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Screenwriters Part 1: Are Script Expos, Coverage Services & Pitchfests Scams?

17 February 2013 3:56 PM, PST

David Konow contributes to Deadline. With the Writers Guilds West and East tonight presenting their awards to last year’s most respected practitioners of the craft, it’s a perfect occasion for Deadline to examine the cottage industry of screenwriting conventions, expos, coverage services, and pitchfests. They’re supposed to help writers learn their craft and get their scripts out into the world. It goes without saying that this is a hot button issue in Hollywood. “Those who can’t write, teach seminars.” That’s what John August, screenwriter of Big Fish, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, and Corpse Bride posted on his website under the category of ‘So-Called Experts’. As he further elaborates to Deadline, “Most seminars feel like scams, and pitchfests give me nightmares. I don’t know any movies that have come out of them. The important thing to remember is that pitching only means something when »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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BT In Talks With Espn To Acquire Additional UK-Euro Soccer Rights

17 February 2013 3:24 PM, PST

UK telecommunications provider BT is negotiating to buy soccer rights from Espn as the Disney-owned channel explores an exit from the UK, the Financial Times reports. BT aims to launch as many as three sports channels offering soccer, rugby and other sports content the company has already secured for about £1B ($1.6B). The Espn rights that may be up for grabs to BSkyB as well as BT include games from the German Bundesliga, the Europa League and the English Football Association Cup. Interest in sports rights has driven up costs for broadcasters globally as well as in the U.S. The rights in question might cost £20M ($32M) or more annually. Last summer BT paid £738m ($1.18B or about $394M per season) for the rights to 32 Premier League football games for three years in a competition that split rights with News Corp’s BSkyB. Espn was outbid in that contest and lost the rights. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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‘SNL’ Ratings Down With Christoph Waltz

17 February 2013 10:08 AM, PST

Academy Award nominee Christoph Waltz got some extra exposure during the Oscar voting period with a hosting gig on NBC’s Saturday Night Live last night. But the Django Unchained star’s debut on the latenight sketch show pushed ratings down. SNL with host Waltz and musical guest Alabama Shakes averaged a 4.6/12 in the metered-market households, down 6% from last week when Justin Bieber was emcee. In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, last night’s SNL drew a 2.5/11 in adults 18-49, down 7%. NBC would not confirm but if my calculations are correct, this are SNL‘s second lowest results of the season in households and 18-49. SNL: Quentin Tarantino’s Next Movie? »


- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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CW’s ‘The Tomorrow People’ Drama Pilot & Amazon ‘Alpha House’ Comedy Cast Leads

17 February 2013 9:41 AM, PST

Exclusive: Peyton List (Mad Men) has landed a lead in the CW drama pilot The Tomorrow People, an adaptation of the cult British series. Written/exec produced by Phil Klemmer, exec produced by Julie Plec and Greg Berlanti and directed/exec produced by Danny Cannon, Tomorrow People is in the vein of X-Men and Heroes and revolves around several young people from around the world who represent the next stage in human evolution, possessing special powers, including the ability to teleport and communicate with each other telepathically. Together they work to defeat the forces of evil. List will play Cara, the female member of the “Tomorrow People” group who has a sense of humor beneath her serious demeanor and seems to be a trustworthy ally. List, repped by Innovative, is probably best known for her recurring role as Jane Sterning on AMC’s Mad Men. She also co-starred on ABC »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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2013 Wgae Awards Announce Presenters

17 February 2013 3:01 AM, PST

Related: 2013 Wgaw Awards Announce Talent The 8 Pm Et East Coast ceremony will be held tonight at NYC’s B.B. King Blues Jazz Club to honor outstanding achievement in writing in film, television, radio, new media, and other awards categories. The Wgae will also present several honorary and service award. The annual East Coast nominees, honorees and presenters include actor and award ceremony host Richard Kind, GirlsLena Dunham and Alex Karpovsky, Louie’s Louis C.K., Boardwalk Empire’s Bobby Cannavale, Beasts Of The Southern Wild writer Lucy Alibar, Bored To Death writer Jonathan Ames, The SimpsonsMike Reiss, actress Gina Gershon, Sesame Street’s Sonia Manzano, Life Of Pi writer David Magee, Minority Report writer Scott Frank, CBS Sunday Morning’s Nancy Giles, Not Fade Away actress Lisa Lampanelli, comedian W. Kamau Bell, Sleepwalk With Me’s Mike Birbiglia, as well as writers from television shows Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Cinema Audio Society Awards: ‘Les Misérables’, ‘Brave’, ‘Homeland’, ‘Hatfields & McCoys’, ‘Modern Family’

16 February 2013 10:25 PM, PST

Universal’s Les Misérables was honored for Best Sound Mixing for a motion picture and Disney/Pixar’s team for Brave took the award for animated feature film tonight as the Cinema Audio Society handed out prizes for Sound Mixing for 2012 in six categories plus a separate pair of awards for technical achievement. The team for Hatfields & McCoys Part 1 (The History Channel) took the nod for TV movie or miniseries, and Homeland: Beruit Is Back (Showtime) won in the one-hour TV series category. The prize for mixing of a half-hour series went to the team behind ABC’s Modern Family.  The 49th Annual Cas Awards were hosted by Ktla’s Sam Rubin at downtown La’s Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Anne Hathaway presented director Jonathan Demme the Cas Filmmaker Award, and triple Oscar-winning sound mixer Chris Newman received the 31st Cas Career Achievement Award presented by Demme and previous Cas honoree-Oscar winner Tom Fleischman. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Ace Eddie Awards: ‘Argo’, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, ‘Brave’; TV ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Newsroom’, ‘Hemingway & Gellhorn’

16 February 2013 7:31 PM, PST

Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor. Argo continued its winning streak tonight at the 63rd annual Ace Eddie Awards nabbing Best Edited Feature Film – Dramatic, with the nod going to editor William GoldenbergSilver Linings Playbook took Best Edited Feature – Comedy or Musical and Brave won Best Edited Animated Feature. Brave editors Nick Smith and Robert Grahamjones spent five years working on the Pixar pic, which is also up for the Academy Award for Best Animated Film. “Some people think we’re censors and a lot of people think films are shot in the camera but they’re not”, Smith told Deadline before the awards ceremony, “so it means a lot to be honored by people who actually know what we’re doing”. Goldenberg nabbed the BAFTA on Sunday and was nominated tonight for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty (with Dylan Tichenor). He is Oscar-nominated for both films as well. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Cinemark To Sell Mexico Screens, Ireland Boosts Film-tv Incentive & More

16 February 2013 7:30 PM, PST

Cinemark To Sell Theaters In Mexico Texas-based Cinemark Holdings will sell its Mexico theaters to Grupo Cinemex and Cadena Mexicana de Exhibicion, the company announced. The Mexico circuit encompasses 290 screens in 31 theaters. Cinemark CEO Tim Warner said the sale would allow Cinemark to concentrate on its remaining Latin American theaters in Central and South America. Cinemark said its Mexico operation’s unaudited revenues for the 12 months ending September 30, 2012 were $73.7 million from 12.9 million admissions with a net income of $7.9 million. Sale of the Mexico theaters is subject to closing conditions and regulatory approval. Ireland Reauthorizes Film & TV Incentive With 4% Increase Ireland’s film and TV tax incentive has been signed into law and extended through to 2020. Value of the incentive commonly known as Section 481 will increase to 32% of qualifying expenditures from 28% from 2015. Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan acknolwedged the new law during a visit to the set of Frank, »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Pilot Season: Rainn Wilson, John Stamos & Corey Stoll The Latest Hot Actors For Pilots

16 February 2013 2:29 PM, PST

As the pilot casting season gradually shifts from straight offers to tests — a lot of tests — the broadcast networks are racing against the clock to lock in names as the leads of its pilots. Of the early offer magnets, Rose Byrne and Kevin Kline passed on everything they had been offered and may not commit to a show after all, while Jason Issacs, Kyle Chandler and Felicity Huffman signed as the leads of CBS’ The Surgeon General, Showtime’s The Vatican and Fox’s Boomerang, respectively. Related: Which Actors Are Getting The Most Offers Now a new group of hotly pursued actors has emerged. It includes The Office’s Rainn Wilson, John Stamos and Corey Stoll, all of whom have been getting multiple offers. Despite striking out with the proposed Rainn Wilson spinoff from The Office, NBC appears determined to keep the actor in the fold. I hear Wilson had »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Comic-Con 2013 Sells Out In 93 Minutes But Tech Glitches Frustrate Fans – Again

16 February 2013 12:03 PM, PST

Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor. San Diego will again be packed to the gills with geeks of all stripes this July, as all attendee badges for San Diego Comic-Con 2013 sold out in just over an hour and a half, barely shy of the record set in 2012. But many fans came up empty-handed and feeling ripped off because of problems that plagued the convention’s complicated badge sales system for the second year in a row. Passes went on sale this morning at 9:00 Am Pacific, and as disappointed fans found out via the convention’s Twitter account, they disappeared fast. By 9:53, 4-day badges and 4-day badges with access to preview night were gone. 15 minutes later, Friday and Saturday single day badges were snapped up and by 10:36 it was all over. Comic-Con can crow about the enormous demand for access to the July 18-21 event, but complaints about »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Is NBC’s ‘Up All Night’ Experiment Over?

16 February 2013 11:10 AM, PST

It looks like we may have already seen the final episode of NBC’s comedy series Up All Night. The network’s plans to revamp the modestly rated single-camera sophomore as a multi-camera were dealt a major blow late last week when star Christina Applegate departed the project. After originally planning five multi-camera episodes to close out the season, NBC early this week trimmed that scenario to one episode, without Applegate, to be helmed by uber multi-camera director James Burrows. Now I hear that episode is being scrapped too. Sources point to problems with the talent — I hear at least one of Up All Night‘s two remaining stars, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph, told the network they were uncomfortable going forward with the series which, in addition to Applegate, recently lost its creator, Emily Spivey. The talk about a possible replacement for Applegate (Lisa Kurdow was a name that emerged early on) never materialized. »


- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Touch’ & ‘The Job’ Fall Week 2, ‘CSI:ny’ Matches Low, ‘Kitchen Nightmare’ Up, ‘Malibu Country’ Down

16 February 2013 9:38 AM, PST

One week after its second season debut, Fox’s Touch (0.7/2) took a hit last night. The Kiefer Sutherland drama fell 22% from its two-hour February 8 premiere. Touch’s overall viewership headed southward as well, down to 2.52 million from the 3.77 million who watched last week’s debut. Touch wasn’t the only show dealing with the second week straits Friday night. CBS’s new reality show The Job (0.7/2) also took a blow. The Mark Burnett and Michael Davis produced series about seeking your dream job also fell 22% last night. The 8 Pm airing of The Job was watched by 3.37 million on Friday night, down from last week’s 4.11 million. Other CBS shows Friday felt some hurt too. CSI: NY (1.2/4) was down 25% from its February 8 show to match a season low for the drama procedural. Blue Bloods (1.4/4), on the other hand, took only a slight downward turn. The Tom Selleck-lead police series was »

- DOMINIC PATTEN

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David Alan Grier Joins CBS’ ‘Bad Teacher’

16 February 2013 9:30 AM, PST

Veteran actor-comedian David Alan Grier has joined Bad Teacher, CBS‘ single-camera comedy series adaptation of the hit 2011 movie. Written by Hilary Winston and produced by the film’s writers-producers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, the pilot centers on a sexy, foul-mouthed divorcee who becomes a teacher to find her next husband. In Living Color alum Grier, repped by Innovative and Roar, will play the school’s principal. In the movie starring Cameron Diaz, the principal was played by John Michael Higgins. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Taylor Hackford’s CW Pilot ‘Company Town’ Casts Lead

16 February 2013 9:09 AM, PST

Exclusive: Gage Golightly (Teen Wolf) has been cast as a lead in the CW‘s drama pilot Company Town. Written by Sera Gamble and to be directed by Taylor Hackford, Company Town chronicles the aftermath of a scandal at a Naval base in Virginia, which touches the lives of both civilians and military personnel in the area. The multigenerational, multi-class, family and relationship series centers around two early 20-something women — Krista (Golightly) and Page — who grew up together, were once best friends, but now are on opposite sides of the Townie/Military divide. Krista has always lived a charmed life and is happily engaged to Paul, a lieutenant in the Navy, but begins to show her vulnerable side when Paul gets involved in the scandal. Gamble and Hackford executive produce with Bill Haber for CBS TV Studios. Golightly, repped by Apa and Industry’s Kim Callahan, recently finished shooting the »


- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Rogers Seeks CEO, Senator-Silver Reel Deal, Europa Prize

15 February 2013 10:25 PM, PST

Rogers Communications Looking For New CEO Canadian cable-tv-wireless-broadband provider Rogers Communications CEO Nadir Mohamed plans to retire next January. The board will appoint a search firm and begin looking internationally for a replacement, the Toronto-based company announced. Neither Ed Rogers nor Melinda Rogers, children of founder Ted Rogers, will put their names forward for the top job. Rogers is controlled by a family trust through a dual-class stock structure. While Mohamed’s decision was unexpected, the fact the Rogers children aren’t in the running signals the move wasn’t forced on him, said Maher Yaghi, an analyst at Desjardins Securities in Montreal. A global CEO search also provides the opportunity to look for someone with a fresh approach, he said. Separately, Rogers reported 4th-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates. Shares today rose 4.1% to C$47.32 at the close in Toronto, the biggest gain since July. Rogers shares have climbed 25% in the past year. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Sean Patrick Thomas Cast In CW Pilot ‘The Selection’ Reprising Role From Original Pilot

15 February 2013 10:07 PM, PST

Exclusive: Save The Last Dance star Sean Patrick Thomas has been cast in the CW’s retooled pilot for the Hunger Games-esque The Selection. He also co-starred in the original Selection pilot last year, and I hear he is the only cast member from last year to return. Set 300 years in the future, The Selection is described as an epic romance centering on a working class young woman chosen by lottery to participate in a competition with 25 other women for the Royal Prince’s hand to become the nation’s next queen. Thomas is reprising his role as Sylvan Santos, the Queen’s close advisor and an expert on all things related to royal etiquette. Warner Bros. TV is producing the pilot, written by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain based on Kiera Cass’ book. Aimee Teegarden, who played the lead in The Selection last year, also is back this year »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Rupert Murdoch Sells $40.1M In News Stock

15 February 2013 10:05 PM, PST

Rupert Murdoch this week sold voting shares in News Corp worth about $40.1 million, according to an SEC filing reported today by the company’s Wall Street Journal. The sale reduced the chairman/CEO’s stake by only a fraction of a percent. Murdoch sold 1.396 million class B shares on Wednesday for $28.72 each. Today the shares hit an all time high of $29.34. B shares have gained nearly 45% over the past year. Murdoch and members of his family own nearly 40% of News Corp.’s voting shares, most of them through a family trust. The shares sold this week were held by a different Murdoch trust, reducing its stake to 9.25 million shares from 10.6 million shares. Overall the Murdoch family’s voting stake dropped to 39.6% from 39.7%. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Corey Reynolds Cast In Fox Pilot ‘Delirium’

15 February 2013 8:30 PM, PST

The Closer alum Corey Reynolds is set to co-star in Delirium, Fox‘s drama pilot from Karyn Usher, 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment, which stars Emma Roberts. Based on Lauren Oliver’s bestselling book trilogy, it is set in a world where love is deemed illegal and can be eradicated with a special procedure. With 95 days to go until her scheduled treatment, Lena Holoway (Roberts) does the unthinkable: she falls in love. Reynolds, repped by the Kohner Agency and New Wave, will play Lawrence Task, the strategic, authoritative, no-bs leader in the budding Resistance movement. Also co-starring in the pilot is Billy Campbell. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Sarah Michelle Gellar To Star In CBS’ Robin Williams Comedy Pilot

15 February 2013 7:10 PM, PST

Buffy The Vampire Slayer alumna Sarah Michelle Gellar has been tapped as the female lead opposite Robin Williams in David E. Kelley’s CBS comedy pilot Crazy Ones. Written/exec produced by Kelley and directed/exec produced by Jason Winer, Crazy Ones is set in the world of advertising and stars Williams as Simon (Williams), the brilliant head of an ad agency working alongside his daughter Sydney (Gellar), the agency’s creative director. 20th Century TV is producing. Gellar was recently attached to a 20th TV comedy spec, and I hear that the studio wanted to stay in business with her after that spec didn’t go. This marks the first live-action comedy series gig for Gellar, who starred in the CW drama Ringer last season. She is repped by ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Domenick Lombardozzi Joins ‘Boardwalk Empire’, ‘Unforgettable’ Adds Detective

15 February 2013 5:29 PM, PST

Exclusive: Domenick Lombardozzi (Breakout Kings) has been cast in a recurring role on HBO’s period mob drama Boardwalk Empire. He will play Chicago mobster Ralph Capone, older brother to Al Capone (Stephen Graham). This marks Lombardozzi’s return to HBO where he co-starred on The Wire, did arcs on Entourage and Oz and guest-starred on Bored To Death. He will next be seen in the features Malavita, directed by Luc Besson, and Blood Ties, helmed by Guillaume Canet. James Hiroyuki Liao (Battle: Los Angeles) has joined the retooled version of CBS’ crime drama Unforgettable. He will play Jay, a detective with a wide variety of eclectic interests and skills. He is set for three episodes with an option to become a regular. Last season, Hiroyuki, repped by SMS and Joan Sittenfield Management, co-starred in the CBS drama pilot Applebaum. He also recurred on 24 and Prison Break. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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