Afternoon News Update for Tuesday, 2/11/14.


HBO’s Jack Black-Tim Robbins Comedy Ordered to Series
From executive producers Jerry Weintraub, Jay Roach and Roberto Benabib, the comedy centers on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men. Tim Robbins stars as the U.S. secretary of state, while Jack Black plays a lowly foreign service officer caught in the middle of everything. Benabib and his brother, Kim Benabib, will pen the script. Roach is set to direct the pilot, and Black and Robbins will be producers as well.

BBC America Developing Robin Hood Drama Series ‘Nottingham’ From ‘Dracula’ Creator
, a reinvention of the classic Robin Hood mythology is in the works at BBC America. The series project is written by Cole Haddon. Sony Pictures TV and studio-based Davis Entertainment are producing, with John Davis and John Fox executive producing. Described as a soapy class drama, Nottingham centers on the Sheriff of Nottingham whose wife is killed by King John’s men. When nobody is brought to justice, the Sheriff launches a one-man war against the Crown. By day, he remains the reviled Sheriff, loyal servant of the King, but by night he becomes Robin Hood and, using the intelligence he gains from his office, attacks the King where it hurts the most – his coffers.

XBox Developing 1990s Music Series Based On Rapper Nas’ Life
A half-hour series project loosely based on Nas and his life as a hip hop artist in the 1990s is getting off the ground with a deal at XBox Entertainment Studios. Titled Street Dreams, the project, from Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell’s Electric City Entertainment, is set in the 1990s in Long Island’s Queensbridge housing complex, where Nas grew up, and takes a look at music, family and the trials and tribulations of the rap game. Street Dreams is being written/directed by Jonathan Levine, with Nas involved in the writing and music.

EW: Death Watch 2014: TV show survival predictions
Once again we stand in vigil while gazing at the broadcast schedule, watching and waiting to see which prime-time series will be the next to … snuff it. Morbid, we know. Here’s a status update on nearly all the current shows on the five broadcast networks.


Maggie Lawson to Star in CBS’ Romantic Comedy Save the Date
Bells are ringing for Maggie Lawson, who just signed on to the CBS wedding-comedy pilot Save the Date.

JoAnna Garcia Boards ABC’s ‘Astronaut Wives Club’
She’ll play one of the wives and reunite with "Gossip Girl’s" Stephanie Savage on the drama series set for the summer.

Katja Herbers Joins WGN America Series ‘Manhattan’; Griffin Gluck In Fox’s ‘Red Band Society’
Katja Herbers
(De storm) has been cast in WGN America’s 13-episode scripted series Manhattan. Griffin Gluckhas signed as a series regular in Fox’s drama Red Band Society from Amblin Television and ABC Studios. Gluck will play the role of Charlie, a smart, insightful and mischievous 13-year-old hospital patient who’s been in a coma for a year because of an accident.

‘Game of Thrones’ Alum Replaces Judy Davis in Fox’s ’24’ Revival
Michelle Fairley
will take over the villainous role Davis recently vacated in the Kiefer Sutherland-led update.

Ahna O’Reilly To Topline CW Drama Pilot ‘Identity’
Ahna O’Reilly
is set as the lead in the CW drama pilot Identity, about a grounded, whip-smart but restless young New Yorker who finds her world upended when she learns she needs an organ transplant to survive and her only living relative is a newfound half-brother from a wealthy and powerful family in Charleston, SC. She connects with the family only to find they’re the target of a CIA investigation, and the agency wants her as their newest informant.


Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz Set for WB’s ‘Tarzan’
Warner Bros.
has officially started pre-production on a new live-action 3D “Tarzan” movie that will star Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz. David Yates will direct from a screenplay based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Michiel Huisman Joins Blake Lively in ‘Age of Adaline’
Michiel Huisman
has joined romance-drama “The Age of Adaline” to portray the love interest of Blake Lively’s title character. Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn have been announced previously as cast members. The script is written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, with revisions by Allison Burnett. Lively stars as a 29-year-old Adaline, who stops aging after recovering from a near-fatal accident and embarks on an isolated worldwide journey.


Disney Creates “It’s A Small World” Animated Web Series
Disney Interactive
is making a move into sponsored content. They recently launched It’s a Small World: The Animated Series, an eight-episode group of Web shorts that is sponsored by language instruction company Rosetta Stone and their new children’s app Lingo Word Builder. To date the episodes have been presented on, Disney’s YouTube channels, and across Disney’s connected TV apps.

Conan O’Brien’s YouTube Channel Passes 500 Million Views
O’Brien’s Team Coco YouTube
channel passed 500 million views in January. All told, the channel, which premiered in 2010, has amassed 1.25 billion minutes watched, and has attracted more than 1.3 million subscribers.


‘Twilight’ Star Taylor Lautner Lands in BBC Culture Clash Comedy ‘Cuckoo’
Taylor Lautner i
s set to star in the second season of the BBC’s culture clash comedy “Cuckoo.” Lautner will play a mysterious young stranger who shows up in the town where the show is set. The series also stars Greg Davies and Helen Baxendale. The second season is set two years after the counter-culture title character, Cuckoo — played by Andy Samberg — disappeared in the Himalayas, leaving wife Rachel (Tamla Kari) to start a new life without him. Her parents Ken (Davies) and Lorna (Baxendale) and brother Dylan (Tyger Drew-Honey) are getting back to normal when Lautner’s character shows up.


Warner Bros Ups Ana De Castro To SVP & Deputy General Counsel
Warner Bros
promoted Ana De Castro to SVP and Deputy General Counsel of Warner Bros Entertainment. The 18-year WB employee will report directly to EVP and General Counsel John Rogovin.

(books) Jesse Eisenberg Short Stories Land Publishing Deal
Grove Atlantic
will publish the tentatively titled collection Bream Gives Me Hiccups: And Other Stories from actor and playwright Jesse Eisenberg in spring 2015. The title comes from a series of stories Eisenberg wrote from the point of view of a 9-year-old boy whose mother brings him to expensive LA restaurants so she can bill her ex-husband for the meals. Other stories imagine discussions in ancient Pompeii just before the volcanic eruption, explore post-gender-normative dating in NYC, and chart a marriage counselor’s heckling at a Knicks game.


Slate: Why Hollywood Resists Disruption
From the outside looking in, it certainly looks like disruption. But very little inside the Hollywood system is being shaken up. Netflix isn’t eating the TV industry’s lunch; it’s paying for it. Shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards were commissioned in Los Angeles, created and produced by studio-system veterans, and packaged by Hollywood agencies. It green-lit the first two seasons of House of Cards, sight unseen, for $100 million. For the sake of comparison, a broadcast TV network spends about $60 million to $90 million to bring eight to 10 pilots to the air every fall. Yes, Netflix is cannibalizing one side of the entertainment business: distribution. But in doing so, it’s propping up another: development and production.

New Yorker: Is Amazon Bad For Books?
Recently, Amazon even started creating its own “content”—publishing books. The results have been decidedly mixed. A monopoly is dangerous because it concentrates so much economic power, but in the book business the prospect of a single owner of both the means of production and the modes of distribution is especially worrisome: it would give Amazon more control over the exchange of ideas than any company in U.S. history.

Why we love man versus nature struggles
There’s something about a desperate struggle against the elements that entrances us. We love to root for the protagonists in Robinson Crusoe, Flight of the Phoenix, Into the Wild, The Perfect Storm, Apollo 13, and Gravity, just to name a few. Not to mention pretty much everything on The Discovery Channel. But what is it about Man vs. Nature that’s so intriguing?

(tech) Introducing Weekend Read
We have a new app. It’s called Weekend Read. It’s for reading scripts on your iPhone. It’s free in the App Store. Up until now, reading screenplays on an iPhone has been terrible. It’s all squinting and pinching. Weekend Read takes screenplay PDFs, Final Draft and Fountain files and reformats them to look terrific on your iPhone.