The Morning Update for Wednesday, February 1, 2017.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Wednesday, February 1, 2017:


Toni Collette-Kenya Barris Drama Among ABC Pilot Pickups
ABC handed out a pilot order to a drama from Kenya Barris and starring Toni Collette. Barris’ Unit Zero is a spy drama that follows Jackie Fink (Collette), a brilliant but unassuming CIA engineer and single mom as she leads a team of desk jockeys into the field as secret agents. Overlooked in the workplace, their invisibility makes them perfect for the CIA’s most covert missions. The project is based on an original idea from Black-ish supervising producer Lindsey Shockley, who will pen the script and executive produce alongside Barris, David Gordon Green and Collette. Green is on board to direct the pilot. Unit Zero hails from ABC Studios.

Also scoring a pickup is drama Salamander, based on the 2012 Belgian series and revolves around a brilliant but misanthropic engineer who recruits a skeptical homeland security agent to help him track a mysterious bank robber whose theft of 66 specific safety deposit boxes, belonging to the elite and powerful, sets in motion a series of blackmails that may be linked to a greater conspiracy. Jeff Pinkner, Andre Nemec, Josh Applebaum and Scott Rosenberg will pen the script and exec produce via their Midnight Radio banner. Keshet and Beta Film also will exec produce the ABC Studios project.

‘Hamilton’ Producer, Jason Katims Team for NBC High School Drama Pilot
NBC handed out a pilot order to Drama High, written by Jason Katims and produced by Hamilton duo Flody Suarez and Jeffrey Seller. Based on the book Drama High by Michael Sokolove and life rights of Lou Volpe, Drama High is inspired by a true story and centers on a working-class high school drama department and the students who come alive under a passionate teacher and family man whose dedication to the program galvanizes the entire town.

Bill Lawrence, Ryan Seacrest Dramedies Land CW Pilot Pickups
Ordered to pilot are Bill Lawrence’s Life Sentence — with PLL’s Lucy Hale attached to star — and Ryan Seacrest’s Insatiable. Life Sentence takes place when a young woman (Hale) diagnosed with terminal cancer finds out that she’s not dying after all and has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.” The project hails from Warner Bros. Television and Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer Productions. Erin Cardillo and Rich Keith are on board to pen the script.

Insatiable, meanwhile, centers on a disgraced, dissatisfied civil lawyer turned beauty pageant coach who takes on a vengeful, bullied teenager as his client and has no idea what he’s about to unleash upon the world. Lauren Gussis will pen the script. The project hails from Ryan Seacrest Productions’ overall deal with CBS Television Studios.

Menendez Brothers Movie Starring Courtney Love a Go at Lifetime
Lifetime has tapped singer-actress Courtney Love to star in a telepic about the infamous Menendez family. Written by Abdi Nazemian and directed by reality TV producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the untitled project is based on a true story and explores the lives and motivations behind the murders of entertainment exec Jose Menendez and his wife, Kitty, by their sons, Lyle and Erik, in 1989. Love (The People vs. Larry Flynt) will star as Kitty Menendez.

(review) THR: ‘Santa Clarita Diet’
Boasting the star power of Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet leaps into the undead figurative fray by turning fiction’s most resilient brain-munchers into a way to examine, with occasional repetitiveness, suburban ennui and marital complacency, getting a reasonable amount of laughs.


Teri Hatcher Joins ‘Supergirl’ for Major Season 2 Arc
The actress, who played iconic Superman character Lois Lane, will portray a villain on the sophomore CW drama.

Deadline: Pilot Season 2017: How Would Trump’s Immigration Policies Impact Casting
Because of the large number of pilots being cast at the same time against strong competition for talent from cable and streaming services, the broadcast networks try to throw a wide net, auditioning foreign actors, primarily in Europe (largely the U.K.) and Australia. The networks and studios have to be much more careful this time as an actor they hire may have ancestry related to one of the countries on the list that could trigger a red flag and deny the thesp entry into the U.S. to do the pilot, even if they have a valid work permit.


Atlantic: The 15 Most Talked-About Films From Sundance
Streaming brands like Amazon and Netflix are continuing to try and muscle into prestige film contention by bidding high for the distribution rights to the festival’s biggest hits. And though there was no acquisition as splashy as the $17.5 million shelled out for The Birth of a Nation last year, some of the biggest stories told at Sundance 2017 were well outside of Hollywood’s usual homogeny, and give viewers plenty of reasons to be excited for the year in cinema outside of the expected superheroes, sequels, and superhero sequels.


Apple confirms push into content
Speaking on the tech giant’s fiscal first quarter earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said the company is learning a lot about the original content business and is “thinking about ways that we could play” in that space. He also cited changes to the media industry and said that he expects Apple’s participation to accelerate as the cable bundle begins to break down, with its Apple TV set-top providing a firm grounding for doing so.


Nickelodeon Picks Up ‘The Dude Perfect Show’ for Season 2
Nickelodeon has picked up comedy-sports series “The Dude Perfect Show” for a second season. Season 2 of “The Dude Perfect Show” will feature larger-than-life stunts including, a slam dunk into the world’s largest basketball hoop from 150 feet away, circumnavigating a minefield of mousetraps or blindly navigating each other through “trust obstacles.”

Fox News Channel Marks 15 Years As No. 1-Rated Cable News NetworkFox News Channel celebrates its 15 consecutive years as the country’s most watched cable news network.


Bob Iger’s Participation on Trump Panel Kicking Up a Storm
With a growing number of U.S. business leaders speaking out against President Donald Trump, CEOs who have kept open lines of communication with the White House are feeling the heat. Disney chief executive Bob Iger has taken a tongue lashing on social media and, on Tuesday, in an online petition, for participating in Trump’s strategic and policy advisory committee, which is scheduled to meet for the first time this week.

Animation Workers Reach $100 Million Settlement With Disney in Wage-Fixing SuitAnimation workers have reached a $100 million settlement with the Walt Disney Company, Pixar, and Lucasfilm in a class action lawsuit claiming that the defendants violated antitrust laws by conspiring to set animation wages via non-poaching agreements.


ITV poaches US scripted exec from Endemol Shine
The US drama division of ITV Studios has hired Dwayne Shattuck as its executive VP, production.

Fox Promotes Dean Hallett to Operations and Strategy Head
Dean Hallett, the veteran finance executive at Twentieth Century Fox Film, has been promoted, the studio said on Tuesday. He will now serve as the studio’s senior executive vice president for operations and strategy.

ESL Taps Fox TV Vet David Hill to Make eSports More Like Television
Major eSports producer ESL has inked a partnership with David Hill — the former longtime Fox TV exec who launched Fox Sports in the U.S. — to give its video-game competitions television-style production values.


Variety: Sony Pictures CEO Search Sows Uncertainty Across the Lot
Lynton is said to be helping Hirai compile a short list of candidates to pursue. Former Disney COO Tom Staggs is rumored to be high on that list. Other names circulating include former 20th Century Fox chief Jim Gianopulos and former Fox Networks Group CEO Tony Vinciquerra. Tom Rothman, Sony’s current motion picture group chairman and the former partner of Gianopulos’ at Fox, is not expected to be a contender for the top Sony entertainment job and even his roost atop the film studio is considered less secure, given the departure of Lynton.

Variety: Facebook Is Now Letting Advertisers Compare Results Across TV, Digital and Print CampaignsFacebook, in its ongoing quest to suck more dollars into its social maw, has launched a new information portal for marketers that the social giant says will let them compare how their ads perform across digital, TV and print.

THR: Study Finds 80 Percent of Female Directors Made Only One Movie in 10 Years

By contrast, 54.8 percent of the men directed just one film during that span.

THR: FCC’s Proposal to Reshape Access to TV Programming Appears Doomed
chairman Ajit Pai holds his first presser and takes questions about net neutrality, the AT&T-Time Warner merger and more topics.

New Yorker: The Movie with a Thousand Plotlines
Will interactive films be this century’s defining art form?

(video) Vanity Fair: The future of fake news is real-time video manipulation
Nick Bilton

to change what’s being said, a sort of real-time Photoshop for moving images and audio.