The miniseries’ second night viewership across A+E Networks‘ History, 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 bracket. On History, the miniseries, …
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.
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.
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.
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 …
Matthew Goode Cast In Showtime Pilot ‘Vatican’, Virginia Madsen To Star In NBC’s ‘Hatfields & McCoys’
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.
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.
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.
Anthony D’Alessandro is managing editor of AwardsLine
“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
“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
"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
"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
Ray Richmond is a contributor to AwardsLine
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.
Anthony D’Alessandro is AwardsLine managing editor and contributor.
When 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.
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 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.
It’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.”
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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.
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 …