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Prophecy: Joseph Fiennes To Star As Vengeful ‘Nostradamus’ In Carnival, Anonymous Content Drama Series

Prophecy: Joseph Fiennes To Star As Vengeful ‘Nostradamus’ In Carnival, Anonymous Content Drama SeriesEXCLUSIVE: NBCUniversal-owned Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films is teaming with True Detective maker Anonymous Content on what they predict will be a provocative new series, Nostradamus. Joseph Fiennes will produce and play the titular clairvoyant in the hour-long drama. Charlotte Markham And The House Of Darkling author Michael Boccacino wrote the project that was developed in partnership with executive producer Andrew Cosby. The story follows the legendary seer as he seeks deadly vengeance for the murder of his family. A complex, brooding character with immense appetites, Nostradamus is a charismatic and self-destructive man who is plagued with dangerous and disturbing visions.

nostradamusThe period series is set against the backdrop of the volatile, high-stakes world of the French Royal Court where the Provençal apothecary’s pleasure-seeking impulses and passionate thirst for revenge run headlong into the treacherous epicenter of social and political life of Renaissance era Europe. The project is in early development and episode totals and broadcasters have yet to be set. But it looks likely this will be one of those that seeks out the high-end UK TV tax credit.

Carnival and Anonymous Content are both riding high these days, each receiving 12 Emmy nominations for Downton Abbey and True Detective, respectively. Fiennes, who is repped by Anonymous Content, The Artists Partnership and WME, last appeared on television in the 2nd season of American Horror Story. … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Plenty Of Glory For E!’s ‘Gutz’; ‘Rising Star’ Heading To Italy; More

Global Showbiz Briefs: Plenty Of Glory For E!’s ‘Gutz’; ‘Rising Star’ Heading To Italy; MorePlenty Of Glory For ‘Gutz’ In The Philippines
E!‘s first international reality series, It Takes Gutz To Be A Gutierrez, has been given an early renewal for Season 2. The trials and tribulations of the Filipino showbiz clan broke ratings records throughout the S1 run, becoming the channel’s most watched program in the Philippines since January 2013. At its peak, it made E! the No. 1 channel in its primetime slot among key demographics. The series also performed well in Malaysia. As in cinema, producing for local audiences can be a lucrative business. NBC Universal’s E! is aiming to build a superstar family reality franchise in Asia with the Gutz. The six-episode series gives viewers unfiltered access to the Gutierrez family, which includes former beauty queen Ruffa; her twin brothers, actor Richard and fashionista Raymond; and their parents, veteran screen star Eddie and political aspirant/talent manager Annabelle. The season finale of It Takes Gutz To Be A Gutierrez airs July 6. Here’s a trailer:

‘Rising Star’ Heading To Italy On Mediaset Canale 5
rising starRising Star has found a broadcast home in Italy. The Keshet International format will be produced for Mediaset Canale 5 by Sony Pictures Television’s local shingle, Toro Produzioni. Eight episodes have been commissioned to air during the 2015 season. Rising Star has sold to over 25 international markets. Brazil, Portugal and the U.S. are currently on air. A second season is planned at … Read More »

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NBCU Names Visant Prabhu New CFO

By | Wednesday April 30, 2014 @ 1:18pm PDT

NBCUniversal__120928224730-200x133NBCUniversal has named Vasant M. Prabhu its Chief Financial Officer. Prabhu will be a member of the Executive Committee and report to NBCU’s CEO Steve Burke when he joins the company on June 1.  In addition to serving as CFO, Prabhu will oversee operations and technical Services, which includes NBCUniversal’s technical operations, physical plant, corporate services and information technology functions. Since January 2004, Prabhu has been Chief Financial Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., the leading global hospitality company, whose brands include W, St. Regis, and Sheraton, among many others.  In 2010 Prabhu was also named Vice Chairman at that company, where he was responsible for all financial functions, information technology and a range of central corporate services. Read More »

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CBS Names Ex-NBCU Counsel As New Top Lawyer

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 7:38am PST

Two days after the company announced that Louis Briskman was stepping down as SVP and General Counsel, CBS today named his successor. Former NBCUniversal General Counsel Lawrence Tu will take over as Senior EVP and Chief Legal Officer of CBS Corporation in January of next year. “He brings to this position a unique combination of experiences at the highest court of the land, as well as in finance, M&A, entertainment, government regulation, litigation and technology,” said CBS chief Les Moonves of Tu in a statement Wednesday. Tu will be based out of LA and report directly to Moonves, CBS said today. Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar Tu served as NBC’s General Counsel from 2001 to 2004 before moving to the same position at Dell, where he was until today’s announcement.  Before his stint at NBC, Tu was co-general counsel of Goldman Sachs Asia Pacific out of Hong Kong after a decade and a half at powerhouse firm O’Melveny & Myers, where he became the managing partner of their Hong Kong office. A former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the lawyer also served at the State Department in his career.

Tu’s predecessor at CBS, Briskman was a 30-year veteran of the company. After a one-year stint at Aetna Inc., Briskman rejoined the company in 2005 and became EVP and General Counsel … Read More »

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DGA And Networks Agree On News, Sports And Operations Contract

By | Wednesday October 9, 2013 @ 10:45am PDT

Los Angeles – The Directors Guild of America today announced that the DGA’s Network Negotiations Committee has reached a tentative new three-year agreement with ABC, CBS and NBC covering DGA members who work in news, sports and operations.

These negotiations, which began on September 24 in New York and concluded on October 7, address the DGA’s Network Staff and Freelance Agreements, which cover staff and freelance directors, associate directors, stage managers and program-production assistants employed in news, sports and operations at the companies’ television networks and at a number of their locally owned and operated television stations. The Network Agreements are separate from the Guild’s Basic Agreement and are negotiated every three years.

The tentative contract will be presented to the DGA’s National Board at the regularly-scheduled board meeting on October 19 and if approved, the contract will then be sent to the membership for ratification. The new contract incorporates annual wage increases and other negotiated benefits for directors and their teams. Further details will be released after the tentative agreement has been presented to the National Board.

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

If you missed Deadline’s top film stories this week, check them out here:

UNIVERSAL SHAKEUP: Adam Fogelson Out, Donna Langley Sideways, Jeff Shell In, And Ron Meyer Up As Studio Taken By Surprise
By Mike Fleming Jr – BREAKING… SHOCKER! In a shocking development, Adam Fogelson will exit his post as Universal Pictures chairman, with Jeff Shell taking over Universal Studios. Ron Meyer is becoming the sole vice chairman of NBC Universal through 2017, and Donna Langley has been promoted chairman of Universal Pictures.

‘Insidious 2′ Stuns As Sept’s 2nd Biggest With $41M For Year’s 2nd Best Horror Pic; De Niro’s ‘The Family’ Forgotten For $13.9M
By Nikki Finke - No surprise that a genre scarer did so well on a weekend frontloaded by Friday The 13th… Read More »

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NBCUniversal Promotes Maureen Murphy To Run E! And Esquire Network Ad Sales

By | Monday May 6, 2013 @ 10:31am PDT

NEW YORK – May 6, 2013 – NBCUniversal today announced that longtime NBCUniversal executive Maureen Murphy has been promoted to Senior Vice President, E! and Esquire Network Advertising Sales. She will report to Laura Molen, Executive Vice President, Cable Advertising Sales, NBCUniversal. In her new role, Murphy will oversee advertising sales strategy and 360 integration agreements for E!, the pop culture powerhouse, as well as Esquire Network, a strategic partnership between NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines launching this summer.

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Ted Harbert Becomes Paul Telegdy’s New NY Late-Night Gofer: How Embarrassing!

NBCU considered this “such a minor move” that it didn’t even think it was worth announcing. Wow, what a diss of NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert, who has been in the Witness Protection Program ever since Comcast bought NBCUniversal. And when the pint-sized putz isn’t hiding from angry O&Os and affiliates and advertisers fed up with yet another lousy network primetime season, he’s screaming at reporters who didn’t share his belief that Animal Practice would be a homerun this season. (Media 1, Ted 0.) In actuality the only impetus for handing Harbert an infinitesimal new late night role is the multimillion-dollar remodeling of the 30 Rock studio that will house The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon when it moves to New York. Harbert is NYC-based and in charge of NBC’s buildings, so he was tapped. (Was Kenneth Parcell too busy?) Let me emphasize there is no change in the late-night reporting structure, still overseen by Paul Telegdy, president of alternative programming and late night and who reports to NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. (Meanwhile, Greenblatt and Harbert hate each other.) With Telegdy focused on NBC’s top-rated series The Voice, which tapes in LA, he has little time for frequent bicoastal trips. So the underemployed Harbert is Telegdy’s new gofer on 3 NYC shows now: The Tonight Show, Late Show and Saturday Night Live. Harbert in the late night realm is best known for when he was E! Entertainment chief Read More »

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It’s Official: NBCU To Rebrand G4 As Esquire Network In Partnership With Hearst

By | Monday February 11, 2013 @ 7:13am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Related: Esquire Channel? NBCU In Talks With Hearst About G4 Partnership

Beginning April 22, the G4 network will be rebranded the Esquire Network in a partnership between NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines to create a television network for upscale males. Owned and operated by NBCU, Esquire Network will be helmed by G4 General Manager Adam Stotsky, who will work closely with David Granger, Editor in Chief of Esquire magazine, to develop the brand. G4′s flagship competition series American Ninja Warrior will return for its fifth season, to air this summer on Esquire Network and NBC. Additionally, Esquire Network will air an array of off-network scripted series, including NBC’s Parks And Recreation and Starz’s Party Down, both starring Adam Scott.

Esquire Network plans to expand on G4’s foundation of games, gear and gadgets. Program categories and genres will feature not only gaming and technology but also entertainment, food, fashion, women, humor, travel, competition, danger and more. Esquire’s unscripted projects in development include Knife Fight, executive produced by Drew Barrymore, Flower Films and Authentic Entertainment. Hosted by Top Chef winner Ilan Hall, Knife Fight is an underground, after-hours cooking competition where talented chefs go head to head in front of a rowdy crowd of celebrities, critics and die-hard foodies. Another original series, The Getaway (working title), is executive produced by Anthony Bourdain and Zero Point Zero and features travel-loving, well-known personalities — people deservedly famous for excellence in their fields — who take viewers to their favorite city on the planet, giving the insiders’ track on their top spots to eat, drink, shop and hang out. “There is a vastly under-served audience in cable TV — today’s modern man — and by joining forces with Esquire, we will deliver a multi-platform experience to this upscale, engaged, passionate audience, one that widens the aperture beyond G4’s technology and gaming base,” Stotsky said. “Esquire magazine brings 80 years of unparalleled insight into what makes men tick, and we will incorporate the best of this iconic brand to produce original shows that build the network for growth and success.” Read More »

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Syfy, NBCU Accused Of Stealing Concept For ‘Face Off’

By | Friday January 25, 2013 @ 8:09pm PST

The Results Group production company has accused Syfy and NBCUniversal of stealing the concept for the reality show Face Off from a pitch meeting about developing a makeup competition series. Previously known as Studio City, Results says in an LA Superior Court suit filed today (read it here) that it developed content for a proposed reality competition series called Face Off. The material included a synopsis, definitions of challenges, talent documents and a sales presentation video called the “Face Off Pitch Materials”. At a 2009 meeting, a Results executive, a producer and William Morris Endeavor agent met with SyFy execs to pitch the proposed series. Syfy subsequently told the Results Group the network had decided not to pursue a series based on the confidential materials presented at the meeting. Read More »

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NBCU Leads Bids For English League Soccer Rights: Report

By | Friday October 26, 2012 @ 5:24pm PDT

NBC Universal is the surprise front-runner in bidding for U.S. rights to English Premier League soccer, Sports Business Daily reports. A three-year deal starting with the 2013-14 season is expected to be announced next week. NBC is wrapping up negotiations in bidding that started only last week. NBC would pay about $83 million a year, more than triple what Fox Soccer currently pays. Fox and ESPN have been informed that their joint bid was not accepted. Fox has been licensing about 80 games per season to ESPN under the previous arrangement.

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Comcast, NBCU And Universal Studios Sued For Alleged Labor & Pay Violations

By | Tuesday August 21, 2012 @ 11:53pm PDT

UPDATED: A class action lawsuit was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court against Comcast Corp, Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal Media, Universal Studios, Universal City Studios. The lead plaintiff was a dishwasher in Universal’s commissarry until 2010. The suit is alleging California Labor Code violations over a 4-year period including failure to pay overtime or provide required meal and rest periods. It also alleges unpaid and illegally calculated overtime compensation, failure to pay minimum wage, and numerous other unfair and unlawful practices. The class includes current and former non-exempt employees. You can read the lawsuit here.

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NBCU Appoints New President, GM Of Universal Studios Operations

By | Friday July 27, 2012 @ 2:39pm PDT

LOS ANGELES – July 27, 2012 — NBCUniversal announced today that Michael Moore will become President and General Manager, Universal Studios Operations beginning September 17, 2012. In this role, Michael will be part of NBCUniversal’s Operations and Technical Services organization and will oversee all the operations of Universal City Studios, including Production Services, Sound Services, Facilities, and Marketing. Michael will report jointly to Ron Meyer, President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Studios and John Wallace, President, Operations & Technical Services, NBCUniversal. This position is currently held by Dave Beanes who is retiring at the end of the year after 42 years in the industry and 17 years with the company.

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NBCUniversal’s Expanded Olympics Coverage: 280-Plus Hours Planned

By | Wednesday May 16, 2012 @ 5:25pm PDT

NEW YORK – May 16 – Fully-distributed NBCUniversal cable channels MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo will again serve as Olympic platforms when they combine to televise 284.5 hours of coverage of the 2012 London Olympic Games this summer.

MSNBC will host 155.5 hours of a wide variety of Olympic sports, CNBC will carry 73 hours of Olympic boxing coverage — including the debut of women’s Olympic boxing — and Bravo will serve as the home of Olympic tennis with 56 hours of coverage. All three channels have previously televised Olympic programming.

MSNBC’s, CNBC’s and Bravo’s Olympic coverage will complement the programming airing on NBC and the NBC Sports Network, the details of which will be released shortly. It has already been announced that Telemundo will provide the most extensive Spanish-language Olympics coverage in NBCUniversal history by offering more than 173 hours of programming, and that will live stream every event and sport for the first time ever, more than 3,500 hours. The vast majority of live streaming on will only be available to authenticated cable, satellite or telco customers.

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Ryan Seacrest Will Help Host London Olympics For NBC, And Stay With ‘Idol’

By | Wednesday April 4, 2012 @ 5:30am PDT

“The plan is for me to join the NBC family and continue to have a role at the E! network” where he anchors E! News, Ryan Seacrest told Today host Matt Lauer this morning. (Comcast controls NBCUniversal as well as E!.) The Olympics assignment is “something I’ve been looking forward to.” As for rumors that Seacrest might replace Lauer on the morning show, Seacrest said “I don’t know. I see you doing this for as long as you want to.” Lauer added that Seacrest “would be great at this job….There is no tension here.” No details about the Idol agreement, extending his contract which expires after this season. ”I’ll have an official announcement very soon.” In addition to his work with NBC, E! and Idol, Seacrest hosts a daily morning radio show for Clear Channel.  Seacrest was originally scheduled to appear yesterday on Today but said that he had elbow surgery after tearing a tendon.

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New ‘Ghost Hunters’ Lawsuit Filed Against NBCUniversal

By and | Friday December 30, 2011 @ 9:44am PST

There is a new chapter in the five-year legal battle between two producers and NBCUniversal over the hit Syfy franchise Ghost Hunters, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The producers, parapsychologist Larry Montz and publicist Daena Smoller, have filed a new breach of implied contract lawsuit against NBCUniversal claiming that Ghost Hunters is based on a concept they originally pitched to the company between 1996 and 2003. Along with NBCU and its cable networks division that includes Syfy, the complaint also names Ghost Hunters executive producer Craig Piligian and star/producer Jason Hawes. (Copy of the lawsuit can be found here.)

The new lawsuit, filed yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court, comes less than 2 months after the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by NBUniversal to review a lower court ruling that reinstated a complaint by Montz and Smoller alleging that Syfy stole the idea for Ghost Hunters. Montz and Smoller first filed a lawsuit against NBC Universal in 2006. They lost in district court on the issue of copyright, but the case was reinstated after appeal on grounds of implied breach of contract. NBCUniversal, with the backing of the MPAA, argued to the Supreme Court that federal copyright law trumped state contract law. The high court declined to review the appeals court ruling, which allows the suit by Montz against NBCUniversal, Piligian’s Pilgrim Films & Television … Read More »

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WSJ: Ryan Seacrest May Replace Matt Lauer

By | Wednesday December 7, 2011 @ 5:31pm PST

NBC Universal is courting Ryan Seacrest as a potential replacement for Matt Lauer on the Today show, the Wall Street Journal reports. The paper says NBC News, Today show, and NBC network executives met with Seacrest on Tuesday about the possibilty of him joining the morning talker. The discussions with Seacrest include multiple possibilities that might enhance his role within the broader corporate context at Comcast and NBC Universal. Seacrest’s existing deal with Comcast/NBCUniversal expires next year. He serves as host and producer of a daily news show on E! network as well as E!’s red-carpet specials. Seacrest’s prolific TV production company is also based at E! A Seacrest spokeswoman would say only that negotiations with NBC Universal were ongoing.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Africa, Australia

‘Arthur Christmas’ Slays ‘Em In The UK
Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman’s Arthur Christmas jumped to the top of the UK box office this weekend – in its fourth week of release. This bit of holiday magic came courtesy of a £1.9 million weekend take for a cume of £11.5 million. The film has been holding steady in second place since it bowed on November 11 and this weekend faced off against Happy Feet Two for the family audience. Largely positive notices and the British voice cast — including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton — have no doubt been a local draw. Sony Pictures Releasing UK’s Peter Taylor said: “Opening a movie at No. 1 in such a competitive market as the UK is difficult enough, but to reach the top of the chart in the fourth week of release is almost unprecedented. We are all delighted.”

Tom Hooper Decides Against 3D For ‘Les Miserables’
Although director Tom Hooper flirted with the idea of filming the new movie version of the hit stage musical Les Miserables in 3D, the Oscar-winning helmer of The King’s Speech has decided to stick with 2D. Hooper told the BBC he had been “very tempted” to use 3D but worried that some audiences might “physically struggle” with the format. Not to worry, purists. “I can definitely announce it’s good old-fashioned 2D,” Hooper said at the British Independent Film Awards. “I wanted to make a film that would touch everyone. I believe the story is so strong, 3D is not essential.” Hooper added that the casting of Eponine and Cosette would be announced soon. “I’ve never done a film where big star actors are as obsessed with being in it as this.” Starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert, Read More »

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Harry Potter Attraction Riding Into Universal Studios Hollywood

Harry Potter will materialize sometime in the future in Universal City with his own special section of the theme park much like “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando Resort. NBC Universal is expected to announce plans for the Potter addition within a week, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Harry Potter site in Florida includes a Hogwarts Castle, roller coasters, and several Potter-themed restaurants. In the year after it opened, the Harry Potter attraction in Florida drew an additional 1.1 million visitors for a total of 2.8 million and revenue nearly doubled to $309 million, the Journal said. If the Hollywood Harry Potter succeeds, additional attractions could be added to Universal parks in Japan, Singapore and Spain. Universal licensed the Harry Potter theme park rights for the Orlando Resort from Warner Bros. for an undisclosed sum. A similar deal is likely for Universal Studios Hollywood. WB also receives royalties on merchandise. The Hollywood Harry Potter and any others also will require the consent of author J.K. Rowling, as did the park in Florida.

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