Morning News Update for Monday, 4/21/14.


(from Fri) ABC Family Adds Paranormal Drama Pilot ‘Stitchers’
The procedural hails from "Overruled’s" Jeffrey A. Schechter and will replace the since scrapped pilot "Alice in Arabia" at the network. Stitchers centers on a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be "stitched" into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave. Schechter will executive produce the drama alongside Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken.

(from Fri) Nashville to Host First Lady Michelle Obama
That Rayna Jaymes sure has friends in high places. First Lady Michelle Obama will appear in Nashville‘s May 7 episode.

(from Fri) Ian Gomez Books CBS Comedy Pilot Cuz-Bros – Is This Bad Omen for Cougar Town?
CBS’ Cuz-Bros
is becoming a safe haven for sitcom actors with undefined futures. Cougar Town‘s Ian Gomez has been cast in the CBS comedy, which also stars Enlisted‘s Parker Young and Geoff Stults.

(from Fri) Deadline: PILOTS 2014: More Early Buzz
We’re heading into the homestretch of pilot season as the broadcast networks are beginning to view and test the completed pilots, a process that will continue for about two weeks before the nets move on to making pickup and scheduling decisions. Based on buzz around town, here are the most talked-about pilots three weeks before the upfronts.

(from Fri) Deadline: BUBBLE WATCH 2014: Freshman ABC Comedy ‘Mixology’ Heating Up For Renewal
It has been a three-way race for renewal among three bubble ABC comedies: sophomore The Neighbors and freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology, There seems to be some movement within the pack, with the youngest, midseason entry Mixology, gaining momentum. I hear the network and the studio already have put in place a leadership plan for next season, with creators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore set to take over the reins as showrunners from Ira Ungerleider, who will be leaving after running the series for its original 13-episode order. What’s more, in a sign of confidence to Lucas & Moore and their show, I hear ABC Studios is in negotiations with the duo for an overall deal.


Tom Hanks Teams with Steven Spielberg for Cold War Thriller
Tom Hanks
and Steven Spielberg are partnering again as Hanks has become attached to an untitled thriller set during the Cold War that Spielberg is eyeing to direct for DreamWorks. Marc Platt will produce with Spielberg, with Matt Charman penning the script. Hanks would star as James Donovan, a prominent American attorney enlisted by the CIA during the Cold War to slip behind the iron curtain to negotiate the release of a pilot captured when his U-2 spy plane was shot down over Russia.


TruTV Greenlights Six New Series, Orders More ‘The Carbonaro Effect’ And ‘Impractical Jokers’
has greenlit six new series as it changes its brand, targeting a young audience of “funseekers.” TruTV’s slate of new shows includes Fake-Off, a Kabuki-inspired, pop-culture-themed talent competition series; Way Out West, a reality western about three rival outfitter families in the Idaho backcountry; How to Be a Grown Up, a comedic take on the relatable trials and tribulations of true adulthood; Local News (working title), a look at the playful rivalry between the news teams at two small town television stations; and Hair Jacked, a new ambush game show that gives contestants the opportunity to win big money or go home with the cut of the day.

Additionally, after sneak peeking new series The Carbonaro Effecton April 1, the network ordered 13 additional episodes before the first season launch of the Michael Carbonaro starrer, debuting Thursday, May 15, at 10 PM. The network also ordered another season of Impractical Jokers, which finished the first quarter of 2014 ranking as basic cable’s #1 program in its Thursday night timeslot with adults 18-34, as well as a spinoff series, Jokers Wild!

(from Fri) Gwen Stefani in Talks to Join NBC’s ‘The Voice’
The No Doubt singer would replace Christina Aguilera for the seventh season of the reality competition series.

Discovery Channel Cancels Live Mount Everest Jump Special In Wake of Avalanche Tragedy
Discovery Channel
has cancelled its plans for a live daredevil special set at Mount Everest, after 12 Sherpa guides were killed Friday morning in an avalanche — the single deadliest accident to ever take place on Earth’s highest mountain.

Craig Zadan, Neil Meron to Produce Oscar Show Again
Craig Zadan
and Neil Meron have been set to produce their third consecutive Oscar show, which will be held Feb. 22. The producers will next choose the host, but no word yet on that.

Keke Palmer To Host BET Daily Talk Show From Telepictures & Judge Greg Mathis
BET Networks
is targeting millenials with a new daily talk show hosted by actress-singer Keke Palmer. The Keke Palmer Project (working title), which has been picked up for an initial four-week run, will premiere in July, airing Mondays-Fridays. Telepictures is producing. Her show will cover such topics as fashion, pop culture, social issues, sex, and will feature celebrity interviews, “on the street” bits and undercover segments.


Joss Whedon Releases His Latest Film via Vimeo for $5
The indie project "In Your Eyes," which Whedon wrote and executive produced, was made available on the service moments after its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival Sunday night.

A + E Networks Brings A&E, History & Lifetime to Apple TV
A+E Networks
today announced the launch of A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime content on Apple TV.


Michelle Obama to Guest-Star on Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’
As part of the Joining Forces initiative, the first lady will appear on the Debby Ryan sitcom’s May 16 episode.

Disney Crosses $1 Billion Overseas in Record Time
Fueled by whammo performances from “Frozen” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Disney has crossed the $1 billion mark this weekend at the international box office, marking the fastest time the studio has ever done so. So far, “Captain America” has grossed a whopping $586 million-plus globally, of which $385.1 million comes from overseas markets.


(feature) How NBCU’s Bonnie Hammer Plans to Dominate Cable
Many, many bucks, literal and figurative, stop at Hammer’s desk. In February 2013, she was promoted to chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, putting her up in the executive stratosphere with TV ad sales head Linda Yaccarino and NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt (all three report to the conglomerate’s CEO and president Steve Burke). Hammer oversees USA, Syfy, E!, Bravo, Oxygen, Esquire, Sprout, G4 and several smaller networks. Hammer’s bump shifted fellow ranking exec Lauren Zalaznick out of the limelight and was perceived (wrongly, Hammer says) by many as the latest move in a high-stakes chess match between two TV kingmakers.

Fox Executive’s Firing After 25 Years Goes Wide
A veteran Fox executive who used her company email account to plan aid for loved ones of the missing Malaysian airplane’s passengers has been fired. Darlene Tipton, who was vice president of standards and practices for the Fox Cable Networks Group, said Saturday she had wanted to arrange swift financial aid to families and other loved ones, sparing them lengthy court fights. Fox spokesman Scott Grogin said Tipton’s "conduct and communications" violated company policy.


NYT: The Media Equation: Aereo Case Will Shape TV’s Future
A lot of people will be watching to see how the Supreme Court rules over the legality of Aereo because of what it could mean for the broader media ecosystem.