Morning News Update for Monday, 4/28/14.


Microsoft Ready to Unveil Xbox Originals Slate to Advertisers
The shows, which include live action series based on other hit game franchises exclusive to Xbox like “Gears of War,” “Age of Empires,” “Fable” and “Forza Motorsport,” as well as “State of Decay,” that will be presented include an array of documentaries, scripted dramas, animation, comedy and live events. All are designed to offer interactive ways to delve deeper into the programming, and will play on multiple screens that offer Xbox Live.

(from fri) ‘Gossip Girl’ Alum Inks Overall Deal With WBTV, Joins ‘Gotham’
John Stephens will serve as an exec producer should Fox pick up the "Batman" prequel to series.

Jon Hamm, Daniel Radcliffe, Anna Wintour Returning to Ovation
has greenlit the new series “Young Marvels,” about America’s arts prodigies, and announced second seasons of “A Young Doctor’s Notebook” with Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe and “The Fashion Fund,” starring Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, and J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons. Season 2 of “A Young Doctor’s Notebook” reunites Hamm and Radcliffe as the elder and younger versions of the same character. The series is a Big Talk Production in association with Points West Pictures, Jon Hamm’s production company, and is distributed by BBC Worldwide North America.

(ratings) ‘Once’ Jumps, ABC Wins First Sunday of May Sweep
ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”
ticked up 24 percent to help hand the network first place in ratings on Sunday — the first of the May Sweep period. ABC was first in ratings with a 1.7 rating/5 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and second in viewers with an average of 6.4 million, according to preliminary numbers.

Premiere of Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ Now Available On Showtime Anytime, YouTube & On Demand
SHOWTIME is offering viewers nationwide a chance to sample its highly-anticipated new drama PENNY DREADFUL across multiple platforms in advance of its series premiere in two weeks.
youtube link:

(video) HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ Full-Length Trailer: ‘Some Bad Shit’s Coming’
Damon Lindelof’s upcoming drama, toplined by Justin Theroux, premieres June 29.

(review) Variety: ‘Playing House’
Jessica St. Clair
and Lennon Parham certainly merit points for perseverance. Having co-created and starred in the short-lived, modestly appealing NBC sitcom “Best Friends Forever,” they migrate within the same corporate hierarchy over to USA, collaborating on the modestly appealing “Playing House.” Both shows involve the two pals living together, here in preparation for the birth of a baby. While the duo has an obvious rapport, this is still a rather wispy premise for a network whose sitcom development remains on wobbly toddler legs.

(from fri) Deadline: PILOTS 2014: The Latest Buzz
We’ve reached the point when the fate of pilots is out of the hands of their creators and into the hands of network executives. In the next two weeks, the execs will rely on testings, internal screenings and (occasionally) their gut to pick a couple of dozen pilots that will join the schedule next season. CBS, as usual the last of the broadcast networks to start greenlighting pilots in January, surprisingly was the first to kick off its screenings today. Here is the latest buzz on pilots at the five broadcast networks as well as TNT and TBS, which also will be picking up new series to present during upfront week.


Steven Spielberg to Direct Roald Dahl Adaptation ‘BFG’
The director is committing to an early 2015 start for the adaptation but leaves room to fit in another smaller movie before then. The live-action film will be based on the fantastical tale of a Big Friendly Giant who befriends a young orphan girl. Melissa Mathison, who penned the script for E.T., wrote the screenplay. Frank Marshall will produce with Michael Siegel on board as executive producer

Zack Snyder to Direct ‘Justice League’ Movie
Henry Cavill
and Ben Affleck are expected to star as Superman and Batman, respectively.

Courteney Cox Directs Like an Actor, ‘Just Before I Go’ Stars Say
Seann William Scott
and Garrett Dillahunt talk about what drew them to the dark comedy while producer Gabriel Cowan reveals how David Arquette helped him produce his ex’s feature directorial debut.


‘Daily Show’ Taps ‘SNL’ Writer Michael Che as Correspondent
“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” is bringing on “Saturday Night Live” writer Michael Che as its newest correspondent. Che, a successful stand-up comedian, has performed on NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” and CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman.

Chelsea Handler in Talks With Netflix for New Show
The host is in talks with the subscription-video service for a new show, sources told The Hollywood Reporter, emphasizing that a deal is nowhere close to being finalized. The "Chelsea Lately" host has previously said she’s leaving E! at the end of the year.

(review) NYT: ‘Last Week Tonight,’ on HBO, Reviews the News
John Oliver’s
new show, “Last Week Tonight,” on HBO, is the “All Things Considered” to Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.”


(from fri) Warner Bros. Buys Stake in Digital-Video Startup TV4 Entertainment
Warner Bros
., fresh off its investment in YouTube multichannel network Machinima, has taken a minority stake in TV4 Entertainment, a startup building a portfolio of special-interest broadband television networks. TV4 has more than 50 content partners and has about 5,000 hours of video in development, according to Cody. The startup is developing “niches that we think there is a passionate audience around,” he said.


Disney Channel Greenlights ‘Teen Beach Movie’ Sequel
After months of speculation, the cable network officially orders a follow-up to last summer’s hit with the original stars returning.

‘Austin & Ally’ Renewed for Fourth Season by Disney Channel
Disney Channel
has ordered a fourth season of the popular comedy series.


A+E Networks Names David Granville-Smith EVP & CFO
Veteran investment banker David Granville-Smith has been named EVP and Chief Financial Officer for A+E Networks. He will succeed Gerard Gruosso, who is retiring after a 30-year stint.

Fox Networks Group Names Clara Kim EVP Business & Legal Affairs
In a move that Fox Networks Group says complements its previously announced restructuring of its business and legal affairs team, it has named Clara Kim EVP Business and Legal Affairs for National Geographic Channels and National Geographic Channels International.


CBS And The CW To Coordinate Ad Sales
They’ll still set their own prices, and won’t share proprietary info from clients. But CBS President of Network Sales Jo Ann Ross will lead an effort to “coordinate and share resources” that will “support strategies that bring value to advertisers,” the companies say. The change takes place today, in time for the upcoming upfront ad sales efforts by CBS and the CBS-Warner Bros venture. The CW EVP of Sales Rob Tuck will still report to CW President Mark Pedowitz, but “with added direction from Ross” on the collaboration.

Charter to Become Second-Largest Cable Operator in Divestiture Pact with Comcast
Charter Communications
is poised to become the nation’s second-largest cable operator after reaching an agreement that calls for Comcast to divest about 3.9 million video subscribers following its merger with Time Warner Cable.