On the heels of its strong debut, the Dick Wolf-produced TNT unscripted series Cold Justice has been renewed for a second season to air in early 2014. It is the second TNT reality series to earn a sophomore-season renewal, after Boston’s Finest. The procedural, from Wolf Films and Magical Elves, pulled in 2.9 million viewers total with 942,000 among adults 25-54 in its September premiere, by far the biggest opening for a TNT reality series, with the No. 2, Boston’s Finest, at 1.3 million total viewers. The series, which wraps its first season on October 22, has averaged 2.5 million viewers season to date (most current ratings) to rank as one of basic cable’s Top 5 new unscripted series of Q3 2013. Cold Justice follows female investigators Kelly Siegler, a Texas prosecutor for 21 years who has successfully tried 68 murder cases, and Yolanda McClary, a crime scene investigator, as they dig into cold murder cases. Wolf, Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz and Tom Thayer executive produce.
Dick Wolf Confident Of ‘Chicago Fire’ Renewal, Says Boston Marathon Storyline Would Be Difficult: NBC Press Day
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Chicago Fire creator and exec producer Dick Wolf sounded confident this morning that his freshman firefighter drama would be renewed for a second season, considering that the hour has helped to goose ratings in its Wednesday night time slot 17% this season with adults 18-49. How confident is he? “We even know what the first episode of the third season is,” Wolf admitted at today’s NBC Summer Press Day. “We are definitely looking at the remainder of this season as a jumping-off point for next season.” And in fact, as Deadline has reported extensively, a Chicago Fire spinoff is very much in the works, with the rookie season finale tabbed as the jumping-off point for a series centered in the Chicago Police Department. It too will be from Wolf Films and Universal TV. However, in keeping with his tight-lipped style, Wolf would say only, “We always talk about every possible permutation of what can happen, but we never talk about development.” When asked if it is in fact renewed, might he consider a storyline paying homage to the responders of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing. “Dealing with terrorism is very very tough, that’s all I’m gonna say,” Wolf said, before adding, “The last thing we want to do is exploit a tragedy that is so specific that it would be difficult.”
Six more names were formally inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences‘ distinguished Hall Of Fame on Monday night in front of a packed audience at the Beverly Hilton. Joining the 140-plus TV legends who are already members were Les Moonves, Ron Howard, Al Michaels, Bob Schieffer, Dick Wolf and, at long last, a posthumous recognition of TV inventor Philo T. Farnsworth. Among those on the selection committee this year were Marcy Carsey, Bonnie Hammer, Rick Rosen, Fred Silverman and Nina Tassler.
Easily the highest honor the Academy can bestow (Full disclosure: I am a member of the Board Of Governors repping the Writers Branch), these new inductees can count on seeing their busts enshrined in front of the Academy’s North Hollywood headquarters, immortalized forever. But last night’s (ironically) non-televised event was a loose and lively affair that had a warm feeling and might be called the TV Acad’s version of the Motion Picture Academy’s Governors Awards. It was a heartfelt shout-out to some of TV’s most accomplished names, and the move to the larger Beverly Hilton International Ballroom this year confirmed its growning importance to the community. Tickets were higher priced and more industryites showed than in recent years. For instance, even though they weren’t there as part of the show, Mark Harmon, James Burrows, Chuck Lorre, Michael Eisner and George Lucas in addition to many others were among the audience members cheering on the new inductees.
Law & Order mastermind Dick Wolf is returning to the courtroom with Injustice, a U.S. version of a British format, which will be written by former Friday Night Lights executive producer David Hudgins.
The project, from Universal TV and studio-based Wolf Films, is described as an intricate legal drama/psychological thriller about a devoted criminal defense attorney with a dark past buried deep in his psyche and heart, who juggles his complicated family situation with his emotionally conflicted feelings about representing heinous criminals.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Dick Wolf made a rare appearance during NBC‘s TCA presentation this morning at the Beverly Hilton to trot out Wolf Films’ first non-Law & Order-branded series in six years, the new firefighter drama Chicago Fire. He assured critics that the show isn’t anything close to his usual procedural but proved too fascinating a subject to resist. “There are very few franchises or areas that give you the opportunity to really explore character,” Wolf, flanked by his cast, said. “It’s not fire of the week. It’s a character study about people who do things that you can’t pay people to do. You can’t pay people to run into burning buildings. So it is a canvas for good writing. And writing that you haven’t seen for a while on network television. It is a big, full broadcast show with multi characters and multi storylines going. And the writers room could be put in a book about screenwriting.” Wolf insisted the show is designed in the same tone as what he called NBC “platinum dramas” from the past like ER, Hill Street Blues — and Law & Order. “It’s hopefully in the tradition of these shows that have become, for better of for worse, iconic,” Wolf added. “These shows are never written down to the audience. It all goes back to the writing. There’s never been a good show with bad writing, and there’s few bad shows with good writing. Quality does out…The secret of success on television is writing. That’s it.”
EXCLUSIVE: Dick Wolf’s Universal TV-based production company is having an active development season under new scripted development executive Danielle Gelber. Last month, NBC bought a firefighter drama from feature writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. Now I’ve learned that Wolf Films has set up two more hourlong projects at NBC — one from The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken and one from former Smallville executive producers Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer — that put a twist on two classic franchises, medical and cop dramas. In addition to the writers, each show is executive produced by Wolf, Wolf Films president Peter Jankowski and Gelber. The untitled Chaiken project centers on a lesbian couple who are doctors at an inner-city Philadelphia hospital. The Slavkin/Swimmer project is a high-tech character-driven procedural about investigators who go into the memory banks of murder victims in order to solve the crimes.
The Casting Society of America unveiled nominations for its 27th annual Artois Awards, recognizing the best in casting. The honors will be bestowed Sept. 26 in simultaneous ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton in L.A. and at District 36 in New York. The CSA also is giving lifetime achievement awards to Whoopi Goldberg (the New York Apple Award), Dick Wolf (the Career Achievement Award) and Meg Liberman (the Hoyt Bowers Award). Here’s the full list of nominees:
Former Showtime executive Danielle Gelber has joined Dick Wolf’s Universal Media Studios-based Wolf Films as an executive producer and EVP. She will work closely with Wolf and Wolf Films president Peter Jankowski on all scripted development for the company. Gelber replaces Nena Rodrigue, who oversaw Wolf Films’ development for the past eight years. There had been a lot of speculation about Gelber’s next gig following her departure from Showtime at the end of last year, with her name mentioned for several network and studio positions over the past few months. Gelber’s new job at Wolf Films reunites her with NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, who oversees UMS. Gelber had worked under Greenblatt at both Showtime and Fox.
Wolf said that he has been “a huge fan” of Gelber “since she, Bob, and I worked together on New York Undercover on Fox in the mid 1990’s.” “I look forward to her taste, intelligence and knowledge of the writing community energizing our development,” he said. Added Greenblatt, “Having worked closely with her for years at both FBC and Showtime, I don’t have higher esteem for many television executives in this business.”
EXCLUSIVE: Earlier this afternoon, we broke the news about the ongoing creative overhaul of NBC’s Law & Order: Los Angeles that has led to the departure of two regulars, Regina Hall and Megan Boone, who play DDAs on the …
EXCLUSIVE: WME is the victor in the very lucrative Dick Wolf sweepstakes. After taking a month and a half following his surprising exit from UTA to ponder his top agency options, the Law & Order creator has signed …
EXCLUSIVE: Dick Wolf Leaves UTA; Source Says He Was “Frustrated & Nervous”; Why He Could Sign With ICM, WME, Or CAA
UPDATE From Nikki Finke: “Dick has been unhappy for a while,” one source is telling me as the reason behind Dick Wolf leaving UTA, his agency of 11 years. (Deadline TV Editor Nellie Andreeva broke the news today. See below.) Wolf was close with Peter Benedek and had a friendship with Tracey Jacobs there. But in the end, when it comes to Wolf, it’s all about network series, and “he was frustrated and nervous,” one of my sources explains, which says more about Wolf as a producer after all his success than about UTA’s ability as an agency. “More than anything, he was always frustrated that he couldn’t get any non-Law & Order show on the air in recent years and that he couldn’t build a franchise outside. And he was very frustrated that NBC didn’t give Law & Order classic another year so it could become the longest running American drama series of all time [instead of tied with Gunsmoke]. He’s also worried: he sees that Criminal Intent is in its last cycle next year, that LOLA is not coming out of the gate like gangbusters, and that SVU is fading so that if NBC wasn’t in such terrible straits it wouldn’t even last another 2-3 years even though Dick is the master of stretching those. Look, you know the man, he’s a very vibrant, virile, alpha male-type guy. I’m sure he wanted UTA to shake some nuts off the tree and get more stuff going for him.”