The latest project in development at Starz joins recent additions WonderWorld, an hourlong scripted drama from Owen Wilson, Rene Balcer, Fred Berner, and Regina Lee about two straight-arrow FBI agents who infiltrate the violent Mob-controlled porn industry of the 1980s; and Most Wanted, a drama project from writer Chris Collins, director Ken Fink and author Dan Chaon. Set in the Great Plains during the 1970s, it traces the rise and demise of Nate Daniels, a talented and prolific bank robber who finds himself on a collision course with his family and crew as he becomes one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted. The pay network recently promoted Melissa Harper and Richter Hartig to SVPs in Original Programming Production who had been credited with the increase in original programming production in their roles as VPs. Here’s today’s release:
Beverly Hills, Calif. – November 5, 2013 – Starz Managing Director, Carmi Zlotnik, announced today that STARZ has put into development a new half-hour scripted dramedy, “Heartbeats,” from Hypnotic’s Doug Liman and Dave Bartis, Universal Cable Productions (UCP) and writers Ben York Jones and Michael Mohan. “Heartbeats” is an intimate glimpse into the constantly intersecting and diverging lives of Bobby and Kristen; two down-to-Earth individuals who would be perfect for each other, if only they had met at a different time. “Heartbeats” will explore their story with an episode format that focuses alternatingly on Bobby and Kristen.
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NBC has put in development three projects from pods, drama Time To Time, from writers Byron Willinger & Phil Deblasi (Paradise Lost) and Doug Liman & Dave Bartis’ Hypnotic; drama Ricochet, from writer Micah Barnett and Maria Grasso & Deborah Spera’s One-Two Punch; and an untitled comedy from writer Will Calhoun and Scott Stuber’s Scott Stuber Prods. The last two hail from Universal TV; Time To Time is from sibling Universal Cable Prods. where Hypnotic is under a deal. Read More »
NBC has bought 33 1/3, a single-camera musical comedy from The Cleveland Show co-executive producer Kirker Butler. The project, from 20th Century Fox TV, centers on a 33-year-old aspiring rock singer and single mother of a teenage girl who, after a humiliating failed marriage proposal, moves back into her mother’s basement where she must learn to deal with her opinionated gay slacker brother, an old crush who still lives next door, a mother with a medical marijuana card, and a head filled with a never-ending playlist of some of the best songs ever written. This marks the first network development for Butler, who worked on Family Guy before segueing to spinoff The Cleveland Show and penned the famous Star Wars parody episode. ICM-repped Butler is writing 33 1/3 and is executive producing with Aaron Kaplan. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In its first development season as a broadcast player, Universal Cable Prods has sold two projects, including one to corporate sibling NBC. The NBC project hails from Numbers creators Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton as well as Doug Liman and Dave Bartis’s UCP-based production company Hypnotic. It is based on a short story from Elmore Leonard’s anthology When the Women Come Out To Dance, the book that also features the short story Fire In The Hole that FX’s series Justified is based on. The NBC project centers on a Colombian mail-order bride who finds herself working as a “fixer” in South Miami as she struggles to escape her troubled past. It joins UCP’s Jason Tracey-penned detective drama Metropolitan, also from Hypnotic, which recently sold to Fox. And there are a few more broadcast pitches in various stages, said UCP’s SVP Maira Suro, who oversees the studio’s development for networks other than the UCP-affiliated USA and Syfy. This is part of the recent strategy implemented by UCP and NBC-affiliated Universal Television to each become a full-service TV studio supplying broadcast and cable networks. UCP and Universal TV (formerly Universal Media Studios) were part of one NBC Universal TV production entity, UMS, that was developing for both broadcast and cable until 2008 when UCP was spun off from UMS and cable and broadcast production was split up between the two.
For UPC, supplying NBC is a priority, Suro said. “For us, part of our expansion, along with selling to other cable and broadcast networks, is serving our sister network NBC,” she said. “If we can be in any way part of the network’s success and help its turnaround, that would be fantastic and a win-win.” As for making the transition from producing for cable, where budgets on average are lower, to broadcast, “I’m sure there will be some adjustments but we are not chasing the broadcast model,” said Suro, whose development team includes Stacey Levin, Garrett Kemble and Stephanie Albrycht. “We are very selective in the projects we take out and are doing them efficiently, so we are confident that we can execute them in the same way we do our successful cable series.” “We won’t be taking out a show like Terra Nova,” she added, referring to Fox’s big-budget, live-action/CGI prehistoric drama. One thing the company will need in reinventing itself as a full-fledged studio is to change its name from Universal Cable Prods. Read More »