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


‘Big Bang Theory’s’ Steve Molaro Inks Overall With Warner Bros. Television
He’ll continue to serve as showrunner on TV’s No. 1 comedy and develop new projects for the studio.

(sched) TNT to Roll Out 10 Original Series This Summer Including ‘Falling Skies’, ‘The Last Ship’, ‘Legends’ & More
will launch its summer lineup with the season 3 premiere of Major Crimes on Monday, June 9, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT). Major Crimes will be followed by the launch of Murder in the First, starring Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson as a pair of homicide detectives investigating a murder related to a Silicon Valley wunderkind. TNT’s summer lineup will continue on Tuesday, June 17, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) with the launch of the fifth season of TNT’s blockbuster hit Rizzoli & Isles. Then at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), TNT will kick off the third season of its mind-bending drama Perception, starring Eric McCormack.

(ratings) Live + 3 Ratings: ABC’s ‘Resurrection’ Debut Audience Soars to 17.0 Million
ABC’s Sunday debut of Resurrection saw its Total Viewer count surge by 3.1 million. The ABC drama debut also saw its Adult 18-49 rating spike from a 3.8 L+SD to a 5.0 L+3 rating.

Vulture: Shrinking Sitcom Ratings May Be the Best Thing to Happen to Smart Comedies
Last year, after NBC unveiled a slate of generic family comedies to replace The Office and 30 Rock, and Fox unleashed Dads, comedy snobs worried about a future without broadcast comedies they could embrace. But Fox’s new philosophy, combined with NBC’s January decision to stick by Parks and Recreation (and probably Community) gives reason for optimism: If ratings aren’t ever going back up, then maybe doing smart, niche comedies is the best bet to keep network comedy alive.

Lifetime’s ‘Devious Maids’ season 2 poster
The ladies of Lifetime’s hit series Devious Maids are back – and by the looks of a new poster for season 2, with plenty of oh-so-juicy secrets.

(rumor) The Agent Carter TV Show Will Have A Very Particular Format If The Screenwriters Get Their Way
Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have been also fielding questions about their work on the in-development Agent Carter TV show. They’ve filed a pilot script but Marvel and ABC have yet to fire the starting pistol. There’s the plan to produce just thirteen episodes per season, “maybe even less…” Knowing this is the plan, however, I’m revising my expectations. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Agent Carter on TV this autumn.


Tom Everett Scott, Niall Matter Join TNT’s ‘Guilt By Association’
Tom Everett Scott and Niall Matter have landed series regular roles on TNT‘s drama pilot Guilt By Association, from former prosecutor Marcia Clark, on whose book the project is based, and Dee Johnson.

Boris Kodjoe Joins ‘Unforgettable’
The actor appears in the season-three premiere of the CBS procedural airing June 29.

Anne Heche Joins Cast of USA Network’s Thriller ‘Dig’
Anne Heche
has joined the cast of USA Network’s six-episode thriller “Dig,” from Tim Kring and Gideon Raff. Heche will play the head of the FBI office in Jerusalem in the potboiler about an FBI agent’s search for a religious artifact linked to an event that will change the course of history.

‘Scandal’s’ Joe Morton Boards TNT’s ‘Proof’
The NAACP Image Award winner will join the pilot and play the head of a hospital where Jennifer Beals’ character works.

Christopher McDonald, Trevor Donovan Join History’s Texas Rangers Mini; S. Epatha Merkerson In NBC’s ‘Babylon Fields’
Christopher McDonald
(Requiem For A Dream) and Trevor Donovan (90210) have joined the killer cast of History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order) has booked a recurring role on NBC drama pilot Babylon Fields, from Michael Cuesta, Gerald Cuesta and Michael Atkinson.

Emily Bergl Upped To Regular On Showtime’s ‘Shameless’; Andrea Bogart To Recur On ‘Ray Donovan’
Showtime has promoted Emily Bergl to series regular for Season 5 of dramedy Shameless. Andrea Bogart (General Hospital) has booked a recurring role on Showtime’s Ray Donovan.


First Machinima, Now Maker: Why Studios Suddenly Got Hot for MCNs
All eyes are on the Los Angeles-based corner of the online video world known as multichannel networks (MCNs) right now as result of two major developments just this past week: reports of Disney in preliminary talks to acquire Maker Studios for $500 million or more, and the $18 million Warner Bros. invested in rival MCN Machinima. So why here? Why now? Why the lofty pricetag? Studios are increasingly — and smartly — looking to move “downstream” with their content” to expand their traditional video portfolios to include niche, personality-driven video content, which is at the heart of what MCNs do.


Channel 5 to Bring Back Suspects
Channel 5
is moving forward with its original crime drama Suspects, which will return this fall with new episodes and has been re-commissioned for 2015. The unscripted drama features actors improvising the dialogue from a storyline. The series adopts filming techniques and a directorial approach that is typically associated with factual programming and observational documentaries. Suspects focuses on a team of three detectives and their distinctive approaches to the job of policing.

Channel 4 comedy drama makes the Cut
UK broadcaster Channel 4 has commissioned a six-part comedy drama about dysfunctional civil servants. Cut comes from UK indie Clerkenwell Films and will be a 6x45mins run. D.C. Moore, who was part of Channel 4’s talent strand Coming Up, wrote the series, which follows the personal and professional lives of a group of civil servants forced to relocate to Northampton in the East Midlands region of England after being forced to relocate from London in the face of departmental cuts. Channel 4 is billing the show as a “timely workplace comedy drama that is laced with an acerbically surreal sensibility which cuts straight to the quick of a lost generation”.

The Indie TV Production Company Buying Spree: What’s Behind It? When Will It End?
A rash of acquisitions of European and U.S. independent production companies has been steadily spreading over the past year and a bit.

What’s been driving all this consolidation and cross-pollination? For one, with TV channels proliferating in the U.S., whether it be via basic cable or digital platforms, foreign outfits see a prime opportunity to establish a foothold and build scale. In the reverse, U.S. companies moving into the booming UK production sector know that broadcasters are doling out a lot of cash for original content.


Exec Shuffle for 3/14/14
ABC Family: Robert Prinz
has been promoted to Executive Director, Development & Programming.

Warner Bros. Pictures: Jon Gonda has been named Creative Executive.

Comedy Central: Marjorie Williams has joined as Senior Counsel, Business & Legal Affairs.

Bravo Media: Kathleen French and Jenn Levy have both been promoted to Senior Vice President, Production.

Bravo Media: Zoe Rogovin has been promoted to Manager, Development.

Bravo Media: Lara Spotts has been named Senior Vice President, Development, in New York.

Paste: 10 Black Directors to Watch in 2014
Ryan Coogler, Shaka King, Nailah Jefferson, David L. Johnson, Yoruba Richen, Tim Story, Angel Kristi Williams, Bille Woodruff, Amma Asante, Justin Simien.


(rumor) Anxiety On Sony Lot As Layoffs Coming Early Next Week
There is anxiety in Culver City today as word gets around on the Sony lot that significant layoffs are coming as soon as Monday. It’s not a surprise that this is happening; it was considered an eventuality when Sony hired Bain & Company to figure out a way to cut $100 million in operating costs across movies, TV and the music operations. Staffers from that consulting company have made their presence felt on the lot.

J.K. Rowling Releases New ‘Harry Potter’ Story Online
On Friday, J.K. Rowling released the first chapter in a new, 2,400-word story about the Quidditch World Cup. Rowling’s new story seems to take direct inspiration from the logistical struggles of the Sochi Olympics and upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Writers Guild, Producers Have a Deal — Except for TV Hitch
The Writers Guild and Hollywood studios and networks have agreed on the details of a new contract, the union’s lead negotiators say — but have one sticky TV issue outstanding. The hangup is over producers keeping writers “exclusive” to a program during a show’s hiatus — which happens more frequently now that many programs, particularly on cable, have shorter seasons.

Foreign Productions Dig Jerusalem Because of Mayor’s Film-Friendly Policies
One of the mayor’s first moves upon being elected in 2008 was to establish the Jerusalem Film Fund, worth 9 million shekels ($2.6 million) the first such regional funder in Israel, which has injected more than $11 million into the local industry and has drawn more than 40 new film projects to the city in the span of just five years. In 2013, Barkat went back to the table and raised the stakes, asking the Israeli government to establish an ambitious tax incentive for Jerusalem-based films.

WSJ: Data Point: How Many Hours Do Millennials Eat Up a Day?
Millennials are spending as many as 18 hours a day skimming the Web, watching TV, texting, playing videogames and using social media, among other activities, according to data from Crowdtrap and Ipsos MediaCT, and arranged by Statista. These aren’t counted as consecutive activities, mind you. The days of watching live TV for an hour and then heading over to the desktop to dial up are long gone. Out there is a kid who has the DVR burning through “Scandal,” a laptop open to Twitter and a smartphone humming to “Minecraft” at the same time. That one hour counts as three hours of consumption (however questionable the quality).