Morning News Update for Wednesday, 2/5/14.


CBS Orders Genius Drama From EPs Scooter Braun, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci
is inspired by Walter O’Brien’s life and how he recruited and trained other geniuses from around the world to save lives and solve problems. Together, the geniuses have learned to help one another round out their personalities in order to better fit in. Nick Santora will pen the script and executive produce alongside K/O Paper Products’ Kurtzman and Orci. The drama hails from CBS Television Studios, where Santora and K/O are both under overall deals. K/O Paper Products’ banner president Heather Kadin and Perfect Storm Entertainment’s Justin Lin will also exec produce, with the latter on board to direct the pilot.

CW Orders Sci-Fi Drama From Feature Producer Basil Iwanyk
The Messengers
centers on a group of seemingly unconnected strangers who die from an energy pulse after a mysterious object crashes down to Earth. They awaken to learn that they have been deemed responsible for preventing the impending apocalypse. Thunder Road’s Iwanyk will executive produce the CBS Television Studios drama. Eoghan O’Donnell will pen the script and co-executive produce alongside Kent Kubena and Ava Jamshidi.

Nick Cannon to Co-Star in ‘Drumline’ Sequel for VH1
He’ll also executive produce the TV movie that centers on a new set of characters at a New Orleans university.

‘Elementary’s’ Syndication Sale Nets CBS a Whopping $3 Million an Episode
The complex pact — which includes cable (WGN America), subscription video-on-demand (Hulu Plus) and a not-yet-named broadcast component — is one of (if not the) biggest drama sales on record.


Erinn Hayes to Co-Star in NBC’s Casey Wilson-June Diane Raphael Pilot
She’ll play the twin opposite executive producer Raphael in "Mason Twins."

Jake McDorman To Star In ABC’s Jeff Lowell Comedy Pilot
Jake McDorman has been cast as the male lead in the ABC comedy pilot My Thoughts Exactly (aka untitled Jeff Lowell).

Judy Davis Exits ‘24: Live Another Day’ For Personal Reasons; Role To Be Recast
A meaty villainous role on Fox‘s event series 24: Live Another Day unexpectedly became vacant after Judy Davis had to pull out.


Elton John to Adapt ‘Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ for Big Screen
John will executive produce the animated musical with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Warner Bros. Promotes Two Key Staffers to Creative VP Positions
Andrew Fischel and Chantal Nong have both been promoted to vp creative development for Warner Bros. Pictures due to their "tireless work and ability to shape the future."

Why Warner Bros.’ Superman-Batman Movie Cast a Young Lex Luthor
Jesse Eisenberg
landed the role of the iconic villain; the studio also approached Joaquin Phoenix and "Girls" actor Adam Driver. The new Lex will be more in line with several recent graphic-novel and TV incarnations, in which he is a childhood friend of the young Man of Steel. With 30-year-old Henry Cavill returning as Superman in the May 2016 release, the actors’ ages align.


CBS Wins Thursday Night NFL Rights
The broadcaster will get eight early season games that will be simulcast on the NFL Network.

Travel Channel Appoints Shannon O’Neill as New President
The Travel Channel has appointed Shannon O’Neill as its new president, following the departure of Laureen Ong in October. O’Neill had previously served for three years as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Travel Channel.

(sched) Lifetime Plans New Wednesday Programming Block
has a new programming block for Wednesday nights, pairing the hit family docusoap Preachers’ Daughters with the new dance competition Bring It! as of March 5.


Google’s YouTube may get new chief executive
ad executive Susan Wojcicki appears poised to become the next head of YouTube. The appointment of Wojcicki, Google’s senior vice president of advertising, signals that YouTube is seeking to better capitalize on the site’s massive global audience of 1 billion monthly visitors, 40% of whom watch videos via mobile phones and tablets.,0,3123832.story

(books) Amazon will begin publishing GI Joe and Veronica Mars fan fiction
Amazon’s Kindle Worlds,
the company’s publishing arm for legally-sanctioned fan fiction, is expanding fast. The company announced today that it’s adding seven new properties, including GI Joe, Veronica Mars, and the Pretty Little Liars spinoff Ravenswood. That brings the total number of fan fiction franchises available exclusively through Amazon up to 20. Kindle Worlds protects fan fiction authors from copyright claims and allows them to make money off their work, paying them 20 to 35 percent royalties on stories that sell for around $.99 to $3.99.


Producer Jojo Ryder To Head Akon’s Konlive Productions
Jojo Ryder
and Akon have been collaborators for years, and now Ryder will head the multihyphenate’s company. Ryder has been named president of Konlive Productions.

MarVista hires for scripted push
is building up its production and development unit, promoting Sharon Bordas from senior VP of production and development to exec VP. In her new role, Bordas will create female-driven material for TV and film after four years building a production and development team which includes Michael Moran, VP of production and development, and creative executive Hannah Pillemer. The appointments also see Michael McGahey move into the newly created position of VP of development and production for scripted sales.


HBO Subscriptions Increase by 2 Million, Most in 17 Years
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says HBO saw its most significant domestic subscriber growth in 17 years. The premium channel behind “Game of Thrones” and “Girls” added 2 million subscribers to its rolls in 2013, giving it 28.5 million U.S. subscribers.

Netflix Now Pulls In Almost as Much Revenue as HBO — But HBO Is Far More Profitable
is almost as big as HBO — at least in terms of topline revenue. In the fourth quarter of 2013, Netflix’s revenue climbed 24% to $1.2 billion, within shouting distance of HBO’s $1.3 billion in revenue. As a more mature business, HBO has a beefier bottom line — it generated operating income of $413 million for Q4 (33% margin), compared with Netflix’s operating income of $82.3 million (7% margin).

Broadcast TV Viewers: You’re Not The Customer
The laments from commenters that broadcast television networks "need to listen to their customers" typically betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between broadcast TV viewers and broadcast TV networks. Viewers are not the broadcast networks’ customers, they’re the networks’ product.