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‘The Mentalist’ Explores New Network Homes In Case CBS Does Not Renew Series

By | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 2:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The Golden HammerWith The Mentalist‘s future at CBS in serious doubt, I hear the studio behind the veteran drama, Warner Bros TV, has been quietly shopping the series to other networks, garnering some preliminary interest from broadcast and cable. Taking in a 6-year-old high-end drama is not an easy proposition, but WBTV is ready to explore every possible avenue — that’s how important a property The Mentalist is to the studio with its $2 million-plus-per-episode off-network deal at TNT and big international sales including France, where it is the No. 1 scripted series.

Related: On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

In a situation like that, having a sibling network comes in handy. CBS stepped in when NBC cancelled CBS Studios-produced drama Medium after five seasons, keeping the series and its lucrative off-network deal alive for two more years. When NBC was exploring ending Law & Order: Criminal Intent after six seasons, the series, produced by NBCUniversal, instead moved to sibling USA, which already was carrying CI reruns. The Law & Order spinoff ended up going for four more seasons. The Mentalist wouldn’t be a fit for the only WBTV-affiliated broadcast network, the young skewing CW, making cable sibling TNT the best possible option. Like with L&O: CI and USA, TNT already is the off-network home of The Mentalist and has a slate of crime procedurals. However, the net has been pulling away from the genre lately, putting an emphasis on action-adventure fare in the vein of Falling Skies with such shows as the upcoming The Last Ship and Legends, and I hear it might not be interested in picking up The Mentalist originals (though parent Time Warner could conceivably intervene if the larger company’s financial interest is at stake). Among the major broadcast networks, ABC is said to be open to considering a pickup though it is expected to evaluate its own development first. The network has had success with a similar comedic procedural, Castle, and it also has struggled launching dramas at 10 PM for the past couple of seasons.

Related: CBS Renews 9 Drama Series, 5 Comedies; No ‘Mentalist’ Or ‘Crazy Ones’

When The Mentalist premiered in 2008, it drew comparisons to USA‘s Psych, also a light crime procedural about a fake psychic helping the police. Psych just ended its eight-season run, so there is a vacancy there. But, like TNT, USA too has been moving away from character-based procedurals as it has been showing affinity for edgier dramas, and I hear it likely would not be pursuing The Mentalist. Read More »

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Univision Picks Up Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony & Simon Fuller’s ‘¡Q’Viva!’ Series

By | Wednesday October 19, 2011 @ 4:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Leading U.S. Spanish-language network Univision has picked up Latin American talent competition series ¡Q’Viva! The Chosen, from American Idol creator Simon Fuller, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, and Jamie King. Also locked in by distributor Endemol are media giant Televisa in Mexico, where the show will air on Televisa’s flagship network Canal de las Estrellas, and leading network Caracol TV in Colombia. The Chosen, which is currently being filmed in English, Spanish and Portuguese, is slated to air simultaneously in 21 countries in the first quarter of 2012.

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Sundance: ‘Margin Call’ To Roadside Attractions And Lionsgate

Mike Fleming

The JC Chandor-directed drama Margin Call sold to Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate after an all night bargaining session. The film stars Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell and Stanley Tucci. That cast alone had buyers circling the modestly-budgeted film because of its ancillary prospects. Talk last night had the film in the low-seven figure range, and plans for a theatrical release that’s described as a joint release between the companies. I haven’t heard deal figures yet, but the film becomes the second Sundance sale, after Like Crazy sold to Paramount and Indian Paintbrush.

The Margin Call deal was brokered by Cassian Elwes and UTA’s Rena Ronson, with Roadside’s Howard Cohen and Lionsgate’s Steve Beeks. The film premieres Tuesday night at the Eccles. Chandor wrote the script, which takes place in a 24-hour period at the start of the financial collapse of 2008. A group of characters at a financial firm make decisions that have moral implications as the firm teeters on the brink of collapse. Myriad Pictures is selling international, and brokered many of those deals at AFM.

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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Mentalist’ Star Simon Baker Signs $30+ Mil Deal With Warner Bros TV

By | Friday December 24, 2010 @ 8:32pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Patrick Jane would have a good feeling about this: I hear The Mentalist star Simon Baker is finalizing a new deal with the series producer Warner Bros Television that would net him more than $30 million for his services on the CBS drama, including money he is currently paid. Under the pact, I hear Baker would add one additional year to his current six-year contract and would get an additional piece of the show’s backend. The Mentalist was sold in off-network syndication in November 2009 in a rich deal with TNT that is fetching Warner Bros. $2.2 million-$2.3 million an episode. As part of the new deal with Warner Bros. TV, Baker will also get a producer credit on the show beginning in Season 5.

The Mentalist launched as the top new series of the 2008-09 season. For the past 2 seasons, it has been airing on Thursday at 10 PM as one of very few dramas that perform solidly in the 10 PM hour dominated by DVR viewing. Season to date, The Mentalist has averaged 16 million viewers and a 3.5 rating among adults 18-49, down 6% and 15% from last year, respectively. The series, in which Baker stars as Patrick Jane, an unorthodox consultant to the California Bureau of Investigation, ranks as one of most DVR-ed programs on TV, regularly adding some 3 million extra viewers from playback viewing.

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Jeremy Irons Answers The ‘Margin Call’

Mike Fleming

jeremy-irons-20080715-436952Jeremy Irons is the final piece of an impressive cast for Margin Call, the indie film by director JC Chandor that is shooting in New York City. Irons is the chief executive of a financial firm in a 24-hour period during the first signs of the near collapse on Wall Street. Irons joins Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Paul Bettany, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Stanley Tucci and Mary McDonnell. Chandor wrote the script, and Quinto is producing with his Before The Door Pictures partners Neal Dodson and Corey Moosa, and Benaroya Pictures’ Michael Benaroya and Robert Ogden Barnum and Joe Jenckes. Myriad Pictures is selling international territories on the film, with Myriad CEO Kirk D’Amico exec producing. The film is three weeks into its shoot.

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