Hi all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Thursday, November 20, 2014:
Iliza Shlesinger To Topline ABC Comedy Produced By Mark Gordon, Cindy Chupack
ABC and producer Mark Gordon are betting on comedian Iliza Shlesinger as the next strong female comedy voice in primetime. The network has put in developmentForever 31, a comedy written by and starring Shlesinger, which will be produced by ABC Studios and studio-based Mark Gordon Co. Shlesinger has teamed on the project with Cindy Chupack. Based on Shlesinger’s comedy, Forever 31 follows Shlesinger, playing a version of herself, as a 31-year-old comedian who, along with her best friends, struggle with the daily absurdities and indignities of becoming an adult.
‘Grandma Dearest’ Comedy Spec Lands At ABC, Wrapping Strong Spec Script Season
Another comedy spec by an up-and-coming writer has found a buyer. ABC has bought for development Grandma Dearest by Todd Linden, which has comedy veteran Moses Port attached as executive producer for Sony TV and Jamie Tarses’ studio-based FanFare Prods. The show is about the world’s worst grandmother, who loses her considerable wealth and moves in with her daughter.
‘Global Frequency’ Drama Produced By Jerry Bruckheimer Set At Fox With Big Commitment
Another top Warner Bros. TV producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, is taking on a DC Entertainment property for a high-profile drama project that has landed a pilot production commitment at Fox. Global Frequency is based on the graphic novel created by Warren Ellis, from DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint. The adaptation will be penned by Rockne S. O’Bannon. The show will chronicle the workings of The Global Frequency, a privately funded crime-fighting operation that uses worldwide crowd-sourcing to solve crimes the police cannot.
Art & John Linson Acquire Vietnam War Book ‘The Long Gray Line’ For HBO Series
Art and John Linson have secured rights to Rick Atkinson’s bestselling book, The Long Gray Line: The American Journey Of West Point’s Class Of 1966. The book documented the cadets’ journey into the harsh years of the Vietnam War, when the American military faced real criticism for the first time in U.S. history, and the changed reality that awaited those who were fortunate enough to return to their homeland. The Linsons will develop the book as a drama series for HBO under the duo’s overall deal. They have brought in Phil Klay to pen the adaptation in his screenwriting debut.
‘Sullivan & Son’ Cancelled By TBS After Three Seasons
The slate overhaul at TNT and TBS continues. TBS has cancelled comedy series Sullivan & Son after three seasons. This leaves Ground Floor as the only returning TBS original scripted series in 2015 when it will be joined by newbies Buzzy’s, Angie Tribeca and Your Family Or Mine.
(sched) Glee Moves to Friday in Final Season
Glee will take its final bow on Friday nights. The Fox musical-comedy will kick off its sixth and final season with a two-hour episode on Friday, Jan. 9. The following week it will settle into its regular Fridays-at-9 timeslot.
(sched) ‘Better Call Saul’ Gets Two-Night Premiere, New Trailer
The cable network will bow the drama series on Sunday, Feb. 8, at 10 p.m., immediately following the season-five midseason return of ratings behemoth The Walking Dead.
(video) Secrets and Lies First Look: ABC’s New Ryan Phillippe Drama Unveils Killer Promo #WhoKilledTom|
In the first promo for ABC’s midseason thriller Secrets and Lies, Phillippe’s character, Good Samaritan Ben Crawford, discovers the dead body of a local kid — and instantly becomes the prime suspect.
Salon: The year in TV: How two young, raunchy comedies reinvented the small-screen love story
“You’re the Worst” and “Broad City,” two of the best shows of 2014, changed the way we think about TV relationships. The problem is television, because television takes all the same romantic conventions that work well for films and songs and musicals and adds time. Twenty-two episodes. Four seasons. Six months between seasons. Actors who don’t renew their contracts. The endless storytelling is the primary reason why television sitcoms devolve into surrealism after a certain point. It’s hard to make people grow up and change when you have to write them into a new funny scenario the following week.
Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones Are Returning to Parks and Rec
Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones will return to Parks and Recreation’s upcoming seventh and final season. The two join other beloved Parks recurring actors set to return for a final farewell, including Megan Mullally and Natalie Morales.
Orphan Black Enlists Shameless Star Justin Chatwin for Season 3
Justin Chatwin has joined the BBC America clone thriller for Season 3.
Robert Kirkman’s ‘Outcast’ Pilot Rounds Out Cast
Five have joined the Cinemax exorcism drama starring Patrick Fugit. Outcast centers on Kyle Barnes (Fugit), who has been plagued by possession since he was a child. Now an adult, he embarks on a spiritual journey to find answers, but what he uncovers could mean the end of life on Earth as we know it. Philip Glenister co-stars as Reverend Anderson. Reg E. Cathy as Giles, is Rome’s chief of police. Julia Crockett as Sarah Barns, Kyle’s mother. Allison Barnes is Kyle’s former wife. Wrenn Schmidt as Megan Holter, Kyle’s adopted sister and a child psychologist. Kip Pardue as Mark Holter, the husband of Kyle’s adopted sister, Megan.
‘True Detective’ Adds Michael Hyatt & Yara Martinez As Recurring In Season 2
Michael Hyatt and Yara Martinez are the latest additions to the cast of the upcoming second season of HBO’s True Detective. Both will recur on the second installment in the crime franchise that revolves around three police officers (Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams) and a career criminal (Vince Vaughn) who must navigate a web of conspiracy in the aftermath of a murder.
E.L. Katz Set to Direct ‘You’ll Be the Death of Me’ for Lionsgate
E.L. Katz is attached to direct You’ll Be the Death of Me for Lionsgate and Mandeville Films.The comedy thriller follows two single New Yorkers as their budding romance is complicated by a masked knife-wielding psychopath. Todd Lieberman at Mandeville is producing from a script by Mark Hammer, with Lionsgate distributing.
Melissa McCarthy to Star in Tinker Bell Movie Directed by Shawn Levy
Melissa McCarthy is on board to star as Tinker Bell in a comedy-adventure set up at Fox with Shawn Levy directing. Levy will produce the untitled project through his Fox-based 21 Laps production company. McCarthy will also produce via her On The Day banner. Nicholas Stoller will write the script from an idea by Levy and McCarthy.
Bryce Dallas Howard in Talks for Disney’s ‘Pete’s Dragon’ Reboot
Bryce Dallas Howard is in early talks to play the female lead in Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” reboot. Robert Redford is also in talks to star with Oakes Fegley playing the title character. David Lowery is set to direct from a script he wrote with Toby Halbrooks. The story is a reinvention of the 1977 film that revolves around Pete and his best friend Elliot, who happens to be dragon.
David Rhodes Takes Over CBS News as Jeff Fager Shifts Focus Back to ‘60 Minutes’
CBS cast the moves as an orderly transition. Mr. Fager had been running the news division while serving as executive producer of “60 Minutes.”
NEW MEDIA NEWS:
(sched) Amazon Sets Premiere Date for Roman Coppola’s ‘Mozart in the Jungle’
Amazon will debut all 10 episodes of classical-music dramedy “Mozart in the Jungle” from executive producer Roman Coppola on Dec. 23. The series will be available on the e-commerce company’s Prime Instant Video in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.
Spy Thriller ‘The Throwaways’ Sets December Premiere on Crackle
Crackle will unleash The Throwaways on Dec. 19. The feature film is being described as an international cyber spy thriller, and will be available for streaming then. The film centers on a hacker named Drew Reynolds (Sam Huntington), who after being captured by the CIA, is offered a deal. He can either work for them or get life in prison. He assembles a team of CIA agents considered "throwaways" — those who are believed to be the worst of the agency. The film was written by Michael Ross and directed by Tony Bui. Jeremy Renner and Don Handfield executive produced via their company The Combine.
Netflix Streaming Eats Up 35% of Downstream Internet Traffic
Netflix’s video-streaming service continues to be the most bandwidth-hungry application on the Internet, now accounting for a whopping 34.9% of all downstream traffic during peak periods on North American broadband networks, according to a new study.
BBC Unveils 40-Plus Hours of Drama Commissions
One of Us is a four-part modern thriller set in the Highlands of Scotland and Edinburgh from Harry and Jack Williams. From Robert Wade and Neal Purvis and Sid Gentle Films comes the five-part SS-GB, set in a 1940s London under Nazi occupation, based on Len Deighton’s alternate history novel. Tiger Aspect Productions is making the eight-part Cuffs, a Brighton-set cop show that will be the first drama series in a weekday 8 p.m. slot in more than eight years. Joseph Conrad’s classic novel The Secret Agent is being adapted into a three-part drama by Tony Marchant. It focuses on a Russian spy living as a shopkeeper in 19th century London. Peter Moffat is writing the tentatively titled six-part Undercover, a political thriller with a lead character who is about to become the first black director of public prosecutions. Fifty Fathoms, Tiger Aspect and Keshet UK are behind the six-part Israeli adaptation The A Word.
(q&a) Disney’s Tom Schumacher on the Massive Success of The Lion King and How Broadway Has Changed Over 20 Years
Vulture: Who is buying tickets?
Tom Schumacher: Well, they’re often in different categories. If you take a slightly longer view, more like 25 years, people who live in Manhattan have increased by 32 percent. What we call the bridge-and-tunnel crowd, the outside people who travel in through a tunnel or over a bridge, the bridge-and-tunnel crowd, they’re only up 12 percent. Everyone thinks that’s who’s fielding it. Not really. Foreign tourists are up over 350 percent. Domestic tourists are up over 100 percent. People under 18 are up again over 100 percent. But here’s the one that fascinates me: In the last 20, 25-ish years, people over 65 are up a couple of hundred percent because Broadway became a safer environment. Therefore, you have kids who are coming now and senior citizens who come.
HRTS Adds 5 To Its Board Of Directors
The Hollywood Radio and Television Society has set its new board of directors to take the networking group through 2017. Five newbies are joining the board: Christina Davis, EVP Drama Series Development at CBS Entertainment; Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager of WGN America & Tribune Studios; Philippe Maigret, CEO of Endemol Studios; Kim Rozenfeld, EVP U.S. Current Programming at Sony Pictures Television; and John Morayniss, CEO of Entertainment One Television.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Convenes Media Moguls for Internet TV Summit
The Netflix CEO has invited many of the top executives in the TV and film world, along with some representatives from hardware and Internet companies, to a gathering at a Utah resort next month. Invitations to the event, distributed to the likes of CBS CEO Les Moonves and HBO CEO Richard Plepler, say that Hastings and Netflix content boss Ted Sarandos want to discuss the future of TV.
Meet Alibaba’s Woman of Mystery in Los Angeles
Zhang Wei, a Harvard MBA and former talk-show host (she’s interested in "Megan Ellison-type" films, says an insider) seems poised to head the China power’s push into Hollywood. In October, Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma described his firm as "the world’s biggest entertainment company." He is known to be interested in purchasing American content to stream and possibly investing in American movies. But some observers believe his ambitions also include buying a stake in a U.S. studio or even acquiring one outright.
Discovery EVP Dolores Gavin & COO Edward Sabin Exit, EVP Denise Contis Expands Role In Restructuring
Incoming Discovery Channel president Rich Ross is making changes to the executive team he is taking over. Dolores Gavin, EVP Development and Production, East has left the network. Her West Coast counterpart, Denise Contis, EVP Development and Production, West, will now oversee Discovery Channel’s entire development and programming slate originating from both the Los Angeles and Silver Spring, MD, offices as a No. 2 programming executive under Ross.
(q&a) EW: Behind the scenes of ‘Serial’: An interview with co-creator Julie Snyder
It’s already fairly obvious that today’s best TV shows aren’t actually on television: You’ll find them on Netflix, or Amazon, or some dark corner of the Internet. But is it also possible that fall’s most addictive drama isn’t a TV show at all?
EW: Have you been approached about the movie or TV rights? Would you consider selling?
Julie Snyder: Serial is under the umbrella of This American Life, and that property has agents. There have been people who’ve reached out to the agents for This American Life, but we’re not pursuing anything. It’s hard to say, even hypothetically, [whether we’d consider selling] because I’ve been through the process with This American Life, and it’s hard to understand how something translates outside of a nonfiction radio story.
How the NBA’s Biggest Stars Are Taking on TV
They’ve got game on the court — but what about on TV? Several current and past NBA stars are taking a shot at producing, often with shows that were inspired by their own lives. Many of them have even formed production companies, with an eye toward making Hollywood more of a full-time gig once they’re pooped on hoops.
(video) Watch ABC’s ‘Scandal’ Reimagined as a Comedy
The fine folks at Fake Out TV have cut together footage of Shonda Rhimes’ political thriller as if it were a sitcom — complete with an awkward laugh track and opening credits set to the theme of The Greatest American Hero.
Amazon to launch hotel booking service in January 2015
Amazon.com is poised to launch its own travel service, featuring booking at independent hotels and resorts near major cities, Skift has learned. The initial rollout of Amazon Travel would feature a curated selection of hotels within a few hours’ drive from New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The service will likely go live around January 1.