Afternoon News Update for Monday, 3/24/14.


Fremantle, Corona Set ‘Layer Cake’ Scribe JJ Connolly To Adapt ‘Birds Of Prey’
is teaming with the UK’s Corona Pictures for a drama/adventure series project based on Wilbur Smith’s Birds Of Prey. JJ Connolly has been set to pen the adaptation. The swashbuckling Courtney novels are set against a backdrop of the uncharted Africa of the 17th century. The stories chronicle the lives of the eponymous family as they battle to secure the clan’s fortunes in a place where sea-faring empires, privateers, wild animals and settled African tribes and nations fight it out for control of the land and its treasures. The planned TV series will kick off in 1667 as the family lands in Africa, led by 17-year-old protagonist Hal.

(sched) ABC Sets Summer Schedule, Will Bow Five Scripted Dramas
Thursday, April 24, 10-11 p.m. Black Box (new series premiere)

Monday, June 2, 10:01-11 p.m. Mistresses

Thursday, June 19, 8-9 p.m. The Quest (new series premiere)

Sunday, June 22, 9-11 p.m. Rising Star (new series premiere)

Thursday, July 24, 9-10 p.m. The Astronaut Wives Club (new series premiere)

Monday, Aug. 4, 8-10 p.m. Bachelor in Paradise (new series premiere)

‘The Good Wife’ Bombshell: Story Behind The Shocking Exit, Showrunners Speak
CBS‘ The Good Wife
already went through a major reset at the beginning of the season when Alicia (Julianna Margulies) left Lockhart Gardner, finding herself locking horns with her former boss, friend (and on-and-off flame) Will Gardner (Josh Charles). But that was just a little ripple compared to the shock wave that hit the show Sunday night. Here is the story behind the stunner, with The Good Wife creators/showrunners Michelle and Robert King, who wrote the episode, discussing the major exit, its impact on the show and what lies ahead.

TVBTN: Bubble Watch: Cancellation Still Predicted for ‘Revolution;’ ‘Believe,’ ‘Crisis’ On The Bubble + Fox’s Ratings Woes
Low 1s have gone from an outlier to a frequent occurrence this season. Beyond Fox, you have Parks & Rec, Community, Revolution, Parenthood, Hannibal, Trophy Wife, (this week’s lead-in-less) Mixology, Last Man Standing, and Intelligence (and the CBS Friday and Sunday dramas aren’t far off). Those low 1s may no longer be the sign of an instantly DOA show, but rather the shape of things to come for a merely borderline show without a strong lead-in. Whether show budgets can survive the ad rates that come from mere low 1s is a much more interesting question.

(from Fri) USA Picks Up Medical Drama Pilots ‘Rush’ & Complications’ To Series, Confirms ‘White Collar’ Renewal
USA Network has given 10-episode series orders to two medical dramas. Rush, from writer-director Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, stars Tom Ellis as on-call doctor. Complications, from Matt Nix and Fox TV Studios, stars Jason O’Mara as an ER doctor.


Betsy Brandt to Star in ABC’s Susannah Grant Drama ‘The Club’
The role is in second position to "The Michael J. Fox Show," meaning she would stay on with the NBC comedy should it earn a second season.

Gil Bellows Nabs Deadly Role in CSI’s Planted Spin-Off Episode
Gil Bellows
has been tapped to guest star in an upcoming Season 14 episode of CSI, which will introduce characters for its planted spin-off.

Alfred Molina to Co-Star in El Rey’s Kurtzman/Orci Drama ‘Matador’
He’ll play a soccer team owner and member of an elite group of powerful global players in the upstart network’s second series.

Alfre Woodard to Play President in NBC’s Katherine Heigl Drama
The Oscar and Emmy nominee will co-star in "State of Affairs."

Mistresses: Revenge‘s Justin Hartley Joins Season 2 Cast as Love Interest
Justin Hartley
will play Scott, a new love interest for Jes Macallan’s Joss.


ABC Orders Bachelor Spin-Off Bachelor in Paradise
ABC has ordered Bachelor In Paradise, a franchise spin-off starring alumni of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad who will be whisked away to a tropical locale and incited to date each other. Bachelor In Paradise "will feature new twists, shocking surprises, unexpected guests and some of the most unlikely relationships in Bachelor history."

Jason Sarlanis Joins ABC As VP Alternative
Jason Sarlanis
, who joined Ryan Seacrest Prods. just last September as SVP unscripted development, has left to go to ABC as VP alternative series. Before joining RSP, Sarlanis worked for Lisa Berger at E! where he was VP original programming & series development and she was entertainment president.

Roseanne, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Russell Peters named Last Comic Standing judges
Executive producer Wanda Sykes and her team have locked up their celebrity judges and premiere date for the upcoming season of Last Comic Standing. The 13-episode eighth season premieres on May 22 for two hours at 9 pm EST, airing for one hour at 10 pm in following weeks. Comedian J.B. Smoove will take over hosting duties each week on the nationally-televised stand-up comedy competition. Sticking to the standard three-person judges panel, producers have settled deals with Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Russell Peters to judge and critique the comics.


Disney Buys Maker Studios In Deal Worth At Least $500 Million
The Walt Disney Co
. has agreed to acquire Maker Studios, a top YouTube multichannel network, for $500 million with a performance-based earn-out of up to $450 million, the Mouse House announced. Maker Studios will report to Disney chief financial officer Jay Rasulo, the company said.


K-Pop Stars Join Korean Medical Drama Quiz from God
K-Pop stars Donghae and Jaekyung are set to star in the fourth season of the medical crime drama Quiz from God, airing on CJ E&M’s OCN channel in South Korea. Their characters will uncover new secrets about rare diseases as they investigate mysterious deaths at a prestigious Korean university.


Bob Iger: ‘Work Ethic, Intellect and Curiosity’ Helped Ben Sherwood Land Top Disney Job
It was no knee-jerk appointment: Bob Iger’s decision to name ABC News chief Ben Sherwood as Anne Sweeney’s successor atop Disney/ABC TV Group had been in the works for nine months, as far as Iger was concerned. Sherwood, however, had no idea until after Anne Sweeney made the surprise announcement.

Incoming Disney/ABC TV Group President Ben Sherwood On Getting The Big Job, His Learning Curve & ABC Topper Paul Lee
“It was as quick as it seems,” Sherwood said of the hiring process. He said he learned the surprising news that Sweeney would be stepping down along with everyone else when she and Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger made the announcement less than two weeks ago. “There was a very clear succession plan,” Sherwood said. “(Iger) had a number of conversations with people internally and reached the decision pretty quickly.”

Meet Ben Sherwood: His Meteoric Rise Since Re-Joining ABC
Ben Sherwood
— executive, journalist, and novelist — has had a meteoric rise since rejoining ABC News in December 2010. He has gotten to the top partly by knowing when to talk, and when not to. The ABC News president was named Monday to replace Anne Sweeney as co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group.

All Eyes On James Goldston As ABC News Looks To Replace Ben Sherwood
With ABC News chief Ben Sherwood named today to replace Anne Sweeney as president of Disney/ABC Television Group, betting money is on James Goldston, senior vice president of ABC News, stepping in to replace Sherwood at the helm of the news division.

Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ opens on Broadway to warm critical reception
With the opening on Thursday of "Aladdin" at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York, Disney marks its 20th anniversary on Broadway. Whether that’s a cause for celebration or consternation depends on how you view the company’s success at making family-friendly blockbusters the norm in the theater world.,0,1671528.story


AMC Taps Tracey Lentz As VP Unscripted Programming
Tracey Lentz
joins AMC from 3Ball Productions/Eyeworks USA, where she was VP of development. In her new role as VP unscripted programming, Lentz will focus on developing unscripted series for the network. She will be based in L.A. and report to Eliot Goldberg, SVP unscripted programming.


NYMag: And Scene.
The Upright Citizens Brigade arrived with a mission: to make New York comedy smart again. And to get on TV. Fifteen years on, members of the scene that begat Amy Poehler and about half the funny people on TV look back on the blood, sweat, and teabagging.

Why Teens Love Dystopias
YA dystopias externalize the turmoil that’s already taking place in adolescent minds, hearts, and bodies. The social, interpersonal, and biological phenomena that define teenage life—competition and jealousy, anxiety about exclusion and belonging, shifting alliances, first crushes, wet dreams—are codified and, in some way, dignified by their transmutation into fiction.

Apple and Comcast discussing TV service to bypass net congestion
is in talks with Comcast that could lead to the cable provider offering priority services for streamed entertainment for an Apple set-top box. Sources say the cable provider — the US’ largest — would offer Apple’s traffic special treatment over the "last mile" of cabling between an exchange and customers’ homes. This potential deal would mean Apple’s streaming service would be able to avoid congestion caused by typical internet traffic, but The Wall Street Journal’s sources say the companies aren’t yet close to an agreement.

Study: Viewers Love Their TV Stars On Twitter Too
Turns out people love their stars on Twitter almost as much as they love their stars on TV, according to a new study by companies with an intense interest in the results. More generally, the TV-related tweets most likely to motivate a viewer to watch will come from an actor on the show or other cast member (40%). That’s well ahead even of tweets from the user’s friends and family (26%), the social-media source that conventional wisdom suggests would be most influential. Perhaps less surprising is the finding that tweets from a show’s official Twitter account motivate barely more than one in six users (just 18%).

Music Piracy Goes Mobile
The music industry faces a new front in its long-running battle against piracy: The smartphone. Mobile applications have eclipsed file-sharing services, online storage sites known as “digital lockers” and stream-ripping software as the most widely used source of free music downloads, according to a new study from researcher NPD Group. Some 27 million people in the U.S. have used mobile applications to get at least one song in the past year, much of it believed to be unauthorized.