Morning News Update for Thursday, 7/17/14.


Microsoft To Shut Down Xbox Entertainment Studios
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s announcement of one of the largest layoffs in tech history, 18,000 jobs, triggered a whirldwind of speculation what that would mean for Xbox Entertainment Studios. In a memo Phil Spencer confirmed that the company with close Xbox Entertainment Studios in the coming months. Nancy Tellem, Jordan Levin and some of the XES team will stay on and remain committed to original programming already in production.

Dustin Lance Black, Leonardo DiCaprio Team for ‘Lindbergh’ Limited Series at Paramount
The "Milk" Oscar winner will adapt A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography. The limited series will chronicle the tumultuous life of Charles Lindbergh, from his rise to his struggles with modern celebrity. Berg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Killoran and Kevin McCormick are on board to executive produce.

June Diane Raphael & Baron Vaughn Join Netflix Comedy ‘Grace & Frankie’
June Diane Raphael
and Baron Vaughn have landed roles in Grace & Frankie, Netflix’s upcoming half-hour comedy toplined by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

‘Shameless’ Enlists Dermot Mulroney for Major Season 5 Arc
The "Crisis" alum will play a love interest for Emmy Rossum’s Fiona in a season-long arc.

Jason Lee Cast in Amazon Pilot ‘Cocked’
Jason Lee
has been cast to star opposite Brian Dennehy and Sam Trammel in Amazon Studios’ dramedy pilot, “Cocked.”

Deborah Ann Woll Is Karen Page in ‘Daredevil’
Deborah Ann Woll
of True Blood has been cast in the Marvel Studios show as Karen Page, the woman who works for lawyer Matt Murdock and eventually has a romantic relationship with him.

Susan Heyward Lands Female Lead In Sony Playstation Series ‘Powers’, Max Fowler & Adam Godley Also Cast
Susan Heyward
has been tapped as the female lead in Powers, the Sony Playstation Network series based on the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Also cast in the direct-to-series project, whose first two episodes will be directed by David Slade from scripts by Charlie Huston, are Max Fowler and Adam Godley.

‘NCIS” Cote de Pablo to Star in CBS Mini ‘The Dovekeepers’
She’ll topline the four-hour event series from Roma Downey and Mark Burnett set for 2015.

‘Once Upon a Time’ showrunners spill ‘Frozen’ secrets (no Olaf!)
After a brutal hike up icy peaks to the Once Upon a Time set in Arendelle,


CBS’ Nina Tassler Talks ‘Big Bang’ Contracts, Latenight and Diversity
Though the cast of “The Big Bang Theory” is still negotiating their contracts for the new season, “We’re feeling very confident that these deals will be able to be worked out,” chairman of CBS Entertainment Nina Tassler told reporters Thursday at the annual Television Critics Assn. press tour.


HBO Lands Bryan Cranston Tony Winner ‘All the Way’ for Film Adaptation
The Tony-winner will reprise his role as President Lyndon Johnson, with Steven Spielberg also on board to exec produce.


Oz dads drama remade in Europe
Producers in France and Italy have bought remake rights to House Husbands, an Australian drama format that looks at the relationships between four stay-at-home dads and their families.

Netflix, Disney in Exclusive Canadian Deal for Feature Films
has inked a deal to become the exclusive Canadian subscription television service for first-run live-action and animated feature films from The Walt Disney Studios. The pact kicks off in 2015 and will cover new titles from Disney Live Action, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Disneynature and DreamWorks Studios. Films will be available on Netflix about eight months after the end of the theatrical run.


(animated) Disney Prepping ‘Haunted Mansion’ TV Special
The TV animation studio also has picked up three new pilots and a shortform series for Disney XD and has extended the development deal for "Phineas and Ferb’s" Dan Povenmire.

Marvel Announces New Captain America on ‘The Colbert Report’
Sam Wilson, formerly the Falcon, will take on the cowl and shield in a new series launching in November, CCO Joe Quesada tells Stephen Colbert.


Atlantic: Americans Say Jews Are the Coolest
Jews are officially cool. Or at least, that’s how I read the latest poll from Pew on American attitudes toward other faiths. The researchers asked a panel of more than 3,200 nationally representative adults to take a "feeling thermometer" about religious groups in America. Despite making up only two percent of the country’s population, despite having only 100 representatives in this 3,000-person poll, and even despite being almost congenitally dorky, Jews were at the top. This is like the statistically impossible triumph of Hanukkah, only better.