Afternoon News Update for Monday, 2/24/14.


James Burrows & Gail Mancuso To Direct Comedy Pilots, SJ Clarkson To Helm ‘Dig’
The always-in-demand multi-camera comedy director James Burrows has signed on to helm CBS’s high-profile pilot More Time With Family, starring Tom Papa and Alyson Hannigan. Another veteran comedy director, Gail Mancuso, is set to direct the pilot of another extended family comedy, TBS’ multi-camera Your Family Or Mine, from veteran comedy showrunner Greg Malins. UK director S.J. Clarkson has been tapped to direct the opening hour of USA Network’s six-episode event action adventure series Dig, from Tim Kring and Gideon Raff.

Nick Cassavetes To Direct ABC Series ‘Astronaut Wives Club’
In his TV directing debut, Nick Cassavetes is set to direct the opening hour of ABC‘s 10-episode drama Astronaut Wives Club.

Deadline: PILOT SEASON 2014: The Overachievers
Here is Deadline’s annual list of The Overachievers Of Pilot Season.

(sched) Comedy Series ‘Doll & Em’ Debuts March 19 on HBO
DOLL & EM, a six-episode comedy series starring Emily Mortimer (HBO’s “The Newsroom”) and Dolly Wells (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”), will debut WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT), presenting two half-hour episodes back-to-back, followed by two episodes on both of the subsequent Wednesdays, March 26 and April 2.


Clifton Collins In ABC’s ‘Secrets & Lies’, Tim Daly In CBS Pilot ‘Madam Secretary’
Clifton Collins Jr is returning to ABC with a co-starring role alongside Ryan Phillippe, Juliette Lewis and KaDee Strickland in the network’s drama pilot Secrets & Lies. Clifton will play Ben’s childhood friend and tenant in Ben’s pool house. Tim Daly will co-star opposite Tea Leoni in CBS’ drama pilot Madam Secretary.

Leslie Bibb to Star in NBC’s ‘Love Is Relative’
She’ll play the female lead in the single-camera comedy from "Borat’s" Dan Mazer.\

Janet McTeer to Co-Star in CBS’ Vince Gilligan/David Shore Drama ‘Battle Creek’
The Oscar nominee will play a commander in the drama series, joining a cast that includes Kal Penn.

Sarah Wright, Tymberlee Hill Join NBC’s ‘Marry Me’
They’ll play Casey Wilson’s best friend and neighbor, respectively.

Amanda Detmer Joins ABC’s ‘Sea Of Fire’, Tymberlee Hill Added To NBC’s ‘Marry Me’
Amanda Detmer (Necessary Roughness) has been cast in ABC’s drama pilot Sea Of Fire. Detmer will play the mother of the girl who disappeared. Tymberlee Hill (Drunk History) has been cast in NBC comedy pilot Marry Me.


Fox, Chernin Buy Pitch From Black Listed Twin Scribes
In an aggressive pre-emptive bid, 20th Century Fox has acquired an original pitch by identical twin screenwriters Aaron and Jordan Kandell, for mid-to-high six figures. Chernin Entertainment is producing. I’m hearing that it’s a modern fairy tale with the tone of The Lego Movie. Deal moved quickly after Fox heard the idea. An offer was on the table before the writers had left the lot.

WB Going Day And Date In March With ‘Veronica Mars’ Movie
crowd-funded Veronica Mars movie will hit theaters March 14 globally and on VOD/digital the same day, helmer Rob Thomas announced Friday on the film’s Kickstarter page. The move marks a first for WB which like most major studios has kept the theatrical window intact before releasing to home vid/digital.


Syfy Reality Development Head Tim Krubsack Steps Down
has experienced another shakeup to its ranks. Tim Krubsack, who had been heading unscripted development for the cable network, is stepping down.

Maureen FitzPatrick Tapped As Executive Producer Of New Court Show ‘Hot Bench’
The syndicated daytime series created by Judge Judy Sheindlin has found its second exec producer. Maureen FitzPatrick will transition from her current gig as EVP Programming and Development at CBS Television Distribution to Hot Bench, the syndicated court show set to debut in the fall. Hot Bench features a panel of three judges (Judge Patricia DiMango and attorneys Tanya Acker and Larry Bakman) hearing court cases, arguing the merits of the case among themselves and rendering a verdict.


Walt Disney Imagineering Shares First Ride-Through Video Of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Walt Disney Imagineering
has released some wonderful footage that compares a full ride-through of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom side-by-side with an original pre-vis CGI ride-through that was created early on in the attraction’s development.


Broadband Companies Line Up for Their Netflix Deals
Now that Netflix has signed a traffic delivery deal with Comcast, will we see similar pacts with other broadband providers? Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told CNBC that his company has been talking to Netflix about a traffic deal for more than a year. Us too, says AT&T. Here’s a statement from spokesman Mark Siegel.

Why Amazon’s Next Conquest Will Be Your Television
retail growth is slowing. That means the company is under pressure to find new ways of expanding its operation. And TV must be one very tempting target. If Amazon can sell a device that gives the company direct access to the flatscreen above your fireplace, Bezos gives his company at least a chance to upend yet another industry more thoroughly than anyone else. The recent history of corporate America is littered with the husks of other companies that didn’t realize Amazon was a threat until it was too late.

ABC Warns Supreme Court That It May “Reconsider” Free TV If Aereo Wins
That would be a problem, the network says in a brief filed today, because “Millions of Americans still rely on free over-the-air broadcasts to receive television programming.” What’s more, “broadcast television not only continues to carry the majority of the country’s most popular shows, but also remains a critically important source of local and national news.” Broadcasters would have little choice but to “reconsider the quality and quantity of the programs they broadcast for free over the air,” ABC asserts, because a Supreme Court ruling that deems Aereo to be legal “would launch a race by cable and satellite companies to develop competing methods to capture copyrighted content and re-sell it without paying for the right to do so.”