How many new comedy series with a female lead were picked up last May? Zero. How many have been picked up so far this season? Every single one. All four new comedy series ordered so far by Fox and NBC this season have female leads. That is how many the four broadcast networks combined have on the air this season: NBC’s 30 Rock starring Tina Fey and Parks and Recreation starring Amy Poehler, and ABC’s The Middle starring Patricia Heaton and Cougar Town starring Courteney Cox. Half of those were created by women. All four of the newly picked series come from female creators. While not at 100%, female-centered series are also dominant on the drama side. One of the two new Fox dramas, Alcatraz, has a female lead, Sarah Jones, and was co-written by a female writer, Liz Sarnoff. Of the two NBC drama pickups, one is the female-centered Prime Suspect starring Maria Bello and written by Alexandra Cunningham and the other the female-skewing Smash, which has two leads, one played by Debra Messing. And the two locks at ABC are all about ladies (though penned by male writers), Charlie’s Angels and Good Christian Bitches.
The four newly picked up half-hour series will probably be joined by 3-4 more for a complete domination of the freshman comedy class of 2011 the way ensemble relationship comedies were all the craze last year. What’s more, it looks like as many as three new comedy series are two-female lead shows. Read More »
UPDATE 9 PM: A Locke & Key limited series/miniseries was a stretch, and it seems that it is not happening. The show is now heading to the death pile. And yes, comedy Outnumbered is dead too. Surprisingly, multi-family comedy Little In Common starring Rob Corddry and Kevin Hart, which had stayed largely under the radar, is still very much in the mix.
UPDATE 8 PM: With two high-profile drama pilots, the Ethan Hawke starrer Exit Strategy and Locke & Key, conspicuously missing from the list of series pickups or rejects, speculation started swirling as to their fate. I hear both are still in play. Word is Exit Strategy may be held for retooling. I hear Fox brass felt the pilot had a lot of action and not too much character in it, so they had been looking to shift the focus on the show. As for Locke & Key, there is a rumor that Fox wants to make it into a big-event limited series/miniseries, but it is unclear if that would be financially feasible. Comedy Family Album is still TBD but is not getting an order at this time and may get pushed.
UPDATE 7:30 PM: Fox has picked up a second new comedy series, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, on the same night its star, Jaime Pressly, appears on Fox’s Raising Hope. Meanwhile, three other pilots, medical drama Weekends at Bellevue and comedies Council of Dads and Iceland, are dead.
UPDATE … Read More »
Clare Kilner, who directed How To Deal and The Wedding Date, has been tapped to helm 7 Star Pictures’ Gideon’s Gift, a film based on the bestselling inspirational novel by Karen Kingsbury. The movie, which centers on a young girl (Emily Alyn Lind) struggling with illness who reaches out to a homeless man and inspires a Christmas miracle, is set to begin production May 11 in Salt Lake City. 7 Star founder John McAdams and Chester Semel will produce, and Kate Maberly will co-produce.
Gideon’s Gift is the latest project from Los Angeles-based 7 Star Pictures, which aims to produce and distribute a slate of self-financed low- and mid-budget features. The outfit also is fast-tracking The Goats, based on the young-adult novel by Brock Cole, to be written and directed by DJ Caruso (I Am Number Four) and produced by Ken Aguado and McAdams. In addition, 7 Star is prepping The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a young-adult romantic thriller based on the bestselling novel by Carrie Ryan, adapted by writer-director W. Peter Iliff (writer of Patriot Games and Point Break); The New Girl, written and to be directed by Alan Shapiro (The Crush); and After The Fall, written by Chris Ver Weil (Who is Cletus Tout?).
7 Star is backed by a private-equity film fund headed by Semel, a physician for the USC football team and a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.