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Global Showbiz Briefs: Pope Benedict Biopic, Netflix Rival In Mexico And More

1 December 2012 4:52 PM, PST

German Producers Plan Pope Benedict Biopic The Odeon Film company said German producers Marcus Mende and Peter Weckert have acquired film rights to an upcoming biography of Pope Bendict XVI by journalist Peter Seewald. The bio is to be published in early 2014, Reuters reported. Seewald, who has signed on as a consultant for the film, previously authored three book-length interviews with Benedict – two as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and one as pope. Benedict’s predecessor Pope John Paul was the subject of a dozen documentary films around the world and two major television movies in the United States. Shekhar Kapur Proceeds With Dystopian ‘Paani’ Oscar-nominated Indian director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) has finally secured production financing for his ambitious futuristic tale Paani after teaming up with production studio Yash Raj Films. Kapur introduced the project to investors at Cannes in 2010 but had until now not been able to raise financing for the estimated $30 million project. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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TV’s Original Batmobile To Be Auctioned Off

1 December 2012 10:13 AM, PST

Holy bubble-top! The car used in the 1966-68 Batman TV series will be auctioned off in January. Customizer George Barris bought the 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept car for $1 from the Ford Motor Co. Barris was given $15,000 and 15 days to gadgetize the handmade two-seater. He added a nose-mounted aluminum Cable Cutter Blade, Batphone, Bat Ray Projector, Automatic Tire Inflator and other fluorishes such as twin parachutes used to execute 180-degree turns. Barris still owns the one-of-a-kind car that came with a push-button transmission. It’s expected to fetch seven figures when the gavel comes down at the auction January 19th in Scottsdale, Ariz. Clark Gable’s personal 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300Sl Gullwing Coupe will also be sold that day. Notable showbiz cars typically go for large sums. The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 used in the James Bond films “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball” sold for $4.6 million at auction in 2010. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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R.I.P. Don Rhymer

1 December 2012 10:11 AM, PST

Screenwriter Don Rhymer, whose credits included 20th Century Fox Animation’ hit Rio and the CBS comedy Evening Shade, has died. He was 51 and his longtime friend Dave Gallagher told the La Times that Rhymer died Wednesday of cancer at USC’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. One of Rhymer’s earliest credits was NBC’s Valerie. He also wrote for CBS’ Hearts Afire. He also worked on feature films, including Big Momma’s House and its two sequels, The Santa Clause 2, Agent Cody Banks 2, The Honeymooners and Sony Pictures Animation’s Surf’s Up. His TV credits also included episodes of the NBC series Caroline In The City and Bagdad Cafe. After his diagnosis three years ago, Rhymer started a blog “Let’s Radiate Don” that chronicled his treatment and his relationship with his wife and kids. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Ratings Rat Race: ABC Comedies, ‘CSI: NY’ Up, ‘Nikita’ Hits Highs In Move To 8 Pm

1 December 2012 9:40 AM, PST

The ratings tide that lifted shows across the board Monday-Wednesday extended to Friday as most originals were in the black last night. After two weeks of post-premiere slump, ABC’s comedies Last Man Standing (1.6/5) and Malibu Country (1.5/5) both rebounded on the heels of getting five-episode back orders on Wednesday — up 14% and 7%, respectively. How about ABC’s Shark Tank? The network stuck with the show when it seemed almost Doa, and the patience has paid off. Not only does Shark Tank dominate Friday night when in originals, it also repeats well – a rare feat for a reality series. Last night’s encore at 9 Pm (1.6/5), was down a modest three tenths from its last original to tie the highest-rated scripted series for the night (Last Man) and help ABC secure another Friday win in 18-49 (tied with CBS, which aired all-originals). ABC won the 9 Pm hour with Shark Tank and 10 Pm with »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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DirecTV And Gannett Reach Last Minute Retransmission Agreement

1 December 2012 7:54 AM, PST

Gannett offers no details, except that it has “reached an agreement” that will enable DirecTV to continue retransmitting signals from its 23 television stations. Gannett had warned viewers that a “signal disruption” was possible if the companies remained at impasse over a new contract last night, when the previous deal with DirecTV expired. The broadcaster said that it wanted “a fair, market-based deal.” But DirecTV countered that Gannett was trying to “get customers angry and pressure DirecTV to accept a deal that would more than double the cost of their stations.” NBC would have been hit especially hard if Gannett stations had gone dark on DirecTV: Gannett is the largest independent owner of NBC stations with 12 affiliates in markets including Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Cleveland, and Phoenix. The company also has six CBS affiliates, three with ABC, and two with MyNetworkTV. About 20% of the 20.1M households in Gannett’s markets watch the stations’ programming on DirecTV, »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor

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Robert Thomson To Run News Corp’s Publishing Spinoff: WSJ

1 December 2012 7:15 AM, PST

This is a story that the Wall Street Journal had better have right: The paper reports this morning that its managing editor, Robert Thomson, will become CEO of the still-unnamed publishing company that News Corp will create next year in a spin off. Next week the company plans to announce Thomson’s appointment and the elevation of his deputy, Gerard Baker, to replace him as managing editor of the Journal, the paper says citing “people familiar with the matter.” The company also may announce other senior appointments and board members, as well as a name for the publishing company, but final decisions haven’t been made. CEO Rupert Murdoch said in October that he would announce the leadership plans by year-end. Last year The New Yorker‘s Ken Auletta described Thomson as “perhaps Rupert Murdoch’s only close friend. The two men are both from Australia, are married to Chinese women, »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor

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Seth MacFarlane A Guest Of ‘The Simpsons’

30 November 2012 7:51 PM, PST

Seth MacFarlane can add another credit to his resume. He’s set to guest star in the season premiere of The Simpsons that will air on Fox in fall 2013. MacFarlane will voice the character of a married man who pursues Marge Simpson after the two meet online. MacFarlane’s animated Fox series Family Guy featured Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson, in a recent episode. MacFarlane will host the Oscars on February 24th. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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BBC Scandal: Nyt CEO Delays Facing Staff Till “Early In The New Year”

30 November 2012 6:45 PM, PST

New York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson, who was interviewed a week ago in London in connection with the BBC scandal involving sex abuse claims against former TV host Jimmy Savile, notified the paper’s staff in a memo today that conclusion of the investigation has been delayed. As a result Thompson, a former BBC director general who had planned to face Times staff questions December 17th and 18th, said those meetings won’t take place until “early in the new year”. Thompson was questioned last week about his role in squelching a news program about the claims against Savile. Content of that interview has not been made public but is expected to be disclosed by the time the inquiry wraps. Related: BBC Directors Face Parliament Over Ongoing Crisis »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Michael Boatman Replaces Duane Martin In Nick At Nite Comedy Pilot ‘Instant Mom’

30 November 2012 5:49 PM, PST

Exclusive: I’ve learned that Michael Boatman is set to co-star opposite Tia Mowry in the Nick at Nite family comedy pilot Instant Mom. Boatman replaces Duane Martin who was originally cast in the role. The recasting decision was made after today’s table read. Written by Warren Bell and Jessica Butler loosely based on their real life, Instant Mom centers on a 25-year-old party girl (Mowry) who trades in cosmos for carpools when she marries successful doctor Charlie (Boatman), an older man with kids. Bell, Butler and Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment executive produce. Spin City alum Boatman, repped by  Innovative and managed by Sanders/Armstrong/Caserta, recently recurred on CBS’ The Good Wife and FX’s Anger Management.  »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman, Episode 12

30 November 2012 5:10 PM, PST

Listen to Episode 12 of our audio podcast “Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman“. This week, Deadline Executive Editor Lieberman and host David Bloom discuss why this quarter is looking very good for a number of companies: big exhibition companies are seeing their projections raised on what looks like very strong box office, while NBC‘s improving situation on several fronts may provide a big windfall for parent Comcast and finally, Lionsgate is roaring in just about all parts of its business. Deadline Big Media Episode 12 (MP3 format) Deadline Big Media Episode 12 (M4A format) The M4A version of this podcast is designed to run on any device using Apple’s iTunes software, and includes enhanced graphics and links to stories and other resources. The MP3 version of this podcast is designed to play on virtually any device capable of playing digital audio. For those using non-iTunes software to listen »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor

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Ashanti, Torrey DeVitto & Elle McLemore Join ‘Army Wives’ As New Series Regulars

30 November 2012 5:00 PM, PST

With original cast member Kim Delaney set to depart Lifetime’s Army Wives as it heads into its seventh season and Sally Pressman scaling back from a series regular to recurring, the veteran drama is adding three actresses as series regulars – Ashanti, Torrey DeVitto  (Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries) and Elle McLemore. In her first series regular role, singer-actress Ashanti will play Latasha Durant, an optimistic mother of three, a sexy, fun woman who knows how to keep a husband – and how to keep him in line. DeVitto will play Maggie Hall, a sexy and smart Ex-Army Airborne, now a truck driver married to a Staff Sergeant with a teen daughter decided to get out of the Army to devote herself to being a wife and mother. McLemone will play Holly Gordon, a sweet, wide-eyed, bespectacled farm girl newly married to a soldier who is lonely and homesick. Filming »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Deadline’s YouTube Channel Rankings

30 November 2012 3:28 PM, PST

Life was relatively quiet in the universe of Google-funded YouTube channels during the week that began on Thanksgiving and ended on November 28. The Onion — helped by a hilarious send-up of the Ted Talks — led a group of just eight channels that gained views over the previous week. Not surprisingly, Hungry was among the winners, rising 33 spots to No. 48, with a collection of videos dedicated to preparing Thanksgiving dinners and leftovers. But total views for the channels we cover fell more than 39% to 78.3M. The top 10 channels accounted for 52.5% of all views. DanceOn joined that group rising one slot to No. 10; Fuse fell three to No. 12. But Redbull views plummeted by 11.7M to 6.1M, enabling The Warner Sound to reclaim its long-held perch at the top of the charts. Here are this week’s winners and losers. Those making the biggest gains in views: The Onion (+290,382 to 2M), Hungry (+115,506 to 257,373), Myish »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor

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‘Amelia Rules!’ Gets Backer In Push For TV & Movie Adaptations

30 November 2012 2:44 PM, PST

Exclusive: Vivek J. Tiwary, whose credits include producing Broadway musicals The Addams Family, American Idiot, The Producers and Young Frankenstein, has come aboard as exclusive producer to adapt Jimmy Gownley’s graphic novel series for TV and film. The one-time music industry exec plans to secure the involvement of musicians in acting roles as well as musical composition and will begin shopping the project to studios and networks in the coming months. Published by Simon & Schuster, Amelia Rules! is an eight-volume series for that follows tween Amelia McBride as she navigates through a new town, a new school and the everyday trials of adolescence, with help along the way from her ex-rock star aunt and a group of odd-ball cohorts. The final installment of the series, published this year, was a New York Times bestseller. “Jimmy and Amelia Rules! have been rightfully compared to Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts — and I »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Jeff Zucker’s First Memo To CNN Staff

30 November 2012 2:18 PM, PST

Incoming president of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker has sent a memo to the staff, saying he sees “endless potential” for the network. Here’s the full memo, via a CNN staffer, first posted on Politico. Related: Jeff Zucker: CNN Must “Remain Editorially Independent” With Thursday’s announcement behind us, I wanted to communicate directly with you to say how excited I am to be part of CNN’s future. I have long been a consumer and admirer of CNN’s journalism. And I see endless potential for CNN across all of its platforms. As Phil Kent and I said yesterday, we are committed to maintaining CNN’s core mission. In fact, in my mind, CNN’s values are more distinct and more important than ever in today’s media landscape. At the same time, we will have to continue to evolve. I don’t have all the answers. No one does. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Dawn Prestwich & Nicole Yorkin To Return To ‘The Killing’ As Executive Producers

30 November 2012 2:00 PM, PST

AMC, Fox TV Studios and The Killing developer/executive producer Veena Sud are putting the team back together in anticipation of a formal green light for a third season of the mystery series to air on AMC and Netflix. Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin, who served as co-executive producers in the first and second season, are expected to return as executive producers, and have started working with Sud on stories for Season 3. Fox TV Studios already has the cast — including breakout stars Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman — locked in for Season 3, which made a resurrection of the series, cancelled by AMC in July, an easier proposition. The show has been talking to key behind-the-scene auspices, including Prestwich and Yorkin, to return, as Season 3 is eying a February production start. Veteran TV writer-producers Prestwich and Yorkin, who won a WGA Award »


- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Lifetime To Do Chris Porco Movie With Matt Barr, Eric McCormack & Lolita Davidovich

30 November 2012 1:28 PM, PST

Exclusive: Lifetime is turning another infamous real-life crime story into a TV movie with Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story. Matt Barr, Eric McCormack and Lolita Davidovich star in the project, inspired by the true story of Christopher Porco, who was convicted of killing his father and attempting to murder his mother. Written by Edithe Swensen and to be directed by Norma Bailey, Romeo Killer centers on beloved, handsome college student Chris Porco (Barr), who was every girl’s dream in the small town of Delmar, NY. Porco was accused of brutally murdering his father and disfiguring his mother, Joan (Davidovich), in a savage ax attack, a claim made all the more shocking when a local police detective (McCormack) believed the mother identified Chris as her attacker. Also cast in the movie is Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow), who plays Lauren Phillps, a young love interest of the accused killer who had maintained his innocence. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Broken News: Local TV Station Reports Staged ‘Chicago Fire’ Plane Crash As Real

30 November 2012 1:17 PM, PST

Looks like someone didn’t get the memo. Wgn Chicago urgently reported this morning on a plane crash “in the middle of the road” on the south side of the city. What the TV station didn’t realize was that it was a scene being filmed for NBC‘s freshman drama Chicago Fire. “One wing was knocked off; I don’t know if this just happened,” anchor Robin Baumgarten said at around 8 Am local time as the station’s Skycam tried to show the scene at the intersection of 29th and Martin Luther King Drive. “It looks like a giant hole in the street,” said fellow anchor Larry Potash. What the anchors could not see (as this photo from the Chicago Tribune displays), was that the area was covered in signage indicating filming was in progress. “All the usual protocol for this type of filming was followed,” said a spokesman for Universal TV, »

- DOMINIC PATTEN

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ABC Family Developing Series Adaptation Of Novel ‘I Hunt Killers’ From Joel Silver

30 November 2012 12:01 PM, PST

Exclusive: ABC Family has teamed with producer Joel Silver to develop I Hunt Killers, a drama series based on Barry Lyga‘s young-adult novel. The project, from Silver Pictures and Warner Horizon, centers on the teenage son of an imprisoned notorious serial killer, a likable boy who becomes a suspect after a string of copy-cat murders. It will be written by Dexter scribe Arika Mittman, which is appropriate as I Hunt Killers has a similar feel, but with a teenage twist. Silver executive produces, with Mittman serving as co-executive producer and Lyga as consultant. I Hunt Killers was published by Little Brown this past spring (watch the book’s trailer below), with a sequel, Game, set to come out next spring. The book was brought to Silver by the company’s feature department, and the project was set up at Warner Bros where Silver was under a deal. ABC Family »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Starz’s ‘Black Sails’, MTV’s ‘Teen Wolf’ Add To Casts

30 November 2012 11:30 AM, PST

Veteran British actor Mark Ryan has joined Starz’s upcoming series Black Sails, the eight-episode pirate adventure executive produced by Michael Bay that is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Ryan will play Gates, Captain Flint’s (Toby Stephens) right-hand man. Ryan, who has been the on-set presence of the Autobots on all three Transformers movies, is managed by Sandy Oroumieh. Haley Webb is set for a major recurring role on the coming season of MTV’s Teen Wolf. She will play rumored love interest for Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin). Webb, repped by Innovative and Principato Young, has completed indies Rushlights and Single In South Beach. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Ratings Rat Race: ’30 Rock’ Up, ‘Scandal’ Hits High, ‘Office’ & ‘Parks & Rec’ Hit Lows

30 November 2012 10:36 AM, PST

Big life celebrations scored in the ratings last night. The Liz Lemon wedding episode of NBC’s departing 30 Rock drew a 1.3/4 in adults 18-49 and 3.6 million viewers. That was up 8% from its last original two weeks ago and the comedy’s best demo rating since Oct. 11 and largest viewership this season. Meanwhile, ABC’s sophomore drama Scandal (2.2/6) popped 10% from its last episode two weeks ago to hit a season high. (In adults 18-34, it hit a series high). That is with Scandal‘s lead-in, Grey’s Anatomy (3.0/8), dipping 6% from two weeks ago to tie its season low. No dead cat bounce for ABC’s Last Resort. In its first airing post cancellation news, the freshman drama (1.0/3) fell 17% from two weeks ago to a series low. Fox’s Glee (2.2/6), which featured the latest cover of Psy’s ubiquitous Gangham Style, bounced back 47% following the depressed numbers last week when the network aired originals on Thanksgiving. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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