Matt Barr, who played the title character in Lifetime’s Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story, has been cast as the male lead opposite Ahna O’Reilly in the CW drama pilot Identity, exec produced by Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci. It centers on Mia (O’Reilly), a young New Yorker who learns she needs an organ transplant to survive and her only living relative is a newfound half-brother, Davis (Barr), the charming, privileged only son of a wealthy and powerful Charleston family. She connects with them only to find they’re the target of a CIA investigation for involvement in domestic terrorism, and the agency wants her as their newest informant.
Tom Cavanagh (Ed) is the latest addition to the CW pilot The Flash, based on the DC comic. The project, from Warner Bros TV and Berlanti Productions, is an origin story about Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), a Central City assistant police forensics investigator who arrives in Starling to look into a series of unexplained robberies that may have a connection to a tragedy in his past. Cavanagh will play Harrison Wells, a rock star in the world of physics and the mind and money behind Central City’s S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator. He becomes a pariah after the lab’s explosion, but he charts his path to redemption when he discovers that his failed experiment had the unintended consequence of creating the world’s fastest man.
The CW came to TCA this morning to announce it had bought a barbershop competition series hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, a magician reality series hosted by Penn & Teller, and a four-hour event series about the Holy Grail.
Barber Battle visits different barbershops across the country in each of its 10 episodes. The most talented barbers will compete to showcase their artistry — from portraits to landmarks to ballparks — on someone’s head. Judges, locations and contestants will be announced later. Cedric exec produces along with Mark Efman (Charlemagne & Friends, A&E Biographies).
On each of the nine episodes of Penn & Teller: Fool Us, aspiring magicians are invited to perform their best trick. Anyone who succeeds in fooling Penn & Teller wins the right to perform with them at their show at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. A live studio audience and viewers watch along with Penn & Teller as they try to figure out the secrets. Penn & Teller see the trick only once and have to try to work it out immediately. British television and radio personality Jonathan Ross (Friday Night With Jonathan Ross) serves as host. Penn & Teller: Fool Us is created and produced by 117 Productions and September Films (part of DCD Media) for ITV, with executive producers Peter Adam Golden and Andrew Golder, David Green and Peter Davey.
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 …
From 1600s France to 1930s Hollywood. The CW, which launched its first period drama this fall with Reign, is exploring a more recent past with Players, a one-hour drama set against the Golden Age of Hollywood. Produced by Warner Bros. TV and Ellen DeGeneres‘ studio-based A Very Good Production, Players centers on a young Midwestern woman who moves to Los Angeles to avenge her sister’s death at the hands of a predatory studio head and finds herself swept up in the Hollywood star-making machine, unwittingly becoming the ingénue in a closeted movie star’s “lavender marriage”, and a pawn in a studio fixer’s scheme against the mob. Nina Fiore and John Herrera (Alphas) will write the script, with Danny Cannon set to direct. Cannon and AVGP’s DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman executive produce, with Fiore and Herrera serving as supervising producers. CAA-repped Cannon is director/executive producer of the CW’s newcomer The Tomorrow People and departing Nikita after helming both pilots. Players joins another period drama in the works at the CW this season, a surf project set in 1961 Malibu. ICM Partners-repped AVGP also has a drama from Lauren Graham at the CW as well as a comedy toplined by viral stars Sophia Grace and Rosie at NBC and a comedy from Judge Greg Mathis at Fox.
EXCLUSIVE: Heroes creator Tim Kring is shepherding another drama project about teens with powers. The CW has put in development Exp, from Kring’s Tim Kring Imperative and Warner Bros. TV. Written by Zach Craley based on an idea by Jarrett Conaway, Exp explores what happens when a foreign designer drug – engineered to make you faster, smarter, stronger and better in every way – is trafficked illegally into American high schools, weaving a morally and socially complex web that entangles politicians, law enforcement and teenagers looking for an edge in an ever-competitive and fast-paced world. Kring, Zak Kadison and Bradley Thomas executive produce, with Zach Craley and Jarrett Conaway co-executive producing. This is Kring’s second project at the CW. He also executive produces the Wizard Of Oz-themed drama Dorothy Must Die, penned by writing duo Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster. Kring, Craley and Conaway are with WME.
Glee baddie Grant Gustin has landed his first major role, signing on to play Barry Allen aka The Flash on the CW’s proposed Arrow spinoff. He will appear in three episodes of Arrow this coming season before headlining his own spinoff series. Written by Arrow co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, the origin story of Flash’s Barry Allen identity will be introduced in episodes No. 8, No. 9 and No. 20, with David Nutter, who helmed the Arrow pilot, committed to directing Episode 20. Barry Allen (Gustin) is a Central City assistant police forensic investigator who arrives in Starling to look into a series of unexplained robberies that may have a connection to a tragedy in his past. A comic book fan boy, Barry is obsessed with the Arrow unaware that working with Oliver and Felicity to solve the crime has brought him right into the dangerous world of the vigilante. Kreisberg said last month that the actor who portrays Barry Allen will play him as “an ordinary man” when viewers meet him. “The character will be as grounded and realistic as possible,” he said. “That’s how we’ll get to know him. Then his life will get a bit faster.” Like Arrow star Stephen Amell, Gustin is a familiar CW face having recurred on the …
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?
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Being a vampire is no picnic. This much has been made clear by the CW bloodsuckers-in-high-school series The Vampire Diaries. But how to move the concept forward? Julie Plec, showrunner of the Diaries spinoff The Originals, sank her teeth into it (so to speak) at a TCA morning panel in which she described how the new series will differ from the show that spawned it. “The Originals isn’t about struggling to be a vampire,” she said, “but about embracing vampirism. It’s about the power of the family community and the power struggle over the family community and the supernatural community of an entire city.” She then gave an analogy: “You might look at it like, we graduated high school and went to college, and now they’re getting their master’s degree in The Originals.” One critic wanted to know how an adult viewer who never watched Vampire Diaries or cared about the Twilight series might care about The Originals. Plec admitted that bringing in new, more adult viewers is “one of the most difficult tasks we’ve had to do creatively – to have a show that stands on its own and doesn’t have to rely creatively on the foundation of the mothership, so to speak. That can draw an audience that hasn’t seen a frame of Vampire Diaries.” And? ”All I can say is we work hard every day …
CW has ordered a second season, 24 episodes, of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Today’s announcement was a no-brainer — its launch this summer clocked an average of nearly 3 million viewers – CW’s most watched unscripted series premiere in six years. The second-season premiere date and timeslot were not announced. Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie star in, and Aisha Tyler hosts the update of the ABC improv show that ran eight seasons – based on a UK format. CW put out the announcement one day before it is scheduled to put on its dog-and-pony show at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013.
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 and Oct. 1; last year it aired for two hours on Oct. 1. What hasn’t changed: The special is focused on Clear Channel’s two-day concert event, the weekend of Sept. 20 and 21. This year’s festival will include performances by Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, J. Cole, Elton John, Muse, Keith Urban, fun., Miguel, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Tim McGraw, Miley Cyrus, Jason Derulo, The Wanted, Avril Lavigne, Pete Tong, AWOLNATION, Ke$ha, Phoenix, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Queen + Adam Lambert and others who are TBD
Adele Lim (Private Practice, One Tree Hill) has signed an overall deal with CBS TV Studios. Under the pact, she will serve as executive producer/co-showrunner on the studio’s new CW drama series Star-Crossed (previously Oxygen) alongside the project’s writer-executive producer Meredith Averill. Star-Crossed chronicles the epic romance between a human girl and an alien boy when he and eight others of his kind are integrated into a suburban high school. Also executive producing the series are Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Scott Rosenberg, Richard Shepard and Bryan Furst. Star-Crossed marks WME-repped Lim’s return to the CW and CBS Studios where she served as co-executive producer on Life Unexpected. Her credits also include Life On Mars, where she worked with Applebaum, Nemec and Rosenberg, and One Tree Hill.
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. “This year we’re reaching more viewers on more platforms,” CW President Mark Pedowitz said during the CW presentation. With more than 20% of the network’s audience coming from digital sources, CW “will continue to make it as easy for you [to advertise] on every platform we’re on now and in the future.” He also announced that his CWD digital studio, which produces original videos for the Web, will be renamed CW Seed. “If the CW is what’s now, then CW Seed is what’s next,” he says. It will offer “new ways to connect to our viewers…It is about continuing our momentum.” After the presentation, Pedowitz said that the television network has cut some deals with advertisers based on the number of viewers who see an ad up to seven days after it airs, as opposed to the conventional three days. Some broadcasters would like to shift to a 7-day standard as DVR usage grows. Pedowitz calls it ”a good opportunity for some advertisers” that don’t have time-sensitive messages.
Related: CW New Series First Looks: Video
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.
Grey’s Anatomy alum Isaiah Washington is returning to series television with a co-starring role in the CW pilot The 100, based on Alloy’s books. Set 97 years after a nuclear war destroyed civilization, it revolves around 100 juvenile delinquents sent back to Earth to investigate the possibility of re-colonizing the planet. Washington will play Chancellor Jaha, the leader of the remaining human race now living in the orbiting space station. Washington, whose indie Blue Caprice was recently picked up by Sundance Selects, just signed with Caliber Media and Inqlusion Entertainment.
ER alumna Michael Michele has been cast in Delirium, Fox‘s drama pilot from Karyn Usher, 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment. Based on the book trilogy, it is set in a world where love is deemed illegal and can be eradicated with a special procedure. With 95 days to go until her scheduled treatment, Lena Holoway (Emma Roberts) does the unthinkable: she falls in love. Michele, repped by Innovative and Untitled, will play Senator Elyse Hargrove, an ambitious widow with three children and Presidential aspirations who has a growing opposition to the political insurrection.
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.