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Pilot ‘Songbyrd’ Not Going Forward At E!

By | Tuesday May 27, 2014 @ 5:45pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

NBCUniversal LogosE! has passed on its music-themed drama pilot Songbyrd, created/exec produced by Krista Vernoff and exec produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Songbyrd was one of E!’s first two scripted pilots, along with drama The Royals. When The Royals was picked up to series in early March, Songbyrd was left in contention and last was featured in E!’s upfront slate  at the end of March. Songbyrd, which originally was developed for NBC, centers on songwriter Lauren Byrd (Bethany Joy Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Diane Warren. Lauren, writer of hit love songs, employs a small staff, including her sister Mickey (Rumer Willis), to enable and manage her eccentric yet wildly successful process.

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2014 E! Pilots
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Rory O’Malley Joins FX Series ‘Braddock & Jackson’, Wes Brown In E! Pilot ‘Songbyrd’

By | Monday January 6, 2014 @ 6:44pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

roryomalleyRory O’Malley, member of the original Broadway cast of The Book of Mormon, is set to co-star opposite Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence in Braddock & Jackson, FX/Lionsgate’s 10-episode comedy series starring Grammer and Lawrence as Chicago lawyers from vastly different backgrounds who develop a partnership after they unexpectedly meet in court on the worst day of their lives. O’Malley, repped by Gersh, Brillstein Entertainment and Peikoff Mahan Law, will play he irreverent office manager of Grammer and Lawrence’s law firm. He has appeared on Nurse Jackie and 1600 Penn.
wesbrownWes Brown (NBC’s Deception) has been cast as a regular  in E!’s music-themed pilot Songbyrd, created/exec produced by Krista Vernoff and exec produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. It centers on songwriter Lauren Byrd (Bethany Joy Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Diane Warren, and her staff. Brown, repped by Abrams Artists Aand Abrams Entertainment, will play Justin, Lauren’s sexy, soulful, love interest. He next stars in Hallmark Channel Original Movie June In January, which premieres on January 18.

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Andrew McCarthy To Direct E! Pilot ‘Songbyrd’

By | Wednesday December 4, 2013 @ 6:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

mccarthyEXCLUSIVE: Actor-director Andrew McCarthy is set to direct E!’s pilot Songbyrd. This marks the pilot directing debut of McCarthy, who replaces the project’s original director Michael Morris who fell out a month ago. The music-themed Songbyrd, created/exec produced by Krista Vernoff and exec produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, centers on songwriter Lauren Byrd (Bethany Joy Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Diane Warren, and her staff. Eighties heartthrob McCarthy has been focusing on TV directing for the past couple of years, most recently helming three episodes of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. He is with Verve.

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Director Michael Morris Exits E! Pilot ‘Songbyrd’ Amid Scandal

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 12:45pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Michael Morris has fallen out of directing Songbyrd, one of E!‘s first two scripted pilots. Morris, who previously directed seven episodes of NBC’s Smash, was to reunite with Smash executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who executive produce the music-themed Songbyrd that centers on songwriter Lauren Byrd (Bethany Joy Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Diane Warren, and her staff. The move comes amid controversy surrounding photos released on Tuesday of Morris, a married father of three, kissing Smash star Katharine McPhee. Ironically, Morris’ most recent credit is directing the second episode of ABC’s new drama Betrayal, which chronicles an extramarital affair.

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John David Washington To Co-Star In HBO’s ‘Ballers’, Robert Hoffman In E!’s ‘Songbyrd’

By | Monday October 21, 2013 @ 4:36pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Denzel Washington‘s son John David Washington is following in his father’s footsteps with his first major acting role, signing on as a regular in the HBO pilot Ballers toplined by Dwayne Johnson. Also cast in the half-hour dramedy, which chronicles the lives of several Miami-based athletes, is former Bruins player Donovan Carter. Washington will play Ricky, a highly competitive and highly spiritual pro athlete. Carter will play Vernon, a deeply family oriented pro athlete. Washington, whose only previous acting credit is a small part in his dad’s 1992 movie Malcolm X, played football in college and did a stint with NFL’s St. Louis Rams.  Read More »

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Rumer Willis Joins E! Pilot ‘Songbyrd’

By | Wednesday September 25, 2013 @ 11:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

In her first series regular role, Rumer Willis is set to co-star opposite  Bethany Joy Lenz in one of E!’s first two scripted pilots, the Krista Vernoff/Diane Warren drama Songbyrd executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. It centers on Lauren Byrd (Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Warren. Lauren, writer of hit love songs, employs a small staff, including her sister Mickey (Willis), to enable and manage her eccentric yet wildly successful process. Mickey is a smart, somewhat introverted young woman who is trying to figure out what’s next in her life after an “episode” forced her to drop out of law school. She now works for her sister, helping her keep her life together as she secretly works on her own singing and songwriting. Uni TV is co-producing with Universal Cable Prods; Michael Morris is directing. On TV, Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, is best known for her recurring role on 90210. She also has been trying her hand at singing (see video below). Read More »

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Bethany Joy Lenz To Play The Lead In E! Pilot ‘Songbyrd’, Maulik Pancholy Joins ‘HR’

By | Monday September 23, 2013 @ 12:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Bethany Joy Lenz (Dexter) has landed the lead in one of E!’s first two scripted pilots, the Krista Vernoff/Diane Warren drama Songbyrd executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. It centers on Lauren Byrd (Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Warren. Lauren, writer of hit love songs, employs a small staff, including her sister, to enable and manage her eccentric yet wildly successful process. But when her ex-fiance reveals himself to be less than the man she remembers, she realizes that she can no longer live in the past and must find a new, true inspiration for her sake and those around her. Uni TV is co-producing with Universal Cable Prods; Michael Morris is directing. Lenz is with Gersh, Untitled and attorney Adam Kaller. Read More »

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E! Nears First Scripted Pilot Orders For Krista Vernoff/Diane Warren’s ‘Songbyrd’, Mark Schwahn’s Hamlet Drama ‘The Royals’

By | Tuesday June 25, 2013 @ 3:52pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that E! is finalizing deals for its first two scripted pilots. The orders, which will be be cast-contingent, are going to dramas Songbyrd, from writer Krista Vernoff (Grey’s Anatomy), top songwriter Diane Warren and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and The Royals, from Lionsgate TV and the One Tree Hill team of creator Mark Schwahn and producers Brian Robbins & Joe Davola. Both projects were part of E!’s most recent scripted slate unveiled at the network’s upfront in April. Entering the scripted space had been a priority for E! under its new NBCUniversal leadership team led by Bonnie Hammer. Sibling cable channel Bravo has been on a similar path and recently produced its first scripted pilot, drama Rita.

Songbyrd was originally developed at E! sibling NBC by Universal TV this past development season. It centers on Lauren Byrd, a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Warren. Lauren, writer of hit love songs, employs a small staff, including her sister, to enable and manage her eccentric, yet wildly successful process. Read More »

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E! Developing Scripted Projects From Diane Warren, Josh Schwartz, Kevin Spacey, Mark Schwahn, Ryan Seacrest & Gale Anne Hurd

By | Monday April 22, 2013 @ 6:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Last April, E! announced its first scripted slate as the reality/entertainment news-driven cable network signaled plans to enter the scripted space under its new NBCUniversal leadership. As E! is gearing up to greenlight its first three scripted pilots by Memorial Day, at its upfront today the network unveiled its new slate of scripted projects that come from well-known writers and producers. Several of the projects were originally developed for broadcast networks earlier this season. Those include dramedies Songbyrd, featuring the songs and experiences of songwriter Diane Warren, from producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan; and Laurel Canyon, from producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. Songbird, written by Krista Vernoff, was originally set up at E! sibling NBC; Laurel Canyon, penned by Karen Croner, was at ABC.

Related: E! Orders Reality Series, Ross Mathews Talk Show, Developing ‘Soup’ Spinoff

E!’s scripted slate also includes three projects inspired by literary classics. Expectations, inspired by Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, is from Oscar-winning writer Ron Bass (Rain Man) and producer Dan Jinks. Interestingly, there were two modern-day Great Expectations projects in development at the broadcast networks this season — one at the CW produced by Reese Witherspoon, and one at ABC produced by Debra Martin Chase — none of which went to pilot. The Royals, a take on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is written by One Tree Hill creator/exec producer Mark Schwahn who executive produces with fellow OTH executive producers Brian Robbins and Joe Davola. The Stand-In is described as a darkly psychological re-telling of Mark Twain’s The Prince & the Pauper, executive produced by Ryan Seacrest. Fortunate Son is written by Joey Falco and executive produced by Kevin Spacey and Michael De Luca, who also had a joint project on E!’s inaugural scripted slate last year. According to E!’s original plans, the network was looking to launch its first scripted series in 2013. Here are details about E! scripted shows in development, which include dramas produced by Gale Anne Hurd and Becky Hartman Edwards: Read More »

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