Evening News Update for Tuesday, 1/7/14.


Fox Gives Series Order to Rainn Wilson Drama ‘Backstrom’
has ordered crime drama “Backstrom” to series from “Bones” creator Hart Hanson, with Rainn Wilson attached to star. From 20th Century Fox TV, “Backstrom” centers on Detective Everett Backstrom (Wilson), an offensive, irascible detective who tries and fails to change his self-destructive behavior. Fox has given a 13-episode order to the project based on Swedish scribe Leif G.W. Persson’s book series of the same name. Persson and Niclas Salomonsson will also exec produce. Mark Mylod helmed and executive produced the pilot. “Backstrom” was initially seated at CBS, where the Eye offered the project a pilot order early last year.

ABC Orders Romantic Comedy Pilot From Jeff Lowell, Brillstein & Peter Traugott
continues to be aggressive this pilot season, handing out early orders. The latest pilot green light has come for a half hour single-camera comedy project from writer Jeff Lowell (John Tucker Must Die) and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. ABC Studios, where Brillstein is under a TV deal, is producing. Former Brillstein TV president Peter Traugott is in negotiations to executive produce. Written/exec produced by Lowell, the untitled half-hour is described as a romantic comedy that exposes the unfiltered internal monologues of a young couple embarking on a new relationship.

Comedy Created By & Starring Denis Leary As Middle-Aged Rocker Gets FX Pilot Order
Denis Leary
is back in business with FX, this time on the comedy side. FX Networks has given a pilot order to Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, written by and starring Leary as a middle-aged rock ‘n roller who desperately wanted to be rich and famous but so far, he’s 0 for 2. The show will feature original music and occasional guest appearances by actual rock stars. The pilot, tentatively slated to film in the spring in New York City, is produced by FX Prods. and Fox Television Studios where Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle has a cable deal.

‘Pushing Daisies’ Alum Anna Friel to Star in NBC’s ‘Odyssey’
Anna Friel
will star in the Traffic-like thriller from writer/executive producer Peter Horton, with The Carrie Diaries favorite Jake Robinson also boarding the project. Odyssey centers on three families who are torn apart when a stranded female soldier, a disillusioned corporate attorney and a disrespected political activist are pulled into the same shocking international military conspiracy.

‘Modern Family’: Aisha Tyler to guest
Aisha Tyler
will guest in an episode of Modern Family as the seemingly intense Wendy, a former law school classmate of Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) who runs the legal aid society where he gets a job.

Game Of Thrones: [Spoiler] Promoted to Series Regular — But There’s a Twist
Nashville and Treme actor Michiel Huisman, who is set appear in multiple Season 4 episodes as Daenerys’ love interest Daario Naharis, has inked a deal to return as a full-fledged series regular in a possible fifth season. The in-demand Huisman (who is also set to recur in Season 2 of Orphan Black) replaces Ed Skrein, who originated the role of Daario in Season 3.


Matt Reeves to Direct ‘Planet of the Apes 3′ for Fox, Chernin
In a move that signals confidence in their upcoming summer tentpole “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment are bringing back Matt Reeves to direct a third film in the budding sci-fi franchise. Reeves will write the script with Mark Bomback.

‘Captain America’ Director in Talks For Alien Invasion Movie ‘Extinction’
Joe Johnston is in negotiations to direct Extinction, a sci-fi feature project set up at Good Universe. David HobermanandTodd Lieberman of Mandeville are producing Extinction, which was written by Spenser Cohen. Plot details are being kept under wraps but it does involve a man trying to save his family with an alien invasion figuring into the proceedings.

Allan Loeb to Write Disney’s ‘Bob the Musical’
Allan Loeb
has been tapped to work on Bob the Musical, Disney’s long-gestating musical comedy. Bob follows a regular guy who, after a blow to the head, suddenly can hear the inner songs of everyone’s heart as his reality is instantly turned into a musical, much to his dismay. The project has been in development since 2004 and but producers Chris Bender, J.C. Spink and Jake Weiner of Benderspink, as well as Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are still pushing forward with the high-concept project, which now has music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the duo behind the tunes of Disney’s animation breakout Frozen.

D.J. Caruso Set To Helm ‘Selling Time’; Will Smith Still Circling Supernatural Thriller
Things are coming back around again for Selling Time, the supernatural thriller at 20th Century Fox. D.J. Caruso is signing on to direct, and he will oversee a new draft by Dan McDermott that is being written in hopes that Will Smith will star in the film. Smith has long been interested in playing the lead role in the thriller about a man who sells chunks of his life in an attempt to relive the worst day of his life so that he can change a tragedy.


New Fox Head Of Alternative Builds Executive Team With Hires, Promotion
Simon Andreae
has put together his team, surrounding himself with executives who share his producer background. Lisa Levenson has joined the network as SVP and Alex Piper as VP alternative. Amy Cohen, who has been a member of Fox’s unscripted team since 2005, stayed on and has helped with the executive transition. She has now been promoted to Executive Director, Alternative Entertainment.

Bravo Adds Joseph Ferraro, Rachel Smith as Development, Production Execs
Bravo has hired Rachel Smith as vice president of current production and Joseph Ferraro as vice president of development. Smith joins Bravo from BBC America where she was v.p. of original programming. Ferraro recently departed Ryan Seacrest Prods.


Netflix’s Dumbed-Down Algorithms
Netflix’s big problem, it seems to me, is that it can’t afford the content that its subscribers most want to watch. It could try to buy streaming rights to every major Hollywood blockbuster in history — but doing so would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and could never be recouped with $7.99 monthly fees. What’s more, the studios can watch the Netflix share price as easily as anybody else, and when they see it ending 2013 at $360 a share, valuing the company at well over $20 billion, that’s their sign to start raising rates sharply during the next round of negotiations. Which in turn helps explain why Netflix is losing so many great movies.

Sense8 Scoop: First Deets on New Netflix Sci-Fi Drama From Andy and Lana Wachowski
Nearly a year after Netflix greenlit 10 episodes of Matrix auteurs Andy and Lana Wachowski’s Sense8, we finally have the 411 on the series. The sci-fi drama will focus on eight people scattered around the globe who are connected by a shared — violent — vision. Each episode — shot in the UK, Seoul, Mumbai, Nairobi, Berlin, Mexico City, San Francisco and Chicago — will follow the characters’ separate stories, even as one entity tries to bring the octet together and another tries to kill them.


Lucasfilm Have Convened A Star Wars Story Group And They’re Working On Defining A Single, Coherent Canon
George Lucas said that the Star Wars universe exists, essentially, in two versions. There’s his one, and then there’s the one everybody else can play with. And then, whenever Lucas himself went on to create a new “core” story for the Saga, he had permission to overwrite or ignore anything from that “Expanded Universe.” But now, Lucasfilm are looking to rework the system and destroy this hierarchy. Leland Chee is employed by the company on their Story Team and has been answering questions on Twitter about how it all works.


Shonda Rhimes To Receive ICG Publicists TV Showmanship Award
Shonda Rhimes
, creator, writer and producer of the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal, will be presented with the 2014 Television Showmanship Award at the International Cinematographers Guild’s 51st annual Publicists Awards Luncheon on Friday, February 28, at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

CES: ‘Breaking Bad’s’ Vince Gilligan and Sony Pictures’ Michael Lynton Talk Content’s Future
Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO Sony Pictures Entertainment, talked of the impact of SVOD services on content delivery.
“Now we have five to six SVOD services competitively bidding on TV series and films that never existed before, both in first run as well as syndication. It has changed the economics dramatically for us – but in a positive way,” he said. To this point, Vince Gilligan added, “When I started out on shows like The X Files, the conventional wisdom was that serialized storytelling was to be avoided, that one episode completes the story. SVOD allows a hyper-serialized form of storytelling and gives people the freedom to access content when they feel like it.”


(gaming) PlayStation Now hands-on: you’ll never think of gaming the same way again
has finally spilled the details on its streaming service PlayStation Now. PlayStation Now lets owners of Sony hardware (including PS4, PS3, Vita, and Bravia TVs) stream some of the company’s greatest games — all from the cloud.

AMA: How a Weird Internet Thing Became a Mainstream Delight
Barack Obama, Jerry Seinfeld, a line cook at Applebee’s. Each of these people has stood before the IamA subcommunity on the social network Reddit, and typed those immortal letters, "AMA." Ask. Me. Anything. In fact, hundreds of people have offered themselves up to be interrogated via Reddit’s crowdsourced question-and-answer sessions. Questions are voted up and down, and generally speaking, the most popular ones get answered. Over the last several years, the IamA subreddit has gone from interesting curiosity to a juggernaut of a media brand. AMAs generate some of the most compelling stories on the web, or in any medium.

Santa Clarita has record year for local film production
Santa Clarita, the suburban northern Los Angeles County community that has played Afghanistan, Kentucky and Washington, D.C, had a record year for film and TV production. The city generated 1,264 location film days in 2013, up 38% from last year.