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Awards 2016: More Oscar Presenters, Wide Open Doc Feature Race, Big Moves At Fox, Louis C.K.’s Secret Show, Exec Shuffle For 2/1/16



The Academy Keeps Adding To Its List Of Impressive Presenters

The AMPAS has announced the second group of presenters for the 88th Academy Awards this month. They are Steve Carell, Priyanka Chopra, Quincy Jones, Byung-hun Lee, Jared Leto, Julianne Moore, Olivia Munn, Margot Robbie, Jason Segel, Andy Serkis, J.K. Simmons, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. It had previously been announced that Munn and Segel will host the Sci-Tech awards on the 13th. (AL)

In a Very Competitive Documentary Feature Race, There Are No Sure Bets

While it’s been a strong and crowded year for documentaries, the nonfiction Oscar race is just as unpredictable as this year’s narrative awards race. The consistently unpredictable Academy docu branch narrowed down 124 eligible features to a remarkably strong shortlist of 15 back in December. That batch was whittled down to five nominees — Amy, Cartel Land, The Look of Silence, What Happened, Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom. (IC)


Exec Shuffle For 2/1/16: Moves At Fox, IMAX Partnering with Discovery, Conde Nast Forms CNE Studios

Among other items, ComScore completes its acquisition of Rentrak, a pair of creators launch a new production shingle known as Talos Films, another startup known as Switchblade Entertainment also rolls out, as well as assorted comings, goings and promotions around town. Click on the link to read all about it. (SSN)

Big Things Afoot At 21st Century Fox, as Studio Looks to Save $250M in Voluntary Film, TV Staff Resignations

Studio is offering voluntary buyouts to U.S. staff at its film and TV networks units to reduce $250 million in costs during its new fiscal year that starts in July. Various entertainment conglomerates have in recent years cut costs amid changing industry dynamics, including Time Warner and Viacom. The buyout packages will offer enhanced benefit packages, with more cuts expected to come at the TV unit. The company didn’t disclose a target for the number of layoffs. (THR)

Did You Catch Louis C.K.’s New Super Secret Web Series? Because Now, Suddenly, You Can

His FX show Louie is currently in an extended hiatus, but C.K. has apparently been busy. Over the weekend, he dropped a new web series, Horace and Pete, with no warning. C.K. plays Horace and Steve Buscemi is Pete, and the two operate a run-down Brooklyn dive bar together. Also starring are Alan Alda, Jessica Lange, Edie Falco, Aidy Bryant, and more.  C.K. first alerted his fans to the existence of Horace and Pete on Saturday via email. (SF)

Dick Wolf’s TV Dominance Will Continue For Another Half-Decade, as NBC Re-Ups His Deal Through 2020

Network is staying firmly in the Dick Wolf business, as it has renewed two of the prolific producer’s series, Law & Order: SVU and Chicago Med, and extended his overall deal, which continues one of the network’s longest-running and most fruitful relationships. In addition to the Chicago franchise, which also includes the already renewed Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D, Wolf created Law & Order. (LF)

Today In Remake News: CBS Green Lights Pilot For ‘Training Day’ Adaptation, With Antoine Fuqua Directing

Peacock network has given a pilot order to the show, a drama series reimagining of Fuqua’s acclaimed 2001 feature that starred Denzel Washington as a rogue narcotics detective and Ethan Hawke as his rookie cop partner. The project, which had a pilot production commitment, hails from Fuqua, writer Will Beall, Warner Bros. TV and studio-based Jerry Bruckheimer Television. (DH)

Captain Phasma Will Make a Return In ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’, Which Means More Gwendoline Christie

Walking the red carpet at Saturday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, Christie was asked by People magazine whether Phasma will be back for more threatening, chrome-armored antics in the film, and she confirmed that she will be. Rian Johnson is writing and directing the film, which has begun shooting and will hit theaters in December, 2017. (EMP)

DIRECTV Subscribers Will Get the First Crack At Seeing Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong In ‘The Program’

Broadcaster and Momentum Pictures announced their exclusive, February premiere of the film, from director Stephen Frears and starring Foster and Chris O’Dowd. The film, which made its world premiere in September at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, is about disgraced cycling champion Armstrong’s doping scandal and downfall. Film will premiere on DIRECTV Cinema, one month before its March 18th specialty theatrical and VOD debut. (CS)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Archer’

FX has released the first trailer for the upcoming seventh season of the award-winning animated spy comedy. Fans of both this show and Magnum P.I. will be very happy to watch this, one of the funnier bits you’ll find on the web today. The new season premieres March 31st. (IW)

Rooney Mara Circling ‘Mary Magdalene’, Sundance Streaming Wrap-up, Magic Leap Scores Over $1B in Funding, Julie Menin Named NYC Film Czar



Lady Gaga to Perform “Multi-Sensory” Tribute to David Bowie at the Grammy’s

Lady Gaga will perform a tribute to the late David Bowie at The 58th Annual Grammy Awards on Monday, February 15. The Recording Academy describes the tribute as an experiential “multi-sensory testament to Bowie’s artistry and a reflection of his limitless creativity”. (DL)

Clive Owen, Meryl Streep and Others to Pick Bear Award Winners at Berlin Film Festival

The Berlin Film Festival has named the full seven-person jury that will judge the lineup this year. Three-time Oscar winner Streep will preside over the jury. Bear award winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on February 20. (THR)


Secretive Startup Magic Leap Now has $1.4 Billion in Funding

Magic Leap, a secretive startup developing an augmented-reality system, announced $793.5 million in funding led by Alibaba Group with participation from Warner Bros. and others. The new funding brings its total to nearly $1.4 billion raised with the latest round giving the company a value of $4.5 billion. (VAR)

‘Orphan Black’ Producer Temple Street Productions Launches Animation Division

Temple Street Productions, the company behind BBC America’s popular Orphan Black series, is forming a new parent company, Boat Rocker Media, to oversee five business lines, including a 2D and 3D animated content studio in Toronto. (THR)

Universal May Have Found Their Enigmatic Mary Magdalene

Rooney Mara is in talks to star as Mary Magdalene in Garth Davis’ biopic at Universal. The project is set to be an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history. (DL)

Sundance 2016: The Complete List of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu’s Acquisitions

The 2016 Sundance Film Festival, which wrapped on Sunday, marked the moment that streaming services came of age as buyers on the festival circuit. Here’s the complete list of what Hulu, Amazon and Netflix snagged. (VI)

There’s a New Boss in Town: Julie Menin Chosen as New York City Film Czar

Julie Menin has been chosen by Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve as New York City’s new film czar. Menin will succeed Cynthia Lopez, who stepped down from the post in October. (THR)

Did you Get the Invite? Fox Innovation Lab Explores VR with Two-Day Summit

Around 80 virtual and augmented reality experts are congregating in Los Angeles Tuesday and Wednesday this week as part of an invite-only summit held by the Fox Innovation Lab. The event will have panels exploring explore the possibilities of mixed reality, VR production, immersive audio, VR hardware and more. (VAR)

Online Film School: 25 Sundance Filmmakers Reveal How They Were Discovered

Indiewire asked directors at this year’s Sundance Film Festival what the biggest break has been in their career up to this point, and the wide array of answers highlights just how many different ways independent filmmakers get their movies made and their talents discovered. (IW)

Trailer Buzz: Netflix’s New Sketch Comedy Show, ‘The Characters’

With The Characters sketch series, Netflix is looking to give the next generation of comedians a boost. Each 30-minute episode of the series is written by and stars a different comedian, who can do whatever they wish with the time allotted. (SF)

TV Development for 2/2/16: ABC Orders 13 Pilots, ‘Gilmore Girls’ a Go, Amazon Bringing ‘American Girls’ to Life


Catching Kelce
Network: E! Networks
Production Company(s): Current Entertainment, Grandma’s House Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Scott Langerman, Lauren Stevens, Ben Newmark, Dan Newmark
Logline: Fifty eligible women, one from each state in the U.S. will be invited to Los Angeles as Travis Kelce searches for that special someone to become his lifelong “teammate.” Kelce will be joined by famous friends and family to help him along his journey, but in the series finale, only he can decide who is the right woman for him.
SSN Insight: E! has given a series order of eight episodes as of January 28.

Gilmore Girls
Network: Netflix
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Executive Producer(s): Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino
Writer(s): Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino
Logline: The continuing story of the relationship between Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory.
Details: Based on the series “Gilmore Girls,” which aired on The WB from 2000-2005 and The CW from 2006-2007.
SSN Insight: Ordered as four 90-minute episodes in October, but given the official greenlight with the sign-on of stars Alexis Bledel, Lauren Graham, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Sean Gunn (Kirk) and Keiko Agena (Lane).

Horace and Pete
Network: Louisck.net
Production Company(s): Pig Newton, Inc.
Executive Producer(s): Louis C.K., Blair Breard, Dave Becky, Vernon Chatman
Writer(s): Louis C.K.
Logline: A digital series that follows the patrons and employees of an Irish bar in Brooklyn.
SSN Insight: The show features Edie Falco, Rebecca Hall, Jessica Lange, Kurt Metzger, Steven Wright among others. Episodes are available for $5 through C.K.’s website.

Justice League Action (Animated)
Network: Cartoon Network
Production Company(s): Warner Bros. Animation
Executive Producer(s): Sam Register
Logline: DC Comics heroes will battle everything from threats in space to the bizarre forces of magic.
SSN Insight: Cartoon Network has officially greenlighted the series which will air 11-minute episodes. A premiere date has not yet been set.

Network: Disney XD
Production Company(s): Omnifilm Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Steve Marmel, Anupam Nigam
Logline: Ryan Walker, a freshman at Bay City High who has technopathy – the extraordinary ability to control technology with his mind. His talent mysteriously awakens MECH-X4, a giant 120-foot robot built by an elusive genius-in-hiding to defend their town against impending doom.
SSN Insight: Disney XD gave a series order on January 29.

Start Up
Network: Crackle
Production Company(s): Hollywood Gang Productions, Critical Content
Executive Producer(s): Tom Forman, Shannon Gaulding, Andrew Marcus, Gianni Nunnari, Raymond Ricord
Writer(s): Ben Ketai, Ben Dubash
Logline: A Cuban-American hacker, a Haitian-American gangster, and the son of a corrupt banker, come together in modern day Miami to launch a revolutionary new cryptocurrency; however, when their unorthodox methods garner the attention of a nefarious FBI Agent, as well as various other criminals in South Florida, the group’s subversive new startup unexpectedly becomes a new criminal enterprise for the 21st Century.
SSN Insight: Crackle has given a series order of ten episodes.

Stretch Armstrong (Animated)
Network: Netflix
Production Company(s): Hasbro, Inc.
Logline: An over scheduled teenager named Jake Armstrong and his two best friends, are accidentally exposed to an experimental chemical, they become Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters, a team of unlikely stretchable superheroes who expand beyond the confines of their lives and embark on a series of adventures.
Details: Based on the Stretch Armstrong line of toys and merchandise sold by Hasbro.
SSN Insight: Netflix has given a series order of 26 episodes as of January 28. Netflix is partnering with Hasbro Studios on the series for premiere in 2017.

The Arrangement
Network: E! Networks
Studio: Universal Cable Productions
Production Company(s): Objective Productions, All3Media America
Executive Producer(s): Jonathan Abrahams, Jimmy Fox, Stephen Lambert, Eli Holzman
Writer(s): Jonathan Abrahams
Logline: Megan Morrison is a beautiful young actress who auditions for the female lead in a summer blockbuster playing opposite Kyle West, the hottest actor of the moment. After an amazing audition segues into a dream-like first date, Megan’s Cinderella story takes a turn to the bizarre when she is presented with a contract that details an entire relationship with Kyle. Megan must weigh her options and the benefits and consequences to her career and her life overall and decide whether or not she will accept “the arrangement.”
SSN Insight: E! ordered the pilot back in April. E! gave a series order of ten episodes on January 29.

The Baxter Family
Studio: MGM Television Entertainment
Production Company(s): LightWorkers Media
Executive Producer(s): Roma Downey
Logline: The story of how John and Elizabeth Baxter and their six adult children come together over love, loss, laughter, and life in an epic drama that proves the strength of faith and family.
Details: Based on the Baxter Family novel series, also known as the Redemption series, which began with the novel, “Redemption, “written by Karen Kingsbury and published by Thorndike Press in 2005.
SSN Insight: The 22 book series has sold upwards of 20 million copies worldwide. No network has been set.

The Characters
Network: Netflix
Executive Producer(s): Andrew Gaynord, Tony Hernandez
Logline: Features eight up-and-coming comedians who get the opportunity to create their own 30-minute episodes and do whatever they want. No rules. No limits. Each comedian writes and appears in his/her episode.
SSN Insight: The series will feature Lauren Lapkus, Kate Berlant, Dr. Brown, Paul W. Downs, John Early, Tim Robinson, Natasha Rothwell and Henry Zebrowski. It will premiere March 11.

The Mick
Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
Production Company(s): 3 Arts Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): John Chernin, Dave Chernin, Oly Obst, Nicholas Frenkel, Randall Einhorn
Writer(s): John Chernin, Dave Chernin
Logline: A coarse, blue-collar woman moves to affluent Greenwich, Connecticut raise the outrageously spoiled kids of her wealthy sister and brother-in-law, who have fled the country to avoid prosecution for illegal activities.
SSN Insight: Fox initially gave a commitment of a script plus penalty back in August and ordered the pilot on February 2.

Untitled American Girls Series
Network: Amazon
Studio: Amazon Studios
Logline: Storyline under wraps.
Details: Based on the American Girl line of dolls created in 1986 by Pleasant Company and purchased by Mattel in 1998.
SSN Insight: Amazon has signed a multi-year, multimillion dollar production deal with Mattel subsidiary American Girl to produce four live-action specials, with the option to produce multiple seasons worth of episodic content.

Untitled La La Anthony Timbaland Hip-Hop Docuseries Project
Production Company(s): Leftfield Pictures
Executive Producer(s): Alani “La La” Anthony, David George, Will Nothacker, Derek Gordon
Logline: Jeff Janvier and Session Cruz run Face Time Agency, the industry’s premiere casting agency for booking music video and hip-hop fashion models. Set inside the New York City nightlife scene – the series exposes the cutthroat entrepreneurial side of hip-hop, with models, DJs and social media stars hustling to break through as fashion, music and media moguls.
SSN Insight: No network has been set as project is in the early stages. La La has also joined the producing team of Eclipsed, which will mark the Broadway debut of Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
Executive Producer(s): Stephen Nathan, Jonathan Collier, Spencer Medof
Writer(s): Stephen Nathan, Jonathan Collier
Logline: Follows the unlikely pairing of a successful, driven cardiologist as she risks career suicide by teaming with a socially-challenged veterinarian who relates better to animals than people. They try to put aside their competitive natures to cure the incurable using a unique blend of cross-species medicine that’s never been tried before.
Details: Based on the book, “Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing,” written by Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers and published by Knopf on June 12, 2012.
SSN Insight: Rolled from the 2015-2016 season. Fox gave an initial commitment of a script plus penalty back in October. Fox gave the official pilot order on January 26.


Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios
Production Company(s): Mark Gordon Company
Executive Producer(s): Liz Friedman, Liz Friedlander, Mark R. Gordon, Nicholas Pepper
Writer(s): Liz Friedman
Logline: Carter Morrison, the brilliant but rebellious daughter of a Clinton-like political family, is forced into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, has two weeks to examine cases where there’s credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime.
SSN Insight: ABC gave an initial commitment of a put pilot back in October. ABC gave a pilot order on January 27.

Dream Team
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Kari’s Logo Here, Here Comes Scrappy
Executive Producer(s): Kari Lizer, Bill Wrubel
Writer(s): Kari Lizer, Bill Wrubel
Logline: Coach Marty Schumacher knows how to win in the world of girls’ club soccer. His last team went to the national championship, and those women are off playing in college, semipro, even the Olympic team. Now Coach Schumacher, who is known as “the star maker” (mostly by himself), has a documentary crew following him around as he assembles his next dynasty from a diverse group of little girls that bring along their diverse families.
SSN Insight: ABC gave an initial commitment of a script plus penalty back in August. They ordered the pilot on January 26.

Hail Mary
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios, Sony Pictures Television
Production Company(s): Intrigue
Executive Producer(s): Brian Gallivan, Seth Gordon, Tariq Jalil
Writer(s): Brian Gallivan
Logline: A young small-town mayor named Mary Wolf has dysfunctional siblings, a dying father, disgruntled citizens, a nearly bankrupt town and the mafia breathing down her neck. Only a miracle can help her. So … she fakes one.
Details: Based on the Austrian series “Braunschlag” which aired eight-episodes on the ORF Network in 2012.
SSN Insight: Previously in development with Fox and 20th Century Fox TV in 2015 with Rob Riggle set as the lead and written by Steve Hely. ABC gave an initial commitment of a script plus penalty and ordered the pilot on January 28. The Austrian series had a male lead. Another adaptation was set up at Fox last year with Rob Riggle attached to star.

Model Woman
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: TriStar Television, Sony Pictures Television
Production Company(s): Anonymous Content
Executive Producer(s): Rosalie Swedlin, Helen Childress, Scarlett Lacey
Writer(s): Helen Childress
Logline: Set in the late 1970’s during the notorious Model Wars, Bertie Geiss is a tempestuous matriarch and uncompromising businesswoman at the helm of an internationally renowned modeling agency.
Details: Based on the book, “Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty,” written by Robert Lacey and published by Harper on June 16, 2015.
SSN Insight: Rolled from the 2015-2016 season. ABC ordered the pilot on January 27.

Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios, Sony Pictures Television
Production Company(s): The Firm
Executive Producer(s): Josh Berman, Jeff Kwatinetz, Josh Barry, Mark Geragos, Wendy Walker Whitworth
Writer(s): Josh Berman, Allie Hagan
Logline: The story follows the professional and personal relationship between a charismatic attorney and a powerhouse television producer as they attempt to control the media, the justice system, and ultimately – each other.
Details: Inspired by the relationship between criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and long-time “Larry King Live” executive producer Wendy Walker.
SSN Insight: ABC gave an initial commitment of a put pilot back in October and ordered the pilot on January 28. Josh Berman previously created Drop Dead Diva and Allie Hagan is known for her blog Suri’s Burn Book.

Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Sander/Moses Productions
Executive Producer(s): Ian Sander, Kim Moses, Michael G. Cooney
Writer(s): Michael G. Cooney
Logline: The story is set in the alternate reality of Steampunk – circa 2016 – where gas and coal fuel the world. Two rival families battle for power as a rebellious young woman with a spark of invention could level both their empires.
SSN Insight: ABC gave a pilot order on January 28. Cooney and Sander/Moses previously collaborated on Runner which went to pilot at ABC last year, to star Paula Patton.

The Death Of Eva Sofia Valdez
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios
Production Company(s): Fazekas & Butters
Executive Producer(s): Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Charise Castro Smith
Writer(s): Charise Castro Smith
Logline: Eva Sofia Valdez is an immigrant who rose from rags to riches and is a celebrated Miami entrepreneur and a champion for immigrant rights. But her success is fueled by an insatiable ambition that could destroy her family, a vendetta against the lover who betrayed her, and ghosts from the past who threaten to reveal the dark sacrifices Eva Sofia made to attain the American Dream.
SSN Insight: ABC gave a pilot order on January 28. Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters are also executive producers/showrunners on Marvel’s Agent Carter.

The Fluffy Shop
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios
Production Company(s): Tomorrow Studios
Executive Producer(s): Tim Doyle, Marty Adelstein, Becky Clements, Joe Meloche
Writer(s): Gabriel Iglesias, Jay Lavender, Tim Doyle
Logline: A comedian deal with the challenges of managing a home life during the few days he spends off the road each week.
Details: Inspired by the life experience of comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias.
SSN Insight: ABC gave an initial commitment of a put pilot back in October and gave a pilot order on January 28. Iglesias previously had a recurring role on ABC’s Cristela.

The Second Fattest Housewife In Westport
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios
Production Company(s): Kapital Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Sarah Dunn, Aaron Kaplan
Writer(s): Sarah Dunn
Logline: Katie, our narrator, is a (slightly) larger wife and mother raising her flawed family of three in a wealthy town filled with “perfect” wives and their “perfect” offspring.
SSN Insight: ABC gave a pilot order on January 28.

Time After Time
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Outerbanks Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Kevin Williamson
Writer(s): Kevin Williamson
Logline: When young H.G. Wells shows his time machine to his friends, he is oblivious to the fact that one of them, surgeon Leslie John Stephenson, is in fact the infamous Jack the Ripper. When Scotland Yard detectives get on Stevenson’s trail, the murderer uses the time machine to flee to the future, getting transported to 1979 San Francisco. He is quickly followed by Wells who is trying to bring him to justice.
Details: Based on the novel “Time After Time,” written by Karl Alexander and published by The Delacorte Press on March 28, 1979.
SSN Insight: ABC gave an initial commitment of a script and ordered the pilot on January 28.

Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios
Production Company(s): Shondaland
Executive Producer(s): Scott Foley, Greg Grunberg, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers
Logline: Engaged couple Max and Paige, over their wedding rehearsal dinner, have their eclectic family and friends give toasts recalling anecdotes about the couple — but flashbacks reveal that the toasts don’t always get it right.
SSN Insight: Rolled from 2015-2016. ABC gave a pilot order on January 28. Toast marks the first half-hour pilot order for Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers’ Shondaland.

Untitled Ed Weeks Hannah Mackay Comedy Project
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios
Production Company(s): Kindle Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Anne Brogan, Melanie Stokes, Siobhan Bachman, Valerie Ames, Andrew Reich
Writer(s): Ed Weeks, Hannah Mackay
Logline: An unapologetic lesbian and her best friend, a neurotic straight male, navigate their dysfunctional, co-dependent friendship and the world of dating.
SSN Insight: ABC gave a pilot order on January 28. This marks Reich’s second pilot order, his first of the season was for Pearl, also at ABC.

Untitled Meaghan Oppenheimer Drama Project
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Studio: ABC Studios
Production Company(s): Pacific Standard
Executive Producer(s): Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea, Meaghan Oppenheimer
Writer(s): Meaghan Oppenheimer
Logline: The story follows the personal and professional life of a ruthless divorce attorney in Dallas. Raised in the trailer parks of Texas, she has left behind a life of struggle amid squalor, working her way into a corner office and mansion in Dallas’s most prestigious neighborhood. But beneath her facade of togetherness, she’s plagued by self-destructive tendencies and long hidden family secrets that begin to unravel her life.
SSN Insight: ABC gave a pilot order on January 28. Oppenheimer previously wrote the screenplay for the film We Are Your Friends.


The Great Indoors
Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Executive Producer(s): Mike Gibbons
Writer(s): Mike Gibbons
Logline: An adventure reporter must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine.
SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on January 29. This is the second consecutive CBS pilot order for Gibbons who wrote and executive produced The Half Of It for CBS last year.

The Kicker
Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: Universal Television
Production Company(s): 3 Arts Entertainment, Little Stranger, Inc.
Executive Producer(s): Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, Jack Burditt, David Miner
Writer(s): Jack Burditt
Logline: Centers on an oddball athlete who drives family, friends and strangers insane after he unexpectedly finds himself cut from his professional football team.
SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on January 28. This marks the second sale for Fey’s Little Stranger, with the first order given by NBC to a pilot written by another 30 Rock alum, Tracey Wigfield.

Training Day
Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Fuqua Films, Jerry Bruckheimer Television
Executive Producer(s): Antoine Fuqua, Will Beall, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman
Writer(s): Will Beall
Logline: Set in present day, the story focuses on the relationship between two LAPD officers, one a rookie and the other a corrupt, older cop. Based on the film.
Details: Based on the film, “Training Day,” (2001), directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke.
SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot production commitment back in August. The network officially ordered the pilot on February 1.

What Goes Around Comes Around
Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Kapital Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Dan Kopelman, Aaron Kaplan
Writer(s): Dan Kopelman
Logline: Two forty-something parents who were wild and reckless teenagers now face their worst nightmare—raising three teenagers of their own.
SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on February 1. Kopelman’s previous credits include Rules Of Engagement and Malcolm In The Middle.

The CW

Network: CW Television Network
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Outerbanks Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Rickard Pictures
Executive Producer(s): Jeremy Carver, Dan Lin, Jennifer Gwartz, Toby Emmerich, John Rickard
Writer(s): Jeremy Carver
Logline: A female police detective in 2016 discovers she is able to speak via a ham radio with her estranged father (also a detective) who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder case, but unintended consequences of the ‘butterfly effect’ wreak havoc in the present day.
Details: A re-imagining of the film, “Frequency” (2000) directed by Gregory Hoblit and starring Dennis Quaid.
SSN Insight: CW gave a pilot order. Project was previously in development at at NBC for the 2015-2016 season with a script + penalty commitment.

No Tomorrow
Network: CW Television Network
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Production Company(s): Electus
Executive Producer(s): Corinne Brinkerhoff, Ben Silverman, Sean Canino
Writer(s): Corinne Brinkerhoff, Scott McCabe, Tory Stanton
Logline: Sarah is a risk-averse quality-control assessor who falls for free-spirited thrill seeker Xavier, only to find out he lives his life that way because he believes the apocalypse is coming.
Details: Based on the Brazilian format, “How To Enjoy The End Of the World.”
SSN Insight: The CW gave a pilot order on January 29.

Network: CW Television Network
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Berlanti Productions, Archie Comics Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Jon Goldwater
Writer(s): Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Logline: Set in the present, the series offers a subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica and their friends, exploring the surreality of small-town life — the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade.
Details: Based on the characters from the Archie comics.
SSN Insight: The CW ordered the pilot. The CW initially gave a commitment of a script plus penalty back in October. Project was previously in development at Fox.

Network: CW Television Network
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Production Company(s): Midnight Radio
Executive Producer(s): Hugh Sterbakov, Jeff Pinkner, Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Scott Rosenberg
Writer(s): Hugh Sterbakov
Logline: Set in 1880, a headstrong young woman in search of her missing father ventures from New York City to Transylvania where she teams up with a wrongfully disgraced Scotland Yard detective. Together they witness the births of the most famous monsters and villains in history.
SSN Insight: The CW gave a pilot order on January 29.

Untitled Mars Project (Previously Titled Colony)
Network: CW Television Network
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Production Company(s): Kennedy/Marshall Company
Executive Producer(s): Robert D. Zotnowski, Frank Marshall
Writer(s): Doris Egan
Logline: About a group of explorers sent to colonize Mars, willing to leave their lives behind to brave the dangers of another planet, and the terrifying reality they discover.
Details: Inspired by the story of The Lost Colony, the 16th century British settlement on Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina, whose inhabitants vanished without a trace, sparking a slew of theories about their fate.
SSN Insight: Rolled from 2013-2014. The CW has ordered the pilot. Ian Goldberg was previously attached as an Executive Producer and writer.

Awards 2016: ‘Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy, George Miller To Helm Cannes Jury, James Corden To Host Tonys, SXSW Announces Full Lineup, TV Development For 2/2/16



Awards 2016: ‘Spotlight’ Writer/Director Tom McCarthy on Flipping the Script & Getting Reporters to Open Up to Make a Film with Impact

Tom McCarthy had himself a pretty interesting 2015. It’s rare enough for a director to see two of his movies hit theaters in the same calendar year, much less have them be the most and least acclaimed entries of his filmography, but that’s exactly what happened to the writer-director of such indie classics as The Station Agent, The Visitor and Win Win. (SSN)

Straight to the Croisette: George Miller Selected as Jury President for 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival

A year after the Cannes Film Festival rapturously welcomed Mad Max: Fury Road, Miller will be returning to the festival to serve as jury president this year. No word yet on whom his fellow jury members will be. (COL)

CBS Stays In House For Its Tony Awards Host, Names Tony Winner James Corden To Run the Show

The affable Late Late Show host will lead the 70th annual Tony Awards, which the Peacock Network will telecast live from New York’s Beacon Theatre on June 12th from 8-11 PM. This will be Corden’s first time hosting the Tonys; he won the best actor in a play Tony in 2012 for his performance in One Man, Two Guvnors. (AL)


TV Development For 2/2/16: ABC Orders 13 Pilots, ‘Gilmore Girls’ a Go, Amazon Bringing ‘American Girls’ to Life

Among the other new projects lined up for the various networks is a dating show for Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, the new episodes of Gilmore Girls, a brand new Justice League cartoon, and a secret new project from Louis C.K. Click on the link to read all about it. (SSN)

SXSW Unveils Lineup With James Caan, Ethan Hawke, Keegan-Michael Key Movies

South by Southwest has unveiled most of its eclectic lineup. The 23rd edition of the Austin-based festival opens March 11th with the previously announced Richard Linklater comedy-drama Everybody Wants Some. The nine-day festival will screen 139 films, including 52 films from first-time filmmakers, 89 world premieres, 14 North American premieres and seven U.S. premieres. (VAR)

‘The Fault In Our Stars’ Helmer Josh Boone Pushes Back Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ To Next Direct ‘Revival’

On spec and in concert with producer Michael De Luca and author King, Boone has penned an adaptation based on King’s 2014 bestseller about a charismatic preacher who loses his faith when his wife and child are killed in a tragic accident. Boone and De Luca have submitted the script to Universal, where the producer has a first-look deal; it will likely find a home quickly if that studio doesn’t spark to the tale. (DH)

That New ‘Power Rangers’ Movie Has Its Villain, and Her Name Is Elizabeth Banks

Actress will play big bad Rita Repulsa in the latest big screen incarnation of the long-running franchise, which finds the Rangers, a group of power-infused teens who don brightly-colored costumes and use special vehicles to battle evil, going up against Rita, an alien witch that has decided to conquer Earth. RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludy Lin, Naomi Scott and Dacre Montgomery are playing the Rangers. (EMP)

The Team Behind ‘American Psycho’ Are Reuniting For Another Movie About Monsters

Director Mary Harron and screenwriter Guinevere Turner will make The Family, about the Manson Family murders of 1969. Harron will direct from a script by Turner. The story centers on Karlene Faith, then a graduate student, who met three of the Manson girls while teaching in prison, and followed them on their personal journeys. (SF)

Deep-Web Spelunker Vocativ Is Jumping Headfirst Into Television

Company’s top executives are excited about the debut of its eight-episode series on Showtime, Dark Net, this Thursday at 11 p.m. ET. But the digital media company already has more irons in the fire. The company is also aiming for the silver screen. (AA)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Miles Ahead’

Sony Pictures Classics has released the first look at the upcoming biopic from director and star Don Cheadle. The film also stars Ewan McGregor and opens in theaters April 1st. (TP)

Rep Moves for 2/3/16: Minnie Driver Shifts to CAA, Jason Clarke Signs with WME, UTA Snags Sundance ‘Trash Fire’ Director


UTA/ Anonymous Content: Egyptian comic and satirist Bassem Youssef has signed with both agencies. Youssef rose to fame after the 2011 revolution in Egypt. He appeared in a webisode series funded by Naguib Sawiris’ ONTV. The webisodes sprouted into the series Al-Bernameg, the first political satire and, for a while, the most watched TV show in the Middle East. He’s also appeared twice as a senior Middle East correspondent on the The Daily Show.

WME: Actor Jason Clarke has shifted from CAA to WME. He can next be seen in the WWII drama HHHH, opposite Rosamund Pike, as well as All I See Is You, opposite Blake Lively. Previous credits include Everest, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and Zero Dark Thirty.

CAA: Comedy writer-producer Bob Kushell has shifted from ICM to CAA. He began his career on Dream On and went on to work on The Simpsons, 3rd Rock From The Sun, Grounded For Life and Malcolm In The Middle, among others. He recently co-created ABC’s freshman comedy series The Muppets and served as an executive producer and showrunner before departing in November.

UTA: Director Richard Bates Jr. has signed with UTA. He most recently directed Trash Fire starring Adrian Grenier, which premiered in the midnight sidebar of the Sundance Film Festival. The film is currently being sold by XYZ and Preferred Content. Previously he was known for his horror films including the 2014 Suburban Gothic and the 2012 Excision that also premiered at the Sundance fest.

CAA: Actress Minnie Driver has shifted from UTA to CAA. She most recently was seen on NBC’s About a Boy for two seasons. Previous to that she starred in Lifetime’s two-night Biblical drama The Red Tent. She’s been nominated for an Emmy for her work on the FX drama The Riches as well as the Lifetime telepic Return to Zero. On the feature side she recently starred alongside Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the romantic drama Beyond the Lights.

Gersh: Actress and filmmaker Meg Ryan has signed with the Gersh Agency for full representation. She recently directed the film Ithaca starring Sam Shepard and Tom Hanks, marking her directorial debut. She will next direct the rom-com, The Book. She’s collaborating on that feature with writer Delia Ephron on and it’s based on an original story set in the publishing world.

WME/ 3 Arts: 14-year old actor Michael Barbieri has signed with WME and 3 Arts. He was most recently seen as the co-lead in Little Men, directed by Ira Sachs, that premiered at this year’s Sundance. WME is handling sales of Little Men and will rep Barbieri in all mediums.

Abrams: YouTube star Andrea Brooks has signed with Abrams Artists Agency’s alternative programming and digital media department. Her DIY, beauty, fashion and lifestyle channel, AndreasChoice has upwards of 3.7 million subscribers and has drawn 230 million-plus views. She was nominated for a 2016 Shorty Awards and a 2015 Teen Choice Award and has guested on NBC’s Today.

Film & TV Deals for 2/3/16: Hulu & IFC Films Team Up, XLrator Media Launches Lifeframe, CBS & NBC to Both Air NFL Games


Hulu and IFC Films have inked a multi-year agreement. Under the deal documentaries from IFC Films, Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight Documentary Films will be released on Hulu exclusively directly following theatrical releases and on-demand. The first film under the docu deal will be IFC Films’ King Georges, releasing on February 26.

Baidu’s iQIYI online video platform has signed a multi-year output agreement with 20th Century Fox for new release digital TVOD and exclusive first-run SVOD rights in China to the studio’s theatrical releases. This makes iQIYI the first Middle Kingdom platform to distribute Fox movies via TVOD and SVOD. The companies earlier enriched their existing library licensing deal by considerably increasing the films available on iQIYI’s online streaming service. IQIYI has an wide-ranging catalog of films available online and reached 10 million subscribers.

Independent film distributor XLrator Media has started a documentary releasing label, Lifeframe. They have already set a slate of films including Queen Mimi and It’s So Easy And Other Lies. Under the deal, Lifeframe is teaming with Peter Spirer’s Rugged Entertainment to co-produce three films to be distributed through Lifeframe as well as partner to attain programming for the slate. The first film in this deal is the marijuana documentary Legend Of 420.

Relativity Media has signed a five-year deal with the Los Angeles Media Fund to co-finance and produce upcoming feature films. Terms of the agreement were not given, but reportedly the entities previously co-financed and produced a thriller, The Disappointments Room, to be released this year.

Sinclair Broadcasting will has acquired The Tennis Channel for $350 million. The pay TV service reaches 30 million homes currently, but that number will increase to 50 million with recent carriage deals. Under the deal Sinclair picks up more than $200 million of net operating losses which can be utilized to reduce future taxes.

Discovery Communications has signed a long-term partnership to make the BBC the exclusive free-to-air broadcaster in the UK for the next five Olympic Games. BBC will sub-license exclusive free-to-air audio-visual and non-exclusive radio rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games. Discovery will sub-license from the BBC the exclusive pay-TV rights in the UK to the 2018 and 2020 Games. Additionally, the BBC’s package is enhanced by digital rights to TV content.

Writers-producers Karyn Usher and Lisa Zwerling have inked an overall deal with Lionsgate TV to develop and produce original scripted programming through their new Carpool Entertainment banner. They previously worked together on Presidio Med. Zwerling had a previous overall deal with ABC Studios, where she executive produced Betrayal and co-executive produced FlashForward. Usher had an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV, wrote for the acclaimed drama Prison Break, which she also co-executive produced.

The NFL has inked a deal with CBS and NBC to share the primetime Thursday package with its NFL Network. CBS had divided the games with the league-owned cable net the past two seasons. Each network will broadcast five Thursday Night Football games in 2016 and 2017. The NFL Network will also air eight Thursday night games.

Open Road Films has inked a multipicture deal with Crystal City Entertainment/Boundary Stone Films that gives the company funding to develop its own movie projects. The deal will see two to four films developed annually with each film getting a wide domestic release via Open Road. Foreign sales will be handled by Open Road International and partner FilmNation. Crystal City/Boundary previously funded The Ides of March and Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

Angela Kang has inked a two-year overall deal at AMC to develop new shows, both projects that she would create and projects that she would supervise. Under the deal, Kang will continue to executive produce The Walking Dead, where she has been for the past five years. Her previous credits include FX’s Terriers and on NBC’s One Day.

ITV’s Talpa has signed a joint venture with Middle Kingdom media company Zhejiang Tangde to develop and operate over 200 variety shows of which Talpa owns the copyright. The first production to be aired in China will be Dance Dance Dance, a celebrity competition with augmented reality. Under the deal, Zhejiang Tangde also licenced the rights to produce and broadcast Seasons 5-8 of The Voice Of China for $60 million. Zhejiang is further promising $50 million to be used for the development of local formats.

‘Star Wars’ Wins at VES Awards, Ryan Murphy Launches Half Foundation, CMT Greenlights ‘Million Dollar Quartet’, Paris Event to Showcase Cutting-Edge Tech



‘Star Wars’ Takes Home Top VES Award and Gets Closer to Oscar Win

Star Wars: The Force Awakens topped the feature competition of the 14th annual Visual Effects Society Awards. In nine of the 13 previous years, the winner of the VES Award in the top category went on to win the Oscar in VFX. Here’s the complete winners list. (THR)


‘Fast and Furious’ Will Finally Stop at a Red Light with the 10th Film in the Franchise

Universal’s second most successful franchise will indeed be 10-films long. As is customary for the series, the news comes courtesy of star Vin Diesel’s Instagram account. (DL)

Taking Action, Ryan Murphy Launches Foundation to Tackle Hollywood’s Diversity Issues

Half, a foundation within his 20th Century Fox TV-based production company, aims to have 50 percent of all director slots on his shows filled by women, people of color and members of the LGBT community and will begin outreach efforts at colleges to align candidates with mentors. (THR)

CBS Takes the Bull by the Horns and Adds Dr. Phil Drama Along with ‘MacGyver’ Reboot to Slate

CBS is adding two procedurals to its drama pilot slate, giving orders to MacGyver, a reimagining of the 1985 series and Bull, a trial consultant drama based on Dr. Phil McGraw’s early career, from the popular daytime talk show host. (DL)

Micro-Salon Event to Showcase Cutting-Edge Film Equipment and New Tech in Paris

Organized by the French Cinematographer’s Association, the AFC, the two-day Micro-Salon, part of the Paris Images Trade Show, bows Friday Feb. 5. It will showcase cutting-edge filming, sound and lighting equipment from around the world – with 56 exhibitors this year. (VAR)

Great Balls of Fire! CMT Looking for Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash & More for Their New Scripted Drama

CMT is teaming with Hatfields & McCoys producer Thinkfactory Media to adapt the 2010 Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet into an eight-episode limited series for premiere later this year. Here are some casting breakdowns. (WSJ)

Get Your Submissions Ready as Nickelodeon Opens the 2016 Animated Shorts Program

Designed to mine and cultivate a new generation of creative talent, the Animated Shorts Program will accept domestic and international pitches that will be developed into animated shorts for the Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. audiences. (VAR)

Inside the Odd Business of Cult TV Reboots

For networks struggling to hold onto cord-cutters, and streaming upstarts pushing to prove themselves, the ‘90s reboots offer a prize: The viewers who grew up on these shows are now, a few decades later, making the decisions on cable budgets of their own. (WP)

New Nielsen Study Highlights How to Best Match Voters to the Right TV Program

By this time next year, the debates will be over, political ads will be history and local, state and national candidates will be preparing to take the oath of office. But before any candidate can claim victory, they need to reach voters with the right message during the right TV program. (NL)

Screenplay: ‘Walk the Line’

In light of CMT’s casting calls for Johnny Cash, Elvis and more, here’s a 2003 draft for the Oscar and BAFTA award-winning film, Walk the Line. (SB)

Awards 2016: Gregory Peck’s Academy Revolution, Cox Customers Might Miss Oscars, Redstone Resigns, SSN Events Calendar, Film & TV Deals/Rep Moves For 2/3/16



This Has Happened Before: How Gregory Peck Led A Revolution And Infused Youth & Diversity In The Oscars

For all the talk about “historic” moves to change the makeup of the membership and Board of Governors in response to a threatened Oscar boycott over a woeful lack of diversity in the last two Oscar nomination classes, the Academy faced similar crisis before, and found a way to make it work. Nearly 50 years ago, none other than Atticus Finch himself used his position to oversee a series of sweeping changes in 1967 when he was first elected. (AL)

Carriage Dispute May Result in Oscars Blackout for Some Cox Customers

A consumer watchdog group yesterday warned thousands of consumers that they could miss the Super Bowl and the Oscars due to Nexstar Broadcasting’s dispute with Cox Communications. Three days ago, Cox and Nexstar said they failed to reach an agreement on an increased distribution fee and consumers in nine markets lost access to their local affiliates, including CBS in Las Vegas as well as ABC, Fox and NBC elsewhere. (HRB)


Film & TV Deals for 2/3/16: Hulu & IFC Films Team Up, XLrator Media Launches Lifeframe, CBS & NBC to Both Air NFL Games

Lots going on this week, including a new financing deal for Relativity Media, a new partnership between Discovery Communications and the BBC, and a multi picture deal between Open Road Films and Crystal City Entertainment/Boundary Stone Films. Click on the link to read all about it. (SSN)

Rep Moves for 2/3/16: Minnie Driver Shifts to CAA, Jason Clarke Signs with WME, UTA Snags Sundance ‘Trash Fire’ Director

Plenty of movement happening in Hollywoodland, including a new rep for Meg Ryan and a couple of YouTube stars landing at agencies, as well. To read on, click the link. (SSN)

SSN Events Calendar: All the Award Shows Including the Oscars Along with ‘Deadpool’ & YouTube Red Bowing in February

The final push begins for the 88th Annual Academy Awards and this year Spotlight, The Revenant, Room and many others will compete for accolades at the big show on February 28th. But, there’s still plenty of voting deadlines and other guild awards that pave the way to the Dolby Theater including the DGA, BAFTA and WGA Awards. (SSN)

Sumner Redstone Finally Resigns as CBS Chairman, Will Be Replaced By Les Moonves

Redstone, 92 and in poor physical health, stepped down effective Tuesday and was appointed chairman emeritus. His daughter, Shari Redstone, will continue to serve as vice chairman, as she has since 2005. Moonves said he is honored to accept the chairmanship and thanked Redstone for his guidance and support over the years. (THR)

Nostalgia Still Draws, as FX Sets Records With Its ‘American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson’ Premiere

Cable net will again wait for three days’ worth of time-shifted viewing before making its ratings pronouncements, but the same-day numbers released Wednesday by Nielsen were pretty impressive. In fact, the show set a viewership record for a series premiere with 5.11 million viewers — eclipsing the previous same-day record of 4.83 million for the network’s first-ever drama, The Shield. (VAR)

Greg Berlanti’s Worlds Are Colliding, as ‘The Flash’ and ‘Supergirl’ Will Have a Crossover Event

Grant Gustin, who leads The CW’s The Flash, is officially set to guest-star on an upcoming episode of CBS’ Supergirl, which stars Melissa Benoist as the titular superheroine. The episode is scheduled to air Monday, March 28th at 9/8c on CBS. A potential Flash Supergirl crossover has been the subject of much speculation since before Supergirl even hit the airwaves. (SF)

Syfy Picks Up ‘Incorporated’ Thriller From Matt Damon & Ben Affleck To Series

Created by David & Alex Pastor, who wrote and directed the pilot, Incorporated is set in a near future where corporations have unlimited power. It centers on a young executive who conceals his true identity to infiltrate a very dangerous corporate world to save the woman he loves. But he’ll soon learn that he’s not the only one whose secrets might have deadly consequences. (DH)

It’s Never Too Late to Invest In Your Future: The 15 Most Popular Free Online Courses for Professionals

We live in a time where we all have access to an elite education at our fingertips, not to mention completely free of charge. All you have to do is create a free account at Coursera, and you’ll be ready to take your career into your own hands and become the seasoned professional you’re capable of being. (INC)

Philippe Dauman to Replace Redstone, Soderbergh May End Retirement, Bryan Singer Starting ‘20,000 Leagues’ Movie


Philippe Dauman Replaces Sumner Redstone As Viacom Executive Chairman

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman will replace Sumner Redstone as the company’s executive chairman, the latest in a string of revelations that demonstrate how Redstone’s media empire will be governed. (VAR)

Steven Soderbergh May End Retirement For Channing Tatum Heist Movie

Varying reports have Soderbergh returning to feature films with a caper film starring Channing Tatum and Glen Basner producing. The buzz around Hollywood has major studios clamoring to get a hold of the script, which will reportedly be shopped around later this week. (SR)

Bryan Singer Eyeing Fall Start for ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ Movie

Bryan Singer previously revealed that a new big-screen take on Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea would be his next film, and now we know that he’s planning on starting production this fall. (CS)

Lionsgate “Intends to Explore” Starz Deal

Lionsgate “intend to have discussions with [Starz], its affiliates, and other persons about potential combinations,” according to a regulatory filing. (THR)

‘The Wilding’ Pilot Not Going Forward At USA

USA Network has opted not to proceed with The Wilding, its two-hour supernatural drama pilot from executive producers Tim Kring, writer-creator Silka Luisa and Universal Cable Prods. (DH)

The ‘Taken’ Prequel TV Series Hires A Director With A Particular Set Of Skills

Alex Graves will direct and executive produce the Taken pilot, joining writer and executive producer Alex Cary and executive producer Luc Besson, who directed the first film and co-wrote and produced its sequels. (SF)

Goodbye ‘Manhattan’, The Historical Drama That Never Took Off

Manhattan, one of WGN America’s first scripted series, has ended. The show, which presented a fictionalized history of America’s attempts to build an atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico, during World War II, has been cancelled after its second season. (VUL)

Matt LeBlanc Joins ‘Top Gear’

Matt LeBlanc is joining British TV and radio personality Chris Evans as a presenter on the flagship BBC series when it returns in May. (TVL)

Screenwriters: Conversations With Screenwriting Agents

Paul Peditto discusses the agent relationship, conversations with agents, how to keep an agent, and some examples of what you never want to tell a screenwriting agent. (SM)


Film Development for 2/4/16: More Sundance Sales Including ‘Swiss Army Man’, ‘Gravity’s’ Jonás Cuarón to Write/Direct New Zorro Pic


New Attachments

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Logline: The classic Jules Verne story about a scientist and his adventures in his submarine is retold.
Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox,
Production Company(s): Bad Hat Harry Productions
Producer(s): Bryan Singer, Jason Taylor
Writer(s): Rick Sordelet, Dan Studney
Director(s): Bryan Singer
Details: Based on the novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” written by Jules Verne and published in 1870.
SSN Insight: Singer directed the upcoming, X-Men: Apocalypse, slated for a May 27 release.

Fifty Shades Darker
Logline: Anastasia has broken off her relationship with the troubled Christian to pursue a new career in a Seattle publishing house.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Trigger Street Productions, Michael De Luca Productions
Producer(s): Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, E.L. James
Writer(s): Niall Leonard
Director(s): James Foley
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Kim Basinger
Details: Based on the book “Fifty Shades Darker,” the second book in the Fifty Shade trilogy, written by E.L. James and published by Vintage on April 17, 2012.Sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey” (USA/2015) directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.
SSN Insight: Sam Taylor-Johnson was previously attached to direct.

Final Score
Logline: Set during a major sporting event when the stadium is seized by a group of heavily armed criminals demanding ransom. An ex-soldier must save the 35,000 in the crowd — one of which is the daughter of his fallen comrade.
Production Company(s): Highland Film Group, Signature Entertainment, The Fyzz Facility
Director(s): Scott Mann
SSN Insight: Highland Film Group will EP and also handle international sales rights at the upcoming European Film Market. Signature is eyeing a 2017 release in the UK. Shooting will take place at London’s Upton Park Stadium.

Frank and Lola
Logline: On Halloween night, Frank, a chef at a restaurant, falls in love with Lola, a mysterious girl who’s new in town. The young couples’ passionate relationship is threatened when the woman’s past comes back to haunt them both.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Killer Films, Lola Pictures, Parts and Labor , Preferred Content
Producer(s): John Baker, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Christopher Ramirez
Writer(s): Matthew Ross
Director(s): Matthew Ross
Cast: Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Justin Long, Rosanna Arquette, Michael Nyqvist
SSN Insight: Previously in development with Paper Street Films. Olga Kurylenko was previously attached to star. Universal signed a deal for most of the world for a minimum guarantee north of $2 million for the feature during Sundance.

Logline: New Orleans Saints defensive back Steve Gleason chronicles his journey after being diagnosed with ALS at age 34.
Studio/Distributor(s): Amazon, Open Road Films
Producer(s): Seth Gordon, Kimi Culp, Kevin Lake
Writer(s): J. Clay Tweel
Director(s): J. Clay Tweel
SSN Insight: Amazon acquired domestic distribution rights following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Amazon will partner with Open Road Films for a domestic theatrical release.

Logline: Centers on a 19-year-old reeling from a terrifying assault who enrolls in the same college as his brother and pledges his fraternity. As the hazing escalates in the name of “brotherhood,” his loyalty to his real brother is tested.
Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount Home Video
Production Company(s): Killer Films, John Wells Productions, Rabbit Bandini Productions, Rough House Pictures
Producer(s): Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, James Franco, Vince Jolivette, David Gordon Green
Writer(s): Andrew Neel, Mike Roberts, David Gordon Green
Director(s): Andrew Neel
Cast: Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, Gus Halper, Daniel Flaherty, Virginia Gardner
Details: Based on the novel “Goat: A Memoir” written by Brad Land published by Random House; February 3, 2004.
SSN Insight: Paramount Home Video has bought worldwide rights to Goat during Sundance for an estimated $2.5 million. The film played in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the fest.

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
Logline: This documentary explores the rise of Norman Lear, one of the most legendary television producers of all time. He brought provocative subjects, including poverty, war, and prejudice into millions of homes each week through comedic stories, proving that social change is possible through laughter.
Studio/Distributor(s): Music Box Films
Production Company(s): American Masters Productions, Loki Films, Jonathan D. Lewis Foundation
Producer(s): Suzanne Hillinger, Brent Miller
Writer(s): No Screenplay Available.
Director(s): Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
SSN Insight: Music Box acquired domestic rights following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Power Rangers
Logline: A group of teenagers who have been chosen to protect the world from aliens do it by morphing into superheroes and piloting giant robots.
Studio/Distributor(s): Lionsgate, Lionsgate
Production Company(s): Saban Brands LLC, Allison Shearmur Productions
Producer(s): Haim Saban, Brian Casentini, Allison Shearmur
Writer(s): Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz
Director(s): Dean Israelite
Cast: Naomi Scott, Dacre Montgomery, Ludi Lin, RJ Cyler, Becky G., Elizabeth Banks
Details: Based on the live-action TV series “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” which originally aired on Fox Kids from August 28, 1993 through November 27, 1995.
SSN Insight: The franchise has been in production ever since with the series re-named each year. Roberto Orci previously attached to produce.

Rally Car
Logline: An American race car driver participates in a race in China.
Production Company(s): Company Films, Fundamental Films
Producer(s): Stephen Hamel, Keanu Reeves, Mark Gao, Gregory Ouanhon
Writer(s): Jeremy Lott
Director(s): Harald Zwart
Cast: Keanu Reeves
SSN Insight: Zwarts previous credits include The Karate Kid (2010) and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

Logline: When there is a deathly home invasion in the quiet town of Suburbicon, a seemingly perfect family turns to blackmail, revenge and betrayal.
Studio/Distributor(s): Black Bear Pictures (Financier)
Production Company(s): Silver Pictures, Mike Zoss Productions, Smokehouse Pictures
Producer(s): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Joel Silver, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Writer(s): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Director(s): George Clooney
Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Josh Brolin
SSN Insight: Previously in development at Warner Bros. Bloom will handle international sales, which Black Bear Pictures will fully finance. Sales will begin at the Berlin Film Festival.

Swiss Army Man
Logline: A man stranded on an island discovers a dead body and, emboldened by his new “friend,” makes one last ditch effort to get home.
Studio/Distributor(s): A24
Production Company(s): Cold Iron Pictures , Blackbird Films
Producer(s): Jonathan Wang, Lawrence Inglee, Amanda Marshall, Miranda Bailey, Eyal Rimmon
Writer(s): Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan
Director(s): Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan
Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
SSN Insight: Screenplay was included in 2014 Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab. A24 acquired domestic rights following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for an estimated low seven figures.

The Commuter
Logline: A businessman on his daily commute home unwittingly gets caught up in a criminal conspiracy, which threatens not only his life but the lives of those around him.
Studio/Distributor(s): Lionsgate
Production Company(s): StudioCanal, The Picture Company
Producer(s): Andrew Rona, Alex Heineman
Writer(s): Philip de Blasi, Byron Willinger
Director(s): Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Liam Neeson
SSN Insight: Olatunde Osunsanmi was previously attached to direct. Previously in development at Gold Circle with Julian Jarrold attached to direct. Previously in development at Boies/Schiller Film Group and Landscape.

The Eagle Huntress
Logline: Thirteen-year-old Ashol-Pan is a young eagle huntress in Mongolia, participating in a tradition usually limited to males.
Studio/Distributor(s): Sony Pictures Classics
Production Company(s): Kissaki Films
Producer(s): Stacey Reiss, Sharon Chang
Director(s): Otto Bell
Cast: Nurgaiv Rys, Alma Dalaykhan
Details: The documentary was inspired by the photography of Asher Svidensky, whose photos of Ashol-Pan went viral on the Internet in 2014.
SSN Insight: Sony Pictures Classics acquired domestic rights following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for an estimated $2 million.

The Family
Logline: An examination of the infamous Manson Family murders through the eyes of graduate student Karlene Faith as she works with three young, brainwashed women who were part of the cult.
Production Company(s): Roxwell Films
Producer(s): Jeremy Rosen, Kevin Shulman
Writer(s): Guinevere Turner
Director(s): Mary Harron
Details: Based on the books “The Family: The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion” written by Ed Sanders and published by Dutton in 1971 and “The Long Prison Journey of Leslie van Houten: Life Beyond the Cult” by Karlene Faith; published by Northeastern University Press May 10, 2001.
SSN Insight: Anonymous Content was previously attached to produce. Project was previously in development at Paramount Pictures.

The Hollars
Logline: John Hollar, an aspiring New York City artist, brings his girlfriend to his Middle America hometown on the eve of his mother’s brain surgery.
Studio/Distributor(s): Sony Pictures Classics
Production Company(s): Groundswell Productions, Sunday Night Productions, Sycamore Pictures
Producer(s): John Krasinski, Michael London, Tom Rice, Ben Nearn, Allyson Seeger
Writer(s): James C Strouse
Director(s): John Krasinski
Cast: John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins, Margo Martindale, Sharlto Copley
SSN Insight: Red Crown Productions was previously attached to produce. Annette Bening had previously been mentioned to star. Chris Cooper was previously in discussions to star. SPC has acquired all rights in the US and Asia to the film in a deal made at Sundance.

The Lovers and the Despot
Logline: In 1970s South Korea, a celebrity director and his actress ex-wife are kidnapped by movie-obsessed dictator Kim Jong-il. Forced to make films in extraordinary circumstances, they also discover a second chance at love.
Studio/Distributor(s): Magnolia Pictures
Production Company(s): Tigerlily Productions
Producer(s): Nikki Parrott, Natasha Dack-Ojumu
Director(s): Rob Cannan, Ross Adam
SSN Insight: Magnolia Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to the film during Sundance.

The Tribes of Palos Verdes
Logline: A teenage girl grows closer to her troubled twin brother and takes up surfing in order to escape their unbalanced family and snobby friends in the exclusive Californian neighborhood of Palos Verdes.
Production Company(s): The Firm
Producer(s): Robbie Brenner, Karen Croner
Writer(s): Karen Croner
Director(s): Emmett Malloy, Brendan Malloy
Cast: Maika Monroe, Jennifer Garner, Stephen Moyer, Cody Fern, Elisabeth Röhm
SSN Insight: Peter Darley Miller was previously attached to direct. Project previously in development with Industry Entertainment and New Line Cinema. Project picked up in-turnaround from New Line Cinema.

Untitled Mary Magdalene Biopic
Logline: A portrait of Mary Magdalene, a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures International
Production Company(s): See-Saw Films
Producer(s): Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
Writer(s): Helen Edmundson, Philippa Goslett
Director(s): Garth Davis
Cast: Rooney Mara (In Talks)
SSN Insight: Mara can currently be seen in her Oscar nominated role in Carol, in an upcoming untitled Terrence Malick film, and in the upcoming film Lion also directed by Garth Davis.

Welcome to Willits
Logline: Locals in the Northern California woods are being attacked by perceived supernatural threats, and when the situation escalates into carnage, a farmer struggles to defend his family.
Production Company(s): Real Horror Show Pictures
Writer(s): Tim Ryan
Director(s): Trevor Ryan
Cast: Bill Sage, Dolph Lundgren, Anastasia Baranova
Details: Based on the short film “Welcome to Willits: After Sundown” (USA/2013) directed by Trevor Ryan.
SSN Insight: Trevor Ryan makes his feature directorial debut with this film. Mark Webber and Teresa Palmer both starred in the Willits short and were originally set to reprise their roles are no longer attached due to scheduling conflicts.

New Projects

Beyond the Sun
Logline: A family adventure based on the Gospels.
Production Company(s): AMBI
Producer(s): Graciela Rodriguez, Gabriel Leybu, Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi
Writer(s): Graciela Rodriguez
Cast: Pope Francis
SSN Insight: For the first time in film history, the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church will play himself in a feature. Reportedly, the pope asked the filmmakers to make a movie for children about the message of Jesus and talks led to his casting. All profits from the faith-based film will be donated to the charities, El Almendro and Los Hogares de Cristo.

Logline: French novelist Colette lives through two world wars to write “Gigi,” which is later adapted into an Oscar winning film.
Production Company(s): Killer Films, Number 9 Films, Bold Films
Producer(s): Pam Koffler, Christine Vachon, Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley, Michel Litvak
Writer(s): Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer
Director(s): Wash Westmoreland
Cast: Keira Knightley (in talks)
SSN Insight: Wash Westmoreland co-wrote the script with his late Still Alice collaborator Richard Glatzer.

Duck Duck Goose (Animated)
Logline: About a highflying bachelor who is saddled with two wide-eyed orphan ducklings as they come face-to-face with the dangers and beauty of the outside world.
Production Company(s): Original Force Animation
Director(s): Christopher Jenkins
Voice Cast: Jim Gaffigan and Carl Reiner, Lance Lim, Zendaya Coleman, Stephen Fry, Jennifer Grey, Molly Shannon, Greg Proops, Diedrich Bader, Rick Overton
SSN Insight: Gaffigan stars TV Land’s The Jim Gaffigan Show and can next be seen in the upcoming feature Drunk Parents and The Bleeder.

Ghost Stories
Logline: A professor of psychology’s skepticism is tested when his former mentor enlists him to help make sense of some disturbing, supernatural happenings.
Production Company(s): Warp Films
Producer(s): Claire Jones, Robin Gutch
Cast: Martin Freeman, George MacKay, Andy Nyman
Details: Based on the stage play “Ghost Stories,” written by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, which opened in Liverpool, England in February 2010.
SSN Insight: Principal photography is due to start in September. Altitude Films will handle sales on the thriller and will open sales at the Efm.

Logan Lucky
Logline: Heist film. Storyline under wraps.
Production Company(s): Gran Via Productions
Producer(s): Gregory Jacobs, Mark Johnson
Director(s): Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Channing Tatum, Michael Shannon
SSN Insight: The script is reportedly being pitched to studios this week, and looking to shoot in fall.

Magic Tree House
Logline: When brother and sister Jack and Annie find a collection of books in a tree house that transport them through history, they go on a quest to help King Arthur and save Camelot.
Studio/Distributor(s): Lionsgate
Writer(s): Will Osborne, Jenny Laird
Details: Based on the book “Christmas in Camelot” written by Mary Pope Osborne and published by Random House in 2001.
SSN Insight: Lionsgate acquired the rights to the “Magic Tree House” book series with plans to develop multiple live-action films for its Summit Entertainment label.

Official Secrets
Logline: A British intelligence officer turns whistleblower after learning about NSA espionage plans designed to ensure passage of a resolution of war against Iraq by the U.N. Security Council in 2003.
Production Company(s): Clear Pictures Entertainment, The Solution Entertainment Group
Producer(s): Elizabeth Fowler
Writer(s): Sara Bernstein, Gregory Bernstein
Director(s): Justin Chadwick
Cast: Paul Bettany, Natalie Dormer, Martin Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Harrison Ford
Details: Based on the book “The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War: Katharine Gun and the Secret Plot to Sanction the Iraq Invasion,” written by Marcia Mitchell and Thomas Mitchell and published by Polipoint Press in 2008.
SSN Insight: The Solution Entertainment Group is handling financing and international sales and will open sales at EFM. UTA Independent Film Group packaged the project and will handle domestic rights.

Logline: Centers on Lyra, known by the number 24, a replica – human model – who was born, raised and observed in a clandestine research facility called the Haven Institute. When Lyra escapes from Haven and meets Gemma, a stranger on a quest of her own, earth-shattering secrets are revealed.
Production Company(s): Awesomeness Films
Details: Based on the book, Replica, written by Lauren Oliver and the first of a two-book series. The book will be published October 4 by HarperCollins.
SSN Insight: Awesomeness Films, the movie division of multichannel platform AwesomenessTV. Awesomeness Films’ Shovel Buddies will screen at SXSW next month.

Logline: After his wife and child are killed, a charismatic preacher loses his faith and becomes a God-like faith healer using dangerous methods of healing.
Production Company(s): Michael De Luca Productions
Producer(s): Michael De Luca
Writer(s): Josh Boone
Director(s): Josh Boone
Details: Based on the novel “Revival” written by Stephen King and published by Scribner in 2014.
SSN Insight: Boone previously directed The Fault In Our Stars. He wrote the script o this film on spec.

Saint Judy
Logline: Centers on Judy Wood, an immigration attorney based in Los Angeles, who argued what became a landmark case in changing the laws of asylum for women into the U.S.
Production Company(s): Cannonball Productions
Producer(s): Paul Biery, Sean Hanish
Writer(s): Dmitry Portnoy
Director(s): Sean Hanish
Details: Based on the true story of Judy Wood.
SSN Insight: Reported to be financed with pre-sales and gap financing through Cannonball Productions, which secured Wood’s life rights. The budget is estimated at between three to five million dollars.

The Big Fix
Logline: This film based on the soccer match-fixing scandal, focuses on the fixer, the man who helped uncover the scandal, and the player who must choose between his honor and his family’s safety.
Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox
Production Company(s): Chernin Entertainment
Producer(s): Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping
Director(s): Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Details: Based on the article “All the World is Staged” written by Brett Forrest and published in ESPN Magazine on May 14, 2012.
SSN Insight: The directors were born in Brussels and directed Black which premiered at TIFF.

The Book
Logline: This romantic comedy is set in the publishing world.
Writer(s): Delia Ephron
Director(s): Meg Ryan
SSN Insight: Meg Ryan recently signed with Gersh for full representation and just completed her feature film directorial effort, Ithaca, starring Sam Shepard and Tom Hanks.

The Fixer
Logline: A former beauty queen becomes a high powered sports agent.
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox 2000
Production Company(s): Goldmann Pictures, Echo Films, Barnyard Media
Producer(s): Jennifer Aniston, Kristin Hahn, Steve Barnett, Bernie Goldmann
Writer(s): Melisa Wallack
Cast: Jennifer Aniston
Details: Based on the Men’s Journal article “The Woman Who Bails Out The NFL’s Bad Boys” by Paul Solotaroff which appeared in the December 2014 issue.
SSN Insight: Wallack previously wrote the screenplay for Dallas Buyers Club.

The Marriott Cell
Logline: Based on the true story centering on the three innocent Al Jazeera journalists who were imprisoned for 400 days in Egypt’s Scorpion prison.
Production Company(s): The Development Partnership
Producer(s): Amr Waked
Writer(s): Michael Bronner
Details: Based on the memoir written by Mohamed Fahmy, one of the journalists held captive. The book will be published by Penguin Random House Canada in October.
SSN Insight: Penguin Random House Canada has also acquired world rights to the book. The Development Partnership is the producing arm of UK talent agency, The Artists Partnership that reps Waked, Idris Elba, Emily Blunt and Jack Huston.

The Nobistor Affair
Logline: Based upon the epic and captivating first-hand account of Vietnam veteran Tim Carmody, who along with seven others was recruited by the U.S. government for a top-secret mission to aid in the coup d’état of the Ghana government that ultimately went horribly wrong.
Production Company(s): Truth Entertainment, 77 Films, No / Ego Films
Producer(s): Joe Newcomb, Richard Van Meter, Jay Thames
Writer(s): David Marconi
Details: Based on the true life story of Vietnam veteran Tim Carmody.
SSN Insight: David Marconi previously wrote Enemy Of The State. Principal photography is scheduled to begin in late 2016 and the film is slated to release in fall 2017.

Three Little Stooges
Logline: 12-year-olds portray the Three Stooges.
Production Company(s): C3 Entertainment
Producer(s): Pablo Velez
Writer(s): Harris Goldberg
Director(s): Harris Goldberg
Details: Based on the comedic team, The Three Stooges.
SSN Insight: The story is for family audiences with the intentions of building a franchise. C3 Entertainment owns the Three Stooges brand and worked with Fox on 2012’s Stooges film. ARC Entertainment will handle North American distribution rights, and The Exchange is handling sales starting at EFM.

Untitled Bluegrass/Dads Comedy Project
Logline: When a member of a group of happily overweight dads has a heart attack, the wake-up call forces them to change their hard-drinking and over-eating lifestyle.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Bluegrass Films
Producer(s): Scott Stuber, Dylan Clark
Writer(s): Wellesley Wild, Kevin Biggins, Mike Desilets
SSN Insight: Bluegrass is currently in postproduction on The Free State Of Jones and Central Intelligence.

Untitled Neil Purvis/Robert Wade Action Project
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Production Company(s): Space Rocket Nation
Producer(s): Nicolas Winding Refn, Lene Børglum
Writer(s): Neil Purvis, Robert Wade
Director(s): Nicolas Winding Refn
SSN Insight: Details are scares, but the film will have an Asian setting with both thriller and action elements. Refn previously directed the feature, Drive.

Woman Walks Ahead
Logline: 19th-century artist and activist Caroline Weldon moved to the Standing Rock Reservation in Dakota Territory to help Sioux chieftain Sitting Bull fight to keep the land for his people.
Production Company(s): Bedford Falls Company, Black Bicycle Entertainment
Producer(s): Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Richard Solomon, Erika Olde
Writer(s): Steven Knight
Director(s): Susanna White
Cast: Jessica Chastain
SSN Insight: The project that has been around for at least ten years and previously had Tom attached to direct.

Logline: A new story about Zorro, the masked outlaw who defends the poor and/or indigenous peoples of the land against tyrannical officials.
Production Company(s): Lantica Media, Sobini Films
Writer(s): Jonás Cuarón
Director(s): Jonás Cuarón
Details: Based on the fictional character Zorro created in 1919 by New York–based pulp writer Johnston McCulley.
SSN Insight: Jonás Cuarón wrote Gravity and wrote and directed the TIFF film Desierto. Principal photography is set to start in the summer at Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios. Lantica will finance, and Pantelion Films will handle international sales to open sales at EFM.

Awards 2016: Nominees’ Conundrum, a Look At Animated Shorts, Focus CEO Sets Departure, FX Finds ‘Legion’ Leads, Film Development For 2/4/16



The Plight Of the White Nominee: Or, the Conundrum Of This Year’s Nominated Actors

Pity the plight of Oscar’s all-white acting nominees. Instead of celebrating, they’re entering a minefield where any comment can explode in their faces. Potential winners planning your speeches, watch out: You face a yellow brick road littered with IEDs. (HRA)

As We Get Closer To the Big Day, We Take a Look At the Animated Short Film Nominees

While the animated short is one of the least discussed categories on Oscar night, it continually provides glimpses of where the medium might be heading, from up-and-coming Pixar animators proving their mettle on a small canvass, to bold visionaries from outside the studio system. This year’s nominations feature generous helpings of both, from CG pomp to hand-drawn intimacy. (IC)


Film Development for 2/4/16: More Sundance Sales Including ‘Swiss Army Man’, ‘Gravity’s’ Jonás Cuarón to Write/Direct New Zorro Pic

One of the biggest Film Development collections ever features updates on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Fifty Shades Darker and Power Rangers, while also covering a lot of attachments and acquisitions. There’s simply too much to list here, so click on the link for the full skinny. (SSN)

Peter Schlessel of Focus Features to Exit as CEO After Universal Pictures International Merger

Universal billed the move as “combining the resources of Universal Pictures International Productions with the highly respected creative legacy of Focus Features,” in order to “grow the specialty film sector both domestically and around the world.” Heading the new entity will be Peter Kujawski, who has been managing director of Universal Pictures International Productions. He will take over after Schlessel departs on April 1st. (VAR)

FX Finds Its Three Leads For the X-Men Pilot, ‘Legion’, and They Come From ‘Downtown’, Pawnee and ‘Fargo’

Cable net is going big for its X-Men take, tapping Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens, Parks and Recreation grad Aubrey Plaza and Fargo alum Jean Smart to star in the pilot from Noah Hawley. Pilot introduces the story of David Haller, a man who may be more than human and who has struggled with mental illness since his teenage years. But after a strange encounter, he is confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and visions he sees might be real. (LF)

‘Brooklyn’ Is Still In Theaters, but That Isn’t Stopping Producers From Developing a TV Spin-Off

Wildgaze Films is considering a series based around Julie Walters’ character, Mrs. Keogh. Wildgaze producers Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey are developing the idea, which will focus on the boarding house seen in the film run by Walters’ no-nonsense owner. With the series now in early development at the BBC’s drama department, the duo is hopeful that Walters will be convinced to star and that other actors from the film might show up. (EMP)

Tina Fey Gets Some Security as Her Production Company Signs First Look Deal With Universal

Emmy winner’s production company, Little Stranger, has made a first-look deal with the studio, which just released Sisters, Fey’s most recent film with long-time collaborator Amy Poehler. Little Stranger has several noteworthy women-centric projects in the works, including the Paula Pell-penned Do Nothing Bitches, which teams Fey with former UFC champion Ronda Rousey. (WAH)

Awesomeness Films Seeks Next Big YA Franchise, Acquires Lauren Oliver’s ‘Replica’

Production shingle has acquired the film rights to the upcoming young adult duology, with the first book in the pair set to hit shelves on October 4th via HarperCollins. Replica follows Lyra, known by the number 24, a replica – human model – who was born, raised, and observed in a clandestine research facility called the Haven Institute. When Lyra escapes from Haven and meets Gemma, a stranger on a quest of her own, earth-shattering secrets are revealed. (TB)

Kristen Wiig and Cate Blanchett Play a Mean Rhett Butler for W Magazine

To complement W Magazine’s “Best Performances” portfolio in its February issue, Editor-at-Large Lynn Hirschberg asked 29 of the actors featured within, including Kristen Wiig, Bryan Cranston, Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Bradley Cooper, Jake Gyllenhall and Amy Schumer, to recite the best lines from familiar films. (CO)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Demoltion’

Fox Searchlight has released the new trailer for the upcoming drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts, in a film directed by Jean-Arc Vallée. The movie will premiere at this year’s South By Southwest Film Festival next month, and hit theaters April 8th. (COL)

Lionsgate to Produce ‘MacGyver’ and ‘Magic Tree House’ Movies, ‘Orange is the New Black’ Renewed, ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Casts Villain


 Lionsgate To Produce ‘MacGyver’ Movie

Lionsgate will produce a new film based on the TV series MacGyver. The film will be produced by Neal Moritz and MacGyver creator Lee David Zlotoff. (WRAP)

Netflix Renews ‘Orange is the New Black’ For Three More Seasons

Netflix has renewed Orange is the New Black for three additional seasons. The fourth season of the prison-set comedic drama, from creator and executive producer Jenji Kohan, will premiere on June 17. (THR)

Lionsgate Picks Up ‘Magic Tree House’ Series

The production company has acquired the rights to the Magic Tree House series with an eye toward developing a multi-film, live-action adaptation under its Summit Entertainment banner.  (SR)

Brit actress Rosamund Pike is circling long-gestating project Guernsey with Harry Potter director Mike Newell also in the mix to direct. (DH)

‘Ghost In The Shell’ Movie Casts Hannibal’s Michael Pitt As Villain

Actor Michael Pitt has joined the cast of Ghost in the Shell as The Laughing Man, the iconic villain fans of the manga know all too well as the extremist leader who’s hellbent on twarting the efforts of Hanka Robotics. (IGN)

Jonas Cuaron To Write And Direct New ‘Zorro’ Movie, ‘Z’

Lantica Media and Sobini Films announced today that Gravity screenwriter Jonás Cuarón will write and direct a brand new Zorro movie for them. The film is simply titled Z. (CS)

Netflix Orders Sophia Amoruso’s ‘#Girlboss’ To Series

The streaming giant is teaming with Kay Cannon and Charlize Theron to turn Sophia Amoruso’s popular autobiography into a comedy series. Cannon (Pitch Perfect) will serve as the showrunner. (VAR)

Fox Just Gave The Lonely Island Their Own ‘SNL’

The comedy threesome will collaborate with Paul Scheer in producing a half-hour sketch-comedy series for Fox called Party Over Here. (VUL)

Screenwriters: ‘Singin’ In The Rain’

The May 23, 1951, unspecified draft by Adolph Green & Betty Comden. (DS)


On the Set for 2/5/16: Vin Diesel & Nina Dobrev Start Shooting ‘xXx’ Sequel, Ben Affleck Wraps Production on ‘Live by Night’



Ashes in the Snow
Logline: A 15-year-old aspiring artist from the Baltic region is deported to Siberia during Joseph Stalin’s reign during WWII.
Production Company(s): Unanimous Pictures, Super Crispy Entertainment, Sorrento Productions, Tauras Films
Director(s): Marius A Markevicius
Producer(s): Zilvinas Naujokas, Marius A Markevicius, Jonathan Schwartz, Chris Coen
Cast: Bel Powley, Jonah Hauer-King
Writer(s): Ben York Jones
Details: Based on the novel “Between Shades of Gray” written by Ruta Sepety and published by Philomel Books in 2011.
SSN Insight: Powley is most known for her performance in Diary of a Teenage Girl. She will next be seen in Equals, alongside Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart. She also wrapped production on Christopher Smith’s thriller Detour and is attached to star in A Storm in The Stars.

Mad to be Normal
Logline: Controversial psychiatrist R.D. Laing, whose experimental methods and use of LSD with patients in 1960s and ‘70s shocked the psychiatric establishment, is the subject of this biopic.
Production Company(s): MMC Independent GmbH, Gizmo Films, Bad Penny Productions
Director(s): Robert Mullan
Executive Producer(s): Peter Dunphy
Producer(s): Phin Glynn, Charlotte Arden, Harriet Hammond
Cast: David Tennant, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Gambon, Gabriel Byrne
Writer(s): Robert Mullan
SSN Insight: Mullan has produced over 40 documentary films for Channel 4, BBC 2, Discovery, Vision TV, and ZDF, including both the award-winning The Man Under the Sea and Bhagwan: My Dance is Complete.

The Last Word
Logline: Retired businesswoman Harriet, controlling to the end, writes her own obituary, but the newspaper writer tasked with the piece insists on learning the truth about Harriet’s life and the two become reluctant partners and friends.
Production Company(s): Pellington Films, Wondros
Director(s): Mark Pellington
Executive Producer(s): Aaron Magnani, Pat Peach
Producer(s): Kirk D’Amico, Mark Pellington, Anne-Marie Mackay
Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, Steven Culp
Writer(s): Stuart Fink
SSN Insight: Mark Pellington is the executive producer on NBC’s Blindspot. He also directed the features I Melt with You, Henry Poole is Here and the documentary U2 3D among others.

The Titan
Logline: In the near future, a military family is relocated so they can participate in a ground-breaking experiment of man’s genetic evolution into space.
Production Company(s): Motion Picture Capital, 42, Automatik
Director(s): Lennart Ruff
Executive Producer(s): Fred Berger
Producer(s): Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Benjamin Pugh, Rory Aitken, Arash Amel, Leon Clarance
Cast: Sam Worthington, Ruth Wilson, Sofia Boutella, Taylor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson
Writer(s): Max Hurwitz
SSN Insight: Sam Worthington recently wrapped production on Hacksaw Ridge and Hunter’s Prayer. He’s also attached to films in active development including Avatar 2, Den of Thieves and Thunder Run.

Welcome to Willits
Logline: Locals in the Northern California woods are being attacked by perceived supernatural threats, and when the situation escalates into carnage, a farmer struggles to defend his family.
Production Company(s): Real Horror Show Pictures
Director(s): Trevor Ryan
Cast: Bill Sage, Dolph Lundgren, Anastasia Baranova
Writer(s): Tim Ryan
Details: Based on the short film “Welcome to Willits: After Sundown” (2013) directed by Trevor Ryan.
SSN Insight: Trevor Ryan makes his feature directorial debut with this film. Mark Webber and Teresa Palmer both starred in the Willits short and were originally set to reprise their roles are no longer attached due to scheduling conflicts.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
Logline: The adventures of Xander “XXX” Cage continue.
Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures, Revolution Studios,
Production Company(s): One Race, Roth Kirschenbaum Films
Director(s): D.J. Caruso
Executive Producer(s): Ric Kidney
Producer(s): Joe Roth, Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Samantha Vincent, Vin Diesel
Cast: Vin Diesel, Jet Li, Tony Jaa, Deepika Padukone, Nina Dobrev
Writer(s): F Scott Frazier, Chad St. John
Details: Sequel to “XXX” (2002) directed by Rob Cohen and starring Vin Diesel and “XXX: State of the Union” (2004) directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Ice Cube.
SSN Insight: Ericson Core was previously attached to direct. Rob Cohen was previously attached to direct.


Logline: Two boys discover a hidden WWII military bunker that contains something that kills every policeman who investigates, but an elderly vet in nursing home knows what it is and gets involved.
Production Company(s): Evolutionary Films
Director(s): John Adams
Executive Producer(s): John Rhys-Davies
Producer(s): John Adams, Diane Shorthouse
Cast: John Rhys-Davies, Rosie Fellner, Tristam Summers, Jack Derges, Anniwaa Buachie
Writer(s): John Adams, Peter Adams
SSN Insight: John Rhys-Davies recently wrapped on the feature Catching Kringle. He’s also currently attached to Black Angel, Junior Crew and The Lion Inside, all in active development.

Girl on the Train
Logline: A young woman gets mixed up in a murder investigation because of what she sees on her daily commute.
Studio/Distributor(s): Amblin Partners, Universal Pictures
Production Company(s): Marc Platt Productions
Director(s): Tate Taylor
Executive Producer(s): Jared LeBoff, Celia D Costas
Producer(s): Marc Platt
Cast: Haley Bennett, Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Édgar Ramírez, Luke Evans
Writer(s): Erin Cressida Wilson
Details: Based on the novel “Girl on the Train” written by Paula Hawkins and published by Riverhead Books in 2015.
SSN Insight: Kate Mara was mentioned to co-star. Chris Evans was previously in negotiations for the role filled by Justin Theroux.

Logline: The true story of the assassination of Hitler’s colleague, Reinhard Heydrich.
Production Company(s): Légende Films, Echo Lake Entertainment, FilmNation, Adama Pictures
Director(s): Cédric Jimenez
Producer(s): Ilan Goldman, Daniel Crown, Simon Istolainen
Cast: Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike, Jack O’Connell, Jack Reynor, Stephen Graham
Writer(s): David Farr, Audrey Diwan, Cédric Jimenez
Details: Based on the book “HHhH” by Laurent Binet; published by Grasset in 2009.
SSN Insight: Screenplay was included in the 2014 Brit List. Title refers to an acronym for “Himmlers Hirn Heisst Heydrich” (“Himmler’s Brain Is Called Heydrich”).

Live by Night
Logline: A young gangster climbs through the ranks during the Prohibition era.
Studio/Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures
Production Company(s): Pearl Street Films, Appian Way
Director(s): Ben Affleck
Executive Producer(s): Dennis Lehane
Producer(s): Ben Affleck, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Todd
Cast: Ben Affleck, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Chris Messina
Writer(s): Ben Affleck
Details: Based on the novel “Live by Night,” written by Dennis Lehane and published by William Morrow on October 2, 2012.
SSN Insight: Aside from his role as Batman across films for WB, Affleck is also developing Bunker Hill, House of Deceit, Race to the South Pole, Sleeper and an Untitled Africa Thriller Project at Warner Bros. he will also direct and star in.

Untitled Jason Bourne Sequel
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures,
Production Company(s): Kennedy/Marshall Company, Pearl Street Films, Captivate Entertainment
Director(s): Paul Greengrass
Executive Producer(s): Christopher Rouse, Henry Morrison
Producer(s): Frank Marshall, Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Jeffrey Weiner, Ben Smith
Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel
Writer(s): Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse
Details: Sequel to “The Bourne Identity” (2002) directed by Doug Liman and starring Matt Damon. Based on the novel “The Bourne Supremacy” written by Robert Ludlum and published by Bantam Books in 1987.
SSN Insight: Originally the film was set to wrap on January 15. Alicia Vikander was recently seen in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Ex Machina, The Danish Girl. She can next be seen in Weinstein Company’s Tulip Fever, John Wells’ Adam Jones with Bradley Cooper and The Light Between Oceans opposite Michael Fassbender.

SSN Box Office Trending Report for 2/5/16: ‘Deadpool’ Killing It While ‘The Revenant’ Holds Steady


-In our latest weekly series, SSN Insider will take a deep dive into the film ticket sales of the week leveraging data from the powerhouse ticketing website, MovieTickets.com. Not only will the infographic pinpoint which movies are claiming the largest piece of the pie from day to day in terms of sales but also which film had the biggest uptick in terms of a percentage variance surge and which had the biggest downtick or steepest dive between any two points.-

Box Office Trending 2-5

Awards 2016: ‘Spotlight’ Forces Vatican Commission, a Look At Doc Shorts, Channing and JGL’s Musical, SSN BO Trend Report, On the Set For 2/5/16



On the Importance Of the Moving Picture: ‘Spotlight’ Kicks Off Vatican Clerical Sex Abuse Commission

As the Tom McCarthy-directed film heads toward $40 million U.S. gross and rolls out overseas, the Best Picture nominee continues to have an impact on the disclosure of predator priests. Today, a Vatican commission on clerical sex abuse started the proceedings with a private screening of the film to kick off a weekend meting by the commission as they prepared to meet on reforms. (AL)

Yesterday Was a Look At Animated Short Film Nominees, Today It’s Documentary Short Subject

The throughline connecting the documentary short nominees is physical and mental sufferings of fellow human beings. The filmmakers follow those who recover the bodies of Ebola patients, a disabled Asian teen, Claude Lanzmann who made the documentary Shoah, a brave girl who confronted her own relatives out to kill her for their “honor” and a man who turned in his own brother, a veteran suffering from PTSD, to the police. (IC)


SSN Box Office Trending Report for 2/5/16: ‘Deadpool’ Killing It While ‘The Revenant’ Holds Steady

In our latest weekly series, SSN Insider will take a deep dive into the film ticket sales of the week leveraging data from the powerhouse ticketing website, MovieTickets.com. Not only will the infographic pinpoint which movies are claiming the largest piece of the pie from day to day in terms of sales but also which film had the biggest uptick in terms of a percentage variance surge and which had the biggest downtick or steepest dive between any two points. (SSN)

On the Set for 2/5/16: Vin Diesel & Nina Dobrev Start Shooting ‘xXx’ Sequel, Ben Affleck Wraps Production on ‘Live by Night’

A whole bunch of projects get up and running this week, including a new film starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried, and another featuring David Tennant, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Gambon and Gabriel Byrne, while Tate Taylor’s Girl On the Train also wraps principal photography. Click the link for more. (SSN)

Cinematic Dream Team: Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt Sign On for R-Rated Musical

Duo is attached to star as two pilots in an untitled musical comedy for Universal Pictures that is designed to be R-rated in nature. Marc Platt, who produced the Broadway musical Wicked, is producing the project alongside Adam Siegel, with Tatum, Gordon-Levitt, Tatum’s partner Reid Carolin, and Peter Kiernan also onboard as producers. Story is unknown, but comes from an original idea that Gordon-Levitt hatched with Michael Bacall, who will write the script. (COL)

Ethan Hawke to Headline Undead Assassin Thriller ’24 Hours to Live’

Fundamental Films and Thunder Road Pictures have snagged the actor to star in their upcoming thriller, with Brian Smrz tapped to direct. Penned by Zachary Dean based on an original script from Ron Mita & Jim McClain, film follows a career assassin who is given a chance at redemption after his employer brings him back to life temporarily, just after being killed on the job. (CS)

‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Just Added Another Key Component, as Bella Heathcote Joins the Cast

The Dark Shadows actress will play Leila, a former relationship of Jamie Dornan’s Christian, who is scarred both emotionally and psychically. This casting follows the announcement that Kim Basinger will play Grey’s Mrs. Robinson-esque first lover. James Foley is set to direct the next two installments of the E.L. James adaptation Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed from screenplays by Niall Leonard. (THR)

Fox Orders Pilots for Female Buddy Cop Comedy & Interracial Family Sitcom

Network is continuing to beef up its pilot slate of comedies, ordering two more projects. The Enforcers hails from writers Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer and centers around two wildly different single mothers with dreams of being police officers. The second is an untitled comedy pilot from writer Chris Case about an African-American, ex-NFL lineman who recently moved in with his white wife and her two oddball sons. (VAR)

ABC Fills Out Keifer Sutherland Conspiracy Drama With an Impressive Cast

House alum Kal Penn, Nikita leading lady Maggie Q, Californication‘s Natascha McElhone and Chasing Life star Italia Ricci are set to co-star opposite Kiefer Sutherland in Designated Survivor, Alphabet’s straight-to-series conspiracy thriller drama about a low-ranking Cabinet member becoming President of the U.S. (DH)

As ‘Trainspotting’ Turns 20 and a Sequel Finally Moves Forward, a Look At the Film’s Complete History

What do you do after a big indie hit like Shallow Grave? In the case of Danny Boyle, Andrew MacDonald and John Hodge, the directing/producing/writing trio behind the 1994 hit, you take £1.5 million and some up-and-coming talent, and head north of the border to film Irvine Welsh’s cult Scottish novel Trainspotting, a series of vignettes concentrating on heroin-hooked anti-hero Mark Renton and his attempts to kick the habit. (EMP)

DGA Winners, Annie Award Winners, NAACP Winners, Weekend Box Office, Paramount Nabs DiCaprio Project



Alejandro González Iñárritu Wins Top DGA Award; Full List Of Winners

The DGAs gave their top prize to Alejandro González Iñárritu for his uphill helming of The Revenant. Iñárritu won the DGA award last year for Birdman. (IW)

‘Inside Out’ & ‘World of Tomorrow’ Take Home Annies

Among the top honors were Pixar’s Inside Out, which won the Best Animated Feature prize as well as 11 other categories — including Outstanding Music, Outstanding Editing, Outstanding Production Design, Outstanding Voice Acting, Outstanding Writing and Best Directing. (AM)

‘Creed’, ‘Empire’, ‘Black-ish’ Top NAACP Image Awards Winners List

Against the backdrop of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy,  the 47th annual Image Awards crowned CreedEmpire, and Black-ish the big winners Friday night. (EW)


Paramount Lands ‘Conquest’; Plan To Re-Team ‘The Revenant’s’ Leonardo DiCaprio And Scribe Mark L. Smith

Paramount Pictures closed a deal for Conquest, a package for a star vehicle that reunites The Revenant star Leonardo DiCaprio with Revenant writer Mark L. Smith. John Davis is sole producer. (DH)

‘The Good Wife’ To End This Season

The Good Wife will come to an end in May after seven seasons. CBS broke the news Sunday via a commercial during its telecast of Super Bowl 50. (TVL)

Berlin Hot List: 17 Buzz-Worthy Titles At The Film Festival

This year’s first international film market likely won’t set prices afire a la Sundance, but it still has starry projects (Brie Larson, Alicia Vikander) and art house royalty (Wim Wenders, James Schamus). (THR)

Kudos Founder Stephen Garrett Launches Character Seven, Boards Fickle Fish’s ‘The Rook’

Stephen Garrett, founder of Kudos, has launched production company Character Seven, which is developing The Rook for Hulu, with Twilight author Stephenie Meyer’s company Fickle Fish and Lionsgate. (VAR)

Watch All the 2016 Super Bowl Movie Trailers

In case you missed any, watch them all here from Alice Through the Looking Glass to The Jungle Book and one last push for Deadpool from Fox. (COLL)


Exec Shuffle for 2/8/16: Moonves & Dauman to Take Over for Redstone, Major Shake-up at Focus Features, Multiple Shifts at Magilla Ent.


Company Launches & Partnerships

According to reports several companies are looking to acquire MCN Defy Media with Viacom as the likely buyer. Reportedly the asking price is in the $500 million range. Defy Media is a multi-platform media business that includes owned and operated sites for teens, young adults – both female and male, video properties and apps.

Rovi and Intellectual Ventures will combine assets into one comprehensive licensing program to focus on over-the-top offerings. Under the deal, Rovi will serve as the exclusive partner for IV, licensing the companies’ combined patent portfolio exclusively to OTT customers.

PYPO, the female oriented digital comedy platform, has partnered with New York Magazine. Under the deal, NY Mag’s The Cut section will debut a PYPO original comedy video each Sunday.

MCN streaming service fuboTV has partnered with 15 new linear networks, all of which are now available on the subscription service. These include Univision, Pivot, El Rey and REVOLT among others.

Kimberly Fox has signed on to MadRiver Pictures as a Partner and will launch an International Sales Arm. The new division will oversee sales and distribution on all MadRiver films as well as films from Vendian Entertainment, that made a strategic investment in MadRiver. Fox will continue to run Megan Ellison’s Annapurna International label and rep all of Annapurna’s titles internationally.

IBM has acquired The Weather Company’s Digital Businesses including TWC’s mobile, cloud-based, web, and B2B properties. The company’s cable channel is not part of the acquisition, though the channel will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM. The impending acquisition was initially announced in October 2015. As part of IBM’s acquisition, TWC CEO David Kenny will now serve as head of IBM’s Watson platform business. Michael Rhodin, who launched the platform business, will serve as Head of Watson Business Development.

Fandango has acquired M-GO, a streaming service previously owned by Dreamworks Animation and Technicolor. The service features movies and TV shows from a variety of networks and studios.


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has named Julie Menin as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Menin, is a lawyer, activist and consumer advocate and campaigned for Manhattan Borough President in the last election. She served previously as Commissioner of Consumer Affairs.

Peter Schlessel is leaving his post as CEO of Focus Features come April. Schlessel will oversee the release of the division’s upcoming releases of Race, London Has Fallen and The Young Messiah before his departure. Current Focus COO Adrian Alperovich, Marketing President Christine Birch and President of Acquisitions Lia Buman will also leave Focus Features in April. Peter Kujawaski, Managing Director of Universal Pictures International Productions, will become the chairman of a reorganized banner that will combine UPIP and Focus. Robert Walak will be upped from UPIP Co-Managing Director to President. Abhijay Prakash will shift from EVP of Film Strategy at Universal Pictures to COO of Focus Features.

Shyama Friedenson has been named the EVP International Marketing at STX Entertainment. In her new post she will be the liaison between STX and its distribution partners overseas and develop the international marketing strategy for STX and supervise international marketing initiatives. She most recently was the Head of International Marketing at StudioCanal.

Sophie Cassidy has been upped from VP to SVP of Production & Acquisitions at Open Road Films.

Joshua Deitell has been upped from Manager of Sales & Acquisitions to the VP of International Sales & Acquisitions at The Solution Entertainment Group.

Jeff Maynard has been named the Head of Post Production at Moon River Studios (Rincon, GA). He was previously a Consultant at Relativity Media.

Lauren Russell has been upped from Creative Executive to the VP of Production & Development at StarStream.

Jeff Small has been upped from Chief Operating Officer to co-CEO at Amblin Partners in addition to his title as President. Amblin Partners also extended CEO Michael Wright’s contract in a multi-year deal.

Bradley Wald has been named the CFO and SVP of Business Operations at LAIKA in Portland. He was previously the Chief Commercial Officer at NBCUniversal International TV Production in London.


Sumner Redstone has stepped down from his post as Executive Chairman at CBS and Viacom and will become Chairman Emeritus at both corporations. It’s been confirmed that Les Moonves, currently CEO at CBS, will take over as Executive Chairman. Philippe Dauman, currently CEO of Viacom, has been named Executive Chairman at Viacom. Shari Redstone voted “no” on that decision at Viacom and will remain Non-Executive Vice Chair. Dauman is a member of the seven-person trust which includes Shari and will control Sumner Redstone’s 80% stakes in Viacom and CBS after his passing.

Tom Christie has been upped from President, Distribution, Business Development and Network Operations to Chief Operating Officer at Showtime Networks Inc. With over 25 years of service at the company, Christie will continue to have oversight of the planning and execution of future strategies and new business ventures.

Joe Earley has signed on to be President of The Jackal Group, Gail Berman’s joint production venture with Fox TV Group. The move comes after he left Fox after 21 years as an executive. In his new post he will oversee all areas of The Jackal Group’s television, film, theater and digital divisions.

Tony Biancosino has been named the SVP of Development at Original Media in New York. He was previously an Executive Producer at Fatstache.

Assaf Blecher has been named the VP of Development & Content at Keshet Broadcasting (Tel Aviv). He was previously the Managing Director at Keshet DCP. Howard Burch has been named the Head of Drama at Keshet UK (London). He was previously the Head of Television at Vertigo Films.

Lee Ann Chmielewski-Larsen has been named the EVP of Production at Viacom Kids and Family Group in New York. She was formerly the SVP of Production at Nickelodeon Group.

Noah Danoff has been named the VP of Development at non-scripted TV production company Magilla Entertainment in New York. He was previously a Freelance Development Producer. Jason Fox has been upped from GM to the President at Magilla Ent. Sabine Kertscher has been upped from Director of Post-Production to the VP of Post-Production. Sean Lee has been upped from VP of Current Series to the SVP of Current Series & Development at Magilla Ent. Courtney Maglione has been upped from Casting Producer to the VP of Talent at Magilla Entertainment in New York. Chris Potocki has been named the Concept Commander at Magilla Entertainment in New York. He was previously a Freelance Producer. Dominick Pupa has been upped from Showrunner to the VP of Current Production at Magilla Ent. Josh Abrahamson has been upped from Development Producer to the VP of Development.

Chris Dickie has been upped from Manager of Development to the Director of Development at Endemol Shine Studios. Alex Soler has been upped from Coordinator to the Manager of Development at Endemol Shine Studios. Sahar Vahedi has shifted from Executive Assistant to Russ Buchholz to a Coordinator of Development at Endemol Shine Studios.

Kamico Drakes has been upped from Director of Development to the VP of Development at Collins Avenue. Michael Hammond has been upped from SVP of Production to the Chief Operating Officer at Collins Avenue. Sandi Johnson has been upped from VP to the SVP at Current Programming. Lindsay Schwartz has been upped from VP to the SVP of Development & Business Affairs. Ben Ziertan has been named the Development Producer. He was previously a Development Producer at Discovery Studios.

Michael Ellenberg has signed a Production deal with HBO. He was previously the EVP of Programming at HBO. Casey Bloys has been upped from EVP of Programming to the President of Series at Late-Night & Specials at HBO.

Jo Honig has been named the Principal at Omelette Bar Productions in New York. She was formerly the EVP of Development at True Entertainment in New York.

Jimmy Jellinek has been named the VP of Content Marketing & Digital Innovation at TBS & TNT. He was previously the President of Entertainment and Chief Content Officer at Playboy Enterprises and Editorial Director at Playboy.

Nick Johnson has been named the SVP of Digital Ad Sales Strategy at Turner Ad Sales in New York. He was previously the SVP of Digital Media Sales at NBCUniversal Sports in New York.

Eddy Moretti and Spike Jonze are now Co-Presidents of Viceland, the new cable network from the digital news and documentary giant Vice Media. Jonze is also the Creative Director of Vice Media. Moretti is also CCO at Vice Media. Guy Slattery has been named the GM at Viceland. He was previously the EVP of Marketing at A&E, History, and H2 in New York.

Stephen Joy has been named the Director of UK & SVOD Sales at Content Television in London. He was previously the Director of TV & Digital at Koch Media UK.

Carla Lewis-Long has been upped from VP to the SVP of Distribution & Affiliate Relations at Pivot in New York. Jerry Blake has been upped from SVP to the EVP of Business & Legal Affairs at Pivot.

Nicholas Ferguson has left her post as Chairman of Sky in London and will pursue other opportunities beginning in April 2016. James Murdoch has been named Chairman of Sky, to take effect in April. He is also the CEO of 21st Century Fox in New York.

Caroline Perez has been named the VP of Development & Production at Science Channel in New York. She was formerly the VP of Production & Development at Destination America.

Neil Regan has been named the VP of Programming at Travel Channel (New York/Knoxville) He was previously the SVP of Current Programming & Development at Zodiak New York.

Hazel Steward has been named the SVP of East Coast Development at True Entertainment in New York. She was formerly the SVP of Media & Channel Operations at Starclub.

Tiffany Trigg has been named the SVP of Unscripted Development & Current Programming at DiGa in New York. She was formerly the Showrunner and Director of the series, Find My First Love.

Bruce Tuchman will leave his post as President at AMC Global and Sundance Channel Global in New York in April and will pursue other opportunities.

Kevin Vargas has been upped from SVP and Head of Production to the COO at Left/Right Productions in New York. Anneka Jones has been upped from SVP of Development to the EVP of Development & Current Production at Left/Right Productions in New York.

Anna Wasylenki has been named the VP of Development at General Purpose Entertainment in Toronto. She was formerly an Independent Writer and Creative Producer.

Robert Wimbish has been named the Director of Programming at HGTV & DIY Network in Knoxville. He was previously the Director of Business & Legal Affairs at Scripps Networks Interactive. Maggie Zeltner has been named the Director of Programming at HGTV & DIY Network in New York. She was formerly a Producer on the series, America’s Next Top Model.

Management, PR, Agencies

Rick Faigin has been upped to EVP of Outreach, Brand Marketing at PMK*BNC. Krista Guilfoyle has been upped to SVP of Brand Marketing.

Agents Kristen Billings, Molly Bruns, Brian Goldberg, Trevor Kossack, and Louiza Vick have been named Partners at Worldwide Production Agency. The agency provides specialized representation to producers, cinematographers, designers, and editors in all areas of the entertainment and advertising industries.

Amanda Burnett and Lily Safran have been upped from Coordinators to TV Lit Agents at UTA.

Kevin Cotter has been named the Director of Literary Affairs at Anonymous Content in New York. He was previously the Creative Executive of Book Scout at Floren Shieh Productions.

Music, Digital, Publishing, Misc.

Ivan Schneeberg and David Fortier have been named the Co-Executive Chairman of Boat Rocker Media and Co-President at Boat Rocker Studios in Toronto. Boat Rocker Media, an expansion and rebranding of Temple Street Productions, includes a division specializing in original digital content, games, apps, virtual reality, and YouTube video. They were both previously the Co-Presidents at Temple Street Productions. John Young has been named the CEO at Boat Rocker Media in Toronto. He was previously the Managing Director at Temple Street Productions.

Zarin Jaffe has been named the Counsel to Business & Legal Affairs at Skydance Media. He was previously an Associate of Legal Affairs at Skydance Television.

Nancy Silverstone has been named the Head of Acquisitions & Content Strategy at 108 Media Corpin Toronto. She was formerly the VP, Program Acquisitions at Starz Network in Colorado.

Jeni Mulein has been named the VP of Scripted Development at Fullscreen, the multi-channel media company owned by AT&T and The Chernin Group. Previously, Mulein served as VP of Event Series at Fox Broadcasting.

Awards 2016: AARP Prizes, Oscar Luncheon Guest List, Red Granite Money Probe, Ava DuVernay Courted By Two Studios, Exec Shuffle For 2/8/16



Tonight’s AARP Movies For Grownups Awards Celebrate Mature Achievements

Forget tired jokes about arthritic winners too stiff to climb up on stage, or audience members too feeble to help them — the 15th Movies for Grownups Awards show, to be held tonight at the Beverly Wilshire, promises to be a star-studded and lively event. This year’s edition honors Lily Tomlin and Bryan Cranston as lead actress and actor for their work in Grandma and Trumbo, respectively, with Ridley Scott earning the director’s award for The Martian. (IC)

The Prestigious Guest List For This Year’s Oscar Lunch Has Finally Been Revealed

Oscar hopefuls, ranging alphabetically from Trumbo’s Bryan Cranston to The Danish Girl’s Alicia Vikander, are expected to attend the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Nominees Luncheon, which will be held Feb. 8 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. All five nominees in the directing category — Lenny Abramason, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Tom McCarthy, Adam McKay and George Miller — are planning to attend. (HRA)


Exec Shuffle for 2/8/16: Moonves & Dauman to Take Over for Redstone, Major Shake-up at Focus Features, Multiple Shifts at Magilla Ent.

Plenty of other action this week, as IBM and Fandango make major acquisitions, the New York Office of Media and Entertainment gets a new commissioner, and a whole bunch of people get promotions. Click the link for more. (SSN)

Feds Probing ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Producer Red Granite’s Money Relationships

Hollywood has been drawn into a federal investigation as the U.S. Department of Justice continues to probe possible wrongdoing by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. An extensive federal investigation in the U.S. is underway to determine whether the crime of money laundering applies to the transactions made by the Prime Minister and others, with the DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section investigating the case. (DH)

No Marvel Movie, No Problem For Ava DuVernay, Who Is Now Up To Direct Two Big Movies

Since flirting with Marvel to potentially take the reins of Black Panther, a job that ended up going to Ryan Coogler, DuVernay has been looking at several projects as her Selma followup. Now, two different studios are now vying for her services. Disney has offered the fantasy A Wrinkle in Time, based on the classic 1963 Madeleine L’Engle novel, and Amblin wants DuVernay to helm Intelligent Life, a sci-fi thriller scripted by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. (COL)

If You Want an Oscar Winner To Play Amy Schumer’s Mom In Her Next Movie, Goldie Hawn Is a Good Place To Start

Originated by The Heat‘s Katie Dippold and inspired by her relationship with her own mother, Schumer has adapted it for her voice, working with regular collaborator and sister Kim Caramele. The story is still mostly being kept quiet but it apparently follows a family holiday that goes horribly, hilariously wrong. Jonathan Levine is on board to direct with Paul Feig producing. It would be the first acting gig for Hawn in 15 years. (EMP)

Pierce Brosnan Will Reunite With Martin Campbell To Adapt an Ernest Hemingway Novel

Brosnan will star and Campbell will direct Across the River and Into the Trees, which follows an American officer serving in Italy right after WW II, faced with news of a terminal illness. Determined to spend his weekend in quiet solitude, he commandeers a military driver for a simple duck hunting trip and a visit to his old haunts in Venice. As his plans begin to unravel, a chance encounter with a young countess begins to kindle in him the hope of renewal. (THR)

Only Three Episodes In, and Syfy Already Knows It Wants Another Season Of ‘The Magicians’

The show will return for 13 episodes, slated to air in 2017. Based on the bestselling series of novels from Lev Grossman, the show hails from Universal Cable Productions and is executive produced by John McNamara, Sera Gamble, Henry Alonso Myers and Groundswell Productions’ Michael London and Janice Williams. (VAR)

Trailer Buzz, Part One: ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’

Twentieth Century Fox has released the first trailer for the upcoming comedy starring Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick. The film hits theaters July 8th. (TP)

Trailer Buzz, Part Two: ‘The Lobster’

Alchemy has released the first look at the upcoming romantic satire, starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Lea Seydoux, Olivia Colman and Ben Whishaw. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, the film hits theaters March 11th. (CS)

Schwentke Exits ‘Divergent’ Series, Weinstein Making Deal on Mary Magdalene Biopic, ‘Collateral Beauty’ Gets Release Date, China Box Office


Robert Schwentke Departs The Divergent Series: ‘Ascendant’

Robert Schwentke, who directed both Insurgent and the upcoming Allegiant, will not return for the final chapter. Schwentke was simply in need of a break after directing back to back franchise installments. A new director is currently being sought and should be announced soon. (CS)

The Weinstein Company Closing In On North American Deal For Mary Magdalene Biopic

The Weinstein Company is closing in on a deal for U.S. and Canada on the Mary Magdalene biopic that Rooney Mara is being pursued for. (DH)

‘Collateral Beauty’ Will Face Off With ‘Rogue One’ In December

The Will Smith starrer has a release date set as December 16th; the same day that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released. (COLL)

China Has Biggest Ever Day At Box Office

Topping the chart was Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid, which earned $40.5 million (RMB270 million) according to the SAPPRFT. (VAR)

Matt LeBlanc Will Star In A CBS Comedy Pilot For A Show Called ‘I’m Not Your Friend’

CBS picked up the comedy’s pilot with early promises of a 13-episode commitment. (VUL)

2016 WriteHer List Names Best Unproduced TV Pilots From Women Writers

The women’s advocacy group inaugurated the small-screen equivalent to the Black List last year. The scripts are evaluated based on a variety of criteria including diversity of cast, the Bechdel Test and the number and quality of female roles. (IW)

Amazon’s ‘Mozart In The Jungle’ Renewed For Third Season

The series about symphony musicians won the Golden Globe for best musical or comedy series last month, with star Gael Garcia Bernal also taking home a trophy. (THR)

‘Angel From Hell’ Cancelled At CBS

A repeat of The Big Bang Theory will fill the 9:30/8:30c time slot, before 2 Broke Girls moves in beginning Feb. 18 — the day after Survivor’s new season reclaims Wednesday’s 8 o’clock hour. (TVL)

Online Film School: If You Want to Get Your Film Into Sundance, Here Are Some Tips from This Year’s Class

Before you start laying plans for Sundance 2017 and beyond, here’s some advice from the directors who just lived their Park City dreams. (IW)

TV Development for 2/9/16: ‘Cruel Intentions’ &‘MacGyver’ Get Pilot Orders, Gerard Butler Developing ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’


A Darker Shade Of Magic
Production Company(s): G-BASE productions
Executive Producer(s): Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel, Danielle Robinson
Writer(s): V.E. Schwab’s
Logline: The book is set in four parallel worlds, with four parallel Londons ruled by different magical powers and monarchies. Grey London, where the people have been told that magic is a myth; Red London, where magic is embraced and thrives; White London, where magic is used by the rulers against it’s people; and Black London, where magic has overpowered the people and corrupted the world beyond repair.
Details: Based on the novel of the same name by V.E. Schwab.
SSN Insight: The project is being developed as a limited series. Schwab also wrote Vicious, which is set up at Story Mining with Scott Free producing.

A Discovery of Witches
Production Company(s): Bad Wolf
Executive Producer(s): Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner
Writer(s): Deborah Harkness, Ashley Pharoah
Logline: Diana Bishop is a young scholar at Oxford who is a descendant of the Salem witches. When she accidentally unlocks an enchanted manuscript, she is compelled to embrace the magic in her blood and enters a forbidden romance with charming 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont.
Details: Based on the novel, “A Discovery of Witches,” which is the first installment of the All Souls Trilogy. It was written by Deborah Harkness and published by Viking on February 8, 2011.
SSN Insight: Series in development. A network has not been signed on. The project is also in development as a feature at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Battle Ready
Executive Producer(s): Joe Carnahan, Tracy Falco, Greg Harris, Chris George
Writer(s): Joe Carnahan
Logline: Battle Ready tells the story of retired Navy SEAL Mark L. Donald, former Marine, combat medic, and physician’s assistant who served his country for nearly 25 years and survived a number of harrowing and dangerous combat missions. The series will focus on Donald’s time in both Iraq and Afghanistan and the extensive, often clandestine combat missions he was engaged in.
Details: Based on Mark Donald’s memoir Battle Ready: Memoir Of A Seal Warrior Medic.
SSN Insight: Joe Carnahan will also direct the pilot. His credits include The Blacklist and State of Affairs.

Big Fan
Network: ABC Entertainment Group
Production Company(s): Banijay Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Jimmy Kimmel, David Goldberg, Caroline Baumgard
Logline: Each episode of the game show will feature one celebrity and three of his or her biggest super fans. The super fans will go head-to-head to see who knows more about the episode’s featured celebrity. The succeeding super fan will move on to the final round in an ultimate showdown, celebrity vs. super fan, to see who knows most about the celebrity. If the super fan wins, their prize is a priceless experience with the celebrity they admire most.
Details: Based on the “Who Knows…?” celebrity vs. super-fan game segment that originally aired on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
SSN Insight: ABC gave a series order on February 8.

Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Production Company(s): Amblin Television, Stage 29 Productions
Executive Producer(s): Paul Attanasio, Dr. Phil McGraw, Jay McGraw, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank
Writer(s): Paul Attanasio, Dr. Phil McGraw
Logline: Based on Dr. Phil McGraw’s early days as head of one of the most prolific trial consulting services of all time.
Details: Based on Dr. Phil McGraw’s early days as head of one of the most prolific trial consulting services of all time.
SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on February 2.

Cruel Intentions
Network: NBC Entertainment
Studio: Sony Pictures Television
Production Company(s): Original Film, AMBI
Executive Producer(s): Roger Kumble, Neal H. Moritz, Pavun Shetty
Writer(s): Roger Kumble, Lindsey Rosin, Jordan Ross
Logline: The story follows the rags-to-riches story of 16-year-old Bash Casey, the son of the late Sebastian Valmont and Annette Hargrove. Upon finding his late father’s journal, Bash learns of the family legacy he didn’t know existed. In search of answers, he trades his small-town Kansas upbringing for a scholarship to the prestigious Brighton Preparatory Academy in San Francisco and soon finds himself in a world of sex, money, power, and corruption he never could have imagined.
Details: Based on the film, “Cruel Intentions,” (1999), written and directed by Roger Kumble and starring Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon. The original source material for the 1999 film was the novel, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” written by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, and published in 1782.
SSN Insight: NBC initially committed to a script plus penalty in October. A pilot order has been given and Sarah Michelle Geller has been approached to reprise her role.

Four Stars
Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Production Company(s): Timberman/Beverly Productions
Executive Producer(s): Becky Mode, R.J. Cutler, Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman
Writer(s): Becky Mode
Logline: Centers on two powerful rival families in the military community of Tampa, Florida who make decisions at the highest levels in the interest of national security.
SSN Insight: Rolled from 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 pilot season. CBS gave a pilot order on February 4.

I’m Not Your Friend
Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Production Company(s):
Executive Producer(s): Jeff Filgo, Jackie Filgo, Michael Rotenberg, Matt LeBlanc, Troy Zien
Writer(s): Jeff Filgo, Jackie Filgo
Logline: A contractor learns that raising his kids is more challenging than expected when his wife goes back to work.
SSN Insight: The series has a commitment penalty attached. A pilot order was given on February 8.

Network: Syfy
Studio: CBS Television Studios, Universal Cable Productions
Production Company(s): Pearl Street Films
Executive Producer(s): Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jennifer Todd, Ted Humphrey, Alex Pastor
Writer(s): David Pastor, Alex Pastor
Logline: The futuristic espionage thriller is set in a future where companies have unlimited power and tells the story of executive Ben Larson, who is forced to change his identity in order to infiltrate a cut-throat corporate world to save the woman he loves. In the process, he’ll take on the entire system — with deadly consequences.
SSN Insight: Pilot order given back in April. Georgina Haig was previously attached as Laura. Syfy has given a series order of 13 episodes.

Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Production Company(s): Atomic Monster
Executive Producer(s): James Wan, Michael Clear, Henry Winkler, Paul Downs Colaizzo
Writer(s): Paul Downs Colaizzo
Logline: Twenty-something Angus MacGyver gets recruited into a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.
Details: Based on the television series, “MacGyver,” starring Richard Dean Anderson, which aired on ABC from 1985-1992.
SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on February 2. R. Scott Gemmill was previously attached to write and executive produce, but was replaced by Paul Downs Colaizzo whose script got the pilot picked up.

Me & Mean Margaret
Network: NBC Entertainment
Studio: Universal Television
Production Company(s): Chernin Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Adam Barr, Peter Chernin
Writer(s): Adam Barr
Logline: The series follows a fiercely candid and often offensive legendary actress and the ambitious 27-year-old lawyer forced to babysit her.
SSN Insight: NBC gave a pilot order on February 2.

Million Dollar Quartet
Network: CMT
Production Company(s): Thinkfactory Media
Executive Producer(s): Leslie Greif, Gil Grant, Jayson Dinsmore, Julia Silverton
Logline: The story of nothing less than the creation of rock ‘n’ roll. Set in Memphis, Tennessee, it’s the story of Sam Phillips, a struggling audio engineer who has a dream of starting his own record label. His first goal was to record blues singers, and he discovered B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, and others. Seeing that white kids secretly enjoyed this music on the radio but wouldn’t buy it, he began to think that a white teen who had a feel for blues could change everything. Enter Elvis Presley. Ultimately, on On December 4, 1956, Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins joined at the Sun Record Studios for an impromptu recording session. Based on the stage musical.
Details: Based on the stage musical, which premiered on Broadway in 2010.
SSN Insight: CMT has given a series order of 8 one-hour episodes for the drama miniseries.

Party Over Here
Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
Production Company(s): Party Over Here, Kablamo!
Executive Producer(s): Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Billy Rosenberg, Paul Scheer
Logline: Skewering everything from pop culture to politics, the show will feature sketch comedy shorts, along with in-studio segments filmed in front of a live audience at the Alexandria Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
SSN Insight: Fox has given a series order.

Penn Vet
Network: Animal Planet
Production Company(s): High Noon Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Jim Berger, Scott Feeley, Sarah Presta, Michael Call, Dawn Sinsel
Logline: The series will document select fourth-year students at the University of Pennsylvania’s highly competitive veterinary school as they complete the program, handing a wide range of cases.
SSN Insight: Animal Planet gave a series order on February 3.

Rillington Place
Network: BBC 1
Production Company(s): BBC In House Productions, Bandit Television
Executive Producer(s): Phillippa Giles, Hilary Salmon
Writer(s): Ed Whitmore, Tracey Whitmore
Logline: The true story of murderer John Christie, his wife Ethel, and their neighbor Timothy Evans, who all lived in the same London apartment complex. Christie murdered at least eight women, including Ethel, strangling them in his apartment. He was eventually arrested and convicted of his wife’s murder, and hanged. But not before Evans was charged with the murders of his own wife, Beryl, and daughter Geraldine, who were also tenants of the house. Evans was hanged in 1950. Christie later admitted killing Beryl Evans, but not Geraldine.
Details: Based on a series of murders that took place in the 1940s and 1950s in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood.
SSN Insight: BBC has given a series order for 3 episodes for the drama miniseries.

Network: NBC Entertainment
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Production Company(s): Amigos de Garcia Productions
Executive Producer(s): Austen Earl, Sebastian Maniscalco, Greg Garcia, Alix Jaffe, Judi Brown-Marmel
Writer(s): Austen Earl
Logline: Newly married Sebastian tries to stay true to his blue collar roots while adjusting to life with his wealthy bride.
SSN Insight: Rolled from 2015-2016. NBC gave a pilot order on February 2.

Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: CBS Television Studios, Sony Pictures Television
Production Company(s): Ridley Scott Films
Executive Producer(s): David Zabel, Ridley Scott, David Zucker, Roger Freet
Writer(s): David Zabel
Logline: A medical student is diagnosed with mirror-touch synesthesia, a condition whereby he is able to vividly feel—or “mirror”—the physical and emotional sensations of other people. He has to navigate through the ways in which his condition could be both an asset and a liability.
Details: Based on the true story of Dr. Joel Salinas.
SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on February 5.

The Enforcers
Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Gavin&Roxie&Hap Productions
Executive Producer(s): Sherry Bilsing, Ellen Plummer, Gail Mancuso
Writer(s): Sherry Bilsing, Ellen Plummer
Logline: Two wildly different single mothers with dreams of being police officers find themselves partnered as inspectors in the Code Enforcement Department. Instead of fighting crime, they have been relegated to handling petty code breaking, like noise complaints, tree trimming and water misuse.
SSN Insight: Fox gave a pilot order on February 5.

The Rook
Network: Hulu
Studio: Lionsgate
Production Company(s): Character Seven, Fickle Fish
Executive Producer(s): Stephen Garrett
Logline: Storyline under wraps, but it will be a London-set supernatural series.
SSN Insight: One of the UK’s most-respected TV execs and former Kudos founder and exec chairman Stephen Garrett has just launched Character Seven and this is the first project out of the gate.

Untitled Laura Steinel Workplace Comedy Project
Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
Executive Producer(s): Sue Naegle, Jeff Schaffer
Writer(s): Laura Steinel
Logline: Jane is caught between trying to manage her charmingly incompetent human resources department and a new eccentric CEO who dreams of bringing the New Jersey plastics plant into the future.
SSN Insight: Fox gave a pilot order on February 4.

Untitled Stephnie Weir Greg Garcia Family Project
Network: CBS Entertainment
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Production Company(s): Amigos de Garcia Productions
Executive Producer(s): Stephnie Weir, Greg Garcia
Writer(s): Stephnie Weir
Logline: Set in Texas, the story centers on a conservative, small town family who is forced to reconcile their family values when they discover their children’s lives are less than perfect.
SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on February 8.

Network: NBC Entertainment
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Doozer Productions
Executive Producer(s): Adam Sztykiel, Bill Lawrence, Jeff Ingold
Writer(s): Adam Sztykiel, Vladimir Caamaño
Logline: A family comedy inspired by Caamaño’s real-life family dynamic living with his Dominican father and older brother in the Bronx.
Details: Inspired by the life of Vladimir Caamano.
SSN Insight: NBC initially committed to a put pilot in November and ordered the pilot on February 2.