Bell Media announced today big-ticket acquisitions made for its Entertainment Specialties at the L.A. Screenings last month. Led by the acquisition of THE ROYALS starring Elizabeth Hurley (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me), the nine, exclusive, big-buzz series, further position the suite of channels as must-watch destinations. New comedy series acquired include some of the funniest that screened in L.A.: ANGIE TRIBECA fromSteve and Nancy Carell and starring Rashida Jones; courtroom comedy BENCHED; and from the creators of WILL & GRACE, BUZZY’S, set in a barbershop in a working-class suburb of Boston and starring perennial favourite, George Wendt (CHEERS). Bell Media also secured sensational dramas PROOF, a serialized supernatural drama starring Jennifer Beals (THE L WORD) and Matthew Modine (WEEDS); medical dramas RUSH and COMPLICATIONS; comediesYOUNGER starring Sutton Foster and featuring Hilary Duff; and JENNIFER FALLS starring Jaime Pressly (RAISING HOPE).
“We are confident that the series we acquired in L.A., will continue the tremendous growth we’ve seen across our entertainment specialty brands in the last year,” said Catherine MacLeod, Senior Vice-President, Specialty Channels and Bell Media Production. “Our new dramas, including THE ROYALS, the first original scripted drama for E!, are poised to become water-cooler favourites this year, and our new comedies are hilarious.”
The specialty series come from an impressive pedigreed group of production talent including; Steve and Nancy Carell; Conan O’Brien’s Conaco; BURN NOTICE creator Matt Nix; director Alex Graves (THE WEST WING, GAME OF THRONES); ONE TREE HILL creator Mark Schwahn; producer Mark Gordon (GREY’S ANATOMY, RAY DONOVAN); David Kohan and Max Mutchnick (WILL & GRACE); writer and director Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, 50/50); writer Darren Star (SEX AND THE CITY); and writer Matthew Carlson (MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE).
Each of the new series features an impressive cast including Rashida Jones in ANGIE TRIBECA; Eliza Coupe (HOUSE OF LIES, THE MILLERS) and Jay Harrington in BENCHED; Emmy® Award nominee George Wendt and Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical) in BUZZY’S; Jennifer Beals and Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award nominee Matthew Modine in PROOF; Jason O’Mara (THE GOOD WIFE, VEGAS, TERRA NOVA) and Jessica Szohr (GOSSIP GIRL) in COMPLICATIONS; Tom Ellis (MIRANDA) in RUSH; Sutton Foster (BUNHEADS), Golden Globe® Award nominee Debi Mazar (ENTOURAGE, Goodfellas) and Hilary Duff (A Cinderella Story, GOSSIP GIRL) inYOUNGER; Jaime Pressly (MY NAME IS EARL) in JENNIFER FALLS; and Elizabeth Hurley in THE ROYALS.
Currently, Bell Media’s English entertainment specialty channels reach nearly 2 million Canadians each week, and have five of the Top 10 entertainment and specialty series. Each week, 77% of English entertainment specialty viewers watch Bell Media brands. Success stories include Bravo, which had its most-watched broadcast year to date, with double-digit audience growth in Adults and Women 25-54 and 18-49; Space, a Top 10 specialty network for Adults and Women 25-54 and 18-49, and the #1 specialty network for audience growth among Women 25-54 with strong female-led programming such as BITTEN and ORPHAN BLACK; Comedy, which remains strong, continues to be a Top 5 entertainment specialty among Adults 18-34; and Much, which saw the largest growth of any Entertainment Specialty network among Adults 18-34 and total viewers 12-34.
Bell Media Entertainment Specialties New 2014/15 Acquired Series:
ANGIE TRIBECA (The Comedy Network, Mid-Season, 10 x :30)
ANGIE TRIBECA, a new spoof of police procedurals, is the brainchild of Steve and Nancy Carell. Rashida Jones (PARKS AND RECREATION, THE OFFICE) stars in this single-camera comedy as Angie Tribeca, a 10-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. Her fellow officers in the squad are an eccentric but brilliant group of people who investigate crime, reveal way too much personal information about themselves and refuse to rest until justice has been served…sort of. A spoof in the tradition of The Naked Gun and Airplane!, ANGIE TRIBECA is executive-produced by Steve and Nancy Carell through their Carousel Television, along with Campbell Smith and Thom Hinkle.
BENCHED (The Comedy Network, Mid-Season, 12 x :30)
BENCHED is a single-camera, half-hour, courtroom comedy that focuses on Nina Coupe (Eliza Coupe), a dedicated, career-driven corporate attorney who has a very public nervous breakdown after getting passed up for an expected promotion, and finds herself working as a public defender. Her personal and professional worlds are turned upside down when she joins the ranks of the legal world’s underdogs and very quickly realizes that the law isn’t quite as fair as she once thought. In fact, the system is seemingly much more screwed up than her own crazy personal life. Jay Harrington stars as Nina’s new colleague, Phil, a tall, dark and handsome, if not a little scruffy, public defender, and avid gambler.
BUZZY’S (The Comedy Network, Mid-Season, 10 x :30)
From the creators of WILL & GRACE, comes a new half-hour comedy series, BUZZY’S set in a barbershop in the small, working-class town of Charlestown, just across the Charles River from Boston. Starring George Wendt as Buzzy, Ashley Tisdale (HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL films) and a terrific ensemble cast of comic actors, this is the story of a group of young people who ran in different circles but all knew each other – either from high school, from growing up down the block from one another, or by reputation, as in the case of a former baseball star, because a win on the local playing field is a win for the entire town. Now they all work together at Buzzy’s barbershop, previously owned by Buzzy, who may no longer run the joint, but still works there and lends his style expertise and sharp opinions (whether it’s with a pair of scissors or his wit). Like family, but with unrequited crushes, they bust each other’s chops from time to time, but hey, isn’t that what families do? Plus, they’re from Charlestown, and busting chops is in their DNA. So for now, their dreams may lie across the river in Boston, but their work, their lives, their loves and their worries are in the town where they grew up.
COMPLICATIONS (Bravo, Mid-Season, 10 x :60)
COMPLICATIONS centers around John Ellis (Jason O’Mara), a disillusioned suburban ER doctor, who finds his existence transformed when he intervenes in a drive-by shooting, saving a young boy’s life and killing one of his attackers. When he learns the boy is still marked for death, he finds himself compelled to save him at any cost and discovers that his life, and his outlook on medicine, may never be the same.
JENNIFER FALLS (M3, Mid-Season, 10 x :30)
JENNIFER FALLS revolves around a career woman and mother, Jennifer Doyle (Jaime Pressly) who must move back in with her own mom after being let go from her high-powered, six-figure salary job. With her teenage daughter in tow, Jennifer has to face her new life and figure out what the next steps are to rebuild.
PROOF (Bravo, Mid-Season, 10 x :60)
PROOF is a serialized supernatural drama starring Jennifer Beals, Matthew Modine, and Joe Morton (SCANDAL,Terminator 2: Judgment Day). The series follows Dr. Carolyn Tyler (Jennifer Beals) on a journey toward answering one of life’s greatest mysteries: Is there life after death? A highly trained surgeon, skeptic and believer in hard science, Dr. Tyler is challenged by an eccentric and terminally ill billionaire (Matthew Modine) to prove that there is an afterlife. After exploring stories about hauntings, near-death experiences, past lives and more, Dr. Tyler slowly evolves from hardline skeptic, to doubter and ultimately, reluctant believer. Proof is executive-produced by Kyra Sedgwick (THE CLOSER), Rob Bragin, Tom Jacobson, Jill Littman and Emmy®-winner Alex Graves.
THE ROYALS (E!, Mid-Season, 10 x :60)
THE ROYALS is a one-hour drama about a fictional British royal family set in modern-day London. Produced by Lionsgate, the Royals inhabit a world of opulence and regal tradition that caters to any and every desire, but one that also comes with a price tag of duty, destiny and intense public scrutiny. Set and shot in Great Britain, THE ROYALS pits public perception of the royal family against the reality of life inside the castle walls, from the lavish parties and high stakes political summits, to the private family gatherings and secret romances. However being born into this elite circle comes at a cost and the Royals’ lives are played out on a world stage, where press is 24/7, and social media drives an insatiable appetite to follow their every move.
RUSH (Bravo, Premieres July 17 at 9 p.m. ET, 10 x :60)
RUSH is a drama series centring on Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis), who is not your average on-call doctor. He’s not attached to any hospital and is highly discreet no matter what the ailment, as long as the client can pay his cash-only premium. And this doctor can party with the best of them. He has no desire to change his life or how he lives it, until an old flame and his conscience begin to stir things up.
YOUNGER (M3, Fall, 12 x :30)
YOUNGER follows 40-year-old Liza (Sutton Foster), a suddenly single mother who tries to get back into the working world, only to find out it’s nearly impossible to start at the bottom at her age. When a chance encounter with a 20-something guy at a bar convinces her she looks younger than she is, Liza tries to pass herself off as 26, with the help of a makeover, courtesy of her best friend Maggie (Debi Mazar). Armed with new confidence, she lands a job as an assistant to the temperamental Diana (Miriam Shor) and teams up with her new co-worker and fellow 20-something Kelsey (Hilary Duff) to make it in the career of her dreams.