Two days after its panel at Comic-Con, ABC’s Once Upon A Time unveiled two more actors joining the series for its Frozen-themed storyline. Veteran character actor John Rhys-Davies, known for roles in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and Raiders Of The Lost Ark, will voice Pabbie the Troll King, and Tyler Jacob Moore (Shameless, GCB) will play the scheming Prince Hans. OUAT producer Adam Horowitz tweeted the news of both castings today. At the San Diego Convention Center on Saturday, the crowd was shown a clip of OUAT’s new season with Frozen characters Elsa and Anna (Georgina Haig and Elizabeth Lail) leaving flowers at the grave of their parents. The ensemble fantasy series returns for Season 4 on September 28.
UPDATED WITH TRAILER below.
PREVIOUS, 11:43 AM: At the Once Upon A Time Comic-Con panel this morning, series executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis showed a clip from the Season 4 premiere, where the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) enters a hospital, goes to a holding cell, and demands that her Mirror (Giancarlo Esposito) return. It was announced earlier in the month that Esposito was returning to the show. The executive producers mentioned that they are still working on the season premiere. Also shown from the premiere was a clip with Frozen characters Elsa and Anna (Georgina Haig and Elizabeth Lail, respectively) leaving flowers at the grave of their parents. Of course, the crowd here in Ballroom 20 went absolutely nuts.
ABC also revealed the Season 4 trailer. Check it out:
Whether there will ever be a musical version of Once Upon A Time, Kitsis said, “Problem with doing a musical, is we don’t know how.”
Australian actress Georgina Haig (Fringe) has been tapped to play the coveted Frozen character Elsa in Season 4 of ABC’s fantasy drama Once Upon A Time. Elsa was introduced in the Season 3 finale and is expected to appear in the premiere episode this fall. She will play opposite Elizabeth Lail and Scott Michael Foster, who will play Elsa’s younger sister Anna and Anna’s love interest Kristoff, in the heavily recurring role. Paradigm-repped Haig can currently be seen on CBS’ Reckless.
Kyle Massey has booked a recurring role on Fox’s Batman prequel Gotham. Based on DC characters from the Batman universe, the hourlong drama series explores the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as an idealistic rookie detective in Gotham City, along with Bruce Wayne and the villains who made Gotham City famous. Massey, repped by Untitled and The Osbrink Agency, will play Macky, an abused and neglected kid who lives on the streets. Massey can next be seen in indie feature Senior Project.
Once Upon A Time co-executive producer Andrew Chambliss has signed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with the series producer ABC Studios. This marks the first overall pact for rising writer-producer Chambliss, who will continue as co-exec producer on the fairytale ABC drama next season while also developing new projects. Chambliss, who started as an assistant at NBC, previously worked on CW’s The Vampire Diaries and Joss Whedon’s Fox drama Dollhouse. He is repped by ICM Partners and Bruce Gellman.
TCA: ABC’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Wonderland’ Teases John Lithgow, Roger Daltrey Roles & Sebastian Stan’s Mad Hatter
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on ABC’s new drama series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, the producers said the initial order of 13 episodes will “tell a complete story.” If the show returns, said executive producer Adam Horowitz, “we will come back with another adventure.” In describing the relationship of Wonderland to the series Once Upon a Time (which introduced some elements that are part of the new series), Horowitz said Wonderland “exists in a Once universe but stands on its own. The pilot hits the ground running, [new viewers] can come right in.”
EP Edward Kitsis called the new drama a “psychedelic romance.” The new show begins filming this week on the same set as Once, producers said. The cast of characters that Alice (Sophie Lowe) might meet in Wonderland naturally lends itself to guest stars doing voices. The producers confirmed that John Lithgow’s White Rabbit of the pilot will be a regular character, not a cameo. The Who’s Roger Daltrey will be the voice of the hookah smoking Caterpillar and producers are seeking a Cheshire Cat. As the series progresses other characters will “pop up with great voice actors behind them,” producers said.
As movie sequels dominate the box office with more than 30 slated this year alone, including Iron Man 3, Star Trek 2 and Hangover 3, television too is increasingly relying on expanding TV franchises. In a symbolic move, as the last CSI spinoff, CSI: NY, bowed out this season, a record three new spinoff series are joining the broadcast schedule for next season: The Once Upon A Time spinoff Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, The Vampire Diaries offshoot The Originals on the CW, and Chicago Fire‘s Chicago PD on NBC. They will join returning spinoffs NCIS: LA and Law & Order: SVU. Of the four spinoff projects that were in consideration for next season, only one, CBS’ NCIS: Red, didn’t get a series pickup. “Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t,” CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said last week about the decision. “Protecting (the NCIS franchise) was really important.” She indicated that the network is open to trying the spinoff again. Indeed, I hear there is talk about revisiting NCIS: Red with a new cast.
Once a staple in comedy with All In The Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Cosby Show, Cheers and Family Guy among the slew of hit series to launch spinoffs, offshoots are primarily limited to drama these days. NBC tried …
ABC is changing things up in scheduling some of its serialized dramas. Taking a page from the cable model, the network will air what ABC president Paul Lee called “a selected group” of dramas in two uninterrupted runs, one in the fall and one in the spring, bridged by limited series. The series that will follow the new scheduling pattern include Once Upon A Time, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and likely Revenge, with others TBD. So far, the network only has set up a bridge series for Once, new adventure reality series The Quest. Lee said such bridge series won’t necessarily be all unscripted. Two cycles of 12 episodes would bring the total orders for the shows to 24, which is hard on a complex, serialized drama, but Lee indicated that number has not been set in stone. He said that the network is looking to further shake up the traditional broadcast scheduling model with “quality launches” throughout the season. Lee also said that new fall drama Betrayal is designed as a limited series, airing 12-13 episodes a season. The same applies to midseason drama Resurrection, which will replace it in the Sunday 10 PM slot in midseason.
Related: ABC 2013-14 Schedule
Days after last year’s upfront in New York, History‘s Hatfields & McCoys burst onto the scene, shattering ratings records and reviving the limited-event series form. Over the last 12 months, event series have continued to gain momentum, with History launching another blockbuster in The Bible, and Fox, FX and Spike announcing big pushes in the arena. The genre also has been factoring into the network’s ongoing pilot discussions and may have presence at the upfronts next week. “It seems to be the du jour concept these days,” one industry insider said. “If you call a drama a limited event series, you maintain series options on the actors while at the same time maintain the project’s international value. And if you market them well, they bring in audience.”
One of the highest-profile drama prospects for next season, ABC’s Once Upon A Time spinoff, has been developed as a limited series to air 13-episode arcs every season in the vein of FX’s American Horror Story. Such a potential scenario also has been mentioned for a number of other serialized/high-concept drama pilots should they get a series order: ABC’s Gothica and Big Thunder, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and CBS’ Hostages. CBS already is branching into the genre this coming summer with Under The Dome, originally developed as a regular series. The CW, whose president Mark Pedowitz last season was among the first to embrace the concept, did midseason entry Cult as a limited-type series and is looking to do more next season, with The Selection among those considered for a limited run. Fox’s The Following and ABC’s Red Widow too had been conceived with cable-style shorter seasons in mind.
English-born Australian actress Sophie Lowe has landed the lead in ABC‘s Once Upon A Time spinoff project, which now has a title, Once: Wonderland. Also cast in the presentation, from Once Upon A Time creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz is Brit Peter Gadiot. Once: Wonderland is set in pre-curse Wonderland. The story is told through the point of view of Alice (Lowe) who has a generous heart but carries the scars of a long hard life. She is joined by two other characters, Cyrus (Gadiot), Alice’s love interest with a background shrouded in mystery, and the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha), a sardonic adventurer, a man of action, a loner and a heart-breaker.
Kitsis and Horowitz are writing the 15-20-page, four-scene presentation with input from Zack Estrin and Jane Espenson. Production is slated to begin April 7 in Vancouver, immediately following the season wrap of Once there. If the project goes to series, Estrin is expected to run it with Kitsis and Horowitz, while Espenson, who has been a key member of Once’s writing staff since after the pilot, will likely return to the flagship drama, which Kitsis and Horowitz will continue to run. Also executive producing the ABC Studios-produced spinoff is Once Upon A Time executive producer Steve Pearlman. Lowe is with CAA and Australia’s Shanahan Management.
British actor Michael Socha has landed one of the three leads in ABC‘s Once Upon A Time spinoff presentation. The project, from Once Upon A Time creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, takes place in pre-curse Wonderland. The story is told through the point of view of Alice, who is surrounded by two major characters, The Knave of Hearts (Socha), a sardonic adventurer, a man of action, a loner and a heart-breaker; and Amahl, described as exotic, soulful and optimistic. Kitsis and Horowitz are writing the 15-20-page, four-scene presentation with input from Zack Estrin and Jane Espenson. Production is slated to begin April 7 in Vancouver, immediately following the season wrap of Once there.
Eddy Kitsis & Adam Horowitz’s ‘Once Upon A Time’ Spinoff Set In Wonderland Takes Shape, Zack Estrin & Jane Espenson Join
Once Upon A Time creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are bringing in top-notch writer-producers to help them mount a proposed Once spinoff for ABC and ABC Studios. The studio is closing overall deals with Prison Break alum Zack Estrin and Once consulting producer Jane Espenson that would cover their services on the spinoff. Details about the spinoff are being kept under wraps but I have learned that it takes place in Wonderland. While the original idea was to use Once‘s character of Mad Hatter to transition to the new world, that plan was ultimately dropped. I hear the story will now be told through the point of of view of Alice, who has not appeared on Once, surrounded by several new characters. According to a casting breakdown released last week, they are Amahl, described as exotic, soulful and optimistic; and The Knave, a sardonic adventurer, a man of action, a loner and a heart-breaker. The spinoff takes place in a post-curse world, though, like on Once, there will be flashbacks, so we could potentially see familiar faces, including Barbara Hershey’s recently departed Cora, who was the Queen Of Hearts in Once‘s Wonderland.
I hear the idea is to air the spinoff in 13-episode season arcs with a beginning, middle …
ABC‘s Red Widow arguably had the biggest marketing campaign of any midseason series, including plum spots during the network’s Oscar broadcast last Sunday. For all that promotional blitz, the two-hour premiere of the mob drama fell short, extending the underwhelming track record of this year’s crop of broadcast midseason replacements. Red Widow drew a 1.4/4 among adults 18-49 from 9-11 PM and 6.9 million viewers. That was down 36% from last midseason’s debut of GCB and this fall’s opener for 666 Park Avenue. Both Sunday 10 PM ABC dramas had hourlong premieres and both have been cancelled. On the bright side, Red Widow saw very little audience erosion throughout its two-hour debut, indicating a possible future cult following. Leading into Red Widow was Once Upon a Time (2.1/6), which didn’t benefit from the Oscar exposure either, down 13% from its last original two weeks ago to a series low.