The period surrounding World War I, Prohibition and the Great Depression has been skillfully and realistically reflected in such shows as PBS’ Downton Abbey, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Lifetime’s Bonnie & Clyde. While each program’s storyline illustrates how world events shaped the lives of their characters, the physical surroundings—rendered in minute detail—really drive the narrative home. Such is the work of a production designer. The old Hindu saying, “The world is like the impression left by the telling of a story,” is analogous to the role of his craft, says production designer Bill Groom, who has won two Emmys for his work on HBO’s Prohibition-era drama Boardwalk Empire. “As designers, we leave the evidence behind of a person’s life, and we do it in advance—it’s captured in film and then told back to the audience. We create rooms where a person sometimes has lived for 40 years,” he says.
EXCLUSIVE: Holliday Grainger has signed with WME for representation. The deal comes as the England native wraps Disney’s Cinderella, in which she plays mean stepsister Anastasia for Kenneth Branagh. Her credits include period pics like Mike Newell’s Great Expectations, Anna Karenina and Bel Ami. She’s next up in Lone Scherfig’s Posh. On the TV side, Grainger starred opposite Emile Hirsch in A&E/Lifetime/History’s Bonnie & Clyde two-part miniseries, a ratings hit when it premiered in December. She also played Lucrezia Borgia on Showtime’s The Borgias which ended its three-season run in June. She continues to be repped by LBI Entertainment and Troika in the UK.
The miniseries’ second night viewership across A+E Networks‘ History, A&E and Lifetime, was down 24% from Night One. Of the 7.4 million viewers, 3.1 million fell into the 25-54 age bracket. On History, the miniseries, starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger in the title roles, logged 2.8 million viewers overall; Lifetime and A&E networks each averaged 2.3 million.
Overall, the two-part miniseries averaged 8.6 million viewers — 3.6 million in that age bracket. That secures Bonnie & Clyde‘s status as basic cable’s third most watched miniseries since ’06, behind History’s mega hits Hatfields & McCoys and The Bible. Bonnie & Clyde had grossed 9.8 million viewers and 4.2 million demo viewers during its world premiere on Sunday. History also led the simulcast that night, with 3.7 million viewers, followed by Lifetime (3.1 million) and A&E (3 million).
The project, which also starred Holly Hunter and William Hurt, marked A+E Networks’ first-ever simulcast across the three networks. Sony Pictures Television produced the mini, from executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, based on the script byJohn Rice and Joe Batteer, directed by Bruce Beresford.
EXCLUSIVE: A&E Network’s upcoming drama Those Who Kill doesn’t debut until March, but this weekend there’ll be sneak peek shown during the network’s two-part Bonnie & Clyde miniseries. Why wait until then to see Chloë Sevigny as police detective Catherine Jensen in the series from Imagine TV and Fox 21. Here’s the clip:
Q&A: Producers Craig Zadan & Neil Meron On “Historic” ‘Sound Of Music’ Special And ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Mini, ‘Smash’, Miley Cyrus
It is a big week for producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. They have the live staging of The Sound Of Music starring Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer on NBC tomorrow night, and four-hour miniseries Bonnie & Clyde starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger airing Sunday and Monday on History, A&E and Lifetime. While most producers abandoned the longform genre when it went out of fashion over the last five years, Zadan and Meron stuck with it through their longform deal at Sony TV, producing mostly movies for Lifetime, including the highly rated Steel Magnolias reboot with an all-black cast. Their loyalty has paid off and the two now are at the forefront of longform’s resurgence. (Zadan and Meron just sold a high-profile Eliot Ness miniseries to NBC.) Coming up for the duo next year is the launch of their new MTV comedy series Happyland, the return of Lifetime dramedy Drop Dead Diva and the filming of E! pilot Songbyrd. Oh, and they also are returning as producers of the Oscars in March. I caught up with Zadan and Meron to talk about Bonnie & Clyde and The Sound Of Music — find out why they call them “historic”, how Underwood traveled to Austria to prepare for playing Maria in SOM and how close Miley Cyrus came to playing Bonnie in B&C — as well as the Oscars, Smash and a possible Steel Magnolia sequel.
DEADLINE: Were you surprised by the longform genre’s resurgence?
ZADAN: We did expect it would come back. Everything is cyclical and we thought that event television had become so scarce between all the reality shows and all the other things that were going on (and also the fact that there were still great movies on HBO and a few other places), that eventually everybody would catch on to bring it back if there was a big hit that warranted it. I think Hatfields & McCoys was so enormous that no one could ignore it anymore; they had to bring it back at that point.
A&E Networks, revving up for its first ever triple-cast, of new four-hour two-night miniseries Bonnie & Clyde, announced today it had lined up six “premium sponsors” on the project — including the 20th Century Fox release of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, as well as, ironically, Match.com, plus Jeep Cherokee which will use the time to position itself as the “ultimate escape vehicle.”
Lifetime, A&E and History channels will simulcast the miniseries starting Sunday, December 8 at 9 PM ET. Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) and Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) star in the title roles of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, the infamous Depression-era outlaw couple; the cast also includes Holly Hunter (The Piano) and William Hurt (Too Big to Fail).
From today’s announcement:
The four-hour two-part Bonnie & Clyde mini is set to air Sunday, December 8th and Monday, December 9th at 9 PM simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and History. Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild) and Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) star in the title roles of outlaw couple Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The killer cast also includes Holly Hunter as Bonnie’s mother, Emma Parker, and William Hurt as Frank Hamer, the Texas Ranger pursuing the Barrow gang. Bonnie & Clyde follows Barrow, Parker and the notorious Barrow Gang as they sweep through the Central and Southern United States committing small-time robberies and daring bank heists, leaving murdered police officers and civilians in their wake. Cast also includes include Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), Lane Garrison (Prison Break), Elizabeth Reaser (The Twilight Saga), Austin Hebert (True Blood) and Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone). The miniseries is produced by Sony Pictures Television and executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. John Rice and Joe Batteer penned the script and Oscar-nominated Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies, Breaker Morant) directed.
Torrance Coombs To Co-Star In CW Pilot ‘Reign’, Thomas McDonell Joins ‘The 100′, Lane Garrison Cast In ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Mini
Torrance Coombs (The Tudors) has landing a lead role in the CW’s drama pilot Reign, from CBS TV Studios. It chronicles the rise to power of Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old, betrothed to Prince Francis (Toby Regbo), and with her best friends as ladies-in-waiting. Coombs, repped by D2 Management and King Talent on Vancouver, will play Sebastian, Francis’ resourceful illegitimate half brother, a favorite son of King Henry II and his most favored mistress, Diane de Poitiers. He offers Mary some sage advice.
Lifetime and History are surrounding the leads of their four-hour Bonnie & Clyde miniseries with top-caliber talent. Oscar winners Holly Hunter and William Hurt are set to co-star in the project, directed by Oscar-nominated helmer Bruce Beresford and produced by Sony Pictures TV and Craig Zadan and Meron’s Storyline Entertainment. This marks a reunion for the actors who starred together in James L. Brooks’ 1987 movie Broadcast News.
Written by John Rice and Joe Batteer, the mini is based on the true story of bank robbing couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow whose roles are still casting. Hunter will play Bonnie’s mother Emma Parker. After Emma’s husband died when Bonnie was only four, Emma moved with her three children to Dallas to find work as a seamstress. Hurt will play Frank Hamer, the Texas ranger credited with tracking down and killing Bonnie and Clyde. Originally set up at History, Bonnie & Clyde will now air simultaneously on two A+E Networks, the male-driven History and female-focused Lifetime, which has taken lead on the mini’s production. Both Hunter and Hurt have received four Oscar nominations, winning once — for The Piano and Kiss Of The Spider Woman, respectively.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is taking a modern-day spin on the story of infamous Depression-era bank-robbing couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The network has put in development a contemporary drama project inspired by the tale of Bonnie & Clyde, from Sony Pictures TV and Maria Grasso and Deborah Spera’s studio-based One-Two Punch Prods.
Written/executive produced by Ryan Tavlin (Without A Trace), the untitled project is described as a serialized drama about two sexy, young lovers from struggling families in East Texas, who use their respective skill sets to pair up and fight back, one crime at at time. As they capture the hearts of a nation facing similar hardships, they become worldwide celebrities, inciting one of the biggest domestic manhunts in U.S. history and inspiring copycats at every turn. Their families, the Parkers and the Barrows, are swept up in the duo’s crime spree and ultimately become divided as whether to join the rebellion or have them stop.
In what will be her first TV starring role since the end of her hugely popular Disney Channel series Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus is in negotiations to play the female lead in a new Bonnie & Clyde miniseries, executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. In the biggest synergy move between new siblings History and Lifetime, the four-hour mini, originally developed for History, will now air on both male-driven History and female-focused Lifetime. This is the first time A+E Networks is producing a program to be shared by two of its channels in an effort to reach both female and male audiences with the classic story of two of America’s most famous outlaws.
Bonnie & Clyde, from Sony Pictures TV and 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. In the most famous screen version of the 1930s story to date, the 1967 Oscar-winning movie, Bonnie was played by Faye Dunaway.
Cyrus recently returned to TV with a guest arc on Two And A Half Men. She will next be seen in LOL. In addition to Bonnie & Clyde, Zadan and Meron have a biopic of Anna Nicole Smith in the works at Lifetime. The project, also written by Rice and Batteer, is now casting. History …