awards for the third time in four years. NPH is good at it, and it is nice that Broadway has stability on the hosting front. I’m already wondering what will happen late this year when AMPAS starts looking around again for an Oscar host. Billy Crystal certainly stopped the bleeding by stepping in after Eddie Murphy dropped out along with producer Brett Ratner, but Crystal’s usual schtick felt dated to me. Read More »
UPDATE 11:30 AM: The 84th Annual Academy Awards drew 39.3 million viewers in Live+Same Day. That is up 4% from last year’s viewership and the second-most-watched Oscar ceremony in the past five years, behind the 2010 show where The Hurt Locker defeated blockbuster Avatar. Among adults 18-49, last night’s Oscar telecast (11.7 rating) was even with last year, an impressive feat given that that this year’s host Billy Crystal is almost 64, while last year’s show was hosted by twenty- and thirtysomethings James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Here is historical data for the Academy Awards’ audiences over the past decade, along with the Best Picture winner that year.
2012 39.3 million The Artist
2011 37.9 million The King’s Speech
2010 41.3 million The Hurt Locker
2009 36.3 million Slumdog Millionaire
2008 32.0 million No Country For Old Men
2007 40. 2 million The DepartedRead More »
Word is CIM, the landlord for the Hollywood and Highland complex where the Oscars are held has asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences NOT to announce on air that the awards are coming from the Kodak Theatre. … Read More »
Oscars host Billy Crystal, Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Tom Hanks and many others will join Jimmy Kimmel Live: After The Academy Awards live on ABC from the El Capitan Theatre on Sunday February 26th. Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Don Cheadle and Cold Play will also be on hand for the … Read More »
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has produced its trailer for the 84th Academy Awards with Funny Or Die. Featuring host Billy Crystal and Robin Williams, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox, William Fichtner and Vinnie Jones, the trailer debuts in more than 2,000 theaters tomorrow.
Ricky Gervais is returning to host the Golden Globes for a threepeat on January 15th. True, the Oscars brought back Billy Crystal. But today’s news is more of a surprise because Gervais eviscerated most of the movie and TV stars … Read More »
Among his many accomplishments, Gil Cates obviously will be known as the person who produced more Oscar shows than any one in the history of the Academy. Talk to any producer who has done it just once or twice and you will get this astonished look when you tell them Gil Cates did it 14 times in the last two decades. And with his always calm and cool manner, he made it look so easy. Perhaps that is why every producer doing the show in Gil’s off years always sought out his advice — and he always happily gave it as he told me when I interviewed him exactly one year ago about his memories on being the man behind so many Oscarcasts. “I’ve had lunch with each producer and producing team going back to my off years,” he told me. “The one thing I’ve told everybody is the Oscars is such a big show that no matter what you do there are gonna be people who like it and people who don’t. The most important thing is to do a show you like. There’s no way to get out totally alive. Do a show they find unique and fun and special. That’s a victory.”
Gil Cates had a lot of victories in his long career. As a former president of the DGA, its current secretary/treasurer and its chief negotiator for the last four contracts; as founder of the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television; founder and artistic director of the Geffen Playhouse; as director and producer of such multiple-Oscar-nominated films as Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams and I Never Sang For My Father; as well as so many TV films that made a lasting mark on the medium. There’s so much more, but my own personal connection (aside from attending the great theater he oversaw at the Geffen) has always been with the Oscars, and on those occasions when I got to talk to him or interview him I was like a kid in a candy store listening to his stories (sorry, some I just can’t print — off the record). His last show aired in 2008, the year No Country For Old Men won Best Picture. But this was also the year of the writers strike that KO’d the Golden Globes and put a dark cloud over the Oscars until just 12 days before the show was to air, when it was settled. But Cates, with his usual calm of a master negotiator and problem solver, had a Plan A (with all the stars in a strike-free show) and a Plan B (with no stars but a heavy emphasis on history and clips) ready to go, essentially prepping two different shows simultaneously, depending on events out of his control. It’s a good thing he was in charge because a lesser or more inexperienced producer might have cracked under the pressure. Not Gil. In the end, he produced a classy, star-studded show as usual but was ready to deliver whatever cards were dealt. Read More »
20th Century Fox has set A Good Day To Die Hard for a February 14, 2013 release, the highlight of several pictures the studio has just dated on its release calendar. Bruce Willis is set to reprise his role as … Read More »
When you are an Oscar producer I guess it pays to have a film coming out co-starring someone who just might be the perfect Oscar host. That’s the enviable position Brett Ratner found himself in as he landed the Oscar gig just as he was editing his new film Tower Heist, which features Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy among others and is generating good inside buzz in advance of its November release. I hear test scores for Eddie were so high they talked about enhancing his part in the film. Sight unseen, it sounds — on the surface at least — like a return to the old Eddie that made him a movie superstar. So Eddie and Brett will continue the collaboration for another few months at least, and it would seem to be a win-win all around now that Murphy has officially been named host.
For the Academy, it gives them the opportunity to return to the tradition of having a stand-up comic host the show, which has always worked best, and in Murphy they have one who is a movie star, an Oscar-nominated actor (for Dreamgirls in 2006), and a guy whose past experience on Saturday Night Live and his stage gigs gives him the chops to pull this off — and a reason for the audience to tune in.
In fact, when I was in Telluride over the weekend and Nikki first broke the news of Murphy’s possible Oscar-hosting gig, I ran into Academy COO Ric Robertson and former Academy president Sid Ganis and showed them the story. Although both had not heard the report and seemed surprised, they immediately seemed to like the idea. At least that’s the impression I got. At another party I ran into producer Michael De Luca, who told me he had been offering free advice to Ratner and said he told him the key thing was to hire a comedian as host. In Murphy they obviously have one, with the added plus that he’s fresh Oscar-host meat, lending to the curiosity factor over just how well he might do in front of that notoriously nervous and fidgety Kodak Theatre audience. It’s not an easy job, even though the best comics who have done it (Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin) make it look that way. Read More »