The Morning Update for Friday, April 28, 2017.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Friday, April 28, 2017. Have a good weekend!


Jesse Eisenberg and Bad Robot Team for TV Comedy
Jesse Eisenberg
is teaming with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions for a TV single-cam comedy he will star in, write and direct. In the early stages of development, The Market follows a recently widowed man who moves to Pittsburgh to live with his adult son, Stan (Eisenberg). Both men simultaneously lose their jobs due to the changing American economy and are thrust into an unforgiving job market. Eisenberg will exec produce the Warner Bros. TV project with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Ben Stephenson. No network is yet attached.

‘Wag the Dog’ TV Series in the Works at HBO
is teaming with Oscar winner Barry Levinson to develop his 1997 political satire Wag the Dog as a half-hour scripted comedy. HBO describes its adaptation as "an ode to the classic film but moving the weapons of mass distraction beyond politics and into business, entertainment and, yes, nonprofits. In the 21st century with the tools of social media at their hands, nothing is off limits to a small group of operators when it comes to manufacturing reality. Fake news is so yesterday."

Oscar Winner Tom McCarthy Inks First TV Deal After ’13 Reasons Why’After his successful collaboration with Paramount Television on Netflix breakout 13 Reasons Why, Tom McCarthy has signed an overall deal with the studio. Under the two-year exclusive pact, McCarthy will create, develop, produce and potentially direct TV and digital projects for Paramount Television.

‘The Boondock Saints’ Is Headed to TVEntitled The Boondock Saints: Origins, the planned prequel reboot kicked off its fan-driven fundraising campaign at, where folks can pitch in to cover production costs in return for 10 monthly deliveries of a Boondocks subscription box filled with swag that factors into the story.

(upfronts) BET Adds VH1’s ‘The Breaks,’ ‘Hit the Floor’; Kevin Hart, 50 Cent, Steve Harvey ShowsBET has handed out a straight-to-series order for Kevin Hart-produced comedy Divorce Saved My Marriage; renewed drama The Quad for a second season; and added VH1’s The Breaks and Hit the Floor, with the latter duo picked up for their second and fourth seasons, respectively. Additionally, following the ratings and critical success of its New Edition entry, BET has picked up miniseries focusing on Bobby Brown and Death Row Records and set two Lip Sync Battle specials produced specifically around the BET Hip Hop Awards and Soul Train Awards.

‘Z: The Beginning of Everything’ Renewed for Season 2 at Amazon
“Z: The Beginning of Everything”
has been renewed for Season 2 at Amazon. The series stars Christina Ricci as a young Zelda Sayre, a Southern socialite who yearned to break free from her monotonous life in Montgomery. She gets her chance when she meets a young soldier named F. Scott Fitzgerald (David Hoflin), setting off one of the most famous romances of the twentieth century.

Netflix Renews Kate del Castillo-Starrer ‘Ingobernable’ for Season 2The Netflix Spanish-language drama Ingobernable (Ungovernable) is set to return next year with a 15-episode second season. The fictional series stars Kate del Castillo as Emilia Urquiza, a do-gooder accused of killing her husband, Mexico’s president.


Nasim Pedrad Joins TBS Alien Comedy ‘People of Earth’The ‘Saturday Night Live’ grad will be a series regular in season two of the comedy from Greg Daniels.


Puff Daddy’s ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ Documentary Coming Exclusively to Apple MusicThe doc, which premiered at Tribeca, chronicles Combs’ and his record label’s precipitous rise in the mid-’90s as well as the challenges he faced in putting together last year’s 20th-anniversary Bad Boy reunion shows.

Seacrest preps YouTube talent show
Ryan Seacrest Productions
and Endemol Shine North America have partnered on a talent competition series that will premiere exclusively on YouTube. Best.Cover.Ever will see well-known artists challenge emerging musicians from around the world to upload a cover of one of their songs to YouTube, with the winner given the chance to perform a duet with the famous singer. It will be hosted by Ludacris and artists including Demi Lovato, Backstreet Boys and Jason Derulo have been tapped to appear when the show launches later this year.

BitTorrent Is Shutting Down Its Live TV Streaming ServiceSan Francisco-based BitTorrent Inc. is set to shut down its P2P-powered live TV streaming service BitTorrent Live in the coming weeks. Most of the 10-person team behind the live streaming service is expected to leave the company by the end of this week.


A&E Doubles Down On Nonfiction, Exits Scripted In Programming Strategy ShiftAs A&E is reaching a turning point in its ratings comeback with the first back-to-back months of viewership growth in almost four years, the A+E network is recalibrating its programming strategy, returning to its roots as an exclusively non-fiction brand. Following the end of A&E’s signature drama series Bates Motel earlier this week, there will be no more scripted programming on the cable network going forward.

SundanceTV Renews ‘Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter’ for Season 3The series, which is nominated for a Daytime Emmy, will return in the fall with episodes featuring both TV and film roundtables.


Netflix Greenlights Second German Series, ‘Dogs of Berlin’
has greenlit its second German-language series, giving a 10-episode order to Dogs of Berlin, a gritty cop show from German director Christian Alvart. The series follows a pair of German cops — one from East Berlin, the other an ethnic Turk — as they investigate drug cartels, the gambling mafia and neo-Nazi terror groups that rule Berlin’s criminal underground.

HBO Europe picks First Draft pair
HBO Europe
is expanding its original programming after selecting two projects from its writing competition First Draft Contest to develop. Uspjeh is a Croatian character-driven drama from Marjan Alčevski and follows a group of disparate people linked together by a violent crime. Serbian writer Ivan Knežević is behind Otok, which is an investigative thriller exploring the challenges faced by his country due to its geographical position at the crossroads of modern Europe.

TNT Serie adds to Wiedemann’s 4 BlocksTurner-owned German pay TV network TNT Serie has ordered a second season of its latest original drama, 4 Blocks, before the first season premieres next month. Set within an Arab clan living in Berlin’s Neukölln district, the story focuses on Ali ‘Toni’ Hamady who aspires to leave his ‘four blocks’ and his criminal empire behind. But when his brother-in-law is arrested, he returns to assume leadership of the clan.


CBS Names Sharon Vuong New Head of RealityShe replaces Chris Castallo, who recently announced a summer exit.

Dish Promotes Andy LeCuyer to Senior VP ProgrammingHe will oversee acquiring and developing new content for the satellite TV giant and Sling TV.

Warner Bros. TV Names Peter Girardi Exec VP of Blue Ribbon Content, Alternative Programming
Warner Bros. Television
has named creative executive Peter Girardi to the new newly established position of executive vice president of Blue Ribbon Content (BRC) and alternative programming at Warner Bros. Animation (WBA).

Sony Distribution Chief Rory Bruer Retires After 40 Years at Studio
Rory Bruer
is retiring as head of worldwide distribution at Sony Pictures after four decades at the studio. Sony does not plan to directly replace him.

Garcelle Beauvais, Lisa L. Wilson Form New Production CompanyActress Garcelle Beauvais and producer Lisa L. Wilson have teamed up to form Beauvais Wilson Productions, a new multimedia production company. BWP’s aim is to focus on developing and producing stories with a diverse voice in television, film, digital and independent projects.

Murdochs Exploring Fox News Options as Pressure on Bill Shine MountsThe company has quietly put out feelers for a possible new head of Fox News with the preference, say sources, that it be a woman.


Variety: WGA Talks Could Intensify Friday as Guild Delivers Response to AMPTP OfferThe contract talks between the WGA and Hollywood’s major studios are expected to intensify on Friday as the guild delivers its formal response to the offers from the AMPTP. The sides have held bargaining sessions during the past three days as the May 1 expiration of the current contract approaches. On Thursday, sources reported there was discussion of the WGA’s health plan needs and detail from the studio side on the proposal to adjust the compensation formula for writers working on short-order series and to more clearly define the time frame of a TV season.

THR: TV Writers Speak Out on Strike Plans and Why the Last Walkout Was "a Huge Success"The "Peak TV" era is great creatively, says a trio of rank-and-file WGA members, but writers suffer financially while companies rake in the profits: "I feel like we are willing to work with the AMPTP, and it doesn’t feel like they are willing to work with us."

Variety: Directors Guild President Paris Barclay Hopes Writers Strike Can Be Averted
Directors Guild of America
president Paris Barclay has declared that the DGA is hoping that a writers strike can be averted. In a five-paragraph missive to DGA members, he used measured language and did not provide an endorsement of the WGA and its negotiating positions.

Variety: Sony Annual Profits Halved as Pictures Division Loses $719 Million

Japanese electronics and entertainment group Sony revealed net profits Friday of $660 million (JPY73.3 billion) for the 2016-2017 financial year, a 50% reduction from the previous year precipitated by heavy losses in its pictures division. The division, which encompasses Sony Pictures Entertainment and other film and TV content operations, accounted for a loss of $719 million (JPY80.3 billion) for the financial year running from April 2016 to March 2017.