EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that A&E has just cancelled drama Breakout Kings two weeks after the show’s second season ended its run. The series was co-created/executive produced by Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora. Olmstead just signed up for a new gig, running the new NBC drama series Chicago Fire. For Breakout Kings, this is still two seasons more than most expected it would go after Fox passed on the pilot in 2010 despite strong testing. A&E then stepped in and, after lengthy negotiation with producing studio 20th Century TV, the cable network picked it up, with 20th TV’s cable division Fox21 producing. The series, about a squad of U.S. marshals who team up with cons to work together on tracking down prison escapees in exchange for getting time off their sentences, starred Domenick Lombardozzi, Laz Alonso and Jimmi Simpson.
Breakout Kings co-creator/executive producer Matt Olmstead is joining NBC’s new drama series Chicago Fire as executive producer/showrunner. Written by feature writers Derek Haas and Michael Brandt (3:10 To Yuma), Chicago Fire chronicles the lives of the firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51. Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney lead the cast of the show, which includes Eamonn Walker, Charlie Barnett, David Eigenberg, Monica Raymund, Lauren German, Teri Reeves and Merle Dandridge. Chicago Fire is produced by Universal TV and Wolf Films, with Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski and Danielle Gelber executive producing. Jeffrey Nachmanoff directed the pilot.
Before A&E Network’s Breakout Kings, WME-repped Olmstead was an executive producer on Prison Break, which he also ran, and NYPD Blue. The future of Breakout Kings – which Olmstead co-created and exec produces with Nick Santora — after the current second season has not been determined, but its chances of continuing are not considered great.
A&E is bringing back its drama series Breakout Kings for a second season that could begin in the first quarter of 2012. The series, from Fox 21, stars Laz Alonso and Domenick Lombardozzi as U.S. Marshals who use former fugitives to catch fugitives. Production is slated to get underway later this year. This is the series that was in contention at Fox before the network passed on the pilot last year. A&E came to the rescue, and its premiere in March set a record with the highest 18-49 demo rating for a drama on the network, drawing 1.5 million adults 18-49 and 2.8 million total viewers.
Liz Dickler has joined A&E Network as VP of drama programming, reporting to SVP drama Tana Nugent Jamieson. Dickler will be responsible for developing new scripted drama series and mini-series for A&E, as well as overseeing current series, including season two of The Glades and upcoming series Breakout Kings. Dickler joins A&E from ABC Studios where she spend two years as director of current series overseeing such series as Criminal Minds, Castle, Scrubs and According to Jim. Before that she served as manager of drama development where she oversaw the development of several pilots and series including Kyle XY, Cane and Dirt.
At TCA this morning, AMC and A&E announced premiere dates for their upcoming new original scripted series.
AMC’s The Killing, a crime thriller from writer/executive producer/showrunner Veena Sud, which is based on the successful Danish series Forbrydelsen, will debut on April 3 in the Sunday 10 PM time slot. Mireille Enos (Big Love) is stars in the series from Fox TV Studios. AMC also announced that production on the delayed Season 4 of Breaking Bad will begin next Thursday.
A&E’s Breakout Kings will make its debut in the same Sunday 10 PM but a couple of weeks earlier, on March 13. The series, from Prison Break‘s Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora and Chernin Entertainment/Fox21, is an action ensemble drama about the partnership between the U.S. Marshals’ office and a group of convicts. The project, originally developed for Fox, landed at A&E after Fox passed on the pilot.
Below is the first teaser for the new A&E drama series Breakout Kings, premiering during the season finale of The Glades this Sunday. Breakout Kings was passed over by fox and then beat the odds and found a second life on A&E, which picked it up with a 13-episode order. The show about a team of U.S. marshals and a group of convicts who race against the clock to apprehend escaped prisoners, was created by Prison Break alums Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora, a connection that is played up in the promo. Laz Alonso, Domenick Lombardozzi, Malcolm Goodwin, Jimmi Simpson, Serinda Swan and Brooke Nevin star; Fox21 and Chernin Entertainment produce.
EXCLUSIVE: Veteran TV producer Bert Salke has been tapped as president of Fox21, the cable/unscripted production arm of 20th Century Fox TV. He replaces Chris Carlisle who is exiting after a year-and-a-half stint. Salke, who is expected to start in mid-August, will report to 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman.
For the past 13 years, Salke had been partnered with producer Chris Brancato in Brancato/Salke. The company was based at 20th TV from 2003-2005 before moving to ABC Studios (then Touchstone TV) where the two had been based until their most recent deal expired in mid-June. But Salke started off as an executive before segueing to producing, holding gigs at Twentieth Century Fox under Scott Rudin and at Lorimar and FBC under Peter Chernin. Because of that background, Salke had been approached for executive jobs before but said “the right one never came along” until he was asked to run Fox21.
Newman and Walden launched Fox21 in 2004 as a division for alternative and lower-cost scripted series. “I think it’s a different world today than when it was created,” Salke said. “They are now a prime supplier of prime cable programming but I think the company has not reached its potential, and there are branding questions. We’re going to aim high for event-type attention-grabbing programming.” The model would be parent studio 20th TV, which has shows like Glee and Modern Family, he said. Salke said happy with the 3 series on Fox21’s current slate, Sons of Anarchy, his favorite series on TV, and the …
EXCLUSIVE: Former 20th Century Fox TV SVP drama Patrick Moran has been tapped as new head of drama at ABC Studios. He will replace Josh Barry, who is stepping down from his post after a year. Barry, a 10-year ABC/ABC Studios veteran, is well-regarded and, while the top drama job at the studio didn’t quite work out for him, I hear he could stay within the company in a different capacity.
Meanwhile, Moran exited his post as head of drama for 20th TV in early May when the studio tapped Michael Thorne for the job. Moran spent 7 years at 20th TV. He was upped to SVP in August 2007 and took over the drama department in January 2008, following the promotion of EVP Jennifer Nicholson Salke. He oversaw the development of the studio’s breakout freshman hit Glee as well as other 20th hourlong series such as Bones, Lie to Me and Prison Break. This development season, he shepherded the development of new Fox series Lone Star and Ride-Along, as well as Breakout Kings, which landed at A&E, and Chaos, which got close to a series order at CBS.
Barry joined Touchstone TV in 2000 where he worked on Alias and The Amazing Race. As executive director at the studio and then vp drama development at ABC, he helped develop Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy. He became SVP and head of drama for ABC Studios in June 2009 as part of the executive …
Breakout Kings, the Cinderella story of this pilot season, officially got its happy ending today after I reported ‘Breakout Kings’ On The Verge Of A&E Deal. A&E completed a deal with 20th Century Fox’s Fox21 and Chernin Entertainment to pick up the former Fox pilot to series:
NEW YORK, NY – June 29, 2010 – A&E Network has picked up the new original drama series, “Breakout Kings” from Fox 21 and Chernin Entertainment. The network has ordered 13 one-hour episodes which will go into production this fall in Toronto for a 2011 premiere on A&E. From Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora, executive producers of the hit series “Prison Break,” comes “Breakout Kings,” a new action-packed ensemble drama following an unconventional partnership between the U.S. Marshals’ office and a group of convicts as they work to catch fugitives on the run. “As soon as we screened the ‘Breakout Kings’ pilot, it struck us as the perfect fit for A&E as the network of ‘Real Life. Drama,’” said Bob DeBitetto, President and General Manager of A&E and BIO Channel.
There is no deal yet, but A&E is in final negotiations with 20th Century Fox TV to pick up the Fox pilot Breakout Kings to series with a 13-episode order. The show, about a team of U.S. marshals and a group of convicts who race against the clock to apprehend escaped prisoners, will now be produced by 20th TV’s cable division Fox21, along with Chernin Entertainment, which co-produced the pilot for Fox with 20th TV. Of the pilot’s original cast, Laz Alonso, Domenick Lombardozzi, Malcolm Goodwin, Jimmi Simpson, Brooke Nevin and Nicole Steinwedell, all will continue on the series with the exception of Steinwedell, whose role will be recast. Production on Breakout Kings is slated to start in the fall in Toronto for a 2011 premiere on A&E. At the cable network, the project was championed by president Bob DeBitetto who came to Los Angeles last week to work on the deal with executives from 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment.
The pilot for Breakout Kings, written by Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora and directed by Gavin Hood, beat the odds by finding life after being passed on by a broadcast network, a feat many busted pilots aspire to but rare few actually accomplish. However, Breakout Kings wasn’t your average pilot. It was a sentimental favorite of many industry insiders this development season and became a hot commodity after a great early studio testing. It was one of Fox’s top …