OSCAR: First Academy Screeners Arrived
And we're off… I received emails and calls from a couple of recently inducted Academy Award voters who reported that the first two screeners of the season arrived in their mailboxes Wednesday from Sony Pictures Classics. The studio beat the competition by sending out the Australian crime thriller Animal Kingdom and the multi-story drama Mother And Child to all of the nearly 6,000 members. It's a repeat of a familiar strategy employed by SPC in the past when they were… Read
Chris Ball Hatches Wrekin Hill, Will Release Peter Weir's 'The Way Back'
Chris Ball, Newmarket president and co-founder, will leave to form Wrekin Hill Entertainment, a new specialty film production and distribution label. Ball will continue his association with Newmarket's owner, Exclusive Media Group, getting the new shingle started by releasing the Peter Weir-directed The Way Back, the harrowing period survival tale that stars Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong and Colin Farrell. Wreckin will also release the Billy Joel… Read
MTV CHANGE-UP: Tony DiSanto & Liz Gateley Exit For ProdCo Backed By Ben Silverman; David Janollari To Get Upped
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that MTV's president of programming Tony DiSanto and his top lieutenant, SVP series development Liz Gateley, will be leaving the network to form a production company that will focus on film as well as scripted and unscripted television. I hear Ben Silverman's Electus, backed by Barry Diller's IAC, will own a stake in the new company which has already lined up a number of commitments, including some from MTV. Meanwhile, former WB entertainment president… Read
WME Signs Kelsey, Reba, Little Big Town
Kelsey Grammer, the 5-time Emmy winner and Tony nominee, is moving from CAA to WME where he'll be repped by the same half-dozen agent team who handle Tyler Perry. Grammer has a very busy TV production business (Medium, Girlfriends, The Game which is restarting). WME also signed Reba McEntire from CAA. The major Nashville singing star had one of The WB's most highly rated sitcom for years until it was yanked and moved to Lifetime. From Nashville, WME also signed… Read
Julia Roberts And Meryl Streep To Team In 'August: Osage County' For John Wells
EXCLUSIVE: In a power pairing, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep are in talks to star for The Weinstein Company in the bigscreen adaptation of the Tracy Letts' Pulitzer and Tony-winning play August: Osage County. I hear Roberts and Streep have agreed to the project and they are now working out deals and locking a production start. John Wells will direct the film from a script written by the playwright. Production will start by next summer. Streep will play Violet, the… Read
Ryan Gosling Is George Clooney's Choice For 'Farragut North'
EXCLUSIVE: George Clooney is close to finding his star for Farragut North. I'm told he's negotiating with Ryan Gosling to play the lead role of a young communications director who works for a fast rising presidential candidate. During the course of the campaign, the idealistic young man falls prey to the backstabbing and other dirty trickery of more seasoned rivals.
Gosling is in line to play a role once eyed by Leonardo DiCaprio when the Beau Willimon play was optioned… Read
Emma Thompson Joins 'Men In Black 3'
Men in Black 3 is casting up. I'm told that Emma Thompson will be taking a lead role of Oh, the head of MIB. She'll join Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin in the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed film for Sony Pictures Entertainment. She's negotiating. Principal photography begins in… Read
Lifetime Greenlights 'Meet Jane' Pilot
EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime has handed out a pilot order to Meet Jane, a drama from writer Andi Bushell and executive turned producer Mark Pedowitz. This is the first pilot order for Pedowitz, who segued into producing early this year with a first-look deal for his Pine Street Entertainment at Warner Bros TV. Before that, he spent 19 years at Disney-ABC, including a stint at ABC Studios which he ran as president for 5 years until he was pushed out by Steve McPherson.
Meet Jane… Read
Oxygen Greenlights Paris Hilton Docu-Series
Oxygen Media has ordered a new docu-series starring socialite and tabloid fixture Paris Hilton from veteran reality producer Arthur Smith (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares). Here is the show's official description: “With Hollywood on one side and real life on the other, this series follows Paris and four important women in her life, through all of their ups and downs, loves gained and lost, marriages, kids, divorce and more, revealing a lively group of dynamic… Read
Fox 'Connected' With Family Comedy From 'American Dad' Producer Nahnatchka Khan
After a bidding war, Fox has handed out a put pilot commitment to Connected, a single-camera family comedy from from American Dad! executive producer Nahnatchka Khan and documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler. Khan will write and executive produce the project, an edgy family comedy about two families linked by their teens' romantic relationship. She will executive produce with Cutler and Mosaic's Ann Blanchard. Connected is produced by 20th Century Fox TV where Khan is under… Read
Leno Narrowly Wins Premiere Week
Maybe it doesn't matter who sits in the Tonight Show chair after all. NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno posted a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49 during premiere week, matching the performance of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien the same week last year. (In total viewers, the older-skewing Leno was up 58%). It was a close race among Leno, CBS' Late Show with David Letterman and Nightline last week. Leno won in both total viewers (3.79 million vs. 3.78 million for… Read
Writer Sascha Penn Sets Up Series Projects With Directors Brett Ratner & Marcos Siega
EXCLUSIVE: Writer Sascha Penn has landed 2 premium script deals: one at Fox for Unknown, a drama with Brett Ratner attached to executive produce, and one at the CW for Confessions of a Back-Up Dancer with Marcos Siega attached to direct and produce. The CW pact is now being finalized.
Unknown is described as an action series in the vein of The Fugitive that follows a man on a journey to discover who he really is. Penn wrote it on spec, which Martha Haight, president of… Read