EXCLUSIVE: Ben McKenzie has spent his entire TV career to date at Warner Bros, starring on The O.C. and Southland. Now the actor is formalizing his relationship with a studio, signing a talent deal that includes a development component. The pact gives WBTV exclusivity on McKenzie’s services as an actor for television projects, while he also can bring the studio projects that he would star in if they go forward. McKenzie was a fresh-faced 24-year-old with virtually no credits when WBTV cast him a decade ago as the lead of its Fox teen drama The O.C. He went on to topline the studio’s cop drama Southland, first on NBC and then on TNT, and starred in WBTV’s CBS drama pilot The Advocates this past season. McKenzie is with CAA, Management 360 and PJ Shapiro.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC has put in development the half-hour single-camera sitcom Girls Without Boys from Warner Bros Television. Emily Goldwyn & Sasha Spielberg will write the project, and Caroline Williams will be the showrunner and executive produce along with Rashida Jones and Will McCormack. Jeff Grosvenor of Jones and McCormack’s Le Train Train will produce. The premise: Three brilliant but socially challenged girls navigate the world outside of single sex education with the help of their eccentric teachers and parents.
The show was hatched by Goldwyn and Spielberg, who are the daughters of John Goldwyn and Steven Spielberg, respectively. They based the concept loosely on their own shared experiences of attending the prestige Marlborough school, located in Los Angeles near a co-ed school. Marlborough may have given them a first-class education, but not about things like being able to talk to boys.
EXCLUSIVE: Dan Lin’s Lin Pictures has made a new two-year overall deal with Warner Bros TV. Under the pact, the company will continue to develop drama and comedy projects for broadcast and cable. Lin TV’s head of television Jennifer Gwartz has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In her new position, she will continue to head the company’s development while also helping Lin oversee the overall management of Lin Pictures in both features and television. During their previous overall deal with WBTV, Lin and Gwartz developed and executive produced two projects that went to pilot, hourlong drama Secret Lives Of Wives at Lifetime starring Kim Raver and Salli Richardson; and single-camera comedy The Assistants, starring Catherine O’Hara, Stephen Root, and Brittany Snow, which was in serious contention for a series pickup at Fox this past season and remains alive.
UPDATE, 12:37 PM: JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot has three WBTV series on the producer’s Comic-Con schedule, but his name is not on any panel lists. Turns out he’ll be in Maine that week with his family, he tells Deadline. With as many projects JJ has in the works tailor-made for the Comic-Con crowd (on both the TV and film sides), it’s notable that he won’t be around.
PREVIOUS, 10:45 AM: Warner Bros TV is sending 17 series to San Diego for Comic-Con this year including Arrow, The Big Bang Theory, Childrens Hospital, The Following, Nikita (ahead of its final season), Person Of Interest, Revolution, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Almost Human, The Originals, The Tomorrow People, The 100, Beware The Batman, MAD, Teen Titans Go! and The Paranormal And Extraterrestrial Squad. That puts high-profile producers Greg Berlanti, Eric Kripke, Jonathan Nolan, Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson on panel duty for the confab, set for July 18-21. (One interesting note: Absent from the panelist lists is Person Of Interest-Revolution-Almost Human exec producer JJ Abrams, who could always pop in but might have other commitments on the film side). During Preview Night on July 17, the production giant will screen the complete pilot episodes of Almost Human, The Tomorrow People and The 100 for the first time as well as a special presentation of The Originals featuring never-before-seen footage that did not air as part of “The Originals” episode of The Vampire Diaries episode in April. Here’s the panel lineup:
Mad Men executive producers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton are leaving the Emmy-winning series after six seasons to sign an overall deal with Warner Bros Television. Under the pact, the duo will develop cable series via Warner Horizon Television, as well as for broadcast through Warner Bros TV. The deal starts May 1, after production of Mad Men’s upcoming sixth season is completed.
A jury will decide whether Warner Bros Television owes the producers and creators of Smallville $100 million in damages. In a five-page ruling released Tuesday, Judge Michael Johnson cited a number of “triable issues” in the conflict of interest case. In doing so, he rejected WBTV and other WB defendants’ motion for summary judgment over the show about the young Superman. The case will now likely go to trial sometime in mid-2013.
Warner Bros Television has revamped its business affairs team that services the production units of WBTV and sibling Warner Horizon Television. Adam Glick has been promoted and tapped for the newly created role of EVP Business Affairs at Warner Horizon Television, while Dan Limerick has been promoted to serve as sole head of business affairs at WBTV.
EXCLUSIVE: Greg Berlanti has sold his first project under his rich new overall deal with Warner Bros Television — a legal drama to be written by his frequent collaborator Marc Guggenheim. The project, entitled Guilty, has landed at Fox …
EXCLUSIVE: After testing the TV waters last season, feature producer Dan Lin is putting down small-screen roots, forming a television division of his company Lin Pictures and signing an overall deal with Warner Bros Television. Veteran TV development executive/producer Jennifer Gwartz has been tapped to run the new division, which is looking to develop drama and comedy projects with aspirational, uplifting stories that are often associated with Lin-produced features. Additionally, Gwartz, who also has feature background having worked on such movies as Scream, Copland, Lethal Weapon 4 and The Matrix, will work closely Lin’s feature development team.
Last season was Lin’s first in television. Through a first-look deal with Warner Bros TV, an extension to his his Warner Bros production deal on the feature side, he sold three projects: Poe, written by Chris Hollier, and Teach, written by Rina Mimoun, to ABC; and Mavericks, written by Gary Scott Thompson, to Fox. One of them, Poe, went to pilot. Gwartz is probably best known for her frequent collaborations with writer-producer Rob Thomas, most recently serving as executive producer on his Fox/WBTV comedy pilot Little In Common, which continues to be in strong contention for a midseason pickup.
The multi-talented Kutcher, whose success spans film, television and social media, will join Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Holland Taylor, Marin Hinkle and Conchata Ferrell on the top-rated series. Production on the ninth season of the Emmy Award-nominated TWO AND A HALF MEN will begin this summer for broadcast on the CBS Television Network in the fall.
“I can’t wait to get to work with this ridiculously talented 2.5 team and I believe we can fill the stage with laughter that will echo in viewers’ homes,” said Kutcher. “I can’t replace Charlie Sheen but I’m going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people!”
“We are so lucky to have someone as talented, joyful and just plain remarkable as Ashton joining our family,” said Chuck Lorre, creator and executive producer of TWO AND A HALF MEN. “Added to that is the deep sigh of relief knowing that our family stays together. If I was any happier, it’d be illegal.”
The man at the center of Charlie Sheen’s $100 million lawsuit filed today, Two and a Half Men co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre, has responded to the suit through a statement from his lawyer, Howard Weitzman. “The allegations in the …