EXCLUSIVE: Sixteen years after Ellen DeGeneres came out on her ABC sitcom, there may be another broadcast comedy with a lesbian …
Young ‘Ellen’ Stars Sophia Grace & Rosie To Topline NBC Comedy & Feature Produced By Ellen DeGeneres
EXCLUSIVE: Are these the next Olsen twins? Ellen standouts Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland, are getting their own primetime show, which will be executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres. It is part of the big plans DeGeneres’ company, A Very Good Production, has for the young cousins. It also is producing a direct-to-video feature toplined by the pint-sized stars who have emerged as one of the biggest ratings draws on DeGeneres’ talk show.
Sophia Grace, 10, and Rosie, 7, are set to star in a comedy series project that has been set up at NBC with a script commitment. A Very Good Prods is producing in association with Warner Bros TV, where the company is based, with DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman executive producing. Search is underway for a writer to hone in on a premise. In the movie, written by Erik Patterson & Jessica Scott and directed by Brian Levant, Sophia Grace and Rosie, playing versions of themselves, are sent to be correspondents at a royal coronation: one of three princesses is going to be chosen to lead the country. The two girls find themselves caught up in royal intrigue as they help the best candidate win the throne. Production on the film, done through Warner Bros’ home video division, starts next month.
Listen to (and share) episode 38 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about whether Lovelace can do for VOD movies what House Of Cards did for VOD TV; the below-the-line boost that may have put Cheryl Boone Isaacs at the top of the Motion Picture Academy; what to expect from Ellen DeGeneres as the Oscar host; and the latest Emmy chat as final-round voting gets underway. Pete also gives his take on the week’s movie debuts, including Neil Blomkamp’s thinking man’s sci-fi film Elysium, Pixar’s animated sort-of sequel Planes, and young-adult book adaptation Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
Related: Ellen DeGeneres To Host Oscars
Ellen DeGeneres landed an Emmy nomination for hosting the 79th Academy Awards in 2007. Here’s her opening monologue from that ceremony, which drew 39.92 million viewers. Check it out:
UPDATED: Ellen DeGeneres just tweeted she will be hosting the Oscars this year. It will be her second stint in the job, after hosting the 2007 ceremony and earning an Emmy nomination for it. “It’s official: I’m hosting the #Oscars! I’d like to thank @TheAcademy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra“, the comedian and talk show host said on her Twitter feed just now.
The announcement of DeGeneres as host comes just a couple of days after the election of Cheryl Boone Isaacs, only the third woman to head the Academy in its 86-year history. There are also now 14 women elected to the Board Of Governors, a record number, and a woman – Dawn Hudson — serves as CEO, so it seems appropiate with the well-publicized efforts to bring diversity in all its forms that a woman should return to host the show. DeGeneres would seem the perfect — and safe — choice to host this year particularly after Seth MacFarlane’s controversial stint for the 85th Oscars, which drew strong ratings but also some criticism especially for his satirical musical number “We Saw Your Boobs” which some saw as offensive to women.
When she first hosted in 2007 it was noted that DeGeneres also became the first openly gay or lesbian host. During the telecast she actually talked about diversity. “What a wonderful night, such diversity in the room, in a year when there’s been so many negative things said about people’s race, religion, and sexual orientation. And I want to put it out there: If there weren’t blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars, or anyone named Oscar, when you think about that,” she joked.
Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said they are longtime friends with the star and have been looking for a way to work with her. They obviously found one and kept the news under wraps until the new President was chosen. When I interviewed Boone Isaacs on Wednesday and asked her if she had ideas about the host or when it would be announced, she said she would be meeting with Zadan and Meron later that day to discuss it and their ideas for the show but at that point had no idea what the producers had in store. Things obviously happened quickly after that and the Academy moved to get the announcement out even as DeGeneres is on vacation according to one source I spoke with inside the Academy. “I agreed with Craig and Neil immediately that Ellen is the ideal host for this year’s show,” said Boone Isaacs in the Academy’s official release issued a few minutes after Ellen first tweeted the news.
Of course DeGeneres, a double-digit Emmy winner, was also nominated for an Emmy for her Oscar-hosting stint in the now-defunct category of Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. She also famously hosted the Emmys in November 2001 after the show was canceled twice in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. She returned to host the Emmys in 2005, just three weeks after Hurricane Katrina. She also hosted the Grammys in 1996 and 1997.
Here’s the Academy’s official release:
Studio executive-turned-producer Jeff Kleeman has been tapped to run A Very Good Production, Ellen DeGeneres’ Warner Bros. TV Group-based production company. Kleeman succeeds Lauren Corrao who left in June after two years on the job. Kleeman will shepherd development …
Warner Bros’ daytime syndication hopeful Bethenny, starring reality star Bethenny Frankel, got off to an encouraging start for its six-week test run on Fox stations in six markets. In its first airing yesterday, the talk show averaged a 1.5/5 in the overnight metered households, up 36% from its lead-in in the six markets and improving its time periods by 88% vs. last year. In women 25-54, Bethenny was up 67% from its lead-in and 200% vs. last year. So far it has been the highest-rated daytime talker tested on the Fox stations. Not surprisingly, Bethenny performed best in New York, Frankel’s home market, where it scored a 1.9/7 on WNYW, finishing third in the 11 AM hour behind ABC’s The View and CBS’ The Price Is Right. The only market where Bethenny fell from its lead-in was Philadelphia, where it averaged a 1.8/7 in homes, down from Wendy‘s 2.5/9.
The pro-family advocacy group One Million Moms has apparently halted its ill-advised attempt to pressure JC Penney to drop comedienne and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman. The group’s director, Monica Cole, told the website …
EXCLUSIVE: The Ellen DeGeneres-produced comedy starring her wife Portia de Rossi, which sparked a bidding war in September, is going to pilot. But in a twist, the order is at ABC and not at NBC, where the pitch was originally sold with a put pilot commitment. I hear that, in a quick turnaround, ABC has snatched the multi-camera comedy titled The Smart One after NBC passed. The project, written by Samantha Who? co-creator/executive producer Don Todd, is about dueling sisters. Arrested Development and Ally McBeal alumna de Rossi plays one of them, a brilliant and successful woman who has to go to work for her less brainy but more popular sister — a former beauty queen, weather girl … and now big-city mayor. DeGeneres and Todd are executive producing with Lauren Corrao. The project hails from Warner Bros TV and DeGeneres’ studio-based production company A Very Good Production. It marks the first pilot order for A Very Good Production, in its first development season under a multi-year deal with WBTV, where it’s run by former Comedy Central president of original programming Corrao.