Oxygen announced today that it has added three new docu-series to its development slate that target the network’s young female demo. They join a group of shows in the pipeline that include five series already greenlighted for 2012. The new shows (all with working titles) are All the Right Moves, featuring So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Travis Wall and his friends who live together while forming a cutting-edge dance troupe; That’s D’Amore, offering a peek at the lives of three sisters who have been afforded a life of luxury thanks to the family business — a successful chain of Southern California pizza restaurants; and Taking NY, following a group of successful New York-based young women who are best friends and trying to “have it all.”
EXCLUSIVE: After dividing her time between careers as a TV/feature writer and as a novelist for the past several years, Caprice Crane will merge the two with a gig to adapt her first novel into a TV series. NBC has put in development a half-hour comedy based on Crane’s book Stupid and Contagious, a romantic comedy whose title is taken from the Nirvana anthem Smells Like Teen Spirit. It centers on Heaven and Brady, two hate-at-first-sight neighbors navigating their way through life and love in their twenties. Crane, whose previous series writing credits include the CW’s 90210 and Melrose Place, will pen the script. Additionally, Crane has closed a deal to write her debut young-adult novel How To Be a Hater for publisher Fiewel and Friends. It is described as Mean Girls meets Revenge of the Nerds with a comic book twist. Crane, who recently released her fourth novel, With a Little Luck, also co-wrote this year’s big-screen romantic comedy Love, Wedding, Marriage. She recently signed with Paradigm and is managed by Brillstein Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Viacom’s Logo network is set to unveil a development slate the includes four new projects designed to continue expanding the channel’s appeal. The projects range from scripted to reality competition shows and include a docu-series starring comedian Lisa Lampanelli that is produced by Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing production company. The four titles: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Russell T Davies, who created the Showtime series Queer As Folk as well as the British original, is back at the premium cable network with a new drama series in development there titled Cucumber. Details about the plot have been hard to come by, but it does revolve around gay men, as did Folk. There are plenty of development projects at the network, of course, but when one is from the creator of one of Showtime’s most successful original series (based on Davies’ UK version), it’s a good bet it’s getting a hard look. BBC Worldwide Productions is producing. Davies, who wrote the script, is also the writer and creator of Torchwood: Miracle Day, the BBC Worldwide Productions series that premieres on Starz this Friday.
Lucia Cottone, who most recently worked at Lifetime developing such series as Army Wives, has joined Sony Pictures Television as SVP development and current programming, networks. In the newly created role, she will oversee global development for SPT’s growing channel portfolio worldwide as well as current programming, managing a slate of hundreds of original hours.
Jeff Kwatinetz’s 2-year-old Prospect Park is raising its TV profile with the hire of former ABC drama development executive Josh Barry as partner in its TV group. Barry will develop and produce drama and comedy series, as well as unscripted television projects, reporting to Prospect Park CEO Kwatinetz. He will work with Paul Frank, son of Prospect Park partner Rich Frank, who spearheaded the TV division since its inception and will continue to serve as partner in it alongside Barry. Last summer, the company tapped Rob Carliner to run its newly launched film department. “Not only has Josh been responsible for developing some of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed shows of the last decade, he has a track record complete with key network experience and a passion for cultivating writers of different genres and styles,” said Kwatinetz. Barry said he is already working on “putting together a wide slate of projects.” Prospect Park’s first series, Royal Pains, returns for a third season on USA in July, while its second show, FX’s comedy Wilfred, launches June 23. The company’s development slate includes recently announced half-hour USA boy-band comedy Big in Japan, written and executive produced by Howard Morris and co-exec produced by Kara DioGuardi. Additionally, Prospect Park has Peter Ocko’s pharmaceutical drama Eden in the works at TNT in a co-production with Lionsgate. The company also has set up another project at TNT, Snatched, from writers Steve Mitchell … Read More »
Former MTV president of programming Tony DiSanto and head of series development Liz Gateley, who left the cable channel on Dec. 31 to launch DiGa, an independent production company in partnership with Ben Silverman’s Electus, today officially announced the launch of the company and unveiled its first development slate. The announcement was made during Silverman’s keynote speech at NATPE. DiGa, a multi-media company, which will be based in New York City with a production/edit center in Los Angeles, is working on a comedy format from Nick Cannon’s NCredible Entertainment starring female personality Amanda Diva; a fashion series with an interactive element from Jill Martin, television personality and author of Fashion for Dummies and the upcoming I Have Nothing to Wear; and three series with Jackhole Industries, Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla and Daniel Kellison’s production company. DiGa, which also has several scripted and reality concepts in active development, has multiple series development commitments with MTV where DiSanto and Gateley continue as executive producers on the upcoming series adaptation of Teen Wolf. (The two were also involved in the development of the network’s racy new drama Skins.) Additionally, DiGa announced the appointment of two execs: producer Mike Powers has been named creative executive, and Scott Silberman will serve as executive in charge of production.
EXCLUSIVE: An empty nesters comedy from ‘Til Death creators Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith has landed at CBS. Titled Free, the multi-camera comedy centers on a married couple who explore their freedom and start to have fun and live their life when they drop their kids off at college. The husband-and-wife writing duo are writing-executive producing the project, which has received a script commitment. Sony Pictures TV, where Yuspa and Goldsmith are based with an overall deal, is producing. This is Yuspa and Goldsmith’s second project this development season. They are also writing My Life As an Experiment, a single-camera comedy for NBC based on the best-selling non-fiction book by A.J. Jacobs. The project, which they are executive producing with Jack Black, received a seven-figure penalty. Yuspa and Goldsmith have been in a similar situation before. Five years ago, they also set two projects, a multi-camera comedy involving empty nesters, ‘Til Death, … Read More »
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: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: He just starred on an NBC drama series with comic book mythology. Now Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia is back at the network as the star/executive producer of Rest, a new drama project based on a comic book series he co-created. Ventimiglia will executive produce the project, which has received a script commitment with film/TV/Broadway producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Footloose, Drop Dead Diva). Also executive producing are Ventimiglia’s producing partner at Divide Pictures Russ Cundiff and Marc Silvestri and Matt Hawkins from Top Cow, the comic book publisher behind Rest. Writer Philip Levens (Smallville), who will also executive produce, is adapting the comic, which was created by Ventimiglia, Cudiff and Mark Powers based on a script by Mike O’Sullivan. It centers on John Barret (Ventimiglia), a normal twentysomething guy in New York City who spends every waking hour working. He enrolls in a testing program for a drug that eliminates the need of sleep and soon becomes addicted to it, which helps him accomplish more but also leads to serious consequences. Since the comic launched in 2008, there has been a lot of chatter among fans that Barret looks a lot like Ventimiglia and that Rest would be turned into TV series or film. Ventimiglia and Levens are with CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: A trio busy on the feature side — Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, who are writing the Karate Kid sequel, and Rob Cohen who is prepping the xXx threeequel, xXx: The return of Xander Cage – have teamed for an action drama project, which has been set up at ABC. Reiff and Voris are writing and Cohen is attached to direct the project, which has landed a premium script commitment from the network. In the vein of Red and The Expendables, the ABC Studios-produced drama is described as a fun action-adventure show about a team of old-school CIA covert operatives (kick-ass soldier-spies) who won the Cold War in the Eighties but were then forced out due to budget-cuts in the early 1990s. Now, they have been recruited to go back to work for their country by the chief of the Special Activities Division, a go-getter young woman who is also the team leader’s estranged daughter. Reiff and Voris, who co-created/executive produced the Showtime series Sleeper Cell, came up with the idea for the project based on a pitch by producer Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment who also put the duo in touch with Cohen. All 4 are executive producing. Reiff and Voris are with UTA and Field Entertainment; Cohen is with WME.
Writer Michael Oates Palmer has set up a dramedy at ABC Studios and a comedic drama at FX in addition to a drama he has in the works at Epix. As part of a blind script with ABC Studios, Palmer will write an untitled project loosely based on the New Zealand series Go Girls. ABC Studios and ABC first took a stab at adapting the series, from the creator of another popular New Zealand show that found its way to American television via ABC, Outrageous Fortune aka Scoundrels, last season with writer Liz Tuccillo. Palmer is working on the project with producer Julia Franz in a partnership grandfathered in before she left ABC Studios in September to join Jamie Tarses at her Sony-based Fanfare. Palmer’s adaptation of Go Girls is described as an hourlong relationship dramedy about a single man and his three single female friends, all in their early-mid 30s, all trying to make relationships work in a major American city while all their other college friends are off starting families. The project brings Palmer back to ABC where he worked on In Justice, Cupid and a period secret agents drama pilot script. Read More »
NBC has added supernatural soap Vines to its roster of drama projects in development for next season, with The Ring director Hideo Nakata possibly executive producing and possibly direct. The project, from writer Mark Kruger (The 4400) and film producers Michael Aguilar (The Departed) and Taka Ichise (The Ring and The Grudge movies), was originally developed as a feature, which serves as inspiration for the potential series. It centers on a troubled family desperate for a fresh start that takes over a Napa Valley winery whose ancient vines possess dangerous mystical powers. UMS is producing with Aguilar’s Dos Tontos banner and Ichise’s OZLA Pictires; Aguilar, Kruger and Ichise executive producing the project. Nakata directed the original Japanese movies Ring and Ring 2 as well as the Hollywood sequel The Ring Two and another Japanese movie that got a Hollywood remake, Dark Water. Kruger is with WME and Madhouse.
In its first development cycle under its deal at CBS TV Studios, Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle has sold 3 projects: 2 at CBS and one at the CW. The sales come 3 months after Apostle sealed pacts with CBS Studios on the broadcast and Fox TV Studios on the cable side after 7 years at Sony TV. The CBS projects are Mind Games from writer Roger Wolfson and the previously announced medical drama Cross Roads from Elle Johnson, while the CW drama is Trigger, from playwright Kyle Jarrow.
Mind Games is about an impassioned female psychologist specializing in memory who teams up with a tough-as-nails police detective to solve crimes. Trigger is a fast-paced cop show that follows four twenty-something cops/adrenaline junkies who get fast-tracked into the elite Street Crimes Unit when its previous members are all busted for corruption. Of Jarrow, Serpico says, “we’ve discovered a rock star.” 30-year-old Jarrow is living up to that billing as an accomplished playwright and, well, a budding rock star. At 24, he won an Obie Award for A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant; the feature Armless which he wrote premiered at Sundance in January, and he is curently on tour with his indie rock band, Super Mirage. This is not Jarrow’s first script sale: he previously had Shoot the Moon set up at ABC. Jarrow is with CAA and Madhouse. Wolfson is with Kaplan Stahler and the Collective. Apostle is with WME.
EXCLUSIVE: After ordering contemporary versions of Romeo & Juliet set in New York and Chicago the last two pilot seasons, ABC is going for the real thing this year, picking up for development a retelling of William Shakespeare’s classic tale set in Renaissance Verona. Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the feature adaptation of another story about star-crossed lovers belonging to clans that are at odds with each other, Twilight, is in talks to direct the potential Romeo & Juliet pilot in what would mark her TV directorial debut. Feature producers Todd Garner (Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the upcoming The Zookeeper) and Wyck Godfrey & Marty Bowen (the Twilight franchise, Dear John) are behind the series adaptation, which is being written by World Trade Center scribe Andrea Berloff. Romeo & Juliet, which is produced by ABC Studios, follows the famous love story while also pealing away the curtain on the impetuous, incestuous, bloody and violent relationships during the Renaissance in Verona. In addition to Garner, Godfrey and Bowen, Sean Robin will also executive produce the project. Read More »
Veteran TV development executive Ted Gold has joined Parkes/MacDonald Prods. as head of television. The Gladiator producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald entered the TV arena this summer with a first-look deal at NBC Universal. Gold was most recently Head of TV Development for Deuce Three Prods. and executive producer on the CBS medical drama Three Rivers. Previously, Gold served as SVP of drama series at Fox where he developed and helped launch such series as Prison Break and Bones. Before Fox, Gold oversaw television development for Spelling Entertainment and worked at New World Entertainment. Parkes/MacDonald’s film credits include Catch Me If You Can, Men In Black and Minority Report.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer Donald Todd, co-creator/executive producer/showrunner of the ABC comedy Samantha Who?, has set up 2 new projects at CBS — comedy Zits and drama True Detectives. Both are based on well-known properties — Zits is a popular comic strip and Jonathan True Detectives is a best selling novel from Jonathan Kellerman. Both projects stem from Todd’s multi-script deal with Warner Bros TV, which co-produces Zits and True Detectives with studio-based Jerry Bruckheimer TV and Shephard/Robin Co., respectively. Zits is a live-action family comedy based on the comic strip that explores the sardonic wit and hormonal angst of 16-year-old Jeremy Duncan. Read More »