7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: How Apple's iCloud Impacts Hollywood: When Steve Jobs unveiled iCloud on June 6, Apple leapfrogged Amazon and Google in the music sphere. It also embarked on a collision course with UltraViolet, the Hollywood consortium that this year plans to launch a cloud-based system of its own to house digital rights to movies and TV shows. Having clinched licensing deals with the four major record companies in recent weeks, iCloud's "iTunes in the Clouds" will free users from having to sync their music libraries among various devices by creating a copy of their titles on its own servers. By contrast, Amazon and Google require users to upload their entire libraries to their clouds, which can be time-consuming. While Jobs didn't mention movies or TV, neither Apple nor Disney is part of the UltraViolet 70-strong consortium. According to David Wertheimer, CEO of USC's Entertainment Technology Center, Apple now competes with UltraViolet's developer, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, in the digital rights locker space. But he suggests UltraViolet might benefit from Apple's move. "In my mind, work just got a lot easier for UltraViolet," he says, explaining that Apple will spend a "ton of money" educating consumers about how clouds work. While analysts immediately predicted that iCloud will only strengthen the hold Apple has over its own customers, Mark Teitell, DECE executive director, maintains, "The whole key to UltraViolet is connecting the clouds so you're not locked into one retailer or service or device." Once iTunes for iClouds looks to expand into film and TV, Apple will have to renegotiate with the studios. Disney CEO Robert Iger didn't join Jobs -- Disney's largest shareholder -- for the iCloud launch. Disney has its own digital rights locker, Keychest, used for Disney Studio All Access, and has not yet joined forces with iCloud or UltraViolet. Iger has told analysts, "It's not our goal to create a format war." -- Carolyn Giardina and Gregg Kilday
What Katie Will Make at ABC
Katie couric's return to daytime television will be a lucrative one: Sources tell THR that her deal with ABC, announced June 6, will pay her $10 million per year during an initial two-year term as an advance against revenue from the syndicated talk show she plans to launch in fall 2012. The guaranteed money is down from the $15 million a year Couric (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) earned as anchor of CBS Evening News, but she will own a big chunk of her ABC-distributed, Jeff Zucker-produced show, whose profits could reach several hundred million dollars a year if successful. The cost of production is expected to exceed $40 million per year, excluding talent fees and marketing that could reach $20 million. The show is expected to air in the 3 p.m. slot in major markets.
Mary Harron (WME, D/F Management, Epstein Levinsohn) is in talks to direct Wicked Lovely, Universal's teen fantasy project based on the Melissa Marr novels that is being produced by Vince Vaughn's Wild West Picture Show Prods.
Writers Vince DiMeglio and Tim Rasmussen (UTA, Mosaic, McKuin Frankel) have sold a pitch to Disney for The Girlfriend Equation, based on a This American Life story about a grad student who uses math to find a mate. Andrew Panay is producing, with Life host Ira Glass executive producing.
The Book of Eli scribe Gary Whitta (UTA, Circle of Confusion, Behr & Abramson) will write Paramount's animated feature New Kid, adapting from an online comic from Penny Arcade. Mary Parent and Cale Boyter are producing via their Disruption Entertainment.
Veteran TV helmer Don Scardino (CAA) will make his feature directorial debut on New Line's Burt Wonderstone, starring Steve Carell as a magician tasked with rediscovering his inner magic.
Susan Sarandon (ICM) will play a sexy teacher in Columbia's I Hate You, Dad. Also in talks to join the Adam Sandler-Andy Samberg comedy starrer: James Caan, Will Forte, Milo Ventimiglia, Blake Clark, Meagan Fay, Tony Orlando, Dan Patrick and Sarandon's daughter, Eva Amurri.
Deluxe Entertainment Services Group has combined two of its visual effects companies: Method, which Deluxe acquired from Ascent Media in December, and CIS Visual Effects. The company will operate under the moniker Method Studios, targeting feature-film and commercial clients. Its credits include work on X-Men: First Class.
Universal has picked up a sci-fi crime thriller project from Bobby Glickert (WME, Tariq Merhab), a former assistant-turned-filmmaker. Glickert will direct, with Scott Stuber and Justin Lin producing.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer alums Seth Green (UTA, Koopman, Sloane Offer) and Michelle Trachtenberg (UTA, Framework, Schreck Rose) are joining Katee Sackhoff in the indie drama Sexy Evil Genius. Billy Baldwin and Harold Perrineau Jr. also are boarding the project, directed by Shawn Piller.
Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (UTA, Weissman Wolf) have signed to pen a remake of the Japanese monster pic Big Man Japan for Columbia Pictures. Neal Moritz is producing through Original Film.
Management-production house Benderspink has re-upped its deal with New Line for two more years.
Chuck actor Vik Sahay (Evolution) has joined Universal's American Reunion, which will reunite the cast of 1999's American Pie. Sahay will play Stiffler's (Seann William Scott) boss.
Sarah Silverman (CAA, Thruline, Ziffren Brittenham) is penning a new starring vehicle with The Sarah Silverman Program writer-producer Jon Schroeder (UTA) and showrunner Dan Sterling (UTA, Sloane Offer). The project is part of a script deal Silverman has struck with Imagine Television, based at 20th Century Fox Television.
Former Mark Gordon Co. TV president Deborah Spera (WME, Myman Greenspan) has partnered with former Lifetime exec Maria Grasso (WME, Hansen Jacobson) to launch One-Two Punch Prods., which has set up a two-year deal at Sony Pictures TV.
Joe Port and Joe Wiseman (UTA, Myman Greenspan), writer-producers on Fox's Family Album pilot, have inked an overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television and will join Fox's Zooey Deschanel comedy, New Girl, as co-executive producers.
Glee star Jane Lynch (Domain Talent) has signed to host the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 18 on Fox. She is the third woman to host the Emmys alone, following Angela Lansbury and Ellen DeGeneres.
So You Think You Can Dance's Cat Deely (Curtis Brown Group, the Collective) will host the inaugural Critics' Choice Television Awards, set for June 20 and airing on ReelzChannel.
Jane Espenson (CAA, Management Group, Hansen Jacobson) and Liz Tigelaar (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) have come aboard ABC's fall fairy tale drama Once Upon a Time as co-executive producer and consulting producer, respectively.
Eliza Dushku (UTA, The Collective, Morris Yorn) will guest star on USA's White Collar.
Comedy Central and the New York Comedy Festival have signed a three-year extension of a partnership that began in 2008.
HBO has picked up The Union, Cameron Crowe's documentary about Elton John, and will air it in January.
Pitbull (WME, Latium, Leslie Jose Zigel) has entered into a long-term, worldwide co-publishing agreement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Moreover, when the artist's deal with the Universal Music Publishing Group expires, Sony/ATV will administer his catalog.
Producer Alex Da Kid will spearhead a new Interscope Records label called KIDinaKORNER.
Former Top Chef contestant Antonia Lofaso (UTA, Howard Entertainment) has inked a deal with Penguin Group USA member Avery Books to pen The Busy Mom's Cookbook.
Rovio, the Finnish developer of Angry Birds, has bought Finland animation studio Kombo for an undisclosed sum of cash and Rovio stock. Kombo will help develop Angry Birds into TV and Web series as well as a possible feature film.
Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy closed escrow May 26 on Charlize Theron's former home on La Costa beach in Malibu. The property was first listed at $7.5 million but was recently reduced to $6.995 million.
Chris Egan, whose credits include Letters to Juliet and NBC's Kings, has signed with WME. ... Actress Paulina Gaitan, whose credits include Sin Nombre and ABC's upcoming drama The River, has signed with ICM. ... Filmmaker Markus Schleinzer, whose Cannes film Michael was among the festival's buzziest, has signed with ICM. ... Brady Corbet, co-star of the Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene and Lars von Trier's Melancholia, has signed with UTA.