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5 items from 2017

ABC Seeks Breakout U.K. Acting Talent

26 June 2017 8:56 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

ABC is seeking out U.K. actors it can take to the U.S. with a new trans-Atlantic talent search.

ABC Discovers: Digital Talent Competition is already up and running in the U.S. and the broadcaster has now extended it to the U.K. for the first time. The networks head of casting, Ayo Davis, and “Grey’s Anatomy” casting director, Linda Lowy, are involved, and will offer the breakthrough talent advice on getting into TV.

British actors in recent ABC shows include Hayley Atwell in “Agent Carter” and “Conviction” and Minnie Driver in “Speechless,” and, further back, Nicollette Sheridan in “Desperate Housewives,” but the new initiative is about finding a new generation of stars.

“This competition is about access and opportunity for up and coming actors,” Davis said. “We are incredibly proud of the U.S. talent that has surfaced in the first few years of the competition and by expanding to the U.K »

- Stewart Clarke

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‘Megan Leavey’ Co-Writer Pamela Gray Signs With Gersh

19 June 2017 11:48 AM, PDT | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Exclusive: Screenwriter Pamela Gray has signed with Gersh for representation in all areas. The co-writer of Megan Leavey also just adapted Liane Moriarty's novel The Husband's Secret which is set to star Blake Lively for CBS Films. Gray is best known for writing films such as Conviction, Music Of The Heart, and A Walk On The Moon. She is also adapting A Walk On The Moon as a musical stage production that will premiere at the American Conservatory Theater in 2018. Ruth and… »

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‘Speechless,’ ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ Renewed at ABC

12 May 2017 1:12 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Speechless” and “Fresh Off the Boat” have been renewed by ABC for a second and fourth season, respectively. “Speechless” star Minnie Driver tweeted the news Friday.

Set in the mid-‘90s, “Fresh Off the Boat” follows 12-year-old hip-hop loving Eddie Huang (Hudson Yang) and his Taiwanese family as they move from Chinatown in Washington, D.C. to suburban Orlando, Florida. Eddie’s father sets his sights on running a Western-themed restaurant, while Eddie struggles with assimilating into his new school and the rest of the family contends with living in an area with virtually no other Asian families.

In addition to Yang, the series stars Randall Park, Constance Wu, Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen, Lucille Soong, and Chelsey Crisp. The series is based on the memoir of the same name by Eddie Huang. Nahnatchka Khan created the series in addition to executive producing. Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar also serve as executive producers. The »

- Joe Otterson

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‘Z: The Beginning of Everything’ Review: Season 1 Loves Zelda Fitzgerald Too Much to Get Real

29 January 2017 6:00 AM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

There’s a problem with the first season of “Z: The Beginning of Everything” that is reminiscent of, of all the unexpected things in this world, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” (Please, give this a chance.)

Batman v. Superman” is a notable film for how, scene by scene, it is a movie that actively dislikes its characters — from little touches to big choices, its only source of joy seems to be found in tearing down beloved icons into unrecognizable shells of themselves.

“Z” does not have that problem. In fact, it has the opposite dilemma. The Amazon Prime series, created by Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich, is just a little bit too in love with its leading lady. And while “Bvsdoj’s” antipathy towards its leads sucked all the joy out of the picture, “Z’s” infatuation with Zelda Fitzgerald detracts from its depiction of one of literature’s most fascinating and complicated women. »

- Liz Shannon Miller

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2017’s Sundance Sales Are In Overdrive: Here’s Why, Plus See Our Full Deal Scorecard

27 January 2017 8:38 AM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The Sundance Festival reveals the state of the indie film market, and 2017 will be remembered as the year of Amazon Studios and Netflix. And given the festival’s robust TV and Vr programs, which were dominated by Google and Facebook/Oculus, there’s further digital disruption ahead.

According to one indie distributor, Sundance 2017’s valuations and sales are almost a third higher than last year. Put the same titles into the Sundance market two years ago, and they would have sold for far less. That’s because Netflix and Amazon Studios on the narrative side are dramatically driving up prices. “It’s just ridiculous what the digital guys are doing to the marketplace,” said one veteran indie CEO. “‘The Big Sick’ is a great little movie but it’s a $4 million -$6 million buy. There’s no logic to this model.”

However, Sundance has always been about the haves and the have-nots. »

- Anne Thompson

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