PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Showtime gave a series commitment to an untitled musical drama series exec-produced by Alicia Keys and the team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen). Pasek and Paul will contribute music to the series. Kyle Jarrow (The SpongeBob Musical) will write and exec-produce. Marc Platt (Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, La La Land), R. J. Cutler (Nashville, American High), and Adam Siegel (Grease: Live!) will exec-produce. Produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, series traverses generations to tell a complex family story that interweaves modern-day and 1959 Detroit while centering on a mystery uncovered by a young musician who moves back to her childhood home.
No rumor here, a Gossip Girl spinoff is officially in the works at WarnerMedia, which gave a 10-ep straight-to-series order for the new show, which will run on its forthcoming streaming service HBO Max. New series won’t focus on Upper East Siders Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf, the central figures of the CW original, but rather is set eight years after the original show’s finale and will follow a new posse of elite NY teens who are indoctrinated into the social surveillance of the Gossip Girl site. No word yet on which, if any, original cast members will be returning but it does reunite several exec producers from the original series: Joshua Safran, Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, Leslie Morgenstein. Gina Girolamo will exec-produce for Alloy; Lis Rowinski will co-exec-produce for Fake Empire. XOXO.
USA Network gave the green light for 10 episodes of competition reality series Cannonball, which hails from ITV Entertainment. Show features 16 contestants who compete in physical challenges, with one contender eliminated in each episode. Series, from Talpa Media USA and ITV Entertainment, is slated to premiere next year. It was created by John de Mol, who serves as exec producer with Shye Sutherland, Keith Geller, Bernie Schaeffer and Stijn Bakkers.
Frank Spotnitz, creator of The Man In the High Castle, is developing a series based on Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Eisenhorn, a sci-fi fantasy drama set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, is in development at Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions, with Spotnitz set to serve as showrunner and exec producer of the series with Big Light creative director Emily Feller.
Apple is revving up a third season of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. The CBS Television Studios-produced series is already under way on production for season 3, which will feature an ep with the cast of Stranger Things. Based on a popular segment from Corden’s CBS talker The Late Late Show, Carpool Karaoke: The Series received a 2018 Emmy for outstanding short-form variety series, for which is snagged another nom this week.
CBS acquired an ownership stake in Patma Productions, the indie production studio helmed by its former entertainment chief Nina Tassler and producer Denise Di Novi. CBS outlets will get first looks at Patma programming in development for broadcast and premium markets will go to CBS outlets while CBS Studios will co-finance and co-produce projects set up at the CBS broadcast network, Showtime or CBS All Access, and serve as their worldwide distributor. Tassler joined CBS in 1997 and exited the company as its chairman of entertainment in 2015.
Prentice Penny, showrunner of HBO’s Insecure, is onboard to exec-produce and develop the network’s The Untamed, a fantasy series based on the Asunda comic book line penned by Sebastian A. Jones and published by Stranger Comics. Penny and Jones will co-write the pilot.
Israel’s EGG Films, the studio behind Netflix true crime doc Shadow of Truth, unveiled a peak at its next investigation. Coastal Road Killer is a doc series that explores whether a serial killer, who was never brought to justice, was behind a spate of murders in Israel in the ’70s and ’80s. Submarine Entertainment is repping the series worldwide.
Nonscripted Biggest Little Cook-Off is the latest series announcement from short-form platform Quibi. The comedic miniature food competition will pit two top chefs battling to create the most delicious single bite of food. Series is produced by Levity Productions; Judi Marmel, Johnny Milord and Aron Korney are exec producers.
Worldwide rights to the film Selah and the Spades, which centers on a prep school drug dealer, landed at Amazon Studios. The feature debut of writer/director Tayarisha Poe premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Amazon plans to develop an original series based on the teen drama written, directed and produced by Poe and Lauren McBride, who also produced the film.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
The Last Cowboy, an unscripted series spotlighting the highly skilled horsemen and trainers that compete in the world of professional reining, premieres on Paramount Network Wednesday, July 24, at 11p. From Taylor Sheridan, co-creator of the Paramount Net’s hit Yellowstone, new series puts center stage the men and women who compete in the Western-based event, where riders guide horses through a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops.
Viceland is staging a four-day event around the season 2 return of Traveling the Stars: Action Bronson & Friends Watch Ancient Aliens. Beginning Monday, August 5, at 9p, the rapper, chef and superfan of History’s Ancient Aliens will be back with more meta-moments … Also at Viceland, the network set August 14 as the new premiere date for Danny Brown-starring Danny’s House, which lands with two eps beginning at 10p.
Season 4 of Universo reality series The Riveras is set to premiere Sunday, August 11, at 10p. The first English-language reality show about a Latino family in the U.S., The Riveras follows the children of late regional Mexican music artist Jenni Rivera.
Amazon landed four-part German docu series Inside Borussia Dortmund, which is from producer/director Aljoscha Pause and explores the soccer club’s 2018-19 season. Series will launch globally August 16.
“Ghost Brothers” Dalen Spratt, Juwan Mass and Marcus Harvey bunk up with some haunted houseguests in new Travel Channel series Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests. Premiering Friday, August 16, at 9p, series features the trio of intrepid sleuths responding to pleas from families experiencing paranormal activity in their homes by embedding themselves with eight different families for weekend slumber parties.
Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Dallas returns for a fourth season on Wednesday, September 4, at 9p. Brandi Redmond, D’Andra Simmons, Kameron Westcott, LeeAnne Locken and Stephanie Hollman are back for the new season, joined by new housewife Kary Brittingham.
WEtv documentary Power, Influence & Hip Hop: The Remarkable Rise of So So Def debuts tonight (July 18). Doc centers on producer and songwriter Jermaine Dupri as he chronicles the early days of So So Def and how the collective came to shape Atlanta’s music scene and influence hip hop culture.
TV One’s monthlong Love, Lies & Murder promo continues with the premiere of flick Loved to Death on Sunday, July 21, at 8p. Inspired by real events, film stars Malinda Williams (Girlfriends’ Getaway), MC Lyte (Girls Trip) and McKinley Freeman (Hit the Floor) in the story of a couple whose relationship takes a deadly turn.
HDNet Movies will air a marathon of Burt Reynolds movies August 3, followed by a block of Wes Studi cowboy classics on August 4 and August 11.
Hulu set Monday, September 2, as the premiere date for Untouchable, the documentary that follows the meteoric rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein. Rosanna Arquette, Hope D’Amore, Paz de la Huerta and Erika Rosenbaum are among those interviewed on camera.
Spotify launched a dedicated Disney music hub featuring seven playlist sections with hits from Disney animated titles plus music from Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars films. Spotify users in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and select other countries now can search “Disney” to find the hub. Spotify users have streamed nearly 2.5 billion minutes of Disney music on the service year to date in 2019 alone, according to Spotify.
In a move intended to pave the way for new initiatives by the cable industry in the areas of smart home and smart cities, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE) and the Continental Automated Buildings Association are partnering to drive standards creation, standards adoption and educational opportunities that leverage cable network capabilities.
Hoopla Digital inked a deal to bring 6,500-plus Kensington Publishing ebook titles to its platform. Titles range from romance and thrillers to nonfiction memoirs and true-crime stories.
Rubik’s Cage is the latest twist on Rubik’s Brand’s line of interactive games. Multiplayer strategy game comes just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Rubik Cube.
BritBox acquired four-part BBC One crime drama The Victim, which will anchor its fall programming slate. Series, created by The Man in the High Castle writer Rob Williams and fronted by Kelly Macdonald (Trainspotting), will air exclusively on the SVOD service operated by BBC Studios and ITV.
First Look Media’s digital storytelling service Topic is unfurling an SVOD service targeting young culture enthusiasts. Slated for a Q4 2019 launch, the service will feature licensed and original content, including scripted dramas, comedies, docs and indie films.
Two digital-first linear channels from Cinedigm and international entertainment distribution network Jungo TV are now available on Stirr, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s free ad-supported linear channel streaming service. Sports network Combat Go and K-Pop-led Asian pop culture network Hallypop join fellow Cinedigm networks CONtv and Dove Channel, which launched on Stirr earlier this year.
SpongeBob SquarePants fans, Nickelodeon is headed back to Bikini Bottom for a 13th season of SpongeBob SquarePants. The net picked up an additional season of the iconic show as the network heads to Comic-Con. New season will reunite original voice cast members and current showrunners Vince Waller and Marc Ceccarelli.
Apple dropped a trailer for upcoming series Snoopy in Space timed to coincide with festivities around the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Teaser depicts Snoopy gleefully floating through space before plummeting to earth and landing atop Woodstock. Series, produced by DHX Media, will debut this fall on upcoming SVOD Apple TV+. Peanuts Worldwide last year partnered with NASA on a Space Act Agreement aimed at inspiring a passion for space exploration and STEM.
Univision unveiled major sponsors for its 16th edition of Premios Juventud (Youth Awards), airing tonight (July 18) and feting pop culture, music, fashion, television and social media. Boost Mobile and Mondelez International join returning partners Coca-Cola, Jeep, M&M’s, T-Mobile and Universal Pictures as sponsors. Broadcast will feature Anuel AA, Karol G, Iamchino, Maluma, Pitbull and more.
APC Kids secured sales for its animated property Fox & Hare with DR in Denmark, RTHK in Hong Kong and Piwi+ in France, among other international networks.
Hungry for a new angle on celeb living? Comedian Dan Ahdoot asks comedians, actors, writers and chefs to open up their fridges on new podcast Green Eggs & Dan, which launches August 1 with podcast network Podglomerate. Guests, including Hasan Minhaj (Patriot Act), Michelle Buteau (Always Be My Maybe) and Paul Rust (Love), bring a photo of the inside of their fridge to kick off a conversation about food, cooking and everything else.
Josh Charles (The Good Wife) is in as the male lead opposite Hilary Swank in Netflix’s drama series Away … Model Twiggy and pop singer Cheryl joined the cast of the BBC’s upcoming remake of RuPaul’s Drag Race … Fashion designer Chiara Ferragni joined Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn’s upcoming Amazon series Making The Cut … Ben Lewis, who portrays William Clayton on CW’s Arrow, has been upped to a series regular for the series’ eighth and final season.