Hi all! Here’s your first news update for Friday, October 24, 2014:
Jennifer Carpenter’s ‘Death Class’ Lands at NBC With ‘Dexter’ Producer
Jennifer Carpenter is teaming with Sara Colleton to adapt former Los Angeles Times writer Erika Hayasaki’s book Death Class: A True Story About Life for NBC. Carpenter optioned the book, with producer George Stelzner, in April. NBC and Universal Television have boarded the drama, with Colleton also signing on to the project. A search is underway for a writer. Death Class centers on nurse Norma Bowe, who, when she decides to teach a class on death at a college in New Jersey, never expected it to be popular.
Shane Brennan Sells ‘Family’ Cop Drama to CBS
CBS has handed out a script commitment to an untitled drama exec produced by Shane Brennan. The untitled entry, written by writing duo J.P. Lavin and Chad Damiani, centers on four agents who go undercover as the perfect family for an operation that has them rooting out dangerous criminals in the suburbs while becoming an unlikely family at the same time. Brennan is attached as a non-writing exec producer alongside Stephen Crawford and Grant Anderson. Lavin and Damiani will also serve as supervising producers on the drama from Kanderaar Pictures and CBS Television Studios, where Brennan is under an overall deal.
Tracy Katsky Lines Up Six Comedy Sales, Extends Deal With Kapital Entertainment
Five months into her one-year pod deal with Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, Tracy Katsky has sold six comedies to broadcast and cable networks, including a half-hour starring comedian Pete Correale at CBS and projects from Ajay Sahgal and Claudia Lonow. On the heels of their successful first selling season together, Katsky and Kaplan have extended their deal for a second year.
TBS Orders ‘Wrecked’ Deserted Island Comedy Pilot That Echoes ‘Lost’
TBS has given a pilot order to Wrecked, a single-camera comedy from up-and-coming writers Justin Shipley & Jordan Shipley and producer Jesse Hara. Described as Lost meets It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Wrecked chronicles the aftermath of a plane crashing on a remote island. Two best friends, along with an extremely diverse group of survivors, must adjust to life in a dangerous new world that poses unique threats. which they mostly bring upon themselves.
Greg Garcia Sells Coming of Age Comedy to ABC
Greg Garcia has sold his fifth comedy this season and second to ABC, teaming with writer Chris Case for coming-of-age entry Mr. Chris. The single-camera comedy, which received a script commitment from the network, centers on trust-funder Chris, who after he gets financially cut off by his fed-up father, temporarily moves in with a construction foreman and his family, where he has to learn the lessons that were never taught to him growing up.
NBA Star Chris Paul Developing Autobiographical ABC Comedy
Chris Paul has teamed with comedy scribe Warren Lieberstein and producers Eric Tannanbaum and Kim Tannenbaum to develop a family comedy for CBS TV Studios that is inspired by his experiences growing up in North Carolina with his older brother. The untitled project revolves around two brothers who work at a service station owned by their grandfather, who champions old-school values in contrast to the attitude of their guarded, politically-correct mother. Paul, is exec producing with his brother, CJ Paul, Lieberstein and the Tannenbaums.
Jenny Bicks Adapting ‘St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves’ for ABC
ABC is teaming with Jenny Bicks to adapt Karen Russell’s best-selling book St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. The drama centers on mysterious and attractive twins Claudette and Felix, 16, who, when they show up at the elite St. Lucy’s boarding school, change the school and the tiny town of Green Hills, Maine, in ways no one could have imagined. Channing Powell will pen the script with Bicks on board to supervise. John Jacobs will also exec produce the drama, which hails from 20th Century Fox Television where Bicks is under an overall deal.
ABC Adapting Peter Moffat’s British Drama ‘Silk’
ABC is looking to Peter Moffat’s BAFTA-nominated drama Silk to produce its next legal drama. The network is teaming with Moffat and Marty Scott to adapt the British drama. Silk, which has received a script commitment from the network, is described as an explosive drama that chronicles the journey of unorthodox and uncompromising attorney Martha Costello. What she lacks in polish she makes up for in her unstoppable blue-collar determination. From ABC Studios, Scott will pen the script and exec produce alongside Moffat and BBC Worldwide Productions.
Amblin TV Sets Comedy ‘The 3 Lives of Larry’ at ABC
Amblin TV has added another ABC project to its development slate, setting a comedy with ABC Studios dubbed “The 3 Lives of Larry.” Project is described as examining at how small decisions can have big consequences by depicting three different versions of the same character’s life. Steve Baldikoski and Bryan Behar are penning the script and exec produce with Amblin’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.
ABC Adds Episodes for ‘Goldbergs,’ ‘Black-ish’ and 6 Other Shows
ABC has padded the episode orders for comedies “The Goldbergs,” “Black-ish” and six other shows (“Modern Family”, “The Middle”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Resurrection”, “Castle”, “Once Upon a Time”) as the Alphabet surveys its needs following a solid start to the 2014-15 season.
Mark Pellington to Direct TNT’s Cocaine Drama
Mark Pellington has signed on to helm TNT’s untitled cocaine drama pilot. The untitled cocaine entry hails from executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay and Michelle Ashford and is described as a serialized character drama centering on the captivating, wild and unpredictable world of the Florida drug trade in the 1970s.
TV Guide: Why TV is Looking to the Big Screen For New Ideas
The reason behind the frenzy from a network perspective is clear: They are fighting to get noticed in a competitive multi-channel universe, so a little bit of name recognition goes further. "It helps you cut through the clutter," says ABC Studios’ Patrick Moran, who’s turning the 2014 documentary Code Black into a medical drama at CBS. Insiders also suggest that so many veteran writers are already busy executive producing shows that it’s easier to trust less-seasoned writers with pre-existing titles.
Jim Parsons will bring holiday cheer this winter, starring in NBC’s special “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas.” Parsons will voice Buddy, made famous by the 2003 film “Elf” starring Will Ferrell and Broadway production “Elf: The Musical.” The hourlong, stop-motion animated special is set to air at 8 p.m. on Dec. 16, and will blend the look and feel of classic Christmas specials with the sensibility of a modern-day holiday film. In the special, Santa narrates the story of Buddy’s travels to New York City to meet his father. Along the way, his unrelenting cheer transforms the lives of everyone he meets and opens his father’s eyes to the magic of the holiday. Nine songs will be featured, including “Happy All the Time,” “A Christmas Song” and “Nobody Cares About Santa Claus.”
Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti to Star in Showtime’s ‘Billions’
Homeland alum Damian Lewis and Oscar-nominated Paul Giamatti have been tapped to star in Showtime’s drama pilot Billions. Billions is a fictional drama that takes a forensic look at the world of high finance by tracking the approaching collision between two titanic figures — the hard-charging, whip-smart U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhodes (Giamatti), and the brilliant, ambitious hedge-fund king, Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Lewis).
Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’ casts ‘HIMYM’ actress
Lyndsy Fonseca is joining the cast of the upcoming ABC action series. The Captain America spin-off signed Fonseca to play Angie Martinelli, an aspiring actress who befriends Peggy (Hayley Atwell).
Lauren Graham Lands Odd Couple Gig as Matthew Perry’s Ex-Wife
Lauren Graham has landed a guest-starring role on CBS’ upcoming reboot of The Odd Couple, where she’ll play the ex-wife of Matthew Perry’s Oscar.
Peter Jacobson, Alex Neustaedter & Gonzalo Menendez Join USA Pilot ‘Colony’
Peter Jacobson is set to co-star in Colony, USA Network’s drama pilot from Carlton Cuse. Additionally, Alex Neustaedter also has been cast as a regular and Gonzalo Menendez as recurring.
‘King David’ Movie in the Works at Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. is launching development on a “King David” project, setting up the Biblical story with Gulfstream Pictures’ producers Mike Karz and Bill Bindley. The script is being written by Nick Schoenfeld. It’s the second David project in the works in Hollywood. Variety reported in July that Fox, Chernin Entertainment and Ridley Scott were developing a movie focusing on the King of Israel following the battle of David and Goliath.
(tech) ‘Banshee Chapter’ First Virtual Reality Film To Hit Oculus Rift
Facebook’s Oculus Rift is getting its first 3D virtual reality feature film in Banshee Chapter, an indie sci-fi horror executive produced by Zachary Quinto that’s hitting the next-gen virtual reality platform today – for free. The low budget frightener, loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft’s From Beyond, tracks a journalist investigating the disappearance of her old college friend and his ties to a secret experimental drug. Ted Levine, Katia Winter and Michael McMillian star for first time director Blair Erickson.
(opinion) THR: 10 Sneaky Ways ABC Is Boosting ‘World News Tonight’ Ratings
Bait-and-switch teases, cellphone videos and even Hollywood special effects are behind the rise of David Muir at ABC, writes top news analyst Andrew Tyndall
TLC Cancels Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
TLC has cancelled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo amid reports that Mama June is dating a convicted child molester. “TLC has cancelled the series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and ended all activities around the series, effective immediately,” the network said in a statement. “Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority. TLC is faithfully committed to the children’s ongoing comfort and well-being.” A fifth season of the show was shot but will not air.
NEW MEDIA NEWS:
Deadline: When Will Big Hollywood Studios Aggressively Produce Original Shows For Digital TV?
RBC Capital Markets’ David Bank notes that Netflix likely will spend around $3.3B next year on content, while Amazon ponies up $1.7B, and Hulu follows with $1.5B. Yet except for Lionsgate, “the dominant players on the network TV first window side (CBS, Warner Brothers, Fox, etc.) are playing a virtually immaterial role in the production of content for the emerging original content SVOD [subscription video-on-demand] ecosystem, even as its growth accelerates,” the analyst says. Smaller firms including Legendary TV and Electus, he finds, “are taking the lead on …originals, increasingly through co-production roles with the SVOD platforms themselves.”
China’s Alibaba Reportedly Eyeing 37 Percent Stake in Lionsgate
The Chinese e-commerce giant, led by chairman Jack Ma, is looking to buy chairman Mark Rachesky’s stake. The New York Post reported on Friday that hedge fund manager Rachesky, the chairman of Lionsgate and its biggest shareholder, is looking to unload his influential stake in the mini-studio, with Ma in line to possibly buy it.
‘Girls’ Showrunner Jenni Konner: ‘The Whole Idea Of Likability Is Kind Of Silly’
Slate TV critic Willa Paskin interviewed Jenni Konner to keynote the 10th annual New York Television Festival. Konner was effusive in her appreciation of the freedom from likability afforded by HBO but also said she had favorites on network TV. Chief among them are CBS drama The Good Wife and ABC’s Scandal — both shows with strong, and not always sympathetic, female leads.,
Konner was most revealing on the subject of likability, and Paskin drew her out. “Compared to Walter White and Tony Soprano, the girls are saints,” she said, adding, as if it needed underlining, “but they’re women. “I like so many people in real life who are probably unlikable,” Konner continued. “The whole idea of likability is kind of silly. We go through life making choices,” and some inevitably are to “enjoy unlikable people.”
Exec Shuffle for 10/24/14: WB Launches Blue Ribbion Studios, Mila Kunis Starts Shingle Orchard Farm Prod. & More
Blue Ribbon Studios: Warner Bros. has launched a new digital production studio, Blue Ribbon Studios. President Sam Register will head the venture and Andrew Mellett has been named Senior Vice President, Distribution & Strategy. The studio will develop and produce animated and live action series for digital platforms. The slate includes original content as well as series based on the DC Universe.
Orchard Farm Productions: Mila Kunis has launched a new television production company, Orchard Farm Productions. Manager Susan Curtis and producers Cami Curtis and Lisa Sterbakov are joining her at the new venture. The company will be based at ABC Studios where they have a first look deal. Orchard Farm will produce series for cable and broadcast television.
Pancho Pictures: Pancho Mansfield has launched a new television production shingle, Pancho Pictures. Elizabeth Bubriski will also join as Manager, Development.
CBS Entertainment: Colin Studebaker has been promoted to Manager, Comedy Development.
Bold Films: Lisa Zambri has joined as Senior Vice President, Production & Development.
The Safran Company: Joan Mao has been promoted to Vice President, Development & Production.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures: Tendo Nagenda has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Production.
Al Roker Entertainment: Maria Paone has joined as Vice President, Branded Content.
Bunim/Murray Productions: Rob Bagshaw has joined as Senior Vice President, Development & Production.
Carnival Films: Alexandra Sapot has joined as Vice President, Drama Programming.
Cinema Gypsy: JP Sarni has joined as Head, Television.
National Geographic Studios: Jeff Hasler has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Development & Production.
See-Saw Films: Hakan Kousetta has joined as Chief Operating Officer. Patrick Walters has joined as Development Executive, Television.
Twenty Twenty: Emma Willis has joined as Creative Director.
Discovery Family: Sarah T. Davies has joined as Vice President, Production & Development.
IFC: Sachi Ezura has joined as Director, Original Programming. Christine Lubrano has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Original Programming. Maura Madden has joined as Vice President, Original Programming. Jeff Meyerson has joined as Vice President, Original Programming. Ken Vitale has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing.
Spike TV: David Phillips has been named Vice President, Brand Marketing & Creative. Anhelo Reyes has joined as Vice President, Brand Marketing & Activation.
Legendary Digital: Cory Lanier has been named Manager, Development & Production.
Non-linear video viewing outpaces linear in the US
The average US broadband household now watches more than 17 hours of non-linear video per-week, compared to just 11.5 hours of linear video, according to Parks Associates. The new research claims that on the TV, non-linear video now accounts for 49% of video consumed. Among 18 to 24 year-olds, 60% of TV video viewed is non-linear.