Morning News Update for Wednesday, 2/19/14.


CORE Media Group & PopSugar Partner For Scripted & Non-Scripted Series
CORE Media Group
, the parent company ofAmerican Idol producer 19 Entertainment, has partnered with women’s lifestyle online network PopSugar to develop, produce and distribute scripted and non-scripted projects. Targeting PopSugar’s core demographic of women between the ages of 18-40, the projects will be intended for distribution on broadcast, cable and online, including


Debra Messing to Headline NBC’s Greg Berlanti-Produced Mysteries of Laura
Debra Messing
has nabbed the lead role in NBC’s procedural The Mysteries of Laura. McG (The O.C., Chuck) is set to direct the pilot, which will shoot in New York (per Messing’s request).

Jada Pinkett Smith To Play Villain In Fox’s Batman Drama ‘Gotham’
Jada Pinkett Smith
will co-star opposite Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue in Fox‘s Batman prequel drama Gotham, which has a series commitment.

Aussie Don Hany Nabs Male Lead In ABC Drama ‘Warriors’ As Overseas Actors Eye Another Strong Pilot Season
Don Hany, an established Australian TV actor who is virtually unknown in the U.S., has been tapped as the male lead in ABC’s medical drama pilot Warriors, from writer Chris Keyser, Mandeville TV and ABC Studios. Hany will play trauma surgeon George Mann, who can’t stop taking care of these men, though it nearly breaks his heart, every day.

KaDee Strickland Joins ‘Secrets & Lies’
KaDee Strickland
is returning to ABC with a co-starring role opposite Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis in the network’s drama pilot Secrets & Lies, which has a series penalty. Strickland will play Ben’s wife Christy whose feelings towards Ben are complicated by the discovery of the neighbor boy’s body. Also cast in the project is young actress Belle Shouse as Ben and Christy’s younger daughter Abby.

Greta Lee Boards NBC Comedy Pilot ‘Old Soul’; Derek Webster In ABC’s ‘The Visitors’
Greta Lee (Girls) is set to co-star opposite Natasha Lyonne in NBC‘s single-camera comedy pilot Old Soul. Derek Webster (Revolution) has booked a role on ABC alien drama pilot The Visitors from Amblin TV.

Deon Cole Joins TBS Pilot ‘Tribeca’; Edi Gathegi & Caroline Rose Kaplan In ‘Proof’
Deon Cole
has joined TBS‘ comedy pilot Tribeca, directed by Steve Carell. Edi Gathegi and Caroline Rose Kaplan have signed on to TNT‘s pilot Proof, a supernatural medical drama executive produced by Kyra Sedgwick.

Neve Campbell Exits TNT Pilot ‘Guilt By Association’
The lead of TNT‘s drama pilot Guilt By Association is vacant again as Neve Campbell has pulled out. She had a change of heart, feeling she wasn’t ready to jump back into series TV.


Disney Hires Columbia Pictures’ Sam Dickerman As EVP Production
Columbia Pictures’ EVP Production Sam Dickerman is moving to Disney, taking the same title and reporting to Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president Sean Bailey.

(video) The First Trailer for Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
While “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is collecting a lot of the buzz, Marvel’s other major release this year “Guardians of the Galaxy” is ready to step into the spotlight with the first trailer for the film bowing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Film stars Chris Pratt with James Gunn directing. It bows on Aug. 1.

Warner Bros. Production Exec Lynn Harris Leaving
Lynn Harris
, Executive Vice President of Production at Warner Bros, is leaving the studio after more than a decade in that role. Reports have surfaced that Harris has had conflicts with Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production.


Cee Lo on ‘The Voice’: ‘I’m not coming back, guys’
Fans of The Voice, you may want to sit down for this: Cee Lo Green is leaving the show.

HLN’s Surprising New Slate: Game Shows, Viral Videos and a #FOMO App
is undertaking a major rebranding away from wall-to-wall trial coverage and toward a programming strategy centered on the social media conversation. And executive vp and general manager Albie Hecht is about to push the boundaries on programming for a traditional cable news network with an eclectic development slate that includes game shows, docuseries (which have been successful on CNN) and apps that could also be TV segments.


California Pols Unveiling Bill Today To Expand Film & TV Tax Credit Program
There’s no dollar figure attached yet, but a bill set to be introduced today in the California Assembly aims to overhaul the state’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. The new legislation would give blockbusters with budgets of more that $75 million and new network TV shows a piece of the pie in the annual lottery in an effort to keep more productions in the state. In the current program, those categories are not eligible for incentives. The widely anticipated Gatto-Bocanega effort also would propose a 5-year footing to run from 2016-2021 as opposed to its current 2-year extensions settings. Additionally, there’s a 5% credit for production filmed outside L.A.

Netflix Prime Time Speeds Plummet on Verizon FiOS, Pushing Net Neutrality in Spotlight
Netflix is clashing with internet service providers and subscribers hoping to binge watch “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” are being force to contend with the pin-wheel of death and longer load times. Netflix’s prime time speeds on Verizon FiOS fell 14 percent in January, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The reason for the delays is that Netflix refuses to pay additional fees to internet companies such as FiOS in return for carrying high-capacity streaming content.

Apple to Launch iTunes Festival at SXSW With Coldplay, Imagine Dragons
Since 2007 iTunes Festival the free month-long concert series sponsored by Apple has become a London mainstay and now the tech giant is bringing it stateside at next month’s South by Southwest festival. The festival will take place March 11th through 15th at ACL Live at the Moody Theater and will feature opening night performances by Coldplay, Imagine Dragons and London Grammar. Other performers confirmed for the festival include Keith Urban, Willie Nelson, Pitbull and Zedd.

Which U.S. Cities Are Being Ignored By TV?
In an informal survey of 1,626 scripted shows that aired on broadcast and cable television between 1970 and 2014, BuzzFeed found that at least 253 of them — or 32% — were set in New York and 270 in Los Angeles. At least 82 scripted series during that 44-year period were set in Chicago, 50 in Washington, D.C., and 59 in San Francisco. Although Houston is more than two and a half times as populous as San Francisco, it apparently has less than 1/10th the amount of scripted shows set there. San Antonio, Texas, the seventh largest city in the country by population, seems to have had approximately one show set in it — 2014’s Killer Women.