Cancelled midseaosn CW drama Cult will return on the air June 28, with the six unaired episodes slated to run in two-hour blocks from 8-10 PM over three consecutive Fridays. The show’s creator Rockne S. O’Bannon shared the news on Twitter last night. With Cult’s scheduling, all serialized freshman dramas which had been pulled this past season are getting a chance to air all produced episodes. ABC recently slated burn-off runs for 666 Park Ave. and Zero Hour.
The CW already unofficially cancelled low-rated Cult when it sent the mystery drama from Tuesdays to Fridays after its first two episodes drew a miniscule 0.3 rating in 18-49. Today the network made it official by yanking Cult from its schedule, marking the end of the short-lived midseason series. Sources tell me that while the show will definitely not be back, there is discussion at the network if the remaining six episodes will end up being shown online. In Cult’s place, the CW will air repeats of The Carrie Diaries starting this Friday, and an encore of the reality series Oh Sit! will air in the slot April 19. While the CW did not officially say the struggling freshman thriller series was done, its creator basically did. “#Cult Sadly true. CW Execs once called the last 5 episodes “outstanding”. I guess too outstanding. You are great, SMART fans. Thx to u all!” Cult creator Rockne O’Bannon posted on Twitter today.
The CW is writing off midseason Tuesday drama Cult after two low-rated airings. Beginning next week, the serialized drama will move to Friday, airing at 9 PM. The CW will air repeats in Cult‘s Tuesday 9 PM slot, beginning with Beauty And The Beast next week. Cult debuted with an underwhelming 0.3 in adults 18-49 last week and matched that number last night. Still, the project went further than the conventional Hollywood wisdom would suggest. Sci-fi veteran Rockne S. O’Bannon wrote it for the 2005-06 development season when it landed a pilot order at the WB but the project became a casualty of the UPN/WB merger and the pilot was never produced. Six years later, O’Bannon’s updated Cult script got another pilot order at the CW, got made and went to a series, albeit short-lived.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The new CW drama Cult that premieres February 19 surrounds what happens when the mysterious disappearance of the brother of an investigative journalist leads to a journey into the dark underbelly of a TV series and its rabid, obsessive fan base. So the first question from a critic on a TCA panel this morning asked maybe whether there was a danger in looking at passionate television fans and telling them “your passion scares me and I’m afraid you might kill me.” Exec producer and showrunner Rockne S. O’Bannon admitted that the production team is very cognizant of this issue. “But unlike other shows, we have the advantage of putting a magnifying glass on that idea itself,” he reasoned. The natural followup query is whether there is indeed a certain cause-and-effect between TV and movie content and certain behaviors from impressionable fans. Exec producer Len Goldstein explained that Cult is absolutely peering at the relationship between fans and their shows, “which is certainly more pronounced than ever before…
The CW kept things simple on its midseason schedule, with new drama Cult filling the Tuesday 9 PM slot, which will become vacant after freshman Emily Owens, MD ends its 13-episode run. (The CW opted not to pick up additional episodes of the medical drama.) The network today announced that Cult will debut on February 19. The suspense drama will be an unlikely companion for soap Hart Of Dixie, which airs on the night at 8 PM as part of the network’s ‘doctor-doctor’ fall lineup. Cult centers on investigative journalist Jeff Sefton (Matt Davis), who teams with the young research assistant (Jessica Lucas) on a popular TV show when his younger brother Nate goes missing and the show’s gruesome plot twists begin to play out in the real world. The two race to save Nate and unravel the mystery behind the TV series whose hard-core fans would literally kill to see what happens next. Alona Tal and Robert Knepper co-star on the series from Fake Empire, Warner Bros TV and CBS Television Studios, with executive producers Rockne S. O’Bannon, Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage and Len Goldstein. Here is a trailer:
Elizabeth Peña (La Bamba, Rush Hour) has been cast to play Gloria Delgado-Pritchett’s (Sofia Vergara) Colombian mother, Pilar, on hit ABC comedy Modern Family, while Stephanie Beatriz has been cast as Gloria’s sister, Sofia. The two are expected to visit Gloria because of the baby she’s expecting. They will appear in the episode entitled Fulgencio, which begins shooting on Monday. Peña, repped by Bauman Redanty & Shaul and manager Gina Rugolo, will play a very young mother as she is only 11 years older than Vergara. She recurred on ABC’s Off The Map and will next be seen in the features Blaze and In The Dark.
Eric Lange has booked a recurring role on the CW midseason mystery drama series Cult, which centers on Skye (Jessica Lucas), an inquisitive young production assistant on a wildly popular television show called Cult. After a rash of disappearances and a likely murder, she joins Jeff (Matt Davis), a journalist blogger whose brother was among those gone missing, in investigating the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program in real life. Lange, repped by Domain and Trademark, will play a genre writer who is a genre fan himself. Cult reunites Lange with series producer Warner Bros. TV, which also was behind the TNT pilot Tin Star, which co-starred Lange.
In my decade covering American television I can’t think of a year when more projects that started as also-rans, or came back from the dead, or barely made it to pilot, or overcame major recastings, went on to land series orders. And some of them are among next season’s most buzzed-about new shows. It feels like almost all pilots that had recastings — once an ominous sigh for a project’s future — went to series, and those that went through hardship on average fared much better than their non-problematic counterparts.
When a pilot script is passed on by the network that developed it, in 99.99% of the cases that means the end of the road, with the script headed to the writer’s drawer as its final destination. But in the case of Mindy Kaling’s medical comedy The Mindy Project, a pass by NBC where it was developed led to a pilot pickup at Fox, where the project quickly emerged as the network brass’ darling and landed on the fall schedule in the plum post-New Girl time slot.
Like rejected scripts, dead pilots also hardly get resurrected. Sci-fi veteran Rockne S. O’Bannon wrote Cult for the 2005-06 development season when he landed a pilot order at the WB but the project became a casualty of the UPN/WB merger and the pilot was never made. Six years later, O’Bannon’s updated Cult script got a pilot order at the CW, the pilot was shot and took another step forward, landing a midseason series order.
It took Will & Grace creators David Kohan and Max Mutchick about as long to get a comedy inspired by their real-life straight man-gay man friendship on the air. The idea’s first incarnation was at CBS during the 2006-07 development season and the second at ABC the following season. Both times, Kohan and Mutchick’s scripts went to pilot starring Jay Mohr and Brian Austin Green (CBS) and Alan Tudyk, Josh Cooke and Ty Burrell (ABC). Both times Kohan and Mutchnick felt there were script, casting and other issues. The two had moved on when last year CBS approached them about revisiting the idea but getting it right this time. The result is Partners, which also went to pilot.
The CW has made five new drama series pickups, with all early standouts making the cut. That includes the Sex And The City prequel The Carrie Diaries, the Green Arrow-themed Arrow, the contemporary reboot of the 1980s series Beauty and the Beast, mystery Cult and medical drama First Cut starring Mamie Gummer.
Picking up five new scripted series is a record for the CW which, under new topper Mark Pedowitz, has vowed to increase the amount of originals on the air at any time, avoiding long spells of repeats. The CW also has been planning to employ the cable model of shorter seasons with some of its series, including Cult, which had been envisioned from the get-go as doing 13 episodes a season. There had been speculation that the CW would pick up as many as 5-6 of its eight pilots to series. The sixth drama pilot that had been in serious contention but did not get a nod today was the book adaptation The Selection whose chances were boosted by its similarities to the blockbuster Hunger Games movie franchise. Were those similarities too close for comfort?
The large number of new series pickups does not bode well for the CW many bubble series but a couple, like Hart of Dixie, Gossip Girl and maybe Nikita, would likely make the cut. Studio-wise, three of the five new CW series, Carrie Diaries, Arrow and Cult, hail from Warner Bros. TV, the other two from CBS TV Studios. Two of the series are co-produced by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s WBTV-based Fake Empire, while Arrow is with Berlanti Prods.
Jason Antoon has been cast in NBC’s comedy pilot Downwardly Mobile starring Roseanne Barr and John Goodman. The multicamera Downwardly Mobile centers on Rose (Barr), the proprietor of a mobile home park and surrogate mother to the unique people who live there in a challenging economy. Also cast in the pilot are teens Kendra Jain and Hector Duran. Antoon, repped by Bauman Redanty and Shaul and Viking Entertainment, will play Wendell, the stay-at-home Dad of his and Sheila’s (Romy Rosemont) wild child daughter, Skar (Jain). Duran will play Ricky, a shy and timid but sweet 13-year-old boy living in the trailer park who Rose takes under her wing.
Andrew Leeds, who is recurring on Bones, has been cast in a guest starring/recurring role on the CW drama pilot Cult, which centers on Skye (Jessica Lucas), an inquisitive young production assistant on a wildly popular television show called Cult. After a rash of disappearances and a likely murder, she joins Jeff (Matt Davis), a journalist blogger whose brother was among those gone missing, in investigating the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program in real life. Leeds, repped by TalentWorks, will play Kyle, the network Creative VP recently assigned to Cult.
Krista Allen has joined the Canadian soap The LA Complex, which was picked up …
EXCLUSIVE: The CW and Warner Bros TV kept the search for the male lead in their buzzed-about new pilot Cult in-house. Matt Davis, co-star of the hit CW/WBTV series The Vampire Diaries, is set to star opposite Jessica Lucas in the pilot, which WBTV co-produces with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire. Written by Rockne O’Bannon, Cult centers on Skye (Lucas), an inquisitive young production assistant on a wildly popular television show called Cult. After a rash of disappearances and a likely murder, she joins Jeff (Davis), a journalist blogger whose brother was among those gone missing, in investigating the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program in real life. In addition to starring in Cult, Davis will be available to make guest appearances in future seasons of Vampire Diaries, where he plays high school history teacher/vampire hunter Alaric Saltzman, though he will no longer be a regular. He is with Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment.
Robert Knepper is set to co-star in the CW drama pilot Cult. The project, from Warner Bros TV and Fake Empire, centers on Skye (Jessica Lucas), an inquisitive young female production assistant on a wildly popular television show called Cult who, after a rash of disappearances and a likely murder, joins a journalist blogger in investigating the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program in real life. Prison Break and Heroes alum Knepper will play actor Roger Reeves, who portrays charismatic cult leader Billy Grimm on the show-within-a-show. Billy is a charismatic madman who commands his own cult of followers willing to do anything Billy asks of them — including kidnapping and murder. Meanwhile, off-screen Roger is an affable, working actor. Knepper, repped by Innovative Artists and Kramer Management, will next be seen in Universal’s R.I.P.D.
Friday Night Lights‘ Aimee Teegarden has landed the lead in another CW drama pilot, Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain’s The Selection. Based on the upcoming series of books by Kiera Cass, The Selection is an epic romance set 300 years in the future that centers on America Singer (Teegarden), a poor young woman who is chosen by lottery to participate in a competition to become the next queen of a war-torn nation at a crossroads. Teegarden is with Innovative.
EXCLUSIVE: Jessica Lucas has been tapped as the lead in the CW drama pilot Cult. The project, from writer Rockne S. O’Bannon, Warner Bros. TV and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire, centers on Skye (Lucas), an inquisitive, young female production assistant on a wildly popular television show called Cult who, after a rash of disappearances and a likely murder, joins a journalist blogger in investigating the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program in real life. This marks Lucas’ return to the CW where she co-starred on Melrose Place and recurred on 90210. Her feature credits include Cloverfield and last year’s Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son.
Noureen DeWulf (Hawthorne) has landed a regular role on Charlie Sheen’s comedy series Anger Management. On the Lionsgate TV-produced series, which has an initial 10-episode order from FX, Sheen portrays Charlie, a former baseball player with anger issues who winds up as an unconventional anger management therapist. DeWulf will play one of the members of his therapy group, a spoiled rich girl who was sent to a court-appointed anger management classes after shooting her boyfriend who cheated on her.
The CW got in the pilot pickup game early this year with a green light for Cult, a mystery drama from veteran sci-fi writer producer Rockne S. O’Bannon produced by Gossip Girl co-creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. This marks a happy ending for O’Bannon who first landed a pilot order for Cult six years ago at the WB but the project became a casualty of the UPN/WB merger into the CW. Written by Farscape creator O’Bannon, Cult was first developed during the CW’s maiden pilot season. It centers on an inquisitive, young female production assistant on a wildly popular television show called Cult who, after a rash of disappearances and a likely murder, joins a journalist blogger in investigating the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program in real life. O’Bannon and Fake Empire’s Schwartz, Savage and Len Goldstein are executive producing for Warner Bros. TV. If picked up to series, Cult may air as a limited-run 13-episode per season, a model employed by the premium (and some basic) cable networks but rarely by the broadcast nets. Broadcast shows done that way include ABC’s hit Lost.
O’Bannon originally set up Cult at the CW predecessor the WB in 2005, also through WBTV. In that incarnation, the project centered around two brothers, one of whom is involved …