Morning News Update for Friday, 3/7/14.


‘Silicon Valley’ EP Inks Rich Overall Deal at HBO
Alec Berg
, who is showrunning the upcoming comedy with Mike Judge, will develop and supervise new projects for the cabler.

(review) Variety: ‘Believe’
Kids in peril seem to be a theme of NBC’s midseason lineup, with no one more in jeopardy — or potentially better able to defend herself — than the adorable moppet in “Believe.” Embracing mystical mumbo-jumbo and ignoring lapses in logic are required to enjoy the Alfonso Cuaron-directed pilot, which sets up a “Fugitive”-style quest. “Think of all the people she’ll help along the way,” says one good guy. If the series lives that long.

THR: TV Pilot Season Trend: More Black Actors
Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Anthony Anderson and Octavia Spencer are among those starring in pilots this season.

(animated) Cartoon Network Orders ‘Over The Garden Wall’ As First Miniseries
Cartoon Network
is entering the longform business. The 20-year-old network has greenlighted its first miniseries, Over The Garden Wall. The 10-epsiode comedy-fantasy mini revolves around two brothers, Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Greg (Collin Dean), who find themselves lost in a mysterious land and try to find their way home, aided by a wise old woodsman and a bluebird named Beatrice (Melanie Lynskey). Over The Garden Wall was created by Pat McHale and produced by Cartoon Network Studios, the mini will premiere in the fall.


Katie Holmes to Star in ABC’s Dangerous Liaisons-esque High Society Drama
In a major coup for ABC, Katie Holmes is plotting a return to TV in the network’s Dangerous Liaisons-esque high society drama pilot written by Richard LaGravenese. The potential series, which will be set in modern day New York, finds Holmes playing Ann, a woman of education and breeding, who has never used those advantages for power over others. She’s smart, stylish and genuinely down to earth (it’s basically the Michelle Pfeiffer role).

The CW’s ‘Flash’ Adds Police Captain
Actor Patrick Sabongui has boarded the "Arrow" spinoff.

‘True Blood’ Promotes Tara Buck To Regular
After recurring on HBO’s True Blood for the past six seasons, Tara Buck has been upped to a regular for the vampire drama’s upcoming seventh and final season.

‘Parenthood’s’ John Corbett to Co-Star in FX’s Denis Leary Rock Comedy
He’ll play a well-regarded guitar player in "Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll" and return to the network more than 10 years after he starred in "Lucky."


(review) Variety: ‘Cosmos’
Seth MacFarlane
executive producing a reboot of Carl Sagan’s iconic science series “Cosmos” sounds like a bad joke right out of, well, “Family Guy,” but somehow the improbable gambit works. Fox’s bold move to reserve 13 weeks of prime Sunday-night real estate for the kind of docu fare usually associated with PBS — however lavishly produced it may be — speaks volumes about both MacFarlane’s sway and the current “We’ll try anything!” state of the major networks. Whether or not a contemporary “Cosmos” clicks with viewers, it’s an undeniably welcome experiment and refreshing change of pace in the typically disreputable arena of unscripted TV.


Amazon gets exclusive streaming rights on ‘Orphan Black’
has managed to snatch another minor victory in its back-and-forth battle over streaming rights with Netflix. The company has signed a licensing agreement with BBC America that will make Amazon Prime Instant Video the exclusive "online-only subscription home" for Orphan Black. The show’s first season is now available, with the sci-fi series due to return for new episodes on April 19th.


ITV Renews Comedy Revival Birds of a Feather
has given the go-ahead to a second season of its hit comedy revival Birds of a Feather, scheduled to start filming later this year. The series features sisters Tracey Stubbs and Sharon Theodopolopodos brought together when their husbands are sent to prison for armed robbery.

HBO Asia to Begin Shooting Horror Series ‘Grace’ in Singapore
HBO Asia
is set to begin production on its second Singapore-set original miniseries, Grace. The project stars American actor Russell Wong as Roy Chan, a loving but unfaithful husband, who makes a mistake that "condemns his family to unspeakable horror." The show is set in present-day Asia and is said to examine the region’s cultural values of concepts of family, sacrifice and vengeance. Grace is directed by Tony Tilse.


Exec Shuffle For 3/7/14: ABC, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Digital, Skydance, Media Rights Capital, AMC
ABC Family: Jennifer Gerstenblatt
has been promoted to Executive Director, Programming.
Disney Channel: Corey Marsh has been promoted to Executive Director, Original Series Development.
NBCUniversal: Yakub Hazzard has joined as Vice President, Legal.
Altitude: Bradley Quirk
will join as Head, Development, effective April, 2014, in London.
FremantleMedia International: Sam Harowitz has been promoted to Director, Television Acquisitions and Development.
Media Rights Capital (MRC): Erin Jontow has joined as Vice President, Television.
Shaftesbury US: Amy Suh has joined as Director, Development.
AMC: Ben Davis
has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Scripted Programming.
AMC: Erika Weinstein has been promoted to Director, Scripted Programming.
AMC/Sundance Channel Global: Patrick Connolly has been promoted to Vice President, Programming and Scheduling.
AMC/Sundance Channel Global: Gail Gendler has been promoted to Vice President, Acquisitions.

Comedy Central: Cory Stern has been promoted to Senior Director, East Coast Development, in New York.


Less Walk, More Rock: NBCU Bundling Cable Upfronts Presentations
Advertisers looking to buy time on NBCUniversal’s cable properties won’t have to trek to half a dozen or more different presentations this year: For the first time this year, the company is merging all its upfront cable presentations to advertisers into one. This year, NBC Entertainment network will present on Monday, May 12, followed by Telemundo on May 13. On Thursday, all the cable networks will present at once.

California Sees Huge Drop in Film Production, Ranks Behind Louisiana and the U.K.
The state’s share of the top 25 live-action films declined from 64 percent in 1997 to just 8 percent in 2013.

(tech) Re/code: Reminder: You (Still) Love Your TV
New numbers from Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report remind us that Americans spend nearly 34 hours a week watching TV — not on the Web or their phones, but on live TV, just like they have for decades. That number, not surprisingly, shrinks as Americans get younger: Nielsen says 18- to 24-year-olds average a mere 22.5 hours a week, while people older than 65 are logging 50.5 hours a week. Americans are spending more time watching TV shows on their DVRs, and via their pay-TV system’s video on demand offerings. Nielsen says we watched 14 hours and 40 minutes of “time-shifted TV” last quarter. That’s up from 12 hours and 38 minutes two years ago.

(music) NYT: The Sweet, Streaming Sound of Data
With the industry turning digital, music companies can now understand their customers’ listening habits in greater depth than ever before, which has led to fierce competition over access to data. More music companies are embracing the idea that the vast troves of user data from sources like Shazam, Twitter and Spotify can be tools for talent scouts — known in the industry as A&R executives, for artists and repertoire — and, moreover, that in a competitive environment, using them has become a necessity.

Atlantic: Study: Millennials Deeply Confused About Their Politics, Finances, and Culture
So what can we possibly learn that’s new from Pew’s massive survey released this morning? Many things, actually—and mostly contradictions. Which is about right when you’re trying to sum up 85+ million people in a handful of adjectives:

This generation is getting totally screwed by the economy … but we’re the most optimistic generation in the country. This is the most technologically connected generation in modern history … but also the least trusting. This generation has record numbers of single parents … but it also has the most negative attitudes toward single parents. This is the most educated generation ever … and the deepest in student loan debt. Millennials are less likely to self-identify as Republicans or Democrats … but they also have the highest approval rating of Congress. Millennials are much more liberal on gay marriage, pot, and immigration … but no more liberal on abortion or gun control.