EXCLUSIVE: Tribune’s WGN America continues to aggressively build its programming slate under the new regime. On the heels of greenlighting its first two original drama series, the cable network has nabbed the off-network rights of Person Of Interest in a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution. This deal, which will see POI premiere on WGNA in fall 2015, marks the first time the network has purchased the exclusive cable window to a syndicated series. “Person of Interest is a fantastic show with a top notch creative team behind it, and we are excited to be the exclusive syndicated cable home for the show as we continue to transform WGN America into a destination for quality premium content,” said Matt Cherniss, President/GM, WGN America and Tribune Studios.
Series Adaptation Of ‘Westworld’ From J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Nolan & Jerry Weintraub Gets Pilot Production Commitment At HBO
In one of the biggest commitments ever for HBO, the pay cable network has nabbed Westworld, a drama series inspired by Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi movie. The project, from J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot, Person Of Interest creator Jonathan Nolan, producer Jerry Weintraub and Warner Bros TV, has received a pilot production commitment. It marks the first major cable sale for Bad Robot, which had been focused on broadcast TV for the past few years with such series as Fringe, Person Of Interest, Revolution and the upcoming Believe. Written by Nolan and Lisa Joy (Burn Notice), Westworld is described as a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin. WME-repped Nolan is set to direct the pilot, which he and UTA-repped Joy will executive produce with Abrams, Weintraub and Bryan Burk. Kathy Lingg is co-executive producing, while Athena Wickam serves as a producer. Warner Bros TV is producing with Bad Robot, Jerry Weintraub Prods. and Kilter Films.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA panel for Person of Interest, a new CBS crime thriller series from the producing team of J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Jonathan Nolan, David Semel and Greg Semel, star Taraji P. Henson said she took the role in the series because “you can’t go wrong with J. J. Abrams.” But it seems that you can — 2010’s one-season failure Undercovers for NBC being a case in point. Co-executive producer Nolan answered a question about that this way: “One of the things I love about J.J. is that he’s not precious. He creates material, he likes to work, he likes to put kick-ass TV shows out there. The nature of the TV format is, it’s a big risk, it’s not like a movie … it’s kind of a one-shot gig. TV, as I’m discovering, is a marathon. Personally, I think J.J.’s record in TV and movies is unsurpassed.”