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Hollywood “Obsessed” With Human Torture, And Other TCA Highlights

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 8:23am PDT

Hollywood “Obsessed” With Human Torture, And Other TCA HighlightsThe TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 has wrapped its 16-day run. Here is what we learned:

Most Searing Description Of Hollywood
David LaChapelle, who famously became a photographer for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine in his teens, has been called The Fellini of Photography, and has photographed the likes of Hillary Clinton, Lady Gaga, Tupac Shakur, Madonna, Eminem, Warhol, Lil’ Kim, Elizabeth Taylor,  Leonardo DiCaprio, and Muhammad Ali, was asked yesterday to discuss the “ebb and flow” of depictions of sex and nudity; he’s featured in PBS’ American Masters broadcast The Boomer List.

lisademoraescolumn__140603223319“Growing up in New York City, when I was very young, pre-AIDS, it was very hedonistic, and sexuality was, you know, the revolution. I remember working at [Studio 54] and straight guys would say they were bi, to pick up girls because it was cool. And then, AIDS happened, and everything changed. Things got very, very conservative and segregated. Now…we are sort of in this Dark Ages where the body is considered shameful…yet violence, and torture, and these films — the Saw series, The Hunger Games2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 16you look at Netflix, what’s going on, and every other new show is extreme violence, and this is our entertainment. We applaud that. And our kids are playing these video games, but yet the human body is somehow shameful. And God forbid a kid sees a nipple, you know.”

TV programs such as HBO’s Sex And The City (Kim Cattrall also was a panelist), he said, have “been replaced by so much ultra-violence in this torture form. I find that really interesting because all our popular culture reflects the society in which it was created. So what does that say about us? Why are we so obsessed with watching other human beings suffering? We don’t get enough of it on the news that we — that’s our entertainment, too? I think that’s the real pornography. That’s the real evil, and that’s the real darkness.”

Most Changed Executive
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt — last Press Tour’s Mr. Flat Is The New Up — spoke happily this tour about Up Being The New Up: “We had a pretty great season so far this year. We’re No. 1 in the demo. We’re the only network up, year to year, almost 10% to date. Even if you take the Olympics out of our numbers, we would still be No. 1 for the year…We’re also leading in the 25-54 demo, and all key adult female demos as well. We also had a huge growth in total viewers where we’re running No. 2 season to date. In fact, we’re up 27% year over year, which is our strongest performance this far into the season in eight years.”

Biggest News
CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves, telling reporters after his Q&A for the network’s new Thursday night football that he’s interested in buying CNN should Rupert Murdoch prevail in his bid to by the cable news network’s parent Time Warner and spin off CNN. “We’ve always talked about doing things with CNN in the past… It’s something I’m sure we’ll look at if it becomes available,” Moonves said. Last month, when CBS took the final step in the spinoff of its billboard company, “that was our intent, to get rid of billboards and potentially buy more content,” Moonves said, adding, “We’re in a very advantageous position.”

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TCA: Katherine Heigl On NBC’s ‘State of Affairs’ And State Of Her Career

TCA: Katherine Heigl On NBC’s ‘State of Affairs’ And State Of Her CareerKatherine Heigl’s appearance at Summer TV Press Tour 2014, to discuss her return to series TV, was as dramatic as you’d expect. The hall was packed with media to hear Heigl talk about her new NBC series State of Affairs, in which she plays a CIA analyst who presents the U.S. President’s daily briefing on security issues facing the country. Heigl, you’ll remember, is the actress who became a major star on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, then left that series to focus on her film career  — but only after alienating some on Grey’s for, among other incidents, telling the media she had not submitted herself for Emmy consideration one season because she did not think she had been given good enough material.

Then there was that Vanity Fair interview she gave after filming feature comedy Knocked Up, from writer/director Judd Apatow, starring opposite Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann, in which Heigl said she enjoyed the work, but not so much the film, because it was “a little sexist,” “paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.” For those comments, the media described her as an “ungrateful traitor,”  among other yeasty comments.

Before Heigl’s Q&A, a TV critic asked NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke why Katherine’s mother, “stage mom” Nancy Heigl, was scheduled for that Q&A and listed as one of State of Affairs’ executive producers. Salke explained that Katherine came with … Read More »

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Ed Bernero Boards NBC’s ‘State Of Affairs’ As Showrunner

By | Friday July 11, 2014 @ 4:33pm PDT

Ed Bernero Boards NBC’s ‘State Of Affairs’ As ShowrunnerVeteran TV producer Ed Bernero, whose credits include CBS’ Criminal Minds and its spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior as well as last summer’s Crossing Lines for NBC, has been tapped as showrunner for NBC’s midseason spy drama State Of Affairs. We hear the deal closed a couple weeks ago and Bernero will be a part of the show’s panel during NBC’s TCA press tour day Sunday.

edberneroState of Affairs premieres November 17 in a plum post-The Voice slot Mondays at 10 PM, taking over after The Blacklist completes its first-half run. The Katherine Heigl-starring drama has been in need of a showrunner since Alexi Hawley, who wrote the original script, departed, and Joe Carnahan, who got high marks for rewriting and directing the pilot, is busy with The Blacklist. Carnahan serves as executive producer with Katherine Heigl, Nancy Heigl, Robert Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton, Rodney Faraon and Julia Franz. Universal TV produces with Bob Simonds Co. and Abishag Prods. Read More »

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NBC Gives Series Orders To ‘Emerald City’ & ‘The Slap’, Pilot Order To Katherine Heigl Drama

By | Sunday January 19, 2014 @ 9:35am PST
Nellie Andreeva

wizardofozUPDATED: NBC has given a 10-episode order to Emerald City, an Oz-themed drama from Siberia creator/showrunner Matthew Arnold. The order comes after Josh Friedman, who supervised the writing, recently took a pass at the script. The two executive produce through Universal Television where Friedman is under a deal. A writers room is slated to get up and running soon but casting may be postponed until after pilot season.   Emerald City is described as a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones, drawing upon stories from Baum’s original 14 books that include lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A head-strong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on an eye-opening journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz. Following the success of the 1900 The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Baum wrote 13 sequel novels. Emerald City is the one of several Wizard Of Oz in development at various networks and the first to get a green light.

Related: NBC Buys ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Drama From Matt Arnold As Frank Baum’s Classic Becomes The Hottest TV Property This Season

NBC also has greenlighted The Slap, an eight-episode miniseries based on the 2011 Australian short-run series. Read More »

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NBC Lands Katherine Heigl’s CIA Drama Project With Put Pilot Commitment

By | Monday September 9, 2013 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

After lengthy negotiations, NBC has closed a deal for a drama project starring Grey’s Anatomy alumna Katherine Heigl with a put pilot commitment. Written by Alexi Hawley (The Following), the untitled drama, laid off at Universal TV, stars Heigl as a key CIA analyst whose job it is to debrief and strategize with the president on the most pressing global and national matters. She balances this incredibly high-stakes job and trusted relationship with her complicated personal life. Heigl and her mom Nancy Heigl executive produce under their Abishag Prods banner along with Hawley, Robert Simonds, Henry Crumpton and Rodney Faraon, who has debriefed several presidents. This is the first TV project to come out of a joint venture between Aardwolf Creative and film producer Simonds. Julia Franz, who works with Simonds, will also exec produce. It also marks the return to primetime of Emmy winner Heigl. “I have been passionate about, and enthralled by, this project from the moment Hank, Rodney and Bob brought it to me over a year ago,” she said. “The story is not only compelling and intelligent but a look behind the curtain at the CIA we haven’t seen before in film or television.” CAA reps Heigl and Hawley who is manged by the Shuman Co.

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Networks Eyeing CIA Drama Starring Katherine Heigl

By | Thursday August 8, 2013 @ 8:03pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Three and a half years after her exit from Grey’s Anatomy, Katherine Heigl is looking to return to primetime as the lead of a new drama project, which has been shopped to broadcast and cable networks. NBC appears a strong contender, though I hear that there is interest/offers from multiple networks, so a decision likely won’t be made until next week. It’s written by Alexi Hawley, co-executive producer on Fox’s gritty new drama The Following, and I hear the procedural focuses on how the CIA handles hotspots around the globe, with Heigl playing an adviser/communications liaison for the U.S. president. I’ve learned that feature producer Robert Simonds (The Pink Panther) had been developing the project with Hawley, Heigl and a team of former senior CIA officials. Heigl, who I hear responded to the strong female character at the center of the show, is executive producing with her mother/manager Nancy Heigl, Hawley, Simonds and Julia Franz. There is no studio attached to the drama, which is expected to be laid off after it lands at a network. I hear both broadcast and cable networks are in the running for the project, though Heigl is not expected to return to ABC as I hear the network is not in the mix, likely because of similarity in the setting to ABC’s DC drama Scandal, from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes. Hawley, identical twin brother to writer-producer Noah Hawley, … Read More »

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Katherine Heigl & Patrick Wilson Headed ‘North Of Hell’

By | Tuesday March 26, 2013 @ 11:54am PDT

Katherine HeiglPatrick WilsonEXCLUSIVE: Katherine Heigl and Patrick Wilson have signed on for Darko Entertainment’s dark comedy North Of Hell. Wilson will play Don Champage, a successful businessman who seems to have it all — including an obsessive wife (Heigl) who relentlessly controls everything in his life. Darko is financing the film with Skateland’s Anthony Burns directing and writing based on a story by Carlo Allen, Ted Elrick & Tom Lavagnino. Darko’s Sean McKittrick and Jeff Culotta, Burns, and AJ Buckley are producing. Darko’s Edward H. Hamm Jr., and Andre J. Champagne are executive producing. North Of Hell is scheduled to start production in Louisiana next month. Read More »

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Shonda Rhimes On Katherine Heigl’s Diss: Video

By | Sunday December 9, 2012 @ 11:31am PST

On tonight’s Oprah’s Next Chapter, TV showrunner Shonda Rhimes reveals how she felt when former Grey’s Anatomy reguler Katherine Heigl said in 2008 she wanted her name taken out of Emmy consideration because she hadn’t been “given the material to warrant a nomination” in the show’s writing. Winfrey asks Rhimes, who also created Private Practice and Scandal, how that made her feel. “On some level it stung, and on some level I was not surprised,” the Grey‘s head writer, tells Oprah in a teaser for the interview (watch it below). “When people show you who they are, believe them. I carry that with me a lot. It has served me well.”

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Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser Lend Voices To Animated ‘The Nut Job’

By | Thursday November 15, 2012 @ 1:04pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The animated feature The Nut Job has drawn a voice cast that will be led by Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Stephen Lang, Sarah Gadon, and Jeff Dunham. The feature, which Peter Lepeniotis will direct based on his 2005 short film Surly Squirrel, is a co-production between Canada-based ToonBox Entertainment and Korea-based Redrover Co, Ltd. Redrover is financing with plans to release next year.

Written by veteran Disney animation scribe Lorne Cameron (Brother Bear, Over The Hedge), The Nut Job is an action-packed comedy set in the late 1950s in fictional Oakton. Pic follows the travails of the mischievous squirrel Surly and his rat pal Buddy as they plan a nut store heist that gets out of hand.

Thom Chapman and Graham Moloy are producing and Daniel Woo, Hong Kim, Mike Karz, and Tom Yoon are executive producers, in association with Gulfstream, headed by Karz and Bill Bindley. Gulfstream will make the distribution deal.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the cast that’s being assembled for our first feature,” said Chapman, ToonBox vice president. “They have brought the film to a whole new level. Each voice is perfect for their respective roles, and they truly make the characters come alive.”

Lepeniotis has worked with Pixar Animation Studios and ILM and as an animator on such films as Fantasia 2000 and Toy Story 2. His first project with … Read More »

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Katherine Heigl Signs With CAA

By | Thursday May 17, 2012 @ 12:37pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Exactly a week after exiting Paradigm, actress Katherine Heigl has signed with CAA. Heigl left Paradigm following the exit of her longtime agent Norm Aladjem, who moved to Levity Entertainment Group. Heigl is a two-time Golden Globe nominee and Emmy-winning actress for Grey’s Anatomy and starred in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, Anne Fletcher’s 27 Dresses and Robert Luketic’s The Ugly Truth. She will next be seen starring in The Wedding with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. She remains with attorney Stephen Barnes at Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein & Kohner.

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Katherine Heigl Leaves Longtime Agency

By | Thursday May 10, 2012 @ 11:31am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: The following announcement just went out internally at Paradigm about Katherine Heigl and her momager. “With Norm Aladjem’s departure last week, this was inevitable, as they were very close,” an insider tells me.

Related: Senior Agent Norm Aladjem Leaving Paradigm For Levity Entertainment Group

From: Sam Gores
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2012 11:22 AM
Subject: Katherine Heigl

Dear Colleagues,

We just had a lengthy conversation with Katherine and Nancy Heigl — As you already know with Norm’s departure, it has been a very difficult period for them. A time where they were forced to evaluate their personal relationships as well as their current place within the industry. We believe in Katherine and her talent and would have preferred to see it work here at Paradigm, however, they informed us this morning that they would like to explore other agency options. In light of that decision, we have come to the conclusion that it is best that we part ways for now.

Sam

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GoDigital Acquires Katherine Heigl Pic Called ‘Lowest Grossing Film Ever” With $30 Gross

By | Tuesday April 10, 2012 @ 12:23pm PDT
Mike Fleming

GoDigital has acquired the U.S. digital rights to the indie thriller Zyzzyx Road, which stars Katherine Heigl, Tom Sizemore and Leo Grillo. The purchaser is embracing the fact that the film has been called the lowest grossing film of all time, after it was shown for seven days at a small theater in Dallas, Texas to fulfill the U.S. release obligation required by the Screen Actors Guild for low-budget films. Total gross? $30.

“The film’s DVD run in the worldwide market has been successful, and we are excited to finally move into US households. We know a lot of consumers are out there waiting, and pairing up with GoDigital on this was an easy decision,” said Grillo, who’s executive producer.

“We love the story behind this film and are thrilled to be part of what we believe will be a happy ending, I am confident it will make us more than $30,” added GoDigital Director of Marketing, Barry Daffurn, with a smile. Good thing digital releases don’t require PR participation of the film’s stars the way theatrical releases do, it doesn’t stand to reason that Heigl would embrace this film’s notorious claim to box office infamy.

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IM Global Brings Katherine Heigl Film ‘The Happytime Murders’: Berlin

By | Friday February 3, 2012 @ 12:00pm PST
Mike Fleming

Fortissimo Acquires ‘Monsoon Shootout’, Mark Ruffalo & Scarlett Johansson Join ‘Can A Song Save Your Life?’: Berlin

IM Global will take to Berlin The Happytime Murders, directed by Brian Henson (A Muppets Christmas Carol) and penned by Todd Berger (Kung Fu Panda 2) from a story he wrote with Dee Austin Robertson. It takes place in a world where puppets and humans live together, but the puppets are viewed as second-class citizens. When the puppet cast of an 1980s kids TV show gets murdered one by one, a disgraced detective-turned-private eye puppet takes on the case. Katherine Heigl is in advanced negotiations to star. IM Global is selling the pic through its Opus label next week at the European Film Market.

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Katherine Heigl To Star In Thriller ‘Face Blind’

By | Thursday February 2, 2012 @ 10:33am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Katherine Heigl will star in Face Blind, an independent thriller about a psychologist struck with a rare affliction that makes it impossible to distinguish people by their faces. When a man who terrorized her most vulnerable patient stalks her, the psychologist can’t recognize him, and her husband thinks she’s the one who is going crazy. Heigl will produce with Maven Pictures’ partners Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray. Scripted by Dominic Harari and Teresa De Pelegri, the film’s in the vein of The Others. Paradigm reps Heigl, who is currently onscreen in One For The Money, an adaptation of the Janet Evanovich novel.

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CW Buys Drama Produced By Katherine Heigl, Fox Buys Dan Lagana Comedy

By | Wednesday October 12, 2011 @ 3:28pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The CW has bought Trending, a drama series project executive produced by Katherine Heigl, while Fox has bought Step-Dan, a multi-camera comedy written by Dan Lagana.

Inspired by the Cynthia Langston’s novel Bi-Coastal Babe, which Heigl read and fell in love with, Trending is about 26-year-old Lissa Bennett whose job is to search for the newest and hottest emerging trends in order to keep her corporate clients ahead of the curve but finds it difficult to predict the trends in her love life as well. Gren Wells will write the script and will executive produce with Katherine and Nancy Heigl through their Abishag production company, Lakeshore’s Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi as well as Daniel Rosenberg. CBS TV Studios is producing. Wells most recently wrote the romantic comedy A Little Bit of Heaven, starring Kate Hudson and Gael Garcia Bernal. Katherine and Nancy Heigl, who served as executive producers on the Katherine Heigl-starring movies The Ugly Truth and Life As We Know It, have been building a TV footprint for their Abishag banner. The company is involved in HBO’s movie adaptation of Ann Hood’s novel, The Knitting Circle, which is in development with Craig Wright writing and Katherine Heigl attached to star. Paradigm reps Heigl and Wells who is managed by Alan Rautbort.

Dan Lagana’s Step-Dan, from Warner Bros. TV, is inspired by … Read More »

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Does 8 Years Of $100 Million WW Grossing Films Put Jennifer Aniston In Elite Company?

Mike Fleming

When Horrible Bosses passed the $100 million worldwide gross mark recently, it became the eighth film in the last eight years to hit that milestone with Jennifer Aniston in a starring role. Right now, only a few actresses mean much at the box office, a list that includes Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Katherine Heigl. Has Aniston quietly joined that group?

While Aniston hasn’t had to carry all of those films, her worldwide gross track record compares favorably to the other actresses over the same eight-year period. Aside from Horrible Bosses, Just Go With It, The Bounty Hunter, He’s Just Not That Into You, Marley & Me, The Break-Up, Along Came Polly and Bruce Almighty all passed the $100 million mark worldwide. Over the same corresponding period, only Jolie had that many cross the $100 million WW mark. I didn’t count animated films, but for Jolie I did include Beowulf, because she gave a performance that was converted to performance capture format. Jolie’s other films that passed $100 million worldwide in the last eight years: The Tourist, Salt, Wanted, Changeling, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Alexander, and the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider sequel.

Roberts had six films cross $100 million worldwide in the last eight years: Eat Pray Love, Valentine’s Day, Charlie Wilson’s War, Ocean’s 12, Closer and Mona Lisa Smile. Earlier in her career, her films routinely became blockbusters, when she was clearly Hollywood’s top actress.

Streep, who’s in her 60s, has become as bankable as any female star this side of Jolie. She has had five films cross $100 million in worldwide grosses in the last eight years: It’s Complicated, Julie & Julia, Mamma Mia!, The Devil Wears Prada and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Bullock has had four films cross $100 million WW in the last eight years: The Blind Side, The Proposal, The Lake House, and Miss Congeniality 2.

Witherspoon had five films cross that mark in the last eight years: Water for Elephants, Four Christmases, Just Like Heaven, Walk the Line and Legally Blonde 2.

Heigl had four of her films cross $100 million worldwide, all since her movie career was launched by 2007′s Knocked Up. Since that movie crossed $100 million WW, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth and Life As We Know It also passed the mark, and Killers barely missed. Read More »

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Lionsgate Acquires U.S. And UK Distribution For ‘The Big Wedding’

Mike Fleming

Lionsgate has acquired U.S. and UK rights to the ensemble comedy The Big Wedding, and has set an Oct. 19, 2012 release for the Nu Image/Millennium Films pic that stars Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton as a long-divorced couple that fakes marriage when the family is reunited for a big wedding. Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Robin Williams, Ben Barnes and Topher Grace are in the film, which is shooting in Connecticut. The Bucket List scribe Justin Zackham is directing.

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Topher Grace Heads ‘Gently Down The Stream’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Topher Grace will star in Gently Down The Stream, which Justin Zackham is directing from his script for Millennium Films/Nu Image. He joins Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl and Amanda Seyfried. Grace will play Jared, the son of the characters played by De Niro and Keaton. He’s a doctor who ends up falling in love with a young Latin woman, awkward since she’s his adopted brother’s sister. The pic begins shooting in July in Connecticut.

Grace will next be seen in HBO’s Too Big To Fail. He also stars in The Double with Richard Gere and The Giant Mechanical Man. WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners made his deal.

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Katherine Heigl To Produce And Star In Movie Project For HBO

By | Friday April 8, 2011 @ 10:03am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: HBO Films has optioned the rights to Ann Hood’s bestselling novel The Knitting Circle as a starring vehicle for Katherine Heigl. In her first TV project since leaving ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and her first collaboration with HBO, Heigl will also produce the movie with her mother and producing partner Nancy Heigl through their Abishag banner, along with Pine Street Pictures. Dirty Sexy Money creator and award-wining playwright Craig Wright will write the adaptation. This marks Wright’s return to HBO, where he started his TV writing career on Six Feet Under, a gig that earned him Emmy and WGA nominations.

Heigl is set to play the central character in Hood’s semiautobiographical novel, a mother mourning the death of her young daughter and struggling to overcome the grief that jeopardizes every aspect of her life, including her marriage. She begins to find her way back into the world through a knitting circle and the stories its members share. Paradigm-repped Heigl will next be seen in New Line’s New Year’s Eve, slated for a Dec. 9 release, and in Lakeshore/Lionsgate’s One For The Money, which will come out next January. WME-repped Wright recently landed a pilot order at MTV for coming-of-age comedy Underemployed.

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