HBO News Blog

Development Slate: An NFL Great, STILLWATER & More

By Jef Dinsmore on Aug 26, 2014 to HBO News

dev-logoIt has actually been a bit quiet on the development front. Even some shows that we know are in the works like BALLERS, THE SPARK, TOGETHERNESS and others are not getting much news. Most news has been focusing instead on the conclusion of a number of HBO series this year. They have to be replaced with some content  besides WESTWORLD in VICE PRINCIPALS so, below, are some deals and concepts that haven’t generated a lot of buzz that we will now give due attention.  

  • Frank Gifford’s Big Game – THE GLORY GAME

NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gifford penned a book entitled “The Glory Game” back in 2009 that chronicles an epic NFL matchup from 1958 and its place in football and media history.
HBO has now optioned the book for a future HBO Film Presentation. The sporting event was a contest between the NY Giants and the Baltimore Colts on 12.28.58 that was labeled “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” It was an exciting game that featured Mr. Gifford and many others who became NFL greats as well like Johhny Unitas.

Just what is the large significance of this particular game out of many? The fact that the game was the first time an NFL playoff game went into sudden death overtime has something to do with it. We found this quote from Frank Gifford at the NY Post:

“That overtime meant a lot and moved us into a time zone where people were turning on their TVs in California and seeing NFL football,” says Frank Gifford. “Football, at that time, was a game that nobody talked about or watched on TV … and that game had a lot to do with bringing fans to the game. People turned on their TVs expecting to see the news, which was pre-empted by the game, and I think that had a lot to do with popularizing the NFL.”

The HBO Films presentation is being produced by Gene Kirkwood, Ross Elliott and Frank’s 24-year-old son, Cody Gifford. We found a highlight reel for those interested and a link to Frank Gifford’s book


  • STILLWATER Drama In DevelopmentPeople_HowieDeutch

A development deal with director/producer Howie Deutch has landed a potential drama series entitled STILLWATER. The series will follow a New York City policeman used to the hustle and bustle of urban life relocated to small town life in Minnesota, more specifically we gather, Stillwater, MN. That fish-out-of-water story has been played before, but HBO is eyeing this one so, as we might guess, it just might be well done.

Howie Deutch is no stranger to HBO. He has proved his valuable contributions through the years. He has directed episodes of BIG LOVE, HUNG and GETTING ON as well as serving as a executive producer for TRUE BLOOD. For that service HBO gave him a two-year development deal and according to Deadline, STILLWATER was the concept that snagged a look by the network. Mr. Deutch had the following to say about it all:

 “I’m so grateful and excited to continue my relationship with HBO who I consider to be the most creative and supportive company in the business.”  

No wonder HBO likes him? Have you noted Howie’s contribution to HBO? It looks like he just might have more to offer.


  • First Look Deal for Tim Story 

People_TimStoryTim Story has just inked a two year first-look deal with the network. The producer/director got his start in music videos and has since gone to the big screen with movies like Think Like A Man and its sequel, Ride Along and The Fantastic Four and its sequel.  He has also directed the pilot and produced the fox series Standoff.

With that list of credits he has been signed to create content for HBO’s interest in comedy drama and possible long-form projects. We will see what develops.


HBOWatch wishes it had a bigger report this time around, but these few entries clean out the file of the latest ideas being bandied about. In conclusion we repeat the thought noted at the beginning of this Slate. There has to be big changes ahead for HBO in 2015 because of all the number of shows seeing their final bow this year. There seems to be enough concepts in various stages of completion that makes us optimistic for what is next. Maybe, there could be enough high quality entertainment that HBO could take on another night for Original Series beyond Sunday night. That is one reason for this type of article because you never can tell what new show, movie or special can be born. Keep your eyes focused on HBO. We sure will.    



  • sxn

    Next year will probably see the premiere of Westworld, the yet untitled Scorsese/Winter new show and the second season of True Detective (a new show in itself, really). So with three new high profile dramas I wouldn’t put any bets on the ones above or on other ‘big’ shows for that matter.

    • Weds

      In addition to those two new series’, I’d imagine we might see Ryan Murphy’s pilot, Open, get green-lit to series. In terms of scheduling, it would have the most synergy in the January slot (considering True Detective won’t be ready, and all that’s set to air in that slot is Girls, Looking, and Last Week Tonight), but I don’t think it will be ready to premiere by then.

      Which leaves us with the option that perhaps HBO is holding back Ballers and Togetherness, and will opt to air four half-hour shows in that time slot while they work to fill our their programming line-up. With everything they have in development (the Scorsese rock & roll series, Westworld, The Brink, etc.), I could definitely see HBO expanding to another night.

      I’ve also heard that if The Knick doesn’t attract the kind of audience HBO is expecting on Cinemax, it may be moved over to HBO proper during its second season.

  • Jojocotto

    Cool news about the football movie. I wish HBO would re-air it’s sports documentaries that feature it, 1999’s Unitas and 2002’s Picture Perfect – The Stories Behind the Greatest Photos In Sports and while we’re at it, how about 1991’s Play by Play – A History of Sports TV. Anyone listening put these on demand!

    • Jef Dinsmore

      Oh, they will shuffle around to airing those again someday. HBO has a large library to choose from now and a number of platforms to fill. Keep your eyes peeled.

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