With 2 more episodes left to shoot from Tyrant‘s 10-episode first-season order, production on the FX drama was moved from Israel to Turkey yesterday amid escalating violence in the Gaza strip. The move is temporary, and I hear the hope is to return to Jerusalem where Tyrant has built expensive sets but the situation is evaluated day by day, with the safety of the cast and crew a top priority. Another drama filming in Israel, USA’s limited series DIG, just extended its planned hiatus by week while the network and producers explore alternatives and discuss them with the project’s insurance company should the situation remain too dangerous to film. DIG only has shot the first of its six-episode order.
By today, the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza had killed 186 — all of them Palestinians — with at least 1,390 wounded, according to Palestinian health authorities. The death toll has now surpassed the number killed in Gaza during the 2012 war. There is a cease-fire proposal on the table which the Israeli government is willing to consider while Hamas has dismissed it as a “joke.” Fox 21 moved the Tyrant production to Israel after filming the pilot in Morocco. Last September, the studio’s Showtime series Homeland moved third-season scenes that were planned to be shot in Israel to Morocco over concerns about the situation in Syria. With production on all three series impacted due to the constant flareups of violence in the region, it would be harder for US … Read More »
“It may have been too far out there for some people but I personally liked it,” said The Strain showrunner Carlton Cuse today about the graphic billboards FX pulled in some LA locations last week after getting grossed out complaints. The billboards of the upcoming series based on the trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan depicted a close up illustration of a worm coming out of a human eyeball. “I think that the ad was bold and imaginative and clearly not for everyone,” added the former Lost producer today on a conference call. “I feel the same way,” said del Toro. “I think FX has a great sense of who their audience is,” he added, “the worm with the eye is very powerful.”
“Much as I think that the show has many layers of appeal,” the Pacific Rim director noted the vampire drama might not be for a mass TV audience. “We do go to territories that are pretty extreme and graphic,” del Toro said describing the show as “a thriller with horror elements.”
Despite the pulled billboards, both reiterate the strong support they’ve had from their first meeting with FX. “John Landgraf read all three books and he made the decision that The Strain fit into the portfolio of shows on FX,’ Cuse said. “They give you time to find your footing,” added del Toro as he spoke of the long pre-production time he requested for … Read More »
The cast of American Horror Story is finally coming to Comic-Con after three seasons on the air. The FX show has skipped the fanboy confab in previous summers partly due to its production schedule, however, the Coven and Freak Show cast will be heading to San Diego including Emma Roberts, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, new addition Michael Chiklis and exec producer Tim Minear. The panel, which is scheduled for Saturday, July 26 from 7-8 PM in Room 6DE will provide a look back at Coven as well as exclusive secrets from the set of the upcoming Freak Show.
Also announced today is Showtime’s plan for Penny Dreadful, which wrapped its first season June 27. It will make its Comic-Con debut on Thursday, July 24th with a 6-7 PM panel session in Ballroom 20, combined with signings and merchandise and a tie-in with the confab that will put Showtime and Penny Dreadful branding on more than 150,000 lanyards worn by attendees. Featured panelists include stars Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney and Harry Treadaway and creator/writer/executive producer John Logan. Aisha Tyler will moderate.
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It’s the ads — or, rather, the same ads over and over — BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield says in a report, and documents in this video of his experience when he caught up with The Americans on FX’s FXNow site. “Some days we were shown the same two commercials during every single ad break (Audi and Burger King),” he says. “Other days we ended up with the exact same ad (Audi) running three times during every commercial break (and remember fast-forwarding was disabled).” The problem isn’t limited to FX. It ”affects virtually all broadcast and basic cable networks….Beyond a few shows where the ‘watercooler buzz’ is too great to wait, we suspect consumers will increasingly opt to delay viewing toward ad-free platforms that enable binging.”
In a widely anticipated move, FX has hit the power chord and ordered Denis Leary‘s music comedy Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll to series. The deal just finalized is for 10 episodes to air sometime in 2015 and reunites Leary with the cable network three years after Rescue Me ended its seven-season run.
Created, written by and starring Leary, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll centers on Johnny Rock, played by Leary. The lead singer of NYC’s legendary early-’90s band The Heathens, Rock is trying to get the both his band and his life back together. John Corbett co-stars along with Elizabeth Gillies, Bobby Kelly and Elaine Hendrix. Leary and partner Jim Serpico are executive producing through their Apostle banner. It is produced by FX Productions and Fox Television Studios and will be filmed on location in New York City, with the plan to feature original music and occasional guest appearances by real rock stars.
Related: John Corbett To Co-Star In FX Pilot ‘Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll’
“We have been honored by long-standing collaborations with both FX and Apostle, so it’s gratifying for us to be able to break new ground with them both,” FTVS President David Madden said in announcing the pickup. “Our partnership with Denis and Apostle has been one of our most fruitful ventures, and this time out fans will definitely see a different Denis. As both actor and writer, Denis plunges into dazzlingly original arenas of dark comedy and, along with a stellar veteran cast, the results are just really funny.” Read More »
As Phillip Jennings, the ‘married’ Soviet sleeper spy husband to Keri Russell’s Elizabeth on FX’s The Americans, Welsh thesp Matthew Rhys is called upon to flawlessly snake through a ringer of emotions. Beyond the demands of Phillip’s day job that’s full of disguises and a fake marriage, he’s been hitting his head against the wall in the show’s second season between his goody-two shoes daughter Paige who is swept up with a Born-again Christian group and his fellow comrade wife who isn’t as drunk on U.S. capitalism like Philip is. Prior to The Americans, Rhys was known to U.S. audiences as Kevin Walker, the gay lawyer on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters as well as Demetrius in Julie Taymor’s big screen Shakespeare adaptation Titus. At home in the U.K., Rhys made his mark with such stage productions as The Graduate, playing Benjamin to Kathleen Turner’s Mrs. Robinson, and in the BBC crime action drama series Backup. Click through to read the interview: Read More »
Christy Grosz is a contributor to Awardsline.
Playing a Cold War-era Russian spy undercover in the United States on FX’s The Americans offers Keri Russell plenty of opportunities for hand-to-hand combat. But Russell says she doesn’t focus much on the spy stuff in building her character, Elizabeth Jennings. She’s more interested in the show’s complicated relationships, particularly the marriage between Elizabeth and Phillip, played by Matthew Rhys. Russell, perhaps best known for her starring role on the WB’s Felicity in the late ’90s, next will star in Fox’s July release Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Here, she discusses those wacky ’80s wigs and why she turned down the role of Elizabeth three times.
AWARDSLINE: What made you want to come back to series TV?
KERI RUSSELL: As an actor, you’re at the mercy of what’s around, what comes your way, and I definitely have been taking some time out raising my family. Although I wasn’t looking for a TV job at all, this had a really great pilot. It sounded fresh. My image (after) reading (Elizabeth) the first time was Brigitte Nielsen in Rocky. I was like, “OK, she’s this kick-ass Russian—cold, beautiful, sexy. How did this make its way to me?” So I obviously said no about three times, and then (FX president) John Landgraf just sold me on it. He basically said, “No, that’s the whole point. We want someone who’s instantly relatable, and kind, and all those things that people project onto you.” And I’m so glad I said yes. It’s always a gamble—every job you take—but this one has been really interesting these last couple of seasons. Read More »
FX has passed on Hoke, its drama pilot starring and executive produced by Paul Giamatti. Written, directed and executive produced by Scott Frank, the project told the story of midlife crisis and murder that features the hardboiled and possibly insane homicide detective Hoke Moseley (Gianatti) in pre-chic Miami circa 1985. Robert Wisdom, Tammy Blanchard and John Carroll Lynch co-starred. While FX picked up some nine comedy pilots over the past year as it is ramping up comedy-centric sibling FXX, the network only ordered three drama pilots, Hoke as well as Tyrant and The Strain, both of which went to series. On the drama side, FX also is making a push in limited/event series with such programs as Fargo.
Under the exclusive deal with Shine International, all episodes of the first season of FX‘s The Bridge will be available on Hulu Plus beginning today. Limited promotional episodes also will be available on Hulu.com. Starring Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger, the present-day crime thriller explores tensions on the US-Mexico border. Ted Levine, Annabeth Gish and Thomas M. Wright co-star. The Bridge is a co-production of Shine America and FX Prods. It was adapted for American television from the international hit series Bron/Broen by executive producers Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid. Shine America’s Carolyn G. Bernstein and Filmlance’s Lars Blomgren also exec produce. Season two of The Bridge premieres on FX July 9.
“Since (creator) Joe Weisberg isn’t here tonight, I can say that this show is actually based on his personal story,” quipped executive producer Joel Fields about the historical basis for their FX show The Americans which follows two KGB spies posing as American parents in the 1980s (Weisberg is a former CIA officer). Fields, in addition to cast members Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich and Annet Mahendru were in attendance at Awardsline’s Monday night screening of The Americans season two finale “Echo”, moderated by Deadline’s Dominic Patten.
The show, which earned two Emmy noms last year (for main title music and guest star Margo Martindale), is on a hot streak in the pre-Emmy nom phase. The Television Critics Association recognized The Americans for best drama and achievement in drama (Rhys) noms, while the Critics Choice Television Awards lauded it with a slew of above-the-line noms including drama, actor-drama (Rhys), actress-drama (Keri Russell) and supporting actress (Mahendru).
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Miniseries are coming of age again, at least according to the Television Academy, whose Board of Governors voted this year to once again give it a category of its own. This has been done from time to time depending on the health and general welfare of the miniseries format. For example, in 2011, the TV Academy felt longform television was dying on the vine and that there was just not enough entries to meet its “Rule of 14” (the minimum number of possible contenders needed to trigger a category). The networks were downsizing the form and, outside of the BBC and HBO, there wasn’t a whole lot of interest. But now, minis are exploding again and a new golden age seems to be on the horizon.
With minis roaring back on their own—they are still combined with movies in the acting, writing and directing categories—what will the landscape look like when nominees are announced July 10?
Not a Shoo-In
Going into the competition, many pundits thought it was all wrapped up. HBO—which has had a streak of miniseries winners with John Adams, The Pacific, Band of Brothers and Angels in America—looked as though it had another slam dunk with its eight-part True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It won near-unanimous raves and appeared unbeatable, particularly since, with the mini/movie split, it would not be competing with … Read More »
One day after the Television Critics Association unveiled nominees for this year’s TCA Awards, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association announced nominations for its Critics’ Choice Television Awards.
FX leads the BTJA’s noms list, with 19 – followed closely by HBO which garnered 18. Topping the list of nominated series, with five noms each, are CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife, FX’s Fargo, Showtime’s Masters Of Sex, and HBO’s The Normal Heart.
Other top-nominated series include FX’s The Americans, AMC’s Breaking Bad, Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, and PBS’s Sherlock: His Last Vow — each snagging four noms.
Walton Goggins and Allison Janney were both twice nominated. Goggins is nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, for Justified, and Janney is nommed for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, for Mom. The two also will compete against each other in the Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series category for Sons Of Anarchy and Masters Of Sex, respectively.
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EXCLUSIVE: Fargo actress Allison Tolman has signed with UTA. The breakout star of FX’s new series, based on the 1996 Coen brothers dark comedy, plays Deputy Molly Solverson on the show opposite Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, and Colin Hanks. Chicago-based Tolman won the role after submitting herself on tape and has drawn acclaim for her performance since Fargo debuted in April under showrunner Noah Hawley. Tolman will next be seen in HBO’s upcoming Hello Ladies special. She’s repped by Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment and Stewart Talent Agency.
FX has laid out summer premiere dates for four new series and a returning drama, and sister channel FXX announced the launch date for a veteran comedy’s swan song. FX’s Middle East-set series Tyrant, which stars Adam Rayner as the son of a dictator of a war-torn country who returns to his homeland after a self-imposed 20-year exile, will premiere at 10 PM June 24. FX’s high-profile vampire drama The Strain from EP Carlton Cuse and Guillermo del Toro premieres July 13. And the new FX comedies Married and You’re The Worst will bow back-to-back on July 17. As for returning shows, the second season of FX’s The Bridge kicks off July 9, and the fourth and final season of FXX’s comedy Wilfred arrives June 25.
FXX’s ‘Legit’ & FX’s ‘Chozen’ Cancelled
Summer Premiere Dates For New And Returning Series
Tonight’s season finale of Legit will be the FXX comedy’s swan song. FX Networks confirmed today that the sophomore comedy starring Jim Jefferies has been canceled along with the FX freshman animated series Chozen. FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said last month that FX and FXX would be doubling their original output in the next year and that the fate of Legit and Chozen would be decided after their current seasons. Chozen wrapped its 10-episode run March 31. Legit was renewed for Season 2 in March 2013, along with fellow FX comedies It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and The League, and all three were moved to the fledgling FXX, along with late-night talker Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which has since been cancelled. Legit followed the often often raunchy adventures of Jefferies, an expat Aussie comedian living in Venice, CA, with his boozy, divorced best friend Steve (Dan Bakkedahl) and Steve’s kid brother Billy (DJ Qualls), a quadraplegic with MS. Chozen, about a gay white rapper (voiced by Bobby Moynihan) who’s fresh out of prison, was from Danny McBride — whose Eastbound & Down recently wrapped a four-season run on HBO — and his Rough Pictures partners Jody Hill and David Gordon Green. Chozen was the first original series order for FXX back in June.
EXCLUSIVE: Hit animated comedy Archer is following in the footsteps of fellow FX comedy series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, landing an elusive basic cable-to-basic cable syndication deal. Comedy Central, the off-network home of Sunny In Philadelphia, has inked a deal with Twentieth Television for the off-network rights to Archer, basic cable’s second-highest-rated comedy among adults 18-49 and No.1 on FX. The deal covers all existing seasons and includes commitments for future seasons of the spy toon, which will begin airing on Comedy Central beginning as soon as May 2015. For the first two years, Comedy Central will have exclusive window pre-midnight, while FXX has exclusivity post-midnight. After that there will be no exclusive windowing parameters.
Related: TCA: ‘Archer’ Producers On Show Overhaul, CD Release
FX groomed Archer for a syndication play last spring when it gave it a two-season, 26-episode pickup for Seasons 6 and 7. Reruns anchor comedy-focused upstart FXX. Archer, from FX Prods, was created by Adam Reed, who executive produces with Matt Thompson and their production company, Floyd County.