Neal H. Moritz has signed an overall deal with CBS Television Studios for his Original Film banner. Under the pact, Moritz and Vivian Cannon will develop and executive produce one-hour and half-hour series projects. In TV, Original was previously based at Sony, where Moritz also has a long-standing relationship on the feature side. Through Sony TV, Moritz and Cannon most recently executive produced Showtime’s The Big C and NBC’s Save Me. Moritz previously executive produced the Fox/20th drama Prison Break. In features Moritz, producer of the hit Fast And Furious franchise, has the upcoming R.I.P.D. starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. He is repped by UTA for television and attorney Howard Abramson.
NBC Sets Summer Premiere Dates For Bear Grylls Reality Series & ‘American Ninja Warrior’, Scripted Series ‘Camp’ & ‘Save Me’
As previously announced, America’s Got Talent returns for an eighth season on Tuesday, June 4. The veteran variety series will add Wednesday 9-10 PM editions on July 10 when it will be followed by the premiere of Camp, a new summer lower-budget dramedy set at a summer camp, shot in Australia and featuring all-Australian cast. Airing in the Wednesday 10 PM slot, it stars Rachel Griffiths and hails from creators Liz Heldens and Peter Elkoff, Matchbox Pictures and BermanBraun.
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has hit the pause button on midseason comedy series Save Me starring Anne Heche after two episodes for a major behind-the-scenes changeover. Alexa Junge, who joined the project after the pilot as executive producer/showrunner, is out. Production on the series has been put on hold while a new showrunner is put in place. I hear talks are underway with The Big C creator/executive producer Darlene Hunt to take over the reins of the show, produced by Sony TV and Original Film. The single-camera comedy, created by John Scott Shepherd, stars Heche as a woman who lets herself — and her marriage — go until she undergoes an “awakening” that transforms her spiritually and physically into a desirable and outspoken woman who just might be channeling god.
Save Me has not been scheduled, allowing NBC to take time and re-examine the series’ creative direction. The project has been a favorite of the network’s brass from the get-go, and I hear they are very invested in the show. Save Me was originally developed by NBC’s head of comedy Tal Rabinowitz while she was SVP comedy at Sony TV. It was initially set up at Showtime just as current NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt was leaving the pay cable network in 2010. Save Me was the second pilot greenlighted by NBC last season, only behind comedy Go On.
NEW COMEDIES & DRAMAS FOR 2012-13 NBC PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
Sitcoms expand to four nights this fall including Tuesday and Friday nights. New dramas from Dick Wolf and JJ Abrams. Here’s your first look:
NBC’s Save Me - Comedy
Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Original Film. Novelist John Scott Shepherd is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Scott Winant and executive producers Neal H. Moritz, Vivian Cannon, and Alexa Junge:
NBC’s 1600 Penn - Comedy
Produced by 20th Century Fox. From executive producer/director Jason Winer. The executive producers are Winer (who also directed the pilot), Gad and former White House speechwriter Jon Lovett:
2ND UPDATE: ‘1600 Penn’, ‘Animal Practice’, ‘New Normal’, ‘Revolution’ & ‘Save Me’ Picked Up To Series At NBC
UPDATE 7 PM: NBC has picked up two more single-camera comedy series, 1600 Penn and Animal Practice (form. Animal Kingdom). That brings the number of new NBC series orders today to five, four comedies: 1600 Penn, Animal Practice, Save Me and The New Normal, and one drama, the JJ Abrams-produced Revolution. Animal Practice, from writers Brian Gatewood and Alex Tanaka, Universal TV and American Work, centers on a “House”-like veterinarian (Justin Kirk), who loves animals but usually hates their owners (especially the new woman who runs the clinic). Tyler Labine, Bobby Lee and Amy Huberman co-star. 1600 Penn, from 20th TV, is a family comedy set in the White House. Josh Gad co-created the show with Jon Lovett and is starring. Bill Pullman, Jenna Elfman and Martha MacIsaac co-star. The pilot was directed by Jason Winer, who also directed the pilots for two comedy series on the air, ABC’s Modern Family and Don’t Trust The B. Ditto for Animal Practice helmers Anthony and Joe Russo who also directed the pilots for NBC’s Community and ABC’s Happy Endings and serve as executive producers on both.
UPDATE, 2:20 PM: The Ryan Murphy-Ali Adler single-camera comedy pilot The New Normal and the JJ Abrams-Eric Kripke action drama Revolution also have received series orders from NBC. Co-written by Murphy and Adler and directed by Murphy, The New Normal is described as a heartwarming comedy about a blended family of a gay couple — Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) — and a cash-strapped waitress and mother of one Goldie (Georgia King) who becomes a surrogate to help them have a child. Co-starring in the 20th Century Fox TV-produced project is Ellen Barkin as Goldie’s glamorous/bigoted grandmother. Like the other newly picked up NBC comedy series Save Me and Go On, The New Normal also has been eyed for an early launch after the Olympics in August.
Written by Kripke, directed by Jon Favreau and produced by Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warner Bros TV, Revolution is described as a high-octane action drama following a group of characters struggling to survive and reunite with loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist. Billy Burke plays the lead, with Giancarlo Esposito, Tracy Spiradakos, Graham Rogers and Anna Lise co-starring. Both New Normal and Revolution were already on track for pickup as they had been allowed to make staffing offers. This marks Abrams’ return to NBC two years after the brief run of his spy drama Undercovers.
NBC has released the first images from the two pilots it has picked up to series so far: single-camera comedies Go On and Save Me. The images feature stars Matthew Perry and Anne Heche, respectively, as well as gallery shots of the casts. (Click on the pictures for larger view.) Go On stars Perry as an irreverent yet charming sportscaster who tries to move on from loss with the help of the members of his mandatory group therapy sessions. Save Me stars Heche as a woman who lets herself – and her marriage – go until she undergoes an “awakening” that transforms her into a desirable and outspoken woman who just might be channeling god.
Related: ‘Save Me’ Picked Up To Series At NBC
NBC’s new Matthew Perry comedy series Go On and returning drama Grimm, already earmarked for an early launch immediately following the network coverage of the London Olympics, may be joined by two other new comedies, the Anne Heche starrer Save Me and the Ryan Murphy/Ali Adler blended family half-hour The New Normal. The August series launches are part of NBC’s strategy to take advantage of the monster promotional platform the Olympics provide.
(RE-POSTED FROM FRIDAY): Back by popular demand: Deadline’s Pilot Buzz lists. We’re earlier than normal this year while pilots have generally been late, with only a handful of them having cuts by now and the vast majority still in various stages of production. Therefore, everything on this list has to be taken with a gigantic grain of salt as a lot could change between a table read and a final cut. Take NBC’s comedy pilot SAVE ME for example. After some mixed and even negative chatter early on, mostly related to the tone of the show, originally developed for Showtime, the tide changed completely over the last two days when people saw the completed pilot, which is getting high marks. The list also doesn’t cover every pilot as some of them have not gotten into production yet or feedback has been insufficient:
The network already has one new scripted series on tap for next season, HANNIBAL, which I hear may go for midseason. With the network in such bad shape after years of neglect and bad decisions by previous regimes, NBC seems to have cast a very wide net this season, developing a vast range of projects that are all over the map, making it harder to handicap. On the drama side, mystery MIDNIGHT SUN and the Jekyll & Hyde-esque DO NO HARM are getting some solid early buzz. The Jason Katims/Jason Ritter medical drama COUNTY, which just wrapped, also has been getting positive feedback. Western-esque THE FRONTIER, which is shooting in Australia, is getting notices for its rich look. Comedy-wise, ANIMAL KINGDOM is hot, as is White House family comedy 1600 PENN, despite a last-minute recasting, as well as the Matthew Perry starrer GO ON and Greg Daniels’ FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER. The network also is high on a couple of multi-camera comedies, the untitled KARI LIZER and JIMMY FALLON projects, with TABLE FOR THREE also looking encouraging so far. The Ryan Murphy/Ali Adler blended family comedy THE NEW NORMAL is still shooting but, with the auspices involved, it is considered a strong contender. NBC brass seem to like the SARAH SILVERMAN pilot, which had an early order, but Silverman is considered acquired taste, so a lot will depend on testing.
The KEVIN WILLIAMSON project was very strong at the script stage, got even stronger with the casting of Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, and seems to be sailing through production. Meanwhile the untitled KARYN USHER teen-spy drama, which also was an early standout during the script phase, then hit a speed bump in casting the lead, which took a very long time, now appears to be in great shape, with newcomer Saxon Sharbino getting strong reviews. The Williamson and Karyn projects seem to be the top drama contenders at the moment,
Party Down and Veronica Mars alum Ryan Hansen has landed the lead in the Fox comedy pilot El Jefe. The project, from writers David Guarascio & Moses Port and Sony TV, centers on an affable but lost 30-year-old (Hansen) who, tossed out of his Brentwood home, moves in with his longtime Latin American nanny and goes head to head with her strong-willed son and finds himself in a family and work life very different than the ones he grew up in. Gersh-repped Hansen recently co-starred on NBC’s Friends With Benefits.
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Landes and Alexandra Breckenridge have joined Anne Heche in the NBC comedy pilot Save Me. The single-camera project from writer John Scott Shepherd, Sony Pictures TV and Neal Moritz’s studio-based Original Films, centers on Beth Harper (Heche) who, after an accident, starts to believe she is channeling God. Landes will play her husband Tom, an manager at an upscale hotel. Breckenridge will play Carly, a laid-off high school student counselor with a master’s in psychology who works as a concierge at Tom’s hotel and serves as his therapist and lover. Breckenridge, repped by the Kohner Agency and KLWGN, is coming off a co-starring role on FX’s American Horror Story. Landes is with CAA and Untitled.
EXCLUSIVE: After a lengthy search, Anne Heche has been tapped to star in Save Me, lifting the contingency on the NBC comedy pilot, which will now go into production. Heche will also serve as a producer on the single-camera project from writer John Scott Shepherd, Sony Pictures TV and Neal Moritz’s studio-based Original Films. Save Me centers on a woman (Heche) who, after an accident, starts to believe that she is channeling God. The project, which received a cast-contingent pilot order by NBC in September, was originally developed by NBC’s head of comedy Tal Rabinowitz while she was SVP Comedy at Sony TV and was initially set up at Showtime just as current NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt was leaving the pay cable network in 2010. Shepherd is executive producing with Original Films’ Moritz and Vivian Cannon as well as Scott Winant (Californication). Men In Trees alumna Heche, repped by UTA and Untitled, most recently co-starred on the dark comedy Hung, which had a three-season run on HBO. Save Me now joins two other NBC comedy pilots with formal green light: Isabel, which is filming, and the recently picked up Kari Lizer female buddy comedy.
NBC Nears Cast-Contingent Pilot Order To John Scott Shepherd/Neal Moritz Comedy
NBC has closed the deal for a cast-contingent, off-cycle pilot order to comedy Save Me. The single-camera project hails from writer John Scott Shepherd, Sony Pictures TV and Neal Moritz’s studio-based Original Films. Save Me centers on a woman who, after an accident, starts to believe that she is channeling God. The project was originally developed by NBC’s head of comedy Tal Rabinowitz while she was SVP comedy at Sony TV. Save Me was initially set up at Showtime just as current NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt was leaving the pay cable network last summer. Shepherd is executive producing with Original Films’ Moritz and Vivian Cannon as well as Scott Winant (Californication). Save Me reunites many key auspices who worked together on the Showtime comedy series The Big C, including Greenblatt, who developed and greenlighted the series at Showtime; Rabinowtz, who developed it at Sony TV; as well as Sony and Original Film, which are producing the dark comedy starring Laura Linney.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that NBC is finalizing a deal for an off-cycle pilot order to single-camera comedy Save Me. The order to the project, from writer John Scott Shepherd, Sony Pictures TV and Neal Morirz’s studio-based Original Films banner, is cast-contingent. Save Me centers on a woman who, after an accident, starts to believe that she is channeling God. The project was originally developed at Showtime. Shepherd is executive producing with Original Films’ Moritz and Vivian Cannon as well as Scott Winant (Californication). Shepherd, whose credits include the features Joe Somebody and Life or Something Like It and the ABC series The Days, wrote the 2009 ABC drama pilot See Kate Run. This is the second project to get a pilot order by NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt after being originally developed at Showtime. The first was Smash, which Greenblatt first shepherded at the pay cable network during his stint there. At NBC, the musical drama was eventually picked up to series and is slated for a midseason launch behind reality hit The Voice. Additionally, Greenblatt and Sony/Original Film worked together on the Showtime comedy series The Big C. This is the second off-cycle pilot order so far this season, following ABC’s deal for The Manzanis, a multi-camera family comedy written by sitcom veterans Marco Pennette and Dave Flebotte, which has Kirstie Alley attached to star.