7 Days of Deals
DEAL OF THE WEEK: International TV: What's Driving the Buying Spree: When British broadcaster ITV in late July acquired Norwegian producer Mediacircus and inked a development pact with Israeli network Reshet, international TV insiders took notice. ITV, behind the U.S. version of Prime Suspect for NBC and a pair of TLC reality series, increasingly is producing and selling shows around the world. And the company isn't alone. Industry players are buying up boutique production operations across Europe, hoping to secure the creative talent needed to expand internationally.
In 2010, Time Warner bought a controlling stake in Shed Media (Supernanny) and in April acquired British production shingle Renegade (The World's Most Dangerous Roads). Last year, News Corp. grabbed Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Group, for $675 million. Sony is now believed to be looking to buy a British TV production firm.
Such deals have allowed major TV buyers to create a network of local test labs for content that they can then offer worldwide. Shine, for example, took British cooking format Masterchef and BBC fantasy series Merlin and made them global hits. Israel's tiny TV market has produced In Treatment (HBO) and Homeland (Showtime), while producers in the Nordic territories are behind The Killing and Wallander franchises.
"The market in Israel is becoming a real creative hotbed, particularly for exports," said ITV CEO Adam Crozier, "and we see the Nordics as an important driver of our future performance."
This farm-system approach was pioneered by such European conglomerates as Endemol and FremantleMedia, which globalized the Big Brother and Idol reality formats, respectively. But now the European giants are making English-language dramas with an eye to selling into the U.S.
Endemol produces AMC's Civil War drama Hell on Wheels. Fremantle recently inked a first-look deal with Bones producer Barry Josephson to develop global dramas. And the BBC has several U.S.-U.K. hybrid series in production or development, including Showtime's Episodes and the upcoming spy thriller Hunted, which X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz wrote and executive produced for BBC One and HBO/Cinemax.
ITV and other European producers still face stiff competition in the U.S. But with cable channels investing in more original content, Americans can expect to see a lot more TV coming from Europe in the near future. -- Scott Roxborough and Georg Szalai
Return Trip to Marigold Hotel?
Summer's most improbable blockbuster could be getting a sequel. Sources say producers of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the $10 million-budgeted British dramedy that has grossed more than $130 million worldwide since opening in May, have begun talks with castmembers about checking back in. Writer Ol Parker is expected to return, and director John Madden is said to be game for another round, if the script delivers. Ditto for stars including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith, though none is signed for a sequel because neither producers Blueprint Pictures nor financial backers Participant Media or U.S. distributor Fox Searchlight thought a movie about a group of elderly Brits whose stay at a rundown Bangalore hotel imparts life lessons would ever warrant another installment. Marigold fans might need to wait for a follow-up, though. NBC recently began developing Parker's Hotel California, a drama series set in a ritzy L.A. resort, far from India. -- Borys Kit
Huge Raise for Hunger Games Star
Jennifer Lawrence is going from District 12 to the high-rent district. The actress, whose performance as Katniss Everdeen helped The Hunger Games gross $683.8 million worldwide this spring, is negotiating to earn about $10 million for the Catching Fire sequel out in November 2013, according to sources. The figure is a combination of salary, bonuses and escalators; depending on the film's box office, she could earn much more. That's a big raise for Lawrence (CAA, Hansen Jacobson), who was paid $500,000, plus bonuses, for the first film. Her original deal with Lionsgate locked her into four planned movies based on the best-selling Suzanne Collins trilogy, but producers moved to rework her contract after Hunger Games became an international sensation. (Such renegotiations are common on major franchises.) Lawrence's co-stars Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth also are said to have renegotiated, but they will receive far smaller raises. -- Stephen Galloway and Matthew Belloni
Robert Zemeckis (CAA, Gang Tyre) will produce and possibly direct the Fox drama Taking Flight: The Hunt for a Young Outlaw, about the Barefoot Bandit crime spree.
Drew Barrymore (CAA) will direct The End, an end-of-the-world drama at Warner Bros.
Selena Gomez (CAA, LH7, Ziffren Brittenham) will star in the coming-of-age comedy Parental Guidance Suggested opposite Elisabeth Shue, Nat Wolff and Austin Stowell.
George Nolfi (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) will rewrite and direct Fox 2000's One Minute to Midnight, from the Cuban Missile Crisis book by Michael Dobbs.
Warner Bros. has acquired rights to Beautiful Disaster, a Fifty Shades of Grey-like novel aimed at the young-adult set from author Jamie McGuire. Donald De Line is attached to produce.
The Office's B.J. Novak (CAA, Price, Ziffren Brittenham) will play half of the famous Sherman Bros. songwriters in Disney's Saving Mr. Banks, about the making of Mary Poppins.
Lucas Till (APA, Tom Sullivan, Hirsch Wallerstein), who played Havok in X-Men: First Class, is in talks to star in Wolves, the directorial debut of X-Men writer David Hayter.
Yasiin Bey (Brookside), formerly known as Mos Def, has joined Can a Song Save Your Life?, the music-themed drama from Once writer-director John Carney.
Shana Feste (CAA, Madhouse, Myman Greenspan), who wrote and directed Country Strong, will tackle a remake of 1981's Endless Love for Universal.
Kevin Zegers (ICM) has joined The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones for Constantin Film and Screen Gems.
Fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson (UTA, Lichter Grossman) will act in Nicole Holofcener's untitled Fox Searchlight film opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini.
Game of Thrones' Natalie Dormer (UTA, Untitled, the U.K.'s United Agents, Jackoway Tyerman) is joining The Counselor for director Ridley Scott.
Chris Pratt (CAA, Mosaic) will star opposite Vince Vaughn in the DreamWorks comedy Starbuck, based on a 2011 Canadian comedy.
Joe Manganiello (CAA, Valeo, Felker Toczek) will join Arnold Schwarzenegger in Breacher, the action thriller that David Ayer is directing for QED International. The True Blood star also will return to CBS' How I Met Your Mother.
Brendan Fraser (CAA, Brillstein) will star in writer-director Damian Lee's thriller Split Decision for Rollercoaster and Vortex Words + Pictures.
Lindsay Lohan (ICM, Untitled, Bloom Hergott) is in talks to join Dimension's Scary Movie 5 opposite Charlie Sheen and Ashley Tisdale.
Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels (CAA, Hansen Jacobson), Seth Meyers (CAA, Brillstein, Hirsch Wallerstein), his brother Josh Meyers (Kohner, Brillstein) and The Colbert Report's Peter Grosz (ICM, Brillstein) are developing a comedy about brothers for NBC.
Wall Street 2 writer Stephen Schiff (ICM, Brillstein, Lichter Grossman) will pen an HBO Films movie about author Norman Mailer's relationship with prisoner Jack Abbott, who helped with 1980's The Executioner's Song. Tina Brown will exec produce.
House executive producers Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) are prepping an aircraft carrier drama for Fox and 20th TV.
Smash's Craig Zadan & Neil Meron (CAA, Morris Yorn) have inked a two-year pact with Sony Pictures Television to develop TV movies and miniseries. The duo also signed a first-look deal with Universal Television and NBCUniversal International.
Ousted Community showrunner Dan Harmon (UTA, Sloane Offer) has inked a script deal with CBS to pen a multicamera comedy.
Vince Vaughn (CAA, Jackoway Tyerman) is developing a Brady Bunch reboot for CBS written by Raising Hope's Mike Mariano (CAA, Morris Yorn).
Grammy winner John Legend (CAA, Del Shaw) has inked a development deal with Universal Cable Productions.
Lukas Haas (Innovative) and Saxon Sharbino (WME, ROAR) have joined Fox's Touch as series regulars.
Melanie Griffith (WME, Untitled, Hirsch Wallerstein) has joined Fox's Raising Hope as Shannon Woodward's mother. Griffith's mom Tippi Hedren will play Woodward's dead grandmother.
American Pie's Natasha Lyonne (APA, 3 Arts, Schreck Rose) will guest star in the series finale of Showtime's Weeds.
Colin O'Donoghue (UTA, Alchemy, Sloane Offer) will play Captain Hook on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
Will & Grace's Sean Hayes (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) will recur on NBC's Up All Night, playing Maya Rudolph's former accompanist.
Veep's Anna Chlumsky (Innovative, Liebman, Schreck Rose) and Broadway veterans Roger Bart (Innovative) and Raul Esparza (ICM, Elin Flack) will guest star on NBC's Law & Order: SVU.
Comic John Fugelsang (WME, Brillstein, Don Buchwald) is developing a primetime series for Current.
American Idol alum Paul McDonald (Paradigm) will recur on NBC's Parenthood.
Syfy has given pilot orders to High Moon, from Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller and writer Jim Danger Gray, and Proof, from M. Night Shyamalan and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Marti Noxon.
MTV has renewed Jersey Shore spinoff Snooki & JWoww and its hidden-camera entry Money From Strangers for second seasons. … Lifetime has ordered Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition with judges Abby Lee Miller (Dance Moms), Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin and choreographer Richard Jackson ... TLC has ordered High School Moms, a six-episode docuseries. … VH1 has revived Best Week Ever and ordered three new series, including where-are-they-now entry Miss You Much.
Matt Galle, Bamboozle Festival co-founder and Paradigm agent, is taking his Photo Finish label from Warner Music's Atlantic Records to Universal's Island.
Warner/Chappell Music Publishing will acquire masters and publishing rights for all Miramax film music.
Andrew Lloyd Webber (Octagon) will star in a Nintendo Wii competition game that features 32 songs pulled from his musicals including Cats and Evita.
Bleacher Report, a sports-news website, was acquired by Time Warner's Turner cable division for about $175 million.
Screenwriter Alvin Sargent has sold the Santa Monica home he shared with his late wife, film producer Laura Ziskin, for $11.1 million.
Lisa Rinna, the former Melrose Place star now on Days of Our Lives, has signed with Paradigm.
Jeremy Davies, the Lost star who recently received his second Emmy nomination for his work on Justified, has signed with APA.
Tim Saccardo, a writer on NBC's Community, has signed with CAA.
Shelby Young, whose credits include American Horror Story and Awkward, has signed with UTA.
Andrea Portes, author of the novel Hick, which was adapted into a film that bowed at the 2011 Toronto film festival, has signed with ICM Partners.
THE NEXT BIG THING: Chris McCoy
Reps: WME, Gotham, Jackoway Tyerman
Why He Matters: The writer has landed three quirky screenplays on the coveted Black List, prompting Marvel to hire him to rewrite its planned big-budget Guardians of the Galaxy movie, which likely will end up as his first produced script.
The Big Number: $8.12 -- Average movie ticket price in North America in the second quarter, up from $7.92 last quarter and a record high, thanks to 3D and Imax.