A scheduled hiatus in production on USA Network‘s new series Dig has been extended a week while producers assess the situation and decide if they can continue to shoot the six-episode series in Jerusalem. ”This caught us off-guard and we are assessing,” Gideon Raff told TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014, of the violence in the region. The network is “looking at all options and hopefully things will calm down, and we’ll go back” to Jerusalem to shoot the remaining episodes. “If not, we’ll sort it out” he said, noting “Jerusalem is a key element in our show. We chose to shoot there because of its history.”
The action adventure drama, from Tim Kring and Raff — creator of the Israeli series on which Showtime’s Homeland is based — centers on Peter (Jason Isaacs), an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of an archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. The series is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. Anne Heche co-stars. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Heroes creator Tim Kring has joined forces with Blacklight founder Zak Kadison and longtime Farrelly brothers producer Bradley Thomas to form Imperative Entertainment, a production company launched with financing from Dan Friedkin and his Friedkin Group. The Houston-based entrepreneur made his fortune through automotive and other ventures, and he will fully finance a company designed to use the trio’s skills and relationships to exploit seams in a fast-changing industry. This, they hope, will provide a strong alternative for content creators who want to develop material across multiple platforms including television, movie, video game, books, comics and new media.
I met the quartet in the two-story Santa Monica headquarters they are building. At that time, the sheetrock hadn’t been hung over the aluminum studs, and Friedkin didn’t expect the space to be ready until early next month. The venture already has gotten up and running, though. They are building their first slate and have just hired their first executive. They’ve brought in Justin Levy, the former senior veep and Head of Scripted Series Programming at MTV, who takes the post of EVP Content. At MTV, Levy helped build the channel’s scripted programming that includes Teen Wolf and Awkward.
USA has picked up Dig, a six-episode action adventure event series from Heroes creator Tim Kring andGideon Raff, co-creator of Showtime’s Homeland and creator of the Israeli series it was based on. It will be filmed in Jerusalem and premiere on USA in late 2014. Location scouting already is underway in the Israeli capital. Dig, which was developed by Keshet in association with BermanBraun, marks the first project commitment for Jeff Wachtel since he was tapped as President and Chief Content Officer and studio head for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. Kring and Raff co-created the series and executive produce with Keshet Media Group CEO Avi Nir and BermanBraun’s Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein. Dig is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. It tells the story of Peter, an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of a woman archeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. “As we enter this new chapter for our studio and our portfolio, we’ve been looking for a project that makes a statement,” said Wachtel. “This team of storytellers has put together a smart, sophisticated and compelling show that will hit the market with a big bang and a lasting impression.” The deal was brokered by WME.
EXCLUSIVE:Heroes creator Tim Kring is shepherding another drama project about teens with powers. The CW has put in development Exp, from Kring’s Tim Kring Imperative and Warner Bros. TV. Written by Zach Craley based on an idea by Jarrett Conaway, Exp explores what happens when a foreign designer drug – engineered to make you faster, smarter, stronger and better in every way – is trafficked illegally into American high schools, weaving a morally and socially complex web that entangles politicians, law enforcement and teenagers looking for an edge in an ever-competitive and fast-paced world. Kring, Zak Kadison and Bradley Thomas executive produce, with Zach Craley and Jarrett Conaway co-executive producing. This is Kring’s second project at the CW. He also executive produces the Wizard Of Oz-themed drama Dorothy Must Die, penned by writing duo Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster. Kring, Craley and Conaway are with WME.
EXCLUSIVE: The summer of Wizard Of Oz continues with another sale of a high-profile Oz-themed drama project. I’ve learned that the CW is in negotiations for Dorothy Must Die, a drama from the Heroes trio of creator/exec producer Tim Kring and exec producers Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster. Written by Armus and Foster with Kring supervising, I hear the project is based on the upcoming young adult novel Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. It is a revisionist take on the classic tale set in present day, 80 years after Dorothy Gale supposedly came home. In reality, the magically-ever-youthful Dorothy has stayed in Oz, presiding over a now fascist fairyland with her perfectly manicured iron fist and the help of her henchmen – the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. But when another young woman from Kansas is swept up in a tornado and magically dropped into this war-torn Oz, our hero discovers a revolutionary underground of witches and enchanted beings only to learn that she is destined to lead their people in the fight to reclaim Oz from a power-hungry Dorothy’s ruthless clutches. The book will be published by HarperTeen next April, with digital prequel novella, No Place Like Oz, available now. The property originated at James Frey’s book-packaging company Full Fathom Five, with him and Todd Cohen, President of Film and Television, exec producing alongside Armus, Foster and Kring.
Dorothy Must Die, which is yet to be laid off at a studio, is the fourth Wizard Of Oz TV project sold in the past two months. It joins NBC drama Emerald City, a dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones from writer Matthew Arnold, CBS’ Dorothy, a medical soap inspired by the characters and themes from The Wizard Of Oz, and Syfy’s miniseries Warriors Of Oz from director Timur Bekmambetov, a fantasy-action reimagining of the classic story. The great interest in Wizard Of Oz is not entirely unexpected as the title has been getting a lot of attention in conjunction with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the 1939 feature, which will include a 3D re-release of the Judy Garland starrer. It also comes on the heels of the success of Oz The Great And Powerful earlier this year.
Here are four top series creators — Modern Family and Just Shoot Me‘s Steve Levitan, Lost‘s Damon Lindelof, CSI‘s Anthony Zuiker and Heroes, Crossing Jordan and Touch‘s Tim Kring — sharing what they really think about pilot season, network notes, agents, Nielsen ratings as well as Nikki Finke and Deadline. The word association quiz conducted by Young Hollywood during last week’s NATPE confab, prompted answers ranging from “powerful” and “necessary” to “irrelevant” and “abominable.” Here is the video:
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Kiefer Sutherland said Sunday during Fox’ TCA panel for his new science-meets spirituality drama series Touch that he begins work shooting the long-discussed 24 movie in late March/early April. That jibes with what Deadline had previously reported as Sutherland’s schedule opens following his work on his new series, from Heroes creator Tim Kring, which has a special preview on January 25 before settling on March 19 into the Monday 9 PM time period — better known at Fox as “The Kiefer slot.” If the fact he’s jumping back into Jack Bauer’s well-worn shoes doesn’t make it clear, Sutherland said Sunday he has no interest in distancing himself from the eight years he spent saving the world on 24. He described having had little interest in diving back into the TV waters so quickly but was left little choice after reading the pilot script for Touch. “I remember getting to Page 35 and thinking, ‘Shit. I’m in real trouble here,’ ” Sutherland recalled. “The character is so vastly different (from that of Bauer), the tone of the piece is so vastly different. And that’s part of its appeal.” Read More »
After months of hearing Fox executives talk about the pilot for new series Touch (back in August, the network’s entertainment president Kevin Reilly called it “extraordinary”), here is the first trailer for the science-meets-spirituality drama starring Kiefer Sutherland, which will premiere in the spring. Like in his previous series, NBC’s Heroes, Touch creator Tim Kring tackles the premise that everything in the universe is interconnected. Sutherland plays a widower whose mute 11-year-old son possesses the ability to detect patterns that connect seemingly unrelated events. The trailer was first unveiled Tuesday at MIPCOM, where Sutherland said that in contrast to his signature role on Fox’s 24, where he had to keep all the emotion back, his character on Touch is all about emotion, something that is on display in the trailer. Fox has not announced an exact launch date for Touch, but speculation is that the series would premiere in March in what has become known as the “Kiefer” slot on Fox: Monday at 9 PM, where 24 (as well as Heroes) aired.
Fox just picked upTouch last week and already Entertainment President Kevin Reilly is unveiling the new drama series with star Kiefer Sutherland and executive producer Tim Kring at his side for a Q&A after his MIPCOM 2011 keynote on October 4th in Cannes. Reilly also will use the keynote occasion to premiere an extended trailer for Touch, so international buyers and media will be among the first to see the footage. In this science-meets-spirituality hourlong, Sutherland plays a widower and single father who discovers that his mute 11-year-old son possesses the ability to see things that no one else can and the patterns that connect seemingly unrelated events. Reilly’s speech will explore “creativity in the connected age.” Touch is a production of 20th Century Fox Television, Tailwind Productions and Chernin Entertainment.
Tim Kring’s pilot Touch had been a lock for a series order pretty much since the moment Kiefer Sutherland committed to the project in February. Now the pilot, which was filmed over the summer because of Sutherland’s Broadway stint, has been officially picked up to series for midseason with a 13-episode order. There is speculation that the series would launch in March in what is known as the “Kiefer” slot on Fox, Monday at 9 PM where Sutherland’s previous series 24 aired, but the network is not confirming that. Here is Fox’s release:
FOX has ordered 13 episodes of the new drama series TOUCH, created and written by Emmy-nominated Tim Kring (“Heroes”), it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. TOUCH, starring Emmy and Golden Globe winner Kiefer Sutherland, will join the schedule in the spring of 2012. The pilot was directed and executive-produced by Francis Lawrence (“Water for Elephants”), and the show comes from Chernin Entertainment and Tailwind Productions, in association with 20th Century Fox Television.
EXCLUSIVE: They kicked butt on their previous shows, now they’re going toe-to-toe. British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the breakout star of J.J. Abrams’ short-lived NBC spy dramedy Undercovers, has landed the female lead opposite 24 alum Kiefer Sutherland in the Fox drama pilot Touch, written by Tim Kring. The project, which is considered a lock for a midseason series order, centers on Martin (Sutherland), who discovers that his genius son Jake (David Mazouz) is communicating with him through a complex series of numbers and may even be able to predict events before they happen. Mbatha-Raw will play Clea Hopkins, a social worker with Child and Family Services, who is evaluating Martin’s living situation to determine whether or not his son Jake should remain in the home. Mbatha-Raw completes the pilot’s core four-member cast, which also includes Danny Glover. Mbatha-Raw, repped by CAA, Principal and UK’s Curtis Brown, will next be seen in Larry Crowne.
EXCLUSIVE: Child actor David Mazouz (Lifetime’s Amish Grace) has landed the younger lead opposite Kiefer Sutherland in the Fox drama pilot Touch. The project, which is considered a lock for a midseason series order, centers on Martin (Sutherland) who discovers that his genius son Jake (Mazouz) is communicating with him through a complex series of numbers and may even be able to predict events before they happen. Jake rarely shows emotion, refuses to be touched, and instead busies himself with cast-off cell phones, able to see the world with something akin to the eye of God, where every action, thought, breath is interconnected. Tim Kring wrote the script and is exec producing with Katherine Pope and Peter Chernin for 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: After six years at CBS TV Studios, writer-producer Carol Barbee is moving to 20th Century Fox TV with a seven-figure overall deal. Under the pact, which starts in June, Barbee will join Touch, the studio’s drama pilot starring Kiefer Sutherland. On the project, co-produced by 20th TV-based Chernin Entertainment, Barbee will serve as an executive producer alongside creator/executive producer Tim Kring.
Barbee and Kring first met a decade ago on the NBC drama Providence, where Barbee landed her first writing job and Kring served as a co-executive producer. They kept in touch, but overall deals at separate studios (CBS Studios for Barbee, UMS for Kring) made a collaboration impossible. Then earlier this year, just as her deal at CBS was coming up, Kring approached Barbee about partnering with him on Touch, a pilot he had at Fox about a father who discovers that his autistic, mute son is communicating with him through a complex series of numbers and may be able to predict events before they happen. “It was very ambitious and emotional,” Barbee said of the script. “I love the idea of how we all are connected, we all are one, and the idea of the special-needs child at the heart of the story is very touching to me as a mother.” Despite being drawn to the project, Barbee was not sure she could do it because she still had a few more months on her CBS deal. But then Sutherland was cast in Touch and, because of his Broadway commitment, production on the pilot was pushed to June, after the end of Barbee’s current pact. “The whole thing worked out seamlessly,” she said. “I had an amazing time at CBS, and I’m very thankful for everything they’ve done for me and all they’ve allowed me to do. Now I’m very excited to go on a new adventure with new people. I really connected with everyone at 20th TV and FBC, and I’m excited to be working again with Tim Kring.” Read More »
PREVIOUS: Kiefer Sutherland Eyes TV Return With Fox Drama Pilot From ‘Heroes’ Creator UPDATED: Kiefer Sutherland is ready for a primetime return. The 24 star has closed a deal to star in the Fox drama pilot Touch, from Heroes creator Tim Kring. In addition to Fox, Touch reunites Sutherland with 20th Century Fox TV. Co-produced by Chernin Entertainment, Touch centers on a father (Sutherland) who discovers that his autistic, mute son can predict events before they happen. With Sutherland on board, Touch is expected to get an episodic commitment. Because of the actor’s duties on Broadway where he currently stars in a revival of the Jason Miller’s That Championship Season,Touch is expected start production in late May-early June after Sutherland fulfills his commitment to the play, now in previews. That would make Touch a contender for midseason where 24 was a long-time staple. In addition to starring, Sutherland is also expected to serve as an executive producer alongside Kring, Peter Chernin and Kathrine Pope. Kring wrote Touch, his first pilot script since Heroes. Charles McDougall, who has helmed the pilots for ABC’s Desperate Housewives, CBS’ The Good Wife and, most recently, Fox’s The Chicago Code, is in talks to direct.
Sutherland, repped by CAA and Management 360, spent eight seasons on 24 playing CTU agent Jack Bauer. It became his signature role and earned him an Emmy … Read More »
Heroes creator Tim Kring is back with his first pilot since the superhero NBC drama, and this time, it is at Fox. Fox has given a pilot order to Touch, another project with supernatural overtones from Kring, which is being produced by 20th TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment. Touch centers on a father who discovers that his autistic, mute son can actually predict events before they happen. Kring wrote the project on spec, his first pilot script since Heroes. It was developed internally at Chernin Entertainment with the company’s head of TV Katherine Pope who had remained close with Kring after shepherding Heroes while at NBC and UMS. Because of 20th TV relationship with Fox, the spec was taken out to Fox first, and the network quickly gave it a pilot green light. Kring, Peter Chernin and Pope are executive producing Touch, one of two pilots picked up at Fox today. The network also greenlighted Little in Common, a single-camera comedy from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas.