Afternoon News Update for Thursday, December 4, 2014.

Hello all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Thursday, December 4, 2014:


Universal Cable Productions Adapting Documentary ‘Dear Zachary’ for TV
Universal Cable Productions acquired the rights to “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father”, with plans to adapt the documentary into a TV mini-series. Kurt Kuenne directed the original doc, which focuses on Canada’s legal system and also serves as a tribute to his murdered friend Andrew Bagby, who is the focus of the movie. Kuenne will serve as a Co-Executive Producer and consultant on the UCP series, with Josh Braun also serving as Co-Executive Producer.

BBC America’s ‘Almost Royal’ Renewed for Second Season
It’s the cabler’s first original comedy series. The seven-episode series hails from Burning Bright Productions with Clive Tulloh and Seamus Murphy-Mitchell producing.

TNT’s ‘Legends’ Renewed for Second Season
TNT has renewed FBI drama Legends for a second season. Based on the book from spy novelist Robert Littell, the Fox 21 drama is overseen by showrunner David Wilcox.

Fox 21, Fox TV Studios Merge, Bert Salke to Lead
The combined cable studio will be called Fox 21 Television Studios.

‘True Detective,’ ‘Transparent’ Land Writers Guild TV Nominations
Because it was nominated in the in the Comedy Series, New Series and Episodic Comedy categories, “Transparent” led all primetime shows with three nominations. “Game of Thrones,” “The Good Wife,” “Mad Men,” “True Detective,” “Boardwalk Empire,”Louie,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Silicon Valley” and “Modern Family” all received two.

(sched) Roma Downey, Mark Burnett’s ‘The Dovekeepers’ Gets CBS Airdates
has set March 31 and April 1 airdates for the four-hour event series “The Dovekeepers,” which comes from executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett.

(sched) ‘Workaholics’ Season Five and ‘Broad City’ Season Two Set to Premiere Wednesday, January 14
"Workaholics" kicks off its fifth season on Wednesday, January 14 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the second season premiere of "Broad City" at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Vulture: Network TV Is Suffering Through a Great Sitcom Recession. Here’s How to Pull Out of It
Based on our conversations with a number of TV-industry veterans, Vulture would like to suggest this modest list of four simple rules for pulling out of this recession and avoiding a depression:

1. Don’t launch a comedy you don’t believe in and aren’t willing to get behind.
2. Stick with good comedies that have a passionate audience rather than cycle through a series of untested shows.
3. Figure out a way to get good writers interested in making multi-camera comedies again.
4. Take more chances on unproven talent and ideas.


Marvel’s ‘Jessica Jones’ to Star Krysten Ritter
will play the lead in the Netflix straight-to-series pickup. Jones is described as a superhero suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder that leads to her hanging up her costume and opening up her own detective agency, where she ends up helping people and assisting other superheroes.

AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’ Companion Series Casts Male Lead
"Gang Related" alum Cliff Curtis will topline the pilot, which is still testing the female lead.

‘True Detective’ Enlists ‘Dexter’ Alum for Season 2
CS Lee will have a recurring role on the second season of the HBO anthology.


Robin Hood Now A Race As Disney Acquires Spec ‘Nottingham & Hood’
has acquired the Brandon Barker spec Nottingham & Hood, a revisionist take on the Robin Hood legend for Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman to produce through The Picture Company. This follows Sony staking a claim to Sherwood Forest as it bought a pitch by Cory Goodman and Jeremy Lott earlier this fall for high price. Nottingham & Hood has a Pirates of the Caribbean tone and the hope is to launch a new adventure franchise that fits Disney’s global brand

Benedict Cumberbatch Officially Cast as ‘Doctor Strange’
After weeks of negotiations, Marvel has officially cast Benedict Cumberbatch as “Doctor Strange,”. Scott Derrickson will direct from a script by Jon Spaihts, and the film will hit theaters on Nov. 4, 2016.

Ryan Reynolds Teases ‘Deadpool’ Role
Ryan Reynolds
played Deadpool in his one prior live action appearance in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and has long been attached to Fox’s solo movie featuring the character, famously in development for a number of years before being officially greenlit earlier this year.

Deadpool, directed by Tim Miller, will be released Feb. 12, 2016.

Fine Brothers To Produce Teen Comedy Feature With Big Block
YouTube stars the Fine Brothers are joining with Big Block Entertainment on an untitled teen comedy. Benny and Rafi Fine — who have built a big presence on YouTube and other social media — and will write, direct and produce the untitled feature-length project. The film is billed as “an over-the-top look at the clique-filled world of high school” as outcasts turn the tables on their tormentors.


Comedy Central UK Gets Own Version of Drunk History
Comedy Central UK
has begun production on its own version of the series Drunk History.


Disney to Introduce New Apps Focused on Learning
Disney Imagicademy
will release a line of apps dealing with math, science, language arts and other topics and featuring its well-known characters.


John Najarian and Jen Neal Upped at E! and Esquire
The former was named executive vp news and digital for E!, the latter executive vp marketing for E! and Esquire.

Shonda Rhimes to Be Inducted Into NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame
Shonda Rhimes
is being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The honor will be bestowed upon her at the Las Vegas 2015 NAB Show Television Luncheon on April 13, 2015.

James Burrows, Robert Butler Selected for DGA Lifetime Achievement Award
The Directors Guild of America has selected James Burrows and Robert Butler as the first recipients of a new DGA Award: the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction.


Hitfix: TV Top 10 for 2014: ‘The Leftovers,’ ‘The Americans’ & more
10. "True Detective" (HBO)
9. "Mad Men" (AMC)
8. "Hannibal" (NBC)
7. "Rectify" (Sundance)
6. "Orange Is the New Black" (Netflix)
5. "Fargo" (FX)
4. "Review" (Comedy Central)
3. "Transparent" (Amazon)
2. "The Americans" (FX)
1. "The Leftovers" (HBO)

Slate: The Top 10 Books of the Year
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior.

Bark by Lorrie Moore.
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast.
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill.
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison.
Lila by Marilynne Robinson.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein.
The Unspeakable and Other Subjects of Discussion by Meghan Daum.


Splitsider: ‘Extraordinary Person’ Visas and the Plight of Canadian Comedians
At some point, every comic serious about their career makes the move to either New York or Los Angeles. When your friends from the great white north decide that this is how they want to earn their living, they can’t just saunter across the border into New York to tell jokes. Canadian comics have an entirely different and painfully frustrating set of legal hoops to navigate. For starters, they have to plan this out well in advance because before they can even book a ticket, comics need to pitch themselves to an immigration official. Preparing the documentation itself can take around 6 months. That official will then decide whether the comic is deserving of the title ‘extraordinary person.’ The fee for that ego boosting privilege ranges anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000. My parents’ escape from the Soviet Union in the mid ’80s was way less expensive and time-consuming.

Mashable: White people confess their unpunished crimes with #CrimingWhileWhite
Following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision Wednesday not to indict a New York police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite trended online, sparking a dialogue about what some say is an unequal U.S. justice system that treats black people more harshly than whites. Many people who identified themselves as white recounted crimes they claimed to have committed — ones that went without punishment. Jason Ross, whose Twitter bio identifies him as a writer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, started the hashtag on Wednesday shortly after the grand jury’s decision was announced.