EXCLUSIVE: As the traditional broadcast pitch season is winding down, one of the most talked-about projects has hit the broadcast/cable marketplace. Star-producer Charlie Sheen has been out in full force pitching his new series Anger Management along with producer Lionsgate TV and distributor Debmar-Mercury over the past two weeks. There has been a healthy level of interest in the project, with a number of networks taking the pitch. I’ve learned that the list included broadcasters NBC, Fox and ABC as well as cable networks FX, USA Network, Comedy Central and TV Land and streaming company Netflix. I hear Sheen was present at all the meetings, which were held on both the East and West coasts. “It was a great pitch, very polished,” a person who has seen the presentation said, with Sheen described as “very buttoned up and passionate.” What is being pitched is a series version of the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management about a mild-mannered man (Sandler) ordered to attend group anger-management sessions led by a volatile therapist (Nicholson), with Sheen playing a version of Nicholson’s character and The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford writing/executive producing.
Word is cable networks FX, USA, Comedy Central or sibling TV Land are a possibility, along with Netflix. Getting meetings with broadcast networks was a coup for the producers, but they were always considered a long shot because of the type of deal Debmar-Mercury is seeking for the series: a trial 10-episode run that, if ratings guarantees are met, triggers a 90-episode pickup. (According to sources, the sizes of the orders in the two stages are not set in stone and Debmar-Mercury may be open to tweaking them, but the commitment is expected to remain very significant, especially for a broadcast network.) There had been talk about Fox possibly teaming with FX and NBC with sibling USA for such an arrangement, but that appears highly unlikely. The only pairing that seems possible is one between Comedy Central and TV Land, both part of MTV Networks Entertainment Group headed by Doug Herzog. Comedy Central, of course, has an in with Sheen as it did the Roast Of Charlie Sheen last month. Given its success, Comedy Central seems like a natural home for Anger Management — though, according to an industry source, Herzog had been joking privately that he wants the bad Charlie Sheen, not the nice one, a reference to Sheen’s recent image rehabilitation as he dropped the rants of warlocks and tiger blood, adopted a conciliatory tone towards his former employers at Two And A Half Men and settled his $100 million lawsuit against them. But while bad boy Charlie Sheen has entertainment value, even cleaned-up Charlie Sheen is probably difficult to insure, and the off-the-rails one last spring is certainly impossible to. Read More »
Starz has ordered a second 10-episode season of upcoming drama Boss ahead of the series’ October 21 premiere. A couple of years ago, the network did the same with its flagship series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Boss, from Lionsgate TV, … Read More »
Charlie Sheen’s media blitz on Sept. 19, the day of the Two and a Half Men season premiere, continues. In addition to his Comedy Central roast airing that night, Sheen will appear on The Wendy Williams Show earlier that day … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Charlie Sheen Teaming With ‘Drew Carey’s Bruce Helford On ‘Anger Management’?
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford has entered negotiations to write, executive produce and run Charlie Sheen’s new comedy series Anger Management. Helford was one of several veteran comedy showrunners that met with Lionsgate TV and producer Joe Roth on the project and emerged as a leading candidate for the job about two weeks ago. Helford has been considered a strong choice to create a starring vehicle for Sheen, having done the same in the past for Drew Carey with ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and George Lopez with the comedian’s eponymous ABC sitcom. He will develop Anger Management based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie, with Sheen set to play an updated version of Nicholson’s character, a volatile anger management therapist. Once there is a showrunner on board, Lionsgate is expected to take out the project to networks and station groups in search of a buyer. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: What if Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw was dying of cancer? That in essence is the premise of the Mexican drama series Terminales, which is being adapted by ABC Family. Lionsgate TV and Kapital Entertainment are … Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV Coverage.
UPDATE 1:30 PM: During the HRTS’ State of the Industry panel, Lionsgate TV Group president Kevin Beggs was again asked about his company’s decision to develop a series with troubled actor Charlie Sheen. He maintained that being in business with the king of misbehavior … Read More »
This is an announcement of the completion of the deal for the project, based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management, which is in early stages and still has no network or writer attached. On the show, Sheen will play an updated version of the Nicholson’s character in the Joe Roth-produced movie, a volatile anger management therapist. “I chose Anger Management because, while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept,” Sheen quipped. While Lionsgate TV will produce, a key point is the involvement of the company’s subsidiary Debmar-Mercury as a distributor, meaning that the Anger Management sitcom will probably be done under the model created by Debmar-Mercury co-heads Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein and pioneered on the Tyler Perry TBS sitcoms House of Payne and Meet the Browns. The Anger Management series is being co-produced by Roth who previously teamed with Debmar-Mercury on another TBS sitcom under the company’s model that was based on a movie, Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? The model, which so far has only been applied on cable, primarily on TBS, involves a significant ownership stake for the talent, something the release below indicates Sheen is receiving on Anger Management, as well as a short, usually 10-episode, initial network order followed by a massive 90-episode pickup when ratings thresholds are met. (That allows Debmar-Mercury to also launch the series in broadcast syndication.) The question is which network will gamble on a show starring a volatile star like Sheen, who is still embroiled in a $100-million lawsuit with Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre over his firing from Two and a Half Men, and which writer will sign on to develop the series with him. TBS would still be a main target though the cable network would’ve had stronger motivation to gamble on the new series if it still had the the off-network rights to Two and a Half Men, which it surrendered to FX this past fall. But TBS, which is a corporate sibling of Warner Bros. TV, has indicated that it isn’t interested. Here is the release:
Los Angeles, July 18, 2011 — Former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen is planning his return to series television in Anger Management, a new sitcom loosely based on Revolution Studios’ 2003 hit comedy feature of the same name. Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, headed by Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, will distribute the series that will be produced by Lionsgate Television, led by Television Group President Kevin Beggs and COO Sandra Stern; Joe Roth and Revolution Studios’ Vince Totino; Sheen manager Mark Burg’s production company, Evolution Management; and Robert Maron.
Sheen will retain a significant ownership stake in the series inspired by the film, in which a mild-mannered, non-confrontational man is ordered to attend group anger management sessions led by a therapist who could probably use some anger management himself.
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There’s a reason that moviemaker Joe Roth doesn’t produce much TV. Because he comes up with terrible ideas like casting Charlie Sheen in a sitcom version of Anger Management. His plan is to join with Lionsgate TV for a small-tube series based on … Read More »
EMMYS: Matt Weiner Lobbies For Jon Hamm
UPDATE: We hear Jon Hamm’s blockbuster new three-year deal is in the eight figures, catapulting him in the top ranks of cable’s leading … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Barbara Wall is stepping down as EVP television for Lionsgate. Wall, who served as head of development and current programming at the indie TV studio, will stay on as a producer until her current contract expires in the fall. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Acclaimed British TV writer-producer Lynda La Plante, creator of Prime Suspect, is set to develop Villains of All Nations, a drama series for Lionsgate TV based on historian Marcus Rediker’s book about the “Golden Age” of piracy in the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate TV, the company behind such scripted shows as Mad Men and Weeds, is launching a major push in reality TV and is getting a little naughty with it. In one of the first major deals under its renewed focus on unscripted series, the company has signed a multi-media deal with Booty Parlor, a Los Angeles-based company founded by husband-and-wife Charlie and Dana B. Myers that provides body treats, sexy lingerie and other adult playthings that have become quite popular with celebrities. The first project in development under the deal is a reality TV series featuring Dana Myers as an on-camera sexy lifestyle expert. Read More »
AMC didn’t hold an executive Q&E session at TCA, just a panel for upcoming drama The Killing. But at the beginning of that panel, the network’s executives addressed the big question: the future of the network’s flagship series Mad Men. … Read More »
It looks like we’re in for another round of drawn-out Mad Men negotiations between AMC and Lionsgate TV and between Lionsgate and series creator/showrunner Matthew Weiner. And while talks on both fronts are underway, another deadline is looming – … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Clyde Phillips has set up his first post-Dexter project. After a bidding war among several cable networks, HBO has landed a character-driven drama from Phillips and Lionsgate TV based on the Israeli series The Naked Truth. Phillips, who spent 4 years at Showtime running Dexter, will write the adaptation and will executive produce the project, his first under the 2-year overall deal with Lionsgate TV he signed in June. The Naked Truth is set in a major East Coast metropolitan precinct and follows the officers investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl from a prominent family in the pressure cooker atmosphere of an explosive high-profile case that has implications not just for the family of the victim, but for the cops themselves and the political infrastructure of the city. “It’s about the cops encountering people on the worst day of the citizens’ life,” Phillips said. “It’s a bit of an exploration of the middle class and the challenges we all face; it’s a heartbreaking story about a family in a time of crisis and how everyone deals with it.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jenji Kohan, creator/executive producer of Showtime’s flagship comedy Weeds and the series’ executive producer Matthew Salsberg have a new comedy project, Whales, in the works at the pay cable channel. The half-hour revolves around a group of brilliant and quirky young people, some of them Harvard and MIT graduates, who move to Las Vegas to live in a lavish apartment while pursuing the $10 million prize at the World Series of Poker. Kohan and Salsberg, who is an avid poker player, are writing and executive producing for Lionsgate TV Read More »