12 items from 2014
Project revolves around a male journalist who winds up disgraced and forced to work for his former intern, who has launched a high-metabolism Internet news outlet ala Buzzfeed or Popsugar (neither of those sites are formally involved with the property, however).
Heldens is writing the pilot and exec producing with former “CSI” showrunner Mendelsohn and Carol Mendelsohn Prods.’ Julie Weitz. Both Heldens and Mendelsohn Prods. have overall deals at Sony Pictures TV.
The untitled Heldens project marks the second big sale to date this development cycle for Mendelsohn’s banner, which moved to the Sony lot in June after a decade at CBS. Mendelsohn also stepped down as showrunner of “CSI” at the close of last season after 14 years at the helm.
Mendelsohn Prods. and Sony TV »
- Cynthia Littleton
Carol Mendelsohn is off to a hot development season. The former CSI co-showrunner has sold her second project this season, receiving a hefty put-pilot commitment with a sizable penalty attached for a journalism dramedy set up at ABC, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Liz Heldens (Deception, Camp) will pen the script for the untitled entry. The dramedy centers on a disgraced journalist who is forced to go back to work for his former intern, who has since invented a BuzzFeed/PopSugar-type news site. Mendelsohn and her Carol Mendelsohn Productions topper Julie Weitz will executive produce the hourlong entry
- Lesley Goldberg
Danny Huston (X Men Origins: Wolverine) is set for the male lead opposite Ashley Judd in NBC’s drama pilot Salvation, written by Elizabeth Heldens and directed by Jeffrey Reiner, while Adam Kaufman (Altered) has nabbed the male lead on another NBC pilot, Katherine Heigl-produced State Of Affairs. In Salvation, mega-church pastor Daniel Strickland suddenly dies, and his loyal wife, Jennifer Strickland (Judd), must rally to keep their family together and save the church. Huston, repped by ICM Partners, UK’s Julian Belfrage & Associates and attorney David Fox, will play Caleb, the lead pastor at a rival mega-church. He will next be seen in a 3-episode arc on Showtime’s Masters Of Sex. Drama pilot State Of Affairs stars Heigl as Charleston Whitney Tucker, a key CIA attaché who counsels the president on high-stakes incidents around the world. Kaufman, repped by Sdb Partners and Luber Roklin Entertainment, will play Lucas Wright, »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
Chuck alum Ryan McPartlin will co-star opposite Ashley Judd in NBC’s drama pilot Salvation. In the project, written by Elizabeth Heldens and directed by Jeffrey Reiner, mega-church Pastor Daniel Strickland suddenly dies, and his loyal wife, Jennifer Strickland (Judd), must rally to keep their family together and save the church. McPartlin, repped by Gersh and Evolution, will play Congressman Todd Bishop, an ambitious man whose political life keeps him from home, making him a bit of an absent husband and father. His romantic comedy feature The Right Kind Of Wrong opens next week. Related: 2014 NBC Pilots Bryshere Y. Gray aka rapper Yazz The Greatest has been cast in Fox’s hip-hop industry drama pilot Empire, from Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and Brian Grazer. The booking comes on the heels of the actor-musician signing with Paradigm. Empire centers on Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), a charismatic, savvy music superstar who is about to take his company, »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
Coming off HBO’s Treme, Rob Brown has joined NBC’s drama pilot Salvation. In the project, written by Elizabeth Heldens and directed by Jeffrey Reiner, mega-church Pastor Daniel Strickland suddenly dies, and his loyal wife, Jennifer Strickland (Ashley Judd), must rally to keep their family together and save the church. Brown, repped by Wme, Industry Entertainment and Jeff Endlich, will play Miles Strickland, the adopted son of Jennifer and Daniel Strickland who returns home after a 6-year absence out of a sense of loyalty to the family but does not share in their beliefs. He most recently seen in Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directorial debut Don Jon. Related: 2014 NBC Pilots Drew Powell has been cast in a guest starring/recurring role in Fox‘s Batman prequel drama Gotham, which has a series commitment. Based on DC characters from the Batman universe, Gotham explores the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
After lengthy negotiations, Ashley Judd (The Missing) has closed a deal to topline NBC’s drama pilot Salvation. On the heels of his Tony-nominated turn in Kinky Boots, Stark Sands is set to co-star in the family drama, which also has cast Meg Steedle, Emma Dumont and Jake Picking. In Salvation, written by Elizabeth Heldens and directed by Jeffrey Reiner, when Mega-Church Pastor Daniel Strickland suddenly dies, his loyal wife, Jennifer Strickland (Judd), must rally to keep their family together and save the church. Sands will play Paul Strickland, the eldest child and the heir apparent to Daniel’s evangelical empire who suffers from a chronic stutter and might have played a role in his dad’s death. Steedle plays Lilly, the Stricklands’ eldest daughter who is married to a Congressman and pregnant with her third child. Dumont and Picking play the Stricklands’ two other biological children, both teenagers. Sands, »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
Judd, who is repped by Wme, received an Emmy nomination for the miniseries “Missing.” She stars in the upcoming films “Dolphin Tale 2″ and “Big Stone Gap” and also has a supporting role in “Divergent.”
- Whitney Friedlander
Sean Saves the World co-star Echo Kellum is staying at NBC with a co-starring role in the single-camera comedy pilot Two To Go, from Universal TV and studio-based David Janollari Entertainment and Jason Bateman‘s Aggregate. Written/co-exec produced by Bryan Shukoff and Kevin Chesley, the project centers on longtime best friends Kurt and Laura, who grapple with the challenges of modern-day dating while their group of friends try and prove that they are destined to be together. Kellum, repped by TalentWorks, Odenkirk Provissiero, and Melissa Fox, plays one of the friends, a stay-at-home dad. He previously co-starred on the Fox comedy series Ben and Kate. Former Common Law co-lead Warren Kole has booked a role in Janollari’s other NBC pilot, drama Salvation, from writer Liz Heldens. The family saga is set against the backdrop of a Texas mega church where faith, family and corruption are explored in equal measure. »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
Sought-after pilot director David Semel is spoken for this season, as he has been tapped to helm CBS’ drama pilot Madam Secretary, starring Tea Leoni. The project, from creator/exec producer Barbara Hall and exec producer Morgan Freeman, explores the personal and professional life of a maverick female Secretary of State (Leoni) as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life. Wme-repped Semel has directed the pilots for such series as American Dreams, Heroes, No Ordinary Family, Person Of Interest and most recently TNT’s Legends and CBS’ Intelligence. Related: Tea Leoni To Star In CBS Drama Pilot ‘Madam Secretary’ Jeffrey Reiner (Friday Night Lights) is set to direct NBC’s drama pilot Salvation, from Liz Heldens, Universal TV and David Janollari Entertainment. The family saga is set against the backdrop of a Texas mega church where faith, family and corruption are explored in equal measure. »
- ERIK PEDERSEN
NBC has ordered a new drama pilot from David Janollari, the former MTV programming exec and “Six Feet Under” producer. From Universal Television, “Salvation” will be also be executive produced and written by Liz Heldens (“Camp,” “Deception”). Also read: NBC Orders Comedy Pilots From Will Ferrell, Jason Katims, and Tom Werner It is described as a provocative drama set against the backdrop of a prominent Texas church where faith, family and corruption are explored in equal measure. The pilot centers on Jennifer Strickland, who has to defend her children, church and religious beliefs after her husband dies under mysterious circumstances. »
- Jethro Nededog
Liz Heldens, creator of NBC‘s 2009 medical drama Mercy and last season’s mystery drama Deception and co-creator of the network’s summer series Camp, is a step away from returning to NBC’s primetime with a pilot order for her latest project, drama Salvation. Produced by Universal TV and David Janollari’s studio-based David Janollari Entertainment, Salvation is a family saga set against the backdrop of a Texas mega church where faith, family and corruption are explored in equal measure. The pilot centers on Jennifer Strickland, who has to defend her children, church and religious beliefs after her husband dies under mysterious circumstances. Heldens wrote the script and is executive producing with Janollari. This marks the first pilot order for Janollari, in the first year of an overall deal at NBC. It is NBC’s seventh drama pilot as the network has been particularly aggressive, ordering 14 pilots (7 comedy, 7 drama »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
“Salvation” is set against the backdrop of a prominent Texas church where faith, family and corruption are explored in equal measure. Project centers on Jennifer Strickland, a mother who has to defend her family and religious beliefs after her husband dies under mysterious circumstances.
Meagan Good-starrer “Deception” bowed on the Peacock a year ago, but was cancelled in May 2013 after airing only one season. Heldens also created “Mercy” for NBC. Peacock bought the Heldens-Janollari church drama in October.
- AJ Marechal
12 items from 2014
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