The Morning Update for Friday, March 24, 2017.

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


Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Prepping Miracle Drama ‘Messiah’ for Netflix
Mark Burnett
and Roma Downey are readying a modern-day biblical drama for the streaming giant. Messiah chronicles the modern world’s reaction to a man who first appears in the Middle East and seems to be performing miracles. The scripted drama has already been preapproved for a California Film Commission tax credit, though it’s considered unlikely to use that given Messiah’s early timing. A script still needs to be written. Messiah was created by Michael Petroni. The project is being produced in-house at Netflix. MGM Television, where Burnett serves as president, is not attached.

James Franco, Seth Rogen Developing ’90s Teen Drama at Hulu From Writer Kelly Oxford
James Franco
and Seth Rogen are developing a ’90s teen drama with author and social media personality Kelly Oxford, who is writing the script. The project is described the project as a teen show set in the 1990’s.

Keshet Studios Eyes ‘Thank You for Smoking’ TV Adaptation as L.A. Scripted Arm Hits High Gear
Keshet Studios
is adapting Jason Reitman’s 2005 dark comedy “Thank You For Smoking” as an anthology series that would zero in on an headline-making social issue each season. The idea is to start with a look at gun control battles under the banner “Thank You For Shooting.”

Amazon Near Pickups Of Comedy Pilots From Michael Patrick King, George Saunders & Diarra Kilpatrick
Amazon Studios
is finalizing deals for pilot orders to three single-camera comedy projects, Love You More, from former Sex and the City showrunner Michael Patrick King, which stars Bridget Everett; the genre-bending Sea Oak, from short-story writer George Saunders; and the Detroit-set The Climb, starring and written by Diarra Kilpatrick, from the Mark Gordon Co.

CBS Renews 18 Series, Including Freshman Shows ‘Bull,’ ‘Kevin Can Wait’
has renewed 18 shows for the 2017-2018 season, including freshman series such as “Bull” and “Kevin Can Wait,” the network announced on Thursday.

Cinemax’s ‘The Knick’ Canceled After Two SeasonsThe period drama starred Clive Owen and hailed from exec producer and director Steven Soderbergh.


Eliza Dushku Joins ‘Bull’ for Major RoleThe ‘Buffy’ alum will play a criminal defense attorney with an option to become a series regular for season two.

‘Real Life’: Bret Harrison Cast In CBS Comedy Pilot From Hilary WinstonFormer Reaper and The Loop star Bret Harrisonhas booked a series-regular role in Real Life, CBS half-hour hybrid comedy pilot written/executive produced by Bad Teacher creator Hilary Winston.

Westworld Upgrades Talulah Riley to Series Regular for Season 2One of Westworld‘s robot hosts is getting a software update for Season 2. Talulah Riley, who plays host Angela on the HBO sci-fi drama, has been promoted to series-regular status for the show’s sophomore season.

Daveed Diggs, Laura Dern Among ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ Season 3 Guest-Stars
Rachel Dratch, Ray Liotta, Andrea Martin
and Maya Rudolph also will make their debuts in the upcoming season of the Netflix comedy.

Bobby Moynihan to Voice Title Character in Syfy Drama ‘Happy!’The longtime ‘SNL’ cast member will voice a blue unicorn opposite Christopher Meloni’s character in the pilot.


Disney Eyes Thea Sharrock to Direct Gorilla Story ‘The One and Only Ivan’
is in talks with Thea Sharrock, director of “Me Before You,” to helm its movie version of the gorilla story “The One and Only Ivan.” British director Mike Newell had been attached last year for the project, but is no longer involved.


Twitter might build a paid subscription service for power users
is considering offering a paid subscription to power users, including brands and news organizations. Twitter users began tweeting screenshots of the survey and a mock-up of what the premium version of Twitter could look like, with new analytics, alerts about breaking news, and information about what an account’s followers are tweeting about. The advanced features would be contained within Tweetdeck, the company’s app for professionals. The core service would remain free.


Mario Lopez to Host CBS’ ‘Candy Crush’The actor turned TV and radio personality returns to primetime following Fox’s ‘The X-Factor.’

‘Ink Master’ Renewed for Season 10 at Spike, Gets Female-Centric Special
“Ink Master”
has been renewed for Season 10 at Spike ahead of the Season 9 premiere. In addition, the network has also greenlit a female-centric spinoff special titled “Ink Master Angels.”


Disney Extends CEO Bob Iger’s Contract to 2019The exec has now re-upped his contract until July 2, 2019 amid concerns among industry observers that there is no heir apparent within the company’s executive ranks.


Sony Update: New Candidate Emerges In Former Fox Exec Tony VinciquerraWith Jim Gianopulos getting closer to a deal to run Paramount and the town all abuzz with who might come into the vice-chair role below him, we are hearing a bit more about the Sony Pictures executive job. A new candidate is emerging in Tony Vinciquerra, a highly capable executive and the senior adviser for technology, media and telecom sectors at TPG Capital.

Sofia Vergara-Backed Latino Media Startup Raze Names Key Exec Hires, Adds Joe Abruzzese to Board
, a digital media and production company catering to Latino audiences and storytellers, announced the hiring of several top executives and said Joe Abruzzese, former president of ad sales for Discovery Communications, has joined its board of directors. The L.A.-based company named Rafael Sandor, formerly with Vice Media and Fox’s international networks group, as chief creative officer; journalist Daniel Hernandez, who also hails from Vice, as head of Raze News; and producers D. Matt Geller and David A. Stern as co-heads of scripted programming.

Lifetime Taps E!’s Lauren Celinski As VP Unscripted Development & ProgrammingVeteran development exec Lauren Celinskihas joined Lifetimeas VP Unscripted Development and Programming. She reports to Mariana Flynn, SVP Unscripted Development and Programming.


Deadline: WGA Contract Talks Coming Down To WireNegotiations for a new WGA film and TV contract are coming down to the wire. The talks, which started March 13, were scheduled to conclude Saturday, though they can be extended if progress is being made. The current contract doesn’t expire until May 1, so there’s plenty of time to make a deal. If negotiations stall, however, the leadership of the WGA East and WGA West would most likely ask members for strike authorization. Such a vote, which would almost certainly be approved, wouldn’t necessarily mean there will be a strike, but it would show the companies repped by the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers that writers are willing to strike if they don’t get what they want.

Wrap: Tribeca TV Lineup to Include ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ PremieresThe new series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Genius” and “The Vietnam War” and returning seasons of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Casual” will be showcased in the TV program at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Other series that will have world premieres or season debuts at the New York-based April festival include “Another Period,” “Episodes,” “The Eyeslicer,” “I Am Heath Ledger,” “The Sinner,” “Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History,” and “There’s … Johnny!”

Subtraction: The Evolution of TV Title SequencesMost television creators have come to think of their show’s title credits as being analogous to movie credits, but even those have in recent decades become relegated to the end of a film’s running time. …In reality, having an overproduced title sequence is more like having a cover and front matter in front of every chapter in a book, which is to say repetitive and unnecessary.

Wrap: Anna Faris Producing New Comedy Podcast ‘Missi and Zach Might Bang!’
Anna Faris
already hosts the podcast Anna Farris is Unqualified,” where she answers listeners’ relationship-related questions, usually alongside a celebrity guest, and now her new podcast company is launching the new series Missi and Zach Might Bang! featuring Missi Pyleand Zach Selwyn. The new show will be a mix of celebrity interviews and improv.