The Morning News Update for Thursday, December 14, 2017 (corrected)

Hi all, here’s your Morning Update for Thursday, December 14, 2017.


Disney to Buy 21st Century Fox Assets for $52.4 Billion in Historic Hollywood Merger
The Walt Disney Co. has set a $52.4 billion, all-stock deal to acquire 20th Century Fox and other entertainment and sports assets from Rupert Murdoch’s empire. The deal between Disney and 21st Century Fox marks a historic union of Hollywood heavyweights and a bid by Disney to bolster its core TV and film businesses against an onslaught of new competitors in the content arena. (variety)

Disney-Fox Deal: Rupert Murdoch Says No Loyalty To TV Networks, Only “Must See Fox News”
“Why now?” Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo asked boss Rupert Murdoch Thursday morning so he could walk viewers through the $66B deal for The Walt Disney Co. to acquire a major portion of 21st Century Fox. “There are a lot of changes coming,” the 21st Century Fox exec chairman said. “People are watching television differently. “Not news or business,” he hastened to add, because he’s hanging on to Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. (deadline)

Hulu Won’t Morph Into Disney’s New Streaming Service, Bob Iger Says
Disney is not only the proud new owner of 21st Century Fox, it’s also now the controlling owner of Hulu. And Mickey Mouse’s management is pleased with its 60 percent share in the Netflix competitor. “Managing Hulu becomes a little bit more clear… with a controlling shareholder rather than with equal partners,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said Thursday morning on a conference call. (the wrap)

Disney extends CEO Bob Iger’s contract through 2021
Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it has extended the contract of Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger through December 2021, locking in a 26-year run leading the Burbank entertainment juggernaut. (latimes)

‘The Simpsons’ Predicted the Disney-Fox Deal 20 Years Ago
The joke plays out in the season 10 episode “When You Dish Upon a Star,” which premiered in November, 1998. (thr)

X-Men, Fantastic Four Fans Rejoice at Prospect of Mega-Avengers Movies With Disney-Fox Merger
Disney on Thursday announced that it would acquire much of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion, meaning that top franchises like “X-Men, “Deadpool” and “Fantastic Four” will fall under the Disney umbrella — and fans are rejoicing at the reunion of the Marvel characters. (the wrap)

Disney Buys 21st Century Fox: What Does This Mean for Homer?! (And Other Burning Qs Answered)
The Walt Disney Company has acquired 21st Century Fox in a deal valued at a staggering $52.4 billion. Word of the historic merger came bright and early on Thursday, leaving even those in the know with more questions than answers. (tvline)


Meme Inspired ‘Black-ish’ Spinoff ‘Grown-ish,’ Creator Kenya Barris Says
Creator Kenya Barris unintentionally tapped into the mind of “Grown-ish’s” target demographic when coming up with the idea for a spinoff of his acclaimed ABC sitcom, “Black-ish.” “I saw a meme one day and it said, ‘Where would Zoey go to college?’ I was like, ‘This is a f—ing show.’ That was my lightbulb moment,” Barris told Variety at the “Grown-ish” premiere at Lure Nightclub in Hollywood on Wednesday night. (variety)

‘Lady In The Mask’ Psychological Thriller Drama From Amblin TV Set At the CW
The CW has put in development Lady in the Mask, a drama from Amblin TV and CBS Television Studios. Written by Thomas BrandonLady in the Mask is a psychological thriller set in a near future where people can back-up their minds like they back-up their computer. It centers on a woman who awakens in the hospital after a suspicious car accident and learns her memory was damaged and restored from a two-year-old “back-up.” (deadline)

‘SNL’ Names Michael Che, Colin Jost Co-Head Writers
Michael Che and Colin Jost have been named the co-head writers of “Saturday Night Live,” NBC announced Tuesday. They will join current head writers Kent Sublette andBryan Tucker. “SNL” has also announced that Sudi Green and Fran Gillespie have been named writing supervisors. (variety)

NBC Developing ‘Natural History’ Museum Comedy From Chris Hardwick & David X. Cohen

NBC has put in development comedy Natural History from Chris Hardwick’s Fish Ladder ProductionFuturama co-creator David X. Cohen, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Universal TV. Written by Hardwick and Cohen, Natural History focuses on a young woman who returns home to become director of a beloved local natural history museum, only to find it has gone to hell in her absence. (deadline)

Interracial Brothers-In-Law Comedy From Kenny Smith & David Janollari Set At NBC
NBC has put in development comedy Family’s Family, from Black-ish co-executive producer Kenny SmithDavid Janollari and Universal TV, where David Janollari Entertainment is based. Written by Smith and inspired by his own life, Family’s Family centers on brothers-in-law Brandon Turner, an African-American liberal, non-sports obsessed, believe-what-you-want-to-believe kind of guy, and Tom McQuillan, a white conservative, hockey-loving, Mass-every-Sunday kind of guy. (deadline)

‘Mr. Robot’ Renewed for Season 4 by USA
USA Network has renewed Mr. Robot, its hacker drama starring Rami Malek and Christian Slater, for a fourth season. “We have plenty more battles to fight. #MrRobot has been renewed for season_4.0,” the show’s Twitter account said. (tvinsider)

Tracy Morgan TBS Comedy ‘The Last O.G.’ Taps Saladin K. Patterson As Showrunner
Seasoned comedy writer-producer Saladin K. Patterson has joined Tracy Morgan and Jordan Peele’s upcoming TBS comedy series The Last O.G. as executive producer and new showrunner. He replaces co-creator John Carcieri, who exited after production on Season 1 wrapped this fall. (deadline)

Issa Rae’s Talent Drive Leads to Sci-Fi Pilot ‘The Awoken’
Buyers in L.A. will get a first look at “The Awoken” on Thursday, a new pilot presentation emanating from Issa Rae’s drive to find TV writers from under-represented sections of society. (variety)


Amazon Pushes Deeper Into Sports With NBA’s G League on Twitch
Twitch Interactive, a video-streaming platform owned by, will show games from the National Basketball Association’s G League, pushing the online retailer deeper into live sports content. (ad age)

YouTube Star Andrea Russett Signs TV, Film Development Deal With Fullscreen
Popular YouTube personality and comedian Andrea Russett has inked a television and film development deal with digital-media company Fullscreen. Under the pact, Fullscreen will create, develop and pitch scripted and unscripted projects for Russett. The 22-year-old Russett has amassed 2.8 million subscribers on her YouTube channel to date. (variety)

Netflix Prepping Comedy Series From ‘Awkward’ Creator Lauren Iungerich
Netflix has officially unveiled a ten-episode order to On My Block, a half-hour comedy co-created by Awkward creator Lauren Iungerich and All Eyez On Me writers Eddie Gonzalez & Jeremy HaftOn My Block, which has assembled a young cast of mostly up-and-coming actors, is described as a coming-of-age comedy about four bright and street-savvy friends navigating their way through the triumph, pain and the newness of high-school set in the rough inner city. (deadline)

Netflix To Launch Two New True Crime Doc Series
‘Dirty Money’ takes an investigative look into the world of business, while ‘Rotten’ uncovers scandals in the food industry. (thr)


Jill Hennessy to Play Kevin Bacon’s Wife in Showtime Pilot City on a Hill
Showtime’s drama pilot City on a Hill is adding a few more citizens to its population. Crossing Jordan veteran Jill Hennessy has signed on as a series regular, TVLine has learned, joining Kevin Bacon and Underground‘s Aldis Hodge in the main cast. (tvline)

‘Reverie’ Casts Jon Fletcher; Ginger Gonzaga Joins ‘Champions’
Jon Fletcher (Genius: Einstein), has booked a recurring role on NBC’s upcoming VR thriller Reverie, from the Extant team of creator Mickey Fisher and Amblin TV. Penned by Fisher, it is described as a grounded thriller that follows Mara Kint (Shahi), a former hostage negotiator and expert on human behavior who became a college professor after facing an unimaginable personal tragedy. (deadline)

Olivier Martinez To Star In Action-Adventure TV Series ‘Soldiers Of Fortune’
Olivier Martinez (Unfaithful) is set to star in action-adventure series Soldiers of Fortuneproduced by New Zealand’s Mercenary TV Limited and Ireland’s Subotica, and executive produced by Roadside Attractions TV (Dear White People)(deadline)

Colton Haynes Books Return to ‘Arrow’
Colton Haynes is returning to Star City once again, reprising his role as Roy Harper — a.k.a. Arsenal — for an arc beginning with the sixth season’s 15th episode. “We’re thrilled to announce that Colton Haynes will be reprising his role as Roy Harper for a short arc on ‘Arrow’ this year…” (variety)

NCIS Enlists 90210’s Gabrielle Carteris for Twisty January Episode
Fresh off overseeing Wednesday morning’s announcement of Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris is set to pay CBS’ NCIS a visit. TVLine has learned that the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum will guest-star in a late-January episode titled “Family Ties,” playing Julie Hart, the mother of a high school student who witnessed a a crime that Gibbs’ team is investigating. Julie is described as having a huge heart and being fiercely loyal to her daughter — to a degree that paves the way for a bit of a twist. (tvline)


‘Coco’ Tops $400 Million at Worldwide Box Office

Disney-Pixar’s animated “Coco” has topped the $400 million mark at the worldwide box office, earning $138.6 million domestically and $263 million internationally. Disney made the announcement on Wednesday, noting that it still has about a third of the international market to launch in, including Australia (Dec. 26), Italy (Dec. 28), Brazil (Jan. 4), Korea Jan. 11), the U.K. (Jan. 19), and Japan (March 16). (variety)

Disney’s ‘Nutcracker’ Movie Plans Major Reshoots, Joe Johnston to Direct Instead of Lasse Hallstrom
Disney is planning a massive 32 days of additional photography on the ballet-inspired fantasy movie “Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. In addition, the studio is bringing in “Captain America: The First Avenger” director Joe Johnston to direct the reshoots instead of original filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom(the wrap)

Tiffany Haddish Joins Ike Barinholtz in Satirical Thriller ‘The Oath’
Girls Trip” star Tiffany Haddish has come on board as an executive producer and star in Ike Barinholtz’s satirical thriller “The Oath,” which will mark his feature directorial debut. The cast also includes Carrie Brownstein (“Portlandia”), Billy Magnussen, Meredith Hagner, Jon Barinholtz, Nora Dunn, Chris Ellis, and John Cho. (variety)

Warner Bros. settles crazy Conjuring lawsuit in very boring way
Earlier this year, an author named Gerald Brittle filed a fascinating lawsuit against Warner Bros. over the Conjuring movies, claiming that he owned the exclusive rights to the stories of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren because they had agreed to sign over the rights in 1980 when he was writing a book about their cases called The Demonologist(av club)

Ari Sandel Tapped to Direct ‘Goosebumps’ Sequel
Ari Sandel has been brought on board to direct a sequel to “Goosebumps,” Variety has learned. It is unclear, however, if this “Goosebumps” follow up will be the next one to hit theaters or if it will even get made at all. Sony, which is backing the movie, has two versions in development. (variety)


ABC Yanks Great American Baking Show Amid Johnny Iuzzini Sexual Harassment Claims
ABC is pulling The Great American Baking Show amid claims that celebrity chef Johnny Iuzzini has sexually harassed at least eight women, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The network will not put this season back on air, and will reveal the season’s winner at a later date. (tv guide)

Fox News Is Most-Watched Basic Cable Network in 2017
Who needs an election? Fox News Channel is about to finish 2017 as the most-watched basic cable channel on television. That makes it two years in a row at No. 1 for the Murdoch-owned network. Fox News will win the calendar year’s primetime and Nielsen’s total-day measurement in terms of “live” overall eyeballs. From Monday to Sunday, counting 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., FNC averaged 2.422 million total viewers. Second-place network ESPN was fairly far behind with 1.921 million. (the wrap)


Disney Appoints Carol Choi as Korea GM
Carol Choi has been appointed as GM of the Walt Disney Company’s Korea office. She is also named as head of marketing in North Asia, covering Greater China, Korea, and Japan. Based in Seoul, Choi will report to Luke Kang, MD of TWDC in North Asia. (variety)


Primetime Emmy Awards On NBC Will Return To September, Stay On Monday
NBC is throwing another curveball in the scheduling the Primetime Emmy Awards. The network and the TV Academy just announced that the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will air Monday, Sept. 17, 2018 from 8-11 PM live coast-to-coast from the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. (deadline)

Oprah Winfrey to Receive Cecil B. de Mille Award at Golden Globes
Oprah Winfrey will soon be adding another award to her crowded mantel. The actress/producer/host/activist/entrepreneur will receive the prestigious Cecil B. de Mille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globes Awards, which will be broadcast on Sunday, January 7, 2018 on NBC. (tv insider)

Michael Apted to Receive DGA’s Honorary Life Member Award
Acclaimed film and television director Michael Apted will receive the DGA Honorary Life Member Award at the 70th annual DGA Awards Dinner on Feb. 3. The award recognizes leadership in the industry, contributions to the Guild and the profession of directing, and nonspecified outstanding achievement. (the wrap)

Sorry, Guys! Next Month’s SAG Awards Presenters Will All Be Women
For the first time ever, the SAG Awards will feature an all-female presenter list, a change of pace from the awards ceremony’s usual format of having a man/woman duo present each of the show’s awards. (the wrap)


‘Mozart In The Jungle’ EP Will Graham Inks First-Look Deal With Amazon Studios, Launches Production Company
Mozart in the Jungle executive producer Will Graham has formed Field Trip Productions and has signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios, the company behind the Golden Globe-winning comedy series. In addition, Graham has hired former UTA agent Hailey Wierengo to oversee production and development at Field Trip. (deadline)

Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson Extends Overall Deal With Starz
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has extended his overall deal with Starz into September 2019, the premium cabler announced Wednesday. “I am extremely pleased to expand my partnership with Starz and Lionsgate,” Jackson said. (variety)

CAA Promotes 10 to Agent, Executive Positions
Talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has promoted 10 trainees to agent or executive, the company announced today. Austin Denesuk has been promoted to Agent in CAA’s Television department. Denesuk is based in Los Angeles, where she serves in the TV Lit group. Bennett Beckner, Joseph Harris, Madison Lee, and Joe Mott were elevated to Agents in CAA’s Music department, which represents more than one-third of this year’s top 100 worldwide tours. Beckner and Lee are based in Nashville, while Harris and Mott are based in Los Angeles. (the wrap)

Nick Stoller Inks Overall Deal With Sony Pictures Television
Writer-director-producer Nick Stoller (Neighbors) has signed a three-year overall production deal with Sony Pictures Television under his Stoller Global Solutions prodco. Under the pact, Stoller will write, create, supervise and executive produce original comedies and dramas for network, cable divisions and streaming services. In addition, Stoller has brought on Conor Welch, former VP of Comedy Development & Programming at Fox, as TV executive and producing partner… (deadline)

Apple Raids Hulu, Legendary to Fill Business Affairs Posts on Content Team (EXCLUSIVE)
Apple has hired two legal execs — Philip Matthys from Hulu and Jennifer Wang Grazier from Legendary Entertainment — for key business affairs roles on its expanding original entertainment team, Variety has learned. Matthys, previously Hulu’s head of business affairs, started last month at the tech giant’s L.A.-based Worldwide Video group. (variety)

Marcus Levy, Amy Lynch and Andrew Russell Join WME’s Comedy Touring Department
WME has added Marcus Levy, Amy Lynch, and Andrew Russell to its comedy touring department. They will be joined by agents Danielle Esparza and Tommy Pucciani, who also hail from APA, as well as APA’s former marketing director Jillian Doyle and former financial director Cara Nordberg(variety)


‘This Is Us’ Star Chrissy Metz Sets Stage Debut In Geffen Revival Of Neil LaBute’s ‘Fat Pig’
Chrissy Metz, a key ensemble player in NBC’s popular series This Is Us, will make her stage debut this spring in a Geffen Playhouse revival of Neil LaBute’s disturbing 2004 drama Fat Pig. The production will replace LaBute’s The Way We Get By, with preview performances beginning May 16 and opening night May 23. The production closes Sunday, June 24. Additional casting will be announced. (deadline)

Adam Driver to Star in Broadway Revival of Lanford Wilson’s ‘Burn This’
Adam Driver will jump from a galaxy far, far away to gritty 1980s New York in a Broadway revival of Lanford Wilson’s 1987 drama “Burn This,” producer David Binder announced Thursday. Driver, a three-time Emmy nominee for “Girls” who reprises his role as the villainous Kylo Ren in this week’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” plans a return to the Great White Way sometime in 2019. Tony winner Michael Mayer (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Spring Awakening”) will direct. (the wrap)