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Film Development for 6/18/15: Demi Lovato to ‘Get Smurfy’, Eli Roth will Direct ‘Meg’, Forest Whitaker in for ‘Rogue One’


in attendance for The Hollywood Reporter’s 22nd Women in Entertainment Breakfast 2013, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA December 11, 2013. Photo By: Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection


MEG Logline: Carcharodon Megalodon, the 70 foot, 40 ton prehistoric cousin of the great white shark, rises from the abyss and threatens the California coastline. Studio/ Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Company: Producers: Colin Wilson, Belle Avery Writer: Dean Georgaris Director: Eli Roth SSN Insight: The project has been around Hollywood for more than a decade going from Disney to New Line to Warner Bros. with various directors attached such as Jan De Bont and Eric Brevig. Murder on the Orient Express (Remake) Logline: While his train is stopped by deep snow, famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is enlisted to solve the murder of a man who was killed in his car the night before. Studio/ Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Company: Mark Gordon Company, Genre Films, Ridley Scott Films, Acorn Productions Producers: Mark R. Gordon, Simon Kinberg, Aditya Sood, Ridley Scott Writer: Michael Green Director: Kenneth Branagh Notes: Remake of Murder on the Orient Express (1974) directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman. The film was based on the book written by Agatha Christie and published by Collins in 1934. SSN Insight: Jennifer Todd was previously attached to produce. Rogue One Logline: A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. Studio/ Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures Production Company: Lucasfilm, LTD Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, John Knoll, Tony To Writer: Chris Weitz Director: Gareth Edwards Cast: Forest Whitaker, Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, Sam Clafin, Diego Luna Notes: Spinoff of the film Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (1977). The story events of Rogue One occur chronologically between the final film of the prequel trilogy, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), and the first film in the original trilogy, but closer to A New Hope. SSN Insight: Shooting with both film, and digitally using the new Arri Alexa 65 camera, a large-format 6K resolution 65 mm camera. Tatiana Maslany, Rooney Mara, her sister Kate Mara, and Felicity Jones reportedly all tested for the female lead.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Part One) Logline: 70 years before Harry Potter’s birth, Newton Artemis Fido Scamander is commissioned to write a reference guide to magical beasts, which would become a Hogwart’s textbook. Studio/Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Company(s): Heyday Films, Wigram Productions, Bronte Film and Television Producer(s): David Heyman, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram, J.K. Rowling Writer(s): J.K. Rowling Director(s): David Yates Cast: Katherine Waterston, Eddie Redmayne Notes: Based on the novel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by J.K. Rowling; published by Arthur A. Levine June 2001 . SSN Insight: Project is the first in a trilogy. Alfonso Cuaron had previously been mentioned to direct.

Gambit Logline: The adventures of the X-Men world¹s favorite mutant thief, Remy LeBeau, AKA Gambit. Studio: 20th Century Fox Production Companies: Free Association, Donners’ Company, Marvel Entertainment, Genre Films Producers: Lauren Shuler Donner, Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin, Simon Kinberg Writer: Josh Zetumer Director: Rupert Wyatt Cast: Channing Tatum SSN Insight: The project is a big priority at the studio and has a set release date for Oct. 7 2016.

Get Smurfy Logline: Smurfette and her brothers journey through the Enchanted Forest in search of a fabled Smurfs village before the evil Gargamel finds it. Studio: Sony Pictures Animation Production Companies: Kerner Picture Company Producers: Jordan Kerner Writer: Jay Scherick, David Ronn Director: Kelly Asbury Cast: Mandy Patinkin, Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson SSN Insight: Get Smurfy will forgo the mixture of live-action and CGI and will instead be a pure CGI animation film. This decision was to reinvigorate and pay tribute to the original cartoon style popularized by "Smurfs" creator Peyo Culliford.

Ghost Army Logline: A squadron of creative WWII soldiers were tasked with fooling the enemy into believing the U.S. had troops where there were none, and succeeded by using a variety of tricks including inflatable tanks. Distributor/ Financier: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Companies: 22nd & Green, Mad Chance Productions Producers: Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Andrew Lazar Writer: Henry Gayden Cast: Bradley Copper SSN Insight: The film is based on the true story featured in several properties. The studio has acquired the documentary "Ghost Army (USA/2013) directed by Rick Beyer; and the book "The Ghost Army Of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery" written by Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles. Maleficent Sequel Logline: Storyline under wraps. Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures Production Companies: Roth Films Producers: Joe Roth Writer: Linda Woolverton Cast: Angelina Jolie SSN Insight: Jolie is not officially attached to the sequel but the studio is keeping the star informed on the script and will hopefully get her to agree to star.

Primates of Park Avenue Logline: A woman’s observational memoir about the rich and powerful people who live in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Studio/ Distributor: MGM Studios Notes: Based on the novel "Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir" written by Wednesday Martin and published by Simon & Schuster on June 2, 2015. SSN Insight: The best selling novel and the controversy on its accurate portrayal of wealthy New York housewives sparked a bidding war with multiple offers.

The Trap Logline: A best-selling novelist is haunted by a terrible event in her past – the day she discovered the body of her sister Anna and saw the killer’s face. Years later, Linda is still traumatized by the unsolved crime. One day while watching television, she sees the killer’s face again – and it belongs to a high profile journalist. She decides to set a trap and write a novel based on her sisters death and promote the novel through an interview with the journalist. Studio/ Distributor: TriStar Pictures Production Companies: The Cantillon Company, Immersive Pictures Producers: Elizabeth Cantillon, Josh Bratman Notes: Based on the book “The Trap” by Melanie Raabe SSN Insight: The book was a hot title at the London Book Fair and was originally published in German. Liberty Logline: A college student agrees to work for the CIA when they offer her the chance to work on the case of her journalist parents who were kidnapped during the civil war in Libya. Studio/ Distributor: Fox 2000 Pictures Production Companies: Temple Hill Entertainment Producers: Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen Writer: Andrea Portes, Joel Silverman Notes: Based on the novel "Liberty" written by Andrea Portes and to be published by HarperCollins. SSN Insight: The novelist and screenwriter are also adapting Anatomy of a Misfit at Paramount together.

Preconception Logline: A couple in their 30s make a pre-parenthood bucket list and cut loose before they get tied down with a baby Studio/ Distributor: CBS Films Production Companies: De Line Pictures Producers: Donald De Line Writer: Jake Morse, Scott Wolman Director: Ari Sandel SSN Insight: Sandel is the director of The Duff, which grossed $34 million domestic, with Lionsgate releasing. CBS Films was eager to make another movie with Sandel, who won the Oscar for his short film West Bank Story.

Last Witch Hunter Sequel Logline: The story of witch hunter Kaulder continues. Studio/ Distributor: Lionsgate Cast: Vin Diesel SSN Insight: Lionsgate apparently believes the film to be a franchise, as the first film isn’t set to release until October of this year.

Free Fall Logline: When a man joins his daughter on a mountain climb in an attempt to reconcile their estrangement, an accident leaves them stranded hundreds of feet in the air. And when a storm sets in, they must deal with the terrifying heights and fight the elements to survive. Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures Production Companies: Mad House, Michael De Luca Pictures, Blumhouse Productions Producers: Adam Kolbrenner, Jason Blum, Michael De Luca Writer: Sean Finegan, Gregg Parker SSN Insight: Universal, Mad House, Michael De Luca Productions and Blumhouse acquired the project on June 12, 2015

Emmy 2015: Supporting Actor/Actress — Comedy/Drama, Can You Tweet Your Way To a Network Show?, Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Cast, Film Dev. For 6/18/15


Lena Headey

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After Earning an Emmy Nomination For ‘Breaking Bad’, Jonathan Banks Got His Prequel On For ‘Better Call Saul’

The actor has lived with Mike Ehrmantraut for over six years now. He memorably played the taciturn fixer for multiple seasons on Breaking Bad, earning an Emmy nom for his final run in 2012. But he never had a showcase quite like “Five-O” — the Saul installment in which Mike comes clean to his daughter-in-law (Kerry Condon) about the tragic truth behind his son’s death at the hands of corrupt cops, before breaking down in tears. (VAR)

Lena Headey Has Some Serious Thoughts On the Downfall Of Her ‘Game Of Thrones’ Character

Spoilers are in play for this piece, which looks at what happened to Cersei Lannister on this fifth season of the smash hit, Emmy-winning HBO series. Speaking on the show’s Belfast set soon after shooting (along with a body double) the controversial march in Croatia, Headey discusses Cersei’s childlike mentality and her fall from grace. (NP)

What Started as a Small Role On ‘Homeland’ Has Become a Starring One For Rupert Friend

As Season Five is gearing up to start, the assassin with-a-heart Peter Quinn has become one of the show’s main attractions. Making his first appearance in season 2, Quinn’s job was then to eradicate the threat of terrorist traitor Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis), and it seemed with the end of Brody’s life in season 3, Quinn might fade away. However, by season 4 he had become a major player. (AL)

Jesse Tyler Ferguson Still Hasn’t Won an Emmy For ‘Modern Family’, but This Could Be His Year

The five-time nominee chats with another multiple nominee, star of the Showtime’s Episodes Matt LeBlanc, about how to keep their roles fresh after a long run of several successful seasons. And, of course, crack each other up in the process.  (VAR)


Emmy 2015: Can You Really Tweet or Blog Your Way To a Network Show?

Esteemed screenwriter Pamela Douglas's book, Future of Television: Your Guide to Creating TV in the New World focuses on how a writer, producer, director, or entrepreneur can use the emerging possibilities to create original television now and in the coming decade. In an excerpt from her book, she answers the above question. (SSN)

Film Development For 6/18/15: Demi Lovato To ‘Get Smurfy’, Eli Roth To Direct ‘Meg’, Forest Whitaker In For ‘Rogue One’

Among the other new attachments to established projects are a director for Channing Tatum’s X-Men spinoff, the casting of JK Rowling’s new female lead, and a directing gig for Kenneth Branagh, while new projects include something for Bradley Cooper, something for Angelina Jolie, and something for Vin Diesel, as well as a few new book adaptations. Click the link for more. (SSN)


Netflix Assembles a Fairly Regal Team For Its New Original Series, ‘The Crown’

The show, which aims to tell the decades-spanning inside story of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Prime Ministers who shaped Britain’s post-war destiny, features Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, Matt Smith as Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, and John Lithgow as Sir Winston Churchill. Team is rounded out by writer Peter Morgan, directors Stephen Daldry, Philip Martin and Julian Jarrold, and producer Andy Harries. (CS)

Brian Williams Finally Learns His Fate, Will Stay At NBC News, but Vacate Anchor Chair

Lester Holt, who took over the job upon Williams’ February suspension, will remain the face of the NBC Nightly News, while Williams will join MSNBC as an anchor on breaking news and special reports, and also will serve as a breaking news anchor for NBC News live special reports when Holt is not available. He begins his new duties in mid-August. (THR)

Trailer Buzz, Part 1: ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’

DreamWorks Animation has released the first trailer for the upcoming third installment in its popular franchise. Starring the voices of Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Rebel Wilson, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross and James Hong, it hits theaters March 18th, 2016. (EMP)

Trailer Buzz, Part 2: ‘Sicario’

Lionsgate has released the first trailer from Denis Villeneuve’s new film, about an FBI agent and two Delta Force rangers who cross from Tucson to Mexico to catch a drug lord. Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benecio Del Toro star in the film, which opens September 18th. (TP)

Tom Hanks Is Clint Eastwood’s Sully Sullenberger, Scott Rudin’s New TV Show, Baz Luhrmann Adds Prestige To ‘The Get Down’


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Clint Eastwood Has Quite Possibly Found His Sully Sullenberger, and the Actor Has Two Oscars

Tom Hanks is in negotiations with Eastwood and Warner Bros. to play Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who became an instant American hero in 2009 when he engineered a miraculous emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after a flock of geese hit the plane just after it took off from La Guardia Airport, saving the lives of all 155 people aboard. Eastwood will direct from a screenplay by Todd Komarnicki. (DH)

Scott Rudin Wastes No Time With His New Fox TV Deal, Gets a Project Right Into Development

Having closed his three-year Fox deal, which includes National Geographic Channel, FX Networks and Fox Broadcasting, his first series will be with Nat Geo. Rudin scooped up the rights himself at the book proposal stage, for Simon & Schuster's non-fiction title about the Chernobyl disaster, The Invisible Enemy, written by Adam Higginbotham. Rudin will develop and produce the series which covers the leadup to the nuclear plant disaster.  (TOH)

Baz Luhrman Just Keeps Adding More Prestige To His ‘The Get Down' Cast

Giancarlo Esposito will play Pastor Ramon Cruz (the brother of Jimmy Smits’ character), who is described as the charismatic head of the local Pentecostal church that attracts a flock of followers with his fiery sermons and leadership. The rest of the cast is mostly unknowns, including Justice Smith, Shameik Moore, Skylan Brooks, Tremaine Brown, Jr., Herizen Guardiola, Yahya Abdul-Mateen and Mamoudou Athie. (SAA)

Syfy’s 'Alien Hunter' Series Looks To 'The Flash' and Finds a Female Lead

Britne Oldford will play the female lead in the show, an alien drama produced by The Walking Dead’s Gale Anne Hurd. She joins Australian actor Nathan Phillips. Written by Natalie Chaidez, it’s based on Whitley Strieber’s 2013 novel, which centers on a Philadelphia cop obsessed with finding his missing wife. His search leads him to a secret government unit tasked with hunting a group of shadowy terrorists who may not be from this world. (CBR)

Matthew Vaughn Still Believes In the ‘Kick-Ass’ Franchise, Wants To Make Two More Films

The writer-director who started the franchise with the hit 2010 film skipped the sequel because he was buys making X-Men: First Class. Now, after the unsuccessful Kick-Ass 2, he is working on a Hit Girl prequel, that would lead to a third Kick-Ass film that would bring the entire series to a close. No word on whether the studio behind the series, Universal, is involved at this stage. (COL)

Don’t, Repeat Do Not, Believe Any Rumors That There Is an 'Indiana Jones 5’ In the Immediate Works

Recently, Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm led to more speculation about a fifth outing for Indy, with Lucasfilm saying that a film will happen, with no indication of when. Yet more conversations have suggested that Chris Pratt is being eyed as a replacement for original star Harrison Ford, which Pratt has denied. Now there are rumors of loose plans for a 2018 release developing, but producer Frank Marshall insists there have been “no discussions on Indy 5 to date.” (SF)

Twenty Years After the Release Of a Movie Nobody Really Wanted: Remembering ‘Batman Forever’

It was released on this weekend in 1995, with a new director, a new Batman, and exceedingly low expectations. Though Batman Returns was a moderate success, it was viewed as a disappointment by the studio, which wasn’t sure how to proceed with the franchise. Enter Joel Schumacher, a veteran director who would change the course of Batman’s onscreen history.  (HV)

Trailer Buzz, Part 1: ‘Dark Places’

A24 and DIRECTV have released the new trailer for the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s second novel, starring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll and Chloë Grace Moretz. Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, it opens in theaters August 7th, and is currently available for a 30-day exclusive window on DIRECTV. (CS)

Trailer Buzz, Part 2: ‘Grandma’

Sony Pictures Classics has released the first trailer for the Sundance hit, starring Lily Tomlin in her first starring role in almost three decades. It hits theaters August 18th. (SB)

Screenwriters: ‘Dear White People’

The 107-page screenplay by Justin Simien, labels Revised and dated August 21st, 2013. (GITS)

Exec Shuffle for 6/19/15: IMAX Sets Up China Film Fund, Elizabeth Banks Signs Deal with WB TV, Zachary Levi Launches Production Company


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Company Launches, Partnerships & Deals

Kevin Biegel, who’s known as the co-creator of Cougar Town, has signed a two-year overall deal with ABC Television Studios. Under the agreement, Biegel will develop new projects and be the consulting producer on new comedy at ABC family, The Real O’Neals.

Lionsgate TV has signed Good Wife writer Keith Eisner to an multi-year overall pact. He will join the EPIX series Graves as an EP while developing and producing new scripted programming.

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Women In Film Los Angeles have signed a multi-year partnership dedicated to raising awareness about the lack of gender equality in the industry and celebrate the achievements of women who have succeeded in film. TCM will run the programming initiative over three weeks in October and will take a deeper look at gender inequality in the film industry, and will tackle pro-social elements (research, resources, tools, etc) to assist women filmmakers in furthering their careers.

Marc Webb has signed an exclusive two-year overall deal with CBS TV. His two pilots he directed and will EP, drama Limitless and comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend were picked up by CBS and CW respectively. Both will be produced by CBS TV Studios. He also will develop new projects for network and cable and direct pilots for the studio.

Elizabeth Banks and producing partner Max Handelman (the duo behind Pitch Perfect 2) have signed an exclusive overall producing deal with Warner Bros Television for their Brownstone Productions. Under the multi-year pact, the pair will develop and produce new series for the studio.

Jay and Mark Duplass have signed a two-year overall deal with HBO under their Duplass Brothers Television shingle. The duo already EP two series for HBO, Togetherness and Anmials. Stephanie Langhoff, the President of Duplass Brothers Productions, will also oversee Duplass Brothers Television.

Director-cinematographer Alik Sakharov has inked a first-look TV development deal with The Weinstein Company. Under the agreement, Sakharov will develop original ideas for television to both direct and produce. He will return to direct episodes of the TWC and Netflix series Marco Polo next season. Sakharov most recently directed episodes of Game Of Thrones. He was also the co-executive producer on Black Sails for Starz.

The IMAX China Film Fund has been set up with subsidiary IMAX China and partner China Media Capital to focus on investing in a minimum of 10 Mandarin-language tent-poles based on an initial capitalization of up to $50 million. The partnership with CMC will target investments of $3-7 million per local film.

Devil’s Due Entertainment and 1First Comics have combined to form Devil’s Due / 1First Comics LLC, a mini-major comics publishing company focused on creator-owned work. The merger combines each company’s comic libraries and business infrastructure, with implications for both the comics industry and film/television. The new company will release six original graphic novels and launch five new ongoing comic series in 2015 with the new imprint appearing on comics beginning in the fall.

Mucho Mas Media, a partnership between Pelican Point Media and Texican Media, has joined with Brillstein Entertainment Partners to co-produce feature films for the U.S. Latin demographic. The first projects are slated for production this year, will focus on high-concept comedies and thriller-horror films and faith-based films in the budget range of under $2.5 million.

Bona Film Group, China’s largest private film company, has partnered with state-backed Huaxia Film Distribution to co-produce and distribute around five films a year. Bona Film released their 26-picture slate at the Shanghai Film Festival to celebrate the company’s 15th anniversary.

Zachary Levi has launched a production company, Middle Man Productions focusing on developing and producing character-driven comedy and drama projects, to be based at Universal Television where he recently signed a first-look deal. Levi has already staffed his shingle, naming Erik Olsen as EVP and Justin Allen as VP. At Uni TV, Levi is producing the musical comedy project Tuned and will appear in the Heroes Reborn NBC limited series.

Chinese online giant Alibaba Group is launched a video streaming service akin to Netflix. It will be named Tmall Box Office (TBO) and stream in-house productions in addition to content from within China and imported from other countries.

TV creator Courtney Kemp Agboh has signed an overall deal with Starz. Under the deal she will continue to EP and be a showrunner on Starz’s Powers. The season premiere of the show set a new season premiere ratings record for Starz with 1.43 million Live + same day viewers and landed a season 3 renewal.

The Neighbors and Galavant creator Dan Fogelman has decided to sign with 20th Century Fox TV in a four-year overall deal amidst a competitive bidding war. He was previously at ABC Studios. Under the new pure development deal he will develop drama, live-action and animated comedy projects, producing, writing himself or supervising other writers.

The Carrie Diaries creator Amy B. Harris has inked a two-year overall deal with ABC Studios. She will be an EP/showrunner on ABC’s Wicked City and develop new projects for network, cable and streaming services. She is repped by CAA and attorney Karl Austen.


Michael Clear has signed on to head Atomic Monster, the James Wan shingle at New Line as part of Wan’s Conjuring 2 helming deal. Clear will supervise day-to-day operations and report directly to Wan. Their next projects include Aquaman and Robotech.

Fox has officially named James Murdoch the CEO to take effect July 1. As expected, Rupert Murdoch will be named Executive Co-Chairman along with his son Lachlan Murdoch. Chase Carey is shifting from President and COO to Executive Vice Chairman, to take effect on July 1 as well.

Paramount Pictures announced the appointment of former IMAX China manager Tara Yin to General Manager of its China office. Yin will oversee the distribution and marketing of Paramount films in China and work closely with China Film Group and other Chinese partners in this fast growing market. 

STX Entertainment has hired longtime music exec Jason Markey as EVP and Head of Music and will oversee all aspects of the music for films including production of scores and soundtracks. He will source songs and develop original music for 12 to 15 movies a year. Prior to STX, he was the EVP Music & Soundtracks at Relativity Media for six years and also had worked at MCA Records and Arista Records.

Alexandra Loewy is the new SVP of Development at Di Bonaventura Pictures. She was previously SVP, Development and Production at Global Produce.

Tracy Falco has partnered with Lawrence Bender in his first look deal with Access Industries (AI Film) run by CEO Aviv Giladi. At Universal, Falco headed the development and production of Little Fockers, and Nancy Meyers’ It’s Complicated. 

Marvel Studios has rehired Rob Steffens as CFO of the Disney-owned studio, taking over for Chris Acquaviva who has left the company. He will report to Marvel Chairman Isaac Permutter. Steffens was previously CFO in 2013 but had left to become CFO and COO of Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video. In addition, Mindy Hamilton has left Paramount to be Global Partnerships SVP at Marvel and will report to Steffens.

Previous Warp Films EP and BAFTA winner, Mary Burke has been named a senior production and development exec at the BFI Film Fund and will work closely with writers, directors and producers across development and production on British features.


Endemol Shine International, the global TV distribution arm of the Endemol Shine Group, has picked Simon Cox as Head of Acquisitions. Cox was previously an Investment Manager at Ingenious Media, where he was responsible for deals on such scripted productions as ITV’s The Frankenstein Chronicles and Channel 4’s Coalition.

Marina Dompke is the new Manager of Development at Valhalla Ent. She was previously a Coordinator of Drama Development & Programming, FOX Broadcasting Company.

Adriana Padilla has been named a producer on CNN's Declassified. The eight part series will be hosted by former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers. Padilla was previously the Director of Production at Check Six that specialized in travel productions.

Maria Fischer is the new Director Network Program Publicity at Crown Media Family Networks. She was previously a Freelance Publicist at FerenComm. Chandler Hayes joins her there as Director of Network of Program Publicity as well. He was previously the Publicity Director at ABC Ent. Group.

Susana Voets has been named vice president of communications for BBC Worldwide Productions and Adjacent Productions, the production arms of BBC Worldwide North America. Voets most recently worked as a publicity and talent relations consultant.

Richard Gay is the new EVP of Strategy & Operations, BET Networks. He previously held the same position in Viacom’s music division.

Following Charlie Collier’s appointment to AMC President & General Manager Collier to President & General Manager of both AMC and SundanceTV he has similarily expanded his senior management team’s roles across both divisions. Jan Diedrichsen who was AMC’s SVP of Affiliate Marketing has been named Exec. Director of SundanceTV. Marnie Black was promoted to EVP of Public Relations for AMC and SundanceTV. Others expanding their roles at AMC to include SundanceTV include: Tom Halleen in Programming & Scheduling, Mac McKean in Digital Media, Melanie Schneider in Research, Linda Schupack in Marketing and Joel Stillerman in Original Programming.

Alexandra Heidrich is the new Head of TV Sales & Acquisitions, Global Screen, up from Sales & Acquisitions Manager.

Joelly Mejia is new Manager of Development at Pie Town Productions. Joelly was previously a Development Producer at Figure 8 Films.

ITV Studios’ Shiver has hired on Richard Hastings to the new role of Creative Director of Factual Entertainment, Formats and Daytime. He will develop and produce factual entertainment programming at Shiver, from returning formats to factual-led entertainment for UK and international broadcasters. Previously at the BBC, he created BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen, BBC Two’s The Hairy Bikers’ Cook Off and BBC Three’s Young Talent Of The Year. Chris Leanza has been promoted from VP to SVP Development & Programming at Timberman/Beverly Productions. Axel Boehm is the new SVP of International Sales at Sonar Ent. He was previously SVP of European Sales at Red Arrow Ent. in Munich. Patrick Phelan is the new VP of International Sales at Sonar. He was formerly a Senior Sales Manager at Tandem/StudioCanal.

Roberto Ruiz has been upped from SVP to EVP of Strategy & Insights at Univision Communications.

Universal TV has brought on Mike Clements as their new EVP Comedy Development and will report to Universal TV president Bela Bajaria. Also joining is Jim Donnelly as SVP Comedy Development who will report to Clements.

Entertainment One Television has hired TV industry veteran Pancho Mansfield as President of Global Scripted Programming. Based in eOne’s L.A. office, Mansfield will head the studio’s original scripted slate and leading scripted efforts worldwide and work closely with eOne Television leadership to manage development and production efforts across eOne’s territories, including: U.S. Scripted Development led by Gerard Bocaccio; and Global Production, led by Carrie Stein.

Julie Pernworth has been promoted to EVP, Comedy Development for CBS and will oversee development of new CBS comedy series and report to CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler. She takes over for EVP Wendi Trilling who announced she would be leaving recently after her 20 year plus tenure. Pernworth has worked closely with Trilling while she was SVP to develop shows like The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother.

Lucid Road Productions (shingle of Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul) has closed a first-look deal with Hulu sibling Universal Television. The company produces The Way, a Hulu drama series Paul will star and produce.

Management, PR, Agencies

David Lust, who was most recently a VP at Rogers & Cowan has joined Integrated PR’s core West Coast team. Maggi L. Simpson also joins him. She was previously an in-house publicist for companies including Sony and Paramount Pictures.

Former ICM Partners talent agent Nigel Meiojas has left for UTA. Clients include Robert Duvall, Alexander Ludwig, Lucas Black, Kevin Zegers, Virginia Gardner, Josh Stewart, and Alyssa Sutherland are expected to follow.

Abrams Artists Agency has upped Manal Hammad to Agent in the newly formed Literary Division in the Los Angeles office, and promoted David Doerrer to Agent and Director of Foreign Rights in the Book Division in New York.

Independent PR firm DKC has landed John Singh as VP in the entertainment division’s Los Angeles office. Singh was previously a DreamWorks Animation exec. He will report directly to Joe Quenqua, director of DKC’s entertainment practice. Also, Christine Sun, who managed national publicity at Lionsgate, joins the firm’s New York office entertainment division. DKC’s clients include The Dr. Oz Show, History, PBS, Marvel, Sirius Satellite Radio and Univision.

David Doerrer has been upped to Agent and Director of Foreign Rights at Abrams Artists, up from Coordinator. Likewise Manal Hammad has been promoted from Coordinator to Literary Agent.

Peter Letz has been named Collective Digital Studio’s new Director of Gaming Network. He was previously a Principal at Cousin Pete Productions & Management.

Christine Sun is now an Account Executive, Entertainment at DKC. She was previously a Manager of National Publicity at Lionsgate.

Jayme Yarow has been upped from assistant to literary agent at Innovative Artists.

Manage-ment has signed on Corinne Hayoun to run its New York based headquarters, manage clients and continue to produce theater. Hayoun spent eight years at CAA repping stage talentand is a producer of the Jim Parsons-starrer Broadway play An Act Of God.

Music, Digital, Publishing, Misc.

Annie Award winning animation veteran Eric Goldberg, with credits on Aladdin, Hercules and Fantasia/2000, has signed on with the faculty of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Starting fall 2015, he will teach classes on the fundamentals of character animation as part of the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts.

James Powell is the new Global Chief Technology Officer at Nielsen, he previously was the EVP, CTO at Thomson Reuters.

Domenic Venuto was named General Manager, AdFX, The Weather Company. He was formerly Global President, Data, Technology & Partnerships at VivaKi. Rhonda Bitterman has been named VP, Agency Partnerships & Development there. She was formerly the Sales Director at Pandora Radio.

Bryce Hunter has been named Senior Director, Strategy & Operations at Temple Street Media Ventures. He was previously Producer, Interactive at DHX Media.

Former EVP of Microsoft’s XBox Entertainment Studios, Jordan Levin has been hired by the NFL to be their first chief content officer, overseeing the league’s programming efforts. In his new role he will develop and implement content for the NFL Network and NFL Now online platforms and head the Super Bowl Halftime Show and work with other media partners that broadcast NFL games.

Teal Newland is the new SVP, Marketing & Partner Management, Condé Nast Entertainment. Previously Teal was VP Revenue, Marketing & Partnerships at StumbleUpon.

Dick Costolo is leaving Twitter where he held the post of CEO. Jack Dorsey, its chairman and co-founder, will take over as interim chief executive July 1 as Twitter looks for a permanent CEO. Meanwhile, Costolo will stay on Twitter’s board.

Erica Winograd has been named head of development at Vox Entertainment. She was previously Executive Director of Digital Content at FremantleMedia North America.

Emmy 2015: Variety Talk/Variety Sketch, Why Amazon & Netflix Might Have an Edge, Mitchell Hurwitz’s New Netflix Show, Exec Shuffle For 6/19/15


unbreakable kimmy schmidt 2

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Hey, Emmy Voters! This Is Your Last Chance To Give David Letterman an Emmy

This is the last year he’s Emmy eligible — time to think about whether he should be Emmy-nominated and Emmy-awarded for his final season and/or legacy. Based on the finale walk-up adulation, the Most Likely Nominees seem to be advocating for it. (AL)

Getting Injured For Laughs Is Just Part Of the Program For the Casts Of ‘Portlandia' and ‘Broad City'

Improv, anyone? Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City sat down with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia got together to discuss filming in New York City and Portland, how they got started in comedy, and their influences. (VAR)

How Seth Meyers Is Positioning Himself As Late Night’s Political Kingmaker

With Late Show’s David Letterman off the stage and The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart soon to follow, the genre’s two highest-profile political voices are going silent. There are nearly as many late-night talk-show hosts as there are presidential candidates these days, so players in both arenas need to do whatever they can to distinguish themselves from the pack. Over at NBC’s Late Night, Seth Meyers may have found his hook: politics. (VUL)

So, How Exactly Do Comedy Sketch Writers Create the So-Called ‘Boner Bait”?

There's long been grousing about late-night talk shows competing with sketch-format programs at the Emmys. But grouse no more as the TV Academy finally has split the variety race into two competitions because of lobbying by sketch writers for a separate category. Nine contending sketch series reveal the boundary-pushing concepts ("Negrotown," anyone?) and happy accidents that have landed them in the Emmy race. (THR)


Emmy 2015: Why Netflix and Amazon Might Have an Edge Over the Networks

Not only are digital networks garnering top talent like Jeffrey Tambor, Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Kevin Spacey, but since they’ve broken into the Emmy race they’re gaining more ground every year. Traditional networks also face heavy competition against other cable and premium channels. (SSN)

Exec Shuffle For 6/19/15: IMAX Sets Up China Film Fund, Elizabeth Banks Signs Deal With WB TV, and More

Some big moves went through this week, including new exclusive deals for Marc Webb, the Duplass Brothers and other creators, as well as a new production shingle launched by Zachary Levi. There were also the usual amount of promotions and hirings, comings and goings, and if you want to get all the info, click on the link and read on. (SSN)


Netflix Is Staying In Business With Mitchell Hurwitz, but Branching Out From ‘Arrested Development’

Lady Dynamite is based on what star Maria Bamford has accepted as "her life," though the "surreal" episodes will be "refracted over multiple periods" chronicling various events inspired by Bamford's experiences. Hurwitz co-wrote the pilot episode with Pam Brady, and he, Brady and Bamford all serve as executive producers on the upcoming series. No release date yet, but the online streaming service has ordered 13 30-minute episodes. (IW)

It Looks Like James Mangold Has His Next Gig, Post-‘Wolverine’

The director will helm an adaptation of the Chris Greenhalgh book Seducing Ingrid Bergman, which likely will go by the title Blood and Champagne. The script has been written by Arash Amel and is being financed by Uday Chopra’s YRF. Book is the story of a torrid, clandestine romance between the beloved actress and the celebrated war photographer Robert Capa. (DH)

Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass Are Getting Some Familiar Company In the Next ‘Bourne’ Movie

Julia Stiles has closed a deal to reprise her role as covert agent Nicky Parsons in Universal's Untitled Next Bourne Chapter. Stiles appeared in the first three films, emerging as an ally for the amnesiac assassin title character Jason Bourne. Greengrass is writing the screenplay with Christopher Rouse and Frank Marshall again produces the action-thriller alongside Jeffrey Weiner for Captivate Entertainment. Greengrass, Damon and Greg Goodman also produce. (JJ)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Daddy’s Home’

Paramount and Red Granite have released the first trailer from the upcoming comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, as well as Linda Cardellini, Thomas Haden Church, Alessandra Ambrosio, Paul Scheer and Hannibal Buress. Sean Anders directed the film, which hits theaters in December. (COL)

‘Jurassic World’ Continues Dominance, Diesel’s ‘Kojak’ Gets a Writer, Sony Wins a Big Spec Project, Paramount Wants More ‘Star Trek’ On TV


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‘Jurassic World’ Continues Its Record Run, While ‘Inside Out’ Sets a Mark Of Its Own

The latest in Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur saga follows up the biggest opening weekend ever with the second biggest second weekend ever, with $102 million to give it a cute of $398.2 million through 10 days, another record. The Pixar film, meanwhile, did $91 million, the second best ever for the company. Spy finished third with $10.5 million, San Andreas was fourth with $8.2 million, and Dope had a disappointing $6 million to finish fifth. (BO)

Who Loves Ya, Baby? Vin Diesel and Universal Find a Writer For Their ‘Kojak' Project

Philip Gawthorne has been tapped to write the screenplay for the modern-day film adaptation of the classic TV series. Diesel will produce with Samantha Vincent for their Universal-based One Race Films alongside Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark, who board the project with their Universal-based Bluegrass Films banner. Kojak is intended to be a starring vehicle for Diesel, who most recently starred in Furious 7, with worldwide grosses of more than $1.5 billion. (COL)

Sony Wins a Big Prize, Nails Down an R-Rated Comedy Spec Project From ‘Broad City’ Duo

Studio won a heated bidding battle late Friday and closed a deal for an untitled R-rated comedy spec script by Lucia Aniello & Paul W. Downs. She is attached to direct a female-driven comedy described as The Hangover meets Weekend At Bernie’s, and he is attached to play the male lead. Aniello directed the pilot and multiple episodes of Broad City, in which Downs plays the role of Trey, and both are exec producers of the show. (DH)

Paramount Is Interested In Bringing ‘Star Trek’ Back To TV, Enlists Superfan To Pitch a Project

Michael Gummelt’s project, Star Trek: Uncharted, is something the hardcore Trek fan has been working on for close to 20 years, and is now being offered the chance to pitch it to the studio. Concept takes a fresh look at the series and seems to want a direction opposite of J.J. Abrams’ film series. There’s a diverse crew, a new galaxy to explore, and modern themes. All in the effort to grab some attention from those who hold the reigns to the franchise. (SF)

No ‘Doubt’ About It, CBS Giving Legal Drama Pilot Another Shot

Despite the fact that the one hour pilot did not land a spot in the fall lineup, the network was moving last week to lock in final details for the pilot to be reshot this fall, putting it on the fast-track for series contention. Doubt, which starred Teddy Sears, KaDee Strickland, Dule Hill and Laverne Cox but is now being recast, revolves around a female lawyer who becomes romantically involved with one of her clients who may or may not be guilty of a brutal crime. (VAR)

YouTube Launches YouTube Newswire Channel for Verified Eyewitness News Videos

The streaming giant has partnered with News Corp’s social news agency Storyful to launch the new venture, a new video channel dedicated to helping journalists and news organizations find on-the-ground user-generated clips of important worldwide events. The channel offers curated feeds covering both global and regional news. All videos appearing on the feed will have been verified by Storyful’s team of editors and will be embeddable from their original source. (TVI)

There Are Apparently Some VERY Specific Guidelines About Who Peter Parker Can and Can’t Be On Screen

The contract between Marvel and Sony lists strict "mandatory character traits" for Spider-Man, whether it's Peter Parker or an alternative Spider-Man character, but is more specific with its requirements for Peter Parker specifically, the character/alter ego who's most associated with the Spider-Man costume. For instance, Peter Parker (but not necessarily Spider-Man) is Caucasian and heterosexual. (NSA)

There Are Definitely Hurdles To Another ‘Hulk’ Movie, but They Are Not Necessarily What You Might Think

Much has been made in the last two months of actor Mark Ruffalo’s comments about the future of the Marvel superhero Hulk on the big screen. In an interview, he said that the rights to a standalone Hulk movie are owned by Universal. Ever since, fans and media outlets have been speculating about Marvel not owning the rights to the Hulk on film, and there’s been a lot of guesswork about what precisely Ruffalo was referring to. (FC)

As People Go Bananas Over the Ukrainian Film ‘The Tribe’, There’s Also a Heck Of a Story Behind It

After being hosed by the Ukrainian Oscar committee despite winning an award at Cannes in 2014, director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky’s debut feature has been earning rave reviews for its portrayal of a deaf school in the former Soviet Union. The behind the scenes tale of the film is almost as interesting as the film itself. (TOH)

Screenwriters: Breaking and Entering — Shark Secrets To Sharpen Your Writing

It’s a common misconception that sharks must keep swimming or they will die. Truth is, a shark must keep swimming or it will sink to the bottom of the ocean. Much like that great monster of the sea, a story must move forward, or it will languish and die. At a standstill, it will sink to the bottom of a stack of submissions; hit the lowest rung on the tracking board; disappear into the dark crevasse of unreplied-to queries; or be tossed overboard in the first cut of a competition. (SM)

Emmy 2015: Writing and Directing, Quick Tips From a CBS Exec, Denise Di Novi To Direct, Old Kubrick Script Moving Forward, On the Set For 6/22/15


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Some Top TV Showrunners Pull Double Duty as Episode Directors

After Alec Berg and Mike Judge finished the first season of their HBO comedy Silicon Valley, the showrunners made a decision to take on even more work for the current year: they’d alternate writing and directing episodes, rather than hiring guest directors. Because the lines between TV directing and writing continue to blur, Berg and Judge aren’t the only showrunners moving seamlessly between the two. (VAR)

On Breaking Out From ‘Breaking Bad’: Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould and Bob Odenkirk On Their Breakout Hit Show

The kind of gumption that Gilligan has is the kind of gumption that wins you the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series two years in a row, as AMC’s Breaking Bad did in 2013 and 2014. It’s also the kind of mojo that conjures up a series like Better Call Saul from one of Bad’s most magnetic characters without missing a step, putting you in the running once again. (AL)

Matthew Weiner Reveals the Most Challenging Scene From His Successful Series Finale

Which is just one story related from 17 of TV's top comedy and drama helmers — whose duties ranged from shooting an entire episode with iPhones to hugging (and crying) it out with crewmembers — as they explain how they pulled off logistical miracles and creative triumphs to make some of the season's most unforgettable (and, in one case, history-making) television. (THR)

A-List Writers From 'Silicon Valley,' 'Transparent' on Embarrassing Scenes Stolen From Real Life, "Crushing Blow" of a Writers-Room Firing

You really can't blame a comedy showrunner — on whose shoulders a show's successes and failures squarely sit — for being totally exhausted. A sextet of Emmy-contending showrunnners reveal their most panicked moments on set, why making a movie can help you sell a TV show, why they no longer loathe network notes and what they'll do the day their hit shows are done for good. Says one (obviously): "Sleep!" (HRTV)


Emmy 2015: Quick Tips From Carole Kirschner, Head Of the CBS Television Writers Program

She has put her passion for helping writers, producers and executives break in, stay in, and move up in the entertainment industry to good use as Director of the Writers Guild of America’s Showrunner Training Program, the CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program and the Humanities New Voices program. Now, she has written the book Hollywood Game Plan, which is excerpted here. (SSN)

On the Set For 6/22/15: Spielberg Wraps ‘The BFG’, While ‘TMNT’ Sequel Wraps, Too, and Woody Harrelson Starts ‘Wilson’

Among the other projects that started up in the last week are Gore Verbinski’s new flick, Jay Baruchel’s directorial debut, James Schamus’ Indignation and Mario Van Peebles’ film about the U.S.S. Indianaplois, while Ang Lee wraps Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Nate Parker finishes The Birth of a Nation. There are other projects as well, so click the link to get all the info. (SSN)


Denise Di Novi Is Moving From Producer To Director With Her New Thriller For Warner Bros.

For over two decades she’s produced movies such as Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and the recent Mad Mad: Fury Road and now she will make her directorial debut with Unforgettable, a female-centric thriller. With a script written by Christina Hodson and David Leslie Johnson, the story sees a woman struggling to start a new life with a new husband and his daughter but finds herself tormented by the man’s manipulative and mentally unstable ex-wife. (THR)

Sixteen Years After His Death, Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Downslope’ Is Being Made Into a Trilogy

The great director’s original screenplay written in 1956 and is being developed as a feature trilogy with Marc Forster attached to direct and produce the first in the series. He will also produce the subsequent features. The Downslope is said to be “a sweeping, historical action-drama” that Kubrick penned following the release of his allegorical war film Fear and Desire, and prior to directing his seminal WW I period piece, Paths of Glory. (DH)

Bryan Cranston’s ‘Sneaky Pete’ Didn’t Make It At CBS, but Might Get a Second Life On Amazon

Online streaming service is in negotiations with Sony Pictures TV to pick up the busted CBS drama pilot that has high-profile auspices in co-writers and exec producers Cranston and David Shore. The plan is to put the pilot on its Amazon Prime Instant Video platform where it will be showcased for Amazon’s typical crowd-sourcing development process of inviting viewers to weigh on its merits as a potential series. (VAR)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’

Paramount has released the newest look at the highly anticipated fifth installment of the popular franchise. Starring Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Sean Harris,Simon McBurney, and Alec Baldwin, and co-written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the film opens July 31st. (COL)

Universal Sets a BO Record — In June, Ryan Kavanaugh Asks For More Time, NBC Cancels ‘Hannibal’, The Duplass’ Big New Deal


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It’s Not Even the End Of June Yet, and Universal Has Already Had a Record-Setting Year

Consider this a “world” record for the studio. It announced yesterday that it has set a personal-best global take for a single year with $3.82 billion, wiping out its previous high of $3.69 billion in 2013. The bounty is fueled, of course, by the blinding success of Jurassic World, as well as a little film in the spring called Furious 7. Factor in such other hits as Fifty Shades Of Grey and Pitch Perfect 2, and Universal is having quite a half-year, er, year. (DH)

Ryan Kavanaugh Asks His Lenders For an Extension On the Debt He Owes

Under dire financial strain, Relativity is asking lenders for a yearlong extension on roughly $350 million in debt that is due this Thursday. The so-called “amend and extend” on the studio’s agreement with its creditors comes as its founder, Kavanaugh, is scrambling to come up with a means of paying off the debt — or else risk losing control of the company he founded 11 years ago. Company’s lenders have yet to vote on the proposal, but must unanimously approve it. (VAR)

NBC Has Its Fill of ‘Hannibal’, Cancels the Series Three Episodes Into Third Season

The Peacock network has cancelled Bryan Fuller’s acclaimed, lush thriller. The show’s current third season — slated to wrap up in late August — will be its last. NBC’s decision to pass on a Season 4 hardly comes as a surprise, given Hannibal’s eroding ratings. The June 11 episode notched a series-low 1.7 million viewers and a 0.5 in the demo. (TVL)

A Few Days After Their Big Deal With HBO, the Duplass Brothers Sign a Bigger One With The Orchard

Mark and Jay Duplass' production banner has closed a multi-picture distribution deal with the independent film distributor. Under the terms of the deal, The Orchard will take worldwide theatrical and ancillary rights to seven upcoming feature films produced by the duo. All seven films are a part of the exclusive SVOD Netflix partnership that Duplass Brothers Productions inked in January, which includes a four-picture deal for the new titles. (IW)

Warner Bros. Snags FBI White Collar Crime Book For Team Downey To Produce

Studio preemptively picked up the film rights to book proposal Chasing Phil: The World’s Greatest Con Man, Two Undercover FBI Agents, and Their Amazing Around The World Adventure for Robert and Susan Downey's production company. RDJ might star in the film, which is based on the true story about the FBI’s first foray into white collar crime-fighting. (THR)

After Much Speculation, It Now Appears That Wolverine Will, In Fact, Appear In ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’

A prop company has let the gigantic adamantium-clawed cat out of the bag. Literally. KikaNY, a leather goods store in New York, posted a design schematic to Instagram with the caption “We were just asked to make a special duffle backpack for Hugh Jackman who is filming the new 'X-Men’ movie in Montreal.” The snap has since been taken down, probably after the company realized the immense secrecy of Jackman’s involvement. (GR)

Missing ‘Justified’? One Of That Show’s EP’s Is Bringing a Different Elmore Leonard Book To AMC

Chris Provenzano is looking to dip back into the Leonard oeuvre for a new project. Provenzano is working on a new AMC series called Gunsights, based on Leonard’s Western novel set in 1893 Arizona. Writer is developing show as part of an overall deal he recently signed with AMC. The network has been looking to launch a new Western series to follow up Hell on Wheels, which wraps up in summer 2016. (SF)

Annabelle Wallis Joins Aaron Paul In Zack Whedon’s New Mystery Thriller

Come And Find Me sees Paul as David, who becomes desperately worried when his girlfriend Claire (Wallis) vanishes. But his mission is given even more impetus when he realizes that she has been lying to him, and pretending to be someone she’s not. Whedon wrote the script and will direct the film, which is scheduled to kick off filming next month in Vancouver. (EMP)

Masterpiece Drama ‘Churchill’s Secret’ Puts Together a Sprawling Cast

Michael Gambon will play Churchill, with Lindsay Duncan, Romola Garai, Matthew Macfadyen, Daisy Lewis, Rachael Stirling and Tara Fitzgerald joining him for the story, which is set during the summer months of 1953. Churchill, who has been elected Prime Minister for the second time, suffers a life-threatening stroke, which is kept secret from the world. The story is told from the point-of-view of his young nurse (Garai) as Churchill battles to recover. (TOH)

Online Film School: Neil Marshall’s ‘Dog Soldiers’ Commentary

While the filmmaker’s The Descent is understandably referenced most frequently and fondly, his first film, Dog Soldiers, is much beloved as one of the better werewolf movies to grace the screens. Now, it’s getting a new life on Blu-ray. In addition to a newly remastered picture — which, while grainy, looks quite good for a film originally shot on 16mm — the disc includes a thorough making-of, a short film and a newly recorded commentary track. (FSR)

TV Development for 6/23/15: Jason Blum’s ‘Hellevator’ Greenlit by GSN, Lord & Miller Series ‘Son of Zahn’ To Be Presented to Fox


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Hellevator Network: GSN Studio: Lionsgate TV Production Company(s): Blumhouse Productions, Matador Executive Producer(s): Jason Blum, Jay Peterson, Todd Lubin Logline: A team of three friends rides a haunted elevator into various levels of an abandoned warehouse. One player must get out on each floor and conquer a frightening challenge in order to earn money (up to $50,000) for the team. But if they don’t make it back in time, the elevator moves on without them. SSN Insight: GSN gave a series order of eight episodes and has scheduled the premiere of this horror-themed game show for later this year. The show will feature Jen and Sylvia Soska, aka the “Twisted Twins”.

Doubt Network: CBS Entertainment Studio: CBS Television Studios Production Company(s): Timberman/Beverly Productions Executive Producer(s): Tony Phelan, Joan Rater, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly Writer(s): Tony Phelan, Joan Rater Logline: A smart, successful thirty-something defense attorney shockingly falls for one of her clients who may or may not be guilty of a brutal crime. While she continues to try a variety of cases at her firm, she pursues her lover’s defense as this relationship reverberates throughout her previously well-constructed life. SSN Insight: CBS gave an initial commitment of a put pilot in October and ordered the pilot in January. This week, news hit that a new pilot might be shot after a recast of the series’ leads, KaDee Strickland and Teddy Sears.

Marcella Network: ITV 1 Production Company(s): Buccaneer Media Executive Producer(s): Hans Rosenfeldt, Nicola Larder, Tony Wood Writer(s): Hans Rosenfeldt Logline: Set in contemporary London, a detective in her late 30s returns to the Metropolitan Police’s Murder Squad after a 12-year career break to start a family. With the abrupt end to her marriage and isolated from her daughter at boarding school, Marcella returns to work while attempting to make sense of what’s happened in her life. She is immediately assigned to investigate a spate of recent killings which bear the hallmarks of unsolved murders committed over a decade prior, a case on which she first worked in 2003. Has the killer reappeared or is a copycat murderer responsible for these recent deaths? SSN Insight: ITV has given a series order of eight episodes as of June 18. Shooting will start in London this fall. Hans Rosenfeldt created the original Danish-Swedish series Bron/Broen, aka The Bridge which was redeveloped as a U.S. series.

Lady Dynamite Network: Netflix Production Company(s): Hurwitz Company Executive Producer(s): Maria Bamford, Pam Brady, Mitchell Hurwitz Writer(s): Maria Bamford Logline: A comedy series based on the life of comedian Maria Bamford. Details: Based on the life of comedian Maria Bamford. SSN Insight: Netflix gave a series order of 13 episodes as of June 19. Brady will serve as the showrunner. Bamford created and starred in the web series The Maria Bamford Show which originally aired on TBS networks' now retired Super Deluxe website. She also created and starred in the Maria Bamford: the special special special, available on Netflix.

Son of Zahn Network: Fox Broadcasting Company Studio: 20th Century Fox Television Production Company(s): Lord Miller Executive Producer(s): Reed Agnew, Eli Jorne, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Seth Cohen Writer(s): Reed Agnew, Eli Jorne Logline: Upon arriving home for the first time in ten years, an animated Barbarian father finds that reconnecting with his moody, live-action teenage son Alan and ex-wife while suffering a mundane office job and the banality of suburban life is harder than waging actual war in his distant, animated world. SSN Insight: Fox has given an initial commitment of a pilot presentation for the live action/animated hybrid project. The 10 minute presentation is slated to shoot in summer which Eric Appel (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) will direct and co-executive produce. Johnny Pemberton, who had a supporting in their 21 Jump Street movie franchise, will star.

Tennison Network: ITV 1 Production Company(s): Noho Film and TV, La Plante Global Executive Producer(s): Lynda La Plante, Robert Wulff-Cochrane, Camilla Campbell Writer(s): Lynda La Plante Logline: The series portrays the young Jane Tennison beginning her career and reveals why she became such a complex and formidable character in London’s police force. It’s set in East London in the 1970s, when women police officers are being uneasily "integrated" into the force. Starting as an officer on the beat, she is thrown in at the deep end, drawn into a brutal murder inquiry, and experiences first hand London’s violent criminal ganglands. Details: This series is a prequel to the various series and miniseries incarnations of "Prime Suspect," which premiered in 1992 with "Prime Suspect" and concluded with 2006's "Prime Suspect: The Final Act." The prequel is an adaptation of the novel, "Tennison," written by Lynda La Plante and to be published by Simon & Schuster in September 24, 2015. SSN Insight: ITV has given a series order of six episodes as of June 18. The original “Prime Suspect” series that Helen Mirren starred in, garnered a Peabody, won three Emmys for Outstanding Mini and multiple BAFTA awards.

The Durrells Network: ITV 1 Production Company(s): Sid Gentle Films Executive Producer(s): Simon Nye, Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris Writer(s): Simon Nye Logline: The story focuses upon Louisa Durrell whose life is in meltdown. Widowed years ago and running out of money, Louise has four unruly children to look after: Larry, Leslie, Margo and Gerry, all going off the rails in their own way. Gerry, 11, is about to be thrown out of school; Larry is a would-be novelist but the worst real estate agent in Bournemouth, and the middle two are hitting adulthood like a car-crash. It is the 1930s, and a woman’s options are limited. So Louisa decides to take them all to the untamed paradise that is Corfu. Details: Based on the Corfu memoir trilogy, "My Family and Other Animals" (1956), "Birds, Beasts and Relatives" (1969) and "The Garden of the Gods" (1978), written by Gerald Durrell. SSN Insight: ITV has given a series order of six episodes as of June 18. Filming is slated to take place in Corfu in September this year. Sid Gentle’s production banner is on a role having set up “SS:GB” at the BBC with James Bond screenwriters Neil Purvis and Robert Wade to pen the series.

The Ranch Network: Netflix Executive Producer(s): Don Reo, James Patterson Writer(s): Don Reo, James Patterson Logline: Two brothers reunite after one returns from a brief semi-pro football career to run the family ranch in Colorado. SSN Insight: Netflix gave a straight to series order on June 17. Netflix ordered 20 episodes and it’s rumored the network will release the series ten episodes at a time in 2016. It’s the second original, multi-camera comedy pick-up for Netflix after the order for “Fuller House”. As Ashton Kutcher will star, it reunites him with his “Two and a Half Men” co-showrunners, Reo and Patterson.

Emmy 2015: Reality TV, How 8K TV Is In Your Future, Tom Holland Is Spider-Man, Michael Keaton’s Comic Book Movie, TV Development For 6/23/15


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Reality Bites: a Dying TV Genre Looks For a Shot Of Adrenaline

Don’t expect surprises when Emmy nominations and winners are announced in reality TV. The genre has seen no major hits and a few big thuds this past season, and with “American Idol” winding down, some folks are worried. Since the reality explosion 15 years ago, viewers have overdosed on the familiar templates. Most agree that reality needs new formats — or innovations to the old ones. (VAR)

After Years Of Being the Bridesmaid, ‘Mythbusters’ Hopes For a Big Win This Time Around

On the air since 2003, the show that debunks or validates folklore (yes, elephants are apparently afraid of mice), challenges the plausibility of movie illusions and examines Internet truthiness has won series nominations for the past six seasons but no statuette— even though this is probably the only reality series President Obama has asked to appear on (he did, in 2010). Could this be the year for MythBusters? (AL)

Meanwhile, ‘The Amazing Race’ Has Won a Bunch Of Emmys, and Host Phil Keoghan Is Hoping For One More

Ten times now the show has won the prize for Best Reality—Competition Program, and this year, the show is submitting the fifth episode from Season 25. During a chat with Gold Derby, Keoghan discusses the show’s success and teases the upcoming season. (GD)

Mark Burnett, Julie Chen, Nigel Lythgoe and Reality A-List on Racist Contestants, Caitlyn Jenner and the Wrath of Leslie Moonves

In a roundtable discussion, six top reality TV talents — also including Cat Deeley, Bertram van Munster and Craig Piligian — open up about how they've coped with national tragedies during filming, the craziest moments that didn't make it to air, the Duggar family controversy and their unpredictable contestants. (THR)


How 8K Resolution Will Change the Future Of Your Film and TV Experience

Today we take 1080 line HDTV for granted, consumers have accepted it. And our theatrical cinema industry is close to adopting total video projection. Manufacturers hope consumers will embrace 4K TV so they can sell us new equipment. These ULTRA TV’s are richer than HDTV, but the perceptual values is not highly noticeable to the average viewer on a 70 inch or so domestic screen. And then there is 8k — finally! (SSN)

TV Development For 6/23/15: Jason Blum’s ‘Hellevator’ Greenly By GSN, Lord & Miller Series ‘Son Of Zahn’ To Be Presented To Fox

Meanwhile, CBS is giving Doubt another shot, but with new leads, comedian Maria Bamford gets a new sitcom on Netflix, Britain’s ITV 1 is doing a Prime Suspect prequel, as well as more for both the British network and Netflix. Read all about it by clicking on the link. (SSN)


This Time, It’s Official: Tom Holland Is Your New Spider-Man, and Jon Watt Is His Director

Holland was among a short list of actors being considered, among them Charlie Roe, who was the other leading contender for the role. Watt, whose latest film is the Kevin Bacon starrer Cop Car, was revealed recently as a surprise entry who joined a list of other directors. Holland will first appear in next year’s Captain America: Civil War before starring in his own solo film for Sony in 2017, with Watt at the helm. (DH)

Michael Keaton May Be Done With Superheroes, but He’s Not Done With Comic Book Movies

The actor is set to produce and star in the adaptation of the Boom! Comics title, Imagine Agents. The premise is that children’s imaginary friends are real, and it’s up to the organization I.M.A.G.I.N.E. to police these figments. The comic “tells of a jaded 20-year veteran agent who must mentor a young archivist, with a routine day becoming something much larger.” Presumably, Keaton will take on the role of the jaded veteran. (COL)

Dwayne Johnson Survived the Destruction Of California, and Now He’ll Go On a ‘Rampage’

The live-action feature for New Line is based on the ’80s Midway Arcade game featuring three giant monsters. Rampage already has a script by Ryan Engle, and is now looking for a director. Beau Flynn and Johnson are producing with Dany Garcia and John Rickard. Shooting is expected to begin in summer 2016, after Johnson wraps up Fast and Furious 8. (SF)

Paramount Is Finally Bringing Its ‘Paranormal Activity’ Franchise To an End

According to producer Jason Blum and creator Oren Peli, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, in theaters Oct. 23rd, will mark the conclusion of the franchise that has dominated the Halloween horror month with four previous installments (starting with 2009's Paranormal Activity) and one spinoff. (USAT)

Alicia Vikander Chooses ‘Bourne 5′, Amazon Nabs ‘Elvis & Nixon’, AwesomnessTV’s Film Division, Studio 8’s TV Division, Showtime Joins Hulu


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Alicia Vikander Makes Her Big Decision, Chooses ‘Bourne 5’ Over ‘Assassin’s Creed’

The actress who starred in Ex Machina and Testament Of Youth will join the cast of the upcoming Jason Bourne film, to star Matt Damon and Julia Stiles and be directed by Paul Greengrass. She reportedly chose the Bourne film over the video game adaptation (which will star Michael Fassbender) because the latter wouldn’t fit into her suddenly busy schedule. (COL)

Amazon Studios Get Into the Acquisition Business, Picks Up ‘Elvis & Nixon’

Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon star in the film, which centers on the historic 1970 meeting between King and the president that famously yielded one of the more curious White House photo ops in pop culture history. Amazon is spending $4 million to purchase the film and teaming with Bleecker Street, who will handle the film’s release. (DH)

AwesomenessTV Doesn’t Waste Any Time, Brings In Matt Kaplan To Run Its Film Division

DreamWork’s AwesomenessTV has hired former Lionsgate executive Matt Kaplan to run the recently created Awesomeness Films. Kaplan previously founded Chapter One Films, from which Awesomeness Films also recruited two more new team members, Robyn Marshall and Max Siemers. (TW)

Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 Launches a TV Division, Hires Katherine Pope To Run It

The exec is leaving Chernin Entertainment to join Robinov’s company, where she will run the new television department, and will work closely with Robinov as she builds and oversees Studio 8’s television business from the ground up. The former Chernin television prez oversaw all development and production for the 20th Century Fox-based company, where she worked on Fox’s New Girl. (VAR)

Showtime Jumps Aboard Hulu, Becomes First Premium Network On the Streaming Giant

The streaming service will be offered to subscribers through Hulu in early July. New and existing Hulu subscribers will be able to sign up for Showtime on Hulu.com and stream the premium cable company's content on various Internet-connected devices. Subscribers will be able to add it for $8.99 per month on top of the $7.99 per month cost of their Hulu subscription. Showtime's previously announced standalone service will cost $10.99 per month. (IW)

Fresh Off a Brand New Deal With 20th Century TV and His Nixon Movie Selling, Kevin Spacey’s Got a New White House Drama Coming

Spacey and partner Dana Brunetti's Trigger Street shingle just signed a two-year deal with 20th TV and Fox 21 Television Studios, with the first project being The Resident. Show follows the relationships between White House residence staffers and the various First Families that come into the famous address over the course of several administrations. And, in her first scripted effort, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is on board as a co-executive producer. (TLF)

Forget Indiana Jones, Disney Thinks Charles Darwin Is Your Next Big Action Hero

Syriana writer-director Stephen Gaghan is on board to turn the pitch into a thrilling adventure film from Darwin’s travels, likely focusing on his five-year voyage of discovery aboard the HMS Beagle in 1831. There were a few encounters with natives and others along the way, and the crew experienced an earthquake in Chile, which figures to add drama. (EMP)

This Is Pixar’s Secret To Making Moviegoers Cry

Editor Kevin Nolting, whose previous credits include Pixar’s Up, reteamed with Oscar-winning Up director Peter Docter on the studio’s inventive Inside Out, which follows an 11-year-old named Riley who moves to San Francisco, and how she’s guided by five emotions inside her head—Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust—which operate inside her “headquarters.” He also gives away the secret to how those Pixar folks always get right to the heart of it. (TC)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Masterminds’

Relativity has released the latest look at the upcoming comedy starring Zach Galifianakis, Kirsten Wiig, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis. Directed by Jared Hess, the based-on-real-events tale hits theaters August 7th. (CS)

Screenwriters: ‘Fruitvale Station’

The undated, unlabeled 118-page screenplay by Ryan Coogler. (GITS)

Rep Moves for 6/24/15: Jim Rash and Nat Faxon Get Snagged by CAA, Dax Shepard Moves to WME & More


jim rash nat faxon way way back

CAA: Filmmaking duo Jim Rash and Nat Faxon have signed with CAA. They were previously with CAA prior to their move to WME. They won an Oscar beside Alexander Payne for their script, The Descendants. They also wrote and directed the Sundance hit, The Way, Way Back and next up is The Birches at Fox Searchlight with Payne set to produce. They also are producing/directing/writing The Heart with Kristen Wiig and Sam Rockwell attached. Meanwhile, the pair’s production company, B Story, is under a two-year overall deal at Sony Pictures Television.

PMK•BNC: The agency has signed Emmy Award-winning songwriter/composer, Christopher Jackson. Jackson recently starred Off Broadway as George Washington in the award winning musical, Hamilton, which begins previews in July and opens on Broadway in August.  Chris’s Broadway credits are extensive and include Holler if Ya Hear Me, After Midnight, Bronx Bombers, In The Heights, Memphis and The Lion King.

WME: The agency has snagged Dax Shepard who was previously at CAA. Shepard’s on board to direct and star in the feature version of CHiPs at Warner Bros. set to start shooting in fall. He previously directed Brother’s Justice in 2010 and Hit And Run in 2012. On the TV side he starred in the recently ended Parenthood and appeared on It’s Always Sunny, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Parks and Recreation in 2015.

Paradigm: The agency has signed on writer Karen McCullah. She is best known for her screenplay credits on 10 Things I Hate About You, Legally Blonde and Ella Enchanted. In 2013 she wrote and produced Crazy Kind of Love starring Virginia Madsen. Currently on her docent is Expendabelles, the female centric version of The Expendables Sylvester Stallone is producing and While We’re Young with Emma Watson attached. On the TV side she sold a pilot to USA called Love the One You’re With. She will continue to be managed by Jaret Entertainment and Attorney Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.

Emmy 2015: Limited Series/Movie, HBO Goes Forward With Fincher and Katims, Fox’s Next Franchise, Oscar Rule Changes, Rep Moves For 6/24/15


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From ‘American Crime’ to ‘Wayward Pines,’ Limited Series Invade Network TV

If you consider that everything runs in cycles, then it was probably inevitable that miniseries would become cool again. If it seems like that particular cycle came around a little faster than anyone might have thought — and that the broadcast networks would so readily buy into the format’s return — then credit is probably due to Ryan Murphy. (VAR)

Best Actress In a TV Movie Contender Maggie Gyllenhaal On Her Role and the Rough Sex Scene In It

Gyllenhaal joined fellow actresses Ruth Wilson (The Affair), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Freak Show), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) and Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder) for a roundtable discussion, where they talked about the dynamic and powerful dramatic roles currently being offered for women on television. (HTV)

An Important Question: Will Limited Series & Reality Competition Races Shake Up This Year's Emmys?

In response to the ever-changing genre, the TV Academy clarified the rules for the 2015 ceremony. Miniseries has morphed into limited series, which is defined as a show with two or more episodes totaling at least 150 minutes of run time with a self-contained story. The show can’t have recurring characters and must air under the same title each season with continuity among the production team. (AL)

And Now, Who Will Benefit Most From That New “Limited Series” Category?

Strategically positioning a limited series for a win hardly is new. PBS' Prime Suspect, which returned over and over with Helen Mirren playing the same character, was categorized as a miniseries because it offered only a few episodes. Showtime's Sleeper Cell's first two seasons received different designations — the first as a miniseries, the second as a drama — ostensibly because its creators didn't plan on expanding it beyond one season. (HRE)


Emmy 2015: Can Good Reality TV Rival the Best Traditionally Scripted TV? Yes, and Here’s Why

There are a couple hundred reality shows in the running this year to land Emmy nominations.  That number keeps growing, especially with new, separate categories for Structured and Unstructured Reality Program along with Reality Competition Program and Outstanding Host. There’s been a boatload of criticism thrown the format’s way, but for all the write-ups it receives, there are plenty of shows that use the format to tell stories well. (SSN)

Rep Moves For 6/24/15: Jim Rash and Nat Faxon Get Snagged By CAA, Dax Shepard Moves To WME, and More

It was a light week for the various comings and goings of the Hollywood folk from one agency to the next, but there were some big names involved, including the three above, a well-known writer of romantic comedies and an Emmy-winning songwriter/composer. Click on the link to find out all the info. (SSN)


HBO May Have Pumped the Brakes On One David Fincher Show, but It’s Hitting the Gas On Another One

The remake of Dennis Kelly’s U.K. mystery thriller series, Utopia, has Rooney Mara eyeing an unspecified starring role that would reunite her with Fincher for the first time since 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Fincher, who intends to direct every episode of Utopia‘s first season, is also re-teaming with Gone Girl author/screenwriter Gillian Flynn to adapt the Channel 4 series. (COL)

And, While the Network Is At It, HBO Is Also Continuing Jason Katims’ Hot Streak

Cable net has picked up Us., an hourlong relationship drama pilot from the Parenthood and About a Boy executive producer. This marks the first premium cable project for Emmy winner Katims, who also recently expanded into the digital space with drama series The Way at Hulu. New show is described as a sweeping examination of the often baffling, sometimes unexpected but ultimately heart-wrenching ways love and human connection can be found today. (DH)

Twentieth Century Fox May Have Just Found Its Next Big Franchise

Studio has struck for Jason Micallef's red-hot pitch titled Shadows, which will be directed by Rio and Ice Age helmer Carlos Saldanha. The live-action/CGI monster project is set in the world of cryptozoology. Fox sees the project as a franchise starter for its in-house helmer who has directed the two Rio movies for the studio as well as three of the four Ice Age movies. Shadows is poised to be Saldanha's live-action debut. (THR)

The Academy Has Made Some Changes To Its Oscar Rules, Though Best Picture Is Status Quo

There were plenty of changes, however, including the increase of the number of eligible films to be considered for the eventual shortlist of 10 in the Visual Effects category to a maximum of 20 titles, the number of Doc Shorts, Animated Shorts and Live Action Shorts also increased, and the producer eligibility for Best Picture. (TOH)

Emma Watson Joins ‘The Circle’, ‘In the Deep’ Gets a Director While ‘Uncharted’ Loses One, ‘Mr. Robot’ Earns an Early Renewal, Arnold’s Next Role


at arrivals for 71st Golden Globes Awards - Arrivals 4, The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA January 12, 2014. Photo By: Linda Wheeler/Everett Collection

James Ponsoldt Finally Finds Tom Hanks’ Young Co-Star In ‘The Circle’

Emma Watson has stepped up to replace Alicia VIkander, who had briefly been attached to the project. Based on Dave Eggers’ novel, the thriller follows a young woman who is hired for a big job in an Internet monopoly called the Circle, which links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. (TP)

It Appears That the Much Buzzed About ‘In The Deep’ Has Found a New Director

Jaume Collet-Serra is circling the project, about a surfer attacked by a shark at a lonely sea spot who ends up bleeding and marooned on a buoy in the ocean. Her main problem, besides the blood loss? The hungry creature is still gliding through the water around her, cutting her off from help. Anthony Jaswinski’s script sparked a lot of interest from the studios last autumn, and Sony was quick to snap it up. (EMP)

Just When You Thought You Might Finally Be Soon Getting an ‘Uncharted’ Movie Adaptation, There Is More Bad News

The long-gestating project has gone through a series of directors and potential stars, but progress seemed to be taking hold when Seth Gordon became attached last year. But now, with the regime change at parent studio Sony and “a new creative direction” desired, Gordon too has left the film. Based on the popular video game, the film has always been envisioned in the vein of an Indiana Jones-type adventure flick. (COL)

USA Network Had So Much Confidence In ‘Mr. Robot’, It Renewed the Show For a Second Season Before Last Night’s Premiere

The series, which is created by Sam Esmail, follows a young programmer named Elliot (Rami Malek) who spends his days as a cyber-security engineer and his nights as a vigilante hacker. Christian Slater also stars as a mysterious leader of the cyber-underground community that recruits Elliot. The second season will include a minimum of 10 episodes and will air in 2016. (VAR)

Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Following Up His New ‘Terminator’ Movie With a Vengeance Flick

The former Governator will star in 478, in which he’ll play a man who loses his wife and child in a plane crash due to an error by an air traffic controller. Schwarzenegger goes after the controller in order to seek his revenge, even though his target has been placed in protective custody, since Arnold likely isn’t the only one who wants to see him dead. The script was written by Javier Gullon. (CB)

‘Hunger Games’ Producer To Make Directorial Debut, and She Lands Taraji P. Henson For Her Lead

Robin Bissell's feature film directorial debut will be based on the true story of the relationship between Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis. To be titled The Best of Enemies, the film, set in the 1960s, will detail the battle and eventual friendship between Atwater, a working class, single black mother in Durham, NC, who quit her job as a household domestic to join the civil rights fight, and Ellis, a working class white man also from Durham and member of the Ku Klux Klan. (SAA)

The Next John Green Film Adaptation Is At Paramount and Has Found a Director

Rebecca Thomas will helm Looking For Alaska, which has been adapted by The Fault in Our Stars scribes Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber. The protagonist of the novel is Miles “Pudge” Halter, who leaves his boring life behind, heads off to the Culver Creek Boarding School, and finds adventure and some danger because of his new friend Alaska Young, a gorgeous, funny, sexy and self-destructive catalyst for a life change in a daring new direction. (DH)

Fox Casts Its Leads For Period Procedural ‘Houdini & Doyle’

Network’s 10-episode drama will star Michael Weston and Brit actor Stephen Mangan as Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who respectively debunked and had a fascination with the paranormal. Together, they ally with Scotland Yard to investigate inexplicable crimes that have a supernatural slant. David Shore is an executive producer on the project, which will premiere some time in 2016. (TVL)

A Few Weeks Before ‘Ant-Man’ Opens, Paul Rudd and Kevin Feige Talk About the Film’s Saga

For Marvel’s next act, the final installment in Phase Two, Marvel deliberately is thinking smaller. Rudd, best known for playing likable guys in such off-kilter rom-coms as This Is 40 and I Love You, Man, is stepping into the Ant-Man suit to shrink down to the size of a picnic-pooper. He and Marvel Studios head man Feige discuss the movie, the business of Hollywood and all things Marvel Cinematic Universe related. (THR)

Screenwriters: Why Spec Scripts Fail — No Hooks

Hooks aren’t for fishing. Hooks are for catching. Catching, then holding. In our case, holding the attention of a reader. A hook is that line and or description that compels the reader’s immersion into each scene with rapt attention and heightened anticipation. No Hook? No Catch. No Interest. Period. Full Stop. End of story… for the writer. (SM)

Film Development for 6/25/15: Spider-Man News, Dir Jaume Collet-Serra Deliberating ‘In the Deep’, Robert Downey Jr. Up for ‘Chasing Phil’


at arrivals for THE AVENGERS Premiere, El Capitan Theatre, Los Angeles, CA April 11, 2012. Photo By: Dee Cercone/Everett Collection


The Circle Logline: A young female tech worker takes a job at a powerful Internet corporation, quickly rises up the company's ranks, and soon finds herself in a perilous situation that involves privacy, surveillance, and freedom - and her decisions and actions will determine the future of humanity. Financier: Image Nation Production Company: Playtone, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Likely Story Producers: Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, Anthony Bregman, James Ponsoldt Writer: James Ponsoldt Director: James Ponsoldt Cast: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks Notes: Based on the novel "The Circle" writte by Dave Eggers and published by McSweeney's in October, 2013. SSN Insight: Alicia Vikander was previously attached to co-star.

In The Deep Logline: A young woman who has recently lost her mother is surfing in an isolated area when she gets stranded on a buoy, and a gigantic great white shark is between her and the shore. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Company: Weimaraner Republic Pictures (WRPCO) Producers: Lynn Harris, Matti Leshem Writer: Anthony Jaswinski Director: Jaume Collet-Serra (in discussions) SSN Insight: Columbia Pictures won the active bidding battle set at high-six figures for the spec script by Tony Jaswinski. Screenplay was included in the 2014 Hit List. Louis Leterrier was previously attached to direct.

Looking for Alaska Logline: Based on the novel about Miles “Pudge” Halter, who leaves his boring life behind and heads off to the Culver Creek Boarding School. There he finds adventure with his new friend Alaska Young, a funny, sexy and self-destructive catalyst for a life change in a daring new direction. Studio/ Distributor: Paramount Pictures Production Companies: Watermark Pictures, Temple Hill Entertainment Producers: Mark Waters, Jessica Tuchinsky, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen Writers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H Weber, Sarah Polley Director: Rebecca Thomas (in negotiations) Notes: Based on the novel "Looking for Alaska" written by John Green published by Dutton March 3, 2005. SSN Insight: Josh Schwartz previously wrote an adaptation and was attached to direct. The Nightingale Logline: Two French sisters who live in France are followed throughout WWII. One becomes a prisoner in her own home and the other fights for the resistance. Studio/ Distributor: TriStar Productions Production Company: The Cantillion Company Producers: Elizabeth Cantillion Writer: Ann Peacock Notes: Based on the novel "The Nightingale" written by Kristin Hannah and published by St. Martin's Press on February 3, 2015. SSN Insight: “The Nightingale” spent almost 20 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and Peacock’s attachment gives the novel an experienced writer in family dramas. Spider-Man Reboot Logline: Storyline is under wraps, but involves a teenage Peter Parker. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures, Marvel Entertainment Production Company: Marvel Entertainment, Pascal Pictures Producers: Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal Director: Jon Watts Cast: Tom Holland SSN Insight: Tom Holland (The Impossible) beat out other possible names such as Nat Wolff, Asa Butterfield, Timothee Chalamet and Liam James.

Unforgettable Logline: A woman settling into a new marriage and life as a mom must contend with her husband’s ex, who is seemingly trying to gaslight her. Studio/Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Company: Di Novi Pictures Producers: Denise Di Novi, Alison Greenspan Writer: Christina Hodson Director: Denise Di Novi SSN Insight: Kerry Washington and Kate Hudson were previously attached to co-star and Amma Asante was previously attached to direct. This is producer Di Novi’s directorial debut.

Miracles From Heaven Logline: The true story of a young girl suffering from a rare digestive disorder has a near-death experience, visits heaven and returns to life, healed of her crippling condition. Studio: Columbia Pictures Production Companies: Franklin Entertainment, Roth Films, TDJ Enterprises Producers: Joe Roth, DeVon Franklin, T.D. Jakes Writer: Randy Brown Director: Patricia Riggen Cast: Queen Latifah, Jennifer Garner, Martin Henderson Notes: Based on the memoir "Three Miracles From Heaven: A Sick Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and the Lives Forever Changed," written by Christy Beam and to be published by Hachette in spring 2015. SSN Insight: Film is seen as a follow up to Heaven Is For Real, the faith-based film that earned more than $100 million worldwide. Miracles is set to release on March 18, 2016.

Untitled Sully Sullenberger Project Logline: The story of Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the airline pilot who safely landed U.S. Airways flight 1549 on the frozen Hudson River in 2009. Studio: Warner Bros. Studios Production Companies: Kennedy/ Marshall Company, Flashlight Films, Malpaso Productions Producers: Frank Marshall, Allyn Stewart, Clint Eastwood, TimMoore Writer: Todd Komarnicki Director: Clint Eastwood Cast: Tom Hanks Notes: Based on the book "Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters" written by Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger with Jeffrey Zaslow and published by William Morrow on October 13, 2009 Napkin Notes Logline: Garth Callaghan puts a note on a napkin in his daughter’s lunch each day, and the practice takes on additional meaning when he is diagnosed with cancer. Studio/ Distributor: New Line Cinema Production Companies: Pacific Standard Producers: Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea Writer: Mike Binder Notes: Based on the memoir "Napkin Notes: Make Lunch Meaningful, Life Will Follow" written by Garth Callaghan and to be published by HarperCollins on October 28, 2014. SSN Insight: Witherspoon and Papandea formed Pacific Standard in 2012 to produce more movies with female protagonists, such as Wild, Gone Girl and Hot Pursuit.

Girl’s Trip Logline: Storyline is under wraps. Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures Production Companies: Will Packer Productions Producers: William Packer Writers: Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver Director: Malcolm D. Lee SSN Insight: The Black-ish creator, Barris, and Oliver also wrote the in production film, Barbershop 3.

Shadows Logline: Storyline under wraps. Distributor/ Financier: 20th Century Fox Production Companies: Underground, Bottle Cap Productions Producers: Carlos Saldanha, Trevor Engelson, Josh Turner McGuire, Maresa Pullman Writer: Jason Micallef Director: Carlos Saldanha SSN Insight: This is Carlos Saldanha's live-action debut. Film is the first installment of a planned trilogy. Untitled Charles Darwin Project Logline: The storyline of this film about the English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin is under wraps. Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures Writer: Stephen Gaghan Director: Stephen Gaghan SSN Insight: Project was acquired by the studio as a pitch that Gaghan is intended to write and direct.

Rampage Logline: The film is based on the popular 1980s arcade game in which players take control of huge monsters who are trying to survive against attacks by the military. Studio/ Distributor: New Line Cinema Production Companies: Flynn Picture Co, Rickard Pictures Producers: Beau Flynn Writer: Ryan Engle Cast: Dwayne Johnson Notes: Based on the video arcade game "Rampage" introduced by Bally Midway in 1986. SSN Insight: Project reteams Johnson, New Line and Beau Flynn who also made the recent San Andreas.

Chasing Phil Logline: Two young FBI agents infiltrate the world of a charismatic mastermind behind dozens of multi-million dollar schemes. Studio/ Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Companies: Team Downey Producers: Robert Downey Jr. Susan Downey, David Gambino Cast: Robert Downey Jr. Notes: Based on the book proposal "Chasing Phil: The World’s Greatest Con Man, Two Undercover FBI Agents, and Their Amazing Around the World Adventure" written by David Howard. SSN Insight: In addition to the book rights, Warner Bros. also acquired the life rights for FBI Agents Jim Wedick and Jack Brennan.

Move That Body Logline: Storyline of the female-driven film is under wraps, but is described as being a cross between The Hangover and Weekend at Bernie’s. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Companies: Paulilu, Matt Tolmach Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment Producers: Lucia Aniello, Paul W Downs, Matt Tolmach, Dave Becky Writer: Lucia Aniello, Paul W Downs Director: Lucia Aniello Cast: Paul W Downs SSN Insight: Sony won a heated bidding battle on June 19, 2015 and closed a deal for the untitled R-rated comedy spec script.

Shoot Like A Girl Logline: Air Force pilot Mary Jennings Hegar serves three tours in Afghanistan, saving hundreds of lives. Studio/ Distributor: TriStar Productions Production Companies: Gotham/ Principal Producers: Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Shari Smiley Notes: Based on the memoir "Shoot Like a Girl: How One Woman’s War Against the Taliban Led to Her Victory Over the Department of Defense" written by Mary Jennings Hegar; to be published by Berkley Caliber in 2016.

F, Marry, Kill Logline: Storyline under wraps. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Companies: Laurence Mark Productions, Olive Bridge Entertainment Producers: Laurence Mark, Will Gluck, David Blackman, Jodi Hildebrand Writers: Neel Shah, Alex Blagg Director: Eric Appel SSN Insight: In addition to this project, Laurence Mark also has a remake of Flatliners, Spinning Gold, The Greatest Showman on Earth and Other People's Love Letters in active development.

Imagine Agents Logline: The organization called I.M.A.G.I.N.E. handles cases of children’s imaginary friends when they get out of control and a 20-year-veteran is followed when his day turns into something other than routine. Studio/ Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Companies: Anonymous Content, Boom! Studios Producers: Michael Keaton, Ross Richie, Michael Sugar Cast: Michael Keaton Notes: Based on the comic book "Imagine Agents" written by Brian Joines, illustrated by Bachan and first published by Boom! In October, 2013. SSN Insight: BOOM! also has Lumberjanes set up at Fox with Will Widger (The Munchkin) writing.

Emmy 2015: Creative Arts and Guest Performance, AMC Greenlights More New Stuff, Jill Soloway’s Big Day, NBC Loves ‘Aquarius’, Film Dev. For 6/25/15



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‘The Strain’ Makeup Effects Team On Guillermo del Toro’s Input, Season One Highlights

When you’re making the life-consuming commitment to series television, it helps to know someone like Guillermo del Toro is captain of the ship. Especially when your work involves crafting freaky creatures and grotesque makeup effects as Steve Newburn and Seamn Sansom do for FX’s hit horror thriller. After all, del Toro is a modern-day master of the macabre. (VAR)

‘Sons of Anarchy's' Costume Designer Reveals How to Earn the Respect of Rival Gangs

And that's just one tale from the year's top contenders in wardrobe design as they open up about conscripting a local theater pro's wife to sew, discovering the drawbacks of 3D printers and more challenges. Artisans from shows like Game Of Thrones, Outlander, Boardwalk Empire and The Americans all weigh in. (THR)

Emmy Guest Star Contenders Create Full Characters in Short Time Frames

It can be tough for any actor to make an impression through a guest role on a handful of episodes, but developing and portraying a fully fleshed-out character in a single episode is the real trick. And now that an actor has to appear in 50% or less of a show’s season to be considered guest, the Emmys could have more room to nominate prestige single-episode perfs from this season. (VTV)

And Then There’s the Music: How the Use Of It Is So Integral To Shows Like ‘American Crime’

This video featurette dives into the tone of the ABC anthology series with emphasis on the original score. Music is essential to creating that tone, and here, we see an in-depth look at how composer Mark Isham collaborated with creator/EP John Ridley to do just that. (AL)


Emmy 2015: How Guest Actors Can Make an Impression In a Single Episode By Being Authentic

The Emmy race for Guest Actor and Actress is heating up with exceptional talent in the running. Unlike the other acting categories where actors have seasons to develop their characters, these actors only have a few episodes or sometimes even just one to make a lasting impression. They have to be authentic from the get go and instantly meld into the world of the show. That’s no easy task. (SSN)

Film Development For 6/25/15: Spider-Man News, Robert Downey Jr. Up For ‘Chasing Phil’, and More

A brand new Spider-Man is just one of the items on this week’s docket. There is also a new director for a very hot property, the announcement of a producer’s directorial debut, a new faith-based film for Queen Latifah, a new inspirational film for Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea, and a host of new projects, to boot. (SSN)


AMC Continues Its Buying Spree, Gives Full Series Order to Drama ‘Broke’ From Clyde Phillips, Lionsgate TV

AMC Studios and Lionsgate, where Phillips is under an overall deal, will co-produce. The project, which Phillips will executive produce, has received a 10-episode order for a 2016 premiere. Broke joins three other straight-to-series orders handed by AMC in the past year or so, Into the Badlands, Humans and The Night Manager, as well as three drama scripts (Goliath, The Son, and Lodge 49) to develop with an eye toward straight-to-series orders. (DH)

Jill Soloway Has a Big Day, Gets a Third Season For ‘Transparent’ and an Exclusive Deal With Amazon

The creator/showrunner's production company will develop TV projects exclusively for Amazon Prime Instant Video, a deal that is the first of its kind for Amazon, which won its first two Golden Globes for Transparent earlier this year. The series' second season starts production next week and will air this fall. (WAH)

NBC Doesn’t Believe In ‘Hannibal’, but Does Believe In ‘Aquarius’, Gives David Duchovny Show a Second Season

Just a couple days after announcing it would not bring back the bloody thriller that stars Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, the Peacock network announced it will be bringing back the 60s period drama, starring Duchovny as a cop, that follows a fictionalized investigation into Charles Manson before the infamous Manson Murders. The second season is expected to be 13 episodes and premiere in 2016. (COL)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Sleeping With Other People’

IFC Films has released the first look at the Sundance hit, starring Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Amanda Peet, Adam Scott and Natasha Lyonne. It hits theaters September 11th. (YT)

AMC Studio’s Big Move, WGN Nabs ‘To Live and Die In L.A.’ Remake, Kevin Costner Circles Amazon TV, ‘Chariots’ Sort Of Sequel


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AMC Spins Off Studio Division Into Separate Entity, Names Rick Olshansky and Stefan Reinhardt as Co-Heads

Broadening the studio’s role comes as AMC Networks wants to own more of the scripted content its networks use and work more diligently to monetize them in international markets. Both executives will report to Charlie Collier, President of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. Olshansky, head of business affairs of AMC, is based in Los Angeles and Reinhardt, senior vice president of finance and studio operations for AMC Networks, is based in New York. (VAR)

WGN Wins the Right To Move Forward With a TV Version Of ‘To Live and Die In LA’

The cult 1985 MGM movie written and directed by William Friedkin, is headed to the small screen. In a competitive situation, the cable network has landed a drama series adaptation of the action thriller, with Oscar winner Friedkin directing and executive producing. Fellow Oscar-winner Bobby Moresco will write the script and will also executive produce. The project has received a script-to-series commitment and will move straight to series upon script approval. (TP)

It Looks Like Kevin Costner Might Become the Next Movie Star To Turn To TV

The actor is in negotiations to star in Amazon's new legal drama from David E. Kelley in what would be his first series regular role. Show centers on a once respectable lawyer who was ousted from the high-profile firm he co-founded, but is reinvigorated when he takes on a wrongful death case that pits him against the head of his former firm. Project would mark Amazon's first straight to series order, provided the deal with Costner works out. (TLF)

Three and a Half Decades Later, They’re Making a Sort Of Sequel To ‘Chariots Of Fire’

Joseph Fiennes will star as Eric Liddell in The Last Race, with a story that follows Liddell after the events of Chariots of Fire, when he became a teacher and missionary in China, eventually being interned in a prison camp by Japanese forces in 1943. (Ian Charleston played Liddell in the original film.) This new picture is written by Stephen Shin, and co-directed by Shin and Michael Parker. (SF)

The Weinsteins Nab TV Rights To the Nick Stone Novel Series, Approach Antoine Fuqua To Get Involved

The series, from British author Andy McNab, is based on an ex-SAS soldier working on deniable operations for British intelligence. The series draws extensively on McNab's own real-life experiences and knowledge of Special Forces soldiering. TWC wants Fuqua to direct the pilot of the series and then serve as an executive producer. (SAA)

Aaron Eckhart Is All Set To Go ‘Live!’ In Real-Time Thriller

Stunt coordinators and second unit directors Darrin Prescott and Wade Allen have hired Eckhart to star in their switch to first unit work with the film, which finds Eckhart as a disgraced cop on a mission to rescue the police commissioner’s daughter, who has been kidnapped and is being held somewhere in the city with a countdown clock of 80 minutes before she dies, while also being tracked by a deranged killer. Jeremy Drysdale wrote the script. (EMP)

So, If You’re Keeping Score, It’s Alicia Vikander Out Of ‘Assassin’s Creed’, and Ariane Labed In

Vikander was briefly attached to the project, but bolted in favor of the next installment of the Jason Bourne series. Meanwhile, this is the most high-profile booking for Labed. The actress won the Best Actress awards at several film festivals for her role in Attenberg, about a 23-year-old woman stuck in a boring factory town. She will co-star with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in the video game adaptation. (CB)

As Hulu Is Finally Starting To Stream Episodes Of ‘Seinfeld’, Herein Is an Exhaustive Ranking Of All 168 Episodes

At long last, you can clear all those syndicated Seinfeld episodes off your DVR. Following years of speculation about when and where the historic sitcom would arrive online, Wednesday it finally became available. But with 168 episodes (so discerned as such by considering all two-part and hour-long episodes as single entries) in the Seinfeld archive, it's understandable if you're intimidated by the the idea of entering the vault without a guide. (VUL)

Trailer Buzz: ‘The Green Inferno’

Universal and Blumhouse have released the new trailer from Eli Roth’s long-delayed horror flick.  The film stars Lorenza Isso, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, and Kirby Bliss Blanton and hits theaters September 25th. (FB)

Screenwriters: ‘Enough Said’

The 98-page, undated, unlabeled screenplay by Nicole Holofcener. (GITS)

Exec Shuffle for 6/26/15: New HuffPost 24 Video Network, Peter Chernin Inks TV Deal, Duplass Brothers on a Hot Streak & More


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Company Launches, Partnerships & Deals

Peter Chernin has inked a two-year overall deal for his Chernin Television at NBCUniversal to develop and produce projects for NBC through Universal Television. Under the deal Chernin has the option to produce independently through cable and digital/streaming platforms. In concurrence, Jenno Topping has been upped to President of Film and Television.

Access Hollywood’s longtime co-anchor Shaun Robinson has left the show and inked a development deal with NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution to develop and/or produce scripted and unscripted TV projects across all platforms via her RobinHood Prods banner.

Huffington Post will launch HuffPost 24 later this year, a news network to be available through the website and apps. It will feature live programming, short-form video, original series, creator partners from YouTube and documentaries. They will also have corresponding film and television divisions that will produce content for HuffPost 24. The new initiatives will be overseen by video General Manager Nathan Brown.

ITV has acquired Boom Supervisory Limited, the holding company of Brit TV production banner Twofour Group. The group contains Twofour, Indus Films and Boomerang, which combined with their other production companies, have produced over 1,200 hours of programs. The company also owns Twofour Rights, and in-house distribution arm.

Liberty Global, the largest cable company in the world at 27 million customers, is in talks to acquire Ireland’s TV3, valued at $110 million in a bid to diversify their offerings.

Mr. Robot Showrunner Sam Esmail has inked a seven-figure overall deal with Universal Cable Prods. He will continue as EP/showrunner on the USA series while also developing and producing scripted programming via UCP with Anonymous Content to executive produce projects for NBCUniversal’s networks and other external channels.

Transparent series creator Jill Soloway has inked an overall deal with Amazon Studios to exclusively develop television projects for Amazon Prime through Soloway’s production company with partner Andrea Sperling. This comes on the heels of Amazon’s renewal of Transparent. With the deal, Sperling has been upped from co-EP to EP.

Writer Paul Downs Colaizzo has inked a two year overall deal with CBS TV Studios. The studio ordered his pilot LFE this past season. Under the deal, Colaizzo will create projects for broadcast and cable. He is repped by ICM Partners.

Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti’s Trigger Street have signed a two year first look deal with Fox 21. The studio recently acquired the rights to the book The Residence for a cable drama to be produced by Trigger Street. The deal was negotiated for Trigger Street through Hansen Jacobson and CAA.

Veteran SVP for Fox David Hill is leaving and will form his own production company to be backed by 21st Century Fox. The move coincides with Rupert Murdoch’s departure from Fox who he worked closely with.

Entertainment One (eOne) and Creative England are partnering on a new TV venture to develop, finance and produce drama content intended for global consumption leveraging regional UK producers and creators. Creative England has invested over $22m into the UK creative industries across media and content platforms.

Its official, Verizon has acquired AOL in a $4.4 billion purchase agreement. CEO Tim Armstrong will continue to oversee his former company’s properties, reporting to Verizon Product Innovation and New Businesses President Mami Walden. Verizon Digital Media Services President Bob Toohey will report to Armstrong.

Brian Kavanaugh-Jones’ Automatik has inked a first look deal with Studio 8. Kavanaugh was behind Insidious: Chapter 3 and Autobahn with Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones. This is Studio 8’s third first-look deal after LBI and previous BFI Film Fund chief Tanya Seghatchian. Studio 8 has secured $1 billion in financing, funded in partnership with Chinese investment management firm Fosun Group and Sony Pictures, which will distribute up to six films worldwide annually.

Duplass Brothers Productions, hot off their exclusive two-year deal at HBO, where they have two series, have inked another deal, this time with indie film distributor The Orchard to handle worldwide theatrical and other rights to a slate of seven upcoming feature films produced by the duo. The films will be a part of the exclusive SVOD deal the Duplasses inked with Netflix in which the streaming service will finance four movies that will have limited theatrical releases before offered to Netflix subscribers.

EuropaCorp has snagged development executive Chris Coggins as their new VP Production and Development at EuropaCorp USA. She was previously at Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment, where she served as Head of Development and helped lead the company’s new-media projects for the Oscars, HBO and Amazon.

Shutterstock is partnering with Penske Media Corporation to create and license images and videos of events in entertainment and fashion. The alliance will join Shuttershock’s extensive stock-image tech with PMC’s photography from its events through their brands like Variety, WWD and Deadline.

The Nielsen Co. has hired banker Jordan Edmiston to analyze a possible sale of its National Research Group, Inc., one of the largest companies in entertainment which provides market research to film studios.


Matt Kaplan has been tapped to be the President for Awesomeness Films and will oversee building the company’s film division. He was previously the SVP of Development and Production at Lionsgate. Awesomeness Films is on track to release 12-15 films for theatrical and digital film distribution focused on YA material and is in production on the film Shovel Buddies starring Bella Thorne. Robyn Marshall has been hired as a Film Executive there. She was previously the EVP of Development and Production at Chapter One Films. Max Siemers has likewise been tapped as a Film Executive. He was previously VP of Development and Production at Chapter One Films as well.

Ron Massucci has been named VP of Human Resources at Broad Green Pictures. He was previously the manager of HR at Sony Pictures.

Lionsgate senior executive Tim Palen has been upped to Chief Brand Officer and President of Worldwide Marketing, handling a team of 40 employees across multiple divisions and will be responsible for developing, extending and marketing the company’s individual brands, franchises and corporate branding initiatives. He will report to Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and will continue to report to Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairs Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman. Marketing and Research SVP Jean McDowell will oversee marketing and distribution to be handled by Adam Sorensen, who currently manages Western Sales.

Sahar Moridani has been upped from assistant to Associate Executive Director at the DGA.

Former COO of Warp Films, Alex Marshall, has been hired as chief operating officer of Archery Pictures, the film and TV shingle under producer Kris Thykier and previous Scott Free UK head Liza Marshall.

Fox Searchlight has hired Katie Goodson-Thomas as director of productions and acquisitions of its UK operations. She was previously at film financier Ingenious. In her new role she will report to Fox Searchlight Pictures president of production Claudia Lewis.

Bold Films has tapped Karen Barna as their SVP of Business and Legal Affairs. She was previously at Summit for a decade. They’ve also upped Pili Allen to Manager of Marketing and Kate Ritter to CE. Barna will report to Bold CEO Gary Michael Walters. Allen was previously at WME and Ritter was formerly at Mandalay Pictures.


Former Chernin TV President Katherine Pope has been picked up to run Studio 8’s newly launched TV division. Studio 8 does have a deal with Sony on the film side, but not on the TV side. In her new role Pope will handle Studio 8’s TV development slate of comedy and drama projects for network and cable.

Entertainment One (eOne) is expanding its Alternative TV Programming Division through a series of executive appointments. Seasoned unscripted producer Mark Herwick has been appointed as Head of Current, U.S. Alternative Programming for the company. Ben Megargel joins the division as Senior Director of Development; Jesse Daniels has been hired to the role of Director of Development; and Elliot Schwartz has been promoted to the title of Manager of Development. Megargel, Daniels and Schwartz will collaborate with the VPs of Development to strategically increase the breadth eOne’s existing slate of unscripted series.

OWN has upped Maitee Cureva to SVP Programming and Development from her previous role as VP. She’s been at the company since 2010. In her new role she will handle programming and development for the network’s Saturday night programming as well as other content development initiatives.

Turner Broadcasting System has upped Rachelle Savoia to VP of communications. Savoia will oversee Turner Content Distribution, the unit with Turner’s 10 domestic cable networks, and Turner Classic Movies. She will report to SVP Sal Petruzzi. Previously, Savoia worked for NBCUniversal’s Bravo network,  Oxygen, Court TV, and Goodman Media International.

Julie Pernworth has been upped from SVP to EVP of Comedy Development at CBS Ent.

Greg Sanderson has been named Brook Lapping’s Managing Director. He was previously a Commissioning Editor of Arts & Music at BBC in London.

AMC Studios is branching off with its own leadership under new co-heads Rick Olshansky (Head of Business Affairs) and Stefan Reinhardt (SVP of Finance and Studio Ops). They will oversee production and business affairs functions of AMC and SundanceTV and report to President Charlie Collier. In part, VP of Business Affairs Scott Stein has been upped to SVP and will lead the negotiation of development and production agreements for AMC Studios original productions.

Nick Lee has been promoted from head of development and executive producer at Good Clean Fun to President. The production company’s projects include VH1’s Barely Famous and TBS’ Meet The Smiths among others.

A+E Networks has named Edward Sabin Managing their Director, Americas, and Head of Commercial Operations, International. He will handle global strategic and operational initiatives and teams; manage commercial policy and coordination on global ad sales and distribution; and evaluate and enhance A+E’s global and local approaches to business functions. He was previously at Discovery, where he was their COO .

Producer Chris Provenzano has inked an overall deal with AMC. Under the deal, he is developing a drama series based on Elmore Leonard’s 1979 novel Gunsights. Previously he was the EP on the FX drama Justified, based on another Leonard book, Fire In The Hole.

Michele Buck is the new CEO of Company Pictures in London. Previously he co-founded the Joint Managing Director of Mammoth Screen.

Yue Zhuge has come on board as the new VP, research and development at Hulu’s Beijing office and will report to CTO Tiam Lim, Zhuge to play a key role in the development of software and technology initiatives. She previously held senior positions with Microsoft and Beijing Yahoo. Most recently, Zhuge founded and served as the CEO for Landscape Mobile, creator of the Sight app.

Donna Clark is now Acting Head of Formats & Features at BBC in London. She was previously Director of Factual for Lion TV.

Raymond Dooley has been named VP of Marketing of truTV. He held the same title previously at SundanceTV.

Producer Elizabeth Guber Stephen has signed an overall deal with Warner Bros. TV to develop and produce network and cable projects through her company Gables Media. She is already developing a limited series adaptation of the book They Wished They Were Honest: The Knapp Commission And New York City Police Corruption by Michael Armstrong. She previously had a first-look deal at Fox 21 Studios.

Bill Carter, the former New York Times television reporter and author, is joining CNN as a contributor. Carter will offer reporting, analysis and commentary on the top media stories across CNN’s television and digital platforms, reuniting with former New York Times beat colleague Brian Stelter. Previously, Carter was with the New York Times for more than 25 years as a media writer, covering the television industry.

Roy Ackerman has shifted from Managing Director of Fresh One Productions to Managing Director of Non-Scripted TV for Pulse Films in London. Emma Cooper is a new Creative Director of Non-Scripted TV at Pulse Films. She was previously a Commissioning Editor of Documentaries at Channel 4.

Adam Blumberg is the new VP of TV at Hyde Park Ent. He was previously Director of Development at eOne TV.

Cyrus Farrokh has expanded his role as VP of Asia Pacific at Electus to include North America. Raymond Galaviz is a new Manager of Creative Development & Talent at Electus. He was upped form the Coordinator position. Brad Jorgensen has been promoted from VP to SVP of Worldwide Operations. Sean Canino has been promoted to VP of Creative Development in Unscripted TV from Director at Electus. Montrel McKay has been upped from Director to VP of Creative Development. Max Levenson has been promoted from assistant to Manager of Current & Creative Development. Diego Piasek has been promoted from Executive Director to VP of International Distribution & Production. Julie Shapiro has made the leap from Senior Counsel to VP of Legal & Business Affairs. KC Walker has been promoted from Director to Executive Director of Marketing Solutions at the company.

Cindy Kain is the new VP of Current Production at The Studio. She was previously Director of Production for TLC.

Nick Lee has been promoted from Head of Development and EP to President and EP at Good Clean Fun.

Lauren Stein has been named SVP of Drama Development at Sony Pictures TV. She was previously Chernin Ent’s SVP of TV Drama Development.

Scott Stemmermann has been named vice president, digital marketing, NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

Management, PR, Agencies

Molly Barnett has been named VP of O&M Company’s Theatre Division, up from Sr. Press Agent there.

Jim Osborne has been named partner at APA. He is also the VP of Talent.

Gerilyn Shur is the new Director of National PR for Allied Integrated Marketing. She was previously the Director of National PR at Brigade Marketing.

Matt Gogal has been upped from Agent to President of Talent House LA.

David Lust has been named Integrated PR’s new VP. He was previously VP at Rogers & Cowan.

Maggi L. Simpson has been named the new VP for Integrated PR.

Music, Digital, Publishing, Misc.

Seth Laderman has been named EVP and GM of the new subscription streaming service from Lionsgate and Comic-Con International. The platform will debut in the first quarter of 2016. It will feature original short-form content created exclusively for the channel’s subscribers, as well as films and television series from Lionsgate and other studios targeting the Comic-Con fan base, and exclusive archived footage from Comic-Con’s 45-year history. Laderman was previously head of production for Legendary Digital and Nerdist Industries where he helped to spearhead the digital growth of YouTube content.

The Endemol Shine Group is launching a Commercial Partnerships Team, joining Shine 360° and Endemol international commercial teams to support their local commercial teams around the world to be overseen by Branco Scherer, upped from Managing Director. Lorraine Burgess has been named the Director of Commercial and Digital Development. Frances Adams will be the Director of Brand Development and focus on brand management for global properties. Ingrid Akkerman has been named Director of Brand Relations and Mark Rosenegk the Director of Brand Partnerships. Tom Jeans will be the Director of Commercial and Business Affairs and will handle the roll out of foreign licensing delas. Karen Maldoy will be the Senior Manager, Digital Products and Joe Pietroni has been named Director of App Development handling the development of in-house digital apps and games that can be adapted for entertainment brands around the world.

Josh Dammers has been named Director of Brand Partnerships at DigiTour. He was previously Executive Director of Data Driven Media at the Meredith Corporation. Linnea Stalberg has been hired on as SVP of Marketing at DigiTour. Linnea was previously VP of Marketing and Production at SpinMedia.

Anna Murray has been upped from Project Manager to Director, Brand Management & Special Projects at Ribbow Media in Nashville.

David O’Connor has left CAA to become the CEO of Madison Square Garden. He was behind the formation of CAA Sports and while at the agency his client list included Jerry Bruckheimer, Bruce Willis, David Koepp and director Gary Ross. No date of his leave from CAA has been set.

News organization IBT Media has named Mitchell Caplan CMO, to lead brand development and ad revenue. Caplan was most recently chief marketing officer at Olson.

Emmy 2015: Predictions, the Options Of Niche Viewing, Paramount’s Next Franchise, DreamWorks’‘Micro’ Plans, Exec Shuffle For 6/26/15


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Looking For Some Guidance About What Shows, Performers and Talent Will Get Emmy Nominations?

When it comes to predicting certain awards trends, it gets a lot easier once the nominations actually come out. Until then, it’s something of a crap shoot, especially in years when there is a lot of quality television. This year is no different. With the rise of original content from online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon — not to mention Yahoo and Hulu, among others — this trend shows no signs of changing. (AC)

Here Are Three Different Places That Cover a Whole Host Of Categories

With that in mind, rather than giving you links to just one website and its collection of prognosticators, we’re giving you links to three of them, thus maximizing the analysis. If you’ve got a statistical bent, you could examine all three and put together the likeliest nominees based on the opinions you will find by clicking on these provided links. (GD)

With Plenty Of Varying Opinions To Make Sure All Your Options Get the Proper Attention

There are still three weeks to go before the nominations are actually announced, which means plenty of time to properly examine the possibilities. So take your time, pour over everything, and then count down the days until July 16th, when the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences reveals this year’s lucky batch of nominees. (IW)


Emmy 2015: How Niche Viewing Has Changed the Emmy Nominee Options

There’s still a little bit of time to get your vote in before the all online Emmy polls close today at 10pm PDT.  If you look at your choices you’ll see plenty of series about detectives, police officers and lawyers, but you’ll also see series about transgender fathers, women in prison, an eternal optimist who broke away from a cult, a hip hop empire and more. (SSN)

Exec Shuffle For 6/26/15: New HuffPost 24 Hour Video Network, Peter Chernin Inks TV Deal, Duplass Brothers On a Hot Streak, and More

Among the many deals in yet another busy week in Hollywoodland are an acquisition for ITV, big deals for Jill Soloway, Paul Downs Colaizzo and the creator of Mr. Robot, a couple of mergers, the purchase of AOL by Verizon, as well as the usual amount of hirings, firings, comings and goings. Click on the link to get the whole shebang. (SSN)


Has Paramount Found Its Next Big YA Franchise? It Looks Like Maybe They Have

Studio is in final negotiations to scoop up the New York Times bestselling novel Greenglass House by Kate Milford — a middle grade story that won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. The project, which was picked up for mid-six figure deal after a pre-emptive bid, is being eyed as a possible new franchise for the studio. Ian Bryce will produce with Joe Ballarini adapting.  (DH)

Michael Crichton Might Be Gone, but His Work Lives On and Will Once Again Be Turned Into a Movie

DreamWorks has acquired the film rights to Micro, with Frank Marshall producing. The thriller follows a group of grad students lured to Hawaii to work for a mysterious biotech company, only to find themselves miniaturized and cast into the rain forest, with nothing but their scientific expertise and wits to protect them. Micro was unfinished when Crichton passed away in 2008, but later completed by author Richard Preston and published by HarperCollins in 2011. (CS)

In an Incredibly Extensive Interview, Skydance Heads David Ellison and Dana Goldberg Talk About the Future Of Several Major Franchises

Among the properties the duo discuss are Terminator, Star Trek, Top Gun, Mission: Impossible, World War Z and Jack Reacher, as well as a new Three Days of the Condor TV series and the impending stardom of Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’s Rebecca Ferguson. They also discuss the origins of the company and where it’s headed. A most interesting read. (SF)

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Are Producing a Movie About the FIFA Scandal, Because Why Not?

Screenwriter Anthony Tambakis will adapt the not-yet-written book “Houses of Deceit” by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ken Bensinger (he previously wrote the article “Mr. Ten Percent: The Man Who Built — And Bilked — American Soccer” at BuzzFeed, which led to the book proposal). Gavin O’Connor will direct the film, whenever it moves forward. (FSR)

There Will Be a ‘Star Trek 4’, and Both Kirk and Spock Will Definitely Be In It

Both Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have signed on for Star Trek 4, despite the fact that Star Trek 3 has just started filming. The move was apparently a condition of Pine and Quinto's huge raises for the third film, which the duo won by arguing that they are far more famous now than when they signed on for the series back in 2007. (VUL)

Threepeat For ‘Jurassic World’, Warner Sets a BO Record, Neil Gaiman To Write On ‘American Gods’ Series, ‘Gotham’s New Villains


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The Juggernaut That Is ‘Jurassic World’ Continues To Dominate, Wins a Third Straight BO Weekend

With a three-day take of $54.2 million, the dinosaur flick held off Inside Out, which came in a close second with $52.1 million. The Colin Trevorrow-directed fourth installment in the popular franchise has now amassed $500 at the domestic box office in just 17 days. Ted 2 debuted in third place with a soft $33 million, while the heartwarming family tale Max finished fourth with $12.2 million and Spy did $7.8 million to finish fifth. (BO)

What Box Office Problem? Warner Bros. Becomes Latest Studio To Set a Record With Domestic Grosses

Breaking an industry record, studio exceeded $1 billion at the domestic box office Friday, becoming the only studio ever to reach that benchmark 15 years in a row. It is also the fastest the Studio has ever climbed to the billion dollar sum. Next up for Warner is the much-anticipated July 1st release of Magic Mike XXL, starring Channing Tatum, reprising the title role under the direction of Gregory Jacobs. (CS)

Fans Of ‘American Gods’ Will Be Pleased To Know That Neil Gaiman Will Be Writing On the Upcoming Starz Series

Bryan Fuller, who will oversee the upcoming series based on Gaiman’s classic novel, revealed that he and his writing team are hard at work on the first few episodes and that Gaiman himself will be part of the process and write multiple teleplays. The show will premiere on the cable network some time in 2016. (COL)

‘Gotham’ Casts a Major Villain For Its Second Season

Jessica Lucas, who recently wrapped a run on Fox’s Gracepoint, has landed the Season 2 role of Tabitha Galavan aka Tigress. On the DC Comics-based drama, Tabitha is the sexy and violent lead enforcer for her brother Theo, a billionaire industrialist hell-bent on taking over Gotham (and to be played by James Frain). (TVL)

Newcomer David Sandberg Lands James Wan To Produce His Horror Movie, and Theresa Palmer To Star In It

Horror film Lights Out finds a young boy and his estranged sister confronting a terrifying menace that – as you might be able to guess – only appears when the lights go out. Wan’s Atomic Monster company is co-producing is handling the film for New Line. Eric Heisserer is also aboard to produce and has written the script, which adapts Sandberg’s 2013 short. (EMP)

With Dakota Fanning Out Of the Picture, Chloe Grace Moretz Lands ‘Brain On Fire’ Lead

Charlize Theron is producing the film, based on Susannah Cahalan’s memoir, while Gerard Barrett has been hired to direct. Me & Earl & The Dying Girl’s lead Thomas Mann has already signed on for the feature, as well. Story revolves around a young woman’s struggles with a mystery illness, which results in her going insane. (CB)

HBO Announces ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season Six Directors, and All Five Are Men

Jeremy Podeswa, Daniel Sackheim, Jack Bender, Mark Mylod and Miguel Sapochnik are the gentlemen in question. Three of the names are Thrones veterans, and two are newcomers to the series. Once again, each will helm two episodes. If you’re wondering why each director films two back-to-back episodes, it’s due to the uniquely complex nature of the show that makes Thrones an extremely time-intensive directing gig. (EW)

Not One To Miss an Opportunity, Luc Besson Is Developing Sequels To ‘Lucy’ and ‘Columbiana’

Besson’s EuropaCorp, the largest film studio in Europe, revealed its upcoming schedule, and it includes the news that both Lucy 2, a sequel to his 2014 Scarlett Johansson film, and Columbiana 2, a follow-up of the 2011 Zoe Saldana vehicle, are moving forward. No word yet on the involvement of either actress. (VUL)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Legend’

Universal Pictures has released the first look at its upcoming real life crime thriller, starring Tom Hardy in the dual roles of Ron and Reggie Kray, legendary twin London gangsters of the 1960s. Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri, Tara Fitzgerald, and Taron Egerton also star in the film, which opens October 2nd. (TFS)

Screenwriters: Dream Career Toolkit — What If You Weren’t Afraid To Fail?

Every year brings the possibility of great things. Every year you should look to understand what your goals are for the year and what you can do better and differently to bring them about. Columnist Shawn Tolleson has five keys to success, and these five keys are absolutely critical to you accomplishing anything of scope or magnitude, and accomplishing it fast. (SM)