2016
Bryan Cranston
plays President Lyndon B. Johnson in All The Way, directed by Emmy Award-winning Jay Roach. The stage-to-tv adaptation is produced for HBO by Amblin Television, Tale Told Productions and Moon Shot Entertainment, with Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank & Justin Falvey, Robert Schenkkan and Bryan Cranston executive producing.

All the Way is based on Robert Schenkkan’s play of the same name and follows Johnson’s ascension to the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It depicts his efforts to maneuver members of the 88th United States Congress to enact, and civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr. to support, the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Anthony Mackie co-stars as Martin Luther King Jr. Also starring are Melissa Leo as Lady Bird Johnson and Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey.

For his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson, Bryan Cranston has won a Tony Award in 2014. He has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in Trumbo (2015) which was also directed by Jay Roach. Cranston is best-known for his roles as “Walter White” on the AMC drama series, Breaking Bad (2008), for which he has won four consecutive Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy Awards.

According to Variety, Cranston didn’t hesitate when the offer to adapt All the Way came in from HBO because the lesson of the play, about the moral and political courage it took Johnson to push forward on the Civil Rights Act in 1964, was so vital: “We could now reach millions more and tell this important story by way of HBO.”

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2015
ABC’s alien drama The Whispers is canceled after one season. The series is based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury short story Zero Hour from The Illustrated Man. It is produced by Amblin Television, with Steven Spielberg serving as one of the executive producers.

Its main cast includes Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane, Milo Ventimiglia, Kristen Connolly, and Derek Webster. The Whispers is initially described as a race against the clock to defeat an unseen alien enemy out to destroy the world using children. However, ABC pulls back on the alien reveal from the pilot and turns the series into more of a mystery thriller.

The series opens to respectable returns – 1.5 million among adults 18-49 in its Monday at 10 p.m. slot. With three days of delayed viewing, the ranking jumps 53 percent to a 2.3 – becoming the highest-rated three-day gainer among summer debuts on any network since CBSUnder the Dome in 2013.

The show runs into trouble when the stars are brought back for a limited run only, and the show is shifted from Los Angeles, where the pilot was filmed, to take advantage of tax incentives in Vancouver, Canada.

Amblin Television has seen its roster of original tv shows slide of late after CBS canceled Under the Dome (2013-15) and Extant (2014-15), TNT wrapped Falling Skies (2011-15) and Fox trimmed Minority Report (2015-) from 13 to 10 episodes. The fate of TNT’s Public Morals (2015) remains unclear, while The Americans (2013-present) still remains a staple on FX.

Meanwhile, CBS gives a straight-to-series order for the Amblin Television production American Gothic – a one-hour murder mystery revolving around the patriarch of a prominent Boston family – planning a summer 2016 premiere.

2015
The television series Minority Report is conceived as a sequel adaptation to Steven Spielberg’s movie Minority Report (2002).

The series is set in 2065 Washington, D.C. – eleven years after the events of the movie – and follows Dash (Stark Sands), a Precog, who has the ability to predict crimes. After the Precrime Unit was dismantled in 2054, law enforcement is forced to rely on more advanced methods. Dash, his twin brother Arthur (Nick Zano), and their foster sister Agatha (Laura Regan, replacing Samantha Morton from the film version) were part of the original Precrime program that gave them their unique gifts. Dash is using his ability to assist Detective Lara Vega (Meagan Good) in preventing crimes, at the same time trying to keep his gift from being revealed, as there are forces trying to obtain the Precogs at any cost.

The first TV adaption of a Steven Spielberg-directed movie debuts on Fox in September 2015. The script is written by Max Borenstein. He serves as executive producer alongside Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, and Darryl Frank.

The pilot is watched by 3.1 million viewers, but due to poor reception and mixed reviews, Fox trims the series order from 13 episodes to 10.

2014
Extant, a science fiction TV series created by Mickey Fisher and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, tells the story of astronaut Molly Woods (Halle Berry) who returns home to her family – inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

Bypassing the traditional pilot stage, CBS places a 13-episode straight-to-series order, with Amblin Television serving as production company.

The series premiere is watched by more than 11 million viewers. Extant receives generally favorable reviews. Critics praise the unique approach to some familiar stories and the strong performance by Halle Berry.

Nevertheless, in 2015, CBS cancels the show after two seasons (26 episodes).

2013
Under the Dome
– a science-fiction drama tv series, executive-produced by Steven Spielberg – premieres on CBS. Danish director Niels Arden Oplev produces and directs the pilot.

Produced by Amblin Television and DreamWorks Television, the series is based on Stephen King’s novel and centers around the fictional small town of Chester’s Mill where a massive, transparent, seemingly indestructible dome suddenly cuts the residents off from the rest of the world. With no Internet access, no mobile signals and limited radio communication, the people trapped inside must find their own ways to survive with diminishing resources and rising tensions.

The cast includes Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Natalie Martinez, Britt Robertson, Alexander Koch and many others.The pilot episode receives positive reviews, and the initial episodes are generally well received.

Stephen King – who writes the script for the second season’s premiere episode – acknowledges that “the TV version of Under the Dome varies considerably from the book version”, and calls the series “very good”.

The pilot establishes records for the highest rated CBS summer premiere since Big Brother‍ ’​s 2000 season, and the highest drama summer premiere on any network since 1992.The first season receives an average viewership of 11.19 million live viewers, the second season receives an average viewership of 7.17 million live viewers but DVR viewership vastly increases that. For example, the second season finale is watched by 7.52 million live viewers but is watched by 11.27 million DVR viewers.

The series is available for streaming on Amazon Video devices four days after broadcast on CBS. The deal with Amazon helps CBS to mitigate the high production cost of nearly $3 million per episode.

In 2015, CBS cancels the show after three seasons (39 episodes).

2013
Steven Spielberg predicts an ‘implosion’ of the film industry
– if several megabudget movies in a row turn disastrous at the box office.

His statements spread like wildfire in the media. They are made at a roundtable during an event
touting the opening of a new USC School of Cinematic Arts building.

George Lucas agrees that massive changes are afoot, including film exhibition morphing into a Broadway play model, whereby fewer movies are released; they stay in theaters for a year and ticket prices are much higher. Lucas and Spielberg tell USC students that they are learning about the industry at an extraordinary time of upheaval, where even proven talents find it difficult to get movies into theaters.

Some ideas from young filmmakers “are too fringe-y for the movies,” Spielberg says. “That’s the big danger, and there’s eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.”

Lucas laments the high cost of marketing movies and the urge to make them for the masses while ignoring niche audiences. He calls cable television “much more adventurous” than film nowadays: “I think eventually the Lincolns will go away and they’re going to be on television.” Lucas says. “The pathway to get into theaters is really getting smaller and smaller.”

When Spielberg is asked if he planned to make original content for streaming companies such as Netflix, he replies: “I have nothing to announce.”

Just two months after Spielberg’s prediction, Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger (estimated budget: $225 million) bombs at the box office, followed by other big-budget box office disappointments.

2013
Steven Spielberg announces Napoleon
to be made for TV, based on Stanley Kubrick’s original screenplay from 1961, and in conjunction with Kubrick’s family.

Spielberg – an admirer of the late director – is in early talks with HBO to acquire the Spielberg-produced miniseries centering on the infamous French leader, with Baz Luhrman attached as a potential director.

Since the announcement, no deal has been made and the project seems to be on hold. 

Update: In 2016, Cary Fukunaga is announced as a potential director.

Incidentally, Spielberg’s The Terminal (2004) contains a scene in which Amelia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) buys the book “Napoléon Bonaparte” by Alan Schom and passionately discusses Napoléon’s fate with Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks).

2012
Smash
– a highly anticipated, big-budget television series about the backstage politics of a Broadway production. Unfortunately, it does not turn out to be a “smash”…

The series is created by playwright Theresa Rebeck and developed by Robert Greenblatt for NBC, with Steven Spielberg serving as one of the executive producers. One might say, Smash  is Broadway meets ER.

Produced by DreamWorks Television and Universal Television, the series features a large ensemble cast, led by Debra Messing, Jack Davenport, Katharine McPhee, Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Jeremy Jordan, Andy Mientus, and Anjelica Huston.

The show, particularly its pilot episode, enjoys some critical success but is cancelled after two seasons (32 episodes). The character of Ellis, reportedly Spielberg’s favorite part, is cited as one reason for the show’s decline.

The first season receives the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography. The series is also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media (“Let Me Be Your Star”).

2011
Terra Nova
– a science fiction drama television series – is based on an idea by British writer Kelly Marcel and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The cast includes actors such as Peter Chernin, René Echevarria, Brannon Braga, and Jon Cassar.

The series documents the Shannon family’s experiences as they establish themselves as members of a colony, set up 85 million years in the earth’s past, fleeing the dystopian present of the 22nd century

Terra Nova airs one season (13 episodes) when Fox announces that it would end the series due to disappointing reception

2011
CNN announces Osama bin Laden is dead. 

He has been killed on his compound in Abbottabadin, Pakistan. The operation is ordered by US President Barack Obama and carried out by a team of US Navy SEALs, with support from CIA operatives on the ground. After the raid, US forces take bin Laden’s body to Afghanistan for identification, then bury it at sea within 24 hours of his death. 

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (2012) dramatizes the decade-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden. Originally, Bigelow and Mark Boal are working on a screenplay centered on the December 2001 Battle of Tora Bora – the long, unsuccessful efforts to find Osama bin Laden in the region. They are about to begin filming when news break that bin Laden has been killed. They immediately shelve their film, redirecting their focus and essentially starting from scratch. Zero Dark Thirty stars Jessica Chastain who wins a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama.