The Morning Update for Wednesday, August 2, 2017.

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Wednesday, August 2, 2017:


‘Black America’ Alt-History Drama in the Works at AmazonAmazon is developing Black America, a drama that envisions an alternate history where newly freed African-Americans have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama post-Reconstruction as reparation for slavery and, with that land, the freedom to shape their own destiny. The project hails from prolific producer Will Packer and Peabody-winning The Boondocks creator and Black Jesus co-creator Aaron McGruder.

CBS All Access Adds Will Ferrell Comedy, Two Dramas to Series SlateCBS All Access, the network’s digital platform, is adding three new scripted shows to its rapidly growing portfolio — including its first original comedy. The SVOD platform has handed out straight-to-series orders for Will Ferrell-produced scripted comedy No Activity and dramas Strange Angel (from Mark Heyman) and $1 (from Jason Mosberg). To hear DeBevoise tell it, the plan is for CBS All Access to feature at least one show per quarter with the overall goal of four or five scripted originals per 12 months.

No Activity is set against the world of a drug cartel bust and follows two low-level cops who have spent too much time in a car together; two criminals who are kept in the dark; two dispatch workers who haven’t clicked; and two Mexican tunnelers who are in too small a space considering they’ve only just met. Strange Angel explores the intersection between genius and madness, science and science fiction, and follows the life of Jack Parsons in 1940s Los Angeles as by day he helps birth the discipline of American rocketry and by night is a performer of sex magick rituals and a disciple to occultist Aleister Crowley. The drama $1 is a mystery-thriller set in a small Rust Belt town in post-recession America, where a one-dollar bill changing hands connects a group of characters involved in a shocking multiple murder.


‘Patrick Melrose’: Allison Williams To Guest Star In Showtime Limited SeriesGirls alumna Allison Williams is set to guest star opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in five-part limited series Patrick Melrose (fka Melrose).

‘A.P. Bio’: Jean Villepique Cast As Regular In NBC ComedyJean Villepique (Up All Night) has been cast as a series regular in new NBC comedy A.P. Bio. Villepique takes over for Vanessa Byer, who guest-starred in the role in the pilot.

‘The Good Fight’ Promotes Pair to Series Regular for Season 2Michael Boatman and Nyambi Nyambi have been promoted for the upcoming second season of the CBS All Access series.

Emma Roberts Returning to ‘American Horror Story’Emma Roberts is returning to “American Horror Story: Cult.” Roberts is the latest “AHS” alum and member of the Ryan Murphy repertory to be cast in “Cult,” which marks the seventh season of the FX franchise.

‘Scandal’: Shaun Toub & Jay Hernandez To Recur On ABC’s Shondaland DramaShaun Toub and Jay Hernandez are set to recur on the seventh and final season of ABC’s Shondaland drama Scandal.

‘Once Upon A Time’: Emma Booth Joins ABC Fairytale Drama As Recurring…Australian actress Emma Booth has landed a major recurring role on the upcoming seventh season of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, which is undergoing a reset with new stories and a number of new characters.

Criminal Minds: Jamie Kennedy Set to Reprise Killer Cannibal Role From 2007Jamie Kennedy is set to reprise his role as serial killer Floyd Feylinn Ferell. Kennedy, who first played the cannibalistic cretin in Season 3’s “Lucky,” will appear in the sixth episode of the CBS drama’s upcoming season.

‘DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow’: Jes Macallan To Recur In Season 3Mistresses alumna Jes Macallan has signed on for a recurring role in the third season of the CW’s superhero drama DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

Joey Lawrence to Guest Star on ‘Hawaii Five-0’Joey Lawrence has been cast in a guest role on “Hawaii Five-0.” Lawrence will appear in two episodes in the upcoming eighth season.


‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Gets a New WriterJack Thorne, the British scribe who wrote the upcoming Julia Roberts-Jacob Tremblay movie Wonder, has been tapped to work on the Star Wars installment that is to be directed by Colin Trevorrow.

Studios Fight Back Against Withering Rotten Tomatoes Scores…The power of the "Tomatometer" has reached a tipping point as critics screenings inch closer and closer to openings and movies try to avoid the dreaded green splat.


IDW Entertainment Launches Digital Studio InitiativeIDW Entertainment, the independent content studio that is a division of IDW Media Holdings, has launched the IDW Digital Studio, aimed at content development, production, distribution and engagement with a primary focus on building franchises.


ABC News Plans Two-Hour Solar Eclipse SpecialABC News will on Monday, August 21, break into regularly scheduled programming at 1 p.m. Eastern to present a two-hour special, “The Great American Eclipse,” that follows what is expected to be the first total solar eclipse visible in America in 38 years. David Muir, anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight,” will lead the proceedings.

Megyn Kelly’s Fall Primetime Run Ends Two Episodes Early…Eight episodes into the newsmagazine’s maiden run, NBC has pulled "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" off the air, replacing it with original episodes of "Dateline."

Nick Cannon to Host ‘Lip Sync Battle Shorties’ for Nickelodeon…YouTube star Jojo Siwa will serve as his sidekick on the Nickelodeon series.

Why Football Will Air Fewer Ads This Fall…Goodell will deliver on his promise to streamline the at-home viewing experience this season. The solution is to decrease the number of breaks to four per quarter, down from the previous 5-6-5-5 pattern, which often forced networks to squeeze more than a half-dozen breaks into a 15-minute playing period.


Lionsgate Taps Jared Goetz as President of North American TV DistributionJared Goetz, who previously served as senior vp pay TV and digital sales at Disney, will report to Lionsgate president of worldwide and digital distribution Jim Packer.

(TCA) CBS’ New Execs Hammered on Race, Gender and That ‘Hawaii Five-0’ Debacle…The lack of diversity was inevitably a running theme throughout the network’s executive session, but one pointed question came as a bit of a surprise. A reporter revealed that CBS casting departments in Los Angeles and New York are all white, a factoid many in the room likely were unaware of. Asked to explain, Sherman offered, a bit lamely, that the departments have "been together for a long time," but he added that it is something the network is "looking at."

Alibaba Pictures Adds Fan Luyuan as CEOAlibaba Pictures Group has appointed Fan Luyuan as its CEO and chairman of the company’s executive committee.


Variety: Do Tight TV Schedules Put Stunt Performers in Danger?…Thanks to the increasing proliferation of original scripted programming on cable and streaming outlets, more and more shows are one-upping each other with movie-quality stunts. But they’re still shot on tight, small-screen schedules (typically nine days for a 60-minute episode), on budgets dwarfed by their big-screen counterparts.

(TCA) THR: Why Network Presidents, More Than Ever, Have the Worst Job in TV… How do you fix an industry where you almost never get any good Emmy nominations unless you’re a comedy? Where critics (ahem) think most of your dramatic work is institutionally constricted to be, at best, good (while random cable channels are churning out prestige dramas, no matter how far off the dollars being spent are from the ratings being earned)? How do you make shows with commercials nobody wants to watch? How do you bring the sexy back to the entity your grandparents watched (and still do) while Netflix and Hulu and Amazon exist in the same world? Hell, those are the easy questions. How do you compete inside a business model where the cost of doing business was established in a three-network, no-cable, no-streaming era that produced overnight ratings so absurdly massive you could film a clock ticking and still get 27 million people in the key demo?

Variety: Movies, TV Shows Evolve to Reflect a Changing, More Complex View of Police… For decades, the stories told by Hollywood filmmakers and producers of police and crime dramas have presented largely favorable depictions of the men and women in blue. Storytellers have prided themselves on the cooperation they get from police departments, federal law enforcement agencies and retired officers, often enlisting them as technical consultants to depict the most accurate portrayal of police work possible — with mixed results. But the increasing visibility of criminal justice groups led by young and vocal activists has started to demand a much more complex look at how the system is portrayed.