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PaleyFest: ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Panel Talks New Backstories, Screwdrivers And Who “Shakes Everything Up” In Season 2

By | Friday March 14, 2014 @ 10:48pm PDT

jenji KohanAuthentic. Risky. Diverse. Conversation starter. Those are the kinds of words that often pop up in describing Orange Is the New Black, and they were among the many topics creator Jenji Kohan and a dozen castmembers discussed during the prison dramedy’s PaleyFest panel Friday. “Our focus is on character, and these people are individuals,” Kohan said early on. “We talk about them like they’re people we know. And you don’t approach it like, ‘Well what does the black one do? What does the Latino one do?’ It’s like you know these people – you can’t view it as tokenism.” Said Laverne Cox, who plays Sophia Burset: “We should talk about the conversations that this show has sparked — who isPaleyfest 2014 logo in prison and why are people in prison, things we need to talk about more in this country. It’s important for the trans community; a lot of people are having conversations about trans people that they weren’t having. Amazing conversations about diversity, a lot of important things that we need to be talking about.” Kohan chimed in: “But it’s natural, its normative – it’s presented as something that’s part of everyone’s life. It’s not the ‘very special episode about the trans character.’ It’s normalizing this conversation.”

Related: PaleyFest 2014 Schedule Read More »

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‘Orange Is The New Black’ Kicks Off First NY PaleyFest With Prison Tales, “Device” Gags

By | Wednesday October 2, 2013 @ 10:14pm PDT

Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

Jenji Kohan drew laughs tonight at an event for her Netflix series Orange Is The New Black when she referred to it as a “TV show” then quickly corrected herself. “It’s not a TV show — it’s a streaming show,” she said. Then, as if doing a mock commercial announcement for the daring show that has fast become a binge-watcher favorite: “You can watch it on any sort of device!” Watching “your device” instead of “your TV” became a running gag at this rollicking panel, the sold-out first show of the Paley Center’s five-night PaleyFest: Made in NY. Elvis Mitchell hosted the event, at which creator-producer Kohan – sporting green and blue hair — was joined by Piper Kerman, whose autobiographical book about being a fish out of water in a women’s prison was the basis for the series, and cast members including star Taylor Schilling, Natasha Lyonne, Kate Mulgrew, Danielle Brooks, Uzo Aduba and Taryn Manning. Jason Biggs, who portrays lead character Piper Chapman’s fiancé, took a load of good-natured ribbing as the lone guy on the panel of powerful females.

Related: PaleyFest Moves Into New York

Kohan said the show was never intended to be a dramatization of Kerman’s real-life experiences. She joked that the decision to change the character’s last name happened “when legal said: ‘You can write Piper’s story but no one else’s.’ ” On a more serious note, she said she made the choice partly for the real Piper’s sake: “I can’t imagine how tortuous it would be (for her) to watch the actual story week after week.” The show, Kohan said, “quickly became its own animal.”

Related: Netflix Renews ‘Orange Is The New Black’ For Second Season

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UPDATE: Number Of Titles Leaving Netflix Today Close To 1K

By | Wednesday May 1, 2013 @ 3:10pm PDT

UPDATE, 3:10 PM: Clarifying statements from the involved parties have been flooding in since last night’s news about Netflix losing hundreds of movies from its streaming service beginning today. Reports originally said the vacating titles were from Warner Bros, but it turns out the majority were “older features that were aggregated by Epix,” a Netflix spokesman said this afternoon. Epix’s two-year exclusive deal with the streaming service expired in September; content from Epix — owned by Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM — also streams on Amazon Prime Instant Video. A source tells Deadline that that the number of expiring titles is closer to 1,000, rather than the 2,000 figure floating around online. “This ebb and flow happens all the time”, Netflix said. The company also said it is adding 500 more titles starting today, including Mission: Impossible 2. Read More »

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Netflix Sets July Premiere Date For Jenji Kohan’s ‘Orange Is The New Black’

By | Tuesday April 30, 2013 @ 5:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Netflix‘s latest original series, the comedic drama Orange Is The New Black, will launch on July 11. Like it has done with all of its original series, Netflix will make all 13 episodes of Orange Is The New Black, created/exec produced by Jenji Kohan based on the memoir by Piper Kerman, available at launch. Netflix has been staggering the release of its original series: House Of Cards (February), Hemlock Grove (April) and the upcoming Arrested Development (May) and Orange (July). Produced by Lionsgate TV, Orange Is The New Black follows engaged Brooklynite Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), whose decade-old relationship with drug-runner Alex (Laura Prepon) results in her arrest and year-long detention in a federal penitentiary. Read More »

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Jenji Kohan Inks New Deal With Lionsgate

By | Thursday March 15, 2012 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Weeds creator Jenji Kohan has signed a new overall deal with Lionsgate, the studio behind her long-running Showtime comedy series. Under the pact, Kohan will continue as showrunner and executive producer of dark comedy Weeds, which is set to begin production on its eighth season soon for a July 1 premiere. She also co-created with Liz Friedman and is executive producing Lionsgate’s series for Netflix Orange Is The New Black. The comedic drama, based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, is set to begin production this fall. “Jenji’s deliciously dark sense of humor and her fearless approach to storytelling have made Weeds Showtime’s highest-rated comedy over its past seven seasons,” said Kevin Beggs, President, Lionsgate TV Group. “She’s a superb showrunner and we’re excited to continue working together on the new season of Weeds, Orange Is The New Black and multiple projects in development.” CAA-repped Kohan has now been at Lionsgate for more than seven years, so she understandably is on a first-name basis with the company’s TV bigwigs, Beggs and Lionsgate TV COO Sandra Stern, and also knows well the big boss, Lionsgate Entertainment CEO Jon Feltheimer. “Kevin is classy. Sandra is sassy. Feltheimer is an endless source of wonder. What can I say?  Lionsgate is my joint, yo,” she said in reference to her new deal.

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Netflix, Lionsgate TV Closing Deal For Jenji Kohan’s ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Comedy

By | Friday November 11, 2011 @ 12:09pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: I have learned that after lengthy negotiations, Netflix is finalizing a deal with Lionsgate TV for a 13-episode straight-to-series order to Orange Is The New Black, a comedy from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan. This marks the second original series for Netflix, which earlier this year gave a 26-episode straight-to-series pickup to MRC’s David Fincher/Kevin Spacey drama House Of Cards. Kohan’s project falls under her rich overall deal with Lionsgate TV. Co-created and executive produced by Kohan and House co-executive producer Liz Friedman, it is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir Orange Is The New Black: My Year In a Women’s Prison and revolves around women in prison.  The book chronicles nonprofit communications executive Kerman’s year-long stint at the minimum security correctional facility in Danbury, Conn., stemming from a conviction for her part in a drug smuggling and money-laundering scheme she got tangled up in 10 years earlier as a fresh college graduate. Read More »

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Comedies From Jenji Kohan, Gail Lerner Find Broadcast Homes

By | Monday October 31, 2011 @ 5:43pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

A comedy from Weeds creator/executive producer Jenji Kohan and the Showtime series’ writer David Holstein has been sold to CBS, while a half-hour from Happy Endings co-executive producer Gail Lerner and producer Warren Littlefield has landed at ABC.

The Kohan/Holstein project, which Holstein will write and Kohan will supervise, hails from Lionsgate TV, where Kohan is under an overall deal. It is described as “Sliding Doors meets Seinfeld.” Kohan and Holstein are with CAA.
Lerner’s project at ABC is based on Dr. Brandy Dunn and David Rensin’s upcoming memoir The Men On My Couch: True Stories Of Sex, Love and Psychotherapy. It centers on a young female therapist with an exclusively male client list who discovers that having too much information about what makes men tick can be complicated when she steps outside the office. Lerner, repped by Scott Schwartz, is writing and executive producing with Littlefield for ABC Studios. Lerner’s series credits also include Will & Grace, Worst Week, Back To You and Ugly Betty. The book and Littlefield are with CAA.

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Netflix Eyeing Second Original Series – Comedy From ‘Weeds’ Creator Jenji Kohan

By | Friday July 22, 2011 @ 4:05pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Streaming video/DVD-by-mail giant Netflix continues its quest to become an original programming player. Following its eye-popping 26-episode straight-to-series deal with MRC for the David Fincher/Kevin Spacey drama House Of Cards, I hear the the Web subscription company is in negotiations with Lionsgate TV for a 13-episode, straight-to-series order to a comedy series from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan. Details are sketchy as talks are still ongoing but word is that the the project revolves around women in prison and is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year In a Women’s Prison. The book chronicles nonprofit communications executive Kerman’s year-long stint at the minimum security correctional facility in Danbury, Conn. stemming from a conviction for her part in a drug smuggling and money laundering scheme she got tangled up in 10 years earlier as a fresh college graduate. Kerman depicts the personalities she befriended in prison, including the Russian gangster’s wife who ruled the kitchen; Pop, the Spanish mami; lovelorn lesbians like Crazy Eyes; and the aged pacifist, Sister Platte. The project falls under Kohan’s rich overall deal at Lionsgate TV. When Netflix surprised Hollywood in March by outbidding major TV networks for the rights to House Of Cards, the company’s CEO Reed Hastings said that the deal was mostly a test … Read More »

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‘Weeds’ Executive Producers Developing Poker Comedy At Showtime

By | Monday October 11, 2010 @ 12:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Jenji Kohan, creator/executive producer of Showtime’s flagship comedy Weeds and the series’ executive producer Matthew Salsberg have a new comedy project, Whales, in the works at the pay cable channel. The half-hour revolves around a group of brilliant and quirky young people, some of them Harvard and MIT graduates, who move to Las Vegas to live in a lavish apartment while pursuing the $10 million prize at the World Series of Poker. Kohan and Salsberg, who is an avid poker player, are writing and executive producing for Lionsgate TV Read More »

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