Dark Days at DreamWorks Animation

Today in show business news: Jeffery Katzenberg's animation house is in trouble, we sift through a bunch of pilot casting news, and Jamie Chung from The Real World takes a stab at legitimacy.

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Today in show business news: Jeffery Katzenberg's animation house is in trouble, we sift through a bunch of pilot casting news, and Jamie Chung from The Real World takes a stab at legitimacy.

Mere days after winning a special humanitarian award at the Academy Awards, DreamWorks CEO Jeffery Katzenberg has announced that his company will be undergoing layoffs, possibly to the tune of 400 employees. This is largely because the studio's hugely expensive Rise of the Guardians failed to make a splash last Thanksgiving. Though it grossed $302 million globally, it cost $145 million to make, not to mention marketing and theater costs and all that. So, DreamWorks Animation will be taking an $87 million write-down on the movie — which is about Santa and Jack Frost and the Easter Bunny teaming up to protect children or something; no surprise it didn't connect — in addition to $54 million for a project called Me and My Shadow, which the studio put back into development. Stock in the company has dropped 24 percent since last November. So, that is not good! DreamWorks has long been the mighty Pixar's strongest competitor, with hits like Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda in its stable, but 2012 was a badly damaging year for the company. Here's hoping for their sake that next month's The Croods is a big hit and then Turbo after that this summer. Though, one of those is about a snail. So. Seems dicey. [The Hollywood Reporter]

There is so much pilot news today, so let's just turn it into a list, shall we? OK, here goes.

  • Lindsay Sloane, who was on Sabrina the Teenage Witch many years ago and has been popping up in stuff ever since but never as much as she should be, has been cast in Sean Hayes's sitcom pilot. She'll be his costar, playing a coworker who used to be a therapist. Thomas Lennon is playing their boss. This could potentially be something good, though I wish it wasn't multi-camera and that the show wasn't partly about a dad parenting his teen daughter. Those two aspects could spell trouble. That said, hooray for Ms. Sloane. [Deadline]
  • Twilight: Original Formula himbo Cam Gigandet has been cast in the leading role in CBS's Reckless, described as a "sultry legal show." A sultry legal show! My my. We've seen sexy legal shows, even scandalous legal shows, but we've never seen a sultry legal show before. Gigandet (pronounced: "Gigandet") will play Roy, the city attorney of Charleston, S.C. (hence the sultriness) who is described as "a liberal Renaissance man." So he invents helicopters and dresses up like a lady to paint portraits of himself? Sadly, no. Actually, he "surfs, loves skateboarding and hip-hop but also fishes, hunts and collects guns." Ha. Hahahaha. This character sounds amazing. Really amazing. And, of course, sultry. Can't wait. [The Hollywood Reporter]
  • Tom Mison, a man who looks like this, has been cast as Ichabod Crane, a character who looks like this, in the Fox pilot Sleepy Hollow. I guess if Johnny Depp can (sorta) do it, so can this guy. Anyway, the show takes place in the present day, and I guess people don't really look like the real Ichabod Crane anymore. In this version Crane is a detective who, alongside his partner Abbie Archie (Nichole Beharie from Shame), solves supernatural mysteries in his weird town. Oh, and there's this minor detail: "A captain from the Revolutionary War where he takes off a horseman’s head, Ichabod gets time warped into present day where he is confused by the modern technology but turns out to be a great detective once his enemy, The Headless Horseman, comes back to haunt the town." So... it's Life On Mars except about Ichabod Crane. Sure. This sounds like a lock for next year, guys. [Deadline]
  • The great Martin Short has been cast on comedian/SNL writer John Mulaney's NBC pilot. The sitcom, also a multi-camera one, is loosely based on Mulaney's life, with Short playing a game show host and Mulaney as the guy who writes jokes for him. Mulaney is writing with Lorne Michaels producing. So it's a real SNL lovefest. And that's a good thing. Mulaney is very funny, Lorne Michaels knows how to make shows, and of course Martin Short is something of a strange genius. Good luck to all of them. [The Hollywood Reporter]

In more distant pilot news, Starz, the network that would really like to be Showtime, let alone HBO, has started working with creepy dancing wonder twins Julianne and Derek Hough. You know, those blond(e) showkid siblings from Dancing with the Stars? They're working to develop a show about ballroom dancing for the network. Specifically, "an original series set in the world of international competitive ballroom dancing." Hough & Hough would serve as the head choreographers for the show, and would play the main love interests. Kidding! Kidding! Oh god I'm kidding. I mean sort of. I mean no, they're not going to be on the show, but y'know... Something's going on with the two of them and Seacrest and one day someone will get to the bottom of it and we'll all say "That's both better and worse than I expected." But in the meantime, this ballroom dancing drama. Which ought to be a smash hit. [Deadline]

Speaking of creepy things, season three of MTV's actually kinda good supernatural series Teen Wolf will return to the network on June 3. That is not soon enough! Though, to be fair, the show does have to run in the summertime. I mean, if it was on in the winter, all those poor shirtless dudes would freeze to death. So it's only fair to them to wait. [Deadline]

Here is a trailer for the indie, a based-on-a-true-story nightmare about sex trafficking starring Real World: San Diego alum Jamie Chung. (And Beau Bridges.) The crazy thing about it? It won a couple awards at SXSW last year, including a special prize for Chung. And it got several good reviews, including one from Variety. So... wow! Jamie Chung could be on her way to becoming a serious actress. Boy what Robin and Brad must be thinking... If they're not currently in rum stasis, that is.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.