Nick Sandow (Boardwalk Empire) and Selenis Leyva have been promoted to regulars on the just-ordered third season of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. Sandow recurred the first 2 seasons as Joe Caputo, a prison counselor who is infatuated with Susan Fischer. Leyva plays the quick-witted Gloria Mendoza. Sandow, repped by Stone Manners Salners, Mike Gasparro and TMT Entertainment, recently wrote and directed indie feature The Wannabe, about a 1990s man obsessed with mob culture who attempts to fix the jury in the trial of John Gotti, is executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Dean Devlin and stars Patricia Arquette and Michael Imperioli. Selenis, repped by Hartig Hilepo Agency and Smith Talent Group, will be seen opposite Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts in the feature Saint Vincent de Van Nuys.
Damon Wayans Jr has been made a regular on the upcoming fourth season of Fox comedy New Girl after recurring in Season 3. Wayans originated his character, Coach, in the pilot as a regular in second position to ABC’s Happy Endings. New Girl got picked up to series, but so did Happy Endings for a second season. Instead of recasting the role, New Girl introduced a new character, leaving the door open for Wayans’ Coach to return, which happened last fall, after Happy Endings’ cancellation. Wayans kept his options open. Read More »
This is gutsy. Fox has handed early renewals for next season to comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Mindy Project and drama The Following. Golden Globe-winning freshman Brooklyn Nine-Nine is picked up for a second season, Mindy and The Following for a third and New Girl for a fourth. They join three other Fox scripted series that already have been picked up for next season: freshman drama Sleepy Hollow; veteran Bones, renewed for a 10th season; and Glee, which has a final sixth season as part of a two-year pickup. That is a lot of programming already locked in for next season though Fox has extra holes to fill following the cancellation of The X Factor. Networks are not required to make any renewal decisions until May, and most wait to see their pilots before making decisions. Fox, of course, declared in January that it was breaking away from the pilot cycle, so the network also may be going on its own timetable with renewals. But most of all, today’s pickups are about Fox brass giving a vote of confidence to series they feel strongly about creatively.
Related: Fox’s Abolishment Of Pilot Season: Practical Guide To How Will It Work
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In Hollywood’s latest “you stole my idea” case, a pair of screenwriters have filed a lawsuit claiming the Zooey Deschanel sitcom was based on their work. Stephanie Counts and Shari Gold claim that Fox’s New Girl and their 2006 pilot Square One contain similarities “so numerous and specific that independent creation was obviously impossible.” They name as defendants New Girl exec producer Peter Chernin, creator Elizabeth Meriwether, director Jake Kasdan, WME and Fox parent company 21st Century Fox.
Weighing in at 90-plus pages, the suit filed Thursday in California’s Central District (read it here) claims a laundry list of “similarities between the shows’ themes, structure, setting, overall story and plot arcs, specific plot devices, interpersonal twists, dialogue, sequence of events, tenor, specific scenes and elements of scenes, character identities, character personalities, character relationships, character interaction, character development, character idiosyncrasies, and character names require the conclusion that defendant Meriwether not only knew of Square One, but copied Square One to create New Girl.” The plaintiffs say their show was based on Counts’ personal experience, when she moved into a three-man bachelor pad after a divorce. Read More »
Former Chuck star Yvonne Strahovski is back in the field with another turn a spy. The Dexter alumna has been cast Fox‘s event series 24: Live Another Day that will be set and filmed in London. The next chapter in the 24 franchise, from 20th TV, Imagine TV and Teakwood Lane, picks up the story four years after the 24 series finale, which left Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) as a fugitive from justice. Four years later, he is back on the run, this time in Europe. Strahovski will play Kate Morgan, a brilliant but impulsive CIA field operative in London. UPDATE, 8:30 PM: Fox also shed more light on the special post-Super Bowl episodes of New Girl, which features a guest appearance by one of the top Super Bowl halftime acts, Prince, as himself, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. New Girl‘s episode “Party Time” features Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Cece (Hannah Simone) being invited to a mansion party thrown by Prince, with their male friends determined to join them. On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) investigate a string of hotel robberies together, but their partnership is put to the test when he finds out she may leave the Nine-Nine to work in the Crimes unit with “The Vulture” (guest star Dean Winters). Fred Armisen and former NFL quarterback Joe Thiesmann also guest star.
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EXCLUSIVE: New Line Cinema has acquired Fist Fight, a comic pitch based on an idea by New Girl star Max Greenfield. The actor brought the idea to 21 Laps and developed it with them and writers Evan Susser and Van Robichaux, the scribes behind the 2011 Black List script Chewi. Greenfield also will serve as a producer on the film. Shawn Levy will produce with Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen. New Line’s Richard Brener, Sam Brown and Dave Neustadter will referee.
The exact plot is being kept quiet, but the aspiration is a Horrible Bosses tone for a comedy that follows an epic fistfight between two high school teachers set against the backdrop of the broken-down school system. WME reps Levy, Greenfield, Susser, and Robichaux; Greenfield is managed by Greenlight Management. Levy and Greenfield are repped by Ziffren Brittenham, and the scribes by McKuin Frankel.
Fox is making some scheduling changes for midseason. The underperforming two-hour Tuesday comedy block will be scaled to an hour beginning February 25, when Glee will return to the Tuesday 8 PM slot where it did pretty well during the 2011-12 season. Fox brass hope that the move would help the show regain some footing, which it has lost airing behind a very weak The X Factor this fall. The hourlong Fox comedy block will consist of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which will move to the 9:30 slot on February 4. It will replace The Mindy Project, which will go on hiatus after a winter finale on January 28, returning on April 1 after Brooklyn Nine-Nine ends its freshman run. The move comes after the sophomore comedy starring Mindy Kaling hit a new series low (1.2 in 18-49) this week. The show’s crew already has been told of the scheduling change, and Mindy is planning a month-long production hiatus around the holidays which the writers will use to regroup and plot the show’s April re-launch.
Fox also is changing its launch plans for midseason dramas The Following and Rake. Instead of premiering new legal dramedy Rake behind the NFC Championship Game on January 19 as previously announced, Fox will launch the second season of gritty drama The Following after the big game for a two-night season premiere on Sunday, January 19 and Monday, January 20 when the series will debut in its regular Monday 9 PM slot, following the season finale of Sleepy Hollow. The argument is that the dark, male skewing Following would be more compatible with the football game than the lighter, more female-friendly Rake. The new series starring Greg Kinnear will premiere January 23 in its regular Thursday 9 PM slot, following American Idol. As previously announced, new Fox comedy Enlisted will premiere on Friday, January 10, and original episodes of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine will air after the Super Bowl on February 2. Remaining unclear if the spring scheduling of comedy Dads, which will air its last originals in its Tuesday February 4 and February 11 before going on hiatus to make room for Glee. It could come back later in the season, a return date is TBD. Here are Fox’s updated winter premiere dates: Read More »
The Coach is staying on. Original New Girl co-star Damon Wayans, Jr., who returned to the show for an arc this fall, will continue on the Fox comedy for the rest of the season. He is expected to be in every episode but is billed as a special guest star, leaving him available for pilot (He is executive producing a comedy project at Fox, which he could potentially star in.) Wayans Jr. did the New Girl pilot in second position to his ABC series Happy Endings. But when ABC surprisingly renewed Happy Endings, instead of recasting his role, Coach, New Girl opted to leave him in the pilot and introduce a new character in Episode 2, played by Lamorne Morris. When Wayans Jr. became available following the cancellation of Happy Endings in May, he was invited to come back to New Girl for a four-episode arc, which began airing last night. Coincidentally, last night New Girl had a 11% ratings spike in adults 18-49 and hit a season high in Men 18-34. Wayans Jr. is with WME, Mosaic and P.J. Shapiro.
EXCLUSIVE: Zooey Deschanel is making a major representation change. The New Girl star has re-signed with CAA after a seven-month stint at UTA. Additionally, she has left long-time manager Sarah Jackson. For the time being, Deschanel is not taking in a new manager. “I worked with Zooey for over 17 years, and have the highest regard for her as an artist and a person,” Jackson said. “I’m very proud of the career she is currently enjoying and wish her the very best.” Jackson had been with Deschanel for her entire career to date, which has made the actress a TV star and indie darling and has earned her an Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations. Jackson’s Seven Summits continues to represent clients that include Homeland‘s Morena Baccarin, top-grossing comedian Russell Peters, Paula Malcomson, Tyler James Williams and Michael Urie. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Having worked together on New Girl and the feature Ceremony, Jake Johnson and Max Winkler have now formally teamed up with a production company at 20th Century Fox TV. The new shingle is called The Walcott Company and the duo have brought Management 360’s Mary Lee on board to run it for them. This follows the actor and the writer-director collaborating on the single camera comedy pilot The B-Team for Fox TV and Imagine TV last year as well as Winkler directing a number of episodes of New Girl’s recently concluded second season. The two sold a mob feature comedy pitch to Warner Bros last year. Repped by CAA and Management 360, Winkler is set to direct The Coward, based on an adaptation he co-wrote with Matt Spicer of Nick Jones’ comic play about 18th century English aristocrats. Chris O’Dowd will star in the film. Returning for New Girl’s third season in the fall, Johnson will be seen with Olivia Wilde in the upcoming indie Drinking Buddies later this summer as well in the Fox action pic Let’s Be Cops which is expected out next year. The actor is repped by UTA and 3 Arts.
New Girl is coming to Netflix starting today. The streaming service and Fox have inked a multi-year deal to bring the network’s highest rated comedy to the subscription-based digital outlet. The first season of the Chernin Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV-produced series from creator Liz Meriwether will be available July 1 with subsequent cycles like the recently ended Season 2 to follow after their broadcast season is complete. “New Girl has proven to be the biggest breakout sitcom hit of the season and we are thrilled to be able offer it so quickly to our U.S. subscribers,” said Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “We are delighted that Netflix viewers will now have the opportunity to enjoy this remarkable comedy. As a leader in digital distribution, Netflix is an important partner for us. We are thrilled to continue building our relationship with them,” added Fox TV Distribution’s EVP Worldwide Pay TV and VOD Gina Brogi. Read More »
Michael Ausiello is Editor-in-Chief of TVLine.
Jake Johnson took Emmy watchers by surprise earlier this year when the New Girl actor elected to exit the supporting actor category in favor of the coveted, competitive lead race (pitting him against such awards heavyweights as Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons and Jon Cryer). But upon closer inspection, the move was something of a no-brainer. The burgeoning relationship between Johnson’s Nick and Zooey Deschanel’s Jess was the driving force behind the Fox comedy’s stellar second season, and it cemented the actor’s status as a bonafide romantic leading man. In a recent conversation, the 34-year-old Chicago native talks about entering the lead-actor Emmy race, opens up about butting heads with series creator Elizabeth Meriwether, and votes for his favorite Season 2 episode.
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Remember that joke Jimmy Kimmel made at ABC’s 2010 upfront a day after Fox had announced that Glee would air after its Super Bowl broadcast? “Apparently, they are trying to set a new Guinness World record for the most 43-year-old drunk guys saying ‘What the fuck is this?’ all at once”? He could crack another one tomorrow as Fox has slated another female-centered series to air after the Big Game on February 2: comedy New Girl. The quirky show starring Zooey Deschanel won’t be airing an hourlong episode. Instead, Fox plans to pair it with one of its new comedy series. Fox is launching three male comedies next fall that would work well for the football game — cop show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Army half-hour Enlisted and guys-and-their-dads sitcom Dads. Fox seems particularly high on Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which have been slotted as part of Fox’s Tuesday comedy block.
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