Afternoon News Update for Friday, September 26, 2014.

Hi all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Friday, 9/26/14. Have a great weekend!


NBC Buys Supernatural Medical Drama From Ben Ripley, James Wan With Penalty
John Davis’ Sony TV
-based Davis Entertainment again is bringing together a feature writer, Source Code‘s Ben Ripley, and director, Fast & Furious 7‘s James Wan, for a drama project, which has sold to NBC with significant penalty. Written by Ripley and to be directed by Wan, Maidenhead is described as a medical procedural wrapped in a very realistic, frightening supernatural drama. When a scientist is called to a tony Connecticut suburb to investigate an ailing teen girl, he discovers that her affliction presents itself as a demonic contagion slowly spreading through the town. His team peels back the secrets and lies buried within the fabric of the community while medically deconstructing the tropes of demon mythology.

‘Scandal’s’ Jenna Bans Sells Political Thriller to ABC
Jenna Bans
has sold a political thriller to the network. The untitled drama follows the return of a politician’s young son who was presumed dead after disappearing more than a decade earlier, sending shock waves throughout their tight-knit community. But as the mysterious young man is welcomed back into his family suspicions emerge — is he really who he says he is? Bans will pen the script and executive produce the ABC Studios and Mandeville Productions drama alongside the company’s David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Laurie Zaks.

Rashida Jones, ‘Marigold Hotel’ Writer Team for Couples Drama at ABC
Rashida Jones
and Will McCormack’s Le Train Train banner has sold its second project this season, teaming with writer Ol Parker for a drama set up at ABC. Receiving a hefty put-pilot commitment from the network, the untitled entry is described as a serialized drama that follows the lives of individuals and couples dealing with love in interrelated tales all set within and around a half-century-old bookstore in Pioneer Square, Seattle. Parker will pen the script for the WBTV drama with Jeff Grosvenor on board as a co-EP.

Chad Hodge, Amblin Team for ‘Abandon’ Adaptation at USA
Chad Hodge
has signed on to adapt Blake Crouch’s 2013 thriller Abandon for USA Network. The project, which is in development, hails from red-hot Amblin Television and landed at USA in a competitive situation with a significant penalty attached. Abandon straddles two time periods and centers on a group of explorers who set out to uncover the mysteries of Abandon, a small mining town deep in the mountains of Colorado whose entire population disappeared on Christmas Eve more than a century ago. The drama hails from Universal Cable Productions and Amblin TV.

Kourtney Kang Sells Autobiographical Manny Comedy To ABC With Penalty
Kourtney Kang
has sold a comedy project to ABC with a significant penalty. Based on Kang’s real life, Who’s Steve explores what happens when your wife’s gay ex-boyfriend from high school becomes your nanny. It is an ensemble show about the unlikely family of a married couple and their single friends that formed to help raise their daughter. And the married couple helps the single folks in their quest for love, mostly to get them out of their house.

Universal Cable Prods Options ‘A Girl Called Fearless’ YA Novels
Universal Cable Productions
has optioned author Catherine Linka’s debut novel A Girl Called Fearless and its forthcoming sequel, A Girl Undone, to develop the stories into a series. Linka’s A Girl Called Fearless is set in an alternate future America where a synthetic beef hormone has wiped out millions of women and turned teenage girls into a valuable commodity to be “protected & contracted.” When she is “contracted” into marriage as a political pawn, Avie Reveare flees to Canada but is torn between her love and her freedom.

(from Thurs) Fake Empire Sells Comedic Mystery As Put Pilot, Vigilante Drama To ABC
Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire has teamed with showrunner Dave Hemingson for a comedic mystery drama, which has landed at ABC with a put pilot commitment. It is one of two sales for ABC Studios-based Fake Empire, along with a drama from Jeff Wadlow, also at ABC.

(from Thurs) NFL History Drama Series From Jon Favreau & Kevin Misher Eyed By Networks
The NFL has teamed with filmmaker Jon Favreau and producer Kevin Misher for a sprawling scripted series that chronicles the history of football in America that predates the launch of the professional league in 1920. It follows the evolution of the sport decade by decade up to the present. Interested networks were asked to submit offers, which I hear a number of them did, led by NBC and Fox — which carry NFL games — and A&E/History.

(from Thurs) Fantasy Drama From Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Lands TNT Pilot Pickup
has handed out a pilot order to Lumen, a fantasy drama from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Lumen centers on a famous author of a best-selling series of fantasy books who suddenly disappears and a family of four who are transported to the mystical alternate world that inspired her work. Chris Black will pen the script for the drama and executive produce alongside Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, author James Frey and Todd Cohen of Full Fathom Five. The drama hails from ABC Signature, ABC Studios’ cable-focused boutique. Joe Johnson will direct the pilot.

(from Thurs) John Legend Inks Overall Deal With Legendary TV
The Get Lifted Film Company are going double legend – really. The production company of multi-Grammy winner John Legend and partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius has signed an overall deal with Legendary Television.

‘Devious Maids’ Renewed for Season 3 by Lifetime
Devious Maids” will be back to clean up again. The series, which hails from “Desperate Housewives” honcho Marc Cherry, has been renewed for a 13-episode third season.

(sched) ‘Outlander’ Midseason Premiere Set For April 4 On Starz
Ahead of its mid-season finale on Saturday, Starz has announced its hit series Outlander will return with the remaining eight episodes from Season 1 on Saturday, April 4, 2015.

TV Guide: Will Revenge’s Fourth Season Be Its Last?
If Emily VanCamp gets her way, this will be one helluva final season for ABC’s Revenge. Actually, the actress would have even been satisfied had last May’s jaw-dropping finale spelled the end of her vengeful character Emily Thorne’s (aka Amanda Clarke) three-year takedown of the conspirators she blamed for her father’s false imprisonment and death. "Last season’s finale was one of my favorite episodes to date, and to me, that would have been an amazing series finale," says VanCamp.


Vox: First Black-ish, now How to Get Away with Murder — ABC’s embrace of diversity seems to be a hit with viewers
It’s too early to predict whether Black-ish and How to Get Away With Murder have the staying power to draw audiences back on a weekly basis. But for now, it’s worth noting that prioritizing diversity in entertainment seems to have paid off for ABC.

‘Scandal’s’ Jenna Bans Sells Political Thriller to ABC
Jenna Bans
has sold a political thriller to the network. The untitled drama follows the return of a politician’s young son who was presumed dead after disappearing more than a decade earlier, sending shock waves throughout their tight-knit community. But as the mysterious young man is welcomed back into his family suspicions emerge — is he really who he says he is? Bans will pen the script and executive produce the ABC Studios and Mandeville Productions drama alongside the company’s David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Laurie Zaks.


‘Lost’s’ Josh Holloway Reunites With Carlton Cuse to Star in USA’s ‘Colony’
USA Network
is staging a major Lost reunion. Former Lost star Josh Holloway has landed the lead in the cabler’s Carlton Cuse-produced drama pilot Colony, Colony, created and executive produced by Cuse and Ryan Condal, is a naturalistic drama about a family forced to make difficult choices as they balance staying together with surviving an existential threat to the human race. Set in the near future, the story takes place in L.A., which exists in a state of occupation by a force of outside intruders. Holloway stars as Will Bowman, a former FBI agent who — in a bid to protect his family — is forced to collaborate with the occupational government to bring down the growing resistance movement inside the Los Angeles colony.

‘Lost Girl’ Favorite Boards AMC’s ‘Turn’
Ksenia Solo
has boarded the sophomore drama as a series regular.

Cheers Vet John Ratzenberger to Play Ball With CBS’ The McCarthys
John Ratzenberger
is saying “Cheers” to The McCarthys. The TV vet has landed a potentially recurring role on CBS’ freshman sitcom


Redef: Why the Summer Box Office Drop has Been Overhyped
The summer of 2014 was one of the least competitive in more than a decade, with only 12 “blockbusters” being released in the United States. More notably, this represents a full 33% drop from a year ago. In this context, is it really so surprising that total receipts plummeted year-over-year?

Sony Picks Up Female-Centric Sci-Fi Action Script ‘Eden Project’
has picked up The Eden Project, a sci-fi spec from Black List writer Christina Hodson. Tobey Maguire will produce via his Material production banner as well as Maguire’s Material mate Matthew Plouffe. Sony is keeping the plot details for Eden guarded by a serpent, but it is a sci-fi action film centered around two female characters. The script also is intended to be the first of a conceived trilogy.


Syfy’s ‘Wizard Wars’ Gets Six-Episode Pickup
The Penn & Teller magic show will return in January. The series, which hails from A. Smith & Co., centers on young magicians trying to impress judges Penn Jillette and Teller with original magic using only a random assortment of everyday objects.


Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Hart Join Jerry Seinfeld in Season 5 of ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’
The award-winning Web series will welcome Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer, Bill Burr, Fred Armisen, Ali Wentworth and Colleen Ballinge next season.

Netflix streaming up 350% in two and a half years
The volume of Netflix video streaming has increased by 350% in the last 10 quarters, according to new stats from The Diffusion Group (TDG). The research claims that the domestic and international volume of traffic has grown from 2 billion hours in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 7 billion hours as of Q2 2014. Among US Netflix subscribers alone, total streaming almost tripled from 1.8 billion hours in Q4 2011 to 5.1 billion hours in Q2 2014.

Starz to Offer Early Free Sneak Peek at ‘Survivor’s Remorse’ a Week Ahead of Premiere
The first two episodes of “Survivor’s Remorse” will be available to stream across multiple TV and online platforms starting Saturday, Sept. 27.


Study Finds Canadians Choosing TV Series Over Films
Canadians are more likely to watch TV series instead of movies, according to a new study on Canadian viewing habits that also confirmed most film viewing is done through television. The report also found that consumers are increasingly seeking on-demand access to audiovisual products across a wide variety of platforms. The subscription viewing model seems to be the favored approach, as opposed to the one-at-a-time or ad-supported model.


Exec Shuffle For 9/26/14: Shondaland, Blumhouse, STX Ent., Twitter, & More
Federation Entertainment: French Producer Pascal Breton has launched a new Film and Television mini-studio, Federation Entertainment. The venture will have offices in both Paris and Los Angeles. Ashley Stern will head the LA office, which will focus on development and marketing. Jean-Michel Ciszewski will head the Paris office, which will focus on distribution.
CBS Entertainment: Karen Church and Fern Orenstein have been promoted to Senior Vice President, Casting.
Sony Pictures Television: Michelle Mendelovitz has joined as Director, Current Programming.
Nicholas Sparks Productions: Erika McGrath has joined as Director, Development.
All3Media: Jane Turton has been promoted to Managing Director.
All3Media America: Christie McConnell has joined as Vice President, Development.
Blumhouse Productions: Kenny Tsai has joined as Manager, TV.
The CW: Zoe Lane has joined as Coordinator, Current Programming. Kimberly Roberto has been named Coordinator, Current Programming.
Shondaland: Ghazal Moshfegh has been promoted to Coordinator, Development.
ABC Family: Julie Katchen has been promoted to Manager, Original Programming.
Disney Channel: Amanda DiPiazza has been promoted to Manager, Original Series. Allison Dorenbosch has been promoted to Manager, Original Series, Disney XD.
MTV: Kelly Lundy has been named Coordinator, Scripted Development.
Oxygen: Rod Aissa has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Original Programming & Development.

People magazine deletes racist tweet about Viola Davis
They reportedly tweeted it just ahead of the "How to Get Away With Murder" premiere.


TV Ad Prices: Football, ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Big Bang Theory,’ ‘Blacklist’ Top the List
The flesh-eating creatures from AMC’s gory “The Walking Dead” have started to eat into football’s pricing power, according to Variety’s annual analysis of primetime TV advertising costs. Advertisers are willing to pay more for a package of spots across multiple airings of “Dead” than they are for a 30-second spot in a broadcast of ESPN’sMonday Night Football.” The ESPN pigskin showcase was the second most-expensive program for advertisers in last year’s survey, coming in just behind NBC’s ”Sunday Night Football.” This year it ranks No. 4.