My colleague Mike Fleming yesterday broke the news of the long-gestating 24 movie being put on hold over scheduling, budgetary and other financial issues. (Star Kiefer Sutherland has a short window between the time he wraps production on the first season of his new Fox series Touch and the time he has to be available for Season 2 should the show be renewed.) On NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jay Leno tonight to promote Touch, Sutherland addressed the delay, noting that he and the movie’s producers are still hoping to mount production this year. “We’re trying to fit a lot of moving parts…We’re still trying,” he said. “If we don’t get into this slot, we’ll do it next year.” Here is the video:
UPDATE, 11:16 PM: The 24 movie postponement broken by Deadline this morning is getting interesting. Word is racing around agency circles that Kiefer Sutherland was not only unhappy about the pic’s postponement, but also what I’d heard was a $1 million offer to play Jack Bauer in a deal that was heavily back-loaded to reward success. Insiders said that Sutherland would have gotten at least $2 million, though that was below his original $5 million and then $3 million ask. Fox wanted a budget around $30 million, while the filmmakers wanted $45 million to $60 million. Fox’s idea was always to make the film at a cost, and reward in the upside. The studio’s proposal, made a couple weeks ago, wasn’t addressed until this week, and when the crap hit the fan yesterday, the studio felt there wasn’t enough time to pull the picture off in seven weeks of prep. The studio was following its experience with X-Files, a TV property turned into a hit film, but made at a cautious budget. I’m told that Fuqua’s deal hadn’t been made yet. Sutherland, Imagine and Fuqua stood to reap up to about 25% of the proceeds after breakeven, to make up for the low upfront payments. I reached out for comment to Sutherland and Imagine this morning, but no one returned yet.
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.”
Fox Announces Midseason Sched: ‘Touch’ Gets Monday 9 PM Slot, ‘American Idol’ Paired With ‘Mobbed’ On Wednesdays
Fox today was the last broadcast network to reveal its midseason plans. There were no major surprises. The J.J. Abrams-produced time-travel drama Alcatraz will air in the Monday 9 PM slot as announced at Fox’s upfront in May. As expected, it will share the slot — once occupied by real-time drama 24 – with 24 star Kiefer Sutherland’s new drama series Touch. Alcatraz launches on January 16, Touch on March 19 after a preview on January 25 behind American Idol.
Resurrected comedy Breaking In officially joins Fox’s new two-hour, four-show Tuesday comedy block that will launch March 6, when Glee goes on hiatus before returning with all-original episodes. With pilots Family Album and Little In Common dead, Fox is short a show for the block, so it will air New Girl reruns along with new episodes of New Girl, Raising Hope and Breaking In. The multi-camera I Hate My Teenage Daughter, which premiered after The X Factor last night, is not on the schedule, but Fox says that it will return as originally planned in spring, airing behind a 90-minute Idol performance show. Idol‘s premiere date has been tweaked. The reality competition series was originally going to launch its 11th season behind the NFC Championship game on Jan. 22. Idol will still air after the big game, but as a special. The new season will now start on Jan. 18 with a Wednesday-Thursday premiere. Fox also kept its original scheduling plan for Bones spinoff The Finder intact. It will premiere on January 12 behind a Bones rerun and will air after the Idol results show starting the following week. Bones will return in the spring. New animated series Napoleon Dynamite has been assigned the Sunday 8:30 PM slot currently occupied by Allen Gregory, also per Fox’s original plans. Here is Fox’s midseason schedule with premiere dates:
Fox just picked up Touch 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 …
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.
TCA: Fox’s Kevin Reilly Talks About Future Of ‘House’ & ‘Breaking In ‘ & ‘Glee’ Spat; Calls ‘Touch’ Pilot ‘Extraordinary’
Not that there was ever any doubt that Tim Kring’s Fox pilot Touch starring Kiefer Sutherland would get on the air, but the network wanted to reserve final judgement until after it sees the finished pilot. Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly told reporters at TCA today that he saw the pilot last night and it was “extraordinary”, firmly sealing the project’s midseason series pickup. “It’s a new character but it does have some dose of Jack Bauer in it,” Reilly said about Sutherland’s new role.
While Touch will be joining Fox’s schedule this season, veteran medical drama House might exit it. “I can’t confirm that this is the last season of House,” Reilly said during the Q&A session, adding that a decision on that will be made in “late fall.” The contract of star Hugh Laurie is up after the end of this season, and creator/executive producer David Shore had indicated that he signed a new deal for the upcoming eighth season because he wanted to give the show a proper ending. Reilly alluded to that, noting that the original creative team of the show “that has kept the quality strong” has remained intact and “they want to go out strong, not limp on for several more seasons as a vestige of itself.” Reilly also hinted that there is a scenario where House end its run on Fox this seaosn but producer Universal Media Studios tried to continue it on another network.
There is also no decision on the future of Fox’s other veteran drama, Bones, but Reilly sounded far more upbeat about its future. As for cult favorite, Fringe, “I don’t expect Fringe to grow, but if it does exactly what it did last year, we will be very, very happy,” Reilly said. The fate of another fan favorite, comedy Breaking In, remains up in the air after the network canceled the series starring Christian Slater after a short midseason run but then shouldered the cost of extending the options on the cast with studio Sony TV. Today, Reilly said that Breaking In will be a contender for Fox’s 2-hour midseason comedy block along with series Raising Hope, I Hate My Teenage Daughter and New Girl and pilots Little In Common and Family Album. “We will revisit what makes that 2-hour block later in the fall and make a decision (on Breaking In)”, Reilly said.
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.
The marathon pilot screenings at the broadcast networks are in full force. While they are rarely the deciding factor in the networks’ final series pickup decisions, they help solidify early standouts’ frontrunner positions and sometimes breathe life into pilots that might have been written off too soon. Here are some …
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.”
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UPDATED: Kiefer Sutherland is ready for a primetime return. The 24 star has closed …