Morning News Update for Thursday, 12/5/13.


Entertainment One Developing Drama Starring Pam Grier
Pam Grier
is set to star in an action drama for Entertainment One. Written by Bennie Richburg, the project follows an ex-Homeland Security agent (Grier) who is pulled out of retirement to lead a young but highly qualified team of “shoot first, ask questions later” agents. They are on a trail of homegrown domestic terrorists who have set about to bring anarchy to the heartland of the United States and have to stop them before it is too late.

‘Lilyhammer’ Nearing Season 3 Order
Fish-out-of-water dramedy Lilyhammer is closing in on a greenlight for a third season. I understand that Norwegian broadcaster NRK is in the final stages of negotiations with producer Rubicon TV in a scenario that would see Netflix remain the U.S. broadcaster, with Red Arrow as the international distributor.

Andrew McCarthy To Direct E! Pilot ‘Songbyrd’
Actor-director Andrew McCarthy is set to direct E!’s pilot Songbyrd. This marks the pilot directing debut of McCarthy, who replaces the project’s original director Michael Morris who fell out a month ago. The music-themed Songbyrd, created/exec produced by Krista Vernoff and exec produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, centers on songwriter Lauren Byrd (Bethany Joy Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Diane Warren, and her staff.

Once Upon a Time Casting Mystery: Lost’s Rebecca Mader to Play Which Iconic Villainess?
ABC’s Once Upon a Time
has cast Lost alum Rebecca Mader as an iconic fairy tale villain. Once cocreator Eddy Kitsis told TVLine that the show’s springtime arc will feature “a new villain that we are very excited about, that we may reveal at the end of Episode 11… maybe not.” It turns out that Mader’s meanie will be revealed during a midseason promo airing after the Dec. 15 fall finale.

(awards) ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ ‘House of Cards’ Earn WGA Awards Noms in TV
“House of Cards” received three nominations for the WGA Awards in television, which will be presented Feb. 1.


David Magee To Pen New ‘Chronicles Of Narnia’ Movie
Life Of Pi scribe David Magee has signed on to write The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Silver Chair, the latest adaptation of CS Lewis’ fantasy book series that the Mark Gordon Company and the C.S. Lewis Company are developing and producing.

Jerry Bruckheimer Deal at Paramount All But Closed
Jerry Bruckheimer has all but closed a deal to make movies for Paramount when his deal at Disney expires next year, according to three individuals with knowledge of the negotiations. One insider said the deal is “getting close” and that the studio expects it will be wrapped up within a week.


E! Greenlights Extreme Plastic Surgery Series ‘Botched’
is taking viewers under the knife with “Botched,” a reality series centering on the world of extreme plastic surgery. From Evolution Media, program will feature Dr. Terry Dubrow and Dr. Paul Nassif as they work with victims of ill-fated, botched cosmetic procedures and attempt to “undo” and fix their plastic surgery results.

Esquire Network Orders Football Docuseries ‘Friday Night Tykes’
The sports series, which will shine a light on rivalries, pressures and parent/coach relationships, debuts Tuesday, Jan. 14 with a two-hour premiere.

(video) Trailer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s variety show ‘HitRECord on TV’
HITRECORD ON TV is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s updated take on the variety show, extended from his popular online production community hitRECord, which features open collaboration among artists, writers, photographers, musicians, and basically any other creative type you can dream up. Each episode will feature standout segments created by the site’s everyday contributors.


(video) Watch Gordon Ramsay Compete With The Swedish Chef, "Iron Chef"-Style
When you park in Chef Gordon Ramsay’s spot at a food truck fair, the heat is on. And in an all-new Muppisode, debuting exclusively on BuzzFeed, the Swedish Chef of Muppets fame learns that the hard way.


BBC Two Commissions Follow-Up to Twenty Twelve
has planned a follow-up to the BAFTA-winning comedy Twenty Twelve with the newly commissioned W1A. Hugh Bonneville plays Ian Fletcher, the ex head of the Olympic deliverance commission, who is now taking on the role of head of values at the BBC. The series is not envisioned as a sequel to Twenty Twelve, but rather will feature new situations and characters but with the same comedic DNA. John Morton writing.

Foxtel orders Tasmania mystery
Australia’s Foxtel has commissioned a mystery drama set in Tasmania from Porchlight Films, with BBC Worldwide handling international distribution. The Kettering Incident (8×60’), which follows the disappearance of two girls in identical circumstances 15 years apart, is receiving funding from Screen Australia.

The Oz agency has also announced support for various other TV and film projects, including The Secret River (2×90’), which follows an emancipated English convict who stakes a claim on land owned by a clan of Aboriginal people in 1810. It is based on a Kate Grenville novel and stage play and is being produced by Ruby Entertainment’s Stephen Luby for ABC-TV. ABC Commercial holds the international rights.

Playmaker Media is making Hiding (8×60’), a drama for ABC about a Gold Coast criminal who, with his dysfunctional family, enters witness protection and finds himself in a strange city with a new identity. ITV Global Entertainment is handling international sales.


Variety: Where Does ABC Stand Inside the Magic Kingdom?
By any measure, these are boom times for the Magic Kingdom. Disney’s investments in boldface brands like Marvel and Pixar are paying the expected dividends, as Lucasfilm undoubtedly will in quarters to come. ESPN is a money-minting machine, even if the margins are getting squeezed by higher sports programming costs. But ABC is a different beast. The broadcast network has been on a roller coaster ratings-wise throughout Disney’s nearly 18-year tenure as its owner. There have been persistent rumors in recent months that Disney is poised to shop its remaining O&Os. All of this talk makes Disney-ABC insiders crazy.


U.K. Government Ups Film Tax Credit for Big Pix
The U.K. government is to increase the tax credits for bigger-budget pics, which will benefit many Hollywood movies. The government will make relief available at 25% on the first £20 million ($32.7 million) of qualifying production expenditure, and 20% thereafter, for both small and large budget films, from April 2014.

Why TV Programming Costs Are Growing
Expenses are up, but so is revenue as splashes like the networks’ $3.1 billion NFL deal and Fox’s new cable channels reveal a fresh battleground — says one analyst, "It’s becoming more expensive to attract a viewer." Analysts believe the spending is evidence of the old adage: You’ve got to bet big to win big, and the TV sector is where to place bets these days. Notes Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger, "Content spending is increasing but for now is being immediately offset by revenue."