7 Days of Deals
DEAL OF THE WEEK: YouTube Expands Channel Plans With New Players: YouTuBe’s original content strategy is going international. The Google-owned video site’s closely watched initiative, whereby it invests in programming verticals with professional content creators and splits profits with them, is adding a slew of new channels, most of them overseas.
Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s global head of content, wrote in an Oct. 7 blog post that 60 new channels are being added. He wasn’t specific, but insiders say about a dozen will be U.S.-based and the rest will come out of the U.K., France and Germany (hence the timing of the announcement, to coincide with the start of the MIPCOM international TV market in Cannes).
A couple of the more high-profile channels are coming from a new production company called HaChaCha that was co-founded by veteran comedy writer-producers Daniel Kellison (Late Show With David Letterman) and Doug DeLuca (Jimmy Kimmel Live!). Also involved with HaChaCha are online producer Mickey Meyer and Fullscreen, which runs a global network of YouTube channels. One of the two channels from HaChaCha is called Jash, described as a “comedy collective” with content largely from Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim and Reggie Watts. The other channel is dubbed Video Podcast Network and consists of video versions of podcasts, with the king of all podcasters, Adam Carolla, its first partner in the venture. Carolla’s podcast is already downloaded about 350,000 times a day.
In an interview with THR, Kellison wouldn’t say how much YouTube fronted HaChaCha, though it would be unusual to get more than $1 million per channel. “They’ve given us ample money to seed this,” he says. “I would say they were very generous, in fact.”
Beyond that, the business model includes selling advertising, paying YouTube back its stake and splitting profits thereafter with YouTube and the talent who supply content to both channels.
Some of the U.K. programming includes a short-films channel from Endemol (Big Brother) and a nature channel known as On Earth from BBC Worldwide. There’s also a channel called Guinness World Records: OMG and another called The Royals, which consists solely of gossip about the British royal family. In Germany, there’s a channel from UFA/Fremantle, a division of the company
behind American Idol, and in France, there are channels from Euronews and Endemol France.
Google allocated an estimated $150 million in 2011 to launch about 100 premium YouTube channels in the States, but it won’t reveal how much it is allocating for its international expansion. In his blog post, Kyncl wrote that the U.S. channels -- including some starring Amy Poehler, Rainn Wilson and other Hollywood talent -- have been a hit so far. “Our top 25 original channels are now aver- aging over a million views each week,” he wrote, and “800 mil- lion of you are watching 4 billion hours every month.” -- Paul Bond
Girls Creator Gone Wild: Will a $3.7 million Book Bet Pay Off?
Random House is taking a big risk by spending $3.7 million on HBO’s Girls creator Lena Dunham’s proposed book Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned. Why? Comedic memoirs have long been dominated by men like Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser. And while women such as Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler have made inroads of late, to earn out an advance of that size, Random House will have to sell about 1 million books, a tall order in today’s marketplace. Fey sold more than 2 million copies of Bossypants, her 2011 humor memoir, but the 30 Rock star was an established brand with a network sitcom, hit movies (Date Night, Mean Girls) and a run on Saturday Night Live when she snagged a $5 million advance in 2008. A better comparison is Handler, who parlayed a best-seller (2005’s My Horizontal Life) into her own E! talk show, then followed that with 2008’s Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, which has moved nearly 2 million copies to date. The worry for Random House is that it’ll end up with Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), the book from The Mindy Project star and creator Mindy Kaling that has sold about 300,000 copies since arriving in October 2011 -- a moderate hit but not enough to justify the advance Dunham received. To paraphrase her memoirist character from Girls: Random House needs Dunham, 26, to be the voice of her generation. -- Andy Lewis
Man on the Prowl for Catwoman
Anne Hathaway is returning to the genre that made her famous. The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses actress is attached to star in The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie, a romantic comedy written by The Mindy Project creator Mindy Kaling and Brent Forrester. The story centers on a woman whose lack of self-worth has limited her choice of men to losers. When she is about to hit rock bottom, she unexpectedly is pursued by the hottest guy ever. The movie is an about-face for Hathaway, 29, who kicked butt as Catwoman in the summer hit The Dark Knight Rises and shows off her singing skills in December’s Les Miserables. Kaling, who likely will take a supporting role, and Forrester will executive produce with Good Universe’s Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake and John Malkovich. Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith are producing the project, which is seeking a director. — Borys Kit
Christian Bale (WME, Bloom Hergott) will star in a David O. Russell-directed ensemble drama opposite Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams.
Sacha Baron Cohen (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) is developing with Paramount The Lesbian, based on the Hong Kong billionaire who offered $65 million to any man who could marry his homosexual daughter.
Kevin Costner (WME, One Talent, Jeffer Mangels) will star in an untitled thriller for Relativity and EuropaCorp. McG (This Means War) will direct.
Kelly Marcel (WME), the co-creator of Terra Nova who co-wrote Disney’s upcoming Mary Poppins making-of film Saving Mr. Banks, will write the Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation for Focus and Universal.
Gael Garcia Bernal (WME, Hansen Jacobson) is in talks to join Matthew McConaughey in The Dallas Buyer’s Club.
Paul Dano (WME) is joining Prisoners, Alcon’s thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve (Incendies) and starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Patricia Clarkson (CAA, Anonymous) and Zachary Booth (Gersh, Smith Talent) will star in the indie dark comedy Last Weekend.
Leah Rachel (WME, Anonymous Content, Bloom Hergott) has sold an untitled comedy to Universal centering on a sexual threesome. Gary Sanchez Prods. is producing.
Devin Ratray (Buchwald/ Fortitude) will play the villain in alexander Payne’s Nebraska for Paramount.
Seth Green (UTA, Koopman, Sloane Offer) will join ashley Judd, ray liotta and Joe Pantoliano in The Identical, the rock-themed feature debut of music video director Dustin Marcellino.
Joseph Ruben (Paradigm, Anonymous Content) will direct a remake of Orson Welles’ The Stranger.
Dean Israelite (CAA, Principato Young, Bloom Hergott) will direct Paramount’s Almanac, a found-footage project with Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes on board to produce.
Emmett/Furla will finance and produce with envision movies based on Hasbro’s Monopoly, action Man and Hungry Hungry Hippos.
R&B artist Trey Songz (ICM) and Private Practice star Taye Diggs (ICM, A Management, Franklin Weinrib) have joined Fox Searchlight’s Baggage Claim.
Reese Witherspoon (CAA, Management 360, Hansen Jacobson) will exec produce The CW’s Expectations, a modern reimagining of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations written by Mills Goodloe.
Julia Roberts (CAA, 3 Arts, Hirsch Wallerstein) is bringing The Taming of the Shrew to aBC with Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and writer Marc Hyman.
CNN has created a film unit to acquire documentaries and has partnered with Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside The New York Times) to create original docs.
Homeland’s Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (WME, Gendler & Kelly) have sold the female-centered FBI pilot Anatomy of Violence to CBS.
Ryan Murphy (CAA, Loeb & Loeb) has sold sci-fi family thriller Montauk to Fox and a mystery comedy to NBC.
Chuck creators Chris Fedak (WME, Fuse, Bloom Hergott), Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (WME, McKuin Rankel) are teaming to adapt Midnighters, a sci-fi fantasy book trilogy, for Fox.
New Girl executive producers Joe Wiseman and Joe Port (UTA, Myman Greenspan) have sold to NBC Joe & Joe & Jane, a relationship comedy.
Sofia Vergara (CAA, Untitled, Hansen Jacobson) is adapting argentine series Killer Women for ABC, with Hannah Shakespeare writing.
Rutger Hauer (Glick, the U.K.’s Steve Kenis, Hyler, Stakevich-Gochman) has joined HBO’s True Blood.
Private Practice’s Agnes Bruckner (APA, MPE) will play Anna Nicole Smith in lifetime’s biopic about the late model.
ABC has picked up Celebrity Splash, a series that will see stars perform dives. ... NBC has given full-season orders to freshmen series Revolution, Go On and The New Normal. ... Fox has ordered full seasons of new comedies Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project. ... HBO has renewed Boardwalk Empire for a fourth season. ... ABC Family has renewed Pretty Little Liars for a fourth season. ... Cinemax has renewed Strike Back for a third season. ... Adult Swim has renewed Childrens Hospital and NTSF:SD:SUV for additional seasons. ... Syfy has renewed Face Off for a fourth season.
Jay-Z has released Live in Brooklyn, an eight-song audiovisual EP on iTunes of his Oct. 6 show at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, owner of Warner Music Group, has made a $130 million investment in French music streaming and subscription service Deezer.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (WME) will write Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead for Knopf.
John Cleese (Phil McIntyre) has signed with Crown to write his autobiography.
Mel Gibson has sold his Malibu compound to The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss for $9.3 million.
ICM Partners has teamed with digital media company Screenz to develop interactive entertainment.
Gregory Brothers (WME, 3 Arts), known for the “auto-Tune the news” series on YouTube, have signed with Maker Studios.
Megan Mullally, a two-time Emmy winner for Will & Grace who now appears on Childrens Hospital and Parks and Recreation, has signed with UTA.
Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen on HBO’s Game of Thrones, has signed with CAA.
Chad Michael Murray, best known for starring on the long-running series One Tree Hill, has signed with Gersh.
Sterling Sulieman, who has a recurring role on NBC’s new sitcom The New Normal, has signed with ApA.
Marlen Esparza, who won a bronze medal in women’s boxing at the London Olympics, has signed with UTA.
NEXT BIG THING: Betty Gilpin
Reps: Gersh, David Williams. Why She Matters: The New York-born actress, 26, coming off guest turns on such dramas as The Good Wife, Medium and Fringe, has nabbed a coveted seasonlong arc as a new doctor on the fifth season of the Showtime dramedy Nurse Jackie.
THE BIG NUMBER: $3.2 Billion -- Estimated cost of a Paramount-branded theme park to be built in the Thames Estuary near London under plans unveiled Oct. 8.