Shine International has taken on international distribution for ITV’s Code Of A Killer and Channel 5’s Rome: The World’s First Superpower. The former, produced by World Productions, tells the true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting in the 1980s and its first use by detective David Baker (played by David Threlfall) in solving a double murder only three miles from Jeffreys’ lab. James Strong (Broadchurch/Gracepoint) is set to direct the two-part drama, which shoots in September. Rome: The World’s First Superpower is co-produced by 360Production and GroupM Entertainment. It looks at the major heroes and villains from Hannibal and Julius Caesar to Spartacus and Cleopatra and tells the story of how one small city among many conquered the world and then ran it for nearly 1,000 years.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Shine Cracks ‘Code Of A Killer’; CBS, M6 Extend Partnership; Dogwoof Bites ‘The Overnighters’; More
Paul Raff, whose credits include more than five years writing for Jimmy Kimmel Live!, is suing the late-night host, The Arsenio Hall Show exec producer John Ferriter and CBS Studios over what he claims were broken promises for him to take a key job on the syndicated talker. In a suit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), Raff claims that an August 2012 meeting with Arsenio Hall and Ferriter resulted in an agreement that Raff he would be employed as head writer of the show. The suit also says that “Raff agreed to make Ferriter his exclusive representative and Ferriter agree to counsel and direct Raff in the development of his career.” The terms of the rep deal were put it a contract, but the pact “was never executed, so the parties operated pursuant to an oral agreement.” The filing goes on to say that “in the spirit of loyalty to Ferriter,” Raff agreed to take a freelance job writing, producing and directing clips for Hall’s website and that Ferriter “repeatedly promised that the job would dovetail into the pre-production phase of the series in the summer of 2013.” Raff claims he and Hall “completed five clips for the website, but Hall failed to shoot more because he was lazy and afraid of failure.” The suit adds that Hall “liked every bit” of Raff’s writing and that Raff in a subsequent meeting “dazzled …
Global Showbiz Briefs: San Sebastian, Zurich Fests Partner; LoveFilm, CBS Ink; ITV’s ‘Come Dine With Me’ Streams
Zurich, San Sebastian Film Festivals Opening Windows On Each Other
The Zurich and San Sebastian Film Festivals are creating a unique partnership for their upcoming editions, which run almost simultaneously. Zurich will open a San Sebastian Window, which will offer insight into contemporary Spanish cinema by showcasing entries from the different sections of San Sebastian’s program. In turn, a Zurich Window will enhance the San Sebastian program with contributions from German-speaking countries, particularly Switzerland. The parties intend to strengthen their alliance in the coming years. Zurich runs Sept 26-Oct 6, and San Sebastian is September 20-28.
CBS Studios Fare To Stream in UK, Germany Via LoveFilm
Amazon’s LoveFilm has singed a multiyear licensing deal with CBS Studios International to bring content from the group to the UK and Germany. Subscribers will be able to stream network TV series including The Good Wife and Blue Bloods as well as Showtime programming such as Nurse Jackie, Californication and Dexter. The original 1960s Star Trek series and and Star Trek: Voyager also will be available.
UPDATE, 10:17 AM: Having reached a confidential settlement today in their multimillion-dollar lawsuit over profits from NCIS: LA, CBS and NCIS creator Don Bellisario released a joint statement Friday:
“We’re pleased to settle this lawsuit on amicable terms and put this dispute to rest,” said David Stapf, President, CBS Television Studios. “Although we differed in opinion on this matter, our admiration, appreciation and respect for Mr. Bellisario has never wavered throughout. We consider him one of the best creative talents of his time and a valued member of the CBS family, whose shows, both past and present, have played an important role in CBS’s success.” Don Bellisario added, “I am also pleased that we were able to amicably resolve the lawsuit short of a trial. I am gratified that CBS has recognized my contributions in creating JAG and NCIS.”
PREVIOUSLY, 10:08 AM: CBS Studios and Don Bellisario have come to a settlement in the producer’s multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the network for profits from NCIS: Los Angeles, Deadline has confirmed. The parties were scheduled to go to trial January 25. No details of the deal are known. Despite having made more than $116 million from his CBS shows over the years, the JAG and NCIS creator sued CBS in April 2011 over breach of contract and the covenant of good faith for profits from NCIS: LA. The legal battle revolved around conflicting definitions of what constitutes a “spinoff,” what kind of spinoff NCIS: LA is and which one of the three agreements the producer had with the studio is the basis for the dispute. Bellisario was let go from NCIS in 2007 after star Mark Harmon threatened to quit.
UPDATE, 10:01 AM: The start date for the multimillion-dollar jury trial was pushed back to January 25 today by Judge Gregory Alarcon. It had been set to begin January 14. Based on a tentative ruling circulated earlier by the judge that granted rights to CBS to examine Bellisario’s medical records and take depositions from three of his doctors, the studio sought to have the start date pushed back until at least February 2013. Bellisario’s lawyer Ronald Nessim argued to keep the start date as close to the original as possible. Both sides and the judge acknowledged that the upcoming holidays, the court’s crowded schedule and the time needed for both sided to conduct interviews would push the case forward. “A week before a trial of this magnitude I don’t want to be taking doctors’ depositions, I want to be working on my opening argument”, CBS Studios lawyer Scott Edelman told the court. The judge noted the tight schedule, and urged both sides to find a way to strike a deal; at one point, Edelman accused Nessim of being a “Christmas Scrooge” for his proposed compressed schedule. The date was eventually scheduled from the bench. It is likely Bellisario and his wife will also be interviewed by both sides about his medical condition. A final status conference before the trial is set for January 18.
PREVIOUS, 9:01 AM: Lawyers for Don Bellisario and CBS are set to face off at a hearing over the producer’s multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the network for profits from NCIS: Los Angeles. At issue this morning in LA Superior Court downtown is whether the JAG and NCIS creator’s recently revealed neurological disorder will delay the trial. Despite having made more than $116 million from his CBS shows over the years, Bellisario sued last April over breach of contract and the covenant of good faith for profits from NCIS: LA. This morning, CBS wants Judge Gregory Alarcon to push back the January 14 trial start date so it can look at Bellisario’s medical records and talk to his doctors to determine whether his “water on the brain” condition could have prevented him from performing his duties as a network showrunner. Lawyers for the 77-year-old Bellisario, who was let go from NCIS in 2007 after star Mark Harmon threatened to quit, want to squash that attempt, a move CBS has called “stonewalling” in legal documents for “trying to leverage Bellisario’s medical condition in their own favor.”
Donald Bellisario today saw his claim to millions from CBS Studios and NCIS: Los Angeles take a legal body blow. A LA Superior Court judge ruled that the JAG and NCIS creator is not entitled to any money from CBS over the show. In a dense 12-page ruling, (Read it here) Judge Gregory Alarcon dismissed any financial claims Bellisario may have believed he was due to the spinoff under a 2006 agreement with CBS Studios.
Bellisario, who was let go from NCIS in 2007 after star Mark Harmon threatened to quit, sued CBS Studios last April over breach of contract and the covenant of good faith for profits from NCIS:LA. In his 2011 suit, the former producer claimed that under his 1992, 2002 and 2006 contracts with CBS Studios and its predecessors, he had a right of “first opportunity” “to participate creatively in economically in the development” of any “new spinoffs, sequels or remakes” of any series he had created for the studio as long as he worked on the original series for the first 2 seasons. CBS disagreed.
In an interesting twist, sitcom veteran Chris Case, who was in contention to write the new Charlie Sheen sitcom Anger Management, has sold a sitcom project to CBS, the network where Sheen was a star on Two and a Half Men for 8 seasons. Case, creator of TV Land’s comedy series Retired at 35, is co-writing the untitled comedy — about a recently separated father of two who attempts to move on with his life — with Joey Gutierrez (Still Standing). CBS TV Studios is producing with Mindy Shultheis and Michael Hanel’s Acme Prods.
This is a project a lot of my colleagues can unfortunately relate to: CBS has bought multi-camera comedy script Malled, written by Bill Kunstler (Accidentally On Purpose). It centers on a career journalist who, after getting laid off from her job at a newspaper, takes a retail job in a clothing store at a mall. CBS Studios and studio-based Tennenbaum Co are producing, with Kunstler, Eric and Kim Tannenbaum exec producing.
EXCLUSIVE: Film and TV producer Dan Jinks has signed an overall deal with CBS Television Studios. This marks the first TV pact for the Dan Jinks Co, which Jinks launched in February 2010 when he and longtime producing partner Bruce Cohen moved to dissolve their 12-year partnership at the Jinks/Cohen Co. While splitting up on the feature side, Jinks and Cohen remained partnered in TV until the beginning of this year when their most recent deal with Warner Bros TV expired. At WBTV, Jinks and Cohen spent six years executive producing such series as ABC’s Pushing Daisies and Traveler and Lifetime’s Side Order of Life. “I’ve been quite fortunate in both film and TV to work with wonderful writers with strong voices,” Jinks said. “I look forward to continuing in that tradition with CBS.” Jinks and Cohen launched their producing partnership with 1999′s Sam Mendes-directed American Beauty and shared Best Picture Oscars on their very first film. Jinks’ feature producing credits with Cohen also include Milk and Big Fish. Former Jinks/Cohen executive Nick Nantell, who stayed with Jinks after the split, will serve as SVP Development at The Dan Jinks Co., with Tim Rogier as Creative Executive.
EXCLUSIVE: This was close: After lengthy and rough negotiations, Criminal Minds star Thomas Gibson just signed a deal to return to the veteran CBS drama only two weeks before it is scheduled to begin production on its upcoming seventh season. I hear Gibson has signed on for two more years in a deal worth mid-to-high seven figures, plus a signing bonus, with the actor more than doubling his previous salary. The difficult negotiations with CBS, CBS Studios and ABC Studios created some jitters in the Criminal Minds writers room as the show’s scribes have been breaking stories and working on scripts for next season for almost a month now without knowing for sure if Gibson’s character, Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, will return. With Gibson and Shemar Moore set to come back and Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook rejoining them,
EXCLUSIVE: Kristoffer Polaha is staying in the CBS family. Polaha, who stars on the critically praised CW/CBS Studios drama Life Unexpected, has signed a rich talent holding deal with CBS and CBS Studios to topline a new project eyed for next fall. I hear Polaha was offered the deal the day CW decided not to give Life Unexpected a back order, effectively sealing the fate of the sophomore drama. There are four unaired episodes of LUX left and, barring any last-minute ratings surge, the series will be done in January, allowing Polaha to take on pilot duty for CBS.
Actors signed in talent deals by CBS have gone on to headline some of its biggest series, including William Petersen on CSI, Melina Kanakaredes on CSI: NY, LL Cool J on NCIS: LA and Alex O’Loughlin on Hawaii Five-0. Polaha, repped by WME and Mosaic, is the only drama actor on CBS’ talent roster for this pilot season. On the comedy side, the network has deals with Leah Remini and Rob Riggle. Polaha’s breakthrough came in 2003 when he was cast in the title role of the telefilm America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story. He went on to star on several series, including Fox’s North Shore and ABC’s Miss Guided, and also recurred on AMC’s Mad Men.
EXCLUSIVE: I learned this morning that Tom Selleck hasn’t been accepting the scripts which CBS’ Blue Bloods executive producer Ken Sanzel has been giving him. So a standoff developed over character vs procedural visions for the series, summarized to me as “creative tension”. By midday, Sanzel was still staying with the show. No more. Insiders just emailed me that the former New York cop told the staff late today that he is leaving. There’s no exit date yet. “He’s a stand-up guy; he won’t leave the network or studio hanging,” a network source explains. “Simply creative differences. It happens. He was brought in after the pilot as a showrunner to set the show up. We often do this for pilots picked up to series that have great writers but who haven’t run shows before.” Now, to replace Sanzel, Selleck wants to find ”his guy” who must also meet with studio/network approval. Unfortunately this turmoil is especially embarrassing because it’s executive produced by Leonard Goldberg, a CBS Corporation board member.
Sanzel, a longtime Numb3rs showrunner, was handpicked by CBS and CBS Studios to executive produce with creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green, who continue with the show. ”Ken is a real take-charge tough guy and everyone knows it. They begged him to take the show. He was reluctant to do it. And Selleck was not crazy to have Ken imposed on hm. But Ken was doing the network bidding thanklessly,” an insider tells me. Sanzel’s vision was for a compelling crime procedural, whereas Selleck wanted softer character exploration. Sanzel knew the network was behind him. But Selleck wanted to be in charge of the show. “Too many cooks,” one of my insiders explains. “They love him at CBS. But Selleck realized it’s not the show he thought he was in. Ken calls Nina Tassler and says, ‘What do you want to do?’ And she says, ‘Let me talk to Tom.’” Today, it became clear to me it was just a matter of hours before Sanzel left the show. ”Not bail on them in one day. Just saunter off peacefully,” a source tells me. “If we were to count up every single show where there’s creative friction between actors and producers, we’d have a number like the census bureau.”
CSI mavens Carol Mendelsohn and Ann Donahue are staying at the helm of CBS’ veteran crime drama franchise. Each has inked a new four-year eight-figure overall deal with CSI producer CBS TV Studios. Medelsohn will continue to executive produce and showrun the mothership CSI series, which anchors the CBS Thursday schedule at 9PM. She also is executive producing the new CBS/CBS Studios drama The Defenders. Donahue will continue to executive produce and run CSI: Miami, which moves to Sundays 10PM this fall. The new pacts succeed Mendelsohn and Donahue’s previous four-year eight-figure deals with CBS Studios, which expired in mid-June. Both have been under overall pacts at the studio since 2001. “Every studio dreams of having producers with this kind of passion and leadership on the set and in the writer’s room,” CBS TV Studios president David Stapf said. “It was very important to us that Carol and Ann remain not only part of CSI, but the CBS family too.”