A year ago, ABC’s Revenge kicked off its run and its mystery with a body found on a Hamptons beach. The soap put on the TV map Marty Bowen & Wyck Godfrey’s Twilight producer Temple Hill, which is looking to replicate its success with another drama that starts with a body found on the opposite coast. Feature writer Michael Tolkin (Changing Lanes) will write/exec produce the project, titled Hollywood & Vines. In it, an A-list actress’s body is discovered lifeless in her pool, sending three sisters from a dynastic Hollywood family into panic mode as each discovers how their lives are connected to and affected by the actress’s death. ABC Studios, where Temple Hill is under an overall deal, produces.
EXCLUSIVE: Top literary managers David Lonner and Larry Shuman are in serious talks to merge their companies, Oasis Media Group and The Shuman Co, respectively. In the scenario being discussed, Shuman and Lonner and his Oasis partner John Mass would join forces under the Oasis umbrella, tied to an effort to secure financing to expand the business. If it closes, the merger would bring under the same roof such feature and TV heavyweights as JJ Abrams, Brad Silberling, Jon Turteltaub, Shawn Ryan and David Shore. While 2-year-old Oasis has some TV clients — crossover A-lister Abrams and ER and Detroit 1-8-7 showrunner David Zabel — the company skews heavily towards features with a client list that includes Abrams, Silberling, Turteltaub, Peter Sollett, Michael Tolkin, Audrey Wells and Rob Minkoff. Meanwhile, Shuman, who has run his boutique company for 20 years, has a TV-heavy roster that includes House creator Shore, The Shield creator Ryan, Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (co-creators of A&E’s upcoming series Longmire) and The Inside and Drive co-creator Tim Minear. Among Shuman’s handful of crossover clients is TV writer Carl Ellsworth, who segued into features with Red Eye and Disturbia. But overall, there is little overlap between Oasis and the Shuman Co’s areas of coverage, making a merger one where the pieces fit and would give the combined company heft in both film and television.
In the latest round of script buying, ABC has picked up two projects from feature auspices — a comedy from Friends With Benefits writers Keith Merryman and David Newman, which is executive produced by Mark Gordon, and a drama from Changing Lanes scribe Michael Tolkin, which is executive produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura. ABC TV Studios, where Di Bonaventura and Gordon’s companies are based, is producing. This marks the first sale for Di Bonaventura Pictures Television, Di Bonaventura’s partnership with Dan McDermott launched in June.
Merryman and Newman’s Status Update is a single-camera ensemble comedy about a woman who is re-entering the world of dating armed with the influences of new technology and the various opinions of her friends and family. Gordon and Andrea Shay executive produce, with Merryman and Newman co-executive producing. In addition to co-writing with Will Gluck the Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis comedy Friends With Benefits, Merryman and Newman, repped by APA and Circle of Confusion, also recently penned the movie Think Like a Man, which just wrapped principal photography, as well as a rewrite on Walden Media’s Mother’s Day.
The untitled Michael Tolkin/David Zabel project, which has Tolkin set to write and former ER showrunner Zabel attached as showrunner, is a drama about a complex female ADA in San Francisco who runs against her boss and becomes the new DA. …