The sixth and final season of Fox’s musical dramedy Glee will consist of 13 episodes, which will run consecutively in midseason. The decision is not unexpected, especially after the series was not featured on the Fox fall schedule for the first time at the upfronts. At the time, then-Fox chairman Kevin Reilly hinted the possibility that the final season order, originally at 24 episodes, could be trimmed. “We’re going to sit down and talk [with co-creator/exec producer Ryan Murphy] about how to end the show and how many that is,” he said. That discussion has been held, and a decision has been made for a 13-episode final chapter. Fox committed to a two-season pickup of Glee in 2013. But, following a ratings bump at the beginning of the season when the show dealt with the sudden death of star Cory Monteith, Glee‘s numbers slipped to very low levels. Because of Monteith’s passing, Glee‘s fifth season also was trimmed, to 20 episodes. The show is facing a major creative reboot in Season 6, moving to a new location. “It really is a lovely, fitting season that dwells on the original people on the show and what happens to them and how they give back,” Murphy said in April. “We’ll revisit some of the new kids that came and went, there’s a return of [Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester] and [Matthew Morrison's Will Schuester] in a big way.”
Fox said tonight that it is not moving forward with the midseason action-adventure drama it ordered in October. The network picked up the project straight to series so it could spend pilot money across multiple episodes but subsequent scripts and stories weren’t coming together as hoped. Written by Travis Beacham and originally developed several seasons ago, Hieroglyph centered a notorious thief (Max Brown) who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharoah (Reece Ritchie), navigating palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and even a few divine sorcerers. Anna Fricke was tapped as showrunner in March, when she signed an overall deal with 20th, which produced the show with Chernin Entertainment. A trailer for the series was played at Fox’s upfront presentation in May to mixed reaction, triggering speculation that the network may shelve the project. Kelsey Chow, Condola Rashad, John Rhys-Davies, Caroline Ford and Antony Bunsee co-starred. Beacham also was an exec producer along with Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope and Miguel Sapochnik, who also directed the pilot. “We wanted to do a show about deceit, sex, intrigue in the court and fantastical goings-on — no better place to set that than ancient Egypt,” then-Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly said when the series was greenlighted. Beacham’s fantastical action-adventure spec narrowly missed a Fox pilot order during the 2011-12 season.
Fox Networks Group is back in business with Gail Berman — they’re partnering to launch a new production company called The Jackal Group. Berman, a former Fox Broadcasting president, will develop and produce scripted, unscripted and factual entertainment programming for FNG’s channels, including Fox Broadcasting Company, FX/FXX, the National Geographic Channels, and Fox International Channels.
The partnership also will look for digital and feature film opportunities for non-21st Century Fox distribution entities. Additionally, Jackal Group will draw on Berman’s background in theater in creating and developing concepts for live, theatrical entertainment. Berman will have an equity stake in the independent venture, and will serve as Chairman and CEO; she will report to the new entity’s board, on which she will serve as a director, alongside FNG chairman and CEO Peter Rice, who made today’s announcement, and FNG president and COO Randy Freer.
Blah ad sales results for the network, although it could have been worse considering how much Fox‘s ratings fell last season — especially at former juggernaut American Idol and other shows including The X Factor and Glee. The dollar volume for the primetime season that begins in the fall fell from last year’s nearly $1.8B, we’re told. The price per thousand viewers rose anywhere from 2.5%-3.5%, and Fox sold somewhere between 75%-80% of its inventory, about average. Multiple agencies bought spots based on the number of viewers who watch them over a seven-day period after their air, up from the conventional three days.
‘American Idol’ Season 14: J.Lo, Keith Urban & Harry Connick Jr Returning As Judges; Ryan Seacrest Back As Host
No big surprise here: Fox said tonight that its principal on-camera folks will be back on American Idol next season. Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. will return as judges and Ryan Seacrest will host the show’s its 14th season. Seacrest closed his deal in May — two days after Fox announced the series renewal — and Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva reported last month that the judge trio was likely to be back. “Jennifer, Keith, Harry and Ryan are the very best in the business at what they do, and I’m thrilled that they are returning to American Idol for another season,” said David Hill, Senior EVP of 21st Century Fox. “Each brings unique qualities and expertise to the team, but they all share the same passion for helping undiscovered singers achieve the American dream.” The singing reality competition wrapped its 13th season May 21 down from the previous year.
“I’m breaking my own news today! I’ve decided it’s time to bring Kitchen Nightmares to a close. Been 10 great years,” Gordon Ramsay tweeted before dawn today, reducing the number of Gordon Ramsay Culinary Repertory Theater offerings by one. Imagine Fox‘s surprise – the network’s reality TV team and Gordon were on the same page about wrapping up this show,so he didn’t set their pants on fire, but the announcement timing was all his. Contacted for comment, Fox said it had no comment.
Sometime this morning, Ramsay also posted on his website about the Fox utility player, that just finished its seventh season: ”As filming comes to a close on the latest series of Kitchen Nightmares I’ve decided to stop making the show…I’ve had a phenomenal 10 years making 123 episodes, 12 seasons, shot across 2 continents, watched by tens of millions of people and sold to over 150 countries. It’s been a blast but it’s time to call it a day.”
Cancer Takes The Screen: Will ‘Fault In Our Stars’ Success Boost TV’s ‘Chasing Life’ & ‘Red Band Society’
How about this for an unexpected hot Hollywood trend: projects about young people afflicted – often terminally – with cancer. ABC Family’s new drama series Chasing Life – about a 24-year-old aspiring journalist who finds out she has leukemia – debuted on June 10. Only two days earlier, cancer teen romance The Fault In Our Stars became one of the sleeper hits of the summer, trouncing Tom Cruise’s big-budget sci-fi thriller Edge Of Tomorrow at the weekend box office. And coming this fall is Fox’s Red Band Society, a drama series about teens with serious illnesses, including cancer, living in a hospital. Given what a sensitive topic cancer is and how tough a sell it is commercially, it is pretty hard for any such project to see green light, so for three to get to the screen at the same time is pretty remarkable.
Neither Chasing Life nor Red Band had an easy road to the small screen. Both took years and went through two incarnations with different writers. Red Band also switched networks, from ABC to Fox. Both were based on formats – the successful Televisa Spanish-language Mexican series Terminales (Chasing Life) and acclaimed Spanish series Polseres Vermelles (Red Band). Not to take away from the U.S. producers who embraced the formats and the network executives who put the adaptations on the air, but it was foreign creators who broke the stigma and defied convention by believing that …
Fox has released a new teaser for its Batman prequel Gotham and this time it’s all about the villains. Featured are Camren Bicondova, Robin Lord Taylor and Jada Pinkett Smith. Voiceover asks, “How will a little girl, a low-level thug, and a businesswoman become the most dangerous villains around? We’ll have to wait to find out. Gotham is produced by Warner Bros TV and based upon characters published by DC Entertainment. From writer/executive producer Bruno Heller, director/executive producer Danny Cannon and executive producer John Stephens. Gotham premieres this fall. Check out the sneak peek:
“War has already begun.” Here is the final trailer for Fox‘s summer ape call. In the tentpole sequel to the 2011 reboot of the 1960s-bred film franchise (now there’s a mouthful), a group of Homo sapiens who were able to dodge that nasty virus a decade earlier is threatening Caesar and his Earth-ruling primates. A fragile peace is struck, but don’t expect it to hold. Director Matt Reeves’ actioner Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Enrique Murciano and Kirk Acevedo. Mark Bomback and Rich Jaffa & Amanda Silver wrote it. Have a look:
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has acquired rights to Malignant Man, a graphic novel created three years ago by James Wan, who’ll develop it with an eye to direct. Wan helmed the first Saw film, launched the Insidious and The Conjuring fright franchises and is currently directing Fast & Furious 7 at Universal. He will produce Malignant Man with Stephen Christy and Ross Richie for Fox-based production shingle BOOM!, with Adam Yoelin co-producing.
Malignant Man focuses on Alan Gates, a cancer patient with a terminal diagnosis who is resigned to his fate until he discovers that his tumor is actually a mysterious parasite. Granted a second lease on life and incredible, otherworldly powers, Alan must fight against an evil army buried beneath society’s skin, all the while unlocking the secrets of his forgotten past. Matt Reilly and Ryan Jones are the Fox execs. BOOM!, which controls the largest library of owned independent comic book material outside of Marvel and DC, has its first-look deal at Fox after previously setting up comic-based movie projects around town. Wan is repped by Paradigm.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has acquired an untitled pitch that will be written and directed by Damien Chazelle, the breakout writer/helmer of the Sundance Film Festival sensation Whiplash. Shawn Levy and his 21 Laps banner will produce. The logline is being kept under wraps, but it is said to be a high-concept and character-driven genre film inspired by the paranoid thrillers of the 1970s.
Chazelle expanded his Sundance short film Whiplash into a feature, and it sold to Sony Pictures Classics after it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance in January. The film also got a raucous reaction at Cannes in the Directors’ Fortnight section. It has been a busy period for Levy and 21 Laps. After they made a record-breaking Cannes deal when Paramount paid $20 million for North American and China rights to the Eric Heisserer sci-fi thriller Story Of Your Life (Denis Villenueve will direct Amy Adams), 21 Laps reteamed with Heisserer on the sci-fi thriller Understand, which sold to Fox. Dan Cohen and Will Rack will oversee this new project for 21 Laps, and Mark Roybal and Sarah Schweitzman will oversee for Fox. Chazelle, who is expected to next direct La La Land with Emma Watson and Whiplash star Miles Teller, is repped by WME, Gary Ungar, …
EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Johnson will be the day-to-day showrunner of Fox drama series The Following for its upcoming third season as part of an overall deal with The Following producer Warner Bros TV. She will replace at the helm of the Kevin Bacon-starring dark thriller creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson, who will remain an executive producer and very involved in the show but will focus his attention on his newest series, fall CBS drama Stalker. Williamson previously made a similar transition from the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, which is now run by co-developer Julie Plec, to The Following.
This marks Johnson’s return to the WBTV fold where she spent five years before signing an overall deal with 20th TV two years ago. Johnson started at WBTV as a supervising producer on the studio’s CBS crime drama Cold Case, rising to showrunner. Johnson, repped by WME and attorney Matt Johnson, went on to create, executive produce and run the NBC drama Chase, also for WBTV and Bruckheimer TV. She then became showrunner on WBTV’s Fox drama Alcatraz, reuniting with producer J.J. Abrams having previously worked with him on Lost.
EXCLUSIVE: It was inevitable that the writers and directors of HBO’s staggeringly good Game Of Thrones would begin taking over the fantasy realm in features. 20th Century Fox has set Bryan Cogman, a producer, story editor and writer on the HBO drama, to script a potential franchise movie out of the fantasy card game Magic The Gathering. It will be produced by Hasbro and Fox-based producer Simon Kinberg.
Fox acquired the rights last January on Magic The Gathering, a game that was hatched in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast. It became a raging geek success and hatched a collectible-trading-card-game movement. There are creatures, wizards and magic spells and players use all of them to defeat each other. Hasbro bought the company in 1999. When they have time, the GOT guys are getting more and more feature jobs; Alan Taylor directed Thor 2 and is now helming the first in the Terminator trilogy. Cogman’s repped by UTA and Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox, home of high-school musical dramedy Glee, has put in development Answer Me 1999, a limited series based on the Korean show Answer Me 1997, a musical coming-of-age drama about a group of friends. Step Up 3D writers Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer will write the script, with the film’s director Jon M. Chu set to helm the opening episode. All three will executive produce for FX Prods. In Answer Me 1999, the timeline moves back and forth between a group of friends’ past as high-school students in the late 1990s and their present as adults. It is described as s a musical journey through the most transformative decade of the modern era — one that catapulted us into the digital age and forever changed how we interact with each other. The original series aired in 2012 on the tvN network (watch trailer below).
Another awards show is joining the primetime fray. Fox has teamed with Cumulus and dick clark prods. for American Country Countdown Awards, based on the long-running country radio countdown show. The two-hour live concert event will be broadcast from Nashville on December 15. It will feature awards, including a new honor, NASH Icon, as well as performances. American Country Countdown With Kix Brooks celebrates its 41st year as America’s longest-running country music countdown show on radio. The radio show airs on more than 280 radio stations in 155 markets, covering 90% of the country. As the value of live entertainment has risen with the proliferation of time-shifted viewing, the networks have been aggressively bulking up their slates of awards franchises, with four new ones debuting this year, iHeartRadio Music Awards, also done in partnership with a radio giant, Clear Channel, and American Comedy Awards on NBC, the Hollywood Film Awards on CBS (also produced by Dick Clark Prods.) and American Country Countdown Awards on Fox.
After several weeks of pretty dismal ratings, Fox is taking improv comedy Riot and reality series I Wanna Marry “Harry” off the schedule. Beginning next week, repeats of Family Guy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Mindy Project will air on Tuesday. All unaired episode of I Wanna Marry “Harry” will be made available on Fox.com, Fox On Demand, FOX NOW and Hulu, starting tomorrow afternoon. The arrangements were only made for that show because it is owned by Fox, while the rights of Riot are controlled by Shine. A rep for Fox said that the network is “currently discussing an appropriate place on our schedule for the unaired episodes” of both series, but if history is any indication, pulled network series rarely find their way back to the schedule, so any I Wanna Marry “Harry” fans would be wise to seek out the remainder of the series online. In the last two weeks, Riot and I Wanna Marry “Harry” both drew a 0.4 rating in adults 18-49.
Reality Check is a Deadline feature series covering the players, programs and trends in reality television.
The title “hardest working man in show biz” is a hotly contested one but certainly Gordon Ramsay has his name in the mix. With a mini-empire on Fox, the chef is no wallflower in either his opinions or his work ethic with five shows on the network. The most recent Stateside offering of the Order of the British Empire recipient is MasterChef Junior, which debuted in September last year with Ramsay will again be joined by restaurateur and winemaker Joe Bastianich and chef Graham Elliot joining Ramsay judging would-be chefs between the ages 8-13. Produced by Shine America and Ramsay’s One Potato Two Potato, the series served up strong ratings in its Friday slot and has been renewed for both a second and third season. Shooting in Spain for the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay reflected on the other side of him that MasterChef Junior revealed, how to stay at the top of your game and the need to refresh.
DEADLINE: Gordon, you’re a big picture guy, what’s the state of unscripted TV today?
GORDON RAMSAY: The state of unscripted television right now is edgy. It’s compulsive viewing. I think it is about jeopardy in unscripted drama, which is something that a lot of producers fail to spot. For me, the essence of Reality TV is all about drama. So, I think bringing pressure is healthy whether it’s a professional chef or a domestic chef. Because the only way ever to really identify the true purpose of how good they are is submerging them under pressure. So I say it’s no different than a live football game because it’s about the intensity.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is in talks with American Hustle scribe Eric Warren Singer to adapt the Jason Matthews espionage book Red Sparrow for Chernin Entertainment and Film Rites to produce. They have David Fincher and Rooney Mara circling to re-team for the first time since The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film will be produced by Chernin Entertainment and Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch. Zaillian wrote that 2011 adaptation of the Stieg Larsson novel.
This is early days, because Singer will have to adapt the book, but with the interest from Fincher and Mara, they have reason to move quickly. The story is set in present-day Russia, and Mara would play Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova, who struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the art of ‘sexpionage,’ Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole. The two begin a relationship that puts both of them, and a network of spies, in grave danger. Dominika winds up seeking revenge against her soulless masters, and living a fatal double life after she is recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington. This has been a hot project at the studio …
EXCLUSIVE: Everyone likes to joke about cops, coffee and donuts, but today Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine is literally taking the beverage and treats on the road in the City of Angels for its Emmy campaign. Set to coincide with the mailing out of ballots, the Golden Globe winning show will be out and about starting this morning with a specially wrapped food truck offering coffee, donuts and bagels to not only TV Academy members but also to members of the non-voting public. With cast member Joe Lo Truglio aboard and in service first thing today, the truck will make stops in downtown L.A., Mid-Wilshire, Century City’s Farmer’s Market, Beverly Hills and West LA throughout the day, I’ve learned. Other cast members are expected to join the truck over its run around the city until June 13. Fox’s marketing and PR team also plan to use the truck as a social media hotspot by encouraging recipients of the free coffee and treats to get their photos taken with the truck and cast members and post online.