Want to Turn Your Book into a TV Series? Be Published by Random House

Okay, so not really a guarantee, but get your novel to ’em pronto. It’s a start…

Random House wants you to watch these books! (Well, their books anyway)

FREMANTLEMEDIA & RANDOM HOUSE FORM EXCLUSIVE TELEVISION PARTNERSHIP – by TeamTVWriter Press Service

FremantleMedia, the producer and distributor of several of the world’s most widely-watched television series, and Random House, Inc., the U.S. division of Random House, the world’s largest trade-book publisher, both companies of Bertelsmann AG, announced today a major new creative and strategic partnership to develop scripted television programming for the U.S. and international markets based on the fiction and nonfiction books published by Random House’s imprints in North America and internationally.

The first-look deal with FremantleMedia will reside within Random House Television, a newly created part of Random House Studio, the publisher’s rebranded and expanded entertainment division led by Peter Gethers, President. Random House Television will work together with Random House’s editors and publishers, and their authors’ agents, to identify and acquire performance rights for the full range of broadcast network, cable, and premium television scripted formats.

The partnership will also seek to collaborate with Random House authors to develop original scripted television properties they might create.

Jeffrey Levine has been appointed Head of Television for Random House Television, based in FremantleMedia’s Los Angeles offices, reporting to Mr. Gethers. He will work closely with Jeff Tahler, FremantleMedia Enterprises Senior Vice President of Global Content, and Tony Optican, Senior Vice President of Scripted Programming for FremantleMedia North America, and with the entire Random House Studio team.

Also joining the Random House Television team in Los Angeles is Christina Malach, Executive Story Editor, Random House Studio. The New York team under Mr. Gethers is Valerie Cates and Claudia Herr, both Executive Story editors, and Brady Emerson, Story Editor, Random House Studio.

So if you know Peter Gethers, Jeff Levine, Christina Malach, Valerie Cates, Claudia Herr, or Brady Emerson, now’s the time to call and take the highest ranking one to lunch. Don’t waste your time on the small-timers. Use your friendship (real contacts are friends, right?) now.


And Now It’s Renee Zellweger’s Turn

Speaking of celebrity writers:

Lifetime Orders CINAMMON GIRL pilot, Series Created by Renee Zellweger – by TeamTVWriter Press Service

As it continues to aggressively expand its scripted programming slate, Lifetime has ordered the drama pilot Cinnamon Girl from executive producers Academy Award® and Golden Globe® Award-winning actress-producer Renée Zellweger, Anthony Tambakis (Warrior) and Gavin O’Connor (WarriorPride and Glory). The announcement was made today by Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President, Programming, of Lifetime Networks.

Created by Zellweger and Tambakis, Cinnamon Girl is the story of four girls — Cassie, Lola, Junie and Lou — coming of age in the Los Angeles music and movie scenes of the late 1960s/early 1970s, one of the most turbulent, creative and golden times in the history of American popular culture. The impetus for the project was Zellweger’s journey from small-town Texas to Hollywood stardom, combined with Tambakis’ lifelong fascination with both the Laurel Canyon music scene and the New Hollywood, auteur-driven era that began in the late ‘60s. Zellweger and Tambakis have co-written the story, with Tambakis writing the teleplay that explores the characters’ lives at the crossroads of the era’s political, artistic, social and sexual rebellions. O’Connor is set to direct the pilot, while Danny Bramson (Almost FamousJerry Maguire) will serve as producer.

Cinnamon Girl marks the second project on which Zellweger and Lifetime have partnered. In 2008, she executive produced the acclaimed original movie Living Proof, the moving true story of UCLA Dr. Dennis Slamon, who helped develop the breast cancer drug Herceptin, and his efforts to keep the drug trials afloat and save the lives of thousands of women. Living Proof starred Harry Connick, Jr., Tammy Blanchard, Amanda Bynes, Jennifer Coolidge, Angie Harmon, Regina King, Swoosie Kurtz, Amy Madigan, Bernadette Peters and Trudie Styler.

Lifetime’s current scripted slate includes The Client List, starring and executive produced by Jennifer Love Hewitt, which wrapped its first season in June; season six of the hit drama Army Wives, Drop Dead Diva, currently in its fourth season; and Devious Maids, which the network recently picked up from executive producers Marc Cherry, Sabrina Wind, Eva Longoria, Paul McGuigan, Larry Shuman, David Lonner, John Mass, Paul Presburger and Michael Garcia. Last week Lifetime ordered the scripted pilots The Secret Lives of Wives (working title) and Witches of East End.

And, as this announcement ends, drifting off into the sunset of audience/reader indifference, we find ourselves moved to ask the musical questions: What does “co-written” really mean here? Did Ms. Zellweger in fact do any writing on this project? Or was she the “talking/pitching” partner in the team? Are they in fact a team?

Are we being snarky? Sure, aren’t we always? After all, we’re writers. (Hmm, time now to check Renee’s public statements and search for a bit of la snark so we can determine her writerliness once and for all.)

WGAe Scores Benefits for Reality Writers

We know this isn’t about “scripted” televison, but let’s be practical: Anything that strengthens the Writers Guild of America, West or East, strengthens writers working in TV and films. So this is, like, important for us all:

WGA East Pacts With 2 Reality Producers To Provide Health Insurance & Benefits – by TeamTVWriter Press Service

Lion Television and Optomen Productions have become the first non-fiction TV producers to offer writer-producers company-paid health benefits, paid time off, grievance and arbitration provisions, and compensation minimums, according to WGA East.

The collective bargaining agreements come after WGAE landed Lion in May 2011 and Optomen in August 2011, and guild brass are calling them first-of-their-kind agreements for the reality industry.

“We are very pleased to have reached agreement with Lion and Optomen,” WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson said in announcing the deal. “This is a part of the television industry that has historically been non-union, and these agreements demonstrate that people who join with the WGAE get, not just a community of creative professionals, but tangible improvements in their working conditions.”

WGAE says it remains in negotiations with non-fiction TV producer Atlas Media after it voted to join up, and it will begin talks with a fourth, ITV Studios, when the National Labor Relations Board resolves an appeal.

ABC Schedules to a Strong Writer’s Strength

Yeah, we know that’s a confusing title. Because what we’re talking about just doesn’t happen very often. Read on:

ABC Tweaks Fall Schedule – by TeamTVWriter Press Service

ABC plans to move some shows around in its fall schedule, Deadline.com reports. The network’s new situation comedy “The Neighbors,” originally scheduled to air after the hit “Modern Family” at 9:30 p.m. ET Wednesdays, will now likely be in the 8:30 p.m. ET time slot instead, the story reports.

That would mean that the sophomore comedy “Suburgatory” would get the post-“Modern Family” slot at 9:30 p.m. ET.

The reason for the switch has to do with the family element in “The Neighbors,” a comedy from writer Dan Fogelman. He has written two animated successes, “Cars” and “Tangled,” as well as Steve Carell’s “Crazy, Stupid Love” and the upcoming Barbra Streisand-Seth Rogen mother-son comedy “The Guilt Trip.”

Fogelman’s family-friendly material would seem to mesh better with “The Middle,” ABC’s 8 p.m. comedy. Pairing that show with “The Neighbors” would give ABC the opportunity to promote a more kid-friendly hour than the typical network fare.

We Hope Not Dept: Another Cherished TV Series Stepping into Film Oblivion?

Hey, we love Denzel, but Edward Woodward he ain’t. Damn.

1980s CBS Crime Drama Heads to Big Screen With Denzel Washington in Lead Role Deadline (ripped – not ripped off – from TVBizwire

Two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington will receive $20 million to play a character based on the CBS crime drama “The Equalizer,” reports Deadline.com.

The series ran on CBS from 1985-89 with Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, a former British operative who became a Robin Hood type trouble-shooter in New York City. The show was created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim.

The Denzel Washington film will be tailored to his persona. His “Equalizer” will be a solitary man who lives a monastic lifestyle but helps those who have been victimized. The project is seen as the first in what is designed to be a series of “Equalizer” films starring Washington.

The film is set to start production in April 2013, produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch, Alex Siskin, Mace Neufeld, Michael Sloan and Tony Eldridge.

Actually, the more we think about it, the more we like this idea. We think Denzel will be great in the role. It’s just that, shouldn’t a guy this good – this special – do better for himself and the audience by being somebody new?