Wolverine will begin performances on Halloween, with an official opening November 16 at Gotham’s Circle in the Square Theatre, in a limited run through January 25, 2015. The cast includes Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo. Ian Rickson, a longtime collaborator with the writer, directs. Butterworth, author of the acclaimed Mark Rylance vehicle Jerusalem, sets The River in a remote cabin on a cliff somewhere. The play was unveiled in 2012 at London’s Royal Court Theatre and comes to New York under the wing of Sonia Friedman Productions. Jackman‘s most recent Broadway show was his sold-out Hugh Jackman — Back On Broadway in 2011.
EXCLUSIVE: Netflix, already in talks with 20th Century Fox TV about possibly picking up recently canceled Fox series Terra Nova, may also be eying another freshman drama facing cancellation: ABC’s The River. I’ve learned that the streaming giant has had conversations with The River producer ABC Studios about the possibility of continuing the thriller/horror series on Netflix. Sources stress that the talks are exploratory at this point in the context of a larger conversation between ABC Studios and Netflix. The River never got traction on ABC, finishing its midseason run with a 1.4 18-49 rating for its finale Tuesday. But it is the type of show — a heavily serialized genre series — that works well on streaming services like Netflix. The River‘s Live+7 ratings bump, 36% vs. Live+Same Day according to the most recent available data, is solid though not as high as that of Terra Nova (44%), which also was higher-rated overall. DVR ratings are indicative of how many viewers prefer to “stream” a show on their own timetable instead of watching it the night it airs. Unlike Terra Nova, The River has not been officially canceled by ABC, though that is considered a foregone conclusion. Also, since the series is produced by ABC’s own production arm, the network probably won’t stand in the way of a deal that would make money for its sister studio.
It looks like ABC’s topper Paul Lee was half-right in his hypothesis that during the current economic downturn viewers would flock to genres that were popular during the depression. It worked for fairy tales, with the success of Once Upon A Time. But another top depression draw, horror, may have tougher sledding. ABC’s new horror/mystery drama The River launched to so-so numbers last night. The first hour of its 2-hour premiere posted a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.2 million at 9 PM. The second hour dipped to a 2.2 rating and 6.8 million viewers, with the show slipping a tenth of a rating point every half-hour. The 2.2 rating matched the debut in ABC’s midseason drama Off The Map in the Wednesday 10 PM slot last year. At 8 PM, back-to-back original episodes of Last Man Standing (2.3/6, 7.75 million; 2.5/6, 7.96 million) were down 12% and 4% in the demo, respectively, from the comedy’s last original 3 weeks ago.
CBS won the night in both 18-49 and total viewers anchored by the 200th episode of NCIS (4.1/11, 20.82), even with its last original 4 weeks ago in 18-49 and logging its second largest audience of the season. NCIS: LA (3.1/8, 16.12 million) was down 6%, while Unforgettable (2.2/6, 11.7 million) was flat. Ricky Martin was no match for the gloved one. Last night’s episode of Fox’s Glee (3.2/9) starring the Latin heartthrob posted a 3.2/9 in 18-49, down …
Steven Spielberg/Oren Peli thriller series collaboration The River makes its U.S. debut on February 7 on ABC. In a first for producer ABC Studios, the shows will then be available via iTunes in the U.K. 24 hours later. There is currently no U.K. broadcaster deal for The River, although an announcement is expected soon. Meanwhile, U.K. iTunes customers can watch the series on a one-day delay during its entire run. Experiments like this are partly a means to deter piracy and are proving more frequent (they’re also welcome for frustrated fans in Europe). In 2010, for example, ITV made Vampire Diaries available on iTunes in the U.K. before it started airing the popular show. In France, leading broadcaster TF1 makes episodes of shows like House available via its own VOD service on a 24-hour delay from the U.S. TF1 also airs the series on TV at a one-season delay and the show remains a ratings powerhouse. In the U.S., Fox last
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The name Steven Spielberg seems to be attached to an ever-increasing number of series — in broadcast network primetime in particular. Those include Fox’s on-the-bubble Terra Nova as well as the forthcoming NBC musical drama Smash and ABC’s horror hour The River, the Bruce Greenwood-starrer that’s been tagged “Paranormal Activity outdoors” and premieres February 7 in the Tuesday 9 PM slot. But it remains something of a mystery exactly what Spielberg’s input might be as executive producer on any of these projects — or if it’s largely ceremonial and meant simply to attach his powerful brand. The subject was raised this morning at the TCA session for The River, where it was noted that Spielberg always is too busy to grace one of these panels with his presence. One of the three exec producers who was there, Zack Estrin, begged to differ: “Oh, I think he actually is here in this room,” he said. “(Spielberg’s) influence with stories, his influence when he watches the cuts is amazing. I mean, he’s off doing a movie — or two — and the fact he finds time to watch these cuts and give us notes and be just incredibly supportive is great for us. To have someone like him at our hip and giving us guidance that’s not superficial but indeed foundational is pretty great.”
Former Greek star Scott Michael Foster has signed a talent holding deal with ABC, reuniting with the network’s president Paul Lee, who as head of ABC Family developed and launched Greek. In addition to being available for ABC pilots this coming season, Foster is joining ABC’s midseason series The River as a recurring. On the horror drama chronicling a family and TV crew’s efforts to locate a missing explorer in the Amazon, Foster will play a thrill-seeking, adventurous cameraman who may be hiding a secret.
Exactly 20 years ago, German rock band Scorpions released Wind of Change, which became an anthem for our generation of young Eastern Europeans going through a dramatic political change: the fall of communism. Coming back from the broadcast upfront presentations in New York last week, I’ve been having a hard time getting the catchy tune out of my head. While less far-reaching and profound, there is a clear sense of changing of the guard and a new direction for the broadcast networks this year. I can’t remember a time where the majority of the networks had new heads at their upfront presentations. Paul Lee took over for Steve McPherson at ABC, Bob Greenblatt for Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad at NBC, and Mark Pedowitz is succeeding Dawn Ostroff at the CW. There is a similar changing of the guard among the top TV producers this year. Upstart Chernin Entertainment and DreamWorks TV, which is re-entering the broadcast arena, topped the pods with the most new series, three each, with another recently launched company, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, scoring two new shows. And in its first season, Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods.got one pilot, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, picked up to pilot, with another, Fox’s Family Album, in serious contention. Meanwhile, such longtime upfront fixtures as Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Mark Gordon Co. and Wonderland didn’t land any new series for next season.
Home Improvement star Tim Allen is returning to ABC’s primetime, and the network will use his star power to launch a new comedy block. As we predicted, the network is opening up a 8-10 PM comedy block on Tuesday, with Allen’s comedy Last Man Standing anchoring it. ABC will be launching roughly half of its 13 new scripted series in the fall, including Charlie’s Angels, which has been given the tough task to open Thursday night. The network proved it was serious about Happy Endings, giving the modestly rated midseason series its prime comedy slot after Modern Family. Also noteworthy: 1960s soap Pan Am landed the post-Desperate Housewives slot, and ABC opted to go scripted in the Sunday 8 PM slot long occupied by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition with new fantasy series Once Upon a Time. ABC’s top series, Dancing With the Stars, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives are staying put. Held for midseason are high-profile new entries Good Christian Belles and The River as well as returning comedy Cougar Town. All fall series have received traditional 13-episode orders, while the size of the orders for most midseason shows have not been determined. Here is ABC’s release with the fall schedule:
New ABC series for the 2011-12 season are “Apartment 23,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Good Christian Belles,” “Last Man Standing,” “Man Up,” “Missing,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Pan Am,” “Revenge,” “The River,” “Scandal,” “Suburgatory” and “Work It.”
“America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “The Bachelor,” “Body of Proof,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Happy Endings,” “Secret Millionaire,” “Shark Tank” and “20/20” join previously announced returning series “Castle,” “Cougar Town,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family” and “Private Practice.” “Saturday Night College Football” also returns.
ABC’s fall primetime schedule is as follows; new shows are in bold:
8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”
10:00 p.m. “Castle”
8:00 p.m. “Last Man Standing”
8:30 p.m. “Man Up”
9:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
10:00 p.m. “Body of Proof”
8:00 p.m. “The Middle”
8:30 p.m. “Suburgatory”
9:00 p.m. “Modern Family”
9:30 p.m. “Happy Endings”
10:00 p.m. “Revenge”
8:00 p.m. “Charlie’s Angels”
9:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”
10:00 p.m. “Private Practice”
8:00 p.m. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”
9:00 p.m. “Shark Tank”
10:00 p.m. “20/20”
8:00 p.m. “Saturday Night College Football”
7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 p.m. “Once Upon a Time”
9:00 p.m. “Desperate Housewives”
10:00 p.m. “Pan Am”
NEW FALL AND MIDSEASON SERIES:
UPDATE 1:10 PM: The last comedy pilots to get the nod at ABC today are Suburgatory and the cross-dressing Work It. Another buzzed-about pilot, Smothered, has not been picked up but remains in contention. Among those that are not moving forward is Other People’s Kids.
UPDATE 12:50 PM: ABC picked up a third new comedy, Chris Moynihan’s Man Up.
UPDATE 12:35 PM: ABC just picked up seven new drama series, early standouts Good Christian Bitches, now Good Christian Belles, and Charlie’s Angels, as well as Once Upon A Time, Pan Am, Revenge, Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal and The River. Some are for midseason. The high-profile drama pilots not to get an order include Poe, which was an early favorite of ABC chief Paul Lee but lost traction after poor testing, and Marc Cherry’s spiritual drama Hallelujah.
PREVIOUS 12:25 PM: ABC is just now making a flurry of calls to producers. The first confirmed pickups went to comedy frontrunners Apt. 23 and the Tim Allen project, now called again Last Man Standing.
Kings creator Green was originally recruited to rewrite Michael Perry’s pilot script for The River, which is executive produced by Paranormal Activity filmmaker Oren Peli. At the time, Green only made a deal for the rewrite, which he turned around in eight days, with no pilot or series pact in place as he had a pre-existing development deal at 20th Century Fox TV to develop his own project. When The River was picked up to pilot, Green was approached about a deal to become an executive producer on the pilot and the potential series. He agreed, signing a rich pact to serve as showrunner on the pilot and the potential first 13-episode cylce of the show. After that, he will return to his development deal at 20th TV, which has been rolled to next year. One of Green’s conditions was that ABC Studios brought on another writing executive producer to support him on the pilot and the first 13 episodes and take over as showrunner if the show receives a back order. Prison Break alum Estrin, who last year helped launch Fox’s The Good Guys as an executive producer, was tapped for the job. He is already in business with ABC Studios …
24 alumna Leslie Hope has landed the female lead in ABC’s drama pilot The River, a thriller/horror drama from Paranormal Activity mastermind Oren Peli, which is being directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Described as being in the mold of Paranormal Activity, The River centers on Tess (Hope), a world traveler and top-notch producer who, six months after her TV explorer husband Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) goes missing in the Amazon, receives a signal from his beacon. Convinced that Emmet is alive, Tess forces her reluctant son Lincoln (Joe Anderson) to abandon his medical studies and lead a rescue expedition. Hope, repped by Domain and manager Perry Zimel, has been recurring on The Mentalist.
Saturday Night Live alum Tim Meadows has joined NBC’s untitled Kari Lizer project. The workplace comedy centers on Mary (Sarah Paulson), a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. Meadows, repped by APA and Brillstein Entertainment, will play Mary’s partner, a psychotherapist and the reality check to Mary’s eternal optimism.
Off the Map co-star Zach Gilford has been cast as the male lead in the Fox single-camera pilot Iceland. The project centers on Mackenzie (Kerry Bishe), a twentysomething woman whose fiance recently passed away. Gilford, from WME and D/F Management, will play a guy friend of Mackenzie described as “bad influence.” For Gilford, the casting is in second position to Off the Map. He is the third cast member from the midseason drama to book a pilot this season along with Martin Henderson and Rachelle Lefevre, both cast in NBC’s Reconstruction.
Paul Blackthorne (Lipstick Jungle) has just been cast in the ABC drama pilot The River directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The horror thriller centers on Lincoln Cole (Joe Anderson) who, after his famous TV explorer father Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) goes missing way up the Amazon, reluctantly abandons his medical studies and follows in his father’s footsteps. Blackthorne, repped by SDB Partners, Seven Summits & Optimism, will play the producer of Emmet Cole’s long-running documentary series.
Life Unexpected star Kristoffer Polaha has been tapped for a co-starring role on the CBS/CBS Studios drama pilot Ringer. The project centers on troubled young woman Bridget (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who, while on the run from the mob, hides out by inhabiting the life of her rich twin sister, Siobhan, until she learns that her twin’s life has a bounty on it as well. Polaha will play the husband of Siobnah’s best friend Gemma (Tara Summers), an out-of-work novelist and father of 3-year-old twins who is secretly having an affair with Siobhan and, unaware that Bridget has taken over Siobhan’s identity, is hurt and confused by her lukewarm behavior. The casting stems from the rich talent-holding deal Polaha, repped by WME and Mosaic, signed with CBS and CBS Studios in November. MORE
James Adomian has landed a co-lead opposite Sarah Paulson in NBC’s untitled Kari Lizer multicamera comedy. From Warner Bros. TV, it is a workplace comedy about Mary (Paulson), a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. Adomian will play Mary’s assistant. Adomian, repped by ICM and Principato/Young, was a finalist on NBC’s Last Coming Standing last year.
Also cast in pilots are Cress Williams, who joined CW’s Rachel Bilson-starring medical drama Hart of Dixie playing a potential rival to Bilson’s character, and Shaun Parkes, who was added to ABC’s …
British actor Joe Anderson (Across the Universe) has landed the lead in ABC’s drama pilot The River directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The horror thriller, from DreamWorks TV, ABC Studios and Paranormal Activity mastermind Oren Peli, centers on Lincoln Cole (Anderson) who, after his famous TV explorer father goes missing way up the Amazon, reluctantly abandons his medical studies and follows in his father’s footsteps – accompanied by a small camera crew, and with Something Deadly in the water, waiting for him. Anderson, repped by CAA, Management 360 and U.K.’s United Agents, co-stars in the two-part The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, in which he plays English nomadic vampire Alistair.
Another twentysomething Brit, Lucy Griffiths, has landed the lead in the CW’s zombie thriller Awakening. The project, from WBTV and Reveille, is about two sisters coming of age and facing off against one another amidst the beginning of a zombie uprising. It centers on the older sister, Jenna (Griffiths), an attorney in the New York City’s public defender’s office who, like her sister, is a zombie. This marks the first U.S. acting gig for Griffiths, which stems from the talent holding deal she inked last month with CW’s sibling network CBS. In the U.K., the actress, repped by the Kohner Agency, Principal and the U.K.’s Hamilton/Hodell, played Maid Marian on BBC’s Robin Hood.
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 …
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.
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.