The Morning Update for Wednesday, August 24, 2016.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Wednesday, August 24, 2016:

SCRIPTED NEWS:

Michael Strahan Developing Football Star-Turned-Cop Drama for ABC
Michael Strahan has sold Hobbs, his first scripted foray, to the network. The drama, which has received a script commitment, follows Tommy Hobbs, a former Heisman Trophy winner who joins the Miami police force after not being drafted by the NFL, as well as a meticulous, rule-following detective who has trained her whole life to become a police officer. Michael Caleo will pen the script and exec produce the ABC Studios drama alongside Strahan and his SMAC Entertainment partner Constance Schwartz-Morini. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/michael-strahan-developing-football-star-922193

Scott Rudin Adapting ‘A Little Life’ as Limited TV Series
A Little Life is being adapted for the small screen. Author Hanya Yanagihara announced that the best-seller and National Book Award finalist has been optioned by Scott Rudin and theater director Joe Mantello with the goal of producing a limited series. A network or streaming service has not yet been attached. Published in 2015, the novel is an emotional story of four classmates from a small Massachusetts college who move to New York: aspiring actor Willem; painter JB; architect Malcolm; and the withdrawn Jude. The book follows their emotional and often heartbreaking journeys — that include sexual abuse, drug addiction and more — over decades. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/scott-rudin-adapting-a-little-922064

‘The Departed’ TV Series in the Works at Amazon
Amazon is developing an adaptation of The Departed. The hourlong drama hails from Amazon Studios, Vertigo Entertainment, Initial Entertainment Group and Plan B Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. TV. The project centers on a young cop who goes undercover to infiltrate a ruthless Latino gang, which simultaneously plants its own man in the police department. Jason Richman (Mercy Street, Detroit 1-8-7) is penning the adaptation and will exec produce with Roy Lee, Michael Connolly, Graham King, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Sarah Esberg, Tripp Vinson, Doug Davison and Gianni Nunnari. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/departed-tv-series-works-at-922038

USA Network Developing Con Artist Drama Starring ‘Star Trek’s’ John Cho
USA Network is developing “Connoisseur,” an hourlong drama hailing from Gary Lundy, “Hand of God” creator Ben Watkins and “Star Trek’s” John Cho, who will star in the series. “Connoisseur” centers around Clay Park (played by Cho), a brilliant con artist who dupes the wealthiest, most powerful people in the country into paying millions for fake wine, but his hustle forces him into a deadly bargain with an organized crime syndicate, puts him in the cross-hairs of the FBI, and unearths the details of a tragedy that fractured his family years ago in Korea. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/connoisseur-usa-network-drama-series-john-cho-1201839808/

‘Boston Strong’ Authors & Producer Set Up New Production Company; Corrupt Boy Band Manager TV Series On Way
The bestselling author behind The Finest Hours and his Boston Strong co-author are launching a new production company, and they already have their sights set on their first project — Billion Dollar Sound, a limited TV series about the corrupt boy band manager Lou Pearlman and his relationship with LFO lead singer Rich Cronin. Author Casey Sherman, author-journalist Dave Wedgeand producer Ted Collinshave launched Whydah Productions. http://deadline.com/2016/08/boston-strong-authors-casey-sherman-dave-wedge-new-production-company-rich-cronin-lou-pearlman-corrupt-boys-band-manager-ted-collins-1201807434/

Lifetime Developing Robert Durst TV Movie
The cable channel has optioned the book ‘A Deadly Secret: The Bizarre and Chilling Story of Robert Durst.’ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/robert-durst-lifetime-tv-movie-922245

Writer Aaron Rahsaan Thomas Inks Overall Deal With Sony Pictures TV
Writer-producer Aaron Rahsaan Thomas has signed an overall deal with Sony Pictures TV. The two-year pact stems from Thomas’ recent stint as a writer on the studio’s Baz Luhrmann period hip-hop drama series for Netflix The Get Down. http://deadline.com/2016/08/aaron-rahsaan-thomas-overall-deal-sony-pictures-tv-1201807668/

(review) Variety: ‘Gomorrah’
“Gomorrah” is among the most admirable of the latter-day “Wire” homages, one that throws in hearty helpings of Golden Age classics like “The Sopranos” and “The Shield.” http://variety.com/2016/tv/reviews/gomorrah-italy-crime-tv-the-wire-the-sppranos-1201838661/

(review) THR: ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ Season 3The best reason to watch Halt and Catch Fire remains the Cameron-Donna relationship, a unique combination of friendship, professional partnership and spiritual sisterhood. There’s nothing like it on TV. Kerry Bishé navigates Donna among her roles as wife, mother and hard-nosed businesswoman in a complicated way that makes a mockery of facile "Can women have it all?" TV dramas. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/halt-catch-fire-season-3-922219

CASTING NEWS:

Ray Romano, Chris O’Dowd to Star in ‘Get Shorty’ TV Series at Epix
The duo will take on versions of characters played by John Travolta and Gene Hackman in the 1995 feature film. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/ray-romano-chris-odowd-star-921923

Sarah Paulson Becomes Latest Star to Board Ryan Murphy’s FX Anthology ‘Feud’
She’ll play Oscar winner Geraldine Page in the drama about the legendary rift between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/sarah-paulson-fxs-feud-922071

Joseph Fiennes Set as Male Lead in Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
He’ll star opposite Elisabeth Moss and Samira Wiley in the take on Margaret Atwood’s book.http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/joseph-fiennes-hulu-the-handmaids-tale-cast-921894

‘Chicago Med’ Adds ‘Undercovers’ Grad in Recurring Role for Season 2
Mekia Cox will play the daughter of Oliver Platt’s character on the NBC medical drama. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/chicago-med-mekia-cox-joins-922150

NEW MEDIA NEWS:

BuzzFeed Reorganizes Into News and Entertainment Divisions
BuzzFeed Entertainment will be led by Ze Frank and BuzzFeed News will be led by Ben Smith. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/buzzfeed-reorganizes-news-entertainment-divisions-922289

NON-SCRIPTED / ALTERNATIVE NEWS:

Martin Lawrence Sets Stand-Up Comedy Special at Showtime
Martin Lawrence is making his way back to the televised stage. The renowned comedian has set his first stand-up special in 14 years, “Martin Lawrence Doin’ Time: Uncut,” which will air Friday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. on Showtime. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/martin-lawrence-showtime-comedy-special-1201843207/

NBC Doesn’t Care That Olympics Viewership Was Down
Despite the griping on social media, it doesn’t look like tape delays dissuaded West Coast viewers from watching. On the contrary, ratings in the Pacific and Mountain time zones were disproportionately high. “One of the oddities of these Olympics is that tape delay really does seem to work,” Ourand says. “I think part of the reason for that is that people, especially Americans, want to see winners, so when they hear that Katie Ledecky has won gold, it almost becomes marketing: Oh, I want to tune in to see that.” https://theringer.com/nbc-olympic-tape-delays-ratings-advertisers-815d55c284ad#.1wx9ird7x

Peyton Manning Set to Roast Rob Lowe on Comedy Central Special
The Super Bowl champion and four-time NFL MVP will join six comedy veterans for the Comedy Central Special, which is set to tape Saturday and will air on Sept. 5. Manning joins Rob Riggle, Pete Davidson, Jimmy Carr, Jeff Ross and Bo Derek roasting the “St. Elmo’s Fire” star, with David Spade serving as the Roast Master. http://www.thewrap.com/peyton-manning-set-to-roast-rob-lowe-on-comedy-central-special/

OWN Acquires Rights to T.D. Jakes Talk Show
The hourlong talker will premiere Sept. 19 on the cabler. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/own-acquires-rights-td-jakes-922066

Amber Rose to Compete on Dancing With the Stars
E! reports that Rose is joining the cast of Dancing With the Stars upcoming 23rd season. http://www.tvguide.com/news/amber-rose-dancing-with-the-stars/

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

U.K. Startup Catalyst Developing YA Novel ‘Cuckoo Song’ as TV Miniseries
Catalyst Global Media has optioned Francis Hardinge’s novel, which became the first YA book to win the British Fantasy Awards’ top prize and was shortlisted for both the Carnegie Medal and the James Herbert Award. Catalyst will produce Cuckoo Song as a 4 x 60 event piece. Set in 1920s England, Cuckoo Song follows the story of a young girl whose world is turned upside down when she finds herself eerily altered and unearths a magical folklore world as she embarks on a quest to repair a broken family still haunted by the events of WWI. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/uk-startup-catalyst-developing-ya-922414

BBC One adds seven Agatha Christie dramas
BBC One has kicked off the Edinburgh International Television Festival with an agreement to broadcast seven new Agatha Christie-inspired dramas over the next four years. The deal with is Agatha Christie Productions, whose production wing will work with ITV Studios-owned Mammoth Screen on the adaptations. http://tbivision.com/news/2016/08/bbc-one-adds-seven-agatha-christie-dramas/637632/

Wanda Plans to Acquire 2 Billion-Dollar US Film Companies This Year
Chinese entertainment conglomerate the Dalian Wanda Group Co. plans to sign two billion-dollar film deals in the United States this year, and is targeting one of the “Big Six” movie studios next. Chairman Wang Jianlin told Reuters about the acquisitions of two unnamed non-production film companies, each worth more than $1 billion, in the pipeline, and why Wanda Group is making the massive investment. Jianlin said the company is open to buying any “Big Six” studio, including Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Walt Disney, Universal Pictures and Sony. http://www.thewrap.com/wanda-plans-to-acquire-2-billion-dollar-us-film-companies-this-year/

EXECUTIVE / TALENT NEWS:

Amazon Studios Hires Former Chernin Group Exec Matthew Ball as Head of Strategy
Amazon Studios has hired former Chernin Group and Otter Media executive Matthew L. Ball as its new head of strategy, Variety has learned. In this newly-created role, Ball is going to define the strategy for Amazon Prime Video’s originals as well as the service’s licensed content and work on overall usage growth. http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/amazon-studios-matthew-ball-head-of-strategy-1201842922/

Fox Film Chief Jim Gianopulos to Exit Early
Twentieth Century Fox Film chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos will be exiting the studio early, it announced. The studio chief is departing Sept. 1 after being pushed aside in June in favor of Stacey Snider. http://variety.com/2016/film/news/fox-film-chief-jim-gianopulos-early-exit-1201842234/

MISCELLANEOUS NEWS:

TechCrunch: STX Entertainment acquires VR studio Surreal
Virtual reality is quickly earning a reputation in Hollywood beyond its nerdy niche, with many industry professionals shifting resources and attention to catching this platform wave early. STX Entertainment has just acquired VR content producer Surreal to begin powering some of their own efforts in the virtual reality space. https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/23/stx-entertainment-acquires-vr-studio-surreal/

THR: Hollywood Studios: VidAngel Threatens the Legitimate Streaming Market
VidAngel customers "buy" a movie like The Force Awakens for $20, set filters to remove offending content, watch it and then can "sell back" the film to the company for $19 — leaving them having paid $1 to stream it. Disney, LucasFilm, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. sued VidAngel in June, claiming the company is blatantly violating their rights by masquerading an unauthorized streaming service as a mission to clean up Hollywood content. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/hollywood-studios-vidangel-threatens-legitimate-922111

Salon: A tale of two TV shows: “Rectify,” “Lethal Weapon,” and the Battle to Be Seen in the Age of Peak TV
Here’s where we get to fall TV’s big quandary: Statistics show that a significant portion of the audience is more likely to watch a show like “Rectify” than most series debuting this fall. We’re not talking millions upon millions here, but Sundance’s great little drama could gain a few new viewers before other freshman series find their audience. …It will be because its first three seasons are streaming on Netflix. …NBCUniversal’s president of research and media development, Alan Wurtzel, revealed that 54 percent of viewers they surveyed won’t start watching a show if they don’t have access to prior episodes. http://www.salon.com/2016/08/21/a-tale-of-two-tv-shows-rectify-lethal-weapon-and-the-battle-to-be-seen-in-the-age-of-peak-tv/

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