HBOis breaking new talent with comedy pilot Insecure,which will bring two new voices to television. Co-created, written and toplined by first-time TV creator and star Issa Rae, the pilot will be directed by top music video director Melina Masoukas in her TV directing debut. Insecure focuses on the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern day African-American woman.
Coming off a very strong development season with two projects going to pilot and one, Fox comedy Grandfathered, picked up to series for fall, The Simpsons and The Office alum Danny Chun has re-upped his overall deal with ABC Studios for two more years.
(review) Variety: ‘Zoo’
At least initially, the two far-flung storylines — one involving a safari guide/zoologist in Botswana, the other a reporter in Los Angeles — aren’t exactly hair-raising. “Zoo” might build toward something more satisfying, but based on the premiere, there’s not particularly strong incentive to take the bait.
(review) Variety: MTV’s ‘Scream’
Conceptually, “Scream” surely looks like a winner: The built-in name recognition is an asset, and the demographics fall squarely within MTV’s wheelhouse. Heck, even the not-really-teenagers look enough like high-school students to avoid the “Grease” effect. That said, there really is a difference between TV and movies in dealing with such fare, a line that the “American Horror Story” franchise has commercially straddled but, if history’s any guide, one that remains perilous nevertheless.
Liza Lapirahas been cast as a regular on Fox’s midseason comedy series The Guide To Surviving Life. Created by Jay Lacopo and executive produced by Gail Berman, the young ensemble comedy revolves around a group of friends living together for the first time and celebrates the mistakes and misadventures of post-college life.
There’s been a change in CFO Jay Rasulo’s plan to leave Disney at the end of this month. He’s now going to stay as an advisor to CEO Bob Iger“at his current salary” with his 2015 target bonus “unchanged,” the company says in a three-sentence SEC filing. Disney hasn’t yet named someone to replace Rasulo as CFO.
Fox has named Cindy Fang as its 2015 Fox Writers Intensive Fellow. Fang is in discussions for a script development deal with Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox Television. In addition to Fang, the 2015 FWI class included finalists Sarah Carbiener, Aaron Carew, Jason Coffey, David Cornue, Chuck Hayward, JaSheika James, Janeika James, David McMillan, Diana Mendez, Jess Pineda, Jared Romero and Erica Rosbe.
Paris Barclay has been re-elected to a two-year term as the 25th president of the Directors Guild of America.
The Tornante Company has formed a joint venture with Sinclair Broadcast Group to acquire, creative, develop, produce and distribute first-run syndicated programming for the U.S. TV market.
The Disney-owned network is seeking some of the highest price increases for commercial time, according to media-buying executives and other people familiar with the pace of negotiations. The network, home to “Scandal” and “Modern Family,” has been pressing for increases in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers of between 5% and just under 6%, according to these executives. In most cases, those rates of change are higher than what is being sought by rivals, these people said.
After a sluggish start, this year’s upfront season is finally in full swing, with The CW becoming the first broadcast network to wrap its upfront sales. By this time last year, all five broadcast networks had finished their upfront negotiations. However, the slight delay turned out to be a boon for The CW, which notched CPM increases of more than 4 percent (2014’s increase was a bit under 4 percent), while sales volume was up between 12 and 15 percent (last year’s was down slightly), according to a network source.
Because of the rise of binge-watching and the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones, more and more producers are thinking of their shows as novels and, thus, thinking of their first few episodes as the first few chapters in a book. But we tend to toss aside novels that are slow to grip us, after all, and we also have a very firm sense of the novel as a finite object, one that will be over within a certain number of pages.
Online-media revolutionaries once figured they could eat TV’s lunch by stealing TV’s business model — more free content, more advertising. Online media is now drowning in free. Google and Facebook, the universal aggregators, control the traffic stream and effectively set advertising rates. Their phenomenal traffic growth has glutted the ad market, forcing down rates. Meanwhile, the television industry has been steadily weaning itself off advertising. Today, half of broadcast and cable’s income is non-advertising based.
(stage) ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ play to open in London in 2016
"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," the new play about the world’s most popular boy wizard, is set to open in London in 2016, author J.K. Rowling revealed via Twitter on Friday. Rowling said the production is a collaboration between writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and herself. Sonia Friedman, the veteran London and Broadway producer, is also working on the play.