Morning News Update for Tuesday, 4/8/14.


CW Orders Comedy ‘Backpackers’ From Digital Studio
The series will become the first from CW Seed to be expanded for an on-air broadcast. The CW will reconstitute the online episodes into the first four half-hours, with six more web installments filmed but yet to be streamed. The network has ordered 10 half-hour episodes. Backpackers, which stars Dillon Casey and Noah Reid as two friends backpacking across Europe after one of them is dumped by their girlfriend, will air in the summer.

Weinstein Co Acquires Italian Crime Drama Series ‘Gomorra’
The Weinstein Company
has acquired rights to the Sky Italia crime drama series Gomorra, directed by Stefano Sollima. It tells the story of 30-year-old Ciro, the right hand of the Savastano clan’s godfather Pietro, and the ruthless war to take over “The System”. The series consist of 12 one-hour installments and in addition to Sky Italia is produced by Cattley, Fandango La 7 and Beta Film.

Ashley Tisdale & George Wendt Join TBS Comedy Pilot From ‘Will & Grace’ Creators
Cheers alum George Wendt and Ashley Tisdale are set to co-star in David Kohan and Max Mutchnick‘s multi-camera untitled barbershop comedy pilot at TBS. Also cast in the untitled workplace comedy is Lauren Lapkus (Orange Is the New Black). The project revolves around a group of kids who ran in different circles in high school but now all work together at Buzzy’s Barbershop in Charlestown, MA. Their dreams may lie across the Charles River in Boston, but for now, their work, their lives, their loves and their worries remain in the town they grew up in.

Art Linson & John Linson Ink HBO Deal, Set Up Drama Project With Taylor Sheridan
Art Linson
and John Linson are reuniting with former SOA co-star Taylor Sheridan for a gritty family drama at HBO. It marks the first project under a two-year exclusive television deal Art and John Linson have signed with the pay cable network. The new project, Yellowstone, follows one family’s violent struggle against encroachment in southwest Montana. Sheridan will write the script from a story he is co-writing with John Linson. The two executive produce with Art Linson. It is unclear whether Sheridan would have an acting role on the show.

‘Bates Motel’ Renewed for a Third Season at A&E
The cable network’s flagship drama, which saw a time slot shuffle in its sophomore return, will be back in 2015.


Netflix’s ‘Marco Polo’ Sets Its Cast
Lorenzo Richelmy
will play the title role, leading an all-star international cast in the series set to bow in late 2014.

‘Shameless’ Producers Still Deciding if Justin Chatwin Will Return as Series Regular
Producers on the program will determine what his role in the fifth season will be when they go back into production and begin writing scripts. At that point, Chatwin may once again be granted the series regular status that he lost during the most recent season.


Drew Goddard nears a deal to direct the Spider-Man spinoff film ‘The Sinister Six’
got his "Daredevil" series for Netflix to tackle first, and I’m excited to see how he approaches that character. The idea that Sony wants him to direct "The Sinister Six" must mean that they liked what he turned in as a script.


Bravo Unveils 15 New Series, 3 Projects In Development, 16 Returning Series
Bravo Media
has unveiled its slate of original programming at its upfront including 15 new series (two scripted), 16 returning series and three new projects in development. Among its new scripted offerings are Odd Mom Out, a half-hour comedy based on the life of author and fashionista Jill Kargman which captures the outrageous world of uber-wealthy momzillas of New York’s Upper East Side. Another is Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce, based on the best-selling Girlfriends’ Guide book series by Vicki Iovine, with the scripted series written by Marti Noxon.

Among returning series, the network has confirmed a second season of Below Deck, a third season of Don’t Be Tardy, a seventh season of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Season 6 forThe Real Housewives Of New Jersey. Returning this fall also is a 12th season of the Emmy Award-winning culinary competition series Top Chef, season 8 of The Millionaire Matchmaker, The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 7, and The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills Season 5.

Oxygen Greenlights Seven New Series As Part Of Upcoming Rebranding
Oxygen Media
unveiled seven new original series for its 2014 slate today under new president Francis Berwick and said it is planning a rebrand for later this year “targeting modern, young women.” Docu-series on the roster range in subjects from finding the next female hip-hop star (executive produced by rapper T.I.) to comediennes, and competition series involving street artists and nail designers. They will join returning series Preachers Of LA, which recently was picked up for a second season. The network said today it will soon begin casting new Preachers editions in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit.

CNBC Extends Season 2 Of ‘The Profit’, Greenlights 2 New Series, Sets 3 Projects In Development
today announced an extended order of episodes for season two of The Profit. The series, which airs Tuesdays at 10 PM, follows serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis who saves struggling businesses while investing his own cash in the process. The network also greenlit two new primetime summer series, Restaurant Kickstart with restaurateur Joe Bastianich, and celebrity chef, Tim Love set for July; and Filthy Rich Guide to debut in August. In addition, CNBC unveiled three series in development: Restaurant Confidential: New York(working title), Hard Money (working title) and More Money More Problems (working title).

NBC Orders Clip Show From Producers Stephen McPherson & Bruce Gersh
is looking to launch a family-friendly variety clip show franchise in the tradition of ABC’s stalwart America’s Funniest Home Videos. The network has given a six-episode order to an hourlong show from producers Stephen McPherson and Bruce Gersh. Tentatively titled NBC’s Epic Funnies, the series is built around the principles of Epic Fails and life moments gone wrong.


Microsoft is launching its own original TV programing this summer
All are involved in shows that Microsoft’s new Xbox television studio plans to roll out globally starting in June. The studio will produce a comedy sketch show with Sarah Silverman and Michael Cera’s JASH comedy collective and a stop-motion show with Seth Green’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which makes the Emmy-winning “Robot Chicken.” In addition, Microsoft has ordered a pilot for unscripted series “Fearless,” in which Australian Navy bomb clearance diver Paul de Gelder, who lost several limbs to a shark attack, aids people who try to make the world a better place.

Yahoo, like Netflix, is looking into producing its own original video content
is raising its ambitions in online video, with plans to acquire the kind of original programming that typically winds up on high-end cable-TV networks and streaming services like Netflix. The company is close to ordering four Web series. And unlike in years past, Yahoo isn’t looking for short-form Web originals, but rather 10-episode, half-hour comedies with per-episode budgets ranging from $700,000 to a few million dollars, the people said.

AOL Renews Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Richie Shows
has renewed four of its original web series for the company’s AOL On Network premium video platform, including Richie’s#CandidlyNicole” and “city.ballet.,” which hails from executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker. The network has also given second seasons to “Hardwired 2.0,” which features digital influencer Justin Ezarik (also known as “iJustine”) exploring hot tech trends, and “The Future Starts Here,” which looks at what it means to be human in an increasingly-connected world.

Netflix is now streaming 4K, starting with ‘House of Cards’
The company has confirmed that the recently launched second season of House of Cards is now available in 4K, along with "some nature documentaries."


(mipTV) Paolo Sorrentino To Shoot ‘The Young Pope’ TV Series
Italo helmer Paolo Sorrentino, winner of this year’s foreign-language Oscar for “The Great Beauty” will write and direct his first TV series, working-titled “The Young Pope,” about an imaginary pontiff who is the first Italian-American Pope in history. The eight-episode series in fifty-minute format is penned by Sorrentino in collaboration with his “Beauty” writing partner Umberto Contarello and veteran Italo film and TV scribe Stefano Rulli. Set in Vatican City, Italy, the U.S. and Africa, “Young Pope” will have an international cast.

(mipTV) Canal Plus Greenlights ‘Spotless’ Drama From ‘Shameless’ & ‘CSI’ Vets
Canal Plus
has given an 10-episode order to one-hour crime drama Spotless. Co-created by Ed McCardie and Corinne Marrinan. The London-set drama is billed as irreverent, sexy and dangerous. It’s the story of a troubled man whose tidy life is turned upside down when his outlaw brother crash lands into his world, and gets both of them involved in the deadly dynamics of organized crime as their dysfunctional family struggles to gain control over life, business and shared destiny. The first two episodes will be directed by Pascal Chaumeil (Heartbreaker) and casting is underway.


CBS Elevates Shannon Jacobs to Senior VP of Communications
CBS Corp.
has elevated Shannon Jacobs to senior VP of communications. Jacobs will now manage the New York-based corporate communications team and help to create and execute communications strategy across all of the company’s businesses.

‘X-Files’ Writer Frank Spotnitz Inks Deal with Tandem
Frank Spotnitz’s Big Light Prods
. has inked a first-look deal with Tandem Communications, which produces NBC crime series “Crossing Lines.”


Maryland Passes Tax Credit Legislation With Eye On Keeping ‘House Of Cards’
Maryland politicians have ended their holdout and are set to boost the state’s film tax credit program to keep the Netflix drama filming there. The General Assembly has approved the new legislation to increase the allocation ceiling from $7.5 million to $18.5 million, which likely would be enough to keep the show in the state. MRC, which had planned to start shooting the third season of the D.C.-set drama in early spring, received about $26 million in Maryland tax credits for its first two season, according to reports. The production company has been seeking a tax credit for Season 3 in line with Season 2′s $15 million, which had been impossible with Maryland’s cap at $7.5 million.

(podcast) JohnAugust: The Deal with the Deal
John and Craig talk with WGA President Chris Keyser about the tentative deal reached between writers and the studios, and why it’s more groundbreaking than it might appear at first glance.

Vanity Fair: Vice Presidents, from the Murderous to the Merely Cynical, Are Taking Over Pop Culture
Corruption, extortion, cynicism, and murder most foul—it’s getting pretty crowded, and pretty strange, in the Old Executive Office Building, with vice presidents popping up in a huge range of movies and television.

WaPo: From Washington to Westeros, how rape plays out on TV
Almost every buzzworthy drama now on television features a female main character who has been raped. The frequency of the plotline has been criticized as lazy, “manipulative and damaging.”

Ad Age: Does ABC Depend Too Much on Female Audiences?
While both CBS and Fox have also experienced dips in viewership, what alarms some media buyers is ABC’s dependence on an older female demographic. "ABC attracts the lowest common denominator — women 35-to-64 — which is the easiest target to reach on TV," Mr. Kanefsky said. "There are plenty of other options that are more efficient than ABC."