Afternoon News Update for Thursday, 7/24/14.

Hi all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Thursday, 7/24/14:


Amazon Studios Adds Drama ‘The Man In The High Castle’, Comedy ‘Just Add Magic’ To Pilot Slate
Amazon Studios
‘ quietly greenlit two more pilots, drama The Man In the High Castle and comedy Just Add Magic. Based on Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning novel, The Man In the High Castle hails from The X-Files alum Frank Spotnitz and Scott Free. Written by Spotnitz and to be directed by David Semel, the project set in 1962 explores an alternative reality in which Nazi Germany and Japan won World War II and occupy the United States, with the East Coast controlled by the Nazis and the West Coast owned by Japan, and a chunk of the Midwest still up for grabs.

Written by Joanna Lewis, Joanna Songco and Nancy Cohen and to be directed by Joe Nussbaum, Just Add Magic centers on three 12-year-old girls and best friends, whose lives change when one of them, whose passion is baking, discovers in her attic a strange old recipe book, with recipes for baked goods that also have powerful spells.

Sony TV Options Jenny Mollen’s Memoir ‘I Like You Just The Way I Am’
Jenny Mollen
has inked an option sale on her recently released memoir I Like You Just The Way In Am, which Sony TV nabbed in a competitive situation. Mollen will adapt and star in the series, based on her tome about life as an actress and best-selling author. She’ll also executive produce alongside Jamie Tarses and Karen Kehela Sherwood.

NYT Best-Selling Author James Patterson Signs First-Look Deal With CBS TV Studios
The author’s James Patterson Entertainment company has signed a multi-year first look deal with CBS Television Studios. The deal will allow CBS Television Studios to leverage Patterson’s library, which includes 130 novels that have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. Under the agreement, Cathy Konrad‘s Treeline Films will have access to Patterson’s work via Treeline’s overall deal with CBS Television Studios. James Patterson Entertainment will partner with Treeline Films and other producers to develop his books into series.

Andy Samberg, Kit Harington Lead All-Star Cast of HBO Sports Mockumentary
Lena Dunham, Will Forte, Karen Gillan and Soledad O’Brien
are also among the original one-off from "Girls" writer/co-EP Murray Miller and the "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star. The one-off HBO Comedy Event is described as a sports mockumentary starring Samberg and Game of Thrones breakout Kit Harington as fierce tennis rivals in an epic, seven-day match at Wimbledon.

MTV Renews ‘Teen Wolf’ for Season 5
The network is bringing back the hourlong series for 20 more episodes.

Melissa Gilbert Books Arc on ABC’s ‘Secrets & Lies’
She’ll recur on the midseason series starring Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis.

Elementary Enlists Lost’s Sonya Walger, Revolution’s Zak Orth
Lost alum Sonya Walger and Revolution’s Zak Orth have landed guest-starring roles on Elementary.

Michael Landes To Star In ABC Series ‘Members Only’
Michael Landes is set as one of the leads in ABC‘s straight-to-series Members Only (formerly The Club), an upstairs/downstairs drama set at a private country club from CBS TV Studios and ABC Studios.

(sched) NBC to Burn Off the Final Two Episodes of ‘Crossbones’ to Burn Off Saturday August 1
is pulling the final two episodes of low rated drama Crossbones out of the Friday at 10PM timeslot and burning them off on Saturday August 2.

(review) Variety: ‘Manhattan’
WGN is following the witchy (but not terribly bewitching) “Salem” with “Manhattan,” a dense ensemble drama devoted to the scientists involved in the Manhattan Project, which devised the first nuclear bombs. Opening, as the on-air script informs us, “766 days before Hiroshima,” the show establishes plenty of room to operate. But the program’s dense, grim nature augurs a rather narrow appeal, leaving a different sort of cloud hanging over its prospects.


Behind-The-Scenes With Sony Pictures’ Problems: Part One
On June 19th, I emailed Sony Pictures Entertainment Vice Chairman Jeff Blake and asked if he was leaving the studio. "Up in the air. Will know soon. Promise to tell you," he replied. To which I responded, "OK. Please tell me first." His Sony bosses Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal were trying to force Blake into retiring rather than demonstrate to Hollywood that they were firing the beloved 22-year studio veteran as the sacrificial lamb for all of Sony Pictures’ many problems.


‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Mayim Bialik to Host ‘Candid Camera’ Reboot
Mayim Bialik
has come aboard as host of TV Land’s upcoming reboot of the classic hidden-camera series “Candid Camera,” the network said Thursday.

Iggy Azalea to Host MTV’s ‘House of Style’
Iggy Azalea
has been tapped as the new host of MTV’s fashion show “House of Style.” The short-form eight-episode season will premiere August 4.

Lisa Rinna Joining Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is welcoming a new member into its ranks. Lisa Rinna has signed on for the Bravo show’s fifth season, Us Weekly reports.


Google Seals Deal to Buy Twitch for $1 Billion
has finally clinched a deal to buy videogame-broadcasting company Twitch for $1 billion. Variety first reported in May that Google had reached a preliminary pact to acquire Twitch for $1 billion in cash, in order to augment its YouTube video site.

Xbox Digital Series ‘Halo: Nightfall’ Rounds Out Cast
One of the surviving digital video projects for Microsoft’s Xbox, the live-action Halo: Nightfall series, has set the rest of its cast. Joining previously announced Mike Colter are Christina Chong; Steve Waddington; and Luke Neal. Also cast are Alexander Bhat; Christian Contreras; Jennie Gruner; Alexis Rodney; Eric Kofi Abrefa; Shaun Blaney and Sarah Armstrong.


Sutherland to star in Sky drama
Kiefer Sutherland
is set to star in a one-off drama commissioned by UK satcaster BSkyB to air on its Sky Arts channel this Christmas. Marked (1×30’) will air on Sky Arts as part of the channel’s comedy and drama strand Playhouse Presents… with 24 star Sutherland and UK comic Stephen Fry in lead roles. The story follows the life of a regular man, ground down by the pressures of work, family and money, who agrees to take on a professional hit job for a neighbour – only to find that Fry is the target.


Even Disney is Surprised by the Success of ‘Disney Infinity’
After struggling for years to launch a major video game franchise, Disney Interactive has a big hit with “Disney Infinity,” which requires physical figures based on the company’s popular characters in order to play. Disney is now ready for the next installment, “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes,” which will offer up super heroes from Marvel’s movies and books for the first time, including the Guardians of the Galaxy, starting Sept. 23.


(q&a) THR: 22 Top Network Execs Reveal the Show They Really Want, Agent Pet Peeves and Most Memorable Pitches
TV chiefs open to up THR about the shows that got away, the trends they wish would end and what they dislike about the development process.


(q&a) SSN: How Zachary Levi Made Nerd HQ the Place to Be During Comic-Con
Zachary Levi is also known as the man who started Nerd Machine. Nerd Machine, a lifestyle brand for geek culture, sprung up in 2010, and since 2011 they’ve held the annual Nerd HQ confab in San Diego during Comic-Con. It’s a place where you can grab a bite, charge your phone, take in a panel, and of course party—all without a badge. SSN got the chance to chat with Levi during his craziest week of the year.


(opinion) Deadline: Does Time Warner Need CBS To Thwart A Fox Takeover?
Jeff Bewkes
, who says he wants to keep Time Warner independent, has few takeover defenses. What can he do? Here are a few of the leading options that Time Warner execs and their advisors at Citigroup are weighing. 1) Combine with CBS: This would make Time Warner toxic for Fox: The FCC would not allow Murdoch to control two of the four biggest networks, and two of the largest TV station groups with overlaps in the nation’s largest markets.

(opinion) THR: Why Jeff Bewkes Really Wants to Sell Time Warner
With Rupert Murdoch making an $80 billion play for the company, insiders tell THR that the TW CEO’s recent moves indicate he is ready to unload.

(video) Atlantic: What’s the Most Important Element of a Good Story?
At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, we asked a group of writers, journalists, and producers to explain what makes a story great. According to House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon, the answer is a simple one: "The most important element in a good story is conflict. It’s seeing two opposing forces collide with one another."

(video) Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch’s Old Second City Show ‘Dratch & Fey’ Is Now Online
Before they broke into SNL stardom, Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch starred in a two-woman show together called Dratch & Fey that ran at Second City and New York’s UCB from 1999-2000, and a couple days ago an old VHS copy of the entire show showed up on YouTube.