The Morning Update for Thursday, March 23, 2017.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Thursday, March 23, 2017:


Blumhouse TV & Amblin TV Team For ‘Phenomena’ TV Series Based On Book About ESP & Psychokinesis ExperimentsBlumhouse Televisionand Amblin Television have partnered to jointly option the rights to Annie Jacobsen’s upcoming book Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations Into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis to develop as a TV series. Phenomena traces the U.S. government’s long-hidden history of military and intelligence agency experiments on extraordinary human functioning, including mental telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and other forms of extrasensory perception (ESP), for defense purposes. Blumhouse and Amblin are serving as co-studios on the project.

Paramount TV & Telefe Partner On Multi-Lingual Drama Series About Nazi Hunters
Paramount Television
and new corporate sibling Telefe, a recent acquisition of Viacom, have teamed up to develop the one-hour, multi-lingual thriller drama Cazadores (Hunters). Created by journalist-turned-TV writer Jason George (Narcos), Cazadores is based on recently declassified documents and centers on men and women hailing from more than 10 countries — many of whom had personally suffered under the Nazi regime — who track down the Nazi high command that fled to South America after WWII.

Freeform Buys Millennial Flight Attendant Comedy From Alloy Entertainment
has put in development Flighty, a single-camera, half-hour comedy, from Alloy Entertainment and Warner Horizon TV. Written by Marissa Berlin (Baby Daddy), Flighty is a comedy about millennial flight attendants searching for adventure, romance and meaning in their lives. Berlin also serves as supervising producer. Dan Berendsen, Leslie Morganstein and Gina Girolamo executive produce for Alloy Entertainment.

‘Madam Secretary’ EP David Grae Inks Overall Deal With CBS TV Studios
Madam Secretary
executive producer David Grae has signed a two-year overall deal with CBS Television Studios, the studio behind the CBS drama series currently in its third season. Under the pact, Grae will continue as executive producer on Madam Secretary, expected to be renewed for a fourth season, alongside creator/exec producer/showrunner Barbara Hall, while also developing new projects for the studio.

Writer-Producers Meredith Lavender & Marcie Ulin Ink Overall Deal With 20th TVFormer Nashville executive producers Meredith Lavender and Marcie Ulin have signed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television.


Michael Bolton to Appear on ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ FinaleThe Grammy winner will play himself.

Chris Brown to Appear on black-ishControversial musician Chris Brown will guest-star on an upcoming episode of ABC’s black-ish. The “Forever” singer will play a rapper named Rich Youngsta. Dre will be excited about working with the recording star, only to be met with Ruby and Bow’s disapproval of Rich Youngsta’s reliance on negative stereotypes.

David Boreanaz to Star in CBS Navy SEAL DramaThe ‘Bones’ veteran replaces Jim Caviezel in the pilot. Caviezel exited the project over creative differences.

Kristen Johnston Joins CBS Comedy ‘Real Life’; Jaleel White In ‘Me, Myself & I’
Kristen Johnston
is set as a series regular opposite Rebecca Rittenhouse in Real Life, CBS’ half-hour hybrid comedy pilot written/executive produced by Hilary Winston and executive produced by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. Family Matters alum Jaleel White is set as a series regular opposite John Larroquette and Bobby Moynihan in CBS’ single-camera comedy pilot Me, Myself & I.

Kristen Johnston Joins CBS Workplace Comedy ‘Real Life’‘How I Met Your Mother’ creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas will exec produce the half-hour.

USA’s ‘Unsolved: The Murders of Biggie and Tupac’ Finds Its Sean "Puffy" Combs
Luke James
will play the famed rapper and mogul, and Aisha Hinds and LeToya Luckett also have signed on for the USA Network pilot.

John Cho to Play Billy Eichner’s Boyfriend on Difficult People Season 3
John Cho
has signed on to play a key recurring role in Season 3 of the Hulu comedy.


Vice lines up short-form scripted
Vice Media
has ordered a slate of short-form scripted content from New York-based digital studio Blackpills. Pulse Films, which Vice acquired last year, will also produce additional content associated with the pact.The Blackpills shows will be distributed on a new video-focused Vice digital site, in the US.Productions from Luc Besson, Zoe Cassavettes and Bryan Singer will feature, with Pulse producing two series, Pillowtalk and Twiz and Tuck.Besson has created Playground, about a teen girl who joins a school for assassins and uncovers the mystery of her parents’ deaths. Cassavettes is producing Junior, which is about a teenage girl trapped in an unexpected love triangle with her mother.Other shows are All Wrong, from Chris Marquette and Brittany Furlan; Maniac, from Kjetil Ingredard, and Skinford, from Josh Brennan.

ComScore: Netflix leads by US use and engagementThe research firm’s ‘2017 US Cross-Platform Future in Focus’ report said that Hulu wasn’t as widely accessed but attracted comparable viewing engagement on a per-household basis, while YouTube and Amazon Video had the second and third highest household penetration behind Netflix. It also noted that YouTube has seen its usage “shift heavily to mobile in recent years” with 70% of viewing time now from mobile devices, compared to 30% for desktop.

NBCUniversal Media Execs to Coach YouTube Creators
is teaming with YouTube to participate in an upcoming NextUp week-long training session, to be held in late May at YouTube Space New York. Under the program, several NBCU creative executives will coach up-and-coming YouTubers on best practices for developing breakout content, with the goal of attracting bigger, more engaged audiences. For NBCU, the aim seems to be to foster goodwill among digital creators (and with YouTube itself) as well as promote its programming brands.

Big US companies pull YouTube ads after extremist content sparks uncertaintyBloomberg reports AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc. have stopped all non-search advertising spending with Google, while Johnson & Johnson stopped all its global advertising on YouTube. AT&T said in a statement that it is concerned that its advertising may have appeared over "YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate," and it will not resume advertising "until Google can ensure this won’t happen again." Verizon has launched an investigation, presumably to find out if any of its ads appeared over extremist content.

‘Disputed by multiple fact-checkers’: Facebook rolls out new alert to combat fake news
has started rolling out its third-party fact-checking tool in the fight against fake news, alerting users to “disputed content”. The tool was first observed by Facebook users attempting to link to a story that falsely claimed hundreds of thousands of Irish people were brought to the US as slaves. For some users, attempting to share the story prompts a red alert stating the article has been disputed by both and the Associated Press. Clicking on that warning produces a second pop-up with more information “About disputed content”.


(sched) Fox’s ‘Love Connection’ Reboot, Gordon Ramsay Live Show Get Premiere DatesFox unveiled its summer schedule, including the premiere dates for its Love Connection reboot and Gordon Ramsay’s forthcoming live cooking competition. Love Connection will premiere Thursday, May 25, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the first-year musical game show Beat Shazam, hosted by Jamie Foxx and exec produced by Mark Burnett at 9 p.m. Ramsay’s live cooking show, The F Word With Gordon Ramsay, will kick off on Wednesday, May 31, at 9 p.m. following the return of his long-running MasterChef.

ESPN Films Expands Under Libby Geist, Signs Deal With ‘O.J.: Made in America’ Filmmaker
Libby Geist
, the well-regarded ESPN executive, has been promoted to vice president and executive producer of ESPN Films and 30 for 30, where she will continue to work closely with senior vp Connor Schell. The promotion marks an expansion of the ESPN Films shingle, which in June will launch 30 for 30 podcasts. As part of that expansion, ESPN Films has signed Ezra Edelman to a first-look deal for sports-related nonfiction projects.

Travel Channel Unpacks 2017 Programming SlateTravel Channel has booked its 2017 programming slate with more than 390 hours of programming including a number of new series and nearly 20 pilots. The Scripps-owned channel said it will “showcase more epic stories, exotic locales and famous places that hold the secrets to fascinating events, characters and legends.”

HGTV Gives Hit ‘Fixer Upper’ a Spinoff, Finds ‘Flip or Flop’ Solution
‘Behind the Design,’
a half-hour series, will focus on star Joanna Gaines’ work on the home renovations show.

NFL Working to Reduce Commercial Breaks During GamesCommissioner Roger Goodell outlined the changes in a Wednesday note.

Producer Danny Salles Signs Overall Deal With Wilshire Studios
Danny Salles
, the veteran reality TV producer known for his work on “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” has signed on overall deal with NBCUniversal’s unscripted production arm Wilshire Studios.


ABC News Twitter Accounts Hacked, Send Pro-Trump PostsThe tweets have been deleted as ABC is "working on resolving the problem."


Women in Film Adds Six to 2017 Board of Directors
Bela Bajaria, Terry Curtin, Nisha Ganatra
and Laura Gordon are joining for the first time. In addition, TriStar Pictures president Hannah Minghella and UTA partner and Independent Film Group head Rena Ronson have rejoined the board of the non-profit organization.

Veteran Producer Tom McNulty To Head The Exchange’s New Production DivisionVeteran producer Tom McNulty, whose credits include The Spectacular Now and Date Night, has been hired by The Exchangeto launch the company’s first development and production division.

Amazon’s Twitch Hires Michael Aragon, Former GM of PlayStation Network and Ellation’s VRV
, the game-broadcasting and social-video company owned by Amazon, has hired Michael Aragon as senior VP of content. In the newly created position, Aragon reports directly to Twitch CEO Emmett Shear. Aragon is joining the San Francisco-based company to oversee global broadcaster partnerships, eSports, Twitch Studios, content development and content marketing teams.


Wrap: Funny or Die Closes Shop in New York Year After Layoffs, Relocates Staffers to LAWill Ferrelland Adam McKay’s Funny or Die website closed its New York creative office and offered staffers the option of relocating to Los Angeles.

Variety: African-Americans, Asian-Americans Went to More Movies in 2016The number of frequent African-American moviegoers nearly doubled to 5.6 million last year, while the number of regular Asian ticket-buyers jumped from 3.2 million to 3.9 million. The MPAA defines frequent moviegoers as people who attend the cinema once a month or more. Both groups were over-represented on a population basis. African-Americans made up 15% of frequent moviegoers, while comprising 12% of the U.S. population. Asians account for 8% of the population, but made up 11% of frequent moviegoers.

Deadline: Online Services Not Entitled To License Broadcast TV Programming, Court SaysIn a potentially significant win for broadcasters, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a 2015 district court ruling that might have allowed an online service to retransmit their over-the-air signals without their consent. The three-judge appeals court rejected the view that Alki David’s FilmOn could carry broadcasters’ programming by paying for a copyright compulsory license offered to cable providers.