Author Angela Wilder had sued CBS, Sony TV and Relativity Media among others in October alleging that her idea for a talk show based on motherhood was the real inspiration for CBS’ The Talk. CBS immediately refuted the claim, a seven-count suit in which Wilder said she never actually met with anyone from CBS TV Studios or RelativityReal, the producers of the daytime talk show starring Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Aisha Tyler and Julie Chen. (CBS and RelativityReal were eventually dismissed as defendants.) CBS has always said that The Talk is based on an idea by Gilbert. Said Sony today of the dismissal, filed earlier this month (read the dismissal document here): “Ms. Wilder brought her case in good faith, but after seeing all of the evidence, she decided to voluntarily drop her lawsuit with prejudice. No payment is being made to Ms. Wilder. The Sony Pictures defendants, as well as previously dismissed defendants CBS, Relativity Real and Tom Forman, have agreed not to seek any costs or fees from her.”
Elizabeth Porter was SVP Specials and Talent Development at Comedy Central, where she worked on stand-up and narrative projects including the expansion of the network’s roast franchise. Now she will become EVP Development and Series at Relativity Media’s TV division, where she will oversee series and pilots for unscripted as well as spearhead a push into scripted content. “The opportunity to be a part of launching a scripted arm on top of what is already an incredibly successful unscripted business, weaves together everything I love about the development of voices and story in both unscripted and scripted shows”, she said in the release announcing the move. Porter previously was VP Alternative Programming at USA Network, where she developed and launched the first two seasons of Nashville Star and oversaw the AFI Life Achievement Award special.
Author Angela Wilder has sued the network, the companies and some head executives alleging that her idea for a talk show based on motherhood was the real inspiration for the CBS daytime series. “It’s one thing to get sued over a project that was pitched to us, but quite a stretch to be sued over a pitch that was made to somebody else. Ms. Wilder’s alleged offering to Sony played absolutely no part in the creation of The Talk. We’ll vigorously defend this case and expect to prevail,” said CBS today. Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Aisha Tyler and Big Brother host Julie Chen co-host the CBS Television Studios and RelativityREAL produced show. CBS has always said that The Talk, which debuted in October 2010, is based on an idea by Gilbert. The Powerful Mate Syndrome author obviously disagrees. However, as made clear from the seven-count suit she filed on October 17, Wilder never actually met with anyone from either CBS or Relativity – though both are named among the defendants.
Relativity and the Bandito Brothers are bringing their Navy SEALs movie Act Of Valor to the small screen. The Bandito Bros and Relativity’s TV division RelativityREAL will develop a drama series based on the movie and plan to take the project to broadcast and cable networks shortly.
The film, which opened at No. 1 at the domestic box office earlier this year, featured a group of active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs, alongside actors Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, Jason Cottle and Nester Serrano, in a fictionalized account of a real-life Navy SEAL operation.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC Family has entered into a development deal with Ashley Tisdale’s Blondie Girl Prods. for The Keys. The High School Musical star, who co-stars in the Louis C.K./Spike Feresten CBS comedy pilot, and her partner Jessica Rhoades will executive produce the detective drama with RelativityREAL CEO Tom Forman. Written by Jonny Umansky and Zach Hyatt, The Keys follows a young woman unraveling the secrets of an exclusive and mysterious resort off the coast of Florida. Umansky and Hyatt are repped by APA, manager John Tantillo, and attorney Jeff Frankel. Tisdale is repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: High School Musical alumna Ashley Tisdale has sold a semi-autobiographical comedy project to ABC that will be executive produced by Warren Littlefield. Tisdale is set to star in and co-executive produce the multi-camera project, titled Under Construction, which is inspired by her life and centers on a young woman whose independence is put on hold when she is forced to move back home while her father renovates her recently purchased “money pit” along with her life. David Holden (Accidentally On Purpose) will write the script and co-executive produce. Also co-executive producing are Tisdale and her partner Jessica Rhoades through their Blondie Girl Prods. and Tom Forman for RelativityREAL where Blondie Girl has a development deal.
UPDATED: Lifetime is pairing its flagship drama Army Wives with a reality series featuring real-life army wives and kids as well as the solders forced to leave them behind when called to duty. The cable network has ordered 13 hourlong episodes from Coming Home, which chronicles five surprise and emotional reunions between U.S. soldiers and their families. Coming Home, hosted by former American Idol finalist Matt Rogers, will debut on March 6, following the fifth season premiere of Army Wives.
Coming Home should not be confused with TLC’s reality series Homecoming, announced in November, which has the same exact premise and country star Billy Ray Cyrus as host. TLC’s three-episode series has no premiere date yet and is expected to debut after the Lifetime’s Coming Home.
Both shows are tapping into the online phenomenon that videos of military family reunions have grown into. (A compilation posed below.) Coming Home is produced by RelativityREAL, with Tom Forman, the producer behind another reality tearjerker, ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and Star Price executive producing.
I hear top unscripted producer Tom Forman, CEO of RelativityReal, is taking out a reality series project based on this year’s hit Sundance documentary Catfish, which is being distributed by Relativity Media’s Rogue Pictures. There is significant interest in the unscripted format, a segmented doc series revolving around relationships that have started online.
Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s documentary Catfish chronicles a 24-year old photographer’s search for the truth after he starts a cyber romance with the sister of a youth who takes an interest in his work but soon becomes suspicious that his online friends may not be who they say they are. The docu was a big crowd pleaser at Sundance and sparked a bidding war before getting snagged by Relativity. The company reportedly payed close to $1.5 million for an U.S. and UK rights to Catfish, which is eyeing a release later this year through Universal.