Afternoon News Update for Wednesday, 12/11/13.


FX Gives Series Order to ‘Tyrant’ From ‘Homeland’ Creator
FX has given a series order to drama “Tyrant,” from “Homeland” creator Gideon Raff. Series from Fox 21 and FX Prods. revolves around the son of a Middle Eastern dictator who returns to his home country with his American family after 20 years in the U.S. Once there, he’s drawn into political and familial turmoil. Raff wrote the pilot and exec produces with Howard Gordon and Craig Wright. David Yates directed the pilot. FX’s order for the show will be at least 10 episodes, possibly more. Production is to begin in March in Tel Aviv for a summer premiere.

Rob Reiner Developing Scripted Series ‘Basket Case’ for Spike TV
Rob Reiner is adapting “Basket Case” as a scripted project for Spike TV. Dramedy hails from FremantleMedia North America in association with Random House TV Prods. and Castle Rock Entertainment, and is based on Carl Hiaasen’s bestselling novel “Basket Case.” Story follows an investigative reporter who is demoted to the lowest position on the paper — the obits desk. The beat, however, provides a new perspective into crime-ridden Miami, and the reporter soon learns that obits are a unique window into the suspicious deaths and weird happenings in the city. Reiner is developing the script and will helm the project, with Alex Taub writing the series.

ABC Preps Stephen King Series as Boutique Division Ramps Up
“Grand Central,” based on King’s “New York Times at Special Bargain Rates” short, is one of five new projects — at A&E, WE tv and TBS — in the works via ABC Studios’ boutique division. “Our intention was twofold: One, to be working at all different price points and to try to deliver programming to ABC network that could be done at a different price,” said ABC Studios exec vp Patrick Moran, to whom Tracy Underwood reports. “And second, to afford our producers and show creators the opportunity to find other outlets. So when we’re hearing ideas that might not be right for the network or producers that wanted to focus on cable, we can now offer them the opportunity to find the right home for the right material.”

‘Episodes’ Lands Early Season 4 Renewal From Showtime
Episodes” is living up to its name. Showtime has greenlit production on a fourth season of the quirky comedy even though its third season doesn’t unspool until Jan. 12.

Guy Pearce to Orbit Sean Saves the World as New Love Interest for Sean
Sean Saves the World has snagged Guy Pearce to guest star as a romantic interest for Sean Hayes’ single-dad character. Pearce will play a charming, thrill-seeking adventurer who Sean will do almost anything to impress.

Revenge Casting: NYPD Blue Star to Play Conrad’s First Wife With “Secrets That Will Blow You Away”
Conrad’s (Henry Czerny) first wife is set to come to the Hamptons to stir up some trouble for the Grayson family. And the lady cast to play the woman scorned by Conrad and Victoria? Gail O’Grady!

(review) IO9: Helix is Syfy’s best new show in years
Syfy’s hottest new show in 2014 is the mysterious Arctic thriller Helix. And now we’ve seen the first episode, and we can honestly say this series could very well be the next Lost. Here’s our spoiler-free review of the pilot.

(sched) ABC to Air Julie Andrews’ Classic ‘Sound of Music’
Lest NBC’s live version is your last memory of “Sound of Music,” ABC will air the original 1965 film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The four-hour movie will air on Sunday, Dec. 22 as part of ABC’s Sunday Movie of the Week starting at 7/6c.

(sched) Comedy Central Sets Winter Schedule Including ‘Workaholics’, ‘Tosh.0’ & ‘Inside Amy Schumer’
Comedy Central unveils its winter schedule with new seasons of “@midnight,” “Kroll Show,” “Workaholics,” “Tosh.0,” and “Inside Amy Schumer

Atlantic: What’s Actually Funny About Older Guy/Younger Bride Marriages
Trophy Wife’s still working out some first-season kinks, so its comedy can feel uneven. But Kate and Pete are, at the least, well-developed and interesting to watch. Before Modern Family and Trophy Wife, TV and film offered us present-day May-December plot lines infrequently and mainly as a punchline or an insurmountable obstacle. So it’s nice to see a show that probes their situation for comedy in a way that has us laughing with and not at the couple in question. It is, if nothing else, an imitator that has found something new to say.

A U.S. Serviceman’s Family Receives the Surprise of a Lifetime as Part of this Week’s ‘Last Man Standing’ Episode
As part of ABC’s “Home for the Holidays,” the producers of “Last Man Standing” gave the family of real-life sailor, Petty Officer First Class Raymond McKnight, an early Christmas present. McKnight’s wife and two children received the surprise of a lifetime when the serviceman, who has been overseas on duty for the past nine months, suddenly appeared in a scene. The emotional homecoming was filmed and will air in the FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13.


Jason Clarke in Talks for ‘Terminator’ Reboot
Jason Clarke just may be the man to save the human race. Clarke has the offer and is in talks to play the role of human rebel leader John Connor in the Terminator reboot being made by Paramount, Annapurna Pictures and Skydance.

‘Napoleon’ Writer Signs Two-Picture Script Deal at Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. has signed screenwriter Jeremy Doner to a two-picture blind script deal in the wake of his writing an untitled Napoleon biopic for the studio.


A+E Networks’ Bio Renamed FYI As It Converts Into Lifestyle Network
A+E Networks‘ long-gestating plan to convert Bio Channel into a lifestyle cable network has been made official today with the announcement that Bio will be rebranded as FYI next summer. Jana Bennett will now oversee FYI as president of FYI and LMN. The hire indicated Dubuc’s desire to add a lifestyle brand to her cable portfolio, led by History, A&E and Lifetime. “FYI will be an upscale network with a younger and more modern sensibility than what we’ve seen on traditional lifestyle networks, in an effort to appeal to an audience that has been underserved on linear but thrives online.”

(video) A&E Debuts First Teaser for Mark Wahlberg’s ‘Wahlburgers’
The reality series, centered on the family-owned restaurant, premieres Jan. 22.


Netflix Picks Up Animated Comedy Featuring the Voices of Will Arnett and Aaron Paul
Netflix has ordered a new animated comedy featuring the voices of Will Arnett and Aaron Paul. BoJack Horseman follows a humanoid horse actor (voiced by Arnett) who previously starred on a ’90s sitcom called Horsin’ Around. He hopes to turn things around with the help of his former TV sidekick (voiced by Paul) and his agent and ex-lover Princess Caroline (voiced by Strangers with Candy’s Amy Sedaris). The 12-episode season will premiere on Netflix sometime next year.

YouTube to Gross $5.6 Billion in Ad Revenue in 2013: Report
YouTube is expected to generate about $5.6 billion in gross advertising revenue worldwide this year, according to a report from research firm eMarketer — an estimate considerably higher than previous Wall Street forecasts.

ABC, Fox, Discovery And Others Sign On To Comcast And Twitter’s SEEiT Initiative
ABC Entertainment, A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Crown Media, Discovery, and Fox Networks will join the initiative — as will distributors Cablevision, Charter, and Time Warner Cable. When a Twitter user discusses a TV show, a “SEEIt” button will show up on the tweet. Readers using a mobile device who click on the button can instruct the set top box to take them directly to the show (live or on demand) — just as they would with a remote control — or watch online if available, set a DVR to record it, or simply create a reminder to watch.

Apple adds ABC, Bloomberg, Crackle, and KOR TV channels to Apple TV
Apple today added yet another set of channels to its Apple TV set-top box, including a “Watch ABC” channel to allow subscribers to certain cable services to watch content from their local ABC affiliate through Apple TV. Other additions include financial channel Bloomberg, streaming movie and TV show channel Crackle, and Korean channel KOR TV.


Disney Junior Orders New Animated Series Voiced by Mandy Moore
There’s a new sheriff coming to town on Disney Junior. The channel has ordered a new animated series, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, featuring the voice of Mandy Moore as Callie, a Calico cat sheriff.


Tom Ascheim Named ABC Family President
ABC Family‘s new president is Tom Ascheim. Ascheim, who has served as EVP and General Manager of Nickelodeon Television and CEO of Newsweek, will start immediately. Those considered included Riley’s No. 2, EVP Original Programming and Development and Chief Creative Officer Kate Juergens, though, like she did when Riley’s predecessor Paul Lee left, she is expected to remain focused on the network’s programming as Anne Sweeney reportedly searched for an executive with a strong business background.

MTV’s SVP Scripted Justin Levy Departs
MTV and the network’s SVP scripted programming Justin Levy have parted ways. The decision was mutual and not unexpected given all the changes at MTV over the past few years. Levy joined the network in 2008.

The Hollywood Reporter’s 2013 Women in Entertainment Power 100
It came down to Disney’s Anne Sweeney vs. NBCUniversal’s Bonnie Hammer as The Hollywood Reporter’s 22nd annual rankings reveal a TV industry in flux, ongoing volatility at the film studios and the females behind (and in front of) every last big deal in town.


Hatewatching Is for Suckers
Hatewatching is becoming a legitimate ratings strategy, I know. You could describe most recent Lifetime attempts – the Anna Nicole movie, the Lohan-as-Elizabeth Taylor one, and let’s not even talk about Bonnie and Clyde – as pioneers of the genre. Now, they see that the thing is to take a beloved pop culture property and make it awful and watch people talk, on Twitter, about just how stunningly awful it is.

(feature) Time Person of the Year: Pope Francis, The People’s Pope
He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century

(gaming) Microsoft sells more than 2 million Xbox One consoles in 18 days
Microsoft says it has sold more than 2 million Xbox One consoles since its launch 18 days ago. The sales figures average out to around 111,111 units per day, a pace that Microsoft describes as “record-setting.” While the company countered Sony’s 2.1 million PlayStation 4 sales with sales with zombie stats previously, it’s clear both consoles are selling well.