EXCLUSIVE: Starz is developing an U.S. adaptation of the Italian drama Romanzo Criminale. It will be written by Steven S. DeKnight, creator/showrunner of Starz’s most successful original series, Spartacus, who is serving as executive producer and showrunner as part of his overall deal with the pay cable network. Lionsgate, which previously produced Boss for Starz, is the studio, with Steve McPherson, who has a first-look deal there, executive producing alongside Scripted World’s Alon Aranya and Rob Golenberg (Betrayal). The 2008 Italian drama revolves around a gang that controls Rome’s heroin trade in the 1970s and 1980s. The U.S. adaptation will be set in Philadelphia during the turbulent era of the late sixties and early seventies. The story will chronicle the rise of a gang of working class criminals who attempt to seize the American Dream by any means necessary.
Scripted World’s Aranya and Golenberg had been eyeing Romanzo Criminale for years. They finally landed the rights about 18 months ago and took the format to Lionsgate. When the studio signed a first-look deal with McPherson in April, it attached the executive-turned-producer to the project. The drama was taken to Starz, which brought in DeKnight.
The Italian series, which aired on Sky Cinema, was based on the 2002 novel by Giancarlo De Cataldo, which in turn was inspired by the notorious Magliana gang. The series was a followup to the 2005 feature adaptation of the book directed by famous Italian actor Michele Placido (La Piovra). You can watch below a trailer for the series in Italian and one for the movie with English subtitles that better explains the setup. READ MORE »
Fox has put in development, Ball & Chain, a drama written/executive produced by Peter Ocko (Fairly Legal) and executive produced by Steve McPherson through Lionsgate TV. The project, which falls under McPherson’s first-look deals at … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Steve McPherson is betting on young new comedy voices in his first turn as a producer this season. The former ABC topper is backing a half-hour project by Juilliard graduate student Kate Gersten, which has … Read More »
For his first sale in his new role as producer, former TV executive Steve McPherson has teamed with young writer Brandon Schwartz. A half-hour project from Schwartz and McPherson has landed at Fox, where … Read More »
Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor
UPDATE, 2:57 PM: Former ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson told the court this afternoon that he approved the killing off of Nicollette Sheridan’s Edie Britt character in May 2008, months before a head-hitting incident between Sheridan and Cherry on the Desperate Housewives set. He then told Deadline after his brief appearance on the stand that he is surprised the case ever got this far. ”It’s kinda crazy,” McPherson said outside the courtroom. “Both parties are really nice people, and I’m surprised it even made it to trial,” he said. McPherson, who left ABC abruptly in 2010, declined to discuss the Cherry-Sheridan incident but told Deadline it had nothing to do with the actress leaving the series. “We made the decision to get rid of the character six or seven months before anything happened — whatever happened,” he said, echoing his testimony.
On the stand, McPherson confirmed Cherry’s and Pedowitz’s previous testimony that he gave his approval of the decision on May 22, 2008. “I was running the network, they needed my approval to kill of the character”, he told the jury. “I gave my approval.” The alleged Cherry-Sheridan head-slapping incident occurred in September 2008. Under questioning from Cherry defense lawyer Adam Levin, McPherson said he had no emails or memos about the decision because “we wanted to keep it confidential”. He testified that the only people at the meeting in his office that day were himself, Cherry, Pedowitz and Housewives producers Sabrina Wind and Bob Daily. He added that he would have done exactly the same thing in regards to the killing off of any major character on any major network series. “We didn’t want it to get out”, he said. Read More »
Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor
UPDATE, 4:45 PM: Here comes the big guy — former ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson is slated to testify in Nicollette Sheridan’s wrongful termination and battery trial on Friday at 1:30 PM. McPherson, who left ABC in 2010, has been cited in testimony by Marc Cherry and former ABC Studios president Mark Pedowitz as having given the network’s permission to kill off Sheridan’s Edie Britt character in May 2008, four months before the Cherry allegedly struck Sheridan in the head during an on-set altercation. Sheridan claims she was eliminated from the show because of that latter incident.
Testimony today saw several witnesses take the stand out of order due to scheduling issues, and saw Cherry’s ongoing testimony pause yet again to accommodate those changes. Sabrina Wind, a Desperate Housewives producer and Cherry’s self-described “right-hand gal,” took the stand this afternoon and contradicted several statements her boss made during his testimony. Wind, visibly nervous, said she could not recall getting a call from Cherry shortly after the alleged head-hitting incident between him and Sheridan on September 24, 2008. Sheridan’s lawyer Mark Baute then read from Wind’s deposition last year, in which she said she “did not” receive a call from Cherry as he previously testified. Wind, in another contradiction to Cherry’s testimony, also said she did not keep the producer up to date on a human resources investigation into the alleged incident. Wind, who is Cherry’s partner in Cherry/Wind Productions, also said she knew of no discussions about financial savings or “unprofessional behavior” on Sheridan’s part as reasons for killing off the actress’ character. Read More »
Back in May, ABC’s previous boss Steve McPherson went for younger, hipper fare when programming new series Monday through Thursday. The show that seemed to be the closest to the ABC brand, Body of Proof - a female-driven procedural with a quirky central character and headlined by a familiar ABC star, Dana Delany – was sent to Fridays. Now, with many of those Monday-Thursday series crumbling and one, My Generation, already canceled, new ABC chief Paul Lee is taking a second look at Body of Proof and is planning to give it a time slot upgrade. Read More »
Peter Tolan’s 2005 line about Steve McPherson, “Steve, if you can hear me, fuck you,” has gone down in HRTS luncheon history as one of the most memorable panel moments ever. But five years later, Tolan was pretty subdued in his reaction to McPherson’s ouster at ABC. “Don’t speak ill of the dead,” is pretty much all he said at TCA today. But he also talked about how he and McPherson made up a month after the HRTS luncheon when they both happened to be lunching at the Palm. “We hugged at valet parking. That’s Hollywood right there.”
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Anticipating an avalanche of American Idol-related questions, Fox Broadcasting’s entertainment chairman Peter Rice made an opening statement at the top of the network’s executive session. “The only thing I an tell you with absolute certainty is there are no signed … Read More »
Family Man: Showrunner Series Q&A Steve Levitan
During a coffee break at TCA today, Modern Family co-creator/executive producer Steve Levitan dived straight in about Steve McPherson’s sudden exit from ABC Entertainment. “My genuine reaction was this … Read More »
For a guy who confessed that as a Brit he is way too self-conscious to dance, new ABC Family Entertainment Group president Paul Lee did a pretty good job tap dancing around the controversial issues surrounding the departure of his … Read More »
Today is ABC’s day at TCA. Of course, the abrupt resignation of Entertainment Group president Stephen McPherson on Tuesday was expected to be the predominant theme of the day. So ABC decided to tackle it head-on with an intro … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Last night, at 9:13 PM, outgoing ABC Entertainment Group President Steve McPherson’s pit bull litigator Marty Singer faxed the following letter to The Hollywood Reporter. It accuses THR of becoming an “outrageous scandal sheet” now that former US magazine editor Janice Min and new publisher Lori Burgess are in charge. “It appears that … Read More »
I hear that Steve McPherson, who resigned as ABC Entertainment Group president this week, has asked pit bull litigator Marty Singer to specifically target The Hollywood Reporter. If you haven’t noticed, the front page of THR is increasingly resembling TMZ as a Hollywood scandal sheet now that former US magazine … Read More »
Ever since Deadline broke the news that Steve McPherson was resigning as ABC Entertainment Group President yesterday, emails have been sent to media outlets filled with rumors about his personal and/or professional behavior. Disney wouldn’t respond to Deadline’s requests … Read More »
CBS is first up at TCA, so the network’s entertainment president Nina Tassler was the first to get the Steve McPherson question this morning. Asked to comment on McPherson’s exit from ABC yesterday, she said: “Dammit, he got out of … Read More »