Hi all! Here’s your morning news update for Friday, 8/29/14:
ABC Examines Medical Drama Project from ‘Smash’s’ David Marshall Grant
ABC has given a put-pilot order to a medical advocate drama project from actor-scribe David Marshall Grant. The untitled one-hour drama, which hails from Vendetta Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, follows a type-A business woman who is misdiagnosed after a medical scare. Grant is exec producing with Vendetta’s Jennifer Klein and Sheldon Turner.
Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’ Enlists ‘Dollhouse,’ ‘One Tree Hill’ Favorites
Enver Gjokaj and Chad Michael Murray will be series regulars. Gjokaj will play Agent Daniel Sousa, while Murray is set as Agent Jack Thompson, both of whom meet Carter while she takes on a new role at the pre-SHIELD Strategic Scientific Reserve in New York City.
(review) THR: Amazon’s ‘The Cosmopolitans,’ ‘Red Oaks’ and ‘Really’
The comedy pilots prove that Amazon Studios is a content provider to contend with as it churns out more quality fare.
(review) Hitfix: Amazon hits some bumps with its third pilot season
The best of this round by a country mile is "Red Oaks," produced by Steven Soderbergh, directed by David Gordon Green and written by Greg Jacobs and Joe Gangemi. A period comedy about a teenage tennis pro at a country club in 1985, it feels fully-formed from its opening moments, is funny when it wants to be and has an instantly-deep bench of characters.
THR: How HBO’s ‘Westworld’ Became TV’s Hottest Project
HBO’s Westworld is building an A-list ensemble cast — despite the fact that most of the actors will play robots. Actually, that’s the allure. These androids can be killed off and return with completely different personas, allowing actors to play many characters in the same season. That creative device, one top talent agent says, is helping HBO attract a premier cast.
THR: Summer TV Lesson No. 1: Big Stars Don’t Guarantee Big Hits
TV’s push into year-round programming has created new standards for summer success. A few lessons from a jam-packed season:
1. Genre is king; 2. Leverage those sports; 3. Stars aren’t sure things.
Daily Beast: Fall TV’s Most Exciting New Shows
From another surefire Shonda Rhimes hit to a Batman origin story (without Batman) to a comedy that seriously is calling itself “Selfie,” we break down the 20 most exciting new series that merit checking out—in order of their premiere dates.
Wrap: ABC’s Diversity Push: Can it Put the Network Back on Top?
Every network says it celebrates diversity. But ABC is going harder than any other broadcaster this season, airing three comedies in which race isn’t just in the background, but right out front. “To ABC’s credit, we didn’t want to do a show about a family that happened to be black,” Kenya Barris, creator of “Black-ish,” told TheWrap. “We wanted to do a show about a family that was absolutely black.”
Broadcasters have said for years that they want their shows to reflect all of America. But they’ve often demonstrated it by sprinkling a few members of racial minorities into ensemble casts often led by whites. ABC’s diversity push this fall is different because the casts are led and dominated by people of specific backgrounds, telling stories directly relevant to those backgrounds. The shows are more color-conscious than color-blind. Rather than pretending stereotypes don’t exist, they acknowledge and subvert them. ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee has said he chooses shows that tell good, authentic stories – and that authentic means specific.
Time Warner-Vice Media Deal Off
Time Warner is no longer in talks to take a stake in Vice Media. The New York Times reports the conglom has stepped away from the negotiation table due to a disagreement over the irreverent upstart firm’s valuation.
(animated) DreamWorks Animation Inks Co-Production Deal With Makers of ‘The Legend of Korra’
South Korea’s Studio Mir will co-produce up to four TV animated series over the next four years. Each series will be comprised of 78 episodes and will be the largest international joint venture of its kind for the Asian country.
A. Smith & Co. Hires Unscripted Vet Joe Weinstock
Joe Weinstock, a former co-executive producer for the hit reality series Duck Dynasty, has been appointed as the senior VP of development at A. Smith & Co. Productions.
Exec Shuffle For 8/29/14: Lucid Road Productions, Mad Riot Entertainment, Discovery, Hasbro Studios, Sirens Media
Mad Riot Entertainment: Mark Canton has launched a new television and film production and development company, Mad Riot Entertainment, with Lawrence Smith as Chief Executive Officer, George Davanzo as Executive Chairman and Dorothy Canton as President. Mad Riot seeks to acquire strong content in any format and in any stage of development.
Davis Entertainment: Mike Stein has joined as Coordinator, Development.
Discovery Communications: Marjorie Kaplan has been named Interim Head, Discovery Channel.
Discovery Communications: Eileen O’Neill has been named President, Discovery Studios Global Group.
NBC Entertainment: Jenny Groom has been named Senior Vice President, Alternative Programming & Development.
Aggregate Films: Shaleen Desai has joined as Executive Vice President, Television.
A. Smith & Co. Productions: Katie Hash has been named Vice President, Development.
A. Smith & Co. Productions: Steve Miller has joined as Head, Creative Services.
Sirens Media: Nichole Bardin has joined as Director of Development.
Sirens Media: Brent Hatherill has been named Senior Director, Development.
Sirens Media: Heather Hutt has been named Manager, Development.
Sirens Media: Daniel Markell has joined as Vice President, Development.
Sundance TV: Kate Bilsky has been named Coordinator, Scripted Programming.
Circle of Confusion: Brad Mendelson has been named Head of Literary.
ICM Partners: Ellen Jones has been named Coordinator, TV Literary.
Wrap: Why Is California Tripling Film and TV Tax Credits While Other States Slash Them?
California is about to more than triple its TV and film tax credit program to $330 million just as other states are eliminating their own incentives. California is betting the bold move can entice filming back to the state. But is California forging ahead foolishly, or will other states regret their decisions to scale back?
Salon: Stop trying to “solve” TV shows!
The fact is, you don’t abruptly cut to black mid-scene in a series finale to create a sense of mystery. The Sopranos’ ultimate silence—and don’t forget, Chase originally wanted three full minutes of nothingness between the diner and the closing credits—is irresolution itself. Maybe Tony dies, maybe he doesn’t. The world goes on just the same. So why don’t fans get that?