Marvel‘s rolling out its Marvel’s Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H. with a multi-platform assault in August, weeks after Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb world premieres the animated series Saturday at Comic-Con. The Agents of S.M.A.S.H. features Hulk and super-sized heroes She-Hulk, A-Bomb, Red Hulk, and Skaar living under one roof in what marks Marvel’s first animated Hulk property. Disney XD will debut the series in a two-part episode on Sunday, August 11 from 11:00 AM–12:00 PM ET/PT followed by a new episode of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble. The Agents of S.M.A.S.H. will get an early digital premiere on Thursday, August 1 on WATCH Disney XD Online, Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. From August 5-August 11 the first episode will be free to view on iTunes.
Originally ordered for next summer but also considered for the upcoming season, ABC‘s racy new soap Mistresses will launch next May for a summer run, ABC’s Paul Lee said during a press call this morning. It will likely premiere on Monday after The Bachelorette.
Also on the call, Lee addressed the decision to move Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B— to Tuesdays against Fox’s New Girl after the two launched in the protected post-Modern Family slot. Lee said both shows have passionate audiences that would follow them to the new night. As for pitting them against other comedies, especially New Girl, Lee said, “I do think there is room on the networks for big ratings” for multiple series in the same slot. Opting not to put a comedy against New Girl last year but to do it this fall with Happy Endings is not a suggestion that ABC feels New Girl is getting weaker but confidence that Happy Endings “can open a comedy block at 9 PM on Tuesday,” Lee said.
It was expected that intellectual property lawyer Marc Toberoff, who is suing Disney/Marvel on behalf of the heirs of legendary comics artist Jack Kirby, would appeal the decision by a federal judge in U.S. District Court for the Southern District Of New York that went against him. The judge not only granted the studio motions for summary judgment but also denied the Toberoff/Kirby’s cross-motion for summary judgment. The ruling revolved around character ownership and the fact that Kirby was a freelance writer who did work-for-hire and so didn’t retain the copyright. As Toberoff had told me at the time, “This is just the beginning.” The notice of appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal was filed today. Specifically, the estate of comic book superhero legend Kirby — co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor — sent notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, as well as film studios that have made movies and TV shows based on characters he created or co-created, including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. Normally these kinds of lawsuits are run of the mill for Hollywood. But not when they’re litigated by Toberoff, who is the bane of Big Media studios because he has a winning track record.
EXCLUSIVE: Intellectual property lawyer Marc Toberoff has a winning track record when he goes after Hollywood studios on behalf of rightsholders. But not today. I’ve just learned that he lost big in Federal Court for the Southern District Of New York after suing Disney/Marvel for the Jack Kirby Estate. The federal judge not only granted the studio motions for summary judgment but also denied the Toberoff/Kirby’s cross-motion for summary judgment. The ruling revolved around the fact that Kirby was a freelance writer and did work-for-hire and so didn’t retain the copyright. Well, you win some and you lose some. But all the Hollywood studios are chortling because they now see Toberoff as vulnerable and not invincible. “This is just the beginning,” Toberoff just told me, noting that, after the Kirby Estate exercised their termination rights under the Copyright Act, Marvel (backed by Disney) was in the middle of settlement negotiations in December 2009 and sued the Kirbys on January 8, 2010 in NY to benefit from that state’s more favorable work-for-hire case law. UPDATE: The
Walt Disney Companyissued this statement regarding the Marvel Worldwide Inc. v. Kirby ruling: “We are pleased that in this case, the judge has confirmed Marvel’s ownership rights.”
Specifically, the estate of comic book superhero legend Jack Kirby, co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor, sent notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, as well as film studios that have made movies and TV shows based on characters he created or co-created, including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. Normally these kinds of lawsuits are run of the mill for Hollywood. But not when they’re litigated by Toberoff, who is the bane of Big Media.
It had a great, promotable brand, top female superhero, Wonder Woman, experienced TV creator behind it, David E. Kelley, and an appealing star, Adrianne Palicki. So why didn’t the Wonder Woman pilot go to series? We’ll probably need Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth to find out what NBC’s executives really thought of the pilot and why exactly they decided not to go with it, but here are some potential reasons.
Despite some negative early speculation, the pilot was not a disaster as some suggested. People who have seen it describe it as “ambitious” and “well crafted”. But its screenings and testing were very mixed. “The audience couldn’t buy into the modernization,” one insider said. There were early signs of resistance against updating the classic franchise and the character when fans slammed the superhero’s new, contemporary costume. “It was a conceptual thing,” another insider said. “Do we need a comic book hero?” While superheroes they have done gangbusters on the big screen, there haven’t been successful recent comic book-based TV series except for the teen angst-filled Smallville, which was not a straight adaptation of the Superman comics but rather an original prequel. Maybe that’s why there was ambivalence in the marketplace when Kelley’s Wonder Woman spec was first taken out in early January. There were no takers until Bob Greenblatt started at NBC and picked it up to pilot, along with another Warner Bros. TV drama, Michael Patrick King’s …