This was one of a few interesting tid-bits that CEO Jon Feltheimer dropped in his conference call with analysts this morning. The studio’s been “approached in two territories about potential theme park opportunities” for the action film …
TV Castings: Will Chase Joins ‘Smash’, Raul Esparza Boards ‘Gifted Man’, Judy Greer To Do ’2.5 Men’, FearNet’s ‘Holliston’ Adds 2
Broadway actor Will Chase has joined NBC’s upcoming Broadway-themed drama Smash as a recurring. On the show, which chronicles the mounting of a Broadway musical and stars Debra Messing as the musical’s lyricist, he will play Steven, who has a history with Messing’s character. Chase, repped by Gersh and AC Management, has appeared in such Broadway productions as Billy Elliot, High Fidelity and Rent. On TV, he recurred on Rescue Me.
Another veteran Broadway actor, Raul Esparza, will do an arc on another new series, CBS’ medical drama A Gifted Man, about a neurosurgeon (Patrick Wilson) whose dead wife (Jennifer Ehle), the former head of a free clinic, starts appearing to him. Esparza will play Ehle’s boyfriend, who is on the board of the clinic. Esparza, repped by ICM and Elin Flack Management, recently starred in Arcadia on Broadway.
Judy Greer has been tapped for an arc on CBS’ revamped Two and a Half Men, playing new lead Ashton Kutcher’s soon-to-be-ex wife. This is the second time Greer plays a love interest on the show. She once played a squeeze of the former lead character, Charlie Sheen’s Charlie Harper.
EXCLUSIVE: Horror-themed cable channel FearNet has greenlighted its first original series, Holliston, an offbeat half-hour, multicamera buddy comedy series starring genre filmmakers Adam Green (Hatchet 1 & 2) and Joe Lynch (Knights of Badassdom). The six-episode series, created by Green, is scheduled to start production later this year. It marks the first original production for the linear network. (FearNet has done original digital series for the Web.) Holliston is expected to join FearNet’s Tuesday night Twisted Comedy block, a horror-comedy lineup that launched earlier this month with two acquired scripted series, Todd & the Book Of Pure Evil and Psychoville.
Set in the town of Holliston, Mass., Holliston is described as “Wayne’s World meets Saw” and stars Green and Lynch as lesser versions of themselves. They will play Adam and Joe, two friends chasing the dream of becoming successful horror movie filmmakers while struggling to make ends meet and dealing with life and the opposite sex in their post-college jobs at a cable access station where they also host a late-night movie program called The Movie Crypt. “This show has just the right amount of wrong, and you really can’t imagine it ever making it on to TV. That’s where FearNet comes in,” said FearNet president Peter Block. “Adam came to us with a truly off-the-wall series that was overflowing with a supporting cast of misfits and I-don’t-know-whats, and we knew it was a perfect fit for our Twisted Comedy block.” The ensemble cast of the series includes Laura Ortiz (The Hills Have Eyes) and singer Corri English (Unrest), with well-known genre figures expected to make cameos.
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate wants to unload TVGuide.com and, even more importantly, is at least considering an ownership change at TV Guide Network, which has been ordered to balance its books in anticipation of a potential sale. We hear that the studio has begun to interview investment bankers who can quietly sell the consumer website which, like the cable channel, is a 50-50 joint venture with JP Morgan Chase’s global private equity investment arm One Equity Partners. The website is thought to be worth anywhere from $50M to $100M. Lionsgate is intent on shedding what it considers to be non-core assets (just like Lionsgate recently sold its stake in Maple Pictures). TV Guide Network’s owners just secured long-term carriage agreements with the major cable operators, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter, further increasing its value. But putting a dollar figure on the TV Guide Network suggests that Lionsgate and One Equity Partners want to at least begin a discussion that could lead to one of the partners buying the other out.
Lionsgate would seem to be the more likely buyer if things go that far: It has said that it wants to build its presence in TV channels; it also owns major stakes in Epix, FearNet, and Asia’s Tiger Gate. ”They’ve made it clear that they have a TV channel strategy,” says Hudson Square Research’s Marla Backer. Lionsgate paid $241.6M for the TV Guide website and network in February 2009. Three months later, One Equity Partners teamed up with investor and producer Allen Shapiro and paid $122.4M for half of the combined operation. Shapiro is chairman of TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com and is now taking on leadership of the network’s programming. (He initially was buying TV Guide from Macrovision until Lionsgate swooped in at the last minute. Ultimately, Shapiro secured a sizeable chunk of it.)
Today the website Fearnet had an interview with film producer Wyck Godfrey about the Twilight Saga, and the subject of a long-in-the-works Janis Joplin biopic came up. Godfrey mentioned in passing that Amy Adams would play the 1960s singer. …