7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: NBC'S Reality Push: Eight Producers Sign New Deals: In a bid to court talent and the viewers that could come with it, NBC has inked eight development deals with some of the industry's top reality producers.
Jason Ehrlich (The Bachelor), Alex Katz (The Biggest Loser), David A. Hurwitz (Fear Factor) and Lee Metzger (The Voice) comprise the latest batch to sign on with the network. They join Howie Mandel and Jason Raff (both America's Got Talent), Tom Shelly (Love in the Wild) and former NBC executive vp alternative programming, development and specials Craig Plestis (Minute to Win It) with development pacts at NBC.
The new deals "allow us to partner with an array of stellar producers who are proven leaders in alternative programming and provide NBC with tremendous creative resources," says alternative and late-night programming president Paul Telegdy, the gregarious Brit who was recruited to NBC in 2008. "We have stacked the deck."
Mandel has been attached to a game show, Howie Mandel's White Elephant, based on the holiday gift-swapping tradition. Hurwitz recently reprised his role as an EP on Fear Factor and will serve in the same capacity on Mark Burnett and Dick Wolf's upcoming competition series Stars Earn Stripes, where celebrities take on strenuous military challenges.
The moves come as the network looks to crawl its way out of the ratings basement, where it has dwelled for the better part of a decade. Of late, it is NBC's unscripted series, led by singing competition The Voice and summer offering America's Got Talent, that have helped prop up ratings as viewers increasingly tune out its scripted offerings.
Despite recent dips, The Voice, which benefited from the 111.3 million-person Super Bowl platform as its second-season launchpad, is garnering an impressive 6.3 rating in the 18-to-49 demo this season.
Other unscripted efforts, including a revamped Fear Factor, Apprentice and Biggest Loser, are outrating the bulk of the network's Thursday night comedies, from Community to 30 Rock to Parks and Recreation. The hotly anticipated addition of Howard Stern to the Got Talent judges table beginning May 14 has sent expectations soaring for that series as well.
Locking up talent is part of a larger rebuilding strategy at the network. NBC's sister studio, Universal Television, has spent recent months signing up such scripted producers as Nurse Jackie's Liz Brixius, Luther's Neil Cross and Better Off Ted's Victor Fresco as well. – Lacey Rose
As Boomers Age, New Look for Net
For the first time in tHe cable network's 16-year history, TV Land is freshening up its logo. The new look, accompanied by its recently unveiled "Laugh More" tagline, will begin airing May 9 on the channel known for Betty White's Hot in Cleveland. To hear TV Land president Larry W. Jones tell it, the year-in-the-making visual update is a reflection of the strides the Viacom-owned network has made as a destination for comedies, with a second night of originals premiering this summer. (Additions include Cedric the Entertainer's The Soul Man.) "The logo feels more modern, but it's not a complete abandonment of what our heritage is," says Jones, whose fortysomething target audience has gone from baby boomers to the Generation X demo seeking the kind of multicamera sitcoms on which they were raised. "This was an opportunity to signal to the new fortysomethings that this is the new TV Land." – Lacey Rose
Kim Dotcom Getting a Movie
Kim Dotcom, the indicted founder of defunct file-sharing service Megaupload, will be the subject of a documentary. Alex Mardikian, an associate of the colorful ex-hacker, says he will produce the feature-length Dotcom doc with actor-musician Donovan Leitch and New Zealander Fergus Milner; the trio is in talks with Marc Levin (Prayer for a Perfect Season) to direct, though no deal is in place. Mardikian says that he and Leitch, son of singer Donovan, have shot roughly 60 hours of interviews with Dotcom and associates to examine the U.S. government's accusation that Megaupload caused $500 million in damages to copyright owners, including Hollywood studios. U.S. authorities are trying to extradite the New Zealand-based Dotcom, known as much for his lavish lifestyle of $400,000 cars and a $24 million mansion as for a site that boasted 180 million users. While the film has not secured a distributor, Mardikian tells THR that talks are ongoing with a "well-respected group." -- Daniel Miller
Jonah Hill (WME, Jackoway Tyerman) will join Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's adaptation of the Jordan Belfort memoir The Wolf of Wall Street. Red Granite is financing.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (CAA, Bloom Hergott) will star in Ten, an action film about members of an elite DEA task force gone rogue, from director David Ayer. Open Road will distribute in the U.S.
Robert Pattinson (WME, 3 Arts, Sloane Offer) will star in Mission: Black List, a thriller about the man who led the capture of Saddam Hussein. Preferred Content's Ross M. Dinerstein is producing with Erik Jendresen and Kevin Waller. Jean-Stephane Sauvaire is attached to direct.
Abigail Spencer (ICM, Untitled, Hansen Jacobson) has joined the indie drama Kilimanjaro, written and directed by Walter Strafford.
John Hawkes (Innovative, Thruline, Morris Yorn) will star in the indie Too Late, about a relationship between a private eye and the woman he's hired to find. Dennis Hauck is writing and directing.
Twilight co-star Kellan Lutz (Innovative, Zero Gravity, Morris Yorn) will star in Tarzan, Constantin's performance-capture 3D production directed by Reinhard Klooss. Spencer Locke (APA, TalentOne, McKuin Frankel) will play Jane.
Gary Ross (CAA, Jackoway Tyerman), fresh off The Hunger Games, is in negotiations to direct Houdini, Summit's adaptation of The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero, a biography of Harry Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman. Frank Marshall and Bruce Cohen are producing.
Ashley Bell (Paradigm, Principato Young, Stone Meyer), star of The Last Exorcism and The Day, has joined the romantic comedy The Bounceback.
Eastbound & Down co-creator Jody Hill (CAA, Bloom Hergott) will write and direct a Warner Bros. action project set in the South that could turn into a reboot of The Dukes of Hazzard. Billy Gerber is producing.
Elijah Wood (WME, Brillstein, Stone Meyer) will star in Grand Piano, an indie thriller about a man forced to play piano to save his life, written by Damien Chazelle and directed by Eugenio Mira.
Vik Sahay (Don Buchwald/Fortitude, Evolution), best known for NBC's Chuck, has joined the FilmDistrict horror film WER, directed by William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside).
Mexican star Kate del Castillo (ICM, Si) has joined No Good Deed, a Screen Gems thriller starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson.
Hiroyuki Sanada (Lighthouse, Axon, Sheppard Mullin) has joined The Railway Man, a biopic of British WWII POW Eric Lomax starring Colin Firth, playing Lomax's guard and translator.
Matthew McConaughey (CAA, Morris Yorn) and Woody Harrelson (CAA, Tracy Harshman, Ziffren Brittenham) will star in an eight-episode HBO cop series written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre).
Michael Bay (WME, Sloane Offer) is executive producing Black Sails, an eight-episode Treasure Island prequel set for 2014 on Starz. Human Target creator Jon Steinberg (WME) serves as showrunner.
AMC has given pilot orders to crime drama Low Winter Sun from Endemol, AMC Studios and Criminal Minds scribe Chris Mundy (Hansen Jacobson) and an untitled legal thriller from writers
and exec producers Richard LaGravenese (CAA, 3 Arts, Hansen Jacobson) and Tony Goldwyn (CAA, Untitled, Schreck Rose).
Heroes alum Adrian Pasdar (ICM, Fidelity) will play the president and The Good Wife's Dylan Baker (Paradigm, Viking) the vice president in USA Network's six-episode series Political Animals from Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark.
So You Think You Can Dance's Cat Deeley (WME, The Collective, Hansen Jacobson) will host The Choice, a Voice-like dating game show on Fox.
The Walking Dead alums Jeffrey DeMunn (David Spylios, Mark S. Temple) and Andrew Rothenberg (Global Artists, Margie Weiner) are reteaming with showrunner Frank Darabont for his TNT drama pilot L.A. Noir. DeMunn will play the head of the LAPD's mob squad, while Rothenberg will guest star as a member of DeMunn's team.
Community writer-producers Neil Goldman (UTA, Ziffren Brittenham) and Garrett Donovan (UTA, Ziffren Brittenham) are exiting for an overall deal with 20th Television to develop and supervise new projects.
Private Practice's Craig Turk (Paradigm, Gendler & Kelly) is joining The Good Wife as a consulting producer, part of an overall deal at CBS Television Studios.
CSI star George Eads (Innovative, Shelter) has a new deal with CBS TV Studios to remain with the series for its 13th season.
Naomi Campbell (ICM) will serve as a coach on Oxygen's upcoming series The Face.
James Cromwell (Paradigm) will co-star as a foil for Jessica Lange in season two of FX's American Horror Story.
NYPD Blue's Charlotte Ross (Talent Works, Untitled, Del Shaw) will play the woman who oversees the squad of competitive pro basketball dancers on VH1's hourlong scripted effort Bounce.
The Cabin in the Woods' Anna Hutchison (APA, Stone Meyer), Underbelly 2's Jenna Lind (Linsten Morris) and Go Girls' Gwendoline Taylor (Auckland Actors) have joined Starz's Spartacus.
Rob Lowe (WME, Brillstein) will star as a prosecutor in the Lifetime telefilm Prosecuting Casey Anthony. The network also has set a biopic of June Carter Cash starring Jewel (CAA, B.A.D., Myman Greenspan) playing opposite Matt Ross (ICM, Framework) as Johnny Cash.
NBC ordered Save Me, a comedy series starring Anne Heche, and greenlighted the Ryan Murphy comedy The New Normal and the drama Revolution from J.J. Abrams. … The CW has renewed Supernatural, 90210 and The Vampire Diaries for an eighth, fifth and fourth season, respectively. … Showtime is bringing back The Borgias for a third season. … Lifetime has picked up The Client List, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, for a second season. … TNT renewed Southland for a fifth season. … Bravo is bringing back freshman Million Dollar Listing: New York.
ABC News and Univision News are forming a multiplatform joint venture targeting Hispanic Americans with English-language news.
Pop star Shakira (CAA) is nearing a $30 million, three-album deal with Live Nation and Sony for distribution, sponsorships and merchandising.
Joe Muto, the Fox News producer who was fired after writing anonymous exposés for Gawker, has signed with Penguin Group's Dutton imprint to write a memoir, An Atheist in the Foxhole.
Zooey Deschanel (CAA, Seven Summits, Hansen Jacobson) will be the new face of Pantene hair products.
Ron Howard (CAA, Bloom Hergott) will produce and daughter Bryce Dallas Howard (ICM, Management 360, Bloom Hergott) will direct a short film for Canon Cameras.
THE BIG NUMBER: $2 Billion
Value of NBCUniversal's 15.8 percent stake in A&E Networks (co-owned with Disney and Hearst), according to analysts. NBCU plans to sell "a substantial portion" of its interest, an SEC filing indicates.
Chris Pine, star of June drama People Like Us, has signed with the Gendler & Kelly law firm.
Dwight Yoakam, who has sold 25 million-plus albums and appeared in films like Sling Blade, has signed with Paradigm.
Gina Bramhill, who co-stars in the NBC/Sony pilot The Frontier and appeared in the Sundance film Red Lights, has signed with ICM.
Megalyn Echikunwoke, who recently recurred on Showtime's House of Lies, has signed with UTA.
Daryl Sabara, who starred in all four Spy Kids films and appeared in John Carter, has signed with APA.
THE NETX BIG THING: Madison Davenport
Reps: CESD, Kritzer Levine
Why She Matters: The veteran kid actress, 15, is following up a memorable run as an abused child bride on Showtime's Shameless with a plum role as Anne Heche's daughter on the NBC comedy Save Me, which was picked up May 7 to series.