Twentieth Century Fox Television’s new series “Pitch” has taken advantage of the California Film Commission’s expanded $65 million tax credit program, but it’s also giving back to the local industry. The show’s team is building out an expanded sound stage at Paramount Studios in Hollywood to create the world of Ginny Baker, the first woman to play Major League Baseball – in the drama series, anyway.
From co-creators-executive producers Dan Fogelman and Rick Singer, “Pitch” is the first television series to work in conjunction with Major League Baseball. Former “Under the Dome” actress Kylie Bunbury stars as Baker.
“We wouldn’t have done the show without the MLB,” said Fogelman. “Their one request was to make it look authentic.”
While the story line for “Pitch” is based in fiction, it is grounded in real life. Bunbury’s character plays for the San Diego Padres and wears the team’s actual uniform. The actress was trained by former big-league pitcher Gregg Olson, who serves as a consultant on the show. The exec producers also noted that the league provides notes on scripts for the show to ensure every scene hits all the right notes.
“I think there’s still an audience for a network family TV show. It should make you feel something,” said Fogelman. “If there’s a compelling premise, I think there’s still room for that.”
Upon approval from the Film Commission in June, “Pitch” became one of 11 series participating in the new program generating an estimated $464 million in direct in-state spending, including $171 million in wages to below-the-line crew members. Filming for the pilot largely took place at Petco Park in San Diego. Future interior scenes will be filmed on the Paramount soundstage.
The series, which also stars Ali Larter (“Heroes”) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (“Franklin & Bash”) will premiere on Fox on Sept. 22.
In Hollywood, the story behind the story is sometimes the most powerful. In “Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency,” a new book from James Andrew Miller, five decades of history at Creative Artists Agency provides a window into the financial drama behind the scenes of some of the biggest deals in entertainment.
The Century City-based talent agency, co-founded in 1975 by former William Morris Agency employees Michael Ovitz, Ron Meyer, Mike Rosenfeld, William Haber, and Rowland Perkins, now has 1,800 employees and serves a variety of A-list clients in entertainment, including J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, and George Clooney. The agency also has large music and sports divisions.
Miller joined Ovitz and Meyer in a rare joint appearance on Aug. 7 to celebrate the launch of the book at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, with proceeds going to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.
Drawing on unprecedented access to 500 people who built and battled with CAA – including Ovitz and Meyer – as well as financial information never before made public, the book examines the entrepreneurial spirit and ruthless nature of some of the most famous Hollywood agents, studio executives, network chiefs, league commissioners, private equity partners, tech chief executives, and media tycoons.
Industry insiders have postulated that both CAA and chief competitor WME-IMG are headed toward an initial public offering in the near future.
Justin Rosenblatt has been named executive vice president of original programming and development at entertainment network Pop TV, a joint venture of CBS Corp. and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Rosenblatt, senior vice president of alternative programming at the CW network, will join Pop in September, reporting to President Brad Schwartz. … Meyer, NBCUniversal’s vice chairman, extended his contract with the entertainment giant through 2022. The longtime executive oversees the company’s studio and theme park businesses. … Business Rockstars, a Burbank producer of video and audio content geared toward entrepreneurs, has tapped TV and radio personality Pat O’Brien as lead anchor of the company’s eponymous radio show, distributed through network partners Sun Broadcasting, BizTalk Radio, BizTV, and Radio America. … Fox Sports West has consolidated the management and operations of its L.A. and San Diego regional sports networks. Henry Ford will oversee the combined networks. Reporting to Ford in the newly created role of assistant general manager is Lindsay Amstutz.
Media and entertainment reporter Kristin Marguerite Doidge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @kmarguerite_usc for the latest in L.A. media news.
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