EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott has optioned screen rights to Fae, the young adult fantasy bestseller written by sibling authors Colet and Jasmine Abedi. The title was published last summer by Diversion Books and is the first in a trilogy. Protagonist Caroline Ellis reaches 16, a birthday that triggers the battle fated for centuries between the Dark and Light Fae, forcing her to confront who she is and discover whether her tumultuous relationship with Devilyn Reilly, who’s battling the power of the Dark within him, will destroy them both along with humanity. Scott and Giannina Facio will produce. The book has been a big bestseller in digital, and become a Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest phenomenon. The authors have completed the first sequel, The Dark King. They are repped by lit agent Lisa Gallagher from Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.
The opening part of four-hour miniseries Bonnie & Clyde last night delivered 9.8 million total viewers and 4.2 million Adults 25-54 viewers in simulcast on Lifetime, A&E and History. That was a respectable showing though it fell short of the meteoric highs of History’s first two miniseries, Hatfields & McCoys, which opened with 13.9 million viewers, and The Bible, which premiered with 13.1 million viewers. Both aired only on History, for which Bonnie & Clyde was originally developed. History led the A+E simulcast viewership pack last night with 3.7 million viewers, followed by Lifetime (3.1 million) and A&E (3 million).
Marking A+E Networks’ first-ever simulcast across Lifetime, A&E and History, Bonnie & Clyde will conclude tonight at 9 PM, immediately following an encore of part one.
That would be huge if Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s prediction is accurate — although he declined to elaborate in his presentation today at the UBS Global Media and Commmunications Conference. Viacom reportedly has talked with Sony about teaming up to offer an online service that would include the same kind of channels that now are only available to cable and satellite TV subscribers. Many programmers fear that a national online service could undermine their ability to sell their channels in bundles that require people to pay for services that they don’t watch. Intel met stiff resistance from cable networks when it proposed to introduce what’s known as an over-the-top service, and now wants to sell its technology.
Meanwhile, Dauman told the UBS attendees that Paramount is in “a lot of good discussions with a number of players” preparing to order studio-produced TV shows, but “I will let them make announcements.” He noted that some “will be made for pay outlets and not just our own” and the list could “potentially [include] some broadcast networks as well.” With the growth of global streaming services such as Netflix and AmazonPrime, “there is an opportunity today…to greenlight series with less risk.” Paramount has been “a strong strategic play for us” by exploiting franchises such as Transformers, propelling channels including EPIX and Paramount Channel, and promoting sales of licensed merchandise.
For the most part Dauman told investors what they wanted to hear. Viacom can raise its spending on programming by mid-to-high single digits next year and invest in overseas initiatives — and still “continue to return a lot of capital to shareholders.” Nickelodeon is no longer Viacom’s problem child, with ratings up this year. Dauman is optimistic about efforts to boost animation — including a spin-off of Dora The Explorer for pre-teens, Dora And Friends — that he says will help sell licensed products and provide “fuel for us to expand Nickelodeon around the world.” Viacom is developing scripted shows for MTV and plans to do so for Spike. CMT is also “a great opportunity for us” as Viacom seeks to “de-emphasize acquired third-party programming.” Like most media execs, Dauman is enthusiastic about overseas growth opportunities. He plans to introduce the Paramount Channel in several countries in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Over the next three years it will be “widely distributed around the world.” Viacom also expects to profit from price hikes, as its pay TV fees grow by high single digit to low double digit rates.
Simulcast over three cable channels, Sunday’s premiere of A&E’s “Bonnie & Clyde” miniseries earned 9.8 million total viewers.
Additionally, the airing over Lifetime, A&E and History Channel attracted 4.2 million viewers in the networks’ key demographic Adults 25-54. That makes it the third-best miniseries opening ever on cable for Total Viewers since 2006’s Broken Trail. History’s “Hatfields & McCoys” and “The Bible” hold the top two spots.
It also dominated on social media. “Bonnie & Clyde” was the most tweeted program of the day, according to Nielsen SocialGuide (excluding sports programs). It also ranked No. 1 in Google Trends for Sunday, with more than 500,000 searches.
Interest in the series drove more than 420,000 visitors to A+E Networks sites and apps, according to Adobe Analytics.
The two-part miniseries starring “Borgias” actress Holliday Grainger and “Milk’s” Emile Hirsch in the title roles follows the notorious criminals as their lives intersect and then together go on a crime spree that captures America’s fascination in the 1930s.
Executive-produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, it also stars Holly Hunter, William Hurt, Sarah Hyland and Lane Garrison.
Part 2 of “Bonnie & Clyde” airs Monday at 9/8c on A&E, Lifetime and History.
More to come…
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CBS has ordered the miniseries “The Dovekeepers” from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. The four hour miniseries based on Alice Hoffman’s novel is set to air in 2015.
Downey, who previously starred on CBS’s “Touched By An Angel,” and Burnett executive produce. Burnett’s production team recently scored with miniseries “The Bible” on History, which brought record-breaking ratings to the network.
“The Dovekeepers is a compelling, beautifully written novel that combines history and fiction into a timeless story of survival and heroism,” president of CBS Entertainment Nina Tassler, said in a release. “We’re thrilled to be working with Roma Downey and Mark Burnett to bring Alice Hoffman’s epic saga to life. Mark and Roma possess an amazing passion for telling biblical stories and for producing entertaining television on an event scale.”
Hoffman’s novel is based on true events in ancient Israel, after 900 jews were forced out of their homes in Jerusalem by the Romans and besieged in a fortress at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. The miniseries will follow the lives of four women whose lives intertwine at the mountain as they each struggle to survive.
“This novel is a testament to the human spirit and how love can rise from the ashes of war,” Downey said. “It is, quite simply, an amazing story of heroism and hope, and a story that must be seen not just with the eyes but felt with the heart.”
The Dovekeepers is a co-production between CBS Television Studios and LightWorkers Media. The CBS executive overseeing production is Stacey Mandelberg, Vice President, Limited Series & Event Programming.
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EXCLUSIVE: Greg Mooradian is joining Fox 2000 as EVP Production. He reports to Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler. Mooradian joins from Paramount, where he was SVP Production and helped initiate Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters and helped reinvigorate the G.I. Joe franchise with G.I. Joe: Retaliation, a sequel reconstructed at a lower price point. Before joining Paramount in 2009, he ran his own production shingle making youth-driven pictures that included the Screen Gems remake Stepfather, the Percy Jackson films for Fox 2000, and the Twilight Saga films for Summit. Mooradian started as a development exec for producer Arnold Kopelson on films like The Fugitive and Falling Down before becoming production president for Wendy Finerman and working on such films as The Fan and Drumline, the latter for Fox 2000. ”We are elated that Greg is now a part of our team at Fox 2000 Pictures,” said Gabler. “His ability to recognize compelling and commercial material from an early stage and his skill and experience in working with filmmakers are exemplary and I am proud to welcome him as a colleague.”
“Suits” is coming back to the USA Network Thursdays, serving as a lead-in for the new Denis Leary-helmed EMT comedy, “Sirens.”
A six-episode third season of “Suits” kicks off USA’s new Thursday-night lineup March 6 at 9 p.m. ET. The run will feature Michael Phelps in a guest starring role, where the most decorated Olympian of all time will play himself and a client of Pearson Specter. The legal drama originally aired on Thursdays in its first season.
“Sirens,” a new 10-episode half-hour comedy about three unruly Chicago EMTs, starring Michael Mosley, Kevin Daniels, Kevin Bigley and Jessica McNamee, will literally follow suit at 10.
“Psych” returns for its eighth season on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 9 p.m, the network also announced.
“As a top cable drama, ‘Suits’ has a huge following of young viewers making it a perfect segue to Denis Leary & Bob Fisher’s brand of comedy,” said Jackie de Crinis, executive vice president of original programming, USA Network. ”Both series feature sharp , witty banter from an ensemble of great characters.”
As previously revealed, “White Collar” is back from hiatus for Season 5, beginning Thursday, Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. ET.
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