Vince Gilligan wrote the pilot for CBS’s new cop drama Battle Creek so long ago – 12 years – that he can’t remember why he decided to call it Battle Creek. Star Josh Duhamel reminded Gilligan he’d told him that when he was a kid he was eating breakfast cereal and saw the name on the side of the box.
Gilligan let it stand, adding, “I’m fascinated by the name — it’s got ‘Battle’ and yet it’s cereal.”
Duhamel plays FBI agent Milton Chamberlain, who teams up in the series with Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, Mich.
CBS is selling Battle Creek to viewers as the Next Big Series from the creator of Breaking Bad. Gilligan is selling it as the pilot he wrote 12 years ago and does not have time to bring to series at CBS because of his commitment on his AMC Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul. He said as much last week when he appeared at the tour to plug the spinoff. Today’s version went like this: “I’m sorry I’m not a bigger part of [Battle Creek] as I would like to be because of my duties on Better Call Saul,” adding, “I’m lucky to be up here on this stage” with the cast and exec producers, “who do a great job.”
Critics seemed disappointed too, which, in turn, seemed … Read More »
Bryan Singer directed the pilot for David Shore‘s hit Fox medical drama series House, which the two executive produced for its entire eight-season run. Now they are reuniting on Shore’s follow-up series, CBS‘ Battle Creek. The straight-to-series project, written by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and Shore, centers on Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) and FBI agent Milton Chamberlain, who have different worldviews but are teamed up to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, MI. Gilligan, who created Battle Creek several years ago, and Shore, who will serve as showrunner, will executive produce with Singer and Mark Johnson. Jason Taylor of Singer’s banner Bad Hat Harry will serve as a producer alongside Erin Gunn of Shore’s Shore Z. Singer is the second House alum to join Battle Creek, along with co-star Kal Penn. This is the second straight-to-series drama WME-repped Singer is executive producing; he also serves in the same capacity on ABC’s upcoming Black Box. On the feature side, he is putting final touches on his third X-Men movie, X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, WGN America has landed American Dream, a suspense drama project executive produced by House creator David Shore and produced by Sony TV. Written/co-executive produced by feature scribe Wayne Beach (Murder At 1600), the project, now in development, chronicles the cat-and-mouse game that erupts when a Manhattan homicide cop suspects one of America’s top CEOs of being a killer. The relationship becomes mutually dependent: this CEO who needs psychopathic games to refuel himself personally and professionally, and a cop who exploits the game to make inroads into a world he’s always wanted to inhabit – that of the rich and famous. “The cop shares our culture’s obsession with celebrity, killers and the rich,” Beach said. “It isn’t just about how you catch a killer who makes $83 million a year and plays golf with the president, but what happens when your prey is everything you always wanted to be: rich, untouchable and famous.” Shore said his involvement in the project stems from the draw of “being pulled into a very seductive and thoroughly imagined world with an extremely compelling relationship at its core, very much resonating our fascination with the 1%.” Sony TV-based Shore executive produces with Rick Berg. Read More »
In a dream pairing, the man of the hour, Vince Gilligan, coming off a best series win on Sunday for his hit AMC drama Breaking Bad, has teamed with House creator David Shore for Battle Creek, which has closed at CBS with a series production order for the 2014-15 season. The drama project, which I hear has a 13-episode commitment, was originally created by Gilligan a decade ago. It comes from Sony TV, which produced Breaking Bad and has an overall deal with Shore. Sony will co-produce with CBS TV Studios, with Gilligan, Shore and Breaking Bad EP Mark Johnson executive producing. Shore will serve as showrunner, with Gilligan interested in directing. It’s been a very strong last few days for Sony TV, which scored a best drama series win on Sunday for Breaking Bad, a strong opening for its new NBC series The Blacklist on Monday, followed by the series order for Battle Creek today.
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In the first season since hiring Imagine TV veteran Erin Gunn as a development executive, David Shore‘s Sony TV-based Shore Z is beginning to function as a full-fledged pod. The company is co-producing with Sony a drama project for ABC written by writer Sarah Thorp (The Bounty Hunter). It centers on a normal, all-American family that becomes the target of an anonymous stalker, causing the unraveling not only of their lives but the fabric of the community around them. Thorp and Shore executive produce with Madhouse Entertainment’s Robyn Meisinger and Adam Kolbrenner, while Gunn serves as producer. Thorp, repped by CAA and Madhouse, has developed with Sony TV for the last several years.
After a long courtship, Carla Gugino has signed on as the female lead opposite Steve Coogan in David Shore’s ABC legal drama pilot Doubt. Also cast in the project, from Sony TV, is John Pankow. It centers on Vincent (Coogan), a former cop who’s now a cunning but charming low-rent lawyer using his street smarts to work the system for his clients while battling his own demons and wooing his ex-wife Linda (Gugino). Linda is a no-nonsense ADA who has little patience for courtroom antics, especially when it comes to her impulsive ex-husband. Despite their separation, they still hook up occasionally for torrid sex, and although she can no longer live with Vince, it’s apparent that Linda still has a deep affection for him. Pankow plays Mr. Syd Newman, an old-school attorney who works with his wife and fellow lawyer in offices that they rent from Vince. Gugino, repped by CAA and Untitled, was first approached for Doubt more than a month ago, one of several pilot offers she fielded this season. Read More »
For his follow-up to House, David Shore is bringing to US broadcast television another popular British comedy actor-comedian-writer to play the lead of a drama project. Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder) is set to topline Shore’s ABC legal drama pilot Doubt. The project, from Sony TV, centers on Vincent (Coogan), a former cop who’s now a cunning but charming low-rent lawyer who uses his street smarts to work the system for his clients while battling his own demons and wooing his ex-wife. Doubt would mark the US series debut for Coogan, a popular TV actor in his native Britain, the way fellow UK comedy star Hugh Laurie was introduced to American television as the lead of Shore’s Fox drama House. This is Coogan’s second US pilot; in 2010, he teamed with Tropic Thunder cohorts Justin Theroux and Ben Stiller for HBO comedy pilot Documental. I hear Coogan, repped by 3 Arts, UK’s Independent and Rick Genow, had no interest in doing US broadcast TV but responded to Shore’s script.
No doubt here — House creator David Shore is on his way back to primetime. ABC has handed a pilot order to Doubt, a legal drama written and executive produced by Shore. The project, from Sony TV where Shore is under a deal, centers on a former cop who’s now a cunning, but charming low-rent lawyer who uses his street smarts to work the system for his clients while battling his own demons and wooing his ex-wife.
Related: Dramas From Kyle Killen, Sofia Vergara & Ben Silverman Get ABC Pilot Pickups
Doubt originally landed at ABC with a pilot production commitment after heated bidding between ABC and CBS. It marks Shore’s return to his legal roots. He is a lawyer by trade and former partner at a boutique law firm in Toronto. A legal drama script, an L.A. Law spec, landed him his first writing job on Paul Haggis’ Due South. In 1996, David E. Kelley picked Shore as one of the three original writers on his hit ABC legal drama The Practice. Shore, repped by ICM, the Shuman Co. and attorney Bill Sobel, worked on two other legal dramas — NBC’s Law & Order and CBS’ Family Law, which he ran — before he wrote the pilot script for medical drama House, which grew into one of Fox’s biggest … Read More »
Exactly a year ago, David Shore, creator/executive producer of Fox’s drama House was pushing the network to make a decision on the future of the show by the end of 2011 so he can give it a proper ending if faced with cancellation. At the time, House was in its eighth season, with Shore and star Hugh Laurie’s contracts coming up. Fox and producing studio Universal TV didn’t have a license fee deal for another season. The network didn’t make a decision by end of December as Shore wished, but by the beginning of February, the verdict was in - House would end its run after eight seasons.
Fast forward a year to this week. CBS‘ comedy How I Met Your Mother is in Season 8 and the last year of its current license deal with the network, with the contracts of creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays and the cast all up at the end of the season. Like Shore, Thomas and Bays had requested a decision to be made by the end of this month because of the overarching mythology of the show, which needs to begin building toward the big mother reveal when an end date is set. Three weeks before the end of the year, there is activity on all three fronts — talks are underway between CBS and HIMYM producer 20th Century Fox TV as well as between 20th TV and Thomas and Bays and between the studio and reps for the series’ stars, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan.
CBS has been open about its desire to bring HIMYM for another season. “We want the show to come back next year,” the network’s entertainment president Nina Tassler said in August. “We’re not there yet in terms of resolving the situation, but we’re pretty optimistic.” It appears that the studio, 20th TV, and Thomas & Bays are also open to the idea of another season. But what about the cast? A virtual unknown when the show launched in 2005, Segel has seen his feature career take off over the past seven years. I hear that as of now, Segel has indicated that it is unlikely for him to return. He has not shut the door though. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In his follow-up to House, David Shore is returning to his legal roots. After heated bidding between ABC and CBS, a legal drama from the House creator/executive producer has landed at ABC with a pilot production commitment. Shore will write and executive produce the untitled drama, described as a high-end, character-driven procedural about a former cop who’s now a cunning but charming low-rent lawyer who uses his street smarts to work the system for his clients while battling his own demons and wooing his ex-wife.
This marks the first project Shore has set up since the end of House‘s eight-season run, which he shepherded. It was the first pitch he took out with Sony Pictures TV, where he signed a three-year overall deal in July after eight years at NBCUniversal. For ABC, the aggressive pursuit of a character procedural indicates a desire to balance the network’s drama portfolio, currently dominated by serialized shows. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After eight years at NBCUniversal, House creator/executive producer David Shore is moving to Sony Pictures TV with a three-year overall deal to develop new projects. Under the eight-figure deal, Shore will build up his banner Shore Z Prods. into a full-fledged production company. He is expected to hire a development executive, and along with his own projects, will also develop shows with other writers.
Shore, a former partner at a boutique law firm in Toronto, originally planned to pursue a career as a comedy writer but his legal background helped him break into the drama field with an L.A. Law spec script, which landed him his first writing job on Paul Haggis’ Due South. In 1996, David E. Kelley picked Shore as one of the three original writers on The Practice. After stints on several drama series, including Law & Order and Family Law, Shore wrote the pilot script for House in only his second stab at development (The first was a project at HBO a decade ago.). Shore originally developed House at Universal Television, which was consolidated with NBC Studios as part of the NBC-Universal merger just as his pilot was getting picked up to series by Fox in May 2004. After a slow start, House grew into one of Fox’s biggest drama hits ever and one of the most popular series in the world. It ended its eight-season run last month, with Shore at the … Read More »
‘House’ To End Run On Fox After 8 Seasons
Here is an open letter written by House creator/executive producer David Shore, executive producer Katie Jacobs and star/executive producer Hugh Laurie discussing the decision to end the medical drama after the end of this season, the show’s eighth.
After much deliberation, the producers of House M.D. have decided that this season of the show, the 8th, should be the last. By April this year they will have completed 177 episodes, which is about 175 more than anyone expected back in 2004.
The decision to end the show now, or ever, is a painful one, as it risks putting asunder hundreds of close friendships that have developed over the last eight years – but also because the show itself has been a source of great pride to everyone involved.
Since it began, House has aspired to offer a coherent and satisfying world in which everlasting human questions of ethics and emotion, logic and truth, could be examined, played out, and occasionally answered. This sounds like fancy talk, but it really isn’t. House has, in its time, intrigued audiences around the world in vast numbers, and has shown that there is a strong appetite for television drama that relies on more than prettiness or gun play.
But now that time is drawing to a close. The
… Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Top literary managers David Lonner and Larry Shuman are in serious talks to merge their companies, Oasis Media Group and The Shuman Co, respectively. In the scenario being discussed, Shuman and Lonner and his Oasis partner John Mass would join forces under the Oasis umbrella, tied to an effort to secure financing to expand the business. If it closes, the merger would bring under the same roof such feature and TV heavyweights as JJ Abrams, Brad Silberling, Jon Turteltaub, Shawn Ryan and David Shore. While 2-year-old Oasis has some TV clients — crossover A-lister Abrams and ER and Detroit 1-8-7 showrunner David Zabel — the company skews heavily towards features with a client list that includes Abrams, Silberling, Turteltaub, Peter Sollett, Michael Tolkin, Audrey Wells and Rob Minkoff. Meanwhile, Shuman, who has run his boutique company for 20 years, has a TV-heavy roster that includes House creator Shore, The Shield creator Ryan, Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (co-creators of A&E’s upcoming series Longmire) and The Inside and Drive co-creator Tim Minear. Among Shuman’s handful of crossover clients is TV writer Carl Ellsworth, who segued into features with Red Eye and Disturbia. But overall, there is little overlap between Oasis and the Shuman Co’s areas of coverage, making a merger one where the pieces fit and would give the combined company heft in both film and television. Read More »
Tom Fontana, who won a Humanitas Prize for his work on St. Elsewhere during that show’s run, has been elected president of Humanitas, the nonprofit that supports and rewards TV and film writers whose works “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” The longtime TV and film producer succeeds John Wells, who steps down Friday, the day the organization holds its annual awards ceremony at the Montage Beverly Hills (see those nominees here). “Tom Fontana is a writer and producer who has not only had tremendous commercial and critical success, but whose work exemplifies the ideals of Humanitas,” said executive director Cathleen Young. “We are thrilled to see him step into the presidency and eagerly anticipate supporting him in his new role.” Meanwhile, previous Humanitas trustees Hart Hanson (Bones), Ali LeRoi (Everybody Hates Chris) and David Shore (House) have been added to the board of directors, joining Wells, John Sacret Young, Neal Baer, Marshall Herskovitz, Carol Mendelsohn and Ed Zwick.
Wells steps aside after serving as president in 2008. He was instrumental in the creation of Humanitas’ New Voices initiative, which pairs emerging writers with trustees to develop original TV pilots, helping to land script agreements with ABC, CBS, NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 21, HBO, Sony and Lionsgate. Five pilots are currently being developed through the program.
Maya Rudolph and Emily Spivey (Up All Night), Jesse Spencer and David Shore (House), Howie Mandel and Jason Raff (America’s Got Talent), and Josh Meyers (The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway) have been added as presenters for the 2011 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which are set for Saturday at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. (Previous presenters were unveiled a couple of weeks ago.) The awards will air Sept. 17 on ReelzChannel.
This week, actor Kal Penn left Washington D.C. after serving two years as White House associate director in the Office of Public Engagement. In D.C., he used his real name, Kalpen Modi, and worked in the Barack Obama administration after persuading the producers of House to kill off his character so he could pursue a path that was not without risk. Penn is half of the Harold and Kumar stoner duo that is a contemporary answer to Cheech and Chong, but in real life he’s a bright guy who’s working on a graduate certificate in international security at Stanford and who once served as a visiting lecturer in Asian American studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Penn will now try to reclaim his career with A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas coming this fall, a stint on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother and a permanent place (he hopes) as the star of a sitcom vehicle he’ll create for NBC with Dan Spilo. He spoke to Deadline about his detour and why interrupting his momentum for two years was worth it.
DEADLINE: Putting your career on hold to work in the White House has to bring a fear you might be forgotten. What does it mean to you to return with a stint on How I Met Your Mother and this NBC deal for your own show for next fall?
PENN: I was completely floored by the opportunity to develop and produce a half hour comedy for NBC. When I was starting out, what I always wanted was to be able to become a producer and take a risk, find a setting and a spin on it that’s funny, and hope it catches on. The shows I’ve most loved in the last couple of years were the NBC shows 30 Rock and The Office. Whether it’s astronauts going to the moon or something else, I hope we can find an underlying theme and make it hilarious. With 30 Rock and The Office, the humor comes from the characters and the writing and I’m excited to do something creative like that. How I Met Your Mother will be about five episodes and it will be fun to work again with Neil Patrick Harris after three Harold and Kumar films.
DEADLINE: It’s unusual to see a young actor drop his career for public service. How hard did your reps and peers try to talk your out of it?
PENN: The role of a good agent and manager is to dissuade you from doing something like this. And there was that attempt to dissuade me, which I respected. But remember, I’d worked on the president’s election campaign and made relationships with people who’d done the exact same thing, from all different walks of life. People who had kids and spouses at home in Chicago or San Francisco. I thought of myself as a young guy moving to DC, and it felt worth trying to be part of such a pivotal moment in history. It helped to have people around like Eli Attie, a writer on House who’d been one of Vice President Gore’s speech writers. When I asked him what he thought, the inevitable questions came up. Are you done with acting? Have you lost your passion for it? The answer very clearly to me was, no. To me, this wasn’t different from when I put things on hold to teach a semester of college. Eli was very supportive. The real pivotal point came when I talked to David Shore, who created House. I told him this opportunity presented itself and I felt like I couldn’t say no and how much it would mean for me to serve in the White House. I said, I know I’ve got a contract with the show and I love playing this character, but… He told me, “I was at a law firm, and everybody told me I was crazy when I wanted to move from Toronto to LA with a script, and try my hand at creating a show. I had to do it even though they thought I was crazy, so who am I to tell you what you’re doing is a little bit crazy? You have my blessing.” And let’s face it, people don’t go into acting for the career stability. You do it because you’re passionate. I found the same true about public service. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: NBC’s reboot of The Rockford Files is not going forward, at least not for the current development season. The decision was made after writer David Shore couldn’t write a new script because he unexpectedly had to devote his entire attention to his Fox series House. The veteran Fox medical drama had planned an ambitious multi-episode arc featuring Dr. House on the road, which was a brainchild of executive producer Katie Jacobs. But when the arc was scrapped in advanced stages, Shore had to jump in and help re-break stories for a significant portion of the season, which also recently grew larger with an order for one additional episode by Fox. With Shore not being able to focus on Rockford Files, the project has been shelved. It is possible for the idea to be revisited next season if new NBC programming chief Bob Greenblatt is interested. The Rockford Files remake originated last development season at Universal Media Studios and Steve Carell’s studio-based Carousel. (UMS also produces House, which probably made things easier.) The reboot, written and executive produced by Shore, was picked up to pilot but didn’t make the cut for a series order in May. It was subsequently put in re-development, with Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey’s Film 44 joining in the summer as a co-production entity.