Morning News Update for Friday, September 12, 2014.

Hi all! Apologies for the large update this morning. Here’s your first news update for Friday, 9/12/14:


TNT’s ‘Murder In the First’ Renewed For Second Season
has given a 10-episode second season order to Murder in the First, its cop drama series executive produced by Steven Bochco and Eric Lodal.

ABC Nabs Adaptation Of Dan Brown’s ‘Digital Fortress’ From Imagine & 20th TV
Imagine Entertainment
is reteaming with best-selling author Dan Brown to adapt another one of his books, this time for the small screen. Thriller Digital Fortress, from Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox, where the company is based, has landed at ABC with a put pilot commitment. Additionally, Imagine TV and 20th TV have set up a single-camera family comedy, also at ABC, with significant penalty attached.

Written by Josh Goldin and Rachel Abramowitz, Digital Fortress an international thriller set in the world of the NSA during a global threat. It’s described as a sexy cat-and-mouse game between a Snowden-esque character who is threatening to release all of the government’s secrets to the highest bidder and a female cryptographer and her elite team who are tasked to stop him.

Inspired by the book The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family’s Method To College Ready By Age Twelve, Imagine’s comedy project follows an extraordinarily gifted family who find themselves unprepared for their new lives in Orange County, CA, a place where beauty is valued more than brains. Sisters Wendy and Lizzie Molyneux are writing and will executive produce with Grazer and Calfo.

Aaron Kaplan & Sharon Horgan Launch Joint Venture, Set UK Dramedy With James Van Der Beek & CBS Comedy
Aaron Kaplan
and London-born writer-performer Sharon Horgan are formalizing their partnership with the launch of a joint venture between Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and Merman Films, the company Horgan has launched with producer Clelia Mountford. Under the agreement, Kapital and Merman will collaborate exclusively in the U.S. and will develop American-created content for the UK through Merman and Kapital Entertainment’s newly launched international division, Kapital International.

In the UK, they are developing Post Empire, a six-episode darkly comedic hour. Created by James Van Der Beek, Roger Avery and Bret Easton Ellis, the project stars Van Der Beek as an American “Bernie Madoff” type in the UK as he juggles his investors while his world starts to collapse.

In the U.S., Kapital and Merman have A Sort Of Family, a multi-camera comedy at CBS and CBS TV Studios, which Horgan is co-writing with British scribe Neil Forsyth. It is about a single guy’s discovery that a one-night stand produced a teenage son, and their clumsy attempts to form a sort of family. Horgan also is writing a joint Kapital-Merman project set up at HBO.

Kevin Connolly Inks Overall Deal With 20th Century Fox TV
Kevin Connolly
has signed a new overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV. He will develop new projects, alongside 3Arts, for network and cable.

Brannon Braga Inks New Overall Deal With 20th Television
He’s the showrunner on WGN America’s ‘Salem’

(sched) ‘White Collar’s Final Season To Launch In November
Season 6 of the series starring Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay will debut on Nov. 6, paired on Thursday with Covert Affairs.

LAT: ABC’s ‘black-ish’: The family show with the semi-shocking title
ABC is placing big expectations on its new fall comedy with a certain small letter in its title: "black-ish."

Rene Balcer, Kennedy/Marshall Set Drama About Government Criminals At CBS
A legal investigative drama at CBS is focusing on white collar criminals who are supposed to serve the people. The network has put in development Public Integrity, from Law & Order veteran Rene Balcer and Kennedy/Marshall Co. Written by Aaron Tracy, Public Integrity centers on the the nation’s watchdogs — the passionate prosecutors of the Public Integrity Section who target criminals within the government.

(from Thurs) TNT To Adapt Movie ‘Shooter’ As Drama With Mark Wahlberg, John Hlavin & Par TV
Paramount TV
continues to mine the company’s feature library, partnering with talent from the movies to adapt them as TV series. The company has teamed with Shooter star Mark Wahlberg for a drama series based on the 2007 conspiracy thriller, which has been set up at TNT. John Hlavin will write the action project, now in development, and will executive produce with Wahlberg and his frequent collaborator Stephen Levinson.

(from Thurs) Fox Buys Ghost Hunting Drama From ’24’ Producers With Penalty
Fox is looking to return to itsX Files roots with a supernatural drama from 24 executive producers Evan Katz and Manny Coto. Set to direct the 20th Century Fox TV-produced project, which has a penalty attached to it, is Michael Cuesta. Written by Katz and Coto, the untitled project centers on an Iraq war vet who experiences a supernatural attack that leaves his wife in an unexplained coma. He embarks on a desperate quest to unravel the truth behind hauntings.

(from Thurs) Fox Nabs John Stamos Comedy From Dan Fogelman With Put Pilot Commitment
In a competitive situation bidding against ABC, Fox has landed an untitled single-camera comedy starring John Stamos. The single-camera project hails from ABC Studios, with Dan Fogelman executive producing through his ABC Studios-based Rhode Island Ave Productions. Written by Danny Chun, the comedy has Stamos play a version of himself: a charismatic longtime bachelor whose life is upended when he discovers he’s a father — and a grandfather.

(from Thurs) Shondaland Teams With ‘Person of Interest’ Co-EP for ABC Cop Drama
Shonda Rhimes’
and Betsy Beers’ Shondaland banner has made its first sale of the development season. ABC has handed out a script commitment to drama Protect & Survive. The ensemble drama centers on the last LAPD precinct fighting to hang on in Los Angeles after a massive disaster changed life as we know it. David Slack will pen the script and executive produce alongside Rhimes and Beers via the duo’s overall deal with ABC Studios.

(from Thurs) DC Comics Superhero Drama ‘Titans’ Near Pilot Order at TNT
TNT is hopping on the comic book wave. The Turner-owned cable network is nearing a pilot-production order for Titans, a drama based on a group of super heroes-to-be. From Warner Horizon Television and DC Comics, the drama hails from writers Akiva Goldsman and Marc Haimes. Goldsman will exec produce, while Haimes will serve as a co-EP. Based on characters from DC Comics, Titans revolves around a group of young superheroes-to-be who are recruited from every corner of the DC universe. The action-themed drama centers on Dick Grayson, who emerges from the shadow of Batman to become Nightwing, the leader of a fearless band of new superheroes including Starfire, Raven and more.

(from Thurs) Jason Katims, ‘Parenthood’ Writer Sell Urban Family Comedy to NBC
is prepping a new family comedy from Parenthood duo Jason Katims and Julia Brownell. The network has handed out a script commitment for multicamera comedy The Walk-Up. From writer/playwright Brownell, the comedy is based on The Atlantic’s July article "Two Couples, One Mortgage." Inspired by the growing real-world phenomenon detailed in the article, two 30-something couples — one with a baby on the way — decide to buy and live in a Brooklyn brownstone together, creating their own version of the modern urban family. Katims and his True Jack Productions head of development Michelle Lee will exec produce Walk-Up alongside Brownell via the former’s overall deal with Universal Television.

(from Thurs) ‘Married … With Children’ Spinoff in the Works
The series could see some members of the dysfunctional Bundy clan back on the small screen with a TV spinoff in the works at Sony Pictures Television. Sony is taking out a pitch for a follow-up to Married … With Children based on Faustino’s Bud Bundy. It’s unclear which, if any, other castmembers would be involved in the potential spinoff.

(from Thurs) HBO Not Moving Forward With Ryan Murphy Sexuality Drama ‘Open’
HBO has said no to Ryan Murphy. More than a year after ordering it to pilot, the premium cable network has opted to not move forward on the Glee and American Horror Story creator’s sexuality drama Open.


Mandy Moore Books Big Role on Fox’s ‘Red Band Society’
Singer-actress Mandy Moore has booked a major recurring guest role on Red Band Society as Dave Annable’s ex.

(from Thurs) Hannibal Season 3: Gillian Anderson Is a Full-Fledged Series Regular
Gillian Anderson
has closed a deal to be a series regular in Season 3.

(from Thurs) Ricky Gervais to peddle potions on ABC’s musical ‘Galavant’
Funny man Ricky Gervais has landed a guest-starring role on ABC’s midseason musical comedy Galavant.


(ratings) ‘Thursday Night Football’ debuts big: Will fall rivals get sacked?
Thursday night is probably going to be pretty brutal this fall—if you’re not CBS. The network kicked off its new Thursday Night Football franchise last night to some very strong numbers, suggesting the next several weeks could get ugly as rivals try to launch their fall shows (which is, of course, part of the point). The Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore game had an overnight household rating of 13.7, about double what last year’s comparable game received on the NFL Network and only down about 9 percent from NBC’s Sunday Night Football behemoth.. In the regular numbers, the game delivered more than 15.9 million viewers and a 5.5 rating among adults 18-49.

‘Shark Tank’ Spinoff Series ‘Beyond the Tank’ to Be Revealed by ABC
has found tremendous success with “Shark Tank,” and that means the network wants more of it. That could come in the form of a companion series that serves as a kind of sequel for the entrepreneurs and products that appear on the parent show. Mark Burnett is attached as producer of “Beyond the Tank,” according to The New York Times, which is expected to be announced soon by the network. The appeal of this companion show’s format is that it answers the question of what happens next for the participants on “Shark Tank.”

Rival Senators to be Marooned on Remote Island in New Discovery Show
has picked up an unscripted show that will maroon a Democrat and Republican senator on a remote island for a week called Rival Survival. U.S. congressmen Jeff Flake (R, Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D, N.M.) will be forced to put their differences aside for six days and six nights to survive on an uninhabited island surrounded by shark-infested waters when they’re disconnected from the world.

AMC Renews ‘Game of Arms’ for Second Season
More arm wrestling!


Acorn TV Picks Up Australian Drama ANZAC Girls
Acorn TV
, a North American streaming service largely dedicated to British TV, has scooped up the drama ANZAC Girls from all3media international. The six-part miniseries is based on the true stories of five Australian and New Zealand nurses at Gallipoli and the Western Front during WWI.

AOL orders James Franco comedy web series
James Franco
is making a ten-part comedy series for AOL as part of the web giant’s Originals programme. Making a Scene with James Franco will follow the actor as he and his creative team act out scenes inspired by classic big-screen moments, combing some and taking an irreverent twist on others.


LAT: For Shonda Rhimes, a TV empire built on high drama
Shonda Rhimes
has gained power rapidly with the success of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Scandal.‘ Now, with the addition of ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ to the lineup, she owns Thursday nights on ABC. "I think everybody else thinks it’s a bigger deal than I do," Rhimes said by phone from an undisclosed location where she was "staring at an ocean that is not the Pacific Ocean."

Exec Shuffle: Encore Hollywood, Bravo Media, Storyline Entertainment, 9 Story Entertainment, Warner Bros.
Relativity Media has launched R2 as a specialty division of the company focused on scouting prestige projects for awards consideration. Relativity’s President of Production, Robbie Brenner will head up the venture along with Relativity executives Matt Alvarez and Matt Brodie.
NBC Entertainment: Simon Heuer
has been named Coordinator, Comedy Development. Christina Lehmann has been named Coordinator, Drama Programming.
Warner Bros.: Courtney Armstrong
has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Worldwide Business Affairs.
Participant Media: Rob Williams has joined as Vice President, Acquisitions & Distribution.
9 Story Entertainment: Natalie Dumoulin has joined as Vice President, Creative Affairs.
BBC Worldwide Productions: Julie Haley has joined as Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs. Carol Turner and Debby Reid Vigna have been named Senior Vice President of Unscripted Production.
Flight 33: Bridget Hunnicutt has joined as Executive Vice President, Development.
Hot Snakes Media: Hal Lewis has joined as Executive Vice President, Production. Billy Murphy has joined as Vice President & Creative Director. Paul Listro has joined as Vice President, Finance.
MY-Tupelo Entertainment: Wilson Surratt has joined as Senior Vice President, Development.
Sesame Workshop: Jeffrey Dunn has joined as President and Chief Executive Officer as of September 29, 2014.
Storyline Entertainment: Tasha Brown has joined as Senior Vice President, Television Development & Production.
Temple Street Productions: Kelly Jenkins has been named Senior Director, Business Affairs.
ICM Partners: Karen Brodkin
has joined as President, Business Affairs. Ava Greenfield has joined as Agent, TV Literary.
Bravo Media: Shari Levine has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Current Production. Matt Reichman has been promoted to Vice President, Current Production.


(opinion) NYT: The Death of Adulthood in American Culture
We are now in the age of “Girls,” “Broad City,” “Masters of Sex” (a prehistory of the end of patriarchy), “Bob’s Burgers” (a loopy post-"Simpsons” family cartoon) and a flood of goofy, sweet, self-indulgent and obnoxious improv-based web videos. Adulthood as we have known it has become conceptually untenable. What all of these shows grasp at, in one way or another, is that nobody knows how to be a grown-up anymore.