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DiCaprio Circles ‘Truevine,’ Netflix Gets ‘Seven Seconds,’ Joe Johnston Directing ‘Starfall,’ Alec Baldwin Exits ‘Shock and Awe’


Leonardo DiCaprio Circles ‘Truevine’ Adaptation For Paramount

Leonardo DiCaprio is looking to star in an adaptation of Beth Macy’s celebrated historical novel Truevine: Two Brothers, A Kidnapping, And a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South. (WRAP)

Netflix Nears Series Order For Racially Charged Drama From ‘The Killing’ Creator, ‘The Accountant’ Director & Fox 21

Netflix is finalizing negotiations with Fox 21 TV Studios for Seven Seconds. The project hails from The Killing creator Veena Sud, with Gavin O’Connor attached to direct. (DH)

Joe Johnston To Helm Chinese-Shot ‘Starfall’

Veteran director Joe Johnston has come on board to helm the science-fiction action movie Starfall which will shoot in China for Wanda. (DAR)

Alec Baldwin Exits Rob Reiner’s ‘Shock And Awe’

Alec Baldwin, who was to play a weeklong role in Rob Reiner’s Iraq movie Shock And Awe, has exited the film over financial timing issues. (DH)

ABC To Adapt Wall Street Drama ‘Equity’ From Amy Pascal Into TV Show

The network is adapting the 2016 financial thriller Equity starring Anna Gunn into a television series from The Strain producer Regina Corrado and ex-Sony head Amy Pascal. The drama hails from Sony TV’s TriStar Television. (THR)

Peter Sarsgaard To Hunt Javier Bardem In ‘Escobar’

Penelope Cruz co-stars in the upcoming film by Fernando León De Aranoa. (IW)

‘Orange Is The New Black’ Actor Brad William Henke Joins Will Smith In ‘Bright’

Brad William Henke has joined Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in Netflix’s Bright. Noomi Rapace and Lucy Fry also star in the pic. David Ayer is directing the $90 million-budgeted pic. (VAR)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt To Star In Sci-fi Film ‘Sovereign’

The Snowden actor is on board to star in Sovereign, a sci-fi thriller from British director Marc Munden. (EW)

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like A Crowded Christmas Box Office

Fox’s move with Hidden Figures to December 25th, makes it the 16th major movie that will hit screens in a five day period. Mix in the three wide releases coming out on December 16th, and that makes it 19.  (TB)


New ‘Willy Wonka’ From Warner Bros, Jodie Foster to Direct ‘Black Mirror’ Episode, CAA Agents to Anonymous, Roger Ailes Miniseries


‘Willy Wonka’ New Film In The Works From David Heyman And Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to the Willy Wonka IP from the Roald Dahl Estate and is planning a new movie. David Heyman will produce with Michael Siegel. Scribe Simon Rich is penning the script. (VAR)

‘Black Mirror’: Jodie Foster To Direct Rosemarie DeWitt In Season 4 Episode

Netflix has tapped Jodie Foster to direct and Rosemarie DeWitt to star in an episode of the fourth season of Black Mirror. The series is slated to begin production later this year and premiere exclusively worldwide on Netflix in 2017. (DH)

Two Top Talent Agents Exit CAA To Become Managers At Anonymous Content

Longtime agents Kim Hodgert and Kami Putnam-Heist have left CAA to become managers at Anonymous Content. It is unclear which clients are in play. (THR)

Roger Ailes Miniseries In Development At Blumhouse Television

A miniseries about ex-Fox News boss Roger Ailes’ in the works at Blumhouse Television. The TV version will be run by writer-director Tom McCarthy.  (WRAP)

Fox Readies FBI Hate Crime Drama From TV Veteran Neal Baer

Fox is currently developing a new hour-long FBI procedural from Baer and writer Cathryn Humphris. The series would follow a newly-assembled FBI task force that investigates and solves hate crimes around the country. (IW)

‘Deadpool 2’ Domino Shortlist Includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lizzy Caplan

Testing has begun for the character of Domino, and the actresses under consideration include Lizzy Caplan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sienna Miller, Sofia Boutella,  Stephanie Sigman and Sylvia Hoeks. (COLL)

‘Workaholics’ Star To Topline Fox Private-Eye Comedy

Pigeon hails from The Office duo Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky and marks a key off-network sale for ABC Studios. (THR)

Ex-‘Castle’ Boss Tapped As ‘Blacklist’ Spinoff Showrunner

Former Castle EP David Amann has been tapped to handle showrunner duties on The Blacklist: Redemption, which stars Blacklist vet Ryan Eggold and Famke Janssen. (TVL)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2′

The first teaser trailer for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 just dropped, and it looks like the whole gang is back: Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and even Tiny Groot. (VER)

Gotham Award Noms, ‘Sinbad’ Movie to Studio 8, Dana Brunetti on the PGA, Tom Hiddleston Joins ‘Early Man’


‘Manchester by the Sea,’ ‘Moonlight’ Lead Gotham Awards Nominations

Kenneth Lonergan’s dark drama “Manchester by the Sea” led all films in nominations for the 26th Gotham Independent Film Awards. (WRAP)

‘Sinbad’ Movie Setting Sail With ‘Game of Thrones’ Director, ‘Lone Star’ Writer

Studio 8 has won a bidding war for Sinbad with Kyle Killen set to write the script and Miguel Sapochnik attached to direct. (THR)

Dana Brunetti Reveals On Facebook That PGA Rules Him Ineligible For Producing Credit On ‘Fifty Shades Darker’

Dana Brunetti took to Facebook last night informing that the Producers Guild of America has pulled his producing credit on Universal’s Fifty Shades of Grey sequel Fifty Shades Darker.  (DH)

Tom Hiddleston Joins The Cast Of Aardman’s ‘Early Man’

Aardman and StudioCanal announced that Tom Hiddleston has joined the cast of Nick Park’s prehistoric comedy adventure, Early Man. Tom is voicing Lord Nooth, governor of the Bronze Age town. (CS)

Michael B. Jordan Inks Film, TV Deal With Skydance Media

Skydance Media signed an exclusive, multi-year agreement for both television and feature film production with Michael B. Jordan and his newly created production company, Outlier Productions. (VAR)

‘Lives of Others’ Director To Adapt Fantasy Comic ‘Thorgal’

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck will develop a live-action take on the best-selling graphic novel about a mysterious boy found and raised by Vikings. (THR)

Participant Media Acquires ‘The Price of Liberty’ Spec With Robert De Niro Producing

Participant Media has acquired the spec The Price of Liberty from writer Michael Gunn. They will produce alongside Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro of Tribeca Films and Cary Granat of Reel FX. (TB)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Logan’

Logan (aka Wolverine 3), starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Stephen Merchant, appears to loosely follow the story of Old Man Logan, a 2008 series written by Civil War scribe Mark Millar.  (VER)

Screenwriters: Making The Most Of Mistakes

Brett Wean explains how the mistakes a character makes can help define him and clear a path to his becoming a hero. (SM)

YouTube Streaming Service Offers CBS, Conan’s Digital Brand, Razer Acquires THX, HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’


Branded Entertainment News

YouTube’s TV Streaming Service Will Offer CBS

YouTube is reportedly working on a standalone TV streaming service that’s slated to be launched next year and has signed CBS to provide over-the-top streaming on the new service next year. (UG)

Why Conan O’Brien Isn’t Afraid Of Becoming A Digital Brand

The late night host talked about how social media and new video formats like virtual reality are shaking up how he creates content for digital platforms and his TV show. (AW)

VR And AR: What Are the Real-World Marketing Implications?

Beyond the terminology, product launches and venture capital investment, do marketers truly know which platform is right for their needs? (AA)

Tastemade Shares Its Recipe For Becoming A Platform Publisher

Tastemade has mastered shooting video for audiences who are using their phones or scrolling through social media. (AE)

Top Deals

Razer Acquires Audiovisual Icon THX As It Explores Growth Beyond The Games Industry

Mattel Creations: New Content For MIP, Reups & Deals

Mattel Creations will be debuting new kids’ content across its iconic brand portfolio at MIPCOM this year, including fresh animated adventures for Barbie, Thomas & Friends and Enchantimals. (AM)

HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ Star Couple, Ratings Gold, Are Making Over Reality TV Too

In Waco, Texas, Chip and Joanna Gaines built an unlikely Disneyland for design lovers while becoming one of today’s rare cable success stories.  (THR)

MetLife Says ‘So Long, Snoopy’

MetLife drops Snoopy in rebrand after three decades of partnering with the Peanuts gang, plus more brand news. (BC)

Hot Projects

Nightmare Time

TBS gave a pilot order to this horror comedy created and executive produced by Aubrey Plaza, Seth Kirschner, Darcy Fowler and   Kieran Valla. Plaza will star in the series. (SE)

The Off Season

ABC digital gave a series order to this comedy web series created by Jessica Conrad and produced by Christopher Hanada and Tanner Kling. (SE)

Carol Burnett Returning to TV, Marisa Tomei in ‘War With Grandpa,’ King Bach in Navy Seal Comedy, Josh Gad in ‘Orient Express’


Carol Burnett To Star In Amy Poehler-Produced ABC Comedy Pilot

The acclaimed comedian is set to star in an untitled multi-camera comedy from executive producers Amy Poehler and Michael Saltzman. (EW)

Marisa Tomei In Talks To Join Robert De Niro In ‘War With Grandpa’

Marisa Tomei is in negotiations to join Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Eugene Levy in the Tim Hill-directed feature The War With Grandpa. (DH)

Vine Star King Bach To Star In Fox Navy SEAL Comedy From McG, Adam Devine

Fox has given a script plus penalty commitment to a comedy Andrew Bachelor — aka King Bach — from McG’s Wonderland Sound and Vision. (VAR)

Josh Gad Books A Ticket On ‘The Orient Express’ Movie

Josh Gad is set to play Hector MacQueen in Fox’s Murder on the Orient Express.  The cast also includes Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench, Leslie Odom, Michael Pena, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kenneth Branagh, who is also directing. (CS)

Erin Foster Comedy From Berlanti Productions In the Works At Fox

Fox is developing another comedy about a young woman with a messy personal life. The untitled single-camera comedy is from actress-writer Erin Foster and Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions. (DH)

Gugu Mbatha-Raw Joins Ava Duvernay’s ‘A Wrinkle In Time’

She will play Mrs. Murry, the mother of Meg and Charles Wallace. Mbatha-Raw joins Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and young actress Storm Reid. (VUL)

Netflix Remake ‘Naked’ Adds Cory Hardrict

Marlon Wayans and Regina Hall are starring in the remake of the 2000 Swedish romantic comedy. (THR)

‘Guilt’ Cancelled At Freeform

Freeform has cancelled the freshman drama Guilt. The cast included Billy Zane, Emily Tremaine and Anthony Head. (TVL)

For This Popular Pay Cable Network, Iiiiiiit’s Showtime

It might not be possible to overtake HBO, but if there ever was a time to reclaim its standing as the number two premium pay cable network and a force to be reckoned with at the Emmys, this is it. (TB)

Weekend Box Office, AT&T/ Time Warner Merger, Tim Miller Exits ‘Deadpool,’ MTV Prez Steps Down


Weekend Box Office Wrap-up: October 23, 2016

In first is Boo! A Madea Halloween, which made $27.6 million. In second place is the action film Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The sequel grossed $23 million, which is actually considerably higher than what the original managed in 2012 ($15.2 million). (SR)

AT&T Acquires Time Warner In Media Mega-Deal

AT&T and Time Warner have agreed to an $85 billion deal — one of the biggest media tie-ups ever. The move will help AT&T expand beyond wireless and Internet service into programming. (CNN)

Tim Miller Exits ‘Deadpool 2′ Director’s Chair

The split was over creative differences between Miller and star Ryan Reynolds. Miller’s departure appears to be amicable as he has already shifted gears to Fox’s sci-fi thriller Influx. (CS)

MTV president Sean Atkins is stepping down after just joining the Viacom cable network in September of 2015. He will stay on through January to consult on the transition. (BB)

‘Sneakers’ Hacker Drama Based On Movie In Works At NBC

NBC has put in development Sneakers, based on the 1992 movie, from former The Mentalist executive producer Tom Szentgyorgyi, husband/wife producing duo Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, and Universal TV. (DH)

Justin Chadwick To Direct ‘Lady and the Panda’ Movie About Ruth Harkness

Justin Chadwick will direct the historical adventure The Lady and the Panda about Ruth Harkness, the first person to bring a live panda from China to the United States. (VAR)

Donald Glover Cast As Young Lando Calrissian In ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Movie

Lucasfilm announced that Glover has officially signed on to play Lando Calrissian in the upcoming young Han Solo movie. The Star Wars spinoff stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han, and will focus on his early years as a smuggler and pilot. (EW)

Chris Pine Joins Ava DuVernay’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and relative newcomer Storm Reid are also on the call sheet for this Disney sci-fi fantasy. (THR)

The Remaking Of A Not Quite Movie Star

While Affleck’s comeback has been fascinating to watch, and his success is well deserved, it’s important to remember that the best work he does in front of the camera — and by far the most appealing he is as a leading man — is when he is actually the one calling the shots behind it. (TB)

Peter Jackson Adapting ‘Mortal Engines,’ Chris McCarthy to Oversee MTV, Warner Bros. Sues Innovative


Peter Jackson And Fran Walsh Adapting ‘Mortal Engines’

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are making the feature Mortal Engines, based on the award-winning book series of the same name from British author Philip Reeve. (CS)

VH1 Boss Chris McCarthy Gains Oversight Of MTV

Chris McCarthy, who has been heading VH1 and Logo, will now also gain oversight of MTV, replacing Sean Atkins. (AA)

Warner Bros. Sues Innovative Artists Over Screener Piracy

Watermarks on the screeners traced pirated copies back to an Innovative Artists client, according to the suit. (THR)

‘Shield of Straw’ Remake In The Works

An English-language remake of Takashi Miike’s Japanese spy thriller Shield of Straw is in development with Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, All Nippon Entertainment Works, Nippon Television, and Chris and Paul Weitz’s production company, Depth of Field. (VAR)

Wendi McLendon-Covey Teams With ‘The McCarthys’ Creator For ABC Hotel Comedy

The Goldbergs star will tap into her experiences working in two-star hospitality for a comedy series project, which has landed at ABC with a script commitment plus significant penalty. (DH)

Margot Robbie In Talks To Join ‘Peter Rabbit’ Movie

The Suicide Squad actress  is in talks to lend her voice to the upcoming live-action and CG adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s beloved children’s book. (EW)

10 Producers To Watch 2016

Variety’s annual list of 10 up and coming producers to put and keep on your radar. (VAR)

How Nickelodeon Got America Hooked On Cable

Nickelodeon — the self-described “first network for kids” — best illustrates how the cable industry waged its successful assault on broadcasters’ decades-old hegemony by getting adults to spring for cable. (VUL)

Screenwriters: Good Enough Writing

Is your script “good enough” or is it ready to go out into the world? Barri Evins’ pointers on pushing past good enough writing to make your work impressive. (SM)


‘Shaun of the Sheep 2′ Announced, Antoine Fuqua Pulls Back on ‘Ice,’‘Knight Rider’ Reboot, Jack O’Connell to Play Alexander McQueen


Aardman Announces ‘Shaun the Sheep 2′

Aardman and StudioCanal have announced that they are once again teaming on a sequel to the Oscar-nominated animated feature Shaun the Sheep Movie. (DAR)

‘Ice’: Antoine Fuqua Pulls Back, Remains Executive Producer On DirecTV Series

Antoine Fuqua is taking a step back on Ice, the upcoming drama series for A&T’s Audience network. Fuqua directed the opening episode and serves as an executive producer for the series. (DH)

‘Knight Rider’ Reboot From Justin Lin Set At Machinima

Producer-director Justin Lin is on board for a digital remake of the 1980s TV series. Digital network Machinima has partnered with Lin and his YOMYOMF production shingle, along with NBCUniversal Brand Development.  (VAR)

Jack O’Connell Will Play Alexander McQueen In Andrew Haigh Biopic

The film will follow McQueen and his creative process in the months leading up to his acclaimed 2009 show. (IW)

Charlie Hunnam, Lea Seydoux Team For Drake Doremus-Directed Romance ‘Zoe’

Charlie Hunnam and Lea Seydoux sign on for a romance set at a revolutionary research lab that designs technology set to improve and perfect relationships. IM Global is fully financing the project. (THR)

George Lucas Not Involved In ‘Indiana Jones 5’ Story; Writer David Koepp Talks ‘Crystal Skull’

Steven Spielberg said George Lucas would serve as an executive producer on the film, but in speaking with screenwriter, David Koepp, he revealed that Lucas is not involved in the story of Indiana Jones 5. (COLL)

Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson And Jenna Fischer Join Ben Stiller In ‘Brad’s Status’

Amazon also has come aboard to co-finance Mike White’s comedy with Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. (THR)

Paramount Pictures Nabs Alex R. Johnson Spec ‘Northeast Kingdom’

Paramount Pictures has picked up the spec script Northeast Kingdom from screenwriter-on-the-rise Alex R. Johnson. Platinum Dunes is on board to produce the action thriller which Johnson will also direct. (TB)

Branded Content on SNL, ‘Doctor Strange’ Mention on ‘General Hospital,’ Influencer Marketing, NBCU and Mazda


Branded Entertainment News

This Is What Branded Content Looks Like On Saturday Night Live

While the absence of breaks may not have seemed overtly noticeable over the past three Saturdays, the addition of sponsored sketches certainly should have caught your attention this past weekend. SNL utilized a variety of techniques to introduce brands and products both within and outside of the live sketches. (CC)

Doctor Strange’ Unexpected Crossover With ‘General Hospital’ 

Not long after Doctor Strange premiered in Los Angeles, the Marvel Comics movie made an unexpected crossover with ABC’s soap General Hospital. Viewers and critics in response reacted to the awkward and uncanny mention of the film in the series. (IT)

Finding An Influencer Who Is ‘Just Right’ For Your Brand

Entertainment marketers have increasingly been relying on influencer marketing campaigns to reach Millennial and Gen Z audiences who are less receptive to traditional forms of advertising. (MP)

Top Deals

NBCU, Mazda Team On ‘Drive for Good’

NBCUniversal and Mazda North American Operation are working together on their fourth annual Drive for Good community charity program. (BC)

Snickers Gets Starring Role In ‘Rocky Horror’ Ad Break On Fox

The chocolate bar will be featured in a two-minute commercial break in Fox’s revival of The Rocky Horror Picture Show that will depict how the actors and actresses in the production were transformed into the outlandish characters who populate the off-kilter musical comedy. (VAR)
USA Today Network has released its first ad unit in VR, or what it calls the cubemercial, in a new weekly VR show, VRtually There, in partnership with Toyota. (DR)

Hot Projects


Netflix’s action fantasy film written by Max Landis and David Ayer. Ayer will direct the film and produce via his Crave Films alongside Bryan Unkeless of Clubhouse Pictures and Eric Newman of Arcade Films. Will Smith and Joel Edgerton will star. (SE)


Syfy gave a pilot order to this crime drama based on the graphic novel, Happy! written by Grant Morrison and published by Image Comics. Morrison and Brian Taylor wrote the pilot and executive produce alongside Neal H. Moritz, Pavun Shetty, and Toby Jaffe of Original Film. Universal Cable Productions will produce the project. (SE)

New ‘Oliver Twist,’ Shawn Levy Directing ‘Uncharted,’ Fox Animation Gets ‘Girl Who Drank the Moon,’ Tom Rothman Getting PGA Honors


Disney Plans Musical ‘Oliver Twist’ With Ice Cube, ‘Hamilton’ Director

Disney Studios is teaming with Ice Cube and Thomas Kail, the Tony-winning director of Hamilton, for a modern and musical take on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. (THR)

Shawn Levy To Direct ‘Uncharted’; PlayStation Vidgame Movie On Fast Track

Sony Pictures has set Shawn Levy to direct Uncharted, the long-awaited live-action feature film based on the PlayStation video game series featuring the treasure hunter Nathan Drake. (DH)

Fox Animation Snags ‘Girl Who Drank the Moon’; Marc Haimes To Script

Fox Animation has acquired rights to Kelly Barnhill’s widely acclaimed children’s fantasy novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and has tapped Kubo and the Two Strings co-writer Marc Haimes for the script adaptation. (AM)

Sony Motion Picture Head Tom Rothman To Receive PGA Milestone Award

Sony Motion Picture Group Chairman Tom Rothman will be honored with the 2017 Producers Guild of American Milestone Award. (WRAP)

Paramount Plans Pic Series On Brit Spy Alex Hawke

Paramount Pictures has acquired rights to the Ted Bell action espionage novel series. The studio has set Salt scribe Kurt Wimmer to adapt, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing. (DH)

American, Canadian Animation Digital Studios Merge To Create Wow! Unlimited

Fred Seibert’s Frederator Networks has been acquired by Escape From Planet Earth studio Rainmaker Entertainment to create a kids and animation powerhouse. (THR)

Scarlett Johansson And Jennifer Lawrence Are Battling In Zelda Fitzgerald Biopics

Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence will be thrown into an involuntary comparison battle in the near future, as the two stars are each slated to portray the late Zelda Fitzgerald in dueling biopics. (EN)

Malkovich, Brody, Banderas Join ‘Unchained’

Adrien Brody, John Malkovich and Antonio Banderas are set to star in the Reservoir Dogs-style thriller Unchained for Millennium Films. Shooting begins November 14th. (DAR)

‘Notorious’ Season 1 Order Cut At ABC

ABC has cut the struggling freshman drama’s Season 1 order from 13 episodes to just 10. However, the ratings-challenged series has not been cancelled. (TVL)


HBO Gets J.K. Rowling Crime Novels, Matthew Weiner Project to Amazon, Kevin Hart as Santa, Pixar Films Swap Release Dates


HBO Picks Up ‘Cormoran Strike’ Drama Based On J.K. Rowling’s Crime Novels

HBO has acquired US and Canadian rights to Cormoran Strike, BBC One’s high-profile new limited series based on J.K. Rowling’s bestselling crime novels, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. (DH)

‘Mad Men’ Creator Matthew Weiner’s Next Project Lands At Amazon

Following a heated bidding war, Amazon and The Weinstein Company have emerged as the winners in the Matthew Weiner sweepstakes, landing the Mad Men creator’s next TV project. (TVL)

Kevin Hart In Talks To Play Santa Claus In Disney’s ‘Dashing Through the Snow’

The project is based on an original idea by Scott Rosenberg,and Rob Burnett is writing the current draft. Liar Liar and Elf have been said to be the tonal analogues. (THR)

‘Incredibles 2’ Hitting Theaters A Year Early, ‘Toy Story 4’ Pushed Back To 2019

The Incredibles 2 will debut on June 15, 2018 — the same day that Toy Story 4 was originally slated to bow in theaters. Toy Story 4 will then move to June 21, 2019, filling a slot that The Incredibles follow-up was supposed to occupy. (VAR)

Channel 4 And AMC Teaming On Dramedy ‘Loaded’

Channel 4 is partnering with AMC as co-producer of ‘Loaded’, an eight-part series. The dramedy is a co-production between AMC, Channel 4, Hillbilly Television and Keshet UK. (CS)

Jamie Foxx Making His Directorial Debut With ‘All-Star Weekend’

Foxx is kicking off shooting now on his first film, All-Star Weekend and has Eva Longoria, Jeremy Piven and Jessica Szohr on tap to star alongside him. (EMP)

Michael Shannon, Taylor Kitsch To Lead WACO Miniseries On Spike TV

Michael Shannon will portray FBI negotiator, Gary Noesner, while Taylor Kitsch will take on the role of cult leader David Koresh. (BWW)

Gerard Butler To Return As Mike Banning In ‘Angel Has Fallen’

Millennium Films is bringing the franchise back.  Creators Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt will write the script; no director has been set just yet. (COLL)

Louis CK Endorses Barry Crimmins: ‘Whatever Threatens You’

Comedian Louis CK takes to his own website to endorse and support his long time friend and comedian, Barry Crimmins.  To learn more about Crimmins’ first live stand up special, click here.  (LCK)

Bryan Fuller Steps Down on ‘Star Trek,’ Doug Liman on ‘Unearthed,’ ABC to Adapt ‘John Corey,’ Chris Petrikin to Leave Fox


Bryan Fuller Steps Down As ‘Star Trek Discovery’ Showrunner

Fuller will continue to be involved in breaking stories on the series as an executive producer, but showrunning duties have been handed over to executive producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts. (COLL)

Doug Liman Circling ‘Unearthed’ Adaptation From ‘These Broken Stars’ Scribes

Sci-fi adventure novel Unearthed has landed at Cross Creek Pictures with an eye for Doug Liman to develop and director. (TB)

ABC Sets John Corey Cop Drama Based On Novels; Mace Neufeld & John Davis To EP

ABC has given a script commitment plus penalty to John Corey, a drama series project based on DeMille’s book series. (DH)

20th Century Fox Communications Officer Chris Petrikin To Leave Post

Chris Petrikin, longtime chief communications officer for 20th Century Fox, has announced his departure from the film studio at the end of 2016. (VAR)

Andy Serkis’ Imaginarium To Adapt ‘Riftworld Chronicles’ Web Series For TV

The Hobbit star will reconfigure the online sci-fi comedy toplined by Battlestar Galactica stars Erin Karpluk and Tahmoh Penikett. (THR)

Disney Is Bringing Back ‘Muppet Babies’

Disney has announced it has begun production on a reimagined version of the classic kid series. The series, which will be CG animated, is slated to air in 2018 on Disney Junior. (CNN)

LL Cool J Developing ‘Brotherhood’ Comedy At CBS

The rapper, actor and host — who stars on NCIS: LA — is stepping behind the camera to produce a scripted CBS comedy. (VAR)

Jim Gaffigan Joins ‘Fargo’ Season 3

The actor and stand-up comedian will be part of the FX series’ upcoming third season. Gaffigan will play police deputy Donny Mashman. (TVL)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’

The new Billy Lynn trailer concerns itself less with the movie’s visually-impressive scenes and more with Billy himself, as he returns to the U.S. a war hero, only to find his actions used as part of a patriotic message he has no control over. (VUL)

Soda Brands Started Product Placement, Facebook Includes Profiles in Branded Content, Megaproducers as Brands, BMW Films


Branded Entertainment News

You Can Blame Soda Brands For The Rise Of Product Placement In Entertainment

Coca-Cola’s presence in moviemaking starting in the 80’s with the brands’ purchase of Columbia Pictures. It presaged the open-ended entertainment landscape of today, when any company can be a purveyor of cinema. (VUL)

Facebook Updates Branded Content Policy To Include Verified Profiles

Users with verified Facebook profiles can now share branded content on Facebook, as Facebook announced it updated its Branded Content Policy to include verified profiles. (AW)

Variety’s Business Managers Elite Breakfast Focuses On Megaproducers As Brands

The changing world of content finance and production was the focus of “Megaproducers and the New Hollywood,” a panel at Variety’s Business Managers Elite breakfast. (VAR)

Top Deals

BMW Films Returns With Clive Owen Tearing Through The Streets In The New 5 Series

In celebration of BMW Films 15th anniversary a new short film has launched featuring the the latest BMW 5 Series and return of Clive Owen’s mysterious “driver”. (NA)

Britney Spears In Legal Dispute Over Bumble Dating App Product Placement Deal

Britney Spears is involved in a legal dispute with a creative agent accused of falsely representing her in a product placement deal with the dating app Bumble. (JZ)

Stirring A Sonic Boom: Branded Entertainment Deal With Kellie Pickler

Before her success as a contestant in Fox’s American Idol, Pickler worked at Sonic Drive-In as a rollerskating waitress so her new CMT reality series did a segment on Pickler working there. (MP)

Hot Projects

The Race Card

TNT gave a series order to this reality show starring NBA analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. Barkley will executive produce alongside Lee Gaither, Marc Perman, and Dan Partland. (SE)

Netflix/Untitled Horse Mystery Project

Netflix gave a series order to this coming-of-age mystery drama from Anna McCleery and Vicki Lutas  and executive producers Rebecca Hodgson, Kate Little and Claire Poyser. The series will star Jaylen Barron. (SE)

Jennifer Lopez Starring in ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’‘Good Time’ Acquired by A24, Topher Grace in ‘Under the Silver Lake,’ Studio 8 Gets ‘Dangerous Man’ Article


Jennifer Lopez Will Star In NBC’s Next Live Musical, ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

Bob Greenblatt just revealed that the network will be taking on Bye Bye Birdie in December of next year, with Jennifer Lopez set to both executive produce and star as Rosie Alvarez. (E)

Robert Pattinson’s ‘Good Time’ Acquired By A24

Studio buys the domestic rights to the crime caper in advance of next month’s American Film Market. (WRAP)

Topher Grace Joins Cast Of ‘Under The Silver Lake’

Topher Grace has just joined Andrew Garfield and Dakota Johnson in David Robert Mitchell’s Under The Silver Lake, which is a a modern noir crime thriller set in Los Angeles. (DH)

Studio 8 Finalizes Deal For Otto Skorzeny Biopic ‘A Most Dangerous Man’

The Forward article The Strange Case of a Nazi Who Became an Israeli Hitman by Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman will be the source material for the feature film A Most Dangerous Man at Studio 8. (TB)

Kevin James Producing CBS Sitcom Starring Comedian Gina Brillon

The Kevin Can Wait star is developing a series at CBS set to star comedian Gina Brillon, hailing from writer Adam Barr, a comedy vet from Will and Grace. (VAR)

Eric Bana Joins Whitaker In ‘The Forgiven’

Eric Bana has just signed on to join the cast of The Forgiven based on Michael Ashton’s play The Archbishop And The Antichrist for Link Entertainment and Light & Dark Films. (DAR)

‘The Good Wife’ Spin-Off Adds A Broadway Legend And A ‘CSI’ Alum

Bernadette Peters and CSI alum Paul Guilfoyle have joined the series, which hits CBS All Access in early 2017. (TVG)

‘Heathers’ Reboot At TV Land Casts Its Three Heathers

They join newcomers James Scully and Grace Victoria Cox, who are taking on the roles played by Christian Slater and Winona Ryder in the 1988 cult hit. (THR)

‘Beyond’: A Young Boy Does Extraordinary Things In Short Film Inspired By Early Spielberg Films

The 10-minute short film, written and directed by Jeremy Haccoun, follows a family on a desert road trip. When a rock fall traps his parents inside their car, the 7 year-old boy must find a way to save them before it’s too late. (IW)


Weekend Box Office, Tom Hardy in ‘Fonzo,’ Kellee Stewart Creates ‘BBF,’ Tom Cruise in ‘Methuselah,’ 2016 Bloodlist


Weekend Box Office Wrap-up: October 30, 2016

Coming in first once again is Boo! A Madea Halloween, which brought in $16.6 million in its second weekend. Opening in second is Inferno, the latest installment in Ron Howard’s Robert Langdon trilogy. The thriller managed a weak $15 million in its first three days. (SR)

Tom Hardy To Headline Josh Trank’s ‘Fonzo’

Tom Hardy will star as Al Capone in the upcoming Fonzo. Written and directed by Josh Trank, Fonzo will be produced Russell Ackerman and John Schoenfelder for Addictive Pictures alongside Lawrence Bender. (CS)

Kellee Stewart To Star In ‘BBF’ Comedy At Fox Produced By Cedric The Entertainer

Kellee Stewart is set to topline her own comedy series, teaming with former My Boys co-executive producer Sebastian Jones for BBF, executive produced by Cedric the Entertainer. (DH)

Tom Cruise Will Live Nearly 1,000 Years As ‘Methuselah’ For ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean 5’ Director

Tom Cruise has been slated to lead Methuselah, a Biblical tale following the title character who was said to live 969 years according to the Hebrew Bible, with Joachim Rønning directing and David Heyman producing for Warner Bros. (SF)

Oscars: Academy Receives 145 Feature Documentary Submissions

A total of 145 documentary feature films have been submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration for the 89th Academy Awards. (VAR)

2017 Animated Short Oscar Contenders: A Record Number Of Films Are Competing

This year, 70 animated shorts qualified for the best animated short category of the Academy Awards, a record-setting total for the category. (CB)

Grace Helbig Signs Film, TV Overall Deal With Lionsgate

Comedian Grace Helbig has signed an overall deal with Lionsgate that includes the development of film and television projects. (THR)

2016 BloodList: See the Year’s Best Horror Screenplays, Pilots And Shorts

Joe Russo‘s Soul Mates and Natalie Hanson’s Safe and Sound are among the projects included on horror genre guru Kailey Marsh’s 2016 BloodList of the most-liked screenplays and pilots in horror, thriller, dark comedy and sci-fi. (WRAP)

For One Pay Cable Network, It’s Good That People Are Seeing STARZ

Starz is now the second most subscribed pay cable network but still has yet to find it’s buzzy award winning show. With interesting new projects, current sleeper hits, and a partnership with Lionsgate can the network make the jump? (TB)



‘Escape Plan’ Sequel, Sony Woes, ‘Lucifer’ Season 2 Pickup, Altitude Acquires ‘Rocket Dog’


‘Escape Plan’ Sequel From Emmett/Furla/Oasis; Sylvester Stallone Reprising

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films has green lit a sequel to their 2013 film Escape Plan, with Sylvester Stallone prepared to reprise the role he played in the original, this time in a supporting capacity. (DH)

Top Sony Executives Disillusioned With Film Chairman Tom Rothman

A series of personnel complaints and threatened defections by senior executives have raised questions about the leadership of Sony Pictures Entertainment movie boss Tom Rothman. (VAR)

‘Lucifer’ Snags Full Season 2 Pickup

The network has ordered an additional nine episodes of the devilish drama, bring its Season 2 total to 22 episodes (aka a full-season order). (TVL)

Altitude Takes Animated ‘Rock Dog’ With Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons for U.K.

Altitude Film Distribution has acquired the big-budget animated family film Rock Dog, featuring the voices of Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard and J.K. Simmons, for the U.K. (THR)

‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’ Bringing Back Sarah Paulson’s ‘Asylum’ Character

Season 6 will have an Asylum crossover by having Lana Winters appear in Season 6. Series creator Ryan Murphy made the announcement over Twitter. (COLL)

Riley Keough To Star Opposite Andrew Garfield In A24’s ‘Under the Silver Lake’

Riley Keough is in final negotiations for the female lead opposite Andrew Garfield in A24’s crime noir pic Under the Silver Lake. Director David Robert Mitchell is on board to write and direct the film. (VAR)

‘Before the Flood’: Watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s Climate Change Documentary Now

Fisher Stevens’ new documentary Before the Flood, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, examines our planet’s everlasting ecological nightmare, a look at our bleak future if we continue to stand idly by and a call to arms to stand up for change. Watch it here now. (IW)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Life’

Astronauts and scientists played by Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson, sail through the stars in a giant space station, eventually coming into contact with what appears to be the first-ever alien life form. (WIR)

Screenwriters: Writing Female Characters – She Said; She Said

Doug Richardson explains the complexities, and sometimes harsh realities, of writing female characters for Hollywood. (SM)

Live-Action ‘Snow White,’ Tim Miller Joining ‘Sonic’ Movie as EP, Amy Pascal Gets Pentagon Spec, ‘Flash’ Needs New Director


Disney Developing Live-Action ‘Snow White’

The Girl on the Train screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson will pen the script for the project, which will feature new original songs. (THR)

‘Deadpool’ Director Tim Miller Joins Sony’s ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Movie

Deadpool director Tim Miller has joined Sony’s Sonic the Hedgehog live-action-CG hybrid as an executive producer. Blur Studio’s Jeff Fowler is attached to direct. (VAR)

Amy Pascal Acquires Spec Script ‘The Post’ About The Pentagon Papers

Amy Pascal and her company Pascal Pictures came away with the new spec script, The Post. The script hails from writer Liz Hannah and this is her first spec deal. (TB)

Rick Famuyiwa Is No Longer Directing ‘The Flash’ Due To Creative Differences

Rick Famuyiwa is no longer helming The Flash, making him the second director to leave the project this year. Seth Grahame-Smith was previously attached to the project. (IW)

AFM: Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American and Latin American rights to Michael Haneke’s Happy End, the German master’s anticipated follow up to his Oscar-winning Amour. (VAR)

‘Cruel Intentions’ Sequel Series Not Moving Forward At NBC

NBC has decided not to order the drama to series. Though the pilot was well-received, there are simply too many shows on the network’s midseason roster to keep Cruel Intentions on hold. (TVL)

ABC Buys Prison Comedy From Sanjay Shah & Kapital Entertainment

ABC has put in development a workplace comedy from Fresh Off The Boat co-executive producer Sanjay Shah, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and ABC Studios. (DH)

Chance The Rapper Secretly Filmed A Movie About A Pizza Boy Serial Killer, Here’s the Teaser

A24 is taking the mystery box approach for an upcoming release. The movie is called Slice, which Chance the Rapper filmed in secret in Chicago with music video director Austin Vesely. (COLL)

Hollywood is the Best Advertisement, ‘Transformers 4′ Product Placement Dispute, Upworthy and Facebook’s Content Pieces


Branded Entertainment News

Why Marketers Must Move Beyond ‘Branded Content’ And Create Entertainment

Hollywood is responsible for today’s best adverts and promotional films, not advertisers. The Lego Movie is a cinematic advertisement for Legos. Assassin’s Creed is a promotion for the popular video game series. (AW)

Paramount Pictures Fined In China After ‘Transformers 4’ Dispute

A court in Chengdu, China has fined Paramount Pictures and 1905 Internet Technology, its Chinese production partner, over a breach of contract dispute relating to product placement and the filming of Transformers: Age of Extinction. (YM)

Why Upworthy Was The Perfect Match For Facebook’s Inspirational Branded Content

Between pure sponsorship of videos and posts, co-branded content and more native ad products, Upworthy’s content pieces made with Facebook drove over 31 million social impressions, 11 million video views and over 86,000 shares for Upworthy. (AW)

Top Deals/News

A+E Networks Expands Its Branded Content With Hearst Magazines Digital Deal

A+E Networks and Hearst Magazines Digital Media are teaming up for Hearst-produced branded content videos, which will air on A&E, Lifetime, History, Viceland and FYI. (AW)

Digital Trends Invests $10M To Expand Video, Branded Content

The team at Digital Trends is gearing up to expand its video and advertising efforts, after securing a $10 million line of credit from JPMorgan Chase earlier this month. (MP)

JW Marriott Is Exploring Beyond The Typical Commercial With Branded Travel Series

Mariott International’s Content Studio focuses on distributing content of all types including digital series, documentary-style TV programs or short films. All of these pieces of content are story-driven. (AW)

Hot Projects


CBS gave a pilot order to this medical drama from writer David Zabel who will executive produce alongside Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker of Scott Free Television. (SE)


New Line Cinema comedy based on the article Tag Brothers written by Russell Adams. Ed Helms and Tracy Morgan are attached to star. Todd Garner is set to produce. Screenplay by Mark Steilen. (SE)

Johnny Depp in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Sequel, Sony Launches China Writers Initiative, Critics’ Choice Controversy, Matt Dillon in Lars Von Trier Movie


Johnny Depp To Co-Star In JK Rowling’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Sequel

The actor, who has a cameo in the first film, will take a prominent role alongside Eddie Redmayne in the second in JK Rowling’s Potterverse franchise. (GUAR)

Sony Pictures Entertainment Launches China Writers Initiative

The budding talent will meet with established Hollywood film, television executives and screenwriters to exchange and collaborate on ideas both for Hollywood films as well as Hollywood Chinese co-productions. (WRAP)

Critics’ Choice Announcement Sparks More Resignations

Six more journalists have resigned from the executive committee of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association following the news that TV nominations for the next Critics’ Choice Awards will be announced exclusively on EW.com and the People/Entertainment Weekly Network. (DH)

AFM: Matt Dillon To Star In Lars Von Trier’s Serial Killer Drama ‘The House That Jack Built’

Matt Dillon and Bruno Ganz will star in The House That Jack Built. Lars von Trier is directing the drama. Originally planned as a TV series, the movie will be shot from the perspective of Jack, played by Dillon.  (THR)

Ava DuVernay’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Finalizes Cast As Filming Begins This Week

Leading the charge in an inspired bit of casting is newcomer Storm Reed as Meg Murry, but DuVernay’s ensemble is also filled out by plenty of familiar faces. (COLL)

Martin Sheen & J.K. Simmons Will Voice ‘The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island’

Martin Sheen and J.K. Simmons have boarded the animated feature The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island as voice cast for Legacy Classics and Shout! Factory. (DH)

Paramount Scoops Up ‘Cascade’ Pitch From James Coyne

Treasure Island scribe James Coyne has sold sci-fi pitch Cascade to Paramount Pictures. Details of the plot are being kept under wraps. (TB)

Oscar Isaac To Star In ‘Life Itself,’ A Multigenerational Romance

Oscar Isaac will star in Life Itself. Dan Fogelman will write and direct the project, which is a co-production between FilmNation and Temple Hill. (IW)

Holliday Grainger To Star In J.K. Rowling’s ‘Cormoran Strike’ TV Series

British actress Holliday Grainger has been cast in the BBC’s The Strike Series, which is based on J.K. Rowling’s bestselling crime novels written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. (VAR)

John Singleton Drama at CW, TriStar Re-Ups Minghella, NBC Nabs Sisters Comedy, ‘Magic Camp’ Cast


John Singleton Drama ‘Straight Outta Heaven’ In Development At CW

Singleton is writing and executive producing with Dallas Jackson. (WRAP)

TriStar Pictures President Hannah Minghella Re-Ups With Sony

TriStar Pictures president and longtime Sony Pictures exec Hannah Minghella has renewed her contract with the studio. Minghella was named president of the label in August 2015. (THR)

NBC Nabs Sisters Comedy From Tina Fey, Robert Carlock & Luke Del Tredici As Put Pilot

Tina Fey has sold single-camera comedy The Sackett Sisters to NBC through her Little Stranger banner. (DH)

Adam DeVine And Jeffrey Tambor To Star In Disney’s ‘Magic Camp’

Walt Disney Pictures has set Adam DeVine and Jeffrey Tambor to star in the family comedy Magic Camp. Mean Girls director Mark Waters is attached to direct. (VAR)

An Adaptation Of Stephen King’s 1922 To Star Thomas Jane And Molly Parker

Thomas Jane and Molly Parker will star in the latest Netflix adaptation of a Stephen King story, 1922. Zak Hilditch will direct the film. (VUL)

‘The Current War’ Eyes Tom Holland To Star Opposite Benedict Cumberbatch

Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch are planning to team-up for The The Current War, which has Me and Earl and the Dying Girl director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directing. (CS)

‘Kevin Can Wait’ Shake-Up: Co-Creator Departs Amid Creative Differences

Bruce Helford has stepped down as showrunner of Kevin Can Wait because of creative differences with star Kevin James. (TVL)

‘American Gigolo’ Adaptation Set At Showtime

The premium cable network will team with Paramount to develop a reboot of the 1980 feature, with Neil LaBute set to pen the script. (THR)

There is still plenty of money out there for creators to make the films they want to make, simply because there continue to be audiences for these same films. (TB)