Afternoon News Update for Wednesday, 3/12/14.


Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser Among History’s All-Star ‘Texas Rising’ Cast
History Channel
has set an all-star cast for its upcoming Texas Rising miniseries. From the producers of Hatfields & McCoys, Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Thomas Jane, Olivier Martinez, Chad Michael Murray, Michael Rapaport and Max Thieriot will star in the new drama. Oscar nominee Roland Joffe will direct. The eight-hour "event series," from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America and produced by Thinkfactory, hails from Hatfields’ Leslie Greif. Rising, which will premiere in 2015, will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers, the oldest law enforcement group in North America. Part one is written by Greif, Darrell Fetty and Ted Mann. Nights two, three and four will be written by Greif and Fetty.

Warner Bros. TV Inks Overall Deal With Jeff Rake
Jeff Rake
, writer/executive producer of Warner Bros TV‘s NBC pilot The Mysteries Of Laura, has signed an overall deal with the studio. Under the two-year pact, Rake will continue on Mysteries Of Laura if it goes to series as well as develop new projects.

‘Heroes’ Tim Kring, Zak Kadison And Bradley Thomas Launch Imperative To Exploit Fast Shifting Platforms
Tim Kring
has joined forces with Blacklight founder Zak Kadison and longtime Farrelly brothers producer Bradley Thomas to form Imperative Entertainment, a production company launched with financing from Dan Friedkin and his Friedkin Group. The company will use the trio’s skills and relationships to exploit seams in a fast-changing industry. This, they hope, will provide a strong alternative for content creators who want to develop material across multiple platforms including television, movie, video game, books, comics and new media. They are building their first slate and have just hired their first executive. They’ve brought in Justin Levy, the former senior veep and Head of Scripted Series Programming at MTV, who takes the post of EVP Content.

(sched) New HBO Series ‘Silicon Valley’ Debuts April 6
Mike Judge
brings his irreverent brand of humor to HBO in the new comedy series SILICON VALLEY, and kicks off its eight-episode season SUNDAY, APRIL 6 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), immediately following the season debut of “Game of Thrones.”


Zoe Boyle Joins ABC’s ‘Astronaut Wives Club’; Morgan Taylor Campbell In ‘Sea Of Fire’
Zoe Boyle
is set as a female lead in ABC’s summer drama series Astronaut Wives Club. Boyle will play Jo Schirra, wife of Wally Schirra, who flew missions for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. Morgan Taylor Campbell has been cast in ABC’s drama pilot Sea Of Fire. Campbell will play Jane McAllister, the pretty, preppy and seemingly straight-laced daughter of Reverend Bobby and Adine McAllister, who goes missing on the night of the town festival.

Hudson Yang To Topline ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Far East Orlando’; Barry Rothbart Joins NBC’s ‘Love Is Relative’
comedy pilot Far East Orlando (aka Fresh Off The Boat) has cast its young lead. Hudson Yang will play Eddie Huang, a likable, well-meaning kid and a recent transplant from Washington, D.C., now living in homogenized, all-white Orlando, where his dad (Randall Park) is opening a restaurant. Barry Rothbart is set as a male lead in Love Is Relative, NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot from writer Dan Mazer, 20th TV, Tom Werner and Tom Lassally.

‘Pretty Little Liars’: Tyler Blackburn to Return as Series Regular
The actor had toplined ABC Family’s shortlived spinoff "Ravenswood."

Adrian Pasdar Joins Marvel’s ‘Agents of SHIELD’
The "Heroes" alum will play Glenn Talbot, a "jerk" who causes trouble for Agent Coulson’s team of secret agents, Marvel announced.


Variety: ‘Star Wars Episode VII’: Actors Battle for Lead Role
With Adam Driver in line to play the villain in the next “Star Wars,” the next order of business for Disney and Lucasfilm is finding the right Jedi to challenge Driver and the evil empire. After meeting with several young actors this past year, “Downton Abbey” thesp Ed Speleers, “Attack the Block” star John Boyega, Jesse Plemons and theater actors Matthew James Thomas, and Ray Fisher are among the men J.J. Abrams is eyeing for the lead role.

Paramount to Remake ‘Explorers’
Paramount’s low-budget Insurge label is behind the project, which will be produced by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec. Paramount also is hiring Geoff Moore and Dave Posamentier to write the script. Explorers told the story of three teenaged boys who come together to create a homemade space ship.


Reality Series From Lionsgate Television To Chronicle Mission To Colonize Mars
When eccentric Dutch billionaire entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp unveiled his plan to put together a group that would be trained and sent on a one-way trip to Mars to establish the first human colony, it was hailed as a concept for the ultimate reality series. That has now become a reality. In a competitive situation, Lionsgate TV has teamed with Lansdorp’s Mars One for an unscripted TV series that will chronicle the mission. The untitled project, in the red-hot social experiment genre, will be shopped to networks shortly. Mars One calls for new groups of four to be sent to Mars every two years, beginning no later than 2024.

NEW MEDIA NEWS: and espnW Name New Editors-in-Chief
ESPN Digital & Print Media
appointed two new editors-in-chief, one for and the other for espnW. Chad Millman will assume new responsibilities as editor-in-chief of both ESPN The Magazine and, effective immediately. Later this year, Alison Overholt — former deputy editor, ESPN Publishing — will join espnW as editor-in-chief.


(stage) ‘Pretty Woman’ Getting Dolled Up for Broadway
Garry Marshall
and J.F. Lawton, who penned the pic’s screenplay, are writing the book of the musical, with Paula Wagner on board as producer. There’s no composer, lyricist or stage helmer attached yet, and the trio are currently on the hunt for the creatives who’ll fill those roles.

Vulture: TV Stars Don’t Need to Make It in the Movies Anymore
Once upon a time, when actors like Robin Williams, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell left TV behind to embark on a movie career, it seemed like the most natural next step: They’d become so famous that the measly, lesser TV screen could no longer hold them. Has the TV-to-movies career arc become outdated? The movies used to confer better paychecks and greater fame than television, but these days, as film studios clamp down on big salaries and TV networks pay a mint to retain stars until syndication, that gap has nearly closed.