EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Showtime has bought for development Yank, a half-hour comedy written by Sex And The City alums Elisa Zuritsky and Julie Rottenberg and to be directed by Ugly Betty Emmy winner Richard Shepard. Yank, from Fox 21, is centered on a young man who ventures out of his sheltered, ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to pursue his passion of becoming a stand-up comedian. He embarks on a double life in the foreign world that is only steps from his home — New York City — and earnestly attempts to live simultaneously in the diametrically opposed worlds. “We’ve always been fascinated by the question of how our families’ expectations have and haven’t shaped our lives,” Rottenberg said. “We realized that this is the most extreme version of a family sending a very clear signal of exactly who you’re supposed to be. But what happens if you have your own plans?”
Showtime Buys Comedy About An Aspiring Jewish Stand-up From Elisa Zuritsky, Julie Rottenberg, Richard Shepard & Olé
Richard Shepard has boarded WGN America‘s first scripted series, drama Salem, as director and executive producer. Shepard will serve as director and executive producer on the project, part of his deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Salem, from Brannon Braga, Adam Simon and Fox21, is set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts and explores what really fueled the town’s infamous witch trials and dares to uncover the dark, supernatural truth hiding behind the veil of this infamous period in American history. Salem has a 13-episode order and is slated to begin production in the fall in Louisiana for a 2014 premiere. Shepard, repped by WME, Anonymous Content, and Karl Austen, has directed the pilots for Criminal Minds, Ugly Betty (for which he won both an Emmy and a DGA Award), and most recently Golden Boy. His movie Dom Hemingway will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.
EXCLUSIVE: Olé, the TV production company of director Richard Shepard and producers Sean Furst and Bryan Furst is setting shop at 20th Century Fox TV after a two-year stint at CBS TV Studios. “Richard is a fantastic and versatile director with whom every network wants to be in business, and Sean and Bryan are incredibly talented producers known for smart and distinctive projects,” 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman said. “They share our passion for bold, creatively adventurous television and we think this deal with Olé is going to be an enormously successful partnership.” Added the Fursts, “We are extremely excited and energized as we begin this new alliance with 20th Television, which has produced some of the most compelling television in recent years.”
At CBS Studios, Olé produced the newly picked up CW series Star-Crossed and is developing the family real estate business dramedy Hot Property for ABC Family. Under the new deal, Olé’s Meredith Ditlow has been elevated to Director of Development.
BREAKING: Fox Searchlight, which was uncharacteristically quiet at Cannes, has just made a buy. Searchlight presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley have closed a deal for North American and a few other territories on the Richard Shepard-directed Dom Hemingway. The darkly comic crime saga stars Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir and Emilia Clarke. Jeremy Thomas produced through Recorded Picture Company and the film will be released next year. “We were so attracted to this film, with its rich array of characters and sharp dialogue. Jude Law’s clever and outrageous performance as Dom is completely transformative, unlike anything you have seen him do before,” said Utley and Gilula.
Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Co. released this photo of Jude Law and Richard E. Grant on location in the South of France shooting writer-director Richard Shepard’s black comedy Dom Hemingway. Law plays a notorious safecracker looking for payback from a crime boss played by Demian Bichir. Emilia Clarke, Jumyan Hunter and Madalina Ghenea also star.
Emmy-winning director Richard Shepard is set to direct and executive produce the CBS pilot Golden Boy. The drama, written and executive produced by Nicholas Wootton and executive produced by Greg Berlanti, hails from Warner Bros TV and studio-based Berlanti Prods. It is a show about the making of a man — it tracks one cop’s meteoric rise from officer to detective to Police Commissioner. In addition to directing, Shepard will executive produce the pilot. He has been loaned out from CBS TV Studios, where Olé, his production company with Sean and Bryan Furst, is under a deal. Shepard, an Emmy winner for directing the pilot for ABC’s Ugly Betty, most recently directed the pilot for the CW’s Ringer. He also directed the pilots for Criminal Minds and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Without a Trace and The Defenders showrunner Greg Walker has sold a second drama project to CBS this season. Red on Red, from CBS TV Studios and Richard Shepard and Sean Furst and Bryan Furst’s Olé, is based on the book by Edward Conlon. It centers on a young hungry detective who is asked to inform on his new partner who is a legend in the NYPD. Walker is writing the script, with Shepard attached to direct. The two are executive producing with Sean & Bryan Furst. This is one of two sales Olé has made under the two-year deal with CBS Studios the company inked in June. It has sold another detective drama to CBS penned by Jennie Snyder-Urman (90210), who wrote Olé’s CW presentation Danni Lowinski last season. The untitled show is about a divorced husband-and-wife detective team in Miami who reunite to solve cases.
For Walker, this also is the second drama project at CBS/CBS Studios this season. He also has Ralph Lamb, which he is co-writing with Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi. James Mangold is attached to direct the show, which is based on the true story of Ralph Lamb, a cowboy-turned-Las Vegas sheriff in the 1960s and ’70s. Red on Red is the first fiction book by Conlon, a detective with …
EXCLUSIVE: Olé, the TV production company launched in September by director Richard Shepard and producers Sean Furst & Bryan Furst, is putting down roots at CBS Television Studios with an exclusive two-year deal. The studio had been handling Olé’s development under Shepard’s overall deal there. Now the two sides have formalized their relationship with a pod agreement. Shepard, an Emmy winner for directing the pilot for ABC’s Ugly Betty, most recently directed the pilot for Ringer, the upcoming CW series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar produced by CBS Studios. He also directed the pilots for the CBS Studios co-produced Criminal Minds and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. “I’ve had a great run at CBS Television Studios,” says Shepard. “And the fact that they are so supportive of all my interests makes continuing and expanding the relationship with our producing company Olé a no-brainer.”
Shepard and the Fursts met on the Pierce Brosnan-starring film The Matador, which the Fursts produced and Shepard wrote and directed, and then worked together again on the HBO documentary I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale before forming Olé. Within weeks, the company set up two projects, including the Shepard-written Corkscrew, which was sold to Showtime. Under the new deal, the Olé partners will “focus heavily on getting entertaining, character-driven shows on the air,” Sean and Bryan Furst said.
Richard Shepard, who won an Emmy for directing the pilot of ABC’s Ugly Betty, has come on board to direct another hourlong pilot with a female lead, CBS’ Ringer starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Ringer, written on spec by Eric Charmelo & Nicole Snyder, centers on a troubled young woman (Gellar) who, while on the run from the mob, hides out by inhabiting the life of her wealthy twin sister. Shepard’s gig on Ringer stems from his overall deal at CBS TV Studios, which produces the pilot. This is WME-repped Shepard’s second pilot this season; he also directed CW’s Danni Lowinski. Shepard previously helmed the pilots for CBS’ Criminal Minds and its upcoming spinoff Criminal Behavior.
Marc Buckland, who won an Emmy for directing the pilot for NBC’s My Name Is Earl, is back at NBC as director of the drama pilot Grimm. Created by David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, it is described as a dark but fantastical cop drama about a world in which characters inspired by Grimm’s Fairy Tales exist. ICM-repped Buckland, who served as an exec producer on Earl, has also worked on drama series, including Murder One and Medical Investigation.
BREAKING: Rosalie Swedlin has left an 11-year run at Industry Entertainment to join Anonymous Content as manager and producer. Current clients making the move with Swedlin include David Frankel, Richard Shepard, Lynn Shelton, Nigel Cole, Kirsten Sheridan, Gary Winick, Michael Engler, Tommy Schlamme, Jane Anderson and John Riggi. Swedlin will also bring several of her film and TV projects with her. Swedlin left ICM to join Industry in 1999, and produced Clockers, Red Corner and the HBO film Live from Baghdad. Swedlin started at CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: The CW is finalizing a deal to pick up Danni Lowinski, an hourlong dramedy pilot based on the German series of the same name. Jennie Snyder Urman (90210) has been enlisted to write the adaptation, which is being produced by CBS TV Studios. While the script is yet to be written, the project is being fast-tracked for midseason consideration with a pilot order based on extensive source material
EXCLUSIVE: Writer/director Richard Shepard has teamed with producers Sean Furst and Bryan Furst to launch television production shingle Olé. The new company has already set up two series projects, including Corkscrew at Showtime, which Shepard is writing and directing. Both projects are produced by CBS TV Studios which will handle Olé’s development under Shepard’s overall deal there.
Shepard’s spec Corkscrew, which he describes as “a black comic look at marriage,” was one of the firsts script that new Showtime entertainment president David Nevins read after he joined the network 2 months ago. It represents Emmy-winning director Shepard’s first foray into TV writing. (On the feature side, he has written and directed such features as The Matadors and The Hunting Party). In fact, Corkscrew was first envisioned as a feature before Shepard converted it into a TV series project with the scripts for the first 2 episodes written on spec.
Olé ‘s other project is an untitled medical drama from writers Jennifer Levin and Sherri Cooper, which recently sold to CBS. Shepard, Sean and Bryan Furst are exec producing with Cooper and Levin.
Shepard, who won an Emmy for directing the pilot of Ugly Betty, has also helmed the pilots for CBS’ Criminal Minds, and its upcoming spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. Shepard said he had been looking for awhile to parlay his experience directing pilots …
Brothers & Sisters writer-producers Sherri Cooper and Jennifer Levin left the long-running ABC drama to focus on development. And this summer, they inked a two-script deal with CBS TV Studios. In a development season in which the medical genre has been hot, Cooper and Levin are now 2-for-2. They’ve sold two medical dramas: one to CBS with director-producer Richard Shepard attached, and another to the CW with Carol Mendelsohn on board as executive producer.