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DEAL OF THE WEEK: Tentpole TV — Why Dick Clark Sold for $370 Million: When Dick Clark Productions announced Sept. 4 that it would be acquired for $370 million by a Guggenheim Partners-led investor group, some observers questioned why the price was about twice as much as the Golden Globes producer sold for just four years ago. But the rationale for the deal — risky or not — appears to be the same as the one that drove the record-setting $2.15 billion purchase by Guggenheim and others of the Los Angeles Dodgers: In an increasingly time-shifted television landscape, live events such as top-tier sports or awards shows like the Globes and DCP’s American Music Awards appear to be increasing in value as advertisers seek to find a way around DVR skipping.
NBC generated nearly $30 million in ad revenue from the Globes in 2011, according to Kantar Media. That total is far less than the $70 million ABC generated from the Oscars that year, but the entire category of live events is seen as a growth area, one reason why ABC in 2011 inked a rich extension to carry the Oscars until 2020 and NBC pacted for the Globes until 2018. (That NBC deal is the subject of unresolved litigation between Dick Clark and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.)
Just as it bought the Dodgers with seasoned baseball execs, Guggenheim (a diversified financial-services company that manages more than $160 billion in assets and is a co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter) has brought in an experienced media investor in Allen Shapiro of Mosaic Media who will become Dick Clark CEO for the second time. (He calls the company’s assets “tentpole programming.”) And once again, Peter Guber‘s Mandalay Entertainment is involved, five years after it sold its interest to Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder‘s RedZone Capital Management in a $175 million deal. (Mandalay also is a partner in the Dodgers.)
Other than Shapiro taking over for current CEO Mark Shapiro, sources say no quick changes are planned. However, under its deep-pocketed new owner, the 50-employee company — formed by the late Dick Clark in 1957 — could get a new name and might expand in new directions, including movie production. DCP already makes TV movies in addition to producing the Academy of Country Music Awards and Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance and has a library of TV shows.
Guggenheim also could use DCP’s strong TV relationships to help serve its existing brands, with the company possibly producing ABC’s Billboard Awards, which it owns. DCP-produced Dodgers content likewise could be included as part of a new TV deal that the team will soon negotiate, further justifying that big sticker price. — Alex Ben Block
Ghosts, Dragons on Big DWA Slate
Riding hgh from a new distribution deal at Fox, DreamWorks Animation’s ambitious slate of 12 movies to be released through 2016 includes two previously unknown projects: The Seth Rogen-voiced B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, based on an original idea from Tony Leondis (Igor), who will direct for a Nov. 6, 2015, release, and How to Train Your Dragon 3, which is dated for June 18, 2016, and will pick up where the second film (dated for June 20, 2014) leaves off. Dean DeBlois again directs. The plans fulfill CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s goal of increasing output. Says DWA chief creative officer Bill Damaschke,”This is the moment when we can declare that we will have three films a year going forward.” — Pamela McClintock
From Housewives to Heathers: Bravo Adds to Scripted Plan
Bravo, home to unscripted franchises Real Housewives and Top Chef, is ramping up its push to debut original scripted series next year, adding five dramas to its development pipeline. Among them is a reboot of the 1980s cult movie Heathers, with The Big C‘s Jenny Bicks attached to write for Sony Pictures Television and Lakeshore Entertainment. The dark comedy, which starred Christian Slater and Winona Ryder as a delinquent couple who killed off Heathers (including Shannen Doherty) in a quest for popularity, originally was set up for TV at Fox in 2009. The new take picks up 20 years after the 1988 feature with Ryder’s character returning home with her daughter, who must contend with a new generation of mean girls. In addition, the network is moving forward with three projects from Fox Television Studios. The Darlings is based on Cristina Alger‘s book about a family in a financial scandal, from Lights Out writer-producer Stu Zicherman; All American Girl is based on writer Jenni Ross‘ mother’s stint as fashion editor at Seventeen and tells the story of three women across three generations, with American Pie‘s Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz executive producing; and Rita is an adaptation of a Danish format from Grey’s Anatomy‘s Krista Vernoff about a private-school teacher balancing work and family. Lastly, Gossip Girl‘s Jessica Queller will pen Universal TV’s The Apartment, a story about siblings who inherit the love nest where their late mother had an 18-year affair. The new projects join four previously greenlighted efforts. Notes Bravo vp development and production Andrew Wang: “We’re excited to partner with such high-caliber talent in developing TV that pushes boundaries while telling a fun story in the way that our audiences have come to expect.” — Lesley Goldberg
TORONTO FILM FEST
Imogene (UTA), a dark comedy starring Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening and Matt Dillon, sold to Lionsgate/Roadshow Attractions.
Roadshow also picked up Sarah Polley‘s (WME, Circle of Confusion, Jackoway Tyerman) documentary Stories We Tell and plans an early 2013 release.
Focus Features paid about $2.5 million for U.S. rights to The Place Beyond the Pines, Derek Cianfrance’s (CAA, Bloom Hergott) drama starring Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling.
Alec Baldwin (CAA) and Patrick Wilson (CAA, Anonymous, Hansen Jacobson) will star in the thriller Caught Stealing, written by David Hayter and based on the Charlie Huston novel.
Hyde Park on Hudson‘s Roger Michell (CAA, the U.K.’s Independent, Hirsch Wallerstein) will direct Le Weekend, about middle- aged love, starring Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan and Jeff Goldblum.
David Slade (WME, Anonymous), who directed Twilight: Eclipse, will helm Matched, Disney’s futuristic love story that Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot are producing.
Sex and the City‘s Cynthia Nixon (WME, Brookside) is attached to play poet Emily Dickinson in a biopic from British director Terence Davies (House of Mirth).
Twilight‘s Peter Facinelli (APA, Untitled) will star in Gallows Hill, a supernatural horror movie to be directed by Victor Garcia.
Elizabeth Banks (UTA, Untitled, Ziffren Brittenham), will star opposite Diane Lane in director Amy Berg’s Every Secret Thing, an adaptation of Laura Lippman’s book.
Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal (ICM, Brillstein, Myman Greenspan), the duo behind Bradley Cooper’s The Words, will direct Gold Circle’s thriller Break My Heart 1,000 Times, an adaptation of Daniel Waters’ young-adult novel.
Tom Wilkinson (Principal, the U.K.’s Lou Coulson) has joined Felony, a thriller starring Joel Edgerton, who wrote the screenplay and produces with Solution Entertainment and Goalpost Pictures Australia.
Roger Ebert‘s 2011 memoir Life Itself is being turned into a documentary by Martin Scorsese, Steven Zaillian and Steve James.
Safe House writer David Guggenheim (Paradigm, Madhouse, Ziffren Brittenham) will return for a sequel.
Mike “Mouse” McCoy (WME, Bloom Hergott), one of the two directors who make up The Bandito Brothers, will direct Line of Sight, an action project at Warner Bros. being produced by Joel Silver.
Danny Trejo (AEF) and Stephen Lang (Innovative) will join Gina Carano in the action thriller In the Blood, directed by John Stockwell.
Entertainment One has agreed to acquire producer-distributor and fellow Canadian company Alliance Films in a deal potentially worth $277 million.
Sons of Anarchy‘s Kurt Sutter (ICM, Field, Gendler & Kelly) is developing Diva. Clown. Killer., a comedy for FX about a clown who doubles as an assassin. Katey Sagal will executive produce and could star in the Fox 21 effort.
Cee Lo Green (WME, Primary Wave) has inked a multiyear first-look deal with NBC, with the network eyeing a comedy loosely based on his life. The Voice coach also has launched Emerald Productions.
Shonda Rhimes (ICM, Brooke Wharton) has sold female-fronted FBI drama Under the Gun to NBC, with Grey’s Anatomy‘s Peter Nowalk (UTA, Sloane Offer) attached to write and executive produce alongside Rhimes and Betsy Beers (UTA, Sloane Offer).
Justified‘s Graham Yost (CAA, Morris Yorn) is developing L.A. Woman, a 1970s-set spy drama for NBC.
Chuck Lorre (ICM) has inked a four-year pact to remain with Warner Bros. Television. He’ll develop drama series for broadcast and cable and work on feature films as well.
Rob‘s Danny Jacobson (CAA, Brillstein, Mark S. Temple) is developing a comedy for Fox about a family who owns a Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The Office producers Warren Lieberstein (CAA, Morris Yorn) and Halsted Sullivan (CAA) are developing a comedy for NBC about a divorced dad with shared custody of his 5-year-old daughter. Jon Favreau will exec produce.
Cougar Town‘s Bill Lawrence (ICM, Shapiro/West, Morris Yorn) is adapting I Suck at Girls, a book by Justin Halpern (ICM, Infinity). Patrick Schumacker (ICM, Infinity) and Halpern will pen the project for Fox.
Geoff Stults (UTA, Thruline) has inked a talent holding deal with 20th TV, which will develop a comedy for him to star in. The Finder alum also has booked a recurring role on Fox’s comedy Ben and Kate.
Tone Bell (Innovative, Black Box, Jackoway Tyerman), the 2012 winner of NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity initiative, has gained a regular role as a bartender on NBC’s Whitney.
Frances Conroy (ICM, Martino) will return for the second season of FX’s American Horror Story, this time as the “ultimate angel.”
Christina Ricci (ICM, Management 360, Ziffren Brittenham) will guest star on CBS’ The Good Wife, playing a controversial comedian.
Dwayne Johnson (WME, Garcia Cos., Gang Tyre) will host TNT’s The Hero, an unscripted competition series to find the “next great hero.”
TBS has renewed comedy Sullivan & Son for a second season.
The Pac-12 Network has reached a distribution deal with satellite TV provider Dish Network.
Ralph Lauren has signed on as a presenting sponsor of PBS’ Masterpiece and will create Downton Abbey ads. It is the apparel company’s first TV sponsorship.
Toni Braxton, who has won six Grammys and sold more than 60 million records, has signed with APA.
Ziad Doueiri, director and co-writer of The Attack, which drew raves at the Toronto Film Festival, has signed with UTA.
Jesse Collins, whose Collins Entertainment has produced the Grammy and BET Awards, has signed with ICM Partners.
John Robinson, who played Stacy Peralta in Lords of Dogtown and appeared in Transformers and Elephant, has signed with Paradigm.
Matt Roller, whose Public Defender pilot script was recently set up at Sony TV, has signed with CAA.
The Next Big Thing: Tobias Lindholm
Why He Matters The Danish director of the pirate-themed A Hijacking generated buzz at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals, where critics praised his film as tense and absorbing. Talent agencies were said to be jockeying for meetings with the hot filmmaker, who is unrepresented in the U.S.
THE BIG NUMBER
9 Million — Tweets sent about the Democratic National Convention, far outpacing the 4 million sent about the RNC, according to Twitter.
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