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Director Michelle MacLaren Inks HBO Deal

11 June 2014 9:56 AM, PDT

Exclusive: Breaking Bad executive producer/director Michelle MacLaren has signed a two-year exclusive first-look deal with HBO. The pay cable network has had its eye on MacLaren for a while — she has become one of the go-to directors for HBO’s flagship drama Game Of Thrones, directing four episodes over the past two seasons. She is now directing HBO’s new drama series, Damon Lindelof’s The Leftovers.  For her work as an executive producer and director on AMC’s Breaking Bad, MacLaren shared in the best drama Emmy Award the Vince Gilligan-created series won last year and has earned two directing Emmy nominations. She also is involved in the Breaking Bad prequel series, Better Call Saul. MacLaren, repped by ICM Partners and attorney Mitch Smelkinson, first worked with Gilligan on Harsh Realm and The X-Files, on both of which she served as a co-executive producer, making her directorial debut on The X-Files. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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ABC News Wins Murrow Awards For Overall Excellence

11 June 2014 9:26 AM, PDT

This is the first time in six years that ABC News has won the top network TV honor in the Rtnda’s National Edward R. Murrow Awards. In addition to the prize for the TV division, ABC News took awards for Continuing Coverage and Hard News. ABC News Radio also won the Overall Excellence award in its category. But CBS News walked away with the most awards, five in TV and three radio. They include Best Newscast for CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley, and two for 60 Minutes — Best Video Investigative Reporting and Best Video News Series. NBC News won two awards, one for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and another, to Dateline, for Use of Video. Univision Network News was honored for having the best network television website, and Espn took the prize for News Documentary and Sports Reporting. Rtdna received a record number of entries — more »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Kids Series ‘The Magic School Bus’ Gets New Coat Of Paint For Netflix

11 June 2014 9:20 AM, PDT

Netflix and Scholastic Media are teaming to launch a new CG animated original series based on the 1990s’ PBS kids TV series The Magic School BusThe Magic School Bus 360° will target school-aged children as did the PBS series, which focused on science and technology lessons and was based on the book series by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan. It won a Daytime Emmy in 1995 for Lily Tomlin, who voiced the bus driver Ms. Frizzle. Netflix has ordered 26 episodes of the reimagined series to launch on in 2016, with original executive producer and Scholastic president Deborah Forte returning to produce. “Scholastic Media is a powerhouse creator and producer of top-quality programming for kids and families and its flagship series like The Magic School Bus, Clifford The Big Red Dog and Goosebumps have been huge hits on Netflix in all our territories,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. “We’re »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Ratings Rat Race: NBA Finals Game 3 Inches Up, ‘Talent’ Slips, ‘Night Shift’ Steady

11 June 2014 8:43 AM, PDT

The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat continue to follow the script of their NBA Finals showdown last year, with the Spurs winning Game 3 last night to take a 2-1 lead in the series. The game on ABC drew a 10.3 overnight rating in the metered market households, up a tenth from Game 2 and up 3% from last year’s Game 3 as last night’s score, 111-92, was slightly more competitive than Spurs’ 113-77 drubbing of the Heat in 2013. ABC is projected to easily win the night in adults 18-49 and total viewers. NBC’s America’s Got Talent (2.6) slipped 7% from last week, while The Night Shift held steady at a 1.5. While not a breakout, the medical drama has been very consistent three weeks in: 1.6, 1.5, 1.5. Also even with last week but still very low are Fox’s improv/reality duo of Riot (0.4) and I Wanna Marry “Harry” (0.4). Just a fraction behind was »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Is Amazon Messing With Warner Bros Home Video Preorders?

11 June 2014 7:53 AM, PDT

The New York Times says the retailer is — part of its effort to secure a bigger piece of the sales, similar to its showdown with Hachette Book Group. And that looks accurate: Amazon‘s pages for disc Warner Bros releases including The Lego Movie (out on June 17), 300: Rise Of An Empire (June 24), Winter’s Tale (June 24), Transcendence (July 22), and Looney Tunes The Platinum Collection 3 (August 12) tell potential buyers to “Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available.” They also aren’t listed on a page for pre-orders. By contrast, Walmart, >Best Buy, and Target’s sites enable customers to preorder discs of the movies. Complaints from consumers on Amazon’s message boards indicate that it began to clip preorders for Warner Bros releases in May. Related: Stephen Colbert Declares War On Amazon (Video) Amazon’s curtailing of preorders for Hachette books raised questions about whether the retailer »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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R.I.P: Glenn Britt

11 June 2014 7:11 AM, PDT

A sad day for the cable industry. The former Time Warner Cable CEO, and a cable pioneer, died this morning from cancer at age 65. His successor, Rob Marcus, just released this statement: “Glenn left us with a legacy of innovation, integrity and inclusion. We were guided for many years by his strong belief that a company must be willing to reinvent itself to be successful; his commitment to saying what you mean and doing what you say; and his conviction that a richly diverse workforce – diverse in ethnicity, culture, beliefs, perspectives, experiences and lifestyles – is necessary to best serve our diverse customers and communities. He will long be remembered for his thoughtful and steady leadership through rapidly changing times in the communications field.” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts calls Britt “an incredible leader, visionary, and for decades he was a wonderful friend and mentor. He was a key part of our »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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James Murdoch To Deliver Mipcom Media Mastermind Keynote In October

11 June 2014 6:39 AM, PDT

21st Century Fox Co-coo James Murdoch recently told investors that about half of his studio’s cash flow comes from television series. “There’s maybe one other firm that can claim the same volume and success” that Fox has had in TV, he said at the Sanford C Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in May. The increasingly visible Murdoch will further discuss Fox and its plans for the TV business when he delivers the Media Mastermind Keynote at October’s Mipcom. Murdoch was upped to his current role at Fox in March, in a clear indication that dad Rupert is putting his succession plans in order, and has been appearing publicly with far more frequency over the past year. He now has direct responsibility for 21st Century Fox’s TV interests, which include the Fox Networks Group in the U.S. and, internationally, holdings in BSkyB, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and Star India. »

- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor

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CBS Unveils Exchange Offer To Divest U.S. Outdoor Operation

11 June 2014 5:07 AM, PDT

This is the last part of the long-running effort to separate the entertainment company from its billboard business. CBS spun off the operation — CBS Outdoor Americas — in March, but still owns 81% of the publicly traded company. The plan announced this morning will unload that by giving CBS stockholders an incentive to swap their holdings for shares of CBS Outdoor. The goal is to give investors a 7% premium to make a tax-free trade of some or all of their shares in early July. The deal is contingent on CBS’ ability to trade at least 58.2M of its 97M CBS Outdoor shares. Once CBS Outdoor is fully independent, it will convert itself into a real estate investment trust (Reit). “We fully believe that CBS Outdoor will continue to be successful as a stand-alone company,” CBS chief Les Moonves says. “And for our part, CBS Corporation can focus on what we do best, »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Update: Jennifer Lopez Will Perform At Thursday’s World Cup Opening Ceremony

11 June 2014 2:33 AM, PDT

Update: Wednesday 2:33 Am Pt: Well that was a quick turnaround. International soccer federation FIFA said on Monday (see below) that Jennifer Lopez would not be performing at the World Cup Opening Ceremony on Thursday, which her reps confirmed. Now, FIFA says the singer is headed to Brazil. “FIFA and the Local Organising Committee are delighted to announce that we will have the full-line up of stars available to perform the Official Song ‘We Are One’ this Thursday at the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony. This is exciting news for not only those spectators who should arrive early and see the show live in the stadium but also for fans all over the world watching on TV,” the group said today. Also joining Pitbull, Claudia Leitte and Lopez to perform the song is local cultural group Olodum. Lopez told the Associated Press late last night, “I’m coming. I leave tonight. »

- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor

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Mel B Joining ‘The X Factor UK’ To Complete Judging Lineup For 11th Cycle

11 June 2014 2:19 AM, PDT

Fox cancelled The X Factor in the U.S. back in February, the same day that ITV said creator Simon Cowell would rejoin the UK version. The following month, Cowell confirmed that former X Factor UK judge Cheryl Cole would return for the 11th season of the show after having left to join the U.S. version in a famously short-lived stint. Today, Cowell’s company Syco announced by tweet that Mel B is to be the fourth UK judge. The panel is now complete with Cowell, Cole, Mel B and the returning Louis Walsh. Last year’s group consisted of Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Gary Barlow and Nicole Scherzing. The former Scary Spice, Mel B (aka Melanie Brown) was a guest judge on The X Factor UK in 2012 who lived up to her nickname with her straight talking approach. Today, she said, “I’ve always thought honesty is the best »

- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff Makes Date With Pinewood; India’s ‘Holiday’ Travels Well; Nordisk Film TV Appointment

10 June 2014 11:01 PM, PDT

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne confirmed on Tuesday night that the UK’s relationship with Star Wars will continue. The MP was at Pinewood – where Jj Abrams’ Episode VII moved onto soundstages about 10 days ago – and tweeted, “On set of Episode VII tonight, can announce another #StarWars film will be made in UK. A #LongTermEconomicPlan in a galaxy far far away.” The Conservative politician caught a lot of flack on Twitter for the latter remark, but by and large the Star Wars movies, and other big Hollywood projects, are bringing a flood of money into the UK which has very lucrative film tax breaks. The currently filming Episode VII is due for release on December 18, 2015 and the standalone Star Wars Osborne referred to last night will also be shot next year. The spinoff is being directed by Gareth Edwards. Per local reports, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid added last night, »

- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor

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XBox Developing Supernatural Bro Comedy

10 June 2014 4:55 PM, PDT

On the heels of unveiling an expansive slate of video game adaptations, drama, comedy, reality, animation and event series, I’ve learned that xBox Studios has put another project in development, scripted comedy East Of Exurbia. Written by Nick Kreiss and Ian Wolterstorff, the project revolves around three guys who try to build a bastion of bro-fueled debauchery in a house that happens to be situated on top of a magical portal to other worlds. The show, inspired by “one of the worst roommate stories ever told,” which originally appeared on BroBible.com, comes from Five All in the Fifth Entertainment and Avalon, with Five All’s Doug Banker and Avalon’s David Martin and Dan Lubetkin executive producing. Kreiss, Wolterstorff and Banker are repped by CAA and Underground, Avalon is repped by Gersh. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Emmys: Production Designers Bring 1920s & ’30s Eras Alive For Period Dramas

10 June 2014 4:47 PM, PDT

The period surrounding World War I, Prohibition and the Great Depression has been skillfully and realistically reflected in such shows as PBS’ Downton Abbey, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Lifetime’s Bonnie & Clyde. While each program’s storyline illustrates how world events shaped the lives of their characters, the physical surroundings—rendered in minute detail—really drive the narrative home. Such is the work of a production designer. The old Hindu saying, “The world is like the impression left by the telling of a story,” is analogous to the role of his craft, says production designer Bill Groom, who has won two Emmys for his work on HBO’s Prohibition-era drama Boardwalk Empire. “As designers, we leave the evidence behind of a person’s life, and we do it in advance—it’s captured in film and then told back to the audience. We create rooms where a person sometimes has lived for 40 years, »

- ANITA BUSCH

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Tandi Wright Joins ‘The Returned’, Samira Wiley Upped On ‘Orange Is The New Black’

10 June 2014 3:54 PM, PDT

New Zealand actress Tandi Wright (Jack The Giant Slayer) will co-star in Carlton Cuse’s 10-episode A&E Network drama series The Returned. The adaptation of the acclaimed French series, from A+E Studios and FremantleMedia, focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear. Wright, repped by Silver Linings Entertainment, Lisa Mann Creative Management in Australia and Johnson and Laird Management in New Zealand, will play Claire, the estranged wife of Jack (Mark Pelligrino) and mother to Lena (Sophie Lowe). Orange Is the New Black standout Samira Wiley has been promoted to regular for the Nerflix/Lionsgate TV series’ recently ordered third season. Wiley, who has appeared in almost all episodes of Oitnb‘s first two seasons, will continue as lovable inmate Poussey Washington. She is repped by Innovative Artists. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Emmys: Choreographing Sex Scenes In HBO’s ‘Normal Heart’

10 June 2014 2:59 PM, PDT

Christy Grosz is an Awardsline contributor  When director Ryan Murphy met with choreographer Michael Arnold, the first question Murphy asked was, “So how did you get into this line of work?” That might have been merely an ice-breaker had Arnold been tapped to work on Murphy’s Fox series Glee, but this job was about re-creating the uninhibited sex-fueled parties of 1970s-era Fire Island for HBO’s The Normal Heart. After performing as a dancer in more than a dozen Broadway musicals, Arnold has parlayed his flair for movement into a new career as a sex-scene choreographer.  The short answer about how he got started is the usual Hollywood networking story—albeit with a splash of Oscar gold—when a friend of a friend was looking for some help on Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. “I got a call from (executive producer) Georgia Kacandes, and she said, »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Peter Barnett Joins Gaumont International Television As Svp Production

10 June 2014 2:59 PM, PDT

Gaumont International Television, the Los Angeles-based TV production arm of the French film studio Gaumont, has hired veteran production executive Peter Barnett in the newly created position of Svp Production. He will oversee production on Git’s drama series, including Season 3 of Hannibal for NBC and the upcoming Narcos for Netflix, reporting to head of production Carol Trussell under CEO Katie O’Connell. Barnett has been producing, writing, and developing film and TV projects for over 20 years and has his own banner, Nova Pictures. Most recently, he has worked on Imperia, the Russian story of Catherine the Great, and Enemy In The Heartland, a true story of German Pow life in America. He also has produced the web series for The Walking Dead and Heroes. Working with HBO from 1998-2008, he served as production executive overseeing In Treatment and Tell Me You Love Me and was a producer on Arli »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Emmys: Raising The Mast On Starz’s ‘Black Sails’ (Video)

10 June 2014 2:38 PM, PDT

Exclusive: How many pirate TV shows do you know of in the history of the medium? For Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, the lives of buccaneers repped a whole new world with Black Sails.  ”I have been making TV shows for decades and I don’t think I ever heard a pirate pitch. I heard four at the same time. I knew that Michael Bay was working on one and then it walked in (the door),” exclaimed Albrecht at Saturday’s Produced By Conference.  Looking to ride a wave, NBC decided to dip their toes in the genre recently with Friday’s Crossbones starring John Malkovich. Still, no threat to Starz.  ”We may not have John Malkovich, but we’re spending more money, I’ve seen the scripts, I know what it takes (for this genre), and if you want to watch a TV show, ours is going to be better, »

- ANTHONY D'ALESSANDRO

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Azoff Msg Entertainment Buys Half Of Levity Entertainment Group

10 June 2014 2:37 PM, PDT

The joint venture forged last year between Jim Dolan’s Madison Square Garden and Irving Azoff’s Azoff Music Management just complemented its strength in music and large venues by adding comedy and clubs. Azoff Msg says today that it bought 50% of Levity Entertainment Group, a power in comedy management and booking that also owns clubs and produces TV shows including about 100 specials for Comedy Central and Food Network’s Iron Chef. The companies didn’t disclose financial terms. But Leg chief Robert Hartmann tells me that the infusion of capital and management expertise will enable him to move on his ambitious global growth plans, which include the development of clubs that combine music and comedy. “It’s not your father’s comedy club,” he says. “It’s more a diversified entertainment destination.” Hartmann will continue to run day-to-day operations but says he’ll have a “true partnership” with Azoff »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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FX Drama Pilot ‘Hoke’ Not Going Forward

10 June 2014 2:32 PM, PDT

FX has passed on Hoke, its drama pilot starring and executive produced by Paul Giamatti. Written, directed and executive produced by Scott Frank, the project told the story of midlife crisis and murder that features the hardboiled and possibly insane homicide detective Hoke Moseley (Gianatti) in pre-chic Miami circa 1985. Robert Wisdom, Tammy Blanchard and John Carroll Lynch co-starred. While FX picked up some nine comedy pilots over the past year as it is ramping up comedy-centric sibling Fxx, the network only ordered three drama pilots, Hoke as well as Tyrant and The Strain, both of which went to series. On the drama side, FX also is making a push in limited/event series with such programs as Fargo. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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ABC Family’s ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Gets Two-Year Renewal For Seasons 6 & 7

10 June 2014 2:00 PM, PDT

Ahead of Pretty Little Liars‘ fifth-season premiere tonight, ABC Family‘s flagship drama has received the network’s first ever multi-season pickup. The soapy mystery has been renewed for a sixth season, to air in mid-2015, and for a seventh season, to air in mid-2016. Pretty Little Liars, from Warner Horizon and Alloy Entertainment, is ABC Family’s No. 1 series ever in total viewers (3.8 million) and all target demos: adults 18-34 (1.5 million/2.2 rating), women 18-34 (1.3 million/3.7 rating), adults 18-49 (2.0 million/1.6 rating), women 18-49 (1.7 million/2.7 rating), people 12-34 (2.6 million/2.8 rating) and females 12-34 (2.3 million/4.9 rating). Pll is the top cable series in females 12-34. It also holds the record as the most-tweeted scripted series telecast of all time, it has generated the highest average number of tweets per episode (675,000) of any TV series during the 2013-2014 broadcast season, and has the most Instagram followers of all scripted TV series. “Pretty Little Liars »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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