Afternoon News Update for Friday, 1/24/14.

SCRIPTED NEWS:

FX Gives Series Order To Nat Faxon-Judy Greer Comedy
FX
has given 10-episode series pickups to a comedy starring Nat Faxon and Judy Greer and another project from scribe Stephen Falk. “Married,” written by Andrew Gurland, is a rom-com with Faxon and Greer as a married couple. Gurland is showrunner and exec produces with Peter Principato and Paul Young. Jenny Slate and Brett Gelman also star.

“You’re the Worst,” from “Weeds” alum Falk, revolves around two self-destructive people who fall in love. Aya Cash, Chris Geere, Kether Donohue and Desman Borges star. Both shows will air on the FX mothership rather than the comedy-centric FXX spinoff channel.
http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/fx-gives-series-orders-to-2-comedies-1201069591/

Fox Pilot ‘The Middle Man’ On Pause As Ben Affleck Becomes Unavailable To Direct
Casting on Middle Man had been well under way with auditions already scheduled. That now has been put on hold until Fox brass figure out a course of action. I hear they are considering two options: bringing in a new director and continuing with casting and shooting the pilot after a short break for the new helmer to get up to speed or waiting for Affleck to finish the movie in the summer and direct the pilot himself as originally planned.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/fox-pilot-the-middle-man-on-pause-as-ben-affleck-becomes-unavailable-to-direct/

Imagine Television Inks New Deal With 20th Century Fox TV
One of the longest production relationships in the TV business is staying intact. Imagine Television has signed a new two-year deal with 20th Century Fox Television, where the company, overseen by Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer, has been for the past 14 years.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/imagine-television-inks-new-deal-with-20th-century-fox-tv/

‘True Detective’ Creator Nic Pizzolatto Signs New Overall Deal With HBO, Paving Way For Season 2 Of Breakout Drama
HBO
has inked a new two-year overall deal with Nic Pizzolatto, who is working on a second season of True Detective.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/true-detective-creator-nic-pizzolatto-signs-new-overall-deal-with-hbo-paving-way-for-season-2-of-breakout-drama/

(sched) Showtime Counterprogramming Super Bowl Sunday With New Episodes
While most networks defer to the ratings juggernaut of the Super Bowl, Showtime plans a night of counter-programming with new episodes of “Shameless,” “House of Lies” and “Episodes.”
http://www.thewrap.com/showtime-counterprogramming-super-bowl-sunday-new-episodes/

CASTING NEWS:

Mira Sorvino To Star In BBC America Series ‘Intruders’
Mira Sorvino
is set as the female lead opposite John Simm in Intruders, BBC America’s eight-episode original series. Also cast in the drama, based on Michael Marshall Smith’s 2007 novel The Intruders, is James Frain. Written by Glen Morgan, The Intruders is about a secret society devoted to chasing immortality by seeking refuge in the bodies of others. It centers on ex-cop Jack Whalen (Simms) who has escaped a dark, violent past for a seemingly quiet life with his wife, Amy (Sorvino, who will play 2 characters in the same body).
http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/mira-sorvino-to-star-in-bbc-america-series-intruders/

Georgina Rylance Joins ‘Gracepoint’, Analeigh Tipton Boards Untitled Jeff Lowell Project
Georgina Rylance
rounds out the cast of Fox’s 10-hour event series Gracepoint, a remake of the UK’s Broadchurch. Rylance will play Gemma, a flirty woman who owns the town’s hotel where Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant) is staying.

Analeigh Tipton has joined Jeff Lowell’s untitled single-camera untitled comedy project in the role of Dana.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/georgina-rylance-joins-gracepoint-analeigh-tipton-boards-untitled-jeff-lowell-project/

Margaret Cho to Co-Star in Fox’s Tina Fey Comedy
She’ll play the Cabot College president in the multicamera project, reuniting with "30 Rock’s" Fey and Matt Hubbard.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/margaret-cho-star-foxs-tina-673901

FX’s ‘The Comedians’ Adds Cast
Matt Oberg, Stephnie Weir
and Megan Ferguson have joined the cast of FX‘s The Comedians, the hot cable comedy project with Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and produce. Oberg plays Mitch, the head writer of the sketch show who’s eager even when he’s being bulldozed by Billy. Weir will play Kristen, the anxiety-ridden producer of Billy and Josh’s sketch show. Ferguson takes on the role of Esme, a no-nonsense PA who is mostly over it all.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/fxs-the-comedians-adds-cast/

Stephen Fry To Play British Prime Minister On ‘24: Live Another Day’
Stephen Fry
has been tapped for a high-profile recurring role in Fox‘s event series 24: Live Another Day, which will premiere May 5.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/stephen-fry-to-play-british-prime-minister-on-24-live-another-day/

AMC’s ‘Turn’ Finds Its George Washington
Actor Ian Kahn has joined the period drama series, which stars Jamie Bell and premieres April 6.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/amcs-turn-ian-kahn-cast-673946

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Nabs ‘Torchwood’s’ Paul James for Recurring Role
“Grey’s Anatomy”
has landed a handsome new researcher with Paul James. James joins the ABC drama in a recurring role starting with an episode airing in mid-March.
http://www.thewrap.com/abc-greys-anatomy-paul-james-casting

FEATURE NEWS:

Sony Pictures, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Make Movie Deal For ‘Lean In’
Sony Pictures has made a preemptive acquisition of film rights to Lean In: Women, Work, And The Will to Lead, the 2013 book written by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The studio has set Nell Scovell, the veteran TV writer/director, to write the script. The film is not a biography of Sandberg; rather, Scovell will hatch a narrative film from the themes contained within the book. The book covered the inequities between how women and men are treated in the workplace and in leadership positions.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/sony-pictures-facebook-coo-sheryl-sandberg-make-movie-deal-for-lean-in/

Justin Lin to Adapt Documentary About Ragtag Baseball Team
Justin Lin
has acquired the remake rights to the documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball, which premiered at Sundance earlier this week.The doc tells the story of actor Bing Russell in 1973 creating the Portland Mavericks, a professional baseball team that was not affiliated with any major-league organization. The result was a real motley crew of a team. It included Bing’s son, Kurt Russell (yes, that Kurt Russell), who played and served as VP. Todd Field is in talks to write and direct, which is especially fun because Field was the team’s batboy.
http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/justin-lin-to-adapt-documentary-ragtag-baseball-team.html

Former Paramount Exec Stefanie Huie Options YA Novel ‘Belle Epoque’
Former Paramount and Icon executive Stefanie Huie has optioned the rights to the YA tome “Belle Epoque” by Elizabeth Ross. Ross will adapt the screenplay with Huie producing the project. The story follows a young woman who has recently left her home in the countryside and finds herself struggling to survive in 1880s Paris. With nowhere else to turn, the girl answers an ad for a job at a repoussoir agency – a place where society’s elite can hire “unattractive” companions for their debuting daughters as a way of making their daughters seem more beautiful.
http://variety.com/2014/film/news/belle-epoque-movie-1201069418/

NON-SCRIPTED/ALTERNATIVE NEWS:

Fox To Acquire Majority Stake In Yankees’ YES Network
21st Century Fox
is acquiring a majority stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, also known as YES, raising its ownership position in the regional sports network to 80% from the current 49% it acquired in 2012.
http://variety.com/2014/biz/news/21st-century-fox-to-acquire-majority-stake-in-yankees-cabler-1201069787/

Ellen is out sick, so Ellie Kemper today is taking over her talk show
The former "Office" star is filling in today as Ellen DeGeneres recovers from the flu. She’s Ellen’s first-ever guest host.

EXECUTIVE/TALENT NEWS:

Nickelodeon Taps Sarah Noonan To Head Live-Action Programming, Jay Schmalholz To Run Live Events
Nickelodeon
has promoted head of casting Sarah Noonan to SVP Live Action Content and On-Air Promotions Creative Director Jay Schmalholz to SVP Live Event Television. Noonan will oversee all development, casting and live-action production for the kids network.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/nickelodeon-taps-sarah-noonan-to-head-live-action-programming-jay-schmalholz-to-run-live-events/

MISCELLANEOUS NEWS:

The New Disruptors at Sundance
Not too long ago, film festivals were places where promising movies could be seen before being bought by distributors and reaching theatres. That’s still true, but today big film festivals are also showcases for entertainment disruption—startup efforts to change the basic formula by which American entertainment reaches audiences. While the industry is famously resistant to change, these attempts at disruption are exciting to watch.
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2014/01/the-new-disruptors-at-sundance.html

Girls on Film: The troubling reason Hollywood keeps failing female filmmakers
"Let’s just really make a change or never, ever speak of it again," Punisher: War Zone director Lexi Alexander tells TheWeek.com.
http://theweek.com/article/index/255433/girls-on-film-the-troubling-reason-hollywood-keeps-failing-female-filmmakers

Universal Plans to Expand Harry Potter Theme Park
Scheduled to open in June, the expansion will include two major rides, eight stores and a sprawling Leaky Cauldron restaurant.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/business/media/universal-unveils-plans-for-expansion-of-harry-potter-park.html

(gaming) Ultra Street Fighter IV Will Feature YouTube Integration
Capcom’s upcoming Street Fighter videogame will feature the ability to directly upload video replays of matches to YouTube when the game releases later this year. The feature’s inclusion is a pretty natural fit, given the popularity of Street Fighter videos already uploaded to that site.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/131620-Ultra-Street-Fighter-IV-Will-Feature-YouTube-Integration

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