EXCLUSIVE: “We’re on the hunt for a drama series next,” Spike TV EVP Original Series Sharon Levy told Deadline a month ago when the network made its return to scripted programming with a green light to event series Tut. The network has added another hopeful to its drama development slate, suspense thriller The Chairman, executive produced by actor Julian McMahon, Electus‘ Ben Silverman and former AMC executive-turned-producer Jeremy Elice. I hear the project is being eyed as a potential starring vehicle for Nip/Tuck alum McMahon.
Based on the Stephen Frey novel and to be adapted by Mergers & Acquisitions author and Vanity Fair contributor Dana Vachon, Chairman tells the story of Christian Gillette, a charismatic Gulf War veteran who takes over a billion-dollar private equity fund after its founder’s mysterious death. As his new powers open secret doors he realizes that the world of apparently gentrified Manhattan finance is closely tied to the brutal realm of war that still haunts him — and that some of its most dangerous players are now his inherited enemies.
Frey, who himself is a managing director at a private equity firm, has set most of his novels in the financial world, including the Gillette series of four books, launched by The Chairman. Silverman, McMahon, Elice and Vachon executive produce with David Schiff and ROAR’s Greg Suess, while Electus’ Sean Canino serves as co-exec producer. Read More »
Classic hidden camera reality series Candid Camera is returning to television with a new incarnation at TV Land from the series’ long-time host, Peter Funt, son of creator and original host Allen Funt, and Electus‘ Ben Silverman. The cable network has ordered 10 episodes to air this summer. “The show is full of joyful laughter that catches you off guard and leaves you in high spirits — exactly the outlook that our brand embodies,” TV Land president Larry W. Jones said.
With its signature catch phrase, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”, Candid Camera introduced the hidden camera concept to television in 1948, and the series continued in several iterations over the course of more than 50 years. Silverman, a fan of the original show, tracked down the format to WME and partnered with Funt to develop a new version. The project landed at TV Land, which had been looking for comedic reality ideas. Being on TV Land, a network celebrating classic television, Candid Camera will likely feature classic clips from the past decades. But the show will mainly be “about delivering a fresh show for today’s audiences with great bits,” Silverman said. There have been a lot of hidden camera shows since Candid Camera. “Most of those derivative series were mean and had more of a ‘gotcha’ vibe,” Silverman said, noting that the new … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Objective Productions, the All3Media-owned, London-based production company behind Channel 4’s hit comedy series Peep Show and TLC’s Secret Princes, is ramping up its U.S. operation, bringing in Electus’ Head of Creative Development Jimmy Fox to run it. Fox has been named EVP of Objective USA, overseeing all aspects of unscripted and scripted development and reporting to Objective Productions founder Andrew O’Connor. He starts in February and will be based at All3Media America‘s offices in Los Angeles. “Jimmy Fox has a proven record of success in delivering outstanding programming across a variety of genres,” O’Connor said. Added Eli Holzman, president of All3Media America: “Jimmy is one of the most talented creative executives working in television today. He is exactly the kind of producer we have been looking to recruit to lead the U.S. operation of the brilliant and prolific Objective Productions.”
Related: All3Media America Restores Studio Lambert USA, Hires Creative Executive To Run It
Fox joins Objective from IAC-owned Electus, where he had been since the company’s 2009 launch, following founder Ben Silverman after working for him at NBC. As Head Of Creative Development, Fox oversaw Electus’ scripted and unscripted portfolio. He co-created and executive produced hit TBS reality series King Of The Nerds, ABC’s Bet On Your Baby – which just got renewed … Read More »
ABC has ordered eight episodes of Bet On Your Baby for Season 2. Baby Daddy‘s Melissa Peterman hosts the game show that challenges parents to try to predict their child’s next move in an effort to win money for their child’s future education. Bet On Your Baby is produced by Ben Silverman‘s Electus and 5×5 Media, who together co-produce NBC’s Fashion Star and TBS’ King Of The Nerds. Electus International, the global distribution arm of Electus, will distribute the series internationally. During its first season, Bet On Your Baby found success as part of the network’s spring weekend lineup.
Multimedia studio Electus is teaming with fellow IAC property CollegeHumor Media to form Electus Digital. Drew Buckley, Electus’ COO, will oversee the new division, which will encompass website properties CollegeHumor.com, Dorkly.com and WatchLOUD.com; YouTube channels WatchLOUD, Nuevon and Hungry; and production companies dumbdumb and Big Breakfast. The latter is a newly formed full-service production company from CollegeHumor Originals. It will focus on the development of feature-length films, TV programming and new-media projects for Electus Digital and CollegeHumor.com, and it will create original content including via a development deal with TBS that is bringing the CollegeHumor series Jake And Amir to TV. It will be run by CollegeHumor president of original content Sam Reich. “This configuration represents a combination of the best of creative execution and distribution on the digital landscape,” Buckley said today in a release announcing Electus Digital’s formation. “As one team, we are now able to deliver even more inventive, high-quality programming to more fans across all platforms.”
Reich, who most recently was president of Original Content at CollegeHumor, established the CollegeHumor Originals department in 2006. He has since been responsible for the creative and production of all of the site’s original videos including overseeing the creation of web series including Jake And Amir. “Since we started making original video content in 2006, we’ve kept Sam and his team in-house as our own little secret. Breaking them out should really unlock their potential,” says Ricky Van Veen, co-founder of CollegeHumor.com. “It’s funny how many new projects have come together since we moved … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After making its first ever single-camera comedy pilot order last year to I’m Not Dead Yet, written by Frasier alum Jon Sherman and produced by Electus, the cable network is re-teaming with Sherman and Electus for a new comedy project, which has been put on fast-track development. The untitled workplace comedy revolves around a 30-something woman as she navigates the executive ranks among her old-school male counterparts while her 20-something male assistant tries to make it amid his female-dominated peers – two fish, a big corporate pond, and very little water. “Jon’s contemporary take on a workplace comedy is a universal concept that we are really excited to explore,” said TV Land EVP Keith Cox. “With him and the Electus team at the helm, we can’t wait to see the uncomfortable situations the characters will face and what comedic boundaries they will push.” Sherman executive produces the project with Electus’ Ben Silverman and Jimmy Fox. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sofia Vergara and Luis Balaguer’s Latin World Entertainment and Ben Silverman’s Electus have teamed with Royal Pains co-creator Andrew Lenchewski and writer Benjamin Brand for Speak American, a half-hour comedy that has been sold to Fox. Universal Cable Prods, where Lenchewski is under an overall deal, is producing. Written by Brand (IFC’s Bollywood Hero), Speak American centers on America Aviles, a young accent-reduction teacher of Latin descent who hires a stranger with unconventional methods to teach her class. Brand and Lenchewski originally developed Speak American at USA with the lead of European heritage. The two then changed direction and approached Silverman and Modern Family star Vergara, who have extensive experience in Latino-themed projects. Silverman executive produced ABC’s Ugly Betty, based on a Colombian telenovela, and he and Vergara executive produce ABC’s upcoming drama Killer Women, based on an Argentine series. They also have partnered on their premium YouTube channel, NuevOn along with an Electus/LatinWE partnership to bring programming formats to the U.S. Read More »
Barry Poznick, co-founder and co-CEO of Zoo Prods, is going out on his own, launching Barracuda Television Prods. The new production company has entered a partnership with Electus to develop and produce unscripted programming. Poznick spent the last two decades at Zoo Prods., which he co-founded with John Stevens in 1994, generating such series as Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Buckwild and Family Game Night. Additionally, Poznick has also hosted OWN’s Are You Normal, America?. The deal was brokered by CAA and Jeanne Newman.
Corie Henson was previously VP Alternative Series at ABC Entertainment, where she oversaw production for such series as Dancing With The Stars, Shark Tank and the Extreme Makeover franchise. In the newly created position, she will oversee all of Electus’ unscripted TV business including current series Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls (NBC), Dog And Beth (CMT), The Hero (TNT), and the upcoming Food Fighters (NBC) hosted by Adam Richman. She will start in mid-September and report to Electus CEO Chris Grant. Henson previously produced Big Brother for CBS, as well as NBC’s reality series Grease: You’re the One That I Want!, and Fox’s On Air With Ryan Seacrest.
Did you miss some of Deadline’s top TV stories of the week? Check them out here:
CW In Talks For ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Drama By ‘Heroes” Creator Tim Kring
By Nellie Andreeva - EXCLUSIVE: The summer of Wizard Of Oz continues with another sale of a high-profile Oz-themed drama project.
Ryan Seacrest Booed By Broncos Fans During NBC’s NFL Pregame Show: Video
By Lisa De Moraes - NBC continues its Overexposing Ryan Seacrest campaign — this time the network had The Man Who Can’t Say No open NBC’s regular-season NFL football franchise kickoff last night, in which he got loudly booed by Broncos fans in Denver’s Sports Authority Stadium.
Were Consumers The Biggest Losers In The CBS-Time Warner Cable Dispute?
By David Lieberman - It sure looks that way. Millions of Time Warner Cable customers lost CBS-owned stations and channels for a month, and will still probably see their monthly rates rise to accommodate the deal that the companies made last night.
Fired ‘Storage Wars’ Star Scores A Win Over A&E In Lawsuit
By Dominic Patten – Dave Hester can move forward with the wrongful termination portion of his wide-ranging lawsuit against A&E and the producers of Storage Wars, a judge ruled today. Read More »
NBC has inked a deal with Ben Silverman’s IAC-owned company Electus to develop three telenovelas with an eye toward airing one as a 13-episode series — with multiple episodes running each week, following telenovelas’ traditional air pattern. That would mark a rare stripped primetime run for an original scripted series on a U.S. English-language network. “We believe there is huge potential for telenovelas to be adapted and developed for American viewers,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “These stories clearly have resonance across all cultures and nationalities.”
NBC and Electus have identified the first project to be developed under the pact, The Black Widow, from writer Sri Rao (General Hospital: Night Shift). It is an adaptation of the hit Venezuelan telenovela La Viuda Joven, which premiered in 2011 and aired 142 episodes around the world. (See the Spanish-language trailer below.) Created by Martin Hahn, it centers on the stunning Rojas aka Baroness, who is investigated in the mysterious deaths of all four of her husbands. Read More »
UPDATED: The Weinstein Co. and Electus‘ Marco Polo series is on the move. I’ve learned that Netflix has made an offer for a 9-episode order to the original drama about the 13th century explorer. According to sources close to the negotiations, there is no deal in place yet because Harvey Weinstein also is considering a feature version of the project, which is fully financed, and is deciding between the two options. Marco Polo originally was set up at Starz, which gave it a 10-episode straight-to-series order in January 2012. The series was supposed to film in China, something no other U.S. show has done, which proved a complex and difficult proposition. I hear the potential series will film in Malaysia. Seven scripts already have been written, with casting on track to begin right away for a production start in the first quarter. The Weinstein Co. and Electus took out the project after it was released to them by Starz, the pay cable network confirmed.With the delays caused by the efforts to film in China, Starz has built a full slate for 2014 with 50 hours of original programming, making it difficult to find space for another series. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In one of the first buys for this coming season, the CW has put in development Jane The Virgin, a drama based on the Venezuelan telenovela Juana La Virgen. Jennie Snyder Urman, creator of the CW’s drama series Emily Owens, MD, is set to write the adaptation for CBS TV Studios, where she is under an overall deal, and Ben Silverman’s Electus. Urman, Silverman, Gary Pearl and Jorge Granier executive produce. The CW project centers on Jane, a hard-working, religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated.
Juana La Virgen, created by Perla Farias, was a hit in its original run on Venezuelan broadcaster RCTV in 2002 where it drew an average of 39.1% share, topping the competition by a wide margin. It also did very well in Brazil, Spain, Colombia and Mexico and has been translated into 9 languages. In the U.S., Juana aired on Univision and is available on Hulu (get a glimpse of the first episode below). Read More »
The erstwhile Man Vs. Wild host will headline and co-produce extreme adventure competition series Get Out Alive with Electus via his Bear Grylls Ventures. NBC has ordered eight episodes for the primetime series that will debut next summer. Details are scant about the show except that it intends to set teams of two to be tested “beyond their most extreme imaginations in the wild.” Grylls added, “The goal is to empower people with the ultimate in both survival and teamwork, and that brings incredible reward… but first there must be some pain.” Grylls and Man Vs. Wild network Discovery parted ways earlier this year over a contract dispute.
EXCLUSIVE: Dog The Bounty Hunter is back. CMT has greenlighted Dog (working title), a new unscripted series starring Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth Chapman. CMT has ordered 10 hourlong episodes of the project, from Ben Silverman’s Electus. Dog is set to begin production in early 2013 for a spring/summer premiere.
Dog showcases the next chapter in the lives of the Chapmans as they concentrate on helping other mom-and-pop bail bond agencies facing extinction due to bad legislation, untrained or ineffective bounty hunters, or just plain bad decisions. In what the producers describe as “action-packed, adrenaline-fueled adventure,” the duo will crisscross the U.S. training bounty hunters while looking for the most cunning, notorious and dangerous fugitive. CMT’s EVP Development and Programming Jayson Dinsmore called Dog “a game-changer for CMT,” adding, “We were aggressive in our pursuit of a show featuring Dog and Beth, one of the most bankable teams in television history.”
The duo were already game-changers for one basic cable network. Dog the Bounty Hunter, chronicling the Chapmans’ exploits chasing down fugitives, was a breakout hit for A&E when it launched in 2004 and helped establish the network as a place for docu-reality series. The show ended its run in June after eight seasons. “Dog and Beth are not only great television characters, they are the best bounty hunters in the world, and this show is a natural evolution of their life story,” Electus CEO Chris Grant said. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Starz has signed an exploratory deal with Ben Silvrman’s Electus to search together for premium network-suited unscripted programming that would compliment Starz’s original programing slate.
Electus sought the partnership with Starz after taking a look at the TV landscape and seeing a void in the unscripted space on premium cable, Electus CEO Chris Grant said. So far, reality TV’s presence on premium cable has been limited to sports documentaries (HBO’s 24/7 and Hard Knocks, Showtime’s The Franchise) and erotic fare (HBO’s Real Sex). That is not a direction Electus and Starz want to follow. “We are looking for tentpole ideas with strong dynamic characters, a little bit of danger and unprecedented access; we want to tell stories that couldn’t be told elsewhere,” Grant said, adding that he and Electus’ development team are hoping to hear from reality producers who have come up with ideas or have encountered great personalities which they couldn’t turn into series because of the constrains of ad-supported TV.
The pact with Starz came out of Electus’ close relationship with the pay cable network where it is developing several projects, one of them, drama Marco Polo, already greenlighted to series. The network and Electus are looking to emulate the introduction of original programming to pay cable networks’ slates, something Starz’s CEO Chris Albrecht has strong background in through his stints at HBO and Starz. “There was time when … Read More »
Will Arnett and Jason Bateman’s advertising and digital production company DumbDumb is behind the online talk show for Denny’s restaurants as well as campaigns for Orbit and Old Navy. They will produce up to six short-form comedy videos for TBS.com featuring sponsor integration and DumbDumb’s star power (Sarah Silverman, Amy Poehler, Will Forte and Kristen Bell have appeared in ads in the past) to push the video virally via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube among other platforms. Read More »
Ben Silverman’s Electus is teaming with Dwayne Johnson on TV and social media competition series The Hero. The show will lead a search for the next great hero by setting ordinary people on a high-stakes global adventure. Three teams will simultaneously be stationed on three different continents where they will face moral dilemmas testing their courage, leadership skills and self-sacrifice limits. The show was created by Craig Armstrong and Rick Ringbakk of 5×5 Media and Silverman. It’s exec produced by Electus, 5×5, Charles Wachter, WME-repped Johnson and Dany Garcia. Electus International has worldwide distribution.