Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Oscar nominated director David O. Russell (“American Hustle” and “Silver Linings Playbook”) has received a straight to series 13-episode order from ABC for his newest drama project, “an upstairs/downstairs soap set at a private country club,” which will be co-produced by ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios.
Per the website, Russell and writer Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”) co-wrote the story, with Grant writing the teleplay. The duo are set to executive produce alongside Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly.
This marks Russell’s first TV series project.
While it doesn’t come as much of a surprise, Deadline Hollywood is reporting that ABC is renewing its commitment to “General Hospital” for the upcoming 2014-15 television season. The “GH” renewal follows the recent two-year “Days of our Lives” renewal by NBC, which was announced today, and last week’s renewal of “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless” by CBS.
Historically, as the network owns “GH” outright, ABC won’t necessarily make an “official” announcement as CBS and NBC have for their daytime soaps.
As previously reported, CBS’ “The Bold and the Beautiful” announced a new partnership with Pan Macmillan and its digital-first imprint, Momentum, in which the publishing company will release a series of novellas surrounding several characters from the daytime soap opera. Today, it was announced that the first two of eight novellas will go on sale on Tuesday, January 28. An e-book version of each will be released worldwide. In Australia, paperback print copies will be available at the same time as the digital release.
“Love stories that have yet to be seen on television can now fully ignite between the covers of these novellas,” said “B&B” executive producer and head writer, Bradley P. Bell in announcing the deal last month. “This partnership with Pan Macmillan and Momentum expands the choices our fans have to be entertained by the signature characters of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.’”
After much anticipation, NBC announced today that it has renewed “Days of our Lives” through the 2015-16 television season. The renewal ensures the soap will celebrate its 50th year on television. The series debuted on November 8, 1965.
“‘Days of our Lives’ continues to be a fan favorite for the daytime audience and we are thrilled to keep it going through its 50th season,” said Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment. “‘DAYS’ has shown year-to-year increases in key female demographics and remains both relevant and fresh creatively due to the hard work of the producers, writers, cast and crew who have worked tirelessly to make ‘DAYS’ the ratings success it is today.
Best known for his portrayal of Joey Buchanan on ABC’s “One Life to Live” in the 1990′s, actor Chris L. McKenna is heading to CBS’ “The Young and the Restless.” The actor first noted his joining the series in a tweet to his followers on Friday, January 17, which said, “It appears I’ll be making a bit of a return to soaps. At least for a few episodes.”
Per a rep for the daytime drama series, who confirms the actor’s joining, McKenna will be portraying the recurring role of Mark Harding and begins filming his scenes tomorrow, January 22 with a first airdate set for Monday, February 17.
“He’ll appear during an exciting event that will bring several Genoa City residents together,” says the rep.
According to Deadline Hollywood, former “Days of our Lives” star Mark Hapka (ex-Nathan Horton) has joined the cast of the FOX Digital Studio original sci-fi series, “Parallels.”
Per the website, Hapka will portray Ronan Carver, a street-smart underground MMA fighter who has been estranged from his family since age 16 only to be forced to confront his past in an adventure through parallel universes. Also cast in the series are Jessica Rothe (“Gossip Girl”), Eric Jungmann (“Night Stalker”), Constance Wu (“One Life to Live”), Yorgo Constantine (“24″) and Michael Monks.
“Parallels” hails from the mind of writer/director Christopher Leone with Laura Harcom set to produce.
“Days of our Lives” star Alison Sweeney will announce on the Tuesday, January 21 edition of “The Ellen Show” that she will be departing the NBC Daytime drama series after portraying the role of Samantha “Sami” Brady for 21 consecutive years. Sweeney’s contract is set to expire in December 2014, according to published reports.
“I decided that it’s going to be my last year with the show,” said an emotional Sweeney to host Ellen DeGeneres on her future at “DAYS.” Sweeney added, “I’ve been on ‘Days of our Lives’ since I was 16 years old and I have never had more than a two-week vacation in that whole time. I mean, it’s so awesome. I love Sami, I love Salem, I love my job. I love daytime, I love the fans, I love everything about it.”
As previously reported, the annual “General Hospital” Fan Club weekend will take place from Thursday, July 31 through Monday, August 4 at the Sportmen’s Lodge Hotel and Events Center in Studio City, CA. Tickets for the Kick Off Cocktail Party, Main Cast and Blast from the Past – Part II events went on sale last week Monday.
Recently, the fan club announced additional events for several “GH” stars including mainstays Rebecca Herbst, Lisa LoCicero, Tyler Christopher, Laura Wright, Kelly Moncao, Kirsten Storms, Jason Thompson and Dominic Zamprogna. Joining the actors this year with their own events will be Michael Easton, Ryan Paevey, Kathleen Gati, and even the return of Karaoke night, now hosted by Sean Blakemore, Marc Anthony Samuel and Parry Shen.
Hot on the heels of her starring role in “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas,” “The Haves and the Have Nots” and “One Life to Live” actress Tika Sumpter along with actors Kevin Hart and Ice Cube is set to take the weekend box office with their new film “Ride Along.”
With an estimated $48.1 million four-day holiday weekend haul, the Universal Pictures movie about a fast-talking security guard named Ben (Hart), who joins his cop soon-to-be brother-in-law James (Cube) on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying Angela (Sumpter), James’ sister, is set to shatter January box office records, reports Deadline Hollywood.
According to CBS, “The Good Wife” has emerged as a multi-platform (on air, online and on demand) darling as it gets ready to head into the second half of its fifth season. Per the network, the series has shown double-digit percentage growth in all available television platforms and has emerged as the most-watched television series on the popular Amazon Prime Instant Video service during the fourth quarter.