Evening News Update for Thursday, 10/17/13.


ABC Adapting YA Book Series ‘Beta’ With Chris Weitz & Temple Hill
has teamed with Chris Weitz (About A Boy) and Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey’s ABC Studios-based Temple Hill for a drama series project based on Beta, the first in the YA book series by bestselling author Rachel Cohn. Written by young feature writer Lindsay Devlin, the project is set in the near future when clones have become the enslaved work force for the wealthy. But when a new Beta model is introduced and discovers the dark truth about her own origins, she also begins to uncover secrets and lies within the utopian island community she’s serving.

Fox Orders Ancient Egypt Drama ‘Hieroglyph’ Straight to Series
is making a big bet on an Egyptian fantasy. The network is moving forward with a 13-episode straight-to-series order for Hieroglyph, a fantastical action-adventure show. The series, set in ancient Egypt, centers on a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharaoh, navigating palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and even a few divine sorcerers. The ambitious drama, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Chernin Entertainment, is being written by Pacific Rim’s Travis Beacham.

Comics Publisher IDW Launches TV Division With ‘Walking Dead’ EP Attached
has launched IDW Entertainment in an effort to fund and develop new television properties based on its massive catalog. David Ozer will oversee the division as president. Initial titles under consideration include Life Undead, from co-EP Chris Pollack with showrunner Paul Zbyszewski (Agents of SHIELD, Lost), who penned the comic book attached; Brooklyn Animal Control, based on the dark comic from writer-director J.T. Petty (Splinter Cell) and artists Stephen Thompson; and V Wars, which is edited by New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry.

‘Parenthood’ EP, Shaun Cassidy Team for NBC Pharmaceutical Drama
is teaming with Lawrence Trilling and Shaun Cassidy for Empowered, a family thriller set in the pharmaceutical world. The drama revolves around Charlotte Davis, the public face of Omni Health, a massive pharmaceutical company. When Charlotte’s father is tragically killed and a mysterious stranger shows up on her doorstep claiming that Omni — and Charlotte’s husband — are responsible, she finds herself torn between her search for the truth and the company that’s always been her family. Trilling will pen the script and direct should the drama move to pilot.

CBS Adapting Koethi Zan’s Bestselling Novel ‘The Never List’
CBS is developing an adaptation of Koethi Zan’s bestseller “The Never List”. The debut novel from former MTV SVP Zan tells the tale of four kidnapped women, three of whom are rescued. A decade after the kidnappings, Dr. Sarah Farber, a top trauma doctor at a prestigious New York City hospital, continues to unravel the mystery of the missing girl’s disappearance. Zan will serve as a supervising producer on the CBS Television Studios project, with Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly executive-producing. A.M. Homes (“The L Word,” “Jack”) is writing as well as executive producing.

20th TV Acquires Norwegian Series ‘Mammon’ For Chernin Entertainment To Remake
Norwegian broadcaster NRK has made its first U.S. sale of a scripted format with thriller series Mammon. 20th Century Fox Television has acquired the format through independent distributor DRG. Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope will executive produce a U.S. adaptation for Chernin Entertainment. The tense six-part thriller pits brother against brother in the worlds of politics, media and finance. It hails from sibling producer/writer team Vegard and Gjermund Stenberg Eriksen.

George Mastras Inks HBO Overall Deal, In Talks To Run Martin Scorsese-Mick Jagger- Terence Winter’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Drama
George Mastras
is heading to HBO with a two-year overall deal. He is in discussions to join the pay cable network’s long-gestating rock ‘n’ roll drama, from Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter, as new showrunner.

Ben McKenzie Inks Warner Bros TV Deal
Ben McKenzie
is formalizing his relationship with a studio, signing a talent deal that includes a development component. The pact gives WBTV exclusivity on McKenzie’s services as an actor for television projects, while he also can bring the studio projects that he would star in if they go forward.

‘Outlander’ & ‘The Black Box’ Cast Regulars
Laura Donnelly
andLotte Verbeek have become the latest cast additions to Starz’s Outlander, a Ron Moore series based on Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling books. Another straight-to-series drama, ABC’s 13-episode limited series The Black Box, has cast a duo of regulars, David Chisum and Siobhan Williams.

Actress Surgery Stops Production On CBS Series ‘Intelligence’
Production on CBS’ midseason drama series Intelligence was shut down yesterday because one of its stars, Meghan Ory, is on medical leave. Ory has been sidelined since last week when she had an appendectomy. The series had been filming around her for several days, and Ory had hoped to return to work this week but she was advised by her doctors that she would need more time for recovery. Ory is cleared to return to work on Monday, when filming is scheduled to resume.

Cinemax Confirms January 10 Premiere for Season 2 of ‘Banshee’
returns for its ten-episode second season FRIDAY, JAN. 10 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), it was announced today by CINEMAX. Series is executive produced by Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Jonathan Tropper, David Schickler and Greg Yaitanes.


Legendary Revs Up ‘Hot Wheels’ With Simon Crane and Paul Attanasio
has tapped Simon Crane to direct and Paul Attanasio to pen a “Hot Wheels” feature based around the famous toy cars. Attanasio will rewrite from the draft written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway which originally attracted Crane to the project. No plot details are known, Legendary’s initial instinct was to market the film toward young men who were attracted to the “Fast & Furious” franchise — not the kids who would be playing with the toys.

June Diane Raphael To Co-Star In ‘Business Trip’ Opposite Vince Vaughn
June Diane Raphael has been set co-star as Vince Vaughn’s wife in Business Trip, the Ken Scott-directed comedy from New Regency. Steve Conrad wrote the script, which centers on a struggling Midwestern businessman (Vaughn) who takes his team cross-country to win a contract but everything seems to go wrong along the way. His wife (Raphael) wants him to spend more time with his family and kids.


ABC Sets Holiday Special with Lady Gaga and the Muppets
Lady Gaga
is teaming with the Muppets for a holiday special on ABC, the network confirmed today. “Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular” will feature Gaga performing songs from her new album “Artpop” with Muppet characters. Sir Elton John, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and RuPaul will also appear in the 90-minute spesh.

E! Orders ‘Rich Kids of Beverly Hills’ Reality Series
is bringing “Gossip Girl” to the Left Coast with its newly announced reality series, “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.” It has ordered eight episodes of the series, which are slated to premiere in January 2014. The show follows five friends belonging to very wealthy families as they spend their (or their parents’) money, date, paint the town red and live it in public via social media like Twitter and Instagram.


(q&a) THR: 4 TV Execs in Showdown: Fox’s Reilly Calls Pilot Season ‘Welfare State’; Sarandos’ New Threat
THR: Kevin, you’ve done a few straight-to-series orders lately. Why?
Reilly: My series orders have been predominantly to unwind us off the cycle in broadcast, but the marketplace is at such a fever pitch. I can’t stand it. I get dragged into pitch meetings that I shouldn’t be in because, "Oh, Nina [Tassler of CBS] was there and she blew air-kisses; Paul [Lee of ABC] sent flowers; Bob [Greenblatt of NBC] is vacuuming their rugs." It gets that silly, but then people start throwing money, and there’s nothing else to do.

Mike Hopkins Named CEO of Hulu
has announced Fox Networks distribution chief Mike Hopkins as CEO of Hulu. Plans for the transition leaked out last week, in addition to the news that interim CEO Andy Forssell would be leaving the company.

Fox Names Paul Hanneman, Tomas Jegeus to Run Worldwide Theatrical Marketing & Distribution
20th Century Fox
has promoted Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus, two veteran executives with extensive international experience, to co-presidents of worldwide theatrical marketing and distribution. Thursday’s announcement comes a day after news broke that chief marketing officer Oren Aviv had been pushed out. Chief Creative Officer Tony Sella will remain in place.

DreamWorks’ Stacey Snider Reveals How Studio Slimmed Down to Stay Alive
"We have to adapt, or we will be out of business," Steven Spielberg’s partner tells THR about the cost cuts and new financial partners that will get its first big test with "The Fifth Estate."

(q&a) NBC’s Jennifer Salke on Why ‘The Blacklist’ Has ‘the Goods,’ and Keeping Faith in Michael J. Fox
Wrap: That’s an example of NBC doing well early in the week, but what can you change on Thursdays?
Salke: We’re still talking about Wednesday and Thursday and how we can maximize the results. We are doing a little bit better on both those days than we did last year[despite] the fact that some of these shows are not doing as well as we had hoped. … We have some thoughts about that but we’re still kind of putting those strategies together.


Why Too Many Snack Food Ads Are Not Helping Anyone, Even The Advertiser
A study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology argues that people who see too many pictures of food will find it less enjoyable and, over time, may even stop buying it. The reason is "satiation," the physical equivalent of being totally fed up. When you’re satiated, you can’t stand to eat even one more chip. But satiation isn’t only brought on by eating; it’s also the result of looking. Food companies should focus more on breadth of advertising than depth. Instead of advertising multiple times in one show, instead advertisers should "put your money toward venues where you won’t get repeat viewers," he says.

TED: Alessandro Acquisti: Why privacy matters
The line between public and private has blurred in the past decade, both online and in real life, and Alessandro Acquisti is here to explain what this means and why it matters. In this thought-provoking, slightly chilling talk, he shares details of recent and ongoing research — including a project that shows how easy it is to match a photograph of a stranger with their sensitive personal information.

(q&a) Mental Floss: Our Interview with Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes
MF: There is a tendency to rehash and regurgitate properties with sequels and remakes. You had an idea, executed it, then moved on. And you ignored the clamor for more. Why is it so hard for readers to let go?
Watterson: Well, coming at a new work requires a certain amount of patience and energy, and there’s always the risk of disappointment. You can’t really blame people for preferring more of what they already know and like. The trade-off, of course, is that predictability is boring. Repetition is the death of magic.