STARZ TO DEVELOP ORIGINAL SERIES FROM LAWRENCE BENDER AND MOIRA WALLEY-BECKETT, EXAMINING THE SCINTILATING WORLD OF BALLET
“Breaking Bad” Co-Executive Producer Joins Project Expanding Starz Development Slate
Beverly Hills, Calif. – January 29, 2013 – Starz announced today that it will develop a new original drama series from “Breaking Bad” Co-Executive Producer Moira Walley-Beckett and Lawrence Bender. The currently untitled drama follows a young female ballet dancer, Claire, who has a distinctly troubled past as she joins a prestigious ballet company in New York. The dark and gritty series will unflinchingly explore the dysfunctional underbelly of the ballet world.
The new original series will be produced by Starz Entertainment with Executive Producers Lawrence Bender (Oscar nominated for Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting) and Kevin Brown (“Roswell”). Moira Walley-Beckett, currently a Co-Executive Producer on “Breaking Bad,” was recently nominated for a 2013 Golden Globe Award®, a PGA Award, a Primetime Emmy® for Outstanding Drama Series in 2012, nominated for a WGA Award in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, resulting in a 2012 win for her work on “Breaking Bad,” and a PEN award in 2010. Walley-Beckett is represented by United Talent Agency and Bender-Brown is with William Morris Endeavor Agency.
Bender, Brown and Wally-Beckett both have connections to the world of ballet, which brought them together with STARZ on this project. Bender and Walley-Beckett are former ballet dancers, and Brown’s family is made up entirely of former ballet dancers which was the basis for the Oscar-nominated film, The Turning Point.
Starz will retain all domestic and international multiplatform rights including television, home entertainment, and digital.
The project, which was sold directly to the CW and laid off at CBS TV Studios, is a fantastical reimagining of the teenage Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary was 6 days old when she succeeded her father, King James V of Scotland, to the throne. Her mother, Mary of Guise, was French, and Mary spent most of her childhood and teen years in France while Scotland was ruled by regents. She was 16 when she married Francis, Dauphin of France, who became King of France the next year but died a year later, leaving Mary a widow at age 18. The CW’s project is described as Game Of Thrones meets Marie Antoinette — if Marie Antoinette had a girl posse and was coming of age as a warrior queen. It’s about the secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue. In addition to Reign, the CW has another drama in the works that is set in a kingdom, the Hunger Games-esque The Selection, which is awaiting a new script.
New ABC2 comedy The Strange Calls has become the latest local TV series to be picked up for a US pilot.
US Network ABC has commissioned a ‘put pilot’ – a strong commitment requiring it to broadcast the initial pilot episode, which often leads to a full series.
The US adaptation will be led by writer Donick Cary (New Girl), director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and producer Aaron Kaplan (The Neighbors). All three will executive produce alongside the Australian series producers, Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield of Hoodlum.
The Australian 6×30-minute multiplatform series, which began broadcasting on October 16, stars Barry Crocker and Toby Truslove as an unlikely paranormal investigative team. The series was written and directed by Daley Pearson ($quid). The first episode has already launched on ABC iView and the series will invite audiences to communicate with the characters and share ‘strange’ sightings via Twitter and the show’s website.
ABC head of comedy, Debbie Lee said: “Seeing a US network pickup an Australian series to pilot before it has even broadcast is remarkable and such a testament to the creative vision of the team and the show. The Strange Calls is already creating a buzz online ahead of the ABC2 premier next Tuesday – so we hope Australian audiences will get in now and see it here first.”
Tracey Robertson, executive producer for Hoodlum said: “Hoodlum has been working in the US market for a long time and the American remake of The Strange Calls is the result of not only this commitment but also the hard work by the dedicated team that believed in this project. Even though The Strange Calls is a relatively small project, it’s got a very big heart and this is a brilliant outcome for everyone who was part of this collaboration including the cast and crew, ABC TV, Screen Queensland and Screen Australia.”
NBC is closing a deal with Universal Television and Matchbox Pictures for an American adaptation of last year’s multiple award-winning Australian miniseries “The Slap”.
Based on the 2008 novel by Christos Tsiolkas, the story deals with the repercussions that follow when, at a suburban family gathering, a man physically slaps a child unrelated to him.
Melissa George, Jonathan LaPaglia and Sophie Okonedo starred in the eight episode series in which each episode focuses on a different person who attended the barbecue.
“Brothers & Sisters” creator Jon Robin Baitz will pen the U.S. adaptation.
The cable network, which airs her series The Client List, is now developing a TV series loosely based on her 2010 book, The Day I Shot Cupid, Deadline reports.
In the New York Times bestselling book, Hewitt shares tips on romance based on her own dating experiences. Alphas scribe Matt Hastings will write the project, titled Finding Love, and executive-produce with Hewitt. The project is part of a first-look deal Hewitt signed with Lifetime last year when they ordered The Client List — which originated as a TV movie — to series.
Would you watch Finding Love?
DONE DEALS AND DEVELOPMENT
… TNT has finally given the green light to L.A. Noir, the period drama that was announced like 67 years ago or maybe 18 months ago. It’s the project Frank Darabont created after he was kicked off of The Walking Dead and it centers on the world of cops and crimes in 1940s and 1950s Los Angeles. However, TNT has ordered six episodes to start. That could have something to do with Darabont’s notorious attention to detail, which is a euphemism for TOTAL CONTROL. Anyway, the drama stars The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal and Jeffrey DeMunn, as well as Milo Ventimiglia, Neal McDonough, and Simon Pegg. [TNT via press release]
… TNT has also put an adaptation of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein book series into development. This twist on the classic centers on a new version of Doctor Frankenstein, Victor Helios, living in New Orleans 200 years after he thought he killed his beast creation (Victor is staying alive with some tricky science), but the monster is alive and well and living in New Orleans too. So they both get an apartment together and hilarity ensues! Oh wait, that’s not right. They battle each other to the death. Was the original Frankenstein story that boring, Mr. Koontz? [Deadline Hollywood]
… CBS has ordered a show called Bake Off to series. It’s based on the British series The Great British Bake Off. It’s a reality competition program featuring contestants seeing how high they can get I WISH!!!! It’s a reality competition featuring Americans baking things. Apparently it’s a huge hit in England, but then again, so are baked beans for breakfast. [CBS via press release]
… ABC is adapting the Dutch series Vuurzee under the name of Sea of Fire. The would-be series would follow murders, kidnappings, and teen porn movies that tear apart a small town. Apparently the series drew comparisons to Twin Peaks, which these days means it would probably be a better fit for cable. [Deadline Hollywood]
RATINGS RATINGS RATINGS
… More debatings for the ratings! President Barack Obama and Businessman Mitt Romney got on stage and pointed fingers at each other again last night, and 65.6 million people watched. That’s a couple million below the last presidential debate, so maybe they’ll get renewed for another debate! NBC beat all other networks with 13.8 million total viewers. [EW]
… Maybe those two million fewer people were watching Emily Owens M.D.? The CW’s new medical drama debuted last night against the debates and drew 1.7 million viewers for a 0.5 adult demo rating. That’s not that great. [EW]
DIDN’T FIT ANYWHERE ELSE NEWS
… There will be a bit of a crossover episode between Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 on October 30. DTTBIA23 will host, when June makes a video—think fan-made YouTube tribute video—of Chloe in a fake relationship with one of the Happy Endings guys. But which one? [TV Guide]
… Dylan McDermott is joining the rest of his old buddies and guesting on American Horror Story: Asylum. McDermott in the first season was the cheating husband of the haunted house. He joins fellow returnees Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, and Zachary Quinto in Season 2. [EW]
… Terriers‘ Donal Logue will guest-star on Sons of Anarchy as a U.S. Marshal. Look for him in the final three episodes of Season 5. [EW]
Shonda Rhimes‘ Shondaland has set up two projects — including its first half-hour comedy, I Hate LA Dudes, from writer Issa Rae (Web series The Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl) — that have been sold to ABC. Also at the network, Shondaland has The Mix, a comedic drama written by John Hoffman (Igor) set behind the scenes of a The View/The Talk-type morning talk show. With Rhimes busy shepherding three series she created — ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal — she and her producing partner at Shondaland Betsy Beers focused on developing with other writers this season. The two executive produce both I Hate LA Dudes and The Mix, which hail from ABC Studios where ICM Partners-repped Shondaland is based.
I Hate L.A. Dudes centers on an aspiring journalist, new to Los Angeles, who becomes the lone female voice on a budding, male-driven Internet talk show, while learning to decode the often humiliating and exasperating rules of the LA dating scene. Rae, repped by UTA, 3 Arts and John Meigs, is writing/co-executive producing. Expanding into comedy has been a major priority for Shondaland, which established its brand in drama.
The Mix revolves around the public and not-so-private lives of five very different women who sit in the hot seats as hosts of an influential morning talk show. Hoffman, repped by CAA, Anonymous and Gendler & Kelly, is writing/executive producing.