Morning News Update for Friday, February 6, 2015.

Hi all! Here’s your first news update for Friday, February 6, 2015:


Film Commission Sets April Fool’s Day For Final TV Tax Credits Lottery
Today the California Film Commission announced that April 1 would be the lottery day for applying TV productions. Set to be coordinated with pilot season, the very last lottery is the old approach but the new wave is coming quickly. The first application period for TV productions under the new non-lottery decided system with be May 11 – 17, 2015.

With $55.2 million allocated for new TV series, TV pilots, MOWs and Mini-series the first round of the new system will greatly expand the eligibility for network projects that had previously been excluded from the incentive. Unlike the hand of fate lottery system, projects will now be picked through a yet to be fully ironed out competitive ranking system strongly rooted in job creation among other criteria. And don’t worry if you don’t have a new project or you’d set up in another state before. There’s $27.6 million in incentives under the new program this time round for relocating TV series.

Will Yun Lee Cast In NBC Pilot ‘Warrior’
Will Yun Lee
has joined the cast NBC’s martial arts drama pilot, Warrior.

Thomas Haden Church, Molly Shannon Join HBO’s Sarah Jessica Parker Comedy
‘Divorce,’ also starring ‘Mad Men’s’ Talia Balsam, marks the ‘Sex and the City’ star’s return to HBO.


ABC Revives ‘BattleBots’ As Summer Reality Series
Twelve years after BattleBots ended its run on Comedy Central, ABC has picked up a reimagined take of the killer robot combat sport, from Whalerock Industries and the creators of the original BattleBots franchise, Ed Roski and Greg Munson. Former ABC topper Lloyd Braun executive produces the project, which has received a six-episode order to air this summer.

ABC Family Taps Kary McHoul To Head Unscripted Programming
ABC Family
has tapped former Fox and E! exec Kary McHoul to head its unscripted division. McHoul will report to Karey Burke, executive VP of programming and development.

(review) Grantland: HBO Offers Up Miniseries ‘The Jinx’ to ‘Serial’ Addicts Hungry for Another Hit of True Crime
On Sunday, HBO will debut The Jinx, a six-part documentary series about the life and many mysterious deaths of Manhattan real estate scion Robert Durst. Like Serial, it looks back at a case that has long since been closed. And, like Serial, it does so with a series of artistic and curatorial choices that have the potential to turn the idea of “truth” into a subjective guessing game. This is a curious take for a documentary — HBO, tellingly, has declined to file The Jinx under its highly respected HBO Documentary Films umbrella — but a potentially excellent decision for a TV show.


Reuters launches ‘Netflix for news’
has launched its mobile TV news service, offering curated and personalized news coverage that is available anywhere, on-demand, a service that the news specialist has dubbed ‘news for the Netflix age’. The subscription service will be free for the first 30 days, with access then charged at $1.99 per month via in-app subscription.

Sling TV reveals plans for sports package, hints at NBC deal
Sports fans who pay a little extra on top of their $20 base subscription for Sling TV will have access to the SEC Network, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, Univision Deportes, Universal Sports and beIN Sports.


(comics) Marvel assembles first all-female Avengers team, the ‘A-Force’
Marvel Comics
announced its first all-women Avengers team on Friday. The A-Force will consist of She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru and many others — including at least one new superhero, a "cosmically powered" heroine named Singularity.


BBC Drama Controller Ben Stephenson In Talks To Leave Broadcaster; Is JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot His Next Destination?
Ben Stephenson
, responsible for the commissioning of all drama programmes on BBC television and online, is in talks to leave the broadcaster. Sources tell Deadline that one possible destination for Stephenson, one of the most powerful execs in the UK, could be J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot.

Exec Shuffle 2/6/15: Amy Pascal Steps Down at Sony, Thomas O. Staggs New COO at Disney
– New BBC America president Sarah Barnett has hired her top lieutenant at SundanceTV, Nena Rodrigue. Rodrigue will be EVP, Original Programming, Acquisitions and Production for BBC America, a newly created position.
– ITV Studios America has tapped Lucienne Papon as SVP Scripted Television. Papon joins from Martin Campbell Productions, where she helped launch the company’s ABC Studios-based TV division.
ITV Studios America has tapped Bruce Gersh for the newly created position of EVP & Head of Digital, Strategy and Branded Entertainment.


(podcast) Nerdist Writers Panel #176: TV Executives
CBS’s Bryan Seabury, Sony’s Chris Parnell, and Caitlin Foito of ABC Studios take you inside the TV pitching and selling process from another perspective. Their candid conversation covers how decisions are made, what works in pitching and selling, the shifting marketplace, and how the best advice is to make the TV you want to see.

Atlantic: What I Learned Trying to Write a Muslim-American Cop Show for HBO
The author and Dave Eggers wanted to create a three-dimensional, fully human character with an interesting job who just happened to be Muslim. Was television ready?