Afternoon News Update for Tuesday, 1/21/14.


Kevin Williamson Drama Lands Hefty Commitment From CBS
Kevin Williamson
has landed a pilot production commitment for a hot drama property at CBS. Details were slim but the Warner Bros. TV project is said to revolve around a law enforcement unit that specializes in tracking down stalkers.

NBC’s ‘Murder She Wrote’ Reboot Not Going Forward, Could Be Revisited In The Future
has opted not to proceed with the proposed re-imagining of Murder, She Wrote — which had Oscar winner Octavia Spencer attached to star. The project, from writer Alexandra Cunningham and producer David Janollari, got a lot of attention when it came together in October, receiving a put pilot commitment from the network.

Rashida Jones To Topline Steve Carell’s TBS Comedy Pilot ‘Tribeca’
Rashida Jones
has lined up her next series vehicle, signing on to play the lead in TBS‘ single-camera comedy Tribeca, co-created and directed by Steve Carell. Co-written by Carell and his wife, actress Nancy Carell, Tribeca is a satirical look at a police procedural anchored by Angie Tribeca (Jones), an outspoken 10-year veteran of the LAPD’s elite RHCU (Really Heinous Crimes Unit).

Jesse L. Martin To Co-Star in CW Pilot ‘The Flash’
Law & Order alum Jesse L. Martin is set to co-star opposite Grant Gustin in the CW pilot The Flash, based on the DC comic. The project, from Warner Bros TV and Berlanti Productions, is an origin story about Barry Allen aka The Flash (Gustin), a Central City assistant police forensics investigator who arrives in Starling to look into a series of unexplained robberies that may have a connection to a tragedy in his past. Martin will play Detective West, an honest, blue-collar cop who is a surrogate father to Allen.

Tate Donovan Joins Fox’s ’24: Live Another Day’
Tate Donovan
has been cast as White House Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau in Fox’s event series “24: Live Another Day.” Boudreau is billed as an astute and strong-willed political advisor who is married to President James Heller’s daughter, Audrey Raines.

(sched) Fox Moves ‘Enlisted’ To Friday 9 PM Slot
is giving the military comedy a better chance with a stronger lead-in by moving it to 9 PM where it will follow veteran Bones.

(ratings) Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic Debuts to Big Ratings
Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic adaptation debuted to 6.1 million viewers on Saturday, making it cable’s most-watched original movie since 2012’s Steel Magnolias remake. The film also drew a 4.5 household rating, and an average of 2.4 million adults 18-49 and 1.9 million women 18-49 tuned in.

(review) THR: Black Sails
This ambitious pirate story is helped immensely by going beyond the pay cable freedoms that often bog down lesser shows in boobs, blood and sex. "Black Sails" steers itself out of that realm after a few episodes and makes a play for bigger, more complicated stories. Solid acting patches up weaker spots. A series worth a look.

(review) Variety: Comedy Central’s ‘Broad City’
Like a lot of Web-to-TV transplants, “Broad City” feels a trifle narrow, and occasionally labors to find enough material to fill even a half-hour. At its core, though, this Comedy Central series has an endearing pair in cash-strapped twentysomething pals, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, struggling to survive in New York.

Deadline: How Many Orders Is Each Broadcast Network Eyeing This Year
By the end of the Winter TCA, two broadcast networks, NBC and Fox, are almost done with their pilot orders. Of course, the orders this year are not just for pilots as the networks, especially Fox, and to some extent NBC, are mixing things up with series pickups and commitments and pilot “prototypes.” Here is where things stand.


Esquire Network Renews 5 Series, Orders Joel Silver Project, Places 4 Shows in Development
Esquire Network announced that the network has renewed five of its original series for second seasons: “Knife Fight”, “Brew Dogs”, “Boundless”, “White Collar Brawlers.” Esquire has also ordered interview show “Friends Call Me Johnny” from Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures. Every episode features Jean Pigozzi conducting candid interviews with his celebrity friends. For its development slate, the network announced the following deals:

Randi Zuckerberg and Coolfire Media, for a series tentatively titled HQ, which will showcase the most creative work environments around the country.
Ellen Rakieten Entertainment and Relativity Real, for CAR MATCHMAKER (WT). The series will feature comedy writer and lifelong car aficionado Spike Feresten as he sets up car-challenged men with the vehicles that could turn their lives around.
Jane Root’s Nutopia, for the documentary series DOWNFALL (WT), which tracks the notorious and spectacular rise and fall of prominent businessmen, politicians and athletes.
World of Wonder and Esquire magazine sex columnist, Stacey Grenrock-Woods, for a comedic and provocative look at some of the sex and relationship questions her readers ask every month.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and ‘HITRECORD’ Cohorts Pivot Into First Look Deal With Participant
Just after previewing the first three episodes of his TV series HITRECORD ON TV, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and hisHITRECORD exec producer Jared Geller have set a first-look deal with Participant Media and its youth-centric TV station Pivot. This comes after the show Gordon-Levitt created got an 8-episode order for a second season.


UTA’s Barbara Dreyfus Named Head Of Motion Pictures For Will Packer’s Production Company
Will Packer Productions
has hired UTA motion picture literary agent Barbara Dreyfus as head of motion pictures. She is one of the first key hires for Packer’s new shingle, which launched in October when he inked a three-year, first-look producing deal with Universal and set up operations on the lot.


(tech) Amazon live internet TV service in ‘early stages,’ says report
is considering moving far beyond its Instant Video streaming service, according to a new report out today. The online retail giant is working on offering a live TV service that would stream over the internet, reports The Wall Street Journal. It seems that the project is in its "early stages," and the paper’s sources say that Amazon has contacted no less than three major media companies to begin working out licensing deals to stream programming. Such a service, if it’s ever released, would compete directly with cable and satellite television providers.

The Decline of the American Book Lover
The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn’t cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in their car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978. If you are the sort of person who believes that TV and the Internet have turned American culture into a post-literate scrubland full of cat GIFs and reality TV spinoffs, then this news will probably reinforce your worst suspicions. But buried beneath it, I think there’s an optimistic story to tell about American book culture. It’s about the kids.