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DEAL OF THE WEEK: The Tangled Web to Re-Sign Spidey’s Director For Sequel: Director Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man grossed a high-flying $751.7 million worldwide this summer and successfully rebooted Sony’s most valuable franchise with stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. So it might seem like a no-brainer to bring back Webb for the sequel. But the behind-the-scenes dealmaking was anything but simple.
Webb, 38, a former music video director who shot to prominence in 2009 with Fox Searchlight’s (500) Days of Summer, owed Fox another film based on his original contract. Fox had agreed to put off Webb’s obligation when he was chosen to direct Spider-Man, but sources say the studio was irked when Webb’s representatives asked for another delay.
The impasse required Sony, which was said to be happy with the box-office performance and mostly positive reviews of Amazing Spider-Man — even though it grossed less than the $890.9 million of the previous Tobey Maguire-starring installment in 2007 — to consider other directors. To lay claim to a May 2, 2014, release date, Sony also was forced to announce the sequel in April before it knew who would direct the film, furthering speculation that Webb could be out.
Sources say a series of discussions involving Sony’s Amy Pascal and Fox’s Tom Rothman led to an arrangement that will allow Webb (CAA, Anonymous Content, Lichter Grossman) to direct the 3D sequel, for which he will be paid considerably more than the $1 million he received for the first film. (Garfield, though he is locked into multiple Spider-Man pics, also is said to be getting a big bump from the $500,000 flat fee he made playing Peter Parker in the first film. Stone was said to be still in negotiations at press time but is expected to return as well.)
Sony hopes to begin shooting the film in early 2013 from a script by Star Trek duo Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner (Fringe) based on an original draft by Spider-Man alum James Vanderbilt. Producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach also will return.
Despite the prolonged backstory, Webb reacted to the news Sept. 28 with a simple message on Twitter: “Ready for round 2.” — Matthew Belloni
McHale to Serve Up More Soup
Watch out, Wendy Williams. Joel McHale has reupped for two more seasons as host of E!’s celebrity clip show The Soup. The Community star also will develop nonscripted TV for E! through his Free Period company. Through the shingle, which former Alta Loma exec Jason Burns will run, McHale (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) also will develop scripted fare for Community producer Sony Pictures TV. “I’m thrilled,” he says. “I can’t wait to produce scripted TV and get the discount at the Sony employee store.” — Lacey Rose
Dating, Weddings, Revenge: Oxygen Adds 5 to Roster
Oxygen is adding more strong personalities to its unscripted family, putting five female-skewing docuseries in development. Gorgeous & Guilty, from Jersey Shore‘s SallyAnn Salsano, investigates women embroiled in famous scandals, with re-enactments exploring the motive behind each case. From the producers of The Biggest Loser comes Fat Girl Revenge, which will follow women who confront their past tormenters after “getting gorgeous.” The world of female comedians is the setting for Funny Girls, from the producers of Project Runway and Barter Kings. Dating series Heart and Soul, from Endemol and Jerseylicious executive producer Alex Duda, will revolve around Natalie Clarice‘s Miami matchmaking agency for urban professional women. The NBCUniversal cable network also will head to the altar with BermanBraun’s Shotgun Weddings, which will see couples race to tie the knot before the bride delivers her baby. The projects come as Oxygen, under senior vp original programming and development Rod Aissa, is seeking to grow its original programming by 50 percent. “This slate represents a broad array of interests for the modern woman; it’s just not one-note or one genre specific,” notes Aissa. If ordered to series, the projects would join a roster that includes The Glee Project and Tori & Dean: Storibook Weddings. — Lesley Goldberg
Jake Gyllenhaal (WME, Bloom Hergott) is in talks to star opposite Hugh Jackman in Alcon’s Prisoners. Denis Villeneuve will direct the kidnapping thriller.
Barry Sonnenfeld (WME, Melanie Cook) is in talks to direct the sci-fi actioner Lore for Warner Bros. Dwayne Johnson is on board to star.
J.I. Baker (Inkwell) will adapt his novel The Empty Glass, a thriller about a young coroner who investigates the truth behind Marilyn Monroe’s death, for Winkler Films.
Game Change writer Danny Strong (CAA, Sweeney, Jackoway Tyerman) is in talks to pen Lionsgate’s two-part adaptation of Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy.
Jay Baruchel (CAA, Thruline, Lichter Grossman) is co-writing a sequel to his hockey comedy Goon. Michael Dowse will return as director.
Kick-Ass writer Mark Millar (CAA, Harris Miller) will serve as creative consultant on Fox projects based on Marvel properties, including X-Men and Fantastic Four.
Len Wiseman (CAA, Behr & Abramson) is in talks to direct Universal’s reboot of The Mummy.
Lakeshore Entertainment will finance and produce the remake of the 1962 cult classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, written and directed by Walter Hill.
A24 has acquired domestic distribution rights to Sally Potter’s drama Ginger & Rosa, starring Elle Fanning.
Exclusive Media has acquired a minority stake in Millennium Entertainment’s distribution unit.
Tyler Perry (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) has signed a multiyear deal with OWN to bring scripted projects to the network, with two shows written and directed by Perry launching in 2013.
Greg Berlanti (WME, Felker Toczek) has sold two dramas to NBC: Napa, a modern take on Wuthering Heights, to be written by The Whole Truth‘s Tom Donaghy, and Family Affair, from Gossip Girl‘s Sara Goodman.
Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (WME, McKuin Frankel) have sold two shows to ABC: a legal drama with Chuck‘s exec producer Matthew Miller and a Florida-set cop drama from Hart of Dixie‘s Donald Todd.
The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken (WME, Bloom Hergott) has sold Solve for X, a crime drama revolving around a young video game developer, to CBS.
Gangster Squad‘s Ruben Fleischer (UTA, Sloane Offer) and The Secret Circle‘s Andrew Miller (WME) have sold a Texas-set rodeo drama to Fox.
Fred Willard (AEF), Michael McKean (APA, Harriet Sternberg) and Ed Begley Jr. (Innovative, Industry) will recur on Family Tree, HBO’s Christopher Guest series.
Miley Cyrus (CAA, Management 360, Edelstein Laird) will star in History/Lifetime’s telepic Bonnie and Clyde, from Smash duo Neil Meron and Craig Zadan.
Olivia Munn (CAA, Mosaic, Jackoway Tyerman) has booked a multiepisode arc on Fox’s New Girl, playing Jake Johnson’s girlfriend.
Stockard Channing (Paradigm, Hofflund/Polone) will play Julianna Margulies’ mom on CBS’ The Good Wife.
Jane Kaczmarek (ICM, Greenlight) will guest on ABC’s The Middle, playing a career counselor.
William Hurt (ICM) will star in a Science Channel/BBC docudrama about the space shuttle Challenger.
NBC has renewed The Voice for fourth and fifth cycles for spring and fall. … AMC has renewed freshman Small Town Security and ordered eight episodes of talent competition entry Road Shows. … USA Network has renewed Royal Pains for fifth and sixth seasons, White Collar for a fifth and Covert Affairs for a fourth. … TNT has renewed Franklin & Bash for a third season and Major Crimes for a second. … TLC has ordered more episodes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and set specials tied to Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. … CMT has ordered Dog, a 10-episode unscripted series from Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman and Electus.
Brian Grazer (CAA, Bloom Hergott) has a deal with Simon & Schuster to write a book about his weekly meetings with new and interesting people from the worlds of government, science and other realms.
Alan Cumming (Janklow & Nesbit) is writing a memoir for It Books about family secrets he uncovered on NBC’s reality show Who Do You Think You Are?
Neil Patrick Harris (Paradigm, Laura Nolan) has signed with Crown Archetype for an “imaginative nonfiction” memoir for publication in 2014.
Big Machine Records will make available country music from the new drama Nashville on iTunes and ABC’s Music Lounge starting Oct. 9.
Matthew Shafer (aka Uncle Kracker) has signed with Sugar Hill Records, a label of Welk Music Group.
Anne Hathaway (CAA, Management 360, Sloane Offer) will perform a one-night-only New York concert Oct. 24 at Joe’s Pub.
Verve talent agency has signed a five-year lease for headquarters space at 6310 San Vicente Blvd. in Los Angeles and will move from Culver City in 2013.
Zachary Gordon, the star of Fox’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid films, has signed with UTA.
Michael Karnow, co-creator of Syfy’s Alphas, has signed with CAA.
James Hamrick, who will star opposite Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth in Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis Three film Devil’s Knot, has signed with WME.
Lindsay Pulsipher, who played Roseanna McCoy in the History miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, has signed with ICM Partners.
Evan Weinstein, a co-executive producer, director and writer on the first 18 cycles of The Amazing Race, has signed with APA.
The Next Big Thing: Rachelle Lefevre
Reps: WME, Pearl Hanan, Stone Meyer. Why She Matters: The Twilight actress, 33, last seen on CBS’ canceled A Gifted Man drama, books key supporting roles in Sony’s Channing Tatum thriller White House Down and Millennium’s Jason Statham actioner Homefront.
THE BIG NUMBER: $1 Million
Base advance fee sought by Girls creator Lena Dunham in a publisher auction for an advice book she’s writing, according to Slate.
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