Evening News Update for Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

Hi all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Wednesday, 9/17/14:


ABC Buys Stephnie Weir Bank Comedy
has put in development an untitled half-hour comedy project from writer-actress Stephnie Weir and CBS TV Studios. It centers on a branch manager in a credit union who believes he can finally shake their Podunk image and compete with the newly arrived UberBank with his new style of management.

Josh Safran, Mark Gordon Team for Quantico Drama at ABC
is teaming with Josh Safran and uber-producer Mark Gordon for an untitled Quantico drama. Described as Grey’s Anatomy meets Homeland, the drama — which has received a script commitment — revolves around a group of diverse FBI recruits going through 21 weeks of training to become special agents at the FBI’s academy in Quantico, Virginia. Although each of them has secrets and hidden reasons for enlisting, one harbors the biggest secret of all: They’re a sleeper terrorist, who in the near future, has perpetrated the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11.


Greg Garcia Sells Pair of Comedies to CBS
Greg Garcia
is off to a strong start this development season. The producer’s Amigos de Garcia’s CBS Television Studios-based banner has sold two comedies to CBS. CBS has handed out a script commitment to an untitled multicamera workplace comedy from Garcia’s frequent collaborator Bobby Bowman, who will pen the script and exec produce alongside Garcia.

Also receiving a script commitment from the network is an untitled comedy from Chris Harris. The multicamera comedy centers on a couple who wants to set up two friends who may be perfect for each other. Harris will pen the script and exec produce alongside Garcia. Amigos de Garcia’s Alix Jaffe will exec produce both comedies.

(sched) ‘Friends’ Scores 20-Episode Marathon on TBS for 20th Anniversary
is marking the 20th anniversary of “Friends” with a mini-marathon on Monday. The run, which airs two decades to the day that the hit comedy debuted on NBC, will begin at 10 a.m. and settle up by 8 p.m. Those 10 hours will consist of 20 fan-chosen episodes.


Huffpo: Fall TV Guide: New Dramas To Follow And Shows To Skip
The vast majority of new dramas on the broadcast networks this fall aren’t flat-out terrible. Most of them display a certain competence when it comes to laying out their premises, which is something, I guess. The problem is, this devotion to patiently explained premises just reinforces the idea that the broadcast networks have, as the Brits would say, got the wrong end of the stick. The broadcast networks appear to be convinced that what audiences want are gimmicky concepts, and so they largely fail to populate them with people who are A) Even moderately interesting and B) Behave like actual human beings.

(review) THR: ‘Red Band Society’
Instead of making something honest, Fox goes for schmaltz and lame voiceovers in a failed attempt to find a heart.


NBC’s ‘Marry Me’ Enlists Nat Faxon
The ‘Married’ star will appear in an October episode.

Zach Gilford & Jonathan Cake Join USA Pilot ‘Stanistan’
Zach Gilford
and Jonathan Cake have been cast opposite Jennifer Carpenter in USA’s drama pilot Stanistan. It follows the staff at the American compound in the Middle Eastern country of Stanistan, where State Department workers, covert CIA officers and journalists strike a delicate balance of danger and levity.

Annika Marks Joins ABC Family’s ‘The Fosters’; Rotimi Akinosho In Starz’s ‘Power’
Annika Marks
has landed a recurring role on ABC Family’s The Fosters. Rotimi Akinosho has booked a series regular role opposite Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Omari Hardwick on Starz’s drama series Power, from CBS TV Studios.


‘Let’s Be Cops’ Helmer Luke Greenfield Closes Fox Deal For Next Pic
Luke Greenfield
is back in business with Fox for his next film. He’s made a deal to direct and produce an untitled suspense thriller that, like his recent outing, depicts normal people using a loophole to empower themselves to live different lives. Here, a group of twentysomethings have diplomatic immunity because their parents are government officials. Since they literally cannot get arrested, the group uses this get-out-of-jail-free card to live an adrenaline-filled lifestyle filled with illegal stunts to satisfy their lust for life. But when the group gets trapped in real-world espionage, they are forced to risk their lives to save their diplomat parents.


(sched) People’s Choice Awards to air live from Los Angeles on CBS
The 2015 edition of the People’s Choice Awards ceremony is scheduled to air live Jan. 7 from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, CBS announced.


LAT: Amazon is a rising star in Hollywood
"Bosch" is just one of six series Amazon is filming locally. It’s part of a wave of high-profile digital media productions filming across Los Angeles at a time when many traditional TV dramas have filmed outside the state. Web-based TV production in Los Angeles has surged 353% from 2008 to 2013, according to a report by FilmL.A. Inc., which tracks film permits for the city and county. Web-based shows now account for as many production days in L.A. as sitcoms.


Huayi Brothers Spending $130 Million To Start U.S. Subsidiary
The Chinese film giant is launching a wholly owned stateside subsidiary to invest in movie and TV production, distribution and marketing. Huayi Brothers is spending $130 million on the unit, which will help expand its overseas business and strengthen ties to foreign film and TV companies, according to Chinese media reports. The company’s Huayi International plans to pump an additional $80 million into the venture.


Walt Disney Studios President ‘Extremely Focused’ on International Growth
Walt Disney Studios
president Alan Bergman swore his allegiance Wednesday to movies that will appeal to international audiences, and, in particular, China. "China could be an $8 billion marketplace in the next several years, so if we make the right kind of movies that they like, then you can see that multiplier expanding, and we do believe we have the brands and are extremely focused on those markets," Bergman said.



RatPac Entertainment Sets Paul Neinstein To Be COO
As RatPac Entertainment partners Brett Ratner and James Packer branch beyondco-financing the Warner Bros slate to create their own film and TV slates, they’ve hired Paul Neinstein to be COO. Neinstein, who reports to Ratner and Packer, comes from Paramount, where he was EVP Business Affairs for the past eight years.


Survey: 81% of TV Directors Are White, Only 14% Are Female
Minorities and women haven’t achieved significant progress in directing series TV, according to a survey from the Directors Guild of America, with Caucasian directors accounting for 81% of all primetime episodes while female directors were hired on only 14% during the past season. The DGA survey covers more than 3,500 episodes and includes broadcast, basic cable, premium cable, and high budget original content series made for the Internet. The report also showed that Caucasian males directed 69% of all episodes; minority males directed 17%; Caucasian females directed 12% and minority females directed 2% of all episodes.

Vanity Fair: Why Chris Messina’s Mindy Project Striptease Was About More Than Just the Eye Candy
In a post–Magic Mike world, Danny on display may not seem all that groundbreaking. But don’t forget that when it comes to network sitcoms, women are still often seen as objects and prizes to be won. And even in a broader TV landscape increasingly populated by strong and complicated women, the female gaze that Kaling pulls off here is actually fairly rare.

(books) Kids Actually Read the Books That Movies are Based On
According to data from Renaissance Learning more than 10,000 students read The Maze Runner last May, compared with fewer than 3,000 in 2011 when the movie deal was announced. It turns out that movie releases do in fact spur kids to read the books they’re based on.