Viacom gets the ‘Beat’

Series toplines Ruffalo

Viacom Prods. signed on to produce the new Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson series “The Beat,” which has received a 13-episode midseason order from UPN.

Aside from that series, insiders say Fontana and Levinson are also in talks with HBO to create a new drama series there.

Fontana and Levinson, who created “Homicide” and “Oz,” currently have a producing pact with Rysher, but that company is close to being sold and is no longer deficit financing new projects.

Agents for Fontana and Levinson are shopping the duo to several other companies for a new overall deal, but in the meantime, Viacom is producing the UPN show. Viacom is also distributing the Fontana-Levinson Showtime series called “Hoop Life.”

“We’re extremely excited,” said Perry Simon, president of Viacom Prods. “Tom and I go back to my days at NBC.”

“The Beat,” formerly titled “Flesh & Blood,” is being revamped as a young cop drama exploring the personal and professional lives of young cops. Fontana and Levsinson are executive producing, and Fontana is expected to write the first few episodes. Mark Ruffalo is starring, and shooting begins in New York in August.

“The show is not an earnest cop show,” Simon said. “It’s going to have a swagger to it and a sense of humor.”

More TV

  • Composite Mieli/Davey

    Sky Studios Forges Production Pact With Fremantle's The Apartment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sky Studios and Italy’s The Apartment, the Fremantle-owned production company headed by Lorenzo Mieli, have forged a multi-year development and production partnership that marks Sky’s first agreement of this type outside the U.K. Under the deal, Sky Studios, which is the Comcast-owned pay-TV broadcaster dedicated production arm, will provide The Apartment development funding for a [...]

  • The Mess You Leave Behind’

    Carlos Montero on New Netflix Original ‘The Mess You Leave Behind’

    Netflix’s announcement of new Spanish series late last month underscored the platform’s intent to diversify its palette in the country while betting once again on one of their own, Carlos Montero. After co-writing “Elite” Season 2, and with a third set soon to bow, Montero has made the jump to the director’s chair for the [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viola Davis, Holly Robinson Peete Pay Tribute to 'Good Times' Actress Ja'Net DuBois

    Actress Ja’Net DuBois died on Tuesday at her home in Glendale, Calif. at the age of 74. The actress, known for her role in the 70s sitcom “Good Times” as Wilona, the Evans family neighbor, died unexpectedly in her sleep. She appeared in several other films and shows throughout her career including “Charlie’s Angels: Full [...]

  • Bigger

    TV News Roundup: BET Plus Renews Will Packer's 'Bigger'

    In today’s TV news roundup, BET Plus renewed “Bigger” for a second season, and Netflix announced premiere dates for “On My Block” Season 3 and “Feel Good.” CASTING Josh Hartnett has been cast in Quibi’s upcoming series “Die Hart.“ Hartnett will play a fictionalized character of himself, an alumnus of the action school where Kevin [...]

  • Ja'net Dubois Dead

    Ja'Net DuBois, 'Good Times' Actress, Dies at 74

    Ja’Net DuBois, known for her turn as Willona Woods on “Good Times,” was found dead in her Glendale, Calif. home on Tuesday. The Pan African Film Festival, which she co-founded, said she “would be deeply missed.” Her family told TMZ the actress died unexpectedly in her sleep. She was believed to be 74. In addition [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content