Morning News Update for Monday, 6/23/14.


Starz Orders ‘Girlfriend Experience’ Series from Steven Soderbergh, Philip Fleishman
has given a 13-episode order to an anthology series from Steven Soderbergh and producer Philip Fleishman that is inspired by the helmer’s 2009 feature “The Girlfriend Experience.” “The Girlfriend Experience” will delve into the world of high-end escorts who provide not only sex but companionship experiences for their clients. The half-hour series will revolve around a woman working as a “GFE,” as these services as known, as she encounters different clients and experiences. Indie filmmakers Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz will write all 13 installments and divide up the directing work on the segs.

Showtime Picks Up Comedy Pilot From Aline Brosh McKenna, Rachel Bloom & Marc Webb
has greenlighted a second half-hour from well-.known filmmakers: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, from feature writer Aline Brosh McKenna, with The Amazing Spider-Man helmer Marc Webb set to direct. The half-hour comedy features musical elements, a first for Showtime. Co-created, written and executive produced by Brosh McKenna and writer/actress/comedian Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend stars Bloom as Rebecca, a successful, driven, and possibly crazy young woman who impulsively gives up everything her partnership at a prestigious law firm and her upscale apartment in Manhattan in a desperate attempt to find love and happiness in that exotic hotbed of romance and adventure: West Covina, CA.

NBC Developing Supernatural Limited Series From Bob Cooper & Gina Matthews
has in the works Wasteland, an hourlong limited series executive produced by Bob Cooper of Landscape Entertainment and Gina Matthews of Little Engine. Feature scribe Mick Davis, who penned the pilot, is staying in the genre space with Wasteland. The supernatural crime-drama, produced by Sony TV, follows a hardened US Marshal, who in the wake of a massive prison break, is charged with hunting down fugitives with supernatural powers, while unlocking the mystery of his past. The project was originally set up as a drama series at TNT three years ago with Davis writing and Cooper and J.J. Jamieson executive producing through FremantleMedia North America.

‘Alias’ Alum Joins A&E’s ‘The Returned’ Remake
Carl Lumbly has been cast in the 10-episode suspense drama from Carlton Cuse.

Cast Set, Plot Revealed For Wachowskis’ Netflix Globe-Spanning Series ‘Sense8′
Naveen Andrews, Daryl Hannah and Stargate Universe‘s Brian J. Smith are among the 14-member international cast of Sense8, Netflix‘s 10-episode sci-fi drama series from the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski. “The series follows eight characters around the world who, in the aftermath of a tragic death, find themselves linked to each other mentally and emotionally,” he told Deadline. “They can not only see and talk to each other as though they were in the same place, they have access to each other’s deepest secrets. Not only must they figure out what happened and why and what it means for the future of humanity, they must do so while being hunted by an organization out to capture, kill or vivisect them.”

(review) Variety: ‘Tyrant’
More than most pilots, “Tyrant’s” first hour is all preamble — the necessary buildup and narrative contortions to establish its provocative if implausible premise. As such, it’s a solid but not particularly distinguished effort, one that requires a significant suspension of disbelief to explore its insights about the Middle East, and the nature of the strongmen who have held sway there.

(review) Variety: ‘Taxi Brooklyn’
Despite a slight, breezy USA network-type feel, “Taxi Brooklyn” is such a risible concept as to border on parody. Alas, this NBC series by way of France doesn’t make that turn, leaving behind a head-scratcher of a show, derived from a last-century French movie written by Luc Besson (“Taxi”), and casting “Grey’s Anatomy” alum Chyler Leigh as the latest in a long line of unconvincing hard-bitten smallscreen detectives.


Atlantic: Why Disney Can Risk Rian Johnson Helming a Star Wars Film
By hiring talented but untested directors and taking some creative risks, Marvel set out to create individual franchises set in the same world, just as in the comics. The Marvel method has upended the blockbuster formula, which, ironically, was created by the original Star Wars film in 1977. Will Disney be able to do the same with Star Wars, credibly expanding the universe beyond the story of the Skywalkers?

Nathan Fillion to make cameo in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
Nathan Fillion
will appear in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn revealed this weekend on Twitter. The role is extremely brief, says Gunn, who said on Twitter that the Firefly and Castle star has a "a very small fun cameo he did as a favor to me."


Disney Joins Bidders for Red-Hot Vice Media
is negotiating deals with three potential suitors, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox and, perhaps most curiously, Disney, The New York Times reports. Despite only producing 11 hours of television content, the company is vying for its own TV network, as well as “a movie deal and a lot of money for its founders and investors.”


Yahoo Snags Veteran Investigative Journalist Michael Isikoff For New Unit
has hired veteran investigative reporter Michael Isikoff to lead a new investigative unit, the web portal said on Sunday.


Sky 1 orders latest comedy-drama
UK satellite channel Sky 1 HD has commissioned a six-part comedy drama about a teenager living reaching adulthood in a small Northern English town. After Hourswill follow James Tarpey as an 18 year-old with no job or prospects who gets by listening to a local internet radio station. Jamie Winstone, Ardal O’Hanlon and John Thomson are among the acting talent. Craig Cash executive produces and directs the show, which Molly Naylor and John Osborne wrote.

Asian nets buy US Rising Star
Two Asian channels and a Chinese VOD platform have acquired ABC’s US version of Israeli singing format Rising Star. MediaCorp in Singapore has acquired the show for its broadcaster Channel 5, while Bangkok Entertainment Company has picked it up and will air it on one of its Thai DTT channels.


(stage) `Newsies’, Disney’s Accidental Broadway Hit, Will Shutter In August
Disney, which has been quick to drop the axe on its Broadway flops, including Tarzan and The Little Mermaid, announced today that its accidental hit, Newsies, will close on August 24 at the Nederlander Theatre, while still earning respectable money at the box office after a run of more than two years and grosses of over $100 million.


SyFy’s Head Of Programming On Carving Out An Identity In A World Gone Genre
After a successful tenure in a similar role at the USA Network–also owned by NBC UniversalBill McGoldrick was brought on in late 2013 to revitalize SyFy’s programming. The network has had hits even as science fiction became increasingly mainstream–think Battlestar Galactica–but it’s also watched as the marketplace it should own has spread to other networks.

Vishnu Athreya Named VP Programming Scheduling At Cartoon Network, Boomerang
Vishnu Athreya
has been named VP Program scheduling for Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Athreya will oversee day-to-day scheduling and strategic positioning of programming for Cartoon Network, Boomerang and branded non-linear program platforms.


Complete List of 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Winners
Sunday night, The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced the winners of the 41st Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards: Outstanding Morning Program – Good Morning America (ABC)

Vulture: Orphan Black Is an Orphan. What Ever Happened to Saturday Prime-time TV Shows?
There are not a lot of first-run scripted shows on Saturdays in prime time. Orphan Black is on BBC America, which also shows Doctor Who on Saturdays when it’s in season; Starz’s new drama Power airs Saturdays, and come August, Outlander will take over that slot. But that’s about it! Cable stations today very rarely put scripted shows on on Saturdays, and networks have given up. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, a lot of terrific, popular, or terrific and popular shows used to air on Saturdays.

Salon: How “Twin Peaks” shaped the entire golden age of TV
Many of the defining aspects of “Twin Peaks” can seem clichéd today: Its narrative intricacy, its darkness, its reliance on antiheroes. But that’s just because we are by now so used to the show’s sensibility in our televised diet. What set this show apart has so thoroughly been assimilated that talking about it is like pointing to the sky and calling it blue. But this engaging, surreal and occasionally frustrating, 30-episode series about the hunt for a prom queen’s killer was ahead of its time.