TV critics love deeply flawed guys on cable dramas. On broadcast, maybe not so much? Christian Slater and Steve Zahn play brothers — a con man just out of prison, and a brilliant bipolar expert in the field of human behavior, respectively — who form a problem-solving firm that uses psychological manipulation.
One TV critic at the Mind Games Q&A, told the ABC show’s creator she was totally into the pilot until the final twist when she “lost any empathy” and wondered if it would be addressed in the second episode. The creator, Kyle Killen, explained that “what cable’s done to television” is “expanded the palate” and lead characters were no longer expected to be fixed quickly.
Another critic noted it’s Killen’s third recent stab at characters leading a dual life — the other two being NBC’s short-lived Awake, about a cop leading two parallel lives after a car accident, and Fox’s short-lived Lone Star, about a con artist living two lives in Texas. “Nope, just beating the same dead horse,” Killen responded, suggesting he’s maybe not destined to strike up with this particular TV critic one of those effervescent friendships that TV critics and show writers sometimes strike up. Taking the high road, he explained the brothers of Mind Games aspire to help people, which maybe makes it the easiest of his recent TV projects for a wide audience to embrace.
Another critic wondered if Killen had given any thought to switching the two actors’ roles — because, the critic said, Slater is maybe better suited to play a bipolar guy, the illness often goes undiagnosed, tends to run in families, and expresses itself differently among siblings. Killen said he’d never given any thought to switching the two actors. Read More »
Lone Star and Awake creator Kyle Killen has received a pilot order by ABC for his latest drama project, Influence. The network also has given the green light to Killer Women, a soupy procedural written by Hannah Shakespeare and produced by Modern Family star Sofia Vergara, Ben Silverman and director Martin Campbell.
Influence, from 20th Century Fox TV where Killen is under a deal, is described as a provocative workplace ensemble centered on the complicated relationship between two brothers — a bipolar genius in human psychology and a slick ex-con — who head a unique agency designed to solve their clients’ problems using the real science of human motivation and manipulation. In addition to helping their clients, the agency’s staff sometime turn their powers to pull strings on one another. Killen is the writer/executive producer. Influence, which had a put pilot commitment, marks a departure from Killen’s previous two series projects, Fox’s Lone Star and NBC’s Awake, which both had very complex, non-linear narratives as they centered on protagonists living dual lives. Still, Killen kept a duality element in his new show too, making one of the main characters bipolar.
Ed Brubaker is suddenly very busy. The graphic novel writer and the scribe who has written for several superhero comics including Captain America, Batman and X-Men, has sold a pair of projects to broadcast networks that he will write and executive produce. The first is Rising Suns, from 20th Century Fox TV and executive producer Kyle Killen, who was creator of NBC’s short-lived Awake last season. Brubaker’s crime thriller for Fox centers on an American Yakuza underboss fighting for his life as he becomes involved with the female FBI agent hunting him. Brubaker also has set up at NBC an untitled secret agent project about a young female agent-in-training who is part of her agency’s cleanup crew, shadowing a more famous agent erasing all traces of his missions. Universal TV is behind it with executive producers Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan.
Brubaker, repped by UTA and Anonymous Content, has his graphic novel Coward being adapted into a feature that David Slade is attached to direct. Jamie Patricoff and Lynette Howell at Electric City are producing, and Sierra-Affinity is financing the genre tale, about a master heist planner.
EXCLUSIVE: Influence, a drama project from Lone Star and Awake creator Kyle Killen, has received a put pilot commitment by ABC in a competitive situation involving multiple networks. The project, from 20th Century Fox TV where Killen is under a deal, is described as a provocative workplace ensemble centered on the complicated relationship between two brothers — a bipolar genius in human psychology and a slick ex-con — who head a unique agency designed to solve their clients’ problems using the real science of human motivation and manipulation. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler will star in Scenic Route, directed by Kevin and Michael Goetz. Written by Kyle Killen (The Beaver), the film follows two former college buddies who go on a road trip and become stranded in the desert. As they begin to realize they might never be rescued, they begin to have heated fights, both emotionally and physically.
In addition to Scenic Route, Fogler will star alongside Kal Penn in the comedy pilot Prairie Dogs from ABC Studios/ABC. He will play Roj, one of the programmers, or “prairie dogs,” who work with Neil (Penn) at EGG Technologies. Fogler’s credits include Relativity’s Take Me Home Tonight, Disney’s Mars Needs Moms, Focus Features’ Balls Of Fury and Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock. He is currently co-directing and producing the film Don Peyote through his production company Studio 13, which he co-founded. He is repped by WME and Management 360. Duhamel’s credits include the Transformers franchise, Life As We Know It and the upcoming Fire With Fire starring Bruce Willis and Rosario Dawson. He is repped by ICM and John Carrabino Management.
Five episodes into its 12-episode midseason order, NBC’s drama series Awake is temporarily shutting down production to allow writers to catch up on scripts. The unplanned hiatus, which is expected to last a couple of weeks, is being done upon request from Awake creator/executive producer Kyle Killen and executive producer/showrunner Howard Gordon. It will be used to plot out the rest of the series’ first season. “This is a creatively challenging show as anyone who has seen the pilot can imagine,” Gordon said. Awake stars Jason Isaacs as a detective who finds himself living in a dual reality after a fatal car accident, one where his wife survives and one where his son does. The series intertwines his two lives, each with its own family dynamic, workplace and a different psychiatrist for the lead. “Because we’re not on a tight delivery schedule, it wasn’t an expensive shutdown and just gives us an opportunity to get it right,” Gordon said, adding that the reaction from both NBC and Awake‘s studio 20th Century Fox TV to the already produced episodes (5 + the pilot) has been positive. Gordon also noted a similar shutdown for rewrites on his previous series, Fox’s 24, in the fall of 2008, which allowed the writers to reshape the second-to-last season’s creative direction. Like Awake, 24 was a midseason series, giving the producers more leeway scheduling-wise.
A week ago, Terriers co-star Laura Allen got good news when she was cast in a supporting role on NBC’s drama pilot REM. Today, which happens to be her birthday, she got even better news – in a pilot rarity, she was bumped up to female lead of the project opposite Jason Isaacs. Meanwhile, Law & Order: SVU alumna Michaela McManus, who tested opposite Allen for the supporting role of Tara, has now been cast in that role.
REM, from creator/executive producer Kyle Killen and 20th TV, is described as an Inception-style thriller and centers on Detective Michael Britten (Isaacs), who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities, one in which he has killed his son Rex (Dylan Minnette) and one in which he has killed his wife Hannah (Allen) in a car accident. McManus will play Rex’s tennis coach, who has become his confidante in the wake of the recent loss of his mother.
Trying out Allen for the Hannah role was an idea of former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon, who serves as exec producer/showrunner on the REM pilot. After what was described as a “terrific read” with Isaacs this afternoon, Allen landed the part. The cast of the pilot, directed/exec produced by David Slade, is now complete. It includes Isaacs, Allen, Cherry Jones, Steve Harris, Wilmer Valderrama, Minnette and … Read More »
That ’70s Show alum Wilmer Valderrama, The Practice veteran Steve Harris and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit co-star BD Wong have been cast opposite Jason Isaacs in NBC’s drama pilot REM, from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen and 20th Century Fox TV. Also cast in the project, described as an Inception-style thriller, are Laura Allen (Terriers) and teen Dylan Minnette. REM centers on Detective Mark Britten (Isaacs), who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities, one in which he has killed his son Rex (Minnette) and one in which he has killed his wife Hannah. Valderrama will play Detective Richard Vega, Britten’s gregarious new partner in one reality, while Harris will play a seasoned, cynical, wry-humored police detective who’s Britten’s partner in the other reality. Wong will play Britten’s therapist in the reality where he has killed his son. Allen will play Rex’s tennis coach, who has become his confidante in the wake of the recent loss of his mother. Valderrama’s casting stems from his talent deal with 20th TV.
EXCLUSIVE: One of the hottest actors this pilot season, Jason Isaacs, is off the market. After fielding more than half-dozen offers, Isaacs has settled on the lead role in NBC’s drama pilot REM, from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen and 20th Century Fox TV. In addition to starring, Isaacs will serve as producer on the project, described as an Inception-style thriller. It centers on a cop (Isaacs) who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities. The casting of Isaacs lifts the contingency on the pilot, exec produced/run by former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon. 20th TV-based Tim Minear serves as a consulting producer.
REM brings Brit Isaacs back to 20th TV where he starred in the drama pilot for Fox Pleading Guilty last season. Additionally, he developing and producing a drama project at 20th TV’s cable division Fox 21. Safe, set up at FX, is being written by Chris Gerolmo.
Brotherhood star Isaacs had been in demand since the Showtime drama ended in 2008. He was first pursued in the 2009 pilot season but was unavailable because of commitments to the Harry Potter movies, in which he plays Lucius Malfoy. Last pilot season, he received eight offers and went with Pleading Guilty. Isaacs, repped by Gersh, the Collective, U.K.’s Independent Talent and attorney Karl Austen, will next be seen in the final Harry Potter movie and the Taylor Lautner starrer Abduction.
Human Target executive producer Brad Kern has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner on ABC’s drama pilot Poe. The crime procedural, from writer-exec producer Chris Hollier, Warner Bros. TV and Dan Lin’s Lin Pictures, follows Edgar Allan Poe, the world’s very first detective, as he uses unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston. Kern previously served as showrunner on the WB’s Charmed.
24 showrunner Howard Gordon will serve as executive producer/showrunner on REM, Kyle Killen’s drama pilot for NBC described as an Inception-style thriller about a cop living in two different realities. The gig falls under Gordon’s overall deal with 20th TV. In addition to REM, Gordon has the pilot Homeland, which he co-wrote, in contention at Showtime. If the two projects go to series, Gordon could conceivably run both the way Shawn Ryan juggled showrunner duties on The Shield and Lie to Me.
The Cape showrunnerJohn Wirth has joined the CW’s drama pilot Cooper & Stone as exec producer-showrunner. The pilot, from writer-exec producer Laurie Arent and CBS TV Studios, is about two smart young female detectives on Chicago’s North Side who are best friends, equally adept at discussing fashion, music, pop culture as they are solving homicides. Wirth also served as co-showrunner on The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Jonathan Groff, showrunner of ABC’s midseason comedy Happy Endings, will serve in the … Read More »
UPDATED: NBC has picked up to pilot REM, the spec by Lone Star creator Kyle Killen which was taken out by 20th TV a couple of weeks ago. Additionally, the network has given the green light to 3 more comedy pilots: Free Agents, LoveLives and an untitled project from Dan Goor.
Killen’s REM, from 20th TV, is described as an Inception-style thriller about a cop who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities. The project has been given a cast-contingent order. As expected, new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt has been very opportunistic with spec scripts, handing out a significant chunk of his pilot orders to project brought to the network as specs.
Free Agents, from UMS and Party Down co-creator John Enbom, is a single-camera romantic comedy based on the U.K. format that explores the attraction between two quirky co-workers who are both on the rebound, one from a divorce and the other from the loss of a fiancé. While in the original series, which ran on Channel 4 in 2009, the lovebirds were agents, in the NBC version they will be PR executives. Enbom is executive producing with Kenton Allen from Big Talk Prods., producer of the British series. Todd Holland and Karey Burke are also exec producing through their UMS-based company, with Holland directing. The comedy has been given a cast-contingent order.
LoveLives, from 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment, is a … Read More »
Ahead of next week’s second airing of new Fox drama series Lone Star, which got a temporary reprieve after its disastrous premiere ratings on Monday, the show’s young creator Kyle Killen this morning wrote this emotional plea for support on his blog.
You’re Invited To Our Stunning Upset
Do you like to root for the underdog? Because I’ve got an underdog of epic proportions for you. We’re talking long, long shot. Like a legless horse in the Kentucky Derby. A blind basketball team facing the 95 Bulls. If somehow Rudy and Rocky had a baby it still wouldn’t be as big an underdog as our little show… Lone Star.
You may have heard about last Monday night when several heavily sequined, dancing celebrity, conspiracy laden, bowling shirted nuclear bombs landed directly on our heads. When everyone who watched your show is a paid critic or someone you went to high school with, that’s less of a premiere than a slideshow.
But here we are. Still alive. A little groundhog peeking out of a bomb crater to see if there’s six more weeks of nuclear winter or if, perhaps, something can grow in this hole. And that’s where you come in.
For us to survive we’re going to have to pull off a minor miracle. Statistically, new shows tend to lose viewers in their second week. We’re aiming to gain them. In fact, screw it, let’s just double our audience. The
What’s up with TV and Texas this season? This fall’s crop of new TV series includes NBC’s Chase shooting in Dallas, and ABC’s My Generation, shooting in Austin. At today’s TCA, Fox presented the new drama Lone Star — which, with that title, couldn’t really be set anywhere else. The show’s lead character (played by relative newcomer James Wolk) has two wives and two lives in two different locations, Houston and Midland. It will actually be shot in Dallas, the setting for another Fox series introduced earlier this year, The Good Guys. (Executive producer Peter Horton, who plans to direct some episodes, he joked of his involvement: “I thought it was going to be shot in San Francisco.”)
Lone Star creator/executive producer (and native Texan) Kyle Killen explained that when he pitched the series, ”I sold it as Dallas without the cheese.