7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: Comedy Central Preps Full Slate of Funny: In an aggressive bid for content, Comedy Central has lined its development slate with sketch artists, stick figures, robots and the revival of a 1980s-style public affairs show. "We hired a very expensive independent research firm that suggested that to be strategic, we should get in business with the funniest people we know," jokes Kent Alterman, the network's head of original programming and production. With this collection -- a mix of stand-up, animation and scripted fare -- Alterman and his team are looking to fill the already-popular 10 p.m. hour as well as expand the network's late-night block past midnight. In addition to previously announced entries starring The Gregory Brothers and Anthony Jeselnik, among others, here's an exclusive first look at Comedy Central's 2011-12 development slate:
The Burn The "Roast Master General" Jeff Ross and his comedian friends roast the week's hot topics.
Braunger A single-camera scripted comedy based on the life of comedian man-child Matt Braunger.
Robots An animated show that pits a group of household electronics against their slacker owner.
Nathan for You Canadian writer-comedian Nathan Fielder (Important Things With Demetri Martin) uses his finance degree and life experience to help ailing businesses. The catch in this reality-scripted hybrid: Fielder's advice usually does more harm than good.
TripTank Animated shorts with plots ranging from a magical alcoholic wheelchair helping sick kids to aliens studying the world's most average guy.
@RobDelaney A variety show starring comedian and Twitter mastermind Delaney, who will present videos, interview guests and discuss Twitter trends.
Eugene! A sketch show from the absurd point of view of comedian Eugene Mirman (Flight of the Conchords).
Overloaded A shortform look at social media, with comedian Michael Kosta breaking down what people are talking about on Twitter, Facebook and blogs each week.
Untitled Amy Schumer After her star-making turn at the Charlie Sheen roast, Schumer will executive produce and develop a pilot and a stand-up special.
Untitled Cyanide and Happiness An animated show featuring the twisted humor of a world populated by glorified stick figures, from the creators of the Cyanide and Happiness web comics and shorts.
Untitled Wyatt Cenac A sketch narrative idea based on 1980s public affairs shows, hosted, written and executive produced by Cenac (The Daily Show With Jon Stewart). -- Lacey Rose
Cameron Returns to Titanic for TV
James Cameron's obsession with the Titanic is showing no signs of sinking. The director of the nearly $2 billion-grossing epic has made more than 30 dives to the legendary wreck off the coast of Newfoundland. Now he's teaming with National Geographic Channel on Titanic: Final Word With James Cameron, set to air in April timed to the 100th anniversary of the luxury liner's demise. The network's Titanic initiative includes National Geographic web and print components and will coincide with the 3D rerelease of Cameron's Titanic, which is scheduled to hit Imax theaters April 6. (Bob Ballard's Save the Titanic, a new film that looks at the human and natural threats to the wreckage, will share the spotlight with Cameron's two-hour documentary.) For Final Word, Cameron assembled engineers, architects and historians to examine why the Titanic sank, using new technology that has come to light since his 1997 film. "He is a freak about the Titanic," says Michael Cascio, executive vp programming for NatGeo. "He's actually comparing his research with his film to see what we've learned since then and what can advance the story." Both Cameron's and Ballard's films are now in production; NatGeo has yet to set an exact airdate. "To have a guy who has made some of the biggest movies of all time working at National Geographic is definitely a cool thing," says Cascio. "But Cameron is also so dedicated to the exploration part of his life. So he's definitely the real deal." -- Marisa Guthrie
Julia Roberts (CAA, Hirsch Wallerstein) is attached to produce and star in Second Act, a New Regency workplace comedy that Roberts will develop via her Red Om Films label with Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas. Trudie Styler, Celine Rattray and their Maven Pictures label also are producing.
Chris Columbus (WME, Hansen Jacobson) and his 1492 Pictures have acquired film rights to How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe from novelist Charles Yu (UTA, Signature Literary Agency). Columbus and 1492's Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe will produce. Brendan Bellomo (WME, Prolific Management) is set to direct.
Tom Cruise (CAA, Greenberg Glusker) has agreed to star in the Warner Bros. sci-fi actioner We Mortals Are (formerly All You Need Is Kill), with negotiations to begin soon.
Nikki Reed (Paradigm, Thruline, Ginsburg Daniels), Sean Faris (Gersh, Dino May, Stone Meyer), Stephen Lang (Innovative), Marton Csokas (WME, Troika Talent, Anonymous, Morris Yorn), Jessica Szohr (ICM, Luber Roklin, Bloom Hergott) and Jonathan Bennett (Reign, Evolution) have joined the indie crime thriller Pawn. Michael Chiklis is starring in and producing the project, to be directed by David A. Armstrong and written by Jay Anthony White.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema's distribution arm, Drafthouse Films, has acquired U.S. rights to documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.
Alice Eve (UTA, the U.K.'s Artist Rights Group, Untitled, Felker Toczek) is in negotiations to join Paramount's second installment of the J.J. Abrams-shepherded Star Trek reboot.
Sony Pictures will distribute the remake of Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead. Fede Alvarez (CAA, Anonymous, Jackoway Tyerman) is directing.
John Hilary Shepherd (Joan Vento-Hall) will write an adaptation of Cherie Priest's period zombie novel Boneshaker. Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media Group are producing.
Andrew Lauren Productions, one of the companies behind The Squid and the Whale, has optioned The Unnatural, a script from Ashley S. Meyers and Nathan Ives (Filmtrix Agency).
Zoe Kravitz (Paradigm, Untitled, Jillian Neal, Edelstein Laird) and Sophie Okonedo (UTA, the U.K.'s Hamilton Hodell) are in talks to join 1000 A.E. opposite Will and Jaden Smith. The Columbia adventure project will be directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Bruce Beresford (Gersh, Anonymous) has signed on to develop and direct Taliesin, about architect Frank Lloyd Wright, from writer Nicholas Meyer. … IFC Films has picked up Beresford's ensemble dramedy Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, which premiered in Toronto in September.
The Panavision camera used by director George Lucas to film Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope was sold for a record $625,000 at auction.
David Milch (ICM, Hansen Jacobson), executive producer of HBO's upcoming series Luck, has inked a multiyear deal with the network and will develop projects based on the works of William Faulkner via a pact with the Faulkner estate.
Liev Schreiber (CAA, Untitled) will star in the Showtime pilot Ray Donovan, playing a professional "fixer" to the rich and famous in L.A.
Chuck star Zachary Levi (ICM, Coronel Group, McKuin Frankel) has been tapped to host Spike TV's Video Game Awards on Dec. 10 in Los Angeles.
Sara Rue (APA, Alan David) is developing Poseurs, a comedy for the CW about two friends who pose as a lesbian couple. Rue would pen the half-hour project, set up at Warner Bros. TV, co-executive produce and star.
Barbara Hall (UTA, Brillstein, Ziffren Brittenham) and Gary Randall (CAA, Bloom Hergott) are writing and executive producing a Lifetime project about infidelity.
Brandon Jay McLaren (Pakula/King & Associates, Hofflund/Polone, Trisko Talent) will co-star in White Collar creator Jeff Eastin's untitled drama pilot set up at USA.
Oxygen is developing three docuseries: the dance-themed All the Right Moves with choreographer Travis Wall; That's D'Amore, about a California pizza chain; and Taking NY, an unscripted Sex and the City-like show.
David Burtka (Innovative) has inked a talent deal with E! Beginning in January, he'll serve as an E! News correspondent and provide red carpet coverage for E! specials.
Ken Luckey (Greene & Associates, Emerald, Stone Meyer) will co-star in Melanie Griffith's Lifetime pilot This American Housewife.
Travel Channel has renewed seven series, including Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, and picked up eight new shows, including Baggage Battles, America Caught on Camera and Vegas Stripped.
Showtime is bringing back Web Therapy, co-created by and starring Lisa Kudrow, for a second season. … VH1 is launching a series of music-themed biopics, starting with 1990s hip-hop trio TLC. … Reelz has picked up True Justice, starring Steven Seagal, marking its entry into scripted drama series. … ABC Family has renewed Pretty Little Liars for a third season. … Lifetime has ordered 10 additional episodes of Army Wives. … OWN has ordered six episodes of event-planning docuseries Party at Tiffany's. … MTV has picked up amateur-fighting docuseries Caged. … A&E is producing Shipping Wars, about independent shippers who transport items others won't touch.
Blind Wink Productions, the transmedia company founded by filmmaker Gore Verbinski, has cut a deal with Microsoft to create interactive content exclusively for the company's platforms, including Xbox 360. The pact's first project is a planned Xbox LIVE Arcade video game designed for Kinect that Blind Wink is developing for late 2012.
Hulu has pacted with Community producer Sony Television for a "digital syndication" arrangement that will see the subscription service Hulu Plus serving as the only digital home for the series.
Comcast, Time Warner Cable and smaller cabler Bright House Networks, have agreed to sell their wireless spectrum for delivering content to Verizon for $3.6 billion. Comcast will receive about $2.3 billion from the sale, Time Warner Cable about $1.1 billion and Bright House $189 million.
Actress Dagmara Dominczyk (Paradigm, Industry) has sold her first novel, The Lullaby of Polish Girls, to Random House imprint Spiegel & Grau.
Nicolas Cage's copy of Action Comics No. 1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold for a record $2.16 million in an online auction.
Paul Reubens, creator of Pee-wee Herman, has signed with WME. Reubens relaunched Pee-wee in 2010 with a series of live performances, including a stint on Broadway. … Amanda Knox, released in October from an Italian jail after being exonerated for the murder of her roommate, has signed with Washington book agent Robert Barnett. ... Anderson executive producer Terence Noonan has signed with APA. … Jesus Orellana, director of the sci-fi short Rosa, has signed with Verve. … Andrew Haigh, who wrote and directed the SXSW hit Weekend, has signed with CAA. … Tess Rafferty, a writer and supervising producer on E!'s The Soup, has signed with Paradigm. … James Ponsoldt, co-writer and director of 2012 Sundance selection Smashed, has signed with UTA.