Check Out Our New Look

EMMYS: Hammond On The Renaissance Of Made-For-TV-Movies

Pete Hammond

Awardsline logo_use this oneThe Television Academy, by splitting miniseries and movies for the 2014 contest, has made it easier this year for the made-for-TV movie to compete. Outside of the occasional HBO film, the genre is usually at a disadvantage at the Emmys. Forced to face off directly with the more lavish miniseries form, these two-hour one-offs have had a difficult time holding their own. (Acting, directing and writing categories are still combined for minis/movies).  Occasionally a movie comes along that is so irresistible to TV Academy voters that it can’t be ignored. That was the case last year with HBO’s Behind the Candelabra, which swept both Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy ceremonies. In 2011, another HBO telefilm, Game Change, had similar success against the longform monsters, but it has not always been easy to beat the odds.

Frontrunner Status
normal heart mark ruffaloWith those two wins, TV movies are enjoying a bit of a renaissance—at least at HBO, which once again has the 800-pound gorilla in the race with Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play, The Normal Heart. The time finally seems right for this drama set in the early days of the AIDS crisis. Written 30 years ago and long in development as a feature film and then TV movie, this provocative and moving study about the human and political consequences of the HIV/AIDS outbreak finally found its way in front of the cameras, thanks in large part to Murphy, who promised the 78-year-old Kramer this movie would happen. In the same year that another decades-in-development-hell drama about the early struggle against AIDS, Dallas Buyers Club, won three Academy Awards—including best and supporting actor statuettes—it seems like kismet-style timing for a Normal Heart Emmy run. The fact that the TV movie still remains relevant and timely enhances the chances of a big win, and its backstory of a long and troubled road to the screen will only help it with voters. Kramer’s well-documented journey with the material should make him a frontrunner in the writing category, and Murphy has a good shot in directing. A superb cast also should score major nominations, including Mark Ruffalo for miniseries/movie lead actor, Julia Roberts (as a polio-stricken doctor) in supporting actress, and a plethora of supporting actors, including Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello (both appeared in the 2011 Broadway revival of the play), Taylor Kitsch, Alfred Molina and Matt Bomer, who in particular really socks home the role of The New York Times writer who becomes an early victim of the virus. Read More »

Comments (5)

‘Killing Kennedy’ Draws Record Viewership For National Geographic Channel

By | Monday November 11, 2013 @ 11:47am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Scott Free and Bill O’Reilly‘s Killing movies are becoming a formidable franchise for National Geographic Channel. Last night, the second installment in the series, Killing Kennedy, pulled 3.354 million viewers and 1.1 rating in adults 25-54. Killing Kennedy edged the first movie, Killing Lincoln (3.351 million), in total viewers to record NGC’s largest audience in history and tied Killing Lincoln‘s 1.1 25-45 rating, also an all-time record for the channel. In households, Killing Kennedy posted a 2.8 rating, second highest ever behind the documentary Inside 9/11. Additionally, NGC says that #killingkennedy was the No. 1 trending topic in the U.S. during the telecast, with the network’s website experiencing record traffic. “Killing Kennedy demonstrated once again that our constant efforts to expand the type of programming National Geographic Channel presents is paying off,” said NGC President Howard Owens. Killing Kennedy stars Rob Lowe (President Kennedy), Will Rothhaar (Lee Harvey Oswald), with Michelle Trachtenberg (Marina Oswald) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Jackie Kennedy). It was produced by Scott Free Prods and executive producer Ridley Scott, and based on the best-selling book by O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Production on the third film in the series, Killing Jesus, based on O’Reilly’s latest book, is set to begin in early 2014.

Rob Lowe Happy To Topline Bill O’Reilly’s “Massive Best Seller” Adaptation
Read More »

Comments (19)

Rob Lowe Joins Sony’s ‘Sex Tape’ Comedy

By | Monday September 16, 2013 @ 11:57am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony has signed Rob Lowe to join Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal in Sex Tape, the comedy that Jake Kasdan co-wrote and is directing. Segal and Diaz play a husband and wife who try to re-energize their marriage by making a personal sex tape which finds its way outside of their home. Lowe will play a mysterious, and highly strung CEO of a publicly traded Children’s Toy Company who inadvertently receives the couples tape, which they must attempt to steal back. Rob Corddry and Jack Black also star and Escape Artists’ Todd Black and Steve Tisch are producing. Lowe plays JFK in Killing Kennedy, the docudrama adaptation of the book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard which airs November 10 on the National Geographic Channel. Here’s a look at Lowe in that role:

Comments (2)

National Geographic’s ‘Killing Kennedy’ To Premiere November 10: Video

National Geographic Channel chose today — which would have been the diamond wedding anniversary of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and John Fitzgerald Kennedy — to announce the premiere date for its JFK assassination movie. Anyone else creeped out by that? Anyway, Killing Kennedy, based on the book of same name by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, will premiere on Sunday, November 10. It’s timed to the 50th anniversary of the assassination. Killing Kennedy will be released globally in 171 countries, in 48 languages. NatGeo’s first original feature, Killing Lincoln, premiered in February to a crowd of 3.4 million, which made it the most-watched program in the network’s history. Killing Lincoln  also was based on a book of same name also by O’Reilly and Dugard. (Watch an exclusive clip from Killing Kennedy after the jump.) Read More »

Comments (7)

TCA: ‘Killing Kennedy’ Star Rob Lowe Happy To Topline Bill O’Reilly’s “Massive Best Seller” Adaptation

Rob Lowe, who stars as President John F. Kennedy in National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy, says he’s not off-put by the fact that it’s based on a book by Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly. “I didn’t think about it all, because the book had come out and been so successful,” Lowe, who dabbled in politics, on the Dem side, in the past, said this morning at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Anyone working in show business today is looking to get a big on a project with “an advantage”, Lowe explained, and “the book’s a massive best-seller.” “Five million books in the last year”, NatGeo Channels president Howard Owens jumped in during the Q&A session. “And when you read the book it’s nothing if not very straightforward about the facts of the story,” Lowe said.

A TV critic wondered if the panel worried this project would be boycotted like efforts to boycott Ender’s Game, based on the book by controversial author and anti-gay advocate Orson Scott Card. Not sure why critics thought that was a possibility, given the big ratings NatGeo did not so long ago with O’Reilly’s other book, Killing Lincoln. Anyway, Killing Kennedy screenwriter Kelly Masterson said not, because while he has “a different political position” than does O’Reilly, he was “happy to learn I had an awful lot in common” with the Fox … Read More »

Comments (7)

Tom Felton To Co-Star In TNT Pilot ‘Murder In The First’; Five Cast In ‘Killing Kennedy’

By | Monday June 10, 2013 @ 5:24pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

British actor Tom Felton, best known for playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, has joined the cast of TNT’s drama pilot Murder In The First as a series regular. Co-created by Steven Bochco and Eric Lodal, the project is a murder mystery that centers on San Francisco PD homicide detectives Terry Seagrave (Taye Diggs) and Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson), as they take on a case that seems more like a maze. Felton will play Erich Blunt, the cocky, spectacularly wealthy CEO of Applicon, a tech genius. Read More »

Comments (3)

Rob Lowe To Play John F. Kennedy, Ginnifer Goodwin & Michelle Trachtenberg To Co-Star In National Geographic’s ‘Killing Kennedy’

By | Tuesday May 28, 2013 @ 9:29am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Rob LoweRob Lowe, Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon A Time) and Michelle Trachtenberg are set to star in National Geographic’s two-hour original factual drama Killing Kennedy, from Scott Free Prods. Based on the best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard and a sequel to Nat Geo’s Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy begins in 1959 and follows the paths of Kennedy (Lowe) — a member of one of the United States’ most wealthy and powerful families — and his assassin Lee Harvey Oswald — a disillusioned former Marine and Marxist — until they collide in Dallas four years later. Goodwin will play former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, while Trachtenberg will play Oswald’s Russian wife Marina. Production on Killing Kennedy will begin in June in Richmond, Va., with Nelson McCormick directing from a script by Kelly Masterson, for a premiere later this year in the United States and globally in 171 countries, timed to the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. This is the Nat Geo’s second collaboration with Lowe this year. In April, he narrated the network’s six-part miniseries The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us. JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy were recently played by Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes in the ReelzChannel mini The Kennedys.

Comments (9)