Afternoon News Update for Monday, 7/21/14.

Hi all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Monday, 7/21/14:


Lucy Lawless Recruited By Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Lucy Lawless
is bringing her special brand of butt-kickery to Season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Brian Hallisay Joins ABC’s ‘Revenge’
Brian Hallisay
has been cast in the upcoming fourth season of ABC drama Revenge. He is set for a heavily recurring role with an option to become a regular in the second part of the season.

FX’s Charlie Kaufman Pilot Not Going Forward
has passed on How And Why, its comedy pilot written, directed and executive produced by Charlie Kaufman. The project, which starred John Hawkes, Michael Cera, Sally Hawkins and Catherine Keener, told the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works but is clueless about life. I hear the pilot came in close to an hour and swung back and forth between comedy and drama.

Bernadette Peters books guest star role on Bravo’s ‘Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce’
Bernadette Peters
will guest star in the first season of Bravo’s upcoming original scripted series Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, premiering Tuesday December 2. Peters will play Annie—the mother of divorced entertainment lawyer Lyla (Garofalo)—who comes to town to help her kids.


(sched) Showtime’s ‘The Affair’ Gets Premiere Date, Preview
has announced an Oct. 19 premiere date for “The Affair” and released a three-minute first look at the upcoming marital drama. The series, starring Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson, examines the emotional fallout of infidelity.

(sched) FXX to Air 12-Day Simpsons Marathon of Every Episode
FXX announced that it would air all 552 episodes of The Simpsons and the movie in a record-breaking 12-day marathon beginning Thursday, Aug. 21. That’s 278 straight, chronological hours of The Simpsons to celebrate the network’s exclusive cable acquisition and non-linear VOD rights to the hit animated show. Not enough Simpsons? In October, and the FXNOW app will launch the Simpsons World digital portal where fans can dive deeper into everything Springfield.


Salon: “Dating Naked”: Welcome to the nude reality-show boom
Reality stars now date and house-hunt in the buff. How did reality TV drift this far from real life?

Some Sports Fans Upset ESPN Is Airing Video Game Tournaments
This weekend, ESPN2 aired a preview for the grand finals of Dota 2’s The International, the 10 million-dollar tournament for the very popular video game. The move is kind of a big deal—arguably, it grants competitive gaming more mainstream legitimacy. But not everyone was happy to see Dota 2 on ESPN.


Netflix Now Has More Than 50 Million Subscribers
surpassed 50 million subscribers for the first time in its second quarter, the company said Monday. The company added 1.7 million net subscribers for the quarter. In the United States, 36.2 million people have subscribed to Netflix’s streaming service. Internationally, the figure is 13.8 million, the company reported.

Netflix Defends Chelsea Handler Deal
Chelsea Handler’s
talk show on Netflix, slated to debut in 2016, will have a limited shelf life, chief content officer Ted Sarandos acknowledged, but he said it will fit into the streaming company’s overall mix by introducing a new time-shifted model for latenight TV.


SSN: Outside Hall H: Your Go-To List of the Lounges, Development Troves, & Mini-Cons Happening in and Around Comic-Con
For industry execs looking for breakout talent, combing through the booths of Marvel and DC can be a waste of time. Luckily, a few companies have struck out on their own and created events outside the main venue where new ideas and burgeoning talent can still be found. Click through the link for a list of events and mini-conventions, along with some hidden hideaways, where you’ll get a breath of fresh air and maybe even some properties ripe for development.


Robert Downey Jr. leads Forbes’ highest-paid actors list again
The movie star came in first for the second year in a row, the financial mag said, raking in an additional $75 million between June 2013 and June 2014. Coming in second — and $23 million lower — on the list of 10 actors is "The Fast & the Furious" star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who earned $52 million. "American Hustle" star and Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper came in at No. 3 with an estimated $46 million for the year.

NBA Star Carmelo Anthony Forms Media and Tech VC Firm with Stuart Goldfarb
Carmelo Anthony
, the NBA All Star who recently re-signed with the New York Knicks, has formed a venture-capital firm, M7 Tech Partners, together with Stuart Goldfarb, former CEO of Bertelsmann Direct North America and ex-NBC exec. M7 Tech Partners, based in New York, will invest in and develop early-stage digital media, consumer Internet and technology.


AdWeek: The Upfront Will Be Down More Than 6%
No, all that money that didn’t go to broadcast networks is not showing up on cable. New Jersey-based agency MDI says the upfront will be down 6.1 percent this year to $18.1 billion—the first time the market will have dipped since ’09-10 when the TV industry pulled back sharply on ad spending. With budgets down across the board, it’s hard to know what the endgame for the year’s advertising revenue will look like. It’s not clear whether budgets are indeed down across the board or a difficult year for TV ratings has meant that advertisers are now willing to spend more in scatter.

Origin Digital Studios Opens New VFX Ops In Burbank
Visual effects house Origin Digital Studios is opening for business in Burbank, even as VFXc ompanies increasingly flee Los Angeles for more enticingly incentivized cities. The new mid-sized indie studio is backed by Miami-based Lincoln Road Advisors and already has a key strategic partnership in place, with Origin HQ operating out of a Fotokem facility in Burbank and its NY outpost fiber-connected to Fotokem’s network. Origin is headed by president Mark Miller.

Time Warner Board Moves to Block Potential Fox Takeover
With the threat of a potential takeover by Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox looming, Time Warner Inc.’s board of directors on Monday moved to prevent its shareholders from calling a special meeting to consider the bid. The change in the bylaws, disclosed in a regulatory filing, effectively blocks any sudden action by Fox, which last week made an offer for Time Warner for about $80 billion or about $85 per share in a mix of stock and cash that was rebuffed.

(gaming) Mashable: We Played ‘Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’ So You Don’t Have To
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood
is the hottest new mobile sensation that’s already estimated to become the most profitable game of the year. With so much buzz surrounding it, you’re probably wondering: What am I missing? Don’t sweat it — we did the dirty work for you.

(feature) Aeon: How To Choose
‘Lotteries guarantee that when you are choosing at random, there will be no reasons at all for one option rather than another being selected.’ He calls this the sanitising effect of lotteries – they eliminate all reasons from a decision, scrubbing away any kind of unwanted influence. As Stone acknowledges, randomness eliminates good reasons from the running as well as bad ones. He doesn’t advocate using chance indiscriminately. ‘But, sometimes,’ he argues, ‘the danger of bad reasons is bigger than the loss of the possibility of good reasons.’