EXCLUSIVE: TV Land has hired Rose Catherine Pinkney as VP Development and Original Programming. Based in Los Angeles, she will oversee TV Land’s existing original series and the development of new ones, working alongside VP Brad Gardner and reporting to EVP Development and Original Programming Keith Cox. “It is rare to find someone who has a wealth of experience with multi-camera sitcoms, a format our audience knows and loves,” Cox said. “Rose Catherine is a creative force who is well-respected by many of the writers that we are in business with, as well as the community at large.” Pinkney spent almost a decade in the comedy department of Paramount Network TV, where she shepherded the sales of more than 30 projects, several of which went to series including Becker, Girlfriends and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. Pinkney also served as EVP Programming and Production for TV One. Most recently, she was Head of Television for Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Prods. TV Land’s slate of original series includes Hot In Cleveland, Happily Divorced, Retired At 35, The Exes and the upcoming Cleveland spinoff The Soul Man.
EXCLUSIVE: You know when a premise of a show is so unusual, it looks completely made up? Well, this is not one of those cases. TV Land has put in development a half-hour sitcom from Frasier and Desperate Housewives alum Joe Keenan and director Scott Ellis about two adult identical twin brothers, one gay and one straight, who return home and help their mother raise their deceased sister’s child. The project is based on personal experience, times two. Both Keenan and Ellis are gay and have identical twin brothers who are straight. It has been “fascinating” tackling the same premise from the points of view of two very different experiences, said Keenan, whose brother is conservative evangelist and has not spoken to him since Keenan got married four years ago. Meanwhile, Ellis is very close with his brother, who is supportive of him.
As for the brothers on the show, who were brought up by their mother to be very competitive, “their lives implode within weeks of each other,” Keenan said. The straight one, who makes a good living as a minor-league pitcher, is caught cheating on his wife and, while trying to flee his lover’s apartment, hurts his arm, breaking his marriage and career at the same time. Meanwhile, his brother is dumped by his wealthy, older gay partner after a long relationship, left to fend for himself for the first time in years. Keenan and Ellis conceived the idea in the fall, but Ellis was busy developing a 1970s mother/daughter hourlong project already set up at ABC, and by the time the two were ready with the pitch, they missed the current broadcast window. Keenan and Ellis were then approached by TV Land, which was interested in fast-tracking the comedy for a possible June pilot shoot. Instead of waiting another year to get a shot at the broadcast networks, the two jumped in with TV Land.
EXCLUSIVE: Hot In Cleveland is becoming a franchise for TV Land. On the heels of the sitcom landing a best cable comedy prize at last night’s People’s Choice Awards and just in time for star Betty White’s 90th birthday on Tuesday, I’ve learned that TV Land has renewed its flagship comedy series for a fourth season. Additionally, I’ve also learned that the network has picked up the untitled Hot In Cleveland spinoff starring Cedric The Entertainment to series. The project, written by Cedric and Hot In Cleveland creator Suzanne Martin, originated as an August Cleveland episode introducing Cedric’s character, Reverend Boyce. The network in October greenlighted a standalone pilot, which followed Boyce as he moves to Cedric’s hometown of St. Louis and has to balance his wild past with the expectations of his congregation and his family. The project, co-starring Niecy Nash, is executive produced by Cedric, Martin and Hazy Mills’ Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner, who also executive produce Hot In Cleveland with Martin.
Joel Gretsch (V) has joined Lifetime’s original movie Of Two Minds. The film chronicles the relationship between a woman (Kristin Davis) and her younger sister (Tammy Blanchard), who has schizophrenia. Gretsch, repped by APA and Mosaic, will play Davis’ husband. Jim O’Hanlon is directing from a script by Richard Friedenber.
Gillian Vigman and Dan Bakkedahl have joined Jim Jefferies and Peter O’Fallon’s FX comedy pilot presentation Legit. Directed by Peter O’Fallon, Legit centers Jim (Jefferies), a misanthrope trying to go legit. Former Daily Show correspondent Bakkedahl, repped by Paradigm and Principal, will play Jim’s world-weary, floundering, divorced roommate. Vigman, repped by APA and Brillstein, will play a funny and smart Harvard-trained psychiatrist forced to diffuse Jim’s endless advances. The actress, best known for her role in The Hangover franchise, has been recurring on ABC’s Suburgatory and Fox’s New Girl.
EXCLUSIVE: Niecy Nash has landed the female lead opposite Cedric the Entertainer in his TV Land pilot, a spinoff from hit comedy Hot In Cleveland. Meanwhile, former Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles star Summer Glau and Daryl Mitchell (Brothers) have joined TNT’s drama pilot Scent Of The Missing.
EXCLUSIVE: Former TV Land and Ryan Seacrest Prods executive Eliot Goldberg has joined CMT on the West Coast as SVP Development and Programming. He will oversee development of new programming — both unscripted and scripted — reporting to Jayson Dinsmore, EVP Development and Programming. CMT has been expanding into reality, most recently launching new Thursday series Texas Women and Sweet Home Alabama. It also ventured into scripted television with sitcom Working Class, which ran for one season. Goldberg recently served as SVP Development and Original Programming at a cable network that has found success with original sitcoms — TV Land. There he developed and oversaw scripted and non-scripted programming. Goldberg was involved in the development of scripted comedies Hot in Cleveland, Retired at 35 and Happily Divorced. His recent reality series include High School Reunion and Harry Loves Lisa. Before TV Land, Goldberg was EVP Programming and Development for Ryan Seacrest Prods at the company’s launch. He created, developed and executive produced such series as mega hit Keeping Up With the Kardashians, offshoot Khourtney and Khloe Take Miami and Denise Richards: It’s Complicated.
No surprise here – Fran Drescher’s new sitcom for TV Land Happily Divorced has done well in the ratings, so a second-season renewal was a given. TV Land is building a nice streak – all 3 original series it has launched so far, Hot In Cleveland, Retired at 35 and now Happily Divorced, have gone to a second season. Next off is the winter premiere of The Exes. Here is TV Land’s release on the Happily Divorced renewal”
New York, NY, July 20, 2011 — TV Land announced today that it has picked up its original sitcom “Happily Divorced,” starring and co-written by Fran Drescher, for a second season with 12 new episodes tentatively scheduled to premiere in Spring 2012. “Happily Divorced,” inspired by Drescher’s own life, also stars John Michael Higgins, Tichina Arnold, Rita Moreno, Robert Walden and Valente Rodriguez. According to Nielsen, “Happily Divorced” is averaging over 2.2 million total viewers, a 1.0 among A25-54 and a 1.3 among W25-54 season-to-date, posting triple digit gains over the network’s primetime average.
He may have only received his first major big-screen break at the age of 50 in 1987′s Street Smart, but Morgan Freeman has created such a distinguished body of work in the quarter of a century since then that Thursday night he was named the 39th recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award for a career in film. Just after the honor was announced by the American Film Institute on October 11th, I ran into Freeman at an awards-season event and he was ebullient, telling me, “Now I am one of the big boys.” During Thursday’s warm ceremony on Sony’s Stage 15 and at the after-party nearby on the lot, Freeman still seemed just as happy about the honor.
In fact, after he accepted the award from his Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby co-star and director Clint Eastwood and made his speech, he became the first of the AFI’s 39 honorees to actually remain on stage and sing along to one of his theme songs, “Lean On Me,” from the 1989 film in which he starred as real-life school principal Joe Clark. Earlier in the evening, Garth Brooks and a large chorus sang the song — actually twice, as a snafu forced them to perform it again. The black-tie industry crowd didn’t seem to mind at all.
Among those in attendance who offered toasts or onstage tributes with personal anecdotes about Freeman were Sidney Poitier, AFI Board of Trustees chair Howard Stringer, AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale, Betty White, Samuel L. Jackson, Rita Moreno, Don Cheadle, Matthew Broderick, Helen Mirren, Cuba Gooding Jr, Matthew McConaughey, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker and Tim Robbins. Filmed tributes were also shown from Chris Rock, Dan Ackroyd, Steven Spielberg, David Fincher and Ashley Judd.
Other TV News: Jerry Lewis To Retire As Telethon Host; Premiere Date For ‘Hot In Cleveland’; Tribune Preps ‘Bill Cunningham’
With the upfronts in full swing in New York, it’s easy to forget there’s plenty of news that doesn’t break inside hotel ballrooms. A roundup:
– Jerry Lewis said today that he will retire as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual Labor Day Telethon, which he has hosted since 1966. …
UPDATE: TV Land just officially announced the series pickups of Fran Drescher’s Happily Divorced; Mark Reisman’s project, now called The Exes; and the second-season renewal of Retired at 35. As expected, the orders for Happily Divorced and The Exes are for 10 episodes each. Happily Divorced will premiere June 15, …