Morning News Update for Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

Hi all! Here’s your first news update for Tuesday, January 20, 2015:


(from Sat) Mark Mylod To Direct ‘Minority Report’ Fox Pilot
Fox is moving fast on its high-profile drama pilot Minority Report. A week after giving the project one of the first pilot orders of the season, the network has set a director. Mark Mylod, who helmed the pilots for ABC’s fairytale dramaOnce Upon a Timeand Showtime’s Golden Globe-winningThe Affair, will direct the project, from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and writer Max Borenstein.

Pamela Adlon to Star in FX Comedy Pilot Directed by Louis C.K.
FX announced it has picked up to pilot comedy Better Things, created by and starring Pamela Adlon and directed by Louis C.K. Additionally, FX also announced that it closed a deal to televise C.K.’s next stand-up comedy special, which will again debut on the comedian’s website. Better Things stars Adlon as Sam, a working actor trying to earn a living, navigate her three daughters’ lives, having fun with a friend or two, and also — just maybe — squeezing in some sex once in a while. Adlon and C.K. will write the pilot and executive produce alongside 3 Arts Entertainment’s Blair Breard and Dave Becky. The pilot hails from FX Productions and C.K.’s Pig Newton Productions.

Deadline: Pilot Season 2015: The ‘Empire’ Effect, Volume & Direct-To-Series Retreat + How Many Pilots The Networks Are Ordering
Television development has always been a reactive business, with the networks jumping on the latest trend, trying to replicate the formula of the most recent thing that worked despite the age-old adage that lightning rarely strikes twice. This season, that would be ethnic shows in light of the success of How To Get Away With Murder, Empire and, to some extent, Black-ish and Cristela.

THR: TV Pilots 2015: The Complete Guide
Here’s a look at the pilots in contention for the 2015-16 television season, as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW sift through hundreds of scripts and move forward in a bid to find the next breakout comedies and dramas.


Will Arnett Guru Comedy Series Ordered at Netflix
Will Arnett is back at Netflix, where he’ll star in his own creation, Flaked. Set in the insular world of Venice, Calif., it’s the serio-comic story of a self-appointed "guru," Chip, who falls for the object of his best friend’s fascination. The streaming service has ordered eight episodes of the original comedy, which will bow exclusively across all Netflix territories in 2016. Arnett will write the series alongside his co-creator Mark Chappell, with Electus founder Ben Silverman, manager-producer Peter Principato and Mitch Hurwitz joining the pair as executive producers.

PBS Orders Civil War Drama, Pushes Further Into Scripted Originals
PBS has ordered a six-episode series order for a still-untitled drama about the Civil War. The project, created by Lisa Q. Wolfringer and David Zabel, hails from Saw Bone Films and Scott Free. Shooting in Virginia, it marks the network’s first American drama in a decade — and its first original commission in just as long. Dubbed "Mansion House" and "Civil War E.R." during development, the series is set in a hospital and follows real-life nurses Mary Phinney and Emma Green. One an abolitionist and one a Confederate belle, they find themselves the same occupied Confederate town, working at the same hospital.

(from Sat) ‘Gotham’, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ & ‘Empire’ Renewed for New Seasons by FOX
FOX has renewed dramas Gotham and Empire for second seasons, and comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine has gotten a renewal for a third season as well.

Deadline: As ‘Empire’ Looms Large, Should ABC Swap ‘The Goldbergs’ And ‘Black-ish’?
ABC may want to explore swapping the Anthony Anderson sitcom and The Goldbergs, which, for the last two weeks, as Black-ish was being dinged by Empire, outrated Black-ish despite its stronger lead-in from Modern Family. The sophomore family comedy is doing nicely at 8:30 PM, regularly building onto its Middle lead-in, so there is an element of don’t fix it if ain’t broke. But if Empire continues to be as strong and Black-ish continues to slide, a switch may be an option.

NYT: Nickelodeon Remixes Its Sitcom Formula to Adapt to Children’s Media Consumption
Children — as ratings declines have taught Nickelodeon and its cable competitors — don’t devour entertainment as mindlessly as they used to. “By the time kids are 8, they have now consumed so much media that they are demanding something different,” said Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon’s programming chief. So Mr. Hicks is throwing out some of the cookie cutters and trying to make series for children that reflect more of the sophistication of shows aimed at adults. “We want to explore all of the things that kids’ TV doesn’t normally do,” Mr. Hicks said. “This generation of kids does not want the last generation’s leftovers.”


THR: Fox Mulls More ’24’ — Without Kiefer Sutherland; Returns for ‘X-Files,’ ‘Prison Break’
Dana Walden told reporters that producers are crafting a new ’24’ run that could be without its star.

Variety: Fox TCA: New Chiefs Talk More ’24,’ Brand-Building and Destiny-Controlling
“The X-Files” is another vintage Fox property that is being eyed for a limited series reboot. Walden emphasized that outreach to series creator Chris Carter and stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny has just barely started, and there’s nothing close to a deal coming together yet. But the success of the “24” revival has them looking more deeply in the vault. Newman joked that he saw speculation about a “Prison Break” revival that was news to him but a welcome idea.

PBS & BBC Ink Multi-Title Co-Production Deal
and BBC have inked a multititle co-production deal also involving BBC Worldwide, PBS president-CEO Paula A. Kerger announced at Television Critics Assn. press tour. The pact will create eight to 10 new programming specials across roughly 20 hours per year, both one-offs and multipart series, to air on PBS nationwide.


(from Sat) Fox Taps Julianne Hough, Vanessa Hudgens for ‘Grease: Live’
Fox has tapped Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens to co-star in its musical installment of Grease. In a bid to defeat the increasingly powerful DVR, the three-hour production from executive producer Marc Platt will air live at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016.

(from Sat) Lea Michele, Joe Manganiello, More Join Ryan Murphy’s ‘Scream Queens’
The Fox horror comedy has also enlisted Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer and Ariana Grande.

Mary Steenburgen joins Will Forte’s ‘Last Man on Earth’
Mary Steenburgen
has joined the cast of Fox’s new comedy The Last Man on Earth.


Amazon to Start Theatrical Movie Operation, With a Quick Streaming Tie-In
Amazon announced on Monday that it would produce and acquire films for theatrical release and early distribution on its Prime Instant Video service. Amazon original movies will be available for streaming in the United States four to eight weeks after they make their debut in theaters, a significant reduction of the window of 39 to 52 weeks that films normally play in theaters before becoming available for streaming.

Grantland: What the Totally Insane Box Office for ‘American Sniper’ Means for the Oscar Race
Can sudden, massive, greater-than-expected success at the box office help a Best Picture contender win an Academy Award? It’s a question that doesn’t come up very often, but a reasonable one to ask after Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper amassed what is predicted to be a $105 million gross over Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. To put that in quick perspective: In four days, American Sniper will have outgrossed every other film in the category this year.


CBS and NFL to Continue ‘Thursday Night Football’ Partnership for 2015 Season
will broadcast the first eight Thursday Night Football games.

Fox In Talks With Simon Cowell For Overall Deal, Eyes Performance Show
Simon Cowell
is deep in conversations with Fox on a production pact. “What we are exploring is an overall deal where he would become an internal production pod on the reality side,” Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden said.

Justin Bieber Getting Comedy Central Roast
Justin Bieber
will be roasted in an upcoming special scheduled to air on Comedy Central on March 7th, Us Weekly reports.

(review) Variety: ‘The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore’
Mixing “The Daily Show’s” opening with the panel format of Bill Maher’s “Real Time,” Wilmore exhibited a quickness and light touch about sensitive topics, yet struggled to bring much coherence or flow to the overpopulated discussion that took up most of the premiere. The unknowns, at this point, outnumber the knowns, making an unqualified tip of the hat premature.

THR: ‘The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore’: First Impressions
Solid first night with some potential tweaks to consider.


YouTube to Launch New Original Content Effort by Year-End
Alex Carloss
, head of originals at YouTube, gave a little more color on the Google-owned video powerhouse’s upcoming effort to finance original programming. He indicated that the initiative would launch by the end of the year, but stopped short of specifying just how much would be spent or on who dollars will be spent. But Carloss made clear that the effort would be focused on taking top native YouTube talent and giving them the financial lift to execute programming concepts they couldn’t otherwise achieve.

Daily Dot: Amazon’s 7 new pilots, ranked best to worst
Point of Honor
– This Civil War drama is one rich on visual appeal, but it might have limited audience appeal. That said, the early voting of Amazon viewers seems to be enthusiastically behind Point of Honor, with 56 percent of those offering opinions giving the pilot five stars.

Marriott wants to bring Netflix and Hulu direct to your hotel room TV
is reportedly testing a new TV service that lets guests log into their personal Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora accounts as opposed to paying extra to view its on-demand movies.

(sched) Sony PlayStation’s ‘Powers’ to Launch March 10 with First Three Episodes
Powers,” the first live action scripted series from Sony’s PlayStation division, will launch March 10, with the initial three episodes.


Sky Orders Harlan Coben’s ‘The Five’; Sets Pregnant Stephen Mangan In ‘Birthday’
has commissioned two new dramas to air later this year. For Sky Living, Harlan Coben has created a new original story, The Five. Described as a 10-part roller-coaster thriller, it follows a group of friends who are united by a terrible incident. Haunted by the disappearance of one of their younger brothers some years earlier, the group is forced to revisit the past when the missing boy’s DNA turns up at the scene of a murder. The Five is produced by Red Production Company.

Meanwhile, Sky Arts’ existential one-off drama, Birthday, will star Stephen Mangan as Ed, a pregnant man going through labor in a British maternity ward. Roger Michell will direct the adaptation of Joe Penhall’s 2012 Royal Court play. Anna Maxwell Martin stars as Ed’s high-flying executive wife who does her best to remain sympathetic and patient through his agony, tears, humiliation, anxiety and ecstasy.

Televisa & Sony Unveil Donnie Brasco Series Adaptation
Sony Pictures Television
and Televisa have announced the second co-production under their previously established partnership, El Dandy, a new original teleseries based on the film Donnie Brasco. The 70×1-hour drama is currently in production in and around Mexico City.

Telemundo Touts Los Miserables
Melissa Pillow, the VP of sales for Europe at Telemundo Internacional, talks to World Screen Newsflash about Los Miserables, a telenovela based on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.


Vice, Disney at Impasse in TV Channel Talks Over ‘Sony Hack’ Clause
A deal between Disney and upstart media giant Vice to create a Vice-branded television channel is in jeopardy over Disney’s insistence on a clause protecting the company from reporting in foreign countries that could result in harm. An individual with knowledge of the negotiations said Disney and Hearst, which co-own A&E Networks and invested $250 million in Vice last year, were jointly insisting on a clause in the Vice contract that “if any programming impugns the reputation of a sovereign nation, or embarrasses Hearst and Disney in any way,” the deal could be undone.

ABC Sticks with Live Well Digital Channel, Adds Comedy Net
In an about-face, ABC will continue to operate the Live Well digital multicast channel on its eight O&O stations although it no longer be offered to outside stations. The ABC O&Os have also picked up the LAFF channel run by Atlanta-based Katz Broadcasting to fill another of its multicast channel slots.

(from Fri) Disney CFO Jay Rasulo Has Yet to Sign a New Contract; Company Closing in on Naming a COO
Jay Rasulo, senior executive VP and chief financial officer of the Walt Disney Co., whose longtime deal expires in two weeks, has not yet signed a new contract, according to a proxy statement the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. His decision to so far not file for an extension comes as Disney chief Bob Iger and the board are planning to name a chief operating officer by spring.


NBC Playground Finalists Announced
has announced the finalists for NBC Playground, its grassroots initiative designed to discover fresh, cutting-edge comedy talent. The finalists are Jeff Galante (Los Angeles), Tyler Hall (Brooklyn), Melissa Hunter (Los Angeles), Avery Lee & Bobby Richards (Chicago), Kassia Miller (New York), Daniel Poliner (Brooklyn), Jameel Saleem (Los Angeles) and Adriano Valentini & Aaron Colom (Los Angeles). Winners will be announced in mid-2015.

Layoffs Under Way at DreamWorks Animation
The first layoffs at DreamWorks Animation are starting to take place under the new leadership of Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria as co-presidents of the studio’s feature division. Around 150 to 400 employees are expected to be affected at the company’s Glendale and Redwood City, Calif., outposts.

WWE Names Content EVP
has elevated Lisa Fox Lee to the position of executive VP of content, overseeing the strategic development and distribution of WWE programming across numerous platforms.


PaleyFest Schedule Revealed: ‘Homeland’ Kicks Off, ‘Girls’ and ‘Scandal’ to Share a Sunday
– Friday, March 6: Opening Night Presentation: Showtime’s “Homeland” (7:00pm)
– Saturday, March 7: A Salute to Comedy Central featuring: “Key & Peele,” “BroadCity,” “Kroll Show,” and “Workaholics” (12:00pm) & CBS Television Studios’ “The Good Wife” (8:00pm)
– Sunday, March 8: HBO’s “Girls” (1:00pm) & ABC’s Scandal” (7:00pm)
– Wednesday, March 11: MTV’s “Teen Wolf” (7:00pm)
– Thursday, March 12: Starz’s “Outlander” (7:00pm)
– Friday, March 13: Fox’s “Glee” (7:00pm)
– Saturday, March 14: The CW/Warner Bros. Television’s Arrow& “The Flash” (4:00pm) & ABC’sModern Family” (8:00pm)
– Sunday, March 15: The CW/CBS Television Studios/Warner Bros. Television’s “Jane The Virgin” (4:00pm) & Closing Night Presentation: FX’s “American Horror Story: Freak Show” (8:00pm)

HBR: Don’t Try to Be a Publisher and a Platform at the Same Time
The “platform” is a new media company model that has been perfected by the tech industry. Platforms can easily scale to serve gigantic audiences, and their lucrative possibilities beckon to established players that are often called “publishers.” Meanwhile, many publishers have solid brand identities that are alluring to platforms. So publishers and platforms are experimenting with new combinations — but is it really possible to combine a publisher with a platform over the long term?

Atlantic: Groups Are Better Than Individuals at Predicting the Future
The best forecasters were the brightest, both in terms of cognitive ability and political knowledge. But many other traits and behaviors mattered as well. Thinking style is important; people who are actively open-minded performed significantly better. They’re much more willing to consider unorthodox ideas or results, and to stray from the theories and beliefs they’re comfortable with.