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


Fremantle, Roland Joffé Team For ‘Ugly’; Series Project Based On Hugo’s ‘Hunchback’
FremantleMedia International
and Oscar-nominated director Roland Jofféare putting a new spin on Victor Hugo’s classic The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Under a co-development partnership, Joffé will write a retelling of the story to be titled Ugly. The planned TV series will trace the titular character’s journey and aims to show what it means to be human regardless of outward appearances. The period project will be set against the political, economic and social explosion of early 17th Century France. A further move by Fremantle into scripted drama, Ugly will be discussed with broadcasters at the upcoming Mip-TV market in Cannes.

eOne Adapting Gloria Killian’s ‘Full Circle’ as Drama Series
Entertainment One
has teamed with Gloria Killian and co-author Sandra Kobrin to adapt their book as a drama series called Inside-Out. Inside-Out tells the story of a wrongfully convicted woman who puts herself through law school while she is in prison, gains her acquittal and dedicates her life to helping those who have also been thrown under the bus of the legal system. The series, which does not yet have a network attached, chronicles her struggle to discover who set her up for her husband’s murder as well as her path to redemption. Kobrin will pen the script, with Robert Lawrence on board to executive produce. Jon Amiel will direct the pilot and exec produce.

Comedy Writer Erik Sommers Inks Overall Deal With Sony TV
Erik Sommers, co-creator of CBS’ multi-camera odd couple comedy pilot Cuz-Bros, has signed an overall deal with the studio behind it, Sony Pictures TV. This marks the first overall pact with Sommers, a rising star at Sony TV.

(ratings) ABC’s ‘Resurrection’ is Sunday’s Number 1 Broadcast Television Show
ABC led its Sunday competition for the 3rd week in a row among Adults 18-49

American Horror Story’s Next Season Will Be Set at a Carnival
The rumors surrounding American Horror Story’s next season were nearly correct, as writer Douglas Petrie confirms on the Nerdist Writers Panel podcast: "Yes. It doesn’t have a title, but that’s the idea. Very roughly, that’s the idea." Yes, next season of American Horror Story will be set in a (spooky!) carnival.

Lifetime Is Developing Three More V.C. Andrews Novels
According to a source at the network, Lifetime is developing two more books in the Dollanganger series, If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday. (That would leave Garden of Shadows, the series’ prequel, as the sole Dollanganger title remaining.) On top of that, Lifetime will also develop Andrews’ lurid, Oedipal novel, My Sweet Audrina.


Melissa George to Co-Star in ABC’s Katie Holmes Drama
She’ll also play a female lead in Richard LaGravenese’s "Dangerous Liaisons"-esque drama starring Rufus Sewell.

Odette Annable to Co-Star in ABC’s ‘Astronaut Wives Club’
Annable will play Trudy Cooper, the wife of Gordo Cooper and the youngest of the Astro-wives and a licensed pilot herself.

Josh Lucas to Co-Star Opposite Debra Messing in NBC Drama
"The Firm" alum will return to the network as the male lead in "The Mysteries of Laura."

Anthony LaPaglia to Star in CBS’ Nikki Toscano Terrorism Drama
The "Without a Trace" alum will return to the network to star in the pilot.

Nancy Lenehan Joins CBS Pilot from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
Nancy Lenehan
has been cast as the family matriarch in “More Time with the Family,” the CBS comedy pilot executive produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Shameless Promotes Emily Bergl to Series Regular
The Gallagher family just continues to grow. Emily Bergl has been promoted to series regular for Shameless‘ fifth season

Joel David Moore, Barbara Eve Harris & Donnie Keshawarz Board ABC’s ‘Forever’
Joel David Moore
, Barbara Eve Harris and Donnie Keshawarz have landed series regular roles on ABC’s drama pilot Forever.


A&E Promotes Drew Tappon To SVP Development & Programming
A&E Network
has elevated Drew Tappon to the post of SVP Development & Programming, from his current position as VP Non-Fiction & Alternative Programming. Tappon will be responsible for the development and production of A&E’s nonfiction, alternative and reality series and will report to McKillop. He is based in A&E’s New York City headquarters.

ABC’s Summer Reality Series ‘Rising Star’ Kicks Off Nationwide Auditions on Saturday, March 29
innovative new series “Rising Star,” which opens the gate to a new era in reality competition, kicks off its nationwide search for talent on Saturday, March 29th.


Broadcasters prebuy ABC’s Black Box
Broadcasters in Europe and Israel have acquired ABC’s upcoming medical procedural The Black Box. RTL in the Netherlands, VMMA in Belgium, Zon Lusomundo in Portugal, DBS in Israel and Blue Sky Media in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia/CIS, Greece and Cyprus have all acquired the show, which bows on ABC in the States on April 24 in the primetime 10pm slot hit Scandal currently fills. Additionally, distributor Sierra/Engine Television said pay TV rights have been acquired in Turkey and South Africa. Modern Times Group has already acquired the series for Scandinavia and Tele München Gruppe has German-language Europe rights.


Disney Greenlights England-set Spooky House Tale ‘Evermoor’
Disney has greenlit England-set mystery adventure “Evermoor,” which will be the first live-action TV movie produced in the U.K. to air on Disney Channel in the U.S. The movie, to be aired in multiple parts, follows Tara Bailey, an American teen who has just been uprooted from her city home in the U.S. and brought to Evermoor, a beautiful but isolated village on the edge of some creepy moors in England. It’s not long before danger, mystery and intrigue unfurls. Lime Pictures has been commissioned to produce the TV movie, which was created by Tim Compton and Diane Whitley, scripted by Bede Blake, produced by Compton, and executive produced by Rebecca Hodgson.

Pixar Prepping ‘Ratatouille’ and ‘The Incredibles’ 3D Rerelease
We’re not likely to see an Incredibles sequel any time soon, but Brad Bird‘s two Pixar films are going to land back in theaters. Pixar is prepping a The Incredibles 3D re-release, and has also added a third dimension to Ratatouille. These would be the fifth and sixth 3D re-releases of Pixar films; we’ve already seen the first two Toy Story movies in 3D, as well as Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo.


Ken Levine: My rant on the state of sitcoms
Do you really laugh at THE MINDY PROJECT? Or NEW GIRL? You may smile but do you laugh? They’re quirky, they’re titillating, they depend a lot on irony (“Well, that worked out well.”) but they don’t make you laugh. BIG BANG THEORY makes you laugh. They have jokes, jokes that are funny. FRIENDS had jokes. Since when did “jokes” become passé? MODERN FAMILY sets up funny situations. So did FRIENDS. So did SEINFELD. So does BIG BANG THEORY. I’ve spoken to very successful showrunners who lament that very few of today’s young writers can write "jokes." Shouldn’t this be a basic skill?

Salon: Louis C.K. or Tina Fey? Gender, science and the age-old question: Are men or women funnier?
New studies explain how men and women laugh differently. Excerpted with permission from "Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why"