Morning News Update for Tuesday, 3/18/14.

SCRIPTED NEWS:

Steve Levitan Extends 20th Century Fox TV Deal for 4 Years
Levitan’s
extended pact calls for him to continue as co-showrunner and exec producer of 20th TV’s monster ABC hit, which he co-created with Christopher Lloyd. The multi-hyphenate will also develop new projects and help supervise other prospects for the studio — as he has done in recent years.
http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/steve-levitan-modern-family-co-creator-extends-20th-century-fox-tv-deal-for-4-years-1201137615/

(sched) New Comedy ‘Faking It’ to Premiere Tuesday, April 22 on MTV
“Faking It,” premiering on MTV Tuesday, April 22 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT is a new romantic comedy about two best friends who love each other – in slightly different ways. The girls are mistakenly outed as lesbians, which launches them to instant celebrity status. Seduced by their newfound fame, Karma and Amy decide to keep up their romantic ruse. “Faking It” is Executive Produced by Carter Covington.
http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/03/18/new-comedy-faking-it-to-premiere-tuesday-april-22-on-mtv-video/245783/

(sched) DirecTV’s ‘Rogue’ Season 2 Premiere Set For May 28
The second season of the suspense drama starring Thandie Newton and new addition Cole Hauser will debut on Wednesday May 28 at 10 PM.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/03/directvs-rogue-season-2-premiere-set-for-may-28/

Variety: Big Four Networks Tear Up the Pilot Season RulebookThe broadcast nets have handed out a range of exotic development pacts this pilot season, keeping business-affairs departments working overtime on new deal points and templates. There are more straight-to-series orders, more plans to shoot pilots in the summer and fall, more writers working away on multiple scripts and bibles — all giving execs plenty to consider before granting a formal greenlight. More projects are getting pushed back for further work when initial efforts don’t impress. Make no mistake: Networks and studios are breaking out the shovels to make foundational changes, with the goal of cementing new protocols for next year and beyond.
http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/its-a-new-playing-field-for-the-big-four-networks-1201136859/

LAT: TV networks build drama and ratings with ‘diva’ model
Viewers are now being served two miniseasons, with shows ramping up the midseason drama quotient to keep viewers hooked during the hiatus. It’s changing the very nature of TV. If you’re confused about the difference between a midseason premiere and a midseason replacement premiere, the answer is increasingly "not much."
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-critics-notebook-midseason-20140318,0,670007.story

(opinion) TVBTN: CBS Predictions: ‘The Crazy Ones’ Is Likely To Be Canceled
The CBS 2014 renewal train has left the station, and The Crazy Ones wasn’t on it. It was the last CBS show that the Cancellation Bear still had as a "toss up", now it’s "likely to be canceled". The Mentalist wasn’t on the renewal train either, the bear’s had that prediction for most of the season, it’s #bearchow.
http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/03/18/cbs-predictions-the-crazy-ones-is-likely-to-be-canceled-2/244575/

(opinion) NY Post: ‘Scandal’ has become too soapy
“Scandal”
was never meant to be a subtle show or even a dramatic show. It’s a loud, boisterous, overheated melodrama where everyone is in a perpetual state of meltdown. But this season has been so insane as to invite ridicule. It’s all too much.
http://nypost.com/2014/03/17/scandal-has-become-too-soapy/

(opinion) TR: TV Deathlok’s New "Costume" Is Like a Bad Lazer Tag Vest
Seriously? This isn’t like Batroc, where his original costume was so ludicrous that you only hint at it with a colored shirt. Deathlok looked cool in comics. This most definitely does not. Or maybe they can only afford to buy one new piece of it per season, and it gets better? Maybe, please?
http://www.toplessrobot.com/2014/03/tv_deathloks_new_costume_is_like_a_bad_lazer_tag_v.php

CASTING NEWS:

Cynthia Addai-Robinson Lands Lead In History’s Texas Rangers Miniseries
Cynthia Addai-Robinson has been cast as the female lead in History’s miniseries Texas Rising from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/03/cynthia-addai-robinson-lead-history-texas-rangers-miniseries-2/

FEATURE NEWS:

Sofia Coppola To Helm ‘The Little Mermaid’
Sofia Coppola
is negotiating to direct The Little Mermaid, a live action version of the classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale for Universal Pictures and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. Caroline Thompson fame is rewriting the script.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/03/sofia-coppola-to-helm-the-little-mermaid/

Lionsgate, Tyler Perry’s 34th Street Acquire Comedy Pitch ‘Top of the Food Chain’
Lionsgate
and Tyler Perry’s 34th Street Films have bought an action-comedy pitch from screenwriters Jim and Brian Kehoe for mid-six figures. The pitch, titled Top of the Food Chain, is described as a cross between City Slickers and The Grey. Tyler Perry, Ozzie Areu, and Matt Moore will produce the project, along with Chris Cowles. DMG Entertainment’s Dan Mintz and Chris Fenton will executive produce.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lionsgate-tyler-perrys-34th-street-689016

NON-SCRIPTED/ALTERNATIVE NEWS:

GSN Greenlights ‘Idiot Test’ & Gets Its Game On With Significant Investment In Original Programming
GSN
executives unveiled their programming and development slate. The network announced a greenlight for IDIOT TEST, a new original series hosted by comedian Ben Gleib; re-upped two hit series, THE CHASE and THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE; and revealed a vigorous 2014 development slate. In the coming year, GSN plans to ramp up its commitment to original content.
http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/03/18/gsn-greenlights-idiot-test-gets-its-game-on-with-significant-investment-in-original-programming/245841/

TLC to Air Kate Plus 8 One-Hour Special
Kate and her eight are heading back to where it all started – for one night only. It’s been more than two years since TLC viewers have peered into the lives of Kate Gosselin and her sizable Pennsylvania brood, and in June the cable channel that launched the family into reality show superstardom will air a one-hour special catching up viewers on their lives.
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20797888,00.html

Carey, Ferguson swap jobs on April Fools’
Daytime game-show emcee Drew Carey and late-night talk host Craig Ferguson are pulling an April Fools’ Day switcheroo, with Carey taking over CBS’ Late Late Show (12:37 a.m. ET/PT) and Ferguson giving away prizes on the network’s long-running The Price Is Right (11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. PT) April 1.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2014/03/17/carey-ferguson-price-is-right-late-late-show/6523425/

TWDC NEWS:

Disney’s Avoids Shareholder Showdown With Last-Minute Board Guideline Change
The change appears to have appeased shareholders who are still seething over Disney’s decision to make Bob Iger both CEO and Chairman — and scratches a potentially embarrassing vote today over a proposal that could have made the process of selecting board members slightly more democratic.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/03/disneys-avoids-shareholder-showdown-with-last-minute-board-guideline-change/

Disney Plans Third ‘Cars’ Movie
Walt Disney Company
chief Bob Iger said Tuesday that Pixar plans to produce a third installment of its “Cars” franchise. The executive made the announcement during the company’s shareholders meeting in Portland, Oregon.
http://variety.com/2014/film/news/disney-plans-third-cars-movie-1201137824/

MISCELLANEOUS NEWS:

Advertising: Like That Vase on the TV? Click Your Phone to Buy It
In what could signal a new era for product placement, Target will feature dozens of products on a new episode of “Cougar Town,” the TBS comedy series, and, at the moment the products appear on television screens, encourage viewers to purchase them on their second screens. The episode that airs on Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern will be simulcast online, at ShopCougarTown.com. When viewers watching television see, say, a Target vase that they like on a mantle, they can look at the synced online version, where, by clicking a flashing red plus-sign character on the vase, they are taken to Target.com, where they can buy it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/business/media/like-that-vase-on-the-tv-click-your-phone-to-buy-it.html

‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2′ Scores Nevada’s First Tax Credit
Nevada today approved its first film tax credit application, and it’s going to Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Eric Preiss, Director of the Nevada Film Office, said the production “will receive $4.3 million in tax credits provided that the filming takes place in Nevada and that production costs are in line with those proposed in the application, along with other qualifying criteria.” The Silver State enacted its inaugural production tax credit program nine months ago, with projects that shoot at least 60 percent in-state and spend $500,000 to $40 million there being eligible to earn a transferable tax credit worth 15%-19% of their in-state qualified expenses up to $20 million.
http://www.deadline.com/2014/03/paul-blart-mall-cop-2-nevada-tax-credit/

Sony Pictures laying off 216 employees in Culver City
The layoffs underway at Sony Pictures Entertainment as part of a cost-cutting initiative are affecting 216 employees in Culver City, where the company is based.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sony-pictures-laying-off-216-people-at-culver-city-headquarters-20140318,0,6819426.story

Children’s Feelings About Brands Persist into Adulthood
Consumer-brand companies’ investments in child-oriented advertising provide brand benefits long after the audience has grown up, says a team led by Paul M. Connell of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. For example, people in the UK who had been exposed to the Kellogg’s Frosties character Tony the Tiger as children and the Cocoa Pops character Coco the Monkey as adults rated Frosties as more healthful than Cocoa Pops (3.84 versus 3.24 on a 7–point scale), suggesting that the participants retained warm feelings about Tony from childhood.
http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/childrens-feelings-about-brands-persist-into-adulthood/