The Morning Update for Friday, February 24, 2017.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Friday, February 24, 2017. Have a great weekend!


Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci’s Olive Productions Inks First-Look TV Deal With Entertainment One
Steve Buscemi
, Stanley Tucci and Wren Arthur’s Olive Productions has signed a first-look TV deal with Entertainment One. The multiyear deal will see eOne serve as the studio for and control worldwide rights to TV projects produced under the new partnership.

Pilot Season 2017 Yields Only One Female Drama Director As Diversity Slips FurtherOf 41 broadcast drama pilots this season, only one — ABC’s Las Reinasis directed by a woman, Liz Friedlander. This could be an all-time low. The numbers have been going down the past couple of years. In 2015, there were four female drama pilot directors, two of them women of color: Ava DuVernay (CBS’ For Justice), Sanaa Hamri (Fox’s Studio City), Coky Giedroyc (ABC’s Broad Squad), and Julie Anne Robinson (ABC’s The Catch, which she had developed). Last year, two of 40-plus drama pilots went for female directors, one via an open assignment, Jennifer Getzinger (NBC’s Miranda’s Rights). Friedlander directed the pilot for ABC’s Conviction, which she co-created and had been attached to direct from the get-go.

Stephen Hopkins To Direct Fox Pilot ‘The Beast’; Jason Ensler To Helm NBC’s ‘Redliners’Stephen Hopkins is set to direct Fox’s The Beast, a medical drama pilot from former ER executive producer and practicing pediatrician Neal Baer. Jason Ensler has been tapped to direct Redliners, an NBC drama pilot inspired by the literary works of best-selling author Charlaine Harris, from producer David Janollari.

History’s Military Drama ‘Six’ Renewed for Season TwoThe Navy SEALs series is averaging 2.9 million viewers with three days of delayed viewing.

(review) Variety: ‘Taken’ on NBC…For fans of action hours who don’t mind mixing the conventional with a few bits and pieces that are moderately unconventional, it might be worth seeing what kind of decisions Christina and Bryan end up taking.

(review) Variety: ‘The Blacklist: Redemption’ on NBC
…The real question for “The Blacklist: Redemption’s” future success is whether or not Famke Janssen and Ryan Eggold will be able to carry a title that has been, until now, entirely dependent on James Spader’s magnetism. Based on the premiere, it seems unlikely — Tom is not even the second-most interesting character from “The Blacklist,” and Scottie’s mystique makes it hard to feel intimately connected to her character.

(review) THR: ‘Patriot’ on Amazon
At its best, the series is wholly original in its pursuit of telling a dramatic espionage story while leavening it with inspired doses of quirk and a refreshing, even lovely look at existential crises. It is, all told, a hugely ambitious undertaking that probably won’t get the attention it deserves, and that’s a real shame.

(review) Uproxx: ‘Speechless’ Has Already Become One Of TV’s Best SitcomsWhen it debuted in the fall, Speechless seemed like another impressive product from the ABC family sitcom factory, feeling simultaneously linked to the other ones and distinct because of its premise and focus on special needs children and parents. …The premise of Speechless could easily knock it out of the comfort food category, but the show continually finds the sweet spot where it feels simultaneously honest and silly, pragmatic but warm, and one of the highlights of my viewing week.


Lea Michele Joins ABC’s Daveed Diggs ComedyThe actress will not return to Fox’s ‘Scream Queens’ should the anthology be renewed for a third season.

Rob Huebel to Co-Star in ABC’s Toni Collette Dramedy ‘Unit Zero’The pilot is being exec produced by ‘Black-ish’ showrunner Kenya Barris.

ABC’s Shondaland Pilot Casts Wesam KeeshAwkward alum Wesam Keesh has joined the series-regular cast of ABC‘s legal drama pilot from Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers’ Shondaland and ABC Studios.

‘Instinct’: Naveen Andrews To Co-Star In CBS Drama PilotLost alum Naveen Andrews is set for a lead role inInstinct, CBS drama pilot starring and executive produced by Alan Cumming.

Neil Brown Jr. Cast In CBS’ Navy SEAL Drama Pilot
Neil Brown Jr.
(Straight Outta Compton) is set as a lead in CBS untitled Navy SEAL drama pilot from former Justified executive producers Ben Cavell, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly, and Shameless and Animal Kingdom executive producer Chris Chulack.

Dylan McDermott Joins Fox Workplace Comedy
Dylan McDermott
has joined the Fox workplace comedy pilot L.A. to Vegas.

Lauren Graham to Star in Fox Comedy ‘Linda From HR’The role marks her return to broadcast after Netflix’s ‘Gilmore Girls’ revival and NBC’s ‘Parenthood.’

‘Controversy’: Austin Stowell To Star In Fox Drama Pilot From Sheldon TurnerAustin Stowell (Whiplash) has been cast as the central character in Controversy, Fox’s investigative thriller drama pilot written by Up in the Air co-writer Sheldon Turner, directed by This Is Us’ John Requa & Glenn Ficarra and executive produced by Scandal co-executive producer Judy Smith.

Dennis Haysbert to Star in NBC’s ‘Reverie’ Pilot
Dennis Haysbert
has signed onto NBC’s virtual reality thriller “Reverie,” co-starring with Sarah Shahi.

Disney Channel Grad Debby Ryan to Star in CW’s ‘Insatiable’The ‘Suite Life’ and ‘Jessie’ actress next appears in VH1’s ‘Daytime Divas.’

Josh Duhamel, Jimmi Simpson, Bokeem Woodbine to Star in USA’s Tupac Drama ‘Unsolved’
USA Network
has landed three in-demand leading men for its Tupac murder drama pilot Unsolved. Set to star in the pilot are Josh Duhamel, Jimmi Simpson and Bokeem Woodbine. All three actors had been receiving multiple offers for broadcast dramas this pilot season. Unsolved is a true-crime serialized drama that chronicles the two major police investigations into the slayings of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. The drama hails from People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Emmy winner Anthony Hemmingway.

FX’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Spinoff Casts Its Lead
JD Pardo
has signed on the FX drama pilot.

Matthew Broderick to Star in Ryan Murphy’s ‘Katrina: American Crime Story’He joins Annette Bening in the second season of the FX Emmy-winning anthology.


Studios Push for $50 Early Home Movie Rentals, But Negotiations Are ComplexAt least five of the major studios are pushing plans to get movies into homes earlier, but theater chains and studios are still far apart from agreeing on how it would happen. Warner Bros. and Universal have been the most aggressive in pursuing an arrangement that would see certain movies receive a premium video-on-demand release within weeks of their theatrical premieres, but now other studios are joining the discussions. Twentieth Century Fox has also begun to talk early releases with theater owners, while Sony is having its own separate talks with exhibitors and is trying to devise its own plan.


Disney Lays Off 80 From Maker, Digital Media Unit Amid Restructuring
is laying off 80 employees across its digital media unit, including Maker Studios. The cuts are part of a larger restructuring within DCPI’s content and media group, which has encompassed Maker since December. The business, which is led by executive vp Andrew Sugerman, is being rebranded as the publishing and digital media group. It’s part of a renewed focus within the company to create a more cohesive cross-platform programming strategy. As part of the restructuring, Disney also is planning to shrink the size of Maker’s talent network, which at one time ballooned to 55,000 digital creators, to less than 1,000 creators.

Facebook’s Commercial Breaks Are Ready for Primetime
said it would extend its new mid-roll video ads, which run like commercials in the middle of digital video, to "eligible" outside publishers. The ads will come through from the Facebook Audience Network, the company’s ad tech pipes that control the auction and delivery of ads. Facebook gives publishers 55% of the ad sales when they run on its own properties, but does not disclose the revenue split from ads running on publishers’ own sites.


Anthony Anderson to Host Live Post-Oscars Special for ABC“Blackish” star Anthony Anderson is set to host a live post-Oscars special for ABC on Sunday, which will take over the slot that had been filled by Jimmy Kimmel for the past decade. With Kimmel occupied as Oscar host this year, ABC has opted to go live with a special that will feature interviews from the red carpet outside the Governors Ball and backstage moments with winners.

‘Dancing With the Stars’ Courting Nancy Kerrigan, Nick Viall & Fifth Harmony for Season 24With less than one month until the Season 24 premiere of “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC is setting the new cast of celebrity contestants. Nancy Kerrigan will compete on the upcoming season, along with a member of Fifth Harmony. Our insider also tells us that “The Bachelor” Nick Viall will more-than-likely be a contestant. Mr. T. and Simone Biles will also compete on Season 24, our source says.


(feature) Digiday: Inside Disney’s troubled $675 mil. Maker Studios acquisitionWhat Disney learned — and what many have long criticized the YouTube multi-channel network ecosystem for — is that it’s virtually impossible to build a business on YouTube. Then there was the internal dysfunction at Maker, including multiple leadership changes, an inability to meet admittedly aggressive growth targets and difficulties in creating original content. The following account is based on interviews with five former executives at Maker and Disney.


Fox Reveals Finalists for 2017 Writers LabThis year’s finalists and their respective representatives are: Erick Castrillon and Esteban Arango (Valor Entertainment), Arielle Diaz (CAA), Tania Lotia (CAA & Laurelmont Management Group), Jennifer Graham Imada (Independent), Brad Marques (Laurelmont Management Group), Elizabeth Oyebode (Independent), Keely MacDonald (Grandview), Nicky Young (Independent), Lauren Tyler (Art/Work Entertainment), Mellori Velasquez (Independent), Pilar Valdes (Independent) and Yasemin Yilmaz (Independent). One finalist will be named the 2017 Fox Writers Lab Fellow.

Illumination Names Peter Schube to Chief Operating Officer
announced that it has appointed Peter Schube as Chief Operating Officer, Scott Broock as Executive Vice President of Digital Strategy and Innovation, and Latifa Ouaou as Executive Producer. Schube will work alongside the animation studio’s founder and CEO, Chris Meledandri, and oversee all core business operations. Schube was previously the COO at The Jim Henson Company.

AMC Networks Isn’t A Studio Yet, But It’s Getting There, CEO SaysIt’s too early to call AMC Networks a studio — but it “is becoming, and has become, more of a studio as opposed to only a channel operator,” CEO Josh Sapan told analysts today in a call to discuss the company’s Q4 performance. Asked if AMC might produce shows for others, the CEO says he “wouldn’t rule that out.”


Variety: FCC Proposes ‘Next Generation TV’ StandardFederal regulators gave an initial green light to a proposal to dramatically upgrade broadcast TV. On Thursday, the FCC took a step toward approving use of a new TV standard that promises over-the-air viewers will get an Ultra High Definition picture, interactivity, immersive audio, advance emergency alerts, mobile reception and other features. The standard is dubbed Next Generation TV, or ATSC 3.0, and it has long been on the wish list of Washington’s broadcast lobby as they have watched broadband providers cast themselves as the medium of the future.

(analyst) Above Avalon: ‘Apple Doesn’t Need to Buy Netflix’

In essence, Netflix is like Spotify. Apple could acquire Netflix and instantly become the leader in paid video streaming. However, there is evidence that Apple is instead looking for something different. Apple is searching for another "Jimmy Iovine," new connections and relationships with Hollywood. Apple’s content goals have a better chance of being reached by working with smaller Hollywood production companies than by acquiring Netflix. This explains Apple’s reported interest in Imagine Entertainment. …The takeaway from those talks doesn’t revolve around Apple getting its hands on an existing content portfolio. Rather it focuses on bringing people on board to come up with new ideas.