Firefly Lane: Ben Lawson Joins Katherine Heigl In Netflix Drama Series

Published on 13 Aug 1919
movie news Firefly Lane: Ben Lawson Joins Katherine Heigl In Netflix Drama Series
Australian actor Ben Lawson has been cast opposite Katherine Heigl in Netflix's Firefly Lane, a drama series from Maggie Friedman No Tomorrow based on the bestselling novel by Kristin Hannah.

Written and executive produced by Friedman, who also serves as showrunner, Firefly Lane follows the story of Tully Heigl and Kate, two unlikely best friends who meet as young girls and become inseparable for nearly 30 years, until a tragedy breaks them apart. Lawson will play Kate's ex-husband Ryan, who also has a long history working with Tully.

Friedman executive produces with Stephanie Germain and Lee Rose. Hannah is co-executive producer. Peter O'Fallon will direct and executive produce the first episode.

Lawson recently starred on the second season of Netflix's hit drama series 13 Reasons Why and on ABC's action drama Designated Survivor. He also recurred on NBC’s critically acclaimed comedy series The Good Place. On the film side, he’ll next star as Lachlan Murdoch in the upcoming Untitled Roger Ailes biopic from Charles Randolph and Jay Roach. Lawson is repped by ICM, United Management, Untitled and Derek Kroeger.


Published on 18 Aug 1919
movie news Firefly Lane: Ben Lawson Joins Katherine Heigl In Netflix Drama Series

Big deals that happened, big deals that didn’t happen, and celebrations of some of music’s greatest artists were on tap this week. As summer fades, so, too, are many music festivals heading gently into that good night, as increased competition for acts and patrons has led the saturated markets to take a step back. The good news is that National Football League music productions will get more interesting, now that Jay-Z is behind the wheel.

This week in music:

NEW JOHN COLTRANE ALBUM:  A lost album from legendary composer and saxophonist John Coltrane has been rediscovered. Impulse! Records, his longtime label, will release the collection of recordings made with his classic quartet I 1964. Blue World, which contains ernate versions of earlier compositions, will be out on Sept. 27 on LP, CD and digital. The session was recorded at New Jersey's Van Gelder Studios at the request of Canadian filmmaker Gilles Groulx, who had asked Coltrane to soundtrack his film Le chat dans le sac.  New Versions of Coltrane's “Naima,“ “Village Blues,“ “Traneing In,“ and “Like Sonny“ are on the 37-minute recording with the title track the only new tune.

PEAK MUSIC FESTIVAL: The popularity of outdoor music festivals may be peaking, as several prominent Southern California ventures &ndash Arroyo Seco Weekend, Music Tastes Good &ndash are taking a break this year. The increasing competition for acts in the space, high ticket prices and consumer fatigue are possible causes.

WOODSTOCK 50th CONCERTS: Yes, it's the anniversary of the granddaddy of all music festivals, which took place in Bethel, New York a half-century ago. Although the huge concert planned to commemorate the occasion fell through, there will be two concerts near the site of the original, featuring John Fogerty, Santana and Ringo Starr, among others.

JAY-Z SIGNS FOR PEACE IN OUR TIME:  The National Football League bought itself immunity from accusations surrounding Colin Kaepernick this week, as Jay-Z's Roc Nation signed a pact to curate the Super Bowl halftime shows, NFL special events, and to work with the NFL on its various social justice initiatives. Jay-Z will also reportedly gain a piece of an unspecified NFL team as a part-owner. The deal drew heavy criticism as selling out poor Kaepernick, whose sole comfort since being banished is the many millions he’s made from Nike and a legal settlement.

MECHANICAL RATES TO RISE:  Music streamers Spotify, Amazon, Google and Pandora will appeal a Copyright Royy Board’s mechanical rate determination, which will see music publishers and writers enjoy a 44% rate increase on their use of music by the streamers by 2023. The digital services filed their appeal late Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

KIEFER SUTHERLAND INJURED: He survived explosions, gunshots and more in his roles on 24 and Designated Survivor. But Kiefer Sutherland couldn't escape the clutches of some bus steps, falling and injuring his ribs while on a tour of Europe to support his new album. He had to cancel three dates because his ribs wouldn't let him sing. He's expected to make up the dates in the fall.


Published on 17 Aug 1919
movie news Firefly Lane: Ben Lawson Joins Katherine Heigl In Netflix Drama Series
n his role as agent Jack Bauer on TV’s 24, Kiefer Sutherland survived explosions, gunfire and all sorts of physical attacks. As the US President in Designated Survivor, he was spared from a massive explosion that took out most of the cabinet and Congress.

But in real life, he was just done in by some bus stairs.

Sutherland, touring Europe as a singer/songwriter, has postponed the last three shows of the tour because of what were described as serious injuries to his ribs sustained when he slipped on some bus stairs while traveling to Denmark for a performance.

Sutherland vowed to make up the dates this fall.  .

“[I] seriously injured a rib, making it difficult to breathe and impossible to sing,“ he shared. “Regretfully, I will not be able to perform the last 3 shows of our tour, but have every intension [sic] of making up these shows in September / October when we return.“

“I am so sorry for any inconvenience that I have caused to the fans who bought tickets,“ he added. “I will do everything I can to make it up to you. Thank you for your understanding. Sincerely, Kiefer.“

The make-up dates for the shows in Denmark and Gothenburg, Sweden will be “announced shortly.“

Sutherland released his new album, Reckless & Me, in April. He toured the US before heading to Canada, the UK, and several parts of Europe.


Published on 17 Aug 1919
movie news Firefly Lane: Ben Lawson Joins Katherine Heigl In Netflix Drama Series

Sarah Chalke Friends From College is set as the co-lead opposite Katherine Heigl in Netflix's upcoming drama series Firefly Lane, based on the bestselling novel by Kristin Hannah.

Written and executive produced by Maggie Friedman, who also serves as showrunner, Firefly Lane is the sweeping story of two inseparable best friends and their enduring, complicated bond, spanning four tumultuous decades.

Awkward and shy, Kate Mularkey Chalke has always been in the shadow of her best friend, legendary talk show host and journalist Tully Hart Heigl. With an endearingly self-deprecating wit, Kate is often underestimated, but she’s fiercely intelligent and fiercely loyal. She has the biggest heart, and a hidden wild streak. Firefly Lane follows the story of Kate and Tully’s enduring friendship from their teen years through their forties - as they weather career ups and downs, love triangles, marriage and divorce, and countless dramas along with way. Throughout their lives, the one constant they have is each other: partners in crime, platonic soulmates, always up for their next adventure.

Previously announced Ben Lawson plays Kate’s ex-husband Ryan, who also has a long history working with Tully.

Friedman executive produces with Stephanie Germain and Lee Rose. Hannah is co-executive producer. Peter O'Fallon will direct and executive produce the first episode.

Chalke recently recurred on Netflix’s Friends from College and ABC’s Speechless. She’s probably best known for her starring role as Dr. Elliot Reid on medical comedy Scrubs and for her recurring role as Stella Zinman on How I Met Your Mother. She also recurred on Cougar Town and the Roseanne revival after co-starring in the original series, and is a member of the voice cast on the hit Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty. Chalke is repped by UTA and John Carrabino Management.


Published on 09 Aug 1919
movie news Firefly Lane: Ben Lawson Joins Katherine Heigl In Netflix Drama Series

More than two weeks and over 100 panels yes, really later, the summer cycle of the Television Critics Association's press tour has finally come to an end. Networks big and small and a couple of streamers just not that one came through the Beverly Hilton Hotel prepared with narratives, talking points and spin &mdash as well as the occasional buzzy show &mdashduring the biannual event.

The Hollywood Reporter slogged through nearly the whole damn thing and, below, brings you the good Modern Love!, the bad "premium female" is apparently a demo and the lingering questions that remain seriously, exec sessions are valuable.  

Audience Network and DC Universe Both WarnerMedia-owned platforms presented interesting shows Mr. Mercedes and animated Harley Quinn, respectively but no execs were around to weigh in on the futures of either destination given their corporate parent's investment in HBO Max. DC Universe, home to thousands of digital comics, has an additive value and its originals are already starting to slowly move over to the HBO Max streaming platform with Doom Patrol an announcement many industry insiders likely missed during frenzy of Comic-Con. Will other DC Universe originals stream concurrently on both platforms if Doom Patrol is more successful on one over the other? And will cable platform Audience Network stick with originals or will those resources, too, go to HBO Max? If only an exec had been there to weigh in.  

HBO Everything with that divisive Game of Thrones finale? Look at those Emmy nominations! Anything that happened behind the scenes on season two of Big Little Lies with director Andrea Arnold? It's all "misinformation," per HBO programming president Casey Bloys. And that "HBO Max" name of parent company WarnerMedia's forthcoming streaming service? "Flattering!" As for HBO's subscriber losses? That's Cinemax's fault, not subscribers fleeing to other subscription options now that Game of Thrones has ended. By the time the slog of press tour ended, not even the Game of Thrones creators were still with HBO. In other news: Los Espookys lives and J.J. Abrams' first created series since Felicity? Yeah, there are already issues &mdash which surfaced after Bloys' time before press. Buzz meter: Damon Lindelof has something larger he wants to say with his highly anticipated take on Watchmen. Judging from the TCA room's reaction, we give it an 9 out of 10 on the buzz meter.

Amazon You get a first-look deal! And you get a first-look deal! Aaaaand YOU get a first-look deal! Lord of the Rings is moving along for a production start date in 2020. As for how Amazon will compete with Netflix and Disney+ and Hulu and HBO Max and Apple? Never mind those guys and their big volume, Amazon is in the content curation business! That's why Jennifer Salke quietly canceled five shows during its sleepy Saturday morning presentation. But none of that matters anyway since subscribers will stick with Prime no matter what for free shipping with the billions of dollars Amazon spends on content really just the cherry on top of having toilet paper delivered for free. And Jen, we want more Fleabag, too. In other news: Amazon apparently really likes fairy sex and The Expanse. Buzz meter: Episodic anthology Modern Love may have the best new-show buzz out of press tour. We give it a 10 out of 10 on the buzz meter.

Starz "We want premium female!" Starz COO Jeffrey Hirsch used Outlander as a template to express what the premium cable network is looking for as part of its Lionsgate-owned, post-Chris Albrecht era. As for what "premium female" actually means, consider the news from its time at TCA: a renewal for The Girlfriend Experience, a Power spinoff starring Mary J. Blige and a modern take on Dangerous Liaisons. Also, when Outlander is the sweet spot of your ideal demo, don't piss off the creator and star with a sexist comment.

Hulu Disney+ will be an add-on available on the service, which continues to see its 28 million subscribers as of May grow. Head of originals Craig Erwich &mdash who, days later would have a new boss &mdash boasted that Hulu offers the "most choice, flexibility and control in the marketplace" &mdash and now it's making a food push. Bonus: Designing Women will be the next classic show binged by half your family and Amy Schumer is plotting her TV return and streaming debut with a scripted comedy series set to join a lineup that will include a fourth season of The Handmaid's Tale. Buzz meter: Kat Dennings is ready for her moment with Dollface. 7.5 on the buzz meter.

Lifetime The female-focused basic cable network aka the original home of "premium women" but smart enough to never use that phrasing is leaning into what worked and is planning a follow-up special to its Emmy-nominated Surviving R. Kelly while also plotting another docuseries in the franchise tackling Jeffrey Epstein. And their movie brand? The college cheating scandal is up next. A smarter brand is beginning to finally emerge beyond those attempts at scripted. Buzz meter: Listen, TV critics love Megan Hilty &mdash especially when she sings. And her Patsy and Loretta co-star Jessie Mueller? Yeah, she ain't bad either. 7 on the buzz meter.

TBS and TNT If ever there were cable networks most in dire need of an executive session, it's these WarnerMedia brands. Drama Snowpiercer is moving to TBS, the home of comedies and Big Bang Theory repeats? TBS viewers are watching originals on any other platform than the linear network. And those rumors about all scripted series moving to HBO Max? Yeah, they're enot getting any quieter. In other news: Animal Kingdom scores another season and we may have found our new Designated Survivor heir apparent when it comes to showrunner changes as The Last O.G. is  now on its third in three seasons and we're optimistic about this latest blast from the past.

CBS The most-watched broadcast network is making diversity and inclusion strides, but still has a long way to go &mdash especially on the unscripted side &mdash as the press corps lit up entertainment president Kelly Kahl and his top lieutenant Thom Sherman with questions about issues on hits Big Brother and Survivor. Meanwhile, Bull was renewed because viewers &mdash 10 million of them! &mdash like Michael Weatherly, even though the network paid actress Eliza Dushku a multimillion-dollar settlement following allegations of sexual harassment by the star and exec producer. Respectfully, buzzwords like "leadership training" isn't a good enough answer. As for big-swing summer launch Love Island, those lackluster linear ratings are not a problem as CBS renewed the series for a second season. Buzz meter:The TCA ballroom loves Robert and Michelle King. And Evil may be just promising enough. 7.5 on the buzz meter.

CBS All Access Executive Marc DeBevoise isn't worried about the onslaught of streaming services set to enter the marketplace because his CBS-backed platform, which launched in October 2014, has already learned and adapted to lessons all the upstarts will have to face in the coming years. He noted CBS All Access, combined with Showtime's direct-to-consumer offering, has 8 million subscribers and hopes that tally will grow to 25 million by 2022. On the programming side, CBS TV Studios-produced CW drama Nancy Drew will stream exclusively on CBS All Access in what could be the first of a long-term arrangement for originals from the younger-skewing broadcaster which did not renew its Netflix output deal. Elsewhere,The Man Who Fell to Earth, fromStar Trekfranchise captain Alex Kurtzman, has been picked up straight to series. And those castings for The Stand that leaked a few months ago? They're official now! Still, those are impressive &mdash and genre-heavy &mdash announcements for an outlet who politely declined to reveal just how many of its subscribers are drawn in by Star Trek. Insert "streamers don't release ratings!" joke here. 

Showtime Entertainment presidents Gary Levine and Jana Winograde say the CBS-owned premium cable network is a "boutique" option to billion-dollar spenders HBO, Netflix, Amazon, Apple and oh, you get the point. Still, the cabler plans to increase scripted and unscripted originals by a combined 30 percent as it prepares to say farewell to Homeland pushed &mdash again &mdash to February 2020 and The Affair. Still, there's gas left in the tank for multiple seasons of Shameless and Billionsas well as The L Word and Penny Dreadful. Speaking to Levine's "we'd rather get it right than fast" mandate, Halo is chugging along just fine it was picked up in 2014! after changing directors and adding a second showrunner. As for those allegations of misconduct from The Chi star Jason Mitchell and SMILF showrunner Frankie Shaw, that apparently comes with the territory of cultivating new voices? Okaaaaaay. In other news: City on a Hill &mdash you know, the show with Kevin Bacon? &mdash has been renewed for season two. Buzz meter:We're going to file this under pleasant surprise: Kirsten Dunst and On Becoming a God in Central Florida? What was YouTube thinking letting this one go?! 10 on the buzz meter.

The CW Network president Mark Pedowitz is fresh off saying farewell to Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and iZombie and is poised to part ways with network-defining hits Supernatural and Arrow as well as The 100 during the 2019-2020 season. Still, the exec, broadcast's longest-tenured chief, will stick with what works as he looks for more shows from DC Comics and Archie's Riverdale world. As for renewing low-rated rookies All American and In the Dark, digital returns cemented those pickups as The CW's new digital strategy will likely help boost linear viewership. Also, for the love of at least our sanity, please stop asking about Supernatural spinoffs. It. is. never. going. to. happen.

ABC Karey Burke's second time before the press at TCA did not go as smooth as her first. The ABC Entertainment president's message about the strength of broadcast &mdash and the Disney-owned broadcaster since January &mdash was totally overshadowed by a show that wasn't even at TCA. Taking the stage and facing a barrage of questions about former The Rookie star Afton Williamson's allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination, Burke &mdash like ABC and producers Entertainment One &mdash were still looking for answers from an investigation hat launched in June. As for disgruntled Fresh Off the Boat star Constance Wu and embattled Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss, all is allegedly fine. It was a decidedly different press tour for Burke, who has a reputation for speaking her mind as she did when she unveiled her focus on bringing women back to the network during her February debut. In other news: Two more Jimmy Kimmel-Norman Lear live comedies &mdash though it's unclear which titles will be adapted &mdash were ordered. And that long-gestating Little Mermaidlive will actually air in November, with a pretty decent cast. ABC is also back in the event series space and looking for even more franchises. Oh, and those Idol judges? Yeah, they're back. Buzz meter: Black-ish prequel Mixed-ishhits the kid casting jackpot again for ABC. We're not going to complain that there are now two distinctive family comedies on the network that are both set in the ྌs, just please send us a soundtrack. 8 on the buzz meter.

FX FX chief John Landgraf, the so-called Mayor of Television, did not deliver one of his more recent state of the industry missives but instead used his first TCA as a Disney employee to stress how much exciting content is coming to the network, which continues to grow its original roster with a robust nonfiction slate. News of that as well as that Atlanta is back on track to begin production on season three &mdash and four! &mdash in spring 2020 was totally overshadowed by the biggest news to come out of TCA. In a carefully orchestrated announcement that somehow never leaked, Landgraf announced Impeachment, the Monica Lewinsky-produced third season of Emmy-winning anthology American Crime Story. The star-studded season will debut mere weeks before the presidential election in 2020, which was met with near immediate backlash that elicited obvious frustration from the typically cool Landgraf. "I don't believe it's going to determine who is the next president of the United States," he said. "I think that's a little hysterical." In other news: Snowfall will return for a fourth season. Buzz meter: FX opened the day with a screening of Martin Freeman comedy Breeders, which despite opening the 13th ! day of press tour, easily won the room. 9.5 on the buzz meter.

Fox In his second visit to TCA, Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier was in full sales mode again, this time coming prepared with a few if not totally specific pitches for working with the slimmed down, studio-free independent broadcast network. And since Fox doesn't have a natural in-house host for the Emmys this year and don't you dare suggest Tim Allen, the ceremony will pay homage to all the big TV hits that have signed off this year and go host-less. And, no, we aren't buying that rationale, either. In other news: Jeff Davis Teen Wolf is Fox's first overall deal &mdash though it is broadcast only. Buzz meter: Who doesn't love another hot mess of Beverly Hills, 90210 gossip? If only we'd asked about the showrunner change and all those writers who quit. Whoops! Bonus pro tip: For a network betting so heavily on sports, consider trotting out actual executives who can speak to the many questions the press had vs. letting your on-air talent nearly filibuster the panel and collectively shrug their shoulders at fastballs.

NBC Listen, you guys were the only one of the five broadcast networks to not host an exec session. And the press loves a lot of your programming &mdash The Good Place, Superstore, Will & Grace, Law & Order: SVU, This Is Us &mdash and Sunnyside, Perfect Harmony and even by the numbers legal drama Bluff City Law look promising. But the TCA room isn't filled with monsters whose lone purpose is to throw verbal grenades at executives. That said, consider this our missive to consider having Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks &mdash you know, the dudes who replaced Bob Greenblatt as entertainment president in September 2018 and whom many TCA members likely couldn't pick out of a lineup &mdash actually take the stage to lay out their vision for the network and &mdash gasp! &mdash even take a victory lap. Buzz meter: Sunnyside is giving off some serious Parks and Rec vibes. 7.5 on the buzz meter. Bonus apology: We're sorry we made The Good Place stars Ted Danson and Kristen Bell cry. Maybe some of our members are monsters.

TCA | Television Critics Association

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Published on 25 Jul 1919
movie news Firefly Lane: Ben Lawson Joins Katherine Heigl In Netflix Drama Series

Netflix is continuing to reallocate resources when it comes to scripted originals. 

The streamer has canceled ABC-turned-Netflix drama series Designated Survivor after a three-season run and rookie animated comedy Tuca and Bertie. 

“We are proud to have offered fans a third season of Designated Survivor, and will continue to carry all three seasons for years to come," Netflix said in a statement. "We're especially thankful to star and executive producer Kiefer Sutherland, who brought passion, dedication and an unforgettable performance as President Kirkman.  We're also grateful to showrunner/executive producer Neal Bear for his guiding vision and steady hand, creator/executive producer David Guggenheim and EPs Mark Gordon, Suzan Bymel, Simon Kinberg, Aditya Sood and Peter Noah along with the cast and crew who crafted a compelling and satisfying final season.“    Designated Survivor moved to Netflix for its third season and came with yet another creative reset as the show had a whopping five showrunners. The series also saw ABC Studios depart with the move to Netflix as the Entertainment One-produced drama became a co-production with Netflix.    Tuca and Bertie, meanwhile, ran for one season and featured Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong in leading voice roles. The series, a Netflix original, hailed from Bojack Horseman exec producer Lisa Hanaw. “Lisa Hanaw created a relatable yet whimsical world in Tuca & Bertie," Netflix said in a statement. "We're grateful to Lisa, and her fellow executive producers Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Noel Bright, Steven A. Cohen, and EPs/stars Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong, along with all of the writers and animators for sharing the funny and dynamic female bird duo of Tuca and Bertie with the world.  While Tuca & Bertie won't have a second season, we're proud to feature this story on Netflix for years to come.“ The cancellations arrive as Netflix continues to weigh if its financial resources are best spent on new seasons of returning series or totally new originals. The streamer recently canceled She's Gotta Have It after two seasons and Chambers after one.   Tuca and Bertiei marks another increasingly common one-and-done for Netflix, which currently has an 80 percent renewal rate for freshman series. The streamer typically weighs viewing vs. costs: If a series reaches a small audience but does not cost a lot to produce, it typically can return. The animated comedy cancellation is surprising given that Netflix launched an animation studio as it continues to invest in the space.   The streamer has also come under fire of late for its penchant of cancelling scripted originals focused on underserved communities including One Day at a Time. Netflix is currently embroiled in a salary dispute with the stars of On My Block, who are seeking sizable pay increases. Netflix head of originals Cindy Holland previously told THR that the company remains committed to stories focused on underrepresented communities with programming including Dear White People, Family Reunion, On My Block, Madam CJ Walker, its Emmy-nominated When They See Us and multiple films, among others.    

Source: Hollywood Reporter

movie news Firefly Lane: Ben Lawson Joins Katherine Heigl In Netflix Drama Series
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