7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: Acts Come Together For McCartney Tribute Album: Prepare for Paul McCartney mania in 2012 as the beloved Beatle turns 70 in June. On deck much sooner: a new solo album, Kisses on the Bottom, released Feb. 7 by Hear Music/Concord, as well as a fully endorsed tribute record featuring covers of classic compositions from Sir Paul's catalog -- with The Beatles and Wings and from his solo career. Among the artists slated to participate are Billy Joel, Brian Wilson, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Steve Miller, Jeff Lynne, Heart, Wanda Jackson, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Ronnie Spector, The Cure and Corinne Bailey Rae. The collection, which has yet to partner with a label or distributor, is being curated by longtime producer and music supervisor Ralph Sall (Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), the man who practically invented the tribute genre with 1991's Deadicated featuring the songs of The Grateful Dead performed by the likes of Jane's Addiction and Elvis Costello. Sall met McCartney while working on 2003's Albert Brooks-Michael Douglas remake The In-Laws, which featured several McCartney songs on the soundtrack. "It grew out of that experience," says Sall, whose Bulletproof Entertainment is a leader in teen movie soundtracks. "A good idea goes a long way, but it was important that it be blessed by Paul." Indeed, in the 2-1/2 years that he's been pitching the project, well over a dozen big-name artists have recorded tracks for the album, many with backup from McCartney's touring musicians, guitarist Rusty Anderson and bassist Brian Ray. In addition, Sall shot video of the sessions-in-progress and interviewed many of the participants. He plans to use that footage for a TV special. Of both the audio and visual components, Sall says, "It will be a good venue to show appreciation of his catalog -- you can tell by the variety of participants that Paul's music is truly timeless. Whether you're 8 or 80, everyone loves Paul McCartney." – Shirley Halperin
Eastwood Playing Pivotal Role at Back9 Golf Network
Clint Eastwood is taking on the duties of chairman of the creative board and founding shareholder (with his wife, Dina) of Back9, a forthcoming golf-lifestyle network. The gig is a fitting addition to Eastwood's résumé given his love for the game. Not only does the J. Edgar director play frequently, but he also owns the Tehama Golf Club in Carmel, Calif., and is an investor in Pebble Beach. In the new role, Eastwood, 81, will meet with Back9 brass once a quarter to go over programming for the network, which is currently in talks with distributors and slated to launch this year. (It's not yet clear how many homes Back9 will be in initially.) Already, the director has looked over the network's first batch of pilots, weighed in on casting choices and sat down for an interview for You're So Money, an upcoming show hosted by LPGA star Anna Rawson. "He'll be a big-picture sounding board," says chief executive James Bosworth, who as an assistant pro at Pebble Beach met Eastwood in the mid-1990s. Says Bosworth of his frequent playing partner, "There's no better guy to go to for a golf media company." -- Lacey Rose
For Sutter, Anarchy and More
FX ratings juggernaut Sons of Anarchy is coming back for at least two more seasons. The renewal news comes as creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter has inked his first three-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV and FX Productions, which jointly produce the highest-rated series in the network's history. As part of the pact, Sons was renewed through its sixth season, though those involved with the show assume a seventh and likely final season will be part of the ICM-repped Sutter's plan. "We're in the business of telling 90 hour movies," FX Network president John Landgraf tells THR of his desire to see through the series with Sutter at the helm. What's more, the deal allows the outspoken showrunner to develop future fare for broadcast as well as cable and includes a script deal with FX. While broadcast would seem a stretch for a man who has built his brand on darker cable fare, first with The Shield and now with Sons, Sutter acknowledged "that box would almost be more of a creative challenge than anything else, so I'm definitely open to that." Adds 20th TV chairman Dana Walden, who calls the deal a "major win" for the studio and network: "Anyone who underestimates Kurt Sutter is a fool." – Lacey Rose
Gary Oldman (APA, Douglas Urbanski Group, Loeb & Loeb) is in final negotiations to play the villain in Motor City, a Dark Castle revenge thriller being directed by Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli). Warner Bros. is distributing.
Octavia Spencer (WME, Jackoway Tyerman) has joined Snow Piercer, a sci-fi indie project directed by Bong Joon-Ho (The Host) and co-starring Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton and Korean actor Kang Ho Song.
Jon Turteltaub (WME, Oasis Media Group, Hansen Jacobson) will direct A Matter of Size, a remake of a 2009 Israeli comedy, at Paramount. Howard Franklin (WME, Brillstein, Hansen Jacobson) will write, and David Permut, Carol Baum and Howard Rosenman will produce.
Al Pacino (ICM, Hansen Jacobson), Christopher Walken (ICM) and Alan Arkin (ICM, Principal, Frank Stewart) will star in Stand Up Guys, an action comedy directed by Fisher Stevens. Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Lakeshore are producing, with Lionsgate distributing.
Captain America's Joe Johnston (CAA) will helm Not Safe for Work, a Universal micro-budgeted thriller from Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum and writers Adam Mason and Simon Boyes.
Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke (CAA, Sloane Offer) is attached to helm Plush, an erotic thriller she wrote with Artie Nelson. Evan Rachel Wood is attached to star in the project, which IM Global is selling in Berlin.
The Book of Mormon star Josh Gad (ICM, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Ziffren Brittenham), Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader (UTA, Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment, Felker Toczek) and Kate Hudson (CAA, Jackoway Tyerman) have signed on for voice roles in Me & My Shadow from DreamWorks Animation.
Magnolia Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to Marley, the first documentary about the late reggae superstar made with the support of his family. VH1 has partnered to license the film's first TV window.
Sony Pictures Classics paid about $1 million to acquire the Sundance drama Smashed, directed by James Ponsoldt and starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul.
Saw director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell (Paradigm, Stacey Testro, Myman Greenspan) are in talks to make a sequel to 2011 horror hit Insidious. Jason Blum will be back as producer.
Homeland star Damian Lewis (the U.K.'s Markham & Froggatt) will play Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, directed by Carlo Carlei and starring Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld as the ill-fated couple.
Marc Streitenfeld and Carter Burwell (First Artists Management) will compose the respective scores for Fox's Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott, and Summit's Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, directed by Bill Condon.
Sarah Chalke (UTA, John Carrabino) will star in ABC's Claudia Lonow comedy pilot How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life.
Selma Blair (Gersh, Wishlab, Sloane Offer) and Shawnee Smith (Kritzer Levine, Morris Yorn) will co-star in Charlie Sheen's FX comedy Anger Management.
Lifetime is developing Columbine, a miniseries based on the 2009 book by Dave Cullen about the 1999 shootings. Tommy O'Haver (An American Crime) will write and direct and Michael De Luca will produce alongside Mildred Pierce's Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler.
Sons of Anarchy writer Dave Erickson (CAA, Mad House Entertainment, Morris Yorn) has joined Starz's epic adventure drama Marco Polo, from The Weinstein Co. and Electus, as an EP and co-showrunner alongside creator John Fusco.
NBC has picked up the pilot Bad Girls, an adaptation of the U.K. hit about women in federal prison, from John Wells.
ABC has picked up eight pilots:
- Malibu Country, a multi-camera comedy written by, starring and exec produced by Reba McEntire about a woman who moves from Nashville to Malibu
- Prairie Dogs, a single-camera comedy from That '70s Show's Jackie and Jeff Filgo about an uncool cubicle worker who falls victim to identity theft
- American Judy, starring Judy Greer as a cosmopolitan woman who marries and becomes a fish out of water in the suburbs
- Gotham, from Heroes scribe Michael Green, about a female cop who discovers a magical world in New York
- Zero Hour, from Prison Break's Paul Scheuring, which revolves around an editor at a conspiracy magazine who is thrown into a big mystery
- Devious Maids, a soap written and exec produced by Desperate Housewives' Marc Cherry and based on the Mexican format that follows four ambitious maids in Beverly Hills
- Penoza, from Twilight scribe Melissa Rosenberg, about the widow of an assassinated criminal forced to adopt her husband's role in crime
- The Smart One, starring Portia de Rossi as the smarter of two sisters who goes to work for her sibling, a beauty queen turned mayor. Don Todd will write and executive produce alongside Ellen DeGeneres, among others.
The CW has given pilot orders to three dramas:
- Shelter, set at a New England resort, from J.J. Abrams and One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn
- The Selection, based on the futuristic romance books by Kiera Cass. The Vampire Diaries' Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain will write and exec produce
- Joey Dakota, a romantic musical revolving around a documentary filmmaker who travels to the 1990s, from Easy A's Bert Royal. Mark Harmon is among the exec producers.
National Geographic Channel on Feb. 12 will premiere a documentary about the Costa Concordia shipwreck.
Showtime has renewed House of Lies for a second season, Shameless for a third and Californication for a fifth. … Fox renewed Kitchen Nightmares for a fifth season.
MGM has closed a $500 million revolving credit facility to be used to retire debt and to develop the film and TV businesses.
China's Harvest Alternative and Sun Redrock launched an $800 million private-equity fund to invest in films for China and the wider Asian market.
Verizon and Redbox owner Coinstar have formed a joint venture that will marry physical DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals with a new VOD streaming and download service.
Maggie Stiefvater (Andrea Brown Literary) has inked a four-book deal with Scholastic for The Raven Cycle, a young-adult series about the hunt for a magical Welsh king and true love. Stiefvater's best-sellers The Scorpio Races and the Shiver trilogy are being adapted into films at Warner Bros. -- compiled by lesley goldberg and borys kit
Molly Sims, the host of Lifetime's Project Accessory, has signed with WME. … Skyler Day, who appears on NBC's Parenthood, has signed with ICM. … Sam Miller, who directed the second season of BBC's Luther, has signed with UTA. … Arlo White, who will serve as the primary play-by-play voice for NBC Sports Group's Major League Soccer coverage, has signed with CAA. … Brazilian recording artist Sergio Mendes, a three-time Grammy winner, has signed with APA for North American touring. … Commercials and music video director Dave Meyers, who has worked with Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, has signed with CAA.