It’s been a busy week in news about filmmakers and movie stars jumping to the small screen, starting with the news that Good Time and Uncut Gems directors Benny and Josh Safdie are developing a comedy for Showtime and continuing with news that Jennifer Lawrence is making a Netflix movie, and Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd are teaming up for the first time since Anchorman 2 to adapt a podcast for TV. And there’s so much more than that in our wrap of the week in TV news.
Who knew Benny and Josh Safdie were HGTV fans? But it seems that the brothers have at least watched a few episodes of a certain HGTV series given the plot of their just-greenlit Showtime comedy pilot, The Curse. In it, the brothers team with Nathan For You star Nathan Fielder to tell the story of a married couple – hosts of a fictional HGTV series called Flipanthropy – whose relationship on-screen and off is rocked by a curse.
Fielder will play the husband, while Benny Safdie will play the Flipanthropy producer in the series, while both, along with Josh Safdie, will serve as executive producers on the project.
As Deadline points out, the plot sounds somewhat similar to the real HGTV series Flip or Flop, in which Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead find and flip houses for profit. The two were married to each other when the series made them household names, but saw their marriage crash and burn as the show grew in popularity.
The new project also sounds similar to the upcoming Quibi comedy Flipped, in which a couple played by Kaitlin Olson and Will Forte run afoul of the mob while trying to become basic cable home reno experts.
The Safdies recently won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Director for the Adam Sandler thriller Uncut Gems, while Fielder is a Writers Guild of America award winner for Nathan for You.
Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence is out to save the world from a racing meteor — or, at least, she’ll play a scientist who hopes to do that very thing in an upcoming Netflix comedy written and directed by fellow Oscar winner Adam McKay. Don’t Look Up will follow two scientists who must convince the population that they have just six months to prepare for a meteor crashing into our planet, though the world doesn’t seem to be fazed by the looming danger.
The movie will begin production in April for a planned release in late 2020.
Oscar winner Taika Waititi is developing a Showtime series adaptation of the graphic novel The Auteur, about a film producer who is desperate to make a hit horror movie after his last film flopped. In the process, he accidentally traps his production on a backlot with a serial killer. Showtime describes the series as “a gonzo horror-comedy, a twisted romance, and a glamorous, high wire act of biting satire.”
Jude Law will lead the cast, while Waititi will write the half-hour comedy with Peter Warren (Ghost Team).
Netflix and Mattel Television have announced the all-star cast for Masters of the Universe: Revelation, the streaming service’s upcoming anime series with classic characters like Skeletor, He-Man, and Teela. Mark Hamill will voice Skeletor; Game of Thrones star Lena Headey will voice Evil-Lyn; and Sarah Michelle Gellar voices Teela. The series will also feature Stephen Root as Cringer; Diedrich Bader as King Randor/Trap Jaw; Henry Rollins as Tri-Klops; Alicia Silverstone as Queen Marlena; Justin Long as Roboto; Jason Mewes as Stinkor; Chris Wood as Prince Adam/He-Man; Liam Cunningham as Man-At-Arms; Griffin Newman as Orko; Tiffany Smith as Andra; Alan Oppenheimer as Moss Man; Susan Eisenberg as Sorceress; Phil LaMarr as He-Ro; Tony Todd as Scare Glow; Cree Summer as Priestess; Kevin Michael Richardson as Beast Man; Kevin Conroy as Mer-Man; and Harley Quinn Smith as Ileena. Kevin Smith will serve as the series’ showrunner and executive producer.
Golden Globe winner Janet McTeer will play the POTUS’ chief of staff in The President Is Missing, the Showtime drama pilot based on the novel of the same name by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. David Oyelowo is playing the President. (Dateline)
Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous) and Auden Thornton (This Is Us) have joined the cast of the thirtysomething sequel pilot, thirtysomething(else). They’ll play Ethan and Brittany, the adult children of Elliot (Timothy Busfield) and Nancy (Patricia Wettig) Weston on the ABC pilot.
Oscar and Emmy winner Melissa Leo has signed on to star in the Fox drama Blood Relative, about Louise, a brilliant but difficult genetic genealogist who uses her skills to solve cold cases, but has far less success clicking with other humans. The series is based on a Cleveland Scene article by journalist James Renner, who will write the series pilot and serve as an executive producer. The O.C. alum Tate Donovan will play Louise’s brother, John, a detective who has much better social skills, and who collaborates with his sister to uncover their family’s secrets. (THR and Deadline)
Mad Men alum James Wolk will be the titular Ordinary Joe in an NBC drama pilot from producer Matt Reeves. The series revolves around Joe, who lives three parallel lives after making a major life decision. (THR)
MRC Television is developing a limited dark comedy series called The Shrink Next Door, based on the podcast of the same name from Wondery and Bloomberg Media. Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd will star, co-starring with each other again for the first time since Anchorman 2. Ferrell will play the patient and Rudd the therapist in the story of the duo’s relationship, which grows beyond a professional one and leads to Rudd’s Dr. Ike moving in with Ferrell’s Marty and taking over his family business. “The series explores how a seemingly normal doctor-patient dynamic morphs into an unprecedentedly exploitative one filled with manipulation, power grabs, and dysfunction at its finest,” according to MRC’s release. Emmy winner Georgia Pritchett will write the series, while Michael Showalter will direct.
Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will star in Swan Song, an Apple/Anonymous Content co-production that will air on Apple TV+ and be released into theaters. Oscar winner Benjamin Cleary (Stutterer) will direct the film, about “how far someone will go, and how much they’ll sacrifice, to make a happier life for the people they love.” The drama goes into production in the spring.
Topher Grace has signed on to star in the ABC comedy pilot Home Economics. The series focuses on three siblings: one super wealthy, one middle class (Grace’s character, Tom), and one who struggles financially. The actor, who will also be an executive producer on the series, would be making his first return to a regular role on TV since he left That ’70s Show in 2005. (THR)
On the heels of its new docuseries The Pharmacist, Netflix is planning Painkiller, a limited series drama about the opioid crisis. Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights), Narcos showrunner Eric Newman, and Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology) will executive produce the dramatization of the beginning of the opioid crisis, with Berg directing all eight installments of the story. The series will use a New Yorker article and a book by Pulitzer winner Barry Meier as source material. (THR)
Emmy winner Laurence Fishburne will host and narrate History’s Greatest Mysteries, an upcoming History franchise that will include new investigations of enduring questions about topics like the Titanic, John Wilkes Booth, Roswell, D.B. Cooper, and the Bermuda Triangle.
Laura Neal (Sex Education) will take over as lead writer on BBC America’s Killing Eve for season 4, the network announced ahead of the spy drama’s season 3 premiere on April 26. Season 4 goes into production later this year.
Lifetime is developing a new love search series called Battlefield of Love, in which members of the military have fallen in love with civilians who they haven’t yet met in person. The series, which is described as a cross between Army Wives and Married at First Sight, follows “nine diverse military couples on their journey for love across continents, war zones, cultural divides, and family objections as they test their digital love while the soldier is on leave … the series will capture a range of firsts from first kiss to first meal to first time meeting family and friends. As the couples live together for the first time, they must decide if they want to continue their romantic relationships leading to engagements and possibly marriage, or walk away forever.”
She once competed on the Martha Stewart version of The Apprentice, and now Real Housewives and Shark Tank alum Bethenny Frankel is inviting aspiring business moguls to compete to land a job within her Skinnygirl empire. The Big Shot with Bethenny will air on HBO Max, and find contestants “tested to see how far they can push their creativity and determination to rise to the top,” which means a job on the Skinnygirl executive team. The series will be produced by Mark Burnett, Frankel’s B Real Productions, and MGM Television.
The New York Post is teaming with Investigation Discovery to launch Torn From the Headlines: New York Post Reports, which will take viewers “behind the headlines into some of the city’s darkest and most inconceivable crimes of all time.” One episode will revolve around the kidnapping of New York tuxedo maker Harvey Weinstein … nope, it’s a different Harvey Weinstein. The series premieres on March 16.
Netflix has acquired the global rights to the film The Life Ahead, an adaptation of the novel The Life Before Us by Romain Gary. The movie stars Sophia Loren as a Holocaust survivor who runs a daycare business, and who takes in a 12-year-old street kid who robbed her.
ABC has given a pilot order to Adopted, a comedy from Jimmy Kimmel. Based on a true story, the series revolves around a Green Beret who returns to Texas from active duty and introduces his family to a 12-year-old Russian boy he has adopted. Kimmel will executive produce the series, and write it with a pair of U.S. Army veterans, Green Beret Shawn Vance and combat medic Daril Fannin. (THR)