Morning News Update for Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

Hi all! Here’s your Morning Update for Tuesday, October 6, 2015:


‘Castle’ Showrunner Taking on ‘Fina Ludlow’ for ABC

ABC has handed out a script commitment for the untitled drama based on Ingrid Thoft’s book series. Initially developed last season with Clifton Campbell, the new take is being penned by Alexi Hawley. The untitled legal investigator drama centers on an unconventional investigator working at her family’s high-powered law firm — where the family dynamic is as charged as the series. Hawley will pen the script and exec produce alongside the Mark Gordon Co.’s Gordon and Nick Pepper. Ilene Staple will also exec produce the drama after ABC Studios acquired the rights to the books.

ABC Buys Legal Drama ‘Conviction’ From Mark Gordon Company As Put Pilot

Mark Gordon has set up a new drama project at ABC. The network has given a put pilot commitment to Conviction, a legal drama from the now-independent Mark Gordon Co., which is backed by Entertainment One. Conviction is co-created by Liz Friedman, who will write the project, and Liz Friedlander, who will direct the potential pilot. It tells the story of Carter Morrison who is forced into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, has two weeks to examine cases where there’s credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime.

Nicholas Sparks To Produce Semi-Autobiographical Comedy For ABC

Best-selling romance novelist Nicholas Sparkshas sold his first half-hour comedy project.The Next Chapter, written by Austin Winsberg, hails from Warner Bros TV and Sparks’ studio-based Nicholas Sparks Prods. Loosely based on Sparks’ new life as a single man, The Next Chapter centers on top-selling romance novelist Ben Diamond who goes through a divorce and not only begins to question his belief in love, but he also must learn to date again and live on his own — all while dealing with the pressures of his public persona as the world’s most foremost “expert” on love.

Nancy Drew Drama Series In Works At CBS

CBShas put in development a drama series based on the Nancy Drew character from the iconic mystery book series. Joan Raterand Tony Phelanwill co-write the adaptation and will executive produce with Dan Jinks. Nick Nantell, SVP of The Dan Jinks Company, who brought in the project, will be a producer. CBS Television Studios is the studio. The project is a contemporary take on the Nancy Drew character, now in her 30s, who is a detective for the NYPD where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world.

Greg Garcia Producing Schoolteacher & Millennial Comedies For NBC & Fox

Greg Garciahas teamed with two more writers who worked on his most recent series, CBS’ The Millers — Austen Earland Chadd Gindin— for new half-hour projects, Letters To Beyonce and The Pack, that have landed at NBCand Fox.

NBC’s Letters To Beyonce, written/executive produced by Earl, centers on an overweight, middle-aged schoolteacher who has lost pretty much everything and decides to reclaim her life by drawing inspiration from an unlikely hero. Fox’s The Pack, written/executive produced by Gindin, centers on a millennial who escapes his sports-obsessed small town in Wisconsin to achieve his big-city dreams — only to end up becoming a regular at a Green Bay Packers bar in Manhattan.

Fox Buys Surfing Drama ‘The 808’ Written By Sheldon Turner

Foxis heading to Hawaii with The 808, an hourlong drama from Sony Pictures TV and Sheldon Turner & Jennifer Klein’s studio-based Vendetta. The 808 is described as a provocative look beyond the idyllic Hawaii postcard into a world of sex, sand and sin; a sexy soap set against the backdrop of Maui surf culture, which centers on two feuding families.

‘The Day I Turned Uncool’ Comedy From David Katzenberg & Seth Grahame-Smith Set At NBC

David Katzenbergand Seth Grahame-Smithhave re-teamed for a new comedy series project, The Day I Turned Uncool, which has been set up at NBCthrough Sony Pictures Television. Written by Lauren Miller Rogen and Alanna Thompson, the comedy is based on the bookby Dan Zevin. It follows a group of five best friends who’ve crossed the line from Pabst to Pinot and realize they’re officially UNCOOL.

(MIPCOM) Action Film Taken Being Adapted for the Small Screen

EuropaCorp Television Studios USA and Universal Television are producing a new TV series for NBC that will serve as a prequel to the hit feature-film franchise Taken. Taken will follow a young Bryan Mills as he acquires his “particular set of skills.”

CW’s ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ & ‘iZombie’ Get Backup Script Orders Ahead Of Premieres

CW is giving a confidence boost to the two new series that will be seeking back orders: freshman Crazy Ex-Girlfriendand sophomore iZombie. Both have been given orders for five additional scripts a day ahead of iZombie‘s second-season opener Tuesday night and ahead of comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s series premiere October 12.

Samuel Baum Inks 2-Year Deal With HBO

Samuel Baumhas signed a two-year exclusive cable writing and producing deal with HBO. The pact comes on the heels of HBO Films greenlighting The Wizard Of Lies, the Bernie Madoff movie starring Robert De Niro on which Baum was a writer.


Jordana Spiro To Star In USA Backdoor Pilot ‘The Wilding’

Jordana Spirohas been tapped for the lead in The Wilding, USA Network’s two-hour backdoor pilot from Universal Cable Prods. and executive producers Tim Kringand writer-creator Silka Luisa. The supernatural drama is part of a broader initiative at UCP and the NBCUniversal cable networks it supplies to jump-start a greater volume of quality series at a lower license fee. In The Wilding, disparate people realize they’re connected by the same haunting. The discover that they belong to a subset of people with supersensory abilities, Wildings.

Fox’s ‘Lucifer’ Casts Kevin Rankin

Gracepoint alum Kevin Rankinhas joined the cast of Fox’s drama seriesLuciferas a regular.

Wanda Sykes Joins Showtime Comedy ‘House Of Lies’

Wanda Sykeshas signed on for a guest starring stint on the fifth season of Showtime comedy series House Of Lies. In addition, Ken Marinoand Nicky Whelanalso will guest star.

‘Powers’ Adds Tricia Helfer To Season 2 Cast

Battlestar Galactica alum Tricia Helfer has joined the Season 2 cast of Playstation and Sony Pictures TV’s Powers.

Callie Hernandez Joins Epix Comedy Series ‘Graves’; Showtime’s Lena Waithe Pilot Casts 2

Callie Hernandez has booked a series regular role opposite Nick Nolte in Epix original series Graves, a single-camera half-hour political satire produced by Lionsgate. British actor Tosin Cole and newcomer Kiki Layne have joined the cast of Showtime’s Chicago-set hourlong drama pilot from Dear White People‘s Lena Waithe, Common, Clark Johnson and Aaron Kaplan.

MTV’s Nicole Byer Pilot Casts Sophie Von Haselberg, Fahim Anwar & Rachel Hilson

Sophie von Haselberg, Fahim Anwar and Rachel Hilson have been cast as series regulars opposite Nicole Byerin MTV’s untitled Nicole Byer pilot.


‘Castle’s Tamala Jones Producing Tammi Terrell Biopic

Tamala Jones, a regular on ABC’s Castle since its 2009 bow, is set to produce a biopic of iconic Motown singer Tammi Terrell. The pic chronicles the wunderkind songstress who teamed with Marvin Gaye on a string on soulful hits in the 1960s before dying from a brain tumor at age 24.


Yahoo Launches 9-Part Minivan Ad Disguised as Comedy Series Starring ‘SNL’ Alum Ana Gasteyer

Is it entertainment or is it a commercial? In the hybrid world of “branded content,” the two worlds collide. In one of the latest executions of the concept, Yahoo debuted a digital comedy series starring actress-comedian Ana Gasteyer. The nine-part series, “Going There with Ana Gasteyer,” is brought to you by Chevrolet. In each episode, Gasteyer tools around with “celebrity guests” in the automaker’s 2016 Traverse. The weekly series, exec produced by Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman, is from DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production in association with Warner Bros.’ Blue Ribbon Content short-form digital studio.

(MIPCOM) AOL to ramp up content investment

AOL plans to ramp up its investment in original and licensed video content following its acquisition by Verizon, with no limits currently being set to what the company can do, according to Jimmy Maymann, EVP and president, AOL Content and Consumer Brands and former CEO of The Huffington Post.


Fox Developing Couples Dancing Show As ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Awaits Renewal Decision

Foxhas put in development a couples dancing competition show from former The Voice executive producer Stijn Bakkers and American Idol producer FremantleMedia North America. Created/executive produced by Bakkers and Toby Gorman, EVP Alternative at FMNA, the untitled show highlights the lives of real-life couples who, each week, will participate in intensive training, rehearsals and live performances until one couple is crowned the winner.

David Spade’s TruTV Prank Show ‘Fameless’ Receives Back Order

TruTV has ordered 10 additional episodes of David Spade’s unscripted prank show “Fameless.” The series is described as a new take on the prank genre, proving just how far people will go for a moment in the spotlight.


(MIPCOM) Mark Gordon Teaming With ProSieben On ‘Darkness Falls’ Procedural

Darkness Fallsmarks the first time the prolific Mark Gordon Company is reaching into the international co-production space. MGC and Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland are in the final stages of negotiations for the development of the procedural that’s based on an original script by Erica Messer and Janine Sherman Barrios. The series follows an elite two-person FBI team that enters small, isolated communities to solve the darkest, most twisted murders imaginable. Having spent countless years at understanding the nuances and complexities of small towns and homicide, these heroes are the best at finding the worst.

John Woo to Produce TV Series ‘Cognition’ with Catalyst

John Woo is to produce a original scripted television series titled “Cognition” in partnership with Catalyst Global Media, the television and film production company led by Charlotte Walls and Al Hardiman.

(MIPCOM) Ken Follett’s Code to Zero Being Adapted for TV by TANDEM Productions

The thriller spy novel Code to Zero from Ken Follett has been optioned by TANDEM Productions, a STUDIOCANAL company, to be produced as a limited series. The story follows Luke, an amnesic who spends the duration of the book learning of his life, and slowly uncovering secrets of a conspiracy to hold America back in the space race.

(MIPCOM) On the Prowl: Format Buyers

By and large, format buyers around the world know exactly what they don’t want. They don’t want fabricated stories with predictable outcomes. They don’t want shock for the sake of shock. They don’t want me-too, derivative formats piggybacking on the genre du jour. When it comes to what they do want, however, it gets a little trickier. In broad brushstrokes, they want big, bold ideas—preferably ones that capture and reflect the zeitgeist.


The cost of visiting Disney parks could soon depend on the lines

As Disney Parks enjoy the benefits of record-breaking attendance at parks around the world, they are also facing the challenge that comes along with so many visitors. One way the parks are considering balancing attendance on popular days (like Saturdays and holidays) would be to adopt surge pricing, similar to how hotels and airlines set prices, reports the Wall Street Journal.


Brooke Karzen Upped To EVP Alternative Programming & Development At Warner Horizon TV

Warner Horizon Televisionhas elevated veteran unscripted programming exec Brooke Karzento the newly created position of EVP Alternative Programming and Development. The move was announced by Warner Bros Unscripted and Alternative Television President Mike Darnell.

(q&a) Ken Jeong on Dr. Ken, Becoming a Leading Man, and the Early Backlash to His Show

“The thing that [frustrates] me the most about that is this: You can say “I don’t like your show.” But don’t say “You’ve set Asians back 100 years.” Don’t say “Because you showed your penis in the Hangover, I can’t get a date.” I’m like, no, buddy, you can’t get a date because of YOU. Those are your issues that you’re projecting onto others. My penis is fine. I rarely hang out with other Asian penises and have this kind of dialogue, but hey—I got a couple kids out of it.”


AdWeek: As Live TV Viewing Declines, How Can Networks Fully Monetize Their Viewers?

As live TV viewing continues to decline—in the first week of the new TV season, three broadcast networks suffered double-digit drops in adults 18-49 versus a year ago: Fox (20 percent), ABC (19 percent) and NBC (10 percent)—networks and buyers have intensified their pleas for a new metric to accurately measure viewing across all platforms, and their cries are finally being heard. "One of the key elements of any ability to monetize is you need measurement," said Charles Buchwalter, president and CEO of Symphony Advanced Media. "If you can’t measure it, you can’t sell it."

AdWeek: Why Brands Like Coca-Cola and Bud Light Are Making Packaging Personal

"Consumers—and more specifically millennials—love a customized, personalized experience, and leveraging packaging is the best way to tap into" that, said Alex Lambrecht, vp of Bud Light. It worked for Coca-Cola, which just wrapped up its "Share a Coke" campaign in September. Coke attributed a 2.5 percent gain in sales, following a decade-long decline, to the customized cans. The campaign also helped Coke score over 1.14 billion impressions across social media.

NYT: Scandal Erupts in Unregulated World of Fantasy Sports

On Monday, the two major fantasy companies were forced to release statements defending their businesses’ integrity after what amounted to allegations of insider trading, that employees were placing bets using information not generally available to the public.