Morning News Update for Wednesday, July 8, 2015.

Hi all! Here’s your morning news update for Wednesday, July 8, 2015:


Dark Horse Comics Inks Universal Cable TV Deal, Preps ‘Umbrella Academy’

The NBCUniversal-owned cable-focused studio has signed Dark Horse Entertainment to a multiple-year overall deal that will see the comics publisher produce scripted programming from their extensive library as well as develop new properties.

Among the projects in development under the pact are Gerard Way’s beloved The Umbrella Academy; Harrow County, based on Cullen Bunn’s new comic, which sold out its first printing; Eisner Award-winning Concrete, from Paul Chadwick; and Back Up, based on a feature script from Tom Vaughn.

Johnny Depp & Richard Branson Among Group Teaming On ‘Muscle Shoals’ TV Series

Greg Camalier, who directed and produced the documentary, will also produce the television adaption. The documentary detailed Rick Hall’s founding of Fame Studios, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, that became legendary for its electrifying musical chemistry, luring some of the biggest figures in 20th century pop music.

John Dahl to Direct USA Pilot ‘Paradise Pictures’

John Dahl has signed on to helm the drama starring Boardwalk Empire’s Morgan Spector. The series centers on ambitious people striving to get to the top in 1940s Hollywood when the dream factory was at its peak.

Peter Webber To Direct ITV Event Series ‘Tutankhamun’

Peter Webberis on-board to direct Tutankhamun, a major new four part TV series for ITV. The event series will follow the epic story of Howard Carter‘s discovery of the tomb of one of Ancient Egypt’s forgotten pharaohs, the boy-king Tutankhamun. Guy Burt is writing and the story will focus on the personal story of Carter, a solitary man on the edge of society who became an iconic figure and an unlikely hero.

‘South Park’ Renewed For Thre More Seasons

Comedy Centralhas struck a deal for three more seasons of its flagship animated series South Park, ordering 30 more episodes that will extend Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s cutout cut-ups to 23 seasons.

AdWeek: Why Low-Rated Summer Shows Are Still Landing Early Renewals

On Monday, Lifetime announced that the critically acclaimed series UnReal—yes, it’s one of the summer’s best shows—had scored a surprise Season 2 renewal. It’s the biggest summer TV trend: Acclaimed shows with seemingly soft ratings—this also includes Aquarius and Mr. Robot—are still landing early renewals in large part because of their robust digital numbers.


Castle Season 8 Adds The Neighbors’ Toks Olagundoye as Series Regular

Toks Olagundoye, who played the extraterrestrial Jackie Joyner-Kersee on ABC’s The Neighbors, is boarding the network’s Monday-night procedural in the series regular role of Hayley Vargas.

‘G.I. Joe’s’ Elodie Yung to Play Elektra in ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’

Elodie Yung has been cast as Elektra in the second season of “Marvel’s Daredevil.

‘Scandal’ Ups Cornelius Smith Jr. to Season 5 Regular as Activist Marcus Walker

Cornelius Smith Jr., who recurred in two Season 4 episodes as activist Marcus Walker, will reprise his role as a series regular for the fifth season.


Henson Co. Pacts With STX on R-Rated Comedy Movie

Brian Henson will direct the project, based on a story by Todd Berger and Dee Robertson. The plot is centered on the puppet stars of the iconic TV show “The Happytime Gang”. When the stars begin to be mysteriously murdered, two mismatched detectives – a take-no-prisoners human and a hard-drinking puppet — must put aside their differences to stop the killings and catch the culprit.

Han Solo to Get ‘Star Wars’ Standalone Film from ’21 Jump Street’ Directors

Disney had been promising a series of spinoffs to the powerful “Star Wars” franchise it acquired when it bought LucasFilm. Now the studio is preparing a new feature focusing on the life of young hero Han Solo, to be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord.


‘Chrisley Knows Best’ Gets Fourth Season on USA

USA has bought into a 12-episode fourth season of “Chrisley Knows Best,” the reality series that focuses on Georgia-based millionaire Todd Chrisley and his family.

Rosie Perez to Exit ‘The View’ Next Month

Rosie Perez will exit “The View” at the end of the show’s regular season next month.

Comedy Central Renews Chris Hardwick’s ‘@midnight’ for Season 3

Comedy Central has renewed wee-hours program “@midnight” for a third season, ensuring the quirky look at the latest in trending topics and social media hosted by Chris Hardwick will remain on the Viacom network’s lineup throughout 2016.


Showtime Streaming Service Goes Live on Apple, Roku, Hulu, PlayStation

Showtime has crossed the digital Rubicon, launching today as a stand-alone digital offering with a select group of distribution partners. The service went live Tuesday morning on Apple, Roku, Hulu and PlayStation Vue platforms. The price tag is $10.99 a month for on-demand access to new Showtime programs, including a live streaming option.

(sched) Adam Sandler’s Netflix Comedy ‘Ridiculous Six’ Gets Release Date

Netflix has set a Friday, Dec. 11, release date for Ridiculous Six, its Adam Sandler comedy that is among the high-profile movies the streaming service is making as a big push into feature filmmaking. Also getting release dates are ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend’ and ‘Beasts of No Nation.’


Mic: Inside Disney’s Ambitious Plan to Build the Coolest Toy of the Decade

Disney unveiled Playmation, a combination of hardware and apps meant to get kids playing outside again. When you strap on Playmation’s armband and turn it on, the toy creates a sort of video game in real life, turning the wearer into a giant action figure fighting imaginary villains. Each Playmation set is themed around a popular Disney-owned franchise — the first being Marvel’s Avengers series.


Gina Girolamo Rejoins Alloy as SVP of TV Production & Development

Gina Girolamo will return to Alloy Entertainment television to serve as senior VP of television production and development. Girolamo previously spent three years at Alloy as head of television, but most recently she served as exec VP of TV at Working Title Films.

Chernin Group Hires Ex-Yahoo Exec Mike Kerns as Head of Digital

The Chernin Group has recruited Mike Kerns, most recently a senior executive at Yahoo, as president of digital to expand its footprint in emerging Internet businesses and forge tighter bonds with Silicon Valley.

Amy Pascal Names Ian Dalrymple Head of New York Production Office

Amy Pascalhas hired Ian Dalrymple, a former Scott Rudin Productions staffer, to head the New York office of her production outfit Pascal Pictures. Dalrymple will open the East Coast shop and report to Pascal’s production head Rachel O’Connor.


TV Pilots Spent $298 Million in L.A. During Yearly Development Cycle

FilmL.A. reports that during the recent pilot production season, the L.A. area attracted 45 percent of all network, broadcast and digital pilot production.

Hollywood Screenwriter Earnings Fall 5.4%, TV Gains 2.3%

Hollywood screenwriter earnings slid 5.4% last year to $313.9 million — the fifth straight year of decline — while TV writing earnings rose 2.3% to $725.6 million, according to the Writers Guild of America West.

U.S. TV Station Retransmission Fees Now Expected to Reach $10.3 Billion by 2021

SNL Kagan now expects U.S. TV station owners’ retransmission fee totals to reach $10.3 billion by 2021, versus the projected $6.3 billion this year. The company also updated its retrans revenue number for 2020, up $500 million more than its prior projection of $9.3 billion last year, to $9.8 billion. The revised numbers are partially due to strong advances made at the end of 2014, thanks to renewals and annual step-ups in existing contracts.

Lyft president: Most millennials won’t own cars in 5 years

A significant chunk of Lyft’s growth has to do with millennial passengers, who see owning a car as less and less of a priority. In fact, from 2007 to 2011, the number of cars bought by Americans between ages 18 to 34 plummeted about 30%, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.