The Morning Update for Thursday, January 26, 2017.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Thursday, January 26, 2017:


ABC Orders Comedy Pilots From Zach Braff, ‘Hamilton’s’ Daveed DiggsThe untitled mayor comedy centers on an outspoken, idealistic rapper who runs for office as a publicity stunt and when he actually gets elected, he surprises everyone (including himself) when he has a knack for the job and slowly transforms City Hall. Jeremy Bronson will pen the script and exec produce alongside rapper-actor Daveed Diggs, who is not expected to have an onscreen role. Jamie Tarses, Scott Stuber, Dylan Clark and James Griffiths also will exec produce, with the latter also on board to direct the pilot. The comedy hails from ABC Studios.

Start Up revolves around Alex Schuman (Zach Braff), an inquisitive journalist, husband and father who dives headfirst into the brave new world of entrepreneurship when he quits his stable job and starts his own business. The project hails from John Davis and his Davis Entertainment.

Female-Driven ‘What About Bob?’ Reboot Picked Up to Pilot at NBC
NBC has handed out a pilot order to What About Barb? Based on the movie, the single-camera comedy revolves around a psychotherapist who tries to cut ties with her most overbearing patient but is unsuccessful and gains an annoying family member in the process. Writing duo Joe Port and Joe Wiseman will pen the script and executive produce the comedy. Barb hails from ABC Studios.

‘Roadside Picnic’ Pilot Not Going Forward At WGN America, Will Be Shopped Elsewhere
WGN America has opted not to proceed with Roadside Picnic, its drama pilot based on the famous novel by top Soviet/Russian science fiction writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Sony Pictures TV already is shopping it to other outlets. Starring Matthew Goode, alien saga Roadside Picnic explores a near-future world where aliens have come and gone, leaving humankind to explore the wondrous and dangerous mysteries left behind.

‘The Middle’ Renewed for Ninth Season at ABCThe venerable Warner Bros. Television comedy has been a key property for the network and studio.

‘Young & Hungry’ Season 5 Gets Supersized With 20 Episodes
“Young & Hungry’s” fifth season will be supersized. Freeform has given a back order to the comedy, well ahead of its Season 5 premiere, bringing the season to a total of 20 episodes. The season will be split into two parts with the first half debuting on Monday, Mar. 13 at 8:00 p.m.

Bryan Singer to Direct Fox’s ‘X-Men’ PilotThe drama hails from ‘Burn Notice’ grad Matt Nix and Marvel TV.

‘The Son’ Writer-Producer Daniel C. Connolly Inks Overall Deal With AMC
AMC has signed an overall deal with Daniel C. Connolly, writer and producer of the network’s upcoming series The Son. Under the pact, Connolly will work on existing series and develop new ones.

ABC Shifts ‘When We Rise’ Airdate to Accommodate Trump Congressional Address
“When We Rise,”
was initially supposed to air over four straight nights, from Monday, Feb. 27, through Thursday, Mar. 2. Thanks to a recently scheduled Congressional address by newly-minted President Donald Trump, ABC has had to modify those plans. It will take a break on Tuesday, Feb. 28, to air said address, thereby pushing the next three installments of “When We Rise” by a day.

(review) Variety: ‘Shots Fired’ on Fox
A police officer stops a motorist, bullets fly — and almost everything that follows from that moment is contradictory, challenging and influenced by competing agendas. That’s the premise of “Shots Fired,” a worthy and excellent new series that works as both a television drama and an interlocking array of engagements with some of the most thorny issues of our time.


Facebook Snags ‘Heroes of the Dorm’ eSports Tourney Away From ESPN
Facebook is the exclusive broadcast partner for this year’s college eSports tournament “Heroes of the Dorm” from Blizzard Entertainment — an event that was carried on ESPN2 for the last two years. The 2017 spring tournament, produced by Blizzard and Tespa, will feature “Heroes of the Storm” teams from colleges across the U.S. and Canada, giving them a chance to earn more than $500,000 in scholarships and prizes.

Facebook Live Is the Right Wing’s New Fox News
Facebook Live is increasingly being used by conservative media personalities instead of talk radio, where some video broadcasts get millions of views — How the rough-around-the-edges live-streaming tool became the perfect incubator for conservative news in the Trump age.


CBS to Pay Tribute to Mary Tyler Moore With Hourlong Special
Oprah Winfrey will appear on the special, which will air Thursday.


BBC4 picks up first Spanish drama
BBC4 in the UK has picked up its first Spanish drama through its deal with distributor Arrow Films. I Know Who You Are is a crime drama that follows a family that tears itself apart following the disappearance of a loved one. The 10×70’ series is produced by Filmax International (The Red Band Society) and Mediaset España and is directed and exec produced by Pau Freixas. The head writer is Ivan Mercadé.


Disney Mulls Ad Sales Overhaul for ABC, Freeform, Disney Channels
Under one plan being discussed, the company would place a single executive in charge of advertising sales for ABC, Freeform and the various Disney entertainment cable networks, according to three people with knowledge of the situation. …One person likely to be considered for the role is Rita Ferro, according to these people, an ad-sales executive who has been with The Walt Disney Company since 2003.


Gaumont Television Taps Adam Fishbach as Head of Creative Affairs, Hires Maia Hollinger
Gaumont Television, the L.A.-based production and distribution arm of French film powerhouse Gaumont, is aiming to beef up its business with the promotion of Adam Fishbach as head of the creative affairs department and the appointment of Maia Hollinger as VP of creative affairs for original productions.

Irwin Entertainment Taps Liza Keckler As SVP Development
Veteran media executive Liza Keckler has joined Irwin Entertainment as its new SVP Development. Keckler most recently served as VP Development at Screaming Flea Productions.

Facebook Hires Former Google Exec Hugo Barra to Lead Virtual Reality Efforts
Facebook has hired former Google and Xiaomi exec Hugo Barra to lead its virtual reality efforts, including the company’s Oculus subsidiary.


AdWeek: Broadcast TV Presidents Want Nielsen to Get Things ‘Right’ and Delay Total Content Ratings Rollout
As Nielsen prepares to meet with media and agency clients Friday to discuss its strategy for releasing its total content ratings (TCR), the broadcast network presidents have added their voices to those in the industry asking the company to modify its rollout plans for the new metric, which is still scheduled for full release on March 1.

Variety: Verizon Exploring Potential Charter Merger
Verizon Communications is looking at scenarios for merging with cable giant Charter Communications, the Wall Street Journal reported. Verizon chief Lowell McAdam has made a “preliminary” overture to “officials close to Charter,” and the telco has enlisted advisers to study a possible merger, according to the Journal report, which cited anonymous sources.

Variety: Cable Culling Claims Esquire — Which Channel Is Next?
Last week, NBCUniversal announced that Esquire would cease linear operations this summer. Most of Esquire Network’s roughly 50 employees are being laid off. Esquire Network’s demise could be a portent of things to come. Speaking at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in 2015, FX CEO John Landgraf predicted a “culling of the herd” among cable channels, prompted by increasing pressures in an adapting marketplace.

Variety: Directors Guild of America Members Ratify New Contract
Members of the Directors Guild of America have approved a three-year successor deal on the master contract with a major gain in streaming residuals.

THR: Warner Bros.’ TV Directors’ Workshop Now Accepting 2017 Submissions
The eight-week program helps new helmers break into primetime television.