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‘Lone Star’ Leads Book Pilots: Jimmy Wolk To ‘Georgetown’, Eloise Mumford To ‘River’

Nellie Andreeva

It’s been a big week for the Lone Star leading trio. Adrianne Palicki (on right in the photo), was just cast as the new Wonder Woman in David E. Kelley’s pilot for NBC. Now the show’s star, Jimmy Wolk and other female lead, Eloise Mumford, have also been tapped for high-profile pilot gigs.

Wolk is set to headline ABC’s drama Georgetown. The hourlong project, written by Will Fetters, is described as a sexy soap centered around the young people behind the power brokers of Washington, DC. It centers on Andrew Pierce (Wolk), an effortlessly charming and brilliant Yale graduate and the youngest Presidential speech-writer on record who was once idealistic but is now cynical as he sees how compromise has eroded the administration’s promise. Georgetown hails from Warner Bros. TV and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire.

One of Wolk’s two Lone Star leading ladies, Eloise Mumford (left), has become the first actor cast in another ABC drama, horror thriller The River. The project, from DreamWorks TV and ABC Studios, centers on  small group that goes deep into the Amazon in search for a missing TV explorer. Mumford will play  a fearless helicopter pilot attached to the expedition whose father, the TV explorer’s cameraman, is also missing.

In other pilot castings, Lauren Lapkus and Natalie Morales have joined NBC’s Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, a multicamera comedy inspired by Chelsea Handler’s … Read More »

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PILOT SEASON: The Rise Of Feature Directors

Nellie Andreeva

In a series of stories, I’ll take an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.

In what was probably the last big pilot director signing this season, Jaume Collet-Sera yesterday closed a deal to direct ABC’s The River hours before the premiere of his new movie, the Liam Neeson starrer Unknown. It was a fitting end to a pilot director hiring season that was dominated by feature helmers.

Among those signed for pilots are Jonathan Demme (CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant), Shawn Levy (Fox’s Comedy Album), Phillip Noyce (ABC’s Revenge), Antoine Fuqua (Fox’s Exit Strategy), James Mangold (CBS’ Rookies) Michael Apted (ABC’s Hallelujah), Eclipse director David Slade (NBC’s REM), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev (CBS’ Redlich/Bellucci), Mark Romanek (Fox’s Locke & Key) and Easy A helmer Will Gluck (Fox’s Iceland). Two filmmakers, Stephen Gaghan and Michael Patrick King, are directing their own scripts, NBC’s S.I.L.A. and A Mann’s World, respectively, while Peter Berg is directing NBC’s Prime Suspect, which he also produces. Also approached for pilots were McG, Tony Scott and Brett Ratner, but no deals were made, mostly because of feature scheduling conflicts.

The trend of going after feature directors for pilots started in the early 2000s with the success of CBS’ CSI, which was attributed in part to the show’s distinct look and visual effects brought in by feature director Danny Cannon, who made his TV debut with the … Read More »

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‘Unknown’ Helmer Jaume Collet-Serra To Direct ABC Pilot ‘The River’

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Jaume Collet-Serra, director of the upcoming thriller Unknown starring Liam Neeson, will make his TV directing debut with the ABC pilot The River, a horror drama from Paranormal Activity writer-director Oren Peli. Described as being in the mold of Paranormal Activity, The River centers on a family who travels to the deep Amazon to locate and rescue their missing father. The project is right in Collet-Serra’s wheelhouse. Before Unknown, which opens on Friday, he directed the horror thrillers Orphan and House of Wax. Peli co-wrote the first draft with Paranormal Activity 2 scribe Michael Perry. Heroes veteran and Kings creator Michael Green then did a p.1 rewrite, which was greenlighted to pilot.

Spanish-born Collet-Serra, repped by CAA, is negotiating to direct  Harker, a spec script by Lee Shipman & Brian McGreevy acquired by Warner Bros. for Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran to produce with Mad Hatter Entertainment’s Michael Connolly. The project is described as a re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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ABC Takes To ‘The River’ With ‘Paranormal Activity’ Filmmaker Oren Peli

By | Thursday September 2, 2010 @ 2:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

You thought a suburban home was scary.  How about the Amazon river? Oren Peli, the writer-director of the indie phenomenon Paranormal Activity, is bringing to primetime The River, a cinema verite-style thriller drama in the vein of Paranormal Activity set on a mysterious river. After a heated bidding between ABC and NBC, the project is close to landing at ABC with a rich put pilot commitment. The TV division of DreamWorks, the studio that discovered Israeli-born video game designer Peli and his $15,000 supernatural thriller Paranormal Activity that ended up grossing almost $200 million worldwide, is producing with ABC Studios. Peli hatched the idea for the project with veteran TV writer Michael R. Perry (Law & Order: SVU) who penned the upcoming Paranormal Activity sequel. Perry is writing the pilot script, with Peli possibly directing. Peli also is executive producing with his producing partners Jason Blum and Steven Schneider as well as Perry and DreamWorks TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. According to one description of the project floating around, The River follows the story of a famed adventuter/tv personality who goes missing and is presumed dead deep in the Amazon. His friends and crew go to look for him on their state-of-the-art research vessel. Read More »

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