EXCLUSIVE: The CW and Warner Bros TV kept the search for the male lead in their buzzed-about new pilot Cult in-house. Matt Davis, co-star of the hit CW/WBTV series The Vampire Diaries, is set to star opposite Jessica Lucas in the pilot, which WBTV co-produces with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire. Written by Rockne O’Bannon, Cult centers on Skye (Lucas), an inquisitive young production assistant on a wildly popular television show called Cult. After a rash of disappearances and a likely murder, she joins Jeff (Davis), a journalist blogger whose brother was among those gone missing, in investigating the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program in real life. In addition to starring in Cult, Davis will be available to make guest appearances in future seasons of Vampire Diaries, where he plays high school history teacher/vampire hunter Alaric Saltzman, though he will no longer be a regular. He is with Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment.
The CW has set return dates for its original series, which will go on hiatus next month. The network will roll out its lineup on January 5 with the Thursday duo of The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle. The final 13-episode season of One Tree Hill will launch on January 11 and will run on Wednesdays in tandem with new reality series Remodeled, which will serve as a bridge between the two cycles of America’s Next Top Model. Because Remodeled‘s order is shorter than that of OTH, the final episodes of OTH are expected to air with Top Model, whose midseason premiere date will be announced early next year. Here is a list of the CW’s midseason premiere dates:
UPDATE, 11:10 AM: This deal’s more lucrative than it initially seemed. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker figures it could be worth as much as $1B for CW. While she acknowledges that “the accounting is somewhat complex,” she says that CBS — which co-owns CW with Time Warner — might see an additional 5 cents a share annually. Lazard Capital Markets’ Barton Crockett says it could contribute 2 cents a share to Time Warner. “The money-losing CW may also retain a minority of the Netflix fee, helping reduce its losses,” he adds. The deal’s so valuable because CW’s young-skewing shows fit well with the audience that streams shows on demand from Netflix. What’s more, Netflix’s payments escalate for long-running series.
Warner Bros Television Group president Bruce Rosenblum won’t comment on the financials but says the terms “won’t be repeated” because “other networks don’t own (as much of) their own content.” This isn’t an exclusive deal in the traditional sense — the shows can appear elsewhere – but Netflix has a narrow right to show entire seasons on-demand from previous years. (Others can license select episodes.) “We know from Day 1 that the syndication on-demand window has been sold, but we also have the ability to sell linear rights down the road,” Rosenblum says. CW shows also may continue to run on Netflix even if the deal isn’t renewed; the online service has the right to keep offering series that begin while it’s in force.
PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: This one follows the usual pattern: Nothing current — just previous seasons of CW series. And it’s not exclusive. Producers can continue to sell their shows in syndication and to other digital services. No mention of how much Netflix will pay for the programming. Here’s the release:
October 13, 2011 — CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Television Group announced today a licensing agreement with Netflix [Nasdaq: NFLX] allowing U.S. members of Netflix to instantly watch previous seasons of scripted series that air on The CW from its current schedule through the 2014-15 season.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
According to executive producer Kevin Williamson, there won’t be any guest crossover, or story crossover, between the CW’s The Vampire Diaries and the network’s new series The Secret Circle, making its debut Sept. 15. Even though both series are based on supernatural book series by the same teen-appeal author, L.J. Smith, Williamson told a TCA audience today that an effort is being made to keep the shows separate. The witch mythology of Secret Circle and the vampire-werewolf-occasional witch mythology of Vampire Diaries, he said, just don’t mix. “I don’t think you’ll see that crossover,” he said. “That would kind of limit us. We want to create our own story.”
The CW today was the first broadcast network to announce its fall premiere dates. The network will launch three nights — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — the week before the Sept. 19 official start of the fall season, Friday during premiere week and Monday’s lineup the week after. With the exception of Friday, which pairs sophomore Nikita and veteran Supernatural, all other nights feature a returning series and a newbie. Here is CW’s premiere schedule:
EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain have stepped down as executive producers on the CW drama pilot The Secret Circle, based on a three-book series from The Vampire Diaries author L.J. Smith. Under their Warner Bros TV overall deal, the Angel and Dollhouse alums last summer were assigned to supervise …