Noon News Update for Friday, January 16, 2015.

Hi all! Here’s your first news update for Friday, January 16, 2015:


NBC Developing Underground Railroad Miniseries and Musical With Stevie Wonder
announced plans for Freedom Run on Friday morning, a limited series about the Underground Railroad. Based on Betty DeRamus’ book Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad, the miniseries is being planned for eight hours. It tells the story of the underground railroad through a collection of love stories (many of them fact-based) about men and women, slave and free, black and white, fighting or trying to escape slavery. B. Swibel, Adam Westbrook and Charles Randolph-Wright are writing and will serve as executive producers. Tara Smith and Brian LaRoda will also executive produce.

Dolly Parton to Be Center of NBC Movie Series
just closed a deal to develop a series of TV movies based on Parton’s songs, stories and life. Parton will produce. Greenblatt also noted that Parton could have an on-screen role and the movies will likely stand on their own and not be a series of films.

Eva Longoria to Star in NBC ‘Telenovela’ Miniseries
would offer a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the making of a telenovela. Longoria will produce and star as a beautiful diva and star of a popular telenovela. Telenovela is a half-hour single-camera comedy series hailing from Chrissy Pietrosh and Jessica Goldstein and Universal Television, where Longoria’s Unbelievable Entertainment is under an overall deal.

(from Thurs) ‘Ugly Betty’ Creator’s Latino Drama Gets NBC Pilot Pickup
NBC added to its pilot orders, picking up on the diversity trend with two dramas that explore race and sexuality. From Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta, NBC ordered The Curse of the Fuentes Women as well as Diana Son’s Love is a Four Letter Word. The Curse of the Fuentes Women, which had a penalty attached to it, hails from Warner Bros. Television and Silent H, with Horta penning the script. He’ll exec produce alongside Andrew Maher. The drama centers on a magical and mysterious young man who when he inexplicably emerges from the ocean, breathes new passion into the lives of the Fuentes women — the beautiful but lonely Lola, her ailing mother Esperanza and her troubled daughter Soledad.

Love is a Four Letter Word, from 20th Century Fox Television and Fabrik, explores what happens when race, sexuality and gender roles collide when three diverse couples put modern marriage to the test. Son will pen the script and exec produce alongside Mikkel Bondesen and Kristen Campo.

(sched) ‘Hannibal’ to Premiere Third Season This Summer on NBC
will premiere this summer.

(sched) ‘Black Sails’ Season Two to Premiere on Starz Saturday January 24th at 9PM
Ten-episode second season.


NBC’s Robert Greenblatt on the State of the Network – Press tour live-blog
Certainly NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt is likely to look on the bright side at Friday (January 16) morning’s Television Critics Association press tour panel with NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke and Late-Night and Alternative President Paul Telegdy.

THR: NBC Chief Tackles Bill Cosby, Live Musicals and Comedy Woes
"When that many people come out and have similar complaints and it becomes such a tainted situation, there was no way that we could move forward with it," Bob Greenblatt said of pulling the Cosby comedy.

Variety: NBC TCA: Ending Comedy Drought is Top Priority for Peacock
What does Bob Greenblatt want most? A hit comedy. The NBC Entertainment chairman is looking at the prospect of starting next season with an entirely new comedy slate if none of this season’s remaining shows manage to earn renewals.

(from Thurs) E! renews ‘The Royals’ and ‘House of DVF’
Ahead of its series premiere, E! has renewed The Royals for a second season, it was announced at the Television

AdWeek: ABC’s Success With Diversity Comes From Focusing on Creators, Not Just Stars
"Going to storytellers who come from different groups will unleash a creativity that is really going to resonate. … I’m not going to pick up a show that will help me make a bullet point as I sit in front of you guys."

LAT: TCA 2015: Show runners discuss the changing TV landscape
Executive producers that helm Universal Cable Production-backed shows — Natalie Chaidez ("12 Monkeys"), Tim Kring ("Dig"), Marti Noxon ("Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce") and Sean Jablonski ("Satisfaction") — gathered Thursday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena to talk about the intricacies of running a show in the midst of the current TV revolution.


‘Heroes’ Reboot Taps Zachary Levi to Star
The ‘Chuck’ alum joins original star Jack Coleman in the Tim Kring follow-up.

Patrick Fischler To Recur On ‘Once Upon a Time’ & ‘Silicon Valley’
Patrick Fischler
has booked recurring roles on ABC drama Once Upon a Time and HBO comedy Silicon Valley.


NBC Names Noah Oppenheim to Oversee ‘Today’ Show
Mr. Oppenheim succeeds Jamie Horowitz, a former ESPN executive who was ousted in November after a series of disputes with the show’s staff and NBC News executives.

Travel Channel Sets Premiere Date for Breaking Borders
This March, Travel Channel is due to debut Breaking Borders, a new original series led by journalist Mariana van Zeller and chef Michael Voltaggio. Breaking Borders will watch as van Zeller and Voltaggio visit various conflict zones to unite people from both sides of the debate for a meal and lively conversation about the issues that divide them.

Larry Wilmore Books Cory Booker, Other Inaugural ‘Nightly Show’ Guests
Rapper Talib Kweli and comedian Bill Burr are contributing to his first panel.

(from Thurs) Bravo Renews ‘Flipping Out,’ ‘Married to Medicine’ and ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’
Bravo Media
has renewed “Flipping Out,” “Married to Medicine,” and “The Real Housewives of Orange County”. It also set the premiere date for its second original scripted series, “Odd Mom Out,” which will debut on Monday, June 8.


Indiewire: Newest Amazon Pilots Ranked Worst to Best: Ridley Scott & Shawn Ryan Vie to Create the Next ‘Transparent’
Now entering its fourth season, the young but powerful streaming network is looking for another "Transparent," or at least something built to bring in as much attention, awards and accolades as Jill Soloway’s groundbreaking half-hour dramedy. But is there one among the six new scripted contenders in 2015?


Cineflix flips Blackstone drama
Cineflix Rights has scored a distribution deal for Canadian drama Blackstone. The deal with rights holder PPI Releasing hands Cineflix sales rights to the 32x60mins show, which LA-based Prairie Dog Film + Television produces for APTN. The show follows a First Nation reserve community plagued by corruption, violence and injustice.


Disney Channel Looks to Groom Zendaya’s ‘K.C. Undercover’ into Flagship Series
Disney Channel
is giving the full Mouse House marketing push to the new comedy “K.C. Undercover” and its star Zendaya, in the hopes of turning the series into a signature player for the cabler.

Marvel To Release ‘Daredevil’ Special Issue To Tie-In With Netflix Series
No. 15.1 will feature a story written by ‘Arrow’ showrunner Marc Guggenheim.


Exec Shuffle 12/16/15: Shana Eddy-Grouf to Studiocanal, Jocelyn Diaz named EVP for Original Programming at Epix
hired Shana Eddy-Grouf as SVP of International Production and Development.
TLC exec Amy Winter has landed the newly created position of EVP and General Manager at UP TV.
Jocelyn Diaz has been named EVP for Original Programming at Epix. Previously she was VP of Production at Walt Disney Studios.
Pan-European pay TV giant Sky has named Gary Davey, who is executive VP programming at Sky Deutschland, to a larger role as managing director, content.
Jonathan Barzilay
was named COO of PBS.
Online-video company Fullscreen named film and TV vets Rozanna Tesler Fried and Suchir Batra to new exec posts as it expands business and legal affairs in a push into more original-content creation and development.


These Are the Best Selling Games of 2014 in the US
The NPD Group revealed the top 10 best-selling games for all of 2014.
1. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (360, XBO, PS4, PS3, PC)

2. Madden NFL 15 (360, PS4, XBO, PS3)

3. Destiny (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3)

4. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3)

5. Minecraft (360, PS3, XBO, PS4)

6. Super Smash Bros. (3DS, NWU)

7. NBA 2K15 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC)

8. Watch Dogs (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC, NWU)

9. FIFA 15 (360, PS4, XBO, PS3, Wii, 3DS, PSV)

10. Call of Duty: Ghosts (360, PS3, XBO, PS4, NWU, PC)