The U.S. and the rest of the world are in complete agreement this time, with NCIS, the most watched drama series in America, named the most watched drama series in the world for the past year at the 54th Monte-Carlo TV Festival. This is the first time as worldwide No.1 for the veteran drama. It extends CBS procedurals’ staggering dominance in the category, winning eight of the nine years the award has been around with CSI (five times), CSI: Miami (two times) and The Mentalist, with Fox’s medical drama House as the only other US drama to make the cut. Winner on the comedy side was ABC’s Modern Family, succeeding last year’s most popular half-hour, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen was named best comedy actress. Showtime/BBC’s Episodes won best European comedy series, while Norway’s Lilyhammer, which became Netflix’s first original series, won best international comedy series and best comedy actor, Steven Van Zandt. Israel’s Hostages, which was remade by CBS this past season, won best drama series and best drama actress (Ayelet Zurer). Another drama with an U.S. remake, Sweden’s The Bridge, got best European drama and best drama actor (Kim Bodnia).
NCIS co-star Michael Weatherly has finalized a new deal with series producer CBS Studios. Under the two-year pact, Weatherly will return to the highly rated CBS drama where he has been since the pilot, playing Anthony DiNozzo. His new agreement also includes an overall development deal for Weatherly’s newly launched production company, Solar Drive Productions. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to continue playing Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo on NCIS for seasons 12 and 13,” Weatherly said. “Leslie (Moonves), Nina (Tassler) and David (Stapf) have been incredibly supportive of my growth over the last decade and I couldn’t be more excited about working with them on the production side. My new company, Solar Drive Productions, will have fancy letterhead and nice furniture.” Weatherly joins fellow NCIS cast members Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette, David McCallum and Rocky Carroll who also recently renewed their contracts for two more seasons. The entire cast of the veteran CBS drama series is set to return next fall. Weatherly is repped by Anonymous and McKuin, Frankle, Whitehead.
With less than a month until the upfronts, we’re kicking off our annual Pilot Buzz series. As usual, the first edition only includes a limited number of projects that have been garnering early attention as many pilots are still filming. So, if a pilot is not mentioned, it probably means it is too early to weigh in or the feedback I’ve received is inconclusive at this time.
Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis. Need we say more? ABC’s sexy suspense legal thriller How To Get Away With Murder, executive produced by Rhimes and starring Davis, is packing some heat early on. Secret & Lies starring Ryan Phillippe also is getting encouraging early response. It also has a seven-figure penalty and is directed by Charles McDougall, whose strong pilot record includes Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and most recently, Resurrection last season. Then there is Marvel’s stealth Agent Carter project. Last year, the company went into Fort Knox mode on its Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, which was kept under lock and key. They took that a notch further this year with Agent Carter. Because there is a prototype — the project is inspired by a one shot, which was featured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3 — word has been that it would forgo a pilot and go straight to series. The script was finished more than three months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star Hayley Atwell came up and was extended, but the green light never came. Now there is talk that a pickup for Agent Carter may come along with a renewal for Marvel’s freshman Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the new series possibly serving as a bridge between the fall and spring portions of S.H.I.E.L.D. Also getting various level of early traction at ABC is mystery Sea of Fire and several dark horses, alien drama The Whispers (aka The Visitors), medical drama The Warriors and mystery Clementine. Read More »
UPDATE: It’s Better Off Ted reunion on NBC‘s comedy pilot Mission Control. Ted standouts Malcolm Barrett and Jonathan Slavin have been cast as another duo of scientists in the Universal TV-produced comedy from executive producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell in the tone of Anchorman. David Hornsby wrote and exec produces the pilot, a workplace ensemble set in 1962 that examines what happens when a strong woman butts heads with a macho astronaut in the race to land on the moon. Barrett, repped by Gersh and Management 360, will play Arthur, an engineer on the woman’s crew. He most recently was seen in the 2014 Sundance movie Dear White People. Slavin, co-managed by Coronel Group and Berwick & Kovacik, plays the weirdo genius on the crew.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
Paige Turco has been set as a recurring opposite Scott Bakula in CBS’ NCIS planted spinoff, Executive produced by NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg and star Mark Harmon, the spinoff is set at the NCIS New Orleans office, which handles cases from Pensacola through Mississippi and Louisiana to the Texas panhandle. Turco, repped by Gersh and One Entertainment, plays Linda, the wife of NCIS Special Agent Pride (Bakula). Turco is a regular on the forthcoming CW series The 100 and also … Read More »
Fast & Furious‘ Lucas Black is set to co-star opposite Scott Bakula and Zoe McLellan in CBS’ NCIS planted spinoff. Executive produced by NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg and star Mark Harmon, the spinoff is set at the NCIS New Orleans office, which handles cases from Pensacola through Mississippi and Louisiana to the Texas panhandle. It centers on NCIS Special Agent Pride (Bakula). Black will play NCIS Special Agent Lasalle, who relocated to New Orleans as a kid and is a no-nonsense federal agent who believes in doing what’s right no matter what, and a man who works hard and plays harder. In addition to Bakula and McLellan, Black joins previously cast CCH Pounder in the spinoff, which will air as a two-part NCIS episode in the spring. Black, repped by ICM Partners, is reprising his role from The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift of Sean Boswell in the upcoming Fast & Furious 7, whose production has been put on hold following the tragic death of star Paul Walker.
Related: Scott Bakula To Topline CBS’ ‘NCIS’ Spinoff
John Ducey (Jonas) has been cast in Bad Judge, NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot starring and executive produced by Kate Walsh. The project, from writer Chad Kultgen and producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Anne Heche, centers on a hard-living, sexually unapologetic woman (Walsh) who plays with the law, and whose life on the edge is constantly in balance as she also happens to be a judge in the criminal court system. Ducey, repped by Pakula/King & Assoc., will play Tom, a dapper DA and a shameless brown-noser who wants to be judge and would climb over Rebecca’s (Walsh) dead body to advance his own career.
The Shield alumna CCH Pounder has joined Scott Bakula and Zoe McLellan in CBS’ NCIS planted spinoff. Executive produced by NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg and Harmon, the spinoff is set at the NCIS New Orleans office, which handles cases from Pensacola through Mississippi and Louisiana to the Texas panhandle. It centers on NCIS Special Agent Pride (Bakula). Pounder, who has been recurring on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, will play Dr. Wade, the Jefferson Parish Medical Examiner who us as eccentric as she is smart and also is intuitive and incredibly connected to Louisiana.
Scott Bakula is set to lead the cast of CBS’ NCIS planted spinoff set in New Orleans. Like the mothership series starring Mark Harmon, the spinoff too is built around a central character, NCIS Special Agent Pride, played by Bakula. Executive produced by NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg and Harmon, spinoff is set at the NCIS New Orleans office which handles cases from Pensacola through Mississippi and Louisiana to the Texas panhandle. It centers on NCIS Special Agent Pride (Bakula), who embodies New Orleans. He’s driven by the need to do what’s right and does it all with warmth, passion, strength and humor. The planted spinoff will air as a two-part NCIS episode this spring. Quantum Leap and Men Of A Certain Age alum Bakula was recently nominated for an Emmy for his role in HBO Films’ Liberace biopic Behind The Candelabra and currently recurs on the new HBO comedy Looking. Bakula, repped by ICM Partners and Anonymous Content, has completed India-set musical Basmati Blues opposite Brie Larson and Elsa And Fred opposite Christopher Plummer and Shirley MacLaine.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Not surprisingly, today’s freewheeling TCA panel of showrunners from CBS dramas echoed entertainment president Nina Tassler’s defense of traditional network television at her executive session earlier in the morning. On the panel were Rob Doherty (Elementary); Gary Glasberg (NCIS); Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife) and Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman (Person Of Interest). Glasberg said you just can’t argue with the wider-than-cable exposure a network show can bring. “We have 18 million Facebook followers. It’s crazy,” the producer said.
After a career mostly in feature film, Nolan said he appreciates the immediacy of TV. Still, he noted that the producers had joked backstage about the pressure of producing 22-24 episodes rather than cable’s usually smaller series orders. “It’s very difficult. The [number of episodes] is probably calibrated not to the length of the season but to the exact point a showrunner will have a nervous breakdown,” Nolan said. He added that the absolute breakdown point would be 25. One of the realities of 22-24 episode orders: A single season eats up a lot of story. The panelists addressed some of the big changes that have recently occurred on their shows. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In what will be her first acting role since leaving network TV’s most-watched series NCIS, Cote De Pablo has been cast in The 33, the feature film based on the 2010 rescue of 33 Chilean miners after being trapped 69 days in the Copiapo gold and copper mine more than half an mile below the earth’s surface. Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche and Rodrigo Santoro are among those already aboard the ensemble cast of the pic, which is now in production in Chile and Colombia with Patricia Riggen directing. The script is from Craig Borten (Dallas Buyers Club) and Michael Thomas.
De Pablo, who was born in Chile and whose mother still lives there, will play a wife of one of the trapped miners, who became international stars following their dramatic rescue that played out live worldwide. Her scenes will be shot in Chile’s Atacama Desert near where the actual event, and the subsequent rescue efforts took place. She is repped by Paradigm and Management 360. Read More »
‘Keeper Of Lost Causes’ Is No. 1 In Denmark
Now in release for seven weeks, The Keeper Of Lost Causes keeps on climbing. The Danish film directed by Mikkel Nørgaard has become the No. 1 film of the year in Denmark with approximately $10M at the box office. It overtook Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt, Denmark’s Oscar entry, to land the top spot this week. This is a strong year for Danish movies with The Hunt having previously held the No. 1 position since January, and with local heist comedy All For Two and family film My African Adventure also outperforming Hollywood fare on the 2013 chart. Lost Causes is the first installment in Zentropa’s Department Q franchise that’s based on the best-sellling books by Jussi Adler-Olsen. It was penned by A Royal Affair‘s Nikolaj Arcel and focuses on chief detective Carl Mørck, who’s banished to a basement office to run a cold case division. Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Angels & Demons) and Fares Fares (Zero Dark Thirty) star. TrustNordisk has sold the film around the world, and has U.S. buyers circling.
‘Victor Young Perez’ Sells To U.S.
Picture Tree International has sold U.S. rights on boxing movie Victor Young Perez to Florida-based Synkronized. The film will be released theatrically by Synkronized’s distribution partner, Millennium. It’s based on the true story of the French-Arab boxer who was deported to Auschwitz in 1943 and forced to fight for the entertainment of the Nazis. Brahim Asloum stars in Jacques Ouaniche’s movie that opened in France on Wednesday. It has also sold in Latin America, South Korea, CIS and the Baltics. Picture Tree also closed deals on Mary Queen Of Scots with Australia’s Curious Film taking Oz and New Zealand rights, and Caravella DDC/Carmen Group taking the CIS countries. The film screened at AFI Fest earlier this month. Negotiations are underway on a U.S. deal. Read More »