Afternoon News Update for Thursday, 4/17/14.


George Lopez, IDW Team For ‘Wormwood’ Animated Comedy
Ben Templesmith’s
"demigod worm" to be developed as an animated comedy by IDW, Travieso and "The Walking Dead"s’ Circle of Confusion. The title character is a “trans-dimensional demigod worm” who has a tendency to save the world from supernatural trouble by possessing well-dressed corpses and, for the most part, outthinking whatever threats come his way.

(sched) CW Sets Summer Schedule, Including ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Return
The network has slotted two original comedies and four unscripted series for the summer months.
Beauty and the Beast, off the air since early March, returns for the final episodes of the sophomore season Monday, June 2 at 9 p.m. Serving as a lead-in at 8 p.m. is Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which moves from Fridays. The 12-week reality docuseries Famous in 12 premieres Tuesday, June 3 at 8 p.m. Backpackers, the first original series from digital studio CW Seed to transition to television, debuts Monday, July 14 at 8:30 p.m. T

(review) Variety: ‘Salem’
Marking WGN’s concerted foray into original series, “Salem” wants to have it both ways. This late-17th-century dive into the Salem, Mass., witch trials paints the Puritans as hypocritical scolds, yet also embraces the notion that there really were witches operating at the time, which makes their capital punishments seem a little less crazed and paranoid. Mostly, this basic-cable drama plays like a rather flat supernatural soap, despite the lush period trappings.

How Social Media Helps Drive ABC’s ‘Scandal’
To further stick fans to their TV-side seats, Shonda Rhimes and other show principals including star Kerry Washington also take part, tweeting and posting online with fans before, during and after airings. That close connection has been a crucial part of the show’s growth. According to RelishMIX, the social-media analytics firm, followings for those show-connected accounts have exploded — led by Washington’s Facebook account, which jumped an eye-popping 466% in Season 3.

ABC To Remove Bryan Singer’s Name From Ads For His New Show Amid Lawsuit
Amid the current controversy swirling around X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer, sources confirm to BuzzFeed that ABC will re-edit commercials for its new drama Black Box to remove any mention of Singer, the show’s executive producer.

(rumor) Kristen Bell to Guest Star on Once Upon a Time?!
There is talk of Kristen Bell bringing her Frozen role to Once Upon a Time, and for the record. Once Upon a Time producers Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz told us they’re talking about bringing the Frozen princess characters to their ABC show—and would love Kristen Bell to guest star. So would the beloved Veronica Mars starlet actually do it?

Fox dumping Animation Domination from Saturday nights
Animation is ending its domination of Fox’s Saturday nights. The broadcaster is dumping its experimental animated block. Fox first told its affiliates a couple weeks ago that Animation Domination HD will have its last airing on June 28.


Aaron McCusker Joins ABC’s ‘The Astronaut Wives Club’; Daniel London In WGN’s ‘Manhattan’
Bret Harrison
and Aaron McCusker have been cast as series regulars in ABC’s 10-episode drama series The Astronaut Wives Club, from Fake Empire, Groundswell Productions and ABC Studios, eyed for 2015. Harrison will play Gordon “Gordo” Cooper, one of the original astronauts. McCusker will play Wally Schirra, another one of the original astronauts who’s also a prankster.

Daniel London
has been tapped for a recurring role in WGN America’s 13-episode scripted series Manhattan.

Bret Harrison Boards ABC’s ‘Astronaut Wives Club’
He’ll play Gordon "Gordo" Cooper and reunite with his "Breaking In" co-star Odette Annable.

‘Graceland’ Adds ‘The Glades’ Alum for Season 2
Actor Coby Ryan McLaughlin has joined the new season in a recurring role.

TBS’s ‘Sullivan & Son’ to Welcome Back Guest Stars Kunal Nayyar, Ken Jeong & Billy Gardell
Kunal Nayyar
(The Big Bang Theory), Ken Jeong (The Hangover movies, Community) and Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) are set to return to TBS’s hit original series Sullivan & Son during the show’s upcoming third season.


Fox Acquires Greg Berlanti, Michael B. Jordan Pitch ‘Men Who Kill’
Twentieth Century Fox
has acquired the pitch “Men Who Kill” with Michael B. Jordan attached to star. TJ Fixman would write the script with Greg Berlanti producing along with Sarah Schecter. The film is described as a CIA thriller with remaining plot details being kept under wraps.

DreamWorks Hires ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Duo to Write ‘Hot Stuff’
Siblings Wendy and Lizzie Molyneux are being tapped to write Hot Stuff for DreamWorks Animation. Hot Stuff is based on the classic comic character Hot Stuff the Little Devil published by Harvey Comics starting in 1957. Plot details for the Molyneux duo’s take were not revealed but some sources say the project would be a live-action/CG hybrid, a first for DWA; the latter had no comment.

Sony Nabs ‘I’m in Love with a DJ’ Script by Lauryn Kahn
Gary Sanchez Productions
will produce the project, which is written by Adam McKay’s former assistant.

THR: Summer Box-Office Forecast: Studio-by-Studio Breakdown
is without a sure thing, Universal pushed back "Fast & Furious 7" and a flurry of untested titles will vie to become the next tentpole franchise.


A&E Greenlights Nonfiction Series ‘D.O.A.’ From Executive Producer Dick Wolf
A&E Network
has ordered the new nonfiction series "D.O.A.” (working title) from executive producer Dick Wolf and his Wolf Reality along with Left/Right Productions. The series follows a top team of detectives who will re-examine controversial murder cases in which unresolved questions still linger long after the verdict was determined. Production begins this spring on eight hour-long episodes.

Lifetime spins Dance Moms
US cable network Lifetime has greenlit a new spin-off to its children’s reality show Dance Moms. Abby’s Studio Rescue (7×60′) will feature coach and Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller as she transforms studios on the brink of ruin.

TLC Renews ‘Something Borrowed, Something New’ for Season 3
Just ahead of Friday’s season finale of “Something Borrowed, Something New,” TLC has renewed the series for a third season. The cable channel has ordered 18 new episodes of the show that asks brides to choose between a borrowed and reworked wedding dress or a brand-new gown.

Academy Sets 2015 Oscar Nominations Date For Jan. 15; Governors Awards Nov. 8
New today are dates for the nominations announcement — Thursday, January 15 — which gives voters about five weeks before final ballots are due February 17. The past couple of years members had six weeks to see everything and cast their ballots. The Governors Awards are set for November 8.


ESPN Hosts Investors To Dispel Concerns About Cord Cutting And Competition
dumping a lot of data about ESPN this afternoon to ease Wall Street fears that the company’s cash cow could face leaner times due its rising costs and new competition from channels led by Fox Sports 1. CEO Bob Iger kicked off today’s investor meeting in Bristol, Conn vowing that he’s “going to continue to invest” in ESPN which he sees as core to his strategy to build brands and franchises. Disney doesn’t break out financial numbers for the channel, but he noted that the company’s pay TV networks account for 32% of its revenues — and 56% of its operating income.


Lionsgate-Summit Shake-Up: Marketing Chief Nancy Kirkpatrick to Exit
All feature film marketing operations will now be run by Lionsgate veteran Tim Palen.

Dakota Pictures Taps Pair Of VPs, Director Of Development
The Hollywood-based TV and film production company has tapped Christos Sourligas as VP Distribution, Corbin B. Larson as VP Production and Serena Turner as Director of Development.

The Secret To Pixar’s Success: Failure
co-founder Ed Catmull discusses his new book, Creativity Inc., and says reframing the concept of failure is the only sure way to find success.


UTA Signs WattPad’s Breakout Novel ‘After’
has signed to represent screen rights for After, a serialized story by Anna Toddthat has become the most followed literary property published by Wattpad, an online community in which writers tell stories chapter by chapter. According to Wattpad general manager Candice Faktor, the three-part series After has been clicked on by more than 500 million.

Comcast Claims that Binge Watching Leads to Increased Live Ratings
offered its Xfinity cable customers on-demand and streaming access to complete runs of numerous series during its second annual Watchathon Week from March 31-April 5. According to the company, there was a correlation between the binge watching event and improved live ratings for several series, with the show’s garnering higher ratings among Comcast customers than non-Comcast customers.

(gaming) PlayStation 4 has a two-million console lead on the Xbox One
Today, Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One has shipped five million units, but yesterday Sony reported selling seven million units of the PlayStation 4. That’s a sizable lead for Sony, especially considering that Sony says those consoles were actually sold to consumers, not just those sitting on retail shelves. (The PlayStation 4 is frequently sold out.)