PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Amazon Studios inked an overall deal with Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, Westworld creators, exec producers and showrunners, and their company Kilter Films. The reported nine-figure, five-year deal will see the husband-and-wife team working creating and producing original series to premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video worldwide.
3311 Productions is making a foray into scripted television, and has tapped veteran TV exec Gerard Bocaccio to lead its TV efforts as head of 3311 Television. The inaugural TV slate includes projects from Jason Biggs, Chris Case and Todd Field, with projects focusing on “non-cynical” stories told from original perspectives.
Picture Perfect Federation is acquiring two Allison Pataki novels – The Accidental Empress and Sisi: Empress on Her Own – which it will develop as a series on the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Michael Shamberg’s MAS Production will exec-produce along with the author.
Intaglio Films and ndF International Production tapped Emmy-winning director Alan Taylor for upcoming series The Swarm (Der Schwarm), an adaption of Frank Schatzing’s environmental thriller novel that has been translated into 25 languages.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Pasiones, home to telenovelas and drama series in Spanish, will air the exclusive US premiere of Turkish hit drama, Mujer (“Woman”) today (April 8) at 6p. Series, which depicts a woman’s fight to navigate an often-difficult world and make a place for herself and her children, averaged a 14.83 Total Audience share during its run in Turkey.
Family Channel weekend series Just Add Magic debuts Saturday, April 20 at 11a. Series focuses on young Kelly and her two best friends, who stumble upon a mysterious cookbook and discover its recipes are magical.
New Science Channel series Skyscrapers: Engineering the Future, bows Wednesday, April 24 at 10p, spotlighting how some of the world’s most ambitious cities are transforming their skylines with designs that seem to defy gravity, from the 2,722-feet Burj Khalifa in Dubai to the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore.
Whether threatened by hurricane or nuclear fallout, most modern devices won’t work in a catastrophe. Six-ep Masters of Disaster, premiering Friday, May 3 at 10p on Discovery and then on Science Channel following the Discovery premiere, follows mechanic Beau Boruff, who as owner of Survival Research in Tennessee leads a crew of craftsmen who source, restore and sell vintage objects that may be useful in any calamity.
Arts network Ovation acquired the US broadcast rights for A Tale of Two Sisters, a doc series about remarkable women, from 3DD Entertainment. The deal is for two seasons of the show – which examines the lives of sisters including Amelia and Muriel Earhart; Diana and Jessica Mitford; Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret – will air on Ovation’s linear channel and on-demand service Ovation NOW beginning Monday, May 6.
For NBC’s Red Nose Day primetime programming lineup, Hollywood talent will unite for a cause, testing their pop culture prowess and raising money for children in need on a special ep of Hollywood Game Night, hosted by Jane Lynch and airing Thursday, May 23 at 10p. Set to partake are Kelly Clarkson, Kenan Thompson, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Garner, Sean Hayes, Jeff Goldblum, Leslie Mann and Thandie Newton.
On-demand documentary streaming service CuriosityStream, a project from Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks, is expanding its kids content with four series from Litton Entertainment. CEO Clint Stinchcomb discusses why children’s programming is so important to the company in the latest Cynsiders. Check it out here.
Entertainment One secured international rights to CNN’s four-part Richard Nixon documentary series Tricky Dick, another move for eOne into factual sales.
Discovery picked up rights to doc series Lost Worlds: Deeper into the Black Sea, about an expedition to what’s believed to be the oldest shipwreck ever found. Channel 4 landed UK rights.
Litton Entertainment and Beyond Distribution are launching Rescue: USA, which showcases stories of men and women braving natural disasters to rescue victims and help restore their lives. Series is hosted by ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee.
The Weather Channel’s streaming service, Local Now, expanded its collaboration with Cheddar News network. Local Now will now supply daily meteorologist forecasts to Cheddar News, while Cheddar is continuing to provide daily business updates to Local Now. Additionally, Cheddar Business will now air morning weather updates from The Weather Group’s Pattern brand, a budding platform that delivers mobile-first content directly to Twitter users any day, any time.
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The Netflix iOS app no longer works with Apple TV or other AirPlay-compatible devices. The streaming company says the scenario is due to “technical limitations” and not a business disagreement between the two companies.
Two college students in Oregon stand accused of a counterfeiting operation that cost Apple almost $900,000. Federal prosecutors allege Yangyang Zhou and Quan Jiang imported knock-off iPhones from China, then filed warranty complaints that almost half the time resulted in their receiving real iPhones as replacements.
At Snap’s Partner Summit last week, the company that invented Stories announced App Stories, enabling users to share photos and videos from the Snapchat in-app camera to a Stories feature in other companies’ apps. Snap also unveiled augmented reality features beyond the face – developers can now create AR features for a full body, as well as filters for pets, and announced Snap Audience Network, calling for Snap to sell ads that will appear inside other companies’ apps.
The CW is putting a little nostalgia in its new Nancy Drew pilot. Pamela Sue Martin, who portrayed played the teen sleuth in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, which ran from 1977-79 on ABC, will guest alongside newcomer Kennedy McMann, who plays the title role in the new series.
Pallavi Sharda (Pulse) has been tapped as the female lead opposite Mike Vogel in ABC drama pilot Triangle… Apple rounded out the cast for Defending Jacob. Cherry Jones (The Handmaid’s Tale, 24), Pablo Schreiber (American Gods, First Man), Betty Gabriel (Get Out, Counterpart) and Sakina Jaffrey (Timeless, House of Cards) have been cast opposite Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell in the limited drama series… David Alan Grier (Native Son, In Living Color) will guest during season 4 of Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar on OWN.
Timothy Simons (Veep) and Ron Cephas Jones (This is Us) have been cast as series regulars in Hulu’s upcoming 8-ep limited series Looking For Alaska… The main cast for Latinx dramedy series Gentefied is set, with Karrie Martin (Pretty Little Liars), JJ Soria (The Oath), Carlos Santos (2 Broke Girls) and Joaquin Cosio (The Strain) leading the project… Jack O’Connell (Godless) landed the star role in BBC’s adaptation of The North Water… Katie Finneran (Bloodline) is set for a recurring role opposite Lucy Liu in CBS All Access‘ dark comedy Why Women Kill.
In the first large-scale move to combine assets, Sky Vision, the international distribution division of Sky, will be folded into NBC Universal‘s global distribution unit following Comcast’s $39 billion purchase of the UK pay TV giant.
The story of US Marine Sergeant John Peck, who lost both his arms and legs while serving in Afghanistan, will be the subject of a doc to air on Viacom’s Channel 5. The network commissioned Britain’s Barcroft Studios to create a one-hour film about Peck, who underwent bilateral arm transplant after losing his limbs in 2010.
Having established itself in Spain, Telefonica unveiled its first premium original series projects in Latin America, to be deliverd via its Movistar + unit.