7 Days of Deals

Juco

Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.

DEALS OF THE WEEK: Showtime's Big Push to Lure Men: If the latest batch of development projects is an indication, David Nevins is taking Showtime in a decidedly different direction. A year and a half into his tenure as entertainment chief, the former producer continues to add projects that not only feature male characters but also look to appeal to male viewers. It's a shift in focus from the network's Nurse Jackie, The Big C, Weeds and United States of Tara, all part of predecessor Bob Greenblatt's roster of female-skewing shows about middle-aged female antiheroes. Here's an exclusive first look at six projects Showtime has in development:

The Executioner: Based on the true story of Anatole Deibler, the official Executioner of Paris in the late 1800s and a celebrity in his own right. The hourlong drama takes a dark look at a conflicted man who is forced to mete out Old World justice in an increasingly modern age while grappling with death and his own infamy. Tim Sexton is attached to write and executive produce the project from Grady Twins and Warner Horizon, with Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Dawn Parouse (Prison Break) on board as non-writing executive producers.

Walking Through Walls: Based on a memoir by Philip Smith about his relationship with his father, a psychic healer. The half-hour from Groundswell is being executive produced and written by Nicholas Wootton (Chuck, Law & Order, NYPD Blue), with Michael London and Smith as a non-writing executive producer and co-executive producer, respectively.

Untitled Nick Cassavetes Project: The hourlong drama is based on the life of Benny Binion, a well-known casino owner, mobster, poker player and convicted felon. An avid poker player himself, Cassavetes (The Notebook, My Sister's Keeper) is attached to write, direct and executive produce.

Untitled Ben Silverman Project: A half-hour comedy about a family man who happens to be the editor of a racy men's magazine. Playboy editor Jimmy Jellinek will serve as an executive producer alongside Silverman on the project from Silverman's Electus.

Blackout: A half-hour comedy that explores race relations through the eyes of a repressed middle-class white woman and her alter ego, a black man. John Gordillo and Reginald Hunter are attached as writers and executive producers, with Friends' Marta Kauffman and Michael Rizzo as non-writing EPs.

Chess: Showing that Nevins hasn't abandoned women, he has a drama about a mafia wife who helps the FBI get rid of her husband so she can take over his business. The Bad Hat Harry production will count Jim Manos as a writer and executive producer, with Bryan Singer and Matthew Williams on board as non-writing executive producers. -- Lacey Rose

YOUNG WRITERS FRIEND FACEBOOK TALE

For proof that in Hollywood, youth is king, consider writing partners Isaac Aptaker, 24, and Elizabeth Berger, 26. The duo broke into the biz three years ago with the Facebook-inspired romantic comedy spec Lauren Pemberton Is No Longer in a Relationship. They quickly won over execs with their fresh insight into the finicky youth demo, scoring jobs on NBC's short-lived Friends With Benefits that made them the youngest staff writers on network TV. That gig led to writing jobs on MTV's upcoming series I Just Want My Pants Back. Now the scribes (VerveManagement 360, Industry) are returning to their Facebook roots, adapting The Future of Us, a social media-centered drama being made by Warner Bros. and Di Novi Pictures. The story of a young woman who logs onto the Internet in 1996 and discovers her Facebook profile from 15 years in the future resonated with Aptaker and Berger, whose father was a head writer on Sesame Street. Says Aptaker, "There's an authenticity and an immediacy that comes from writing about people our ages and the time of life that we're in." -- Borys Kit

FILM

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) are developing the story of gangster Whitey Bulger for Warner Bros. Affleck will direct and co-star with Damon and Casey Affleck.

Damon also will star in and make his directorial debut on an untitled Warner Bros. drama he co-wrote with actor John Krasinski (WME, Schreck Rose), whose Sunday Night banner will produce with Damon and Chris Moore. The story centers on a salesman (Damon) who arrives in a small town.

Iron Man 3 writer Drew Pearce (WME, the U.K.'s PBJ Management) has been tapped by Warner Bros. to write the third Sherlock Holmes movie.

Producers Kathleen Kennedy (CAA, Bloom Hergott) and Frank Marshall (UTA, Bloom Hergott) are moving their Kennedy/Marshall production company from Sony Pictures to DreamWorks. The move reunites the married team with their longtime associates, Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider.

Jason Sudeikis (CAA, Brillstein) has been cast in Jay Roach's Dog Fight opposite Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Shawn Harwell and Chris Henchy wrote the screenplay about rival politicians in a congressional district in South Carolina.

Katherine LaNasa (IFA Talent) will play Ferrell's wife in Dog Fight and John Cusack's wife in The Frozen Ground, a serial killer thriller that also stars Nicolas Cage.

Whale Rider director Niki Caro (Echo Lake, Lichter Grossman) will direct Disney's track team drama McFarland, about a small-town coach whose squad overcomes obstacles. Grant Thompson (ICM, Madhouse, Nelson Davis) wrote the script for Mayhem Pictures.

Cusack (CAA, Ziffren Brittenham) and Johnny Knoxville (CAA, 3 Arts, Sloane Offer) will co-star in Carnaval, an indie comedy about two friends in Rio de Janiero that Josh Stern is directing. Stone Village is producing and financing.

Writer Lauryn Kahn (WME) has sold the comedy spec He's F***ing Perfect to Fox 2000 for about $1 million. Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions, where Kahn worked as an assistant, are on board to produce.

X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn (WME, Brillstein, Ziffren Brittenham), comic book writer Mark Millar (CAA, Harris Miller) and artist Dave Gibbons unveiled a new comic titled The Secret Service, which Vaughn will develop for film. He also has the movie rights to Superior, a Millar comic.

Eric Bana (WME, Sloane Offer) will play Elvis Presley and Danny Huston (ICM, Julian Belfrage) is in talks to co-star as Richard Nixon in Elvis & Nixon, the directorial debut of actor Cary Elwes, who co-wrote with Joey Sagal and Hanala Sagal. Bana will also executive produce.

Universal is in talks to pick up War Heroes, based on the Mark Millar-Tony Harris comic book. Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (WME, 3 Arts, Jackoway Tyerman) will write the script for producers Michael De Luca, Chris Morgan and Dana Brunetti. It was at Columbia.

Universal has inked a three-year first-look deal with de Passe Jones, the production outift run by Suzanne de Passe and Phillip Madison Jones. It is prepping a biopic of Martin Luther King Jr.

TELEVISION

Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone (Loeb & Loeb) is developing Players, a comedy about college athletes, for HBO. James Evans and Darryl Scott will produce, with Hanks and Goetzman exec producing.

Shonda Rhimes (ICM, Brooke Wharton) and partner Betsy Beers (UTA, Sloane Offer) have sold their fourth project this development season, the soapy conspiracy thriller The Circle, to ABC. Richard Robbins (UTA, Ziffren Brittenham) will write and exec produce.

Conan O'Brien (WME, Pariah, Bloom Hergott) has sold Fat Chance, a comedy about two best friends, to TBS. O'Brien, David Kissinger and Jeff Ross will executive produce along with pilot writer Jay Lacopo.

MadTV's Will Sasso (APA, D2 Management) has sold All-Americans, a half-hour multicamera comedy about a patriotic Army Ranger, to Fox. Sasso will write alongside Chad Kultgen (CAA).

Melanie Griffith (WME, Untitled, Hirsch Wallerstein) will star in the Lifetime pilot American Housewife and executive produce with husband and producing partner Antonio Banderas.

NBC has picked up Life as I Blow It, a comedy based on a book by Sarah Colonna (APA, New Wave, Cohen & Gardner), who will write and executive produce alongside Danielle Sanchez, Happy Madison and New Wave as well as Lunch Bag Snail Productions, Universal Television and Sony Television.

Drop Dead Diva creator Josh Berman (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) is developing a workplace dramedy based on the book Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office. He will executive produce the Sony Television project.

CBS has ordered Jon Favreau's (CAA, Jackoway Tyerman) comedy Tweaked, about single parents dating in Santa Monica, to pilot. Favreau will write and executive produce.

Courteney Cox (WME, Brillstein) and David Arquette (UTA, Management 360) have sold their second project this season, with ABC picking up an untitled comedy from Mad Love scribe Rob Sheridan (WME, Meridian Artists).

True Blood showrunner Alan Ball (UTA, Bloom Hergott) is developing a drama based on a controversial doctor in Kansas, for HBO. Devin Friedman will write.

HBO and Scott Rudin are adapting Karen Russell's book Swamplandia. They are seeking a writer.

Marc Cherry (Paradigm,Del Shaw) has set up at ABC Disorderly Maids, a housekeeper drama based on a Televisa format. He will write and exec produce with Desperate Housewives EP Sabrina Wind. David Lonner, John Mass and Larry Shuman are nonwriting EPs.

NBC has given a put pilot commitment to 1600 Penn, a single-camera comedy from 20th Television about a dysfunctional family in the White House. Book of Mormon star Josh Gad (ICM, Brillstein), former President Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett (CAA, Mosaic, McKuin Frankel) and Modern Family director Jason Winer (ICM, Mosaic) will executive produce, with Gad penning the project and Winer directing.

CSI showrunner Carol Mendelsohn (WME, Jackoway Tyerman) has sold four hourlong projects to CBS, the CW and FX, including Throwdown Gun, a drama from L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy.

CBS has picked up freshman dramas Person of Interest and Unforgettable.

AMC has renewed The Walking Dead for a third season.

BOOKS

News Corp.'s HarperCollins has acquired Newmarket Press, the publisher of film-related books, including its Shooting Script series and illustrated movie tie-ins.

SPORTS

Fox Sports paid $425 million for English-language U.S. television rights to soccer's FIFA World Cup for 2018 and 2022, beating out incumbent ESPN. Telemundo, owned by NBCUniversal, paid $625 million for the Spanish-language rights, upsetting incumbent Univision.

REP SHEET

Michael Pitt, star of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, has signed with WME. The actor, previously with UTA, has appeared in The Village (2004), The Dreamers (2003) and Murder by Numbers (2002). … Collette Wolfe, who appears in Jason Reitman's upcoming film Young Adult, has signed with Gersh. … Joy Bauer, nutrition and health expert on NBC's Today, has signed with CAA. … Ian Hart, a regular on HBO's upcoming series Luck, has signed with APA. … Devon Shepard, co-executive producer on Showtime's upcoming House of Lies, has signed with ICM. … Fiona Seres, creator of BBC series The Silence, has signed with CAA. … Devin Clark, executive producer and director of Comedy Central's Ugly Americans, has signed with CAA. … Jeff King, executive producer on USA's White Collar, has signed with CAA. … Noah Segan, who next appears in the indie sci-fi thriller Looper alongside Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, has signed with UTA.

 

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