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


Spike TV Greenlights ‘Tut’ Six-Hour Event Series For Return To Scripted Programming
Spike TV
has greenlighted Tut, a six-hour scripted event series about Tutankhamun, aka King Tut (1333 to 1323 BC), the youngest Pharaoh to rule Ancient Egypt whose famous golden sarcophagus has become one of the symbols of the ancient civilization. The event series, from Canadian production company Muse Entertainment, chronicles Tut’s rise to power and his struggle to lead Egypt to glory, while his closest advisers, friends and lovers scheme for their own nefarious interests.

Craig Zisk To Direct AMC Pilot ‘Knifeman’
Craig Zisk has stepped in to direct AMC drama pilot Knifeman after Brian Percival pulled out last week for personal reasons. I hear Zisk is already in London working in the pilot.

Showtime Near Deal to Partner with Xbox Studios on ‘Halo’ Series
Xbox Entertainment Studios
is deep in negotiations with Showtime to develop a live-action “Halo” drama series that is a high priority for the Microsoft production unit headed by Nancy Tellem. Xbox Studios has been developing a drama series spin on the vidgame franchise with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV. The deal with Showtime has taken a long time to work out because the sides are charting new territory for a show designed to air on Showtime as well as Xbox, with enhanced interactivity built in for the latter platform.

Deadline: PILOTS 2014: Strong Year For Drama & Latest Pilot Buzz
A second consecutive season failed to produce a breakout new comedy series, that despite the fact that there was excitement at a number of broadcast networks last spring about their comedy pilots. Most of the excitement this time seems focused on drama pilots, so don’t be surprised to see more drama-heavy schedules at some of the networks, like NBC. With pilots screenings wrapping, here is one last check on what projects are being buzzed about as we head to next week, when the bulk of new series orders will be made.

‘Walking Dead’ Adds Another ‘Wire’ Alum for Season 5
Seth Gilliam, who most recently recurred on MTV’s "Teen Wolf," becomes the third "Wire" vet to be a series regular on the zombie drama.

(from Fri) Marc Buckland In Deal With Warner Bros. TV
Veteran TV comedy director-producer Marc Buckland has signed a two-year overall deal with Warner Bros. TV to work on pilots and series. The deal will start in June when Buckland’s current pact at Universal TV is up.

(from Fri) Stacey Silverman Joins Universal TV As VP Drama Development
Universal TV
is expanding its drama development team with the hire of Stacey Silverman as VP Drama Development. She starts June 1. Silverman will work alongside SVP Drama Erin Underhill, reporting to SVP Drama Development Russell Rothberg.

(from Fri) ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Quartet Inks New Deals
Sara Ramirez, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers
and James Pickens Jr. will remain on the ABC medical drama for at least two more seasons.

(from Fri) Mistresses: Meet Savi’s Dad
John Heard
has been cast as the father of Alyssa Milano’s Savi.


LeBron James High School Movie Heading to Universal
The pitch dramatizes the story of the Miami Heat star’s early years as seen in the acclaimed documentary "More Than a Game."


Bloomberg To Launch Daily Political TV Show With Mark Halperin & John Heilemann
Bloomberg Media Group
has announced the creation of Bloomberg Politics, a new multi-platform brand to be overseen by Mark Halperin, editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time, and and John Heilemann, national affairs editor for New York magazine. Bloomberg Politics will launch with a new daily television show (that will also stream online), which will be hosted by Halperin and Heilemann.

‘Family Time’ & ‘Off the Chain’ Renewed by Bounce TV; New Series ‘Mann & Wife’ & ‘Sisters’ Announced
Bounce TV
Unveils New Original Series & Renewals for 2014-15 Upfront Season

(rumor) NYPost: Katie Couric in talks to co-host ‘Today’
Couric is a contender to sit in and co-host the No. 2 morning show while Savannah Guthrie is on maternity leave, sources told The Post.


Comedy Central’s ‘Key & Peele’ Team with Maker for Digital Comedy Series
Maker Studios
, the YouTube multichannel network being acquired by Disney, struck a deal with comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” and Principato-Young Entertainment to produce an original shortform slapstick comedy series. The show, “Ithamar Has Nothing to Say,” stars Ithamar Enriquez. The six-episode series follows Enriquez exploring different aspects of American culture for the first time, all without uttering a single word.

Grantland: In Search of the Next ‘Broad City’: Five Comedy Web Series That Could Make It to TV
In the wake of its successful first season, it’s easy to forget that Broad City was a lo-fi web series for years before it was picked up and transformed into a full-fledged television show. Now that the show has become one of Comedy Central’s crown jewels, we’re likely in for a new stage of comedic television: one that finds networks mining low-stakes YouTube shows for their next hit. And wouldn’t you know — there’s a surplus of web shows that fit the bill, waiting to be bankrolled and shined up. Here are five to watch.


(from Fri) ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Crewmember Sues Claiming Gender Discrimination
Timothy Day files a lawsuit in Los Angeles against ABC and Disney claiming he was wrongfully terminated from his longtime job for complaining about actions by the director of photography.

Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ S.T.A.T.I.O.N. to open in NYC
In conjunction with Discovery Times Square, NASA and the National Academy of Sciences, Marvel has announced the world premiere of Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (that’s Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network to you), an interactive exhibit that brings fans into the popular world of The Avengers. The experience will allow visitors to undergo a simulated recruitment, similar to if they were being recruited as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.


Team Coco To Launch Comedy Label
Team Coco
is set to launch a new comedy label this summer, beginning with the release of the debut stand-up album from comedian Ian Edwards, 100% Half Assed. Team Coco says the concept for the new record label was born of a desire to help shine a spotlight on rising comedians while allowing them more creative control and a greater stake in the success of the release.


Vulture: Why Are 23.4 Million People Watching The Big Bang Theory?
TV shows are not supposed to be this popular, not in the age of DVRs, Netflix, and cord-cutting. Nevertheless, CBS’sThe Big Bang Theory—an old-fashioned multi-camera comedy about four nerdy men and three women who tolerate them—is not only television’s No. 1 show but also the highest-rated sitcom since Friends signed off in 2004. Here’s why.

Advertisers Seek a ‘Second Screen’ Connection With Viewers
Companies try to reach multitasking television watchers through their smartphones, tablets and laptops with Twitter and Facebook posts that are relevant to popular programs.

(opinion) AdWeek: Here Are the Survival Odds for Your Favorite Prime-Time TV Shows
ABC always keeps things lively by keeping its renewals under wraps until the day of its upfront presentation. The pulpy Scandal will be back, because, duh. The shows that won’t find a chair when the music stops: The Neighbors, Nashville and every new series but Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Resurrection and The Goldbergs.

Aging Baby Boomers Becoming the Roommate Generation
By 2030, according to the Federal Administration on Aging, one out of every five Americans will be 65 or older. The sheer size of the Boomer cohort, says Harrell, plus its declared desire to age “in place,” rather than in a nursing home, means having a roommate will be what he calls a growing niche option. “Few do it now,” he tells ABC, “but more could, or would, if that option were made more easily available.”