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History Greenlights Texas Rangers Mini From ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Producer; Bill Paxton & Brendan Fraser Lead Star Cast

By | Wednesday March 12, 2014 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

houstonpaxtonHistory has given the green light to its next big-scope miniseries, the eight-hour Texas Rising (working title), for a 2015 premiere. The project, which had been in the works at the cable network for a year and a half, comes from Leslie Greif, the producer of History’s first miniseries, mega hit Hatfields & McCoys. It will feature a big-name cast led by Hatfield & McCoys star Bill Paxton, who earned an Emmy nomination for his role as Randall McCoy. The project will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers.

Paxton will play Sam Houston, the father of Texas. He is joined by Brendan Fraser as Billy Anderson, a Texas Ranger with Comanche Indian ties; Ray Liotta as Lorca, an Alamo survivor seeking brutal revenge; history_channel_logoJeffrey Dean Morgan as “Deaf” Smith, a deaf and grizzled veteran Texas Ranger with an advanced case of consumption; Thomas Jane as James Wykoff, a homesteader who finds himself living in the middle of hostile Indian territory; Olivier Martinez as President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the tyrant dictator of Mexico; Chad Michael Murray as Mirabeau Lamar, a spirited Texas soldier who helps win the battle of San Jacinto; Michael Rapaport as Sgt. Ephraim Knowles, a would-be deserter and coward turned hero; and Max Thieriot as Jack Hays, a volunteer freedom fighter who becomes the youngest Texas Ranger.

Roland Joffé is is directing the mini, from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America, produced by Thinkfactory Media with Greif serving as executive producer. Greif also co-wrote the script for all four two-hour installments with Hatfields & McCoys producer Darrell Fetty; Hatfields co-writer Ted Mann co-wrote Night 1 with them. “From Hatfields & McCoys to The Bible to Vikings, History has made a major commitment to high-quality scripted historical dramas,” said the network’s EVP Dirk Hoogstra, “The Texas Revolution is one of the most gut-wrenching and inspirational events in our history. Doing the story justice will be a massive undertaking and we’re excited to begin production with one of the best teams in the business.” Read More »

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‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Bags 7.4 Million Viewers On Night 2

By | Tuesday December 10, 2013 @ 11:03am PST

The miniseries’ second night viewership across A+E NetworksHistory, A&E and Lifetime, was down 24% from Night One. Of the 7.4 million viewers, 3.1 million fell into the 25-54 age bracketfirst-photos-of-bonnie-and-clyde-miniseries-01. On History, the miniseries, starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger in the title roles,  logged 2.8 million viewers overall; Lifetime and A&E networks each averaged 2.3 million.

Related: ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Miniseries Draws 9.8 Million Viewers Across Three Networks

Overall, the two-part miniseries averaged 8.6 million viewers — 3.6 million in that age bracket. That secures Bonnie & Clyde‘s status as basic cable’s third most watched miniseries since ’06, behind History’s mega hits Hatfields & McCoys and The Bible. Bonnie & Clyde had grossed 9.8 million viewers and 4.2 million demo viewers during its world premiere on Sunday. History also led the simulcast that night,  with 3.7 million viewers, followed by Lifetime (3.1 million) and A&E (3 million).

The project, which also starred Holly Hunter and William Hurt, marked A+E Networks’ first-ever simulcast across the three networks. Sony Pictures Television produced the mini, from executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, based on  the script byJohn Rice and Joe Batteer, directed by Bruce Beresford.

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History’s ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Sued By Actor Thrown From Horse On Set

By | Friday November 8, 2013 @ 5:27pm PST

Tom McKay today started a legal feud with the Hatfields & McCoys. In a suit (read it here) filed Friday in LA Superior Court alleging reckless misconduct and breach of contract, McKay is going after the producers of the hit 2012 History Channel miniseries and their insurance companies for injuries he suffered after being thrown from a horse on set. The incident occurred on November 11, 2011, “when the subject horse became uncontrollable again during filming of a scene, bolted, and subsequently threw Plaintiff into a tree, resulting in serious and permanent injuries and harm to Plaintiff.” The seasoned actor is seeking unspecified damages for suffering and anguish, medical costs, and loss of earnings and earnings capacity. He wants to make an additional monetary point too. “The reckless, careless, callous, and oppressive acts of defendants, and each of them, as set forth herein-above, are sufficient to warrant the imposition of punitive and exemplary damages against said defendants in an amount sufficient to punish and make an example of them. The exact amount of such damages are presently unknown to Plaintiff, but will be subject to proof at trial,” reads the 38-page, 8-claim complaint. McKay is also seeking interest, legal costs and a declaration from the court that OneBeacon America Insurance Company and Ace USA are liable under the insurance policy the production had with them for all benefits due to him and for all and any damages claimed by him.

McKay, whose recent credits include the Starz/BBC series The White Queen, played Jim McCoy on the miniseries that ran over three nights at the end of May 2012. Hatfields & McCoys star and producer Kevin Costner is not named as a defendant nor mentioned in the suit, but several others high up in the production are including director Kevin Reynolds and executive producer Leslie Grief. The defendants formally named are Hatfields & McCoys Productions, ThinkFactory Media, OneBeacon and Ace USA. Read More »

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Writer John Glenn Signs Overall Deal With Uni TV

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Writer John Glenn (Eagle Eye) has signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television to develop new shows for the studio. The pact comes on the heels of Glenn writing two high-profile projects for NBC this past development season: the modern-day Hatfields & McCoys, through ABC Studios, which went to pilot, and modern-day Moby Dick drama Lost Horizon, a collaboration with M. Night Shyamalan through Sony, which had a put pilot commitment and I hear is now being discussed as a potential event series. Glenn also created Fix It Men, which is being put together as an international co-production/direct-to-series project with Sonar Entertainment, ABC Studios, and producer Mark Gordon. “John Glenn is a great writer with the ability to tap into different worlds and create layered and distinct characters,” Universal TV EVP Bela Bajaria said. On the film side, Glenn, repped by WME and manager Brian Lutz, recently delivered his script Abducted to Paramount and producer Mary Parent and is working with Norwegian director Andre Ovredal on a franchise spec.

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TV Academy Reverses Consolidation Of TV Movie & Miniseries Acting Categories

By | Thursday April 18, 2013 @ 10:06pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

This year’s 65th Primetime Emmy Awards were supposed to introduce a smaller longform field after the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences last year voted to consolidate the Best Lead and Supporting actor and actress categories for miniseries and TV movies, reducing the total number of longform acting categories from four to two starting with the 2013 Emmys. But tonight, the TV Academy Board voted to reverse the consolidation, reinstating the longform lead and supporting categories in this year’s competition. The TV Academy cited “the unanticipated resurgence of television miniseries and movies” for its decision to keep the existing number of longform categories. The backtracking is surprising since reducing the those categories was the first major Emmy rule change under TV Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum.

The consolidation decision had been driven mainly by the dwindling pool of longform programming on TV, especially miniseries, which led to the merging of the best TV movie and miniseries categories in 2011 following two consecutive years of only two best miniseries nominees. But miniseries/limited series have enjoyed a resurgence in the past couple of years, ranking as the most watched cable entertainment telecasts of 2012 (History’s Hatfields & McCoys) and ever  (2013 (History’s The Bible). The field also was joined by such hits as Downton Abbey, which started off in the longform category before moving to drama series, and FX’s anthology American Horror Story. And with Fox and FX making a major push in limited-event series, there will be even more contenders joining traditional longorm Emmy frontrunner HBO, which just saw its original movie Behind The Candelabra selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. While the consolidation of the longform acting categories is being nixed, the best longform category (movie/miniseries) remains combined. Read More »

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‘Southland’s Shawn Hatosy To Co-Star In CBS Pilot ‘Reckless’, ‘Dexter’s James Remar In NBC’s ‘Hatfields & McCoy’

By | Friday March 8, 2013 @ 11:28am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Southland co-star Shawn Hatosy has joined the cast of CBS‘ drama pilot Reckless, directed by Catherine Hardwicke from a script by Dana Stevens. The sultry legal show set in Charleston, South Carolina, centers on Jamie, a gorgeous Yankee litigator, and Roy, a Southern City Attorney (Cam Gigandet), who struggle to hide their intense attraction while clashing over a police sex scandal. Hatosy, who plays Det. Sammy Bryant on Southland, will play another police detective, bad-boy Trey. For Hatosy, the casting is in second position to Southland, which is currently airing its fifth season. The critically praised cop show, which originated on NBC, has never been a big ratings performer and is again on the bubble, but it has been a prestige series for TNT, which has not made a decision on its future. Hatosy, repped by  IFA and H2F Entertainment joins fellow Southland star Ben McKenzie, who also booked a CBS drama pilot, The Advocates.

Dexter co-star James Remar has been cast as leads in NBC’s pilot Hatfields & McCoys, a take on the infamous feud set in present-day Pittsburgh. The startling death of the McCoy patriarch re-ignites the feud between the two legendary families, unleashing decades of resentment. Remar, repped by Gersh and Lighthouse Entertainment, plays the powerful and very wealthy Joe Hatfield, estranged husband to Mary Hatfield (Rebecca De Mornay). … Read More »

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Rebecca De Mornay To Lead ‘Hatfields & McCoys’, ‘Venice’ & ‘Killer Women’ Add Cast

By | Thursday February 28, 2013 @ 7:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Rebecca De Mornay and Nick Westrate have been cast as leads in NBC’s hourlong pilot Hatfields & McCoys, a take on the infamous feud set in present-day Pittsburgh. The startling death of the McCoy patriarch re-ignites the feud between the two legendary families, unleashing decades of resentment. De Mornay will play the central character of Mary Hatfield, the Mayor of Pittsburgh and matriarch of the powerful Hatfields, who basically run the city through their development company and political connections. Westrate will play Randall Hatfield, Mary’s smug son. Read More »

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Sophia Bush To Star In NBC Pilot ‘Hatfields & McCoys’, ‘The Selection’ Finds Celeste

By | Thursday February 28, 2013 @ 6:36pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Sophia Bush is returning to drama series with a lead role in NBC’s hourlong pilot Hatfields & McCoys, a modern-day take on the infamous feud executive produced by Charlize Theron. Written by John Glenn and directed by Michael Mayer, the project is set in present day Pittsburgh. The startling death of the McCoy patriarch re-ignites the feud between these two legendary families, unleashing decades of resentment. One Tree Hill alumna Bush, repped by WME and Joan Green, will play Emma McCoy, the shining star of the family and and the oldest McCoy sibling, a doctor. This season, she starred on the CBS comedy Partners.

Celia Massingham has landed a lead role opposite Yael Grobglas in the CW drama The Selection. Set 300 years in the future, The Selection is an epic romance centering on America Singer (Grobglas), a working class young woman chosen by lottery to participate in a competition with 25 other women for the Royal Prince’s hand to become the nation’s next queen. Massingham will play Celeste, a young woman competing in The Selection to become wife of Prince Maxon (Michael Malarkey) and future queen.

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Matthew Goode Cast In Showtime Pilot ‘Vatican’, Virginia Madsen To Star In NBC’s ‘Hatfields & McCoys’

By | Tuesday February 12, 2013 @ 4:30pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Matthew Goode (A Single Man) has been cast in Vatican, Showtime’s drama pilot from Paul Attanasio, Sony Pictures TV and Scott Free. Directed by Ridley Scott, Vatican is described as a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church. Goode will play Papal Secretary Bernd Koch, the current Pope’s closest confidante, giving him a very powerful perch within the inner-circle of the Vatican.

Virginia Madsen has been tapped for a lead role in NBC’s drama pilot Hatfields & McCoys, a modern-day Hatfields and McCoys project created by John Glenn and produced by Charlize Theron, Dawn Parouse Olmstead, Beau Flynn and ABC Studios. A startling death re-ignites the feud between these two legendary families in present-day Pittsburgh, unleashing decades of resentment. Madsen will play the matriarch of the McCoy clan, Eloise McCoy, a self-made woman who, despite her seemingly calm demeanor, is an extremely vengeful and calculated woman who will do anything for her family. Read More »

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Modern Hatfields & McCoys Drama From Charlize Theron & John Glenn Gets NBC Pilot Order

By | Monday January 28, 2013 @ 5:31pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Charlize TheronNBC has given a pilot order to Hatfields & McCoys, a modern-day Hatfields and McCoys drama project created by John Glenn (Eagle Eye) and produced by Charlize Theron and ABC Studios. The project, which had a significant penalty attached to it, is set in present day Pittsburgh. A startling death re-ignites the feud between these two legendary families, unleashing decades of resentment. The blue collar McCoys will put the Hatfields’ wealth and power at risk as they go to war for control of the city. Dawn Parouse Olmstead, who came up with the idea for the project, and Beau Flynn are producing with Theron’s Denver And Delilah Prods through their deal at ABC Studios. This is not the only contemporary Hatfields & McCoys project in the works. History, which aired the blockbuster three-part miniseries about the famous feud starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton, is developing a reality series featuring the descendants of the Hatfields and the McCoys.

The Hatfields & McCoys drama pitch was one of the first major sales this development season. NBC bought it in early June, a week after History’s mini broke basic cable ratings, averaging 13.8 million viewers over three nights. With its modern-day urban setting, the NBC project is not a Western, but its lineage will likely give it some of that flavor. Theron … Read More »

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History Developing ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Reality Series

By | Thursday December 13, 2012 @ 1:45pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: As History‘s blockbuster Hatfields & McCoys miniseries is making its final rounds on the awards circle with strong showings at the Golden Globe, SAG and WGA nominations, the network is looking to extend the hit franchise on the unscripted side. I’ve learned that History is developing a reality series featuring the descendants of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Details about the series, produced by Wild Eyes Prods. (Bullproof, Living Large), are being kept under wraps, but it is safe to assume that the contemporary Hatfields and McCoys will no longer be feuding.

Seven decades ago, the descendants of the two clans whose bloody clash rocked the Tug Valley area between Kentucky and West Virginia post-Civil War were showcased in Life magazine to attest that the two families had buried the hatchet. (At left is a photograph used in the 1944 story featuring Shirley Hatfield and Frankie McCoy, working together in a local military factory) And in 2003, descendants of the Hatfield and McCoy families gathered in Pikeville, KY to sign a truce for a symbolic and official end to the feud that claimed at least a dozen lives. The proclamation was signed by more than 60 descendants during the fourth Hatfield-McCoy Festival, with Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton and West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise declaring June 14 Hatfield and McCoy Reconciliation Day. Read More »

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History Teams With ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Producer And Writer For Texas Rangers Mini

By | Wednesday November 14, 2012 @ 3:43pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of the blockbuster success of Hatfields & McCoys, History has teamed with two key auspices behind the miniseries — executive producer Leslie Greif and co-writer Ted Mann — for another six-hour mini set during America’s turbulent 19th century.
History is developing Texas Rising, a miniseries about the formation and rise of the Texas Rangers, the oldest law enforcement organization in North America. It will chronicle the force’s humble beginnings — its creation was triggered by a call-to-arms penned by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 — as well as its role during Texas’ secession from the U.S. during the Civil War. Mann will write the mini, with Greif executive producing.

Mann, repped by APA and attorney Tom Hoberman, recently joined the second season of Starz’ period drama Magic City after serving as co-executive producer on the pay cable network’s first drama series Crash and the upcoming Da Vinci’s Demons. His credits also include HBO’s dark Western Deadwood and ABC’s NYPD Blue. Read More »

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After ‘Hatfields & McCoys’, Kevin Costner Eyes Jack Ryan, ‘Three Days To Kill’

By | Monday August 6, 2012 @ 5:44pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: It is clear from the record cable rating and 22 Emmy noms for the History Channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys that audiences want to see more of Kevin Costner, who starred as clan leader Devil Hatfield. Studios have certainly noticed, and Costner is being courted for a pair of big roles that could bring on a resurgence I think is overdue.

Costner, who plays Pa Kent in the Warner Bros/Legendary Superman reboot Man of Steel, has been offered the co-lead of the Kenneth Branagh-directed Jack Ryan film that will star Chris Pine. Costner’s also being courted by Luc Besson’s Europacorp to star as a dying assassin in Three Days To Kill.

I’ve heard that the Jack Ryan role is a new creation, but a close cousin to the role of CIA bigwig Admiral Greer that was played by James Earl Jones in Patriot Games. Costner’s role is being invented because Jones will likely be in the prequel, but essentially Costner would play Ryan’s mentor who recruits him and shows him the ropes.

Related: EMMYS: Kevin Costner On ‘Hatfields & McCoys’

Three Days to Kill has a script by Adi Hasak and Besson, and like Taken, it is a contained cost drama that is set in France and is a kicking showcase for a male star. Costner has been offered the role of Ethan Renner, a government assassin who is … Read More »

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EMMYS: Reactions To Academy’s Nominations

By | Thursday July 19, 2012 @ 8:14am PDT

Anthony D’Alessandro is managing editor of AwardsLine

REFRESH FOR LATEST… 

Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
“I’m enormously pleased and proud of our nominations, especially this year. Perhaps at no other time in television history has the competition in the drama category been so fierce. The fact that we’ve been recognized is a testament to the talent of our incredible cast and crew”. — creator/executive producer Terence Winter

Downton Abbey
“It is a great honour and tremendously exciting to find our show on the list for this year’s Emmy ceremony. The very steep competition can only be considered a compliment, since they are all fantastic programs, and I hope they are as happy as I am, celebrating their nominations”. — creator/writer/executive producer Julian Fellowes

“The Emmys aren’t well known in Great Britain as the BAFTAs, but within the industry, they’re considered the preeminent TV awards. What (our nominations) mean for us is that Downton Abbey isn’t just a huge hit in its own country, but offshore as well. Downtown has the record number for most noms for a British series [Editor's note: Downton has a total of 27 noms over 2 years. Upstairs Downstairs had a total of 23 since 1977)...(Downton resonates in America) because we start off with a familiar recognizable British drama with Edwardian and class system elements; things that are recognizable in literature. We created a modern show with fast storytelling, myriad characters; but going into a much loved traditional genre". -- executive producer Gareth Neame

Homeland
"If you look at all the shows in the drama series category, all of them circle around controversial subject matter. It makes for the best drama...The bipolarity of Claire Danes' character didn't come to the front until later drafts. When she was first conceived, she was a reckless pariah inside the agency. We pathologised her behavior...which poised the question of whether she was reliable or not. They were two fundamental questions that ran through the season" -- writer/executive producer Alex Gansa. "All the dramas exercise remarkable restraint, everything feels organic. Mad Men and Breaking Bad are brave and Alex and I are thrilled to be in their company...We were afraid when we first starting doing Homeland that there would be terrorist fatigue among the audience. What was interesting to me was that so much had happened, we were in Afghanistan and Iraq, a lot of our soldiers had been killed and traumatized". -- writer/executive producer Howard Gordon

Mad Men
"I am always amazed and surprised by our Emmy nominations. You don't expect them and you never know what's going to happen. This is particularly exciting because at five seasons, we're the longest running show in the drama category...In terms of the content this season, I felt great about it. We have hundreds of people who work for us and we did our best...Today we take stock in what a ride it has been...I learned about the nominations from watching TV, I didn't sleep that well. It's very suspenseful." In years past the TV Academy has overlooked Mad Men's actors and actresses in terms of final wins. Weiner explained, " There's a little story for every category in terms of why it happens each year. It's a mystery to me. I take some of it personally...There's a degree of difficulty in terms of what these actors are doing; there's a depth to their performances. I'm not in the actors' peer (Emmy voting) group; in some ways they're more subjective. Jon Hamm is a wonderful actor with a unique style. Jessica Pare is incredible. This was one of John Slattery's best season and I don't know why they (the TV Academy) overlooked him".--creator, executive producer, writer, director Matthew Weiner

Miniseries Or Movie
American Horror Story
“I was really thrilled with American Horror Story's nominations today in the technical and acting categories -- it was really a great morning. The horror genre historically and with rare exception has done well and I was thrilled that voters really got what we were doing...The heart of the show is about social horrors which we're exploring and delving into through a horror lense. People got that. It wasn't just a slasher project, we had aspirations to make something else. Everyone loved that we were shifting the spotlight and delving deeper, particularly with the Columbine-like plot. I was always inspired by such movies as The Exorcist and Silence Of The Lambs. They were horror films, but they had deeper metaphors." [Commenting on his other series, Glee, receiving only one nomination]: “Of course, I try to see the glass as half full.” — co-creator Ryan Murphy

Hatfields & McCoys
“I am over the moon. I’m going completely nuts. I was overwhelmed and not really prepared (for this show) in the success with the ratings, and taken back that it was so well-received and to have all our peers recognized; all of my department heads. … When you distill the essence of this story, it’s about two families, about friends and lovers. It’s similar to the drama seen with the Montagues and Capulets, the IRA and the Protestants — it’s a tragic tale of mankind, but told personally: It’s a combination of a true story, our sense of betrayal and our ability to forgive and not forgive. These are the kernels we can relate to as human beings. That’s the story that engaged everyone. I had no idea that It would spark the ratings numbers it did. But when I look at the accomplishments of my cast and the department heads who took this on for so little money, under difficult circumstances, at a distant shooting location; all because they believed in the product and Kevin Costner, it was always about ‘How do we get the best out of the day’? ” — executive producer Leslie Greif

“It’s wonderful when Nielsen rewards you, but when your peers at the TV Academy do, it’s a nice end to a very sweet story. It’s rewarding for everyone in the whole cast, Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Leslie Greif and the whole cast; it’s overwhelming. We worked with Leslie for a couple of years on the conceit of the project. We see this as the iconic American family…I wouldn’t call it a western. It wasn’t about cowboys or frontier land. It was about the heartache and pain that these families put themselves through”. — executive producer/president and general manager HISTORY/Lifetime Networks Nancy Dubuc Read More »

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NBCU’s Stake In A&E Valued At $2.8B For Sale To Hearst, Disney: Report

By | Friday July 6, 2012 @ 12:31pm PDT

The value of Comcast and NBC Universal‘s 15% stake in A&E Television Networks has risen following the success of the Hatfields & McCoys. When Comcast disclosed in an SEC filing early in May it was selling at least some of its A&E stake to co-owning partners Disney-ABC and the Hearst Corp, it valued the stake at just over $2 billion, according to the New York Post. Then the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries bowed to spectacular ratings on History, and the value to NBCU of the transaction has risen to $2.8 million. A&E includes the History Channel, Lifetime and A&E. ABC and Hearst each own 42.5% and will split equal parts of NBCU’s stake. The Post said the deal was expected to close during the second quarter but negotiations might take longer. Among other things, haggling continues over retransmission fees Hearst pays Comcast for its NBC-affiliated stations.

Related: NBCU Hoping To Buy Out Microsoft’s Stake in MSNBC.com

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EMMYS: Made For TV/Miniseries Economics

By | Wednesday June 27, 2012 @ 2:01pm PDT

Ray Richmond is a contributor to AwardsLine

Boardwalk Empire

Just when everyone assumed that the original television miniseries was either dead or restricted to being the loss-leader indulgence of HBO, up pops History Channel’s Hatfields & McCoys in May to show the world that if you make a three-night event on a compelling subject with big stars (Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton) and a quality pedigree, the masses will still flock. Hatfields averaged nearly 14 million total viewers nightly, building to 14.3 million on Night 3 to become the most-watched entertainment telecast of all time on ad-supported cable.

Despite that success, so few miniseries are being done that the TV Academy last year was obliged to merge TV movies and miniseries into a single category. There simply is no longer close to the number of ambitious, big-budget minis as were commissioned in the days of Roots (1977), Jesus Of Nazareth (1977), The Winds Of War (1983) and War And Remembrance (1988-89). When it happens now, it’s generally on HBO via the likes of Angels In America (2003), John Adams (2008), The Pacific (2010) and Mildred Pierce (2011). Yet even HBO’s once-abundant longform output has slowed in recent years just to a few projects annually. Blame the shifting economics of the TV business. Read More »

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EMMYS: Kevin Costner On ‘Hatfields & McCoys’

By | Monday June 25, 2012 @ 4:38pm PDT

Anthony D’Alessandro is AwardsLine managing editor and contributor.

Boardwalk EmpireWhen it comes to the longevity of the Western, Kevin Costner remains an iconic voice for the genre. This time he’s extended his lasso around TV as the producer and star of History Channel’s first miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. Hitting record ratings for basic cable each of its three nights with a final 14.3 million, Hatfields’ success underscored the genre’s continuing popularity as well as Costner’s continuing potential as leading man. Costner Westerns hone in on the subtext and mores of standoffs against a blue sky, which are plentiful in Hatfields, rather than slow-motion blood and pungent dialogue that have peppered the likes of the Coen brothers’ True Grit and HBO’s Deadwood. Costner also doesn’t flinch at playing the bad guy, and his Devil Anse Hatfield is as potent as his turns in A Perfect World and Mr. Brooks. Given the TV Academy’s adoration for oaters (i.e., the four Emmy wins rallied by Robert Duvall’s Broken Trail including best actor and miniseries), expect Costner and Hatfields & McCoys to ride high in the saddle come nom time.

AWARDSLINE: How did the project come your way? Were you tracking this?
KEVIN COSTNER: No, It came to me in a fairly traditional way. My agent had read it, knowing my sensibilities. While on the surface it didn’t seem like something I would do in terms of it being on TV — whatever everyone’s prejudice is — he understood I’m writer-driven and material-driven. He liked it enough that he asked me to read it and when I did, I knew immediately that I liked it enough to consider it. They asked me to direct it, but I was doing music over the summer and I couldn’t give it its proper prep.

Related: EMMYS: ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Producer Leslie Greif Read More »

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EMMYS: ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Producer Leslie Greif

By | Saturday June 23, 2012 @ 2:19pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It might have taken three decades to turn America’s most famous family feud into a miniseries, but it’s been worth the effort for veteran TV and film producer Leslie Greif, whose Hatfields & McCoys broke basic cable ratings records in its Memorial Day debut. The three-part story about the infamous post-Civil War clash starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton ranked as the top three most-watched entertainment Boardwalk Empire telecasts of all time on ad-supported cable, with the conclusion drawing a record 14.3 million viewers. The mini’s success even earned Greif a congratulatory call from Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, which co-owns History Channel parent A&E Networks.

Hatfields & McCoysIt’s a fitting conclusion for a passion project that no one seemed interested in. Greif, a history buff, first got the idea for Hatfields & McCoys when he started in the TV business in the early 1980s. Broadcast television was attracting huge audiences with event miniseries like Roots and Shogun, and he thought a miniseries about the well-known rivalry would be the perfect calling card to break into the business. “It is a revenge story,” Greif explains. “I thought it had all the great drama, on top of it being a true story. I thought it would make for riveting television.”

Related: EMMYS: AwardsLine’s Pre-Nom Profiles

There was some initial interest – one of the hottest writers at the time, Bill Kerby [The Rose], came onboard to write the mini, which was set up at CBS. But after languishing at the network for a while, it ended up in turnaround. For the next three decades, the project bounced around. Despite attracting top talent – Burt Lancaster was attached to star at one point, with Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck also showing strong interest through the years — the mini never got to a green light.

Related: EMMYS: Longform Shakeup Sign Of Times Read More »

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Jena Malone Joins ‘The Go Getters’

By | Friday June 8, 2012 @ 7:47am PDT

Jena Malone has joined the cast of the indie film The Go Getters. Malone, who recently starred in the cable ratings-record breaking Hatfields & McCoys, will play the female lead in the LA noir thriller, a struggling actress who gets caught up in a heist planned by two underworld brothers. The Go Getters is directed by Michael C. Martin. Matt Tauber, Damon Alexander, JT Alexander and Andy Hyde of Route 17 Entertainment are producing. Malone, who starred in Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch in 2011, is repped by Gersh and attorney Bob Wallerstein.

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