7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEALS OF THE WEEK: Locked-Out NBA Stars Explore Hollywood: NBA players with time on their hands due to the league's ongoing labor dispute are finding that showbiz offers an opportunity to fill their schedules. While some star athletes have long maintained production companies or record labels, the lockout has provided a chance for new business. Earlier in October, New York Knicks star Amare Stoudemire pitched to a handful of major networks a half-hour scripted comedy that he is developing with producers Jeff Kwatinetz and Happy Walters, who is Stoudemire's agent and president of Rogue Sports, Relativity Media's sports business. In September, the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant decamped to Baton Rouge, La., to play himself opposite Brandon T. Jackson in Warner Premiere's Switch, a family comedy centered on a magic twist that transfers Durant's skills to an enthusiastic fan. Such deals aren't just about cashing a paycheck. Jeff Marks of sports business consultancy Premier Partnerships says that the projects are important for developing athletes' brands. "They aren't doing this for free, but at the end of the day, Amare Stoudemire doesn't need an extra endorsement deal or two," Marks says. "I think it is about the personal brand." Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand is president of Gibraltar Films, which produced Werner Herzog's 2007 drama Rescue Dawn. Baron Davis of the Cleveland Cavaliers is a co-founder of L.A.-based Verso Entertainment, which produced Stacy Peralta's 2008 documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America. Davis is spending the lockout focusing on producing the documentary American Schlub, which explores the downfall of men's style, and starring in a pilot for a variety show. Davis, who is working on a film and TV studies minor at UCLA, also is taking acting classes. Whether he'll have time to become a star off the court remains to be seen, but if the NBA season is canceled, the projects have an added benefit. Says Marks, "I think it is also about keeping these guys busy." -- Daniel Miller
Grand Theft Auto Hits the iPad
In a sign that the booming tablet market is changing the video game business, Rockstar Games is putting the mega-selling Grand Theft Auto III on the iPad. GTA III, first released more than a decade ago, is part of a franchise that has sold more than 114 million copies since 1997, making it one of the biggest game properties of all time. Rockstar has spent millions to create tablet and phone versions of the game specifically for Apple and Android devices, and the company plans to adapt its other key franchises, including Max Payne. The move comes as market research firm Gartner says global tablet sales are expected to top 63.6 million units this year, up from 17.6 million in 2010. GTA III marks a shift in the depth of games that will be available for tablets, previously focused on shorter arcade and casual games like Rovio's popular Angry Birds and PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies. "Making it play in a fun and interesting way on the tablet is key," says Rockstar vp creative Dan Houser. "People are getting better at it, but no one has fully nailed it yet. I think we're taking a big step in that direction." -- John Gaudiosi
Melissa McCarthy's (CAA, Schiff Co., Nelson Davis) raunchy road-trip comedy project Tammy, which the Emmy winner co-wrote, will executive produce and possibly star in, has been acquired by New Line.
Rade Sherbedgia (Innovative, the U.K.'s United Artists) has been cast as the villain in Fox and EuropaCorp's Taken 2, which stars Liam Neeson and is filming in Turkey and France.
Patty Jenkins (CAA, Anonymous, Jackoway Tyerman) will direct Thor 2 for Marvel. Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman return.
Morgan Jurgenson (APA, Hung, Eclipse Law) and Alex Ankeles (CAA, Kaplan/Perrone) have sold the sci-fi script Hyperdrive to Paramount. Mary Parent will produce via her Disruption Entertainment shingle. Hyperdrive is about a cop who recruits a geeky sci-fi author to help him track down a murder witness.
Matthew Rhys (WME, Management 360) and Eileen Atkins (the U.K.'s Independent Talent Group) will star in The Scapegoat, an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's 1957 novel, for Island Pictures.
Charlie Saxton (CAA, Station 3) has joined the indie drama The English Teacher, with Julianne Moore, Nathan Lane and Greg Kinnear.
Scott Derrickson (WME, Brillstein, Jackoway Tyerman), the writer-director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, will helm a remake of the Dutch horror thriller Zwart Water from a script he wrote with Paul Boardman. Charlize Theron (WME, One Talent, Hansen Jacobson) is attached to star in and produce the Summit film with Beth Kono.
Sundance Selects has acquired North American rights to The Loneliest Planet, written and directed by Julia Loktev. Gael Garcia Bernal stars in the story of a couple backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains who face the threat of violence.
Millennium Entertainment has acquired the Toronto Film Festival horror pic Intruders and plans a theatrical release in April.
Dick Wolf (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) has sold a project to HBO about a RAND-like think tank on a mission to prevent a nuclear explosion. Howard Korder (CAA, Jackoway Tyerman) will write and Allen Coulter (ICM, Jackoway Tyerman) will direct.
Shonda Rhimes (ICM, Brooke Wharton) has sold her third project this development season and the first outside of ABC. Fox has given a put pilot commitment to Wildwood, a 1980s-set drama. Diane Ruggiero (Principato-Young) will write and executive produce alongside Rhimes and her Shondaland partner Betsy Beers (UTA, Sloane Offer).
Hawthorne actor Adam Rayner (Innovative, ICA Talent, the U.K.'s Curtis Brown) will co-star opposite Melissa George in Cinemax's thriller Nemesis.
My So-Called Life producers Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) are developing Confessions of a Contractor, a Fox drama from 20th Television based on the book by Richard Murphy. Tom Spezialy (CAA, Jackoway Tyerman) will write.
Comedy Central is developing Review With Forrest MacNeil, a half-hour single-camera comedy about an overly earnest critic, with actor Andrew Daly (CAA, Principato-Young, Morris Yorn) attached. Tosh.0 executive producer Charlie Siskel (CAA, Morris Yorn) will write and exec produce.
Touched by an Angel producer Martha Williamson (Paradigm) is developing a chaplain drama for Lifetime.
ABC has ordered full seasons of Revenge and Suburgatory and picked up six additional scripts for Happy Endings.
NBC has picked up six more scripts for Prime Suspect and Harry's Law.
The CW has ordered a full season of its three new dramas: Ringer, The Secret Circle and Hart of Dixie.
Syfy has renewed Haven for a third season.
Actor Mark Consuelos (CAA, Liebman Entertainment) will appear on Fox's upcoming comedy I Hate My Teenage Daughter in atleast two episodes.
Writer Lisa Parsons (Brillstein) is developing a single-camera comedy for MTV, billed as Mean Girls set in the workplace.
Courteney Cox (WME, Brillstein) and David Arquette (UTA, Management 360) will executive produce the comedy Ten Years for NBC. Howard Morris will pen the ABC Studios project.
Producer Mark Gordon (ICM, Hansen Jacobson), ITV Studios and My Name Is Earl executive producer Bobby Bowman are adapting the British comedy White Van Man for ABC and ABC Studios.
Daily Show contributor Aasif Mandvi (ICM, Sweet180) will pen a CBS comedy about a recently divorced marriage counselor who dispenses advice. The show hails from Tagline and CBS Studios.
Former Daily Show host Craig Kilborn (Innovative) has sold an untitled comedy to ABC. Outsourced duo Mark Torgove and Paul Kaplan (UTA, Bloom Hergott) will write and executive produce.
AMC is developing three projects: an untitled diamond drama from writer Kelly Masterson (WME, Plumeria) and Scott Free Productions, and the crime dramas Low Winter and Sacred Games, based on a book by Vikram Chandra.
FX is developing several new projects, including Bunker, a drama about a female cop psychologist in Boston from Chernin Entertainment, Fox TV Studios and author Dennis Lehane. Also in development: Laredo, a crime drama set at the Texas-Mexico border; Scar Tissue, a drama based on Anthony Kiedis, the frontman for the Red Hot Chili Peppers; and The Americans, a Russian espionage drama from DreamWorks TV and Justified producer Graham Yost.
ABC has picked up a pair of multicamera comedies from Alloy Entertainment: Late Bloomer's Revolution, based on the memoir from Amy Cohen, and an untitled project from English comedian Laura Solon. Both projects hail from Warner Bros. Television.
Fox has given a script-plus-penalty order to Sony Television's Wednesday Night Warriors, a comedy about five former basketball teammates in their thirties, from writer Mike Sikowitz (ICM, Gendler & Kelly).
Disney Channel has given a pilot order to Zombies and Cheerleaders and is developing several projects, including an untitled multicamera project from Home Improvement producer Howard Morris.
ABC has ordered a script based on Teresa Strasser's (Renaissance Management) book Exploiting My Baby. Julia Franz and Jamie Tarses will oversee through their Fan Fare shingle alongside Strasser and Sony Television.
Law & Order: SVU writer Judith K. McCreary (ICM, Darryl Taja, Phil Klein) is reteaming with NBC for Serial Killer Whisperer, based on the Pete Earley book.
HBO renewed Boardwalk Empire for a third season.
FX renewed Sons of Anarchy for a fifth season.
MTV picked up Rob Dyrdek's Ridiculousness for a second season.
TLC acquired the Canadian-made Brides of Beverly Hills reality series from indie Picture Box Distribution for the fall.
ABC has picked up In Like Fin, a magical thriller from Castle's Alexi Hawley (CAA, Managemint, Hansen Jacobson), Warren Littlefield (CAA, Ziffren Brittenham) and ABC Studios.
Netflix has struck a four-year deal with the CW for subscribers to watch previous seasons of scripted series now airing. The deal is believed to be worth up to $1 billion over time, with the final value based on the performance of CW programs.
Penny Marshall will release her memoir, My Mother Is Nuts, in fall 2012 with Amazon Publishing. The director and actress reportedly will receive $800,000.
Eva Amurri, the daughter of Susan Sarandon best known for her turn on Showtime's Californication, has signed with Paradigm. … Emily Head, who starred on British TV series The Inbetweeners and the recent film version of the show, has signed with UTA. … Peter Cornwell, who directed The Haunting in Connecticut, has signed with ICM. ... Comedian and actor Trevor Noah, whose career in post-apartheid South Africa is the subject of the documentary Township to the Stage, has signed with CAA. … Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, has signed with APA.