Miniseries are coming of age again, at least according to the Television Academy, whose Board of Governors voted this year to once again give it a category of its own. This has been done from time to time depending on the health and general welfare of the miniseries format. For example, in 2011, the TV Academy felt longform television was dying on the vine and that there was just not enough entries to meet its “Rule of 14” (the minimum number of possible contenders needed to trigger a category). The networks were downsizing the form and, outside of the BBC and HBO, there wasn’t a whole lot of interest. But now, minis are exploding again and a new golden age seems to be on the horizon.
With minis roaring back on their own—they are still combined with movies in the acting, writing and directing categories—what will the landscape look like when nominees are announced July 10?
Not a Shoo-In
Going into the competition, many pundits thought it was all wrapped up. HBO—which has had a streak of miniseries winners with John Adams, The Pacific, Band of Brothers and Angels in America—looked as though it had another slam dunk with its eight-part True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It won near-unanimous raves and appeared unbeatable, particularly since, with the mini/movie split, it would not be competing with … Read More »
As the top brass of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment kept its plan for switching the Esquire rebrand from G4 to Style very close to the vest, Monday’s announcement of the switcheroo caught most of the employees of the the fashion/pop culture cable network by surprise with no contingency plans. I hear about 100 people are impacted. All have been given two-week notices and offered severance packages after their employment ends on Friday, Sept. 20, just before Style’s relaunch as Esquire on Sept. 23. A good portion have been offered opportunities at other NBCU Cable Entertainment networks (the group’s portfolio includes 12 of them.) As of now it is unclear how many Style staffers will stay on in different capacity and how many will leave at the end of next week. (Style president Salaam Coleman-Smith will stay behind to help Esquire topper Adam Stotsky with the transition.)
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EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated director Bruce Beresford is set to direct the four-hour Bonnie & Clyde miniseries, which will air simultaneously on two A+E Networks, the male-driven History and female-focused Lifetime. Meanwhile, Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus, which had been in talks to play Bonnie, has dropped out. The news of her exit was first reported by TVLine.
Bonnie & Clyde, from Sony Pictures TV and Craig Zadan and Meron’s studio-based Storyline Entertainment, was written by John Rice and Joe Batteer based on the true story of bank robbing couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Beresford’s directing credits include the features Driving Miss Daisy and Tender Mercies as well as the HBO film And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself starring Antonio Banderas.
EXCLUSIVE: Limitless helmer Neil Burger is in talks to team up with screenwriter Sheldon Turner and producers Sean and Bryan Furst and Marissa McMahon to bring to the screen a new version of the Depression Era outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. Rights have been acquired by financier McMahon and her Kamala Films banner on Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, a book by Jeff Guinn published last year by Simon & Schuster. The book paints a less romanticized version than the 1967 Arthur Penn-directed film that starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. For one thing, the outlaws were just 22 when they were gunned down by a former Texas Ranger after they’d killed seven people. The first person Clyde Barrow killed was the cell mate who had sexually abused him repeatedly. Barrow had a strong code of honor: when a lifer in the prison took the rap for the killing, Barrow and his gang broke him out. The book also suggests that Bonnie Parker was a prostitute before joining up with and eventually going down in a hail of bullets with Barrow. The project’s financier, McMahon, is the wife of Shane McMahon, the son of the pro wrestling mogul Vince McMahon. Burger’s not committed. He’s booked to next direct Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, the Sony Pictures adaptation of the video game. Turner will write the script before directing By Virtue Fall with financing from QED later this … Read More »
Arthur Penn, the stage, screen and television director best remembered for his pioneering work on the 1967 film Bonnie And Clyde, died Tuesday night of congestive heart failure at his home in Manhattan. He has just turned 88. The New York Times has a very thorough obituary here, including the fact that he advised JFK during his TV debates with Richard Nixon in 1960. But the highlights of this gentle and well-liked man’s professional life include, like so many directors of his generation, working for the CBS series Playhouse 90. While there, he earned Emmy nominations for The Miracle Worker. He restaged the production for Broadway winning Tony Awards, and then in 1962 directed the film version winning Best Actress Oscar for Bancroft and the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Patty Duke, as well as writing and directing nominations for himself. Penn was praised for bringing the sensibility of 1960s European art films to American movies through his work on Bonnie and Clyde. His raw portrait of violence, from the bank teller shot in the face to the two anti-heroes deaths in a hail of bullets, was deliberate and designed to shock. It received 10 Oscar nominations but won only two. But it led a procession of taboo-breaking films and intro’ed a new generation of star directors. Penn then had his choice of projects but chose to make the small film Alice’s Restaurant in 1969, based on Arlo Guthie’s best-selling song narrative. It’s an undervalued treasure as was his Little Big Man in 1970. Afterwards, Penn’s career lacked momentum since he rarely made big studio … Read More »