A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

DEADLINE: The CW Buys Magical Crime Drama From ‘iZombie’ Quartet

The CW has put in development Criminal Magic, an hourlong drama from iZombiewriter Graham Norris, creator/executive producer Rob Thomas and executive producers Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge.

Written/executive produced by Norris based on the novel A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly, Criminal Magic is described as The Departed-meets-The Vampire Diaries.Set in present-day Los Angeles, it revolves around two warring street gangs who fight the cops and each other to corner the market on the most lucrative contraband of all: magic. A young woman hiding spectacular magical powers and an undercover cop must try to survive this glamorous world of speakeasies, crime and danger. Thomas executive produces via his Spondoolie Productions alongside frequent collaborators Stokdyk and Etheridge. Warner Bros. TV, where Thomas is under an overall deal, is the studio.

This is the third development collaboration between Norris, who started as an actor, and Thomas. Last season, Norris co-wrote and Thomas executive produced utopian drama The Tempest, which also was set up at the CW. And during the 2013-14 development season, Norris wrote and Thomas exec produced a drama inspired by Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables for Fox.

Thomas is the writer/executive producer behind one of the highest-profile projects at the CW this season, a series based on The Lost Boys movie.

Norris is repped by UTA, manager Joe Riley and attorney Eric Feig. Thomas is repped by UTA and attorney Jeanne Newman.

The Loudest Voice In The Room by Gabriel Sherman

DEADLINE: Roger Ailes Limited Series In the Works From Tom McCarthy & Blumhouse Based On Gabriel Sherman Reporting

Roger Ailes is getting the Spotlight treatment. The recently ousted Fox News topper will be the subject of a limited series from Oscar-winning Spotlight co-writer/director Tom McCarthy, Blumhouse Television (Emmy-winning The Jinx, The Normal Heart) and journalists Gabriel Sherman and Jennifer Stahl.

The series will be based on Sherman’s reporting on Ailes in the bestselling book The Loudest Voice In The Room and New York magazine where Sherman is National Affairs Editor. The announcement was made today at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit.

McCarthy will executive produce and shepherd the series, giving it instant cred as he recently spearheaded the Oscar-winning journalism investigation movie Spotlight. Sherman and Stahl will write and co-executive produce. Blumhouse will serve as the studio, financing and producing the series.

Husband and wife Sherman and Stahl collaborated on The Loudest Voice In The Room. Sherman then extensively covered the sexual harassment allegations against Ailes this past summer that led to his abrupt departure from Fox News.

Sherman drew national attention with his string of exclusive stories on Ailes detailing an alleged long history of sexual abuse and harassment and chronicling the events that led to Ailes’ dismissal. His coverage was so damning, Ailes hired a label lawyer who requested that New York magazine and Sherman preserve all documents pertaining to Ailes, a not-so-subtle threat of possible legal action.

“Anthony Hopkins in the Hitchcock Film was a spitting image,” Sherman said today when asked who should play Ailes, while also floating John Goodman as a possibility.

This is the first source material Blumhouse Television has acquired under co-presidents Jeremy Gold and Marci Wiseman, who recently joined the company to expand it into new business and creative areas alongside Jessica Rhoades, the longtime Head of Programming & Development. It also represents the first scripted series the company will finance as an independent studio.

Blumhouse TV’s slate includes the upcoming Sharp Objects on HBO starring Amy Adams and unscripted Hellevator on GSN.

McCarthy is repped by Gersh and Andrew Hurwitz. Sherman and Stahl are repped by Gail Ross and Jody Hotchkiss.


First Women by Kate Andersen Brower

DEADLINE: Reese Witherspoon, Robin Wright & ‘Spotlight’ Producer Team For First Ladies TV Series Based On ‘First Women’ Book

Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard and Spotlight producer Anonymous Content are teaming to produce a timely TV series based on Kate Andersen Brower’s bestseller First Women: The Grace & Power Of America’s Modern First Ladies. It will be directed and executive produced Robin Wright, who plays a First Lady on TV on Netflix’s House Of Cards.

The book, published April 12 by HarperCollins, is described as an intimate, news-making look at the true modern power brokers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: the First Ladies, from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama. Wright, who won a Golden Globe for her role as FLOTUS Claire Underwood on House Of Cards, is attached to direct the pilot. She executive produces, along with Pacific Standard’s Witherspoon, Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar, and Bruna Papandrea. Anonymous Content’s Ashley Zalta and Doreen Wilcox-Little are co-executive producers.

A former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, is now the Democratic nominee with a shot at becoming the first female U.S. President.

First Women author Brower is a former White House reporter for Bloomberg News who covered the Obama administration, as well as a former CBS News staffer and producer for Fox News.

First Women: The Grace And Power Of America’s Modern First Ladies’ paperback edition will be published by Harper Perennial on January 24, 2017. Brower was repped in the deal by the Ross Yoon Agency and Hotchkiss & Associates.

Snapshot 1988 by Joe Hill

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Universal Nabs Joe Hill's Horror Novella 'Snapshot 1988' (Exclusive)

The story, set in 1988, centers on a 13-year old boy who ends up taking care of his elderly former housekeeper.

The Stranger Things ripple effect has begun.

In a competitive situation, Universal has won the rights to Snapshot 1988, a novella by Joe Hill. Ouija 2: Origin of Evil director Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard, , who co-wrote Ouija: Origin of Evil and Before I Wake with Flanagan, are in talks to write.

Akiva Goldsman's Weed Road and Jason Blum's Blumhouse, the banner behind the studio’s recent release Purge: Election Year, are attached to produce. Greg Lessans will executive produce.

Hill’s novella hit the town earlier in the week and quickly generated buzz for its Stranger Things tone and 1980s Amblin movie vibe. Sources say Universal beat out Fox, which was bidding for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves and his 6th and Idaho production banner.


The story, set in 1988, centers on a 13-year old boy who ends up taking care of his elderly former housekeeper whom he thinks is succumbing to dementia. What he doesn’t know is that her memories are not being lost but stolen by an evil man named The Phoenician who uses a camera that steals memories. The story will be published in a four novella collection from William Morrow in the Spring of 2018.

The timing for an 1980s-themed teen adventure couldn’t be better. The series Stranger Things, which was released by Netflix, became a summer sensation because it channeled the movies of that era such as E.T. and The Thing. It also owed a huge debt to the works of Stephen King.

It is only fitting that the first project that has execs talking Stranger Things then is written by his son, Hill. Hill is the author of Horns, which was adapted into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, and The Fireman.

Flanagan is known for his work in horror, most recently writing and directing this year’s Ouija: Origin of Evil, which Universal will release on Oct. 21. He also directed Netflix’s Hush, and Before I Wake and Oculus for Relativity. He’s repped by WME. Howard is repped by APA and Untitled, and attorney Joel Vanderkloot of Nelson Davis reps both Howard and Flanagan.

The deal was negotiated by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of The Choate Agency.

Black Flags by Joby Warrick

DEADLINE: ‘Black Flags’ Miniseries About Rise Of ISIS From Bradley Cooper & Todd Phillips In Works At HBO

EXCLUSIVE: Black Flags: The Rise Of ISIS, the 2016 Pulitzer-winning nonfiction book by Joby Warrick, is headed to the small screen. HBO has put in development a miniseries being developed by Bradley Cooper, who executive produces with with Todd Phillips via the duo’s Joint Effort production banner. Bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X, Wolverine) is writing the adaptation and executive producing. Helmer Tim Van Patten (Game Of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire) executive produces and will direct.

Black Flags tells the story of the rise of ISIS, from its origins in a remote Jordanian prison to its stunning success in Syria. The book tracks the group’s unlikely roots and transformation into the world’s most feared terrorist organization — as well as the small band of American and international agents tasked with shutting it down.

After reading Black Flags, Cooper immediately envisioned it as a limited series and sought out Warrick. He and Phillips then traveled to Warrick’s hometown to meet with him. The duo pitched the idea for the mini and discussed collaborating on the project.

Black Flags could not be more timely as the threat of ISIS continues to grow with deadly attacks across multiple continents, including a string of tragedies in the heart of Europe.

Cooper and Phillips merged their Warner Bros.-based production companies into what became Joint Effort in 2014. The company’s first movie release, War Dogs, comes out August 19.

Cooper and Phillips are repped by CAA. Phillips also is repped by attorney Warren Dern. Warrick was repped in the deal by the Ross Yoon Agency and Hotchkiss & Associates.

The Long Road Home by Martha Raddatz

DEADLINE: Nat Geo Greenlights ‘The Long Road Home’ Event Series Based On Martha Raddatz Book

National Geographic Channel has greenlit The Long Road Home scripted miniseries, based on Martha Raddatz’s New York Times bestseller. It was announced today ahead of Nat Geo’s session at TCA.

The eight-hour event series is executive produced by Mike Medavoy, Jason Clark, Benjamin Anderson and Edward McGurn. The 33 screenwriter Mikko Alanne is penning the adaptation and also executive producing. Production will begin in early 2017 for a premiere later in the year.

First announced as a development project in November, The Long Road Home will relive a heroic fight for survival during the Iraq War when the First Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, was ferociously ambushed on April 4, 2004, in Sadr City, Baghdad — a day that came to be known in military annals as “Black Sunday.”

The event series will cut between the soldiers on the ground and the homefront in Texas, where their wives and families await news for 48 hellish hours, expecting the worst. The incident, which took place 11 months after President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech, changed the American military’s view of Iraq from a peacekeeping mission to a fight against domestic insurgents.

“With The Long Road Home, we’re going to tell the inspiring story of the selfless heroism and bravery of U.S. soldiers in extraordinary and terrifying circumstances. We’re also going to shine a light on the sisterhood formed by their wives on the homefront as they rally around each other awaiting news of their husbands’ fates,” said National Geographic Channel executive vice president and head of global scripted programming and development Carolyn Bernstein. “We are so pleased to partner with Mike Medavoy, a producer with a remarkable list of credits, including some of cinema’s most iconic military dramas, along with Jason Clark, president of Seth MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door Productions, and Mikko Alanne to bring the universal and timeless story of these courageous warriors and their equally courageous wives to Nat Geo.”

Alanne is repped by CAA and Media Talent Group. Mike Medavoy, Benjamin Anderson and Edward McGurn are with Gang Tyre Ramer Brown. Jason Clark is repped by Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.

Finding Chandra by Scott Higham and Sari Horowitz

DEADLINE Chandra Levy Limited Series From Lawrence Kasdan In Works At TNT

EXCLUSIVE: The Chandra Levy case, which is back in the headlines this week, is the subject of a limited series in development at TNT. The project, executive produced by Lawrence Kasdan (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), is co-produced by Sony Pictures TV and Turner.

Keith Huff (American Crime, House of Cards) is writing the script based on the book Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery by Scott Higham and Sari Horowitz. Kasdan and Huff executive produce with Judith Verno and Diane Sokolow. Kasdan may direct subject to availability.

Levy was 24 and an intern with the Federal Bureau of Prisons when she went missing in May 2001. Her disappearance became a media sensation after she was romantically linked to Congressman Gary Condit. The missing person case became a murder investigation when Levy’s remains were found in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park the following year. Police acknowledged the Democratic congressman from California was at one point a prime suspect, but he was eventually cleared in her death.

The case went cold for six years. In 2007, two Pulitzer Prize reporters for The Washington Post, Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz, were assigned with revisiting the murder.

In a series of 13 articles, that became the basis for Finding Chandra, the two explored the bungled police efforts to catch a killer, the twisted culture of politics, the dark nature of political scandal, and the agony of parents waiting for answers. They focused their attention on an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, a young man in the clutches of alcohol, drugs, and violence who had been assaulting female joggers in the area where Levy’s body was found.

That man, Ingmar Guandique, was charged and sentenced to 60 years in prison after being convicted of Levy’s murder in 2010. He was granted a new trial last year after his lawyers said a key witness lied to the jury. Then yesterday, federal prosecutors made the shocking announcemnt that they were dropping charges against Guandique, sending the case back to square one.

Revisiting famous crimes in a limited series form has become a hot genre in light of the recent success of FX’s American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson.

Kasdan and Huff are repped by CAA.


The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

DEADLINE: Sean Penn In Early Talks To Join Mel Gibson In ‘Professor And The Madman’

Sean Penn is in early talks to board Mel Gibson’s long-gestating Professor and the Madman, an adaptation of Simon Winchester’s bestseller about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. Gibson has been working to adapt the book for the best part of two decades. Voltage Pictures has come on-board to finance and sell. Gibson’s Apocalypto writer Farhad Safinia, who also penned the script, will direct. Bruce Davey, Gibson’s longtime partner at Icon, is producing.

Although he’s no longer directing. Gibson will play 19th century professor James Murray, who started to compile the Oxford English Dictionary. Penn will play Dr. W.C. Minor, who contributed thousands of entries to the hugely ambitious literary project but also was an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

Gibson is on his way to an image rehabilitation. His buzzy World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge debuts this fall, starring Andrew Garfield as American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa and became the first Conscientious Objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Gibson also stars in the pulpy thriller Blood Father, which world premiered at Cannes. He is repped by Rick Nicita.

Penn remains one of America’s most respected and celebrated character actor-cum-leading men, even if his latest directorial effort The Last Face endured a critical beatdown following its Cannes premiere. He is repped by CAA.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

DEADLINE: ‘Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy To Direct & Produce Selena Gomez’s Netflix Series ‘13 Reasons Why’ From Paramount TV

In his follow-up to his Oscar-nominated feature Spotlight, helmer Tom McCarthy is set to direct the first two episodes of Selena Gomez’s Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, from Anonymous Content and Paramount TV. McCarthy also will executive produce the 13-episode series, based on the 2007 New York Times bestselling YA book by Jay Asher.

Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Brian Yorkey created and wrote the TV series adaptation, which follows a boy named Clay through an emotional night when he receives a shoe box of cassette tapes from his late classmate and crush Hannah, after she recently committed suicide. On the tapes, which are mailed with instructions to pass along from one student to another, Hannah explains to 12 peers how they each played a role in her death, by giving 13 reasons explaining why she took her life.

McCarthy and Gomez, who is currently not attached to act, executive produce alongside Yorkey and Anonymous Content’s Joy Gorman, Michael Sugar and Steve Golin, as well as Mandy Teefey and producer Kristel Laiblin who, along with Gomez, originally found the book and brought it to Anonymous Content for a screen adaptation.

Golin, who was a producer on Spotlight, brought the project to McCarthy. Yorkey also has ties with McCarthy. The two have been developing a musical adaptation of The Visitor for Broadway, based on McCarthy’s feature about a widower who befriends a Syrian immigrant in post-9/11 New York City.

McCarthy’s most recent film Spotlight, which he co-wrote with Josh Singer, was nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay (for McCarthy and Singer). The film, which was released in the U.S. by Open Road Films, has been one of this awards season’s top contenders, winning for best original screenplay at the BAFTAs and best ensemble at the SAG Awards and receiving a number of  critics groups’ best picture of the year honors.

McCarthy, who began his career as an actor, segued to filmmaking with his critically acclaimed first feature, 2003’s The Station Agent, which won the Audience Award and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival, BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay and two Independent Spirit Awards.

He is repped by Gersh. Gomez is repped by WME and Lighthouse Management and Media

Wolf Boys by Dan Slater

VARIETY: TriStar Lands Cartel Book ‘Wolf Boys’; Antoine Fuqua Attached to Direct

Following a competitive auction, TriStar Pictures has won the rights to the Mexican cartel book “Wolf Boys” with Antoine Fuqua attached to direct and produce.

Written by Dan Slater, the book follows two American teens recruited as killers for a Mexican cartel, and their pursuit by a Mexican-American detective who realizes the War on Drugs is unwinnable.

Insiders have described the book as “Goodfellas” in the Mexican cartel landscape. Given the sudden interest in cartels following the arrest of drug kingpin El Chapo, the book was in high demand after coming on the market last week.

Fuqua’s deal is still be worked out but the choice seems spot-on since his credits include “Training Day” and “The Equalizer.”

The book will be released by Simon & Schuster later this year.

Fuqua is in post-production on “The Magnificent Seven” starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.

He is repped by CAA.


Lawyer-turned-journalist Dan Slater's WOLF BOYS, a narrative account of Mexico's drug cartels, told through the stories of several teenage operatives and the homicide detective in pursuit of them, to Tristar Pictures with Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY, THE EQUALIZER) attached to direct, by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Farley Chase at Chase Literary Agency.

The Fireman by Joe Hill

Deadline: Fox Ignites Deal For Joe Hill Novel ‘The Fireman’; Louis Leterrier Attached To Direct

EXCLUSIVE: Fox has acquired Joe Hill’s forthcoming novel The Fireman, and has attached Louis Leterrier to direct. He’s the Transporter helmer who last directed Now You See Me. It would be easy to call this a hot package, about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that will reduce civilization to ashes unless it can be stopped by an improbable group of heroes led by an enigmatic man known as The Fireman. It’s no simple blaze: the condition starts as an inky stripe on a bodypart, looking like a tattoo. It’s a highly contagious deadly spore that eventually causes the sufferer to burst into flames. Millions are infected; among them is a nurse who treated numerous sufferers until they eventually perished, with the hospital burned to the ground. Pregnant, she finds herself infected with the spore. Knowing infected mothers have birthed healthy babies, she too is in a race against time. The book will be published May 17 by William Morrow. Temple Hill partners Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen are producing.

Hill just made a deal at AMC to develop a supernatural series based on his bestselling novel NOS4A2. His fantasy thriller Horns was made into a 2014 feature directed by Alex Aja that starred Daniel Radcliffe. Heart Shaped Box, bought originally by Warner Bros for producer Akiva Goldsman and writer/director Neil Jordan, is currently being redeveloped at Warner Bros. by Langley Park Productions. Hill’s supernatural comic series Locke & Key was first developed for TV, landing a pilot order at Fox, and then as a feature at Universal. It is currently being eyed again as a TV series. Last season, Hill wrote and executive produced Tales From The Darkside, a remake of the 1980s fantasy/horror anthology series, which was piloted by the CW.

Steve Asbell is the exec at Fox. Hill was repped in the deal by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of The Choate Agency. Leterrier is repped by CAA and Management 360.

Pirates of Somalia by Jay Bahadur

DEADLINE: Bryan Buckley To Direct ‘Where The White Man Runs Away’ With ‘X-Men’s’ Evan Peters To Star

EXCLUSIVE: Commercial director Bryan Buckley, whose feature film debut The Bronze was the opening film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was bought by Relativity for $3M, will next direct a biographical comedy-drama based on a story in the New York Times‘ bestseller The Pirates Of Somalia from Jay Bahadur. The feature, titled Where The White Man Runs Away, will star American Horror Story‘s and X-Men‘s Evan Peters.

The Bronze was supposed to be released this month before Relativity’s financial mess pushed it back. Before the company filed bankruptcy, Sony Pictures Classics picked it up, terminating Relativity’s rights, thereby removing the film from the company’s assets before it filed for Chapter 11. It has yet to be slated for release.

Where The White Man Runs Away, which was also adapted by Buckley, tells the story of rookie Canadian journalist Bahadur, who in 2008 formed a half-baked plan to embed himself among the pirates of Somalia. He ultimately succeeded in providing the first close-up look into who these men are, how they live, and the forces that drive them. Bahadur famously interviewed the pirate that hijacked the Maersk Alabama before he took the ship, which was the subject of the Tom Hanks-starring film Captain Phillips.

Production begins this winter in South Africa with Hungry Man (Asad), BCDF Pictures, (The Outskirts) and Kalahari Film & Media (District 9) producing. Jane Rosenthal (Meet The Parents) will executive produce.

Before directing and executive producing The Bronze, Buckley was nominated for an Oscar for his short film Asad which also chronicles life in war-torn Somalia.

Buckley is also well known for his award-winning commercial work, specifically directing more than 50 spots for the Super Bowl, and his production outfit Hungry Man is one of the world’s largest commercial production companies. Mino Jarjoura and Matt Lefebvre will oversee production for Hungry Man which will produce.

Peters is best known for his work in FX’s American Horror Story. He currently portrays Mr. March in the fifth season, American Horror Story: Hotel. He will next be seen reprising his role as Quicksilver in X-Men: Apocalypse which will be released May 27, 2016. Earlier this year, Peters wrapped production on Elvis And Nixon alongside Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon. Peters’ other film credits include Kick-Ass.

BCDF Pictures is also producing YA classic Stargirl this winter with Catherine Hardwicke directing and Joey King and Charlie Plummer starring. BCDF has high school comedy The Outskirts scheduled for wide release this winter. Its other upcoming projects include Peter Hutchings’ Arrivals with Asa Butterfield, Maisie Williams and Nina Dobrev.

Peters is repped by CAA, Relevant, and Ziffren Brittenham. Buckley is with WME, Untitled, and Bloom Hergott. BCDF is repped by Sheri Jeffrey at Hogan Lovells. Bahadur was repped in the deal by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Rick Broadhead and Associates.

Wizard of Lies by Diana Henriques

Deadline: HBO’s ‘Wizard Of Lies’ Madoff Movie A Go With Michelle Pfeiffer, Alessandro Nivola Joining Robert De Niro; Barry Levinson To Direct

HBO Films’ long-gestating Bernie Madoff movie, starring Robert De Niro as thedisgraced financier, is going ahead with a lead cast and a director. Joining De Niro, who plays Madoff, are Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife, Ruth Madoff, and Alessandro Nivola as Madoff’s older son Mark Madoff, who committed suicide. Barry Levinson, who directed the HBO Films movie about another controversial figure, You Don’t Know Jack, starring Al Pacino as Jack Kevorkian, is set to direct. He executive produces with Tribeca Prods’s De Niro and Jane Rosenthal as well as Berry Welsh. Jason Sosnoff is a co-executive producer.

Based on the book Wizard of Lies by Diana Henriques, with Truth and Consequences by Laurie Sandell as additional source material, Wizard of Lies is described as a look behind the scenes at Bernie Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, how it was perpetrated on the public and the trail of destruction it left in its wake, both for the victims and Madoff’s family.

The film, which tells the story of the imprisoned swindler and the $65 billion Ponzi scheme he concocted, had been in the works at HBO since 2011, when the network optioned Henriques’ book, attached De Niro to play Madoff and hired John Burnham Schwartz to write the script. A year later, HBO brought in a new writer, Sam Baum, and acquired Sandell’s book. There has been a third writer taking a stab at the script since, with Sam Levinson creditedas a writer on the movie alongside Baum and Schwartz.

Pfeiffer and Nivola are repped by Management 360 and CAA.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

DEADLINE: Caitlin Doughty’s ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ In Works At Paramount TV 

Paramount TV and Anonymous Content are developing Caitlin Doughty’s bestselling memoir Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons From The Crematory as a pilot and potential series, with Nurse Jackie co-creator Evan Dunsky attached as writer and showrunner. Anonymous Content’s Kerry Kohansky-Roberts, Rosalie Swedlin and Alex Goldstone will serve as executive producers, and Doughty will serve as a consulting producer.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes takes a behind-the-scenes look at Caitlin Doughty, a twentysomething mortician with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre who takes a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters — both living and very dead — Caitlin learns to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).

“Caitlin is one of the most original literary voices of our day, and we take great pride in collaborating with her to create a show that explores her unique perspective on death with the same humorous and engaging style that defines her memoir,” said Amy Powell, President of Paramount Television. “We are also thrilled to be partnering with Evan and Anonymous Content on this project. Evan is an enormous talent, and it was clear from the moment he met Caitlin they were kindred spirits who share the same vision and passion for bringing this book to television.”

Said Anonymous Content’s Kerry Kohansky-Roberts: “Caitlin’s honest, self-effacing humor had us hooked. We knew after the first read that we wanted to be involved in bringing her fascinating journey to television, and have found the perfect partners in Evan and Paramount.”

Doughty, a licensed funeral director in Los Angeles, is the host and creator of web series Ask A Mortician and the collective Order of the Good Death. She’s repped  by Anna Sproul-Latimer of the Ross Yoon Agency and Jody Hotchkiss of Hotchkiss & Associates. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory is published by W.W. Norton & Company.


The Dukes of Oxy by Guy Lawson

DEADLINE New Line Acquires Rolling Stone True Crime Saga ‘Dukes Of Oxy'; Michael De Luca, Ansel Elgort Attached

EXCLUSIVE: In what will be his first collaboration at New Line in a very long time, Michael De Luca is at the center of a deal for Dukes Of Oxy, an article in the April 23 issue of Rolling Stone about a pair of teen high school wrestlers from Florida who built a multimillion-dollar business smuggling OxyContin and other painkillers. The deal is coming together quickly for De Luca to produce the film with Ansel Elgort and Emily Gerson Saines (Temple Grandin). The hope is for Elgort, whose star launched with The Fault In Their Stars, to play one of the two drug dealers.

The Rolling Stone article was written by Guy Lawson, who also wrote the article that became the basis for Arms And The Dudes, the drama Todd Phillips is directing right now at Warner Bros with Miles Teller and Jonah Hill starring as two guys who got a government contract to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan.

For De Luca, this is the first major project for him to produce at New Line since he left the company after a storied run as production president who championed such films as Boogie Nights, Se7en, Rush Hour, Austin Powers and others. It’s the first project he has aligned without outside Universal Pictures since he left his post as president of production at Sony to make a Universal producing deal that returned him to the Fifty Shades Of Grey franchise. New Line chief Toby Emmerich was in the middle of this with Richard Brener. Both of them came up with De Luca at New Line.

Dukes Of Oxy is in its own way reminiscent of crime sagas like Goodfellas and The Wolf Of Wall Street, only here, the kingpins are impossibly young to have gone as far as they did before finally getting caught. Doug Dodd stumbled into this business with his best friend and wrestling partner Lance Barabas, who also became known as the Little General for his diminutive size and his determination to become a character out of Scarface. They began trafficking and figured things out along the way. Like sending pain pills in vitamin bottles and getting the money returned in stuffed teddy bears that had been hollowed out and filled with cash. When one of the guys got pulled over with drugs, they each faked back injuries so they got painkiller prescriptions so that if they were caught again, it would appear they had done nothing wrong. Mostly, they got into the game of transporting pain pills across the South while law enforcement focused on more serious drugs, and they made a fortune.

The plan is for Elgort to play Dodd, the more rational member of the team. Early on, Dodd turned to a relative who’d done time for dealing drugs and was given a handy set of rules that included not talking on the phone, not dealing with anybody they didn’t know, not using guns and cutting ties with anyone under state or federal investigation. As their empire grew, and they spent much time getting high on their own supply, the duo broke every one of these rules and eventually got caught when law enforcement began to crack down on the runaway problem of a black market for painkillers.

The deal was brokered by Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Lawson. Elgort is repped by CAA and Brookside Artist Management.

The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower

DEADLINE: Fox 21 TV Studios Lands White House Book ‘The Residence’ For Cable Drama Produced By Kevin Spacey & Megyn Kelly

In a very competitive bidding situation, Fox 21 Television Studios has optioned the book The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower about the relationship between the White House residence staff and the various First Families spanning several administrations.

The non-fiction book will be developed as a cable drama executive produced by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti of Trigger Street. In her first foray into scripted TV producing, Fox News Anchor Megyn Kellyis attached as a co-executive producer. Andersen Brower, who covered President Obama’s first term for Bloomberg News and also worked as a CBS News staffer and Fox News producer, is attached as a technical consultant.

In the vein of hit British drama Downton Abbey, The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, which is expected to debut at No.1 on the New York Times bestseller list this Sunday after selling out on Amazon, recounts some intimate upstairs/downstairs details from the staff in The White House through several administrations. That includes the Kennedys’ chic fashion-forward parties, Lyndon Johnson’s bizzare obsession with increasing shower pressure in the bathroom, Nancy Reagan keeping the pastry chef up all night to create a perfect dessert, George W. Bush playing horseshoes out back with the help, Hilary Clinton throwing a book at Bill in their bedroom during the Monica Lewinsky controversy, and the Obamas dancing to Mary J. Blige on their first night in the White House.

“This isn’t your typical portraiture of America’s first family, in fact it’s quite the opposite,” Brunetti said. “This is a compelling narrative about the men and women who make the White House run every day. There are so many interesting and wonderful stories to tell that are grounded and relatable, I think this will translate into a truly wonderful show.”

Spacey and Brunetti know a thing or two about cable dramas set in the White House as executive producers of hit Netflix series House of Cards, in which Spacey plays the U.S. president. The two quickly identified Residence and pitched the book to Fox 21 TV Studios president Bert Salke. “It was mind blowing and there were multiple bidders for the project,” Salke said. “The pages were absolutely compelling — there was an incredible scope that took you behind the scenes of history with the ordinary and extraordinary people who make it.”

A search for a writer for the project is underway, and it is expected to be shopped to cable networks shortly.

Trigger Street’s credits also include features Captain Phillips and The Social Network, HBO movie Recount and the Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh. The company is repped by CAA.  The book deal was brokered by Howard Yoon of Ross Yoon Agency along with Hotchkiss and Associates.

The Reluctant Psychic by Suzan Saxman and Perdita Finn

THE NEW YORK POST: Shonda Rhimes in deal with ‘Reluctant Psychic’

ABC Studios and Shonda Rhimes’ production company have picked up the rights to New York psychic Suzan Saxman’s memoir “The Reluctant Psychic” for a potential TV series.

Saxman, 53, — who grew up in Staten Island and now lives in Woodstock, NY — claims she has seen the spirits of the dead since she was a child. Though she initially tried to ignore her calling, she has since embraced her premonitions and does readings out of her upstate shop, The White Gryphon.

Her book, which was published in January by St. Martin’s Press and was featured in The Post tells the story of her journey as she tries to make sense of her family’s buried secrets and the readings of others’ destinies.

An ABC spokesperson confirmed the project is in the early stages of development with ShondaLand producing. Though Rhimes currently has three successful shows on ABC — “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” — the “Psychic” project is being developed at ABC Signature Studios, which sells programs to cable networks and alternative media platforms.

Saxman will not be involved in the TV projec

Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser

DEADLINE: ‘Fancy Nancy’ Books To Be Developed As Animated TV Movie & Series By Disney Jr.

By Denise Petski

Disney Junior has optioned Fancy Nancy, the New York Times best-selling book series by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, to develop as an original animated TV movie and series for premiere in 2017. Also included is a licensing deal with Disney Consumer Products for related role-play items and other consumer products. In addition, the books’ publisher HarperCollins and Disney Publishing will collaborate on future books based on the television series.

The stories, geared toward kids ages 2-7, have an underlying theme of self-expression and love of family as they follow the adventures of a girl who likes to be fancy in everything from her creative, elaborate attire to her advanced vocabulary.

“Children have been captivated by Fancy Nancy’s wit and irrepressible spirit for a decade, and we are very eager to give her an even bigger stage on which to perform,” said Nancy Kanter, EVP Original Programming and General Manager at Disney Junior Worldwide.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Disney Junior to bring Fancy Nancy to the small screen and to the next generation of fans,” said Susan Katz, President and Publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books. “As we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of this best-selling series, it’s exciting to see our beloved character making her TV debut.”

Fancy Nancy, which includes 60-plus titles, has sold more than 28 million books and been translated into 20 languages. Fancy Nancy was named 2008’s Book Character of the Year by Global License. The series has received two Toy Industry Association’s Toy of the Year Award nominations, two LIMA International Licensing Excellence Award nominations and was named the Best Character Brand Program of the Year in 2009.

The deal was made on behalf of Harper Collins by Hotchkiss and Associates.

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas

VARIETY: ‘Confessions of an Imaginary Friend’ Movie in the Works at Fox

By Dave McNary

Fox Animation is developing “Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: A Memoir by Jacques Papier,” acquiring movie rights for Michelle Cuevas’ upcoming book, Variety has learned exclusively.

“Confessions,” which will be published by Dial Books for Young Readers in September, is the whimsical autobiography of an imaginary friend who doesn’t know he’s imaginary.

In the narrative, Jacques Papier has the sneaking suspicion that everyone except his sister Fleur hates him since teachers ignore him when his hand is raised in class, he’s never chosen for sports teams, and his parents often need to be reminded to set a place for him at the dinner table. He’s shocked when he finally learns that he’s Fleur’s imaginary friend and convinces Fleur to set him free.

Elizabeth Reddy is overseeing “Confessions” for Fox.

Cuevas is also the co-author of “The Masterwork of a Painting Elephant” and “Beyond the Laughing Sky.”

The deal was completed by Sean Daily of Hotchkiss and Associates with Emily Van Beek of Folio Literary Management.

My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

DEADLINE ‘My Heart And Other Black Holes’ Movie: Paramount Books Suicide-Themed YA Novel

By Mike Fleming Jr and Patrick Hipes

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has closed a deal for movie rights to first-time author Jasmine Warga’s young-adult novel My Heart And Other Black Holes with Anonymous Content attached to produce. The book was published February 15 by HarperCollins’ Balzer + Bray imprint and has been sold for publication already in 17 countries.

My Heart And Other Black Holes 2The story centers on a pair of teenagers, Aysel Seran and Roman Franklin, who meet through an online site matching up suicide partners (these groups actually exist) to help ensure each partner will not back out of their own suicide. In a twist on Romeo and Juliet, they become more and more intimate through the 26-day countdown to their date until one question hangs between them: Will they live or will they die?

Warga is a 26-year-old Jordanian American from Cincinnati who wrote the novel after the death of a close friend to give voice to feelings of depression and isolation. “Aysel was a vessel for me to tackle questions about the demon of depression, grief, and the ultimate saving power of love and human connection,” the first-time writer told Interview magazine just before the book hit stands.

Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar and Ashley Zalta will produce the movie, and Paramount’s Peter Kang is the creative executive on the project. It joins other YA projects in development there including an adaptation of Fault In Our Stars author John Green’s first book Looking For Alaska, with Fault In Our Stars scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber on board to adapt.

This is the first deal unveiled since Marc Evans was named the studio’s new Motion Picture Group president this week after Adam Goodman departed at the end of last month.

The Heart pact was made by Hotchkiss and Associates with Brenda Bowen at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.