Afternoon News Update for Monday, 1/27/14.


ABC Orders Pilots For Comedies ‘Saint Francis,’ ‘Fresh Off The Boat’
ordered pilots for two comedies this afternoon: “Saint Francis” and “Fresh Off The Boat.” From Chris Moynihan, “Saint Francis” is a multi-cam laffer that centers on a blue-collar, no-nonsense Long Island cop and family man who butts heads with the modern, liberal world when his 29-year-old sister gets pregnant out of wedlock. ABC Studios and Tagline are producing the pilot, with Ron West and Kelly Kulchak exec producing.

“Fresh Off The Boat” is a single-cam penned by Nahnatchka Kahn based on chef Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same name. Set in the ’90s, “Fresh” centers on hip hop-loving Eddie, who is growing up in suburban Orlando and being raised by immigrant parents. With his father owning and operating an All-American Steakhouse chain, the fam of Taiwanese Americans tries to live the American dream while still maintaining their cultural identity and sense of family. Pilot will hail from 20th Century Fox TV, with Jake Kasdan exec producing for Popular Misconception with Melvin Mar.

Jaime Pressly-Starrer ‘Jennifer Falls’ Gets Series Order at TV Land
Developed as a multicamera series, the comedy will be converted to single-camera and become the network’s first on the air. Created by Matthew Carlson, Falls revolves around Jennifer, a career woman and mother who must move back in with her own mom (Jessica Walter) with her daughter in tow after being let go from her high-profile job. Missi Pyle co-stars as Dina, Jennifer’s childhood best friend.

Michael Hanel and Mindy Schultheis will also executive produce alongside TV Land’s Larry W. Jones and Keith Cox.

Starz Greenlights Ballet Drama ‘Flesh and Bone,’ Casts Lead Sarah Hay
has ordered ballet drama series, “Flesh and Bone,” to series. From “Breaking Bad” writer and executive producer, Moira Walley-Beckett, the series has also cast its lead, the experienced ballerina Sarah Hay. Walley-Beckett will write and executive produce with Starz. Other executive producers are Lawrence Bender, Kevin Brown and John Melfi. Ethan Stiefel, a former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, is attached as choreographer.

(sched) George Lopez’s Comedy Series ‘Saint George’ Gets Premiere Date From FX
George Lopez’s new comedy series “Saint George” will premiere March 6 on FX.

(rumor) Is Marvel’s Agent Carter series gearing up for a Vancouver shoot?
Comic Book Movie suggests that an ABC series in pre-production under the working title That Old Chestnut, currently gathering crew members in Vancouver, could be Marvel’s much-discussed Agent Carter spin-off. Security levels around the project are said to be unprecedented, and the budget considerably higher than usual for an ABC series. Things are gearing up for principal photography to begin no later than June.

Two New Shows That Prove Audiences Are Ready For Leading Men Who Are Total Disasters
anthology show True Detective introduced us to Detectives Marty Hart and Rust Cohle and Fox’s Rake gave us Keegan Deane. These two shows are the logical conclusion of fifteen years of shows about difficult men: finally, it seems, we’re ready to admit that men with disastrous personal lives and uneven work records might not be anything more than truly messed up. While Tony Soprano and Al Swearengen faced occasional humiliations and potential losses of control via the machinations of their mothers and the malfunctioning of their bodies, they remained titanic figures who retained their viewers’ respect, if not uncomplicated affection.


‘America’s Next Top Model’ Finalist to Star in ABC’s Jeff Lowell Comedy
Model-turned-actress Analeigh Tipton will play the lead in the network’s untitled comedy from Lowell and Peter Traugott.


Fox Re-Ups First-Look Deal With Steve Zaillian’s Film Rites
20th Century Fox is re-upping its first-look deal with Steve Zaillian and GarrettBasch‘s Film Rites. The move will extend the relationship, which has spawned such projects as the upcoming Ridley Scott Biblical tale Exodus, for two years.

Elizabeth Banks to Make Feature Directorial Debut With ‘Pitch Perfect’ Sequel
After directing a segment of the omnibus comedy “Movie 43,” Elizabeth Banks is ready to direct a full-length feature and she has found the perfect studio project to hone her skills on — Universal and Gold Circle’s “Pitch Perfect 2.” Original stars Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson are expected to reprise their roles, as will Banks, who played an announcer in the first film.


Travel Channel Greenlights 3 Reality Series
Travel Channel
has ordered thirteen episodes of the half-hour series Ace The Game, featuring casino consultant Sal Piacente; three episodes of the one-hour, limited series Hotel Amazon (wt), about friends Rusty Johnson and Stephan Jablonski’s efforts to build a resort in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon; and eight episodes of the one-hour series Spy World, which recreates formerly classified spy stories.

‘Biggest Loser’ Producer Inks Overall Deal With Sony
Dave Broome’s 25/7 Productions
will develop new unscripted projects for the studio under the new two-year pact.

TV Vet Mary Pelloni Inks Overall Deal With Discovery Studios
Mary Pelloni
will develop and produce series and specials under the Discovery Studios banner. Her development and exec producing credits include DC Cupcakes for TLC, Bridezillas and Girl Meets Gown for WE TV andHow Do I Look? for the Style Network.

‘Preachers of L.A.’ Renewed by Oxygen
has given a second season to its reality series “Preachers of L.A.,” which will air in the fall. The network is also planning to launch new editions of the serirs in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit.


Chipotle Blurs Lines With a Satirical Series About Industrial Farming
The fast-food chain’s four-part comedy-advertisement, “Farmed and Dangerous,” will be shown on the TV-streaming service Hulu. Starring the actor Ray Wise, the series is a full-throated attack on “industrial agriculture,” complete with a Dr. Strangelove-like scientist inventing eight-winged chickens and cash bribes being delivered in gift boxes.

Electus Forms Electus Digital With IAC Sibling CollegeHumor
Multimedia studio Electus is teaming with fellow IAC property CollegeHumor Media to form Electus Digital. Drew Buckley, Electus’ COO, will oversee the new division, which will encompass website properties, and; YouTube channels WatchLOUD, Nuevon and Hungry; and production companies dumbdumb and Big Breakfast.


Content aims to take Canuck drama global
Content Television
has picked up distribution rights to new drama 19-2, the English-language adaptation of the award-winning French-Canadian series. The Bravo Canada series is set in Montréal and follows the lives of patrol officers newly partnered within the highly charged environment of city’s nineteenth precinct. 19-2 is directed by Louis Choquette and Érik Canuel with executive producers Jocelyn Deschênes and Carolyn Newman from Sphère Média Plus and Luc Châtelain from Echo Media.

BBC Worldwide to Launch BBC Brit Channel
BBC Worldwide
will launch a new channel called BBC Brit, CEO Tim Davie said Monday. BBC Brit will offer premium factual entertainment programs aimed at male viewers, Davie said. It will blend fact with fun, airing the best of British content from motoring, business, documentaries and adventure to food, music and sport.


Up & Up: 10 Standout Talents from Sundance 2014
SSN was in Park City binge-watching films, checking out new talent and seeing returning festival favorites. Our latest Up & Up column focuses on 10 talents—actors, cinematographers, writers and directors—that caught our attention this year. They’re on our radar, and we think they should be on yours too.

Execs Andrew Rona, Alex Heineman Exiting Silver Pictures
Both Rona and Heineman came there after Universal sold Rogue Pictures to Relativity and Rona, who ran that label, moved on. He took the Silver Pictures job after longtime head Susan Downey exited to partner in Team Downey with husband Robert Downey Jr. I’m told that Rona and Heineman intend to start their own production shingle.

Lauren Zalaznick: Second Screen Activity Means ‘Our Audiences Have Audiences Of Their Own’
In trying to get a handle on what second screen activity means to the traditional TV biz, producers first need to understand that “our audiences have audiences of their own.” That was the message from Lauren Zalaznick, former NBCUniversal cable and digital exec, at the opening session Monday of the NATPE confab in Miami Beach. “Showrunners need to learn how to have a conversation with viewers. The retweet is the new autograph.”


DGA Awards: The Winners
Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron walked away with the top honor at the 66th annual Directors Guild of America Awards, held Saturday. StevenSoderbergh nabbed an award for his HBO Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, while JehaneNoujaim was honored for her doc The Square. On the TV series front, Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan won honors for directing the series finale of the AMC hit, andBeth McCarthy-Millertook the first award of the night for her work on 30 Rock.


Sundance Channel to Rename Itself SundanceTV
It was formed in 1996 as a joint venture between Showtime and actor Robert Redford. In recent years, however, the cable outlet, now owned by AMC Networks, has developed a noticeable slate of original programming. As such, starting in February, the network will be known as “SundanceTV.”

Charter And Comcast Close To A Deal To Divvy Time Warner Cable Systems
would snag New York City, New England, and North Carolina properties from Charter if it succeeds in buying Time Warner Cable, Bloomberg reports citing “people with knowledge of the matter.”

Theater Owners Enact New Guidelines Calling for Shorter Movie Trailers
The National Association of Theater Owners has released voluntary guidelines calling for movie trailers to be no longer than two minutes — 30 seconds shorter than is the norm. The guidelines also specify that a trailer cannot be shown for a movie more than five months before its release. Nor can marketing materials be displayed inside of a theater for a film more than four months away from release. Distributors will be given two exemptions a year on both trailer length and marketing lead time.

Sony Downgraded to ‘Junk’ Status, Shares Fall
credit rating was downgraded to “junk” status by Moody’s Investors Service on Monday pushing its stock lower on the Tokyo stock exchanges and in pre-market trading stateside.

Craft store Michaels may be latest mega-retailer to get hacked
On Saturday, security journalist Brian Krebs reported on what looks to be yet another security breach at a big-name national retailer. It seems that after being used at Michaels-owned locations, fraudulent purchases were made on at least “hundreds” of customer cards. Michaels has published a press release saying “Although the investigation is ongoing, based on the information the Company has received and in light of the widely-reported criminal efforts to penetrate the data systems of U.S. retailers, Michaels believes it is appropriate to let its customers know a potential issue may have occurred.”