ReelzChannel this morning put out a press release confirming our story about the network’s plans to team with The Kennedys co-producer Muse Entertainment for a follow-up miniseries based on Randy Taraborrelli’s bestselling book After Camelot, which tells the personal history of the Kennedy family from 1968 to the present. Muse will produce the miniseries and handle international distribution. Keri Selig of Intuition Prods, who brought the project to Reelz, will serve as an executive producer. I hear Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais have been tapped to write the mini, which, like The Kennedys, is envisioned as an eight-hour event. “The Kennedy family is truly a part of the fabric of America and we’re thrilled to once again work with our partners at Muse Entertainment to bring our viewers this fascinating and continuing story,” said Stan E. Hubbard, CEO of ReelzChannel.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that ReelzChannel and Canadian producer Muse Entertainment are plotting a sequel to their controversial 2011 mini-series The Kennedys. I hear the follow-up mini is eyed as an eight-episode event, matching the run of the original miniseries. It will be based on J. Randy Taraborrelli’s book After Camelot, which was published this spring, and is expected to pick up where the first mini took off — after the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy. Search is under way for a writer to adapt the book, described as “a personal history of the Kennedy Family 1968 to the present.” Neither Joel Surnow, who spearheaded the original miniseries as executive producer, nor Asylum Entertainment, which co-produced it with Muse, are involved in the sequel.
For Taraborrelli, After Camelot is a follow-up to his bestseller Jackie Ethel Joan – Women Of Camelot, which became a miniseries for NBC. It chronicles the Kennedy clan over the four decades after Robert Kennedy’s assassination, focusing on the the scandals, arrests, affairs, overdoses and antics associated with America’s royal family.
The Kennedys stirred controversy when it was abruptly dropped by History, the network that had commissioned it, shortly before it was to hit the air under what sources described as political pressure from the Kennedy clan. In a turnaround, with all major networks passing on the hot-potato project, ReelzChannel stepped in to pick it up for …
ReelzChannel has named Roger Eman as chief operating officer, a new position. He has been with the cable channel since 2007, when he was hired as chief information officer. He later added the titles of chief technical officer and SVP Operations and oversaw ReelzChannel’s move from Los Angeles to Albuquerque. The promotion comes after Eman, a former Sony exec, was vital in spearheading the launch of The Kennedys miniseries less than eight weeks after ReelzChannel acquired it when History dropped it. He managed all digital assets for the telecast, premieres, promotions and related original productions produced by the network. He also oversaw staff, budgets and physical productions of special events related to the mini, which garnered several Emmy nominations last year and effectively put the fledgling network on the cable map.
The broadcast networks staged a major comeback on a wild night at the Emmys, which started and ended with wins that were widely predicted but saw some real curve balls in between. Broadcast’s dominating performance was led by the five Emmys for ABC’s heavy comedy favorite Modern Family, which won every category it was nominated in, sweeping the first four trophy presentations of the night — for best supporting actor/actress and best writing/directing in a comedy series — and making the final award of the night, for best comedy series, a foregone conclusion. Modern Family won that too for a second straight year, and its sweep shut out rival Glee, leaving Emmy host Fox empty-handed. Broadcast shows also claimed the lead actor/actress in a comedy series categories, which provided two of the major upsets of the night. Melissa McCarthy of CBS’ Mike & Molly won for lead comedy actress despite most pundits having her as their fifth or sixth pick in the category and Golden Globe winner Laura Linney considered a strong front-runner for The Big C. Fellow CBS leading man Jim Parsons denied Steve Carell an Emmy for his iconic role on The Office. (The Office and fellow 30 Rock were left out completely tonight.) McCarthy’s and Parsons’ wins also meant a comeback for the multi-camera genre, which had its first double lead actor/actress win in a long time.
Broadcast’s big night continued with Julianna Margulies winning as best actress in a drama series for CBS’ The Good Wife. The Eye network scored again in the reality competition series, where The Amazing Race won for the eighth time in nine years in the category. Additionally, Friday Night Lights, which originated on NBC and continued to air second runs on the broadcast network, scored two big wins for its final season. One went to star Kyle Chandler for lead actor in a drama series and another to showrunner Jason Katims for writing. Add to that the strong showing of pubcaster PBS, whose Masterpiece Theatre mini-series Downton Abbey won four major awards: best TV movie/miniseries, best supporting actress, Maggie Smith, and best writing and directing for a TV movie/miniseries.
Mildred Pierce (HBO)
Killer Films & John Wells Prods w/ MGM and HBO Miniseries
Why It Was Nominated: Well, it was nominated for pretty much every other Emmy and so surely had to for this one. It hauled in a chart-topping 21 in all and already has won three award following last Saturday’s Creative Arts soiree. Todd Haynes’ five-part remake of the 1945 noir based on the James M. Cain book is another typically lavish, expensive, exquisite HBO multi-parter that the pay-cabler generally turns into real gold.
Why It Has To Win: Kate Winslet brings an Oscar-level cinematic cache’ to Mildred Pierce, which has historically proven to be catnip for the TV academy. The original won an Academy Award for Joan Crawford in 1945, and this one almost certainly will earn an Emmy for Winslet. Also, HBO doesn’t often lose with its big-budget miniseries, earning triumphs five times in the last 10 years (including last year for The Pacific). Plus, are voters really going to reject the year’s most decorated nominee in the most prestigious category?
Why It Can’t Possibly Win: Trust us that this one ain’t in the bag. Firstly, this is the first time the made-for-TV movie and miniseries categories have been combined with the elimination this year of the miniseries stand-alone. It’s also a fact that while HBO has won in TV-movie an astonishing 17 of the past 19 years, including seven years in a row, it only wins in alternate years with its miniseries (and it won last year). Then there is this: PBS’s Masterpiece project Downton Abbey suddenly looks unbeatable. Notes a voting writer: “I don’t know anyone who isn’t voting for Downton Abbey. It’s one of those things that if you fail to honor, you’ll feel really embarrassed about 10 years from now.”
ANALYSIS: Newcomer ‘Boardwalk Empire’, Comeback Kid ‘Futurama’, Justin Timberlake & Jeff Probst Rule The Creative Emmys
2011 Creative Emmys Winners, 2011 Creative Emmys By The Numbers
The top of the standings at the Creative Emmy Awards tonight looked familiar: HBO leading the network pack with most wins, 15, and an HBO program scoring the most wins. But there was a mild surprise on the show rankings side. The rule of thumb is that the program that scores the most Emmy nominations — almost always a longform project — usually bags the most trophies at the Creative Emmys. (Last year, it was HBO’s mega-mini The Pacific.) This year, another HBO mini, Mildred Pierce, landed the most Emmy noms, 21, but did not leave with the most trophies tonight. That honor went to HBO’s new drama series Boardwalk Empire, which, with its elaborate sets and period setting, dominated the field with 7 Emmys. Meanwhile, Mildred Pierce landed 3 Emmys, as much as The Kennedys and just one more than Downton Abbey. (All three are nominated for best TV movie or miniseries.) This could be a sign that the race in the top longform category, already made more competitive by merging TV movies and minis this year, may get even tighter.
Boardwalk Empire was not the only rookie to make a solid entrance into the Emmy circle. Fledgeling cable channel ReelzChannel, which this year is taking over from E! as the broadcaster of the Creative Emmys, landed its first 3 Emmy Awards tonight for its first original program, …
Howard Stringer: Sony Will Overtake The iPad With Content
A rival has revolutionized the mobile computer industry and Sony hasn’t had a device catch on big with consumers in years. But worried? Not Sony, not if you believe CEO Howard Stringer. “Yes, yes, Apple makes an iPad, but does it make a movie?” he said at a Berlin electronics show today. “We will prove that it’s not who makes the tablet first who counts but who makes it better.” Stringer unveiled its two tablet models, priced at $599 and $499, about the same price as an Apple 2. But analysts and technology reviewers’ first impresssions were largely negative. Also today, Sony announced in Tokyo that it will merge its liquid-crystal display manufacturing efforts with Toshiba and Hitachi and use $2.6B of government-backed funds to fend off competitors in Korea and Taiwan. The merged entity will be the world’s largest maker of the LCD panels used in smartphones and tablet PCs.
‘The Kennedys’ Takes Acting Prizes At Canada’s Geminis
It may have struggled to find a buyer in the U.S. and drawn fire from both ends of the political spectrum, but the controversial miniseries The Kennedys was a winner tonight in Toronto at the Gemini Awards, Canada’s top TV honors. Barry Pepper won for lead actor for his role as Bobby Kennedy and Diana Hardcastle won supporting actress for her role as matriarch Rose Kennedy. The Pillars of the Earth was named the top TV movie or mini. The Jason Priestly comedy Call Me Fitz won for direction (Scott Smith), supporting actor (Ernie Grunwald), supporting actress (Rachel Blanchard) and writing (Pat Bullard).
Hulu Rolls Out Subscription Video Service In Japan
Streaming entertainment site Hulu is on the auction block, but that isn’t stopping it from making its first international foray. The company said today that Japanese audiences are “passionate about premium video content” and that the country is a “major producer of world-class TV and feature films.” Japan’s extensive broadband coverage and
His eponymous FX comedy may have been snubbed in the best comedy series category, but comedian Louis C.K. still managed to become the most nominated person at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with four noms, sharing the honors with The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Louis C.K. was nominated in the lead comedy actor category for his role on FX’s Louie, in the writing for comedy series category for penning the Poker/Divorce episode of the show, as well as in two Variety, Music or Comedy special categories for his Epix comedy special Louis C.K.: Hilarious — for writing and for editing. Three of Schaffer and Taccone’s four nominations were in the Original Music and Lyrics category, in which The Lonely Island’s Schaffer, Taccone and Andy Samberg have a regular presence, often in tandem with Justin Timberlake, having won an Emmy together for Dick In a Box. This year, Saturday Night Live is completely dominating the category with four of the six nominations: three for Schaffer, Taccone and Samberg’s digital music videos I Just Have Sex, Jack Sparrow and their latest collaboration with Timberlake, 3-Way, and one for the song from host Timberlake’s opening monologue. Schaffer and Taccone’s fourth Emmy nomination is in the writing for VMC series category for their staff-writing duties on SNL.
If the four major broadcast networks, which recently made a deal to continue airing the Emmys for the next eight years, were worried the show was becoming one big commercial for their cable upstart rivals, this morning’s nominations for the 63rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards (to be broadcast on Fox on Sept. 18) prove they would be right to be concerned.
With the notable exception of the Comedy Series (and to a lesser extent Reality) category where they still dominate, the four big nets were virtually AWOL in the showcase Drama Series, Variety Series and of course, Movie and Mini arenas. In the overall nomination totals they once again badly trailed HBO, which with 104 nominations (three more than last year, including a leading 21 nods for the mini Mildred Pierce) more than doubled the combined total of ABC and CBS. In fact, ABC with 40 was down from last year’s 63 and CBS with 50 was down from 2010′s total of 57. NBC, thanks to its Thursday night sitcoms, stayed even with last year’s 46, while Fox managed 42 nods, also down a few from 2010. To add insult to injury, cable networks scored big nominations with shows like Conan and Friday Night Lights that once were on NBC and basically ignored in major Emmy races when they were. You know there’s trouble when only four broadcast series got higher totals than something that premiered on the obscure ReelzChannel (after being rejected by the History Channel! — more on that later).
Although AMC’s Mad Men once again led the competitive Drama Series category with its highest yearly total ever of 19 nominations and Showtime’s Dexter got its fourth consecutive nod, there was thankfully fresh blood here with two new HBO entries, Boardwalk Empire (18 noms) and Game of Thrones (13), bringing the pay cabler roaring back into play where it once dominated with The Sopranos. And Friday Night Lights, a former NBC series jettisoned to the hinterlands of DirecTV, grabbed its first nomination in the category for its final season (and over any show NBC currently has kept on its air). Keeping the networks from a complete washout in the Emmy’s marquee category was CBS’ The Good Wife gaining its second nomination in as many years and nine noms overall. You go Good Wife!
Injecting a major category like this with so many newcomers to the competition is a good thing as the big complaint about the Emmys is the sameness year after year in a majority of categories. The Emmy show, no matter how you try to dress it up, is always a bit of Deja View.
Following a couple of weeks of searching for a new buyer after being dropped by History, the controversial Kennedys miniseries has landed on ReelzChannel. The four-year-old digital cable channel, owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, has already set a premiere date, Apr. 3, and has put up a trailer for the mini, which is expected to run unedited. The little known Albuquerque, NM-based ReelzChannel, which runs movie-themed program and syndicated fare, is probably looking for some visibility with the high-profile acquisition. The mini, from 24 co-creator Joel Surnow, stars Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson, and Barry Pepper, was previously shopped to Showtime, FX, Starz, DirecTV and Tribune, among others.
EXCLUSIVE: The Kennedys may take an unconventional route to U.S. television screens, via syndication. The producers of the controversial miniseries, which was dropped by History earlier this month, are in talks with Tribune Broadcasting about picking up the 8-hour project starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes. A rep for Tribune confirmed that the company has been in talks for the mini, declining further comment.
I hear that Tribune has made an offer and may actually land the mini, which is being shopped by producers Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment. There are also cable nets in the running, but Tribune might have a leg up as History has a say in who gets the program and may not be willing to have it run on a direct competitor. “I’m not sure if History wants another (basic) cable net to air it so they might take less money to have it in syndication,” a source said.
History has to approve a buyer, as it did early on with premium cable network Showtime, which ultimately passed on the mini. DirecTV, which engaged in talks for The Kennedys but ended up not making a deal, also is not a direct competitor to History. (Meanwhile, I hear BBC America made a serious play for the mini but, even if History gives its blessing, sourced doubted the cable net could afford the lavish $25-million production as its offers have come too low.)
UPDATE: A rep for DirecTV confirmed that the company is “in preliminary stages of discussion” for The Kennedys.
PREVIOUS: DirecTV already provided primetime refuge to two series that had faced premature death on other networks, NBC’s Friday Night Lights and FX’s Damages. Could it do it again for the controversial mini-series The Kennedys? TVLine’s Michael Ausiello is reporting that the satcaster is in talks to air the eight-part miniseries, which was scrapped by History on Friday, shortly before it was to debut, because of reported political pressure from the Kennedy family. Unlike History and most of the broadcast and cable networks, DirecTV is not part of a vertically integrated conglom. The Kennedys, from 24 co-creator Joel Surnow, stars Greg Kinnear as JFK, Katie Holmes as wife Jackie, Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy, and Tom Wilkinson as Joseph Kennedy. The mini was recently shopped to Showtime, which passed on Wednesday.
Hope for U.S. distribution of Joel Surnow’s 8-part miniseries The Kennedys is fast fading away. Showtime has just passed on the project, which was cancelled by its original network, History, on Friday. Showtime was considered The Kennedy‘s best shot for an airing on a traditional network in the U.S. because of 24 co-creator Surnow’s long-standing relationship with Showtime’s new programming chief David Nevins, who previously ran 24 producing company Imagine TV.
UPDATE: Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment, who co-produce The Kennedys, just issued the following statement about the mini-series’ cancellation by History: “We are proud of the work all of our talent put into the making of The Kennedys and the painstaking efforts that went into creating a drama that is compelling while rich in historic detail. Although we regret this does not fit into the History Channel’s plans, we are confident that television viewers in the United States will join viewers from around the world in having an opportunity to watch this series in the near future.”
PREVIOUS: The Kennedys miniseries, just canceled History, is now being shopped to Showtime. The 8-part miniseries, a brain child of 24 co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow, stars Greg Kinnear as JFK, Katie Holmes as Jackie, Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy, and Tom Wilkinson as Joseph Kennedy. I hear the stunning cancellation, which was done after the mini had been completed, was done under political pressure from the Kennedy family who were not comfortable with the project coming out in the year of the 50th anniversary of Camelot. History is part of the A&E Networks, which is co-owned by the Walt Disney Co. Disney’s interest in the company is overseen by Disney-ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney who is an A&E Networks board member. She is also a board member on the Special Olympics, which is synonymous with the Kennedy family, having been launched by John …
History’s The Kennedys and Starz’s The Pillars of the Earth can’t come soon enough. The miniseries form has been on life-support in the past couple of years, with only one U.S. network, HBO, making consistent efforts in the arena. As a result, the nomination field for best miniseries has developed a familiar pattern in the past two years: only two spots on the nomination ballot: one for HBO’s mini of the year and one for a British import broadcast as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series. Last year, it was PBS’ Little Dorrit and HBO’s Generation Kill. Little Dorrit won. This year, it’s HBO’s war extravaganza The Pacific and PBS’ Return to Cranford. With its leading 24 Emmy nominations, The Pacific looks destined to win, following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Band of Brothers. But with the series field brimming with strong contenders to a point that the top categories were expended from 5 to 6 slots last year, it is sad to see the mini-series category teetering on the brink of viability with two nominees. There had been talk about possibly merging the TV movie and mini-series categories but longform, which hails back to the early days of TV, has a strong lobby at the TV Academy, with purist arguing against mixing what they consider two very different forms. So, just like the plan for pre-taping most of the long-form Emmy categories was squashed last summer, the dwindling miniseries field is getting spared, at least for now. And there are …