Sony Pictures TV‘s breakout drama The Blacklist is looking to join the elite handful of series that have been sold into off-network syndication in their first season on the air. The studio is putting together a pitch to cable networks and broadcast stations and has begun running ads in preparation for taking the NBC series out to buyers, which has not started yet. The Blacklist is a successful new broadcast procedural drama, which has been a rare breed during the past five years as the networks have gravitated toward more serialized fare. It would also be a rare non-franchise drama to sell in syndication in its freshman year. The two recent dramas to sell that quickly were CBS TV Studios’ NCIS: LA — a spinoff from a proven off-network procedural, NCIS — which sold to USA seven weeks into its run, and Hawaii Five-0, also a recognizable title being a remake of a popular cop drama, which was sold to TNT in April of the series’ first season.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic
Read More »
The Biggest Loser creator/executive producer Dave Broome has inked a two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television, the studio behind ABC reality hit Shark Tank. Broome will will create and produce unscripted television series through his company, 25/7 Prods. “Dave has a great track record of producing captivating unscripted series that resonate with viewers,” said SPT’s head of reality Holly Jacobs. A 15-year reality veteran, Broome recently wrapped ABC Family’s semi-scripted summer series, The Vineyard, and TVGN’s holiday special, Rich At Night, featuring country star John Rich. He also partnered with Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s production company, Estefan Enterprises, to produce the Spanish-language docu-series Dale Con Ganas for Univision. Broom has created and produced several digital series, including AOL’s Jocks & Jills, a co-production with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment. He also produced the sports documentary Two Days In April for Netflix.
Shawn Ryan has re-upped his three-year overall deal at Sony Pictures TV with a new three-year pact set to begin in June when the current one is up. Since moving to Sony in 2011 after more than a decade at 20th Century Fox TV, Ryan co-created and executive produced ABC drama series Last Resort and wrote/executive produced the studio’s Beverly Hills Cop pilot for CBS last season. He has two drama projects with significant commitments at the broadcast networks: an untitled 1950s Hawaii put pilot at Fox, which he is co-writing with Davey Holmes, with Justin Lin directing; and an ABC drama with Last Resort co-creator Karl Gajdusek, which has a sizable penalty. Ryan also has projects in the works on cable, including a mining town drama at HBO and FX limited series Mad Dogs, based on the British black comedy/psychological thriller miniseries. The Shield creator, repped by WME, manager Larry Shuman and attorney Michael Gendler, is developing through his MiddKidd banner alongside executive Marney Hochman who serves as exec producer on Ryan’s projects.
CNBC announced today its New Year’s Day marathon of off-net Shark Tank repeats drew its largest average audience in the news demo in six years — something you’d think CNBC would scarcely admit unless it knew it could be provided against it. And yet, there CNBC was, boasting its New Year’s Day marathon had drawn more than 4.2 million unique viewers, averaging more than 540,000 total viewers and 240,000 adults 25-54 from 8PM-2AM ET. During its peak hours, CNBC said with pride, it averaged nearly 700,000 total viewers and 300,000 adults 25-54, ranking No. 1 during the 10 PM hour among all cable news networks in 18-49, 25-54 and 35-64 demos. The 10 PM telecast was CNBC’s most-watched program in three years, while the 9 PM telecast was CNBC’s highest-rated among adults 25-54 in three years, the network bragged. Read More »
The hottest showrunner at the moment is a free agent no more. Breaking Bad creator/executive producer Vince Gilligan has signed a rich new overall deal with Sony Pictures TV, the studio behind his acclaimed AMC drama. There had been strong interest among all studios in signing Gilligan, whose Sony TV overall deal had expired. I hear it came down to Sony and Warner Bros TV, with Gilligan ultimately opting to stay at his home for the past six years. “Vince is an incredible writer and partner, and he shares our vision for the business and for the kinds of projects we’re passionate about,” said SPT president of programming and production Jamie Erlicht. “There wasn’t a world where we weren’t making this deal.”
Gilligan already has two new series with Sony TV, Battle Creek at CBS and the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul at AMC. Those projects will remain outside the eight-figure new Sony overall deal, which is strictly for television. It will cover all future TV development by The X Files alum Gilligan, who is expected to focus his attention to cable where had his biggest success with Breaking Bad. The dark AMC drama became that rare underrated cable show, which grew into a monster critical and commercial hit and a pop culture phenomenon. The first part … Read More »
Here’s an original idea: A horror-themed game show. Sony Pictures Television‘s UK production joint venture Gogglebox created and is producing Release The Hounds, a one-hour format that mixes the two genres by sending three unsuspecting contestants into a forest at dusk as they seek out chests full of prize money. Little do they know, in order to win big, they’ll face the “scariest challenges ever endured on TV” — those include navigating a field of crucified scarecrows, descending beneath the floorboards in a deserted cabin, and reading bedtime stories in the nursery from hell. The ultimate challenge is to outrun a pack of hounds who are trained to guard the cash. ITV2 has given the first commission to the show and will air the UK version as a special later this month, in time for Halloween. Executive producers are Gogglebox founders Adam Wood and Mat Steiner. The format will be presented to international buyers at MIPCOM next week.
Sony Pictures Television will introduce a new reality series format at MIPCOM — Milky Way Mission — which will send celebrities into space. The news comes as Survivor and The Voice producer Mark Burnett is pitching another unscripted series where the prize is flying into space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. SPT’s agreement is with Netherlands-based Space Expedition Corporation (SXC), which is launching a space travel program for civilians in 2014. Milky Way Mission, created by Tuvalu Media and Simpel Media, features 10 celebrities living in a special bootcamp where they undergo a rigorous and intensive training program in preparation to become an astronaut. (The Mark Burnett series is said to feature non-celebrity contestants). Each week the stars face a series of extreme physical and mental challenges, with final rounds taking place at the launch site in Mojave, CA. The series already has been sold to Dutch network Nederland 1, which has commissioned eight hourlong episodes. “For years people have dreamt about the possibility of a show in space,” Wayne Garvie, chief creative officer, international production at SPT said. “SPT is now poised to make that dream real.” The new TV space race comes a decade after space first became a hot reality destination with several projects, neither of which took off the ground, including Burnett’s Destination Mir and Destination Space.
ABC has put in development How To Be An Adult, a comedy from writer and Groundlings, Second City and UCB alum Nick Kreiss and Sony TV. Inspired by Kreiss’ life, the hybrid workplace comedy is about a man-child tasked with saving his family business alongside his Dad’s comically awful widow. Jamie Tarses of Sony TV-based Fanfare is executive producing with Evan Silverberg and Trevor Engelson of Underground.
A half-hour project starring comedian Sebastian Maniscalco has gone to NBC. Written by Dan Kopelman and produced by Sony TV, Lakeshore and Levity, the multi-camera project is based on his stand-up and life. Kopelman and Maniscalco, repped by UTA and manager Judi Marmel, are executive producing with Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Norm Aladjem and Judi Brown-Marmel. Scott Herbst co-exec produces. Kopelman is repped by UTA and attorney Jared Levine; Maniscalco is repped by UTA, Levity Management and attorney Gregg Gelman.
EXCLUSIVE: Besides being a comedy star, Community and The Hangover standout Ken Jeong is a licensed physician. His life before going into comedy will be the subject of Dr. Ken, a multi-camera comedy that has landed at NBC with a significant penalty. Feature comedy writer Jared Stern (The Internship) is writing the project, from Community producer Sony Pictures TV and John Davis and John Fox’s studio-based Davis Entertainment. Stern, Davis and Fox executive produce, with Jeong co-executive producing. Jeong is a regular on Community, whose upcoming fifth season is rumored to be the cult comedy’s last — but that is never certain as Community has defied the odds before. But even if Community continues for another season and Dr. Ken goes to series, things could be worked out as both shows are with NBC and Sony TV. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: NBC‘s The Blacklist, a drama about a criminal working with the FBI from Sony Pictures TV and Davis Entertainment, is among the hottest new series this fall. Now NBC, Sony and Davis Entertainment are teaming for another hourlong project about a criminal, this time set at the CIA. Written by feature writer Greg Poirier (National Treasure 2), Wolfe, which has received a script commitment with penalty, is described as a tongue-in-cheek high-stakes show that sends up the spy genre. It centers on an enterprising criminal who discovers the CIA’s biggest agent, Westley Wolfe, is actually a fake, an invented hero meant to distract the public from their recent failures. The criminal assumes the spy’s identity and steps into his sexy world-travelling life. The CIA can’t out him or else they’d be outing themselves. Poirier and Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox executive produce. In TV, Poirier, repped by WME and Anonymous Content, previously created the ABC thriller drama Missing starring Ashley Judd. Davis Entertainment has two new series on the NBC fall schedule, The Blacklist and Ironside.
Scott Landsman has been promoted to SVP, comedy development for Sony Pictures Television. He will continue to develop half-hour series for the studio, reporting to Glenn Adilman, EVP, U.S. comedy development. Landsman, previously VP, U.S. comedy development, most recently shepherded Sony TV’s upcoming comedy series The Michael J. Fox Show for NBC and The Goldbergs for ABC as well as pilots The McCarthys and the Jim Gaffigan project, which are being redeveloped at CBS. In another promotion in the department, Lauren Moffat who joined SPT in 2007, is being upped from director to VP, comedy development, also reporting to Adilman. She most recently developed new series Bad Teacher for CBS, Us & Them for Fox and Welcome To The Family for NBC. Before joining SPT, Landsman was VP, original programming and development at Comedy Central.
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy’s hot summer continues with another very big commitment for a half-hour project. In a competitive situation with multiple networks bidding, Sony TV/Peter Tolan‘s pitch Irreversible, based on the Israeli series Bilti Hafich, landed at ABC. The network has greenlighted a pilot with a big, seven-figure penalty behind it off of a pitch — a rare feat for any pitch and a first for an Israeli format. In another first for a format originating from the Middle Eastern country, Irreversible will be written solely by the Israeli co-creator of the original series Segahl Avin, who also will direct the U.S. pilot. Avin is executive producing with Fedora’s Tolan and Michael Wimer and Reshet TV, the Israeli broadcaster behind the original series. Irreversible centers on Andy and Sarah, a somewhat eccentric, self-absorbed couple, and their trials and tribulations — most of which they bring upon themselves. Bilti Hafich became an instant hit when it launched in January. It ranks as the No.1 original comedy on Israeli broadcast TV and has already been renewed for a second season. Irreversible reunites ABC, Sony TV and Reshet. Last development season, they teamed to adapt another 2013 Reshet comedy format, Divorce, which went to pilot and remains in contention at ABC after the cast’s options were extended. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline reported this week that Sony TV will produce an El Mariachi series based on the 1992 Robert Rodriguez film. Now I’ve learned that Robert Rodriguez and his reps are really pissed about it. I’m told that Sony TV execs reached out to Rodriguez only once to say that they were “thinking” about doing a TV show based on the writer-director’s trilogy of El Mariachi/Desperado/Once Upon A Time In Mexico characters. “After that they stopped returning our calls. So we thought that this had been abandoned,” one of Rodriguez’s insiders tells me. “Not only does Robert not have any involvement in this show, he wasn’t even given a ‘head’s up’on Sony’s press release. In it we noticed that Sony mentioned something about ‘staying true to the original story.’ Good luck with that without involving the creator! Not that it matters as the budget that’s allocated for the television production will make Robert’s original budget of $7,000 for El Mariachi look like Avatar. This TV series is a sloppy and lazy replica for the tourist trade, without any of the heart and soul that made the original El Mariachi win the Sundance Audience Award and become a landmark in independent cinema.” Ouch! The feeling by Team Rodriguez is that Sony TV is trying to piggyback on the hoopla surrounding Rodriguez and his English-language El … Read More »
The wandering music man of Mexico is returning to the screen – the small screen not the big one this time. Sony Pictures Television and Teleset announced today that they are adapting El Mariachi for the Latin American Market. Based on the 1992 Robert Rodriguez pic of the same name, El Mariachi the TV series will become a one-hour drama to air on Sony Entertainment TV across the region. This is the third SPT project for the market. In May, Univision announced, somewhat prematurely at first, that the company would be making a Spanish language version of Breaking Bad called Metastasis to air on the network next year. In the case of El Mariachi, Sony TV will produce 70 episodes of the scripted series to start. It is the first series to be produced by SPT and Teleset entirely in Mexico. “Much like the film, El Mariachi offers audiences a unique blend of high-stakes action and romance,” said Angélica Guerra, SPT SVP and managing director, production, Latin America and U.S. Hispanic in a statement Tuesday. “Staying true to the story, we are producing the series in Mexico shooting in magnificent locations and utilizing some of the country’s best talent.” Like the ’92 film and its 1995 sequel Desperado with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, the TV series will follow the exploits of Martin Aguirre, a musician at war with the drug cartels over … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jon Bokenkamp, the creator/executive producer of NBC‘s upcoming fall drama The Blacklist, has inked a two-year overall deal with the series’ producer Sony Pictures TV. Blacklist, which NBC said was its highest-testing drama pilot in 10 years, is set to launch Monday, September 23, in the post-The Voice slot — the network’s best time period. James Spader stars as a most-wanted fugitive who mysteriously surrenders to the FBI to help catch a terrorist under the condition that he speaks only to a rookie profiler (Megan Boone) fresh out of Quantico. Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix, Ryan Eggold and Ilfenesh Hadera star. Blacklist marks Bokenkamp’s TV debut after a feature film career that includes a story credit on this year’s Halle Berry-starring The Call, Berry’s 2007 pic Perfect Stranger and 2004′s Taking Lives starring Angelina Jolie. He is repped by ICM Partners, manager Brian Lutz, and Fred Toczek and Brian Agboh of Felker Toczek Gellman & Suddleson.
UPDATE, 9:05 AM: After a premature tweet by Starz last week, Sam Heughan was officially set today as the male lead in the upcoming drama series Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels. ”I am UTTERLY delighted to confirm that Sam @Heughan is cast as Jamie Fraser in #Outlander_Starz #Outlander“ Gabaldon said on Twitter today. ”From the very beginning, I knew the part of Jamie Fraser would be difficult to cast. I had no one in mind for the part. I knew that someone would just come into the audition and be Jamie Fraser. And that’s what Sam did,” added executive producer Ron Moore in a statement. The Scotland-born Heughan is repped by UTA and Ruth Young at United Agents. Outlander begins shooting this fall in Scotland and is expected to debut on Starz next spring.
PREVIOUSLY, FRIDAY PM: Turns out Starz says its digital division made a mistake earlier today posting the tweet confirming Sam Heughan as the lead. Starz now has taken down the tweet announcing Heughan as Jamie Fraser in the TV adaptation of the Outlander series. A press rep says the actor is in talks with no deal finalized yet. “I can’t confirm that contract is signed, but saw @heughan audition tapes. #jawdrop,” tweeted Outlander author Diana Gabaldon on Friday after Starz had taken down the initial tweet. Read More »
ABC‘s comedy Happy Endings is not going to live up to its name but has cemented its cult status with an untimely death. I hear series’ leading studio Sony Pictures TV has ended its efforts to find a new home for the underrated series as it faces the expiration of the cast’s options on Monday. Sony did try hard, starting to explore a possible future for Happy Endings well in advance of ABC’s May decision not to order a fourth season. Cable network USA, which is re-entering the half-hour comedy space this fall with off-network acquisition Modern Family, originally expressed interest in early April. It entered talks with Sony immediately after ABC made the cancellation decision the Friday before upfronts but, three weeks later, the network opted not to proceed with the pickup to focus on its original comedy series. While USA was considered the only real play for Happy Endings, Sony TV didn’t give up and continued to search for ways to keep Happy Endings until it ran out of time with the cast options.
Author Angela Wilder had sued CBS, Sony TV and Relativity Media among others in October alleging that her idea for a talk show based on motherhood was the real inspiration for CBS’ The Talk. CBS immediately refuted the claim, a seven-count suit in which Wilder said she never actually met with anyone from CBS TV Studios or RelativityReal, the producers of the daytime talk show starring Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Aisha Tyler and Julie Chen. (CBS and RelativityReal were eventually dismissed as defendants.) CBS has always said that The Talk is based on an idea by Gilbert. Said Sony today of the dismissal, filed earlier this month (read the dismissal document here): “Ms. Wilder brought her case in good faith, but after seeing all of the evidence, she decided to voluntarily drop her lawsuit with prejudice. No payment is being made to Ms. Wilder. The Sony Pictures defendants, as well as previously dismissed defendants CBS, Relativity Real and Tom Forman, have agreed not to seek any costs or fees from her.”