Morning News Update for Thursday, 3/13/14.


Variety: ABC’s Paul Lee Setting New Contract Amid Disney TV Shakeup
The news of Anne Sweeney’s pending departure as Disney/ABC TV Group topper has stirred up a hornet’s nest of rumor and speculation about what happens next — and what it means for ABC. ABC Entertainment Group chief Paul Lee has already been the subject of snarky gossip in TV circles. But in fact, Lee is in the midst of setting a new long-term employment contract with the Mouse House, a process that was in the works even before Sweeney unleashed the surprising news that she would step down by January to pursue her goal of becoming a TV helmer. Lee is well regarded inside Disney, particularly by Sweeney and head honcho Bob Iger

(sched) A&E Pulls ‘Those Who Kill,’ Moves ‘Bates Motel’ to 10 p.m.
The Chloe Sevigny drama has aired two low-rated episodes, with this week’s entry drawing 830,000 total viewers.

(review) Variety: ‘Crisis’
Like a lot of big dramatic concepts, “Crisis” comes with a pretty impressive array of moving parts. It’s all enough to make for a reasonably entertaining pilot, while inviting skepticism about how long the producers can keep those multiple plates spinning, a la NBC’sThe Event” or (more recently) CBS’ “Hostages.” For now, it’s an intriguing enough premise to warrant continued attention.

Syfy’s Plan: More Space Operas, Less ‘Sharknado’
The network shifts away from broad dramas and B-movies to its genre roots as it attempts to find the next "The Walking Dead" or "Game of Thrones."

TV Guide: After Another Lackluster Season, Can the Network Sitcom Be Saved?
Despite TV executives’ hopes that this season would see a resurgence of successful sitcoms in primetime, few freshman half-hours have resonated with viewers. "The tough nut to crack right now is a mass-appeal network comedy," says TV writer/executive producer Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town, Scrubs).

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to Feature All ’80s Covers for Remainder of Season 10
Showrunner Shonda Rhimes hand-picked all the modern cover songs, with versions of Cyndi Lauper’s "Time After Time" and Whitney Houston’s "How Will I Know" among the tracks selected in the project with music supervisor Alex Patsavas.


‘GCB’ Alum to Co-Star in ABC’s ‘Damaged Goods’
Jennifer Aspen will play Anna Camp’s older sister in the comedy project from "Awkward’s" Lauren Iungerich.

‘Lost’s’ Maggie Grace to Co-Star in CBS’ Wall Street Drama
She’ll play a new hire at the hedge fund in the Charlie Cox starrer executive produced by John Cusack.

HBO’s Scorsese-Jagger Drama Books Juno Temple
She’ll play an executive at the record label overseen by Bobby Cannavale in the 1970s rock ‘n’ roll drama.


WGN America Promotes Original Programming With ‘Upfront’ Presentations
Executives of WGN America are discussing their plans with Madison Avenue in a series of upfront presentations around the country that are now underway. Topic A on the agenda is how WGN America will add original scripted shows to its schedule. First up for WGN America is “Salem,” a series about the Salem, Mass., witch trials of the 17th century, which is to make its debut on April 20. The network’s upfront presentations are taking place in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Nickelodeon Orders 3 Live-Action Shows
Nickelodeon has unveiled a slew of new programming in advance of its upfront event Thursday evening. The three live-action entries will begin production in Los Angeles in the summer for debuts later this year. “Henry Danger,” created by Dan Schneider and Dana Olsen, revolves a 13-year-old who is a sidekick to a “super crime fighter.” Nickelodeon has ordered 20 episodes of the series toplined by Jace Norman.

Bella and the Bullfrogs,” follows a Texas high school cheerleader (Brec Bassinger) who becomes the quarterback for the football team. Series has a 12-episode order and was created by Gabriel Garza and Jonathan Butler, tyro scribes who who were discovered through Nickelodeon’s Writing Program. Jeff Bushell serves as exec producer. “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn,” about sibling rivalry among quadruplets, landed a 13-episode order. Matt Fleckenstein (“iCarly”) created the series and exec produces with Michael Feldman.

Unconventional Outlets Giving TV Networks a Run for Advertisers’ Money
To be sure, TV has been fending off YouTube, Yahoo and the rest of the digital field for the past few years. But in 2014, advertisers seem more comfortable embedding their messages in all kinds of video — and that may give rise to new dynamics in this old-school advertising market.


Disney, Seth Grahame- Smith Making New Film Of Ray Bradbury’s ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’
is making a new version of the classic Ray Bradbury thriller novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. The studio, which turned Bradbury’s novel into a 1983 movie, has set Seth Grahame-Smith to make his feature directorial debut on the project. The novel tells the story of how Mr. Dark, the evil proprietor of a traveling carnival who preys on the residents of a small town by bartering possession of their souls for the dreams each one has.

Nicholas Hoult to Star in Iraqi War Drama ‘Sand Castle’
Mark Gordon
will produce the true life-based film, which will be helmed by Brit commercials director Seb Edwards. Gordon shepherded the project from its inception, which chronicles the story of Chris Roessner’s two years and more than 200 missions as a machine gunner in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle. The story centers on Matt Ocre (Hoult) and the leader of his platoon, Sergeant Baker, as they attempt to protect Baqubah, a dangerous farming village.


WE tv Updates Aftershow With ‘Mary Mary’s’ ‘WatchIt With’
Repeat episodes of the unscripted series will be expanded to 90 minutes and feature stars Erica and Tina Campbell watching and providing commentary in a new second-screen format.

E! Heads to Las Vegas for ‘Men of the Strip’ an All-New Special Chronicling the Making of Sin City’s Newest Male Revue
Las Vegas has got a brand-new all-male revue, and E! viewers will follow along as all the elements of the sexy new show comes together — from the auditions and casting, to the distinctive choreography, dance training, to all of the drama among the hunky male performers — in the network’s heart-pounding, 90-minute docusoap event, “Men of the Strip” premiering Monday, May 26 at 8:00PM EP/PT only on E!

Controversial Jeopardy! Contestant Arthur Chu Loses
Arthur Chu
, the Jeopardy!contestant whose unorthodox methods angered many viewers, was finally beaten Wednesday, after amassing nearly $300,000 over 12 days on the game show.


Facebook unveils video ads
users won’t see one of the ads in their news feeds more than three times a day, said Tim Rathschmidt, a spokesman for Facebook, who declined to comment on pricing. The 15-second spots, which Facebook began testing in December and delayed several times, will be offered to select U.S. ad partners starting today.

Amazon Is Raising the Price of Amazon Prime
"For the first time since it was introduced nine years ago, the price of Prime is going up," writes Amazon in a notice on its website. Amazon Prime, the service that grants you free shipping and access to Amazon’s streaming library, will go from a yearly membership fee of $79 to $99. The student pricing will go from $39 to $49. Don’t forget: You can share membership with up to four people in your household.


Keshet Unveils New Israeli Game Show
Keshet International
has a new TV trivia show, Boom!, which it hopes will drive the game show genre back into prime time around the world. Boom! combines intellectual and physical challenges. In it, a team of four must defuse eight bombs by answering trivia questions correctly within a time limit. The nominated player must defuse one bomb per question by cutting through colored wires, which represent multiple-choice answers against the clock.


Bloomberg: Missed Alarms and 40 Million Stolen Credit Card Numbers: How Target Blew It
The biggest retail hack in U.S. history wasn’t particularly inventive, nor did it appear destined for success. In the days prior to Thanksgiving 2013, someone installed malware in Target’s security and payments system designed to steal every credit card used at the company’s 1,797 U.S. stores. At the critical moment—when the Christmas gifts had been scanned and bagged and the cashier asked for a swipe—the malware would step in, capture the shopper’s credit card number, and store it on a Target server commandeered by the hackers.