Warner Bros. has been very busy lately, reteaming with old associates and inviting new ones in on the game. News today is that the production company has ordered three new series for the CW: J.J. Abrams' and Mark Schwahn's comedy/drama Shelter, sci-fi romance Joey Dakota (produced by Mark Harmon) and dystopian drama The Selection, from a pair of Vampire Diaries producers. Additionally, the network has cast a lead in its new superhero series, Arrow.
I haven't seen Abrams in a while, but I assume that he has grown a beard, and maybe taken up drinking. Because, after about ten years, Abrams is heaving a sigh and uttering, "We have to go back... to Warner Bros." Abrams is returning to the company of his old friends to develop a CW series called Shelter. He will be teaming with LOST collaborators Mark Pedowitz (CW President) and Thom Sherman (Executive VP of Drama Development), as well as with One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn to work on this new show.
The WB, the pre-2006 incarnation of the CW, is where Abrams started the television career that would eventually amount to creating a new show every month. Abrams co-created the drama Felicity, a story about a girl who followed the high school crush to college. Since this series, Abrams has become more associated with high-concept thrillers and science-fiction projects, such as Alias, Fringe, his newest shows Person of Interest and Alcatraz, and his most famous television venture, LOST. But Abrams is getting back into the "real world" with this new project he is developing for the CW. Shelter, formerly titled Maine, will study the day-to-day lives of the employees and customers at a New England hotel, and how they intersect dramatically and comedically.
The CW is not limiting itself to the Abrams/Schwahn creation, however. The network is also developing two other projects. One, Joey Dakota, is being written by Bert Royal (Easy A) and will being produced by NCIS leading man Mark Harmon along with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum. The project is based on an Israeli series called Danny Hollywood and is described by THR as a "romantic time-travel musical" (already very much sold) about a filmmaker who travels back to the 1990s, falls in love with a destined-to-die rock star, and then is launched back to the present day, where she makes it her mission to re-travel back in time and save the love of her life from his untimely death.
The final project is titled The Selection, and is an hourlong drama/romance based on a developing book series by Kiera Cass. The television project is being written by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain (The Vampire Diaries). The story will follow the journey of an impoverished girl who, in a dystopian society three centuries into the future, will be chosen via lottery to be the next queen.
In more CW news, the recently greenlit series Arrow has earned itself a star: Stephen Amell, an actor who has primarily worked in recurring guest roles on series like Queer as Folk, Heartland, Private Practice and, most prominently, Hung. Amell will play the lead in the new series, which is a modern-day incarnation of the DC Comics superhero story, Green Arrow. The titular hero is a vigilante who employs his exemplary skills in archery to fight crime when not posing as a Bruce Wayne-esque billionaire playboy socialite, with a bit of Harvey Dent's politicism in him.
Although it's not the Arrested Development movie quite yet, there is a reunion of sorts in the hopper. Series creator/executive producer Mitch Hurwitz, co-star Will Arnett and co-executive producer Jim Vallely are teaming for another single-camera Fox comedy, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The project is being written by the trio and will star Arnett as a rich Beverly Hills jackass who falls in love with a charitable tree-hugging woman who can't stand his lifestyle or values.
Produced by Sony TV and studio-based Tantamount, the project is the first to come out of the development pact that Arnett and Fox sealed in October.
Hurwitz is executive producing with his producing partners at Tantamount, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum; Vallely; and Peter Principato and Paul Young. Arnett is also a producer.
Full story: http://www.hollywoodwiretap.com/?module=news&action=story&id=39071
MORE NEWS: Cook Defends Hudgens Awards-Show Joke
I say "creepy" because Untraceable’s theory could actually be a reality. The possibility of a tech-savvy psycho setting up a Web site that displays graphic murders could happen with the fate of each of the tormented captives left in the hands of the public: The more hits the site gets the faster the victims die--and in the case of Untraceable die in very gruesome ways. Of course Untraceable also gives us a peek at the good guys--the FBI division that is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting cybercriminals. Special Agent Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) is one such Internet expert who along with her co-worker (Colin Hanks) is stymied by KillWithMe.com’s untraceablity. But soon the movie turns predictable as the cat-and-mouse game gets personal and Marsh must race against the clock to stop the madman. Lane has certainly looked better in her past movies. For obvious effect they’ve made Agent Marsh rather worn-down with dark circles under her eyes and very little makeup as she sits in front of the computer hunting the bad guys all night on the late shift. The fact that she’s also a widow having lost her cop husband to the job and caregiver to her young daughter doesn’t help the woman get anymore rest. Then when the crap starts hitting the fan and people close to Marsh get hurt the actress really shows the pain on her already haggard face. Marsh even admits “I do a lot of things well but I don’t lose people well.” It’s a standard tough-FBI-agent role and Lane is very capable at it. Supporting her is Hanks (Orange County) as the resident comic relief (what little of it there is) as well as Billy Burke (Fracture) the local cop trying to help Marsh catch the psycho Internet killer. As for the killer himself the actor who portrays him (and I won’t give it away) is very effective in the role. There are a couple of other things Untraceable has going for it besides the chilling premise: director Gregory Hoblit who knows his way around a crime thriller having directed gems such as Primal Fear and Fracture and the dank Portland Oregon locale. Hoblit creates just the right amount of tension and dread as the clock ticks down and the race nears its end but something about an overcast rainy environ just lends itself to more doom and gloom doesn’t it? Of course there are also the torture scenes which add a certain level of Hostel-like horror. What Untraceable lacks is a compelling narrative. The bevy of writers involved (never the best of signs) tend to throw in too many conventional thriller plot points--like the red herrings on who the killer is before he’s revealed and explaining why the killer is doing what he’s doing. All these things dilute the film’s initial potential. Still let’s just hope this doesn’t spawn real-life copycats.
Invincible is Rudy and The Rookie all rolled into one. Set in the mid-‘70s Mark Wahlberg stars as the real-life Vince Papale a blue-collar Philadelphian down on his luck after his wife leaves him. His only solace is playing football with his cronies and rooting for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles who are in a real rut. Newly hired head coach the legendary Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) decides to infuse some new blood into the team by holding open tryouts. All of Vince’s friends think he’d be perfect and urge him to go for it. He does makes it and is soon playing with some of his idols much to their chagrin. I mean who is this punk anyway? Sure he’s got some excellent instincts but can he really be a NFL player with no experience? Yes in fact he can proving to all those regular Joes out there you can live the dream. Yeah yeah. Unfortunately none of the actors really add anything either. Wahlberg is definitely a natural to play this kind of role having already done so in Rock Star. At least in Invincible he gets to show off some of his athletic abilities rather than just his bare chest in black leather pants. But the performance is run of the mill. As is Kinnear who as Vermeil takes on the headaches of turning a losing team into winners all while his supportive wife sweetly reassures him he’s doing the very best he can. Seen it. To their credit some of the supporting actors—including Kirk Acevedo (The New World) Michael Kelly (Dawn of the Dead) and Michael Rispoli (Mr. 3000)—paint a convincing picture of genuine camaraderie between local Philadelphians. And Elizabeth Banks (The 40 Year-Old Virgin) rounds things out as Vince’s cute love interest (and eventual real-life wife) who knows a few things about football by golly. You’d think Invincible would be a no-brainer feel-good kind of sports flick. It’s based on a real-life person has that whole underdog thing going for it and it’s football. What could go wrong with that? Nothing really besides the fact it’s been done about a hundred times over—and has now been left in the hands of newbies. First-time director Ericson Core a former cinematographer and writer Brad Gann are clearly green doing things by the play book line for line. It’s scary helming a feature film for a big studio like Disney who had such sport hits like The Rookie and Remember the Titans. Perhaps Core wanted to go more out on a limb but was reigned in. Who knows? The football scenes are definitely the highlight and Core handles the action well. I mean you do want Papale to prove himself the natural athlete he truly is and make all his homies proud. But the rest of it is just blah.
Once considered the most powerful man in show business, Michael Ovitz isn't having much luck these days. The former president of his company Artists Production Group, Cathy Schulman, has filed a $4 million lawsuit against Ovitz, APG and APG's former partner StudioCanal, The Hollywood Reporter reports. According to the complaint filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Schulman, who ran the company's film division unit, claims she was fired by Ovitz "in a rage" after she "effectively told auditors for Vivendi (StudioCanal's parent company) that APG was stealing from Vivendi." She was terminated Feb. 14. This suit follows on the heels of another filed by Eric Tannenbaum, the former head of Artists Management Group's television division in April, claiming fraud, deceit and defamation.
Actor Lorenzo Lamas and his wife, former Playboy Playmate Shauna Sand, are calling it quits after six years of marriage. In a statement Monday, Lamas, 44, told the Associated Press "Shauna and I are separated due to problems of incompatibility" and will work together to provide for their three young daughters. At this point, no plans for divorce have been set.
Actor Robert Blake won the right to a bail hearing Wednesday that could set him free until his murder trial begins. Having been jailed since April after he was charged with the May 4, 2001, murder of wife Bonny Lee Bakley, Blake had not received a bail hearing because of a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait. Defendants with special circumstances can be held without bail if they face the death penalty. Prosecutors in this case, however, are not seeking the death penalty.
Sweet Home Alabama director Andy Tennant will stay in that Southern mood with his next project--a dramedy cop series called The Atl for Fox. Taking its inspiration from the burgeoning hip-hop scene in Atlanta, Ga., which is known in some circles as the new Motown, the series will focus on two female cops living and working in the city's energetic, youthful vibe.
Bonnie Hunt and other executive producers of her new hit ABC comedy Life With Bonnie have let go most of their writing staff to do it all themselves. Insiders told Variety from the get-go that Hunt and executive producer Don Lake stressed they didn't want a writing staff on the show, opting to pen the scripts themselves, but Touchstone Television insisted. Now that the show is off to a great start--using none of the Bonnie staffers' scripts--the studio has agreed.
NBC has signed a deal with Cher to tape a two-hour concert special to air sometime mid-season. The now-blonde diva will tape her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour performance at the American Airlines Arena in Miami Nov. 6 and 7.
Seems Comedy Central likes to air television rejects. The network has bought reruns of several TV series that had a short life on network television, including episodes of the animated series Dilbert and ensemble sketch comedy series The Ben Stiller Show. "These series all fit our brand. (We're) always on the lookout for edgy, provocative entertainment," Bill Hilary, exec VP and General Manager of Comedy Central, told Variety. "We're the anti-network network."
Fans of the rock band Pink Floyd, who last performed together in 1994, may have to wait awhile for a reunion--if not forever. The group's leader David Gilmour told Reuters doing a new Pink Floyd album and tour is the furthest thing from his mind. "I know that other people have a different view and it has some sort of intrinsic importance, but right at the moment I'm just not thinking about Pink Floyd. I'm just concentrating on what I'm doing in a totally selfish way, and enjoying myself," Gilmour said.