Morning News Update for Tuesday, 11/12/13.


‘Catherine the Great’ Limited Series in the Works at ABC (Exclusive)
ABC is prepping a limited series based on Robert Massie’s best-selling novel Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.  Pulitzer Prize winner Massie’s biography was released in September 2012 and chronicled the Russian empress’ rise to become the world’s richest and most powerful woman of her time. Michael Cristofer will pen the script and executive produce alongside two-time Emmy nominee Debra Martin Chase, via the latter’s ABC Studios-based Martin Chase Productions. Charles Pugliese, Martin Chase Productions vp, also will serve as a producer on the mini.

AHS: Coven Conjures Up Stevie Nicks
The creepshow’s co-creator, Ryan Murphy, announced on Twitter Tuesday morning that Stevie Nicks has agreed to make a guest appearance.

(scheduling) ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ and ‘Perception’ to Premiere Tuesday, February 25 on TNT
TNT hit dramas Rizzoli & Isles and Perception will return with four episodes on Tuesday, February 25th starting at 9 p.m.

(opinion) TBTN: ABC: ‘Last Man Standing’ Is Likely To Be Renewed
The Cancellation Bear is inclined to predict renewal for Last Man Standing from the start of the season, but a wanted to wait a few weeks for results.

(opinion) TBTN: CBS: ‘The Mentalist’ Is Likely To Be Canceled
Besides Hostages, CBS is almost certain to cancel at least one more drama this season to make room for new dramas next season, and that drama will be a veteran. (If this spring’s Intelligence happens to get renewed, that might mean yet another drama needs to go). Because The Mentalist is produced by Warner Brothers, it is more likely to meet its end this season than The Good Wife, which is produced by CBS, so he might as well make the prediction today.

(opinion) TBTN: FOX: ‘Brooklyn 9-9’ Now Likely To Be Renewed
Since that third episode, Brooklyn 9-9 ratings have risen, while the rest of Fox’s scripted ratings have drifted downward. Its most recent 2 week’s 1.6 ratings were each over 85% of Fox’s scripted rating average for those weeks which now indicates likely renewal.

(opinion) TBTN: NBC: ‘Dracula’ Is Likely To Be Canceled
It seemed like just yesterday that Dracula premiered with a 1.8 adults 18-49 rating, on Friday, on NBC. Fan hopes were justifiably high, as was the Cancellation Bear’s initial prediction. After losing half that 18-49 audience in just two weeks, last week’s 0.9 rating now makes Dracula “likely to be canceled”. Why not certain to be canceled? The bear’s swing and a miss on Hannibal last season gives the bear a bit of a pause.

(opinion) TBTN: CW: Is ‘The Carrie Diaries’ Canceled? Or Just Certain To Be Canceled?
The CW didn’t surprise the Cancellation Bear yesterday with its full season pickups of Tomorrow People, Reign and The Originals. The lack of new episodes ordered this season for The Carrie Diaries either marks it as defacto canceled and playing out the string, similar to Life Unexpected in 2010, or certain to be canceled, depending on which version of its situation you believe.


Joe Wright to Direct ‘Peter Pan’ Origin for Warner Bros.
Peter Pan is getting ready to fly once again — this time for Warner Bros. Joe Wright is in talks to direct the movie, which would give Pan the Batman Begins treatment, imbibing the character with a big origin movie. Greg Berlanti, riding on the success of TV’s Arrow, is producing and the script is by Jason Fuchs

Disney Calls for Video Submissions to Cast Roles in ‘Star Wars Episode 7′
Want to be in the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII,” but can’t make it to one of the casting calls? No problem. Disney has posted an open casting notice calling for video submissions to cast characters dubbed Rachel and Thomas to be in an upcoming film.

(review) THR: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The book literally put onscreen, which will delight fans to no end.


Mark and Donnie Wahlberg to Star in, Executive Produce A&E Reality Show
Mark and Donnie Wahlberg have signed on to appear in an unscripted series for A&E Network that will center around their family-owned Hingham, Mass.-based restaurant, Wahlburgers. The series, titled Wahlburgers, will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the family as well as their restaurant. The show finds Mark and Donnie heading back to their Boston hometown to join forces with their professed “most talented sibling,” Paul, who serves as executive chief.

TV Guide Network Developing Series from New Kids on the Block, ‘Scandal’ Actor, More
The cable network, for which CBS acquired a 50 percent stake earlier this year, announced a development slate of seven original series Tuesday:
Rock the Boat: New Kids of the Block — The series will chronicle a group of obsessed fans’ week-long vacation aboard a cruise ship with New Kids on the Block.
TMI — The series will deliver the entertainment industry’s top through the lens of celebrity tweets and posts.
Watch! Magazine TV Project — The effort is being billed as part travel show, part celebrity biography and part high fashion.
Celebrity Celebrity — Based on the popular parlor game, the show will feature two teams of celebrity contestants as they compete to guess famous names based on their teammates’ clues, and rack up money for their favorite charities.
Have You Scene My Room — A home makeover series hosted by Joe Maddalena and Extreme Makeover Home Edition’s Tanya McQueen.
Tour Wars — The series will take a look at the competitive world of Hollywood Boulevard’s tour vendors, who will go to extremes to cash in on excitable tourists.
The Story Behind — The tentatively titled effort will offer a look inside some of the most successful shows in TV history, including Friends and ER.

Travel Channel orders five
Scripps Networks Interactive-owned Travel Channel has greenlit five series:
Eat Secrets (working title, 13×30′) follows Adam Richman as he uncovers the most unique and surprising dishes in the US, often in unusual surroundings.
Resort Recon (wt, 13×60′) uses hidden cameras to uncover bad customer service and and dysfunctional employee-owner relationships, with travel consultant Shane Green then providing solutions to the problems.
Castle Secrets & Legends (5×60′) takes viewers to castles, old houses and mansions which hold ghoulish secrets.
Hotel Secrets & Legends (13×60′) explores buildings where historical and unusual events have taken place.
National Park Secrets & Legends (wt, 8×30′) explores the unexplained phenomena that have occurred in north America’s National Parks.

British Indie Nerd TV To Set Up Shop In Los Angeles
British independent production company Nerd TV specializes in documentaries and non-scripted entertainment. Its LA-based operation will open this month following commissions from OWNDiscovery and A+E. The office will be managed by Nerd co-founder and creative director John Farrar and will focus on creating high-end non-scripted series for U.S. channels. Nerd is developing three pilots for three undisclosed networks, including its first factual entertainment series and a presenter-led documentary with former street boss for the New York mob, Lou Ferrante.


ESPN, Disney Channels Land on Roku Internet Set-Tops
Roku reached a deal with Disney & ESPN Media Networks to stream live cable TV channels and on-demand programming to the device maker’s streaming-media player — but only for customers with service from a participating pay TV provider.

Netflix and YouTube account for majority of web traffic
Netflix and YouTube now account for more than 50% of downstream traffic on fixed networks in North America, according to a new research by broadband network solutions firm Sandvine. The report also said that peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing had fallen below 10% of total traffic in North America “for the first time ever.” Five years ago, P2P filesharing accounted for more than 31% of web traffic in North America. Eleven years ago it was 60%, according to Sandvine’s stats.


Disney Sets New Global Box Office Record
The Walt Disney Studios will break its previous global box office record of $3.791 billion, set in 2010. “With incredible results from our Marvel, Disney and Pixar brands, this is a phenomenal achievement and we still have seven weeks and three exciting films to go this year,” said Alan Bergman, president, The Walt Disney Studios.


Cord-Cutting Slows in Third Quarter, But Pay TV Is Still Shrinking
The U.S. pay TV sector collectively dropped 113,000 subscribers in the third quarter — capping the worst 12-month period of losses for the industry — but the pace of consumers cutting the cord has slowed down, according to Wall Street analyst firm MoffettNathanson.

(tech) iPad mini with Retina display on sale now starting at $399
Three weeks after its announcement, the iPad mini with Retina display is now available for purchase in the online Apple Store. Pricing starts at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model and tops out at $829 for a 128GB unit equipped with LTE connectivity.

(feature) The Greatest Trick Comedy Ever Pulled
Ten years after its Comedy Central premiere, Windy City Heat feels like an underappreciated turning point for the reality genre. I’m not suggesting that Windy City Heat was influential, because not nearly enough people have seen it for it to be influential. Windy City Heat is more like The Velvet Underground & Nico of this brand of reality TV — a prescient outlier that seems more contemporary now than it did in 2003.