EXCLUSIVE: David O. Russell is coming to television. ABC has given a straight-to-series 13-episode order to a drama project from the American Hustle writer/director and Erin Brockovich writer Susannah Grant. The series, developed by CBS TV Studios and studio-based Timberman/Beverly, is an upstairs/downstairs soap set at a private country club. Russell and Grant co-wrote the story, with Grant writing the teleplay. The two are executive producing with Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly; CBS Studios is co-producing with ABC Studios. This marks the first TV series for Russell, the hottest filmmaker at the moment with rare back-to-back Best Picture Oscar nominees — American Hustle this year and Silver Linings Playbook last year accompanied by best writing and directing nominations both times. Russell is on a streak, with his previous film, The Fighter, also earning a Best Picture and Best Director nominations in 2011.
Related: OSCARS: David O. Russell On Nomination Hot Streak: “I Don’t Know If You Could Force It To Ever Happen Again”
The ABC drama also marks the first series for an outside broadcast network for CBS Studios in its first season opening up its development to broadcast nets besides siblings CBS and the CW. Grant previously created and executive produced the CBS/CBS Studios supernatural medical drama A … Read More »
UPDATE 1:40 PM: Outgoing Law & Order: SVU executive producer/showrunner Neal Baer has been tapped as executive producer/ showrunner of A Gifted Man. This marks his first gig under his new overall deal at CBS TV Studios, which starts in a few days.
PREVIOUS: CBS just picked up another new drama series, the untitled Susannah Grant medical drama, now titled A Gifted Man. Produced by CBS TV Studios, it stars Patrick Wilson as ultra-competitive surgeon Michael, whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife Anna dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the hereafter. The Gifted Man joins dramas The 2-2 (prev. Rookies), Unforgettable (prev. The Rememberer) and David Hornsby’s comedy How To Be a Gentleman, picked up earlier today; and drama Person of Interest and comedy Two Broke Girls, which were ordered Friday.
Law & Order veteran S. Epatha Merkerson has joined CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant supernatural medical drama pilot. Jonathan Demme is directing the pilot, from CBS TV Studios and Timberman/Beverly, which centers on Michael (Patrick Wilson), an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle), a doctor running a free clinic, dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the hereafter. Merkerson will play Michael’s assistant Rita. Without her help, he probably wouldn’t make it through the day as she is really the person running the office. Sassy and strong willed, Rita is not someone you should cross. Merkerson joins another late addition to the cast of the medical drama pilot, Julie Benz. Merkerson was approached for several projects in her first pilot season following her 16-year stint on Law & Order. The Emmy-winning actress, repped by ICM and Bob McGowan plays the lead in the upcoming Lionsgate/Tyler Perry movie We the Peoples, now in post-production.
EXCLUSIVE: Julie Benz has joined her No Ordinary Family co-star Michael Chiklis in booking a pilot in second position. Benz has joined CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant drama pilot which, like NOF, has high-concept elements. Jonathan Demme is directing the supernatural medical drama, from CBS TV Studios and Timberman/Beverly, which centers on Michael (Patrick Wilson), an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle), a doctor running a free clinic, dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the hereafter. Benz will play Michael’s sister, an unfocused and overwhelmed single mother with a huge heart. ICM-repped Benz co-starred on Showtime’s Dexter and recurred on ABC’s Desperate Housewives before she was cast as the female lead in NOF last year. That show’s star, Chiklis, last week signed on to topline another CBS pilot, the comedy Vince Uncensored. Both are in second position to the ABC superhero drama, which has struggled in the ratings and is doubtful to return.
Feature and Broadway actor Patrick Wilson is making his first foray into series TV as the star of CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant drama pilot. Jonathan Demme is directing he supernatural medical drama, from CBS TV Studios and studio-based Timberman/Beverly Prods., which centers on an ultra-competitive surgeon (Wilson) whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the here-after. Wilson’s only previous TV gig was a co-starring role on the HBO miniseries Angels In America, which earned him an Emmy nomination. Wilson was approached by 3 drama pilots this season. As part of his deal for the Susannah Grant pilot, its production will be moved to New York where Wilson lives. CAA-repped Wilson most recently starred in the Sundance entry The Ledge.
Sarah Michelle Gellar is returning to broadcast series TV with a pilot at CBS. In its first drama pilot pickup this season, CBS has greenlighted Ringer, which is toplined by the former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star. The project hails from ABC Studios, CBS TV Studios and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. UPDATE: The pickup of Ringer was followed by another drama pilot order by CBS to an untitled supernatural medical drama from writer Susannah Grant.
Ringer, written on spec by Supernatural writer-producers Eric Charmelo & Nicole Snyder, centers on a troubled young woman (Gellar) who, while on the run from the mob, hides out by inhabiting the life of her wealthy twin sister, until she learns that her twin’s life has a bounty on it as well. Brillstein’s Peter Traugott is executive producing, with Gellar, Charmelo and Snyder co-executive producing. Geller, repped by ICM and Brillstein’s Joanne Colonna, has been heavily pursued by the broadcast networks since the end of Buffy in 2003. Her only TV gig since then had been the HBO pilot The Wonderful Maladys. Charmelo and Snyder, who are story editors on Supernatural, are with UTA and the Shuman Co.
The untitled Susannah Grant project, from CBS TV Studios and studio-based Timberman/Beverly Prods., centers on an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the here-after. Grant … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE AND UPDATED: Fox 2000 has beat out Universal Pictures by paying north of $2 million for a pitch by Susannah Grant and rights to songs from the Beach Boys song catalogue that will form the basis for an original musical that Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, and John Stamos (who used to regularly sit in with the band in more modern times) will produce. The template for the film is to do with the Beach Boys songs what the global blockbuster Mamma Mia! did with Abba. This is not a biopic of the famous musical group; instead the Beach Boys serve as a backdrop for an original narrative. According to the log line: “The story takes place in Southern California over a summer in the 60′s. It’s inspired by the sounds of the Beach Boys music and the beach culture of that time.” Much like Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried belted out Abba tunes in Mamma Mia!, the idea will be to pack the film with a cast that will sing Beach Boys standards. The 2 studios bid hard on the original musical and I heard both tendered 7-figure bids for Grant’s pitch. The trio of producers already teamed The Beach Boys: An American Family, a biographical ABC miniseries about the band.
Considering how much Beach Boys tunes are indelibly linked to movies that include American Graffiti to Love Actually (how perfect was the tune God Only Knows in the … Read More »