Brad Grey signs exclusive deal with 20th
20th Century Fox Television, the largest studio supplier of TV series to the broadcast networks for three years running, has signed an exclusive development deal with Brad Grey Television-producer of such hit series as HBO’s “The Sopranos” and NBC’s “Just Shoot Me.” Under blanket terms of the deal, Mr. Grey’s production company, which was founded as an outgrowth of his role as a talent manager with Brillstein-Grey Co., is going to develop and produce new series in tandem with 20th Century Fox Television. The three-year deal involves some kind of lucrative participation in the back-end sales of series for off-network syndication and cable networks. Those sales will be handled by sister Twentieth Television. Fox is also said to be funding all of BGTV’s future development and production. The pact also gives the studio first-look rights to any new cable series originating from Brad Grey Television “where distribution is available,” which could mean Mr. Grey’s company will have the presumed inside option to sell series to the Fox-owned FX cable network.
Karn to host `Feud’
FremantleMedia Productions signed “Home Improvement’s” Richard Karn to host game show “Family Feud.” He replaces Louie Anderson as host of the Tribune-distributed strip. The series has been given a “firm go” for another season, with Mr. Karn “showing the enthusiasm and warmth needed for this series,” said FremantleMedia President of Entertainment David Lyle.
`Ninja Turtles’ strap on the shell again
4Kids Entertainment and Mirage Licensing have agreed to bring back one of the best-selling children’s icons in recent history-“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. 4Kids will produce 26 episodes of a new animated “Ninja Turtles” television series, with a debut date aimed at first quarter 2003 on the Fox Saturday morning block programmed by 4Kids. 4Kids will additionally serve as the exclusive merchandise-licensing agent for the property.
World Wrestling getting the `F’ out
What was once the World Wrestling Federation has confirmed that the company has officially changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment. The branding shift will take place over a five-month span and is due to an ongoing courtroom battle with the World Wildlife Fund over the use of the “WWF” name. Already the company’s Web sites reflect the changes, and a new logo will be introduced Monday night on TNN. Linda McMahon, CEO of WWE, said the name change provides a distinct and unencumbered global identity that will further cast World Wrestling Entertainment as an integrated entertainment and media company. Insiders said the company will launch a campaign titled “Get the `F’ out” as a way to incorporate the changes with mainstream audiences.
NBC acquires TV rights to Giuliani bio
NBC has acquired the made-for-TV-movie rights to “Emperor of the City: The Story of America’s Mayor,” a biography of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, penned by journalist Andrew Kirtzman. The teleplay for the three-hour movie, to be titled “America’s Mayor: The Rudy Giuliani Story,” is being written by Nicholas Meyer (“The Human Stain,” “The Seven Percent Solution”) for executive producers Lorenzo Minoli and Russell Kagan. The movie is slated to be filmed in New York City, with a possible fall production start.
NBC has placed a 22-episode renewal order for 9 p.m. (ET) Monday drama “Third Watch,” giving the series a fourth season. … Buena Vista Television has confirmed that Meredith Vieira, co-host of ABC’s daytime talk show “The View,” has been tapped to host the company’s stripped version of the hit game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” which will launch in syndication this September. The decision was announced May 7 by Ms. Vieira during a taping of “The View.”