Morning News Update for Thursday, 3/20/14.


IFC Unveils New Comedies From Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers & Rob Huebel As Part Of 2015 Slate
New programming for 2015 includesAmerican Documentary (working title), a docu-parody created by comedy vets Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers; and American Storage (working title), a scripted half-hour comedy starring Rob Huebel. IFC is also collaborating with CollegeHumor on the first-ever Comedy Music Awards, a satire of traditional awards shows incorporating the best of the comedy and music worlds. Returning for an expanded fourth season is Comedy Bang! Bang! hosted by Scott Aukerman, and a sophomore season of its original sketch comedy The Birthday Boys, executive produced by Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller. IFC is also currently developing Westside from Joel McHale, and The Bank from Teri Weinberg.

(sched) CBS Sets Season Finale Dates
this morning announced season finale dates, starting with the previously announced one-hour series finale of long-running comedy series How I Met Your Mother on March 31, and ending with the two-hour season finale of Survivor on May 21 followed by the traditional reunion show. Two freshman comedies — Mom and The Crazy Ones — will air their season wrap-ups in April. Monday, March 31: INTELLIGENCE. Wednesday, May 14: CRIMINAL MINDS.

(sched) ‘Veep’ Season Three to Premiere Sunday, April 6 on HBO
Following the revelation that the president will not seek reelection, Vice President Selina Meyer, eying a promotion, begins courting Iowa caucus voters at a signing for her new book. The comedy series VEEP kicks off its ten-episode third season SUNDAY, APRIL 6 (10:30-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.


Sam Shepard to Topline Netflix’s Kyle Chandler Drama
He’ll play the patriarch in the family drama from the creators of "Damages," and reunite with frequent co-star Sissy Spacek.

Sharon Gless to Co-Star in ABC’s ‘Saint Francis’ Comedy
She will play Michael Imperioli’s mother in the half-hour project from "Man Up’s" Chris Moynihan.

Leslie Odom, Jr. Joins NBC Pilot ‘State Of Affairs’; Rebecca Corry In ‘One Big Happy’
Leslie Odom Jr. has joined the cast of NBC‘s drama pilot State Of Affairs. Actress-comedian-writer Rebecca Corry has has been cast in NBC‘s multi-camera pilot One Big Happy.


New James Bond Film Reveals Title, Teaser and Synopsis
MGM revealed a very early first look at the 24th James Bond film, which will be titled — and this was newly revealed as well — “Come and Dive.” It returns Daniel Craig for another turn as 007, as well as “Skyfall” director Sam Mendes. Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris also return.


WE TV Renews Unscripted Series ‘Braxton Family Values’ & ‘SWV Reunited’
tv has given a 26-episode fourth season order to unscripted series Braxton Family Values starring singer Toni Braxton and her sisters, and picked up SWV Reunited for an expanded 10-episode second season.


Machinima Banks On Original Scripted Content With ‘Enormous’ Sci-Fi Web Series
YouTube network Machinima has unveiled new sci-fi short Enormous, a live-action pilot which Machinima will give a series commitment to if its 10.9M YouTube fans demand it. Ceren Lee stars in Enormous as a resistance fighter in the post-apocalyptic future in which massive insect-like monsters have invaded Earth. Enormous is the second of three original shorts Machinima is debuting this month, each with the potential for a series greenlight, marking an essential next step as Machinima attempts to evolve from YouTube video aggregator to content producer.

Netflix Gets Exclusive Rights to Mockumentary Comedy Series ‘Short Poppies’ from New Zealand
has landed streaming rights to “Short Poppies,” a mockumentary-style comedy created by and starring New Zealand thesp Rhys Darby. The eight-episode series is set to launch exclusively on April 3 for Netflix subscribers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland. Show follows a journalist as he meets quirky characters in a small New Zealand town — all played by Darby.

Twitter’s dream for TV: You will never watch alone
It’s not difficult to understand why the company is making such a huge push into television—to cement its position as the dominant platform for real-time conversation, attract new users, and make money from them. Fred Graver knows a bit about the medium, having formerly worked as a writer for shows like Cheers and the Late Show with David Letterman, and as a producer for the Jon Stewart Show. He describes his role at Twitter as to “get everyone in America to say ‘Oh my God watching TV with Twitter is so much better than watching TV alone.’”


BBC3 orders prison comedy
in the UK has ordered a new prison-based comedy series and extended the runs of three other shows. 600 Days (working title) is a six-part comedy about two men who end up in prison and have to use their wits to survive. The series was created and written by Dan Swimer (Grandma’s House, Bad Education) and Adam Kay (Mongrels, Up The Women) and will be produced by the BBC’s In-house Comedy production unit.

Elsewhere the channel has extended Tiger Aspect’s Bad Education starring Jack Whitehall into a third season, as well as bomb disposal show Bluestone 42 and school-based comedy Some Girls. BBC3 has also ordered a new pilot for action comedy Top Coppers, from Bertie Peek and to be exec produced by Ash Atalla for Roughcut Television.

(MipTV) ZDF Enterprises Nabs Hit Scandi-Noir Series ‘Thicker Than Water’
ZDF Enterprises has acquired international sales rights to hit Swedish Noir series “Thicker Than Water” for international sales. Set in the Stockholm’s archipelago, the dark family series, which is produced by leading Swedish shingle Nice Drama for SVT and YLE, tells the story of three conflicted siblings who much join forces to run their late mother’s idyllic Bed & Breakfast for one entire season. Created by Henrik Jansson-Schweizer,”Thicker Than Water” is penned by Niklas Rockstrom and Morgan Jensen.

(MipTV) Canal Plus Acquires Italian Mafia Drama ‘Gomorrah’
French paybox Canal Plus has picked up “Gomorra,” the Italian hit crime skein based on Roberto Saviano’s investigative bestseller. Helmed by Stefano Sollima (“Romanzo Criminale”), along with Claudio Cupellini and Francesca Comencini, ”Gomorra” is the TV makeover of Matteo Garrone’s movie which won a Grand Prize in Cannes. The series, comprising 12 one-hour episodes, sheds light on the Camorra, the fierce Napolitan crime organization and follows the journey of 30-year-old Ciro, the right hand of the clan’s godfather, Pietro Savastano.

FX Networks, BSkyB Ink Transatlantic Comedy Pact
FX Networks
and BSkyB have inked an agreement to develop new comedy for audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. The two-year pact will see FX Networks and BSkyB co-fund and co-develop new half-hour scripted comedy. If the projects are commissioned, the shows would be broadcast on Sky1 HD or Sky Atlantic HD in the U.K. and Ireland and FX Networks channels in the U.S.


THR: Anne Sweeney Replacement: Disney’s Bob Iger Surveys the Candidates
ABC News president Ben Sherwood, global distribution chief Ben Pyne and owned stations boss Rebecca Campbell are all seen as top contenders for the top job at Disney-ABC Television Group.


California Production Tax Credit Generated $4.3 Billion in Activity
Backers of expanding California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program have received a strong endorsement from a new study by the Southern California Association of Governments. The study, released Thursday, asserts that the current program — funded at $100 million annually — created an 11% return on investment in its first three years in 109 projects; helped generate $4.3 billion in economic activity; supported 22,300 jobs; and generated $247.7 million in state and local tax revenues.

(opinion) Drama Spec Script 2014 — What is hot and what is not
Like every year, it is now time to review which TV shows are good to spec, and which are not. Dedicated posts will be made respectively for the best comedies(half-hour) and the best dramas(one-hour). As the title says, this post is all about the dramas. In addition, you’ll also find (when available) a script for the corresponding show for educational purposes.

(opinion) Comedy Spec Script 2014 — What is hot and what is not
Like every year, it is now time to review which TV shows are good to spec, and which are not. Dedicated posts will be made respectively for the best comedies(half-hour) and the best dramas(one-hour). As the title says, this post is all about the comedies.In addition, you’ll also find (when available) a script for the corresponding show for educational purposes only.

Salon: The modern horror of MH370: Vanishing planes, conspiracy theories and the fear of not knowing
Grasping for answers about a missing airplane, we conjure ridiculous theories to avoid a tragic truth.