Afternoon News Update for Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

Hi all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Tuesday, December 9, 2014:


Showtime Developing Corporate Espionage Comedy From David J. Rosen, Marc Webb
is developing Professionals, a comedy set in the world of corporate espionage. Created by David J. Rosen and Marc Webb, Professionals centers on two partially broken midlevel employees who become ensnared in a dangerous game of corporate espionage. Showtime has ordered three scripts for the comedy, with the intention for them to serve as the first three installments of the potential series. Rosen is attached to pen the script and exec produce alongside Webb. Webb is attached to direct.

ABC Readying Limited Series Based on Ken Follett’s ‘Fall of Giants’
is developing Fall of Giants, a sweeping 10-hour limited series based on the trilogy comprising New York Times best-sellers Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity. Ann Peacock is on board to pen the script and exec produce the project from Sony Pictures Television. Should Giants perform well, the second and third books in the trilogy could be the basis for two more 10-hour event series or a continuing hourlong scripted series. Giants is a dramatic tale of love and war told through the lives of five families that become entangled by the first World War. An earl falls for a coal miner’s daughter, a British heiress for a German spy and a young American on the fast track to the White House falls for a Russian bootleggers’s daughter. Set against the backdrop of a catastrophic war, Ken Follett’s characters rise to the challenge of new realities of social class, gender equality and economic collapse — and every one of them is irrevocably changed by it. Michael De Luca is on board to executive produce Giants alongside Stephanie Germain.

USA’s ‘Playing House’ Renewed, Nabs Early VOD Deal
The comedy from Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham will return for eight episodes with an early window on VOD. The new window structure will allow viewers to watch the following week’s episode on VOD before it airs on USA.

TNT’s ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ Renewed for Sixth Season
Following prolonged negotiations, TNT has renewed Rizzoli & Isles. The cop drama starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen will return for a sixth season. The run will consist of 18 episodes — the show’s largest single-season order to date. The series will return in early 2015 for its three remaining episodes of the season. Jan Nash will return as showrunner in season six, which will again return in the summer.

‘Continuum’ Renewed For 6-Episode Fourth & Final Season
Sci-fi dramaContinuumwill end its run in 2015 with a six-episode fourth season, which will wrap the show’s story.

Olivia Munn Inks First-Look Deal With CBS Studios
Actress Olivia Munn is venturing into producing with a first-look deal at CBS Television Studios. Under the 18-month pact, which does not include an acting component, Munn will develop and executive produce series projects for the studio. She is in the process of hiring a development executive who will work with her.

Jeff Astrof Inks Overall Deal With Warner Bros. TV
Jeff Astrof
has signed an overall deal with Warner Bros. Television to develop projects for broadcast via WBTV and cable via its Warner Horizon division.

(sched) Fox Sets Global Premiere for ‘Wayward Pines’ Miniseries
Fox has set a premiere date for Wayward Pines — and it’s coming out on the same day around the globe. The 10-part miniseries from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan will bow Thursday, May 14, on Fox and Fox channels in 125 countries.

(sched) Comedy Central Sets ‘Workaholics,’ ‘Broad City’ Premiere Dates
Comedy Central
announced its winter schedule with premiere dates for “Workaholics,” “Broad City” and the third and final season of “Kroll Show.” Nick Kroll will bring his series full circle on Jan. 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET. On Jan. 14, “Workaholics” returns for its fifth season. “Broad City’s” second season premieres at 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 14.

(opinion) TVBTN: CBS Predictions: ‘Stalker’ Is Likely To Be Canceled
After being a "toss up" for most of the season, Stalker is now likely to be canceled. CBS announced that it would be replaced by CSI:Cyber after airing only 17 of its 20 episodes ordered. The fact that only 20 episodes were ordered (not the 22 in a "normal" full season order) is a another negative indicator that as far as the bear knows was only revealed last Friday.


Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson to Star in FX’s ‘American Crime Story: People v. O.J. Simpson’
has found American Crime’s O.J. Simpson and Marcia Clark. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sarah Paulson have been tapped to star in the new anthology.

(rumor) Chevy Chase Says He’s Making a Cameo in ‘Community’ Next Year
Chevy Chase
revealed the news in his Reddit AMA yesterday: "I will be in a small cameo at the beginning of Community and if they ask me to come back and do one or two appearances, it’s a possibility."

‘House of Lies’ Adds Kevin Pollak, Simon Templeman
The duo will appear in the penultimate episode of the upcoming fourth season.


Benderspink, Benaroya Team For ‘Marksmen’ Comic Book Movie
Post-apocalyptic comic series Marksmen is eyeing a jump to the screen via Benderspink and Benaroya Pictures, who are teaming to produce a feature adaptation of the action-thriller saga. Marksmen takes place in a dystopian future America where civil war over oil resources has left New San Diego as the last remaining bastion of peace and prosperity, protected by walls by the titular militant guards. Drake McCoy is the best of the Marksmen, who leads his small but skilled team as an invading army from the Lone Star State lays siege to their home in an attempt to steal the city’s energy technology.

Martin Campbell to Direct Graphic Novel Adaptation ‘Sebastian X’
Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Motion Pictures will produce a film based on writer Michelangelo La Neve and artist Stuart Immonen’s Sebastian X. The graphic novel centers on an elite cop who, after a near-fatal injury, is implanted with the memory of a notorious terrorist — Sebastian X — in order to infiltrate his group before its next attack. Martin Campbell will direct from a script that Bill Marsilii is currently writing.

J.J. Abrams Sets Up Sci-Fi Project at Sony
J.J. Abrams
has set up an untitled science-fiction project at Sony with Chris Alender making his feature directorial debut. Abrams will produce through his Bad Robot production company. Sony was bidding on the project against several other studios. The logline for the project is under wraps. Justin Doble wrote the most recent draft of the script.


TruTV Renews Three Series, Greenlights Two More
is expanding its programming with a slate of series renewals and new greenlit projects. The network has ordered second seasons of original series The Carbonaro Effect, starring comic magician Michael Carbonaro; pop-culture performance competition Fake Off; and its first-ever sketch comedy series, Friends of the People. TruTV has also ordered a new one-hour Impractical Jokers tour special to amp up the season four premiere of the hidden-camera series on Thursday, Jan. 29. In addition, two new shows will join truTV’s lineup: Kings of Cue, about the cutthroat competition in New York City’s pool halls, and holiday-themed series Santas in the Barn.

Cheryl Burke Leaving Dancing With the Stars for New Variety Show
Cheryl Burke
is hanging up her dancing shoes, at least at ABC. The Dancing With the Stars alum has moonwalked away from the ABC reality competition series for a new opportunity at a rival network. Burke, 30, will star on a yet-to-be-announced variety show over at NBC next year, People reports. The series is said to have a competitive element, and Burke will perform on the show.

Buyout Binge: Consolidation Sweeps Reality TV
2014 marked the crest of a consolidation wave that has been building for the past few years. Small- and medium-sized production entities have been snapped up left and right by the major U.S. congloms as well as Euro and U.K. heavyweights at surprisingly high prices. Well over $2 billion worth of transactions took place this year.


Discovery Inks First Deal with Hulu, Which Lands ‘Deadliest Catch’ Exclusive SVOD Rights
Discovery Communications
signed its first long-form distribution deal with Hulu, a pact that grants the Internet TV service exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to shows from across Discovery’s portfolio of channels.

HBO will reportedly launch its standalone service in April alongside Game of Thrones
According to Fortune, HBO plans to launch the service "in line with the Game of Thrones season premiere in April" (Specifically April 6th). According to the report, HBO has canceled its in-house project (codenamed Maui) and instead will outsource the work to MLB Advanced, which is used by, the WWE Network, and WatchESPN. Why the change? According to one of Fortune’s sources, "they realized [CTO Otto Berkes] couldn’t pull it off." HBO executives are reportedly unhappy with the frequent outages this year and the lack of upgrades.

Amazon Instant Video Begins 4K Streaming
Amazon Instant Video
is offering movies and TV shows in Ultra HD picture quality, a resolution with four times the number of pixels as standard full HD.


ITV orders Got Talent spin-off
has commissioned a spin-off from Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent franchise. Planet’s Got Talent is being produced by FremantleMedia UK subsidiary Thames and Cowell’s Syco Entertainment. The series will highlights some of the most memorable acts from the reality TV format in countries ranging from the US to Vietnam.

Committee approves Olympic TV channel
The International Olympic Committee has approved plans to launch an Olympic TV channel as part of its strategic road map for the future of the global sports and athletics meet. The channel will reportedly be an over-the-top digitalisation that could launch as early as next year, featuring archive material from the IOC, sports competitions and promotional content from bid cities.


Slate: Inside the ESPN Empire
is the best in the business, Robert Lipsyte says, at transactional reporting: breaking the news that helps us watch the games it will broadcast later, telling us “who is going to be traded, who’s hurt, who’s going to actually start on Sunday.” But Lipsyte believes that “where they have to go is the transgressions: the evil that the leagues do.” The tension here isn’t just between ESPN and its business partners in the NFL, NBA, and MLB. It’s between ESPN and its viewers, who mostly don’t seem to care whether the leagues are doing evil.


Facebook Reveals Most-Mentioned Movies, Shows and Songs of 2014
has revealed its most-mentioned movies, TV shows, songs and entertainers of 2014 via its new Year in Review website. Top 10 TV shows:

1. Game of Thrones

2. Orange is the New Black

3. The Walking Dead

4. The Big Bang Theory

5. Downton Abbey

6. American Horror Story

7. Sons of Anarchy

8. True Detective

9. How I Met Your Mother

10. Scandal

EW: Best of 2014: Kenya Barris on casting the perfect ‘Black-ish’ kiddie quartet
How did the show cast what might be the finest pint-sized ensemble on television? We chatted with series creator Kenya Barris—who says these characters are “loosely based” on his own brood—to find out, going kid by kid.


Head of US scripted at eOne stepping down
Michael Rosenberg, Entertainment One’s
head of scripted TV, is stepping down. Rosenberg will leave his post as executive VP, US scripted TV at the Canadian-US studio to return to the production sector. Rosenberg was upped from SVP to EVP in 2012 soon after the exit of previous drama chief Noreen Halpern.

David Luner & Lee Rierson Depart FremantleMedia North America, Luner To Join Lionsgate In Top TV Marketing Post
Two of FremantleMedia North America’s top executives are leaving the company. President of brand partnerships and franchise management David Luner is departing at the end of the month to join Lionsgate as EVP Worldwide TV Marketing in January. Also departing FMNA is COO Lee Rierson, who opted not to renew his contract. He will continue to consult on FMNA projects. In the newly created top TV marketing position at Lionsgate, Luner will report to Kevin Beggs.


(awards) ‘Scandal,’ ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Among NAACP Image Awards Nominees
and Lifetime lead the nominees in the television category, with both “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” receiving multiple nominations, including Best Actress in a Drama recognition for both Kerry Washington and Viola Davis.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Pay-TV Subs Now Also Have Netflix: Study
About 65% of pay-TV subscribers say they now have Netflix — up from 41% in 2013, according to a new study by consulting firm PwC. The increases were most pronounced among older demos: Netflix subscribership among pay-TV customers 50-59 rose from 19% last year to 58% in 2014.