NEWS

HOLLYWOOD HILLBILLIES
Review: 'Hollywood Hillbillies' -- how did it take so long?
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It's difficult to believe it has taken this long for a show like Reelz's "Hollywood Hillbillies" to enter the reality TV landscape. An unfiltered family from Georgia making their way through Tinseltown seems a no-brainer, a real-ish life version of "The Beverly Hillbillies."

 

But early family 'n' friends situational programming favored skewering the young ("Big Brother," "The Hills"), the rich (those "Real Housewives") and the extraordinary ("Jon and Kate Plus Eight"). Only recently have the resolutely red-state made their mark, with "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" and "Duck Dynasty" representing two ends of the socioeconomic spectrum.

"Hollywood Hillbillies," arriving on Tuesday, has the added attraction of being a creature of social media. A few years ago, young Michael Kittrell became a YouTube sensation with his Angry Ginger rant; this is the story of what happens next. Michael moves to L.A. in hopes of expanding his overnight brand and, this show being part of that venture, he has a posse of colorful family members in tow, including grandmother Mema, aunt Dee Dee and uncle "Big" John.

 

As in the fictional "Beverly" version, Mema figures heavily. Though she doesn't think much of the rest of her family, Michael, whom she raised, is the apple of her eye, and no sweet-talking, deal-making Hollywood type is going to take advantage of him. Big John is there to provide muscle, a male authority figure and a general good ol' boy vibe, while Dee Dee, traveling with her strangely silent beau, offers "country mouse in the big city" running commentary.

Which makes "Hollywood Hillbillies" at once celebratory and dismissive of both rural Georgia residents and Los Angeles; how can it miss?

 

Between the YouTube connection and the headin' to Hollywood conceit, "Hollywood Hillbillies" is as honest a reality show as you’re going to find on TV in that it actually acknowledges the fact that these people are starring in a television show.

 

The setup is rote by now, scenes from "real life" peppered with interviews in which the stars comment on how they are feeling about things. But from the moment Michael and his family arrive at the sort of Spanish style McMansion featured in so many seasons of "The Bachelor" (and skewered in the first season of Showtime's "Episodes"), an intriguing multilevel commentary takes hold.

 

On the one hand, "Hollywood Hillbillies" is precisely what it bills itself to be: the fish out of water exploits of a down-home family trying to make its way through a typically sun and sin drenched vista of Los Angeles. On the other, it is a look at how these sorts of shows, and careers happen. The family's meeting with Michael's manager, for instance, is clearly staged, and yet the rhetoric -- about taking Michael's brand to the next level -- is not.

 

Adorably ambitious yet family-oriented, Michael is the star of the show, but Mema is clearly the selling point. And in between the moments of carefully cultivated culture clashes -- an exchange about Mema's septic tank woes and fire-ant accommodations has to be seen to be believed -- and stereotypical L.A.-gazing, she manages to make a few points about the nature of success and fame that are certainly worth noting.

 

Even if they do come from the latest reality-star wannabe.


http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-hollywood-hillbillies-reelz-20140120,0,6011648.story#ixzz2r3uG3261

HAPPY VALLEY
Heartbreaking truths form foundation of 'Happy Valley'
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PARK CITY, Utah — The Sundance Film Festival program guide describes "Happy Valley" as a documentary that "delves beneath the headlines to create a modern American parable of guilt, redemption and identity." It is all that but it is also something more, something explosive that has been kept under wraps until now and almost didn't happen at all.


"Happy Valley" is an examination of the circumstances behind and the reaction to the crimes of Jerry Sandusky, a key member of the Penn State football coaching staff convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse of young boys. This thorough, thoughtful and heartbreaking film directed by "The Tillman Story's" Amir Bar-Lev premieres Sunday.

 

It marks the first time Matt Sandusky, Jerry's adopted son and the subject of a publicity vortex of his own, has spoken publicly about the events leading up to his own abuse.

 

"Am I going to remain the coward I am or am I going to risk everything to tell the truth," is how Sandusky describes his eventual decision to offer to testify at his father's trial in the film. Initially, he admits, he felt "I had to be loyal to the family. I wasn't going to betray him. Yet here I sit, betrayed by them all."

 

Appearing both sensitive and articulate on film, Sandusky is especially thoughtful when talking about how he felt being taken out of poverty and away from his birth mother and adopted by the coach and his family, who were major celebrities in Happy Valley, the local term for the State College, Pa., area where the university is located.

 

"His name was a golden ticket," the younger Sandusky says. "It was good to be next to him, to feel powerful, to feel that people envied me instead of looking down on me."

 

"If people thought of Joe Paterno as god," he says at another point, referring to the team's head coach, "Jerry was like Jesus. They were to me the two most powerful people. They could do whatever they wanted, they could do no wrong."

 

Strong as this material is, as producer Ken Dornstein explains, it came very close to not being in the film at all.

 

"It was kind of a non-starter for most of the victims to speak because they were in civil litigation with the university, and their lawyers erred on the side of caution," Dornstein notes.

 

Then, at the end of August, Sandusky and several of the other victims settled with Penn State. "We knew his story could stand in for a lot of the victims' stories, and we waited for Matt, we held the film for him," Dornstein says.

 

Director Bar-Lev says the Sandusky interview was the last one they did. "It took place the week before Thanksgiving," Bar-Lev says. Given Sundance's mid-January schedule, "we thought there would be no way to meet this deadline. I first described the situation as a Hail Mary pass, but really it's a timing play, things came together."


Bar-Lev says he was attracted to the Penn State story, as he had been to the tale of Pat Tillman — who died serving in Afghanistan after giving up an NFL career — because "when you have a story that has that kind of explosive momentum you have to scratch your head and ask why people find this so interesting, what gives the story traction."

 

The answer, the director felt, was "the moral parable involved" in a narrative that pivoted around how much revered head coach Paterno knew about Sandusky's actions and what he did and didn't do as a result: "People were agonizing over what they would have done in this situation, how responsible they would have been."

 

Not surprisingly, Bar-Lev found that the residents of the Happy Valley area were "really quite riven, there are a lot of fault lines. We challenged ourselves to let everybody put their best foot forward, to see things from as many perspectives as we could."

 

That intention is in line with one of the reasons Bar-Lev got into documentary work in the first place. "It's a useful exercise in attempting to acquire empathy, something that doesn't come easy for me, doesn't come easy for anyone. Some documentaries are exercises in finger-pointing; the ones I like best are exercises in holding opposing viewpoints at one time."


Though Matt Sandusky's presence is the film's boldface name, its heart is a subtle and balanced examination of the role that cultural factors — specifically the reverence for college football that runs through many large universities — had in keeping Jerry Sandusky's actions from being exposed for so long.

 

"I think the central idea of the film is expressed by Matt Jordan, a Penn State professor, who says that you deal with things in America by creating a shaming spectacle," Bar-Lev says.

"A handful of people in Happy Valley were pointing fingers and saying, 'This isn't about us, it's about them.' The rest of the country is pointing fingers at Happy Valley, saying 'There's something rotten in that culture.'


"I'm interested in finding where the widest circle of responsibility lies."

 

-LA Times

30 FOR 30- THE PRICE OF GOLD
It can feel like a lifetime ago that the world was transfixed by the Harding-Kerrigan figure-skating scandal -- you know, Tonya, Nancy and, of course, Gillooly, one-word signifiers for the bizarre winter soap opera that preceded the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

Memories of that time come rushing back, though, on seeing Nanette Burstein's new documentary, "The Price of Gold," a thorough look at the tale of revenge and redemption from the dawn of the modern celebrity age.

Burstein's film -- produced as part of ESPN’s "30 for 30" series and airing Thursday night on the network -- aims to shed new light on the tabloid-friendly tale, which began 20 years ago this month.
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Though the film ultimately comes to confirm the popular belief that Harding was aware of, and likely complicit in, the attack on Kerrigan's knee that nearly derailed the skater's Olympic hopes, it also draws a subtler picture. “Price” is a film in which Harding's hardscrabble background and abusive husband -- not to mention the draconian lifetime ban she eventually received from the U.S. skating federation -- create sympathy for the fallen athlete.

"It was easy for a lot of people back then to paint it all as the evil witch versus Snow White, so much so that some even believe it was Tonya who wielded a baton and personally hit Nancy in the knee," Burstein said in an interview Wednesday. "But the reality was much more complicated."

Burstein said her own feelings deepened and changed as she made the film, particularly with regard to Harding. "I sort of went up and down with it -- I mean, it's clear she's not being forthright when she said she didn't know about the attack -- but I definitely think she had a raw deal in life."

That life, as well as a colorful personality, are evident in long interviews with Harding, who though now in her early 40s, hasn’t exactly softened her edges. She can come off as defiant, not only in maintaining her before-the-fact innocence (she pleaded guilty only to hindering prosecution for not coming forth with post-attack knowledge) but also in lashing out at a media and skating establishment she believes favored the camera-ready Kerrigan over her.

At the same time, Harding's difficult back story (her mother and her ex-husband, that shadowy Jeff Gillooly, appear to have been abusive) offer some mitigating context. And the rush-to-judgment and skating banishment, even in the absence of a conviction, at least bolster some of her railroading claims.


Most ethically complex, several experts note that skating's popularity skyrocketed in the wake of the scandal and pretty much all the top competitors made millions of dollars as a result -- all except Harding, of course.

Burstein, a veteran documentarian ("The Kid Stays In the Picture," "American Teen"), takes advantage of the abundant archival footage to reconstruct the story. (And there is plenty of it, most pointedly of a weathered and cash-poor Harding trying to practice at a public rink with hundreds of onlookers and paparazzi bombarding her.)

 The director also interviews a wealth of people around Harding and the sport, including many of the reporters who covered the scandal along with skating-world mainstays such as Scott Hamilton and Paul Wylie.


Kerrigan did not participate in the film -- opting, after eight months of back-and-forth with filmmakers, to sign an exclusive contract with NBC for the upcoming Sochi Games, Burstein said. (There are some notable archival shots of the skater, including the famous "why, why" from the locker room of the Michigan skating facility where the attack happened and her equally well-known primetime dig at rival Oksana Baiul when the Russian skater ultimately won the women's gold and relegated Kerrigan to silver.)

Even with the focus more heavily on Harding, though, Burstein etches a larger portrait of an era.

What's striking in retrospect is just how innocent in many ways that time was -- Harding fights through it all without so much as a publicist -- as well as the staying power of the story. The nightly news covered the incident obsessively for six weeks running, a streak that in the current short-attention-span media world even Miley Cyrus couldn't pull off.




"This story is compelling because it brings up so many issues, issues of gender in this sport of ice skating, since Tonya was seen as less feminine than Nancy, and issues of class, since Tonya was trailer-park and Nancy was better off, working-class but with a private rink and a sports psychologist," Burstein said.

But what I found particularly fascinating was that this was a watershed moment for media. It’s when the pendulum first started swinging to tabloid news becoming mainstream news. As Connie Chung points out, you have the New York Times and CBS News alongside the National Enquirer.

With the Olympics and its intense glare again a few weeks away, attention will be trained on a new generation of female figure skaters, particularly young American prospects Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold. Long out of the limelight in her native Pacific Northwest, Harding appears to have turned her life around, getting married and giving birth to a son several years ago.


There’s no skating, but there are memories and victories and, yes, some resentments, all of a time that somehow seems both vivid and distant.

 

By Steven Zeitchik
January 16, 2014, 4:00 a.m.

ASYLUM
Burbank, CA – December 9, 2013 – Legendary Entertainment announced today that it has acquired 100 percent of Asylum Entertainment, a leading television production company, known for creating and producing popular scripted, non-scripted and sports documentary programming.
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Acquisition Underscores Legendary’s Mandate
 to Build a Multi-Platform and Diverse Television and Digital Business

 

Through the deal, Asylum joins Legendary Television & Digital Media, the division of Legendary Entertainment charged with producing programming across multiple platforms on a global basis. Legendary Television remains committed to premium, Legendary branded scripted content, while Asylum provides Legendary with a broad-based and diverse production label which will expand into non-scripted, long-form, sports and other genres.

 

The announcement was made by Bruce Rosenblum, President of Legendary Television and Digital Media, alongside Asylum Entertainment’s founders, Steve Michaels, President and Chief Executive Officer and Jonathan Koch, President and Chief Creative Officer. Michaels and Koch will continue to operate Asylum as an independent company, maintaining its unique brand and corporate culture, and now report into Rosenblum.

 

“This is an exciting and significant acquisition for Legendary which confirms our commitment to building a global multi-dimensional television business. Asylum’s terrific track-record, relationships and current television content gives Legendary a base to expand and quickly diversify our television business,” said Rosenblum. “On a personal level, I am thrilled to be working with Steve and Jonathan, two executives who have thrived in an entrepreneurial environment, and I am confident that they will be ideal partners to our team.”

 

Founded in 2003, Asylum is known for producing a broad range of premium video programming primarily for cable television that spans from acclaimed documentaries including ESPN’s critically lauded “30 for 30” series and the “Beyond the Glory” series for Fox Sports; to widely popular cable reality shows such as “Beverly Hills Pawn” and Emmy®-winning dramatic mini-series like “The Kennedys.”

 

“This is an incredible deal that allows Asylum to scale our existing business beyond what we could have imagined,” Michaels and Koch said. “In terms of our programming philosophies and the audiences we’re trying to build and serve, Legendary is a perfect match. And, of course, we have deep regard for all that Thomas Tull has accomplished in the media business, and we’re very excited to be working with him and Legendary.”


Asylum is currently in production on a highly anticipated feature documentary, Happy Valley, focusing on the sexual abuse scandal that recently rocked Penn State University and its football program.

 

 

About Asylum Entertainment

 

Asylum Entertainment's most notable productions include the epic 8-part mini-series "The Kennedys” for which they received 10 Emmy® nominations and won four. Additionally, Asylum's scripted division was recently nominated for four Emmy Awards on the television film, “Ring of Fire” starring Jewel. Asylum's lifeblood is unscripted television. Their notable unscripted projects include the 10-time Emmy nominated “Beyond The Glory,” ESPN’s “30 for 30,” “The Locator,” “Addicted,” “American Gangster,” “Beverly Hills Pawn” and many more. Additionally, Asylum Entertainment is eagerly anticipating the spring 2014 release of its' first theatrical feature film “Small Time,” written and directed by “24” co- creator, Joel Surnow. Currently, Asylum Entertainment is in production on the much anticipated feature documentary Happy Valley, which focuses on the gripping scandal that has rocked Penn State University. To learn more visit: www.asylument.com.

 

 

About Legendary Entertainment

 

Legendary Entertainment is a leading media company with film (Legendary Pictures), television and digital (Legendary Television and Digital Media) and comics (Legendary Comics) divisions dedicated to owning, producing and delivering content to mainstream audiences with a targeted focus on the powerful fandom demographic. Through complete or joint ownership, Legendary has built a library of marquee media properties and has established itself as a trusted brand which consistently delivers high-quality, commercial entertainment including some of the world's most popular intellectual property. In aggregate, Legendary Pictures-associated productions have realized grosses of more than $8 billion worldwide at the box office. To learn more visit: www.legendary.com
###

HAPPY VALLEY

Park City, UT — Sundance Institute announced today the films selected to screen in the out-of-competition Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, January 16-26 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

 

Among the premieres: HAPPY VALLEY / U.S.A. (Director: Amir Bar-Lev) — The children of "Happy Valley" were victimized for years, by a key member of the legendary Penn State college football program. But were Jerry Sandusky’s crimes an open secret?  With rare access, director Amir Bar-Lev delves beneath the headlines to tell a modern American parable of guilt, redemption, and identity.

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John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “The Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival feature new work from many established independent filmmakers who began their careers at our Festival years ago, which allows us to reflect on the impact, legacy and growth of the independent film movement over the past 30 years.”

 

Trevor Groth, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival, said, “In many of the films selected for our 2014 Sundance Film Festival, we see fascinating characters and subjects throughout. Whether portrayed by recognized actors taking on more challenging and diverse roles, or in the stranger-than-fiction reality of our documentaries, we look forward to sharing these incredible stories with audiences at our Festival.”

ASYLUM
Joan Harrison is joining the prolific television production company Asylum Entertainment (“The Kennedys,” “Beverly Hills Pawn,” "30 for 30") as Senior Vice President, Scripted Programming & Development. Harrison will expand and shepherd the company’s robust longform slate, with multi-part projects already in development across multiple networks.
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Harrison brings a multitude of high-level experience to Asylum, having previously been at CBS where,  as head of the miniseries division, she ran 20 highly-acclaimed sweeps events including  “The Last Don,” “Bella Mafia,” “The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” and the award-winning “In Cold Blood” remake.  Harrison later worked as VP of Development at TLC, where she bought the hit series “Miami Ink,” “10 Years Younger” and “Moving Up." She later moved to the Travel Channel as VP of Development, where she helped spearhead its re-brand and bought numerous long-running shows including “Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods." A member of The Writers Guild, Harrison comes to Asylum from Gersh, where she represented showrunners and filmmakers, and packaged longform and unscripted series.
 
"We have had our eye on Joan for a very long time," said Asylum Entertainment president & CCO Jonathan Koch.  "With our scripted business thriving, it was absolutely time to add an experienced and talented executive like Joan to the company."

ASYLUM

Unscripted Producer Sean Travis Sets Up Shop At Asylum Entertainment

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Veteran reality producer Sean Travis has inked a pod deal with Asylum Entertainment. Under the pact, he will produce his own shows. Travis’ unscripted credits include MTV’s The Real World, ABC’s The Mole and Celebrity Mole, WB’s High School Reunion, Spike TV’s The Joe Schmo Show and Fox’s Princes Of Malibu and The Rebel Billionaire. He also was executive producer for MTV’s The Hills and The City, and currently is EP on that network’s Wait ‘Til Next Year via his 2Lights Entertainment.

 

He is repped by WME and Greenberg Traurig. It’s the latest addition for Asylum, producers behind The Kennedys miniseries as well as reality shows like ReelzChannel’s Beverly Hills Pawn and the ESPN docu series 30 For 30. As part of its expanding unscripted efforts, Asylum last month inked an output deal with Kennedys partner ReelzChannel with plans to produce 50 hours of unscripted programming for the network in 2014. That move came shortly after hiring reality TV veteran Stephanie Lydecker to oversee unscripted development as well as develop for the company’s scripted business.

 

On the scripted side, Asylum just named Joan Harrison SVP Scripted Programming & Development to oversee miniseries and limited series for the company; she had most recently been at Gersh, where she repped showrunners and filmmakers and packaged longform and unscripted series.
 

10 THINGS

U.S. cable net H2 is to premiere 10 Things You Don’t Know About – a series that sees musician Henry Rollins offering an alternative take on historical tales, figures and places – on November 2 at 9 p.m. EST.

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The show is produced for H2 by Asylum Entertainment, with Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Stuart Chait and Alex Piper serving as exec producers for the indie. Brian Meere serves as EP for the network.

 

Over the course of the series, Rollins will encounter “wild personalities, national treasures, and provocative details about some of America’s most fascinating subjects,” according to the network.

 

“To me, the only way to make history talk, for it to really grab you, is to get as close to it as possible”, Rollins said in a statement. “You need incredible access and a great deal of persistence to get where you want to go. We did it.”

 

The premiere episode focuses on U.S. presidential assassinations.

ASYLUM INKS OUTPUT DEAL

ReelzChannel Inks Output Deal With Asylum For Unscripted Programming

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ReelzChannel and Asylum Entertainment are expanding their relationship that dates back to the Asylum-produced miniseries The Kennedys, which put the network on the map with 10 Emmy nominations and four wins in 2011. Now the pair have signed an output deal that will see Asylum produce 50 hours of unscripted programming for the network in 2014, distributed over 10 series.

 

A previous development deal netted ReelzChannel’s first unscripted docuseries, Beverly Hills Pawn, which returns for a second season November 6; as well as new series The Capones and Hollywood Hillbillies, slated for January bows.

 

“Asylum is one of the great TV production companies and, especially as an independent network, we are lucky to have such committed partners as [Asylum principals] Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels,” ReelzChannel CEO Stan E. Hubbard said.

 

In September, reality TV veteran Stephanie Lydecker joined Asylum to oversee unscripted development as well as develop for the company’s scripted business.

BEING: MIKE TYSON
Enigmatic Former Heavyweight Champ Takes Unprecedented
Look Inward and Forward
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Series Premieres on FOX; Continues on FOX Sports 1
 
SNEAK PEAK: BEING MIKE TYSON 


** MIKE TYSON APPEARS EXCLUSIVELY ON FOX SPORTS LIVE TONIGHT ON FOX SPORTS 1 AT 11:00 PM ET **
 
New York – In BEING: MIKE TYSON, FOX Sports’ original Emmy Award-nominated all-access documentary series, the enigmatic former heavyweight champ opens his life and very soul, allowing audiences to experience his amazing transformation from world renowned sports superstar to Mr. John Q. Public.  The original six-part series premieres Sunday, Sept. 22 on FOX either before (3:30 - 4:00 PM ET) or after (4:30 - 5:00 PM ET) local NFL on FOX coverage before moving to its regular time slot on Tuesday, Sept, 24 (10:30 PM ET) on FOX Sports 1, America’s new sports network.  Check local listings for time of premiere.
 
“We all know Iron Mike, we all know the stories, but very few people know Michael Gerard Tyson,” offers Michael Bloom, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, FOX Sports. “The honesty and access Mike gave us allowed BEING: to paint a complete picture of an icon that you’ve never seen before. After watching all six episodes, viewers will know a whole new Mike Tyson, and one they never imagined.”
 
As one of the most feared men ever to step into a boxing ring, Tyson was once the embodiment of a modern-day gladiator. Despite his well-documented rise and fall and the tales of his infamous tantrums in and out of the boxing ring, the public’s fascination with him has endured. 
 
"I'm very glad to be a part of the FOX Sports 1 family, premiering my first ever docu-series,” said Tyson. “Although I have lived my life on the world stage since I got into boxing, I was still apprehensive about doing such an intimate portrayal of myself. It turned out to be an amazingly personal experience for me looking back at the life I once led via the life that I am so proud to be living now."
 
BEING: cameras follow Tyson traveling the country on a national tour of his one-man stage show, where he reflects on his past and seeks personal closure. He visits the prison in Indianapolis where he was incarcerated and spends unprecedented time with one-time rival Evander Holyfield discussing their true feelings about each other and their memories of “the ear” incident. Cameras roll during a very special and moving meeting with “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, and also while Tyson discusses parenthood and life with his personal hero and mentor Jim Brown.  Documented are his visits to his old neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Catskills and the time he spends playing with his children.  Over the three hours, viewers see this emotional and revelatory journey first hand. FOX Sports cameras are with Mike as he re-connects with the public, who has both loved and vilified him, and shares this truly unique experience through his own eyes and voice. Unlike any portrait that has ever before been captured, BEING: MIKE TYSON is not a look back, but instead, a look inward and forward.
 
Early in the series, Tyson talks about not living in the past: “I don’t have any delusions of glory or grandeur for anything I do these days. People have to realize that ‘Iron Mike’ is dead and I’m doing something else now and that’s just what it is.”
 
He opens up about getting control of his inner demons. “I was pretty dark and troubled back then,” says Tyson. “I’m dark and trouble now, but not like back then. I’m cool now.”
 
And Tyson discusses how he’s gotten past some of the pivotal moments in his life, such as biting Holyfield’s ear: “We’re taking something that at one time in life was such a negative, now we look at it as a joke. I think that’s the way we should look at it as two adults. I made a mistake.”
 
FOX Sports Originals’ BEING: series sets the tone for FOX Sports 1 original programming with a number of other high-profile, unprecedented, all-access projects in different stages of development and production, including BEING: MARIANO RIVERA and BEING: THE FINEST. Last year’s BEING: LIVERPOOL was the first in the series.
 
BEING: MIKE TYSON is co-produced by Asylum Entertainment and FOX Sports, with executive producers Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Alex Piper and Andrew Fried.
 
For series updates, follow BEING: MIKE TYSON and the BEING: franchise on Twitter at  @BEINGonFOX.
 
BEING: MIKE TYSON Air Dates / Times:
Date                Time                                                                           Network
9/22/13            * 3:30 PM ET or 4:30 PM ET (check local listings)    FOX
9/24/13            **10:00 PM ET                                                                        FOX Sports 1
9/24/13            10:30 PM ET                                                               FOX Sports 1 
10/01/13          10:30 PM ET                                                               FOX Sports 1
10/08/13          10:30 PM ET                                                               FOX Sports 1
10/15/13          10:30 PM ET                                                               FOX Sports 1
10/22/13          10:30 PM ET                                                               FOX Sports 1
*airs either before or after NFL on FOX singleheader coverage
**premiere episode encore
 

RING OF FIRE
Jewel (Kilcher) sparkles and shines in Lifetime's original movie "Ring of Fire," the story of June Carter Cash.
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The movie tells the story of this country legend from early childhood to death. Matt Ross co-stars as Johnny Cash and Frances Conroy is featured as Mother Maybelle. The film covers a lot of years so details are not easy to come by; but the overall message, which is the love story between the two country performers, is loud and clear.

 

The film opens with June as a small child performing with her family on the radio and in concerts. It then moves ahead to when June flirted with fellow singer Carl Smith (Linds Edwards) on air and in concert. She ended up marrying him but he was unfaithful. She then married a race car driver. As a result of these two marriages she had two daughters.

 

She was ready for love when she met Johnny Cash but she also knew he had problems with alcohol and pills. Foolishly she thought her love could make him quit but the road to sobriety was a long one. There isn't a lot of time spent on Johnny's addictions but it is enough to make an impact.

 

This movie is Jewel's first major dramatic role and she is surprisingly good. She handles the more emotional parts of the role believably and she excels when the role calls for some comedic action. She makes us forget that she is Jewel the actress by becoming June Carter Cash on the screen. Reese Witherspoon won an Academy Award for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in the movie "I Walk the Line" so there might be an Emmy nomination ahead in Jewel's future. She has more spunk on view than Reese ever did.

 

The main criticism of the movie has to be that the makers of the film tried to cram too much story into two hours. The content of the first hour is really rushed, and only gets slightly better in the final one. Still there is an emotional pull to the love story between Johnny and June Cash that fills every nick and crevice of the film. They were truly soul mates who were destined to be together. The fact they could sing together beautifully just added to the power of their union.

 

There was a lot of humor in June Carter Cash, a brightness that is allowed to shine in the performance by Jewel. You will find yourself liking this woman and the actress who plays her. They are a good match and this makes for a good movie.

 

-JACKIE K. COOPER
Film Critic, Huffington Post

RING OF FIRE
Lifetime Movies can be seriously awesome. The network's "Ring of Fire" showcases Jewel's talent — in dentures, no less.
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"I always liked the song 'Ring of Fire,' but I was never that into it," she told us before the premiere at the Grammy Museum of her Lifetime movie debut, the June Carter Cash biopic "Ring of Fire." "But there's a scene in the movie where June writes 'Ring of Fire,' and you realize she wrote it about falling in love with Johnny (Cash) while she was still married; and she was very religious, very strict, so she really feared the fires of hell. It lent such drama to that song that it made me connect with it."

 

She went on to say that she's felt a connection to the Carter family for most of her life: "They were raised in the mountains with an out house and that's how I was raised. I was taught to be professional at a young age. I was helping the family earn income at a young age. We toured, I ate squirrel stew. So, we had a lot in common."

 

Does squirrel take just like chicken?

 

"No," she said, "it's awful. Maybe we didn't cook it right. But it's not good."

 

Jewel should get an Emmy nod, and not just because she had to sing and act in dentures, a wig, and contacts. Although the makeover is impressive. We asked if the men in her life — her husband, Ty Murray, and her little boy, Kase — were on set to see her in Carter form.

 

"[Ty] did, and my son did too," she said. "He was 9 or 10 months old, and he kept trying to look behind me, like I was wearing a mask or something. It was really sweet. My husband thought the teeth were really wild, really transformative. You'd never think fixing a tooth would be that powerful, but it really was."

WHITEY BULGER
After a year break from scripted programming, Spike TV is returning to the arena with a new approach — betting on special-event series.
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The cable network’s scripted development slate includes five event series, including behind-the-scenes account of the 2012 terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, whose aftermath still echoes in Washington. The projects hail from such auspices as Tom Fontana, Chris Collins, Leslie Greif, Rock God & Gene Simmons, Bobby Moresco, Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels, Craig Piligian and Dimitri Doganis & Bart Layton. “We’re concentrated on launching one or more special event series that we see as a great way to get to hour dramatic series,” said Spike TV’s EVP Original Series Sharon Levy, who oversees the network’s scripted development. Each project features Spike’s mission to thrill, inspire, and entertain as we’re broadening and expanding our brand.”

 

This marks Spike TV’s return to its scripted roots — the network’s last foray into scripted was with the 2007 event series The Kill Point. While the focus is for all five projects to be true events that “everyone wants to watch when it happens and that have a zeitgeist element to them,” some could live on beyond the original run, Levy said. For instance, Hit Men, a drama from Greif and Simmons about the mob’s takeover of the 1970s music industry, could continue as a series, while iHuman, about the intersection of technology and humanity and how their relationship evolves, could become an umbrella of films tackling the subject. Here are details about Spike TV’s scripted project in development from Asylum Entertainment:

 

WHITEY BULGER PROJECT



Written by Academy Award-winning writer, Bobby Moresco (“Crash”) and produced by Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels of Asylum Entertainment (“The Kennedys”), this movie event chronicles the raw and unfiltered rise and fall of Whitey Bulger, one of America’s most notorious criminals.  This four-hour epic delves deep into the life of Boston’s most infamous organized crime leader, who ruled New England’s criminal underworld with an iron fist for decades. Bulger’s larger-than-life story takes us from his days as a low-level street thug to FBI informant, to mob boss bent on undermining the competition, to the FBI’s most wanted list, and fugitive on the lam for sixteen years.

small time
Anchor Bay Films announces the acquisition of small time starring Christopher Meloni (42, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Man of Steel), Bridget Moynahan (I Robot, Lord of War, “Blue Bloods”) and Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad,” Little Miss Sunshine").
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NEW YORK, NY – Written and directed by Joel Surnow, Emmy® Award-winner and co-creator of the hit series “24”, small time is his debut feature film and loosely based on his real life experiences. The agreement with ABF covers all North American rights and today’s announcement was made by Anchor Bay Entertainment’s President, Bill Clark.

“small time is a real gem for us and we’re really looking forward to working with Joel,” commented Kevin Kasha, Executive Vice President, Acquisitions and Co-Productions. “The team loves this film and we are excited to be distributing it.”


“small time is a very personal film and has been a labor of love for everyone who worked on it,” said Surnow. “Kevin Kasha and his talented team at Anchor Bay share our passion for the film and have high expectations for its performance. I feel very fortunate to have them as partners.”

Shot in 20 days in and around Los Angeles, small time chronicles the story of Al Klein, the owner of a used car lot who is at a crossroad in his life. He still pines for his ex-wife, Barbara; his business partner, Ash Martini, is a good-time Charlie who refuses to grow up and his son, Freddy, the love of his life, has just graduated high school. Klein’s life gets thrown into a tailspin when Freddy announces he wants to punt college and move in with dad so he can become a salesman at the car lot. small time co-stars Devon Bostick (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Xander Berkeley (Terminator 2, “24”) and Kevin Nealon (“Weeds,” Anger Management).

 

Joel Surnow is best known as the co-creator/executive producer of the award-winning TV series, “24.” He has received Emmys for Best Drama and Best Dramatic Writing, a Golden Globe for Best Drama, a Producer of the Year Award from the PGA, a Best Writer from the Hollywood Caucus and 2003 WIRED Rave Award as one of the “people changing your mind.” He co-wrote and produced the highly-acclaimed mini-series “The Kennedys,” which was nominated for 10 Emmy™ Awards. He began his career as head writer on the first season of “Miami Vice.” From there, he became Executive Producer of “The Equalizer.” In the mid-90s, he adapted the movie, La Femme Nikita, for television where it became a hit series for the then-new USA Network. Over the years, he’s provided writing and producing services for such distinguished and popular shows such as “Wiseguy,” “Nowhere Man,” “Bay City Blues” and “The Commish.” small time is Surnow’s debut film.

 

small time is an Asylum Entertainment production, produced by K.C. Warnke. Stan E. Hubbard, Jonathan Koch, Steve Michaels, Lawrence Rogow and Colleen Surnow executive produced the film. Paradigm Finance Group negotiated the deal on behalf of small time with Anchor Bay Films.

THE LYLAS
The AMC Networks-owned cable network has ordered to series THE LYLAS, centering on Grammy winner Bruno Mars' four musical sisters...
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The Lylas, which stars sisters Tiara, Tahiti and Presley as they move from their home in Hawaii to join big sister Jaime in Los Angeles as they work to record their first album together, will air Friday nights beginning in the fall. The series, which consists of eight hourlong episodes, hails from Asylum Entertainment (The Kennedys), Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, David Garner, Ben Ricciardi, Glenn Carrano, Lauren Gellert and Suzanne Murch.


Pregnant & Dating will join WE tv's Saturday lineup in the summer and focus on five pregnant women as they continue to search for Mr. Right. The eight-episode hourlong series is produced by GRB Entertainment (Intervention) with Gary R. Benz, Michael Branton, Tracy Mazuer, Gellert and Annabelle McDonald on board as executive producers.


The Ruckers: Southern Royals follows three modern African American sisters -- Ruby, Ellen and Ione -- who are the heirs to one of the oldest and most prominent Southern families in the Carolinas. The Kardashian-like entry will follow the trio as they entertain celebrity friends and explore their personal problems, including finances and divorce. The six-episode hourlong series will join the schedule on Thursdays in the fall and is produced by Bunim/Murray Productions (Keeping Up With the Kardashians) with Jonathan Murray, Gil Goldschein, Steven Greener, Datari Turner, Gordon Bijelnoic, Jeff Jenkins, Melissa Bidwell, Gellert and McDonald exec producing.


"This new scheduling strategy, coupled with some amazing programming, presents a clear opportunity for WE tv to grow its audience and for our advertising partners to reach captivated and engaged viewers," WE tv president and GM Kim Martin said.


The three series join Bridezillas spinoff Marriage Bootcamp and the rebooted David Tutera Unveiled, among others, at the network.

URBAN TARZAN
Spike TV Orders New Series 'Urban Tarzan'
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The male-skewing cable network has given a series order Urban Tarzan, a show that features extreme animal handler UrbanTarzan (formerly known as John Brennan), who rescues, captures and relocates dangerous and exotic animals.


Urban Tarzan has been picked up for 10 half-hour episodes to premiere in spring 2013 and will be shot in various locations in the U.S.


The show will center on UrbanTarzan as he runs the privately-owned service Urban Tarzan Animal Relocation. Missions include capturing a deadly python in a residential neighborhood to tracking down a lion that escaped from sanctuary. Assistant Jay "The Caveman" Cassidy will also be featured.


The series is produced by Asylum Entertainment. Steve Michaels and Jonathan Koch will serve as executive producers. The original concept came from UrbanTarzan, Lorraine Yarde and Marke Basile.

OWNERS MANUAL
AMC Greenlights New Unscripted Series
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The series will consist of eight, half-hour episodes and premiere in third quarter 2013. Produced by Asylum Entertainment (The Kennedys, Addicted, The Locator), Owner's Manual will test one of the most common divides among man - those who read the owner's manual and those who do not. Representing each side of this divide, Ed Sanders (photo: at right) (Extreme Makeover Edition) and Marcus Hunt (HGTV's Hammer Heads) are put to the test in a weekly challenge where they attempt to operate today's most advanced, dangerous and powerful machinery and technology - from a fighter jet to a submarine, and more. With opposing points of view and conflicting methods of practice -- one man works strictly from the rule book, while the other uses only his instincts -- the real test will be how this "everyman" duo can collaborate to accomplish their challenge. Owner's Manual is executive produced by Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Alex Piper and Jerry McNutt.

 

"The minute we saw this show, we knew it was a great concept," said Joel Stillerman, AMC's EVP of original programming, production and digital content. "Every adult in the world falls into one of two categories. You either read the owner's manual or you don't. As a non-owner's manual person, I have a whole shelf in my house dedicated to parts that never found their way into things I have assembled. Watching Ed and Marcus go at it every week in the great tasks that Asylum is putting together is going to be truly compelling entertainment no matter what side of the Owner's Manual divide you live on."

 

AMC's Stillerman, Jason Fisher, SVP of production, and Mary Conlon, VP of non-scripted original programming, oversee the development and production for the network's unscripted series.

 

When those three series end their runs, the second seasons of fellow unscripted efforts The Pitch, Small Town Security and recently ordered Road Show (working title) will join Thursday later in the year.

 

As for the new project, Owner's Manual comes from Asylum Entertainment. It pits stars Ed Sanders (Extreme Makeover) and Marcus Hunt (Hammer Heads) against one another in a duel over whether a task can be performed better using a manual or not.

 

"The minute we saw this show, we knew it was a great concept,” said Stillerman. “Every adult in the world falls into one of two categories. You either read the owner's manual or you don't. As a non-owner's manual person, I have a whole shelf in my house dedicated to parts that never found their way into things I have assembled. Watching Ed and Marcus go at it every week in the great tasks that Asylum is putting together is going to be truly compelling entertainment no matter what side of the Owner's Manual divide you live on."

 

The series is executive produced by Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Alex Piper and Jerry McNutt. AMC’s Stillerman, SVP of production Jason Fisher and VP of non-scripted original programming Mary Conlon oversee the development and production for the network’s unscripted series.

THE LYLAS

WE tv has put in development a docu-reality series with singer-songwriter Bruno Mars’ sisters — Jaime Kailani, Tiara, Tahiti and Presley — who make up the pop band The Lylas.

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Produced by Asylum Entertainment (The Kennedys), the series and chronicle the sisters’ path from Hawaii to LA — where they are living and working together on their debut album — and their relationship as sisters-turned-business partners. “The Lylas are fierce, independent women, leaving their home — and in some cases their relationships and kids — for a chance at pursuing their love of music,” said Lauren Gellert, WE tv’s SVP Production & Development. “Their story is one filled with all of the drama and chaos that comes from making a major life change, with the added spice of doing it alongside your sisters.” The Lylas just released their first single, “Come Back”, and corresponding music video.

OWNER'S MANUAL

AMC is increasing its investment in unscripted programming -- so much so that it's added a new night of originals to its schedule.

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AMC's unscripted block will kick off with the second season of Comic Book Men, airing at 9 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., the previously announced Freakshow (from Greg Johnston from Endemol USA and Todd Ray from Living Wonders) will follow the family behind the Venice Beach Boardwalk's titular tourist attraction. Taxidermy competition Immortalized (executive produced by Go Go Luckey Entertainment) will debut at 10 p.m.

 

“With an expanding slate of unscripted series, it makes perfect sense for us to create and build a new night for these great stories, in the same way we have made Sundays a true destination for our award-winning original dramas,” said AMC EVP of original programming, production and digital content Joel Stillerman. “We are excited to have Thursday night as the new home for unscripted on AMC, as we continue to showcase distinct storytelling that explores authentic characters and original worlds.”

 

When those three series end their runs, the second seasons of fellow unscripted efforts The Pitch, Small Town Security and recently ordered Road Show (working title) will join Thursday later in the year.

 

As for the new project, Owner's Manual comes from Asylum Entertainment. It pits stars Ed Sanders (Extreme Makeover) and Marcus Hunt (Hammer Heads) against one another in a duel over whether a task can be performed better using a manual or not.

 

"The minute we saw this show, we knew it was a great concept,” said Stillerman. “Every adult in the world falls into one of two categories. You either read the owner's manual or you don't. As a non-owner's manual person, I have a whole shelf in my house dedicated to parts that never found their way into things I have assembled. Watching Ed and Marcus go at it every week in the great tasks that Asylum is putting together is going to be truly compelling entertainment no matter what side of the Owner's Manual divide you live on."

 

The series is executive produced by Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Alex Piper and Jerry McNutt. AMC’s Stillerman, SVP of production Jason Fisher and VP of non-scripted original programming Mary Conlon oversee the development and production for the network’s unscripted series.

BRAQUO
French cop drama Braquo and a right-to-die documentary fronted by author Terry Pratchett were among the winners at the 40th International Emmys last night.
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The second season of  BRAQUO, produced by Capa Drama, Canal+ and Bad Company, picked up the best drama series award, while three-parter Black Mirror, produced by Zeppotron for the UK’s Channel 4, won best TV movie/miniseries.

 

Also in the scripted space, Brazil’s TV Globo picked up the telenovela prize for THE ILLUSIONIST and took a second award in the comedy category for The Invisible Woman, coproduced by Conspiração Filmes.

 

Terry Pratchett: CHOOSING TO DIE, produced by Keo Films for the BBC, was named best documentary; and SONGS OF WAR, a coproduction between ZDF, Arte and A&O Büro in Germany, took the prize for best arts programming.

 

THE AMAZING RACE AUSTRALIA, produced by Seven Productions, Active TV and ABC Studios, was named best non-scripted entertainment.

 

The awards were presented at a ceremony held in New York.

 

RING OF FIRE
Lifetime has tapped Jewel to star in RING OF FIRE, a biopic about the late country singer June Carter Cash.
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Lifetime has tapped Jewel to star in RING OF FIRE, a biopic about the late country singer June Carter Cash.

 

The project is based on Carter Cash's son John Carter Cash's memoir Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash. Richard Friedenberg (Lifetime's Of Two Minds) will adapt, with Southland's Allison Anders on board to direct. John Carter Cash, Steven Michaels and Jonathan Koch will executive produce.

 

American Horror Story's Matt Ross will play Johnny Cash in the story that tracks June's life from her childhood in Virginia through her rise to fame as she performed with icons like Elvis Presley and her relationship with the Man in Black.

 

Like the Joaquin Phoenix-Witherspoon feature WALK THE LINE, the Lifetime telepic will chronicle the singer-songwriter's relationship with her third husband and detail her efforts to save his life as he battled substance abuse. Witherspoon picked up an Oscar for her portrayal of Carter Cash in the 2005 movie.

 

"Many people know about the legendary love story of Johnny and June, but June Carter Cash has her own epic journey filled with triumphs, tragedies, loves and losses," Lifetime exec vp Rob Sharenow said in announcing the news Thursday. "This movie will explore all aspects of the woman behind the icon, and we're thrilled Jewel will be playing the role."


The biopic marks the first scripted effort for the "You Were Meant for Me" singer following her hosting gig on Bravo's music competition series Platinum Hit. She has appeared as herself in numerous projects, including WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY and ABC's MEN IN TREES, among others.


Jewel, a four-time Grammy nominee and children's book author, is repped by CAA; Ross is with ICM and Framework Entertainment. Asylum Entertainment will produce The June Carter Cash Story.

HAPPY VALLEY

A&E IndieFilms Sets ‘Happy Valley,’ Feature Docu On Penn State Pedophile Scandal

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By MIKE FLEMING | Tuesday May 22, 2012 @ 2:34pm EDT
Tags: A&E IndieFilms

 


EXCLUSIVE: A&E IndieFilms, the feature production arm of the A&E Network, has partnered withAsylum Entertainment to make the feature documentary Happy Valley. It’s about the drama that rocked the Penn State University community after it was learned school officials covered up allegations that former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky allegedy abused a youth in the showers of the school locker room. The docu will be produced by Passion Pictures’ John Battsek, whose One Day In September won the Oscar, and director Amir Bar-Lev. They teamed previously with A&E IndieFilms on My Kid Could Paint That and the superb sports-themed expose The Tillman Story. Asylum produced The Kennedys. Bob DeBitetto, David McKillop and Molly Thompson will be exec producers for A&E IndieFilms. Asylum principals Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels will produce with Battsek.


Koch, who is Asylum Entertainment’s president, served his youth as a camp counselor for The Second Mile, the nonprofit organization for underprivileged kids that was founded by Sandusky. Penn State, one of the most storied and stable college football programs in the nation, was rocked to the core in November when a grand jury indicted Sandusky for alleged sex crimes against young boys, some he came in contact with through The Second Mile.


The key charge was that a Penn State assistant coach, then a graduate assistant, witnessed Sandusky molesting a 10-year-old boy in 2002. He did not stop the act, nor did he call the police. Even more shockingly, school higher-ups, including legendary coach Joe Paterno, were told the following day. They did nothing, enabling ex-coach Sandusky to continue bringing children to the campus for years. Sandusky has denied the charges. An administrative house-cleaning followed amidst public outrage that the behavior was allowed to continue, including the dismissal of Paterno during the football season. After 46 years of coaching the team and amassing the most wins for a Division I college football program, Paterno was ousted, his legacy in shambles, and he died soon after.


Earlier today, a judge in Harrisburg, Pa., ruled that Sandusky’s trial will not be delayed and that his day in court will come early next month. Sandusky, Paterno’s former defensive coordinator, will be tried on 52 criminal counts of alleged abuse of 10 boys over a period of 15 years.
“When you are raised in Happy Valley, you feel as though nothing like this could ever happen there,” Koch said. “This project has such gravity, importance and significant personal meaning to me, and I am honored that this extraordinary team of filmmakers has joined me to tell the story.”

 

BEVERLY HILLS PAWN

American TV viewers will have another pawn-related program to watch when ReelzChannel begins airing its first reality series this fall.

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Beverly Hills Pawn is the first series born out of a development deal with Asylum Entertainment that the U.S. cable network, which focuses on programming about movies. It will focus on a high-end pawn shop in Los Angeles and star shop owner Yossi Dina, a businessman and former army captain “known for his iron fist and superior taste in luxury good,” according to the show’s billing.

 

The half-hour show is one of three original series unveiled this week as part of the channel’s fall line-up.

 

“With each new series, we’ll showcase our network’s TV About Movies approach with more original programming to take viewers behind the scenes of our series, into the careers of the casts and creators and deep into the vast world of movies that are inspired by the timeless intrigue of politics and religion, the lives of the rich and famous, and life during wartime,” said Reelz CEO Stan E. Hubbard in a statement.

 

BRAQUO

Hulu acquires 'Braquo' Gallic twist on 'The Shield'; Will be available in U.S.

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KESLASSY CANNES -- Hulu has acquired exclusive subscription VOD rights in the U.S. to the first two seasons of "Braquo," Olivier Marchal's dark-edged thriller skein. Commissioned by Canal Plus and repped in international markets by Zodiak Rights, the one-hour crimer has been described as a French twist on "The Shield," as it turns on cops from a Paris gang-busting unit who've gone rogue. It drew the paybox's best ratings ever for a French-language drama, and has been greenlit for a third season with Abdel Raouf Dafri -- who penned "A Prophet" -- back on board to write. Pact was announced during the Zodiak presser at the Mipcom TV market, which kicked off Monday in Cannes.

 

"Braquo" is being adapted into an English-language series penned by "24's" Stephen Kronish. Jane Millichip, managing director of Zodiak Right's London office, said Steven Michaels and Jonathan Koch at Los Angeles-based Asylum Entertainment could soon close a deal with a U.S. pay TV net. "The U.S. market has always been difficult to get into and SVOD services like Hulu or Netflix have truly opened the door," said Millichip. "These are fantastic outlets for foreign-language or U.K. drama series because they cater to higher-end, discerning audiences." 

URBAN TARZAN

Spike TV has given a 10-episode series order to Urban Tarzan, a half-hour show starring extreme animal handler known as “UrbanTarzan” (formerly John Brennan who legally changed his name to the one word UrbanTarzan) who rescues, captures, and relocates dangerous and exotic animals.

 

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The series, a rare venture for Spike into Animal Planet/National Geographic territory, follows UrbanTarzan as he runs the Urban Tarzan Animal Relocation team, a privately owned exotic and dangerous animal relocation service whose missions run the gamut from capturing a deadly python on the loose in a residential neighborhood to tracking down a lion that escaped from an animal sanctuary.

 

URBAN TARZAN is produced by Asylum Entertainment and will debut on Spike in the spring of 2013.  Steve Michaels and Jonathan Koch serve as executive producers. The original concept for the show was created by UrbanTarzan, Lorraine Yarde and Mark Basile.