Hi all! Here’s your first news update for Monday, November 17, 2014:
Variety: Fall’s Comedy Bloodbath Points to TV’s Overpopulation Problem
When CBS cancels “The Millers” just five episodes into its second season, you know comedy is hard this fall. Like everything else in TV, new comedies must be not just good but great — so great that people rave about them on their social-media megaphones. To have a hope of survival, they also need a strong POV that can be clearly articulated as a selling point: the remember-what-life-was-like-in-the-1980s nostalgia of ABC’s “The Goldbergs”; the lovable 12-step losers of CBS’ “Mom”; the screwball humor of CW’s “Jane the Virgin.”
(from Fri) NBC Developing Cruise Ship Comedy ‘Port of Miami’
NBC is teaming with veteran showrunners Matt Williams and David McFadzean for a cruise ship comedy called Port of Miami. Set aboard a Miami-based cruise liner, Port of Miami — which has received a script commitment from the network — the multicamera centers on an unmotivated white bartender who works with a variety of international employees, all of them aggressively seeking the American dream and incredulous that he is content to mix drinks, chase women and settle for less. The comedy has been described as Cheers on a cruise chip. Mark Perez will pen the script for Lionsgate Television, Televisa USA and Win Dancer Films.
(from Fri) Aaron Kaplan & Tracy Katsky Acquire Hot Hollywood Mystery Book ‘Tinseltown’ For TV Series Adaptation
In a competitive situation, with multiple film and TV producers pursuing, Aaron Kaplan and his Kapital Entertainment, along with Tracy Katsky through her pod deal with Kapital, have landed the rights to William J Mann’s best-selling book Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, And Madness At The Dawn of Hollywood. Based on extensive research, including recently unsealed FBI files, Tinseltown is set Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties. The book centers on the famously unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association.
(from Fri) AMC Comedy Pilot ‘We Hate Paul Revere’ Not Going Forward
AMC is putting the breaks on a planned expansion into half-hour comedy, at least for now. The network has quietly passed on its first half-hour comedy pilot, We Hate Paul Revere. The rationale: AMC’s maiden comedy series would set the bar for the genre on the network the way Mad Men did on the drama side. That bar is high, and I hear AMC brass didn’t think We Hate Paul Revere quite hit it out of the park.
(review) THR: ‘State of Affairs’
For starters, State of Affairs has a crazy-late fall (or is it winter?) premiere, on Nov. 17, when most every other new show is well into its run. And, despite having plenty of time to provide critics with additional episodes, NBC has held fast with the pilot only. A pilot that has generated no buzz. A pilot that is, at best, flawed, and, at worst, messy-bad.
‘Community’ has cast Britta’s parents
Community is set to finally introduce Britta’s parents: Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren will play George and Deb Perry in the second episode of the season.
Alyson Hannigan to Guest-Star on The McCarthys
Alyson Hannigan has booked a guest-starring role on The McCarthys’ holiday-themed Dec. 18 episode.
(from Fri) Elizabeth Perkins To Co-Star In TNT’s Drug-Trade Pilot
Elizabeth Perkins has been tapped for a co-starring role on TNT’s Untitled Miami Project from Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay.
(from Fri) Tommy Flanagan of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ heads to ‘Revenge’
Tommy Flanagan will play a villain on ABC’s Revenge.
Jon M. Chu, Focus Features Step Up To ’90s-Set ‘Can’t Touch This’
Jon M. Chu is going old school. He and producing partner Hieu Ho have sold to Focus Features new project Can’t Touch This, a high school dance comedy set in the golden era of the 1990s. Chu and Ho originated the idea then tapped writers Annie Mebane and Steve Basilone to script.
Frankenstein Drama Headed to ITV Encore
ITV has commissioned a six-part crime-drama, The Frankenstein Chronicles, starring Sean Bean, from Rainmark Films, with international representation to be handled by Endemol Worldwide Distribution. Set in 1827 London, it will star Bean as Inspector John Marlott, who discovers a crude assemblage of body parts into a child-like body and sets out in search of the perpetrator.
(tech) Disney, A Mobile Company
Late last week Disney had a press event that — for the first time ever — gathered all of the disparate parts of its empire together to talk about what they’re doing in mobile. Television, movies, mobile games, console games, cruises, parks and its new Maker Studios acquisition all pitched new products and discussed how they were doing overall. Disney shared a bevy of aggressive mobile statistics throughout its presentation, but a few stood out as telling. People have spent more time playing the co-developed ‘Frozen’ match-3 game than they have actually spent watching the movie. Over 55% of ESPN’s traffic in a record September was exclusively mobile. Not just ’also mobile’, but ‘only mobile’. Disney Infinity for iPad has more daily users than ALL other platforms (console, PC) combined.
Disney Hits $4 Billion at Global Box Office Thanks to ‘Maleficent,’ Marvel
“Maleficent,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” pushed Walt Disney Studios past $4 billion at the global box office at a record clip. It marks only the second time in studio history that Disney’s film division has hit those lofty heights and comes as the company’s latest animated offering, “Big Hero 6,” passed the $100 million mark domestically. Last year, Disney also topped $4 billion at the box office, but it didn’t reach that plateau until November 25, roughly two weeks later.
Shonda Rhimes To Be Honored By Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today announced Shonda Rhimes will be given the group’s Ally For Equality Award at its Los Angeles gala dinner on Saturday, March 14.
Gaumont International TV Taps Tim Stephen As SVP Business, Legal Affairs
Gaumont International Television, the Los Angeles-based TV production arm of the French film studio Gaumont, has hired industry vet Tim Stephen for the newly created position of SVP Business, Legal Affairs.
(from Fri) ABC’s Reality Chief Lisa Berger Departing Network
Executive vice president of Alternative Series, Specials and Late Night Lisa Berger is departing ABC after joining the network only a year ago. Rob Mills, ABC’s vice president of alternative series, is expected to oversee the department until a replacement is named.
(q&a) Stana Katic Ponders Her Castle Future: ‘For Me It’s About Art Over Finance’
TVLINE: Castle has told a pretty complete story at this point, one could argue.
Katic: If the character is complete, if there is nowhere else to go creatively, then I think it’s better to stop when you’re on top, because I admire the way that they did that with The Wire, you know? Tell a great story and then go home and move onto something else. Don’t milk it “just because.” So for me it’s about art over finance, and as long as we’re creating something that is compelling and that has somewhere to go, then we’re good to go. And when we find that we’re not, when we don’t have anywhere else to go, then it’s time for everyone to pack up and move onto the next thing. But I don’t know where it’s going to end.
AMC Networks’ We TV Asks Viewers To Cut Back On Timeshifting To Win Prizes
We TV said it would begin an effort to get viewers to tune in live (or via video on demand or DVR playback within three days) to certain shows by offering a chance to win a reward. On Thursday, during an episode of We’s series “Tamar & Vince,” the network will feature a specific code word during one of its promos. Viewers who enter the code word at wetv.com will be eligible to win one of ten swag bags given out weekly, while all participants will be automatically entered to win a grand prize of a complete home theater system via a sweepstakes.
Salon: 8 ways shows like “Law & Order: SVU” mess with your head
Research suggests people who watch these programs are more likely to overestimate the incidence of crime in America.
(video) How TV REALLY Gets Made These Days: ‘The Dudleys’ On ‘SNL’
You can’t work in TV (or our business of covering the business of TV) without feeling a cringe of recognition in this terrificbit from Saturday Night Live about the faux show The Dudleys, and the contortions a network goes through to deal with audience input on how a show should be “fixed.”
TechCrunch: 3 Reasons You Can’t Just Ask Customers What They Want
The first reason you can’t just ask customers what they want is that they aren’t always attuned to what they really need. Steve Jobs famously said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” The second danger in asking customers direct questions is the human desire to develop patterns and habits. Sigmund Freud called this phenomenon “repetition compulsion,” in that humans seek comfort in the familiar as well as a desire to return to an earlier known state of things. The final risk is people’s overwhelming desire to be a part of something, to be well liked, and the need to please others. While this is a slightly easier peril to overcome than the others, it is still important to understand how this behavior can influence individuals and skew results or information.