Scottish-born late night host Craig Ferguson is set to moderate HBO’s Game of Thrones panel Friday at Comic-Con as the cabler brings the fantasy-drama to San Diego along with its vampire series True Blood. Game Of Thrones, which led the Emmy field last week with 19 nominations, will take over Hall H on Friday at 1:40PM with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, author and co-EP George R.R. Martin, and stars John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Rose Leslie (Ygritte), Rory McCann (Sandor “The Hound” Clegane), Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) in attendance.
HBO has inked a two-year deal with director-producer Howie Deutch to direct and produce drama and comedy projects. This extends Deutch’s relationship with the network, where he is currently co-executive producer of True Blood, and has directed episodes of Getting On, Big Love, and Hung. Deutch recently set up at HBO the one-hour drama Stillwater, which he will direct and exec produce; Colin Farrell is attached as executive producer, with Mark Steven Johnson writing/executive producing. Stillwater follows a New York City cop as his life spirals out of control when he relocates his family to a small town in Minnesota.
“I’m so grateful and excited to continue my relationship with HBO who I consider to be the most creative and supportive company in the business,” Deutch said. Deutch’s directing highlights include the pilot to Fox’s Melrose Place, episodes of American Horror Story, and CSI: NY, the films Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, The Replacements and the CBS movie Gleason, for which he received a DGA nomination. A stage director and teacher, Deutch has had a long association with the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Deutch is represented by Verve, Echo Lake Entertainment and Thrive Entertainment.
Long-running vampire series True Blood has released key art ahead of its seventh and final season. The tagline “True To The End” is also a web destination that will feature fans’ favorite moments from prior seasons, spotlight beloved characters, and encourage viewer discussion, HBO says. Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgård star. True Blood premieres Sunday, June 22 at 9 PM.
HBO‘s Golden Globe and Emmy-winning vamp series True Blood returns for its seventh and final season June 22 at 9PM, and the network has just dropped an official S7 trailer to tease the series’ ten-episode finale run. HBO is also hoping to pique interest with a new teaser for Damon Lindelof’s new drama The Leftovers, based on novelist Tom Perrotta’s (Little Children) bestselling tome about the aftermath of The Rapture. Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Carrie Coon, Emily Meade, Amanda Warren, Ann Dowd, Michael Gaston, Max Carver, Charlie Carver, and Annie Q star in the Adventure Corps and WB TV production, which debuts Sunday June 29 at 10PM ahead of Game of Thrones.
EXCLUSIVE: With their long-running vampire series coming to an end this summer, True Blood stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are staying in business with HBO. The duo’s production company CASM has signed a two-year, first-look deal with HBO to develop series, films and miniseries. That may include new starring vehicles for Paquin or Moyer as, in addition to producing, the pact includes options for the two to act and direct. This marks the first foray into television for CASM Films, which Paquin and Moyer launched in 2012 with producing partners Cerise Hallam Larkin and Mark Larkin, who, like the True Blood duo, are a married couple.
Catch up on the top TV stories you missed this week:
Obama Rips Cable News & Joel McHale Bombs At White House Correspondents’ Dinner
By Dominic Patten
If last year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner with headliner Conan O’Brien was white bread bland, tonight’s event was just painful. In way way over his head, Joel McHale stumbled and sputtered through a routine that got more moans and groans from the packed Washington Hilton ballroom than laughs.
PILOTS 2014: Strong Year For Drama & Latest Pilot Buzz
By Nellie Andreeva
A second consecutive season failed to produce a breakout new comedy series, that despite the fact that there was excitement at a number of broadcast networks last spring about their comedy pilots.
Will Yun Lee Joins HBO’s ‘True Blood’
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Meet one of the last major additions to HBO’s True Blood. Will Yun Lee (Total Recall) has been tapped for a major recurring role on the upcoming seventh and final season of the vampire drama.
Michael McKean To Co-Star In ‘Breaking Bad’ Prequel Series ‘Better Call Saul’
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: I have learned that veteran actor Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap) is the first new cast member to join AMC’s upcoming series Better Call Saul, joining Breaking Bad alums Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks. The prequel to the Emmy-winning Breaking Bad, from Sony TV, centers on Odenkirk‘s unflappable criminal lawyer Saul Goodman before he became Walter White’s lawyer.
EXCLUSIVE: Meet one of the last major additions to HBO‘s True Blood. Will Yun Lee (Total Recall) has been tapped for a major recurring role on the upcoming seventh and final season of the vampire drama. He will play Mr Gus, a Japanese businessman living in Texas, whose bigger-than-life, urban cowboy demeanor nearly rivals the size of his large Stetsons. Gus is out for revenge and will stop at nothing to get it. Repped by APA and Zero Gravity Management, Lee most recently co-starred in The Wolverine opposite Hugh Jackman. He also just completed shooting a supporting role opposite Melissa McCarthy in Paul Feig’s comedy Spy and stars in Duane Adler’s upcoming Korean feature film, Cobu, which is scheduled to be released worldwide later this year.
The Leftovers, HBO‘s drama series from Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and novelist Tom Perrotta, will debut on June 15 at 10 PM, following the season finale of Game Of Thrones. The following Sunday, June 22, the 10-episode seventh and final season of True Blood will succeed GOT in the 9 PM hour, leading into The Leftovers for the rest of its 10-episode run. Based on Perrotta’s bestselling novel, The Leftovers takes a look at The Rapture. Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Charlie Carver, Max Carver, Carrie Coon, Ann Dowd, Michael Gaston, Emily Meade, Annie Q, Margaret Qualley, Amanda Warren and Chris Zylka star. This Sunday, April 6, just before the fourth season premiere of GOT, HBO will air first teases for The Leftovers and True Blood. Here is the True Blood one:
True Blood‘s Anna Camp has closed a deal for what is considered the lead role in Lauren Iungerich’s ABC comedy pilot Damaged Goods, from WBTV. It revolves around damaged men and damaged women who explore the minutiae of love and relationships. A smart and successful lawyer, Nicole (Camp) is totally bewildered and betrayed when her boyfriend Tim (Justin Hartley) tells her he can’t be happy for her or continue to date if she takes the promotion she was offered at the law firm where they both work — the promotion he expected to get. Steve Talley and Kellee Stewart co-star. Camp was very busy last season, juggling roles on HBO’s True Blood, Fox’s The Mindy Project and CBS’ Vegas.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
EXCLUSIVE: After recurring on HBO’s True Blood for the past six seasons, Tara Buck has been upped to a regular for the vampire drama’s upcoming seventh and final season. Buck made her debut as everyone’s favorite blood-serving barmaid Ginger in the second half of Season 1 and has been a fixture on the show ever since. Buck, repped by Don Buchwald & Assoc. and Untitled, also has recurred on Justified and Nip/Tuck.
EXCLUSIVE: True Blood is adding a new vampire for its seventh and final season. Riley Smith (90210) is set for a major recurring role. He will play Keith, a sexy, rock ‘n’ roll vampire with a romantic side. A drummer in James’ (Nathan Parson) band, he becomes smitten with Arlene (Carrie Preston) on first sight. Smith, repped by Gersh and Sanders/Armstrong/Caserta, is a regular in Lifetime’s original movie/backdoor pilot Deliverance Creek from Nicholas Sparks Productions. The film has no airdate yet but is expected to premiere later this year, with the project still in series contention as backdoor pilot.
Brooding vampire James will be back on True Blood next season, but the actor who plays him, Luke Grimes, won’t. The role will be recast. Ever since production on Fifty Shades Of Grey was pushed by a month to December 2, there had been concern whether Grimes — who was cast as Christian Grey’s brother Eliott in the movie — would be able to do True Blood, which starts production on its seventh and final season in January. True Blood showrunner Brian Buckner had big plans for James, which was introduced in Season 6 as a vampire whom Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) met while she was locked up at Governor Burrell’s camp. Grimes was promoted to regular heading into Season 7, and Buckner in August told EW that Season 6 had only “scratched the surface” of what Grimes can do as an actor. According to TV Line, which broke the news of Grimes’ exit, the actor asked to be let out of his contract after reading Season 7 scripts and being disappointed by the direction James was taking away from Jessica. “Luke Grimes will not be returning as James in True Blood,” HBO said. “The role of James is being recast due to the creative direction of the character.”
After six seasons as a recurring player, True Blood veteran Adina Porter has been promoted to a regular. Porter has portrayed Lettie Mae Thornton since the vampire drama’s first season. Porter also recurs on another HBO drama, Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. The screen and stage actress, repped by TalentWorks and Bamboo Management, appeared in the HBO films Gia and Lackawanna Blues and has recurred on Fox’s Prison Break, ABC’s NYPD Blue and NBC’s Law & Order.
EXCLUSIVE: Nelsan Ellis has been set to play Bobby Byrd, James Brown’s longtime friend and musical collaborator in the Tate Taylor-directed Get On Up for Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures. Imagine’s Brian Grazer is producing with Jagged Films’ Mick Jagger. It’s a big role in the film behind Brown, who’s being played by Chadwick Boseman. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer also star. Ellis is best known for playing Lafayette on the HBO vampire series True Blood. He was last seen on screen playing Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and his screen credits include The Express, The Soloist, Secretariat, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist. He is repped by ICM Partners and Brookside Artist Management.
Universal will start production November in Mississippi. The script is by Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth and Steven Baigelman, and Victoria Pearman and Erica Huggins are also producing.
EXCLUSIVE: As he prepares to end his long running vampire series True Blood, Alan Ball has found two film projects to sink his teeth into for his big screen return. Ball has scripted and will next direct I Am Chippendales, an adaptation of the Rodney Sheldon book that sounds like a mix between Magic Mike and Scarface. Ball will then direct I Dream Of Gene, a broad comic tale that’s Ball’s contemporary take on the genie and the lamp.
Chippendales tells the story of Steve Banerjee, an immigrant who went from pumping gas in Culver City to running a high-end nightclub that evolved into Chippendales. As the male stripper concept became a phenomenon in the 1980s at the height of the women’s lib movement, Banerjee was consumed by excess and competition. After hiring a New York choreographer to polish the all-male dance troupe, Banerjee became wildly rich, and just as paranoid. Banerjee hired a hit man to murder the choreographer when negotiations went sour. After being arrested, Banerjee died in jail awaiting trial.
HBO has set end date for True Blood, announcing today that the series’ upcoming seventh season next summer will be its last. The veteran vampire drama, created by Alan Ball based on Charlaine Harris’ books, was recently renewed for a 10-episode seventh season. “True Blood has been nothing short of a defining show for HBO,” said HBO’s president of programming Michael Lombardo. “Together with its legions of fans, it will be hard to say goodbye to the residents of Bon Temps, but I look forward to what promises to be a fantastic final chapter of this incredible show.” True Blood, starring Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, had been HBO’s flagship drama until this year when it was eclipsed by the red-hot Game Of Thrones. It still is a potent draw, logging 4.5 million viewers for its sixth-season premiere this summer and averaging gross audience of 10.6 million viewers per episode. True Blood also successfully navigated the transition from Ball to new showrunner Brian Buckner who took over the show early into Season 6. All key cast members, including stars Paquin, Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard, are on board for the series’ final chapter.
Related: ‘True Blood’ Renewed For Season 7