Morning News Update for Wednesday, September 24, 2014.

Hi all! Here’s your first news update for Wednesday, 9/24/14:


Spike TV Developing Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy As TV Series
Spike TV
is venturing into sci-fi with Red Mars, a scripted drama series project based on Kim Stanley Robinson’s bestselling “hard” science-fiction trilogy about the colonization and terraforming transformation of Mars into a place where humans can sustainably live. The TV series adaptation, named after the first book in the trilogy, will be produced by Vince Gerardis. Robinson will serve as consultant.

Eva Longoria Eyes TV Return As Star On NBC Comedy Series As ABC Project Also Vies For Her
Eva Longoria
is looking to return to the small screen as star of a half-hour, single-camera comedy series. Two projects are vying for her at two different networks – Telenovela at NBC and an untitled comedy at ABC. Originally, the script she was to choose was going to go to pilot. But NBC stepped up in a big way. The network has deep ties with the actress, helping her launch her production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, which is based at Universal Television, and doing projects with her as a producer. Telenovela, from Cougar Town co-executive producers Chrissy Pietrosh and Jessica Goldstein and Universal TV, will get a 13-episode order if Longoria commits to star and a pilot order if she doesn’t.

Netflix Procures ‘Peaky Blinders’ Brit Drama in Exclusive Pact with Weinstein Co., Endemol
has acquired exclusive U.S. rights to British gangster series “Peaky Blinders” under a pact with The Weinstein Co. and Endemol. All six episodes of season one will debut at 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Sept. 30, and season two will launch in November, Netflix said. “Peaky Blinders,” set in 1919 Birmingham, England, follows the Shelby family, which leads a criminal ring named for their practice of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps. It was created and written by Steven Knight.


Amazon’s ‘Transparent’ clearly the best new show of the fall
I think Amazon executives know that "Transparent" is that good — it’s the best new TV show debuting anywhere this fall, by a long stretch — and therefore don’t care that it’s appearing at such a crazy time. They’re throwing down a gauntlet — or maybe a demure satin glove — and saying, "This is us. Not bad, eh?"

THR: Fall TV: The True Stories of How 14 Freshman Shows Were Pitched

THR quizzed the producers behind several of the new fall offerings to find out how they pitched their series.

THR: Fall TV: 14 Showrunners Reveal How They Named Their New Series
How to Get Away With Murder‘ … "gives you a great first impression of Annalise as a character — that she’s bold, irreverent and controversial — and also describes the fun, dark, twisted tone of the show," creator Pete Nowalk says

THR: Fall TV: How the New Shows Landed Their Stars
"I relied on the Vulcan Mind Meld, a Sonic Screwdriver and the dark arts of the United Talent Agency," ‘Selfie’ EP Emily Kapnek says

Variety: New Fall Shows Mix It Up by Adding Serialization, ‘Blacklist’-Style
The heavy serialization of TV — and the pleasures of a novelistic relationship with shows — has bled into the sitcom and the dramatic procedural formats, which once derived much of their power from offering audiences a similar experience time and again. So much for “Bonanza’s” Cartwright boys bringing order to the Ponderosa in an hour, and starting all over again next week.

(q&a) Vulture: Black-ish Creator Kenya Barris on Shonda Rhimes and Why He Wanted His Second Episode to Be About Child-Spanking
Q: You’re talking about a show that is in some ways a reflection of what’s going on in the country or the world, but I’m wondering if its timing is also possible because of what’s going on in the world. In other words, are there two things happening at the same time?
Absolutely. ABC has allowed us to do it in a way that a lot of networks would not have. One of the things about this show is we want to do relevant and current things. Sometimes those things are a little bit risky and ABC has been really, really, really special to us to [allow us to] take those swings. We have a spanking episode that we did before any of the stuff came out—

Q: The Adrian Peterson and the switch story.
Yes. We’d love to air it as our second episode, and in a very responsible way, we understand ABC feels like it’s not the right time right now to air it, but as producers and writers, we’re like, Oh, my God! Ahead of the curve! But that’s part of what I’m learning — it is a corporation and they are sensitive in a very responsible way, whereas I’m sort of like, I just want to get my thing out there! So, that’s something we’re working through because it’s one of our episodes that we’re happiest with.

(review) Vulture: In Its Own Sweet Way, ABC’s black-ish Is a Landmark Show
This is not a TV program that pretends race and racism don’t exist except in Very Special Episodes filled with teachable moments. At the same time, though — and this is the impressive part — black-ish isn’t entirely about those things. It’s saying, "If you’re not white, here is the kind of stuff you have to contend with every day," but it’s presenting it in a familiar and collegial way, with the tone of a comedian saying, "Don’t you hate it when …?" It’s not saying that’s all there is to life, just that it’s a factor for Dre.

(review) Wrap: ‘Black-ish’: Funny ABC Comedy Fearlessly Tackles Race
Once you get past its pejorative and provocative title, ABC’s new family comedy “Black-ish” is extremely intelligent and funny.

(review) TV Guide: Black-ish a Truly Modern Family
Comedies with an actual point of view are as rare as they are welcome — especially in a fall awash in mediocre new cookie-cutter romantic comedies. Even in a better season, ABC’s provocative and very funny Black-ish (9:30/8:30c) would stand out for its broad and biting satire of an uneasily post racial society seen through a very modern-family prism. (It’s also about time ABC scheduled a smart family comedy after its multiple-Emmy-winning champ Modern Family.)


Adam Campbell Joins ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, Sam Littlefield In ‘The Messengers’
Adam Campbell has been tapped for a recurring guest arc in NBC comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Sam Littlefield and Jessika Van have booked recurring roles on new CW drama The Messengers


Oxygen Adds Five Series Ahead of Rebrand, Including Kardashian Minister Docuseries
In a bid to cater to women 18-34, the NBCUniversal-owned cable network has picked up The Wilkersons, centered on the man who officiated Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s wedding, as well as The Prancing Elite Project, The Investment Club, Finding My Father and a Preachers of L.A. spinoff set in Detroit. Additionally, Rod Aissa has been promoted to exec vp original programming and development two years after being tapped to oversee the department.

‘R&B Divas: LA’ Renewed for Third Season by TV One
TV One
announced today that the network has picked up its popular music reality series R&B Divas LA for a third season.

Dancing With the Stars Books Kevin Hart to Fill in for Judge Len Goodman on Movie Night
You gotta have Hart! No one could ever really fill Len Goodman’s shoes on Dancing With the Stars, but Kevin Hart is certainly going to try. Us Weekly can exclusively reveal that the Ride Along actor will fill in as a guest judge on the ABC competition next Monday, Sept. 29, for Movie Night.


FremantleMedia’s Tiny Riot to Produce 5 Digital Pilots with BroadbandTV
FremantleMedia North America
digital-content arm Tiny Riot entered into a pact with sister company BroadbandTV, which operates a YouTube multichannel network, to jointly create at least five digital pilots in anticipation of those becoming full series. Under the multiyear deal, FremantleMedia’s Tiny Riot and BroadbandTV will coproduce ongoing series spanning entertainment, gaming and music content.

Splitsider: The Economics of Internet Comedy Videos
Funny videos on the internet come from a plethora of sources, from established internet studios to TV networks to independent comedians. But how do comedy production studios fund their internet comedy videos? There’s no simple answer. However, as I talked to representatives from CollegeHumor, Funny or Die, Jash, Above Average, UCB Comedy, and Comedy Central, a lot of common themes came forward. Branded content funds more than you think. YouTube revenue funds less than you think.


Euro nets bag Scandi drama Mammon
Beta Films has secured sales of Scandinavian drama Mammon. 20th Century Fox Television has optioned rights to remake the NRK Drama series in the US following a deal with DRG. The political thriller, which comes from brother writing duo Vegard and Gjermund Eriksen, follows the story of a journalist that is drawn into a world of lies and betrayal after he uncovers a huge financial fraud involving some of Norway’s elite. It won the Golden Bird Prize for Best Mini-Series at the Seoul International Drama Awards, which have over the years been a good indicator for scripted shows that go on to have long global presences.


Ex-Universal Chief Adam Fogelson Lands at Robert Simonds’ Studio
The company intends to release up to 10 movies a year.


Grantland: The Lessons of ‘Lost’: Understanding the Most Important Network Show of the Past 10 Years
Where did all these survivors come from? What was the deal with the angry Korean couple, the gentle giant, the creep with the citrus smile? I didn’t just want to know where they were. I wanted to know who they were. It’s a seemingly simple distinction, but it’s one that TV producers have been getting wrong with staggering consistency ever since.

Wrap: Starz Puts Itself Up For Acquisition, Meets With Fox for Potential Bid
is shopping itself for possible acquisition, taking a meeting on Tuesday with 21st Century Fox, according to individuals with knowledge of the encounter. A Fox insider said that the media company was not seriously considering an acquisition and that their executives take meetings of this kind “all the time.” The insider said the meeting with Starz CEO Chris Albrecht and his investment bankers occurred “as a courtesy.”

Buzzfeed: Meet Television’s Groundbreaking Intersex Character
In the Season 2 premiere of MTV’s Faking It, which explores the spectrum of sexuality, a main character reveals that she was born with an intersex condition. Though still in the beginning stages, Lauren’s storyline is a major step forward in intersex representation.