After lurking as a presence in Arrow throughout the second season, villain Ra’s al Ghul finally will appear in Season 3, as will the hero Wildcat, fans at Comic-Con’s mega-screening for Warner Bros TV and DC Comics properties learned tonight. While his face was not identified, the criminal mastermind was seen in full costume and with a sword in a new preview clip. Following up on a Facebook hint by Arrow lead Stephen Amell that Ted “Wildcat” Grant would join the show, producer Marc Guggenheim tonight confirmed both additions to the hit CW drama. A longtime DC villain, Liam Neeson played the character on the big screen in 2005’s Batman Begins and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.
The Arrow revelations came at the end of the first nighttime presentation for SDCC, screening a smorgasbord of upcoming WBTV shows in massive Hall H.
“You saved the best for last,” said WBTV Marketing chief Lisa Gregorian to the thousands in the hall in kicking off the 3-hour event. The extravaganza not only was a testament to the rise of superheroes but also WB and DC properties. “I remember being at Comic-Con when we were the only DC property on television,” said Amell, the night’s emcee, as he named off The Flash pilot, the world premiere of Batman prequel Gotham, plus a preview of NBC’s new supernatural thriller Constantine and … Read More »
iZombie executive producer and co-creator Rob Thomas told potential fans today at Comic-Con that he wasn’t screening the CW pilot at the fanboy confab because it’s not ready yet. “We’re recasting some of the roles and have three more days to reshoot. We wanted to have a finished product that is ready to air.”
As reported by Deadline on May 20, Alexandra Krosney in the iZombie pilot was being replaced. Krosney played Peyton, the best friend of do-gooder Seattle medical student-turned-zombie-tuned-PI Liv Moore (Rose McIver).
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From the upbeat mood of The Big Bang Theory writers at this morning’s Comic-Con panel for the series, you wouldn’t think that there was an intense cast negotiation going on, potentially delaying production of the show. All signals transmitted to fans in Ballroom 20 today are that Big Bang is moving forward. A Warner Bros TV rep told the crowd that the show is returning September 22 with a full-hour premiere, as CBS has planned. “I’ve thought about how I want the show to end, but I’m not going to say right now,” said executive producer Steve Molaro. He also mentioned to another fan that he doesn’t know when they’ll reveal Penny’s last name; it might be when she marries Leonard. However, the Comic-Con hall monitors, who typically let most questions through to the panel, were definitely on guard. When a Deadline reporter tried to ask Bill Prady and Molaro a question about the cast negotiation, the monitor exclaimed, “We can’t let you ask about that — it’s a legal question.” Read More »
If Batman isn’t going to show up in Fox’s upcoming fall series Gotham, and if the show largely deals with the origins of future Police Commissioner James Gordon, well then, shouldn’t the show more aptly be titled Gordon? Such weighty questions about how Gotham will expand on the Batman universe, not to mention the show’s potential resonance with fans, were at the heart of the series panel at Sunday’s TCAs. One issue that was raised was how Gotham would create tension, especially if it doesn’t plan to kill off such legendary villains such as The Riddler and The Penguin, which would mess with Batman mythology.
Gotham executive producer Bruno Heller sarcastically responded, “It’s a sad thing when you can’t bring tension by killing people. One of the show’s great advantages with this world is that people know where it’s going, there are people who are invested in the story.”
Ben McKenzie, who plays Gordon, equated Gotham to “Greek tragedy. The fate comes in the first act. The series is about the interesting journey and how the city falls into disrepair and total anarchy.” Read More »
The hosts of the Warner Bros TV Distribution/Telepictures’ daytime syndie series The Real were out to make a point that their girl talk show is completely different from ABC’s The View, simply because it’s, well — real — as they emphasized continually throughout their TCA panel. From the sizzle reel for the show, it looks like The Real isn’t that far The View, i.e. Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger guest stars and advises that the best place to meet a single guy is in… a steak house. However, Team Real’s argument is that they’re talking about topics impacting young women — i.e. having a baby, looking for Mr. Right — vs. The View‘s chatter about current headlines.
“What’s fake about it? That’s the point, there’s nothing fake about it,” declared co-host Adrienne Bailon, to which executive producer SallyAnn Salsano said, “If one of the hosts is being P.C., another one will call them out on it.” Read More »
Wednesday, July 23 — Preview Night
6-10 PM, Ballroom 20
Warner Bros. TV Pilot Screening: Constantine, The Flash, iZombie, Teen Titans Go!
Thursday, July 24
10-11 AM, Ballroom 20
Fox’s 24: Kiefer Sutherland, EP Jon Cassar returns to Comic-Con to show off highlights from 24: Live Another Day.
10:30-11:30 AM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Legends Of TV Land: Betty White (The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland) and other TV celebs will answer questions about their work and making history on television. Sneak peek of animated episode of Hot in Cleveland, airing July 30th.
Related: ‘Star Wars – Episode VII’ Not Presenting at Comic-Con 2014
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EXCLUSIVE: The show about an immortal living in NYC hasn’t even hit the air yet, but ABC’s drama Forever already is getting some potential legal pushback. Today RadicalMedia sent a pointed letter to producer Warner Bros TV claiming that the supernatural procedural unveiled last week at the upfronts “sounds rather similar” to the best-selling 2003 novel Forever by Pete Hamill about an immortal living in the Big Apple. “This claim is baseless,” said a WBTV spokesperson today in response.
The co-producers of docu Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, on the other hand, note that the titles are the same, the location is the same and that both the character in the novel and in the upcoming TV show from writer/EP Matt Miller, EPs Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz, and director Brad Anderson are “seeking an answer concerning his immortality.” No legal action is in the cards yet, and even if it was, titles are not protected by copyright. However, Forever the novel rights holders RadicalMedia at least want a name change for the series set to debut on Tuesdays this fall. Read More »
Veteran TV comedy director-producer Marc Buckland has signed a two-year overall deal with Warner Bros. TV to work on pilots and series. The deal will start in June when Buckland’s current pact at Universal TV is up. Buckland previously worked with WBTV on the NBC drama series The West Wing, on which he served as a director, and on the Fox comedy pilot Strange Brew, which he directed and executive produced. Buckland’s extensive pilot resume includes NBC’s My Name Is Earl, for which he won a directing Emmy, Grimm and most recently NBC’s comedy The Gates last season. He is repped by ICM Partners and ESA’s Paul Alan Smith.
Fox’s Batman prequel Gotham is staffing up, with TV writer/author John Stephens coming on board as an executive producer. The assignment is part of an overall deal Stephens has signed with Gotham producer Warner Bros TV. Gotham, from The Mentalist creator Bruno Heller, has a series commitment and is fully expected to go to series. Stephens, repped by UTA and and Jackoway Tyerman, previously worked on the WBTV series Gossip Girl (exec producer) and The O.C. (co-exec producer).
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros TV is making sure one of the studio’s most prolific writer-producers, Julie Plec, is staying in the fold with a rich new three-year overall deal. Plec serves as showrunner on two WBTV series, The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff The Originals, both of which already have been renewed for next season. She developed The Vampire Diaries, based on the Alloy books, with Kevin Williamson and created The Originals. Additionally, she executive produces the CW/WBTV freshman drama The Tomorrow People, giving her three drama series on the air this season, the most for a writing producer on broadcast TV. Under the new pact, Plec will continue as showrunner on The Vampire Diaries, the CW’s highest-rated series, as well as The Originals, the network’s top freshman series, and will develop new projects in addition to executive producing The Tomorrow People if it goes to a second season. After a stint as an executive at Williamson’s company, Plec segued to a writing career. She was a quick study — making her writing debut on ABC Family’s cult series Kyle XY before teaming with Williamson to develop The Vampire Diaries. Plec is with WME and attorney Eric Suddleson.
Dave Hemingson Inks Overall Deal With ABC Studios
Jennie Snyder Urman Inks New Overall Deal With CBS TV … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Rake, writer/executive producer of Warner Bros TV‘s NBC pilot The Mysteries Of Laura, has signed an overall deal with the studio. Under the two-year pact, Rake will continue on Mysteries Of Laura if it goes to series as well as develop new projects. Mysteries Of Laura, which Rake adapted from the Spanish series Los Misterios De Laura, stars Debra Messing as Laura Diamond, a female homicide detective who can handle murderous criminals — but not her hell-raising twin children. WBTV is producing with Greg Berlanti’s studio-based Berlanti Prods as well as Kapital Entertainment, the company of Rake’s producing partner Aaron Kaplan who will continue to work with Rake on projects under his overall deal. Rake has also been working as a co-executive producer on the WBTV/Berlanti Prods freshman CW drama The Tomorrow People. He previously co-created NBC’s Miss Match and co-wrote the pilot for David E. Kelley’s Boston Legal. He is repped by WME.
Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, creators of Warner Bros TV‘s upcoming Fox comedy series Surviving Jack, have signed a two-year overall deal with the studio, which begins June 1. Surviving Jack, which the duo executive produce with Bill Callahan, who is serving as co-showrunner alongside them, Bill Lawrence and Jeff Ingold, was based on Halpern’s bestselling book I Suck At Girls. Halpern and Schumacker, repped by ICM Partners, previously co-created CBS’ S#*! My Dad Said for WBTV and CBS with Max Mutchnick and David Cohen. It was based on another Halpern bestseller, Shit My Dad Says.
Related: TCA: Justin Halpern Says Dad Better Suited For ‘Surviving Jack’ Than ‘$h*! My Dad Says’
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. TV and DC Comics are on a roll this development season with a third high-profile project. Constantine, a drama based on the characters in DC Comics’ John Constantine stories, has sold to NBC with penalty. It is written/executive produced by The Mentalist executive producer Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer, the go-to writer for Warner Bros.’ feature DC adaptations. 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.
John Constantine, who first appeared in 1985 as a recurring character in the horror series The Saga Of The Swamp Thing, was created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and Jamie Delano. He was portrayed by Keanu Reeves in the 2005 feature Constantine and is rumored to be featured in the Justice League Dark feature Warner Bros. has in the works with Guillermo del Toro.
Constantine joins Warner Bros. TV/DC’s The Flash at the CW, a spinoff from hit Arrow, and a Gotham City/Commissioner Gordon drama at Fox, which has a series commitment. WME-repped Goyer has co-written The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins, Man Of Steel and the upcoming Batman vs. Superman. On TV, he is the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The newest additions to the cast of CBS‘ hit comedy The Big Bang Theory have scored nice salary bumps. I’ve learned that Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch — regulars on Big Bang since fall 2010 having started off as guest starring-turned-recurring players on the popular comedy — have both renegotiated their current salaries, which have been in the $20,000-$30,000 range per episode. No one is commenting but I hear the duo will be making about double that, in the neighborhood of $60,000, this coming season, with their pay steadily increasing every year to reach close to $100,000 an episode by the end of their contracts. As a result of the renegotiation, I hear Bialik and Rauch, who play Sheldon and Howard’s brainy better halves Amy and Bernadette, respectively, also have added a year to their current deals.
The Bialik/Rauch deal is the first in what is going to be a big season behind-the-scenes at Big Bang, which, six years into its run, is firing on all cylinders creatively and commercially. Over the next eight months, Big Bang faces license fee negotiations as the series is currently renewed by CBS through this season, as well as contract negotiations with the entire original cast, whose deals also are all up at the end of this season. With the series doing so well and eying a potential strong showing at the Emmys this weekend, none of these is going to be easy. Like the salary renegotiations in 2010, leads Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco are expected to negotiate in one group and Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar in another. Observers expect Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco, currently at $350,000 an episode, to land north of $500,000 when it’s all said and done. Read More »
On the heels of its recent deal for Viacom TV content, Amazon-owned LoveFilm has struck a new pact with Warner Bros International Television Distribution. The deal will give Netflix competitor LoveFilm a library of hundreds of hours of animated content that includes Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Brave And The Bold, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Thundercats. LoveFilm previously pacted with WBITD for live-action library content.
Fox network’s reality-TV bad boy Mike Darnell is moving to Warner Bros TV, to create new content and oversee the studio’s interests in NBC’s singing competition hit where The Voice, ABC’s The Bachelor and Bachelorette, Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York, TMZ , and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, among other franchises. As president of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television, which he assumes on Aug. 12, Mike will oversee first-run syndicated series produced by Telepictures, and primetime TV programing produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted TV, and will serve as the studio’s creative point person in its relationship with Shed Media U.S.
Last May, it was announced that, after 18 years, the guy who brought us Alien Autopsy, the Rick Rockwell/Darva Conger insta-marriage train wreck Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire, and the slice-and-dice-a-chick series The Swan, as well as Idol, had stepped down as president of “alternative entertainment” at the Fox broadcast network. Darnell announced his departure as the network is looking to shore up its aged singing competition Idol, and its Idol – Lite singing show, The X Factor. Shoring up sliding shows is not what Mike best enjoys doing. In addition to overseeing the company’s interest in the Mark Burnett exec-produced The Voice, the Mike-Fleiss exec produced Bachelor franchise; Extra, Lisa Kudrow’s Who Do You Think You Are?, The Real Housewives of New York City, Hollywood Exes, and other programs, Mike will come … Read More »
The co-creator and showrunner on NBC’s new high-concept drama has left the show. Sources tell Deadline that Mark Friedman (The Forgotten, Home Of The Brave) made the decision to exit Believe, from Warner Bros Television and Bad Robot Productions, on his own accord and that the parting was agreeable. Believe’s other co-creator Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Children Of Men), who directed and co-wrote the pilot, will remain as executive producer alongside J.J. Abrams. The Friedman move recalls a similar situation 18 months ago in which the co-creator/executive producer/showrunner of another Bad Robot midseason drama, Alcatraz, exited ahead of that series’ launch. Elizabeth Sarnoff, who had quietly been elevated to EP two months earlier, left that Fox drama — citing the usual “creative differences”. Abrams later said of Sarnoff, “She didn’t feel like she was the right person to run the show.”
Related: NBC New Series Pickups