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Reality Check: Dan Cutforth On What Keeps ‘Top Chef’ Sharp, Cutting Through The Clutter & What’s Next

By | Monday June 16, 2014 @ 10:42am PDT

Reality Check: Dan Cutforth On What Keeps ‘Top Chef’ Sharp, Cutting Through The Clutter & What’s NextReality Check is a Deadline feature series covering the players, programs and trends in reality television.

Dan Cutforth was already a reality TV veteran with some time spent developing Survivor when he started Magical Elves with Jane Lipsitz in 2001. Since then the Brit-born producer has charged forward with Bands On The Run for VH1, Project Greenlight, the Peabody winning Project Runway and of course Top Chef. The Bravo cooking competition show took the Reality Competition Program Emmy in 2010, breaking The Amazing Race’s 7-year winning streak. A wide reaching franchise now and undoubtedly one of the reasons the UK’s Tinopolis Group acquired Elves earlier this yearTop Chef certainly rates as a contender this Emmys. In that vein, Cutforth reveals his state of mind this Emmy season, how the genre has evolved and how he and Lipsitz keep Top Chef cooking.

DEADLINE: So Dan, what do you think the current state of Reality TV is?
DAN CUTFORTH: I think it’s interesting how hard it is to break through with a great, new show now, and I think this is something that’s been true probably for the last, maybe, three to five years. I think when you look at the current state of reality TV, at least on the mainstream level, the shows that tend to be more successful have been around for a while. It’s difficult today to show the audience something they haven’t seen before, and I think that’s what tends to be the … Read More »

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Reality Check: Mark Burnett On ‘Survivor’, ‘American Idol’, ‘Shark Tank’ & Anchoring Values

By | Monday June 9, 2014 @ 1:43pm PDT

Reality Check is a Deadline feature series covering the players, programs and trends in reality television.

Since Survivor firstmarkburnett1 debuted on CBS in the summer of 2000, Mark Burnett has been and remains one of the leading impresarios of the Reality TV genre that he in many ways created Stateside. Sure Burnett’s had flame-outs like the short lived Stars Earn Stripes, but he’s also currently holding a deck that includes the still strong Survivor 28 seasons in and growing NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s entrepreneurial series Shark Tank. In a genre where longevity and legacy are still being created, Burnett reflects on the state and shifting fortunes of Reality TV, why American Idol has stumbled and how he literally anchors his shows to success.

DEADLINE: Let’s cut to the chase, Mark. What’s the state of unscripted TV in 2014?
MARK BURNETT: The state of unscripted TV is very good, as long as it’s good. That’s the only thing you have to worry about. I always try to think that if you’re given an hour or two of primetime American network TV, you better treat that as if someone’s just given you a $100 million movie to run. No difference, and there’s no free pass. If it’s great, and if it has an emotional connection, for whatever reason, to the viewers, it stays. Particularly, for me, I’m very, very fortunate that The Voice, and Survivor, and Shark Tank all have a clear emotional connection through the TV screen into peoples’ homes. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ Finale Down From Last Year, ‘Modern Family’ & ‘Middle’ Finales Solid, ‘Revolution’ Ends Low

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 9:34am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

idolfinaleThe shows that ushered in the current wave of competition reality series on broadcast TV, CBS’ Survivor and Fox’s American Idol, went head-to-head with their finales for the first time last night, resulting in a possible photo finish as both series went into overtime. Idol, which aired from 8-10:06 PM, drew a 2.6 in adults 18-49 and 10.1 million viewers from 8-10 PM, up 24% from last Wednesday in total viewers and up 15% in total viewers. But from last year’s finale, it was down 28% to mark the reality veteran’s lowest-rated closer. Survivor: Cagayan, which aired from 8-10:13 PM, averaged a 2.5 from 8-10 PM. That was down a tenth from last week’s hourlong episode and down two tenths from last spring’s finale, which aired in Survivor closers’ traditional home on Sunday. Both Idol and Survivor will get upward adjustments in the finals, with Idol likely to edge its longtime rival when the dust settles. Fox is expected to win the night in 18-49 and total viewers.

modernweddingThe Disney World-set hourlong season finale of ABC’s The Middle (2.0) was up a tenth from last week and even with last season’s closer despite facing more competition this year. The heavily promoted season finale of Modern Family featuring Cam and Mitchell’s wedding drew a 3.6 in adults 18-49 and 10.2 million viewers, up 13% and 12%, respectively, from last week … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Arrow’ & ‘Nashville’ Finales Down, ‘Idol’ Surges, ‘Criminal Minds’ Finale Steady, ‘Chicago P.D.’ Up

By | Thursday May 15, 2014 @ 9:32am PDT

arrow season 2 finaleAnother primetime and another set of finales for the 2013-2014 television season. Over time, there’ll be loads of looking back at what this season meant to TV and what indications for the future it contained but certainly this has been the first week in many years that two superhero related series have wrapped up their seasons. On Tuesday, we had ABC’s first move into the big screen blockbuster Marvel Universe coming to a seasonal end with the renewed Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.  ending its first cycle. Next season there will be even more with Marvel’s Agent Carter on ABC and The Flash on The CW. Last night on The CW, it was Arrow (0.8/3) reaching the end of its second season with one of those finales that ties up a lot of loose ends but also unravels a lot of new string for Season 3. Like S.H.I.E.L.D., the avenging archer series was even with its previous show last week. However, unlike the freshman ABC series, Arrow also took an 11% hit from its Season 1 finale on May 15 last year. Unlike last year, Arrow’s lead-out wasn’t Supernatural last night but newbie The 100

Related:
CW Upfronts Presentation 2014: Live Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’, ‘Modern Family’ & ‘SVU’ Down, ‘Arrow’ & ‘Chicago P.D.’ Rise

By | Thursday May 1, 2014 @ 9:13am PDT

Idol judges april 30They packed a lot of action into last night’s 2-hour live American Idol (1.8/6) on Fox with visits from New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel, Jason Mraz’s debut as a mentor and the final Top 5 belting out tunes picked by viewers (including according to judge Keith Urban an “awesome” rendition of Whitesnake’s Still Of The Night). However, after seeing upward traction last week, last night’s singing competition fell 14% from its April 23 episode. As preliminary ratings stand right now, Idol hit an all-time Wednesday low last night, though that could change in adjustments later today.

The other long-running reality show of the night might not have seemed as busy as Idol, but Survivor (2.2/7) did have an immunity idol, an auction and of course someone went home from the Tribal Council. That said, the show dipped 4% from last week. In preliminary numbers that’s a season low for Survivor but the show commonly adjusts upward a tenth in the final numbers so don’t be surprised if there’s a change there too. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Arrow’ Down, ‘Survivor’ & ‘Idol’ Steady,’The 100′ Rises

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 9:22am PDT

SURVIVOR APRIL 16On a night of a lot of repeats on the networks, it was primetime battle between veteran reality shows last night. And though Survivor (2.2/8) dipped 8% from last week, the CBS show again was the reality TV victor. With 9.28 million viewers watching between 8-9 PM, the 28-season-strong series topped the 8.25 million total viewers and 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 American Idol had in their common hour. This is the fourth week in a row Survivor has beaten Idol in viewership and the sixth consecutive week the CBS show has come out on top in the demo in the 8 PM slot. Still, it wasn’t a stain-free victory march — as the numbers stand now, Survivor has hit a series low. That could change when the final numbers come in later today. Otherwise, CBS was all encores with Criminal Minds (1.4/4) and CSI (1.2/4). Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ & ‘Survivor’ Steady, ‘Criminal Minds’ & ‘Mixology’ Down, ‘SVU’ Rises

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 9:15am PDT

AI April 9Last night on American Idol (2.0/6) the ’80s were truly back in force. The two-hour live performance show saw the Top 8 belt out tunes from Blondie, Journey, Joan Jett, and Cyndi Lauper among others, some advice from Season 7 winner David Cook, a new hairdo from judge Keith Urban, plus an impromptu Madonna tune from Harry Connick Jr. It also saw the long-running reality competition series remain pretty steady with last week in adults 18-49 with a 5% dip and even with its total viewership of 8.8 million on April 2.

Idol again came up short against Survivor (2.4/8) in their common hour. Airing between 8-9 PM and the highest-rated show of the night, the veteran CBS competition series bopped up 4% from last week in the key demo. The Fox show drew a 1.9 among the 18-49s in the one-hour overlap. That’s the worst Idol has done against Survivor in adults 18-survivor april 949. The CBS show topped the Fox show for the first time ever in the common hour on March 12. The victory lap continued March 19 and saw Survivor beating Idol in total viewers in the 8 PM slot for the first time. On March 26, the one-hour Survivor bested the 2-hour Idol in total viewers overall. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE UPDATE: ‘Modern Family’ Beats ‘American Idol’ In Viewers For First Time, ‘The 100′ Down In Week 2

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 2:28pm PDT

ED O'NEILL, SOFIA VERGARAUPDATE, 2:28 PM: The final numbers are in and it’s a solid victory for Modern Family in terms of viewers. The ABC comedy held onto its first-ever overall viewership win over American Idol with 10.09 million watching Wednesday. That makes Modern Family the night’s most watched show. Although Idol also saw a rise in its audience from the early numbers’ 9.15 million to 9.33 million, it was also beaten by Survivor, which ended up with 9.85 million watching. That’s the first time the CBS show has beaten the Fox show in total viewers. Despite two previous weeks of demo wins, Survivor had failed to hold its viewership lead in the final numbers. In terms of demo adjustments, Idol, Suburgatory and Modern Family were all up a tenth.

SURVIVOR MACH 26 2PREVIOUS, 9:15 AM: It was a night of quitters, rockers, gamblers, royals and winners on primetime on Wednesday. The quitting came on CBS’ Survivor (2.3/7), where the latest season saw its first self-deporter as well as the standard elimination. Dipping 8% from last week’s show to a season low among adults 18-49, but with its biggest viewership (9.76 million) of the cycle so far, Survivor was also once again the winner in the battle of the veteran reality shows as it bested American Idol (2.1/6) for the third week in a row in their common hour.
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RATINGS RAT RACE: CW’s ‘The 100′ Off To Strong Start, ‘Survivor’ Widens ‘Idol’ Lead

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 10:10am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

PilotThe 100 trailer was probably the best received one at the CW upfront presentation. With high hopes for the Lost-meets-Lord Of The Flies sci-fi drama, the network cleared one of its best launching pads for it, the post-Arrow Wednesday 9 PM slot, sending freshman The Tomorrow People to Mondays. The move has worked for now — The Tomorrow People retained its numbers in the transition to a new night while The 100 premiere improved on Tomorrow People. In its debut, The 100 drew 2.7 million viewers to become the CW’s most watched midseason premiere in four years, since Life Unexpected in 2010 though that also is reflective of the fact that the CW’s highest profile new series usually launch in the fall. In the demos, The 100 posted a 0.9 in adults 18-49 and 0.7 in 18-34. It outperformed the fall debut of The Tomorrow People in the slot (2.3 million, 0.8 in 18-49, 0.5 in 18-34 per fast nationals) despite having a weaker lead-in. What’s even more impressive, The 100 built on its Arrow lead-in (2.4 million, +17% from last week; 0.8 in 18-49, +14%; 0.8 in 18-34, +17%) in total viewers and 18-49, the first show to do so in total viewers.

Last week’s first ever demo win for CBS’ Survivor over American Idol in the 8 PM hour proved not to be a fluke but the beginning of a streak. Read More »

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Deadline’s Best TV Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday March 16, 2014 @ 5:41pm PDT

Miss Deadline’s top TV stories of the week? Catch up here:

piers1CNN To Test Michael Smerconish, Jake Tapper, Bill Weir & Don Lemon In Piers Morgan’s Time Slot; Morgan’s Last Day March 28
By Lisa DeMoraesEXCLUSIVE: Piers Morgan’s last day hosting Piers Morgan Live will be March 28, after which CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker is going to try out Michael Smerconish as well as Jake Tapper, Bill Weir, and Don Lemon in the time slot for a few weeks, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Deadline.

R.I.P. Comedian David Brenner, Johnny Carson’s Favorite on ‘Tonight Show’
By The Deadline Team – Comedian David Brenner died today at his home in New York, NY. He was 78.

Nick D’Agosto & Andrew Santino To Star In CBS’ ‘HIMYM’ Spinoff ‘How I Met Your Dad’
By Nellie AndreevaMasters of Sex‘s Nick D’Agosto and Mixology‘s Andrew Santino have been cast as leads alongside Greta Gerwig, Drew Tarver and Krysta Rodriguez in CBS’ comedy pilot How I Met Your Dad, rounding out the How I Met Your Mother spinoff’s primary cast. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Survivor’ Tops ‘Idol’ For First Time Ever, ‘Mixology’ & ‘Suburgatory’ Hit Lows, ‘SVU’ & ‘Modern Family’ Steady

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 9:10am PDT

survivor march 12 2In its third week of its 28th season, CBS’ reality veteran Survivor finally topped Fox rival American Idol head-to-head for the very first time in the key adults 18-49 demo and in viewers. Survivor pulled in a 2.5/8 rating and 9.86 million viewers Wednesday night, with a live two-hour Idol drawing a 2.3/8 rating and an audience of 9.57 million in their common hour of 8-9 PM. The real question now is if those numbers will hold, with pre-emptions on CBS in about 2% of the country due to ACC and SEC college basketball games. Survivor: Cagayan was up 4% from last week in the demo and up 2% in viewers on a night that saw one of the tribes actively throw a challenge and still beat another tribe that stumbled from bad to worse. All of which means that there was a lot of bad blood when the inevitable came and a contestant was sent home.

Criminal Minds (2.3/7), Survivor‘s lead-out and the night’s most-watched show with 10.72 million viewers, fell 12% from last week. On the other hand, after going down last week, CSI (2.0/6) was up 18% this week.

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TVGN To Air Exclusive ‘Amazing Race’ & ‘Survivor’ Encores

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 9:59am PST

TVGN_LOGO_300dpi_TVGuideCorporate synergy with 50% owner CBS already has done well for TVGN, which saw triple-digit ratings increases from last fall’s broadcasts of CBS properties Big Brother After Dark and The Young & The Restless. Now it is adding exclusive encores of the most current episodes of CBS competition series The Amazing Race and Survivor back-to-back Saturdays at 8 PM and 9 PM beginning this week. Amazing Race kicked off its 24th season last Sunday opposite NBC’s Sochi Olympics Closing Ceremony, and Survivor‘s 28th cycle debuted last night. TVGN, in more than 80 million homes, is 50/50 co-owned by CBS and Lionsgate.

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CBS Sets Return Dates For ‘The Amazing Race’ & ‘Survivor’

By | Wednesday January 15, 2014 @ 6:45am PST
Nellie Andreeva

raceAn all-star edition of The Amazing Race, featuring eleven former teams, will launch against the Winter Olympics’ closing ceremony on February 23. The 28th cycle of Survivor, which recently was renewed for a milestone survivor2829th and 30th seasons, will start with a two-hour premiere three days later, on February 26, marking the longest-running reality competition series’ first two-hour launch since Heroes vs. Villains on Feb. 11, 2010. This season, castaways will be separated into three tribes—brawn, brains and beauty.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Sunday Night Football’ Down, ‘Survivor’ Hits Finale Low, ‘Once Upon A Time’ Down, ‘Family Guy’ Up

By | Monday December 16, 2013 @ 9:21am PST

134035_7517Nothing says winter finale like a wedding, and that is what they had on Revenge (1.5/4) last night. Despite a bloodied bridal dress, gunshots and all the twists you’d expect from the soap’s third-cycle midseason ender, Sunday’s fast-paced episode dipped 6% from last week. Sunday also saw the midseason finale of Revenge’s lead-in Once Upon A Time (1.9/5). The fairytale drama fell 14% from last week to tie the series low of December 1. Revenge’s lead-out,  Betrayal (0.8/2), had a better night: The freshman ended ABC’s evening up 14% in adults 18-49 for its highest-rated episode since its second show October 6. ABC started the night with America’s Funniest Home Videos (1.4/5), which was down a tenth from last week’s season high. Betrayal, Revenge and America’s Funniest Home Videos are all back January 5, while Once Upon A Time doesn’t return for the rest of its third season until March 9.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh SteelersThe battle for the AFC took another twist last night as NBC’s Sunday Night Football ( 4.9/13) saw the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 30-20. The game at Heinz Field was a blowout by halftime, and it saw an 18% drop in fast nationals from last week’s 6.0/14, which later rose to a 6.9/17 in its 8:31-11:18 PM slot. That could end up being the lowest-rated SNF so far this season. Down 14% from the 12.7/20 metered market results of last week’s Carolina Panthers-New Orleans Saints matchup, last night’s game pulled in a 10.9/18 rating in metered markets households; Pittsburgh topped the  local markets with a 39.4/54. Cincinnati was second with a 33.2/48, followed by Dayton 22.2/33; Baltimore, 17.1/27; and Las Vegas 15.4/24. As always with NFL games and other live sports, expect an adjustment in the final numbers later today. NBC was a near No. 2 in adults 18-49 last night with a 4.0/11 rating, just behind Fox’s 4.1/11. Still the Peacock took the night in total viewers with 12.2 million. Read More »

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CBS’ ‘Survivor’ Renewed For Next Season With Order For Cycles 29 & 30

By | Thursday December 12, 2013 @ 11:01am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Survivor LogoThe doyen of reality competition series, CBS’ Survivor, is turning 30. CBS has ordered two more editions of television’s longest running reality competition series for the 2014-2015 season, its 29th and 30th. Five-time Emmy winner Jeff Probst, who has been with the franchise since the very beginning, has signed a new deal to continue as host and executive producer. For creator/executive producer Mark Burnett, Survivor always has had a special meaning as it catapulted him to the top ranks of reality producers.”It’s more than a show, it’s part of the fabric of who are we as a family,” he said, noting that “my children have  grown up with the show and don’t remember life before Survivor.” It is a big week for the prolific producer who is delivering 12 hours of original programming on the broadcast networks starting with NBC’s The Voice on Monday and culminating with the two-hour Survivor: Blood vs. Water finale on Sunday, followed by a live reunion show hosted by Probst. (The list includes The Voice on Monday and Tuesday, Survivor on Wednesday and Sunday, The Sing-Off on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and Shark Tank on Friday.) Probst called Survivor “the best job I’ve ever had and probably the greatest career opportunity I’ll ever have.” Survivor‘s solid ratings performance after 14 years on the air is not lost on him. “If a new show came out and had the ratings we had this season, it would … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE UPDATE: MLB World Series Game 1 Surges From 2012′s All-Time Low, ‘Survivor’ Hits Series Low, ‘CSI’ Rises, ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Falls

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 8:59am PDT

UPDATE, 8:59 AM: Game 1 of the World Series last night not only saw a win by the Boston Red Sox over the St. Louis Cardinals but also for Fox who was easily No. 1 with a 4.1/11 rating and 13.730 million viewers. The Fenway Park match-up Wednesday between the 2004 World Series competitors hit a home run for the network with a 28% rise in fast nationals from last year’s all-time low of 3.2/9, which went up to 3.6/10 in the final numbers. With big audience draws like the Red Sox and the Cardinals, this year’s Game 1 also rose 25% in fast national viewership to 13.73 million over 2012’s 11.0 million, which went up to 12.2 in the final numbers. And as good as that is for Fox, there’s a little bit of historical wind at the Red Sox’s back too – every team that has won Game 1 since 1993 has gone on to win the World Series. Also, the Red Sox have won their last 9 World Series games (2004, 2007 and last night) in a row and the last time these two teams faced off in the World Series 9 years ago, Boston swept the series. As always with live events like the start of the 109th World Series, fast nationals are not time zone adjusted, so expect shifts in the final numbers later in the day.

Related: World Series And Much More MLB Coming To Europe Via Fox International Channels

Facing the World Series almost everything else on TV last night was down from last week. Airing its 300th episode, CSI (2.1/6) saw the return of Marg Helgenberger to the show on CBS last night. The 10 PM show also was the one rise of the night among the non-World Series telecasts with a 5% bop over last week to match its October 2 season high. Wednesday’s strongly promoted CSI also had its best viewership numbers of the season so far with 10.37 million watching. The same upturn could not be said for Survivor: Blood vs Water (2.3/7). The reality series saw a challenge mix up and an unretrieved fishing trap last night as well as a 12% drop to hit a series low excluding specials and recaps shows.  At 9 PM, Criminal Minds (2.7/7) held even with its October 16 show. CBS was No. 2 last night with a rating of 2.4/7 and 10.37 million viewers.
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RATINGS RAT RACE: MLB Up, ‘Revolution’ Hits Series Low, ‘Arrow’ Rises, ‘Super Fun Night’ Tumbles, ‘Tomorrow People’ Down

By | Thursday October 17, 2013 @ 8:57am PDT

It was a big baseball night on Wednesday (hey there Dodgers fans) and for Fox, the Detroit Tigers’ victory over the Boston Red Sox was a win. Wednesday’s MLB American League Championship Series Game 4 (2.4/7) was up 71% among adults 18-49 over the 8 PM – 11 PM 1.4/4 fast nationals of the NLCS Game 4 on October 18, 2012. Last night’s game, which actually ran from 8:03 PM to 11:35 PM, was watched by 8.1 million viewers, up big over the 6.0 million who watched last year’s the NLCS Game 4, which pulled a 1.6/5 in final numbers for its 8:05 PM -11:20 PM slot. With the Tigers’ Game 4 win and the ALCS now even, the teams play again tonight and Fox will be showing that too. As always with live events like sports, fast nationals are not time zone adjusted, so expect shifts in the final numbers later in the day. With a 2.4/7 rating each, Fox, CBS and ABC were tied for the top spot among adults 18-49 with CBS No. 1 in total viewers with 10.089 million watching.

Four weeks now into its second season, Revolution (1.4/4) hit a new series low last night. The NBC dystopian drama slipped 7% from the 1.5 series low of last week, which wasn’t adjusted up in final numbers. Law & Order: SVU (1.7/5) was up 6% from its October 9th show while struggling newbie … Read More »

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Dylan McDermott Lands Lead In ‘Survivor’

By | Wednesday October 9, 2013 @ 3:09pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Dylan McDermott is joining Milla Jovovich, Emma Thompson, Pierce Brosnan and Angela Bassett in Survivor, the Phil Shelby-scripted espionage thriller for Millennium Films that James McTeigue will direct starting January 20 in London. Charles Winkler and Irwin Winkler are producing. Jovovich plays a State Department employee newly posted to the American embassy in London, where she is charged with stopping terrorists from getting into the U.S. She is ordered to let a questionable guy in, and when it blows up in everyone’s face, she goes on the run and is pursued by another bomber. McDermott plays her boss and boyfriend, who backs her, and it ends up in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, where she must thwart a terrorist attack. McDermott, who stars on the new CBS drama Hostages, is repped by CAA and The Schiff Company.

Related: Jovovich, Thompson, Brosnan, Bassett Set For ‘Survivor’ Pic

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Millennium Sets Milla Jovovich, Emma Thompson, Pierce Brosnan, Angela Bassett For ‘Survivor’ Thriller Pic

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Millennium Films has set Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson and Angela Bassett to star in Survivor, a thriller that James McTeigue will direct starting January 20 in London. Charles Winkler and Irwin Winkler are producing. Phil Shelby wrote the script.

Jovovich plays a State Department employee newly posted to the American embassy in London, where she is charged with stopping terrorists from getting into the U.S. That puts her right in the line of fire and she is targeted for death and framed for crimes. Discredited, she is forced to go on the run while she tries to clear her name and stop a large-scale terrorist attack set for New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

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