Afternoon News Update for Monday, April 6, 2015.

Hi all! Here’s your afternoon news update for Monday, April 6, 2015:


David Semel Inks Overall Deal With CBS TV Studios
David Semel
has closed an overall deal with CBS Television Studios. Under the two-year pact, Semel will continue on the Tea Leoni-starring series, which has been renewed for a second season, while also producing and directing new projects for the studio.

Syfy Greenlights ‘Incorporated’ to Pilot
announced today it has greenlit to pilot Incorporated, a futuristic espionage thriller from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Pearl Street Productions, CBS Television Studios and Universal Cable Productions. Set in a future where companies have unlimited power, Incorporated tells the story of executive Ben Larson, forced to change his identity in order to infiltrate a cut-throat corporate world, to save the woman he loves. Created by David and Alex Pastor, who wrote and will direct the pilot, Ted Humphrey will serve as executive producer/showrunner, with Damon, Affleck and Jennifer Todd also executive producing.

(from Fri) George R.R. Martin Developing New HBO Series
The potential series is called Captain Cosmos and centers on a young science fiction writer living in 1949 at the dawn of the age of TV. The writer spends his time penning stories no one else would dare to write.The series is in early stages of development at the network, where Martin has an overall deal. The pilot is being written by Michael Cassutt, a writer and co-executive producer on SyFy’s Z Nation.

(from Fri) ‘Muppets’ Revived at ABC With ‘Big Bang Theory’ Co-Creator
Bill Prady is co-writing the script that is being eyed as a straight-to-series variety show.

(review) Atlantic: A.D.: A Show That Wants to Be Game of Thrones, but Starring Jesus"This like the Bible meets Game of Thrones meets House of Cards. If you’ve never heard this story, you’ll just be enthralled and swept up in the storytelling," Burnett said. The first episode is hard to follow without a copy of the good book close at hand; few characters get an introduction, and it feels like walking into a movie that’s already halfway over.

(review) Variety: ‘Happyish’
The show is characterized by strong casting and a whimsical tone, but also a rather tired conceit about self-absorbed yuppies grappling with questions of mortality as they approach middle age. All told, the premiere and a subsequent episode play like a slightly less angst-ridden companion to HBO’sTogetherness,” with a higher comedy quotient — though one that still leaves Shalom Auslander’s creation waffling somewhat charitably in the zone of “goodish.”


Eliza Dushku Joins Cinemax’s ‘Banshee’
Eliza Dushku
will recur as Agent Veronica Dawson, a tough, sexy and shockingly reckless FBI profiler with no shortage of personal demons who joins forces with Hood to hunt down a killer.

Brenda Song Joins NBC’s ‘Take It From Us’; David Koechner In Johnny Knoxville Pilot
Brenda Song
has booked a regular role on the NBC comedy pilot Take It From Us, from Greg Malins and Barry Schwartz. Dave Koechner has joined the cast of ABC’s untitled Johnny Knoxville pilot.

Tracy Spiridakos To Co-Star In CBS’ Dan O’Shannon Comedy PilotRevolution alumna Tracy Spiridakos is set as the female lead opposite Adam Brody in the ensemble cast of CBS’ untitled comedy pilot written by former Modern Family executive producer Dan O’Shannon and writer Peter Warren.

‘Chicago Fire-SVU-Chicago PD’ Crossover Casts ‘Walking Dead’ Alum
Dallas Roberts
will appear on the NBC series later this month.


Netflix Lands Ricky Gervais Movie ‘Special Correspondents’ For 2016
has acquired rights to Special Correspondents, the satirical comedy movie written and directed by Ricky Gervais and starring Eric Bana.


Bruce Jenner to Discuss Transition With ABC News’ Diane Sawyer This MonthJenner’s two-hour conversation with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, billed as Bruce Jenner: The Interview, will air Friday, April 24 at 9/8c as part of a special edition of 20/20.

Transgender Docu-Series ‘Transcendent’ Lands At Fuse
is continuing to reach beyond its music-centered programming roots with a greenlight today for Transcendant, a docu-series that will document the triumphs and struggles of a group of transgender San Francisco cabaret performers. Six episodes have been ordered for a fall launch of the series, from World of Wonder Productions.

Syfy, Chris Hardwick Developing Weekly ‘Nerdist News’ SeriesThe weekly half-hour format would be executive produced — but not hosted — by Hardwick and his Nerdist Industries cohort Brandon Monk. The Syfy take would expand Nerdist News’ format from its YouTube series, which is hosted by Jessica Chobot.

A&E Slams Door On Swinger-Themed ‘Neighbors With Benefits’
has canceled its love-thy-neighbor reality romp after just two episodes.


Disney Creating ‘Tangled’ Musical For Cruise Line
is charting a course with “Tangled,” planning to adapt its 2010 animated film into a stage musical that will be performed aboard its Disney Magic cruise ship later this year. Alan Menken, who created the music for the movie, and lyricist Glenn Slater have created three new songs for the show.

Disney Betting on Fantasy Sports Site DraftKings With $250 Million Investment
Walt Disney is getting in on the online fantasy sports business, investing $250 million in DraftKings, a Boston-based start up site, where fans can play fantasy sports with real money on a per-game basis without having to commit to an entire season. As a condition of the funding, DraftKings will spend more than $500 million to advertise on Disney-owned ESPN’s television and digital platforms, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Disney, Sony & DreamWorks Animation Antitrust Class Action TossedMore than six months after the first lawsuit was filed over anti-poaching and wage-fixing allegations, the ‘toon studios have seen the now-consolidated class-action case go the way of hand drawing as genre standard, at least for now.


Comedy Executive Andrew Weil Joins NetflixAs Netflix is expanding its original comedy slate, the streaming service has added Universal TV VP Comedy Andrew Weil to its original series comedy team, overseen by Jane Wiseman, to whom Weil will report.

Sony Pictures TV Gives Mark Jocson SVP Stripes
Mark Jocson
has been promoted to SVP Digital Media and Games, Networks, at Sony Pictures Television.

Crunchyroll Hires Head of Original Content
, a global digital platform for anime content, has appointed Branon Coluccio as its new head of original content.

CAA’s Andrew Skikne Becomes 11th Agent to Join UTACAA agent Andrew Skikne has become the 11th rep to jump to UTA in seven days. Nearly every agent’s assistant has also been added to UTA, which also has hired two coordinators from its rival.


Weinstein Co. Selling TV Division to ITV in Potential $950 Million Deal
The Weinstein Company
is in the process of selling its television division to ITV, the British broadcaster that has been on a buying spree of late. The deal, if it is finalized, could be worth as much as $950 million. It includes an up-front payment of $300 to $400 million and an escalating package of compensation and bonuses that would nearly triple the initial purchase price, according to sources. TWC would remain as managers of the company, which has hired several new television executives to oversee the growth.

Vox: Mad Men is ending. The Golden Age of TV isn’t.
What was once seen as one of the last great antihero shows now presages an era of shows with rich, deep ensemble casts that dare to ask audiences to develop empathy and intimacy with every single person in the cast. The great series of the antihero era were often a little cold. The great shows of this era are often bursting with warmth, even if you have to dig pretty deeply to find it. And yet all of this great television is built atop a foundation that is rapidly crumbling. Enjoy whatever this new Golden Age is, for it may be television’s last.

Awl: An Asshole Theory of Prestige TV
What if we had a critical framework for prestige television that treats it as a genre (it absolutely is—and a specific one) instead of quality tier (a lot of it is bad)? An approach to not-fun-but-still-good television that acknowledges that it is mostly just about difficult people? And which calls them what they are? (They are assholes.)

AdWeek: How BBC America Is Building Buzz
Sarah Barnett the Beeb’s standout programming coming from "the auteur system," where writers, directors and producers have considerable leeway in bringing their vision to the screen. There’s no reason to rein that in, the executive says, having watched it work at Sundance and noting that U.S. television has actually taken a page from the Brits on this score.

AdAge: Your Favorite Show is Going to Be Canceled… And It’s All Your FaultIf you’re time-shifting your favorite drama and you zip or zap through the ads, you’re an accessory to show murder. The average commercial rating estimate captured in C3 is the only relevant part of the data stream; so long as you watch the ads, you could just as easily fast-forward through all the scripted content without putting a dent in that particular show’s deliveries.

WonderCon Moving to Los AngelesThe move could also re-energize the Hollywood component of the convention.

(longread) Dissent: The Assistant EconomyDoctors and lawyers have secretaries or administrative assistants. Artists, intellectuals, politicians, and “creatives” have personal assistants—aptly named because the job responsibilities are so intimately bound up in the personality of the employer. And because of this, because of the ambitious nature of the people these assistants serve as well as the ambitious nature of the work assistants someday hope to do themselves, personal assistants are simultaneously more devoted to the job than an administrative assistant, and less.