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WIRE Buzz: J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot nears big-bucks deal; William Shatner hosts new anthology

By James Comtois
J.J. Abrams

Bad Robot gets a good deal, a new bride gets a raw deal, and William Shatner gets a new deal in this edition of SYFY’S WIRE Buzz. 

First up, it’s a good day to be Bad Robot. The production company behind Westworld and Castle Rock run by J.J. Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, is in final negotiations with WarnerMedia for a new partnership, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  

Unnamed sources have told the media outlet that under the terms of the deal, Bad Robot will create and develop new projects for WarnerMedia and supervise other producers across film, TV, and digital platforms. Apparently the process of moving Bad Robot's feature-film deal from Paramount Pictures has already begun.

This deal comes at the end of a months-long bidding war that included such prospective suitors as Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Comcast, and Sony Entertainment. Although the length of the deal was not disclosed, sources are estimating the value of the deal to be in the $500 million range. 

WarnerMedia, the corporate umbrella under which HBO, Warner Bros., and the Turner family of cable channels reside, is looking to launch its own streaming service later this year to compete against Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and video on-demand service providers. Bad Robot will presumably be creating original content for this new service... and THR's sources are saying said new service was among the reasons why the production company chose WarnerMedia to serve as its new home.

WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told THR that the company is in "an arms race” to retain talent as it prepares to launch its new streaming service.

“Just because you increase the volume [of shows], you can't increase the number of really talented people in the world that can produce these shows, so when they come along as a J.J. Abrams does once in every generation, you want to hold on to them,” said Greenblatt without confirming the deal. “We hope to keep him in the family.”

Abrams is currently editing his next film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, over at Disney.

Up next, a young bride realizes that she’s married into the absolutely worst family in the red-band trailer for the hilarious and insane-looking horror film Ready or Not. 

After a picture-perfect wedding, a young bride (played by Samara Weaving) is asked by her new husband (Mark O’Brien) to play hide-and-seek with his rich, eccentric family (which includes Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, and Andie MacDowell). Apparently it’s a time-honored tradition. But our poor, hapless bride soon learns that this family’s version of hide-and-seek is a game in the way that hunting is a game. Meaning, yes, they... they plan to hunt her down with rifles, axes, and crossbows and kill her. (Here’s hoping she signed a prenup.) 

Check out the gory trailer (warning: NSFW!), which includes crossbows accidentally getting discharged into people’s mouths, Andie MacDowell shooting a bow and arrow at a person's face, and a blood-soaked bride getting legitimately annoyed at her new — and we’re guessing, soon-to-be-ex — husband. It's all to the tune of the Righteous Brothers’ "Unchained Melody" (because, of course). Also, gotta love gramma’s withering glare at the blushing bride during the photo shoot.


Ready or Not hits theaters Aug. 23. 

Finally, William Shatner plans to boldly go to explore the world’s most unexplainable mysteries in a new anthology series for the History Channel. The cable channel announced that the Star Trek icon will host and produce The UnXplained, an eight-episode hourlong nonfiction anthology series examining such subject as mysterious structures, cursed ancient cities, extraterrestrial sightings, and bizarre rituals.

The UnXplained will delve into the facts behind bizarre mysteries. The series will also feature contributions from scientists, historians, engineers, and researchers that shed light on these mysterious happenings.

“I’m thrilled to be hosting and producing the new History Channel series The UnXplained,” said Shatner in the statement. “It’s an intriguing show that will offer viewers credible answers to questions about mysterious phenomena, while also leaving other theories left unexplained.”

The UnXplained premieres on the History Channel on July 19.