Morning News Update for Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

Hi all! Here’s your evening news update for Tuesday, March 3, 2015:


‘Vikings’ Creator Inks Overall Deal With A+E Studios
Michael Hirst
has signed a multiyear first-look overall deal with the studio behind History’s Vikings. Under the terms of the pact, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter and producer will develop, create and produce original drama programming for A+E networks including A&E, Lifetime and History, as well as outside buyers.

Rainn Wilson’s ‘Impress Me’ Becomes Second Scripted Show on Pop
has ordered its second scripted comedy series. The network, formerly TV Guide Network, has picked up to series the Rainn Wilson-produced web series Impress Me. The six-episode series originally premiered on Wilson’s YouTube channel SoulPancake. Pop will air those six plus an additional seven never-before-seen installments. Created by writer-director Ben Shelton, the half-hour scripted comedy centers on celebrity impressionists Ross Marquand and Jim Meskimen who are trying to quit doing impressions and become dramatic actors.

(from Tues) Reality Producer Charlie Ebersol Inks Scripted Development Deal With UCP
Charlie Ebersol
is segueing into the scripted arena. The reality producer behind TNT’s The Great Escape and his The Company banner has inked a one-year overall deal with Universal Cable Productions. Under the pact, Ebersol will for the first time develop and produce scripted programming for the studio and its NBCUniversal counterparts, including external and digital networks.

(from Tues) TruTV Greenlights First Full-Length Scripted Comedy Series
has given the greenlight to its first-ever full-length scripted comedy, “Those Who Can’t,” with a 10-episode order. The series revolves around three frustrated and dysfunctional high school teachers in Denver who are as screwed-up as the students they teach. The half-hour laffer will star show creators Adam Cayton-Holland, Andrew Orvedahl and Ben Roy.

(from Tues) Spike TV Rebrands, Inks Deal With Dwayne Johnson
At its upfront presentation Tuesday, the Viacom-owned cabler also announced additional episodes for ‘Lip Sync Battle’ and a script deal for drama ‘Emergency Broadcast.‘ Scripted drama Emergency Broadcast hails from Legendary Pictures and centers on a group of government responders who confront the planet’s biggest crises and disasters. It’s based on an original idea from Legendary CEO Thomas Tull and reteams the company with longtime collaborator Max Brooks who serves as a consultant on the drama.

(from Tues) FXX’s ‘Man Seeking Woman’ Renewed for Second Season
The comedy about a sad-sack guy in search of love and his sweet and surreal adventures will return for an additional 10 episodes in 2016.

(from Tues) IFC’s ‘Garfunkel & Oates’ Canceled
The comedy based on Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci’s musical web videos will not return for a second season.

(review) Variety: ‘Dig’
Those less inclined to accept [the show’s story] on faith — either due to the auspices or a lack of patience — that “Dig” is leading somewhere can be forgiven for rolling their eyes at another show that promises to threaten “everything we believe in.” For such skeptics, USA might be digging in the wrong place.

(review) Variety: ‘CSI: Cyber’
This feels like a particularly tired exercise, one that Patricia Arquette probably would have passed on had she known “Boyhood” would add “Oscar winner” to her resume. As is, there are some talented people here cast adrift in an utterly tired setting, of which little positive can be said except, “Hey, it’s slightly less nasty than ‘Stalker.’”


ABC’s Shondaland Drama ‘The Catch’ Casts Male Lead
Damon Dayoub will star opposite Mireille Enos.

Luis Guzman To Star In CBS’ ‘Code Black’; Cody Horn In ABC’s ‘Broad Squad’
Luis Guzman
is set as a lead opposite Maggie Grace in CBS pilot Code Black. Cody Horn has landed one of the four leads in ABC’s period female-cop procedural drama pilot Broad Squad.

ABC’s ‘Uncle Buck’ to Star Mike Epps
Taking on the role played by John Candy in the 1989 John Hughes movie, with Nia Long also joining the pilot.

‘True Blood’ Alum Boards ABC’s ‘L.A. Crime’ Anthology
Karolina Wydra joins Erika Christensen and Taissa Farmiga in the drama pilot.

(animated) Sarah Michelle Gellar Joins Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels for Season 2
Sarah Michelle Gellar will lend her voice to Season 2 of Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels.


(from Tues) Joe and Anthony Russo Sign First-Look Deal With Sony Pictures
Joe and Anthony Russo, the directing team behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier, have signed a three-year, first-look deal with Sony Pictures.


TNT Orders More ‘Cold Justice’ For Spring Premiere
Ahead of the show’s winter finale on March 6, TNT has ordered 12 additional episodes of real-life investigative series Cold Justice for premiere on April 10.

Netflix and Leonardo DiCaprio to Partner on Documentary Projects
and Leonardo DiCaprio and production company Appian Way have agreed to partner on upcoming documentary and docu-series projects as part of a First Look deal for non-fiction projects to premiere exclusively on Netflix.

Fuse Network Expands Beyond Music in 2015
The Fuse Media Inc.-owned network is targeting a diverse, Millennial audience with its new programming line-up.

YouTube’s Fine Brothers Entertainment Creates TV Division
Fine Brothers Entertainment, whose multiple YouTube channels top 15 million subscribers, has formed a TV unit headed by Brandie Tucker, a former producer for CBS’s “Big Brother,” Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and other shows. Tucker, as VP of alternative television for Fine Brothers Entertainment, will be responsible for developing FBE’s nonscripted TV business.

(from Tues) NBC Orders Variety Series Starring Marlon Wayans
has ordered a comedy variety series starring Marlon Wayans, the network announced Tuesday. The actor-comedian will host the hour-long comedy series, currently titled “I Can Do That!” It will feature six celebrities, who are asked to rely on unexpected skills to put on an entertainment showcase. The network has ordered six episodes and will begin airing them this summer.

Justin Willman Lands Comedy Central Special from Chris Hardwick
Comedy Central
will air a special with comedian and magician Justin Willman. Exec produced by Chris Hardwick, the special titled “Sleight of Mouth With Justin Willman” features sketch comedy, magic, field pieces and cannabis-fueled social experiments with guest comedians Doug Benson and Paul Scheer.


NBC working on a subscription streaming comedy channel
NBCUniversal is working on an over-the-top (OTT) subscription service that would stream video to customers over the Internet, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed byMashable. NBC has been exploring the model for some time now and has looked at a variety of different niches to offer. The WSJ said NBC had settled on comedy, but also looked at other topics like family programming and horror.

‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ springs a leak with ‘Double Agent’
The studio’s TV arm is dispatching a "double agent" who will infiltrate the production team on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — from whence he will "leak" top-secret information about upcoming episodes of the show itself. It all goes down on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Double Agent, a new web series from ABC Entertainment and Marvel Television.


BBC, Elba bring back Luther
Idris Elba
will return to his role as the troubled DCI John Luther for a two-part special for the BBC.

Jon Cassar To Executive Produce Brazil-Set Comedy Series ‘Rio Heat’; Victor Webster To Star
Action comedy series Rio Heat, produced under a co-production treaty between Brazil and Canada, is described as a cross between Hawaii 5-0, Miami Vice, Magnum PI and Moonlighting. Emmy-winning 24producer/director Jon Cassar will executive produce and direct multiple episodes of the 13-episode series, which will be filmed entirely in Brazil. Rio Heat was co-created by Canadian TV producer Ken Gord and Dean Borenstein.

Turkish TV Dramas Make Further Inroads Into U.S. Market
Turkish TV dramas are making inroads into the U.S. market where hit historical romancer “Kurt Seyit & Sura” will air to Spanish-language audiences via MundoFox and revenge drama skein “Kacak” (The Fugitive) will go out via Spanish-lingo Azteca America.


(animated) Hulu Gets Disney Junior’s ‘Doc McStuffins’ in Exclusive SVOD Deal
, looking to cater to the 6-and-under set — or, more accurately, their parents — inked a deal with Disney-ABC Television Group giving the Internet-streaming service exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to Disney Junior’s acclaimed animated series “Doc McStuffins.”


Katherine Nelson Named SVP of Communications for Syfy and Chiller
Katherine Nelson
has joined Syfy and Chiller as SVP Communications, transferring from her previous role at Esquire Network, another NBCU Cable Entertainment channel. She will report to Syfy and Chiller President Dave Howe.

Marc Graboff Joining Discovery as Head of Global Business and Legal Affairs
Discovery Communications
has hired Marc Graboff to lead its Global Business & Legal Affairs, Production Management and Studios. The company has also promoted Lee Bartlett to Studios Group president reporting to Graboff.

Kerry Washington Honored by GLAAD
GLAAD has chosen Kerry Washington as the recipient of its Vanguard Award for her work in promoting equality. The honor will be presented at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton on March 21.


Hitfix: Why ABC’s African-American ‘Uncle Buck’ pilot shouldn’t be titled ‘Uncle Buck’
The term came into use in the post-Reconstruction South and it was applied as a caricature of African-American men who were long on strength, short on intelligence and possessed of a sexual appetite usually involving white women. You scan representations of the "black buck" and you’re going to find a lot of white actors in blackface and you’re going to find a lot of references to the character of Gus from D.W. Griffith’s repugnant cinematic landmark "Birth of a Nation."

FiveThirtyEight: How Long Can A Spinoff Like ‘Better Call Saul’ Last?The average spinoff lasted 68 episodes, and its parent series ran an average of 171 episodes, meaning that we can expect the average spinoff to run 40 percent of the length of its originator. The rarest category: spinoffs whose runs exceeded those of their originators. Only five shows were in this category — “Family Matters,” “The Jeffersons,” “NCIS,” “Jackass” spinoff “Viva La Bam,” and the little-remembered Western “Wanted: Dead or Alive.”

Millennials Flock to Digital Content, Online Celebrities
Among the younger 13-to-17 segment, 32 percent responded they are more likely to look up to a YouTube personality over traditional celebrities, while the older 18-to-24 set reported a slightly higher affinity towards TV and movie stars (36 percent versus 26 percent for YouTubers).

(gaming) Sony PlayStation 4 Surpasses 20 Million Sales Milestone
Sony has sold 20.2 million PlayStation 4 videogame consoles, the company said Tuesday, making the device the fastest-selling PlayStation system in the company’s history.