Evening News Update for Thursday, 1/16/14.


ABC Orders Anthony Anderson-Fronted Single-Camera Comedy Black-ish
Anthony Anderson
is back in the half-hour comedy fold with Black-ish, a single camera project that has just received a pilot pickup at ABC. The potential series, written by Kenya Barris (The Game), finds the Guys With Kids actor playing an upper-middle class black man struggling to raise his children with a sense of cultural identity despite constant contradictions and obstacles coming from his liberal wife, old school father and his own assimilated, color-blind kids.

Kyle Chandler To Star In Netflix’s Thriller Drama Series From Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman, Glenn Kessler & Sony TV
Sought-after TV leading man Kyle Chandler has signed on to star in Netflix‘s 13-episode psychological thriller from Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler and Sony Pictures TV. Written and executive produced by the Kessler brothers and Zelman, the untitled series centers on a family of adult siblings whose secrets and scars are revealed when the black sheep oldest brother returns home. Netflix and Sony would not comment, but I hear Chandler will play the married middle brother who takes care of the family. Filming is slated to begin in late March in the Florida Keys.

Texas Mega Church Drama From Liz Heldens & David Janollari Gets NBC Pilot Order
Liz Heldens
is a step away from returning to NBC’s primetime with a pilot order for her latest project, drama Salvation. Produced by Universal TV and David Janollari’s studio-based David Janollari Entertainment, Salvation is a family saga set against the backdrop of a Texas mega church where faith, family and corruption are explored in equal measure. The pilot centers on Jennifer Strickland, who has to defend her children, church and religious beliefs after her husband dies under mysterious circumstances. Heldens wrote the script and is executive producing with Janollari.

A&E Developing ‘Highway to Heaven’ Reboot From Mark Wahlberg
"Hell on Wheels" showrunner John Wirth will pen the script for the edgier reboot from A&E Studios and Halfire-Core Entertainment. The project centers on an angel sent down to earth to help troubled souls.

Sue Naegle Joins Robert Kirkman’s Exorcism Drama For FIC & Cinemax As EP
In one of her first projects as a producer, former HBO entertainment president Sue Naegle has come on board Outcast, the exorcism drama project from The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman. In his pilot writing debut, Kirkman penned Outcast on spec for The Walking Dead international partner Fox International Channels, which developed the project internally before taking it out. I hear Naegle, who was still at HBO at the time, read the script and recommended it to her colleague Kary Antholis who ended up buying it.

Olivier Martinez Joins ABC’s ‘Revenge’
On the heels of ABC’s Revenge promoting Karine Vanasse to regular for next season, the soapy drama has tapped Olivier Martinez to play her dad. The French actor will recur as Pascal LeMarchal, Margaux LeMarchal’s (Vanasse) media magnate father.

(video) Showtime’s Monster Drama ‘Penny Dreadful’ Will Explore Modern Themes

Showrunner John Logan grew up loving the genre and will use the new monster mash to explore humanity.

THR: Can Anything Derail CBS?
CBS has no plans to make big changes — it’s a well-oiled machine — so what is there to say at TCA other than, "We will crush you?"


‘Prisoners’ Director Boards Sci-Fi Drama ‘Story of Your Life’
Denis Villeneuve has signed on to direct The Story of Your Life, an adaptation of a short story by Ted Chiang. Eric Heissererhas written the script for the project, which is being financed and produced by FilmNation and DavidLinde‘s Lava Bear Films. Also producing are 21 Laps’ Shawn LevyandDan Levine. The story is set in motion when alien crafts land around the world and an expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.


ABC Planning To Bid For Thursday Night NFL Package
is planning to bid on the "Thursday Night Football" package, sources said, potentially marking the return of NFL games to the Disney-owned network for the first time since Super Bowl XL in February ’06. Bids on the league’s Thursday night package are due tomorrow, and all of the network partners are expected to submit bids: ESPN, which would put the game on ABC; CBS; Fox; and NBC. Turner Sports also is expected to bid on the package for one of its networks, but it is considered a long shot since the NFL is looking to expand the Thursday night games onto a broadcast network.


(ratings) ‘Duck Dynasty’ Returns To 8.5 Million Viewers, Down 28% From Season 4 Premiere
’s flagship reality series clocked 8.5 million viewers Wednesday night, snapping a streak of ratings records and posting its first season-to-season drop. Among adults 18-49, the premiere averaged 4.2 million viewers, down 33%. Those are still huge numbers for a cable series, but the Season 5 opener was down from the show’s Season 4 debut, which drew nearly 12 million to become the No. 1-rated nonfiction series telecast in cable history.


Nickelodeon’s EVP Paula Kaplan & SVP Sal Maniaci Exit
EVP Paula Kaplan has informed her team today of her departure, a Nickelodeon spokesperson confirmed. I’ve also learned that another Nickelodeon veteran, Sal Maniaci, is departing the company. He was based in New York and served as SVP of event and original programming.

Sundance: Bill Hader and 4 Other People the Fest Will Be Buzzing About
The actors and directors to watch this year, including a Spanish ex-mermaid and a director with a famous mom, a famous sis and two famous dads: Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Desiree Akhavan, Charlie McDowell, Ben Cotner, Bill Hader.

Megan Ellison: Low-Profile Financier’s Films Netted a Massive 17 Noms
Megan Ellison
, one of Hollywood’s newest power brokers, has already made an outsized impression. Over the past three years, Ellison has financed a baker’s dozen films that have garnered 35 Oscar nominations, including 17 on Thursday for films she helped finance: David O. Russell’sAmerican Hustle,” Spike Jonze’sHer” and Wong Kar Wai’sThe Grandmaster.”