DeadlineNow Morning Report: UK Hacking Verdicts, UTA Sues ‘Unforgettable’ Star, ‘American Idol’ Judges Return (Video)
Looks like another agency has had to go after another star in court over the latter not paying the former what they allegedly owe. In this case it is UTA, that today slammed Unforgettable star Poppy Montgomery with a breach of contract complaint in LA Superior Court. The agency wants the more than $248,222 they say they are due in unpaid commissions for the actress’ work on the CBS series. In the 16-page jury-demanding filing, UTA also says it wants general damages, interest and legal fees from Montgomery, who now is with ICM Partners.
“Montgomery paid commissions due to UTA through and including season one of [Unforgettable], and then, for no reason whatsoever, suddenly stopped making payments,” says the complaint (read it here). “Montgomery has not only turned her back on the people who helped her career, but on her contractual obligations to those people.” According to filing, UTA and Montgomery entered into an oral agreement in August 2010 that the agency would rep the actress. The Unforgettable deal was negotiated in February 2011. The crime drama debuted in September of that year on CBS. Montgomery exited UTA not long after her agent Ruthanne Secunda joined ICM in December 2012. (UPDATE, 8:05 PM: A statement I received from Montgomery’s reps says in part that “Poppy categorically disputes UTA’s claim, which is nothing more than an over-reaching claim by a talent agency which has done nothing for Poppy over the past several years.”)
EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime has greenlighted two-hour original movie/backdoor pilot Sworn to Silence, starring Neve Campbell. The project, based on the book by Linda Castillo, will be executive produced by Unforgettable star Poppy Montgomery and Barbara Lieberman (Lifetime’s upcoming The Pregnancy Project), with Campbell co-executive producing. Additionally, Party Of Five alumna Campbell has signed a development deal with Lifetime for scripted dramas and original movies. Sworn to Silence is set in the Amish farming community of Painter’s Mill, Ohio, which was shaken up by a series of brutal murders 15 years ago. Kate Burkholder (Campbell), who as a young girl survived the terror and left the Amish life behind, now returns to Painter’s Mill as its Chief of Police. But Kate’s renewed life in her hometown is shattered when a murder investigation triggers deep-seated emotions from her childhood and exposes a dark secret that could destroy her. The movie/backdoor pilot will be directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal (Girl Fight) from a script by Mark Malone (Law & Order: Criminal Intent). “I’ve always admired Neve’s work,” Lifetime Networks’ president and general manager Nancy Dubuc said. “She is a proven talent who will bring a high level of intensity and presence to this role and Sworn to Silence.”
After revisiting its movie The Client List into a series, Lifetime is taking the step early with Sworn To Silence, building the series possibility into the film as it goes forward. And, given Lieftime’s substantial longform slate, the network may continue to mine it for potential series in the future. “Growing our scripted programming remains a top priority for Lifetime and our longform strategy provides us with a strong stable from which to identify potential series,” Dubuc said.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
It was former Taxi star Marilu Henner’s appearance on 60 Minutes in December 2010 that was key in finally bringing to fruition — following a two-year gestation — the new CBS procedural Unforgettable, showrunner Ed Redlich stressed during a noontime TCA panel. The new Tuesday 10 PM drama premieres Sept. 20 and stars Poppy Montgomery as a former detective who carries a rare condition that allows her to remember literally everything she experiences. And it’s inspired in part on the true-life story of Henner, who is one of perhaps a half-dozen known individuals who have both the gift and burden of what’s termed “autobiographical memory.” That had been the focus of the 60 Minutes piece some eight months ago.
Henner is serving as a consultant on Unforgettable, permitting the cast and production team to get an up-close look at what the condition really entails. “When you see how this (condition) comes across, it literally blows your mind,” Redlich told the gathered critics. “Do we take some dramatic license with it in the show? Yes. But not a lot. … We sent a copy of the pilot to Marilu, who finally got a chance to pop in the DVD. The scene where Poppy’s character pulls stuff out of the air about a specific day (that happened years before), well, within seconds Marilu pauses the DVD, calls me and says, ‘No, that wasn’t Friday, it …
EXCLUSIVE: Former Nip/Tuck star Dylan Walsh has been tapped as the male lead opposite Poppy Montgomery in CBS’ untitled Ed Redlich/John Bellucci pilot. The project, which will be directed by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo helmer Niels Arden Oplev, centers on Carrie Wells (Montgomery), a former detective and now a volunteer at a nursing home. She possesses the special ability to remember everything, which turns out to be a gift and a curse. Walsh will play Detective Al Burns, the chief of a crack team of NYPD detectives. Back in Syracuse, Al worked with Carrie, the best cop he’d ever met and the love of his life. However, Carrie’s unique ability effectively destroyed their relationship. Now engaged to another woman, Al runs into Carrie when her neighbor is murdered outside their apartment building and eventually enlists her as an expert “consultant” for the department. The setup and dynamic between the characters is reminiscent of that between Simon Baker’s Patrick Jane and Robin Tunney’s Teresa Lisbon on CBS’ The Mentalist. Walsh signed on for the Redlich/Bellucci pilot after fielding multiple offers. The project hails from CBS TV Studios, Sony TV and Timberman/Beverly Prods. It reunites Walsh with CBS, the two studios and producers Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly. Last year, Walsh starred in the CBS drama pilot The Line, from Sony TV and Timberman/Beverly. Earlier this development season, he was attached to an FBI drama project for CBS from …
EXCLUSIVE: Without a Trace co-star Poppy Montgomery is returning to CBS as the star of the network’s untitled Ed Redlich/John Bellucci pilot. The project, which will be directed by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo helmer Niels Arden Oplev, centers on a female NYPD detective (Montgomery) who possesses the special ability to remember everything and, although a gift in her job, it’s also a curse in her personal life. In addition to CBS, the pilot reunites Montgomery with Redlich, who served as executive producer/showrunner on Without a Trace for the crime drama’s first couple of seasons.
Montgomery, repped UTA and Framework, is currently in Vancouver, filming Strange Magic, a Lifetime biopic of JK Rowling, in which she portrays the Harry Potter author.