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Steven Spielberg, Javier Bardem, Steve Zaillian Circle Montezuma-Cortez Epic From Script By Blacklisted Writer Dalton Trumbo

Mike Fleming

Steven SpielbergEXCLUSIVE: One of the most compelling movie questions coming into 2014 is, what film will Steven Spielberg direct? I don’t know if this is next or far down the line, but here is a tantalizing possibility: I’m told that he has his sights on Montezuma, an epic tale of the kinship and ultimately the bloody collision between Montezuma and Cortez as the latter led the Spanish infiltration into Mexico. I’ve heard that Javier Bardem has sparked to playing the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez, and that the catalyst here is a nearly 50-year old script by Dalton Trumbo that is being rewritten by Steve Zaillian, who teamed with Spielberg on the Oscar-winning Schindler’s List.

Zaillian is boarding this project as producer, likely alongside Spielberg and his DreamWorks team. The rights are now controlled by DreamWorks, but Zaillian’s first look deal is at Fox and I don’t know if a team-up there is in the works. Zaillian is currently producing the Moses epic Exodus for Fox, with Ridley Scott directing Christian Bale in the lead role.

"Skyfall" Royal World Premiere - ArrivalsThis project could be retitled Cortez, since the viewpoint will be from the latter character to be played by fellow Spaniard Bardem. The project, considered one of the great unmade scripts in moviedom, has an illustrious history. Trumbo wrote it for actor/producer Kirk Douglas, with whom he did the classics Spartacus and Lonely Are the Brave. Trumbo turned in a 205-page draft in 1965, when Martin Ritt was supposed to direct Douglas in the film. It never happened. Read More »

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Baz Luhrmann Circling HBO’s Stanley Kubrick-Scripted Napoleon Miniseries For Steven Spielberg

By | Tuesday November 26, 2013 @ 2:47pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Back when he was in France to head the Cannes Film Festival jury, Steven Spielberg dropped a bombshell when he announced that he would turn an un-produced Stanley Kubrick screenplay about Napoleon Bonaparte into a miniseries. Well, here’s another bombshell: They are courting Baz Luhrmann to direct the mini at HBO.

Deals are a long way from being made, but I’m told the plan is for Luhrmann to take on what becomes the highest-profile miniseries at that payweb. When Spielberg first revealed the project in an interview with Canal Plus on French TV, he said that this was the project Kubrick had dreamed of making, only to drop it when Hollywood studios refused to fund it, even after Kubrick promised in a letter to studio executives in 1971 that it would be the best movie ever made. Indeed, the movie has been coined “the greatest movie never made.”

Luhrmann, who last directed the hit The Great Gatsby, isn’t the only helmer interested in the diminutive French conqueror. Warner Bros just set Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders to direct a feature about Napoleon. This isn’t the first time Lurhmann has been in a competitive situation on an historic project: He was gearing up to direct Leonardo DiCaprio in Alexander The Great, but was beaten … Read More »

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Fox Rechristens Its Music Building In Honor Of Composer Lionel Newman

By | Friday November 22, 2013 @ 8:22pm PST

Steven Spielberg, John Williams and Jim Gianopulos were among the big names attending the dedication of the Lionel Newman Music Building. The building on the Fox lot in Century City has been renamed in honor of the late composer, conductor, pianist and longtime head of Fox’s music department, whose tenure with the studio spanned nearly half a century and more than 200 films, including his Oscar-winning score for 1969′s Hello Dolly! He also earned 10 other Oscar noms for such films as Doctor Doolittle and There’s No Business Like Show Business. He also worked on numerous TV series including Batman and M*A*S*H. Spielberg talked about meeting Newman during the scoring of Jaws, and five-time Oscar winner Williams spun tales of Newman’s colorful career at the studio. More than a dozen members of Newman’s family also were on hand, including his nephew Randy Newman, a two-time Oscar-winning songwriter and 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. “The music at Fox while Lionel was there was better than it was anywhere else,” he said. “The music he conducted, I always thought — and so did most of the composers — sounded better than the music he didn’t conduct.”

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Governor Jerry Brown Talks Up California’s Revitalized Economy To Roomful Of Hollywood Heavyweights

Governor Jerry Brown talked about the promise of California and played up the state’s economic comeback during a campaign fundraiser Thursday at Disney Studio boss Alan Horn’s Bel-Air home. A mostly industry crowd of about 100 including Robert Downey Jr. and Larry Flynt turned out for the 6:30-8:15 PM event, which was put on by a Hollywood political patrician guard. Co-hosts included Jeffrey Katzenberg, Warner Bros’ Barry Meyer and Kevin Tsujihara, Fox’s Jim Gianopulos, Universal’s Ron Meyer, Paramount’s Brad Grey, Sony’s Michael Lynton and MPAA chief Chris Dodd as well as Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, though Geffen didn’t attend. All of the co-hosts had pledged to raise $54,440 each for Brown’s re-election campaign next year. Tickets for the event went from $5,000 to mogul-level $27,200. Details are sketchy about the exact amount of money raised Read More »

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Jeffrey Katzenberg & Steven Spielberg Donate $10M Each To Academy Museum

The donation by the DreamWorks Animation CEO and the Oscar-winning director to the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will see the main lobbies of the facility named after their families. Here’s the Academy‘s release about the gift from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg:

Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences received separate $10 million gifts from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. In recognition of these gifts, the two main galleries on the lobby floor of the Academy Museum will be named for Katzenberg and Spielberg – The Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Gallery and The Spielberg Family Gallery.

“Steven and Jeffrey share a passion for moviemaking and philanthropy,” said Academy Museum Campaign Chair Bob Iger. “With these incredibly generous gifts, they are combining the two, moving us closer to our goal of building a museum to preserve the history of motion pictures and inspire the next generation of filmmakers.” The Academy launched the Museum’s $300 million capital campaign in 2012 and has already secured more than half of the campaign’s goal in commitments. The campaign is co-chaired by Annette Bening and Tom Hanks.

“I am so pleased to join with Jeffrey to help build this museum to celebrate, educate, and preserve the arts and sciences of motion pictures,” said Spielberg. “Having our

Read More »

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Hillary Clinton Set For Hollywood Fundraiser On October 30

She hasn’t officially thrown her hat in the 2016 Presidential ring but Hillary Clinton is already out there raising money from Hollywood. The former Secretary of State and presumed Democratic candidate is the marquee name for a $15,000-a-ticket fundraiser on October 30 at the Beverly Hills home of Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl, according to an invite that went out this week. Selling tickets individually or for $25,000 a couple, the lunch on the day before Halloween lunch is actually for former DNC chair and longtime Clinton pal Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Governor bid. With that election on November 5, Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton have a number of McAuliffe events scheduled in the next week, and on Monday the DNC sent out a McAuliffe donation solicitation email from Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is lining up Hollywood support if she makes her widely expected 2016 decision to run. Deep-pocket donors like Saban, Peter Chernin, and Jeffrey Katzenberg as well as the likes of Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams have pledged financial support to a Clinton 2016 campaign once it is made official, sources say. Chernin, Katzenberg, Spielberg and Abrams were all hefty financial backers of President Obama, both in the 2012 election and in the lead-up to next year’s mid-terms.

Related:
NBC Kills Its Hillary Clinton Miniseries, RNC Takes Credit
Will ‘Rodham” Affect Hillary Clinton in 2016? Read More »

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Deadline Caption Contest Winner: Clooney Photo-Bombs Spielberg And Seinfeld

By | Monday October 7, 2013 @ 5:24am PDT

AND THE WINNER IS…
It’s every Jewish person’s nightmare: A huge ham lurking behind you.

Honorable Mentions:
“Wait, doesn’t Steven know Jerry was caught making out during Schindler’s List?”
“Wait, Steven Spielberg? I thought you were Steven Soderberg!!”
“Wait, I’ll convert.”

SUNDAY AM: I couldn’t resist a Deadline caption contest for this. George Clooney photobombs Steven Spielberg and Jerry Seinfeld and wife Jessica at the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s 2013 Ambassadors For Humanity gala held in NYC on Friday. Clooney at the event received the Spielberg-founded foundation’s Ambassador For Humanity Award for his global humanitarian efforts in Haiti and throughout Africa. Have fun with this but, in keeping with DH policy that we don’t do personal, leave Jessica out of it. Winners announced Monday.

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DreamWorks To Redo Japanese Cannes Entry ‘Like Father, Like Son’

Mike Fleming

Deadline revealed exclusively in August that DreamWorks will remake the Japanese film Japanese film Like Father, Like Son (Soshite Chichi Ni Naru), and for some reason the trades are trumpeting it as a story a month later after the deal closed between the studio and Fuji TV. This is the film that got on the studio’s radar after DreamWorks principal Steven Spielberg saw the Hirozaku Kore-Eda-directed drama when it screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May while he headed the jury. The pic received the Prix du Jury prize there. I had heard originally that Spielberg wanted to direct, but studio insiders denied that last month. In the film, an upper middle class career-oriented couple push their 6-year-old son to succeed in school as hard as they push themselves. They are shocked to discover from the hospital where the baby was born that a mistake was made, and that their biological son is being raised by another family. When the overachievers find that the other family is of modest means and not as ambitious as they are, the wealthy couple tries to wrest their actual son away.

Related: Spielberg’s Cannes Jury Duty Leads DreamWorks To Remake Deal On ‘Like Father, Like Son’

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Oscars: Another Cannes-Winning Sundance Selects Film Ruled Out Of Foreign Language Race

Pete Hammond

When it comes to this year’s Foreign Language Film Oscar race, it seems Sundance Selects just can’t catch a break. Coming out of Cannes, the company headed by Jonathan Sehring — who also runs IFC — looked like it easily could have two of the five nominees in the category, especially after its acquisitions took two of the top three prizes at Cannes. The French sensation Blue Is The Warmest Color won the coveted Palme d’Or (usually a key factor in considering a film for Oscar submission), while the Jury Prize (essentially third place) went to Japan’s moving and extremely well-received Like Father, Like Son, which so infatuated Cannes Jury President Steven Spielberg that his DreamWorks is negotiating for an English-language remake.

Related: Hammond On Cannes: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’

It seemed at the time that both would be a cinch as their respective countries’ entry in the race, and Sundance Selects was riding high. But as Deadline reported in July, a quirky Academy rule that requires a foreign entry to have opened by September 30 in its country of origin KO’d Warmest Color’s chances, despite Sehring’s best efforts to turn it around. Unfortunately Wild Bunch, the film’s French distributor, was dead set on releasing it October 9, and a qualifying run was ruled out. Now, in what for me is an even more stunning setback, the seven-member Japan Movie Producers Association ignored its country’s high-profile Cannes winner and instead chose a more obscure film, The Great Passage (Fune O Amu) from 30-year-old director Yuya Ishii, the youngest ever to represent Japan in the Oscar contest. That film was released in April — doing nice, if unremarkable, business at the box office. Like Father, Like Son is scheduled for a September 28 release in Japan, a date presumably chosen to make it eligible for the Oscar race.  But it’s not to be. Read More »

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Universal Sets ‘Jurassic World’ Release For June 12, 2015

By | Tuesday September 10, 2013 @ 5:50pm PDT

Universal Pictures will release Jurassic World in 3D on June 12, 2015. Steven Spielberg is producing the big-budget dino-sequel, formerly known as Jurassic Park 4. Colin Trevorrow directs from a draft of the screenplay he wrote with Derek Connolly. Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley are producing.

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

It may be the last week of summer but Hollywood was buzzing with news from LA to Telluride to Venice, China and in the courts too. Check out this week’s top film stories:

Steven Spielberg’s Cannes Jury Duty Leads DreamWorks To Remake Deal On ‘Like Father, Like Son’
By Mike Fleming Jr – EXCLUSIVE: Who says jury duty is a waste of time? DreamWorks is negotiating right now with Fuji TV for remake rights to the Japanese film Like Father, Like Son (Soshite Chichi Ni Naru).

R.I.P. Talent Manager J.J. Harris
By Nikki Finke - Motion picture and television talent agent/manager J.J. Harris died of what is believed to be natural causes on Friday afternoon and was found today in her Beverly Hills home by her staff. She was 62

MPAA Wins Hotfile Copyright Lawsuit
By Dominic Patten - Nearly two years and a half years after first filing their suit on behalf of several studios, the MPAA today scored a victory against file-sharing service Hotfile.

Venice Film Festival: Will The Lido Shuffle Biz Into Awards Season?
By Nancy Tartaglione - The Venice Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, and with it a renewed second outing for fest chief Alberto Barbera.

Labor Day Box Office: ‘One Direction’ Winning 3-Day Weekend But Will ‘The Butler’ Take 4-Day Holiday?
By Nikki Finke - This is too close to call right now. And film order is up in the air as well. Every Hollywood studio except Sony seems certain that Lee Daniels’ The Butler from The Weinstein Company will threepeat for #1 at the end of the 4-day Labor Day holiday. Read More »

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Steven Spielberg’s Cannes Jury Duty Leads DreamWorks To Remake Deal On ‘Like Father, Like Son’

By | Wednesday August 28, 2013 @ 12:44pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Who says jury duty is a waste of time? DreamWorks is negotiating right now with Fuji TV for remake rights to the Japanese film Like Father, Like Son (Soshite Chichi Ni Naru). The catalyst for the deal: DreamWorks principal Steven Spielberg seeing the Hirozaku Kore-Eda-directed drama when it screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May while he headed the jury. The film received the Prix du Jury prize there.

DreamWorks insiders confirm a deal is in the process of being made, but they deny that Spielberg is eyeing the film as something to possibly direct when the remake is developed. In the film, an upper middle class career-oriented couple push their 6-year-old son to succeed in school as hard as they push themselves. They are shocked to discover from the hospital where the baby was born that a mistake was made, and that their biological son is being raised by another family. When the overachievers find that the other family is of modest means and not as ambitious as they are, the wealthy couple tries to wrest their actual son away.

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Deadline’s 10 Best Film Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday August 11, 2013 @ 2:03pm PDT

Related: Deadline’s 10 Best TV Stories Of The Week

The fallout from the box office flop of The Lone Ranger continues for Disney with a big expected write down in the offering while stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer complain that it was the critics that killed the film. That, along with Steven Spielberg departing the director’s chair on American Sniper and investor Daniel Loeb retreating from his demand that Sony sell off its entertainment assets, make up some of the top film stories that Deadline ran the past week. Take a read here:

Hollywood Blues: ‘Smurfs 2′ Bombs Here And Blah Overseas; Denzel-Mark’s ’2 Guns’ Wins Weekend, ‘Wolverine’ Holds For #2

By Nikki Finke – SUNDAY AM, 7TH UPDATEThis is yet another weekend that confounded and confused Hollywood as domestic numbers are coming in lower than projected and only international grosses are saving Summer 2013.

Disney Expects To Write Down As Much As $190M For ‘Lone Ranger’

By David Lieberman - CFO Jay Rasulo just told analysts that the company is “disappointed” in the film’s performance and likely will take a charge of anywhere from $160M … Read More »

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Steven Spielberg Drops Out of Directing ‘American Sniper’

By | Monday August 5, 2013 @ 1:29pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Steven Spielberg has taken American Sniper out of his crosshairs, after declaring in May that he would next helm the film about decorated Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, with Bradley Cooper playing the marksman. DreamWorks joined Warner Bros in a co-production when Spielberg said he would direct the script by Jason Hall. Spielberg has been looking for his followup to Lincoln, and this becomes the second time he changed plans. He was looking to move fast on Robopocalypse, the Daniel H Wilson science fiction novel that was adapted by Drew Goddard. Spielberg still intends to direct that film, but he wanted to re-develop it. It is probably not his next film and will instead come further down the line.

Spielberg and DreamWorks are pulling out completely, which is actually gracious. Some director-driven companies get involved with a director attachment, and when the director steps out, the company remains on, and it is an extra expense. Warner Bros is free to secure another filmmaker to keep this project together. Spielberg couldn’t square his vision of this movie with the budget. He’s always got a lot of projects percolating, but hasn’t decided what he’ll direct next.

Spielberg, who took 11 years to get Lincoln the way he wanted it before he committed, has been known to get close to projects only to step out for one reason or another. That included … Read More »

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Showbiz In India: Bollywood Shifting At Home & Abroad; Will Talent Cross Over?

This is the latest in Deadline’s series of reports on the people, projects and polemics that have folks buzzing in various overseas territories.

The International Indian Film Academy Awards just announced the event will travel to the U.S. for the first time next year, settling in Tampa, Florida in June. The move is one that’s likely to up the profile of Indian cinema Stateside where Bollywood isn’t typically top of mind among moviegoers. But heat on Indian cinema and talent is growing with movies like Yeh Jawaani Hai Dawaani, actors like Ranbir Kapoor and multi-hyphenates like Anurag Kashyap making waves. A question remains, however, on how closely the twains of Hollywood and Bollywood can ever meet.

India celebrated the 100th birthday of Hindi cinema in Cannes in May, turning a spotlight on the industry. Then last month, romcom Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani broke into the U.S. top ten upon release. The film’s success at home and abroad was partly because it’s the kind of “mushy romance we hadn’t seen in a while,” a producer who works in India and the UK tells me. Star Ranbir Kapoor is one of Bollywood’s hottest actors right now, also a key factor in Yeh Jawaani‘s success. He hails from a showbiz family and studied at the Lee Strasberg school in New York. With a sort of Ryan Gosling look, Kapoor is “the next one to be considered the Shah Rukh Khan-level mega-star” in India, a studio exec says.

Fanning the flames, Kapoor just won the best actor prize for 2012′s Barfi! at the Indian Film Academy Awards which were held this weekend in Macau. The romantic comedy was India’s 2012 Oscar entry. (Its title may be unappetizing to American ears – it’s the lead character’s name and also a condensed milk-based sweet – but it was one of Bollywood’s highest-grossing films of the year.) It also won several prizes at January’s Filmfare Awards including top picture and actor; Kapoor played a deaf-mute man involved with two women.

Kapoor’s Yeh Jawaani co-star Deepika Padukone is next up in Chennai Express. Padukone is an established actress who broke out in 2007′s Om Shanti Om. Chennai Express has the distinction of going out on August 8, the eve of India’s Eid al Fitr holiday. Beginning in 2008, films toplined by Indian superstar Salman Khan staked a claim on the Eid holiday which celebrates the end of Ramadan. With Khan’s next big production, Mental, not releasing until the January Republic Day weekend, the Eid spot is ripe for another comer with big box office potential. Conventional wisdom says it will be Chennai Express. (Chennai Express, like Yeh Jawaani, hails from UTV in which Disney has a strategic stake.) The love story cum road movie is directed by Rohit Shetty (the Golmaal franchise, Bol Bachchan) and, with Padukone, stars the iconic screen giant Shah Rukh Khan, making it one to watch. If Chennai follows Yeh Jawaani‘s path, Khan should be happy. He has said that his dedication is to getting Indian films seen by the world rather than having his own career in Hollywood. Read More »

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DreamWorks, Steven Spielberg Plan To Bring Back Tom Joad With New Version Of John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes Of Wrath’

By | Tuesday July 2, 2013 @ 6:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks is in talks with the estate of author John Steinbeck to make a new version of The Grapes Of Wrath. The novel was turned into a classic 1940 film by John Ford, the director who won one of two Oscars out of the seven nominations the picture received. I’d heard this suddenly became a hot movie property, and that Steven Spielberg swooped in to take it off the table over other bidders. I’d also heard that Spielberg was eyeing it to direct, but DreamWorks said definitively that he is only interested in producing the picture, and will absolutely not direct it. It might be awkward turf since director Ford was one of Spielberg’s formative influences. There is some rationale to this, if DreamWorks was looking to capitalize on the 75th anniversary of Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. That anniversary happens next year, and Spielberg is next committed to directing Jason Hall’s adaptation of American Sniper with Bradley Cooper starring.

For those who didn’t read it in high school, The Grapes Of Wrath is about a poor family of tenant farmers forced to move off its land in Oklahoma because of drought and hopeless economic conditions. Spurred by the promise of high wages for farm workers, the Joads head to California, but are beaten down by poverty and hunger in the Great Depression. The film introduced … Read More »

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TNT Renews ‘Falling Skies’ For Fourth Season

By | Tuesday July 2, 2013 @ 1:07pm PDT

TNT has ordered a fourth season of Falling Skies, the epic drama produced by DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg and starring Noah Wyle. Currently airing Sundays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), Falling Skies is averaging 5.8 million viewers in Live + 7 delivery and ranks as basic cable’s #1 scripted series with adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 for the summer-to-date. TNT plans to launch the 10-episode fourth season in summer 2014.

Falling Skies tells the extraordinary tale of life and survival in the wake of a catastrophic alien invasion. Wyle plays Tom Mason, a college professor who becomes an unlikely resistance leader after a massive invasion by an alien force. The series also stars Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Connor Jessup, Maxim Knight, Seychelle Gabriel, Mpho Koaho, Colin Cunninghamand Sarah Carter. Among the guest stars this season on Falling Skies are Gloria Reuben, Robert Sean Leonard, Stephen Collins and Doug Jones.

Read More »

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Spielberg & Lucas Predict “Meltdown” Of Movie Biz: Video

By | Thursday June 13, 2013 @ 12:17pm PDT

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas participated in a panel yesterday to open USC‘s new Interactive Media Building in LA. Alum Lucas’ foundation contributed $45M of the $50M cost of the new digs, which is part of the School Of Cinematic Arts. The pair predicted a paradigm shift for movies that Spielberg says will begin after several mega-budgeted tentpoles “crash to the ground” (he used the terms “implosion” and “meltdown” to describe it). In the future, Lucas posits, there will be fewer films in fewer theaters, tickets will cost $50-$150 apiece, and everything else will end up in your living room. From CNBC:

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TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’ Season 3 Debut On Par With Last Year

By | Monday June 10, 2013 @ 11:48am PDT

On a night that saw competition from Game 2 of the NBA Finals and the Season 3 finale of Game Of Thrones over on HBO, Falling Skies returned for its third season on Sunday with just over 4.2 million viewers. The two-hour season premiere of the Steven Spielberg produced sci-fi series was down from the 4.5 million who watched its Season 2 debut on June 17, 2012. Among Adults 18-49 the premiere garnered 1.9 million adults, which is about even with last season’s pull in the demo. Among the younger set, Falling Skies posted significant gains, drawing 772,000 adults 18-34, up 24% over last year’s season premiere. Falling Skies launched as basic cable’s No. 1 new series in adults 18-49 in 2011. Among adults 25-54, last night’s Falling Skies was watched by 2.1 million viewers.

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