A24 Films will release two of its brood this weekend including Harmony Korine’s anticipated Selena Gomez/Vanessa Hudgens/James Franco starrer Spring Breakers, which had its U.S. debut this past week at the SXSW Film Festival. The new distribution company will also roll out Ginger & Rosa, although it sees the titles as appealing to different audiences. Also in this weekend’s specialty slate is Millennium Films’ Kirsten Dunst starrer Upside Down, which may had the largest number of opening cities among the limited release debuts, though it will still be under a dozen runs. And Oscilloscope’s Reality has a unique story of its own, with a convicted prisoner as a star — filmmaker Matteo Garone made an arrangement with Italy’s prison system.
Director-writer: Harmony Korine
Cast: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, James Franco, Rachel Korine
Distributor: A24 Films
Spring Breakers had a lively U.S. debut at the SXSW Film Festival ahead of its theatrical run which begins this week. Described as the “most accessible” of veteran indie director Harmony Korine’s career to date by some festival-goers, the title debuted in Venice and Toronto last Fall. Newcomer distributor A24 Films became involved with the feature in November. “Spring Breakers is, initially, for a younger audience and, frankly, anyone looking for something a little different,” noted A24′s David Fenkel. The crime-comedy centers on four college girls who end up in jail after robbing a restaurant to finance their spring break vacation, but find themselves bailed out by a drug-and-weapons heavy who wants them to do some more dirty work. Read More »
When looking over this year’s nominees for the reality-competition Emmy, the saying “Been there, done that” might come to mind, were it not for one glaring omission and one shining inclusion. For the first time since the category was created in 2003, Fox’s American Idol did not make the cut, and, in its place, NBC’s The Voice did.
Still, when the statuette is handed out–considering that CBS’ The Amazing Race has lost only once in the last nine years–another saying might seem apropos: The more things change, the more they stay the same. While you draw your own conclusions, here’s our assessment of the nominees and their chances:
Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired U.S. rights to Matteo Garrone’s Cannes competition film Reality, his first feature since 2008’s critically acclaimed and award-winning Gomorrah. Oscilloscope will take the film to additional festivals this fall with a theatrical, DVD, and digital release to follow early next year.Reality is a darkly comic portrait of Luciano, a fishmonger whose unexpected and sudden obsession with being a contestant on Big Brother leads him down a rabbit hole of skewed perceptions and paranoia. Reality was produced by Garrone and Domenico Procacci (Gomorrah), with Jean Labadie of Le Pacte as co-producer. Deal was negotiated by Dan Berger and David Laub of Oscilloscope with Janine Gold of Fandango Portobello assisted by Garrone’s U.S. reps Bart Walker of Cinetic Media and Jeff Berg of ICM.
On the third day of the Cannes Film Festival it was a day for familiar names taking the spotlight on the famed Palais steps. First up tonight was the return of DreamWorks Animation. One way or another DreamWorks Animation honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg finds a way to bring his latest product to the Croisette, whether in the form of a press stunt, junket, competition or as was the case tonight with out-of-competition entry Magagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted which debuted in the prime 7:30PM slot on the first Friday of the festival. Of course with the sequel using nearby Monte Carlo as a key backdrop for the action, and Europe in its title, this was a no-brainer for Cannes Fest director Thierry Fremaux who has repeatedly called DreamWorks Animation a “friend of the festival” and loves having a fun 3D movie toon in the mix. Just two years ago the fest opened with Disney/Pixar’s Up.
Repping the movie at Cannes were directors Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon and Tom McGrath in addition to starry voices including Ben Stiller who plays Alex the lion, Chris Rock as the zebra Marty, Jada Pinkett-Smith as Gloria the hippo and David Schwimmer as Melman the giraffe. Among new cast members who made the trek to Cannes are Martin Short as Italian sea lion Stefano and Jessica Chastain as the Italian jaguar Gia.
As Stiller put it in today’s meeting with … Read More »
Fox’s reality guru Mike Darnell is closing in on a 20-year anniversary at the network. Darnell has inked a new three-year contract to continue as president of alternative programming. That will bring his tenure at Fox to a whooping 19 years. (He joined Fox in 1994). Darnell, who is now shepherding American Idol‘s transition to a post-Simon Cowell era, appears to have renewed his deal quietly several weeks ago, and the extension is keeping things status quo for the reality master. At his previous renegotiation with Fox in 2007, Darnell was upped to president, becoming the the first alternative department head to hold a president title. He was also formally given creative control over Fox’s unscripted development and authority to greenlight pilots, presentations and specials. At the time, he remained at Fox after fielding offers from seven suitors, including NBC, Endemol USnd RDF USA, to join them as a producer.
EXCLUSIVE: Reality powerhouse A&E has teamed with Ryan Seacrest and top British self-help guru Paul McKenna for a new reality project, tentatively titled The Incurables. I hear the cable network, home of such docu series about afflictions as Intervention,Obsessed and Hoarders, has ordered a pilot for The Incurables, which will offer a look into the lives of ordinary people on the verge of a personal crisis over their irrational behavior.
Each 60-minute episode would feature McKenna trying to help two ‘incurable’ people with different psychological and/or physical conditions using his transformation techniques. Examples include the uncontrollable shouting and bizarre facial tics of a man suffering from Tourettes Syndrome and the shocking sight of a woman pulling out and eating her own hair (Tricotilla Mania). Ryan Seacrest Prods. and McKenna Media are producing, with Intervention executive producer Mettler, Seacrest and Paul Mckenna executive producing.
Jason Hervey and Eric Bischoff’s reality production company Bischoff Hervey Entertainment TV has signed an overall international distribution deal with Shine International, which will handle distribution for BHE TV’s formats. Shine International already distributes BHE TV’s CMT series Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, which as been sold in more than 20 territories. BHE TV has several shows in development and production at VH1, TruTV, A&E, Fuse and Spike TV. Separately, Shine International also is handling distribution for the Gone Too Soon Michael Jackson documentary, which will air in more than 50 countries on June 25, the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, including on the TV Guide Network in the U.S.
Bravo’s new series “Bethenny Getting Married?” last night scored the highest-rated series premiere on the network ever, averaging 2.1 million total viewers, 1.35 million of them in the adults 18-49 demographic. Meanwhile, the Bravo series that spun off Bethenny, The Real Housewives of New York City, averaged 2.24 million viewers, 1.47 million of them in the 18-49 demo, for part one of its three—part reunion special. The Real Housewives of New York City recently wrapped its third season with series-high 2.64 million viewers tuning in for the finale.
Meanwhile, the 2010 CMT Music Awards drew the awards franchise largest audience on Wednesday night, 3.0 million, and second-best 18-49 rating, 1.4, which was up 19% from last year.
Reality producer Louis Boyd has joined CBS as VP alternative programming. He will be involved in developing new alternative programs, including reality and game shows, and in overseeing CBS’ current slate of reality series, reporting to EVP alternative programming Jennifer Bresnan. Boyd most recently served as a producer on the Style Network’s How Do I Look? that received a Daytime Emmy nomination last month. Previously, he was a coordinating producer of the Food Network’s Chefs vs. City and a producer on the CW’s Pussycat Dolls and Stylista and Fox’s The Swan.
Lorraine Heggessey, CEO of the TV company which makes The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent over here, is leaving after five years in the job. Heggessey, who was controller of BBC1 before becoming CEO of Talkback Thames in 2005, will be replaced by Sara Geater, currently the COO, for the time being. At Talkback, Heggessey has been responsible for overseeing Simon Cowell’s talent show juggernauts. However, she didn’t originate the shows — they were invented by Cowell — and Talkback has not come up with any other big new franchises. Also, ITV has cancelled Talkback’s long-running police soap opera The Bill after 25 years with the loss of 90 jobs in the company. Heggessey was the first woman to hold the job of BBC1 controller, which she became in 2000. During her tenure at the Beeb she re-commissioned Doctor Who and launched Strictly Come Dancing.
LOS ANGELES – June 8, 2010 – 3 Ball Prods./Eyeworks USA CEOs JD Roth and Todd Nelson today announced the promotions of two key executives: COO Ross Weintraub has been named Managing Director, Eyeworks Distribution, adding to his day-to-day finance and operations responsibilities the oversight of worldwide distribution for parent company Eyeworks’ ready-made programs and formats. Additionally, Adam Greener has been promoted to Chief Creative Officer, overseeing creative on the company’s development and current series. Ross continues to report to Roth and Nelson, with a dual reporting stream to the Eyeworks Board of Directors for distribution. Greener continues to report to Roth and Nelson. Roth said, “Ross Weintraub has been a key factor in the success and explosive growth of 3 Ball over the last four years, culminating in our transition with Eyeworks into a global production company. Regarding Greener, Nelson added, “Having been a member of the 3 Ball family for nearly a decade, Adam has given birth to some of the company’s most popular and personality-driven shows, including Scott Baio is 45 and Single and The Pick-up Artist, and was also instrumental in the development of our new series, Obese for ABC.” 3 Ball Prods.’ series slate include The Biggest Loser, Beauty and Geek, Obese, Master Chef for Fox, OCD and Dad Camp for VH1 and What’s Eating You? for E!
Simon Cowell says he is “excited” about creating a worldwide talent show pitting winners of his Got Talent franchise against each other. Such a show would draw on the winners and runners-up from some of the 36 countries that televise the format. It would be broadcast to an international audience of 300 million viewers and boast a top prize of £1 million ($1.4 million). Cowell was talking about the idea of a global competition backstage at the Bafta TV awards. Such a show would have to work without judges, he said. Instead, TV viewers would vote at home in a global Eurovision-style contest. “It’s like coming out of the [soccer] Premiership into the Champions League,” he said.
Bafta was awarding Cowell a Special Award at the Philips British Television Awards, recognising his role in developing new talent. Previous Special Awards have gone to BBC executive Jane Tranter and independent producer Andy Harries in the past.
Some would question the wisdom of giving Cowell such an award. He’s been called a fathead who’s done the most damage to Britain’s intellectual life since Rupert Murdoch. Others call Cowell a brilliant producer, whose X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent – which ended its latest run here on Saturday night with a peak audience of 15 million – are outstandlingly made compared to the BBC’s staid rival Strictly Come Dancing. He may have plenty of producers working under him, but Cowell generates all the ideas himself. According to Bafta TV chairman John Willis, Cowell has not … Read More »
New York, New York – May 27, 2010 – Marking a major expansion of its reality programming,Syfy today announced it is greenlighting three new series,Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen (wt),Paranormal Witness (wt)andFace Off (wt).This broad-based slate builds upon the success of the channel’s unscripted programming such as theGhost Hunters franchise andDestination Truth on Wednesday nights, along withSyfy’s new Thursday reality block ofMary Knows Best and Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, which premieres July 15. Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen Utilizing the science of cooking,Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen stars one of America’s most notorious chefs, molecular gastronomist Marcel Vigneron (Top Chef).In each episode, Marcel and his new catering and event company will be hired by a demanding client to produce an extraordinary celebration or event. Based on the client’s requests, Marcel will dream up a theme and cuisine for the event, which range from a fairytale graduation party and a Goth-rock fashion show to a birthday dinner held on a platform
VH1 has renewed freshman reality series Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business, Basketball Wives and What Chilli Wants for a second season. All fall under VH1’s core celebreality genre. A Family Business stars singers and siblings Brandy and Ray J Norwood, What Chilli Wants stars former TLC member Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, and Basketball Wives, about wives of professional basketball players, stars and is executive produced by Shaquille O’Neal’s ex Shaunie O’Neal.
BBC America is venturing into original entertainment programming with a 10-episode order to a U.S. version of Come Dine With Me, a reality competition cooking show from ITV Studios. The show, about amateur chefs competing for the title of the ultimate dinner party, will also be broadcast internationally on BBC Worldwide’s channel brands. Additionally, BBC America has acquired the original U.K. version of Come Dine from ITV Studios, which will begin airing on July 7. BBC America has been producing a U.S.-based newscast for the past few years but its entertainment lineup consists mainly of reruns of British and U.S. series, including Dr. Who, Peep Show and Star Trek: The Next Generation. That will probably change as the channel seems to be stepping up original production. Last week, BBC America announced it will co-produce new high concept drama Outcasts.
The upcoming 12th season of Big Brother will premiere July 8 and will once again be hosted by Julie Chen and broadcast three times a week. There is one small difference: this year, the three editions will run Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 8 PM. The Wednesday show represents a shift from Tuesdays 9 PM where it was slated last summer. Flashpoint returns for a third season on Friday, June 4, at 9 PM and will relocate to Fridays 10 PM on July 16. Another Canadian-produced procedural, The Bridge, will debut on Saturday, July 10, at 8 PM.
Paula Abdul is off the market, at least for now. The former American Idol judge has signed on as executive producer, lead judge and “creative partner” for CBS’ new dancing reality-competition Got To Dance. She had been courted for numerous gigs since quitting Idol last summer, including to topline a revival of Star Search for ABC. On Got To Dance, she will also serve as coach, mentor and advocate for contestants during the performances and elimination process, the network said this morning. Meanwhile, Abdul also is rumored to make an appearance on Idol this week as part of the send-off for judge Simon Cowell.
Got To Dance is based on the popular British series, which debuted earlier this year on Britain’s Sky 1. It features amateurs of any age group from across the nation (either performing solo or in a group) who can audition any form of dancing. “I’ve spent the better part of my life teaching, mentoring, nurturing—working with so many talented people—and I consider myself truly blessed to be able to continue to do something that I hold so dear to my heart,” said Abdul, who is repped by UTA. Got To Dance is a Shine Group format, created by Princess Prods. and Shine TV and is produced by Reveille. Abdul, Elisabeth Murdoch, Howard T. Owens, Mark Koops and Robin Ashbrook are executive producers. Distribution is handled by Shine International.
EXCLUSIVE: I hear Lifetime’s new president and general manager Nancy Dubuc is close to greenlighting One Born Every Minute, a documentary-style reality series from Reveille, which is executive produced by Elisabeth Murdoch, CEO of Reveille’s parent company Shine.
One Born Every Minute chronicles life in a maternity ward 24/7, going behind the scenes as expectant mothers go through their last stage of pregnancy and as the staff are guiding them through delivery. The series is based on a format by another Shine company, U.K.’s Dragonfly Film & Television Prods. The original series, whose title is based on the fact that every minute a child is born in Britain, premiered recently on Channel 4.
I hear One Born‘s strong ratings in the UK drew the attention of Dubuc as well as Lifetime EVP entertainment JoAnn Alfano who was instrumental in setting up the U.S. version. Lifetime’s One Born will be executive produced by Murdoch and Reveille’s Howard T. Owens, Mark Koops and Noah Oppenheim. Shine International is expected to distribute the series internationally. One Born makes the fifth reality series order for Reveille this year, along with MasterChef for Fox, Losing It With Jillian for NBC, Got To Dance for CBS and The Naked Office for TruTV.
Under Dubuc, who transformed History Channel into a mainstream cable channel with a slew of hit docu-style reality series, Lifetieme is expected to step up its unscripted efforts while keeping its main focus on scripted programming.
UPDATE 8PM:Reality producer and murder suspect Bruce Beresford-Redman has no involvement in Shedding to the Wedding. He, along with former producing partner at Mindcrime Rick Hurvitz, pitched the idea to CW months ago when Biggest Loser producer David Broome was brought in to execute it. After Beresford-Redman’s arrest, he and Hurvitz dissolved their partnership. Broome’s company 25/7 and Hurvitz’s Breakfast Anytime are now producing Shedding to the Wedding, with Beresford-Redman having no involvement or profit participation.
EXCLUSIVE 3 PM: I hear the CW has ordered another reality series, Shedding For The Wedding, a weight-loss series from The Biggest Loser executive producer David Broome. The series, targeted for midseason, features couples competing to lose weight before their wedding. Shedding For The Wedding was put in development at the network a couple of months ago as Shed To Wed. Broome’s 25/7 is producing with Breakfast Anytime. The pickup for Shedding For The Wedding comes on the heels of CW’s series order to another reality project, Plain Jane. The makeover series from Big Brother executive producers Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan will launch in the summer. CW’s upfront presentation is tomorrow.