Kevin Spacey officially opened the Guardian Edinburgh Television Festival in the Scottish capital this evening, becoming the first Hollywood star, rather than exec or broadcaster, ever to deliver the prestigious James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture. The lecture is designed to focus on the topics that are currently top of mind for the British TV biz. The House Of Cards star and exec producer riffed that the Netflix show was “one of the primary — if not the only reason — I was asked to speak today.” In an hourlong speech, he touched on the show’s innovations, the problems with pilots, the importance of storytelling and the industry’s responsibility to support new talent.
One of his more rousing comments was about making programming. “We know what works and the only thing we don’t know is why it’s so difficult to find executives with the fortitude, the wisdom and the balls to do it,” he offered. Speaking of the House Of Cards experience, he said, “Of course we went to all the major networks… and every single one was very interested in the idea… but every one of them wanted us to do a pilot first… Netflix was the only network that said, ‘We believe in you. We’ve run our data and it tells us that our audience would watch this series. We don’t need you to do a pilot. How many episodes do you want to do?’” Read More »
The cast for the Charlize Theron co-produced Dark Placescontinues to grow. House Of Cards’Corey Stoll and Rescue Me’sAndrea Roth have both been added to the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling mystery novel … Read More »
This may sound counterintuititve to those who see Netflix as a haven for cord-cutters, or viewers who want an alternative to primetime’s current sitcoms, dramas, and reality shows. But TiVo Research and Analytics says today that data from 9,956 … Read More »
Six years after the TV Academy changed its rules to allow online series to compete in the Emmy race alongside traditional shows, series that have not aired on broadcast or cable TV made it to the top categories for the first time. Leading the breakthrough is streaming giant Netflix with House Of Cards, which landed 9 nominations, including best drama series and best actor/actress for Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, and Arrested Development, with a best actor nom for Jason Bateman. Netflix, which scored a total of 12 noms vs. none last year, employed some non-traditional Emmy campaign tactics, including lawn signs and a BBQ food truck. This marks Bateman’s second nomination for his starring role on the cult comedy eight years after he was first nominated for the series’ second season on Fox. But while the comedy earned best series noms for each of its three seasons on Fox, this time around it missed the cut in the top category.
Meanwhile, FX’s Louie continued its awards momentum with its first best series nom. Over the past year, Louis C.K.’s edgy comedy landed its first Emmy in September, then first SAG, Golden Globe and PGA nominations and the top comedy prize at the WGA Awards. Now Louie, which is on a prolonged hiatus, netted its most Emmy nominations, six, including third consecutive noms for lead actor Louis C.K., and writing, a category won by Louis C.K. last year; as well as second nom for directing, also for Louis C.K. The stand-up comedian/Renaissance man, who writes, directs, acts and edits, surpassed his record of seven Emmy nominations last year, landing as many individual noms this year spread over Louie, his HBO special Oh My God and his hosting duties on Saturday Night Live, plus a best series mention for Louie, on which he serves as executive producer. Read More »
Netflix is taking a page from political elections’ playbook in its first Emmy campaign with For Your Consideration lawn signs supporting its original series House Of Cards, which also is set in the world of national … Read More »
With her early iconic roles of Buttercup (The Princess Bride) and Jenny (Forrest Gump) nestled into filmgoers’ collective consciousness, it’s easy to forget that Robin Wright’s roots were in TV, where she garnered three Daytime Emmy noms in the mid-1980s for her role on the soap Santa Barbara. Now, after a couple decades of a lauded but intermittent film career, Wright is back on the small-screen in Netflix’s House Of Cards, where she’s generating Emmy buzz for her deftly nuanced role as Congressman Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey) formidable wife, Claire, a cold-blooded schemer with hot flashes.
AwardsLine: You started in TV, but did you ever think you’d be back on a series? Wright: No. Never. Never imagined. The other thing is, I never watched TV—well that’s not true, I did watch Friends with my kids, but that was about it. But David Fincher said to me, “This is a new medium; it’s not television. No one’s ever done this revolutionary format. This is where the future is heading.” We’d done Girl With The Dragon Tattoo together, and I wanted to be in business with him. I’ve been in this business nearly 30 years, and you get to a point where you know who you want to work with. I wanted to work with David and Kevin and [writer] Beau Willimon. It’s a true collaboration. Read More »
Although Oberlin and Tisch-grad Corey Stoll received accolades for his 2004 stage performance opposite Viola Davis in Intimate Apparel and was a series regular on Law And Order: LA, his breakout came in 2011 playing Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. But it’s his role as Peter Russo in David Fincher’s lauded House Of Cardsthat is now generating Emmy buzz. Stoll plays a well-meaning U.S. Representative from Philadelphia, whose dalliances with debauchery land him beholden to the Machiavellian congressman from South Carolina played by Kevin Spacey.
AwardsLine: Peter Russo is such a richly nuanced character. How did this role come to you? Stoll: It happened before all the pilot season craziness. I read the script and fell in love instantly. I put [my audition] on tape, but then didn’t hear anything for months. When they did come back to me, it was to meet with David Fincher. The irony is that when I first auditioned, I thought it was a part that could go on for years. It’s a high bar when you’re looking at a pilot, and you want a character that you could play for a while, a character where you can see all the iterations. It was in this initial meeting when David gave me the basic character arc, and there was part of me that was holding some sort of hope they would change their mind [about the character’s demise]. But then I began to see it as more like doing a film role, and I could really dig in in that way.
AwardsLine: I had an overall eye-opening experience when I interned on Capitol Hill. Was there anything about politics and D.C. that you were surprised to learn? Stoll: I was shocked at how young the city is! Interns and young staffers are the people who make the city function. I’m not the first person to point out the parallels between Hollywood and D.C.—the intersection of image-making, power and money. I saw that the reason some people originally went into politics and where they wind up can get mixed up very easily. The game can be so intoxicating. Read More »
The lineup of TV dramas getting Emmy nominations and wins the past few years hasn’t changed much, but Deadline’s Pete Hammond has a few ideas to break voters out of their rut when it comes to picking a Best Drama. He breaks big for … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Eli Roth’s thriller/horror series Hemlock Grove has received a second-season renewal by Netflix. Seasoned showrunner Charles H. (Chic) Eglee (The Walking Dead, Dexter) is joining the series, which will return with 10 original episodes next year. Based on Brian McGreevy’s gothic horror novel of the same name, Hemlock Grove, produced by Gaumont International Television, stars Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgård and explores the strange happenings in a small Pennsylvania town. The series launched its entire 13-episode first season on April 19 to mixed reviews but strong interest from viewers, with Netflix announcing at that time that the series was “viewed by more members globally in its first weekend than was House Of Cards and has been a particular hit among young adults.” Hemlock Grove‘s popularity with the the younger set helped the show land a second-season renewal just as the options on the actors were set to expire. “The worldwide fan response to Hemlock Grove was phenomenal” said executive producer Roth. “Netflix members loved the potent combination of sexy monsters, mystery, and the dark family soap opera that ended with a huge twist, leaving audiences worldwide totally shocked. Season One was just a warm up for what we have in store for season two. Get ready to be scared in ways you never expected.” Landon Liboiron, Freya Tingley and Dougray Scott co-star on the series, which will begin production on Season 2 later this year. Read More »
Here’s an enterprising awards campaign from the folks at Netflix during Emmy-voting crunch time. Or rather, lunch time. Today and Tuesday between 11 AM-3 PM, the network’s House Of Cards is slinging grub in LA from the Rollin’ Rib BBQ food truck … Read More »
Now it gets serious. Emmy ballots become active at 6 PM PT tonight for all 16,000+ active voting members of theAcademy Of Television Arts & Sciences and are due by snail mail to Academy accountants Ernst & Young by June 28 at 5 PM PT. Although, unlike the Oscars and other awards voting groups, there is no direct online voting option for the TV Acad yet (but certainly there will be one eventually), the list of eligible shows and individual achievements with corresponding numbers for the Scranton computer ballot can be accessed via a special Emmy web address or on old-fashioned paper if members request it. Trying to influence those members (full disclosure: I serve on the Academy’s Board Of Governors representing the Writers branch) just as voting gets underway are the Television Critics Association which (coincidentally?) announced their nominations today and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association which (coincidentally?) holds its awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton tonight. But even as these are well-timed events, the TV Academy generally has a mind of its own and often is much slower to embrace the newer, quirkier programs these groups tend to endorse in a big way.
But things are looking up and the Academy does seem to be responding to new blood. Last year Homelandin only its first season dethroned four-time champ Mad Men. Lena Dunham’s edgy Girls and FX’s Louie also made waves. On the other hand the very deserving Breaking Bad,a critical favorite, has yet to win a Drama Series Emmy even as it ends its run later this summer (though stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have won multiple times). Those final eight shows will be running just as the last phase of Emmy voting is taking place in August and could be a factor even though those episodes won’t be eligible until next year as cutoff was May 31. Last summer’s batch of eight is what voters will be assessing this year. Read More »
In a first for a Hollywood star, Kevin Spacey will deliver the keynote MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International TV Festival in August. The influential speech traditionally focuses on serious issues facing the UK TV business. It has in the past been delivered by three members of the Murdoch family: Rupert, James and Elisabeth, who gave last year’s address. Other previous speakers include Ted Turner, Eric Schmidt and former BBC chief Mark Thompson.
Spacey’s involvement comes on the heels of exec producing and starring in House Of Cards, which Netflix positioned as a game-changer by releasing all 13 episodes of the drama’s first season at once. Season two is currently filming. On giving the MacTaggart, Spacey said, “Clearly this has been an exciting period for me personally, but also I believe this is a time of huge opportunity, innovation and creativity for all of us who live to tell stories and engage audiences. I’m excited to share my thoughts and meet players from across the media industry. I’m also an Edinburgh TV Festival virgin so have no idea what I am letting myself in for!” Read More »
“There has been no decision yet if Season 2 will be released simultaneously like Season 1,” said House Of Cardsexecutive producer Beau Willimon tonight. There has also been no discussion yet if the Netflix series will go on to a Season 3, the showrunner added. And that is all Willimon or star Kevin Spacey (who was emphatic with a “No!” when asked for details about the upcoming season) or anyone else from House Of Cards would say Thursday about the future of the series, which is now filming in Maryland. What they did say was how House Of Cards has set out to change the game and succeed. “What we set out to prove is that the film and TV industry can learn what the music industry failed to learn: Give people what they want when they want it and at a good price and they won’t steal it,” said Spacey on the decision for Netflix to release all 13 episodes of the political drama’s first season. simultaneously when it debuted on the streaming service February 1. It’s a decision that the star/EP thinks has paid off. “Netflix’s recently announced they’ve had 2 million more subscribers, in large part to House Of Cards…they’re making money,” Spacey told TV Academy members tonight at an Emmys “For Your Consideration” panel at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre.
Critics didn’t particularly like the 13-episode horror series that Netflix introduced Friday. But CEO Reed Hastings told analysts today that Hemlock Grove is “getting viewed by even more subscribers in its first couple … Read More »
The streaming video company did it again. Netflix shares are up nearly 25% in post-market trading after it reported that Q1 earnings per share came in at 31 cents not including a one-time loss from a debt payment — … Read More »
Oliver Cooper (Project X) has joined the cast of the upcoming seventh season of Showtime‘s Californication. He will play Levon, a budding writer who wants to emulate Hank (David Duchovny), so he insinuates himself into Hank’s life to comic results. The CAA-repped Cooper, who next appears in The Hangover Part III, joins fellow new Californication recurring players Michael Imperioli, Heather Graham and Mary Lynn Rajskub.
There will be more of the President on the second season of Netflix’s House Of Cards. Michel Gill, who recurred on the first season of the Washington DC drama series as President Garret Walker, has been upped to a regular for Season 2, which just began production. The promotion is not surprising given that the President had increasingly relied upon Rep. Frank J. Underwood (Kevin Spacey). Gill is with Harden/Curtis. Read More »
Francis Underwood is about to resume his fictional House of Cards climb up the greasy pole of political power in Washington D. C. “We start shooting Season 2 of #houseofcards in 2 weeks,” actress Constance … Read More »
Film and TV production in Maryland just got a big boost — a $17.5 million boost to be specific. Earlier this week, the state’s House of Delegates passed a bill increasing Maryland’s film tax credit program from its current $7.5 million for the fiscal year 2014 to $25 million. It now heads to Gov. Martin O’Malley to sign. The Democratic Governor was a big supporter of the bill and, according to a spokesperson from his office, “could sign the bill as early as Tuesday.” Intended to bring out-of-state production to Maryland, the bill also extends the state’s program for another two years until June 30, 2016; the current tax credit program was set to expire on July 1 this year. The legislation benefits productions that spend at least $500,000 in Maryland. In recent years, the state has been a destination for political-themed productions, with Netflix’s House Of Cardsand HBO’s Veepshooting there. Game Change, the Emmy-winning HBO movie about the 2008 Presidential election, also filmed there.