More than three decades after the WBTV Writers’ Workshop was founded, directors are getting in the game. Warner Bros Television today announced the launch of its Directors’ Workshop, which aims to give emerging helmers from other mediums such as film, …
UPDATE: NBC also has picked up to pilot Warner Bros TV-produced drama The Mysteries Of Laura, from writer Jeff Rake, Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. The project, based on the popular Spanish series Los Misterios De Laura, had a production commitment and I hear has a cast-contingent order. It follows the life and relationships of a female homicide detective who can handle murderous criminals — but not her evil twins. WBTV, where Berlanti Productions is based, is producing. Rake wrote the adaptation and will executive produce with Berlanti and Kaplan, while Berlanti Productions’ Melissa Kellner Berman co-execute produces.
PREVIOUS, 3:34 PM: It is a big day for Warner Bros TV and DC Comics. On the heels of Fox confirming its Batman drama Gotham is going to series this morning, NBC has greenlighted a pilot for Constantine, a drama based on the characters in DC Comics’ John Constantine stories. The project, which had a script commitment with penalty, was written by The Mentalist executive producer Daniel Cerone from a story by him and David S. Goyer, the go-to writer for Warner Bros’ feature DC adaptations. The two are executive producing, with Cerone serving as showrunner. Constantine centers on John Constantine, an enigmatic and irreverent con man-turned-reluctant supernatural detective who is thrust into the role of defending us against dark forces from beyond.
The Quiet Before The Storm: Warner Bros TV Readies Offers To ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Cast, In Talks With CBS For New 3-Year Deal
For long-running series, time is usually not on the side of the cast when they have to negotiate new deals because ratings inevitably erode as shows get older. But that will not be the case with CBS‘ The Big Bang Theory, which, in Season 7, is still at its peak. Things are quiet and there has been no movement yet on the actors, but I hear producing studio Warner Bros TV will likely go out to the three leads — Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco – after the first of the year. The contracts of the trio, along with original cast members Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, are up at the end of this season, as is CBS’ deal for the show with WBTV. I hear the studio and the network have started discussions about a new license fee deal. Like the last one, I hear the renewal will likely be for three seasons, which means the studio and the network would likely try to lock in Galecki, Parsons, Cuoco, Helberg and Nayyar for the same term. (Big Bang‘s other regulars, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, recently closed new deals.) Like the last time, in 2010, Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco are expected to go first, followed by Helberg and Nayyar. (The former three are repped by the same law firm, Hansem, Jacobson, Teller, and are expected to negotiate together.)
There is no doubt about it — both the license fee and cast deals will be huge. After all, Big Bang Theory is the biggest show on broadcast television. The comedy is running neck and neck with NBC’s Sunday Night Football for the highest-rated program this season adults 25-54, averaging a 8.6 in the most current ratings to SNF’s 8.8. The way Big Bang has separated itself from the pack is staggering. Among adults 18-49, Big Bang averages a 6.8, with the next three series — NBC’s Blacklist (5.0), ABC’s Modern Family (5.0) and NBC’s The Voice (4.9) — almost two rating points behind.
In May 2010, a day after CBS announced Big Bang‘s move to Thursday 8 PM from its protected Monday 9:30 PM berth, I wrote a column, Is ‘Big Bang Theory’ The Next ‘Friends’? At the time, I felt the multi-camera comedy about a group of friends held the promise to become as successful as its NBC predecessor in the Thursday 8 PM slot. Big Bang has more than delivered on that promise. It is even more dominant than Friends was in its heyday, positioning itself to contend for the type of blockbuster deals Friends – produced by the same studio, WBTV — landed in its last major renegotiation for Season 9. At the time, WBTV broke a record for the highest license fee scored by a half-hour series when NBC agreed to pay $7 million an episode.
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 …