Morning News Update for September 25, 2014.

Hi all! Here’s your first news update for Rosh Hashanah, 9/25/14:


Tommy Johnagin-Starring Family Comedy From ‘Surviving Jack’ Duo & Bill Lawrence Gets CBS Production Commitment
Tommy Johnagin
is getting to topline a multi-camera comedy for CBS inspired by his life. Johnagin is partnering with writers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker. The project, executive produced by Bill Lawrence, has received a pilot production commitment from the network. Warner Bros. TV, where Halpern and Schumacker are under an overall deal, produces with Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer.

Thriller Drama From ‘Leverage’ Creator, ‘The Blacklist’ Producers Gets NBC Production Commitment
is teaming with Sony TV and Davis Entertainment for another conspiracy thriller. NBC has given a pilot-production commitment to drama Endgame, which will be written by John Rogers. It is described as a high-octane thriller about a former intelligence officer who is wrongly accused of the brutal murder of his wife. A syndicate of powerful people offers him freedom in exchange for stopping high-stakes crimes, as he continues to avenge his wife’s death and uncover the game-like conspiracy among his mysterious employers. Rogers will executive produce with Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox.

Barry Pepper To Topline Cinemax Frontier Drama Project From Endemol
Barry Pepper
is back in the HBO family with a drama series project set up at sister network Cinemax. Pepper is attached to star in and executive produce the drama Trail Of Blood, from Endemol Studios and studio-based producer Christina Wayne. Written by Ross Parker, Trail Of Blood centers on a frontier preacher — a role Pepper would play — whose only child, a teenage daughter, is taken by the Harpe brothers, the first documented serial killers in U.S. history. Pepper and Wayne are executive producing.

Syfy Renews ‘Dominion’ and ‘Defiance’
Both orders are for 13 episodes and both series will return to the schedule in 2015.

Vox: Why X-Files fans owe it to themselves to check out Person of Interest
What the season premiere suggests is that what Person of Interest has been most successful at is becoming the new X-Files. CBS has inadvertently created X-Files with science fiction elements all over again, only instead of alien conspiracies and the disorder of the post-Cold War landscape (which now feel so ‘90s), the series is all about our uneasy relationship with the technology that surrounds us and about what might happen if artificial intelligence had been accidentally created and was now manipulating power players behind the scenes to do its bidding.


Adweek: Here Are Your 2014-2015 Broadcast Season Redundancies
Every year, broadcast spends millions upon millions turning scripts into pilots and pilots into series. And frequently, it picks scripts with quite a few commonalities. Of course, if you have an entire professional class assigned the task of figuring out what’s popular and making it into a TV show, this is going to happen, but we feel like it’s worth parsing some of the duplications in order to see what network heads think will work…and sometimes what they’re all thinking at once, for reasons known only to them.

(ratings) ABC ‘Black-ish’ premieres strong as ‘Survivor’ surprises
had 10.8 million viewers and a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49 at 9:30 p.m. The big mitigating factor here is the size of its lead-in from Modern Family (10.9 million and a 3.7)—last year’s Super Fun Night, for instance, opened to a 3.2 in this slot and quickly faded. Yet ABC points out Black-ish had the highest-ever retention of Modern Family viewers for a regular comedy debut in this slot.

(review) Hitfix: ABC’s ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ needs more Viola Davis
There are two shows at war with each other inside "How to Get Away with Murder." One is a formulaic legal procedure in which yet another brilliant, inscrutable master of the profession with questionable social skills mentors a group of impressionable young students, each week closing a new case and imparting a new lesson. The other is a complicated serialized mystery with a fractured timeline designed to keep the audience on its toes as to who did what, and why, and whether we should be pulling for any of them to live up to the show’s title. Based on the first two episodes of "How to Get Away," I’m rooting for the first show to quickly override the second, like a fetus absorbing its weaker twin in utero.

(review) Vulture: Viola Davis Is Commanding in How to Get Away with Murder — The Show Just Needs to Get Out of Her Way
Viola Davis, the marquee name headlining ABC’s new procedural How to Get Away with Murder, is every bit as commanding as you figured she’d be. And the show around her is lively. The show is fast-paced and unpretentious, and it finds clever ways to deliver exposition that might otherwise be tedious. But in other ways How to Get Away with Murder isn’t as clever as it thinks. It often tries too hard to wow us, when it might have been better off just telling its story and developing its characters.


Molly Shannon Will Guest Star in CBS Comedy ‘The Millers’
The “Saturday Night Live” alum has booked a guest-starring spot on CBS’s sophomore comedy “The Millers,”

‘True Detective’: Rachel McAdams Closes In On Female Lead Role
Rachel McAdams
is said to be locking down the female lead role in season two of HBO’sTrue Detective.” Sources tell Variety HBO has offered McAdams the part opposite Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. Taylor Kitsch is also expected to land the role of the fourth lead.

Grey’s Anatomy Twist: [Spoiler] Recast!
The role of Young Kate Burton — originated by American Horror Story vet Sarah Paulson in Season 6 — will now be played by Army Wives‘ Sally Pressman. I’m told Paulson’s AHS: Freak Show shooting schedule precluded her from returning, which led the show to reach out to Pressman.


Variety: In Creative Pursuits, Two of a Kind Trumps a Lone Wolf
It can only happen in the movies: While a couple of weeks ago, Rocket the Raccoon was the superhero of the moment, he has been replaced by David Fincher, Christopher Nolan and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. In reinventing itself every fall, Hollywood is still selling brands, but those brands shift dramatically, from comicbook heroes to cinema auteurs. The process of elevating filmmakers to such status raises intriguing questions: Are we really doing directors (or audiences) a favor? Or are we misrepresenting the filmmaking process and, in doing so, prompting top talent to fashion quirkier, less accessible work?


Twitter to Launch Targeted Ads for Movies
Here’s how it would work: If a studio had a sci-fi epic coming out, it could tell Twitter to show its ads to people who have been chatting about Guardians of the Galaxy. Twitter will then display the ads to people who are not only talking about Guardians — but also to people who have been engaging about related key words, such as characters Groot and Rocket. The studio wouldn’t have to specify those words itself, just the movie title.

(video) Ellen Page and Kate Mara Make the Perfect Team in "Tiny Detectives"
Funny or Die’s new video "Tiny Detectives" has made a joke between Ellen Page and Kate Mara from earlier this year into a watchable thing that is much more entertaining than the recent True Detective casting news.


(essay) Gilding the Small Screen: or, “Is it just me or did TV get good all of a sudden?” by Javier Grillo-Marxuach
What I have observed in 20-plus years as a member of television’s middle-class, and believe to be the true reasons for TV’s emergence as the pre-eminent, thought-provoking, visually stimulating, character-revealing mass medium of the early 21st century is the result of a number of interdependent factors. All these factors are primarily external to the actual business of creating televised narrative; and none of them have anything to do with anyone’s personal greatness. Hard as it may be to admit, those of us working in television today may merely be the lucky surfers of a three-crested wave of socio-techno-psychological change.


FAA Expected to Permit Use of Drones on Film Sets
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to announce on Thursday that it will allow the restricted use of unmanned aircraft, or drones, on movie and TV locations.

Salon: The millennial is dead: How an irrepressible stereotype was finally supplanted
Only 15 percent of millennials are motivated by meaningful work, whereas close to 40 percent are motivated by acquiring more money. “We did research a few years ago and it showed Gen Y chose meaningful work over money,” Schawbel said. “And now it’s money because of how much they’re struggling in the economy.”