The local TV networks went into quake mode tonight — but not immediately. KCBS, KNBC and KABC continued with their regular 9 PM programming after a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck the Southland at 9:09 PM. KCAL 9 did go live …
Andrea Parker (Desperate Housewives) has been cast in NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot Feed Me, from Witt-Thomas and Universal TV. Written by Sally Robinson and starring Mary-Louise Parker, it centers on a dysfunctional family bound by love and the restaurant they run together. Andrea Parker will play Amanda, the angry, spiteful and vengeful ex-wife of John (Ed Quinn) who’s been dragging out their divorce for five years and is determined to make his life miserable. APA-repped Parker recurs on Pretty Little Liars.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
Aereo may have agreed with broadcasters late last year that the best venue for their ongoing legal “war of attrition” is the Supreme Court. But as today’s response brief (read it here) to the plaintiffs reveals, that’s all the two sides agree on in this case. “This Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from lawful and logical advancements in technology or from the economic consequences of their transmitting works for free over the public airwaves,” said the Barry Diller-backed subscription streaming service in its filing today at the SCOTUS. “The ‘one-to-one’ transmissions from Aereo’s equipment – individual transmissions from personal recordings created from data received by individual antennas – do not constitute ‘public’ performances,” the dense, 100-page brief also noted one of the broadcasters’ primary complaints about the company. With the high court scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case on late next month, Aereo now must send in an amicus curiae brief of its own by April 2.
NBC today set unveiled its original summer lineup. It features six scripted series: comedies Undateable, Welcome To Sweden and Working The Engles, and dramas The Night Shift, Crossbones and the just-acquired Taxi Brooklyn. Of the six — which NBC notes is the most original scripted series a U.S. broadcast network has had on during the summer in 21 years — three are series originally picked up for the 2013-14 season (guy comedy Undateable, medical drama Night Shift and pirate show Crossbones) and three are acquisitions (Swedish-made Welcome To Sweden produced by Amy Poehler, Canadian import Working The Engels from Halfire Entertainment and Shaw, and Taxi Brooklyn from EuropaCorp). On the unscripted side, NBC has new series Food Fighters, which joins returning summer staples America’s Got Talent (debuts May 27) and American Ninja Warrior (May 26) and the return of Last Comic Standing (May 22). Here are the summer debut dates for NBC’s new series:
NBC has acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to EuropaCorp Television‘s Taxi Brooklyn for a summer debut. The 12-episode action/comedy series is produced by showrunner Gary Scott Thompson (Las Vegas, The Fast And The Furious) and based on Luc Besson‘s Taxi feature franchise. It stars Grey’s Anatomy alumna Chyler Leigh and Jacky Ido (Inglourious Basterds). Former Blue Bloods co-star Jennifer Esposito, Ally Walker (Profiler), James Colby (Person Of Interest), Bill Heck (Pan Am), Jose Zuniga (Body Of Proof) and Raul Casso (Blue Bloods) round out the cast. Formerly known as Taxi: Brooklyn South, Taxi Brooklyn was shot in English in the titular borough along with Manhattan and Queens. Leigh plays Detective Caitlyn “Cat” Sullivan, who is determined to find the truth about the death of her father, an NYPD detective who was killed in the line of duty. When her stubborn character and recklessness behind the wheel see her demoted to foot patrol, she teams with the highly skilled and charming Marseille-born cabbie Leo Romba. Realizing Leo lied on his immigration form, Cat offers him a deal: in exchange for his driving prowess and taxi, she will help Leo with his papers situation. He becomes her personal driver and police consultant as they race through the streets of New York City solving cases.
Singer-songwriter-actress Alison Sudol (A Fine Frenzy) has been tapped as a series regular on USA Network’s six episode event series DIG, an action adventure drama from co-creators and executive producers Tim Kring and Gideon Raff. It centers on Peter (Jason Isaacs), an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of a woman archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. Sudol, repped by Resolution and Dave Fleming at Mosaic, will play Emma Wilson, an American intern working on a dig site in Jerusalem who befriends Peter (Isaacs). Sudel recurred on Transparent and will be seen in upcoming feature Other People’s Children.
PILOT SEASON 2014: Network Casting Chiefs On This Season’s Biggest Challenges, Casting Coups & Fresh Faces
Spring arrived yesterday, bringing the end of the annual two-month mad dash known as pilot casting season. Heading into pilot season this year, there was a lot of concern that the proliferation of original scripted programming on cable and digital platforms would put an additional strain on broadcast pilot casting, further depleting the talent pool. Going head-to-head with the casting of more than a dozen cable and digital pilots/series — including multiple-pilot slates on TNT, Amazon and FX and high-profile series on Netflix, USA and WGA America — the broadcast networks escaped mostly unscathed, successfully casting more that 80 pilots/direct-to-series, with only three comedy pilots rolled because of difficulties finding actors.
Related: Pilot Season 2014: The Overachievers
This pilot season brought an additional wrinkle, with Fox’s Kevin Reilly declaring in January that his network plans to bypass the traditional pilot cycle going forward. There were more straight-to-series and limited/event series orders this season, and several networks started casting a handful of projects early. But overall, it was mostly business as usual, with thousands of castings sessions crammed into eight weeks that resulted in the casting of more that 1,500 roles. We saw Oscar winners and nominees like The Help‘s Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer (plus Halle Berry earlier in the season) come to television, TV stars like David Schwimmer, Patricia Arquette, Mary-Louise Parker and Josh Duhamel make a return, and the casts of cancelled shows Happy Endings and Nikita be sought after.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic!
As we close the book on this year’s casting season, let’s hear from the women (and a man) who were in the middle of it all, leading the casting charge at the broadcast networks. I asked the exhausted heads of casting (“I need a vacation,” one of them exclaimed) Tess Sanchez (Fox), Keli Lee (ABC), Grace Wu (NBC) and Peter Golden (CBS), plus Lori Openden (the CW), whose network doesn’t compete directly with the Big 4 as it targets younger talent, to answer questions about the challenges of this pilot season, progress on cast diversity, their and their competitors’ biggest casting coups, the season’s biggest discoveries, and the toughest roles and types to cast. (Find out how many child actors Fox saw for the Bruce Wayne role in Gotham.) Here are their answers:
“Oh my gosh! WOW! Oh, my gosh! Okay, So Hi! I’m Daniel!” the young man began. “Oh sh*t! Oh my god! So, um, to be fair to the show, you guys all seem so natural on the show, even when — you guys seem so chill, and I want to know, are you guys always like that, off-camera?!” he emoted while hopping about. “Oh my gosh! I’m right here! Oh my gosh!” Daniel said, beginning to foam over as he discovered his image was being projected on a giant screen over the cast, so that the show’s many fans in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood could see him as he asked his question. “And, um, like, I want to know, you guys seem to embody the characters, and become your characters. Retta, are you always, ‘Oh, damn! Bitch!?” concluded Daniel, who was just another super-fan attending PaleyFest in the theater, but would likely have been Tasered had he come within three feet of the cast members outside the theater on Hollywood Blvd. Unless, of course, he’s an actor punking PaleyFest for JKL which has its studio just down the road.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about! I’m not like that OK? Shit! Fuck!” joked Retta, who plays Donna Meagle, the office manager at the Pawnee Indiana Parks and Recreation Department on the NBC comedy.
“All I’m asking is, Are you guys always like that?! Are you always like a klutz?!” Daniel continued – that question apparently was directed at Jim O’Heir, who fell out of his chair on cue.
“Yeah! So, that’s like my question. OK?!” Daniel concluded.
The cast, and show co-creator Mike Schur, stood and gave Daniel a standing ovation. Daniel began to hyperventilate and record the moment on his camera.
A Brooklyn, NY native, Agoglia started at NBC in 1980 after a 16-year stint at CBS, working under entertainment chiefs Brandon Tartikoff and Warren Littlefield during NBC’s heady Must See TV days. That was the good news and the bad given that, in those days, networks did not own most of the programming on their primetime schedule, so that when a series became a hit, negotiations to keep the program on the lineup often got extremely contentious, to the delight of trade reporters. Among the well-covered slug-fests in which Agoglia played a key role, were the talks to hang on to Seinfeld stars Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards at the height of that show’s popularity and they were demanding $1 million an episode. Agoglia also slugged it out with Paramount over the renewal of Cheers when it was a monster hit for the network. Back in those days broadcast networks also competed to get broadcast rights on hot movie properties; Agoglia was involved in NBC’s snagging Jurassic Park and Schindlers List, and also in a deal to bring It’s A Wonderful Life to NBC every year at Christmas time.
Here’s a rundown of shows that will hit the airwaves for the first time between June 1 and the start of the 2014-15 TV season, along with those returning for new seasons or coming off hiatus. We will update when new dates are announced:
Halt & Catch Fire (AMC, series premiere)
Mistresses (ABC, Season 2 premiere)
Beauty And The Beast (The CW, Season 2B premiere)
Famous In 12 (The CW, series premiere)
Jennifer Falls (TV Land, series premiere)
Orange Is The New Black (Netflix, Season 2 premiere)
Power (Starz, series premiere)
Murder In The First (TNT, series premiere)
Major Crimes (TNT, Season 3 premiere)
New wrinkle in the very heated morning show war: Today show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie announced on this morning’s show she got married over the weekend – and is pregnant. The morning shows are locked in a ratings war since Today show returned from the Sochi Winter Games, with emphasis on big “gets,” personal stories, and interactive programming. Your move, GMA. Watch here:
Comedian David Brenner died today at his home in New York, NY. He was 78. A favorite of Tonight Show host, Johnny Carson, Brenner made over 150 appearances as a guest and substitute host on the NBC latenight show, starting in the ’70s. A contemporary of such stand-up legends as Andy Kaufman, Freddie Prinze and Gabe Kaplan, Brenner made a name for his observational comedic styling accentuated by his toothy grin, wavy hair and lanky demeanor. Brenner was born on Feb. 4, 1936 in Philadelphia, the son of a vaudeville singer and comedian who went under the stage name “Lou Murphy”.