New York-based actress-comedian Andrea Rosen (Comedy Central’s Michael & Michael Have Issues) has landed the female lead opposite Andrew Gurland in Showtime’s comedy pilot The Andrew Gurland Project (form. Gurland On Gurland). The project, produced by Showtime in association with CBS TV Studios and Glenn Gordon Caron’s Picturemaker Prods., is a first-person documentary comedy written, directed and starring filmmaker Andrew Gurland, which reflects his real family life and the challenges he faces pursuing the next phase of his career. Gurland and Caron are executive producing. Rosen is with Gersh. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: The CW has bought Danny Hollywood, an hourlong project based on the successful Israeli half-hour series of the same name. Easy A writer Bert V Royal is writing the adaptation and is executive producing with Mark Harmon, Eric & Kim Tannenbaum and Martha Haight for CBS TV Studios. In the time travel fantasy-musical, a young documentary filmmaker travels back in time in order to prevent the death of her ’90s musical idol Danny Hollywood, and finds that the story is even more complicated than she thought. In the original, created and produced by Tmira Yardeni and Ori Gross, the 21st century documentary filmmaker travels back to 1968. The series aired 200 episodes on Yes Stars channel, more than tripping the channel’s average viewership over its run and garnering a 12% market share — six times the channel average — for its finale. (You can watch a trailer here.) Danny Hollywood is distributed internationally by Armoza Formats, whose game show format Still Standing became NBC’s new series Who’s Still Standing?, which premieres December 19.
EXCLUSIVE: New father Jerry O’Connell may play one on TV next season. CBS has bought an untitled multi-camera family sitcom about new parenthood starring O’Connell and written by Jeff Astrof (The New Adventures Of Old Christine). CBS TV Studios and 3 Arts are producing. This marks O’Connell’s return to CBS and CBS Studios after starring in the network and studio’s dramedy series The Defenders last season.
As a father of 2-year-old twins, O’Connell had been looking to translate his experience and its hilarity into a comedy series vehicle when he read Adam Mansbach’s “bedtime book for parents” Go The F**k To Sleep. He liked the comedic yet honest tone of it, which he found similar to what he was going for. 3 Arts, which manages O’Connell and Mansbach, got them together, and they started bouncing around ideas for a TV show. With neither of them having TV writing experience, they looked around for a showrunner and met with Astrof, also a 3 Arts client, immediately after he became available when How To Be A Gentleman was recently shut down. Astrof served as an executive producer on the CBS/CBS Studios freshman comedy series and had a blind script deal with CBS Studios, which has now been applied to the new project.
In the first full development cycle since Carol Mendelsohn brought in Julie Weitz as president of her CBS TV Studios-based production company last year, Carol Mendelsohn Prods has sold a half-dozen projects to CBS, CW and FX, including cop drama Throwdown Gun to FX penned by LA Confidential author James Ellroy. Most of the company’s broadcast projects are based on books. The list includes three shows at CBS: FBI drama The Murder Room, based on the book by Michael Capuzzo and written by feature scribe George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum); female cop drama Widow Detective, penned by David Hubbard (feature Noel); and another cop drama, Two Badges, based on the book by Mona Ruiz and Geoff Boucher and penned by Ted Humphrey (The Good Wife). At the CW, Carol Mendelsohn Prods is behind Unearthly, a supernatural drama based on the book by Cynthia Hand and written by Hellcats creator Kevin Murphy, and The Hollows, based on the book series by Kim Harrison and penned by Jordan Hawley (Smallville). Additionally, the company recently received a pilot order from TNT for Scent Of The Missing, an adaptation of Susannah Charleson’s novel written by Mendelsohn, Treena Hancock and Melissa R. Byer. That project stars Tricia Helfer as an adrenaline-junkie leader of a canine search-and-rescue team who assists law enforcement agencies with her partner, a golden retriever. WME-repped Mendelsohn, who continues to run CBS’ mothership CSI series, executive produces all projects along with Weitz. Here are descriptions of the shows on the company’s development slate:
On the heels of a big ratings rebound last night, the CW’s new drama series Ringer has been given a full-season order. After a decent start, the Sarah Michelle Gellar-starring mystery kept sliding against original competition on the major …
British TV producer Ash Atalla has sold his first two American projects — both comedies — to CBS. They are being produced by CBS TV Studios, where Atalla and his company Roughcut TV signed a first-look deal last year. In the UK, Atalla served as a producer on The Office and executive producer on The IT Crowd, both of which were remade in the U.S. by NBC. The formats’ travel to the U.S. put Atalla in contact with U.S. producers, executives and agents and got him thinking about a move across the pond for himself, too. “I thought the world of comedy was getting smaller and smaller, and I found myself knowing more and more about American television,” he said. “I really enjoyed the Americans, liked the longer runs of their shows and through that one day it may be interesting to develop shows directly for the American networks.” Atalla already has experience producing under the U.S. model, which he got to know through his friendship with former Friends executive producer Adam Chase, who created a series for BBC Three, Clone, produced by Atalla and his company. Atalla’s latest comedy series, Trollied at Sky 1, employs a U.S.-style writing staff and recently received a two-season, 26-episode order, which is pretty substantial for the UK where shows usually produce a 6-8-episode season at a time. The lead writers on that show, Nat Saunders and Chris Hayward, are writing one of Atalla’s projects for CBS, an untitled comedy about a guy with OCD. Bringing UK writers to develop directly for the U.S. networks was part of Atalla’s plan. “There is a misconception that the two countries are comedically far apart. That is false,” said Atalla, who\ along with Saunders and Hayward, recently signed with CAA. Atalla, Here are descriptions of Atalla’s 2 CBS comedy projects:
CBS has bought Legacy, a drama project from Jericho co-creator Jonathan E. Steinberg, DreamWorks TV and author James Frey’s book-packaging company Full Fathom Five. The project has received a script commitment plus penalty from the network and has been laid off at CBS TV Studios. It centers on a one-term president who goes back to work at his hometown law firm where he hand-picks the cases that really matter to him. Steinberg, who will write the script, is executive producing with Frey, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.
A second Beauty and the Beast project is entering the fray this development season, this time based on the cult 1980s series starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman, our sister site TVLine reports. CBS has the rights to the original …
EXCLUSIVE: Leslie Glass’ popular April Woo series of suspense novels is headed to TV. CBS has bought a drama procedural based on the nine mystery books that hails from Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle production banner and CBS TV Studios. Novelist and TV writer Amy Bloom, creator of the Lifetime series State of Mind, will write the script and executive produce the project with Leary and Serpico. Glass’ April Woo mystery series center on the title character, a brilliant young Chinese-American who becomes the first female head of detectives in Coney Island, New York. Raised in the traditions of modesty, good manners and quiet self-effacement, she is hardly a perfect fit to tackle Coney Island’s connected families, drug deals on the Boardwalk, feminist strippers, and corrupt politicians. The project stems from Apostle’s first-look deal with CBS TV Studios for network TV.
Developing a drama series with a female Asian lead is a major step in diversity for the broadcast networks. It follows CBS’ recent casting of black actors as the leads of three high-profile procedurals: LL Cool J on NCIS: LA, Laurence Fishburne on CSI and Forest Whitaker on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. It also comes on the heels of CBS’ sister network launching the first major drama series with an Asian actress as the title character, thriller Nikita starring Maggie Q.
Showtime has greenlighted three pilots: Andrew Gurland’s docu-comedy Gurland on Gurland, Michelle Ashford’s drama Masters Of Sex and Ann Biderman’s dramedy Ray Donovan. This marks the second round of pilot orders for Showtime’s new entertainment president David Nevins. The first one included drama Homeland and comedy House of Lies, both of which went to series.
Gurland on Gurland is a first-person documentary comedy written, directed and starring filmmaker Andrew Gurland (The Last Exorcism, The Virginity Hit), which reflects his real family life and the challenges he faces pursuing the next phase of his career. The pilot hails from CBS TV Studios, with Gurland, managed by Principato-Young, and studio-based Glenn Gordon Caron executive producing. This marks the first Showtime pilot from the cable division of sibling studio CBS TV Studios. It was developed by the division’s former head Bela Bajaria, who recently departed to run Universal Media Studios. On the broadcast side, Medium creator Caron just sold a drama project to CBS executive produced by James Mangold and Cathy Konrad.
Masters of Sex, from Sony Pictures TV, is an adaptation of Thomas Maier’s book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love and chronicles the lives and the intriguing, unusual relationship between Masters and Johnson, the pioneers into the science of human sexuality whose research touched off the sexual revolution. Ashford wrote the script and is executive producing with Timberman/Beverly Prods’ Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly, who set up the project while at Sony TV. (The company, which has three series on the air — FX’s Justified and CBS’ upcoming Unforgettable and A Gifted Man — moved to CBS Studios last summer.)
EXCLUSIVE: Welcome to the 1960s, Las Vegas style. CBS has put in development Ralph Lamb, a drama project set in the early ’60s from Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi based on the true story of Ralph Lamb, a cowboy-turned-Las Vegas sheriff in the ’60s and ’70s. CBS TV Studios, which is producing the project, has assembled a formidable feature team. James Mangold (Walk the Line) is on board to direct. He will executive produce with his producing partner Cathy Konrad and another film producer, Arthur Sarkissian (Rush Hour). Pileggi will co-write the script with TV writer Greg Walker (Without a Trace). Pileggi originally developed the project as a movie at MGM with Sarkissian who got the rights back when MGM went through bankruptcy.
Ralph Lamb was Clark County’s longest-serving and most famous sheriff who was in charge for two decades — from 1961 to 1979. Known as the cowboy sheriff as he was often seen riding his horse, Lamb modernized the department, brought in a modern crime lab, assembled the city’s first SWAT team and oversaw the merger of the Las Vegas and the county law enforcement agencies into the Metropolitan Police Department. But he was probably best known for his tough stance on the Mafia, which still controlled most of the casinos at the time. He famously roughed up Chicago mobster Johnny Rosselli in public and sent him to jail. After making bail, Rosselli’s was never head from again until his corpse was found floating in a 55-gallon oil drum off Miami 10 years later. There has been speculation that that if mobsters were causing too much trouble, Lamb’s men simply killed them, but Lamb has denied such murders have ever occurred.
EXCLUSIVE: Less than a week after new CW president Mark Pedowitz indicated that the network will be open to comedies this development season, the CW has made its first half-hour buy, Todd Graff’s summer camp comedy Acting Out, executive …
UPDATE: Medium executive producer Craig Sweeny has come onboard Common Law as executive producer. He will serve as co-showrunner on the series alongside co-creators/exec producers Cormac & Marianne Wibberley through his overall deal at CBS TV Studios.
EXCLUSIVE 5 PM: I hear USA Network is finalizing a series pickup of comedic buddy cop drama Common Law starring Michael Ealy. The project, from CBS TV Studios and Jon Turteltaub’s Junction Entertainment, centers on polar-opposite LAPD homicide detectives Travis Marks (Ealy) and Wes Mitchell (Warren Kole), whose nonstop bickering and acrimony prompts their no-nonsense captain Phil Sutton (Jack McGee) to send them to a couples therapist. The role of the therapist, played in the pilot by Amy Acker, will be recast, along with another, smaller part. There will be some reshoots, and I hear the action quotient on the show will be pumped up. With the series order for Common Law, expected by the end of the week, USA will maintain its perfect pilot-to-series batting average. Common Law was one of three cast-contingent pilots ordered by USA last summer, along with Necessary Roughness and Suits (formerly A Legal Mind). The other two have already been picked up to series.