Afternoon News Update for Thursday, December 11, 2014.

Hi all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Thursday, December 11, 2014:


George Clooney Is Pitching a TV Dramedy About the 1990s Movie Business
George Clooney, whose Smokehouse Pictures production company signed an overall deal with Sony Pictures Television last summer, has teamed up with Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller and Rescue Me creator Peter Tolan for a one-hour comedic drama that will explore the movie business of the early 1990s. People familiar with the project call it a dark comedy looking at the movie business through the eyes of the studio executives running it. Tolan will write the script and executive produce with Clooney and Smokehouse partner Grant Heslov. Miller is set to direct the pilot.

Vox: True Detective, Fargo, and the problem with TV endings
Almost everybody had either Fargo or True Detective in their top 10 list somewhere. I found room for neither. It’s entirely possible I’m wrong. Both series are part of the newest, hottest trend in television, where each season of a show tells a discrete story, with separate characters and settings. Getting to tell their whole stories in one season meant that anybody could die, any plot twist could legitimately change everything, and every story point had to matter. But that also put a lot of weight on each story’s respective ending. And in that regard, both shows came up short.

(review) Variety: Syfy’s ‘Ascension’
Big, ambitious and more than a little weird, Syfy’sAscension” is being billed as a three-night limited-event series, which is misleading at best. That’s in part because this strange project ultimately feels more like a teaser for the hoped-for series to come, as its intriguing premise carries through the first two chapters before beginning to unravel in the third.

(sched) ‘Broadchurch’ Season 2 Sets January 5 UK Start
The original ITV series is gearing up for its second season and has now set a January 5 start. BBC America has now fixed February 4 to launch Broadchurch’s second season in the U.S.


AJ Buckley Joins TNT’s ‘Murder In The First’ As Series Regular
AJ Buckley
(CSI: NY) has landed a series regular role opposite Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson in TNT’s Murder In The First.

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ taps Blair Underwood as Melinda May’s ex
Blair Underwood has landed a recurring role as Dr. Andrew Garner, May’s estranged ex-husband.

‘True Detective’ Books Rick Springfield for Season 2
The “Jessie’s Girl” singer has joined the ranks of HBO’s acclaimed anthology series for its second season.

Ashley Hinshaw Joins ‘True Detective’; Winston Duke In ‘The Messengers’
Ashley Hinshaw
has been tapped for an arc on the upcoming second season of HBO’s True Detective. Winston Duke has booked an arc on CW drama The Messengers,


ABC Family Orders Transgender Docuseries Produced by Ryan Seacrest
ABC Family is continuing its push into the unscripted arena with a big swing. The Disney-owned cable network has handed out a straight-to-series pickup for My Transparent Life. The docuseries, from Ryan Seacrest Productions, centers on a teen named Ben who learns his parents are not only getting a divorce, but also that his father is becoming a woman. The series will intimately follow Ben, his family and friends as they support each other through the unexpected journey and watch Charlie slowly become Carly, as she experiences the many stages of her transition from male to female.

Tumblr and truTV Team Up for "Big Deal" TV Development Contest
has teamed up with Tumblr to seek out new ideas for unscripted comedy series. The "Big Deal Contest" calls for submissions from Tumblr users for "unique unscripted comedic formats featuring likable authentic characters." truTV’s president Chris Linn said the network is looking for "shows that take us to new and unexpected places; shows that make us laugh … or that simply amaze us. Submissions include a 2-3 minute video and 1-page treatment of the show concept via the contest’s Tumblr page, which runs through January 8th, 2015. Two contestants will receive development deals with truTV — one for an on-air series and another for a digital series.


Hearst Buys 25% Stake in DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV for $81.25 Million
Publishing company Hearst has acquired a 25% interest in AwesomenessTV, DreamWorks Animation’s digital-focused media division, for $81.25 million, the companies announced Thursday. For Hearst, the deal will give it entree into the burgeoning world of online video — and help it reach a young audience that’s increasingly consuming content digitally.


Mafia Series Based on True Events in Development From ‘Mortal Instruments’ Producer
A new scripted series about a mafia war that spanned U.S. and Canadian borders is in development from Don Carmody Television, Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions and Triplicity Entertainment. Conceived by former New York mobster John A. Gotti , the scripted period series is inspired by true events that took place in a power struggle between the New York mafia and two rival mafia families in Canada. The series will span events that took place during World War II when two Italian soldiers became friends and then bring their families to Montreal where they ultimately end up in a battle for dominance. The series is slated to go into production in 2015 in Canada and Italy. Don Carmody, David Cormican, Suzanne DeLaurentiis, Tony D’Aiuto and Vincent Prezioso are set to produce.


Leslie Moonves Extends Contract as CBS CEO Through June 2019
Leslie Moonves
has set a two-year extension of his contract to remain prexy-CEO of CBS Corp. The new deal will keep him at the helm of the Eye through June 2019.

AMC Taps NBCUniversal Alum Rick Olshansky to Head of Business Affairs
has hired Rick Olshanky as head of business of affairs. Olshanky will oversee all business affairs functions, including negotiations of all agreements around AMC’s original programming, productions, acquisitions and development, as well as licensing agreements. He replaces Marci Wiseman, who earlier this year was promoted to a newly created role as executive-in-charge of owned content distribution and strategy for AMC Networks

(gaming) Sega Taps Evan Cholfin to Adapt its Videogames for Films, TV, Digital Platforms
As Sega looks to turn more of its videogames into other forms of entertainment, it has hired former Break Media executive Evan Cholfin to lead those efforts. Cholfin now serves as head of development and production at Stories International, a joint venture of Japanese gamemaker Sega and Hakuhodo DY Group, the world’s seventh-largest advertising agency.

Warner Bros Names Kim Williams CFO
Warner Bros. Entertainment
has named Kim Williams as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, the company announced Thursday. Additionally, Reg Harpur has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Operations and Planning.

Lionsgate Promotes Sean Kisker to Strategy Post
has promoted Sean Kisker to a newly created position as chief strategy officer and general manager of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.

Shonda Rhimes Slams Media for Downplaying Amy Pascal’s ‘Racist’ Emails
Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes on Thursday said that an email exchange between Sony Pictures cochairman Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin about President Barack Obama was “racist” — not just “racially insensitive” as the media has characterized them. The two joked in the emails — leaked in the Sony hack attack and published by BuzzFeed late Wednesday — about the president’s favorite movies, suggesting that he would prefer those about African Americans such as “Django Unchained” and “The Butler.” “Calling Sony comments ‘racially insensitive remarks’ instead of ‘racist’?” Rhimes tweeted. “U can put a cherry on a pile of sh*t but it don’t make it a sundae.”


(awards) Female Showrunners Dominate Golden Globes’ TV Comedy Race
Four out of five of this year’s Golden Globe nominees for best TV comedy series boast female showrunners: "Girls," "Jane the Virgin," "Orange Is the New Black" and "Transparent."

(video) TED: Thomas Hellum: The world’s most boring television … and why it’s hilariously addictive
You’ve heard about slow food. Now here’s slow … TV? In this funny talk, Norwegian television producer Thomas Hellum shares how he and his team began to broadcast long, boring events, often live — and found a rapt audience. Shows include a 7 hour train journey, an 18 hour fishing expedition and a 5.5 day ferry voyage along the coast of Norway. The results are both beautiful and fascinating.

Long and Short: We’re All Part Of The Social Experiment
Do you remember how you were feeling between January 11 and 18, 2012? If you’re a Facebook user, you can scroll back and have a look. Your status updates might show you feeling a little bit down, or cheery. All perfectly natural, maybe. But if you were one of 689,003 unwitting users selected for an experiment to determine whether emotions are contagious, then maybe not.