7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: Dr. Dre and Beats Make a Play For Streaming: When Beats Electronics purchased MOG -- the 7-year-old music-streaming service -- on July 2, the high-end headphone and sound system maker founded by rap mogul Dr. Dre and Interscope-Geffen-A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine got one step closer to creating an end-to-end music experience. "We've expanded the Beats mission to speakers, mobile phones, personal computers and automobile sound systems," it boasted. "With MOG, we are adding the best music service."
As the new owner of MOG (short for Music on the Go), Beats is gaining access to 15 million songs and banking on the future ubiquity of on-demand, subscription-based music streams. Speaking to THR, Beats president Luke Wood, a 20-year veteran of Geffen Records, elaborated on the company's vision for MOG, which will remain in its Bay Area offices with founder David Hyman taking the title of CEO of MOG. For Wood, the merger (which is said to be in the $14 million range) is about the "holy trinity of music consumption: How do you find the content, what is the device, and what's the speaker playing the music? All those elements have a profound impact on the emotional connection of what you're listening to."
But industry insiders point to loftier ambitions. "They want to be Spotify, then they want to beat them," says one negotiator of major digital-music deals. (To compare, Sweden-based Spotify, which launched in 2008 and is valued at $4 billion, has 20 million registered users; MOG has just 500,000.)
Even if Wood says that Beats' mission is far simpler -- it just wants listeners "to hear what we hear in the studio" -- it has dominated its competitors. Beats By Dr. Dre boasts more than a 50 percent share of the premium headphone market and 28.7 percent of all headphone sales in North America -- triple-digit growth in the past three years. And while Beats hopes to replicate that success as a streaming-music service, it sees a greater purpose. "I'd argue that a stream, at scale, can make a content owner more money than a download," says Wood. "We are rooting for alternatives to piracy and ways for artists to get paid." -- Shirley Halperin
War Room Duo Eye Animal Rights
For their next project, renowned documentarian D.A. Pennebaker and his wife, Chris Hegedus -- directors of The War Room, the Oscar-nominated 1993 look at Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign -- will spotlight a lawyer on a mission to gain legal personhood for animals. The duo are following Steve Wise, director of the Nonhuman Rights Project and a teacher at several law schools. Animals show "a capacity for autonomy, which is something courts care about," Wise tells THR. Dolphins, whales, elephants and great apes, he notes, should have fundamental common law rights, including bodily liberty. Pennebaker, also known for his 1967 Bob Dylan concert tour film Don't Look Back, says he was lured to the project by the unique issues Wise and his work raise. "The idea that animals have some kind of legal redress is an interesting idea because it not only deals with the animals themselves but also with the amazing complexity of law in this country." -- Degen Pener
Former MTV Pair Prep CMT Series
Two former MTV insiders are making good on their promise to branch out. Liz Gateley, the reality pioneer behind The Hills, and former MTV programming exec Tony DiSanto are ramping up their 18-month-old DiGa Vision with a slate of shows at various networks. The series include CMT's Country Love Story, focusing on couples and the love songs they wrote for each other; musical reality series with pop star Kesha and American Idol judge Randy Jackson; and two projects at Lifetime -- Famous Yard Sale, brought to them by 'N Sync's Lance Bass, and My Life Is a Lifetime Movie, a scripted hybrid reality show. DiGa also is producing a reality version of Scream (though not for MTV, as has been reported) and The Baby Wait for Logo; the first episode follows two gay men in New York adopting from an 18-year-old mom. Says Gateley: "It's a special, emotional, hopeful series." -- Alex Ben Block
Ed Helms (CAA, Principato-Young, Schrek Rose) will star in New Line's Vacation reboot as Rusty Griswold, the son of Chevy Chase's character in the original series. Horrible Bosses writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein are writing and directing.
Anthony Mackie (UTA, Inspire) is in talks to join Chris Evans in the Marvel sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier, being directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (Community) for a 2014 release.
Daniel Radcliffe (UTA, Felker Toczek) will star in Horns, a supernatural thriller based on the Joel Hill novel about a man who awakens with horns growing from his forehead. Alexander Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) is directing.
Ken Jeong (UTA, Stone Meyer) is set to return for Warner Bros.' The Hangover: Part III as Mr. Chow. Todd Phillips is directing.
Community's Gillian Jacobs (UTA, Principal) will star opposite Ken Marino and Peter Stormare in New Artists Alliance's horror comedy Milo. Jacob Vaughan, an editor who worked with Jay and Mark Duplass on Jeff, Who Lives at Home, will make his directorial debut.
Glee star Dianna Agron (WME, Rick Yorn, Hansen Jacobson) is in negotiations to play the daughter of Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer in Malavita, the Luc Besson thriller being made by EuropaCorp and Relativity.
Paramount has picked up The Rising, a pitch from The Killing writer Soo Hugh (WME, Circle of Confusion). Platinum Dunes' Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller are producing.
Joe Cornish (CAA), director of the U.K. sci-fi comedy Attack the Block, will helm an adaptation of Royden Lepp's graphic novel Rust for Fox.
Melissa Leo (CAA, Untitled), Rick Yune (ICM, Kritzer Levine, Bloom Hergott), Ashley Judd (WME, Gang Tyre) and Robert Forster (Buchwald/Fortitude, Anonymous, Jackoway Tyerman) have joined Olympus Has Fallen, Nu Image/Millennium's White House-set action thriller starring Gerard Butler.
Chuck co-creator Chris Fedak (WME, Ufuse, Bloom Hergott) will write Walden's Harry Houdini project, to be directed by Mark Waters (Mr. Popper's Penguins).
Amanda Plummer (Red, Darlene Kaplan, Markham Frogatt) will play Wiress in Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Nigerian actor Dayo Okeniyi (Sweeney, McKuin Frankel), who played Thresh in Hunger Games, has booked roles in the indie drama The Spectacular Now and in Ben Affleck starrer Runner Runner.
Ibid Filmworks producing partners Marc Meyers and Jody Girgenti have picked up rights to My Friend Dahmer, the autobiographical graphic novel by John Backderf.
Serena Williams (WME) is partnering with Exodus Film Group, the makers of the 2008 animated feature Igor, on the animated tennis-themed project WimbleToad. The Wimbledon champion will executive produce and voice a role. Steve Bevilacqua is writing the screenplay.
Twilight producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen (Hansen Jacobson) are bringing their Temple Hill banner to Fox, where they have inked a first-look deal.
Breck Eisner (CAA, Management 360, Jackoway Tyerman) will direct Stretch Armstrong, a movie based on the classic Hasbro toy and set up at Relativity.
Fox is in negotiations to pick up the comedy Brother From Another Mother out of turnaround from DreamWorks. John Hamburg (I Love You, Man) wrote the script and will direct.
DreamWorks Animation has bid a reported $150 million to acquire Classic Media, which owns such characters as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Lassie and The Lone Ranger.
Community star Joel McHale (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) has booked a multiepisode role as a con man on FX's Sons of Anarchy.
Lionsgate is developing Zenescope's Wonderland for the small screen, with Smallville executive producer Brian Robbins (UTA, Ziffren Brittenham) attached to the series about Alice in Wonderland's daughter.
Bent's Amanda Peet (Gersh, Management 360, Hansen Jacobson) will recur on season four of CBS' The Good Wife, playing a military lawyer who befriends Julianna Margulies' character.
The Killing's Billy Campbell (CAA, Kritzer Levine) will star as the 16th president in Killing Lincoln, a National Geographic Channel telefilm based on Bill O'Reilly's book.
CBS has gotten an early jump on the 2013-14 development season, picking up to pilot Ex-Men, a single-camera comedy from How I Met Your Mother's Rob Greenberg.
Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) is developing Incursion, a sci-fi action thriller for Starz revolving around a group of soldiers caught in an alien war.
New Girl executive producer Jake Kasdan (WME) has inked a two-year overall deal with 20th Television to remain with the Zooey Deschanel series. He also will join freshman comedy Ben and Kate and develop projects.
The Vampire Diaries' Kelly Hu (Kohner Agency, Untitled, Stone Meyer) will play DC Comics villainess China White on The CW's upcoming Arrow.
Glee's Stephen Tobolowsky (Innovative, Framework) and Gossip Girl's Amanda Setton (CornerStone) have joined new Fox sitcom The Mindy Project as regulars.
Bravo has picked up ABC Studios' The Joneses remake from Life Unexpected creator Liz Tigelaar (WME) as the cable network continues its push into scripted fare.
Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman (WME) and The Lucky Ones producer Denise Di Novi (CAA, Bloom Hergott) are developing Two Kisses for Maddy, based on Matt Logelin's memoir, as a telefilm for Lifetime.
TNT has renewed the Noah Wyle drama Falling Skies for a third season. … The CW will air the three-part web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, in the fall.
Avengers director Joss Whedon (CAA, Ziffren Brittenham) will act in Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer Jane Espensen's web series, Husband.
Larry King (ICM, Media Talent) is launching a half-hour talk show on Hulu on July 23.
Comcast has purchased Microsoft's 50 percent stake in MSNBC.com for about $300 million and renamed the news site NBCNews.com.
Relativity Media has joined with Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. to launch Relativity Sports to represent athletes, coaches and broadcasters.
Demand Media has inked a $23 million lease in Santa Monica. The 140-month deal is for 52,032 square feet.
The Venice property that housed the offices of designers Charles and Ray Eames has sold to DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners for $12 million to $14 million.
Taylor Swift (IMG) will release a second perfume, Wonderstruck Enchanted, with Elizabeth Arden in September.
John Oliver, the Emmy-winning correspondent and writer on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, has signed with WME.
Tao Okamoto, who will play the love interest opposite Hugh Jackman in Fox's The Wolverine, has signed with ICM Partners.
Franck Khalfoun, who directed thriller Wrong Turn at Tahoe, has signed with UTA.
Phil Joanou, who directed the feature Gridiron Gang and the U2 documentary Rattle and Hum, has signed with Paradigm.
Ben Bailey, host of Discovery Channel game show Cash Cab, has signed with APA.
THE NEXT BIG THING: Jeremy Slater
Reps: UTA, Kaplan/Perrone
Why He Matters: Fox has tapped the hot writer for its Fantastic Four reboot as Lionsgate develops Tape 4, his horror script centering around the mythology of H.P. Lovecraft and Universal preps My Spy, his teen comedy with Jake Kasdan attached to direct.
THE BIG NUMBER: $3.03 billion
Sale price Comcast will receive for its 15.8 percent interest in A&E Television Networks, signaling a $20 billion valuation for the Hearst and Disney-owned conglomerate.