Afternoon News Update for Monday, 12/9/13.


Kimberly Peirce Inks First-Look Deal With ABC Studios
Filmmaker Kimberly Peirce, director of this year’s Carrie reboot, has signed a first-look deal with ABC Studios. Under the pact, Peirce will direct and produce scripted television projects for network and cable. She may also direct ABC Studios pilots from other producers during the upcoming network pilot season.

CBS Jumps Back Into Miniseries Biz With ‘The Dovekeepers’ From Mark Burnett And Roma Downey
Mark Burnett
and Roma Downey — the new It Couple of TV Miniseries/Event Series — have landed CBS‘ first announced project from its new limited series and event programming unit. And yes, it’s an historical series with religious overtones. The Dovekeepers is a four-hour miniseries based in Alice Hoffman’s historical novel about the Siege of Masada, and it will air on CBS in 2015. The mini will focus on “four extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada,” the network said. Masada is the mountaintop fortress near the Dead Sea where the Romans found the last pocket of resistance after they conquered Jerusalem in 70 CE.

XBox Develops Pro Skaters Comedy Series
XBox Entertainment Studios
is venturing into comedy with an untitled half-hour project which I hear marks the first script sale to close at xBox. Written by Ian Edelman, the untitled single-comedy is about four racially diverse, ex pro skaters living together in a Los Angeles. Edelman serves as showrunner on the comedy, with Rob Drydek executive producing.

Showtime’s ‘Californication’ To End Run After Upcoming Seventh Season
One of Showtime‘s longest-running series, Californication, is coming to an end. The dark comedy’s upcoming 12-episode seventh season, slated to debut in April, will be its last.

Mimi Kennedy Books HBO’s ‘The Brink,’ ABC’s ‘Mind Games’
She’ll board the HBO pilot as the CIA director and guest star on the ABC midseason drama.

(sched) USA Sets Return Dates For ‘Suits’, ‘Psych’ & White Collar’, Premiere For ‘Sirens’
USA Network
has set a midseason schedule. The midseason premiere of Suits will be on Thursday, March 6 at 9 PM, followed by the debut of medical comedy Sirens, executive produced by Denis Leary, at 10 PM. White Collar will start things off on Thursday, returning on hiatus on January 9, paired with Law & Order: SVU reruns. Season 8 of Psych will air on on Wednesdays, beginning on January 8.

Buddy TV: 13 Stories That Changed TV in 2013
1. Netflix Is the New HBO
2. Spin-Off Madness
3. Scripted Summer
4. Cable-Style Comes to the Major Networks
5. #Twitter
6. The After Show
7. Gotta Get Down on Friday
8. Which Witch?
9. [SPOILER ALERT]: The Red Wedding
10. Gay Marriage
11. The Veronica Mars Movie Project on Kickstarter
12. The Not-So-Amazing Race Debate
13. The Legacy of Breaking Bad


Jack Reacher’s Back; Tom Cruise Developing New Bestseller ‘Never Go Back’
Paramount Pictures
and Skydance Productions are moving ahead with a sequel to Jack Reacher, the 2012 film that starred Tom Cruise and is based on Lee Child’s bestselling novel series. This one will be based on Never Go Back, which was published earlier this fall. In it, Reacher heads back to his old military based in Virginia to take a woman to dinner who is now the commanding officer. By the time he gets there, she has been arrested, and Reacher finds himself being charged with pummeling one guy and fathering a child with a woman. He can’t remember either transgression but gets to the bottom of it with cunning and sometimes brute force. The studio is out to writers.

‘Chicago’ Re-Team For Craig Zadan, Neil Meron And Harvey Weinstein On ‘Pippin’
Storyline Entertainment
partners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have signed on with The Weinstein Company to produce Pippin, the screen adaptation of the musical that recently won Best Revival of a Musical among a four-Tony Award haul. With book by Roger O. Hirson and music & lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Pippin originally launched in 1972 with Bob Fosse directing. It focused on the existential journey of the title character, a son of King Charlemagne trying to find his place in the Middle Ages. The Spectacular Now helmer James Ponsoldt is writing the screenplay adaptation of Pippin.

A Collision Of Football Concussion Projects: Parkes/MacDonald Options NFL Head Injury Expose ‘League Of Denial’ For Pic
Parkes/MacDonald Productions
partners Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald have won an auction for screen rights to League Of Denial: The NFL, Concussions And The Battle For Truth. The book was written by ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. Parkes/MacDonald was able to move quickly because of its partnership with Abu Dhabi-based Image Nation, which allowed them to secure the book without waiting for a studio to say yes. Parkes and MacDonald will begin meeting with writers and filmmakers, unsure exactly whether this is best served as a feature of a pay cable effort.


NBC Commits to Another Live Musical Production in 2014
After the success of the ambitious The Sound of Music Live! last week that drew 18.6 million viewers, NBC is committing to another live family-friendly musical production for the holiday season in 2014. NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said they were "circling a couple of titles" that could be staged next year, to be led by Sound of Music producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan. The only rules are that they must be Broadway classics with a slew of familiar songs. Greenblatt also confirmed that live TV musicals may become an annual thing for the network come the holidays, voicing his belief that event television is crucial to the future of broadcast.

A&E Greenlights Magic Reality Series
A&E Network
picked up Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne, a new unscripted series featuring magician Andrew Mayne. The series, which will premiere January 13 at 10 PM with back-to-back episodes, has Mayne performing illusions designed to help people get even by teaching a lesson to those who’ve wronged them. Mayne employs anything from explosions to disappearing cars and slight-of-hand, with one large illusion and five smaller illusions per episode.

Adult Swim’s ‘The Eric Andre Show’ Renewed For Third Season
Days before its sophomore-season finale, the weekly send-up of low-budget public access programs has been greenlighted for a third run. The Eric Andre Show, which airs Thursday nights as part of Turner’s Adult Swim programming block, stars comic Eric Andre and his sidekick Hannibal Buress. It’s produced by Abso Lutely Prods. and executive produced by Andre, Andrew Barchilon, Kitao Sakurai and Dave Kneebone.

MTV Cancels Teen Mom 3
has canceled Teen Mom 3, according to postings by the show’s stars on social media.

Time: Why The Sing-Off Is the Most Important Show on Television
What’s great about The Sing-Off: it lays no claims to world-blowing spectacle or to creating the next international music celebrity. Instead, it does one modest thing well, and that’s an important thing for TV to do, whether drama, comedy, or reality. One quality that many excellent TV shows have in common is specificity: rather than try to offer something for everyone or sand down their eccentricities, they focus on a specific milieu or geographic location or set of obsessions, and they manage to find something universal in those particulars.


EW: Best of 2013: The streaming shows you may not have seen
Behind the Mask
(Hulu), Chosen(Crackle), Losing It with John Stamos (Yahoo), Cleaners (Crackle), Betas (Amazon), Acting Disruptive (AOL), Burning Love (Yahoo), The Fall (Netflix), The Wrong Mans (Hulu), Alpha House (Amazon).


Erica Huggins Promoted to President of Imagine Entertainment
Erica Huggins has been promoted to president of Imagine Entertainment, the production company run by Brian Grazer, Ron HowardandMichael Rosenberg. Huggins has been with Imagine since 2004, when she joined the company as senior vp motion pictures.

ITV Promotes Jane Yusim to Vice Prez of Development
ITV Studios America
has upped Jane Yusim to veep of development, the company announced today. In her new role, Yusim will continue to oversee ITV America’s development slate and report to Bruce Robertson, senior veep of creative strategy.

Legendary Entertainment Acquires ‘Kennedys’ Producer Asylum
Legendary Entertainment will be acquiring Asylum Entertainment, chairman and CEO Thomas Tull said on Monday. He announced the acquisition of the TV studio responsible for various unscripted programming like ESPN’s "30 for 30" and Fox Sports’ "Beyond the Glory" as well as Starz’ scripted miniseries The Kennedys.

Fox 2000 Hires Paramount Exec Greg Mooradian
Greg Mooradian
is joining Fox 2000 as EVP Production. He reports to Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler. Mooradian joins from Paramount, where he was SVP Production.


Study: PG-13 Films Combine as Much Violence, Sex and Alcohol as R-Rated Titles
Violence in movies is often coupled with sex, alcohol and use of tobacco, according to a study out Monday. Researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center and University of Pennsylvania looked at 390 popular movies released from 1985-2010 in order to gauge the number of times violent characters participate in other risky behaviors. About 89.7 percent of movies contained violence, and 81.5 percent featured sex, and the numbers were roughly static through the years, according to the study. Smoking, though, has fallen from roughly 68 percent in 1985 to 21.4 percent in 2010. Alcohol fell from 89.6 percent in 1985 to 67.3 percent.

CBS’ Data Guru Forecasts 6% Ad Sales Growth For Broadcast Networks In 2014: UBS Confab
The rosy prediction reflects growing strength in the economy, and in the performance of the broadcast TV networks, CBS Chief Research Officer David Poltrack told investors today at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. He says that the growth figure would remain strong, at +4%, if you factored out the expected ad sales boost from the Winter Olympics. He’s had a pretty good track record in recent years, which is why so many people in the industry track his annual UBS presentation. Economists “are encouraged by recent trends in the housing market as well as gains in private sector employment,” he says.