This week in TV:
Starz buys the rights to a new post-WWII drama, Sleepy Hollow co-creator reveals new project at CBS, Megan Fox joins New Girl, NBC is remaking Hart to Hart, FX releases a teaser for Baskets, FOX is remaking Behind Enemy Lines for television, In the Line of Fire is getting a TV remake, The Nightly Show is renewed, HBO orders a new Judd Apatow series, and A&E announces the full Roots cast.
Starz has purchased the U.S. rights to Close to the Enemy, a miniseries from Stephen Poliakoff.
The series stars Jim Sturgess (21) as British intelligence officer Captain Callum Ferguson in Post-World War II London. The officer is tasked with one final mission from the Army: extract crucial information from a captured German scientist (August Diehl).
The series also stars Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) as Callum’s younger brother and Angela Bassett (American Horror Story) as an American jazz singer. Close to the Enemy was written and directed by Poliakoff and produced by Little Island production. The series will appear simultaneously in the U.S. and the U.K., on Starz and BBC Two respectively, sometime in 2016.
Phillip Iscove, co-creator of Sleepy Hollow, is adapting The Island of Dr. Moreau for television.
In Iscove’s adaptation, the title character will be portrayed by a woman. Dr. Katherine Moreau is a disgraced London physiologist who retreats to a private island where she experiments on human/animal hybrids. The character is described as fearless and incredibly intelligent, pushing the boundaries of modern medicine.
The project is currently in development at CBS, with Iscove penning the script and Kennedy/Marshall Co. producing. Iscove will be joining former Sleepy Hollow showrunner Mark Goffman at CBS, who also left the series after season 2. Warner Bros. is also working on an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ famous work with Leonardio DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way.
Megan Fox has been announced as a recurring guest star in the upcoming season of New Girl.
Fox will be playing Reagan, an attractive pharmaceutical rep who comes into town on business. She shakes up the dynamics of the loft when she rents out Jess’ (Zooey Deschanel) room while she is serving jury duty. The character is set to be introduced in the sixth episode of the upcoming fifth season, as the first five episodes of the season were filmed in advance to account for Zooey Deschanel’s maternity leave.
New Girl creator Liz Meriwether said the following of Fox and her involvement in the series:
“It’s insane to me that such a gorgeous person can be so funny, but I guess we just all have to accept it. I’ve been a fan of her comedic skills since ‘This is 40,’ and I’m so excited to have her on the show. We had Megan in mind when we wrote this part — she’s the perfect person to come in and shake these guys up.”
New Girl returns in January of 2016.
NBC is developing a remake of ABC’s 1979 series Hart to Hart, centering on a gay couple.
The remake plans to update the series, introducing Jonathan Hart and Dan Hartman as the protagonists. Jonathan is an attorney who does things strictly “by the book” while Dan is an investigator that is described as being free-spirited. The two work together to solve crimes, while the series explores their relationship.
The show is based on the 1979 series of the same name, which starred Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart. The two were a wealthy couple who would often stumble upon murders that they would help to solve. The original series ran for five seasons and eight TV movies.
The remake was written by Christopher Fife (Revenge) and comes from producer Carol Mendelsohn and Sony Pictures. The project has received a script commitment from NBC after being pursued by multiple networks.
FX has released a new teaser for Baskets, the upcoming comedy from Zach Galifianakis and Louis C.K.
The series follows Galifianakis’ character Chip Baskets, a man following his dreams to become a professional clown. However, Chip is unable to get into a prestigious clown school in Paris and is forced to work for the local rodeo instead. The video doesn’t give much away about the plot, but the tone of the series is readily apparent. Considering the talent behind the series, FX appears to have another great comedy on their hands.
Baskets was created and co-written by Galifianakis, director Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia), and recent Emmy-winner Louis C.K. The half-hour series earned a ten-episode order from FX earlier this year and is expected to premiere sometime in 2016.
FOX has ordered a television remake of 2001’s Behind Enemy Lines to pilot.
The remake is described as a military thriller about an American flight crew shot down while on a secret mission. The team crashes down in the jungles of Latin America, but no rescue is ordered. The story follows the crew as well as their commanding officer, who will attempt to rescue them against orders, and a CIA agent who stumbles across startling information about the secret mission.
The series will be written and directed by Homeland‘s Jeffrey Nachmanoff, assuming it is ordered to series. Original production company Davis Entertainment will also produce the remake. The film starred Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson and was successful enough to spawn three sequels (though they were all straight-to-video).
A television remake of 1993’s In the Line of Fire has earned a script commitment from NBC.
The series will center on a disgraced Secret Service agent who is given a chance at redemption when a rogue CIA assassin threatens the life of the President of the United States. The agent and his female partner will be investigating multiple connected cases while the overarching plot has them facing off against the hitman.
The series was written by Carol Mendelsohn (also partially responsible for the Hart to Hart remake seen above) and Josh Berman, who previously worked together on CSI. It will be based on the 1993 film of the same name that starred Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich and was produced by Sony Pictures.
This is yet another example of the latest television trend of adapting popular films to television. In the Line of Fire and Behind Enemy Lines both join a multitude of such remakes such as The Notebook, Friday the 13th, Limitless and Minority Report.
The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore has been renewed by Comedy Central through the end of 2016.
The network confirmed the deal earlier this week, with Wilmore signed on through January of 2017. This confirms Wilmore will be around for the 2016 election, which is sure to be a good source of fodder for the satirical news show. The show served to replace the long-running series The Colbert Report, but has not enjoyed the same high ratings as its predecessor. However, it earned plenty of critical praise for its thoughtful approach on issues of race and economic class.
The series’ renewal will mark a constant in Comedy Central’s shifting late night schedule, as The Daily Show returns under new host Trevor Noah later this month.
The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore is currently airing weekdays on Comedy Central at 11:30 p.m. EST.
HBO has ordered new Judd Apatow series Crashing to pilot.
The single-camera comedy is set to star former late-night host Pete Holmes as a wholesome comedian forced to sleep on the couches of New York’s best comedians after his wife leaves him. The series was written by Holmes and is semi-autobiographical in nature.
Crashing will mark Apatow’s first time directing a television pilot. However, the feature director already has a working relationship with HBO, serving as executive producer on Lena Dunham’s Girls. Apatow will also serve as executive producer on Crashing, joined by Holmes and Holmes’ manager Dave Rath.
A&E Networks has announced the casting for the upcoming Roots remake.
The four-night miniseries has gathered a stellar cast including:
- Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (Southpaw) as Fiddler, a slave who serves as a mentor to the newly enslaved Kunta Kinte and risks his own life to help him escape.
- Academy Award winner Anna Paquin (True Blood) will portray Nancy Holt, the wife of a Confederate officer.
- Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors) has been added as Tom Lea, an uneducated slave owner who wants nothing more than to join the Southern aristocracy.
- Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose (The Princess and the Frog) will play Kizzy, the intelligent daughter of Kunta Kinte.
The actors will be joining the previously announced Malachi Kirby, Regé-Jean Page, and Laurence Fishburne. Production is currently underway on the series in New Orleans, with filming to take place in South Africa later this month.
Roots will air on A&E, Lifetime, and the History Channel in 2016.