When I ran into Ben Affleck at the Golden Globes on Sunday he told me he thinks this wide open Oscar race won’t really come into focus until the Producers Guild names its choice for Best Picture on January 19th at the Beverly Hilton. Of course Affleck (with George Clooney and Grant Heslov) won at the PGA last year for Argo and it went on to take the Oscar for Best Picture as well. Now about to celebrate their 25th anniversary the PGA awards have become one of the most reliable bellwethers of eventual Oscar glory. In fact the last six films in a row that have taken the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures has gone on to win the Academy’s Best Picture prize too, a list that in addition to Argo includes The Artist, The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country For Old Men. In fact it was the PGA that turned the race completely around for The Hurt Locker by unexpectedly choosing it over Avatar and picking King’s Speech over The Social Network, the favorite until that point. The PGA turned both races on a dime. In fact since handing out awards a quarter century ago the Guild has had a strong overall track record in matching Oscar’s sentiments. Perhaps one reason is they work very closely with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in vetting producers credits and determining which producers are eligible not only for the PGA award, but also the Oscar, although the final decision on the latter is up to the Academy’s producers branch.
Producers Guild Leaders On Their Banner Year, The p.g.a. Mark, Sunday’s Big 25th Anniversary Awards, And Why Scorsese And DiCaprio Didn’t Make The Cut
ABC has given the green light to Clementine, a high-concept drama pilot from feature scribe Dean Georgaris (Paycheck) and ABC Studios. It centers on a habitual criminal who digs into the mystery of her origins after she becomes the target of a group of zealots who fear she possesses latent supernatural abilities that she will one day harness for either profound good or monstrous evil. Ilene Staple is executive producing with the Mark Gordon Co.’s Mark Gordon and Nicholas Pepper. This brings the number of ABC drama pilots to 4, plus series Secrets & Lies.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
She may not be a 2016 Presidential candidate yet but the former Secretary of State will be packing in a lot of face time with Hollywood over the next couple of days. On Friday afternoon, Hillary Clinton will be speaking along with her daughter Chelsea at an event co-sponsored by the Producers Guild of America and the Clinton Foundation. The focus of the gathering is education and national service. PGA President Mark Gordonwill give opening remarks and act as emcee for the event, I’ve learned. Rob Reiner, a big backer of President Bill Clinton and Hillary, will be moderating the conversation between the two Clintons. Claiming security reasons, the PGA and the foundation are staying mum about the event’s location. Also, like many recent Clinton events and her visit to San Francisco later this weekend, media are blocked from gathering. (UPDATE, 2:38 PM: The organizers don’t want to give out the location but Hillary Clinton’s PGA event tomorrow will be held at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills, I’ve learned. It’s scheduled to run from approximately 1 PM to 3 PM on Friday.) The Clinton Foundation says that Scandal creator and recently named Kennedy Center board member Shonda Rhimes is scheduled to attend. CBS’ Nina Tassler, Shine America’s Rich Ross, Fox’s Kevin Reilly, Modern Family EP Steve Levitan, Parenthood EP Jason Katims and New Girl EP Liz Meriwether are also set to be there.
20th Century Fox Film chief creative officer Tony Sella isn’t formally out the door yet, as Deadline exclusively revealed yesterday, but his departure is already a sales tool in some Hollywood circles. “You fired Tony Sella, saved some money there,” quipped producer Mark Gordon last night at a charity auction to Fox production president Emma Watts in front of a crowd of powerplayers. Generating a brief giggle from some of those present, the remark from the PGA co-President came during a one-liner filled big ticket auction he was conducting Saturday at the An Evening Under The Stars gala fundraiser for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center at director Roland Emmerich’s house. Gordon went on to say “Tony’s a great guy” but still thought Watts could pony up some dough and successfully bid for one of the several item like 5 days in Emmerich’s London home or 5 days on his yacht off the coast of Thailand that were on the block to raise money for the Center. She declined. Along With Emmerich, Gordon and Watts, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Glee/American Horror Story boss Ryan Murphy, Independence Day co-writer Dean Devlin, X-Men director Bryan Singer, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, HBO’s Michael Lombardo, Criminal Minds/Teen Wolf producer Jeff Davis, Scandal actor and writer Dan Bucatinsky and actress …
EXCLUSIVE: Producer Mark Gordon has set up another drama project at ABC. It hails from feature writer and frequent Ben Affleck collaborator Aaron Stockard. Written by Stockard in his TV debut, Conviction centers on Amy Koch. When her 20-year-old son, Steven, is convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, she is simply unable to accept it, and so, facing a slim list of options, Amy sees no alternative but to take matters into her own hands. ABC Studios and studio-based Mark Gordon Co. are producing, with Gordon and Nick Pepper executive producing. Stockard, repped by WME and 3 Arts, co-wrote Affleck’s first two movies as a director, Gone Baby Gone and The Town. He also recently was brought in to work on the script for the Whitey Bulger movie Affleck has in the works as a directing vehicle, with Matt Damon playing New England’s most notorious gangster. Conviction joins five other sales for the Mark Gordon Co. this season — dramas with writers Tom Donaghy, Dean Georgaris and Kathryn Price & Nichole Millard at ABC, and comedies at ABC and Fox.
UPDATED: The Mark Gordon Co. has set up an untitled drama project at ABC with writers Kathryn Price and Nichole Millard (Fallen). While the project was originally announced as being half-hour — a throwback to the old days of half-hour drama series like Dragnet, The Rifleman and Have Gun, Will Travel — turns out it is a traditional hourlong drama after all. From ABC Studios where Mark Gordon is based, the project revolves around two female detectives in San Francisco who are being partnered up again after one took a break to start a family. They used to be closer than sisters, but a secret has come between them. Now that they’re thrown back together, they have as much work to do repairing their relationship as they do solving their cases. Price and Millard will executive produce with the Mark Gordon Co.’s Gordon and Nick Pepper. The Price/Millard project joins two other half-hour sales for the Mark Gordon Co., both of those being comedies.
Related: Producer Mark Gordon Signs With CAA
EXCLUSIVE: In the company’s first two official sales this development season, Mark Gordon‘s Mark Gordon Co. has set up two comedy projects from writer Scott King (The Neighbors) — one at ABC and one at Fox. Both are produced by ABC Studios where the Mark Gordon Co. is based, with the company’s Andrea Shay executive producing. The ABC project, The After Party, is an adult ensemble comedy about three recently single siblings who have two things in common: 1) insanely happily married parents and 2) failed marriages. The Fox project, Clothing Optional, is about a family who own and operate a wholesome all-inclusive resort but suddenly must put their morality and better judgment on hold when a scandal rocks their hotel and they decide to just go with it and turn the place into a Clothing Optional resort to keep the business afloat. Comedy has been a priority for the Mark Gordon Co., which has built its TV brand on drama series such as Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Army Wives and newbie Ray Donovan. It has fielded a couple of half-hour pilots in the past, one of which, Family Tools, went to series at ABC. The After Party and Clothing Optional join several other pitches the Mark Go. has in various stages of deal-making. Additionally, the company, which just moved to CAA, is attached to ABC/ABC Studios’ redevelopment of drama Big Thunder. …
ICM Partners‘ TV lit agent and partner Mark Gordon has been named the new head of the agency’s television literary department. He will succeed Kevin Crotty and Chris von Goetz who, after leading the department since the ICM/BWCS merger, will continue to focus on their clients and duties as board members. “In addition to being a passionate advocate for his own clients, Mark has taken a strong leadership position in expanding the television side of the business for many of our clients operating in other areas of the agency,” Crotty and von Goetz said in a joint statement. “He is the ideal choice to oversee the interests of our clients in an evolving landscape.”
Gordon has been a rising star at BWCS and then ICM. He began his career at BWCS while still a student at Northwestern University, after he called up agency partner Chris Silbermann following a guest lecture Silbermann gave to his class. Gordon became an agent at BWCS in 2005 and was named partner at ICM Partners in May 2012. TV packages spearheaded by him this season include projects from Ellen DeGeneres, Vince Gilligan, David Shore, Samuel L. Jackson, Patricia Cornwell, John Shiban, Neil LaBute, Josh Gad, Susan Sarandon and the estate of Dr. Seuss. Gordon also was instrumental in putting together the agency packages on Breaking Bad (AMC), whose creator Gilligan he has …
Did you miss some of Deadline’s top TV stories of the week? Check them out here:
CW In Talks For ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Drama By ‘Heroes” Creator Tim Kring
By Nellie Andreeva - EXCLUSIVE: The summer of Wizard Of Oz continues with another sale of a high-profile Oz-themed drama project.
Ryan Seacrest Booed By Broncos Fans During NBC’s NFL Pregame Show: Video
By Lisa De Moraes - NBC continues its Overexposing Ryan Seacrest campaign — this time the network had The Man Who Can’t Say No open NBC’s regular-season NFL football franchise kickoff last night, in which he got loudly booed by Broncos fans in Denver’s Sports Authority Stadium.
Were Consumers The Biggest Losers In The CBS-Time Warner Cable Dispute?
By David Lieberman - It sure looks that way. Millions of Time Warner Cable customers lost CBS-owned stations and channels for a month, and will still probably see their monthly rates rise to accommodate the deal that the companies made last night.
Fired ‘Storage Wars’ Star Scores A Win Over A&E In Lawsuit
By Dominic Patten – Dave Hester can move forward with the wrongful termination portion of his wide-ranging lawsuit against A&E and the producers of Storage Wars, a judge ruled today.
EXCLUSIVE: Shortly after he left his long-time agency ICM Partners, producer Mark Gordon has signed with CAA. The agency was considered a logical new home for the prolific non-writing TV producer as it represents most of the biggest non-writing pods in television — including Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Imagine TV, the Tannenbaum Co, Timberman/Beverly and Broadway Video — while other agencies work mostly with creator-driven production companies. Additionally, CAA is strong in features where Gordon started before his impressive foray into TV. His Mark Gordon Co. is in the middle of a rich four-year overall deal at ABC Studios, where it has been based for more than a decade, that also includes a first-look pact with Walt Disney Pictures. The company has four series on the air: veterans Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds and Army Wives and breakout new Showtime hit Ray Donovan. Gordon also already has several projects set up this development season.
EXCLUSIVE: This would be considered a major loss for any agency as Mark Gordon is among the top nonwriting TV producers with several shows that have gone the distance, including ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, CBS’ Criminal Minds and Lifetime’s Army Wives. Gordon had been with Chris Silbermann for more than a decade, first at BWCS and then at ICM, and Silbermann guided the producer as he built his Mark Gordon Co. from scratch into a several-hundred-million-dollar pod. The timing of Gordon’s departure is surprising. It comes on the heels of the breakout success of his latest series, Ray Donovan, which broke ratings records for Showtime this summer. It also comes at the height of selling season and in the midst of the Mark Gordon Co.’s big four-year deal at ABC Studios, which has two more years on it.
It’s a clean sweep for the Producers Guild of America as the six majors have now all agreed to add an onscreen “p.g.a.” designation to approved producers on all their future releases. Disney, Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures join the already-commited Sony, Universal and Fox, who signed on to the mark credit program last November. The addition of the latest trio finalizes the more than a decade long effort by the guild to develop and launch a certification process that clearly delineates who did the majority of the producing work on a film while also establishing an authentic seal of approval. “The fact that all six major studios as well as many of the independents have signed onto the p.g.a. certification clearly demonstrates that it is necessary. Change is difficult and an industry wide cultural shift of this nature doesn’t happen unless a majority agrees that it’s essential. It’s the right thing to do,” PGA president Mark Gordon told me. And the change is already here. Including The Lone Ranger, the upcoming R.I.P.D., Saving Mr. Banks and Turbo, there are 47 films currently approved to carry the “p.g.a.” certification.
Only producers who ask for the “p.g.a” and are approved by the guild are able to use the mark. Also, while the producer in …
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s conference coverage.
The 5th Annual Produced By Conference, sponsored by the PGA, kicked off this morning on the 20th Century Fox lot with a panel discussion entitled “The Real Deal: Producers Who Direct? or Directors Who Produce?”. Producer Mark Gordon of Grey’s Anatomy fame moderated the discussion in the packed Zanuck Theater, peppering panelists Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1, 2 and 3) and Roland Emmerich (White House Down, Independence Day) with questions about how producers can effectively navigate the directorial waters and vice-versa. Of course, working with filmmakers at the level of Favreau and Emmerich who have abundant experience is rarely a problem, Gordon repeatedly acknowledged.
“There is a comfort level with directors who have a body of work,” said Gordon, who doesn’t direct. “It’s more difficult now because everybody specializes. In the old days of the Hollywood studio system, guys like John Ford and Billy Wilder did it all. They directed comedies. They directed dramas. They directed musicals. Today, you hear, ‘This guy is an action director, this guy directs comedy.’ I don’t believe in that. If you direct, you should be able to direct everything.” But Favreau pointed out that inexperienced directors are becoming less of a dice roll for producers and studios, what with the cost of admission to the club dropping to relative pennies. “There are tremendous filmmakers doing strong pieces of content online,” he said. “Those content walls are coming down. It’s becoming less and less of a guess. It isn’t like picking the new Dalai Lama. You can see what’s being done and say, ‘This kid’s got some vision’.”
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Producer Mark Gordon had a little surprise for his audience at today’s TCA panel on his new Showtime drama series Ray Donovan. Gordon is executive producer of the series with Ann Biderman and Bryan Zuriff. It stars Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, a professional fixer. In response to a question directed at the entire panel, Gordon offered that he has had a personal experience with a “fixer” himself.
“I have. I had some information that I needed to discover, all legal I believe, no baseball bats involved,” said Gordon, who appeared on the panel with Biderman, Zuriff and actors Schreiber, Jon Voight, Elliott Gould, Paula Malcomson, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok and Pooch Hall. “These are very interesting people.” He said that the typical private detective spends most of his time doing computer research but the fixer is a different kind of animal.
After the session, Gordon declined to give more details but laughingly said his experience “wasn’t like this,” meaning the circumstances of the show. “There is a kind of information that you need sometimes, …
EXCLUSIVE: Six years after the debut of Ugly Betty, two of the key auspices behind the successful dramedy are reuniting for another light drama at ABC and ABC Studios about a Latino family. In a last-minute buy, the network has put in development Bastards, from Ugly Betty executive producer Salma Hayek and the show’s creator/executive producer Silvio Horta. Completing the A-list team behind the show is producer Mark Gordon, who will also executive produce. Written by Horta, Bastards centers on a colorful Cuban-American family who have their lives turned upside down when it’s revealed that the family patriarch had a child with the family maid over 25 years ago. Now his wife will do anything to protect her children’s inheritance and prevent her family’s deep dark secrets from ever seeing the light of day.
Bastards originated with an idea by Hayek. She and Jose Tamez, her producing partner at their ABC-Studios based Ventanarosa, had been trying to tackle the premise for awhile and had teamed with Gordon’s Mark Gordon Prods., which also is under a deal at ABC Studios. Horta, who is of Cuban- American descent, recently received a call from Tamez and Mark Gordon Prods.’ drama executive Nicholas Pepper who was once Horta’s ABC executive on Ugly Betty. “I immediately sparked to the concept — it was fun and juicy and had the opportunity for both a lot of salacious situations and humor as well as a lot of heart and emotions, hitting that sweet spot I like to write,” Horta said. After some very fast deal-making, the team sold the project at ABC. Back in 2005, others had taken a stab at adapting the popular telenovela Ugly Betty for American audiences before Horta, but his version stuck. “I hope history will repeat itself,” he quipped. Horta, Hayek, Tamez, Gordon and Pepper are executive producing.
EXCLUSIVE: Producers Mark Gordon, who is behind ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and CBS’ Criminal Minds, and Jason Blum, who is fresh off two hot movie openers with Sinister and Paranormal Activity 4, have teamed to executive produce half-hour comedy My Korean Deli for ABC. The project, produced by ABC Studios, studio-based Mark Gordon Co. and Blum’s Blumhouse, is based on the Ben Ryder Howe’s book. Geoff Moore and David Posamentier will write the adaptation, which tells the story of an American man who buys a deli for his wife’s Korean parents and now has to try to find the balance between his new job, his wife, and his overbearing in-laws. Mark Gordon Co.’s Gordon and Andrea Shay executive produce with Blum. Gerard Bacaccio oversees Blumhouse’s TV division.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Desperate Housewives executive producer/ showrunner Bob Daily is staying in the ABC/ABC Studios fold, teaming with the executive producer of another hit ABC drama that started as a Desperate Housewives companion, Grey’s Anatomy‘s Mark Gordon.
The untitled hourlong drama, from ABC Studios and studio-based Mark Gordon Co., revolves around three diverse families whose lives get gloriously messy when they discover that they share a biological father, a successful bachelor in his 40s who’s completely unprepared to embrace the family he never knew he wanted. Daily will co-write the script with feature writer Pierce Gardner (Dan In Real Life). Daily, Gordon and Nicholas Pepper are the executive producers.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC has put in development a female soap from Make It Or Break It creator Holly Sorensen and producer Mark Gordon. Based on an idea by Sorensen and Irish actress Victoria Smurfit, who are old friends, the untitled drama revolves around three very average girls who break into New York’s beauty industry with a product that holds a wicked secret. ABC Studios and studio-based Mark Gordon Co will produce, with Gordon, Nick Pepper and Sorensen executive producing. The project falls under a blind deal Sorensen inked with ABC studios in conjunction with the Mark Gordon Co. It reunites her with ABC topper Paul Lee who, as ABC Family president developed and put on the air Sorensen’s Make It Or Break it. The gymnastics series ended its three-season run in May.
ICM Partners-repped the Mark Gordon Co. has 6 series on the air, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and the upcoming Family Tools, CBS’ Criminal Minds, Lifetime’s Army Wives and Showtime’s upcoming Ray Donovan. Sorensen is repped by UTA and attorney Karl Austen; Smurfit is with The Collective, Chris Abramson and United Agents.
Hawk Koch and Mark Gordon have been re-elected presidents of the Producers Guild of America. Also re-elected to the national board were Gary Lucchesi, VP Motion Pictures and Hayma ‘Screech’ Washington, VP Television. Other officers include the appointment of recording secretary Gale Anne Hurd and newly elected treasurer Lori McCreary. The PGA announced the results as it prepared for this weekend’s sold-out Produced By Conference on the Sony lot in Culver City. Longtime PGA board member and former VP Koch has credits on more than five dozen movies include Heaven Can Wait, Wayne’s World, Primal Fear and most recently Source Code. He’s also First VP of the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts & Sciences and serves on the board of the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Gordon is a former PGA board VP Television. He serves as exec producer on ABC series Family Tools, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, CBS’ Criminal Minds and Lifetime’s Army Wives. Gordon’s recent movies include Source Code and The Details.