EXCLUSIVE: Merritt Patterson (Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief) has been cast in E!‘s first scripted series The Royals, which stars Elizabeth Hurley and was ordered to series in March. Patterson will play an American girl whose father is the head of security for the fictional royal family in modern day London. She is in a clandestine relationship with the prince (William Moseley) much to the dismay of the disapproving queen (Hurley). Vincent Regan, Alexandra Park, Tom Austen, Jake Maskall, Ukweli Roach and Oliver Milburn round out the cast, which is now set. The one-hour drama series will debut in 2015, and production begins this month on location in the UK. Mark Schwahn (One Tree Hill) is writing and directing, and Brian Robbins and Joe Davola are executive producing. Patterson is repped by ICM Partners, Mosaic and KC Talent.
Related: Hot TV Teaser: E!’s ‘The Royals’
E! has extended its overall deal with one of the network’s top personalities, Giuliana Rancic, for two more years, through April 2016. As part of the agreement, Rancic will continue as anchor and managing editor of E! News. Additionally, she currently hosts E!’s Live From The Red Carpet specials, anchors interview series Beyond Candid With Giuliana; serves as co-host on Fashion Police; and toplines with husband Bill Rancic their long-running reality show Giuliana & Bill, which originated on E! sibling Style. “Giuliana has been an important part of the E! family for twelve years now and we are thrilled to extend her overall deal with the network,” said Cyndi McClellan, President, Network Strategy & E! News. “Giuliana brings not only a wealth of experience to the air, but also a fun, relatable and candid energy that makes her a fan favorite amongst E! viewers and incredibly popular across the entertainment community.”
Rancic isn’t the only E! personality whose contract is up this year. That list includes Ryan Seacrest, who has been in talks for a new NBCUniversal deal, and Chelsea Lately host Chelsea Handler, who has said she plans to depart the network at the end of the year. Read More »
E! is making a regal entry into scripted programming. The network has picked up one of its first two scripted pilots, The Royals starring Elizabeth Hurley, to series. The one-hour drama, about a fictional British Royal family set in modern London that is informed by the regal opulence of the British monarchy and framed by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, hails from Lionsgate and a trio of One Tree Hill alums. OTH creator Mark Schwahn wrote and directed Royals, which he is executive producing with Brian Robbins and Joe Davola. Getting reality focused E! into the scripted space had been a priority for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment topper Bonnie Hammer. Sibling cable channel Bravo had been put on a similar path and just greenlighted its first scripted series, Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce. E!’s second pilot, musical drama Songbyrd, remains in contention. “The Royals will offer a fictional look behind the very public gilded façade of the palace gates to imagine the private, lush, fun, sexy world of the most-watched celebrity family on the planet,” said E! EVP Original Programming and development Jeff Olde said. Added the network’s scripted executive Kevin Plunkett who spearheads E!’s scripted efforts, “This is a big idea and Mark, Brian, Joe and the Lionsgate team delivered.” Read More »
UPDATE, 7:15 PM: E! has responded to the Michael J. Fox graphic it put up during the Golden Globes preshow: “We regret the insensitive classification of Michael J Fox’s Parkinson’s diagnosis during our Eonline live stream. We understand the serious nature of the disease and sincerely apologize.”
71st Golden Globes: Live Blogging From Deadline’s Film Team
OOPS: Expletive Makes It On The Air In NBC’s Golden Globes Telecast
PREVIOUS: The folks at E! probably wish they could go back to the future to undo this. During its endless coverage of the Golden Globes red carpet tonight, this unfortunate graphic popped up on the screen:
Golden Globes Winners: The Complete List
GALLERY: Golden Globes 2014
EXCLUSIVE: Actor-director Andrew McCarthy is set to direct E!’s pilot Songbyrd. This marks the pilot directing debut of McCarthy, who replaces the project’s original director Michael Morris who fell out a month ago. The music-themed Songbyrd, created/exec produced by Krista Vernoff and exec produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, centers on songwriter Lauren Byrd (Bethany Joy Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Diane Warren, and her staff. Eighties heartthrob McCarthy has been focusing on TV directing for the past couple of years, most recently helming three episodes of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. He is with Verve.
She may have called striking Fashion Police scribes “schmuck writers” and “idiots”, and was slammed earlier this week by the WGA East, but a “stunned” Joan Rivers today says she is “supportive of the striking writers” (read the full statement below). The comedian also says she “just learned that E! and the WGA are having an election” on the over 6-month labor action and hopes the FP writers will soon be covered by a WGA contract. Here’s her statement:
I am stunned by the WGAE’s recent personal attacks and allegations that I breached the Settlement Agreement in connection with the WGAE Charges. I am supportive of the striking writers. I am hopeful that the writers will soon be covered by a WGA Contract as I have just learned that E! and the WGA are having an election in early December. As a long standing member of the WGAE, I am greatly confused and disturbed by Mr. Winship’s unprofessional and hurtful statements about my character – It is time for the focus to be on getting the writers a contract, not using me as a scapegoat.
According to Ms. Rivers’ counsel at the law firm of Loeb & Loeb, “Joan Rivers has fully complied with the terms of the Settlement Agreement. The statements that Mr. Winship attributes to Ms. Rivers do not violate the Settlement Agreement.”
The seemingly about-face remarks come a day after WGAE president Michael Winship called her out for “reprehensible” comments about the FP writers in an online interview last week. “We are exploring all options,” Winship added Thursday about possible repercussions. Read More »
So for once a Kardashian doesn’t want some video of herself out there – at least not yet. Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ Kim and hubby-to be Kanye West today filed a complaint in LA Superior Court against YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley for filming the rapper’s October 21 marriage proposal to the E! star and putting it online. The breach of contract, fraud and unjust enrichment filing (read it here) seeks a jury trial as well as unspecified damages galore and gate crasher Hurley handing over any profits he might have made from putting the proposal at San Fran’s AT&T Park up on his new Mixbit site. It seems the duo didn’t want anyone but their own crews filming anything because the footage of the event was intended for M Cable Television, an offshoot of Keeping producers Bunim/Murray and E! – which means you likely would be seeing it soonish on the long running reality series.
“Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are entertainers. Entertainers get paid for their work,” says the complaint, at least telling us Kim’s real status. Slagged as a tech one-hit wonder in the complaint, Hurley actually did sign a confidentially agreement when he tagged along to the invite only event with a friend. There’s a pic of him with it in the filing. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Morris has fallen out of directing Songbyrd, one of E!‘s first two scripted pilots. Morris, who previously directed seven episodes of NBC’s Smash, was to reunite with Smash executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who executive produce the music-themed Songbyrd that centers on songwriter Lauren Byrd (Bethany Joy Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Diane Warren, and her staff. The move comes amid controversy surrounding photos released on Tuesday of Morris, a married father of three, kissing Smash star Katharine McPhee. Ironically, Morris’ most recent credit is directing the second episode of ABC’s new drama Betrayal, which chronicles an extramarital affair.
As part of the deal struck today between Joan Rivers and the WGA East, the Fashion Police host said that she will not “render any writing services even though as a comedian and SAG-AFTRA host, I often write material for myself.” The WGA East had set an October 14 disciplinary hearing in New York to determine whether the E! host violated the union’s rules by writing and performing showrunner duties for the E! Network show during its current writers strike. Action could have resulted in Rivers becoming the first member of that guild to be tossed, and she had called the trial board hearing “a bunch of bullsh*t“. Former writers for show have been on strike since mid-April for over $1 million in back wages and overtime. Rivers and the network contend have that Rivers played no part in the situation that led to the dispute. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: E!‘s Hamlet has found his Ophelia. Haley Lu Richardson (Ravenswood) has been cast in the network’s pilot The Royals, a contemporary drama about a fictional royal family informed by the regal opulence of the British monarchy and framed by Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Also cast in the pilot, from Lionsgate TV and creator Mark Schwahn, is Australian newcomer Alexandra Park (Home and Away). The Royals centers on Prince Liam (William Moseley) who is thrust in the spotlight after his older brother, the beloved Prince Robert, is killed in a military training accident. Liam is in love with a young American woman, Ophelia (Richardson), the daughter of the royal family’s head of security who is studying art history and dance and who helps him cope with the loss of his brother and his new position as the next King of England. But her secret romance with Liam will bring her into conflict with the Queen (Liz Hurley). In her U.S. debut, Park, repped by Silver Lining, UTA and Australia’s Rise Media, will play the queen’s daughter and Liam’s sister, Princess Eleanor, the sexy princess with a party hard lifestyle. Richardson is with Gersh and Coast to Coast.
ABC has quickly filled the vacancy atop its unscripted department, closing a deal with former E! Entertainment president of entertainment programming Lisa Berger to replace John Saade, who exited on Friday. She will be holding the same title, EVP Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night, overseeing development and current programming in those three areas.
Related: ABC Head Of Reality John Saade Exits; Lisa Berger Eyed
At ABC, Berger will be charged with finding new reality hits; besides Shark Tank, the network’s only other successful unscripted franchises on the air — Dancing With The Stars and The Bachelor – are more than a decade old. None of the network’s reality efforts over the past couple of years have stuck though there have been modest successes like Secret Millionaire and The Taste. Read More »
Jeff Olde, who joined E! as EVP Programming & Development in early July, has put together his team with several promotions within the department. Blythe Asher has been upped to SVP Talent Development & Casting. Damla Dogan will continue to serve as SVP Programming & Development, while Leela Pon has been promoted to VP Programming & Development. Asher, Dogan and Pon report to Olde. Other promotions include Missy Fox to Director, Programming & Development and Julie St. Aubin to Manager, Programming & Development, both reporting to Dogan. On the scripted side, Kevin Plunkett continues to serve as SVP Scripted Programming, reporting to Olde, and Kate Hoenigsberg has been promoted to Director, Scripted Programming, reporting to Plunkett. Read More »
The cast of Ellen Kardashian’s legal fight with her deceased husband’s children and ex-wife just had some marquee names added. Today a defamation and infliction of emotion distress complaint was filed against Ryan Seacrest Productions and Bunim-Murray Productions in LA Superior Court (read it here) The Kardashian clan of Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Robert Jr and mother Kris Jenner were also named, as was Jenner Communications. The Keeping Up With Kardashians producer and American Idol host was not personally named as a defendant. Very similar to a motion for counterclaim that Ellen Kardashian/Pearson filed in federal court in July, today’s 20-page complaint alleges that the widow of Robert Kardashian is the victim of a manufactured reality TV plotline from earlier this year by the clan and the production companies and a “manufactured lawsuit” in filed in federal court in April. Kardashian/Pearson withdrew her federal motion for counterclaim earlier this month with a window open to file it again if she wanted to. Seeking damages of $500,000, the Kardashian suit against their ex-stepmother claimed that Kardashian/Pearson, who married the family patriarch two months before he died of cancer in 2003, was engaged in a ”despicable and unlawful scheme” to sell family photos of the children and parts of their father’s diary to the tabloids. Read More »
The veteran comedienne and longtime Writers Guild of America member doesn’t want to talk, she wants to call the union out. “This is such a bunch of bullshit. E! should hire Anthony Weiner to work with these people. He’d fit right in,” Joan Rivers said in a statement Friday about the WGA East setting a trial board hearing over her role on Fashion Police. Variety first reported the statement by Rivers. Three unnamed judges will determine if Rivers “violated the union’s rules by writing and by performing showrunner duties for the E! Network show Fashion Police.” The result of the hearing, which will go to the WGA East council for final affirmation or rejection, holds serious implications for both Rivers and the guild because WGA members are not permitted to work on non-union shows. The WGA East first announced back on July 10 that it was taking the opening salvo disciplinary measure. Former writers for the E! Entertainment show have been out on strike since mid April for over $1 million in back wages and overtime. Since they first filed claims with California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in early April, the non-unionized FP writers have been backed by the WGA in their fight. On April 10, the writers added Rivers’ production company to their claims. Both Rivers’ management and E! have said repeatedly … Read More »
Ellen Pearson says that she and the courts are the victims of a manufactured reality TV plotline by the Kardashian clan and she wants Lady Justice to let her state her case. The widow and third wife of Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe’s father Robert Kardashian today filed a motion (read it here) in federal court to be allowed to file counterclaims against the Ryan Seacrest-produced E! series stars’ April copyright complaint against her. A complaint Pearson’s lawyer says was all for the cameras of the supposedly unscripted Keeping Up With The Kardashians. ”Episode 2 from Season 8 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, entitled Enough is Enough (“Episode”) first aired on or about June 8, 2013…the filing of this entire lawsuit by the Kardashians was nothing more than part of a carefully orchestrated aspect of the Episode. The entire saga culminating in the filing of the complaint in this action was orchestrated off screen by the Kardashians and then scripted for the Episode,” says the 17-page motion. Pearson has requested that her motion be heard on August 12, 2013 in downtown LA. She wants to counterclaim Defamation, Public Disclosure of Private Facts, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Civil Harassment and Civil Conspiracy to Defame. Producer Seacrest could also see himself and his production company dragged into the proceedings if the motion to … Read More »
UPDATE, 3:05 PM: Joan Rivers‘ reps haven’t heard anything from anyone at the WGA about the TV host violating union rules and any trial board hearing over her role on Fashion Police. And even if they had, they say the union is going after the wrong party. “Other than a press release, nothing has been filed by the WGA,” River’s personal manager Larry Thompson told me today after the union’s announcement this morning. “We have received no communication, notice or any paperwork from anyone at the union. Joan has stated clearly, and E! Networks has repeatedly reconfirmed that Joan supports the Fashion Police writers who are hired by E! Networks Productions, not her. This is an issue between E! and the WGA. She is on-air talent.”
PREVIOUSLY, 8:05 AM: Can we talk? First striking scribes slam her and now the Fashion Police host is in trouble with the Writers Guild itself. The Council of the Writers Guild of America, East announced today that Joan Rivers “violated the union’s rules by writing and by performing showrunner duties for the E! Network show Fashion Police.” The guild voted last week to send these charges against lifetime members Rivers to … Read More »
At the same time as Fashion Police‘s writers have been embroiled in a labor dispute with E! and host Joan Rivers‘ production company, the show has been airing new episodes every week — some of which include material written by the very non-union scribes before they went on strike in the spring. According to E!, the last Fashion Police episode to feature work from the protesting writers aired on April 19 – that’s nearly three weeks after the labor dispute began. In recent months, the fashion-dish panel show has not featured any material from the striking writers says the channel. However, the striking writers have been active on other fronts. There was a protest outside E!’s Wilshire HQ in late May. Today the scribes, who are seeking more than $1 million in back wages and are backed by the WGA in the fight, appeared in a 3-minute video today talking about Rivers’ lack of support. “Actions speak louder than words: If Joan supported the writers this would be over,” scribe Jackie Beat said. Not so, says E! “Joan Rivers has been and remains emphatically supportive of the writers. Her company does not produce Fashion Police nor set the compensation of E! Networks Productions’ writers,” said the channel today Check out the writers’ video here: