Afternoon News Update for Monday, 5/5/14.


Fox Orders Batman Prequel ‘Gotham’ to Series
The series becomes the network’s third new drama pickup for the 2014-15 TV season.

Netflix’s ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Renewed for Third Season
The Netflix dramedy gets the early pickup for another 13 episodes a month before its June 6 bow.

‘Salem’ Renewed for Second Season at WGN America
The witchy drama marks the first original scripted series for the cable network.

It’s Official: ‘The Comeback’ Returning to HBO
The Lisa Kudrow comedy will be back for a six-episode limited series in the fall.

ABC Family’s Tennis Drama Casts Its Lead
"The Cut" alum Alex Roe will topline "Unstrung," which is set in the world of professional tennis.

Entire NCIS Cast Signed for Season 12
had dodged its annual agita attack this year, with the re-signing of five series regulars whose contracts expire this spring. Michael Weatherly‘s new deal to return to TV’s most watched drama for Seasons 12 and 13 is due to close imminently, while Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette, David McCallum and Rocky Carroll already have signed on the dotted line.

Vulture: Seitz on the Rise of the Bespoke TV Series
The mini-series–anthology is already looking like TV’s next big thing, in part because it removes many of the remaining barriers to drawing film talent. Shorter seasons cure artists’ fear of being trapped in the gilded cage of a long-running hit. The mini-series–anthology model also lessens performance anxiety: Producers, writers, and actors don’t have to worry about prolonging a story beyond its natural end point or reviving a withering show, because every season finale is a prelude to a reboot.


‘E! News’ Promotes Two, Hires Us Weekly Editor
“E! News”
announced Monday that Jennifer Lavin has been promoted to exec producer and Melanie Bromley has been elevated to chief news correspondent. Dina Sansing of Us Weekly will also be joining the team as exec entertainment director of the program, which features co-anchors Giuliana Rancic and Terrence Jenkins and co-hosts Jason Kennedy and Catt Sadler.


CW Launches ‘L.A. Rangers,’ ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ Web Series
The CW’s digital-only studio CW Seed announced Monday that it has launched a new series, “L.A. Rangers,” as well as short webisodes of its improv comedy show “Whose Line is it Anyway?.”L.A. Rangers,” created by and starring “Hart of Dixie” star Wilson Bethel, centers on two aspiring filmmakers working as rangers in LA’s Griffith Park. In each episode of the series, penned and produced by Bethel and Dugan O’Neal, the two are pulled into movie versions of their dreams. “Whose Line is it Minis” will pack 30 minutes of content into two-minute webisodes, including bloopers and outtakes.

‘Veronica Mars’ spin-off starring Ryan Hansen coming to CW Seed
CW Seed
, The CW’s digital-only studio, announced Monday they’re launching a Veronica Mars spin-off starring Ryan Hansen called Play It Again, Dick. The show will be co-written and produced by Mars creator Rob Thomas and will star Hansen as himself as he tries to get the character he played on Mars, Dick Casablancas, a spin-off of his own.


Televisa, Sony TV Set 5-Year Production Pact
Sony Pictures TV
is expanding its ties to Latin American media giant Televisa, inking a deal to produce 840 hours of programming over a five-year frame. The projects will draw on Televisa’s deep bench of talent for 12 series to air on Televisa channels in Mexico and in the U.S. on UniMas, the Univision sibling channel.


Bob Iger and Chewbacca Share ‘Star Wars’ Selfie
The Disney chairman poses with the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon on the Instagram feed of the space-opera property.


(audio) Grantland: The Andy Greenwald Podcast with David Nevins
David Nevins
, president of Showtime Networks, joins Andy Greenwald to discuss the challenges of his job, the future of ‘Homeland,’ and working with Philip Seymour Hoffman.

(books) New Yorker: Jo Nesbø and the rise of Scandinavian crime fiction.
In the crowded field of Scandinavian crime fiction, Jo Nesbø’s books stand out for their blackness. He has written ten novels about the investigations of Inspector Harry Hole, a cynical, alcoholic detective in the Oslo police department. Hole, who is both destructive and self-destructive, always gets his man, but by the end of the story he has inadvertently caused the death of someone he loves, or become an opium addict, or been disfigured.

(stage) New York Drama Critics Circle Says Thumbs Up to Off Broadway’s ‘Fun Home’ and ‘Night Alive’
Conor McPherson
play “The Night Alive” and Jeanine Tesori-Lisa Kron musical “Fun Home” took the 2013-14 awards for best play and musical, respectively, from the New York Drama Critics Circle. Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way,” currently on Broadway in the Tony-nommed production that stars Bryan Cranston, scored the award for American play.


Variety: Upfronts 2014: Why Cable Is Grafting New Faces On To Old Bodies
TV’s biggest players start pitching advertisers next week. But you might want to keep your eyes on some of the smaller ones. The trouble is that cable’s most dynamic players – think AMC, FX, USA, TNT – are constantly adding new high-quality original programming, while digital rivals provide a stream of lower-cost fare. The dynamic squeezes some of the cable’s lower tiers.

2014 TV Upfronts Schedule & Parties
Here is a list of festivities in New York for your planning purposes.

Buzzfeed: 16 New And Returning TV Shows Worth Watching This Summer
Lee Pace in an ’80s computer-programming drama, a Victorian horror mash-up, sex researchers, Jack Bauer, Louie , and female prisoners? Check, check, check, check, check, and check.

New Jersey Advances Production Tax Credit Incentives Bill
The committee chaired by state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) heard from advocates of bill S1952, also known as the “Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act,” on Monday in Trenton. The bill calls for increasing New Jersey’s tax credit offering, which is currently capped at $10 million per year, to $50 million.

(gaming) Comcast and EA in Talks to Stream Video Games to TV
EA Sports is in talks with Comcast to add popular titles such as FIFA Soccer and Madden NFL to the cable provider’s X1 streaming cable box, according to Reuters. Bringing video games into homes via the Internet — and without having to spend hundreds of dollars on consoles — has quickly become a new battleground for streaming boxes.