EXCLUSIVE: Joe Mazzello (The Pacific, The Social Network) is set set for multi-episode arcs on the FX drama Justified. Mazzello, repped by UTA and Podwall Entertainment, will play Preacher Billy, a preacher who has saved the lives of drug addicts. …
EXCLUSIVE: United Talent Agency has signed prolific crime writer Elmore Leonard, who has retained a major Hollywood agency for the first time in his 60-year career. UTA will rep Leonard in film, TV, digital and allied rights. Leonard, who continues with literary agent Andrew Wylie, is eager to see more of his books adapted for the screen. He has written 45 Westerns and crime novels, and 40 short stories.
His enthusiasm is understandable. Leonard’s 2002 short story Fire In The Hole was the basis for the superb FX series Justified, which stars Timothy Olyphant as deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Leonard told me in May 2010 that he’d sworn off writing screenplays in 1993 (his past scripts include the Charles Bronson film Mr. Majestyk) because he got tired of trying to please movie executives half as smart as he is about storytelling. But Justified provided a big spark, he is an active voice for series creator Graham Yost, and Leonard welcomes other chances to see his crackling dialogue and indelible crime plots on some screen or other.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Elmore Leonard is the legendary writer who provided the source material for the FX hit Justified and serves as an executive producer alongside showrunner Graham Yost. He admitted during a TCA panel this morning that he’s always tried to make his stories as visual as possible so they’ll sell to Hollywood. ”From the very beginning I’ve been in it to make money,” the distinguished author said, “and writing visually is the way you do it.” He denied, though, that he cares so much about making money that he becomes indifferent to how the projects bearing his name actually turn out. “Of course I care how it turns out,” he declared. “I don’t just turn something in. But any writer is a fool if he doesn’t write for money. But it all goes together. It’s fun to sit there alone and think of characters and get ‘em into action and then get paid for it.” He has trouble understanding writers who are too shy to show their work to anyone. “I’m wondering, well then what are you doing it for?” Leonard stressed. “You want people to like it. Then you want to get paid for it.”
Deadline’s Diane Haithman and Ray Richmond were backstage at the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight to hear what the winners had to say.
Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell came backstage together after winning the awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. The Modern Family stars were asked first about being part of a show that is breaking ground for gays. Burrell said, “I don’t know, in terms of America, it feels very, very good to be on a show that seems like it’s slowly changing a lot of minds. Eric [Stonestreet] and Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] deserve all of the credit for that, and our amazing showrunners. It’s a great thing to just peripherally go to events and just basically start to talk about those characters like any other characters, relating to their life — it’s pretty cool.” Bowen joked, “As a straight woman, and part of a straight couple on the show, I feel marginalized.” On a more serious note, she added: “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but where it’s an issue, I’m glad that we are part of helping change minds.” Using the word “straight” in a different context, Burrell praised Bowen: “It’s even greater credit to what Julie does that the straight-person wins an Emmy, I don’t think that happens very often. In a couple there’s usually a straight-man and a wilder character. It’s due to her resourcefulness as an actor.” On going back to the set with an Emmy when other cast members were also nominated, Burrell said: “Eric won last year, and Ed [O'Neill] actually just said something really sweet right before the award, ‘whoever wins deserves it.’ I feel like we’re trying to enjoy this moment more than anything — we know this doesn’t last forever; we’re having a lot of fun.” Bowen said about her surprise win, “I kinda thought it was a lock on Betty White. If I didn’t have a dog in this fight, and I had two, I would have voted for Betty White. Claire is not necessarily fall-down funny every time.” She credits the writers for having found ways to make her character have many dimensions and “not just be the mom.” …
Later, Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman, winners for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, were asked how it feels for Modern Family to be sweeping the awards so far, with wins in every category they’ve been eligible for. Levitan: “We’re beyond thrilled with the way things have gone, obviously. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and from the bottom of our hearts we feel that Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen deserved to win. (Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series winner) Michael Alan Spiller, not so much. To tell you the truth, it’s a little surreal.” They were then asked what they did to ramp up the stories and quality of Modern Family in Season 2. Levitan: “We feel like we know the characters a little bit better this year. There was such dedication this year to keeping the quality up. We all live in fear of the quality dipping so we work extra hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. … I’ll also tell you that our kids are the unsung heroes of the show. What they do on this show is amazing. We ask them to do such complicated turns and they nail it constantly. They’re playing at the same level as the adults and that’s a rare thing.” …
This year’s Emmy race for Outstanding Drama Series will continue cable’s dominance in this most prestigious category. Cable claimed 10 of the 13 nomination spots over the past two years, and 13 of 19 since 2008. By contrast, cable earned a mere nine nods combined in the seven years between 2001 and 2007 when the networks still ruled. The shift from broadcast is so extreme in 2011 that CBS’ The Good Wife is considered the only network series with a solid shot to earn its second nomination in as many years. (Though not in that league, NBC/DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights, NBC’s Parenthood, and CBS’ Blue Bloods deserve consideration while ABC has entered a rebuilding phase.) The sad reality is that the broadcast networks, which just signed a new eight-year deal with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to carry the Emmys, are facing a possible first-ever shutout from the top drama series category. That’s because of the continuing strength and ambition of programming on cable — in particular, HBO in a return to form, and AMC still on a roll.
HBO’s Prohibition-era hourlong Boardwalk Empire drew the most critical attention this Emmy season because of its pedigreed producer team, headed by the legendary Martin Scorsese and creator/showrunner Terence Winter, a Sopranos alum. How interesting that the pay channel’s expensive serial will compete against another period drama from that other Sopranos alum Matt Weiner. AMC’s first acclaimed original series, Mad Men, has won this category three years running and is bidding this year to be the first series to win four in a row since NBC’s The West Wing (2000- 2003). Though the frontrunner, Mad Men could be hurt by a long hiatus.
AMC has seized the mantle from HBO as TV’s preeminent quality-drama purveyor with a pair of newcomers that could crack the series field this year: the zombie-themed hour The Walking Dead, and the dark murder mystery The Killing. Even though two-time category nominee Breaking Bad is not eligible for 2011, AMC could still land three nods, becoming the first network in 10 years to do so in this category, after NBC scored the hat trick in 2001 with The West Wing, ER, and Law & Order. No cable network has ever managed the feat to date.
And then there’s Showtime, whose Dexter is in the running for its fourth consecutive Outstanding Drama nomination, along with first-season Shameless. FX is pushing its increasingly buzzed-about Western, Justified and, to a lesser extent, Sons Of Anarchy. TNT wants attention for The Closer, Men Of A Certain Age, and Southland. USA is pressing Covert Affairs and White Collar. Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s drama series in alphabetical order:
Drama series producers agonize over their selection of up to six episodes for 2011 Emmy nomination consideration. Here’s insight from Deadline TV Contributor Diane Haithman into why these particular episodes were thought to impress Emmy voters:
BOARDWALK EMPIRE – PILOT EPISODE
Story line: It is January 1920, on the eve of Prohibition. Atlantic City’s treasurer Enoch “Nucky”Thompson …
UPDATED: As expected, FX has renewed its sophomore drama Justified for a third season. The pickup for the Sony Pictures TV-produced series comes just in time for FX’s upfront party tonight in New York, where the cast of the …
During tonight’s episode of FX’s flagship drama Sons of Anarchy, the cable network will premiere the first trailer for the upcoming second season of Justified, which launches in February. In it, Timothy Olyphant stars as the tough, southern-bred but soft-spoken U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens.