Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda will deliver this year’s commencement speech to UCLA‘s School of Theater, Film and Television grads on Friday, June 13. Fonda made her screen debut in 1960′s Tall Story and went on to star in over 40 films including comedy classics Cat Ballou and 9 to 5. Dramas They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Julia, The China Syndrome, On Golden Pond, and The Morning After nabbed her Academy Award nominations, while her turns in Klute and Coming Home won her the Oscar.
The actress, producer, author, and fitness icon recently boarded Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, which reunites her with Michael Caine. She’ll share words of wisdom with UCLA’s class of 2014 along with this year’s Distinguished Alumnus honoree Darren Star, who dramatized LA’s elite teen set with Beverly Hills, 90210 and brought the soapy shenanigans of the city’s twentysomethings to life in Melrose Place. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: TV Land has given a 12-episode series order to Younger, the single-camera comedy pilot written and executive produced by Sex And the City creator Darren Star. The show, starring Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar and Miriam Shor, will premiere in the fall. It will be the first TV Land series to be produced in New York where Star’s signature HBO series also was set and filmed. “There’s nothing better than making a single-camera film comedy in New York – and I’m thrilled to be doing this one with TV Land,” Star said.
Based on the novel by Pamela Redmond Satran, Younger follows 40-year old Liza (Foster), a suddenly single mother who tries to get back into the working world, only to find it’s nearly impossible to start at the bottom at her age. When a chance encounter with a young guy at a bar convinces her she looks younger than she is, Liza tries to pass herself off as 26 – with the help of a makeover, courtesy of her best friend Maggie (Mazar). Armed with new confidence, she lands a job as an assistant to the temperamental Diana (Shor) and teams up with her new co-worker and twentysomething Kelsey (Duff) to make it in the career of her dreams. Now she just has to make sure no one finds out the secret only … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: TV Land has given a cast-contingent pilot order to Younger, a single-camera comedy written and executive produced by Sex And the City creator Darren Star. The project has been a top priority for the network, which put it on fast-track development only two months ago. Based on the novel by Pamela Redmond Satran, Younger centers on a suddenly-single New Jersey housewife and mother in her early 40s who, unable to restart her career, decides to lie about her age and successfully passes herself off as a twentysomething. Armed with a makeover and new resume, she wins a coveted position at the city’s hottest publishing company. Pretending to be “younger” doesn’t hurt in the bar scene, either, as guys line up like never before. Younger expands TV Land’s push in the single-camera format. The network’s other pilot, Jennifer Falls starring Jaime Pressly, originally developed as a multi-cam, also is being made as a single-cam. UTA-repped Star currently is directing/executive producing the hourlong Lifetime pilot HR starring Alicia Silverstone.
EXCLUSIVE: TV Land is teaming with Sex And the City creator Darren Star for a new single-camera comedy about a female heroine who works in the Big Apple. The cable network is fast-tracking Younger, a half-hour project written and executive produced by Star. Based on the novel by Pamela Redmond Satran, Younger centers on a suddenly-single New Jersey housewife and mother in her early 40s who, unable to restart her career, decides to lie about her age and successfully passes herself off as a twentysomething. Armed with a makeover and new resume, she wins a coveted position at the city’s hottest publishing company. Pretending to be “younger” doesn’t hurt in the bar scene, either, as guys line up like never before. Star is currently writing the script for Younger, whose development is a top priority for TV Land. “Between Sex And The City, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, Darren has created some of the most iconic and beloved shows in the history of television,” TV Land’s EVP Keith Cox said. It is rare for Star to create a series as he has mostly supervised/executive produced shows in the past decade, since his Emmy-winning Sex And the City. TV Land has been looking to branch out into single-camera comedy and last year ordered its first single-camera pilot, I’m Not Dead Yet, which didn’t … Read More »
Darren Star will helm the Lifetime pilot HR starring Alicia Silverstone, the cable network announced today. The Sex and The City creator, writer and executive producer will also serve as EP on the pilot with Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment. The drama will be co-executive produced by I Melt With You writer Glenn Porter and Michael Lohmann. HR, which Lifetime says is a working title, focuses on the professional and personal changes Silverstone’s Ellen Bell, the uptight Director of Human Resources for a multinational corporation, goes through after suffering a head injury. Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva first broke the news of Silverstone joining HR back in late February. Star, who also created Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, is repped by UTA.
Related: Darren Star Behind Comedy Series Based On ‘Honest Toddler’ Twitter Feed & Book
EXCLUSIVE: In 1998, Darren Star took a book based on newspaper columns by a female writer, Candace Bushnell, and turned it into a hit comedy series, HBO’s Sex And The City. Fifteen years later, as the Internet and social media have taken over newspapers, Star is looking to do the same with The Honest Toddler, a book by Bunmi Laditan based on her successful Twitter feed. Star will develop and executive produce the adaptation of The Honest Toddler, which was published last month by Simon and Shuster’s Scribner imprint, with Laditan and producers Clark Peterson and Dennis Erdman. The show, described as “a Modern Family from a toddler’s point of view,” is eyed for broadcast or cable.
Laditan launched the Twitter account anonymously in May 2012 after a particularly difficult week with her then 2-year old daughter as means of cathartic release through humor. Laditan, who revealed her identity in the conjunction with the book’s release, has since amassed more than 238,000 Twitter followers and nearly 135,000 Facebook fans reading the observations of the “honest toddler,” who doesn’t mince words about how she feels about things. Example: “Tonight’s bedtime story was about three pigs struggling with repeat home invasions. Thanks for the new fear.” Laditan is repped by Resolution and Chalberg & Sussman.
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that HBO is finalizing a deal for a pilot order to The Viagra Diaries, a half-hour comedy created by Sex and the City creator/executive producer Darren Star and starring Oscar winner Goldie Hawn. The project is looking for a director and eyes spring production start in New York. Based on the book by Barbara Rose Brooker, Viagra Diaries centers on a woman (Hawn) who, after her husband has a “mid-life crisis” at 65 and leaves her, struggles with being single for the first time in 35 years.
The novel was first eyed for a feature, with husband-and-wife duo Alan and Wendy Riche and their son Peter attached to produce. Independent TV producer Aaron Kaplan (Terra Nova) then took over the property and, with the Riches still on board, took it to Star who came on board to adapt it as a comedy series. Star and Kaplan pitched the project to HBO and convinced Hawn to star in what would be her first role in almost a decade, since the 2002 movie The Banger Sisters. Star, Hawn, Kaplan, Hawn, her managers Brian Medavoy and Alan Nevins as well as Alan, Wendy and Peter Riche are executive producing. After a start in television on Good Morning, World and Rowan … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas is joining 3 Arts as a manager/producer, returning to the rep business after 11 years. Once a high-powered dealmaker at ICM best known for guiding Julia Roberts from unknown to $20 million a picture as the world’s biggest female star, Goldsmith-Thomas left ICM in 2000 to run Revolution Studios East for Joe Roth and supervise films under Roberts’ production deal there. She has been a full-time producer since Revolution folded. An agent for more than 15 years at WMA and ICM, Goldsmith-Thomas also repped Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Connelly, Madonna and Darren Star.
The obvious question is whether she will be rejoined by Roberts, who went to CAA not long after Goldsmith-Thomas left. Goldsmith-Thomas said she comes to 3 Arts without any clients. While producing, she continued to give career advice when asked, but referred talent to agencies and management companies for years even as people asked why she wasn’t building a client list. She decided months ago to explore a return but was reticent to resurface as an agent. It would be hard returning to a job she left behind, and she never liked the poaching part of that game. She also didn’t want to give up producing, which agents can’t do. After meeting with 3 Arts’ Erwin Stoff, Goldsmith-Thomas felt she’d found the right fit. She will operate out of the management/production company’s New York base, where Richard Abate manages authors and runs the book department and Avi Gilbert manages stand-up comics.
“I’ve always loved the architecture of careers, and I missed working with colleagues in breaking down walls that have gotten thicker,” Goldsmith-Thomas told me. “I think it’s a mistake when people try to re-create the same career they had. I love what I’m doing now, and I see this as a complement.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: There has been some behind-the-scenes drama on ABC’s upcoming dramedy Good Christian Belles. A fallout between writer/executive producer Robert Harling and executive producer/showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg on one hand and executive producer Darren Star on the other has led to a decision by producing studio ABC Studios to no longer have Star talk to Harling, Harberts or Berg, go to the set of the show, or go to his GCB office. He continues to give notes on scripts and cuts but to the studio, not to the series’ writing EPs — at least not for the time being. Star also oversees marketing and publicity for the series.
Star was never expected to be full-time on GCB for the long run because he is under an exclusive deal at HBO, where he has the Goldie Hawn-starring comedy project The Viagra Diaries awaiting a pilot green light. (He will go and run that show if and when that happens.) That’s why ABC Studios hired experienced showrunners Harberts and Berg after the pilot to help feature writer Harling. (For the duo, the assignment was part of their overall deal at the studio.) Still, the events of the past couple of months hastened that process, creating behind-the-scene tension along the way. As one observer put it, on GCB “the comedy is on the show, the drama is behind the scenes.”
I hear at heart of the problem was the fractured long-time friendship between Star and Harling. It was Star who originally optioned Kim Gatlin’s book Good Christian Bitches and brought in Harling to write the TV adaptation. Star also shepherded the pilot from development through postproduction. Some say there were signs of friction between the two as early as the pilot stage, but the cracks became very visible after the ABC upfront presentation and subsequent international screenings where GCB was heavily marketed as a Darren Star series with no mention of Harling, something that I hear upset Harling. Tension started building as Harling, Harberts and Berg convened the show’s writing staff to work on storylines and scripts, with Star chiming in from afar. (Star reportedly didn’t do much to defuse the situation). Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sex and the City creator/executive producer Darren Star is back at HBO with a sexy female-centered comedy project, this time about the boomer generation. In what would be her first acting gig in a decade, Oscar winner Goldie Hawn has come on board to star in the half-hour comedy, The Viagra Diaries, which is based on the book by Barbara Rose Brooker. Star is writing the script and is executive producing the project with Hawn, Aaron Kaplan and Wendy, Peter and Alan Riche. It centers on a woman (Hawn) who, after her husband has a “mid-life crisis” at 65 and leaves her, struggles with being single for the first time in 35 years. Brooker’s novel was first eyed for a feature, with husband-and-wife duo Alan and Wendy Riche and their son Peter attached to produce. It was subsequently optioned by Kaplan, who took it to HBO with Star signing on to write and executive produce. The project was then taken out to Hawn, who, after lengthy consideration, agreed to topline the potential series in what would be her first role since the 2002 movie The Banger Sisters. Her managers Brian Medavoy and Alan Nevins are also executive producing. After a start in television on Good Morning, World and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Hawn transitioned to features, starring in a … Read More »
Leslie Bibb has been tapped for the lead in ABC’s dramedy pilot Good Christian Bitches, from ABC Studios, Kapital Entertainment, writer-exec producer Robert Harling and exec producer Darren Star. Based on Kim Gatlin’s book, it centers on Amanda (Bibb), a recently divorced mother of two who moves back to the affluent neighborhood where she grew up to find herself in the whirling midst of gossip, Botox and fraud. Crossing Jordan alumna Bibb, repped by ICM and manager John Carrabino, co-starred in the two Iron Man movies. She will next be seen in the feature comedy Zookeeper. Bibb joins previously cast Jennifer Aspen and Annie Potts.
The King’s Speech co-star Jennifer Ehle is set as the female lead opposite Patrick Wilson in CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant drama pilot. Jonathan Demme is directing he supernatural medical drama, from CBS TV Studios and Timberman/Beverly, which centers on an ultra-competitive surgeon (Wilson) whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife (Ehle), a doctor running a free clinic, dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the here-after. Two-time Tony winner Ehle, repped by ICM and Independent Talent Group, recently shared a best ensemble SAG Award with the rest of the King’s Speech cast. She just finished shooting Contagion and The Ides of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After a bidding war, ABC has nabbed the Darren Star-produced dramedy based on Kim Gatlin’s book Good Christian Bitches. The untitled project, which will be written by Steel Magnolias and The First Wives Club scribe Robert Harling, has received a rich put pilot commitment by ABC after the network and CBS went down to the wire in their pursuit of the dramedy. I hear ABC’s new chief Paul Lee spearheaded the network’s efforts to land the project, which he considers a great fit for the ABC brand. While ABC, NBC and CBS all went after the dramedy when it hit the market at the end of last month, ABC, home to light female-centered fare like Desperate Housewives, was the obvious destination for the project, often described as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas.” It centers on Amanda Vaughn, a recently divorced mother of two who, to get a fresh start, moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew to find herself in the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud. Harling, Star and Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment are executive producing the project, which, with ABC on board, is being laid off at ABC Studios. The project reunites Star with ABC where he most recently executive produced the 2008 dramedy series Cashmere Mafia. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A Darren Star-produced dramedy has become a hot property with three networks vying for it. I hear ABC, NBC and CBS are all after Good Christian Bitches, which will be written by Steel Magnolias and The First Wives Club scribe Robert Harling. Based on the book of the same name by Kim Gatlin, the project, referred to by some as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas,” centers on Amanda Vaughn, a recently divorced mother of two who, to get a fresh start, moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew where she finds herself in the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud. Harling, Star and Aaron Kaplan are executive producing. Harling has been mostly focused on features, with the exception of a 1990 Steel Magnolias CBS pilot he wrote based on his play and the movie, which he also penned. On broadcast TV, Star, creator of Sex and the City, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, most recently executive produced the ABC dramedy Cashmere Mafia.