AMC Acquires Spy Drama THE NIGHT MANAGER Starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie; Hulu Orders Original Series CASUAL from Jason Reitman

     October 30, 2014

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We have a couple of brief TV acquisition stories for you today.  First up, as we reported earlier this month, the BBC is developing a limited-series adaptation of the John le Carre novel The Night Manager.  The espionage drama, which will star Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston, revolves around a former British soldier who teams up with intelligence operatives to go undercover in order to avenge the death of a friend.  Given the lead actors, the source material’s author, and the premise, it’s no wonder that the series ignited a bidding war.  According to THR, AMC has won the U.S. distribution rights, which is good thing for the cable network considering they’re hard up for quality programming now that Breaking Bad is gone and Mad Men is almost finished (Better Call Saul might be good, but it will be compared to one of TV’s greatest shows right out the gate).  Granted, The Night Manager is a limited series (probably six to eight episodes), but it will likely be a huge draw for the network nonetheless.

Hit the jump for other TV news regarding director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) setting up the new original comedy series Casual for Hulu.

jason-reitman-men-women-childrenAfter receiving acclaim for Juno and Up in the Air, critics and audiences have turned cold on with his latest films, Labor Day and Men, Women & Children, flopping at the box office, so perhaps he’ll have more luck on television.  Hulu has announced that they’ve put in a ten episode straight-to-series order for the comedy Casual.  Per the press release, “Casual follows the story of a dysfunctional family with a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister. Together, they coach each other through the crazy world of dating (on-line and off), while living under one roof again and raising a teenager.”

I’ll admit that the premise sounds like a laugh-track sitcom, but Reitman has shown he has the creative edge to move the material out of that arena.  It may not reach the popularity of his earlier features, but I’m glad to see him branch out into new mediums.

Here’s the press release:

Hulu Announces Ten Episode Straight-to-Series Order for CASUAL, a Comedy Series Executive-Produced and Directed by Oscar® Nominee Jason Reitman

CASUAL, from Lionsgate Television, Joins Growing Slate of Original Programming that Will Debut in 2015 on Hulu

LOS ANGELES (October 30, 2014) — Hulu has given a ten episode straight-to-series order to CASUAL, a single-camera, half-hour comedy series from Lionsgate Television to be executive-produced by Oscar® nominated director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Juno), series writer Zander Lehmann and Reitman’s production partner Helen Estabrook (Whiplash, Young Adult), the company announced today. CASUAL will debut on Hulu in 2015, with Reitman set to direct the premiere episode.

CASUAL follows the story of a dysfunctional family with a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister. Together, they coach each other through the crazy world of dating (on-line and off), while living under one roof again and raising a teenager

“Jason Reitman uniquely blends comedy and drama in a way that touches the human spirit.  We are honored to work with him to bring the next distinctive voice, Zander Lehmann, to television,” said Craig Erwich, Senior Vice President and Head of Content, Hulu.

“I’ve long looked for the right first step into episodic storytelling,” said Reitman. “In Zander Lehmann, I have found the perfect collaborator. His writing is hilarious and provocative.”

“We are big fans of Jason’s work, Zander’s scripts and their wonderfully perceptive take on contemporary family life,” said Kevin Beggs, Chairman, Lionsgate Television

Group.  “Working with Hulu has been a great experience and we’re excited about this latest expansion of our relationship.”

CASUAL will be produced by Jason Reitman’s Right of Way Films and will begin production this year. The Hulu Original series joins the recently announced order for 11/22/63, an event series based upon the best-selling Stephen King novel from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions.

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