Afternoon News Update for Wednesday, 10/23/13.


CBS To Adapt Austrian Crime Drama With Producer Jamie Tarses
has put in development a crime drama based on the Austrian series Fast Forward (Schnell Ermittelt). Unforgettable co-exec producer Wendy Battles will write the adaptation, from Sony TV, Jamie Tarses’ studio-based Fanfare and CBS TV Studios. The project centers on a female homicide detective who juggles the demands of her job while co-parenting and working side-by-side with her newly divorced husband – the medical examiner.

Keenen Ivory Wayans Comedy Lands at ABC
In a competitive situation, the network has ordered a pilot script with a significant penalty for Keenen Ivory Wayans’ single camera comedy. The half-hour will look at what happens when the whitest guy in America marries into a sprawling, close knit African-American family. Wayans will write and executive produce the project, which is being produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment.

Eliza Coupe to Star in USA Comedy Pilot ‘Benched’
hails from writers/exec producers Michaela Watkins, Damon Jones and John Enbom, the latter of whom will serve as showrunner. Prolific producer Mark Gordon is on board as an EP alongside Andrea Shay. The comedy marks the first project to come from ABC Studios’ recently launched boutique division, ABC Signature. Mike Fresco will direct. The single-camera comedy focuses on Nina (Coupe), a dedicated, career-driven corporate attorney who has a public nervous breakdown after getting passed over for an expected promotion and finds herself working as a public defender.

CW Buys 1960s Malibu Surf Drama From Rebecca Sinclair & Carol Mendelsohn
Rebecca Sinclair
is back at The CW with a new hourlong drama project set in Los Angeles. Sinclair has teamed with Carol Mendelsohn Prods (The Defenders) for a period drama set in 1961 Malibu at the onset of the Southern California surf culture as well as the wave of social change that would transform America. CBS TV Studios, where CMP is under a deal, will produce. Written, executive produced and run by Sinclair, the untitled darkly comedic drama explores the lives of a motley crew of Malibu surfers — each an outsider in their own way — who had found a community of kindred spirits.

ABC Buys Semi-Autobiographical 1970s Family Drama From Rob Lowe & Kevin Falls
Rob Lowe
has reunited with Kevin Falls for a new ABC drama project informed by Lowe’s years growing up in Malibu. Co-created by Lowe and Falls, The Point centers on a single mother and her two teenagers who move from Indiana to Malibu in the summer of 1976. The Byrd family must navigate the cross currents of colorful personalities, power land grabs, dead friends and lovers, cheating hearts, and seismic cultural changes that will transform Malibu from a quirky middle-class beach town to the iconic coastal destination of today’s rich and famous. Falls will write the project for Sony Pictures TV where he is under an overall deal.

Miniseries About WWII Hero Felix Sparks in the Works at History
The exploits of WWII hero Felix Sparks, who led the 157th Infantry Regiment through a campaign to liberate Europe, are being developed as a miniseries by the History channel. The project will follow Sparks and his regiment, comprised primarily of cowboys, Native Americans and Mexican Americans, as they battle their way to become one of the most decorated combat units of the war. Dubbed “The Liberator,” Jeb Stuart is writing the miniseries, which is being produced by Unique Features.

Why TV Networks Are Bypassing Pilots for Direct-to-Series Orders
Blame the shift on the influx of TV competitors, from Netflix to WGN America, that are elbowing their way into the game by offering massive commitments. "A lot of this is about getting people to come to us over cable," says a network source of the broadcast buys, with another pointing to Netflix’s 26-episode order for House of Cards as the game-changer.

(opinion) Grantland: How We’d Fix It: NBC
What NBC desperately needs is a long-term blueprint for the sort of lasting success that’s not dependent on tight spirals or spinning chairs. What I’ve laid out is a humble, not entirely radical five-point survival plan for a network that I mock only because, for some silly reason, I still can’t help but love it. Some of what I’ve suggested is strange; even more of it might be impossible. Remember, I am not a programming professional. But, then again, neither are many of the people directly responsible for this mess in the first place.


Lionsgate Buys ‘Peekers’ Pitch From ‘Oculus’ Team Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard
Mike Flanagan
and Jeff Howard have sold their original pitch Peekers to Lionsgate. It’s a micro-budget horror film that they will adapt from the short story by Kealan Patrick Burke. A terrified man walks into a police station to report that the residents on his entire street are missing, insisting the victims were done in by eerie, grinning doppelgangers. When the man disappears from the locked interrogation room, the young police officer who took his statement must venture out into the rapidly vanishing community to find her son and get him to safety.


ReelzChannel Inks Output Deal With Asylum For Unscripted Programming
and Asylum Entertainment have signed an output deal that will see Asylum produce 50 hours of unscripted programming for the network in 2014, distributed over 10 series.


Studiocanal in Talks to Buy Brit Shingle Red Prods.
Paris-based Studiocanal is in negotiations to acquire Red Prods., a leading U.K. producer of scripted and factual programs. The acquisition of Red Prods. would mark another significant step in Studiocanal’s strategy to forge alliances with top local producers in major territories, allowing it to ramp up its presence across Europe’s TV landscape.


VH1′s SVP Programming Shelly Tatro Exits
After almost two decades at VH1, Shelly Tatro is departing the cable network. Tatro, who joined VH1 in 1996 as Director of Series & Specials, has served as SVP Production & Programming since 2003, overseeing such shows asLove & Hip-Hopand Best Week Ever.

TriStar Names Film and TV Exec Hires
, the reconstituted film label under Tom Rothman, has hired film and TV execs. David Beaubaire, coming from Paramount, will be executive vp of film, while Nicole Brown, coming in from Mandate, will act as senior vp. Lindsay Sloan will be the company’s senior vp in television.

Mythology Entertainment Taps Jon Silk As Exec Veep Production And Development
Mythology Entertainment
, the growing production company run by Brad Fischer, Laeta Kalogridis and James Vanderbilt, has hired Jon Silk to the post of executive vice president of Production and Development. He will help the two-year old company handle a growing volume of film, TV and theater projects, and he will hunt for more properties to develop.

Pam Abdy Moving To New Regency President Post?
Pam Abdy
, president of Scott Stuber’s Bluegrass, will be moving shortly to become president of production at New Regency under CEO Brad Weston.