NCIS alum Cote de Pablo has been tapped to star in CBS’ The Dovekeepers, a four-hour miniseries from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey to air in 2015. The project is based on Alice Hoffman’s acclaimed historical novel about four extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada. De Pablo, repped by Paradigm, Management 360, and attorneys Melanie Cook and Jamie Asifi, will play Shirah, one of the four women, who is a sensual, mysterious and fiercely independent single mother with uncanny insights and a quiet and mysterious power. She is derided by many as the “Witch of Moab,” as she covertly practices forbidden ancient rites of magic and is keenly knowledgeable about herbal remedies. However, those in need don’t hesitate to approach her for her help and generosity of spirit.
Related: Cote De Pablo To Depart CBS’ ‘NCIS’
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Open Road Films has set a a February 27, 2015 release date for Little Boy, the inspirational family film directed by Alejandro Monteverde that was executive produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the EPs behind Son Of God and MGM/Paramount’s Ben-Hur remake. The distrib acquired U.S. rights to the pic last month. The story centers on a 7-year-old boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to end World War II so he can bring his father home. Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin James, Ben Chaplin, Michael Rapaport, Cary Tagawa, Ted Levine, David Henrie, Eduardo Verastegui and Jakob Salvati star. Pepe Portillo and Monteverde wrote the script.
It joins three other wide releases so far on that date: Warner Bros’ Will Smith comedy Focus, Fox’s video game adaptation Hitman: Agent 47 starring Rupert Friend (who replaced Paul Walker), and Focus Features’ Ryan Reynolds sci-fi pic Selfless.
Open Road Films bought U.S. rights to Little Boy, an inspirational family film directed by Alejandro Monteverde that was executive produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the EPs behind Son Of God and the MGM/Paramount Ben-Hur remake. Pic’s about the magical story of a 7-year-old boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to end World War II so he can bring his father home. The story reveals the indescribable love a father has for his little boy and the love a son has for his father. Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin James, Ben Chaplin, Michael Rapaport, Cary Tagawa, Ted Levine, David Henrie, Eduardo Verastegui and young newcomer Jakob Salvati star. Pepe Portillo and Monteverde wrote the script. In addition to Downey and Burnett, the producers are Verastegui, Leo Severino, Monteverde, Emilio Azcarraga, Bernardo Gomez, Micky Ohare and Sean Wolfington. Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg made the deal with Elliott Kleinberg, and Peter Lawson, as well as by Wolfington and Severino on behalf of the filmmakers.
Reality Check is a Deadline feature series covering the players, programs and trends in reality television.
Since Survivor first debuted on CBS in the summer of 2000, Mark Burnett has been and remains one of the leading impresarios of the Reality TV genre that he in many ways created Stateside. Sure Burnett’s had flame-outs like the short lived Stars Earn Stripes, but he’s also currently holding a deck that includes the still strong Survivor 28 seasons in and growing NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s entrepreneurial series Shark Tank. In a genre where longevity and legacy are still being created, Burnett reflects on the state and shifting fortunes of Reality TV, why American Idol has stumbled and how he literally anchors his shows to success.
DEADLINE: Let’s cut to the chase, Mark. What’s the state of unscripted TV in 2014?
MARK BURNETT: The state of unscripted TV is very good, as long as it’s good. That’s the only thing you have to worry about. I always try to think that if you’re given an hour or two of primetime American network TV, you better treat that as if someone’s just given you a $100 million movie to run. No difference, and there’s no free pass. If it’s great, and if it has an emotional connection, for whatever reason, to the viewers, it stays. Particularly, for me, I’m very, very fortunate that The Voice, and Survivor, and Shark Tank all have a clear emotional connection through the TV screen into peoples’ homes. Read More »
BREAKING: After scoring huge ratings with the miniseries The Bible and carving out a second theatrical hit with the same footage in Son Of God, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Paramount Pictures’ Ben-Hur. Deadline has long been telling you about this ambitious new adaptation of the Lew Wallace 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of Christ, with script by Keith Clarke and Oscar winning 12 Years A Slave scribe John Ridley, and Timur Bekmambetov directing.
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Paramount signed on to co-produce and distribute, and after the rocky time the studio had with the Darren Aronofsky-directed Noah convincing the faithful that the Biblical epic didn’t blaspheme the Old Testament tale and having the film banned in Muslim territories, it’s not surprising that they would add Burnett and his wife, the former Touched By An Angel star Downey, to help steer the project with producer Sean Daniel. The film will be released February 26, 2016. Faith-based audiences turned the Mel Gibson-directed The Passion Of The Christ into the biggest-grossing independent film ever, but the recent turn of audiences from Biblical epics to films about the existence of heaven and faith in general, shows that these audiences want faithful adaptations of the Bible stories they want to see celebrated onscreen. The next big Biblical epic coming is the Ridley Scott-directed Exodus with Christian Bale starring as Moses. Fox opens that film December 12 and if it even approximates the ticket sales of 1956′s The Ten Commandments, it will be a huge blockbuster story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt.
Related: Biblical and Faith-Based Movies: In Hollywood To Stay?
The film consists of the core story that drove the 1959 William Wyler-directed MGM film that starred Charlton Heston as the falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on the best friend who betrayed him, as both have to choose retribution or forgiveness. In the backdrop is the journey of Jesus Christ, leading up to him being crucified. It is sensitive stuff, and a guiding hand from those producers can be like a Good Housekeeping seal to a faith-based audience that has been flocking to sleeper hits like Heaven Is For Real. Noah has crossed $300 million in worldwide grosses. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ann Peacock (The Chronicles Of Narnia, Nights In Rodanthe) has been tapped to adapt The Dovekeepers for Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and CBS.
In December, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey — the new It Couple of TV Miniseries/Event Series — landed CBS‘ first announced project from its new limited series and event programming unit. Like Burnett and Downey’s The Bible, The Dovekeepers is an historical series with religious overtones. The Dovekeepers is a four-hour miniseries based in Alice Hoffman’s historical novel about the Siege of Masada, and it will air on CBS in 2015. The mini will focus on “four extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada,” according to CBS. Masada is the mountaintop fortress near the Dead Sea where the Romans found the last pocket of resistance after they conquered Jerusalem in 70 CE.
“We felt [the book] was best served if the screenplay came through the heart of a strong woman and Peacock is such a woman,” Downey said in a phone interview. “I met her right before Christmas; she came to our house in Malibu and I sat down with her and she clearly loved the book. Her book had Post-its sticking out from a hundred different pages where she’d lovingly made notes. She said whether she was brought on board or not, she was forever changed from having read the book and I was elated, because I could not put this book down when I first read it. I was like a woman who had fallen in love — I was hungry, turning pages, staying up later than I should have, in the absence of being able to pick it up the next day missing the book. When I was finished I missed the characters, longed for the characters – they got under my skin”. Read More »
CNBC announced today its New Year’s Day marathon of off-net Shark Tank repeats drew its largest average audience in the news demo in six years — something you’d think CNBC would scarcely admit unless it knew it could be provided against it. And yet, there CNBC was, boasting its New Year’s Day marathon had drawn more than 4.2 million unique viewers, averaging more than 540,000 total viewers and 240,000 adults 25-54 from 8PM-2AM ET. During its peak hours, CNBC said with pride, it averaged nearly 700,000 total viewers and 300,000 adults 25-54, ranking No. 1 during the 10 PM hour among all cable news networks in 18-49, 25-54 and 35-64 demos. The 10 PM telecast was CNBC’s most-watched program in three years, while the 9 PM telecast was CNBC’s highest-rated among adults 25-54 in three years, the network bragged. Read More »
NBC has given a formal green light to 12-hour miniseries A.D., Mark Burnett and Roma Downey‘s follow-up to their highly rated miniseries The Bible that aired on History earlier this year. The project, produced by LightWorkers Media with Burnett, Downey and Richard Bedser serving as executive producers, is eyeing a premiere in spring 2015. “Last year when Mark Burnett was launching The Bible on cable, I told him, without hesitation, that if he wanted to tell more of the story, we’d love to do it at NBC,” said NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt. “We are firmly in the ‘event’ business and nothing has more event potential than A.D. as it continues immediately after the The Bible ended.” The order for A.D., which will be written by BAFTA nominee Simon Block (The Shooting Of Thomas Hurndall), comes a week after NBC greenlighted its first miniseries under the network’s current longfprm push – the four-hour Rosemary’s Baby. This also marks the second miniseries order for Burnett and Downey in the past week after CBS picked up The Dovekeepers, which also has religious overtones.
Related: NBC Turns To Christ In Snagging ‘The Bible’ Follow-Up
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Mark Burnett’s One Three Media is eyeing a stronger foothold in Europe via a new joint venture with producer/distributor Red Arrow Entertainment. The partners will launch a London-based production company, One Three Media UK, in January. The new shingle’s focus will be on bringing One Three Media’s U.S. formats to the UK as well as developing original content. One Three Media’s The Apprentice is entering its 10th season on BBC One. Shows it produces Stateside include The Voice, Celebrity Apprentice and Shark Tank. Burnett, who hails from London, already has a UK company: his and wife Roma Downey’s LightWorkers Media (The Bible) is based in the British capital. Red Arrow’s UK partner, CPL Productions, which makes the local versions of Off Their Rockers and The Taste, will provide production and administrative support to the new venture which will operate out of CPL’s London offices. A head of the company will be named in January.
The doyen of reality competition series, CBS’ Survivor, is turning 30. CBS has ordered two more editions of television’s longest running reality competition series for the 2014-2015 season, its 29th and 30th. Five-time Emmy winner Jeff Probst, who has been with the franchise since the very beginning, has signed a new deal to continue as host and executive producer. For creator/executive producer Mark Burnett, Survivor always has had a special meaning as it catapulted him to the top ranks of reality producers.”It’s more than a show, it’s part of the fabric of who are we as a family,” he said, noting that “my children have grown up with the show and don’t remember life before Survivor.” It is a big week for the prolific producer who is delivering 12 hours of original programming on the broadcast networks starting with NBC’s The Voice on Monday and culminating with the two-hour Survivor: Blood vs. Water finale on Sunday, followed by a live reunion show hosted by Probst. (The list includes The Voice on Monday and Tuesday, Survivor on Wednesday and Sunday, The Sing-Off on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and Shark Tank on Friday.) Probst called Survivor “the best job I’ve ever had and probably the greatest career opportunity I’ll ever have.” Survivor‘s solid ratings performance after 14 years on the air is not lost on him. “If a new show came out and had the ratings we had this season, it would … Read More »
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey — the new It Couple of TV Miniseries/Event Series — have landed CBS‘ first announced project from its new limited series and event programming unit. And yes, it’s an historical series with religious overtones. The Dovekeepers is a four-hour miniseries based in Alice Hoffman’s historical novel about the Siege of Masada, and it will air on CBS in 2015. The mini will focus on “four extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada,” the network said. Masada is the mountaintop fortress near the Dead Sea where the Romans found the last pocket of resistance after they conquered Jerusalem in 70 CE.
CBS, in its announcement, noted The Dovekeepers hails from the team behind the Emmy-nominated 10-hour miniseries The Bible, which scored big ratings for History in March, ranking as the top cable entertainment telecast of the year to date and helping make History the No. 1-ranked cable network for that month. The Bible opened with 13 million tuned in — which, CBS execs no doubt noted at the time, is about as many people as watched the opening of their Stephen King project Under The Dome (before factoring in DVR viewing on subsequent days) last summer. In its first week of home video release, The Bible was the top-selling miniseries of all time and the No. 1 ranked TV series on DVD and Blu-ray over the past five years — surpassing 1 million units sold in the past three months. It also spawned a feature film version to be released by Fox in February (check out that trailer here). In addition to its broadcast on CBS, The Dovekeepers will be distributed to countries around the world by CBS Studios International. Read More »
The next phase of Mark Burnett‘s The Bible-will-conquer-the-world plan is 20th Century Fox‘s feature-length film cut of the 10-part History Channel miniseries. The studio acquired rights to Son Of God in September and will release it February 28, 2014. At the Produced By Conference in June, Burnett said: “Just on the scripted side, I could spend the next 10 years just distributing the Bible series and the movie. I believe that in the next 15 years more people on the planet will have seen our Bible series that haven’t seen it.” Fox, which also has home video rights to The Bible, certainly hopes so. Here’s the first trailer — featuring new footage — that dropped this week:
While CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was over at CBS This Morning, apologizing for 60 Minutes’ botched report on the Benghazi attack this morning, over at NBC’s Today show they were announcing a three-hour live broadcast covering the first commercial space flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo,with first passengers Sir Richard Branson and his two children, Holly and Sam. No date yet.
Fine print: last month, NBC committed to a space travel reality series with Branson and his Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. In the Mark Burnett-produced reality series, everyday people compete for a trip into space on the vehicle, after being trained at Virgin Galactic’s home in Spaceport America, in New Mexico.
The news event/publicity stunt announced this morning on Today will be carried across NBCUniversal brands and platforms, including CNBC, MSNBC, NBCNews.com, Syfy, The Weather Channel. The coverage will include a primetime special airing on NBC the night before launch, as well as the three-hour live event on Today, hosted by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.
TNT has ordered 10 episodes of On The Menu (working title), billed as TV’s first cooking show ever to give viewers the chance to taste the winning dish after every episode. It’s slated to launch in 2014. Each episode of On the Menu will center on a different American food business – ranging from restaurant chains and stadium concession stands to amusement parks and cruise lines. Passionate home cooks, working in conjunction with professional chefs, will be challenged to create the business’ next signature menu item. The winning dish will immediately go on the menu, giving viewers at home the chance to go try the dish the very next day. Mark Burnett (The Bible, The Voice, Survivor) serves as executive producer for On the Menu, which is being produced by One Three Media, Burnett’s joint venture with Hearst Corporation. Burnett launched TNT’s first push into reality programming with the 2009 series Wedding Day, followed by The Great Escape in 2012.
The fan-chosen People’s Choice Awards will air live on January 8 from the Nokia Theatre LA Live, CBS said this morning. The two-hour show will be live on the East Coast from 9-11 ET and tape delayed PT. Mark Burnett returns as producer for a fifth consecutive year. Like last year, fans can vote on 15 potential new categories, with the winners added to the list for the ceremony.
History’s 10-part miniseries The Bible was a big hit in the spring, averaging 11.4 million total viewers during its five-week run and garnering three Emmy noms, and partnering with 20th Century Fox on the feature film version makes sense. The studio already has a partnership with executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for worldwide home vid rights, and the parties have been in the planning stages of an international launch around Christmas. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released The Bible on home video in April, and it has become the top-selling mini ever across Blu-ray, DVD and DigitalHD after selling 525,000 copies its first week on the street. As for the feature, details on release dates and overseas distribution are still being worked out. Burnett said in June that he had just completed editing the 2 hour and 15 minute feature version of the series focusing on the life of Jesus and was looking for a buyer. “Just on the scripted side, I could spend the next 10 years just distributing the Bible series and the movie”, he said of the project he and wife Downey produced with Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. Burnett and Downey have already sold a sequel to the mini, A.D: Beyond The Bible, to NBC.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage
History‘s 10-part miniseries The Bible continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, landing three Emmy nominations this morning including one for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie (as well as for sound editing and sound mixing). The noms further burnished the credentials of the series’ married exec producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey and come at a time when the project has taken on a successful life of its own: Burnett sold a sequel this month to NBC (tentatively titled AD: Beyond The Bible) and has seen the original mini emulate the massive ratings success it had on History overseas (it bowed to huge ratings this week in Australia). The series was No. 1 in its time period for all of TV when it aired in March and averaged 11.4 million total viewers during its five-week run. At the end of June it passed the 1 million mark in DVD sales, making it one of the best-selling DVDs based on a TV series of all time.
Related: Produced By: Mark Burnett On ‘Bible’ Follow-Up Read More »
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett‘s The Bible debuted Down Under on Tuesday with a faithful following that gave Channel 9 top ratings for the night. The first episode of the 10-part miniseries was No. 1 during its two-hour slot with 21% of the audience and the top score amongst all key demos. Network 9 led the night with an overall 32.5% share (however, Ten’s Under The Dome was seen by about 20,000 more viewers, besting The Bible in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth). The Bible‘s performance spurred Channel 9 to schedule a repeat showing for this Saturday night. In the U.S., the mini ranked as the top cable entertainment telecast of the year to date and helped make History the No. 1-ranked cable network for the month of March. Downey and Burnett, along with NBC, are working on a sequel tentatively titled AD: Beyond The Bible.