Morning News Update for Friday, March 20, 2015.

Hi all! Here’s your first news update for Friday, March 20, 2015:


Bella Thorne To Star In ABC Family Drama ‘Famous In Love’ From Marlene King

I. Marlene King is adapting another book as a potential series for ABC Family. Bella Thorneis set to star in the drama project, now in development, which is based on Rebecca Serle’s romantic novelFamous In Love. King and Serle are writing the adaptation, which centers on a college student (Thorne) plucked from obscurity to star in a major Hollywood movie franchise who struggles with her new-found fame. Famous In Love hails from Warner Horizon TV.

(from Thurs) ‘Houdini And Doyle’ Series Picked Up By Fox, ITV & Shaw MediaA supernatural crime drama inspired by the unlikely real-life friendship between Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and illusionist Harry Houdini is headed to the small screen in the U.S., UK and Canada. Sony Pictures TV has sold the 10-episode series to Fox, the UK’s ITV and Canada’s Shaw Media. Titled Houdini And Doyle, the drama — which will go straight to series — hails from David Titcher, David Shore and David Hoselton.

(from Thurs) Ehren Kruger To Pen ‘The Brothers Grimm’ TV Series For MiramaxMiramax has tapped screenwriter Ehren Krugerto bring The Brothers Grimmto television. The new series will follow the swashbuckling adventures of brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, who discover startling mythology and supernatural stakes behind the folklore sweeping 19th century Europe.

(from Thurs) FX Inks First-Look Deal With ‘Django Unchained’ Producer Stacey SherHer production company, Shiny Penny, has entered a two-year deal with the network.

Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins Ink New Deal With ABC Studios

Trophy Wife creators Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins have signed a new two-year overall deal with ABC Studioswhere they have been based for the past three years. Under the pact, the duo will continue to develop new projects and supervise other writers for the studio.

NBC Hosts Screenings of New Midseason Drama ‘American Odyssey’ in 10 Cities
NBC will host screenings of its new midseason drama series “American Odyssey” in 10 cities on March 25, prior to the show’s network debut on Sunday, April 5, at 10-11 p.m. ET/PT.

Salon: The magic of the CW is real: The network’s supernatural success is changing the future of TV
Special powers, supernatural weapons, undead romances, demon possession, and virgin births occupy most of the CW’s primetime programming. Even if we were to more strictly define “genre” as just science-fiction or fantasy, some form of magic or future science motivates the majority of the CW’s storytelling. And clearly, the infusion of genre is working.

(review) Hitfix: Netflix’s ‘Bloodline’ borrows the ‘Damages’ playbook, for good and illThe flashforwards and narration, designed to pull viewers through the quiet expository passages at the start, had the opposite effect on me. They reminded me of how much pleasure "Damages" took in pulling the rug out from under the audience whenever possible, and how the constant surprises and reversals quickly grew tired (when everything is shocking, nothing is), while turning the core characters into puppets who danced at the whims of the story, rather than people with understandable and consistent motivation.


James Caan Exits Fox Pilot ‘Fantasy Life’James Caanhas departed Fox‘s multi-camera/hybrid pilot Fantasy Lifefollowing its table read.

D.L. Hughley Cast In NBC Pilot ‘Heart Matters’; Jason Scott Lee In ‘Warrior’
D.L. Hughley has joined the cast of NBC’s drama pilot Heart Matters. Jason Scott Lee has booked a series regular role in Warrior.

‘Army Wives’ Mayte Garcia Joins ABC Pilot ‘The Kingmakers’
Mayte Garcia is set to play a senator’s wife on ABC drama pilot “The Kingmakers.”

LeToya Luckett Boards NBC’s ‘Love Is a Four Letter Word’Filling the role vacated by Cynthia McWilliams before she took over the lead.


‘Chrononauts’ Time-Travel Comic Book Snapped Up By Universal, Chris Morgan Producing
Universal Pictureshas optioned Chrononauts, the time-traveling adventure comic book series from Mark Millarand Sean Gordon Murphy, which Chris Morganwill produce under his Chris Morgan Productions banner. Millar and Murphy will exec produce. Chrononauts is an adventurous two-hander revolving around the first scientific duo who travel back through time.

Could Producer Shivani Rawat Be the Next Megan Ellison?
Dan Fogelman had built a praiseworthy list of writing credits. But that didn’t bring the world clamoring to finance what he hoped would be his directorial debut — a dramedy about an over-the-hill rock star who rediscovers his soul. With the financial backing of her godfather, 5-Hour Energy drink magnate Manoj Bhargava, Shivani Rawat turned Fogelman’s passion project, “Danny Collins,” from a might-have-been into a bigscreen reality. Starring Al Pacino, Annette Bening and Christopher Plummer, it debuts in New York and Los Angeles on March 20.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Star in, Produce ‘Fraggle Rock’ MovieHe joins New Regency and The Henson Co., who also are producing.

Studio Profitability Report: Who’s Up and Who’s Down
‘Frozen’ fever and Marvel moolah helped deliver $1.7 billion in 2014 as Disney topples Warner Bros., Paramount increases box office and Sony stumbles on ‘Spider-Man’ in THR’s annual breakdown of money at the major studios.


Logo TV Gives ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Early Season 8 Renewal
On the strength of its current seventh season ratings, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has already been renewed for an eighth season. Additionally, the cable network has told TheWrap exclusively that it has greenlit new series “Behind the Movies” (Working Title), which will be hosted by Broadway actor and “Ugly Betty” star Michael Urie.


‘Empire’ Streaming Rights Secured By Hulu
revealed this morning that it has struck a new deal with producer 20th Century Fox Television Distribution that makes the streaming service the exclusive SVOD home of the series for all current and future episodes.

The real reason Meerkat and Snapchat have taken over social media
Meerkat enables anyone to start a livestream from their smartphone and announce it to all of their Twitter followers. Unlike Twitter, Facebook, or really anywhere else on the Internet, Meerkat and Snapchat are not allowing users to relive a moment they’ve missed. It keeps users tied to the app and incentivizes obsessive checking in a way traditional social media could only dream of.


Canada Embraces A La Carte Cable PricingCable a la carte pricing, whereby consumers pay for only the channels they want, has finally broken through in Canada. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said in a sweeping ruling today that cable and satellite providers must offer consumers an affordable basic lineup and allow them to choose additional channels. The CRTC ruled that the pay TV providers will have to offer basic-local channel service at no more than $20 a month by March 2016.


(stage) Russell Simmons Plans Broadway Hip-Hop Musical ‘The Scenario’
Tony Award-winning producer Simmons is developing a new musical that will be driven by “the greatest hits from a two-decade span of hip-hop — from the ‘golden age’ of the mid-80s to mid-90s, to the chart-topping artists at the turn of the millennium,” per the announcement.

Jay Rasulo Sells Disney Shares Worth $12 Million; Still Working Without a Contract
Rasulo, the company’s senior executive VP and chief financial officer, unloaded 115,000 shares of Disney last week to pocket more than $12 million, according to a regulatory filing. He continues to work at the Burbank-based company without a contract, which he let expire on January 31 as he awaited Iger’s decision about who would become the company’s next chief operating officer.


(longread) Asymco: Peak Cable
A business dies first slowly then quickly. The exact timing is tricky because of the non-linearity of the phenomenon. It’s also hard to declare end-of-life since business zombies are very common. What is clear however is that the economics will change dramatically and the alliances between talent and distribution will shift to entrants and away from incumbents. The point when we will look back and say that cable was finished will probably come by the end of this decade.