Mark Burnett and Roma Downey talk about why and how they made The Bible -- the hit History Channel miniseries. Plus, Twilight author Stephenie Meyer on producing indie movies based on other people's books.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Mark Burnett's name is synonymous with big reality competition shows -- Survivor, The Voice, and Celebrity Apprentice -- but the passion project he made with his wife, Roma Downey, is a massive franchise in the making. The Bible is a five-part miniseries that aired on History Channel. It garnered huge ratings, plus an Emmy nomination. Burnett and Downey, herself an actress who starred in the CBS show Touched by an Angel and who plays Mother Mary in The Bible -- are devout Christians. They talk with Kim Masters about how they found that The Bible series gave people in the industry permission to talk about God. They plan to turn the series into a feature film, followed by a sequel on NBC.
Stephenie Meyer is most known as the author of the Twilight novels, which became a massive global phenomenon and spawned a successful film franchise. In the process, Meyer got a taste for making movies. She's now launched her own production company, Fickle Fish Films. Her first movie is Austenland, a romantic comedy starring Kerri Russell and based on the book by Shannon Hale. Meyer talks about going from the blockbuster world of Twilight to the indie world of Sundance and Austenland.
Kim Masters and John Horn of the Los Angeles Times discuss what it means when a big Hollywood blockbuster flops. Compared to last year's summer box office, revenue is down over 6%, and because movies cost much more to make, the losses are much greater. For example, the Lone Ranger cost around $400 million, including marketing.
John says there are three lessons to be learned from this summer's box office:
- If trying to build a franchise, studios shouldn't gamble so much on the first film. See how it does first before spending the big bucks.
- Release dates are too competitive and need to be rethought.
- Studios should bet on lesser known directors who make genre films on smaller budgets. An example is James Wan who directed this summer's The Conjuring.
More From The Business
Tentative TV writer no more: Showrunner Tanya Saracho on ‘Vida’ Soon after Tanya Saracho got the green light to write a pilot for her first TV series, she contracted a dangerous spinal infection that left her stuck in bed for months. But Saracho rallied and her show 'Vida' has just premiered on Starz. A former Chicago-based playwright, Saracho tells us about her tough first experiences as a TV writer and how she ended up running the first all Latinx writers room in cable.
Justin Simien on ‘Dear White People’ and fighting impostor syndrome As the series ‘Dear White People’ launches its second season on Netflix, the show about black students grappling with life at a fictional Ivy League university maintains a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Creator Justin Simien tells us about writing things satirically and then watching them become reality. And he explains why for many years, he didn’t believe he could be a part of creating pop culture.
Director Alexandra Dean on ‘Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story’ The documentary ‘Bombshell’ explores the life and legacy of Hedy Lamarr, a star from Hollywood’s golden age and an inventor whose ideas are still in use in wireless technology. Her inventions weren’t recognized until late in her ultimately tragic life, and never made her any money. ‘Bombshell’ director Alexandra Dean tells us about Lamarr’s extraordinary career, on-screen and off.
Content chief Susanne Daniels on growing YouTube Red and 'Cobra Kai' Susanne Daniels has run the entertainment divisions of The WB, Lifetime and MTV. In those days, she sometimes faced a challenge of convincing big names to come to her network. Now, she oversees original content at YouTube, and she says getting talent is not a problem. She tells us about making the transition from traditional TV to streaming, and how YouTube Red is evolving with projects like ‘Cobra Kai.’
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Calif. governor’s race: Gavin Newsom interview Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen as the frontrunner in the race to be the state’s next governor. The Democrat has a solid lead in most of the polls. Newsom… Read More
Calif. governor’s race: John Cox interview Republican John Cox is a businessman originally from Chicago. He’s only lived in California for about a decade, but that hasn’t kept him from surging in recent polls — or… Read More