The Morning Update for Thursday, August 18, 2016.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Thursday, August 18, 2016:

SCRIPTED NEWS:

Fox Developing Comedy with ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ Producer & ‘Baskets’ Creator
Universal Television and Broadway Video are developing the comedy “Amy Damnation” for Fox with veterans Allison Silverman and Jon Krisel on board. Fox has committed to Silverman’s pilot script with a penalty. The story centers around the titular Amy, a compulsive people-pleaser and all-around doormat who discovers she was once such a headstrong kid that her parents had her exorcised. She sets out to find the demon who possessed her, convinced that only he can give her the power to take back her life. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/amy-damnation-allison-silverman-jon-krisel-1201839629/

Marvel’s ‘Runaways’ Scores Pilot Order at Hulu
Hulu has handed out a pilot and full-season script order for Marvel comic series Runaways. It centers on a group of teens who discover that their parents are part of an evil crime organization. Runaways, written by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, will focus on six diverse teens who can barely stand each other but who unite to fight a common foe: their parents. The drama hails from Marvel Television, ABC Signature and Schwartz and Savage’s studio-based Fake Empire. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/marvels-runaways-scores-pilot-order-920310

‘Game of Thrones’ Producer Sets Historical Drama Series ‘Empress’
Christopher Newman has signed a deal with Starlight Media and K. Jam Media to develop and produce Empress, which has been commissioned as a 13-episode drama. Producers Starlight Media will fully finance the series — which carries an estimated budget of $70 million — and will shop the project from K. Jam Media to broadcast networks after filming has been completed. Empress will tell the storied tale of the only female empress in the history of China — Wu Zetian, who ruled during the Tang dynasty (618-906 A.D.), a time of relative freedom for women. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-producer-sets-historical-920190

Freeform Developing Military Fantasy Drama From Gary Sanchez Productions
Freeformhas put in development Motherland, an hourlong drama from Gary Sanchez Productions. Written by Eliot Laurence, Motherland is described as an epic military fantasy set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the U.S. government to fight for their country. http://deadline.com/2016/08/freeform-developing-military-fantasy-drama-eliot-laurence-gary-sanchez-1201802758/

‘Varsity Blues’ TV Series in the Works at CMT
Paramount TV and the film’s original writer, W. Peter Iliff, are prepping the adaptation. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/varsity-blues-tv-series-works-920086

‘Mr. Robot’ Renewed for Season 3 at USA Network
Season three will premiere in 2017. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/mr-robot-renewed-season-3-919872

NBC’s DC Comics Comedy ‘Powerless’ Loses Its Creator
Ben Queen has departed the freshman series, with production on pause until a new showrunner is named. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/nbcs-dc-comics-comedy-powerless-920054

CASTING NEWS:

Melora Hardin Cast In Freeform Pilot ‘Issues’
Emmy-nominated Melora Hardin (Transparent) has booked a lead role in Freeformpilot Issues, from Universal Television and The District. http://deadline.com/2016/08/melora-hardin-cast-freeform-pilot-issues-1201805372/

‘American Crime’: Connor Jessup Returning for Season 3
He made his series debut in the second season of the anthology series. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/american-crime-connor-jessup-returning-920290

Castle’s Susan Sullivan Lands a Mother of a Role on ABC’s The Real O’Neals
Susan Sullivan is set to guest-star on a Season 2 episode of The Real O’Neals, as the mother of the politically correct Vice Principal Murray (played by Matt Oberg). http://tvline.com/2016/08/17/susan-sullivan-castle-cast-real-oneals-season-2/

Syfy’s ‘Channel Zero’: Second Installment Sets Amy Forsyth As Star, Gets Title
The Path star Amy Forsythhas been tapped to topline the second installment of Syfy’s horror anthology series Channel Zero, which has been titled The No-End House. Inspired by Brian Russell’s "creepypasta" tale, Channel Zero: The No-End House tells the story of a young woman named Margot Sleator (Forsyth), who visits the No-End House, a bizarre house of horrors that consists of a series of increasingly disturbing rooms. http://deadline.com/2016/08/channel-zero-second-installment-sy-fy-title-amy-forsyth-star-1201804665/

Billy Crudup To Star In Netflix Drama Series ‘Gypsy’
Billy Crudupis set as the male lead opposite Naomi Watts in Gypsy, Netflix’s psychological thriller drama series from Universal Television, Working Title and writer Lisa Rubin. http://deadline.com/2016/08/billy-crudup-cast-netflix-psychological-thriller-series-gypsy-1201804855/

‘Bosch’ Enlists ’24’ Grad for Season 3 Recurring Role
Arnold Vosloo will play an ex-cop who may have planted evidence against Bosch. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/bosch-season-3-arnold-vosloo-920272

Catherine Zeta-Jones Joins Ryan Murphy’s FX Drama ‘Feud’
The Oscar winner will play Olivia de Havilland in the upcoming anthology series. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/catherine-zeta-jones-joins-feud-920039

Anna Paquin to Star in Netflix’s Margaret Atwood Drama ‘Alias Grace’
Opposite Zachary Levi and Sarah Gadon. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/anna-paquin-star-netflixs-margaret-919861

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Taps Galavant Star Mallory Jansen to Do the Robot
Mallory Jansen is trading her ill-gotten crown for a belly full of circuit boards, playing the robot Aida during Season 4 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. http://tvline.com/2016/08/16/agents-of-shield-mallory-jansen-robot-aida-season-4-cast/

NEW MEDIA NEWS:

ABC News Launches ’20/20’ Digital Original ‘Young and Gifted’
ABC News has expanded its original digital content slate with “20/20: Young & Gifted” a new original series featuring profiles of prodigies who utilize their talents to better their lives and the lives of those around them. The debut episode features “The Flying Squirrel” Quincy Symonds, who started surfing competitively when she was 4 years old. A notable episode will feature Phiona Mutesi, the Uganda chess prodigy who is the subject of the upcoming Disney film “Queen of Katwe.” http://www.thewrap.com/abc-news-launches-2020-digital-original-young-and-gifted-exclusive/

Pinterest Says It’s Making a ‘Bigger Bet on Video,’ Debuts Promoted Videos
Image-first platform Pinterest is making a big move into video. The company on Wednesday introduced Promoted Video ads, allowing users to expand its existing, animated Cinematic Pins to access a full auto-play video with sound. According to two different agency executives, Pinterest is offering the units for a minimum of $500,000, with CPMs — or cost per thousand impressions — ranging from $15 to $20. http://adage.com/article/digital/pinterest-debuts-video-ads-wed-7am/305467/

NON-SCRIPTED / ALTERNATIVE NEWS:

E!’s ‘I Am Cait’ Not Returning for Season 3
Caitlyn Jenner
announced the news on her Twitter page. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/i-am-cait-ending-2-919993

EXECUTIVE / TALENT NEWS:

E! Alum Kevin Plunkett to Head Lionsgate-New Regency TV Venture
Lionsgate and New Regency have recruited E! veteran Kevin Plunkett to head their newly created joint TV production venture. Plunkett, formerly senior VP of scripted programming for E!, will work out of New Regency’s Century City offices and report to a joint board of the two companies. The goal is for Plunkett to mine New Regency’s library of IP for TV series prospects. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/kevin-plunkett-lionsgate-new-regency-tv-1201838460/

Fox Networks Ups Audrey Steele, Suzanne Sullivan
Audrey Steele has been promoted to executive vice president of sales research insights and strategy and Suzanne Sullivan has been promoted to executive vice president of entertainment sales at Fox Networks Group. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/audrey-steele-suzanne-sullivan-fox-networks-tv-advertising-1201839222/

Warner Bros. China Names Gillian Zhao Exec VP, Managing Director

Gillian Zhao, a Chinese entertainment and tech industry veteran, has been named exec VP and managing director of Warner Bros. China, becoming the company’s first-ever manager for China. Zhao will have general oversight of all of Warner Bros.’ businesses in China, including theatrical distribution, television distribution, home entertainment, consumer products, games, and emerging distribution technologies. http://variety.com/2016/film/news/warner-bros-china-gillian-zhao-1201838409/

MISCELLANEOUS NEWS:

Variety: Participant Media Shutting Down Its Pivot TV Channel
Participant Media plans to shut down its flagging cable TV outlet, Pivot, as the multi-media company continues a makeover that began last fall with the hiring of CEO David Linde. …The fact that there is no buyer for the channel underscores the extreme pressure on niche cable channels to survive in a fragmented TV world. Smaller outlets that lack must-have programming are increasingly struggling to hold on to traditional MVPD carriage deals. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/participant-media-shuts-down-pivot-tv-channel-1201838889/

Variety: Comedy Takes Charge in Golden Age of Television
…Dramas are in a bit of a slump — bloated episodes, self-serious leads, and plodding storytelling. Comedies, at just about a half-hour, have to be nimbler. But partly, this is because the current business model of television — Peak TV — favors comedy success, not drama. The expansion of television onto streaming models and further into basic cable has created a platform for alternative and cutting-edge voices, and as interested comedians have pursued their own shows or specials, the demand for even more comedy writers to serve on those writing staffs has skyrocketed. And comedy — an inherently playful medium — is better served from a cacophony of young voices than drama, which often struggles to knit its parts into a narrative whole. http://variety.com/2016/tv/columns/comedy-emmy-awards-1201836359/

Variety: Women, Minorities Underrepresented as First-Time Episodic TV Directors
Woman and minorities are still lagging among first-time directors in episodic television, a new study from the Directors Guild of America shows. The study, released Wednesday, found that 81% — or 619 of 863 — of all first-time episodic directors were male during a seven-year span. Only 19% (144) were female and only 14% (107) were minority directors. The study period covered the 2009-2010 through 2015-2016 seasons. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/women-minorities-first-time-episodic-tv-directors-1201838955/

Mashable: Diana Ross takes out full-page ad celebrating daughter Tracee’s Emmy nom
Remember when moms would take out huge ads to congratulate their children in the school yearbook? Well, Diana Ross just did the same thing, except her daughter is nominated for an Emmy and the ad is in The Hollywood Reporter. http://mashable.com/2016/08/17/diana-ross-print-ad-tracee-ellis-ross-emmy/

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