EXCLUSIVE: Original Productions, the FremantleMedia-owned company founded by prolific reality producer Thom Beers, has returned to WME. Beers moved his company from WME to CAA last June. Two months later, he was named CEO of FremantleMedia North America. As a result, Original underwent executive restructuring, with Philip Segal replacing Beers as CEO & executive producer and Jeff Conroy named president and executive producer. Beers holds a chairman title at Original in addition to his CEO duties at parent FMNA. Since its inception in 1997, Original has produced more than 2,500 hours of TV, including 250 hours in the last year. The company currently has 14 series airing on cable, including The Deadliest Catch, Bering Sea Gold, Ice Road Truckers, Ax Men, Wild Justice, Storage Wars, Storage Wars: Texas and American Hoggers. READ MORE »
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline Hollywood‘s TCA coverage.
At first at Monday’s TCA, the theme seemed to be high hopes for traditional comedies aimed at mainstream, heartland Americans: TV Land’s tribute to the mores of the Midwest, Hot in Cleveland and the network’s new Retired at 35, as well as the CMT’s first scripted series Working Class, whose title speaks for itself. Later in the morning, another series was introduced that appears to be lionizing the true-blue American hero: Spike TV’s documentary-reality series Coal, from producer Thom Beers, about the lives of Appalachian coal miners. Coming on the heels of the national story of the trapped Chilean miners who became international heroes, Spike TV executives said they expect the show to tap into an “older and broader” male audience than Spike’s previous target demographic of 18-34. The show premieres on March 30.
IFC just announced a development slate featuring eight original series – scripted and non-fiction from such auspices as Thom Beers (Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Catch); Reveille Prods. (The Biggest Loser); Alan Spencer (Sledge Hammer!) and David Wain (Role Models), among others. “This development slate represents our long-term commitment to comedy programming that is sharp, cool and twisted,” said Debbie DeMontreux, IFC’s SVP of original programming. “Originals like these live alongside current series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, the upcoming Onion News Network and Portlandia in 2011, and acquired series Arrested Development and Freaks and Geek.” Here are descriptions of IFC’s series in development:
Spike TV is recalibrating its male demo focus with a new scripted slate catering to the older portion of the 18-49 demographic. The cable network’s development slate features 6 comedies from such auspices as veteran SNL and 30 Rock director Beth McCarthy Miller, top reality producer Thom Beers, and Wild Hogs director Walt Becker as well as one drama. ”We have spent the last few years successfully bringing in Men 18-34 with a mix of action, outrageous comedy and fun infotainment.” said Spike TV president Kevin Kay. “Now we’re focused on bringing 25-49 year-olds with scripted fare that they can relate to – especially workplace and family humor.” He described Spike’s new development as “a little broader, more content (aka advertiser)-friendly and a little bit older.” The network’s projects also feature more strong female characters, Kay said. The goal is to find a companion for Spike’s hit comedy Blue Mountain State and launch a comedy block. As for drama F.T.W., Kay said he wasn’t looking to develop in the hourlong arena but loved the spec script and found it very timely as it deals with an undercover officer infiltrating extremist militia. The trend of Spike going older and broader is not limited only to the scripted side. In the reality area, it is exemplified by the recently greenlighted coal mining docu series from Beers. Here is a list of Spike’s new scripted projects with descriptions: