EXCLUSIVE: Denis Leary has been set to star in Draft Day, the Ivan Reitman-directed football film that stars Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. Pic’s getting underway through Lionsgate and Gigi Pritzker’s OddLot Entertainment. Leary will play Vince Penn, the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns, who finds himself at odds with the team’s GM (Costner). It adds extra pressure as the GM attempts to make the right picks to lift the franchise through the NFL draft. There was a ticking clock on this casting, because part of the film will be shot at the April 25 draft to be held in Radio City Music Hall. As originally constituted in the Black List script by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph, the team was supposed to be the Buffalo Bills, but Lionsgate got better incentives in Ohio and made it the Cleveland Browns. Leary has been co-executive producing IFC’s Maron and is co-writing and producing Sirens, the pilot for USA Network. His Apostle banner also produced the Detroit firefighter documentary Burn, which won the Audience Award at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. He is represented by WME and Ziffren.
USA Network has cast the four leads in the Denis Leary comedy pilot Sirens: Michael Mosley (Pan Am, Scrubs), Kevin Daniels (Modern Family), Kevin Bigley and Jessica McNamee. Co-created by Leary and Bob Fisher, Sirens follows three of Chicago’s best EMTs — Johnny (Mosley), Hank (Daniels) and Brian (Bigley) — whose sometimes self-loathing, other times narcissistic, and always downright self-destructive personalities make them unqualified for sustaining relationships, friendships and most occupations. They are, however, uniquely qualified for saving anyone unlucky enough to wind up in their ambulance.
EXCLUSIVE: Leslie Glass’ popular April Woo series of suspense novels is headed to TV. CBS has bought a drama procedural based on the nine mystery books that hails from Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle production banner and CBS TV Studios. Novelist and TV writer Amy Bloom, creator of the Lifetime series State of Mind, will write the script and executive produce the project with Leary and Serpico. Glass’ April Woo mystery series center on the title character, a brilliant young Chinese-American who becomes the first female head of detectives in Coney Island, New York. Raised in the traditions of modesty, good manners and quiet self-effacement, she is hardly a perfect fit to tackle Coney Island’s connected families, drug deals on the Boardwalk, feminist strippers, and corrupt politicians. The project stems from Apostle’s first-look deal with CBS TV Studios for network TV.
Developing a drama series with a female Asian lead is a major step in diversity for the broadcast networks. It follows CBS’ recent casting of black actors as the leads of three high-profile procedurals: LL Cool J on NCIS: LA, Laurence Fishburne on CSI and Forest Whitaker on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. It also comes on the heels of CBS’ sister network launching the first major drama series with an Asian actress as the title character, thriller Nikita starring Maggie Q.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
It was supposed to be a sober, nostalgic, reflective visit with Rescue Me writer-producer-star Denis Leary, showrunner Peter Tolan and castmates Steven Pasquale and Callie Thorne as the iconic FX firefighter hour wraps up seven seasons on Sept. 7, four days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. What it turned into Saturday morning at TCA was the most raucous and entertaining panel of the 12-day event to date, as Leary and Tolan put on a show for critics bleary-eyed from the nonstop coverage that finally wraps Monday.
Things started to get crazy about halfway through the 30-minute panel, when Leary observed with his usual manic energy, “You guys have spent, what, three fucking weeks here talking to TV people and now you’re fuckin’ bored.” Tolan then picked up the ball and added, “I’m going to take my pants off.” That led into a fresh rant from Leary, who railed: “By the way, USA (Network) is fuckin’ raiding Rescue Me. (Steven) Pasquale’s shooting a pilot (Over/Under) for them. Callie (Thorne) is starring in a show (Necessary Roughness) for ‘em. I’m writing a pilot for ‘em.” Tolan: “I’m doing very mild janitorial work. … And working for just a few weeks as (USA programming chief) Jeff Wachtel’s fluffer.”
Shortly thereafter, to help boost the excitement of the festivities, Tolan stood and pulled down his pants to reveal very oddly colored briefs. Much laughter and applause ensued. A critic then tried to ask a serious question: Does Leary fear that his role on Rescue Me is one he will now always be identified with, perhaps to his detriment? Tolan decided to intercept that one: “When you say that Denis will be remembered for this part, I think you’re forgetting Operation Dumbo Drop.” The room roared.
Denis Leary & Peter Tolan To Co-Write Half-Hour Comedy For Leary To Star; Tolan Gripes About “The Insanity Of Pilot Season”
With their seriocomic firefighter drama Rescue Me ending its run on FX in September, series co-creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan are embarking on another series project together. “I guess I can say right now that Mr. Leary and I are tomorrow starting writing on our next show, a half-hour for him to star in,” Tolan told Deadline today after the TCA panel on the final season of Rescue Me. He described it as “strictly a comedy, like nothing we’ve done before. It’s not a traditional comedy, probably for cable. We’re doing it totally on spec and taking it out.” Before Rescue Me, Leary and Tolan co-created the underrated ABC cop comedy The Job, which also starred Leary. Tolan said that after 10 years of working together, first on The Job and then on Rescue Me, he figures that he and Leary “have some connection in our comic sensibilities.” Leary has another half-hour project in the works as a writer: He recently signed on to co-pen with Bob Fisher an adaptation of the upcoming British series Sirens for USA Network.
In his first series writing gig since FX’s Rescue Me, Denis Leary is set to co-pen an adaptation of the upcoming British series Sirens for USA Network. Leary will co-write the half-hour project about the antics of young paramedics with Bob Fisher, who most recently adapted another foreign comedy format, Israeli’s Traffic Light, for Fox. Leary and Fisher will executive produce with Leary’s producing partner at Apostle Jim Serpico, and Hal Vogel and David Aukin of Daybreak Pictures. Apostle will co-produce with Fox TV Studios, where the company has an overall deal for cable projects, in association with Daybreak. (For broadcast series, Apostle has a pact with CBS TV Studios.) It was during a general meeting Leary, Serpico and FtvS execs took with USA that Leary and Serpico mentioned Sirens. The USA brass were eager to get in business with the producers and asked to see a script of the British series. “When we read the material, we fell in love with the leads,” USA’s SVP original scripted programming Bill McGoldrick said. The project is not being written as a starring vehicle for Leary and for now he is only attached to co-write and executive produce, but there is a possibility for him to take on a small role if the comedy goes to series. Created by Brian Fillis, the six-episode UK series Sirens was inspired by EMT paramedic Tom Reynolds’ book, Blood, Sweat and Tea. It revolves around a trio of paramedics who bicker, fight and shag their way through the darkly funny maelstrom of their lives.
Denis Leary goes Hollywood with the promo campaign for his new book, Suck on This Year: LYFAO@140 Characters or Less, a compilation of his tweets. Here is a look at the movie trailer-type ad for the book.
In its first development cycle under its deal at CBS TV Studios, Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle has sold 3 projects: 2 at CBS and one at the CW. The sales come 3 months after Apostle sealed pacts with CBS Studios on the broadcast and Fox TV Studios on …
EXCLUSIVE: Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle has inked a two-year overall deal with Fox TV Studios to develop and produce new cable series. Additionally, the company is in negotiations with CBS TV Studios for a deal that would cover broadcast …