Afternoon News Update for Thursday, 11/7/13.


ABC Buys Comedy From Chris Miller & Phil Lord With Kristen Schaal Starring & Writing
Kristen Schaal
and Rich Blomquist have teamed with film and TV writers-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street) for AmericanMonster, a comedy, which has sold to ABC. The project, about a small-town misfit who becomes an unlikely celebrity when she goes on trial for the murder of the century, is intended as a starring vehicle for comedian and Daily Show contributor Schaal, who will write the script with her husband, former Daily Show writer Blomquist. The two executive produce with Lord and Miller and their president of television, Seth Cohen, for 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Lord Miller.

Anne Heche Reteams With ‘Hung’ Creator for NBC Comedy
Anne Heche
is reteaming with Hung co-creator Colette Burson. The duo has sold a single-camera comedy to NBC as a potential starring vehicle for the actress. The untitled comedy, which received a script commitment from the network, centers on beauty department sales manager Poppy Blake, 43, who questions everything about love and relationships. Heche and Burson will co-write the comedy, with the former producing the project via her first-look deal with studio Universal Television.

The CW Sets Drama Based On DC Comics’ ‘iZombie’ With Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero
The CW has put in development iZombie, which Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero will write based on the characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred and published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint.iZombie, from Warner Bros TV and Rob Thomas Prods, is a supernatural crime procedural that centers on a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity. But with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories, and with the help of her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she solves homicide cases in order to quiet the disturbing voices in her head.

Molly Shannon To Topline, Produce Mother- Daughter Comedy For Fox
has put in development a single-camera comedy to star Saturday Night Live alumna Molly Shannon. The project, written by Bruce McCulloch, centers on Fiona (Shannon) who, at the top of her professional career, clashes with her stay-at-home pregnant daughter. The two recently reunited and sold the comedy pitch to Fox. The project was then laid off at 20th Century Fox TV, which will produce with 3 Arts Entertainment. McCullogh serves as showrunner and is executive producing with 3 Arts’ David Miner and Greg Walter, while Shannon serves as producer.

Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican Prods. Inks First Look Deal With Universal TV, Names Priscilla Porianda Head Of Development
Jennifer Lopez‘s Nuyorican Prods
. has entered into a first look production deal with Universal Television to develop new scripted and reality projects. In conjunction with the deal, Priscilla Porianda, who joined Nuyorican last year, has been named Head of Development.

Lifetime’s Shiri Appleby Drama Pilot Adds ‘Jericho’ Alum
Ashley Scott has joined the Marti Noxon project "Unreal" for the cable network.

NPR: Shonda Rhimes knows how and when ‘Scandal’ will end
“I feel like there is a finite amount of ‘Scandal’ to be told,” she says. “So I know what the end of Scandal will be, and I feel really good about that. And I can see where the end point is. And I don’t think I’m going to change that. … I know how long I think it will be. But we’ll see."

Disney Shareholders Told That ABC Are Planning Another Marvel TV Show
During the currently still-ongoing quarterly earnings call for Disney’s shareholders, it was made totally clear that ABC are currently developing another show with Marvel to go alongside Agents of SHIELD. Now, this may well be the Agent Carter show that we’ve heard talk of but which has not been officially announced. Or maybe it won’t. In any case, there’s an admission that Marvel TV Studios have another ABC show in the works. Not a surprise, but worth note. And it’s also worth noting that there’s just one.


NBC’s ‘Hollywood Game Night’ Gets Holiday Special
Ray Romano, Cheryl Hines, Gavin DeGraw, Rachel Bilson, Andy Roddick
and Brooklyn Decker will sit down with host Jane Lynch.


ITV Orders Book-Based Period Drama
has commissioned Grantchester, a six-part series inspired by James Runcie’s novel Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death. Set in 1953, Grantchester is about a clergyman named Sidney Chambers, who is looking into the suspicious death of a fellow parishioner. Filming will take place from March to June 2014 in London, Cambridge and Grantchester. The show is being produced by Lovely Day and penned for ITV by Daisy Coulam.


‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ to Arrive December 18, 2015
and LucasFilm will release “Star Wars: Episode VII” on Dec. 18, 2015, the duo announced Thursday.

Disney Tops Fiscal Q4 Earnings Estimates With Strong Theme Park Results
The basic numbers look fine but investors may find reasons to be concerned by Disney’s unusually complicated report for a quarter that included a writedown for The Lone Ranger and an accounting adjustment that reduced ESPN revenues. The company reported net income of $1.54B, +11.0% vs the period last year, on revenue of $11.57B, +7.3%. The top line beat the Street’s forecast for $11.4B. Earnings at 77 cents a share were a penny ahead of expectations. At ABC broadcasting revenues were +2% to $1.37B with operating income -18% to $158M. The problems included higher costs for primetime programming as the company replaced news and reality fare with scripted shows.


Reshuffled Focus Features Sets New Exec Lineup
Peter Schlessel,
who took over Focus Features after Universal swallowed his FilmDistrict label, has begun assimilating the staffs of those two companies for January’s company relaunch. For now, here’s who is staying: Joshua M. McLaughlin will continue on with Focus and serve as SVP Production reporting to Focus Features President of Production Jeb Brody. Louis Phillips will remain as Focus Features’ EVP Physical Production reporting to Adrian Alperovich. FilmDistrict’s Abby Ex will become Focus Features SVP Acquisitions reporting to Lia Buman, President of Acquisitions at Focus Features.

Starz Promotes John Penney to Chief Strategy Officer
Longtime Chris Albrecht lieutenant John Penney has been promoted to the chief strategy officer post at Starz. Penney has worked with Starz CEO Albrecht in various incarnations, first at HBO and later as his co-founder in the Foresee Entertainment banner. In his new role Penney will focus on implementing strategic plans, crafting new business models and scouting new opportunities for the pay cable group.

‘Scandal’s’ Guillermo Diaz, ‘RJ Berger’s’ Paul Iacono and ‘Fosters’ Producers Make OUT 100 List
With diversity in entertainment under a magnifying glass, television stars and producers are standing proud in OUT Magazine’s annual OUT100 list. OUT magazine is unveiling its picks over the month of November and several key television stars are included in this week’s rollout. “Scandal” star Guillermo Diaz, former star of MTV’s “The Hard Times of RJ Berger” Paul Iacono and the producers behind ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” which portrays a blended family with lesbian parents, were unveiled this week. (complete list)


5 Questions About the New Netflix-Marvel Superhero Shows
On paper, it sounds like the perfect team-up event, though in Marvel tradition, all we know is the grand plan. What we’ll see in two years depends on the ever-shifting paths of both companies. For now, all we have are broad strokes, speculation, wishful thinking, and tons of questions. Here is what we want to know ASAP.

(feature) Daily Beast: Love Actually’s 10th Anniversary: The Cast and Crew Reminisce About the Christmas Classic
We reached out to the entire cast of Love Actually, and many of them were gracious enough to participate and share their favorite memories from the making of the modern classic.