ABC Buys Interracial Family Comedy From Lisa Ling And DreamWorks TV

By | Friday October 28, 2011 @ 9:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ABC has bought comedy No. One Son from writer Cindy Caponera (Shameless, Saturday Night Live), Lisa Ling and DreamWorks TV. ABC Studios is producing. The single-camera show is about two completely culturally different families, one Chinese and the … Read More »

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‘Friends’ Co-Creator Marta Kauffman Sets Up 2 Projects At ABC With Big Commitment

By | Wednesday October 26, 2011 @ 10:55am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

In a competitive situation, ABC is finalizing a deal to buy two projects from Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman: one with DreamWorks TV, Red Band Society, and one with Ben Silverman’s Electus, The Avalon. Both are based on international formats and neither is cookie-cutter, traditional broadcast fare. Red Band Society, which Kauffman will write and showrun, is based on the Spanish format Polseres Vermelles and revolves around young hospital patients. The Avalon, which Kauffman will write with Jessica Queller (Gossip Girl), is based on the Pan Asian format The Kitchen Musical and is a musical drama set at a restaurant. Both shows have been laid off at ABC Studios. I hear that ABC made a substantial, seven-figure commitment to Kauffman, which makes a pilot order likely. This marks Kauffman’s first year developing without Warner Bros TV, where she was based for nearly 20 years. She opted not to renew her deal there and take the indie route so she can partner with different companies on different projects and explore both broadcast and cable development. Read More »

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ABC Buys Tracy McMillan’s ‘Why You’re Not Married’ Comedy With Penalty

By | Monday October 24, 2011 @ 6:47pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: From a hit blog post to a book to a TV series. In a competitive situation, ABC has nabbed Tracy McMillan’s single-camera comedy Why You’re Not Married with a script commitment plus penalty. DreamWorks TV, which developed the project, … Read More »

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Legal Drama About Ex-U.S. President Lands At CBS With Penalty

By | Sunday September 25, 2011 @ 6:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

CBS has bought Legacy, a drama project from Jericho co-creator Jonathan E. Steinberg, DreamWorks TV and author James Frey’s book-packaging company Full Fathom Five. The project has received a script commitment plus penalty from the network and has been laid off at CBS TV Studios. It centers on a one-term president who goes back to work at his hometown law firm where he hand-picks the cases that really matter to him. Steinberg, who will write the script, is executive producing with Frey, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Read More »

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Nick Santora Drama About Family Of Robbers Lands At Fox With Penalty

By | Thursday September 22, 2011 @ 7:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

In a competitive situation, Fox has bought The Raiding Party, a drama project from Breakout Kings creator Nick Santora. The project hails from DreamWorks TV, Sony Pictures TV and Santora’s Blackjack Films banner and stems from the premium blind … Read More »

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Showtime Teams With Steven Spielberg And Stephen King For ‘Under The Dome’ Series

By | Tuesday August 30, 2011 @ 11:15am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

In one of Showtime’s most ambitious undertakings, the pay cable network is partnering with Steven Spielberg and Stephen King for Under the Dome, a drama series based on King’s 2009 novel, which will be produced by DreamWorks Television. The supernatural thriller revolves around locals at a Maine vacation spot who battle one another when a force field suddenly surrounds their town and cuts them off from the rest of the world. DreamWorks’ Spielberg and Stacey Snider nabbed the rights to King’s novel shortly after it was published in November 2009 to strong reviews. Search is underway for a writer to write the project, whose executive producers will include King and DreamWorks TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Spielberg has a longstanding relationship with King. He previously teamed with the bestselling author to adapt his 1984 novel The Talisman, which was originally developed as feature and then as a miniseries that was once set up at TNT.

This marks a return to genre series for Showtime, which took a break following the 2003 dramedy Dead Like Me, and the network’s latest collaboration with DreamWorks TV. Read More »

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Second-Season Order For ‘Falling Skies’

By | Thursday July 7, 2011 @ 2:59pm PDT

TNT has ordered a second season of Falling Skies, the alien-invasion drama from Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks TV that premiered last month with 8 million total viewers, making it cable’s top series launch this year. The series, starring Noah Wyle, … Read More »

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Final Thoughts On The Broadcast Upfronts: Wind Of Change

Nellie Andreeva

Exactly 20 years ago, German rock band Scorpions released Wind of Change, which became an anthem for our generation of young Eastern Europeans going through a dramatic political change: the fall of communism. Coming back from the broadcast upfront presentations in New York last week, I’ve been having a hard time getting the catchy tune out of my head. While less far-reaching and profound, there is a clear sense of changing of the guard and a new direction for the broadcast networks this year. I can’t remember a time where the majority of the networks had new heads at their upfront presentations. Paul Lee took over for Steve McPherson at ABC, Bob Greenblatt for Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad at NBC, and Mark Pedowitz is succeeding Dawn Ostroff at the CW. There is a similar changing of the guard among the top TV producers this year. Upstart Chernin Entertainment and DreamWorks TV, which is re-entering the broadcast arena, topped the pods with the most new series, three each, with another recently launched company, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, scoring two new shows. And in its first season, Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods.got one pilot, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, picked up to pilot, with another, Fox’s Family Album, in serious contention. Meanwhile, such longtime upfront fixtures as Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Mark Gordon Co. and Wonderland didn’t land any new series for next season. Read More »

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The Over-Achievers Of This Year’s Upfront

Nellie Andreeva

Here is the second-annual honor roll of the best and brightest at the broadcast upfront. First off, to all who got their pilots picked up to series — congratulations. You’re already winners. This is a list of those who took their upfront success to an extra level:

Whitney Cummings: The undisputed queen of Upfront 2011. She is behind two new comedy series that are among the highest-profile new half-hour entries next fall. She created, stars in and executive produces her eponymous comedy for NBC, which was assigned the network’s best comedy slot, following The Office. She also co-wrote on spec with Michael Patrick King the CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls, which broke records as CBS’ best-testing pilot (comedy or drama) ever. Both were the first comedy pilots to get a series order at their networks. Cummings, who also has a talk show in contention at E!, will serve as an executive producer on 2 Broke Girls but will be full-time on Whitney, which was in first position. I hope that doesn’t impact 2 Broke Girls, which King is expected to run/co-run, because the pilot indeed looks great. Honorable mention in the category of creators with multiple projects for Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. One of their two ABC pilots, Work It, was picked up to series, while the other, Smothered, is very much in contention for midseason.

What a comeback for J.J. Abrams! After his high-profile NBC drama Undercovers went bust last fall, some questioned whether the networks will continue to bet on him. But bet they did this upfront, with both pilots he produced, CBS’ Person of Interest and Fox’s Alcatraz, going to series. Person of Interest instantly became one of the most anticipated new fall series when CBS made it its new Thursday 9 PM anchor. The network also said it was its best-testing drama pilot ever. And over at Fox, Alcatraz prevailed over several high-profile pilots to land one of only two drama series spots. Then, as icing on the cake, Abrams’ modestly rated but well-liked Fox sci-fi series Fringe got a renewal for next season, bringing the producer’s series for next season to three. Read More »

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Debra Messing To Topline NBC Pilot ‘Smash’

Nellie Andreeva

Former Will & Grace star Debra Messing is returning to NBC as the female lead of  another series project set in New York where the male lead is a gay man.

Messing is finalizing a deal to star in NBC’s hourlong … Read More »

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NBC Orders Steven Spielberg Musical Pilot

Nellie Andreeva

New NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt is putting his stamp on the network’s development with a pilot order for a project he originally developed while at Showtime. NBC just greenlighted Smash, an ambitious one-hour musical about the mounting of a … Read More »

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Writers Jeremy Miller And Dan Cohn Ink Slew Of TV Deals

By | Wednesday December 15, 2010 @ 4:33pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Writers Jeremy Miller and Dan Cohn have set up two comedy projects: one at Fox based on a non-fiction book, and one Showtime, which has Ryan Phillippe and Breckin Meyer attached as executive producers. Additionally, the duo has inked two blind deals: one at Warner Bros. in conjunction with … Read More »

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ABC Takes To ‘The River’ With ‘Paranormal Activity’ Filmmaker Oren Peli

By | Thursday September 2, 2010 @ 2:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

You thought a suburban home was scary.  How about the Amazon river? Oren Peli, the writer-director of the indie phenomenon Paranormal Activity, is bringing to primetime The River, a cinema verite-style thriller drama in the vein of Paranormal Activity set on a mysterious river. After a heated bidding between ABC and NBC, the project is close to landing at ABC with a rich put pilot commitment. The TV division of DreamWorks, the studio that discovered Israeli-born video game designer Peli and his $15,000 supernatural thriller Paranormal Activity that ended up grossing almost $200 million worldwide, is producing with ABC Studios. Peli hatched the idea for the project with veteran TV writer Michael R. Perry (Law & Order: SVU) who penned the upcoming Paranormal Activity sequel. Perry is writing the pilot script, with Peli possibly directing. Peli also is executive producing with his producing partners Jason Blum and Steven Schneider as well as Perry and DreamWorks TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. According to one description of the project floating around, The River follows the story of a famed adventuter/tv personality who goes missing and is presumed dead deep in the Amazon. His friends and crew go to look for him on their state-of-the-art research vessel. Read More »

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Allison Miller Cast In Fox’s ‘Terra Nova’

Nellie Andreeva

Allison Miller has become the second actor after Jason O’Mara cast in Fox’s upcoming adventure series Terra Nova. The project, produced by Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin, follows an ordinary family from 2149 led by Jim Shannon (O’Mara) who are transported back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization. Miller will play Skye. Read More »

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Fox Nears Deal For TV Adaptation Of Comic ‘Locke & Key’ With Spielberg Producing

Nellie Andreeva

Fox is finalizing a deal for one of the first major pieces of development this coming development cycle, a Steven Spielberg-produced adaptation of the graphic novel Locke & Key. The project from writer Josh Friedman and producers Alex Kurtzman and … Read More »

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TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’ Books New Regular

By | Friday July 23, 2010 @ 12:57pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Shark alumna Sarah Carter has joined the upcoming TNT/DreamWorks TV sci-fi series Falling Skies as a regular. The Steven Spielberg-produced drama stars Noah Wyle stars as Tom, the leader of a group of soldiers and civilians struggling … Read More »

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