Afternoon News Update for Thursday, 12/12/13.

SCRIPTED NEWS:

FX Orders Executioner Pilot From ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Creator Kurt Sutter & Brian Grazer
Kurt Sutter
has lined up his follow-up series to the hit FX drama. Sutter has teamed with Imagine’s Brian Grazer for The Bastard Executioner, a period drama project that has received a pilot greenlight from FX. Bastard Executioner tells the story of a warrior knight in King Edward III’s charge who is broken by the ravages of war and vows to lay down his sword. But when that violence finds him again he is forced to pick up the bloodiest sword of all. Sutter will write the script and executive produce with Imagine’s Grazer and Francie Calfo for Fox 21 and FX Prods.
http://www.deadline.com/2013/12/fx-orders-executioner-pilot-from-sons-of-anarchy-creator-kurt-sutter-brian-grazer/

David Shore Producing Thriller Drama For WGN America
In a competitive situation, WGN America has landed American Dream, a suspense drama project executive produced by House creator David Shore and produced by Sony TV. Written/co-executive produced by feature scribe Wayne Beach, the project, now in development, chronicles the cat-and-mouse game that erupts when a Manhattan homicide cop suspects one of America’s top CEOs of being a killer. The relationship becomes mutually dependent: this CEO who needs psychopathic games to refuel himself personally and professionally, and a cop who exploits the game to make inroads into a world he’s always wanted to inhabit – that of the rich and famous.
http://www.deadline.com/2013/12/david-shore-producing-thriller-drama-for-wgn-america/

Starz Drops Plans for Drama Series ‘Fortitude’
Starz
has abandoned for crime drama Fortitude. The crime drama will no longer be broadcast on the premium cable network. The cabler signed on to co-produce the Sky Atlantic drama from Simon Donald in April with a plan to air the 13-episode series in 2014. “Due to changes in the Sky Atlantic production of Fortitude, Starz will not be licensing the series in the U.S.,” Starz said in a statement.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/starz-drops-plans-drama-series-665488

Showtime Pilot ‘The Vatican’ Not Moving Forward
With the clock running out on cast options, Showtime has formally made the decision not to proceed with high profile drama pilot The Vatican. The move had been widely expected as, by most accounts, the pilot didn’t come in as strong as everyone expected given its pedigree. Written by Paul Attanasio, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Kyle Chandler, The Vatican was described as a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church.
http://www.deadline.com/2013/12/showtime-pilot-the-vatican-not-moving-forward/

Rob Huebel To Star In IFC Pilot ‘American Storage’
Childrens Hospital star Rob Huebel is set to topline American Storage, IFC’s comedy pilot based on the 2006 short film of the same name. Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, who co-wrote the short, also co-penned the pilot, with the short’s director Cohen helming. American Storage follows the unlikely friendship between a straight-laced employee (newcomer John Karna) at a storage facility and Kurt (Huebel), the eccentric man he discovers living in one of the units like it was an apartment. The pilot is produced by Troy Miller of Dakota Pictures.
http://www.deadline.com/2013/12/rob-huebel-to-star-in-ifc-pilot-american-storage/

Adam Sandler to Guest Star on ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Super Bowl Episode
The funnyman is shooting the Super Bowl episode of Fox’s new comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/12/12/report-adam-sandler-to-guest-star-on-brooklyn-nine-nine-super-bowl-episode/222355/

Portia de Rossi to guest-star in three episodes of ‘Sean Saves the World’
Portia de Rossi has signed on to guest-star in three episodes of Sean Hayes’ NBC comedy. The Arrested Development star will play Sean’s smart, high-powered ex-wife who re-enters his life.
http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/12/12/portia-de-rossi-sean-saves-the-world/

Prince on New Girl! Music Icon Will Guest Star As Himself in Super Bowl Episode and Interfere With Nick and Jess
Prince
is coming to New Girl! The music icon is set to appear in the Fox comedy’s Super Bowl episode, and will interfere with the show’s much-loved coupling of Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel).
http://www.eonline.com/news/490337/prince-on-new-girl-music-icon-will-guest-star-as-himself-and-come-between-nick-and-jess-in-super-bowl-episode

(video) Watch David Spade’s Unaired ABC pilot ‘Bad Management’
ABC has posted the unreleased David Spade pilot “Bad Management” on its website. The ensemble work comedy, co-starring Irish actress Sharon Horgan, is still in limbo at the network but the show’s outlook doesn’t look good at this point.
http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/watch-david-spades-unaired-abc-pilot-bad-management-video-1200949705/

(ratings) TBS, USA Lead the Way Among Top-Rated Cable Nets of 2013
USA is looking like it will once again win a calendar year in total viewers, but a rising TBS has surpassed it among young adults for the first time. TBS is on pace to lead ad-supported cable in primetime for the year in adults 18-49, ending USA’s seven-year winning streak, according to preliminary Nielsen estimates.
http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/tbs-usa-lead-the-way-among-top-rated-cable-nets-of-2013-1200949512/

FEATURE NEWS:

New Line Acquires Pitch ‘Fist Fight’ From Max Greenfield and 21 Laps
New Line
has acquired the comedy pitch “Fist Fight” which is based on an idea by “New Girl” actor Max Greenfield. Greenfield will produce along with Shawn Levy through his 21 Laps banner along with Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen. Greenfield will develop and write the script with Evan Susser and Von Robichaux. Plot details are vague except that it would center on a fight between two high-school teachers.
http://variety.com/2013/film/news/new-line-acquires-pitch-fist-fight-from-max-greenfield-and-21-laps-1200949889/

Fox Remaking ‘Murder on the Orient Express’
Fox
is closing deals for a remake of Sidney Lumet’s 1974 detective drama “Murder on the Orient Express” with Ridley Scott, Mark Gordon and Simon Kinburg on board to produce. Scott is not directing and no writers have been hired yet.
http://variety.com/2013/film/news/fox-remaking-murder-on-the-orient-express-exclusive-1200950073/

NON-SCRIPTED/ALTERNATIVE NEWS:

‘S.N.L.’ to Add Black Female Cast Member in January
How seriously did “Saturday Night Live” take the furor around its lack of a black female performer? Seriously enough to hold a special audition Monday night on the “S.N.L.” stage for seven or eight candidates, one of whom will be hired and will join the cast for shows beginning in January.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/business/media/snl-to-add-black-female-cast-member-in-january.html

CBS Renews ‘Survivor’ for Two More Editions; Jeff Probst Re-Ups as Host
The show will return for its 29th and 30th cycles during the 2014-15 season.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/cbs-renews-survivor-jeff-probst-665248

AMC Exec to Lead Unscripted Programming at Xbox
Microsoft is raiding the ranks of the TV industry for executive talent once again, luring an AMC to a post overseeing unscripted programming at Xbox Entertainment Studios. Ari Mark, director of development for unscripted original programming at the cabler, is leaving to join the new programming unit overseen by former CBS TV topper Nancy Tellem.
http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/amc-exec-to-lead-unscripted-programming-at-xbox-exclusive-1200948349/

(ratings) ‘Duck Dynasty’ Christmas Special Nabs Nearly 9 Million Viewers
Duck Dynasty got in one last shot before the end of their record ratings year, and the haul was predictably big. A&E’s bearded flagship family averaged 8.9 million viewers on Wednesday night with back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. Among adults 18-49, Duck Dynasty brought in 4.5 million viewers. And with adults 25-54, the show had 4.6 million.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/duck-dynasty-christmas-special-nabs-665382

NEW MEDIA NEWS:

Sci-Fi Series ‘State of Syn,’ Debuting on Hulu Next Year, to Get Google Glass Game
Hulu
cut a distribution deal for four short-form series from Shaftesbury’s digital division, Smokebomb Entertainment, and the studio is prepping a unique companion game for Google Glass to promote one of them, dystopian sci-fi show “State of Syn.” All eight episodes of “State of Syn,” each about 5 minutes, are slated to premiere on Hulu’s U.S. service Jan. 18. The series stars Jewel Staite and David Hewlett.
http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/sci-fi-series-state-of-syn-debuting-on-hulu-next-year-to-get-google-glass-game-1200948802/

TWDC NEWS:

Disney Channel Orders Original Movie Centered on Iconic Villains’ Kids
Disney Channel
is bringing a new twist to its iconic villains. Descendants, a contemporary live-action adventure-comedy, digs into the Disney vault of beloved characters — and well-known villains — to introduce a modern-day generation of teenagers (the “descendants”) who question the evil that’s always been inside. Production begins in the spring for a 2015 premiere. Kenny Ortega will be at the helm. Josanna McGibbon and Sara Parriott (The Starter Wife, Runaway Bride, Desperate Housewives) penned the script.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/disney-channel-orders-descendants-movie-665370

MISCELLANEOUS NEWS:

(tech) YouTube Opens Live-Streaming Video to the Masses
Now anyone can be a live broadcaster on YouTube: The No. 1 Internet video site said it is letting users across the globe live-stream video. Over the next few weeks, all YouTube channels that with verified accounts — and are in “good standing” — will be able to live-stream video on the service.
http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/youtube-opens-live-streaming-video-to-the-masses-1200949558/

(opinion) New Yorker: Torture and “Scandal” Don’t Mix Well
“Scandal” actually is a guilty pleasure, not in the sense that viewers should be merely embarrassed by its soapy charms but, instead, that we ought to be increasingly queasy about its political and ethical implications.
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/12/torture-and-scandal-dont-mix-well.html