Evening News Update for Friday, 12/13/13.


Baz Luhrmann and Shawn Ryan Planning a TV Drama Set at the Dawn of the Hip-Hop Era
Baz Luhrmann
is teaming with producer Shawn Ryan and playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis on an epic, music-filled period drama exploring the dawn of the hip-hop era as seen through the eyes of two young New Yorkers. Executives at Netflix, Amazon, and FX have all heard the pitch for the project this week, our Hollywood spies tell us; other cable networks, including Showtime, are also said to be taking meetings on the idea. Interest in the show is said to be high, and a deal for production of a pilot (or maybe even a series) seems all but assured.

David Spade To Co-Write & Potentially Star In Music Industry Comedy Project For HBO
David Spade
is headed to HBO with a new comedy. The pay cable network is in negotiations for the untitled project Spade will co-write with comedy writer Dean Lorey. It centers on Shane, once the biggest rock and roll manager in LA, who struggles to stay relevant in a constantly changing music scene fueled by techno, hip-hop and his newly signed pop Christian boy band The Five Commandments. There is no acting deal in the works with Spade, but the script is written as a starring vehicle for him

Jason Blum & Christina Wayne To Produce Haunted Hotel Drama For NBC
Jason Blum
has teamed with TV executive-turned-producer Christina Wayne for The Inn, a supernatural drama project set up at NBC. Written by Patrick Macmanus and produced by Universal TV Studios, The Inn is described as a classic ghost story that follows a group of strangers drawn to an isolated hotel by fate. Compelled to find the truth behind the horrors that haunt them and answer the question of why they were brought together, the ensemble soon discovers that The Inn is aware of their pasts and presents and is using them to force the guests to confront themselves and each other.


Matthew Perry Developing New Take on ‘Odd Couple’ at CBS
has handed a script commitment plus penalty to a reinvention of “The Odd Couple” from Matthew Perry. Based on Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” project centers on two mismatched roommates, messy Oscar Madison and neat freak Felix Ungar. Perry is slated to star as Madison. Along with toplining the comedy, Perry will serve as producer and co-write the laffer with Danny Jacobson. CBS TV Studios is attached to the reboot along with Timberman-Beverly and The Tannenbaum Co.

Rob Corddry Joins HBO Pilot ‘Ballers’
Rob Corddry
is set to co-star opposite Dwayne Johnson in Ballers, HBO’s half-hour dramedy pilot, which chronicles the lives of several Miami-based active and retired athletes. Corddry will play former all-pro running back Spencer’s (Johnson) boss, a financial advisor who tries really hard to fit in and who is confident but clueless at interpreting social cues. Peter Berg is directing the pilot, which Johnson is exec producing with Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson, and Evan Reilly serves as showrunner. http://www.deadline.com/2013/12/rob-corddry-joins-hbo-pilot-ballers/

The Crazy Ones Lands Cheryl Hines
The Crazy Ones
has cooked up a guest spot for funnylady Cheryl Hines. The Suburgatory star will appear in an upcoming episode of the CBS hit, playing a single Jewish mother who wants her son to have the best bar mitzvah ever. Unfortunately, the successful businesswoman winds up making the entire affair all about her.


‘Dexter’ Alum Promoted to Regular on FX’s ‘Saint George’
David Zayas had been a recurring player on George Lopez’s 10/90 comedy.

Nia Long To Co-Star In WEtv Drama ‘The Divide’, Shaun Toub Added To NBC Pilot ‘Tin Man’, Olga Merediz Joins FX’s ‘Saint George’
Nia Long has joined WEtv’s first original scripted series The Divide.

Shaun Toub has been cast as a series regular in the NBC pilot Tin Man, a futuristic thriller drama from feature writer Ehren Kruger.

Olga Merediz has booked a series regular role on the George Lopez-starring FX series Saint George, the 10-90 family sitcom from Lionsgate TV and Debmar-Mercury.


‘Call of Duty’ Director Fires Up Firefighter Movie at Lionsgate
Jeff Chan
, the director of live-action shorts for Activision’s “Call of Duty” franchise, has come on board an untitled firefighter project for Lionsgate. The action film centers on a rescue company in Detroit. Chan will direct from a script being written by Sascha Penn.

‘Game of Thrones’ Star Emilia Clarke Tapped as Sarah Connor in ‘Terminator’ Reboot
Emilia Clarke
is preparing to fight cyborgs as she will portray Sarah Connor in Paramount, Skydance and Annapurna’sTerminator” reboot.

Fox in Talks to Pick Up Mark Millar’s ‘Starlight’
Twentieth Century Fox is in negotiations to pick up Starlight, an upcoming comic from WantedandKick-Ass creator Mark Millar. Simon Kinberg will write the script and produce the adaptation. It centers on a space hero who saved the universe 35 years ago but came back to Earth, where no one believed his fantastic stories. He settled down, got married, had kids and got old, but then is called back for one last adventure when his old rocket shows up. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/fox-talks-pick-up-mark-665693

Jonathan Stokes To Script Harlan Coben’s ‘Six Years’ For Paramount, Hugh Jackman
Paramount Pictures
has set Jonathan W. Stokes to adapt Six Years, the Harlan Coben novel that was bought by the studio early this year as a potential star vehicle for Hugh Jackman. Mark Gordon is producing. The logline: a man watches his life love marry another man. The groom dies six years later and the guy can’t help but try to glimpse the widow at the funeral. She’s not the same woman.



‘Daily Show’s’ Tim Carvell Set as Showrunner of John Oliver HBO Series
John Oliver
will be working with a familiar face as showrunner of his upcoming HBO series: “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” head writer Tim Carvell. Carvell has joined the untitled show as exec producer and showrunner.


Microsoft to Launch First Original Shows on Xbox in Early 2014
Developing original series for Microsoft has taken a little longer than veteran TV executive Nancy Tellem had hoped, but her first slate of shows will launch on the Xbox videogame consoles early next year. “We’re hoping we will be able to put something up in the first quarter, at minimum second quarter,” said Tellem.

Binge viewing is the new normal, per Netflix
released data Dec. 12 confirming a bit of conventional wisdom: binge viewing is the new normal. The data found out of 1,500 adult TV streamers in the U.S (those that stream shows at least once a week), 61% binge-watch shows regularly. The average binge-watch clocked at 2.3 episodes per sitting.



(q&a) NBC’s Bob Greenblatt Talks Musicals, Michael J. Fox, Jay Leno’s Future
THR: Heading into pilot season, how are you thinking about what you want to do in the comedy space?

Greenblatt: It needs to be reinvented and I don’t know if that means less comedy or better comedy or more comedy or no comedy. But we’re talking about all different kinds of approaches.


Disney’s Alan Horn, Microsoft’s Nancy Tellem Discuss Future of Entertainment
Walt Disney Studios
chairman Alan Horn and Microsoft’s Nancy Tellem may work in different parts of the entertainment business, but the veteran Hollywood executives agree on one key thing: The industry needs to embrace technology or risk losing the Millennial audience. While Hollywood and Disney have toyed with the idea of narrowing the current distribution windows, Horn said Disney is “committed to the windowing we now have,” but said it’s up to the exhibition biz to improve the experience of watching movies in theaters.


Exec Shuffle for 12/13/13: VH1, Pivot, Preferred Artists, Walden Media, Fox 2000
Assembly Entertainment: Christina Wayne has launched this company, with Miura Kite joining as Consultant. Lauren Paget will come aboard as Coordinator in January. Assembly Entertainment is based within Endemol Studios’ Los Angeles offices, and has a production deal with Endemol to develop and produce scripted projects for cable and other platforms.
Media Research & Rights.
Sirens Media: Stuart Zwagil has joinedas Chief Operating Officer.
VH1: Fernando Mills has joined as Vice President, Production & Programming.


Are television promos ruining good cliffhangers?
In a lot of cases, the antithesis of a genuine cliffhanger seems to be an over-informative episode promo. You spend your summer waiting to find out if a character will live or die only to see them talking in a promo for the upcoming season, and all of a sudden, your urge for the show to come back is cut in half.