Level 33 Entertainment gave aspiring filmmakers at the South By Southwest Film Festival today reason to consider placing their projects with the upstart film distributor when it announced a deal with The Film Group to release select features at Rave Cinemas and Bow Tie Cinemas. The new relationship kicks off today when Level 33′s Exit Strategy, starring Jameel Saleem, Kimelia Harris, Kevin Hart and radio host Big Boy, at Rave and Bow Tie Cinemas nationwide. The companies are at SXSW looking for films in the urban, horror, faith-based and family genres. Previous Level 33 releases include Easy Rider: The Ride Back and Dance Fu, both in 2011. Rave Cinemas operates close to 1,000 screens in 20 states and most of the largest DMAs. Bow Tie Cinemas, founded in 1900, operates high-end theaters in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado and Virginia.
Midseason Status Report: ‘Breaking In’ Stays Alive With Cast Options Pickup, ‘Common’ & ‘Album’ Keep Some Actors,’Smothered’ Dead
June 30 marked the deadline for TV studios to pick up the options on the casts of broadcast pilots and series whose fate was still in limbo. Good news for fans of Fox’s midseason comedy Breaking In: The options on the series’ actors have been picked up until Nov. 15. And, in a rare move, I hear the network, Fox, has pitched in, splitting the cost of the option extension with producing studio Sony Pictures TV. Fox’s decision to cancel the Christian Slater-starring comedy after a brief midseason run was one of the biggest surprises this past upfront season.
Among the pilots left in contention for midseason, Fox’s comedies Little In Common and Family Album remain in the running for Fox’s two-hour, four-show midseason Tuesday comedy block. But both projects will undergo some tweaking as reflected in their producing studios’ decision to pick up only parts of their casts.
WHO IS STILL ALIVE? ‘Exit Strategy’ Taps Ken Olin As Co-Showrunner; ‘Family Album’ Eyes Midseason Order & More
Between the VIP section of newly picked up series and the pilot of rejected pilots is the no man’s land of pilots that are neither dead nor picked up yet. Here is a rundown on what is still alive and which dead pilots are looking for life elsewhere:
EXIT STRATEGY: Fox passing on the Ethan Hawke-starring action drama pilot was one of the biggest surprises on Tuesday when Fox made its series pickups. But the project, from 20th TV and Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s K/O Paper Products, is very much alive at the network for a possible midseason order. Veteran director-producer Ken Olin has come on board to help with the retooling of the project. He worked with Orci and Kurtzman on Alias where he also met K/O president Heather Kadin, then an ABC exec. Olin is expected to serve as co-showrunner if Exit Strategy is picked up to series. The pilot has been praised for the look established by director Antoine Fuqua but I hear that Fox brass felt the action needed to be infused with more character. Olin is already pitching ideas to do that, working alongside creator David Guggenheim who comes from the feature world and has no TV experience. Besides Hawke, a rare bona fide movie star to agree to do a broadcast series, Exit Strategy has something else going for it – the huge popularity surrounding Seal Team Six, the elite group that killed Osama …
3RD UPDATE: Fox Orders ‘Finder’, ‘Alcatraz’, ‘Daughter’ & ‘New Girl’ To Series, ‘Council’, ‘Locke’, ‘Bellevue’, ‘Outnumbered’ & ‘Iceland’ Dead; ‘Exit’, ‘Album’ & ‘Common’ Still In Play
UPDATE 9 PM: A Locke & Key limited series/miniseries was a stretch, and it seems that it is not happening. The show is now heading to the death pile. And yes, comedy Outnumbered is dead too. Surprisingly, multi-family comedy Little In Common starring Rob Corddry and Kevin Hart, which had stayed largely under the radar, is still very much in the mix.
UPDATE 8 PM: With two high-profile drama pilots, the Ethan Hawke starrer Exit Strategy and Locke & Key, conspicuously missing from the list of series pickups or rejects, speculation started swirling as to their fate. I hear both are still in play. Word is Exit Strategy may be held for retooling. I hear Fox brass felt the pilot had a lot of action and not too much character in it, so they had been looking to shift the focus on the show. As for Locke & Key, there is a rumor that Fox wants to make it into a big-event limited series/miniseries, but it is unclear if that would be financially feasible. Comedy Family Album is still TBD but is not getting an order at this time and may get pushed.
UPDATE 7:30 PM: Fox has picked up a second new comedy series, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, on the same night its star, Jaime Pressly, appears on Fox’s Raising Hope. Meanwhile, three other pilots, medical drama Weekends at Bellevue and comedies Council of Dads and Iceland, are dead.
The marathon pilot screenings at the broadcast networks are in full force. While they are rarely the deciding factor in the networks’ final series pickup decisions, they help solidify early standouts’ frontrunner positions and sometimes breathe life into pilots that might have been written off too soon. Here are some updates I heard today. (If some pilots, like ALCATRAZ and POE, are not mentioned in this update, they are in the one from yesterday, so check out that one too.)
The only element of uncertainly about GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES‘ future as a new ABC series next season seems to be what it will be called as it will definitely won’t be GCB. After a great screening today, the dramedy executive produced by Darren Star appears a sure thing, possibly as a companion to Desperate Housewives given that it’s been referred to as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas.” Probably the biggest surprise today was the mixed reaction to Shonda Rhimes’ drama SCANDAL, once considered a lock. But with Rhimes behind it, the project is still in the running. Also mixed was the reaction to family/dance drama GRACE, which once again got praise for its elaborate dance sequences and not so much for the narrative. Still a possibility to run behind Dancing With the Stars. Early comedy favorites, SUBURGATORY and SMOTHERED, continue to fly high after good screenings today and yesterday, respectively. Reaction to the Jenna Elfman-starring comedy BAD MOM was more mixed. …
From Celebrity Rehab stars to pilot leads — that’s the career trajectory for Eric Roberts and Tom Sizemore, who landed major roles on pilots this season: Roberts is the star of ABC’s dance drama Grace, and Sizemore co-stars opposite Ethan Hawke in Fox’s Exit Strategy. (Sizemore was a cast member of the third season of VH1′s Celebrity Rehab in 2009; Roberts was on the reality series last year.) Add to them Don Johnson, star of Michael Patrick King’s NBC pilot A Mann’s World, who also has a history of substance abuse and brushes with the law. In a pilot season overshadowed by the spectacle of current TV bad boy Charlie Sheen, it is nice to see the bad boys of yesteryear getting redemption and another chance at stardom. Let’s hope Sheen will get that too in a pilot season a decade from now …
EXCLUSIVE: In his first regular series role in almost a decade, Tom Sizemore is set to co-star opposite Ethan Hawke in Fox’s drama pilot Exit Strategy, a high-octane procedural about a team of five experts associated with the CIA led by Eric Shaw (Hawke) who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Sizemore will play Jonathan Marks, a veteran CIA spymaster and mentor to Shaw who is the Exit Strategy unit’s LOGPAC (support officer). A man who has been everywhere and done everything, Marks is the man who can get you anything, anywhere, anytime. Sizemore, repped by Global Artists Agency, last did a pilot in 2002, the drama Robbery Homicide Division, which was picked up to series and had a brief run on CBS. He has since done arcs on CBS’ Dr. Vegas and Starz’s Crash.
Eric Winter, who has been recurring on CBS’ The Mentalist this season, has been cast in Fox’s drama pilot Weekends at Bellevue. Based on Julie Holland’s memoir, Bellevue centers on Ellie (Lauren Ambrose), the psychiatrist in charge of the weekend shift of Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric unit. Winter, repped by ICM and Brillstein, will play a scruffy and sexy doctor attending in the ER.
Megan Dodds has landed the female lead opposite Ethan Hawke in Fox’s drama pilot Exit Strategy, a high-octane procedural about a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA led by Eric Shaw (Hawke) who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Dodds will play Dr. Hannah Burke, the medic on the team who has a genius-level IQ, trusts no one and appears to have a romantic connection with Shaw. Antoine Fuqua is directing the pilot for 20th TV and Kurtzman/Orci. Exit Strategy brings Dodds, repped by ICM and U.K.’s Independent Talent, back to Fox and 20th TV. Two years ago, she had a talent deal with the network and studio, which led to her casting in the pilot Courtroom K.
Michael Mosley has boarded ABC’s drama pilot Pan Am, a sexy soap set against the Jet-Age about pilots and flight attendants working at the iconic Pan Am airline in the 1960s. The Scrubs alum repped by Gersh and Smith Talent Group, will play a co-pilot, a waggish jokester with a buzz cut and an infectious smile.
Orlando Jones has closed his deal to join ABC’s drama pilot Identity. The project, from ABC Studios and Eagle Eye scribe John Glenn, is …
Fox has handed a pilot order to the Ethan Hawke-starring drama Exit Strategy. Antoine Fuqua, who directed Hawke in his Oscar nominated performance in Training Day, is on board to direct the pilot, from 20th Century Fox TV and Kurtzman and Orci’s 20th TV-based K.O. Paper Products. Exit Strategy, which is being written by David Guggenheim (Safe House), was originally set up at Fox in September with a put pilot commitment. After months of discussions, Hawke came on board in December to star and produce. He, in turn, invited Fuqua to direct the pilot. In addition to Training Day, Fuqua directed Hawke in Brooklyn’s Finest. Fuqua will also exec produce the pilot.
Described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke will play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode will tackle a different crisis in a different country. Exit Strategy is envisioned as a potential successor to Fox’s signature drama 24. Like 24, the action in Exit Strategy will also unfold in real-time. And like 24′s Kiefer Sutherland, Hawke would segue from the feature world to take on the lead in …
EXCLUSIVE: In what would be his first major series gig, Ethan Hawke is in talks to star in the Fox drama project Exit Strategy. In addition to starring, Hawke would also serve as producer on the show, which hails from 20th Century Fox TV and Kurtzman and Orci’s 20th TV-based K.O. Paper Products. Exit Strategy, which is being written by David Guggenheim (Safe House), was originally set up at Fox in September with a put pilot commitment. With Hawke on board, the project would likely be ordered to pilot after the network receives the script at the end of the month, with A-list directors already circling it. Described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke would play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode would tackle a different crisis in a different country. Exit Strategy is envisioned as a potential successor to Fox’s signature drama 24. Like 24, the action in Exit Strategy would also unfold in real-time. And like 24′s Kiefer Sutherland, Hawke would segue from the feature world to take on the lead in Exit Strategy, his first series. Kurtzman, Orci and KOPP’s Heather Kadin …
Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are getting comfortable at Fox. The co-creators of the network’s sci-fi drama Fringe, have set up another high-profile drama project at the network, this time with writer David Guggenheim. Exit Strategy has received a put pilot commitment from Fox. Created by Guggenheim, it is described as a high octane procedural set in the world of CIA agents who are sent in to “fix” operations gone bad.