EXCLUSIVE: As CSI: NY just ended its nine-season run, the series’ executive producer and showrunner Pam Veasey is staying in business with its production company Jerry Bruckheimer TV. She has signed a two-script development deal with Warner Bros TV-based company. Additionally, she has joined the upcoming WBTV drama series for the CW The Tomorrow People, which is slated for the post-Arrow Wednesday slot, as a consulting producer. Veasey, repped by CAA and Nina Shaw, was with CSI: NY for its entire run. During the 2011-12 season, she juggled running the CBS forensic crime drama and the CW’s Ringer. Her credits also include The District and In Living Color.
After tapping into the social media zeitgeist last year with a campaign built around the popular “Keep Calm” Internet memes, Warner Bros TV is going low-tech, grassroots and green for its 2013 Emmy campaign. Starting next week, the studio will distribute 11 different show-specific reusable tote bags for some of its top series at farmers’ markets in Sherman Oaks (May 14), Beverly Glen (May 18), and Brentwood (May 19). The series featured are The Big Bang Theory, The Following, 2 Broke Girls, Arrow, The Mentalist, The Middle, Mike & Molly, Person Of Interest, Revolution, Suburgatory and Two And A Half Men. The farmers’ market campaign, which will have a strong fan element, will be anchored by a fully wrapped Airstream trailer where episodes of select WBTV series will be screening. Additionally, it will include artists applying glitter tattoo and nail art featuring staples from Warner Bros series, including Soft Kitty and the atom logo from The Big Bang Theory, a raven from The Following, the Revolution power button, and cupcakes from 2 Broke Girls. Visitors also can have their photo as their favorite WBTV character taken at the SocialPix station and upload images to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. using the hashtag #WBFYC.
Every studio with something to push books pricey space a year or more in advance at Comic-Con, which last year packed 130,000 fans into a downtown San Diego papered with promotional branding. But this year’s SXSW saw a sign of things to come as film and television brands took that strategy to Austin, targeting the festival’s estimated 64,000 registered attendees. Universal, Warner Bros Television, A&E Network, Showtime, and Syfy jumped ahead of the pack with marketing blitzes sure to multiply by next year as other entertainment brands set their sights on the plugged-in, social media-active demographic of influencers that pour into the annual multimedia festival. This year’s edition wraps this weekend.
Growth here has accelerated rapidly in the past three years in terms of attendance and prestige, thanks to distribution deals and buzz-building debuts in the film festival portion and the hot tech conference on the Interactive side. But thanks to its unique overlap of Film and Interactive components, SXSW this year attracted the attention of studio marketers with no films in the program. All of the major companies I spoke with made their first-ever trips to SXSW in 2013 and reps tell me they’d return next year if they had the right property to promote.
Warner Bros. TV has locked in comedy heavyweight Chuck Lorre for four more years. The Presidential term length of the deal fits Lorre’s position as the studio’s biggest money maker with three sitcoms that have been sold in syndication, Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly.
The just-finalized new development and production deal includes a component for feature films Lorre would write, develop and/or direct for Warner Bros. Pictures. But its main focus will remain television, where Lorre also plans to expand his turf with forays into drama series and longform projects in addition to developing new comedy shows. Lorre will be targeting both broadcast and cable networks with his new development through his Chuck Lorre Prods., Warner Bros. TV and Warner Horizon TV. Additionally, Lorre will continue as executive producer of Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly.
Strolling around the San Diego Convention Center and grounds, Deadline contributor Luke Y. Thompson snapped a few photos as preparations for Comic-Con got underway. Clockwise from top right: A Marvel’s The Avengers tie-in, a promotion for NBC’s …
Time Warner doesn’t detail its Warner Bros Television financials — never has, probably never will. So it’s always interesting when any exec there gives some facts and figures while boasting. With a series of slides illustrating his 30-minute speech, Warner …
EXCLUSIVE: Seth MacFarlane is human! The A-list showrunner, who is juggling four series, a movie and a music career, has reached a mutual agreement with Fox, 20th Century Fox TV and Warner Bros. TV to put the high-profile reboot of The Flintstones on hold as his insane workload has not allowed him to give the project the needed attention. Reps for MacFarlane, the network and the studio confirmed the decision, declining further comment.
After two years of complex dealmaking between 20th TV, where MacFarlane is based, and WBTV, which has the rights to the classic Hanna-Barbera series, the new Flintstones was announced at Fox’s upfront presentation last May with a straight-to-series order to launch in 2013. MacFarlane had been the driver behind the project as for him it was a childhood dream-come-true — by his own admission, the very first cartoon character he drew at age 2 was Fred Flintstone. MacFarlane was to co-write The Flintstones reboot, a co-production between 20th TV and WBTV, with Dan Palladino (Gilmore Girls) and executive produce it with him and Kara Vallow (Family Guy). To meet the 2013 target premiere date, The Flintsones was supposed to start production last fall, something that proved impossible as MacFarlane had been hard at work on his feature directorial debut Ted, his three Fox animated shows and another series for the network, an updated version of Carl Sagan’s classic Cosmos. MacFarlane is still busy doing post-production on Ted, a live-action/CGI comedy, which he also co-wrote and is voicing the title character for. The Universal-distributed film, starring Mark Wahlberg, opens July 13.
Warner Bros TV’s Bruce Rosenblum Elected New TV Academy Chairman/CEO; Wants Newer Members “More Actively Involved”
WEDNESDAY 9:30 PM UPDATE: Nikki Finke spoke to Warner Bros TV’s Bruce Rosenblum right after the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Board Of Governors elected him the new Chairman/CEO for a 2-year term. Rosenblum had been opposed by Nancy Bradley Wiard, a veteran TV Academy officer currently in her second term as first vice chair:
“Nancy had many more years of experience and was very familiar to all of the governors and knew the workings of the Academy. I think I gave them a nice alternative choice. I don’t look upon this new position as a lot of headaches. I see it as an opportunity to work with all the governors to bring a renewed sense of vitality to the organization. I’m hoping to bring a broader perspective to the Academy and make it more relevant than just the Emmys. It can’t just be about members getting an Emmy vote. There are opportunities for more philanthropic work through the foundation. And stronger diversity initiatives. And the Academy has to be more relevant to members. I hope with my fellow officers to diligantly work through the political dysfunction and get newer members more actively involved in the Academy. The issues surrounding the Emmys themselves will be dealt with by the Board of Governors and the Committee Chairmen. This wrestling with how to handle the Emmys dates back two decades. There are no easy answers.” Finally, asked if that thorn in Warner Bros TV’s side Charlie Sheen will be presenting at the Emmys anytime soon during his tenure, Rosenblum replied, ‘Oh Nikki, you crack me up.’
8:45PM: What a surprise given how eclectic and unpredictable its voters can be and the discord and infighting inside the organization itself. But the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has voted Warner Bros Television Group president Bruce Rosenblum as its next chairman/CEO. ATAS hands out the annual Emmys awards. Rosenblum, who holds the title of Office of the President, Warner Bros Entertainment (along with Jeff Robinov and Kevin Tsujihara) was essentially recruited to run in the election to replace current chair John Shaffner, the Emmy-winning art director. Rosenblum was opposed by Nancy Bradley Wiard, a veteran ATAS officer currently in her second term as first vice chair. Rosenblum’s entry was a significant development both inside and outside the Academy because the position hasn’t had a big name since former Walt Disney Studios president Rich Frank last served in the mid-1990s. As a candidate Rosenblum was controversial since his Warner Bros TV employs a lot of the industry and representing the TV Academy could be construed as a conflict. Also, some were perplexed as to why Rosenblum the new gig’s various headaches. But others felt Rosenblum could return the TV Academy’s stature. But Wiard argued that her years of service and insider knowledge of ATAS was a plus.
Here is what Rosenblum said at the Academy dinner:
I am truly honored to be speaking with you tonight. I first became acquainted with the Academy when I was a lawyer at Dixon Dern’s firm in the early 1980s, and 30 years later, much of our industry remains the same. But, so much has changed. Technology is moving our industry forward at an incredible pace. Netflix, Hulu and Google have permanently changed our landscape. At this moment in time, it is vital that our Academy evolve and move forward as well.
But for me, our role as an Academy is not just about business. It’s about passion, the talent represented in all of our peer groups, and the incredible process of story telling. My passion for television started when I was young. I remember sneaking onto the lot at CBS to watch The Carol Burnett Show. Today, I don’t need to sneak onto the lot. But I get the same emotional high when I visit the sets of our shows. My passion for television has never dulled, and from a quality standpoint, I believe we are in a golden age of television.
As an Academy, we should be very proud of the Emmy’s, but we need to remain relevant with all members beyond just September. We need to increase our brand awareness, our visibility and our stature. We need to prepare for the Academy’s future through initiatives such as: increased professional development events, increased revenue opportunities, including digital and strategic partner sponsorships, a renewed focus on diversity initiatives, increased financial support for the philanthropic efforts of the Foundation, a campaign to limit runaway production, a big-time “Future of Television Summit” sponsored by the Academy and highlighting digital opportunities for our members.
I have 25 years of experience at the leading television studio. I have direct experience with how our industry is changing. It is what I deal with every day. My experiences as a Board Chair at other organizations has shown me that success in this role can only come from listening, collaborating and building consensus. Leadership requires more than tenure – leadership is about vision for the future - leadership is strengthened by hands-on, day-to-day experience, influence, and relationships.
After speaking with most of you during the past few months, I am encouraged by the passion in this room to embrace the future, not retain the status quo. And, there is passion in this room to move beyond the politics that have sometimes limited the effectiveness of this organization. This should not be an election about maintaining business as usual – it is time for us to evolve and embrace a vision for the future. A vision where we can do better.
I enjoyed volunteering on the Executive Committee while Dick Askin was Chair. I would be honored to have your support tonight, and I look forward to volunteering with all of you once again. Thank you
See the other ATAS elected officers:
This is a case of art imitating life times two: NBC has bought a single-camera comedy written by brothers Tim and Micheal Hobert based on their experience working together. The single-camera comedy, produced by Warner Bros TV, centers on Mike, a twentysomething man who lands a dream job as the assistant to a commercial director — his older brother Tim — only to learn that his job is mostly about keeping his brother’s hectic home life running smoothly. The project stems from a script deal Tim Hobert had with Warner Bros TV, where he works as a co-executive producer on the studio’s ABC comedy The Middle. It is inspired by real-life events.
Years ago, comedy writer-producer Tim Hobert had a development deal with NBC that provided a little money for him to hire an assistant. His baby brother Mike, 12 years his junior, had recently graduated from USC and was interested in a career as a writer, so Tim tapped him as his assistant. But the job quickly turned to Mike doing chores and babysitting his brother’s four small kids. “I wanted to get into writing, but I was being used as the guy who cleaned his house, served as a nanny to his kids and made sure his life was running smoothly,” Mike Hobert recalled. Added Tim Hobert, “I basically bait-and-switched him. I duped him into becoming another me.”
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is teaming with Glee co-star Mike O’Malley for another school comedy. The network has bought Prodigy Bully, a half-hour comedy written by O’Malley and executive produced by John Wells. Based on the Prodigy Bully one-minute movies by Hank Perlman, the comedy centers on a young boy genius who uses his brains and brawn to get whatever he wants. John Wells Prods and Warner Bros TV are producing, with Wells, Paris Barclay and JWP’s Andrew Stearn executive producing and O’Malley co-executive producing. JWP and WBTV first took a stab at developing a single-camera comedy based on the Prodigy Bully shorts during the 2005-2006 season.