UPDATED: With its siblings Showtime and CBS tackling terrorism via Homeland and Hostages, respectively, the CW also is joining the fray. The network is putting its youthful stamp on the subject with an untitled project from Memphis Beat creators Liz W. Garcia and Joshua Harto and producer Bill Haber. In fact, the CW is so focused on launching a terrorism drama, it is developing not one but two such projects. Described as Alias meets Homeland, the untitled Garcia/Harto drama centers on a young female FBI agent with the New York City Joint Terrorism Task Force whose undercover assignment at a prestigious New York university becomes the focus of the entire agency when she discovers a vital terrorist cell hiding in plain sight. Garcia and Harto are writing the script and will exec produce with Haber for Warner Bros. TV and Haber’s Ostar Prods. The project reunites Harto and Haber with Warner Bros. whose cable division produced Memphis Beat for TNT. The duo, repped by CAA and Madhouse, also has Angel Time, a drama based on the characters in Anne Rice’s The Songs Of The Seraphim novels set at CBS with Joe Carnahan directing. Founding CAA agent-turned-producer Haber is repped by the agency he once helped launch. The CW’s other terrorism drama project in development, from producer ALex Kurtzman and Bob Orci and writer Corinne Brinkerhoff, centers on a young Brooklynite recruited by the CIA to infiltrate her recently discovered biological family, a wealthy and powerful dynasty in Texas suspected of having criminal alliances across the globe.
UPDATED: CW took another step toward making good on its promise to get back into the scripted comedy series business, licensing U.S. broadcast rights to the half-hour comedy series Seed from Canadian production house Entertainment One – eOne. This summer, CW dipped its big toe back into the comedy waters with the resuscitation of the former ABC sketch improv series Whose Line Is It Anyway? That series’ July launch clocked nearly 3 million viewers, making it CW’s most watched unscripted series premiere in six years, and its most watched show in its Tuesday 8 PM slot in nearly five years.
CW’s current president Mark Pedowitz joined the network in spring of 2011, saying one of his priorities would be to get the network back into the comedy game. It was a goal he reiterated most recently at Summer TV Press Tour 2013. CW’s been out of the scripted comedy business since the Everybody Hates Chris/Aliens in America days, back in ’07 — though one of its former comedies, The Game is doing well – over at BET. And yes, there was that summer ’10 stab at comedy, 18 To Life, though that one was DOA, opening with under a million viewers.
Times being what they are CW execs went into their half-day at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 braced for some scorched-earth questioning about the teenage-girl-masturbating-in-castle-hall scene of the network’s first crunchy-gravel drama Reign, which purports to be a drama series about the teen years of Mary Stuart (aka Mary Queen of Scots). Imagine their surprise when, instead, they found themselves being grilled with questions about the show’s historical inaccuracies. Reign is enormously important to CW this fall; the network will use its biggest hit, The Vampire Diaries to launch Reign on Thursday nights because VD is CW’s most viewed series among young women. Bodice-ripper Reign takes enormous liberties with the 16th century history of Mary Queen of Scots. As told by CW, Mary arrives in France to marry the French king’s hot son, Prince Francis. In the real world, Francis was a sickly young teen who died after less than two years on the throne. The CW’s Francis, however, is a hunky guy who has a “history” with a lady of the court which, of course, was hardly worth mentioning back in those days but looms large, plot-development-wise, in 2013. Adding to the fun, Mary is also attracted to Francis’ “roguish” illegitimate half-brother, Bash — who never existed, notes the actor playing him, Torrance Coombs.
“In each episode we’ll educate people on what element of history helps our story,” exec producer Laurie McCarthy explained this morning when one of the early what-the-heck history questions came in. “There is a certain amount of latitude,” she acknowledged. “It’s TV so, you know, we can take creative license with it,” chimed in star Adelaide Kane, adding, “It’s entertainment – it’s not the History Channel.” And how cute is she that she thinks History Channel still is about history?
Once again, The CW will broadcast performances from the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas to kick off its official TV season. This year, however, it will air as a four-hour special over two nights, Sept. 30 …
Like most other broadcasters this upfront week, CW execs today urged advertisers to consider the network’s involvement with digital platforms — and announced that its streamed shows, now available on Windows and Xbox, will also work with Apple TV. …
May 8, 2013 (Los Angeles, CA) - The 15th Annual Young Hollywood Awards celebrating emerging young talent will partner with The CW Network to broadcast this years Red Carpet event on Thursday, August 1 (8-10 PM). The announcement was made today by Jay Penske, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Penske Media Corporation (PMC), owner and Executive Producer of the award show [and Deadline Hollywood], and Mark Pedowitz, President, The CW. The 15th Annual Young Hollywood Awards will be held in Los Angeles, and the host and nominees will be unveiled in June.
UPDATED: Irish actor Ed MacLiam (EastEnders) has been cast as the lead of ABC’s drama pilot Big Thunder. Also cast in the pilot, written by Jason Fuchs, directed by Rob Bowman and executive produced by Melissa Rosenberg, is Twilight‘s Alex Meraz, reuniting with the movie franchise’s writer, Rosenberg. Additionally, Ruth Bradley and Resident Evil‘s Spencer Locke have been added to the project, based on Disney’s roller coaster ride. It centers on Dr. Grant Carson (MacLiam), a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor. He and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful but mysterious tycoon, but quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems. Meraz, repped by Innovative and Leverage, plays a handsome Shoshone tribesman. Irish actress Bradley, who played the female lead in ABC/ABC Studio’s pilot Beauty And The Beast last season, plays Nora, a nanny with a dark, hidden past. The casting stems from her talent holding deal with ABC and ABC Studios. Locke, repped by APA, Jaymee Locke and Scott Whitehead, plays Lizzie, Carson’s beautiful and brilliant teenage daughter. Bradley is with Anonymous Content and UK’s Hamilton/Hodell.
That was quick — just a couple of days after the CW made the decision to end 90210 after this season, the network has tapped series co-star Matt Lanter as the male lead in its pilot Oxygen. The CW brass moved very quickly after the 90210 cancellation to offer Lanter Oxygen, and a deal was closed. The project, written by Meredith Averill and directed by Gary Fleder, centers on Emery (Aimee Teegarden), a teen girl who falls in love with Roman (Lanter), an alien boy, one of nine of his kind integrated into a suburban high school. CBS TV Studio is producing. Lanter is with WME and manager Faras Rabadi.
EXCLUSIVE: Gage Golightly (Teen Wolf) has been cast as a lead in the CW‘s drama pilot Company Town. Written by Sera Gamble and to be directed by Taylor Hackford, Company Town chronicles the aftermath of a scandal at a Naval base in Virginia, which touches the lives of both civilians and military personnel in the area. The multigenerational, multi-class, family and relationship series centers around two early 20-something women — Krista (Golightly) and Page — who grew up together, were once best friends, but now are on opposite sides of the Townie/Military divide. Krista has always lived a charmed life and is happily engaged to Paul, a lieutenant in the Navy, but begins to show her vulnerable side when Paul gets involved in the scandal.
Pilot pickup season finally got in full swing on Friday with seven orders, four at CBS and three at NBC. That is as many as the broadcast networks had ordered since the first of the year combined as network executives are lamenting the fact that scripts are coming in late this season, delaying pilot orders. Pilot casting, on the other hand, has already started. Part frustration over late scripts, part desire to get a jump on talent led to active pilot casting on a half dozen projects last month, before any had been ordered to pilot. The number expanded further in the first two weeks of January. CBS, for instance, did not formally greenlight the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama Hostages to pilot last week until Toni Collette was locked in as the lead.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The CW took center stage at TCA in Pasadena this morning with a supersized panel of 9 actors and 4 executive producers representing The Carrie Diaries, the new ensemble Sex And The City prequel that premieres tomorrow night at 8. One obvious question was why this show wound up on CW rather than, say, HBO, the home of its predecessor. “We always felt this was predestined for The CW,” stressed exec producer Josh Schwartz.” Fellow exec producer Amy B. Harris, a Sex And The City staff writing alum who is running Carrie Diaries, related that Warner Bros. originally asked Sex showrunner Michael Patrick King if he was interested in turning writer Candace Bushnell’s book into a series, but he was busy with CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and suggested they approach Harris. “It just felt right in every way for The CW to be the perfect home for it”, she said. It gave us the chance to tell fun, provocative high school stories.” In other words, HBO perhaps would have proved too niche-y and limiting for the soapier series the producers had in mind.