Lothaire Bluteau (The Tudors), Kevin Durand (The Strain) and Morgane Polanski (The Ghost) have joined the cast of History’s original scripted series Vikings for Season 3. They join previously announced Ben Robson (Dracula: The Dark Prince) who will play Kalf, Lagertha’s trusted second in command. Vikings centers on Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), a restless young warrior and family man who longs to find and conquer new lands across the sea and claim the spoils as his own. Bluteau will play Emperor Charles of France, a powerful man who views the Vikings as spiritual and earthly; Durand will play The Wanderer, a mysterious man who is not what he seems; and Polanski will play Princess Gisla, the elegant, self-possessed daughter of Emperor Charles and his most trusted advisor. Vikings Season 3 begins production this summer for a 2015 premiere.
History has added cast to its drama series Vikings and miniseries Texas Rising. Ben Robson (Dracula: The Dark Prince) has landed a series regular role in Season 3 of Vikings. It centers on Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), a restless young warrior and family man who longs to find and conquer new lands across the sea and claim the spoils as his own. Robson, repped by UTA and Management 360, will play Kalf, the trusted second-in-command to Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick). Produced by MGM Television, Vikings Season 3 begins production this summer for a 2015 premiere.
Rob Morrow has joined the cast of Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ThinkFactory Media. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Morrow, repped by Gersh, Berwick & Kovacik, and Jackson Tyerman, will play Col. Fannin, a passionate member of the Texas Army who follows his heart instead of orders. He next will be seen in the upcoming John Carney film Begin Again.
President Obama will introduce night one of History’s six-part event series The World Wars. It will air on three consecutive nights on History and H2 beginning Memorial Day Monday at 9 PM. Jeremy Renner will narrate the project, which showcases the 30-year period from 1914 to 1945, featuring interviews with Colin Powell, British Prime Miniter John Major, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, and Sen. John McCain, among others. Stephen David Entertainment is producing. Russ McCarroll, Paul Cabana and Elaine Frontain Bryant are exec producing for History.
EXCLUSIVE: History wants to get its motor running this summer. The A+E Networks channel will debut new series Biker Background Phoenix on July 1 at 10PM. Produced by Da Vinci’s Demons producers and BBC Worldwide label Adjacent Productions, the 9-episode unscripted series aims to take viewers inside the world of custom bike building. With the original American Chopper off the air since 2010, BBP hopes to grab the market on the genre. Sure to be discussed by A+E at their NYC upfront tomorrow, Biker Battleground Phoenix will focus on five of the top shop owners in the desert metropolis as they battle to build the baddest and best bikes possible. Bryn Freedman is serving as executive producer. Julian Hobbs and Elaine Frontain Bryant will be as the EPs for the home of Pawn Stars while Phil Lott, Travis Shakespeare and Jane Tranter serve as EPs for Adjacent.
History Channel produced a special video which was screened at tonight’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, The 100th Anniversary — The White House Correspondents’ Association, which took a look back at how the press organization formed during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency and ultimately impacted Capitol Hill press coverage. Diane Sawyer narrates and President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton were interviewed, with the latter remarking about the WHCA, “I always tried to put myself in their position and they had a difficult job to do and needed a news story everyday. And if I didn’t give them one, they’d have one anyway and sometimes it would be one I didn’t like.” Take a look:
Stephen Monroe Taylor has been cast in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Taylor, repped by House of Reps and Main Title, will play Texas Ranger Gator Davis, a drawling good ol’ boy from Louisiana who can strum a guitar and sing with the best of them. He’s also a fearless fighting man who meets danger head on. Taylor currently recurs on Anger Management. Fern Champion Casting is handling casting for Texas Rising.
Jeremy Davies (Justified) and Robert Knepper (Prison Break) have been cast in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Davies, repped by Paradigm, Silver Lining Entertainment and attorney Karl Austen, will play Sgt. Ephraim Knowles, a shifty rogue whose only thought is for his own survival who reluctantly joins the Rangers to avoid being executed for desertion. Knepper, repped by Innovative Artists and Kramer Management, will play Empresario Buckley, an unshaven bombastic slob. He is the only law in the town of Victoria, and he abuses his position to further his own agenda and make himself rich in the process.
Adam Hicks (Lemonade Mouth) has been cast in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Roland Joffé will direct. Hicks, repped by Paradigm, Gilbertson Entertainment, and Myman Abel Fineman Fox Greenspan Lights, will play Turett Fincham, the youngest Ranger who faces his first skirmish with a group of murdering Indians. Hicks will next be seen in the upcoming feature Boy Next Door.
Christopher McDonald, Trevor Donovan Join History’s Texas Rangers Mini; S. Epatha Merkerson In NBC’s ‘Babylon Fields’
Christopher McDonald (Requiem For A Dream) and Trevor Donovan (90210) have joined the killer cast of History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Roland Joffé will direct. McDonald, repped by Gersh and Brillstein, will play Henry Karnes, a grizzled, tough taskmaster of the ranging company. Donovan, with APA and Michael Yanni Management, will play Kit Acklin, a handsome, wise-ass, expert horseman whose chivalry and equestrian skills are matched only by his gun-fighting prowess. Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Thomas Jane, Olivier Martinez, Chad Michael Murray, Michael Rapaport and Max Thieriot round out the all-star cast.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Mark Burnett said today that his mega-rated History Channel miniseries The Bible is being recut into a single three-hour edition for theatrical release. Burnett revealed the news tonight following an NBC Summer Press Day closing panel promoting The Voice, which he exec produces. Burnett said that it has no studio affiliation or distribution agreement yet but that he has “many offers” for getting the revised version into theaters on a global scale. One option would be to distribute it himself, with a target goal of this fall. “We’re in the position where it’s just a matter of choosing” the right venue and situation, Burnett emphasized. “We could put it into arenas. There are a lot of possible choices we could go with.” He hinted that going the unconventional route is his likely first choice, a scenario reminiscent of Mel Gibson’s with his feature The Passion Of The Christ back in 2004. “We kind of operate outside the business, we do our own thing,” Burnett said. “It’s a good position to be in.” Burnett exulted that The Bible was viewed in the United States alone by some 100 million people and tens of millions more internationally. “All of those people who rolled their eyes three years ago and said nobody’s going to watch The Bible on TV, well, they were wrong,” he said. “But I wasn’t surprised. I knew it would work like it did.” How did he know? “God,” Burnett replied. “It was …
Oprah Winfrey hosts the Emmy-winning husband and wife team behind the History Channel hit The Bible Sunday night on her primetime show Oprah’s Next Chapter. One topic the pair will address is the controversy-sparking resemblance between Satan actor Mehdi Ouzaani and President Obama. “I honestly was horrified,” Downey tells Winfrey. “We love the President, we have nothing but respect for the President. We felt somehow hijacked.” And, on The Bible’s ratings coup: “We were delighted throughout the run of the series we saw various headlines — ‘God Beats Zombies’ — was my particular favorite”. The interview airs Sunday at 9 PM ET/PT on OWN.
History Channel announced today that it is picking up another season of Vikings. The first scripted drama for the network, Vikings will return for 10-episode second season next year. Production is set to begin this summer. The show’s first-season finale will air April 28. The renewal comes five episodes into what has been a successful run for the series. With a lead-in from the Mark Burnett-produced The Bible, Vikings had 6.2 million viewers, 2.5 million adults 18-49 viewers and 2.7 million adults 25-54 catch its March 3 debut. That topped the broadcast networks at 10 PM in the 18-49 demo. The series has emerged as the No. 1 new cable series of the year.
Striking editors on the History Channel‘s Swamp People have reached an agreement, according to Motion Picture Editors Guild statements posted on Facebook and Twitter. “We have successfully resolved the Swamp People strike. After a work stoppage of four days, the crew of the History Channel’s docu-reality series will return to work with a union contract” read the statement on Facebook. The Twitter message said The @MPEG700 crew of #SwampPeople has a deal to end the #strike! Back to work under an @IATSE contract. The editors walked off the job Tuesday in protest against producers trying to stymie union organizing. Approximately 16 people were involved in the walkout.
UPDATE: In response, Michael Camacho tells Deadline: “I was in charge of unscripted television at UTA when his agency signed several of the principal characters of Pawn Stars. I have never met or spoken to the former agents or the clients and was unaware of any claim.”
The former agents of the stars of History’s Pawn Stars today sued the network, executives Nancy Dubac and Mary Donahue, A&E and former UTA agent Michael Camacho for allegedly poaching their clients. Citing $5 million in lost commissions and damages (read complaint here), Venture IAB claims that it set up Pawn Stars’ Richard B. Harrison, Richard K. Harrison, Richard C. Harrison and Austen Russell on the reality show. The agents say they signed the group as clients in 2007 and again in 2009. Pawn Stars debuted on History on July 19, 2009. It was not long after that things started to go sour between the staff of Las Vegas’ World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and their agents. “In or about January 2010, the Harrisons and Russell terminated the Agency agreements, and thereafter entered into agency contracts with Michael Camacho and UTA. As a result of the intentional interference with the Agency Agreements, Plaintiff has lost millions of dollars of income,” says the complaint. Venture IAB claims it’s “entitled to 10% of all compensation received by the Harrisons and Russell” from Pawn Stars.
What do Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt have in common? This is probably the last thing that you’d think of, but they were all taxidermists. History will explore the world of taxidermy in a new reality series to premiere April 7. Titled Mounted in Alaska, the series centers on Russell Knight, the owner of Knight’s Taxidermy, an Alaska-based family-run shop. Per History: “From concept to completion, viewers will see the true, pressure-packed process of what it takes to preserve natural history — all on a deadline and always for a demanding client.” Mounted in Alaska is produced by Thinkfactory Media.
UPDATE: Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment, who co-produce The Kennedys, just issued the following statement about the mini-series’ cancellation by History: “We are proud of the work all of our talent put into the making of The Kennedys and the painstaking efforts that went into creating a drama that is compelling while rich in historic detail. Although we regret this does not fit into the History Channel’s plans, we are confident that television viewers in the United States will join viewers from around the world in having an opportunity to watch this series in the near future.”
PREVIOUS: The Kennedys miniseries, just canceled History, is now being shopped to Showtime. The 8-part miniseries, a brain child of 24 co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow, stars Greg Kinnear as JFK, Katie Holmes as Jackie, Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy, and Tom Wilkinson as Joseph Kennedy. I hear the stunning cancellation, which was done after the mini had been completed, was done under political pressure from the Kennedy family who were not comfortable with the project coming out in the year of the 50th anniversary of Camelot. History is part of the A&E Networks, which is co-owned by the Walt Disney Co. Disney’s interest in the company is overseen by Disney-ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney who is an A&E Networks board member. She is also a board member on the Special Olympics, which is synonymous with the Kennedy family, having been launched by John …