Afternoon News Update for Monday, August 18, 2014.

Hi all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Monday, 8/18/14:


Fox Developing ‘No Ordinary Time’ Limited Series With Stephen Frears & Bob Cooper
has put in development No Ordinary Time, a 10-hour limited series based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book chronicling President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term during World War II. Stephen Frears is attached to direct the project, which will be written by Paul Webb. Landscape Entertainment’s Bob Cooper and Tyler Mitchell will executive produce with Alan J. Pakula’s widow, writer Hannah Pakula, and Entertainment One Television.

Keanu Reeves to Star in Action TV Series ‘Rain’ From Slingshot Global Media
Slingshot Global Media
announced Monday that Keanu Reeves will star in and executive produce its upcoming television series “Rain,” based on the best-selling novels from Barry Eisler. Reeves will play John Rain, a half-Japanese, half-American contract assassin who struggles to find an identity beyond being a killer. Slingshot will produce and distribute the series, with Eisler, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski serving as exec producers with Reeves.

NBC Developing ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ Drama Series Produced By John Wells & Arnold Kopelson
Producers John Wells and Arnold Kopelson are bringing the 1997 feature The Devil’s Advocate to television as a potential series. The legal drama with a supernatural twist, from Warner Bros. TV, has landed at NBC with what I hear is a put pilot commitment. Written by Matt Venne, the series centers on a public defender who joins a law firm that is run by the Devil himself.

Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios Adapting William Sebold Book for TV, Film
Peter Duffy’s "Double Agent"
gets optioned for film and TV. Double Agent: The First Hero of World War II and How the FBI Outwitted and Destroyed a Nazi Spy Ring centers on William Sebold, a German-born American citizen who risked his life to become the first double agent in FBI history. His 16-month infiltration of New York City’s Nazi underground led to the arrest and conviction of 33 German spies at the dawn of the U.S.’ entry into WWII.

Fox Passes on Tina Fey-Produced Comedy ‘Cabot College’
has taken a pass on the comedy “Cabot College,” produced by the “30 Rock” duo of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock for Universal Television. Project from Universal TV had received a series commitment from Fox but never got a formal greenlight for production after the pilot was shot last spring.

(from Fri) Tassie Cameron Procedural in Development at NBCU
NBCU is building up its slate of procedurals with “Rope” from Tassie Cameron. Based on a real unit, “Rope” focuses on the Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement squad, an elite team of officers that specialize in finding criminals no one else can. After losing her partner to suicide, criminal profiler and so-called “hot mess” Jo McKenzie returns to her hometown and joins the Rope squad. The series is based on idea by Cameron and Calum deHartog. “Rope” is produced by Halfire Entertainment for NBC & Shaw Media, with Cameron, deHartog and Noreen Halpern serving as exec producers.

(from Fri) Dan Sterling Comedy From Phil Lord, Chris Miller & 20th TV Lands At CBS With Put Pilot Commitment
In a very competitive situation, CBS has landed a multi-camera comedy from former Office executive producer Dan Sterling and Phil Lord & Chris Miller with a put pilot commitment — the first such commitment for a half-hour pitch this season. The untitled project hails from 20th Century Fox TV, where Lord and Miller have an overall deal. The comedy centers on an accommodating, well-meaning, and all-too-compliant man, and a powerful, outspoken, embattled woman who form a new friendship and partnership by which they jointly strive to revolutionize themselves and their lives.

(from Fri) Showtime Buys Dating Comedy From Stu Zicherman & Jason Katims
Showtime has put in development a half-hour comedy project from Stu Zicherman, co-creator of the ABC drama series Six Degrees. It hails from Jason Katims’ True Jack Prods., marking the company’s first foray into cable. Written/executive produced by Zicherman, the untitled project has an anthology element. It explores modern dating, centering on a recently divorced guy who tries to evolve and connect one date at a time. Universal TV, where True Jack is based, produces, with True Jack’s Katims and Michelle Lee executive producing alongside Zicherman.

Comedy Writer Julius Sharpe Inks Overall Deal With 20th Century Fox TV
Julius Sharpe
, one of Seth MacFarlane’s inner circle of trusted writers, has signed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV, where MacFarlane has been based. Under the overall pact, he is consulting on 20th TV’s upcoming ABC multi-camera family comedy Cristela.

(from Fri) Katherine Heigl NBC Drama Loses Showrunner
Ed Bernero has departed the drama after creative clashes with EP Joe Carnahan; ‘Trauma’s’ Dario Scardapane in negotiations to join as showrunner

Fox Launches Charity Program That Could Make ‘Red Band Society’ Available Early
is teaming up with several charities leading up to the premiere of new drama “Red Band Society” and, depending on if the network reaches its goal, could make the show available before it’s September premiere. The initiative, dubbed “Red Band Society: Banding Together for Good,” donates $1 to charity for each social media share of content from, a special website created for the program. If $100,000 is raised before Friday, Aug. 22, Fox will make the pilot of the drama available for 100 hours via Fox on Demand, Fox Now app, and Hulu.

ABC unveils mysterious new ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ billboard in L.A.
unveiled a new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. billboard that may have motorists scratching their heads.

How ABC casts the diversity net wider for stars and talent
Keli Lee
, head of casting, explains how the channel’s annual showcase has found stars such as Lupita Nyong’o. The 12 Years a Slave star is perhaps Lee’s most high-profile find, but others who have found success from the Showcases include Randall Park who stars in the upcoming series Fresh off the Boat, as well as Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams, Chadwick Boseman (42) and Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids).


Revenge Season 4: Nestor Serrano Cast
Nestor Serrano has been tapped to recur as Edward Alvarez, a “commanding and perceptive police chief” who’s (surprisingly) in Victoria’s corner.

Leslie Bibb Joins CBS’ The Odd Couple
The Odd Couple
continues to flesh out its supporting cast, adding Popular vet Leslie Bibb in a recurring role.

Kyle MacLachlan to return to ‘The Good Wife’
First, we found out that Carrie Preston’s Elsbeth Tascioni would make her triumphant return, and now we’ve got more good news for Tascioni fans: Josh Perotti is coming back with her. Kyle MacLachlan will reprise his role as Perotti, the attorney who once caught Ms. Tascioni’s eye (or rather, she caught his).

Sharlto Copley, Michelle Forbes to Topline PlayStation’s ‘Powers’
They take over roles previously played by Jason Patric and Carly Foulkes in the FX take.

Castle Casts The Closer Alumna in Season 7 Toy Story
Gina Ravera
, who for four seasons played Detective Irene Daniels on TNT’s The Closer, will guest-star in the coming season’s second episode.

Jaime Ray Newman Cops Bosch Role

Jaime Ray Newman is poised to butt heads with the titular detective in Amazon Prime’s upcoming Bosch series.

Andrea Savage Joins Showtime Comedy ‘Episodes’
Andrea Savage
has landed a major season-long arc opposite Matt LeBlanc on Showtime’s Episodes.

Giacomo Gianniotti Joins ABC’s ‘Selfie’; Andy Ridings & Dylan Gelula In NBC’s ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’
Giacomo Gianniotti
has booked a recurring role opposite Karen Gillan and John Cho in ABC/Warner Bros TV single-camera comedy Selfie.

(from Fri) Revenge Admits ‘Lisa Simpson’
Yeardley Smith
, who voices Lisa on The Simpsons, will guest-star on Revenge‘s season premiere.

(from Fri) HBO’s ‘Westworld’ Enlists Miranda Otto
The all-star cast continues to grow for J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Nolan and Jerry Weintraub.

(from Fri) James Belushi Among Trio Cast in David Simon’s HBO Miniseries
Terry Kinney
and Michael Stahl-David have also boarded ‘Show Me a Hero’


Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’ Grows Cast with T.I., Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, John Slattery
Marvel’s Ant-Man
has announced several new castings, including rapper T.I., Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer and John Slattery. The film, directed by Peyton Reed, began principal photography on Monday in San Francisco.


Nick Lachey Lands A&E Reality Series
Nick and Drew Lachey
are the subjects of A&E’s latest celebrity-driven reality show, with the upcoming “Lachey’s Bar” (working title). The series, which has received an order for 10 half-hour episodes, will follow the Lachey brothers as they open a bar together in their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

TLC Orders More Kate Gosselin Specials
‘Kate Plus 8’
gets additional hours in December following a solid revival in June.

CBS Seeks More Than $500K for Ads in ‘Thursday Night Football’
is seeking more than half a million dollars for a 30-second spot in its coming “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts,which will be simulcast on cable’s the NFL Network — the latest signal that TV networks believe live football gives them a greater advantage in reaching the large crowds of consumers their sponsors expect.


New BBC One Drama from Peter Bowker
Screenwriter Peter Bowker is adapting the best-selling novel Capital by John Lanchester as a new drama series for BBC One. Capital is about a London street that is transformed by soaring property prices, inhabited by characters who are diverse in nationality, race, wealth and experience. Kudos Film & Television is producing Capital as a 3×1-hour drama.

‘Happy Valley’ Renewed for Season Two by BBC Ahead of U.S. Netflix Premiere
Hard-hitting drama Happy Valley is coming back for a second series, the BBC has announced. The next series will let viewers "delve deeper" into the world of Sarah Lancashire’s character Catherine Cawood, according to producers. The first six parts hinged on a kidnap plot in the small West Yorkshire town where Catherine is a police sergeant.

(from Fri) ITV orders Mammoth drama
UK commercial broadcaster ITV1 has commissioned its second three-part drama this week, about a female police officer who sets out to discover who murdered her husband. Black Work (3×60’), from producer Mammoth Screen, stars Sheridan Smith as the emotionally distraught cop who endeavours to unravel the last six months of her husband’s life. The project was penned by Matt Charman. Michael Samuels directs while Tom Mullens produces.

Earlier this week, ITV greenlit The Trials of Jimmy Rose (3×60’), from ITV Studios, about a family man trying to move on from his criminal past.


A+E Studios’ Alexandra MacDowell Upped To SVP Production Management
A+E Networks
has promoted Alexandra MacDowell to SVP Production Management for A+E Studios. MacDowell, who previously served as VP Production Management, will continue to oversee the production management for all unscripted programming in the A+E Networks’ portfolio (A&E, History, Lifetime, FYI, H2 and LMN). Additionally, in her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing strategic production opportunities for nonfiction programming under A+E Studios.

TVGN Taps Jessie Surovell As VP Development, Kristan Giordano Upped To VP Original Programming
is expanding its original programming department, naming Jessie Surovell VP Development and promoting Kristan Giordano to VP Original Programming. Based at TVGN’s Los Angeles headquarters, both report to Paul Adler, SVP Original Programming and Development.


Quixote Studios Boycott Ends as Labor Agreement Is Reached
Quixote Studios
LLC and Teamsters Local 399 have come to an agreement, ending a boycott of Quixote by the teamsters. The agreement will see Local 399 represent Quixote drivers and dispatchers. Additionally, there will be a secret ballot election soon to allow warehouse workers to decide if they would also like to be represented by Local 399 as a collective bargaining unit.

(music) This is Youtube Key, Google’s upcoming subscription music service
YouTube Music Key
will offer a 30-day free trial to start, after which the service will run $9.99/month. Specifically, it looks like YouTube Music Key will offer ad-free music, audio-only playback (for background or screen-off listening), and offline playback.

(from Fri) Lawmakers Unveil Overhaul of California’s Film and TV Tax Credit Lottery
California’s means of awarding film and television tax credits would switch from a lottery system to one based on an applicant’s ability to create new jobs, according to an outline of a series of amendments to pending legislation to expand and extend the state’s incentive program.