Nov 25, 2014
1:47 pm

New David E. Kelley Series to Star Two A-List Actresses Known for Their Big-Screen Exploits (THR)

Two Oscar-winning actresses who do most of their work in feature films are on board for a new TV series from David E. Kelley. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are set to star in the project, a limited series that will be shopped to premium cable nets and streaming services.

The series, written by Kelley, is based on the book “Big Little Lies,” by Liane Moriarty, the report notes.

“Kidman and her Blossom Films banner as well as Witherspoon and her Pacific Standard shingle optioned the rights to the No. 1 New York Times best-seller as a potential starring feature film in August,” THR reports. “The novel centers on three mothers to kindergartners whose seemingly perfect lives unravel to a murder-mystery that takes place during a disastrous parents’ night at an elementary school fundraiser.”

Kelley has a long track record of TV success, and is known as the creator of “Ally McBeal,” “Boston Public,” “The Practice” and other shows. He was recently a showrunner on the Robin Williams comedy series “The Crazy Ones” at CBS.

“Kidman and Witherspoon will both exec produce alongside Kelley, who currently is exploring the marketplace free of a studio-based overall deal,” the report notes.

Both Witherspoon and Kidman are Oscar winners. Witherspoon received an Academy Award in 2006 for “Walk the Line,” while Kidman, who has been nominated three times, picked up a trophy in 2003 for “The Hours.”

big little lies-book cover

Nov 25, 2014
1:41 pm

New Media Firm’s Claims About Its Reach Create Buzz (Gigaom)

A firm that’s a player in new media has released a report on its vast reach that has industry observers talking. The firm is BuzzFeed.

In the lengthy report, BuzzFeed claims that its reach has surpassed that of Fox, CNN and MTV, Gigaom reports. Among millennials, BuzzFeed says its reach is even bigger than NBC and CBS, as well.

BuzzFeed said its growth is due to millennials’ rapid embrace of mobile video consumption. Gigaom adds that “as a caveat, it’s worth noting that the presentation is clearly designed to be a sales pitch for the company’s native advertising efforts, and so there are no links to or discussion of any of the data used to compile the charts.”


Nov 25, 2014
1:37 pm

Freshman Comedy Gets Full-Season Pickup (Variety)

A freshman broadcast comedy series has received an order for a full season. Variety reports that ABC ordered an additional nine episodes of its Friday night sitcom “Cristela.”

The 20th Century Fox show stars Mexican-American comedian Cristela Alonzo, who also exec produces along with Kevin Hench.

ABC previously gave a full-season order to the Wednesday night series “black-ish.”


Nov 25, 2014
1:33 pm

Syfy Greenlights Series About Silicon Valley (Deadline)

Syfy is going ahead with a new series focused on Silicon Valley. reports that the cable channel greenlighted “The Bazillion Dollar Club,” a docuseries tracking the exploits of financier Dave McClure and tech innovator Brady Forrest.

“Their companies offer two of the world’s most aggressive accelerator programs that mentor startups leading up to the launch of their billion dollar idea,” the report notes. “The six episode, one-hour series goes before the cameras later this year and will air in 2015.”

In a statement, Syfy President Dave Howe said: “’The Bazillion Dollar Club’ gives our audience of imaginative thinkers the opportunity to literally invent the future by bringing to life their visionary ideas and dreams. This show is important to Syfy’s unscripted strategy to engage fans with entertaining and informative real-world drama that taps into their curiosity, passion and creativity.”

NBC Universal Logos

Nov 25, 2014
1:29 pm

British Series That’s Being Adapted by HBO Is Honored (THR)

An upcoming HBO series got good news at Monday night’s International Emmys in New York. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Utopia,” the critically acclaimed British crime thriller that revolves around the manuscript of a cult graphic novel, won for best drama.

While Channel 4 did not renew the show after its second season, “Gone Girl” director and writer David Fincher and Gillian Flynn are adapting it for HBO.

The top comedy prize of the night went to Belgium’s “What If?” Top acting prizes went to British actor (and “Game of Thrones” star) Stephen Dillane, for his work in the French-British crime drama “The Tunnel,” and Dutch actress Bianca Krijgsman, who plays a cleaner in the drama “The New World,” which is set in an airport immigration center.

utopia-UK series-title

Nov 25, 2014
11:33 am

Breaking: ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Lands Interview With Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, Who Shot and Killed Michael Brown (ABC News, Twitter)

Updated at 11:52 a.m. PT on 11/25/2014 to add comments from ABC News website.

Updated again at 12:06 p.m. PT on 11/25/2014 to add statements from an ABC News press release about the interview.

Within the hour ABC’s George Stephanopoulos tweeted that he “just finished a more than hourlong interview with Officer Darren Wilson. No question off limits.” Here’s the picture that accompanied the tweet:


The ABC News website says: “Wilson told ABC News that he did not execute Brown but was in fear for his life and was just doing his job.

“This is the first time Wilson has made public remarks about the August 9 shooting. The interview comes a day after the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson in an incident that sparked national outcry.

“Tune into ‘World News Tonight’ at 6:30 p.m. EST to see the interview.”

Later, ABC News added these statements in a press release about the interview:

“Wilson told ABC News that Brown reached into his car and grabbed his gun. He described how Brown charged toward him and he felt that he had to shoot Michael Brown.”

“Wilson did say that he was sorry for the loss of life but he would not do anything different that day. He says he has a clean conscience over his actions that day.”

Landing an interview with Wilson was the focus of fierce competition among the key TV news outlets, as we reported Monday. ABC’s Stephanopoulos had been considered to be among the frontrunners to land the interview.

Nov 25, 2014
8:17 am

The Last Remaining Original Cast Member on a CBS Franchise Drama Series Is Leaving the Show (TV Guide)

A CBS series that has become an institution of the broadcast TV landscape is losing its final remaining original cast member at end of its current season.

TV Guide reports that George Eads, who has played the role of Nick Stokes on “CSI” since the series’ pilot, will make an amicable departure at the end of this season, the show’s 15th.

For those following the show’s plot, Eads will bow out in connection with the resolution of what’s known as the Gig Harbor Killer case, TV Guide says.

Eads has been off the show before, for an extended leave of absence last year and also in 2004, when he and Jorja Fox were temporarily fired in what was labeled a dispute over salary.

With Eads’ departure, Fox will become the series’ veteran, should it return for a 16th season; she appeared in the show’s second episode and is currently a cast member, after scaling back to a recurring character in Seasons 9 and 10.

george eads as nick stokes-csi

George Eads as Nick Stokes on “CSI”

Nov 25, 2014
8:01 am

TV Reporters Targeted in Ferguson (Deadline)

A number of television reporters got swept up in the overnight unrest in Ferguson, Mo., that followed the announcement that a grand jury had decided not to prosecute Darren Wilson, the police officer who in August shot and killed the unarmed black teen Michael Brown. reports that CNN reporter Sara Sidner got hit in the head by a rock while she was reporting live from the scene. She reportedly told studio anchor Jake Tapper, “I’m OK, I’m OK. I’ve been hit by much worse in my day.”

Earlier CNN’s Stephanie Elam was also pelted briefly, Deadline reported, and Fox News’ Steve Harrigan had to go off the air after a protester knocked his camera to the ground during a live report.

Here’s a clip posted by CNN:

Nov 25, 2014
7:47 am

An NBC Star Gets His Name in Lights (NY Times)

One of NBC’s top stars now has his name in lights on the broadcast network’s landmark 30 Rockefeller Center headquarters.

A new marquee on the skyscraper’s Avenue of the Americas entrance announces that the building is home of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” The New York Times reports.

Fallon (who actually had the idea for the marquee as a promotional tool) told The Times’ Bill Carter: “This makes it exponentially harder for them to fire me.” There doesn’t seem to be any real threat of that: Fallon, ten months into his run as “Tonight” host, has racked up consistently winning ratings, The Times says.

The marquee, which is strong enough to hold a band, was lit during the opening of Fallon’s Monday show. Earlier hosts of the show did not have their names on any of the other marquees on the building; the Sixth Ave. marquee is new. But one of Fallon’s rivals, CBS’s David Letterman, has his own marquee a few blocks away.

Fallon told The Times, “I was just jealous of Letterman.”

tonight show starring jimmy fallon-marquee

Nov 25, 2014
7:39 am

HBO ‘Lawyering Up’ on Expectation That New Doc Will Stir Up Controversy (THR)

In a new documentary, HBO will take on a subject that has been controversial in Hollywood. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the pay-cable network is turning Lawrence Wright’s book “Going Clear,” about the Church of Scientology, into a documentary.

The film comes from Oscar winner Alex Gibney and was quietly commissioned in early 2013, when the book was published. HBO is aiming for a 2015 debut, THR said, and could submit the film to Sundance if it’s ready in time.

Sheila Nevins, HBO Documentary Films president, told THR that the network has “probably 160 lawyers” looking at the film, no doubt in anticipation of legal pushback from the church, which did not look kindly on the book, which carries the subtitle “Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief.”

going clear-book cover

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