It’s official: The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford will guide Charlie Sheen in his return to series television with Anger Management. I’ve learned that Helford has closed his deal with Lionsgate TV to come on board the project as writer/executive producer/showrunner. Helford, who has created two successful sitcom starring vehicles in the past — ABC’s Drew Carey and George Lopez — was one of several veteran showrunners that Sheen met with and someone the actor connected with right away. Based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie about a mild-mannered man (Sandler) ordered to attend group anger-management sessions led by a volatile therapist (Nicholson), Anger Management will star Sheen as an updated version of Nicholson’s character. The project is being produced by Lionsgate TV, Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios and Sheen manager Mark Burg’s production company Evolution Management. READ MORE »
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.
Lionsgate TV Prez Kevin Beggs Says No Target Net Yet For Charlie Sheen Sitcom, Calls Sheen “Consummate Professional”
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 …
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.
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.
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.”
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
Lionsgate TV is making a return to broadcast TV ‘s primetime this fall with the new Fox comedy series Running Wilde, which it took over at the pilot stage. Now the company is staying active in network development with another broadcast project, 87th Precinct, which has received a script order …
By now you may have already heard that David Cross is joining Mitch Hurwitz and Will Arnett’s new comedy series Running Wilde, bringing in another piece to the Arrested Development reunion that’s …
EXCLUSIVE: Peter Serafinowicz has joined the cast of the new Fox comedy series Running Wilde as a regular. Serafinowicz was made a regular after he popped in his guest-starring turn in the pilot as Fa’ad Shaoulin, the Oxford-accented neighbor and frenemy of Steve Wilde (Will Arnett). Similarly, Erin Cummings, who guest-starred in the pilot for ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7 as the medical examiner, was recently upped to regular on the new drama series. The Lionsgate TV-produced Running Wilde centers on Steve Wilde, a filthy-rich, immature playboy trying desperately to win (or buy) the heart of his childhood sweetheart and uber-liberal humanitarian (Keri Russell).