Ex-‘The Blacklist’ EP Michael Watkins Sues Sony TV Over Alleged ‘Blackballing’ And Firing

Read on: Deadline.

A year after being suddenly cut loose from The Blacklist over alleged harassment of a crew member, the NBC series’ long-time director and executive producer Michael Watkins is aiming to give Sony TV, producers Woodbridge Productions and co-execut…

Dean Koontz’s Novel ‘Strangers’ to be Developed as TV Series by Fox

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Fox is developing a one-hour drama based on Dean Koontz’s 1986 novel, “Strangers.”

The project, which has a script-plus-penalty commitment, will be penned by Jeff Davis, who created CBS’ longrunning “Criminal Minds” as well as MTV’s TV reboot of “Teen Wolf.” Koontz and Davis will executive produce, along with Josh Berman and Chris King.

Sony Pictures TV is on board as a co-producer, along with Berman’s Osprey Productions.

Also Read: Julius Avery to Write and Direct ‘Flash Gordon’ Remake for Fox

Here is the logline for the adaptation, per Fox:

“Strangers” tells the story of several different people, thousands of miles apart, from different walks of life, finding themselves struck by unusual fears and sudden phobias. A novelist in California suffers unbearable sleep terrors. In Boston, a surgeon’s intense panic attacks threaten her career. A priest in Chicago dreads the rise of the moon. An ex-Marine develops a paralyzing fear of the dark. They’re all connected by a forgotten trauma, repressed memories now surfacing and leading each of them to one destination: a small motel in Nevada where a dark secret lies hidden-one that could change the course of humanity itself.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Fox’s World Series Viewership Falls to 4-Year Low

‘Gotham’ Final Season on Fox Gets Premiere Date

Fox’s ‘Rent’ Live Musical to Star Brandon Victor Dixon, Tinashe, Vanessa Hudgens, Among Others

Norman Lear Signs New Sony TV Deal, With Talks to Reboot ‘All in the Family’ and More Iconic Series

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The “One Day at a Time” reboot producer Norman Lear has signed a two-year, first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television, it was announced Friday.

The pact, made with Lear and his Act III Productions company, includes the option to reimagine some of Lear’s most iconic series, including “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Good Times,” “Maude and Mary Hartman,” and “Mary Hartman,” to name a few.

Sony already produces Lear’s reboot of “One Day at a Time” for Netflix, which is currently filming its third season. The series was developed by executive producer Mike Royce and Gloria Calderon Kellet and inspired by Lear’s 1972 series of the same name.

Also Read: New York Times Calls Rita Moreno Norman Lear’s Guest, Lear Calls Them Out

The fresh take follows the life of Penelope (Justina Machado), a newly single Army veteran, and her Cuban-American family, as they navigate the ups and downs of life. In addition to Machado, the series stars EGOT winner Rita Moreno, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Todd Grinnell and Stephen Tobolowsky. Lear executive produces the series, along with Royce, Calderon Kellet, and Lear’s producing partner Brent Miller.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be expanding our relationship with Brent and Norman.  Norman is an icon in our industry and it’s a dream come true to be working with him.  We’re excited to create more magic with Norman and Brent,” said SPT president Jeff Frost and co-presidents, Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter.

“I couldn’t be prouder and more excited about joining Sony Pictures Television, who has the guts to go with a kid,” said Lear.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s’ Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz to Guest Star on ‘One Day at a Time’

Your Prayers Have Been Answered: Gloria Estefan Is Finally Guest Starring on ‘One Day at a Time’ (Video)

How ‘One Day at a Time’ Star Justina Machado Nailed That Six-Minute Hospital Monologue

How Gloria Calderón Kellett Turned ‘One Day at a Time’ Into a Cause Worth Fighting For (Video)

‘Breaking Bad’ Creator Vince Gilligan Staying at Sony TV With New Three-Year Deal

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Vince Gilligan has signed a new three-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television, where his High Bridge Production company has been set up for the past 11 years.

Gilligan is the mastermind behind AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and co-created its spinoff, “Better Call Saul” with Peter Gould. He will continue to serve as co-showrunner on “Saul,” which returns for season 4 on Aug. 6.

Along with “Mad Men,” Gilligan’s “Breaking Bad” helped AMC make its mark as a place for prestige television.

Also Read: ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 4 Trailer: Jimmy Is Up to No Good, Gus Has Scores to Settle (Video)

“Vince is a cornerstone of the success of Sony Pictures Television and could not be a more important member of the Sony family. He is a phenomenal talent and a true friend,” SPT president Jeff Frost and co-presidents, Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter said in a joint statement Monday.

Gilligan’s renewal comes as tech giants including Netflix, Amazon and even Apple, are paying big dollars for high-profile TV talent, including Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, Jordan Peele and Oprah Winfrey.

“Sony has been a great home for us for 11 years and we are thrilled for it to continue for many more years,” said Gilligan. “Tony, Mike, Jeff, Chris, Jason and the entire Sony team have been amazing to work with. That collaborative partnership has a great deal to do with the success we have enjoyed together.”

Vince Gilligan and High Bridge Productions are represented by ICM Partners. 

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Better Call Saul’ Season 4 Teaser: Jimmy McGill Starts to Become a Truly Criminal Lawyer (Exclusive Video)

‘Better Call Saul’ Season 4 Preview (Exclusive Photos)

Bob Odenkirk Dreads Jimmy’s ‘Better Call Saul’ Transformation

Sorry, ‘Timeless’ Co-Creator Says Series Isn’t Getting a Season 3, Movie Is Probably a Long Shot

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The “Timeless” hourglass is empty and it’s most likely not going to be flipped over again.

According to series co-creator Shawn Ryan, the recently-canceled NBC series has failed to find a new network for a third season, and the chances of getting that two-hour movie finale you were hoping for are now slim to none.

In a series of tweets Monday, Ryan wrote:

“1. @SPTV has notified @TheRealKripke and me that efforts to land #Timeless at another network have sadly failed,” Ryan tweeted, referencing the show’s studio Sony Television and his partner Eric Kripke. “While Sony will continue to look at any and all options, actor deals have expired and it appears there will be no Season 3 or beyond.”

Also Read: ‘Timeless’ Cast and Writers on Second Cancellation: ‘Gutted by This, Guys’

“2. Discussions still take place between @SPTV and @NBC about a possible 2 hour movie to conclude the #Timeless story, but there are considerable economic obstacles that make it an uncertainty,” he continued. “We will update you when we know more.”

“3. @TheRealKripke, me, the cast, writers & crew of #Timeless want to send our immense thanks and gratitude to all the #ClockBlockers who fought so hard for this show,” Ryan added. “You made a second season possible and gave us hope for a Season 3. We wish the news was better. We love you all.”

A few hours later, Ryan returned to Twitter to field some fan questions and revealed that one episode of “Timeless” costs over $4 million to make.

Also Read: ‘Timeless’ Canceled (Again) by NBC After 2 Seasons

When one viewer asked if there is way they will “get closure,” Ryan said, “Lets take this week to see if the movie happens, and if not, then we’ll deal with that question. Thanks for your fandom.”

“Timeless” — which had been in limbo while awaiting a renewal decision for months after wrapping Season 2 — was canceled for the second time by NBC in June. Clockblockers suffered through the series getting the axe for the first time last spring after just one season, though that decision was quickly reversed by NBC after a huge wave of support from viewers via social media.

The show was created by Kripke (“Revolution,” “Supernatural”) and Ryan (“The Shield”), and followed a trio of heroes — Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), a scientist; Wyatt (Matt Lanter), a soldier; and Lucy (Abigail Spencer), a history professor — throughout history, who attempted to prevent the destruction of the world.

Also Read: From ‘Sense8’ to #BK99, Here’s How Loud and Successful Twitter Is at Saving Canceled Shows (Infographic)

Sony and NBC had no update on the status of “Timeless” — including its potential movie — when reached by TheWrap.

See Ryan’s tweets below.

1. @SPTV has notified @TheRealKripke and me that efforts to land #Timeless at another network have sadly failed. While Sony will continue to look at any and all options, actor deals have expired and it appears there will be no Season 3 or beyond.

— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) July 2, 2018

2. Discussions still take place between @SPTV and @NBC about a possible 2 hour movie to conclude the #Timeless story, but there are considerable economic obstacles that make it an uncertainty. We will update you when we know more.

— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) July 2, 2018

3. @TheRealKripke, me, the cast, writers & crew of #Timeless want to send our immense thanks and gratitude to all the #ClockBlockers who fought so hard for this show. You made a second season possible and gave us hope for a Season 3. We wish the news was better. We love you all.

— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) July 2, 2018

A typical episode for us cost over $4M. https://t.co/MRQnEps5Yt

— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) July 2, 2018

Lets take this week to see if the movie happens, and if not, then we’ll deal with that question. Thanks for your fandom. https://t.co/7xjkTf6ymC

— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) July 2, 2018

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Timeless’ Cast and Writers on Second Cancellation: ‘Gutted by This, Guys’

‘Timeless’ Canceled (Again) by NBC After 2 Seasons

Ratings: ‘Timeless’ Rises in Season 2 Finale – But Is It Enough to Save NBC Series?

‘Timeless’: Every History-Altering Time Travel Change, Ranked from Jesse James to James Bond (Photos)

‘Timeless’ Canceled (Again) by NBC After 2 Seasons

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Time has finally run out for “Timeless” — for the last time. The series which has been in limbo while awaiting a renewal decision for months has been canceled for the second time by NBC, an individual with knowledge of the decision tells TheWrap.

However, there still may be a silver lining for Clockblockers, as the broadcast network and the Eric Kripke drama’s studio, Sony Television, are in talks to wrap things up with a two-hour series finale.

Of course, “Timeless” fans have already suffered through this situation once before, as the show was canceled last spring after just one season, though that was quickly reversed by NBC after a huge wave of support from viewers via social media.

Also Read: From ‘Sense8’ to #BK99, Here’s How Loud and Successful Twitter Is at Saving Canceled Shows (Infographic)

But its sophomore season’s Nielsen ratings weren’t great (just like its freshman installment) and an insider previously told TheWrap chances are, if it did get canceled, the Peacock network would not bring it back again — no matter how much fans campaign.

Now, if the movie thing doesn’t pan out, Sony also has the option to shop “Timeless” elsewhere and possibly get it picked up by another network or a streaming platform — a move that has worked for several other shows that were canceled as decisions were made for the 2018-19 programming slates. (See: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Lucifer,” and “The Expanse.”)

“Timeless” was created by Kripke (“Revolution,” “Supernatural”) and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) and followed a trio of heroes throughout history — Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), a scientist; Wyatt (Matt Lanter), a soldier; and Lucy (Abigail Spencer), a history professor – in an attempt to prevent the destruction of the world as we all know it.

Also Read: Limbo Shows: Here’s the Status of Canceled (or Likely to Be Canceled) Series Looking for a New Home

The cast includes Spencer, Lanter, Barrett, Goran Višnjić, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit. Ryan and Kripke are the creators, writers and executive producers. Tom Smuts and Arika Lisanne Mittman are co-showrunners and executive producers.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Limbo Shows: Here’s the Status of Canceled (or Likely to Be Canceled) Series Looking for a New Home

Here Are the 3 Broadcast TV Shows We’re Still Awaiting Decisions On

Ratings: ‘Timeless’ Rises in Season 2 Finale – But Is It Enough to Save NBC Series?

Sony TV Braces for Layoffs in Reorganization: Read Mike Hopkins’ Internal Memo to Staff

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sony Pictures TV will undergo an unspecified number of layoffs as part of a divisional reorg, which will include the creation of a direct-to-consumer unit.

In a memo on the changes sent to staff on Wednesday morning, Sony Pictures TV Chairman Mike Hopkins (pictured above) outlined three areas to be reorganized. Hopkins said that the company will combine global networks operations and worldwide distribution/home etertainment into a single business unit that will then operate in a territory management model that “brings together, under a single local leader, businesses that have been historically separate.”

“With this approach, we gain a more efficient structure giving regional leaders, along with their direct reports in each country, the ability to make smart, strategic business decisions, while keeping local consumers at the core of what we do,” Hopkins said.

Also Read: ‘House’ Producer Liz Friedman Signs New Multi-Year Overall Deal With Sony TV

The second area to be reorganized will be centralizing key services “to help drive integrated programming, operations, creative services and sales functions.” Hopkins said that unit will be based in Culver City, and a newly created role, EVP, Networks Operations, Programming & Strategy, given to TC Schultz.

Finally, Hopkins said that a direct-to-consumer unit will be created including Crackle, Funimation, Film1 OTT and Animax on demand. That unit will will be overseen by Eric Berger, who will continue to oversee getTV, Cine Sony and Sony Movie Channel.

Hopkins ended the memo by recognizing the changes “will be a significant adjustment.”

Also Read: Talulah Riley and Alex Hernandez in Talks to Join Vin Diesel in Sony’s ‘Bloodshot’ (Exclusive)

“We’ve had to make some difficult decisions but they were important moves as we reorient our business to align with the realities of today’s marketplace,” he said.

Below is Hopkins’ full memo on the changes. The note was obtained by TheWrap shortly after he sent it to staff on Wednesday.

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share some important organizational changes taking place across our television networks, distribution and home entertainment units that will fundamentally change the way we operate and manage those businesses moving forward. These changes are part of our ongoing “Reimagining SPE” efforts that Tony announced earlier this year to create a stronger and more agile organization, one that is better able to pivot and capitalize on opportunities in a fast-changing and increasingly complex global marketplace.

Over the next several weeks, we will be reorganizing in the following areas:

  • Combining global networks operations and worldwide distribution/home entertainment into a single business unit operating in a territory management model;
  • Centralizing key services to help drive integrated programming, operations, creative services and sales functions;
  • Establishing a direct-to-consumer unit focused on engaging audiences and building new platforms.

Territory Management Model 

Broadly speaking, the new territory management model brings together, under a single local leader, businesses that have been historically separate. With this approach, we gain a more efficient structure giving regional leaders, along with their direct reports in each country, the ability to make smart, strategic business decisions, while keeping local consumers at the core of what we do.

With this change, we are appointing leaders within each region, under the leadership of Keith Le Goy. These regional leaders will have oversight of television and home entertainment distribution, as well as management of SPT-owned networks in their respective territories. Leadership and approach by region will be as follows:

  • In Europe, the newly combined organization will be led by Mark Young (WE) and John Rossiter (CEEMA).
  • The APAC region will be overseen by Ken Lo.
  • Alex Marin will oversee operations in LATAM and Canada.
  • In addition to her responsibility for US cable, Flory Bramnick will now take on US syndication duties and advertiser sales. Jason Spivak will oversee management of US home entertainment, pay TV and SVOD sales.
  • Paul Littmann will continue to oversee our global deals and emerging clients across the distribution, home entertainment and networks businesses.

We are also re-energizing our first-run syndication business, and John Weiser will step into a newly developed role, President, First Run Television, reporting to me. In this position, John will be focused on identifying and selling first-run syndication properties partnering with Holly Jacobs for US production, Michael Davies for Embassy Row and Wayne Garvie’s international production teams.

Our India channels operation, led by NP Singh, will begin to oversee television distribution in India. NP will continue to report to me.

Centralized Services

 Moving forward, we are bringing key global networks functions under one centralized services unitbased in Culver City. TC Schultz, reporting to me in a newly created role of EVP, Networks Operations, Programming & Strategy, will move back to Los Angeles to oversee programming, tech operations and creative services.

Additional services will be centralized under Keith as follows:

  • Distribution operations will be led by Angel Orengo, who relocates to Los Angeles for this new role from his previous stint as EVP, Distribution for EMEA.
  • Distribution strategy and content management will be led by Mike Wald, with the added oversight of content acquisition, content partnerships and global partner marketing.
  • consumer insights and innovation unit, focusing on sales strategy, data and process engineering across distribution and home entertainment, will be led by Kim Overall.
  • Lexine Wong will continue to lead home entertainment marketing.

Direct-to-Consumer

Finally, in keeping with our goal of connecting directly with our viewers and increasing our understanding of how to engage with them, we are forming a new unit of direct-to-consumer properties, including Crackle, Funimation, Film1 OTT and Animax on demand, that will be overseen by Eric Berger, reporting to me. Takiyama-san, who leads Animax and Animax on demand, and Gen Fukunaga, who leads Funimation, will continue to be an important part of our global anime effort. In addition, Eric will continue to oversee our US channels businesses – getTV, Cine Sony and Sony Movie Channel.

I understand that these changes, following the restructuring earlier this year, will be a significant adjustment for many of you. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions but they were important moves as we reorient our business to align with the realities of today’s marketplace.

I look forward to speaking with you and answering any questions you may have when we meet later today.

Mike

Also Read: ‘Better Call Saul’ Was Originally Just a Joke in the ‘Breaking Bad’ Writers’ Room – and a Sitcom

More to come…

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘House’ Producer Liz Friedman Signs New Multi-Year Overall Deal With Sony TV

Talulah Riley and Alex Hernandez in Talks to Join Vin Diesel in Sony’s ‘Bloodshot’ (Exclusive)

‘Outlander’ Star Sam Heughan Joins Sony’s ‘Bloodshot’

Liam Neeson Joins Cast of Sony’s ‘Men in Black’ Spinoff

Apple’s Jamie Erlicht & Zack Van Amburg Make Moves To Shake Up SVOD Scripted Space — Deadline Disruptors

Read on: Deadline.

Apple, which helped revolutionize the digital distribution of music with iTunes, is a relatively late entrant into the digital video-on-demand space. But its foray had been a long time in the making. “There has always been a fascination at the company …

Top Sony TV Exec Keith Le Goy Was Sued for Sexual Harassment in 2014 by Former Assistant

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sony Pictures Television executive Keith Le Goy, who was promoted on Tuesday to run home entertainment in a major executive shakeup at the studio, was sued for sexual harassment in 2014 by a former assistant at the studio, TheWrap has learned.

Le Goy, who added new responsibilities to his role running distribution with the exit of Man Jit Singh, was accused of sexual harassment and wrongful termination by Belinda Reser in a civil lawsuit filed in August 2014 that was settled two years later for undisclosed terms, according to court papers.

According to the civil suit obtained by TheWrap, Reser accused Le Goy of multiple forms of harassment during five years working as an administrative assistant, including “gyrating” around her, speaking in a sexual manner about other employees and make insulting comments about women such as, “Women over 40 need tits.”

Also Read: Sony TV Sheds 3 Presidents in Major Shakeup

In addition, the suit claimed that he would regularly denigrate then-Sony Pictures CEO Amy Pascal and used derogatory terms about other Sony executives such as “dyke” and “faggot.”

Reser, who was fired in October 2011, said in the complaint that Le Goy would invite her to “drink and party” and that when she declined, saying, “I don’t drink,” Le Goy would tell her, “Then you’re not on my team.” The civil suit said he continuously told Reser to “loosen up.”

According to the suit, Le Goy told Reser in May 2011, “You better stop telling me I’m harassing and retaliating against you because then I’ll have to get my lawyers and you’ll get your lawyers and we’ll see how that goes for you.”

Also Read: Sony Sale Speculation Returns – But Can Japan Let Go of Reborn Studio?

A spokesperson for Sony told TheWrap: “These claims were fully investigated and determined to be without merit.”

An individual close to the situation added that Sony had terminated Reser for cause and that she subsequently made numerous accusations against Le Goy.

The accusations were referenced in the infamous hack of Sony’s emails in 2014.

Reser did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

‘Illusion Of Justice’: Legal Drama Based On Book In Works At ABC

Read on: Deadline.

ABC has put in development legal drama Illusion of Justice based on Jerome F. Buting’s book, from Primary Wave Entertainment and Sony TV.
Written by ER alum David Zabel, Illusion of Justice is a fictional show reflecting the life of Jerry Buting, one of the lawyers for Steven Avery, who was profiled in the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. The series is described as equal parts legal procedural and family drama, focusing on a husband and wife who balance raising…

‘Making History’ Creator Julius Sharpe Inks Overall Deal With Sony TV

Read on: Deadline.

Making History creator Julius Sharpe has signed an overall deal at Sony TV. Under the two-year pact, he will develop new series projects.
Sharpe is moving to the indie studio after a lengthy stint at 20th Century Fox Television where he most recently was under an overall deal. There, Sharpe created and executive produced the well reviewed though short-lived time-travel Fox comedy series Making History, also executive produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
Before…

Isabella Rossellini Talks Movies, Makeup & How Brando’s ‘Godfather’ Inspired Her ‘Shut Eye’ Role – The Actor’s Side

Read on: Deadline.

While on my way to the Cannes Film Festival (where I still am as I write this), I stopped off in New York City to get the temperature on a number of Tony-nominated Broadway shows and also to shoot a couple of episodes of The Actor’s Side — including this one with the ever-talented and versatile Isabella Rossellini. She currently stars in Hulu’s new drama series Shut Eyein which she plays the matriarch of a family involved in the world of fake fortune telling, among…

‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams’: Mel Rodriguez & Vera Farmiga Join Sci-Fi Anthology Series

Read on: Deadline.

Last Man on Earth alum Mel Rodriguez and former Bates Motel star Vera Farmiga have joined the cast of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, a 10-episode sci-fi anthology series from Ronald D. Moore, Michael Dinner, Bryan Cranston and Sony Pictures TV.
The show, based on short stories by the award-winning novelist, was commissioned by Channel 4, who will air the series later this year in the UK. It will launch on Amazon Prime in the U.S., joining the streaming network’s…

Giovanni Ribisi Talks ‘Sneaky Pete’, Losing ‘Junior Star Search’ & Why He Can’t Escape ‘Friends’ – The Actor’s Side

Read on: Deadline.

Welcome to a new season, Emmy season, of intimate interviews with actors for my series The Actor’s Side. Kicking off our latest chats with top TV and movie talent is Giovanni Ribisi, star of Amazon’s wonderfully watchable Sneaky Petein which Ribisi plays the dueling personalities of Marius and the identity of Pete that takes on in the ultimate con game.
The show evolved believe it or not from an Emmy acceptance speech co-star/executive producer Bryan Cranston gave; it…