7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the bottom line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: Early Syndication? Warner Bros. Shopping Two Young Hits: THR has learned that the studio is preparing to shop lucrative rights to two hit CBS comedies: Mike & Molly beginning in 2014 and 2 Broke Girls the following year. What makes the pitch unorthodox is that Warners is simultaneously selling shows available in different years, and one -- Broke Girls -- has aired for only a single season (most shows wait until they get closer to 100 episodes).
Why? Thank Modern Family, the 20th Television-produced megahit that in 2010 became the first comedy sold into syndication (to USA Network) after its freshman outing (dramas The Mentalist and Hawaii Five-0 also made the leap). So Ken Werner, Warners' president of domestic distribution, will fly coast to coast this month pitching broadcasters such as CBS and Tribune and cable networks including TBS, FX and USA on a unique package: Buyers can acquire one show or get both in a single mega-deal.
A Warners source insists the aggressive plan is in response to huge interest from cable networks after the ratings bonanza from two other WB shows -- Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, both of which generate huge ratings in syndication. But replicating their success could be difficult. Critics carp that comedies with female central characters (Broke Girls stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs; Mike & Molly's leads are Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell) tend to draw lower ratings, especially in the lucrative 7 p.m.-to-8 p.m. "primetime access" slot. WB competitor Debmar-Mercury went so far as to run ads in the trade press recently to suggest buyers wait to evaluate Charlie Sheen in Anger Management, which will start a 10-episode test run on FX on June 28. Adding to Warners' urgency, Mike & Molly executive producer Chuck Lorre is said to be expecting the studio's sales staff to deliver the same results as for his Men and Big Bang. That means license fees and barter ad sales that total $5 million to $6 million an episode for a run of at least seven years and possibly nine (which could total more than $1 billion).
Sources say Warners' pitch will point out that the raunchy comedy of Broke Girls appeals to Men's male audience and McCarthy has a broad fan base thanks to Bridesmaids. Plus, CBS has slotted Broke Girls and Mike & Molly into the 9 p.m. hour on Mondays this fall, the slots where Men and Big Bang became huge hits (Men is joining Big Bang on Thursdays next season).
Bill Carroll, vp and director of programming at Katz Media, calls that scheduling the "Leslie Moonves seal of approval," a reference to the CBS Corp. president and CEO's string of comedy successes on that night. Broke Girls and Mike & Molly have delivered ratings, but will Warners' move to cash in quickly pay off? -- Alex Ben Block
Showbiz Landmark Goes on the Block
The Hollywood Palladium, which has hosted Frank Sinatra, U2 and Jay-Z, has been listed for sale by owner LSREF 2 Clover Property 4 Llc., the entity of an undisclosed investment group. The historic Sunset Boulevard venue could fetch as much as $60 million, according to sources. The Palladium, leased by Live Nation, is being marketed as a development opportunity; the 3.55-acre site includes a 90,000-square-foot surface parking lot that a developer could use for a hotel or office tower. Live Nation leases much of the 67,000-square-foot building and signed a 20-year lease for the property in 2007. During the 1960s, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the Palladium; it also has hosted the Emmys and Grammys. Says John Tronson of Avison Young, who has the listing with colleague Christopher Bonbright, "This is probably one of the most significant buildings in Hollywood." -- Daniel Miller
Starz's Spartacus Is Hanging Up Its Scandals
After two full seasons, a miniseries and the September 2011 death of its star, the upcoming third season of Starz's swords-and-sandals drama Spartacus will be its last. Created by Steven S. DeKnight, the drama that saw Liam McIntyre replace the late Andy Whitfield after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma will wrap after a 10-episode season titled Spartacus: War of the Damned that premieres in January. "How long do you run a show? Do you run it until you can squeeze every last bit of revenue out of it, or do you end it on a high note?" DeKnight tells THR. "Ending the show when you're on top and the audience still wants more is better than dragging it out until it starts to wane and you kind of limp to the finish line." DeKnight inked the network's first overall deal (a two-year pact) in September and says he is developing a "top secret" pilot. He teases, "It's something I've always wanted to do." -- Lesley Goldberg
Malin Akerman (WME, Sanders Armstrong Caserta, Jackoway Tyerman) and Jason Sudeikis (CAA, Brillstein) are in talks to join the cast of This Is Where I Leave You, Adam Shankman's all-star project at Warner Bros.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller (UTA), co-directors of 21 Jump Street, are in talks for Carter Beats the Devil, a long-gestating Warner Bros. adaptation of a period novel about an enterprising magician.
Ashley Tisdale (CAA, Perlman, Stone Meyer) will star in Scary Movie 5 for Dimension Films.
Chris Columbus (WME) and his 1492 Films have optioned the John Grisham baseball novel Calico Joe.
New Regency has picked up The New West, an adaptation of a comic book written by Jimmy Palmiotti, with Len Wiseman producing with Chris Bender, J.C. Spink, Jake Weiner and Wizard magazine founder Gareb Shamus.
Rango co-writer Jim Byrkit (Gersh, Gotham Group) and Alex Manugian (Gotham Group) will pen Fraggle Rock, New Regency's adaptation of the Jim Henson puppet series.
The Big Bang Theory co-star Melissa Rauch (Gersh, Brillstein, Peikoff Law Office) has joined Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler in You Are Here, the directorial debut of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner.
Gary Oldman (APA, Douglas Urbanski) and Dominic Monaghan (APA, Morris Yorn) have joined Monster Butler, an indie directed by Doug Rath.
Lyle Workman (First Artists) will compose the score for New Line's The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, starring Steve Carell and Jim Carrey.
Craig Armstrong (First Artists) will compose the score for Warner Bros.' The Great Gatsby.
Parks and Recreation actor Ben Schwartz (WME, Tom Sawyer, Ginsburg Daniels) has joined Runner, Runner, New Regency's drama starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.
Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins will play Iggy Pop in the rock ensemble pic CBGB, directed by Randall Miller (Bottle Shock).
Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, through the Kennedy/Marshall Co. (CAA, Bloom Hergott), have inked a two-year overall deal to develop projects for CBS Television Studios. Along with former CBS executive Robert Zotnowski, the trio has a pilot commitment under the pact.
Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof (CAA, Myman Greenspan) has inked a three-year overall deal with Warner Bros. TV to create new series for the studio. His previous TV deal was with ABC Studios.
NBC's The Office has promoted Catherine Tate (UTA, Dawn Sedgwick) to series regular for its upcoming eighth season.
Jerry O'Connell (UTA, 3 Arts) will play Herman Munster on NBC's reboot of The Munsters titled 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
Gavin Polone and Jeff Nathanson (UTA, Ziffren Brittenham) are developing an HBO basketball dramedy set behind the scenes with a pro team. Nathanson will write, executive produce and direct; Polone will be an EP.
Graham King's GK-tv will adapt Anne Holt's eight-book crime series about detective Hanne Wilhelmsen and shop the project to networks.
Vanessa Redgrave (CAA, the U.K.'s Gavin Barker & Associates) will guest star as a lesbian Supreme Court justice on Political Animals, USA's summer drama.
Fox Sports has reupped with hockey's red-hot Los Angeles Kings, raising the rights fee from about $12 million a season to about $21 million until 2015.
NBC has ordered The Winner Is, a singing competition series from The Voice creator John de Mol, who will executive produce.
Clyde Phillips (CAA), former executive producer on Dexter, will serve as showrunner on Showtime's Nurse Jackie for its upcoming fifth season.
Swedish actress Katia Winter (Gersh, Schachter) will play a Russian stripper on the seventh season of Dexter.
Friends veteran Wil Calhoun (UTA, Hansen Jacobson) has boarded the NBC comedy Whitney as showrunner.
Hung's Thomas Jane (CAA, Media Talent Group, Ziffren Brittenham) is near a deal to play mobster Bugsy Siegel in Frank Darabont's TNT project L.A. Noir should the drama go to series.
Ralph Macchio (Buchwald/Fortitude, Untitled) is set to star in the Lifetime holiday movie Holiday Spin.
Australian actor Aden Young (Paradigm, Shanahan) has booked the lead in Sundance Channel's Rectify, a legal drama created by Oscar winner Ray McKinnon.
Relativity Media has closed a deal for $350 million in additional debt financing for funding films and business expansion.
Scarlett Johansson (CAA, LBI, Morris Yorn) is set to star as Maggie the Cat in a Broadway revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Chris Pine is a leading contender to co-star.
Ellen Page (WME, Vie, Morris Yorn) will star in a PlayStation 3 supernatural action game from Sony and developer Quantic Dream titled Beyond: Two Souls.
Sony is working with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling on a PlayStation 3 game series called Book of Spells that will use the PlayStation Move device as a wand to bring writing to life.
Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds have sold for $3.5 million the Los Feliz house they shared when married. (They divorced in 2011.)
Thomas Haden Church, who starred in Sideways and next co-stars in the thriller Killer Joe, has signed with 3 Arts Entertainment.
Dan Savage, the writer and TV personality known for his syndicated sex advice column "Savage Love," has signed with CAA.
Lucy Mulloy, who wrote, directed and produced Una Noche, which recently sold to Sundance Selects, has signed with UTA.
Mike Binder, a prolific actor and filmmaker (HBO's Mind of the Married Man), has signed with Verve.
Tony Jaswinski, who wrote the 2010 horror thriller Vanishing on 7th Street, has signed with Paradigm.
THE NEXT BIG THING: Mads Mikkelsen
REPS: UTA, Denmark’s Art Management
WHY HE MATTERS: The veteran Danish actor (Casino Royale, Clash of the Titans) is on a roll, winning best actor at Cannes for The Hunt, landing a villain role in Thor 2 and starring as Hannibal Lecter on NBC’s planned series Hannibal.