Afternoon News Update for Friday, 4/25/14.


Fox Developing ‘Nazareth’ Event Series With ‘Gladiator’ Writer
The network has inked an overall deal with Bob Cooper’s Landscape Entertainment, with the mini the first project to come from the new pact. The drama is being developed as an event series and will follow the formative years of Jesus of Nazareth. Gladiator Academy Award-winner David Franzoni will pen the script and executive produce the Landscape, FX Productions and Entertainment One vehicle alongside Cooper and Tyler Mitchell as well as Eleven Films’ Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson.

‘Scandal’: Columbus Short not returning for season 4
EW has learned that Columbus Short, whose character Harrison has been on the show since season 1, will not be returning for Scandal‘s fourth season. Short released this statement via a publicist.

‘Newsroom’ Alum Boards ABC’s ‘Astronaut Wives Club’
Joel Johnstone
will play Gus Grissom in the drama from Stephanie Savage.

CBS’ ‘Mom’ Promotes Mimi Kennedy to Series Regular
She plays a friend to Christy and Bonnie and will be a staple in the comedy’s second season.

Desiree Akhavan & Peter Mark Kendall Join HBO’s ‘Girls’
Young filmmaker Desiree Akhavan and newcomer Peter Mark Kendall have been added to the fourth season of HBO comedy Girls as recurring.

(sched) HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ Pushed Back Two Weeks
has pushed back the debut date of Damon Lindelof’s “The Leftovers”by two weeks. The series, based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, will now debut Sunday, June 29 instead of June 15.

(ratings) ‘Orphan Black’ Doubles Season Debut Audiences With Live + 3 Viewing
BBC America‘s Orphan Black
second-season debut last Saturday doubled its total viewer and 25-54 audience, and upped its 18-49 viewing by 91% with Live+3 Day viewing. That shifted audience totaled 1,577 million for the premiere telecast and three weekend replays, including 927,000 adults 25-54 and 909,000 adults 18-49. In addition, Orphan Black was the No. 1 TV show on Twitter and Tumblr for the day of premiere and was the No. 1 basic cable drama on Twitter for the week.


Universal Lands Book From ‘Wicked’ Author, ‘Egg and Spoon’
Universal Pictures
has optioned the rights to the book “Egg and Spoon” written by Gregory Maguire. The novel is set to be published in September by Candlewick. The story follows two girl’s lives that collide, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a prince traveling incognito and in a typically Maguire-esque touch, a Russian witch who lives in a house that stands on chicken legs.

Brett Ratner, Beau Flynn to Produce Movie About LA Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig
Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig is the latest modern athlete to have his life story developed as a major motion picture. Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment has acquired rights to “Escape From Cuba: Yasiel Puig’s Untold Journey to the Dodgers,” an article by Jesse Katz that ran in Los Angeles Magazine earlier this month.


Travel Channel Orders Nordic World Format
Dining with the Enemy
, a format from the Nordic World catalogue, is being adapted by MY Tupelo Entertainment for Travel Channel in the U.S. The American version of Dining with the Enemy is tentatively titled Breaking Borders. The show will watch as a well known war correspondent and a leading chef organize meals for guests with opposing views on various world conflicts.

Seth Meyers to Host 66th Primetime Emmy Awards
Seth Meyers has been tapped to host the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, which air Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. on NBC. Veteran events producer Don Mischer will executive produce the ceremony, with Charlie Haykel and Julianne Hare producing.


Disney, Del Rey to Launch New ‘Star Wars’ Book Line
Titles will be published on a bi-monthly schedule starting in September, with each release now officially part of story canon.

(comics) Marvel is killing off a major character
has been teasing a radical new development in Wolverine’s history with this summer’s story arc, “3 Months to Die,” which robs Wolverine of his healing factor, the mutant power that has kept him alive and kicking through decades of fatal injuries. Now, EW is excited to announce exclusively that “3 Months to Die” will culminate in a 4-part miniseries in September called, simply, Death of Wolverine.


AMC Taps Industry Vet Kristin Jones As International Scripted Consultant
Kristin Jones
will focus on identifying potential international scripted projects, including co-productions, format adaptations, series and limited-series acquisitions.

Exec Shuffle For 4/25/14: Lionsgate, Universal Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Wilshire Studios
CBS Entertainment: Krista Gugliotti
has joined as Manager, Communications.
CBS Television Distribution: Bryan Hale has been promoted to Vice President, Development.
Chief Marketing Officer Tim Palen will now run all feature film marketing operations for both Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment upon Nancy Kirkpatrick’s departure.
NBC News: Dean Palmer has joined as Director of Development, Peacock Productions.
Warner Bros. Television: Jana Steel
has been promoted to Director, Comedy Development.
Debmar-Mercury: Karen Bonck has joined as Senior Vice President, Branded Partnerships.
Powderhouse Productions: Seanbaker Carter
has been promoted to President.
Wilshire Studios: Bryan Hale
has joined as Vice President, Development.
DirecTV: John Harman has joined as Manager of Business Development.
Shazam: Lauren Zalaznick
has joined the Board of Directors.

‘The Voice’ EP Stijn Bakkers Mulling Exit From John de Mol’s Talpa Media USA
Stijn Bakkers
, the chief creative officer of John de Mol’s Talpa Media USA, is expected to exit the company due to disagreements with Talpa Media Group owner John de Mol.

NFL Adds WWE Chief Digital Exec Perkins Miller to its Roster
Perkins Miller
, who launched WWE’s digital streaming network in February, has left the company to join the National Football League and serve as its chief digital officer.


Salon: Say goodbye to TV’s golden age: Why Comcast’s rise and net neutrality’s downfall will change everything
To get “House of Cards” to you, Netflix is already paying Comcast a hefty fee. It seems crazy, but what happens when HBO has to pay Comcast to stream “Game of Thrones” via Amazon? Maybe ”Game of Thrones’” humongous production budget takes a hit?

Canada Moves Closer to Pick-And-Pay Cable TV Pricing
The CRTC, the country’s TV watchdog, unveiled a report on cable unbundling that recommends how cable and satellite TV providers could be forced to increase choice and flexibility for consumers. The regulator proposes allowing "subscribers to select all discretionary programming services on a stand-alone basis (pick-and-pay)."

538: Americans Have Fewer Credit Cards And Less Debt
A new poll from Gallup suggests that Americans are less reliant on credit cards than any time since 2001. The survey, which was based on a random sample of 1,026 adults, found that 29 percent of Americans do not own any credit cards — the highest proportion since 2001. It’s not just the number of credit cards that appears to be declining; it’s also the use of them. Gallup found that credit card users are now more likely to say they always pay their full balances every month — 48 percent of them said this, another high since 2001.

NYT: The Real House Candidates Of Beverly Hills
Inside the race to represent California’s absurdly wealthy — and sometimes just absurd — 33rd district.