13 items from 2013
The self-described "number one channel for drama on YouTube" is making a move that will give it a similar presence on a different platform. Wigs, the female-oriented YouTube Original Channel from Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia, has debuted Blue, its most popular series, on Hulu. Blue stars Julia Stiles as a single mom who moonlights as a prostitute, and it became the first Wigs series to receive a second season when it released the first of ten new episodes last March. Most of Wigs' top videos come from Blue, a product of Stiles' high-caliber acting and lots of pre-roll ad spots. Instead of simply copy-pasting the series to Hulu, Wigs is rearranging it in five TV-length episodes, which have all been posted to the premium distribution site. The move is a calculated one. Wigs is now partnered with Fox, and the Hulu move represents the major network's intention to explore online distribution platforms beyond YouTube. »
- Sam Gutelle
Ph: Emily Shur
TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will present the AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks, a star-studded special celebrating the comedy legend. The highest honor for a career in the movies, the American Film Institute bestowed the honor on Brooks during a black-tie gala held in Hollywood on June 6. Many of Hollywood’s most revered luminaries turned out for the tribute, which will premiere on Saturday, June 15, at 9 p.m.(Et/Pt) and encore on TCM Wednesday, July 24, at 8 p.m. (Et) as part of an all-night tribute to Brooks.
Among the more than 1,000 guests gathered for Brooks were Conan O’Brien, Judd Apatow, Jon Avnet, Roger Bart, Richard Benjamin, James L Brooks, Billy Crystal, Sasha Baron Cohen, Stuart Cornfeld, Bob Daly, Larry David, Robert De Niro, Eugenio Derbez, Carey Elwes, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher, Zach Galifianakis, Teri Garr, Vince Gilligan, Marshall Herskovitz, Dustin Hoffman, »
- Melissa Thompson
Tune in alert for the final four episodes of Season Two, starring Troian Bellisario (.Pretty Little Liars.) and Jennifer Beals (.The L Word.), as military psychologist Paul Milgram (Bradley Whitford, .The West Wing.) gives Major Jo Stone (Beals) his official evaluation on Lauren (Bellisario). Stone has to relay Milgram.s diagnosis to Lauren . a diagnosis that could have a major impact on Lauren.s military career. Lauren is directed by Wigs co-creator Jon Avnet and written by Writers Guild of America Award nominee Jay Rodan and Avnet. The series also stars Sean Harmon, Justine Ezarik, Sam Hennings, Raymond Cruz and Mykelti Williamson, as well as Sarah Jones who reprises her self-titled role as a military veteran from Wigs series »
- April Neale
Avnet will be recognized for his contributions to AFI while Bigelow and Coates are being heralded for their “contributions of distinction” to the art of the moving image.
The degrees will be presented during the AFI Conservatory’s commencement ceremony on June 12 at the El Capitan Theater.
Previous AFI honorary degrees have been given to Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Mel Brooks, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, James Earl Jones, Nora Ephron, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Haskell Wexler and John Williams.
Avnet is an AFI alumnus and serves as vice chair of the board of trustees. His credits as a director, writer and producer include “Black Swan,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Risky Business” and “The History Boys.”
- Dave McNary
Troian Bellisario took Pretty Little Liars fans on an unexpectedly powerful emotional journey last season as Spencer had her world rocked, first by her boyfriend's betrayal and then his "death" -- thankfully Toby was just faking. But Bellisario made Spencer's pain so real, it left an indelible mark on fans and the series.
The 27-year-old is also reprising her role as Lauren in Wigs' incredibly important webseries of the same name about a soldier who comes forward following her on-base rape. Season one chronicled Lauren's failed quest to bring her attackers to justice while season two jumps around in time to showcase Lauren's life, pre and post-rape, as well as the series of events that led her superior (played by Jennifer Beals) to stonewall her.
Returning with its first four episodes of season 2 on May 3, Lauren — the hit web series from YouTube channel Wigs — stars Pretty Little Liars’ Troian Bellisario as a third-generation soldier who makes a brave choice when she reports her rape and continuing assault to her female commanding officer, played by Jennifer Beals. The result is a drama about the military institution and trying to balance justice and loyalty. In an exclusive clip from season 2 below, we see the immediate aftermath of Lauren’s rape, when she arrives at the medic tent and asks for help.
Directed by Wigs co-creator Jon Avnet »
- Samantha Highfill
Newly added speakers include Victoria Alonso of Marvel Studios, Jon Avnet, Bill Block, Vincent Bruzzese, Nancy Daniels, Stephanie Drachkovitch, Rodrigo Garcia, Bernie Goldmann, Josh Greenbaum, Phil Gurin, Nancy Hower, Andrew Jameson, Charlotte Koh, Rob Legato, John Lehr, Stu Levy, David Linde, Chris Moore, Brian Robbins, Steve Scott and Kurt Sutter.
- Dave McNary
The YouTube channel has started production on the web series, a 12-episode scripted drama written and directed by Wigs co-founder Jon Avnet that is slated to premiere later this spring. Anna Paquin and Maggie Grace star in Susanna as two sisters, Katie (Paquin), the mother of a newborn, and her younger sister, Susanna (Grace), an investment banker on the rise who has no interest in becoming a mother. When Katie develops acute postpartum depression and is hospitalized, Susanna must take care of her sister and her sister’s child while trying to keep the biggest business opportunity of her life from being derailed by her sister’s illness. Virginia Madsen and Rob Benedict co-star. The female-targeted Wigs in February formed a programming, marketing and distribution partnership with Fox, which aims at expanding Wigs’ offerings as well as testing and nurturing dramatic concepts and talent in the digital realm. The idea »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
Wigs' biggest star is making a return. Blue, starring Julia Stiles, is following up its successful first season with a second go-round. The drama series about a single mother who moonlights as a prostitute will return for ten new episodes in 2013, and Stiles will also write and direct a separate series for the female-focused YouTube Original Channel. Blue was one of the first series to debut on Wigs, launching in June 2012 just a few months after Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia founded the scripted drama channel. The initial twelve episode run drew in millions of views and helped Wigs attract more than 100,000 subscribers. Expect another big marketing push when Blue returns on March 15. Stiles has also written and directed Paloma, which will debut on Wigs sometime during the spring. Paloma stars Grace Gummer, best known as being Meryl Streep's daughter. Could Avnet and Garcia be indebting themselves to Hollywood's »
- Sam Gutelle
Fox Broadcasting Co.’s recently announced multi-year pact with YouTube channel Wigs will create a farm system for scripted development that could see an innovative cross-migration of productions between the partners’ online and broadcast formats. Fox shuffled its executive leadership ahead of unveiling its deal with Wigs, YouTube’s top channel for scripted drama, with more than 100,000 subscribers and 22 million views. Fox’s move comes as digital content providers such as Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix have ramped up their own scripted development. All three outlets have been able to attract top talent for their scripted series, which clearly has Fox and other broadcasters worried. If this new partnership is successful, Fox’s deal with Wigs could foreshadow more development deals between old and new media companies. “It does offer us an entrée to the old media world that is, I think, singular at this point. And we will try to take advantage of it, »
The major TV networks are continuing to colonize the untamed wilds of the Internet. Andrew Wallenstein of Variety has reported on two unique deals that have gone down recently. Fox has announced a partnership with Wigs, the female-oriented YouTube Original Channel that focuses on scripted drama. At the same time, The CW has launched a new companion to one of its series on YouTube through the Machinima network. Fox's investment is Wigs is a curious one, as the channel is already funded by YouTube. While it's not unusual for larger channels to team up with multiple backers (is there any multi-channel network that Toby Turner hasn't been involved with?), Wigs just recently crossed 100,000 subscribers, a mediocre mark as far as Original Channels are concerned. Fox's goal will be to give a marketing bump to Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia's channel, theoretically optioning some Wigs shows for TV down the line. »
- Sam Gutelle
In case you hadn’t gotten the memo that Justified‘s fourth season is going to be a vastly different beast from those that came before, “Truth and Consequences” might give us a better sense of just how things are going to operate this time around. For all the rhetorical bluster and speaking in tongues, Joe Mazzello’s Preacher Billy appears to already be out of the picture (though his shifty “sister” remains). Imagine if Robert Quarles had gotten his arm lopped off back in episode 3.3 and you have some idea of what Justified looks like without a Big Bad. While it’s a little sad to see Mazzello off so soon, his last sequence, with Boyd tempting him into a foolish demise, is effective and nicely paced. »
- Simon Howell
Spoiler Alert! In this week’s episode of Justified, “Truth and Consequences,” written by Benjamin Cavell and directed by Jon Avnet, Raylan’s underwear drawer got robbed and Boyd’s latest visit to Preacher Billy’s Last Chance Holiness Church came to a tragic end. As he’ll do throughout the season, showrunner Graham Yost takes us inside the writers room. (Read our recap here.)
Entertainment Weekly: So Lindsey (Jenn Lyon) admits to Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) that she used to get close to men to find out what they had to steal so Randall (Robert Barker) could take it, and he still trusted her. »
- Mandi Bierly
13 items from 2013
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