The Morning Update for Thursday, March 31, 2016.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Thursday, March 31, 2016:

SCRIPTED NEWS:

TV Land Developing Comedy Series Set In PurgatoryWriters Noelle Valdivia & Corinne Kingsbury and Brillstein Entertainment Partners have sold a half-hour comedy about the afterlife to TV Land. The project, tentatively titled Elsewhere, centers on a successful but shallow woman who, after dying in a car accident, realizes she prioritized all the wrong things in her life. Now, she has a second chance to achieve enlightenment against all odds — in purgatory. http://deadline.com/2016/03/tv-land-comedy-series-elsewhere-noelle-valdivia-corinne-kingsbury-1201728353/

TLC Greenlights Tyler Perry Drama as First Scripted SeriesThe mogul will write, direct and executive produce ‘Too Close to Home,’ about a young woman who is forced to return to her trailer-park beginnings after her political career is derailed by a sex scandal. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/tlc-greenlights-tyler-perry-drama-879059

Comedy Central Strikes Development Pacts With Jessica Williams, Jordan Klepper of ‘Daily Show’Two of the coterie of correspondents on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” may soon file dispatches from new venues. The Viacom-owned network said it had entered into development deals with both Jessica Williams and Jordan Klepper.http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/comedy-central-jessica-williams-jordan-klepper-daily-show-1201742710/

(ratings) ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Poised to Become ABC’s Top-Rated Show in 12th Season
Grey’s Anatomy
is experiencing a second life. The Shondaland medical soap is poised to become ABC’s highest-rated drama this season among coveted adults 18-to-49 and also ranks among the top five dramas on all of broadcast. Now averaging a 3.9 rating in the demo, the Ellen Pompeo starrer ties Thursday time-slot neighbor Scandal — an almost unheard of accomplishment for a show in its 12th season. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/greys-anatomy-poised-become-abcs-879110

CASTING NEWS:

‘24: Legacy’: Sheila Vand Joins Fox Pilot As RegularSheila Vand(Argo, NBC’s State Of Affairs) is set as a series regular opposite Corey Hawkins, Miranda Otto and Jimmy Smits in 24: Legacy. http://deadline.com/2016/03/24-legacy-sheila-vand-cast-fox-pilot-1201728393/

Buffy Vet Anthony Stewart Head Joins Freeform Murder Mystery Guilt
Anthony Stewart Head
(Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has been cast opposite daughter Daisy Head (The Syndicate) on Freeform’s forthcoming soap. http://tvline.com/2016/03/30/guilt-cast-anthony-stewart-head-freeform-drama-series/

Nia Vardalos Joins ABC’s The Catch
The Catch
has caught itself a movie star. My Big Fat Greek Wedding creator/star Nia Vardalos is joining the ABC Shondaland drama in a recurring capacity. http://tvline.com/2016/03/30/nia-vardalos-the-catch-cast-season-1-leah-wells/

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Casts Gwendoline Yeo in Guest Role
Gwendoline Yeo
is set to guest star on an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”. http://www.thewrap.com/greys-anatomy-casts-gwendoline-yeo-in-guest-role-exclusive/

Dirty Dancing Remake at ABC: Mad Men Grad to Play Neil KellermanMad Men alum Trevor Einhorn has been cast as geeky, Baby-crushing Neil Kellerman in ABC’s three-hour Dirty Dancing remake. http://tvline.com/2016/03/30/dirty-dancing-remake-at-abc-mad-men-grad-to-play-neil-kellerman/

Noah Wyle Inks Deal To Return To ‘The Librarians’, Will Make His Writing DebutThe Librarians executive producer Noah Wylehas signed a deal to reprise his role as Flynn Carsen on the TNT action adventure series’ upcoming third season. http://deadline.com/2016/03/noah-wyle-return-the-librarians-writing-debut-tnt-1201728524/

Jill Hennessy Joins Fox Drama ‘Shots Fired’Jill Hennessyis set to recur opposite Richard Dreyfuss, Helen Hunt, Sanaa Lathan, Stephen James, Stephen Moyer and Will Patton on Shots Fired. http://deadline.com/2016/03/jill-hennessy-cast-shots-fired-fox-1201728404/

FEATURE NEWS:

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions Signs Three-Year Deal With ParamountThe first-look pact is effective immediately. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/leonardo-dicaprio-paramount-pictures-sign-879504

NEW MEDIA NEWS:

‘Empire’ Launches Digital Aftershow Hosted by Ta’Rhonda Jones
Fox
is hoping to see traffic numbers that mirror its monster ratings for “Empire,” as the network is launching a digital aftershow for the hit drama. Hosted by “Empire” cast member Ta’Rhonda Jones, the digital short will run on the official “Empire” YouTube channel and then will be pushed out to local Fox affiliates to run on-air.http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/empire-aftershow-fox-youtube-tarhonda-jones-1201742644/

Kevin Hart & Lionsgate To Launch VOD Service That Includes Original SeriesLionsgateand Kevin Hart, through his Hartbeat Digitalbanner, have partnered to launch Laugh Out Loud, a new video-on-demand service that will the exclusive home for all future content created by Hart outside of features and touring. That will include original unscripted and scripted series in which Hart will appear, starting with a hidden camera series starring Hart as an undercover Lyft driver. http://deadline.com/2016/03/levin-hart-lionsgate-laugh-out-loud-coming-from-lionsgate-and-kevin-hart-1201728986/

Disney XD Launches First Batch of Maker Creators’ Videos, Which Cost Less Than $1,000 Each
Disney XD
, the Mouse House’s boy-targeted cable network, is releasing 18 videos from Maker Studios’ YouTube creator partners — one of the few concrete examples of synergy between Disney’s traditional media businesses and Maker. The videos, produced under the Disney XD by Maker talent incubator program, will be distributed across the cabler’s digital platforms. http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/disney-xd-maker-creators-videos-1201742259/

Comedy Central adds 9 more original series to Snapchat slate
Comedy Central
announced Wednesday that it’s expanding its slate of original series created exclusively for Snapchat Discover. The Viacom-owned network will add nine new series and renew four of its existing Snapchat shows: Quickie with Nikki, Swag-A-Saurus with James Davis, Like It with Liza and Hot Takes with Brandon Wardell. http://mashable.com/2016/03/30/snapchat-discover-comedy-central/

NON-SCRIPTED / ALTERNATIVE NEWS:

Aaron Sorkin’s ‘A Few Good Men’ Set as NBC’s 2017 Live ShowThe live broadcast adaptation of the 1989 Broadway play will be written by Sorkin. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/aaron-sorkins-a-few-good-879352

‘O.J. Is Innocent’ Docuseries Produced by Martin Sheen Lands at ID
Sheen
, who helped shop the project, will also serve as the narrator on the docuseries that will premiere early next year. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/oj-is-innocent-docuseries-produced-879337

Discovery Orders Motorcycle Series ‘Sacred Steel’
Discovery Channel
has ordered new motorcycle series “Sacred Steel” to air as part of its Motor Mondays line-up. The new show will take viewers inside one of the world’s most exclusive and unusual bike clubs, which also produces custom-made high-end motorcycles and restores vintage classics. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/sacred-steel-discovery-motorcycle-series-douche-larouche-1201741992/

Animal Planet Greenlights Reality Series ‘Texas Vets’
Animal Planet
has greenlight new eight-episode reality series “Texas Vets,” TheWrap has learned, which follows three Houston-area veterinarians that run a thriving vet clinic and animal shelter. http://www.thewrap.com/texas-vets-animal-planet-houston/

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

Tricon sells forgivenessCanadian producer and distributor Tricon Films and Television has picked up a drama series about a Catholic priest facing demons from his past ahead of the MipTV market in Cannes next week. Tricon will distribute Forgive Me (24×30′). The series, written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald, focuses on a young, insomniac priest who becomes engrossed in the private lives of his congregation while trying to protect secrets of his own. http://www.c21media.net/tricon-sells-forgiveness/

Netflix Orders First Original Series in Spain
Carlos Sedes’
1920s-era drama will air worldwide on the platform in 2017. The drama, running in 50-minute time slots, will debut worldwide in 2017. It tells the story of four women across different social strata who work together as switchboard operators at the state-owned phone company’s central headquarters in Madrid. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/netflix-acquires-first-original-series-879596

TWDC NEWS:

Disney Invests in Viral-Content Startup Playbuzz as Part of $15 Million Round
Playbuzz
, a startup whose platform is aimed at creating viral Internet content like quizzes and photo galleries, announced it has closed $15 million in new funding led by Walt Disney Co. and Saban Ventures. http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/disney-playbuzz-investment-1201742832/

EXECUTIVE / TALENT NEWS:

Mattel Creates Unified Content Division Under Catherine Balsam-SchwaberToy manufacturing giant Mattel has set up a centralized content division, Mattel Creations, that will handle the company’s brands across multiple platforms including theatrical, television and digital. Mattel’s content strategy will be headed by chief content officer, Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, who joined in September. http://variety.com/2016/tv/global/mattel-content-division-1201742725/

Open Road: Jason Cassidy Exits, Jonathan Helfgot Tapped As New Marketing PresidentJason Cassidyis exiting as Chief of Marketing, and Jonathan Helfgothas been hired as President of Marketing. http://deadline.com/2016/03/jason-cassidy-exits-jonathan-helfgot-tapped-as-new-marketing-president-of-open-road-1201728551/

Kyle Davies Officially Named Paramount’s President Of Domestic Distribution

As we reported earlier this month, Relativity’s head of distribution, Kyle Davies was leaving the building and in talks with Paramount. He’s finally arrived on the Melrose lot and he’s been named President, Domestic Distribution. http://deadline.com/2016/03/kyle-davies-officially-named-paramounts-president-of-domestic-distribution-1201728614/

THR: Reality TV Power List: The 10 A-Listers of 2016Cris Abrego and Charlie Corwin
Mark Burnett
Mike Darnell
Tom Forman
Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth
Brent Montgomery
Jennifer Mullin
Craig Piligian
Gordon Ramsay
Ryan Seacrest
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/reality-tv-power-list-10-879338

MISCELLANEOUS NEWS:

Vanity Fair: When It’s a Relief to Give Up on a Good ShowIt’s not that there’s some choking overabundance of Good TV that has me making tough, morally dubious choices about which shows to hand over to the Germans and which ones to keep. It’s more that shows like HTGAWM and Empire have such spark and swiftness and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink verve to them that they get exhausting. Which is different than bad, but it has the same effect: it got to the point that the thought of pressing play on a DVR’d episode of HTGAWM would fill me with dread. It was just too much to keep up with, so much plot and style whizzing around that it was easy to get lost mid-episode, mid-act, even. http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/03/when-its-a-relief-to-give-up-on-a-good-show

Variety: Why ABC’s Midseason Slump Will Make Rebuilding the Network That Much Harder
With control of the schedule, Dungey will be able to decide whether to jettison Lee’s “gap strategy,” which appears to have given viewers time to reconsider their commitments to many of ABC’s most popular shows. Wooing them back may be the biggest challenge that she and ABC face. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/abc-scandal-ratings-slump-midseason-the-catch-1201741232/

Salon: Stop killing off TV’s lesbians: This depressing trope limits storytelling about queer women
Television might be getting more inclusive, but when it comes to lesbian and bisexual characters, the small screen remains a graveyard. Since 1976, 11 percent of television shows have featured a lesbian or bisexual character, and of those programs, 65 percent have a deceased queer female character. Of lesbian characters no longer on television, 31 percent have bitten the dust. Just 11 percent have been allowed to have a happy ending that doesn’t in tragedy or death. The phenomenon is so storied that it even has a name: TV Tropes calls it “Dead Lesbian Syndrome.” http://www.salon.com/2016/03/30/stop_killing_tvs_lesbians_this_depressing_trope_limits_storytelling_about_queer_women/

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