EXCLUSIVE: After a fast rise as a Warner Bros production executive, Sarah Schechter is leaving the executive suite to become president of Warner Bros-based Berlanti Productions. She will run both the film and television shingles for writer, director and producer Greg Berlanti.
Schechter, who joined Warner Bros as a creative exec in 2005, rose to VP in 2007 and SVP in 2009. Among the films she has been supervising is the Berlanti-produced Pan, which became a priority project on a first draft by Jason Fuchs. The 3D film now has Joe Wright aboard as director, Hugh Jackman playing Blackbeard and Garrett Hedlund playing Hook and it is prepping in London for June 26, 2015 release. She has also been supervising the Etan Cohen-directed Get Hard, the comedy that will star Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart; the Ben Affleck-directed adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel Live By Night; and the Jaume Collet-Serra-directed Akira. Among her other projects building steam at the studio were the Garth Davis-directed Shantaram, the Michael Sucsy-directed film based on the blog 40 Days Of Dating, and the Whitey Bulger pic that Affleck and Matt Damon have been developing. She will transition her projects to other Warner Bros execs and should be in the new job by March. Current Berlanti Productions president Melissa Kellner Berman will become a producer of some of Berlanti’s projects, I’m told. Read More »
Ian Ziering and Tara Reid are packing up their chainsaws and heading to Manhattan for Sharknado 2: The Second One, which will trend on Twitter some as-yet-unspecified day in July, Syfy warned today. Not only are Ziering and Reid back, Anthony Ferrante again will direct the screenplay by Thunder Levin, who also wrote Sharknado, so as to make sure the sequel is as craptastic as the original. And Syfy and producer-distributor The Asylum have hired casting director Mike Fenton and his partner Ann Frederick, of Fenton-Frederick Casting, to supervise cameo casting. So, Damon Lindelof, Mia Farrow, and Greg Berlanti — get in touch with them quickly, because shooting begins next month. In Sharknado 2, Syfy says, “a freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a ‘sharknado’ on the city’s population and its most iconic sites, with Fin and April the only ones able to save the city.”
Related: Syfy Sets Dates For ‘Sharknado’ With Sea Vampires And ‘Stonado’ – Seriously Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Greg Berlanti‘s Warner Bros TV-based company has sold two more drama projects, both to CBS: The Shrine, written and executive produced by Nicholas Wootton, and Black Oak, written/exec produced by Julia Hart (The Keeping Room). Both projects also are exec produced by Berlanti and Melissa Kellner Berman.
The Shrine, based on the upcoming book by Wootton’s father, Gareth Wootton, is about a struggling Catholic hospital in Los Angeles that becomes a sensation when patient after patient is miraculously cured of cancer. Could it truly be divine intervention? A young female doctor investigates these “miracles,” only to discover that there may be a murderous impostor in the hospital. The project reunites the team behind midseason drama series Golden Boy: creator/exec producer Wootton, exec producer Greg Berlanti, CBS and WBTV. Wootton, Berlanti and WBTV also recently teamed for TNT political thriller President X.
Black Oak centers on a woman who inherits the haunted hotel that has plagued her family with a curse for generations, forcing her to confront her dysfunctional family’s secrets, ghosts, and demons.
The auspices behind CBS’ midseason drama series Golden Boy, creator/executive producer Nicholas Wootton and executive producer Greg Berlanti, have reunited for another hourlong project, this time at TNT. The cable network has put in development President X, a political thriller from Berlanti Prods. and Warner Horizon Television. The sale comes on the heels of Berlanti Prods. quietly extending its rich Warner Bros. TV deal through 2018. Written by Wootton based on an idea by Alon Aranya, Guy Nattiv and Erez Tadmor, President X centers on a former U.S. President who wakes up from a year-long coma and, now out of power, must hunt down the individual who tried to assassinate him. Wootton and Berlanti are executive producing with Scripted World’s Aranya and Rob Golenberg (ABC’s Betrayal) and Melissa Kellner Berman. Guy Nattiv and Erez Tadmor serve as consulting producers.
CBS has given a put pilot commitment to a single-camera comedy executive produced by Greg Berlanti. The project, based on the Israeli series Haverot (Little Mom), will be written by Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky who last season adapted another Israeli comedy for CBS, Mother’s Day, which went to pilot starring Debra Messing. The new project revolves around three moms who live in a Brooklyn high-rise and how they help each other stay sane (or try to) as they juggle their friendships, marriages and kids. Berlanti, Rottenberg and Zuritsky executive produce, with Melissa Kellner Berman co-executive producing for Warner Bros TV and Berlanti’s studio-based Berlanti Prods. The original series, produced by Yoav Gross Prods for Channel 10 Israel and distributed globally by Dori Media, was created by Gross, Lital Schwartz, Shay Ben-Atar, and Liat Shavit. (You can watch a subtitled trailer below.) This marks WME-repped Berlanti Prods’ third big sale this season, joining Arrow spinoff Flash at the CW and The Mysteries Of Laura, which has a production commitment at NBC. Dori Media is repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: After a bidding war, NBC has nabbed The Mysteries Of Laura, a drama project from writer Jeff Rake (Cashmere Mafia), Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Prods. and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. I’ve learned that the project, based on the popular Spanish series Los Misterios De Laura, has received a production commitment. It follows the life and relationships of a female homicide detective who can handle murderous criminals — but not her evil twins. Warner Bros. TV, where Berlanti Prods. is based, is producing. Rake is writing the adaptation and will executive produce with Berlanti and Kaplan in the first pairing of the prolific producers who have done over 20 pilots between the two of them in the past couple of years, while Berlanti Prods.’ Melissa Kellner Berman co-execute produces.
The original series, created by Carlos Vila and Javier Holgado and produced by Boomerang TV, is heading into a third season on TVE1 Spain. (Watch English-language trailer below) Todd Lituchy, CEO of format distribution company New Media Vision, brought the property to the U.S., partnering with Paradigm whose Steve Wohl sold the rights to Kaplan. Kaplan developed the format and took it to Rake and Berlanti. Kaplan has a successful track record with Spanish-language formats — he is behind the adaptation of the Mexican drama Terminales, which … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Paradise, a prison drama from hot novelist/feature writer Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and producer Greg Berlanti, has landed at NBC with a put pilot commitment. Written by Grahame-Smith, Paradise is set in the late 21st century in the city of Las Vegas which is now the world’s largest maximum-security prison, known as Paradise. Matthew Turner, M.D., is its newest inmate, convicted of a murder he didn’t commit. Desperate to get back to his family and prove his innocence, Matthew will have to find a strength he never knew he had, and stay alive long enough to do the one thing no inmate has ever done: escape. Paradise hails from Warner Bros. TV and studio-based Berlanti Prods., with Berlanti Prods.’ Greg Berlanti and Melissa Kellner Berman and KatzSmith Prods.’ Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg executive producing. Like Berlanti, Grahame-Smith has a feature deal at Warner Bros. (with partner Katzenberg) and he too is straddling film and television. The two were put together by WME, which reps both. At NBC, Paradise would join another drama about U.S. in the future from Warner Bros. TV and one of the studio’s top producers, J.J. Abrams’ Revolution. Prison dramas have a long history on TV, recently with HBO’s Oz, Fox’s Prison Break and Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
UPDATED: The Flash will appear in three episodes of the CW‘s Arrow this coming season before headlining his own spinoff series. The information was shared this afternoon by the three writers – Arrow co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and series scribe Geoff Johns — behind the Flash project. an origin story of Flash’s Barry Allen identity. The episodes, No. 8, No. 9 and No. 20, will be penned by the trio, with David Nutter, who helmed the Arrow pilot, committed to directing Episode 20. Kriesberg also confirmed during the conference call today that the actor who portrays Barry Allen will play him as “an ordinary man” when viewers meet him in Episode 8. “The character will be as grounded and realistic as possible,” he said. “That’s how we’ll get to know him. Then his life will get a bit faster.” He added that the surrounding characters in Arrow will react to Allen “in a very realistic way,” noting that they “won’t be treated as commonplace on the show but as extraordinary events.” Kreisberg added: “It will be fun for the audience to see how we do our take on The Flash’s powers. Some will feel very familiar to those who know the comics, and other stuff will feel different yet fresh and exciting.” Berlanti noted, “That said, he does need powers to become The Flash. And he will be The Flash. He will wear a red costume, and he will go by that name.”
Related: CW Eyes ‘Flash’ Series With ‘Arrow’s Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & David Nutter Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Television writers and producers aren’t supposed to treasure directors, generally viewing them instead as a necessary evil. But Greg Berlanti evidently failed to receive that memo this morning as he positively gushed during a TCA session about Danny Cannon‘s directorial contributions to his new CW series The Tomorrow People. Berlanti referred to Cannon, who directed both the pilot and second episode of the SFX-rich series, as “the unsung hero” of the effects. Berlanti stressed, “The art of pilot directing is, I think, even more challenging than feature directing in that (the director) has to create an entire world and an entire aesthetic and tell a story in a much short period of time, and with a lot less money. They also have to make a lot of creative decisions themselves.” He emphasized that all TV directors should get “a tremendous amount more credit” that they do. “As someone who has written a number of pilots, you really begin to worship the people who are experts at this art form,” Berlanti continued. “I’ve been blessed to work with people like David Nutter and Danny (Cannon), who really achieve a feature look and style.”
Related: TCA: “Good Time” To Be Director In TV, Says DGA Prez & FX Series Helmers Read More »
UPDATE, 9 AM: During the CW executive session, the network’s topper Mark Pedowitz gave more details about The Flash project. It will be the origin story of Barry Allen who will be introduced as a recurring character on Arrow this coming season starting in the fall. “We want to expand the DC universe of characters,” he said. As for how the project came together, Pedowitz said he late last year brought up the idea to DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson who turns out had already been discussing it with WBTV’s Peter Roth and producer Greg Berlanti. Pedowitz also confirmed that “Amazon is on pause (as) the script is not exactly what we wanted, and with an iconic character like Wonder Woman, we have to get it right.”
Related: The Flash Will Be Introduced In 3 ‘Arrow’ Episodes, Will Start Off As “Ordinary Man”
EXCLUSIVE 7 AM: Another DC Comics male superhero is looking to join the CW’s lineup. I’ve learned that the network is fast tracking Flash, a drama project based on the DC character from the Arrow team of co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and director David Nutter. The CW is expected to discuss the project at today’s TCA presentation. I hear there is an idea is to introduce The Flash on Arrow next season before spinning it off into its own series. I hear Flash will be written by Berlanti, Kreisberg and DC Entertainment’s Geoff Johns who also has written for Arrow. Nutter, who helmed the Arrow pilot, will direct the potential pilot, while Berlanti and Kreisberg are expected to run the potential series. Marc Guggenheim, who developed and executive produces Arrow with Berlanti and Kreisberg, is not involved in Flash as he busy with Arrow, now heading into its second season.
Expanding DC’s footprint on the CW has been a priority for the network and DC sibling Warner Bros. TV, especially following the departure of the long-running Smallville and in light of the recent success of Arrow, one of few breakout hits last season. This past development season, the CW developed a Wonder Woman origins project, which didn’t go to pilot. The network in May commissioned a new script with a new writer which has been delivered, but I hear the network has hit the pause button on the project. Flash is certain to get a priority given its A-list auspices. Read More »
The CW rounded out its pilot orders today with pickups of The Tomorrow People, an adaptation of the cult British 1970s sci-fi series from Arrow co-creators/executive producer Greg Berlanti and The Vampire Diaries co-creator/executive producer Julie Plec; and Blink, produced by David Marshall Grant (Smash). In all, the CW picked up eight drama pilots this year, including planted Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, also from Plec. None of them is in the CW’s former bread-and-butter genre of teen soap, with futuristic, sci-fi and high-concept fare galore.
Related: Wonder Woman CW Drama ‘Amazon’ Rolled
Berlanti and Plec executive produce Tomorrow People, written/exec produced by Phil Klemmer (Chuck). In the vein of X-Men and Heroes, Tomorrow People is the story of several young people from around the world who represent the next stage in human evolution, possessing special powers, including the ability to teleport and communicate with each other telepathically. Together they work to defeat the forces of evil. Created by Roger Price, The Tomorrow People, ITV’s answer to BBC’s Dr. Who, ran on the commercial broadcaster for eight seasons from 1973-1979. Read More »
Save for USA Network‘s decision last month not to extend Political Animals beyond its original run, it has been a great last few weeks for Greg Berlanti‘s political drama. He landed a WGA nomination for writing the pilot, star Sigourney Weaver got a SAG nomination, and today the show received two Golden Globe nominations — for best movie/miniseries and best actress in a movie/mini (Weaver).
Related: Golden Globes TV Analysis Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In Berlanti Prods.’ first sale this development season, the Warner Bros. TV-based company has set up a medical drama at ABC. The project, written/executive produced by former Supernatural co-showrunner Sera Gamble and executive produced by Greg Berlanti, centers on world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Steven Saylor who becomes a medical anomaly himself after suffering a traumatic brain injury. He’s forced to re-specialize as an internist at the hospital where he was once king. The untitled drama, produced by Berlanti Prods. and WBTV, has received a script commitment with penalty. Melissa Kellner Berman co-executive produces.
This marks Berlanti’s first project at ABC since he left sister studio ABC Studios for Warner Bros. in June 2011. During his five-year stint at ABC Studios, Berlanti shepherded a number of series — all for ABC — including Brother & Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money, No Ordinary Family and another drama with a male protagonist who had a brain issue, Eli Stone. I hear Berlanti and ABC had been looking to collaborate again and have now found a project to do it.
In its first development cycle at Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Prods. last year sold five broadcast projects to CBS, Fox, NBC and the CW, four of which, CBS drama Golden Boy and comedy Oh F*ck, It’s You, Fox drama Guilty and CW drama Arrow were picked up to pilot. Two, Golden Boy and Arrow, went … Read More »
Greg Berlanti entered the upfronts as the producer with the most pilots this year — four — in his first development season at Warner Bros. TV. Two of them, the CW’s Arrow and CBS’ Golden Boy, went to series, while a third, Fox legal drama Guilty, has a solid shot at a midseason order. Additionally, Berlanti has cable series Political Animals launching on USA this summer. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage‘s Fake Empire also netted two new broadcast series orders. The company went 2-for-2 with its two pilots, the CW’s The Carrie Diaries and Cult, to increase its primetime portfolio to four series next season, including returning CW dramas Gossip Girl and Hart Of Dixie, and tie the Mark Gordon Co. as the pods with the most broadcast shows on the air. In addition to newly picked up comedy Family Tools and returning Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Criminal Minds, the Mark Gordon Co. also has Army Wives on Lifetime. With CSI: Miami ending its run, Bruckheimer TV will have three series on the air next season, same as Chernin Entertainment, which added one new series, Fox comedy Ben & Kate, to its returning New Girl and Touch; J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot (newbie Revolution and returning Person of Interest and Fringe) and Alloy (666 Park Ave, The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl).
Besides Fake Empire, the only other entity to log a 1.000 batting average this upfront was Lionsgate TV, also with two series out of two pilots, ABC darling Nashville and NBC’ midseason comedy Next Caller. The pickups capped the company’s renewed push into broadcast TV led by Chris Selak in her first season as head of development. Another established company in its first development cycle with a new top development executive, Wolf Films, which hired Danielle Gelber last July, landed its first non-Law & Order-branded new series in six years, NBC’s Chicago Fire. Two newly launched pods, Peter Traugott‘s Traugott Company and Lorenzo DiBonaventura‘s DiBonaventura Pictures Television, also scored series orders in their first year, NBC drama Do No Harm and ABC drama Zero Hour, respectively, as did two indies, Gaumont and Georgeville. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Bent star David Walton has been tapped as the male lead opposite JoAnna Garcia in CBS’ untitled Greg Malins/Greg Berlanti multi-camera comedy pilot. He replaces Bryan Greenberg, who was originally cast in the role but exited after yesterday’s table read. Walton is formally billed as a guest star on the CBS pilot as the project is in second position to NBC’s softly-rated Bent, which completed its short midseason run last night and doesn’t appear likely to come back. Gersh-repped Walton has been in demand for the past few pilot seasons. Last year, he booked the male lead opposite Amanda Peet in Bent in second position to another midseason NBC comedy series, Perfect Couples. The Malins/Berlanti project, also known as Oh F**k It’s You, centers on Nick (Walton), a notorious womanizer who, after surviving a health scare, realizes that “The One” he has never found is actually his best friend of 15 years, Wendy (Garcia). The problem is that Wendy is engaged to a guy Nick likes; she and Nick own a business together; and their attempt at dating back in college was a disaster.
EXCLUSIVE: Bryan Greenberg is leaving CBS’ untitled Greg Malins/Greg Berlanti multi-camera comedy pilot, in which he was to play the male lead opposite JoAnna Garcia. The decision was made after the project’s table read this morning. I hear it has to do with the heightened tone and dynamic of a multi-camera show and Greenberg, who is coming off a darker, single-camera half-hour, HBO’s single-camera comedy How To Make It In America, not quite fitting in. The role of Nick, which Greenberg was cast in, is now being recast. The Warner Bros./Berlanti Prods. project, also known as Oh F**k It’s You, centers on Nick, a notorious womanizer who, after surviving a health scare, realizes that “The One” he has never found is actually his best friend of 15 years, Wendy (Garcia). The problem is that Wendy is engaged to a guy Nick likes; she and Nick own a business together; and their attempt at dating back in college was a disaster. Greenberg was one of the sought-after actors this season with two broadcast pilots vying for him.
British actor Theo James has landed the lead in CBS’ drama pilot Golden Boy, from Nick Wootton and Greg Berlanti. The project, produced by Warner Bros TV and Berlanti Prods., centers on Clark (James), a cop, and chronicles his meteoric rise from officer to detective and ultimately police commissioner. Ryan Phillippe was originally tapped for the role but exited shortly thereafter, triggering a lengthy auditioning process that resulted in the casting of James. James, who has a handful of credits in his native Britain, including a lead on the BBC series Bedlam, is virtually unknown in the U.S. aside from a guest spot in the first season of Downton Abbey where he played Kemal Pamuk, the Turk who died in Lady Mary’s bed. He made his Hollywood debut in the recent Underworld: Awakening. James is the latest non-American actor to get the lead in a pilot this pilot season.
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In her primetime TV series debut, Sigourney Weaver is set to star in Political Animals, USA Network’s 6-episode drama series from Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark, which premieres this summer. Written by Berlanti, the Washington DC-based series is a fictional look at a former first family that exposes a dynasty weakened by political ambition, lust and greed. It centers on Elaine Barrish (Weaver), the divorced former First Lady and newly appointed Secretary of State who throws herself into the job after recovering from the dissolution of her marriage and losing the presidential nomination. Barrish relies heavily on her son Doug (James Wolk), an ambitious politico who serves as her chief of staff, but is tormented by his twin brother’s struggles with addiction. With a philandering ex-husband who is still as much in love with her as the office he once held, she attempts to keep her family together, while simultaneously dealing with crises of the State Department and a hungry DC journalist bent on destroying her career. In addition to Wolk, Weaver joins previously cast Brittany Ishibashi as Doug’s fiancée. While launching with a short six-episode order, the Warner Horizon-produced Political Animals is envisioned as a regular series that USA brass hope will run for a number of years. Political Animals reunites Weaver and Berlanti. Avatar star’s only previous TV series appearance was in an episode of Berlanti’s ABC drama Eli Stone, which he co-created … Read More »