EXCLUSIVE: After two years at WME, Peter Chernin’s production company has left the agency, which represented its TV division. WME represented former NBC executive Katherine Pope in her deal to become Chernin Entertainment’s president of television and took in the production company as a TV client in April 2010. For its three years of existence, Chernin Entertainment has been prolific, helped by big production commitments built into Chernin’s exit package from News Corp. The company has three series on the fall schedule – New Girl, Touch and new comedy Ben & Kate, all on Fox. A representative for Chernin Entertainment confirmed that the company and WME have parted ways. “We wish them well,” the rep said.
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are going to be packing heat. The duo have signed up to do a cop buddy movie. Bridesmaids Paul Feig will direct the as yet untitled project. Katie Dippold of Parks and Recreation acclaim is writing the screenplay. The movie details the strained working relationship between an uptight FBI agent, played by Oscar winner Bullock, and an unconventional Boston cop, played by Oscar nominee McCarthy. The movie is bit of a reunion for Feig and McCarthy, who worked together on 2011 comedy hit Bridesmaids. Feig will executive produce. Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Dylan Clark will produce the Fox distributed film. Dippold is repped by WME and 3 Arts. Feig, McCarthy and Bullock are all repped by CAA.
CA Media, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group (TCG), and Endemol, the world’s largest independent television producer, today announced the formation of a strategic alliance in which CA Media has acquired a 49% stake in Endemol India. CA Media and Endemol’s strategy is to build Endemol India into the leading and most valuable content production company in India across television, film and digital content. Deepak Dhar, who has been Managing Director of Endemol India since 2007, will continue to lead the company and is promoted to CEO.
Andy Burg has signed with APA. The writer, previously at ICM, has two scripts currently at Paramount: Huck, a contemporary take on Mark Twain’s classic characters of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, with Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark producing; and the supernatural action feature Hellifield, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing. Burg is also repped by Brucks Entertainment and attorney Jason Sloane.
Longtime Hollywood mogul Peter Chernin‘s indie company has just received a new infusion of capital to help with his goal of expanding into a global media company “across all fronts with this additional expertise and resources”. Led by Providence Equity Partners, the investors are taking what’s being called a “significant minority equity stake” in his television/movie/Internet company The Chernin Group. The official announcement will be made Monday morning. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Deadline has learned the investment is $200M. Chernin and Providence CEO Jonathan Nelson became chummy while they worked together to establish the online video site Hulu as a joint venture with NBCUniversal. The pair tell the Financial Times they also looked at making a bid for Yahoo together over a year — but then decided against it. They say the new partnership would have the resources to pursue “any deal of any size” around the world, from making multibillion-dollar bids to incubating start-ups. And they say their first deals are “very close” and could be announced within weeks.
EXCLUSIVE: Chernin Entertainment dipped into its discretionary fund to spend mid six figures to option an untitled female buddy cop action comedy written by Katie Dippold, the writer and producer on Parks And Recreation. Dippold most recently sold an untitled comedy for Chernin about babies that break out of daycare. Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping were in the middle of this and the writer was repped by WME and 3 Arts.
UPDATED: There will be no second season of pre-historic drama Terra Nova on Fox. The network’s brass just made the decision after weeks of exploring potential Season 2 tweaks to the series set 85 million years in the past. Fox had to make the decision early so the show could make a fall return if renewed. Despite its pedigree — produced by Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin – Terra Nova did not become a runaway hit, but its decent ratings, coupled with strong international sales for sibling 20th Century Fox TV, which produces the series, were keeping renewal hopes alive. 20th TV now plans to shop Terra Nova, starring Jason O’Mara and Stephen Lang, to other networks. At TCA in January, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly was non-committal when asked about the future of the series. “If this is all we make (of Terra Nova), we made money on it, the studio made money on it, and it seems to have resonated with the family audience,” he said. “There is a show, which if we are to bring back, there’s an audience there. But creatively, the show was hunting (for its identity). If we had more holes in our network, we’d be thrilled to lock that right in.”
It is interesting that from what I hear, it was Reilly who made the call to cancel Terra Nova, while it was his boss, Peter Rice, who championed and bought the project exactly two years ago. With House ending its run and Terra Nova gone, Fox has three more dramas on the bubble: two with slim chances of renewal — midseason entries Alcatraz and The Finder — and Fringe, which could clinch a 13-episode pickup if the budget can be pared down significantly. The new Kiefer Sutherland series Touch premieres later this month.
EXCLUSIVE: While screenwriter Jane Goldman and director Matthew Vaughn are expected to return for the sequel to X-Men: First Class, Goldman is in talks with 20th Century Fox on another priority project with a major director. She’ll adapt Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the Ransom Riggs novel that Chernin Entertainment is producing, and Tim Burton is circling to direct.
Goldman most recently adapted The Woman In Black, the CBS Films thriller that stars Daniel Radcliffe. In Miss Peregine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Jacob is a 16-year-old whose childhood was filled with stories his grandfather told him about an orphanage for unusual children. Among the residents: a girl who could hold fire in her hands, another whose feet never touched the ground, and twins who communicated without speaking. When his beloved grandfather dies unexpectedly but leaves a message behind for his grandson, the teen heads off to his grandfather’s home on an isolated island off Wales. There he discovers the abandoned remains of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It is in great disrepair and as Jacob explores its bedrooms and hallways, he can see the children were more than peculiar, they might have been there because they were dangerous. And he can’t shake the feeling they are still lurking around. Peter Chernin, …
EXCLUSIVE: In a match that seems ideal, Tim Burton is in early talks to come aboard Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the Ransom Riggs novel that 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment acquired last spring. Burton is in talks to develop the book as a potential directing project, and he would be involved in setting a writer to adapt the tale.
It involves Jacob, a 16-year-old whose childhood was filled with stories his grandfather told him about an orphanage for unusual children. Among the residents: a girl who could hold fire in her hands, another whose feet never touched the ground, and twins who communicated without speaking. When his beloved grandfather dies unexpectedly but leaves a message behind for his grandson, the teen heads off to his grandfather’s home on an isolated island off Wales. There he discovers the abandoned remains of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It is in great disrepair and as Jacob explores its bedrooms and hallways, he can see the children were more than peculiar, they might have been there because they were dangerous. And he can’t shake the feeling they are still lurking around. Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping are producing.
EXCLUSIVE: Chernin Entertainment has acquired Untitled Foreign Exchange, a comedy pitch that Shawn Harwell will write and Jeff Tomsic will direct. Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping will produce for Chernin Entertainment, which won the pitch with a preemptive offer made from the company’s discretionary fund. Tomsic gets the directing job after helming a number of shorts, including I’m Having A Difficult Time Killing My Parents, which debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. He’s also directed shows for MTV and VH1 and campaigns for Dr. Pepper, Hasbro and other brands. Harwell cowrote Dog Fight, the Warner Bros comedy that Jay Roach is directing with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. He also scripted Hench with Danny McBride for Warner Bros and Neal Moritz, and was a staff writer in McBride’s HBO Series Eastbound & Down. Both are repped by CAA and Tomsic is managed by Generate.
EXCLUSIVE: Chernin Entertainment is near a deal to acquire an untitled pitch by scribes Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark will produce with Blind Wink’s Gore Verbinski and John Krauss. Chernin will buy it out of his discretionary fund, a mid- to high-six-figure deal for a pitch that sounds like a futuristic Jungle Book. It was competitive, as Disney also bid, with Verbinski and Basil Iwanyk attached to produce. Disney, of course, made both animated and live-action Jungle Book films, and Verbinski is working hard there to nail down a start date for The Lone Ranger after the film was unplugged by the studio over budget. Sazama and Sharpless scripted Dracula Year Zero, are teamed with Iwanyk on an untitled project at Summit; and are writing the script for live-action adaptation of the board game Clue, which Verbinski is developing as a potential directing project. That project was recently kicked loose by Universal and its development is being funded by Hasbro. ICM and manager Sophy Holodnik repped the writers.
EXCLUSIVE: Jacqueline Susann’s classic 1966 novel Valley of the Dolls is getting a series treatment by Oscar-nominated Precious director Lee Daniels. NBC has bought the period project, from 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment, with a script commitment plus penalty. Daniels is set to write and direct the TV series version, which will be based on the 1967 Valley of the Dolls feature adaptation, as well as executive produce with Chernin and Katherine Pope. UPDATE: This is one of 3 recent drama sales for Chernin Entertainment, which also set up at Fox Gina Fattore’s Second Chances, about a female trauma surgeon who has to cope with the fact that she was the only survivor of a car crash that killed her best friend (the project received a script commitment plus penalty), and Jon Cowan’s legal thriller spec script Truth.
Valley of the Dolls, which has sold more than 30 million copies, spans over two decades to chronicle the lives, career highs and ultimate self-destruction of three female best friends: Anne Welles, who works at a Broadway talent agency; Neely O’Hara, a vaudeville star; and Jennifer North, a showgirl. The title of the book refers to a slang for sleeping pills that the three women eventually become dependent on. The novel previously was adapted as a movie in 1967 produced by 20th Century Fox and starring Barbara …
It’s just a matter of time, but “somewhere along the line you’re going to see a Chinese company buy a U.S. media company and technology company,” former News Corp COO Peter Chernin said today in an interview at The Paley Media Center. ”We’ll get up in arms. But it’s no different than us going in to buy their companies.” That’s something he’s been trying to do in his current role as chairman of the Chernin Group and Chernin Entertainment, where he’s scouring Asia for business opportunities. ”The tale of most of my career in the media business has been new technologies coming in and disrupting traditional media businesses,” he says. “You spend a lot of time wondering who’s attacking me? … I ultimately made the decision that it would be more fun to be a disruptor than to defend myself from disruption.” He particularly wants to develop businesses in Asia’s growing economies. For example, China has “the fastest-growing (movie) theatrical business in the world, about to pass Germany to be No. 3.” But local regulations and tastes make it difficult for U.S. companies to break in to key markets. Due to government restrictions in China, his view is for westerners to “avoid broadcasting first, avoid cable second.” India is more open, but western entertainment often baffles audiences. “It’s easier for the Chinese to understand the West than for the Indians,” Chernin says.
EXCLUSIVE: Feature writer director and Undeclared alum Nick Stoller is returning to television with Hot Mess, a single-camera project that attracted multiple bidders and is now in negotiations to go to CBS with a rich put pilot commitment. Stoller is writing and attached to direct the comedy, from 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment. Loosely based on Stoller’s real-life experiences, Hot Mess is a twenty-something ensemble comedy about a guy who gets his heart broken by his girlfriend and now has to work one cubicle away from her. Stoller is executive producing with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope. CBS’ aggressive play for Hot Mess underscores the network’s recent shift toward younger, edgier comedies with shows like How I Met Your Mother and new fall entry Two Broke Girls as well as the decision to replace Charlie Sheen with Ashton Kutcher on Two and a Half Men. It marks a rare venturing into the single-camera format for the network, known for its brand of multi-camera sitcoms. The sale also continues comedy projects’ hot streak this summer as a slew of half-hour pitches have landed big commitments. Stoller is a member of the Judd Apatow’s gang. He got his break on Apatow’s Fox comedy series Underclared, and like his boss, he segued to movies right after. UTA-repped Stoller did several films with Apatow, including Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which Stoller directed, and its offshoot Get Him to the Greek, which he …
Paul Greengrass In ‘Fear Index,’ Robert Zemeckis Out Of ‘Replay’ As He Takes ‘Flight’ With Denzel Washington
Back in June, Deadline revealed that Fox 2000 had acquired the Robert Harris thriller novel Fear Index, about a scientist who uses a revolutionary system of computer algorithms to trade on the volatility of the world’s financial markets. His hedge fund is wildly successful until he is targeted by an intruder who breaks into his home. At the time, I’d heard that Paul Greengrass was attached to direct, and his reps at CAA denied it. I wrote it anyway. Now, Harris has said in an interview for his soon to be published book that Greengrass is indeed going to direct and the filmmaker’s reps are now acknowledging it’s true. The novel will be published next month in the UK and January in the US. Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping are the producers. and Harris is scripting it. Greengrass next directs the Somali pirate pic A Captain’s Duty with Tom Hanks starring for Sony Pictures.
Robert Zemeckis has officially dropped out of the Warner Bros drama Replay, and the studio is trying to put the Jason Smilovic-scripted film back together with another filmmaker. Zemeckis exited because he has finally committed to direct Denzel Washington in the Paramount thriller Flight.
Bloomberg Game Changers last night profiled News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch with interviews including former No. 2 Peter Chernin and current Fox Sports chairman David Hill. There’s some good stuff in here, including Chernin talking about Murdoch’s hands-on approach:
EXCLUSIVE: Peter Chernin and his top production executive Dylan Clark are coming aboard as producers of Oblivion, the futuristic science fiction film that has Tom Cruise starring and Tron: Legacy‘s Joseph Kosinski directing. Universal acquired the project in April and just dated it for a July 19, 2013 release. It shook loose from Disney because the filmmakers couldn’t make it a PG family film. How do Chernin and Clark fit in, considering Chernin Entertainment is becoming a major supplier for 20th Century Fox? Back when Disney bought the comic amid a heated bidding battle when it was sold as a comic from Barry Levine’s Radical Publishing, hatched from an idea by Kosinski, Chernin and Clark were among those chasing it hardest. When the filmmakers got the blessing of Disney to shop it elsewhere, Chernin and Clark tried to interest Fox, but that studio has a lot of science fiction projects. After Universal got it, the filmmakers invited Chernin and Clark to join the picture, I’m told.
The PG-13 film starts production in the fall, with a script by William Monahan and Karl Gajdusek. Oblivion is a futuristic science fiction love story that takes place in an apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth’s surface that has been rendered for the most part uninhabitable. An earthbound soldier — stuck there repairing drones that patrol and blast a savage alien life form — encounters a beautiful woman who crashed in a craft, and they have an experience that forces him to question his world view.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 and Chernin Entertainment have teamed on a deal for screen rights to the upcoming Robert Harris novel The Fear Index, a thriller Knopf will publish in January in the US after a September UK release. The pic will be produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping. I’d initially heard that director Paul Greengrass might be involved, but his reps say that while he and the author go back to their BBC days, the filmmaker isn’t part of this deal.
The thriller involves a scientist who figures out how to use a revolutionary system of computer algorithms to trade on the world’s financial markets. His hedge fund, which is built around the standard measure of market volatility–called the Fear Index–reaps huge returns. Late one night while he’s asleep with his wife in their house beside Lake Geneva, an intruder awakens them. Over the course of a day, the scientist needs to figure out who’s trying to destroy him as the world’s financial markets teeter on collapse.
Harris’ books have always been magnets for movie deals. Roman Polanski directed The Ghost Writer based on his novel The Ghost, and Selling Hitler, Fatherland, Pompeii and Archangel have all been turned into telepics or miniseries. CAA made the deal.
20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment have closed the deal for screen rights to Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the Ransom Riggs novel that’s about the discovery of an abandoned orphanage, where a tragedy sends a 16-year-old to an isolated island off of Wales, where he discovers the abandoned remains of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, he can see the children were more than peculiar, they might have been there because they were dangerous. And some of them might still be lurking around. The novel, called Harry Potter in tone, has several suitors, and I’m told Fox paid six against seven figures in an auction brokered by CAA and APA. Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping are producing.