The Morning Update for Friday, February 19, 2016.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Friday, February 19, 2016. Have a great weekend!

PILOT NEWS:

Amazon Orders Jill Soloway Sex-Comedy Pilot ‘I Love Dick’
Amazon Studios
is adding “I Love Dick,” a highbrow comedy from “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway, to its next slate of pilots. Adapted from Chris Kraus’ psycho-sexual novel of the same name, “I Love Dick” is about a struggling married couple, Chris and Sylvere, and their mutual obsession with an off-putting — but charismatic — professor named Dick. http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/amazon-jill-soloway-i-love-dick-pilot-1201709590/

Gail Mancuso To Direct Shondaland ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Toast’Emmy-winning director Gail Mancusohas booked a second single-camera pilot this season, directing ABC’sToast, from Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers’ Shondalandas well as Felicity alums and long-time friends Scott Foley and Greg Grunberg. http://deadline.com/2016/02/gail-mancuso-direct-toast-abc-pilot-shondaland-1201705628/

SCRIPTED NEWS:

VH1 Orders Series Based on Star Jones’ ‘View’ Satire
VH1
is teaming up with Star Jones for a soapy new drama. In a rare scripted order for the cable network, VH1 is adapting the former View panelist’s 2011 novel Satan’s Sisters. As the title and Jones’ résumé might lead one to believe, the book and the series follow the antics at a long-running popular ladies’ talk show where "alliances are forged, careers are made and bridges are burned." Amy and Wendy Engelberg, who will also serve as executive producers on the Sony Pictures Television co-production, are writing. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/vh1-orders-series-based-star-867318

Kelly Oxford & Molly McNearney To Create & Star In Semi-Autobiographical Comedy For TV LandTV Landhas put in development an untitled semi-autobiographical comedy from author Kelly Oxfordand Jimmy Kimmel Live co-head writer Molly McNearney. BFFs Oxford and McNearney will star as fictionalized versions of themselves in the project, which they will also write. The untitled comedy revolves around the real-life best friends and their families. http://deadline.com/2016/02/tv-land-semi-autobiographical-comedy-kelly-oxford-molly-mcnearney-1201705197/

HBO renews ‘Vinyl’ despite low-rated premiereProving once again that ratings are only of vague importance in pay cable, HBO has ordered a second season of Vinyl, only a day after the disappointing ratings for the series premiere of the Martin Scorsese-produced ’70s rock drama were released. http://www.hitfix.com/the-dartboard/hbo-renews-vinyl-despite-low-rated-premiere

(review) THR: ‘The Night Manager’
The Night Manager
is a superior genre piece, methodically engineered for mainstream audience appeal. If nothing else, it will be a profile-boosting star vehicle for Hiddleston, who looks likely to emerge from the experience shaken not stirred. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/night-manager-berlin-review-867287

CASTING NEWS:

‘Breaking Bad’ Alum Anna Gunn Cast in ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Chunk & Bean’
Anna Gunn
has joined the cast of ABC family comedy pilot “Chunk & Bean.” http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/chunk-and-bean-abc-comedy-pilot-anna-gunn-cast-1201710065/

Zach Knighton To Co-Star In ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Pearl’Happy Endings alum Zach Knightonis back at ABCas the male lead opposite Candice Bergen in the network’s pilot Pearl. http://deadline.com/2016/02/pearl-zach-knighton-cast-abc-pilot-1201705128/

Justin Long to Star in ABC Soccer Comedy Pilot
‘Dream Team’
hails from Warner Bros. Television and writer Kari Lizer. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/justin-long-star-abc-soccer-867237

Geoff Stults to Star in Tina Fey & Robert Carlock’s CBS Comedy Pilot ‘The Kicker’
Geoff Stults
will star in “The Kicker,” the multi-cam CBS comedy pilot from exec producers Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and writer Jack Burditt. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/geoff-stults-the-kicker-cbs-comedy-pilot-cast-1201709928/

Stockard Channing to Star in NBC Comedy Pilot ‘Me & Mean Margaret’She’ll take on the mean role in the comedy from ‘Will & Grace’ alum Adam Barr. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/stockard-channing-star-nbc-comedy-866534

‘The Trail’ NBC Comedy Pilot Sets Nick D’Agosto As The Lead
Nick D’Agosto
has landed the sought-after lead role in The Trail, NBC‘s documentary-style procedural comedy from comedy veteran Jeff Astrof, Forever creator Matt Miller and Warner Bros. TV. http://deadline.com/2016/02/the-trail-nick-dagosto-star-lead-nbc-pilot-1201705477/

Nick Zano To Co-Star In CBS’ Greg Garcia/Stephnie Weir Comedy PilotNick Zanois the first actor cast in CBS’s untitled multi-camera comedy pilot written/executive produced by writer-actress Stephnie Weirand executive produced by Greg Garcia. http://deadline.com/2016/02/nick-zano-cast-cbs-greg-garciastephnie-weir-comedy-pilot-1201705288/

Niecy Nash To Star In Fox Comedy Pilot ‘The Enforcers’Niecy Nashhas been tapped as one of the two leads in The Enforcers,Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot from Warner Bros. TV. http://deadline.com/2016/02/niecy-nash-star-the-enforncers-fox-comedy-pilot-1201704837/

‘Walking Dead’ Alum to Star in Fox Comedy ‘The Enforcers’
Christine Woods
will topline the single-camera comedy from ‘Friends’ alums. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/walking-dead-alum-star-fox-867429

‘Scandal’ Promotes Joe Morton to Series RegularThe actor won an Emmy in 2014 for his guest role as Olivia’s dastardly father. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/scandal-joe-morton-promoted-series-867234

Fresh Off the Boat’s Randall Park Makes Appointment With Dr. KenOn the heels of hosting a mini Community reunion and with Fresh Off the Boat rugrat Ian Chen guesting on this week’s episode, Fresh father Randall Park is also due for an appearance on the freshman ABC sitcom. http://tvline.com/2016/02/19/dr-ken-cast-randall-park-fresh-off-the-boat/

FEATURE NEWS:

Jessica Chastain Launching Freckle Films Production Company
Jessica Chastain
has launched production company Freckle Films, where she will serve as president alongside development executive Elise Siegel. Freckle Films has entered into a first-look overhead deal with Maven Pictures, headed by Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler along with Charlotte Ubben. http://variety.com/2016/film/news/jessica-chastain-freckle-films-production-company-1201709557/

Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins’ Sequel
Rob Marshall
is directing the film, which will be set 20 years after events in the 1964 title. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/emily-blunt-talks-star-disneys-867435

NON-SCRIPTED / ALTERNATIVE NEWS:

NBC Sets Creative Team for ‘Hairspray’ LiveThe follow-up to The Wiz Live will see Kenny Leon again return to direct the performance. He will be joined by Jerry Mitchell, who choreographed the original Broadway show, as well as Harvey Fierstein, who will pen the teleplay. Hairspray songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman also will serve in the same capacity for NBC. As with all of NBC’s live musicals, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will oversee the TV production, which is set to air Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. ET (tape-delayed PT). http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/nbc-sets-creative-team-hairspray-867391

History Taps Dan Harmon, Jack Black for Late-Night Comedy BlockPremiering Feb. 25 at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT, the block will kick off with Great Minds With Dan Harmon. In the series, the Community creator invests in a time machine and is subsequently visited by history’s greatest minds. He then discusses their lives and brings them out into the modern world. Harmon, Richard Korson and Jay Peterson will executive produce the Matador series, along with History’s Tim Healy and Paul Cabana.

The second series, Crossroads of History, hails from creator Elizabeth Shapiro and shines a light on largely unknown moments in history that have shaped the world. Trium Entertainment and Maker Studios will produce the series. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/history-taps-dan-harmon-jack-867337

TruTV Orders ‘Late Night Snack’ Comedy Series, Announces Spring Premiere Dates
TruTV
has ordered a new half-hour comedy series, “Late Night Snack,” which will give viewers a carousel of premium comedy segments curated by and premiering on TruTV. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/late-night-snack-tru-tv-premiere-date-carbonaro-effect-truinside-1201709520/

EXECUTIVE / TALENT NEWS:

Veteran TV Exec Dave Mace Named EVP Development At Brian Graden MediaVeteran television executive and producer Dave Macehas been hired as Executive Vice President of Development at Brian Graden Media. In his new role, Mace will oversee the development of television and digital content for the company. http://deadline.com/2016/02/dave-mace-evp-development-brian-graden-media-1201705322/

(q&a) Spike TV Exec on Plans for ‘Lip Sync Battle’ and Luring More WomenThe network’s executive vp Sharon Levy talks Viacom’s upheaval, ditching the channel’s bro rep and moving into scripted.
Q: You’re going around as a scripted buyer for Spike. What’s the pitch?

Levy: We want elevated pop; shows that men and women would watch; shows that are different. We don’t want medical dramas. We need something that has a big hook to it that is unique, and that’s what led to Red Mars. It’s more science fact-based than science fiction.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/spike-tv-boss-plans-lip-866784

(video) ESPN Boss John Skipper at Code/MediaAt the Code/Media conference, ESPN President John Skipper made the case that ESPN is in better shape than it has ever been. He touched on the cord-cutting phenomenon, the agreements ESPN has inked and the efforts ESPN is making to become more diverse. http://recode.net/2016/02/18/espn-boss-john-skipper-at-codemedia-full-video/

Nicole Seligman Stepping Down as President of Sony Entertainment
Nicole Seligman
, president of both Sony Entertainment and Sony Corp. of America, is stepping down from the twin posts to pursue other interests, according to a source familiar with the situation. http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/nicole-seligman-stepping-down-sony-entertainment-1201710052/

MISCELLANEOUS NEWS:

DGA Already Gearing Up For Film & TV Contract TalksThe expiration of the DGA‘s current film and TV contract is still more than a year away, but the guild already is gearing up for the talks. Its board of directors has appointed Michael Apted and Thomas Schlamme to co-chair the guild’s negotiating committee, and DGA National Executive Director Jay Roth will be the DGA’s chief negotiator in talks with management Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. http://deadline.com/2016/02/dga-film-tv-contract-talks-top-negotiatiors-1201705323/

FCC Launches Study on State of Diversity on TVThe FCC is launching an inquiry into the state of program diversity, including the obstacles that independent programmers still face in obtaining carriage on video platforms. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/tv-diversity-fcc-study-1201709430/

AVClub: Newswire: Some anonymous rich person wants to fund a Happy Endings movie
Casey Wilson shared some potentially ah-mahzing news: A super-rich person has offered to fund a Happy Endings movie. According to Wilson, an anonymous rich person and American hero wants to bring Happy Endings back in movie form. “Someone even called my husband [David Caspe], who created it, and basically said, ‘I’m a private investor, I would love to pay for a movie,’” Wilson added. http://www.avclub.com/article/some-anonymous-rich-person-wants-fund-happy-ending-232478

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