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September 4, 2015


'Terra Nova': Things That Cost the Same As the $20 Million Pilot

by Jean Bentley, posted Sep 26th 2011 12:30PM
Terra NovaBetter late than never: Tonight marks the long-awaited premiere of Fox's dino-riffic new drama, 'Terra Nova.' While the special effects are indeed impressive for a primetime drama, the prehistoric creatures on the show didn't come at a small price.

The 'Terra Nova' pilot, which was originally scheduled to air in May but was pushed back to the fall, reportedly cost a staggering $20 million to produce.

The production was plagued with problems, with sources calling it a "debacle" (per The Wrap), amassing a $10 million price tag even before a single frame was shot. Creative disagreements, rewrites and big names dropping out didn't help.

Still, AOL TV's Maureen Ryan was pleased with the pilot, saying it shows plenty of promise in her review of the new series. But let's be clear: This thing cost twice the amount of the 'Lost' pilot ($10 million), and more than the Martin Scorsese-directed 'Boardwalk Empire' pilot ($18 million).

That gigantic number got us thinking. What else could you get for $20 million? Well, aside from 20 million four-piece chicken nuggets from the McDonald's dollar menu, here is AOL TV's list of things you could buy for $20 million, a.k.a. the cost of Fox's 'Terra Nova' pilot:

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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s Daughter Joins Aaron Sorkin's HBO Drama

by PopEater Staff, posted Jul 5th 2011 6:30AM
Kick KennedyMore buzz for Aaron Sorkin's cable news pilot, 'More As the Story Develops,' over at HBO. 'The New York Post' reports that Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy, 23, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (and granddaughter of RFK) has just signed on for a role.

She joins a starry lineup including Olivia Munn, Emily Mortimer, Jeff Daniels and Dev Patel ('Slumdog Millionaire').

Kennedy, who inherited her nickname "Kick" from her adventurous great-aunt Kathleen, is a Stanford graduate and recent Strasberg Institute acting student. The Sorkin drama marks her TV acting debut.

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Jimmy Smits Goes from 'Outlaw' to Mayor of LA in New NBC Drama

by Catherine Lawson, posted Mar 18th 2011 10:15AM
Jimmy SmitsJimmy Smits just can't stay way from fictional authority figures: He's played cops, lawyers, a Senator from Alderaan and, most recently a judge. Now, it's been announced that his next TV role will be Mayor of Los Angeles.

According to Deadline.com, Smits has signed on for the last major lead role in Stephen ('Traffic') Gaghan's new drama for NBC.

Formerly known as 'S.I.L.A.,' the as-of-now untitled project is described as a complex ensemble drama in the style of 'Traffic' and 'Syriana' set in the world of crime, law enforcement and politics in sprawling modern-day Los Angeles.

Smits will portray the pivotal character of Los Angeles Mayor Alfonso Morales, who's described as a man full of ambition who cares deeply about his city, power and women, but not necessarily in that order.

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Zooey Deschanel, Rachel Bilson in Talks to Join Pilots, Tracy Morgan Back at '30 Rock' and More

by Jean Bentley, posted Feb 8th 2011 7:00PM
Zooey DeschanelZooey Deschanel might be a movie star already, but she could be following in her big sister's footsteps and joining a TV series full time.

TV Line reports that Deschanel is reportedly in talks to star in the Fox comedy pilot 'Chicks and Dicks,' from 'No Strings Attached' writer Liz Merriwether. The actress would play Jessica, an elementary school teacher who moves in with a group of immature guys after breaking up with her live-in boyfriend.

Nothing's set in stone yet, especially not the title of the show -- that'll probably change if the series ever makes it to air.

Deschanel's sister, Emily, stars on the Fox hit 'Bones.'

Also in contention to star in one of the season's biggest pilots is Rachel Bilson, who is in talks for a lead role in Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage's new show, 'Hart of Dixie.' Bilson would play a New York City doctor who inherits a small Southern medical practice, reports Deadline.

In other TV news ...

Following a successful kidney transplant, Tracy Morgan is back on the '30 Rock' set. The actor missed several episodes while he recovered from the surgery. [EW]

When Gwyneth Paltrow heads back to 'Glee,' she'll be sharing a 'Kiss' with Matthew Morrison. At least musically -- her character, Holly Holiday, will duet on the Prince song with Mr. Schuester. [TV Line]

Almost 10 million people tuned in to Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl on Sunday. The Super Bowl counter-programming attracted an audience of 9.2 million over 12 hours. [EW]

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Kristen Bell Joins Don Cheadle in Showtime's 'House of Lies'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Feb 1st 2011 6:10AM
Kristen Bell'Veronica Mars' and 'Scream 4' star Kristen Bell could be heading back to TV screens for the fall 2011 season.

According to TVLine.com, Bell has signed on for a lead role in the Showtime pilot, 'House of Lies.'

The dark comedy is based on Martin Kihn's bestelling book, 'How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Tell You the Time,' and it revolves around dueling corporate management consulting firms.

Bell joins previously cast stars Don Cheadle ('Hotel Rwanda') and Dawn Olivieri ('Heroes'). She will reportedly play the part of Jeannie Van Der Hooven, a razor-sharp Ivy League grad who reluctantly finds herself attracted to her co-worker Marty (Cheadle).

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Sarah Michelle Gellar's New Pilot, 'The Ringer,' Is 'An Edgy Thriller'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jan 26th 2011 8:40AM
Sarah Michelle GellarLast week we reported that Sarah Michelle Gellar was planning her TV comeback with a new drama, 'The Ringer.' Now, the producer of the pilot has revealed more details about what he describes as the "edgy thriller."

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Peter Traugott dished on details of the pilot and explained how they manged to talk Gellar into returning to a network TV series.

'The Ringer,' says Traugott, is "an edgy thriller about redemption and about revenge. There's a point of view of two twin sisters [Bridget and Siobhan] who grew apart over a tragedy in their past. And one seeks redemption and the other one seeks revenge."

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NBC Orders 'Glee' Competitor to Pilot, Matthew Weiner Still Without 'Mad Men' Deal and More

by Jean Bentley, posted Jan 24th 2011 11:40AM
NBCCould 'Glee' have a musical competitor?

As we enter the thick of pilot season, networks have been greenlighting pilots to consider for the 2011-2012 season. One of the biggest in the works is NBC's 'Smash.' According to Deadline, it's based on an idea from Steven Spielberg about putting on a Broadway musical, and would feature original songs by Grammy- and Tony-winning songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Among the other pilots picked up this weekend were a comedy called 'Vince Uncensored,' from Conan O'Brien's production company (it went to CBS, according to Entertainment Weekly), a thriller/drama called 'Exit Strategy,' starring Ethan Hawke and directed by Antoine Fuqua (snagged by Fox, according to The Hollywood Reporter, along with two comedies, per Deadline), and David E. Kelley's previously D.O.A. 'Wonder Woman' (which landed at NBC, reports Deadline).

In other TV news ...

Matthew Weiner would love to start writing the fifth season of 'Mad Men,' if AMC would sign a deal already. "I have every intention of making the show when they decide to work out their business with Lionsgate," he said. "I can't wait to come back to work ... I am not looking for a new job." [EW]

Kevin Smith, Kevin Pollak and Adam Carolla will star in AOL's new nightly talk show. The web video series will team up with the actors' existing podcasts for new episodes every Monday through Thursday, with a best-of installment on Fridays. [AOL]

Could Keith Olbermann have a new gig already? 'The Social Network' writer Aaron Sorkin has been developing a comedy set behind the scenes at a cable news show. Now that it's getting closer to a pilot pickup and Olbermann is out of a gig, sources are speculating that he could contribute to the series. [EW]

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Ryan Phillippe Meets a Gay Robot on 'Pretend Time With Nick Swardson' (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Oct 13th 2010 6:48AM
Ryan Phillippe Meets a Gay Robot on 'Pretend Time With Nick Swardson'Can a robot find true love with a Hollywood heartthrob? That's the question on the series premiere of 'Pretend Time With Nick Swardson' (Tue., 10PM ET on Comedy Central). "But wait," you're saying. "What's the deal with this show? And who is this 'Nick Swardson' person?"

Well, good question, you! Nicholas Robert "Nick" Swardson is a longtime stand-up comic and actor; he's most famous for his role on 'Reno 911!' And 'Pretend Time' is his new sketch comedy series. Even if you don't remember Nick, you'll probably recognize his guest star: Mr. Ryan Phillippe. The "hunky" actor is a fan of Swardson's unique brand of humor, so he agreed to show up for the premiere. But Ryan's reward for his generosity is to be hit on by a big gay robot.

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'Arrested Development's' David Cross Returns on the Premiere of 'Todd Margaret' (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Oct 4th 2010 1:15AM
'Arrested Development's' David Cross Returns on the Premiere of 'Todd Margaret'Fans of the cult sitcom 'Arrested Development' have been waiting years for a long-rumored film version of the show. But until that movie happens (if it ever does), 'AD' lovers will have to content themselves with the new series 'The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret' (Fri., 10PM ET on IFC).

The new comedy reunites David Cross and Will Arnett -- also known as Tobias Fünke and Gob Bluth on the late, lamented 'Arrested Development.' But 'Todd Margaret' shows off Cross as an entirely different character. (Arnett, on the other hand, acts like the same dude that he always plays -- not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Now, we'll have to see if the pair can resurrect their old comedy magic.

[Warning: Spoiler alert.]

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On 'Teach,' Tony Danza Literally Sweats Through His First Day of School (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Oct 4th 2010 12:06AM
On 'Teach,' Tony Danza Literally Sweats Through His First Day of SchoolCan you start a new career, even if you're well-advanced into middle age? And can you teach an old dog new tricks?

The season premiere of 'Teach: Tony Danza' (Fri., 10PM ET on AETV) follows the adventures of actor Tony Danza -- as he attempts to make it as a public school educator. The 59-year-old Danza spent a year in an urban high school in Philadelphia, trying on the new role of 10th-grade English teacher. But on his first day of class, Mr. Danza is already sweating bullets.

Before becoming an actor, Tony got a history degree in college, and had dreams of one day instructing a class full of students. Of course, his television and movie career interfered with these plans. However, Tony's acting career has, uh, died down lately -- so he's not really too busy these days. This is the perfect time for him to enter the world of teaching. ... Or is it?

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ABC Family Orders Three New Pilots

by Jean Bentley, posted Sep 28th 2010 3:30PM
ABC FamilyEncouraged by the success of its summer hit 'Pretty Little Liars,' ABC Family announced today that it has given production orders to three new pilots.

The three new one-hour dramas, called 'Nine Lives,' 'Switched at Birth' and 'Strut,' are geared toward the network's Millenial viewers, EVP of original programming and development Kate Juergens said. "These pilots offer a great mix of heartfelt and compelling storytelling that our audience has come to expect from us," she said in a statement.

After the jump, read descriptions of the three new shows.

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'My Generation' Series Premiere: The Future Is Like a Weird Blind Date (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Sep 24th 2010 8:45AM
'My Generation' Series Premiere: The Future Is Like a Weird Blind DateIf you happen to live in New York City (as this 'TV Squad' writer does), then the ads for 'My Generation' are fairly inescapable. They're plastered on every bus and subway car -- teaser posters featuring attractive twenty-something people, with vague yet pithy quotes below the characters' faces.

These quotes are meant to illuminate the characters' inner lives; they say stuff like, "Dumping you was the worst mistake I ever made," or "When I'm with him, I'm thinking of you," or "I'm done paying for your mistakes." It's all very intriguing; or at least, intriguing-ish.

But now, the actual series pilot is upon us, and it's time to see if it lives up to the pre-show hype. Who are these pretty young people? What is 'My Generation' (Thu., 8PM ET on ABC) actually all about?

[Warning: Spoiler alert.]

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Belushi and O'Connell Show off Their Charm on 'The Defenders' Debut (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Sep 23rd 2010 7:43AM
Belushi and O'Connell Show off Their Charm on 'The Defenders' DebutIt's the second legal premiere of the night! And it's also the 1,807th legal show currently on TV, more or less. So the question for the pilot episode of 'The Defenders' (Wed., 10PM ET on CBS) is whether the courtroom series will be able to stand out from the pack.

[Warning: Spoiler alert.]

'The Defenders' is set in Las Vegas, and features Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell as two lawyers who are poster boys for the Vegas lifestyle. In fact, they're literally poster boys -- as they play the type of attorneys who have a big tacky billboard with their 1-800 number posted prominently. The pair aren't upscale lawyers, they're basically scruffy ambulance-chasers. But on the premiere episode, they find themselves embroiled in a case that's a little more serious, involving a murder suspect who puts his life in our heroes' hands.

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'The Whole Truth' Series Premiere: Is There Love Outside the Courtroom? (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Sep 23rd 2010 7:00AM
'The Whole Truth' Series Premiere: Is There Love Outside the Courtroom?Can a pair of rivals find a love connection? 'The Whole Truth' (Wed., 10PM ET on ABC) is a legal drama starring Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow -- two TV veterans who are back on the small screen. The actors play sparring lawyers who are on opposite sides of every case and, as might be expected on this type of show, the sparks fly both in and out of the courtroom.

[Warning: Spoiler alert.]

Kathryn Peale (Tierney) is a sternly devoted prosecutor who works for the District Attorney's office. Jimmy Brogan (Morrow) is a hot-shot criminal defense lawyer who doesn't seem to care if his clients are guilty or not. Kathryn is kind of uptight, Jimmy is relaxed and "cool." But even though the duo seem like total opposites, they've been friends since their days back in Yale Law School.

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'Better With You' Series Premiere -- A Very Short Engagement (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Sep 23rd 2010 1:00AM
'Better With You' Series Premiere -- A Very Short EngagementThe new sitcom 'Better With You' (Wed., 8:30PM ET on ABC) follows the lives of several very different couples. Maddie and Ben (Jennifer Finnigan and Josh Cooke) have been dating for nine years, but have not yet taken the "next step," and tied the knot. Meanwhile, Maddie's younger sister Mia (Joanna Garcia) has decided to marry Casey (Jake Lacy) -- a guy who she's only known for seven weeks. And on the premiere episode, Mia is forced to reveal the reason for the very rushed engagement.

[Warning: Spoiler alert.]

While having dinner with their parents, Mia is compelled to spill the beans during an argument with her sister. "Call me old-fashioned," Maddie says, "but I think it's appropriate to apply a little thought before making huge life choices." Then, Maddie starts protesting Mia's decision. "Why in the world does she have to get married right now?!"

"Because she's pregnant!" replies her boyfriend Ben. Oh, okay. That makes sense then.

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