Summer TV Series Premiere Dates

…Cuz we’ve got to watch them and check out the writing, don’t we? After all, why else would we care?

Oh, wait–

summerby the Deadline Team

Here’s a rundown of announced summer premiere dates for new series and new seasons of existing series on broadcast, cable and streaming services. We’ll update the post as more dates are revealed:

May 14:
Wayward Pines (Fox, series premiere)

May 17:
Submissive Wives’ Guide to Marriage (TLC, series premiere)
Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno Live! (Ovation, series premiere)

May 18:
The Bachelorette (ABC, Season 11 premiere)

May 19:
The Fighting Season (Audience Network, limited series premiere)

May 2o:
MasterChef (Fox, Season 6 premiere; two hours)
500 Questions (ABC, series premiere)
Celebrity Wife Swap (ABC, Season 4 premiere)

May 21:
Braxton Family Values (WE tv, Season 4B premiere)
Cutting It: In the ATL (WE tv, series premiere)
What’s My Car Worth? (Velocity, Season 6 premiere)
Between (Netflix, series premiere)

May 22:
American Diner Revival (Food Network, series premiere)

May 25:
American Ninja Warrior (NBC, Season 2 premiere)
The Island (NBC, series premiere)
Texas Rising (History, limited series premiere)
Barmageddon (truTV, Season 1B premiere)

May 26:
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (Fox, series relaunch)
America’s Got Talent (NBC, Season 10 premiere)
I Can Do That (NBC, series premiere)
Extreme Weight Loss (ABC, Season 5 premiere)

May 27:
The Briefcase (CBS, series premiere)
Bullseye (Fox, series premiere)

May 28:
Aquarius (NBC, series premiere)

May 29:
Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars (WE tv, Season 3 premiere)

May 30:
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (Lifetime, miniseries premiere)

May 31:
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC, Season 2 premiere)
Golan the Insatiable (Fox, series premiere)

Read it all at Deadline

NBC Taking Netflix Trail with New Series AQUARIUS

By which we mean that the network will be making the show’s entire season available online after it premieres.

Do they love it? Or is this newest showbiz paradigm the TV equivalent of dumping a bad film by sending it straight to video?

acquariusnbc

by Nellie Andreeva

NBC is looking to further blur the linear-digital divide by releasing all 13 episodes of its new David Duchovny series Aquarius on NBC.com and the NBC app after the show’s two-hour linear network premiere on May 28. The entire series also will be offered to all other VOD platforms at that time.

“With Aquarius we have the opportunity to push some new boundaries to give our audience something no broadcast network has done before,” NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “We are fully aware how audiences want to consume multiple episodes of new television series faster and at their own discretion, and we’re excited to offer our viewers this same experience since all 13 episodes of this unique show have been produced and are ready to be seen.”

Under the agreement, the Charles Manson drama, from Marty Adelstein and ITV Studios’ joint venture Tomorrow Studios, will be available to only a handful of advertising partners so the linear broadcast on NBC will mirror the commercial load on the VOD platforms. This will result in limited interruption — both on-air and off — giving viewers and advertising partners an enhanced and innovative experience.

Read it all at Deadline

Hank Isaac’s LILAC Marches On!

DOF_Festival

Learn more about the Depth of Field International Film Festival

Learn more about LILAC

Creating your own comedy competition

Cold Cut Logo - NUEA flag 2Cuz why not?

A little “cold marketing” never hurt anybody, right? Just ask TVWriter™ bud Jeff Burdick, an aspiring TV comedy writer who puts as much thought into  marketing himself as he does into his scripts. With his wife and adopted son, he moved last year from Chicago to Los Angeles. He soon landed a literary agent after renting theater space and staging a showcase of three of his original sitcom pilot scripts.

As he works to land his first staff gig, Burdick continues to write and raise his industry profile. This includes creating a unique new live comedy competition for original TV pilot scripts. Called “The Cold Cut,” the June 3rd event will stage the Cold Opens from nine original comedy pilots. Battle of the Bands-style, the audience will vote for their favorite. After intermission, the one that makes the “cut” wins an immediate staged reading of its full script and other prizes.

But enough from us. Let’s hear from Jeff:

How did you conceive The Cold Cut?

I’m fortunate my alma mater has a very active alumni base in LA. This includes an entertainment-focused alumni club, the Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance (NUEA), which comprises hundreds of actors, writers, directors and producers. They regularly mount talent showcases, but had never geared one toward TV comedy writing. 

But where did the idea for a live pilot script competition come from?

All good TV scripts must grab a reader in the first few pages, so why not a rapid-fire staging of just the Cold Opening scenes from multiple comedy scripts, with all scripts available online afterward. For a more interactive live experience, I also opted for a Battle of the Bands-style audience vote over the standard judging panel.

What has been the response?

Pretty stunning. To our Reading Committee’s surprise, we received more than 40 scripts, from which we selected nine finalists. More than 40 alumni actors submitted for casting. The Black List came on as an event sponsor, and we were able to recruit a pretty impressive group of recent showrunners, staff writers, and active producers to provide expert script feedback to our writers.

How did you get The Black List and your industry readers?

It’s as simple as having a solid professional pitch, reaching out, and then finding some people interested in both your project and hutzpah. I have a journalism background so I’m used to reaching out to people not expecting my call. I know some say “cold-calling” doesn’t work in this town, but I’ve cold-called my way into a general at WME and a pitch meeting on the Fox lot Also my relationship with my current agent also began with a cold call. So in general, if you have a smart and unique angle, you can usually find some people willing to hear you out.

Have you received any industry feedback yet?

Yes, very positive feedback. Early on, I and my two co-producers – Liz Kenny and Michael Yawanis – solicited feedback on our concept from different industry pros. Some were alums; some not. These ranged from Key & Peele Executive Producer Ian Roberts to staff writers and studio executives to agents and managers. Everyone was terribly generous with their time and tips. Plus their uniform enthusiasm confirmed we had a winning format.

Yours is an alumni competition, but do you expect wider interest?

We hope so. Through our partnership with The Black List, the finalist scripts will be posted for review after the live June 3rd competition. We will be reaching out throughout the industry to publicize the event, the script loglines, and Black List links. We’ve also created a general interest Facebook “Cold Cut” page at which we post weekly links to great Cold Opens a week from classic and current TV shows. We hope this appeals to other writers.

I see your own script is a finalist. Since you created the competition, isn’t this a bit like a movie producer giving his girlfriend a plum role in his film?

Ha! Not in my case. All script judging was blind, and no judge could read a script with which they were already familiar. So I had no guarantee my script would make the cut. A couple of our judges also submitted scripts blind, but they did not make the cut.

What are your tips for other writers looking to uniquely market themselves?

I first recommend doing a self-audit of what makes you unique, what tools and resources are at your fingertips, and then how to leverage these to crack open more doors. I’m a big fan of re-using existing quality content in creative new ways, such as creating your own sizzle real or staging your own multi-work showcase. Also consider how to partner with others to create win-win opportunities and expose your talents to new networks.

For instance, I have friend who recently created a funny Web series about magicians. My suggestion for him was to approach some Hollywood magic shops to see if any would like to host a screening in their shop. The writer invites his circle and the magic shop promotes to its customer base. Then you also have a unique “happening” to reach out an invite potential agents, managers and producers.

What’s next for your own self-marketing?

Back to basics. Never forget the best marketing tool is always your next quality script. So I’m polishing my half-hour comedy pilot script that got me my agent and is in The Cold Cut competition. I am also doing final revisions to a new first hour-long dramedy pilot called “Assistants.” (Yes, it is about a group of 20-something college friends who are all different kinds of assistants trying to climb the Hollywood ladder.)

Contact Jeff Burdick through his writer’s Web site BurdickComm.com.

That TV show’s a page turner

Meanwhile, on the little sub-continent we call India:

It's the DILLI WAALI THAKUR GIRLS!

It’s the DILLI WAALI THAKUR GIRLS!

Hindi TV serials are turning to literary inspirations — best-selling books — in a bid to come up with fresh storylines.

In their eternal quest for a storyline that can keep fickle audiences hooked and those TRP figures high, those in the television industry have turned to (what has been for other mediums) a tried and tested source: Best-selling books.

The recently launched show Dilli Waali Thakur Girls is the latest example of a TV show that has drawn on literary inspiration — in this case, Anuja Chauhan’s novel Those Pricey Thakur Girls. On another channel, Yeh Hai Mohabbatein has drawn its central theme from Manju Kapur’s book, Custody. And in the not-so-distant past, there was Saraswatichandra, based (loosely) on the Gujarati classic by G.M. Tripathi.

So what’s prompting TV to look the literary way — and what’s prompting writers to allow small screen adaptations of their bookish works?
Anuja Chauhan, the author of Those Pricey Thakur Girls which has been reincarnated as Dilli Wali Thakur Girls, tells us, “The basic truth is that we (writer/authors) are a severely underpaid and powerless lot, as sad as it is to hear. So any writing, any opportunity is good.”

“Honestly, if more people went and bought the books, authors might not be so open (to TV adaptations), but as long as the story is reaching an audience and as long as the producers stay true to the characters, I don’t have qualms with them experimenting with it.”
Anuja admits that she herself was initially hesitant if her story would suit the contemporary TV scene. “The story is set in the late 1980s and I asked them (the show makers) if they thought it would be relevant. The team said they loved the characters and thought they would appeal to the audience,” she shares. However, Anuja is not involved in the process of scripting the TV show. “I do not have much involvement in the whole process. What I think appeals to them is the fact that while adapting a novel, they can have some direction to the story,” she says.

Read it all in Asian Age

From YouTube Success to TV Deal

We love a good interweb success story, especially this one cuz it involves one of our favorite web series, VENUS VS MARS…a wonderful example of TV/interweb diversity:

Letitia-Hector-in-Venus-v-007by Stuart Dredge

There’s been a vigorous debate about the opportunities – or the lack of them – for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) producers, writers and actors on British [ED.NOTE: And US!] TV.

In 2014, actor and comedian Lenny Henry called for new legislation to reverse a trend that has seen the number of BAME people working in the British television industry fall by 30.9% between 2006 and 2012.

At the MIPTV conference in Cannes, a case study from one British production company suggested that online platforms like YouTube may also be able to play a role in persuading TV commissioners that there’s an audience for shows from a more diverse range of creators.

PurpleGeko is the company behind Venus vs Mars, a comic drama that started life as a six-webisode series on YouTube, but is now airing on Sky Living in the UK.

Chief executive Victor Adebodun and writer Baby Isako said that the show was a response not just to the lack of diversity on British television, but also to the negative roles that existed for many BAME actors.

“Baby’s script is a light-hearted romantic comedy in essence. It’s got a predominantly ethnic cast, but there’s no stereotypes in the show,” said Adebodun, while Isako said that with no formal scriptwriting background, she saw her chances of telling her story on TV as much slimmer than making a project for YouTube.

Six short-form episodes were shot for “more or less no budget” said Adebodun, who used his background in post-production to ensure that the show punched well above its weight in production quality.

“It was very entry-level camera equipment, but we had done research into what kind of hacks we could do with the footage and in post to make the quality as good as possible,” he said, noting that only around a third of the footage had to be reshot once Sky Living picked it up.

Read it all in The Guardian

Oh, and watch a bit of it too:

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