Robert Sean Leonard, Omar Epps Set To Return To ‘House’; Series’ Renewal Imminent
UPDATE: House star Hugh Laurie today also indicated that this would probably be the series’ final season. “The end of (the eighth) season, right now, looks like the end of the show,” he told U.K.’s Radio Times. “That is as far as they have got me for.”
PREVIOUS: After months of negotiations and a string of deadlines that came and went, Fox has closed a deal with Universal Media Studios to bring House for an eighth season, which is expected to be the medical drama’s last. House creator/executive producer David Shore’s does not have a deal beyond this season yet but one is underway and he is fully expected to return and finish the series. Also returning is the cast, including Hugh Laurie, who has one more year on his 3-year contract, co-stars Robert Sean Leonard and Omar Epps, who just closed their deals, and Lisa Edlestein, who is also expected to come back. All senior writers on the show will be back too.
Sticking point in the negotiations was the show’s license fee, which Fox had been pushing to lower by almost 20% to $5 million per episode, something that was going to put pressure on UMS to cut the budget of the series, including above-the-line costs. I hear the final agreement is for a license fee very close to the $5 million Fox had been seeking. As part of its cost-cutting measures, UMS had gone to the 3 actors whose deals were up this season – Leonard, Edelstein and Epps – asking them to take salary cuts on the $175,000 an episode they had been making for next season. UMS had been partially successful as I hear Leonard will be returning at his old salary, while the other 2 will be taking a modest pay cut. Read More »
With Desperate Housewives‘ renewal assured after the series’ stars have have been re-signed, Brothers and Sisters remains the only veteran ABC series not picked up for next season. Being on the bubble is a familiar territory for the family soap, … Read More »
With the Bones pickup out of the way, attention focuses on the other Fox drama embroiled in a renewal drama, House. After a string of deadlines came and went, including one last Friday and another one this Monday, there is still no deal but I hear the hope is to wrap the renewal up by early next week when Fox brass will start piecing together the network’s schedule for next season. It won’t be an easy task as Fox and House producer Universal Media Studios are still apart on the license fee by about 20%. That’s by how much I hear Fox wants to cut the series’ current license fee to about $5 million per episode next season. At this point in a series’ run (House will be entering its 8th season in the fall), the network license fee normally covers the cost of production. But I hear UMS cannot produce House in its current form for $5 million an episode, so it has been unwilling to accept a reduced license fee as it faces the possibility to have to deficit finance a show in its eighth season, something studios rarely do. But then, House is not a typical show as it is estimated to gross some $1 billion for its run from Fox license fees, off-network syndication and international sales as well as auxiliary markets. The network is not budging either, and it got fresh ammunition this week when House hit a new season low with a 2.9/8 in adults 18-49. “Both sides have drawn hard lines and are sticking to them,” one person close to the situation said. “Middle ground is incredibly small, it is a very tiny dot.”
To help bridge the gap, UMS has been crunching numbers as it tries to reduce the budget of the show for next season so it gets closer to the $5 million per-episode license fee offered by Fox. The focus has been on cutting above-the-line costs, including cast compensation. The studio is negotiating with House co-stars Robert Sean Leonard, Omar Epps and Lisa Edelstein, whose deals are up at the end of this season. I hear all three, who are at about $175,000 an episode, have been asked to agree to both doing fewer episodes next season (from 24 to 18 is a scenario I hear) and getting a salary reduction. Read More »
UPDATED: Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun’s three-year effort to turn the New York Times‘ column Modern Love into a TV series is bearing fruit: the project has received a pilot order at Lifetime. Additionally, the network’s resurgent drama series Army Wives will extend its five-year run – it is being renewed for a sixth season with a 13-episode order. On the unscripted side, the network has picked up 6 new series, including an all-star edition of Project Runway.
Created and executive produced by Sex and the City alumna Jenny Bicks, dramedy Modern Love will weave actual stories from NYT‘s column to explore the state of modern relationships. It follows newspaper science editor Simon McElvane as he faces a deteriorating marriage, the ramifications of potentially starting over and balancing his relationship with his adopted 15-year-old daughter. Unexpectedly handed the job of editor of the newspaper’s Modern Love column, Simon discovers he has a lot to learn about life and love. Berman and Braun optioned rights to the column in 2008. A year later, they set up an adaptation at HBO with Bicks attached to write and Alan Poul to direct. Because of Bicks’ deal at Sony Pictures TV, the studio came on board to produce with BermanBraun. The project, executive produced by Bicks, Berman, Braun, Gene Stein and Poul, was subsequently set up at Lifetime with all original auspices attached. Filming is expected to begin in the summer.
Veteran Army Wives has enjoyed a ratings resurgence in its current Season 5, which continues with Episode 9 this Sunday. Its season premiere averaged 4.2 million viewers, up 27% from the fourth-season debut last April. A month ago, Army Wives posted a series high in total viewers with 4.8 million viewers. Season to date, the series is averaging 3.7 million viewers and ranks as the top-rated drama on cable among women 18-49. Read More »
Fox made the renewal official this morning after star David Boreanaz broke the news via Twitter last night.
FOX has renewed the hit series BONES for a seventh season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.“BONES is creatively fresh, it’s a rock-solid player
… Read More »
Given that the last time around Bones‘ two-year renewal closed hours before Fox’s upfront presentation after long and sometimes contentious license-fee negotiations, this time the two sides seem ahead of schedule with a pickup two weeks before the upfronts. “Season 7 is GO for Bones,” star David Boreanaz tweeted tonight. … Read More »
The CW Network just gave early pickup to almost all of its returning series, including reality veteran America’s Next Top Model, which has been renewed for 2 more cycles, including its first ever All-Star edition in the fall. … Read More »
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At FX’s upfront party in New York, which is going on right now, the network’s president John Landgraf announced a third-season renewal for Archer. The animated comedy has received a 16-episode order, with three episodes slated to run behind It’s Always … Read More »
While FX executives are clearly disappointed by the audience’s rejection of the critically praised freshman drama Lights Out, which was canceled today, they are pretty happy with the performance of sophomore Justified. So much that they are close to renewing … Read More »
That’s pretty good for a second lease on life: Comedy Central is finalizing a deal for a 26-episode seventh-season pickup of Futurama. Comedy Central resurrected Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s animated sci-fi comedy in 2009, six years after it … Read More »
All of NBC’s returning Thursday comedies will be coming back next year. The network today renewed veteran The Office (sans Steve Carell), Parks and Recreation (with Rob Lowe) and Community for next season. They join 30 Rock, which was given … Read More »
Carson Daly, who recently landed a primetime NBC gig hosting the new reality series The Voice, has also secured his late-night job at the network. NBC has renewed late-night show Last Call with Carson Daly for the 2011-12 season, Last … Read More »