7 Days of Deals
DEAL OF THE WEEK: Like a Fox -- Ailes Pay Rivals Rupert's: The most powerful man in cable news isn't going anywhere. Roger Ailes ended speculation Oct. 19 that he might leave the helm of Fox News Channel -- as well as Fox Business Network and Fox's local stations and syndication business -- by announcing a new four-year deal that takes him through the 2016 election.
Ailes' lawyer, Peter Johnson, reportedly was seeking about a $9 million boost annually compared with the $21.1 million Ailes earned in stock and cash in 2011. If he was successful, the deal would put Ailes, 72, on par with what News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch earned last year and above the $24.8 million COO Chase Carey received.
Ailes, who has been with Fox News since its founding in 1996, presumably was in good position to negotiate a healthy raise, considering the success of FNC. The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity routinely attract more viewers than competing shows on MSNBC and CNN combined; FNC's coverage of the Republican National Convention brought the highest single-net showing on cable news this year; and the network has dominated coverage of the debates, with a record 11.1 million people tuning in for the second presidential face-off Oct. 16.
"News Corp., for all of its criticisms of corporate governance, has created more entrepreneurial successes -- the Fox network itself, Fox Cable, Fox News, Sky, etc. -- in the past few decades than any other large media company I can think of," says analyst Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group.
Meanwhile, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes and Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent still are seeking a new leader for ratings-challenged CNN Worldwide. Among the names that have surfaced to replace Jim Walton at year's end are former ABC News president David Westin and former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Zucker, who is executive producer of Katie Couric's ABC daytime show.
Zucker let it be known he is interested in the job and would bring a proven track record in news (he led the transformation of Today that set the show on a 16-year winning streak). But he also presided over NBC's decline from first to fourth place in primetime and oversaw the Conan O'Brien-Jay Leno late-night debacle. A Katie source says reports that the show already is looking for a replacement EP are untrue. -- Paul Bond and Marisa Guthrie
Wall Street Seeks Huge AFM Deals
Paramount might have picked up U.S. rights to Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street on Oct. 16, but Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland's Red Granite Pictures is eyeing even bigger deals for foreign rights at the American Film Market, which runs Oct. 31 to Nov. 7 in Santa Monica. Red Granite fully financed and is producing the $100 million film, now shooting in New York and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as real-life marauding stockbroker Jordan Belfort, with Red Granite International co-presidents Danny Dimbort and Christian Mercuri handling foreign sales. One buyer tells THR that Red Granite wants $10 million or more in the bigger territories. That's a huge sum for a market title, though it's not often independent international distributors get a chance to handle a Scorsese-DiCaprio film. Buyers and sellers will be paying close attention to what Wall Street commands. -- Pamela McClintock
Gollum Takes the Helm
Andy Serkis, who is serving as second-unit director on Peter Jackson's The Hobbit while reprising his role as Gollum, is putting his experience to good use. The actor, who most recently appeared as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, will direct and perform in an adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm, which he says will employ performance capture. This fresh approach to the literary classic will be the first feature produced out of The Imaginarium, the London-based performance-capture studio Serkis and producer Jonathan Cavendish (Bridget Jones's Diary) formed in 2011. "We are in proof-of-concept stage at the moment, designing characters and experimenting with the designs," Serkis tells THR. "It is quite a wide canvas as to how much and how far we can take performance capture with quadrupeds and how much we will be using facial capture." -- Carolyn Giardina
Michael Fassbender (CAA, the U.K.'s Troika) will star in Assassin's Creed, a video game adaptation from Ubisoft and New Regency.
Hugh Grant (CAA) will star in Castle Rock's untitled romantic comedy from Two Weeks Notice writer Marc Lawrence.
Diane Kruger (UTA, Untitled, Felker Toczek) and Anton Yelchin (CAA, Brillstein, Sloane Offer) have signed to appear in the indie romantic comedy 5 to 7, directed by Mad Men writer Victor Levin.
Elizabeth Banks (UTA, Untitled, Ziffren Brittenham) will star in the comedy Walk of Shame, with Steven Brill (Mr. Deeds) writing and directing.
Hailee Steinfeld (ICM, Anonymous, Hirsch Wallerstein) has joined the cast of Hateship, Friendship, a dramedy co-starring Guy Pearce, Kristen Wiig and Nick Nolte.
Werner Herzog (Gersh) will direct Vernon God Little, based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by DBC Pierre.
Jason Segel (WME, Abrams Entertainment, Sloane Offer) is attached to star in and co-write an untitled comedy about punk rockers-turned-fathers for Fox.
Ewan McGregor (UTA, the U.K.'s United Agents, Sloane Offer) and Kate Hudson (CAA, Jackoway Tyerman) will star in the mistaken-identity comedy Born to Be King.
Shameless' Emmy Rossum (ICM, Schiff Co., Ziffren Brittenham) will star opposite Hilary Swank in the drama You're Not You, also produced by Swank.
Lee Daniels (CAA, Loeb and Loeb) is in talks to direct Get It While You Can, a Janis Joplin biopic, with Amy Adams attached to star.
The Descendants' Shailene Woodley (Paradigm, Principato Young, Felker Toczek) is in talks to star in Divergent, Summit/Lionsgate's adaptation of Veronica Roth's young-adult novel.
John Leguizamo (UTA, The Collective, Sloane Offer) is in negotiations to join Ride Along, an action comedy starring Ice Cube.
Silver Linings Playbook's Jacki Weaver (ICM, Elevate, Felker Toczek) will star in the horror movie Haunt.
Total Recall writer Mark Bomback (WME, Anonymous) has been tapped to work on Fox's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Stunt coordinator and second-unit director Vic Armstrong (Gersh) is in talks to direct the rebooted Left Behind movie, with Nicolas Cage in talks to star.
Blake Masters (UTA, Brillstein, Jackoway Tyerman) will write the script for Paramount's sci-fi feature Insurrection, based on his own comic.
New Regency has picked up movie rights to Mona, a techno-thriller from first-time Swedish author Dan Sehlberg.
Alcon (The Blind Side) will adapt Tony Award-winning musical Memphis for the big screen.
Brendan Fraser (CAA, Brillstein, Felker Toczek) will star in TNT's CIA drama pilot Legends, from Homeland's Howard Gordon.
Denise Richards (ICM, Kritzer Levine, Del Shaw) has joined Socio, ABC Family's drama pilot from Gavin Polone.
Khloe Kardashian (WME, Kris Jenner) and Mario Lopez (WME, 3 Arts, Jackoway Tyerman) will co-host The X Factor, which Fox has renewed for a third season.
Rock of Love's Bret Michaels (WME, Hirsch Wallerstein) will host the Travel Channel series Rock My RV.
Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas (UTA, Hansen Jacobson) will adapt Peter Morgan's U.K. miniseries Metropolis for The CW.
Fox is adapting the BBC cult comedy Gavin & Stacey with series creators James Corden, Ruth Jones and Henry Normal attached.
Criminal Minds executive producers Erica Messer (UTA, Hansen Jacobson) and Janine Sherman Barrois (WME, Felker Toczek) will write and exec produce murder procedural Darkness Falls for CBS.
Big Bang Theory writer David Goetsch (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) has scored a put-pilot commitment from CBS for the family comedy Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Dexter executive producer Manny Coto (WME, Bloom Hergott) has sold The Defectives, a female-led cop drama, to ABC.
Dylan McDermott (CAA, Schiff Co., Hansen Jacobson) will return to FX's American Horror Story: Asylum.
Strike Back's Rhona Mitra (the U.K.'s Ken McReddie, Untitled, Sloane Offer) will co-star in TNT's Michael Bay drama pilot The Last Ship.
Terriers alum Donal Logue (UTA, Kipperman, Katz Golden) will join rocker Dave Navarro as guest stars on FX's Sons of Anarchy.
Wizards of Waverly Place's Jake T. Austin (Paradigm, Principato Young) has joined The Fosters, an ABC Family drama pilot executive produced by Jennifer Lopez.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Tom Lenk (Pakula/King, Vanguard) will co-star in Lifetime's Witches of East End drama pilot.
The CW will air the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, which had aired on VH1.
Showtime has renewed Homeland for a third season. ... CBS has picked up a U.S. version of The Great British Bakeoff. … The CW has renewed America's Next Top Model for a 20th cycle featuring male models and given a full-season order to freshman Arrow. … TNT has picked up Frank Darabont's period drama formerly known as L.A. Noir to series. … BBC America has renewed Copper for a second season. … Hallmark Channel has given a series order to its first scripted drama, Cedar Cove.
CAA is teaming with KWAN Entertainment & Marketing Solutions, the largest talent agency in India, to represent talent locally.
Chicago startup Spooky Cool Labs has licensed Warner Bros.' The Wizard of Oz for a multiplatform social-media game to be launched on Facebook.
Real Housewife Carole Radziwill (Inkwell) has signed with Holt for her first novel, The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating, and a collection of essays.
CBS Sunday Morning's Bill Geist and his son, the Today show's Willie Geist (Tom Connor & Associates), will pen a book about their father-son relationship for Grand Central.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has purchased a new unit at the 10 Rittenhouse Square high-rise in Philadelphia. Although the price of the 6,900-square-foot space is not known, similar units have listed for $7 million to $14 million.
Jenna Dewan-Tatum, who recently was featured on FX's American Horror Story, has signed with UTA, joining husband Channing Tatum.
Kate del Castillo, who starred on La Reina del Sur, the highest-rated show in Telemundo's history, has signed with CAA.
Georgia Kacandes, an executive producer on Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, has signed with Gersh.
Erica Montolfo, co-showrunner and executive producer of BET's The Game, has signed with ICM Partners.
Simon Templeman, who stars on ABC's The Neighbors, has signed with APA.
THE NEXT BIG THING: Stephan Zlotescu
Reps: IAM Entertainment. Why He Matters: The effects guru, who has worked on music videos for Lady Gaga and Beyonce, sparked a bidding war for feature rights to his futuristic sci-fi short True Skin. Zlotescu is now set to direct for Warner Bros., with Harry Potter's David Heyman producing.