Evening News Update for Monday, 3/17/14.


Amazon Studios Developing High Concept Relationship Comedy ‘Kismet’
has put in development Kismet, a half-hour comedy project from writer Marc Klein and Radius Entertainment’s Carol Bodie. Based on an original idea from Klein, Kismet is a Sliding Doors-style parallel-reality love story, which follows one couple who meet, date and marry. But what if they hadn’t met? Kismet chronicles their lives both as a married couple who’ve met and as two single people who’ve never met.

ABC Family Orders Three Drama Pilots
Alice in Arabia
is a high-stakes drama about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. The pilot was written by Brooke Eikmeier, who previously served in the U.S. Army as a cryptologic linguist in the Arabic language.

Based on the popular young-adult novel by Blake Nelson, Recovery Road focuses on a teenage girl dealing with addiction. Trying to save face, Maddie chooses to spend her nights living with other recovering addicts at a rehab facility, and her days pretending everything is perfectly normal among her high school classmates and her closest friends. The pilot was written by Bert V. Royal and Karen DiConcetto. Beth Miller and Craig Piligian from Pilgrim Studios and Danielle von Zerneck will serve as executive producers.

Unstrung explores the sexy, cutthroat and emotional stakes of the professional world tour of tennis as brother and sister Luke and Ellie Holt compete to move up the ranks. Emily Whitesell will executive produce.

Comedies "Melissa & Joey" and "Baby Daddy" have also each been renewed for their respective fourth seasons.

SSN: What Trends are in the New Pilots?
This year, one thing is clear: the Big Four and the CW are not only trying to go away from formulas whose popularity are on the decline, but they’re employing big names on both sides of the camera to help them do it. Here’s some of what we’re seeing.

Nick At Nite’s ‘See Dad Run’ To End Run After Three Seasons
It is the end of the road for Nick at Nite‘s first original scripted comedy series See Dad Run, starring Scott Baio. Season 3 of the family sitcom, which is currently filming, will be its last, with production on the series wrapping in May for good. http://www.deadline.com/2014/03/see-dad-run-cancelled-nick-at-nitte/


‘Daily Show’s’ Jason Jones to Topline NBC’s ‘Love Is Relative’
He’ll star opposite Leslie Bibb in the comedy pilot from "Borat’s" Dan Mazer.

Ben Barnes Joins ABC Drama Pilot ‘Exposed’; Daniel Henney In ‘Agatha’
Ben Barnes
has been tapped as a male lead opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead in ABC‘s drama pilot Exposed. Daniel Henney has been cast opposite Bojana Novakovic in ABC’s drama pilot Agatha, from ABC Studios and Mark Gordon Co. Henney will play Rey, Agatha’s attentive, doting and loving fiance.

HBO Casts Melonie Diaz As Lead In Drama Project ‘Laughs Unlimited’
Melonie Diaz has been cast as the lead in Laughs Unlimited (working title), a drama series project about a war vet’s struggles with post traumatic stress disorder, which has been on the works at HBO for the past year and a half..

Judith Light To Co-Star In ABC Comedy Pilot ‘The Winklers’
Judith Light is set to co-star opposite Henry Winkler in ABC pilot The Winklers.

Kim Dickens Lands Female Lead In CBS Drama Pilot ‘Red Zone’
Kim Dickens
has been tapped to star in CBS‘ drama pilot Red Zone opposite Anthony LaPagila.

Rachel Dratch Joins Fox Pilot ‘Dead Boss’; Katharine McPhee, Ari Stidham In CBS’ ‘Scorpion’
Rachel Dratch has signed on as a series regular in Fox‘s half-hour pilot Dead Boss, from WBTV and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. Katharine McPhee and Ari Stidham have joined the cast of CBS‘ drama pilot Scorpion, from writer Nick Santora, director Justin Lin, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

Ashton Holmes Scrubs In For CBS’ David Marshall Grant Pilot; Anna Brewster Also Cast
Ashton Holmes
has secured the co-starring role opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in CBS’ untitled David Marshall Grant pilot. Anna Brewster has also been cast as the sister, Diana, a doctor who has dedicated her life to research.


Steve Carell Starring in Teacher Drama ‘The Priority List’
Steve Carell
is attached to star in a movie version of David Menasche’s “The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons” at Warner Bros. Menasche’s book details a six-year battle with brain cancer that took away his ability to teach high school English in Miami, followed by a journey of more than 8,000 miles to visit hundreds of his former students to come to terms with his illness and live fully in the present.

Warner Bros, RatPac Acquire New Harlan Coben Mystery Novel ‘Missing You’
Harlan Coben‘s
new mystery novel Missing You has been acquired in a preemptive screen rights deal by Warner Bros and RatPac Entertainment. Brett Ratner will produce and John Cheng and James Packer will be exec producers. In Coben’s latest, a New York City Police Department detective named Kat Donovan is exploring a dating website and discovers the profile and photo of the ex-fiance who dumped her 18 years ago. She soon she begins to unravel an intricate catfish scheme led by a brilliant and calculating killer.


Bill Engvall Poised to Star in Family Docuseries
The comedian is teaming with 44 Blue to develop an unscripted series focusing on his family.

Esquire Orders Buddy Series ‘Lucky Bastards’ From ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Producers
Esquire Network has ordered 10 episodes of the reality series, “Lucky Bastards,” from True Entertainment. Set to premiere Wednesday, April 16 at 10 p.m., “Bastards” follows the professional and personal exploits of six New York City men who’ve been friends for decades. The cast includes entrepreneurs, wealthy heirs and even a Royal – the star of ABC’s ninth season of “The Bachelor,” Lorenzo Borghese.


ILM Launches New Vancouver Visual Effects Facility
The 30,000 square foot studio in the downtown Gastown district is expected to service production on "Star Wars Episode VII." Approximately 200 artists are expected to be at work in the new Vancouver operation by summer 2014. Randall Shore will manage the relocated Vancouver facility as supervising producer.

FiveThirtyEight and the End of Average
Earlier today, Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight site launched. While it’s not known how much ESPN is paying Silver, it’s certainly a substantial amount, especially when you consider 20% of visitors to the New York Times stopped by Silver’s blog. Silver’s FiveThirtyEight is one of a growing number of personality-driven sites and blogs.


Susan Rovner & Brett Paul Named Scripted Co-Presidents For Warner Horizon Television
Warner Bros TV‘s
head of development Susan Rovner is further expanding her turf, also taking over development for the studio’s cable division Warner Horizon TV. Rovner and top WBTV business executive Brett Paul have been named co-presidents of Warner Horizon Scripted Television. They succeed Warner Horizon EVP Craig Erwich, who left this month.

Micro Films Group Names Film, TV Execs
Buzz Koening
is joining Henri Kessler’s new production company as vp, production, and Paul Telner has been appointed vp, television.

(q&a) Top Sony Execs Mike De Luca, Hannah Minghella Address Partnership, Rumors of Tension
Since the appointment of Michael De Luca as co-president of production at Sony’s Columbia Pictures in December, rumors have been rampant in Hollywood about why he took the job in partnership with Hannah Minghella. More recently, agents, producers and studio insiders have told TheWrap that the creative community is confused about how the partnership will work. In the wake of these questions, De Luca and Minghella agreed to speak with TheWrap exclusively about the inner-workings of their partnership and what Hollywood can expect going forward.


America’s Creepy, Surveillance-Endorsing Love of NCIS
NCIS and its sibling NCIS: Los Angeles are the top-rated dramas on television, a distinction they have held for several years. But what exactly are so many Americans watching—and rooting for—when they tune in for these TV shows? A generation ago, network crime dramas featured private detectives who were lone outsiders, like The Rockford Files’ Rockford, or For Hire’s Spenser. Post 9/11, audiences seem to prefer heroes with government authority. Federal agents based in secret facilities, elite crime-fighting units with extralegal powers, fantastical technology, and commando-team backup are everywhere on primetime.

Sony Layoffs Hit Interactive Teams; More Coming This Week
Sony Pictures
has begun its layoff process that will last through the week. We hear that Sony has cut the entire Sony Pictures Interactive team tasked for the last 15 years with supporting the studio’s digital marketing.

Atlantic: Prime Is the Future of Amazon
Amazon’s strategic advantage isn’t really its inventory, its recommendation engine, or its consumer technology. The advantage is in its infrastructure. In the global race to build a fast-as-possible service for delivering the things you order online, no one in the world is further along than Amazon, and it will be very hard for even a deep-pocketed competitor like Walmart to catch up as long as Jeff Bezos has permission from investors to spend every dollar his company earns on new fulfillment centers.

(tech) Office for iPad may (finally) arrive as soon as March 27
will announce the long-awaited Office for iPad on March 27 at an event in San Francisco.