NBC has put in development Better Late Than Never, a reality series based on the South Korean format Grandpas Over Flowers from content company CJ E&M. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (The Sound Of Music, Smash) will produce the project, which draws parallels to Betty White’s Off Their Rockers that started on NBC. In Better Late Than Ever, four veteran actors go backpacking across Asian countries with a young guy who does chores for them along the way. The original series, which aired for two seasons on channel tvN, featured a group of 70- and 80-something guys backpacking though Europe.
Girls co-star Allison Williams has been cast as the title character in NBC’s December 4 live staging of Peter Pan Live!. Williams, who has sung on her HBO show and in various other projects, is a classically trained singer whose online singing videos have logged millions of views.
The story of professional soccer player Robbie Rogers, who became the first openly gay man to compete in a top North American professional sports league, is headed to television. Universal Television has optioned Rogers’ story rights for Craig Zadan and Neil Meron’s Storyline Entertainment to develop and produce a comedy series inspired by the young athlete’s experiences.
Christopher Walken has been cast as Captain Hook in NBC’s live broadcast ofPeter Pan. “He might be the first tap-dancing Hook you’ve ever seen,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told TV critics this morning at Summer TV Press Tour 2014.
Walken, who is currently seen dancing in Clint Eastwood’s screen version of Broadway hit Jersey Boys, began on the Broadway stage in musicals, and has appeared in a number of film musicals, including Hairspray, and the Steve Martin film Pennies From Heaven. He’s well known to NBC’s audience, what with his having hosted Saturday Night Live seven times — where he sometimes performed song-and-dance numbers. Walken won the Academy Award for his role in the Oscar-winning The Deer Hunter, and is also known for his performances in such films as Sleepy Hollow, Pulp Fiction, Wayne’s World, True Romance and Annie Hall. He did his own choreography for the memorable Fatboy Slim video Weapon of Choice, for which he won the MTV Video Music Award for best choreography.
EXCLUSIVE: History is teaming with Bonnie & Clyde executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron on a new four-hour miniseries. The network has bought a script for the project, from Sony TV and Zadan and Meron’s Storyline Entertainment, which tracks the origins of the mystic medieval Christian order known as Knights Templar. Written by Keir Pearson, an Oscar nominee with Terry George for Hotel Rwanda, the mini tells the true story of three brothers, all knights, during the first Crusade, as they make the long journey through the Holy Lands to recapture Jerusalem, ultimately bringing rise to the Knights Templar.
Channing Tatum is going undercover with Sony Pictures.
Joining Tatum as producers are his partner, Reid Carolin, as well as Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, best known for movie musicals such as Chicago and producing the recent 86th Academy Awards.
Set in the late 1970s, the untitled project is described as the inspiring true story of an ordinary family man who decides to risk everything by going undercover to take down the biggest mob boss in the country.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Motion picture, television and theater producing team Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the Oscars for a third consecutive year, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced today. The 87th Oscars will air live on the ABC Television Network on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Craig and Neil back to produce the Oscars again in 2015,” said Boone Isaacs. “Their showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership.”
“This year’s show reached viewers of all ages and set social media records, proving that Craig and Neil are masters at tapping into the zeitgeist and capturing the hearts of movie fans around the world,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.
“We are delighted to work with Cheryl, Dawn and the Academy to produce the Oscars for a third time,” said Zadan and Meron. “We’re proud of the show’s success over the last two years and are eager to embark on another entertaining show to honor this year’s motion pictures.”
EXCLUSIVE: Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who are behind NBC‘s upcoming live staging ofThe Sound Of Music, are developing another ambitious event program for the network. The duo has teamed with NBC for Nemesis, an eight-hour miniseries about famous Prohibition agent Eliot Ness, who was portrayed by Kevin Costner in Brian Fe Palma’s Oscar-winning The Untouchables. The project, from Sony Pictures TV — where Zadan and Meron’s Storyline Entertainment has a long-form deal — is based on the book Nemesis: The Final Case Of Eliot Ness by William Bernhardt. It tells the true story of Ness in 1935, post-Untouchables, as Cleveland’s newly appointed Director of Public Safety. Bodies have started turning up — each one decapitated and dissected with a doctor’s skill and a madman’s bent. The police are baffled and the population is terrorized over America’s first serial killer, the so-called “Torso Killer.” Though it’s not his turf, Ness is forced to take over the case, but the more energy he pours into the investigation, the more it takes over and threatens to destroy his life.
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that E! is finalizing deals for its first two scripted pilots. The orders, which will be be cast-contingent, are going to dramas Songbyrd, from writer Krista Vernoff (Grey’s Anatomy), top songwriter Diane Warren and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and The Royals, from Lionsgate TV and the One Tree Hill team of creator Mark Schwahn and producers Brian Robbins & Joe Davola. Both projects were part More
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
Last April, E! announced its first scripted slate as the reality/entertainment news-driven cable network signaled plans to enter the scripted space under its new NBCUniversal leadership. As E! is gearing up to greenlight its first three scripted pilots by Memorial Day, at its upfront today the network unveiled its new slate of scripted projects that come from well-known writers and producers. Several of the projects were originally developed for broadcast networks earlier More
CRAIG ZADAN AND NEIL MERON RETURN TO
PRODUCE THE OSCARS®
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The acclaimed motion picture, television and theater producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the Oscars for a second time next year, Academy President Hawk Koch announced. The Academy Awards® will air live on ABC on Oscar® Sunday, March 2, 2014.
“Craig and Neil have the overwhelming support of the Academy’s Governors to produce the Oscars again in 2014,” said Academy President Hawk Koch. “In order to establish continuity with this year’s enormously successful show More
Sunday, February 24, 2013 – Based on Nielsen’s True Fast National Ratings, ABC’s 2013 “The Oscars” is TV’s Most Watched Entertainment Telecast in 3 Years
ABC’s “The Oscars” is Up Year to Year in Viewers and Adults 18-49 to its
2nd-Most-Watched Telecast Since ’05, and Spikes to a 6-Year High in Adults 18-34
Television’s Biggest Awards Show, ABC’s “The Oscars” Paces Well Ahead
of the 2013 “Grammy Awards” and the 2013 “Golden Globes”
“The Oscars’” Online Usage and Social Activity Surges Year Over Year More
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
Holliday Grainger and Emile Hirsch will play the infamous bank-robbing couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde, Lifetime/History’s four-hour miniseries directed by Oscar-nominated helmer Bruce Beresford and produced by Sony Pictures TV and Craig Zadan and Meron’s Storyline Entertainment. They join Oscar winners Holly Hunter and William Hurt, who were recently cast in the project. Written by John Rice and Joe Batteer, the mini is based on the true story of Clyde Barrow (Hirsch), a charismatic convicted armed robber who sweeps Bonnie Parker (Grainger), an impressionable, petite, More
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
Carrie Underwood is following into Julie Andrews’ footsteps. In her first major acting gig, the Grammy winner has been tapped to star as Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound Of Music. It’s based on the original Broadway musical and is executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, producers of NBC’s Smash and the 2013 Academy Awards. The three-hour event will air near the holidays in 2013. “Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn’t be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp,” said NBC’s chairman Bob Greenblatt. “She was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist.” Added Zadan and Meron, “It’s a particular joy to us as producers to see this amazing artist stretch into new territory with this classic musical.” More
By Lesley Goldberg
The Queen Latifah starrer from “Smash” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ranks as the network’s third-most-watched telecast ever.
The telepic, starring Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad and Alfre Woodard, collected 6.5 million total viewers, ranking as the female-skewing cable network’s third-most-watched telecast ever.
The remake from Latifah and Smash executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron posted Lifetime’s best delivery since 2006’s Life is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, and the No. 1 cable movie among total viewers since 2007 (excluding miniseries). More
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Smash executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are developing another hourlong series for NBC in which music plays a key part. The duo is executive producing a dramedy written/executive produced by Grey’s Anatomy alumna Krista Vernoff. It will feature the music catalog of songwriter Diane Warren, who serves as a consulting producer. More
By Nellie Andreeca
EXCLUSIVE: Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have set up the first project through the first-look deal they signed with Universal TV and NBCUni’s international TV production division in July. NBC has bought an hourlong drama from the duo and former General Hospital head writer Sri Rao. Tentatively titled White House Confidential, the project is described as an upstairs-downstairs-type soap set in the White House, told from the point of view of a young female doctor who has a secret from her past. More