PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Amazon Studios won out as the television home of Iain M. Banks’ sci-fi book series Culture. Amazon acquired global TV rights to the first novel in the series, Consider Phlebas; Utopia creator Dennis Kelly is onboard to write the adaptation, Plan B Entertainment will produce and the estate of Iain Banks will executive produce.
Showtime is developing Chemistry, a psycho-sexual marital drama based on the Paula Milne BBC miniseries The Politician’s Husband adapted by David Manson (House of Cards). Project comes from Anonymous Content, original series’ producer Daybreak Pictures/Passion Distribution and TriStar Television.
Pilot director David Semel, whose fingerprints are on such CBS pilots as Person of Interest, Madam Secretary, Code Black and Pure Genius, is onboard to direct the pilot for network drama Main Justice. Former Revenge showrunner Sunil Nayar will serve as exec producer/showrunner for the Timothy Hutton starrer. Project hails from CBS Television Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Television.
Indie filmmakers Jay and Mark Duplass (The One I Love, The Overnight, Creep, Jeff Who Lives At Home) signed a new agreement for worldwide rights to four upcoming Netflix Films. First up is an untitled bittersweet bromance project starring Ray Romano and Mark Duplass, slated to be released later this year. The Duplass’ and Netflix have a longstanding relationship. Most recently, the duo exec-produced Netflix’s upcoming doc series Wild Wild Country.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
TBS’ new animated series Final Space blasts off Monday, February 26 at 10:30p.
Fusion will bow Food Exposed With Nelufar Hedayat, its latest from the journalist, on Tuesday, March 27 at 8p. Eight-part docuseries explores the global food industry, how our appetites shape our world and the true cost of food to people, animals and the planet. Upcoming eps feature Nicole Richie, James Cromwell, Jordana Brewster and others.
Freeform drama Siren, premiering Thursday, March 29, takes place in the coastal town of Bristol Cove, known for its legend of once being home to mermaids, marine biologists now must work together to find out who and what may have driven this primal sea hunter to land. Season 3 of the net’s Shadowhunters returns March 20 at 8p, with new secrets abounding.
Nelvana’s live-action/CG-animated hybrid ReBoot: The Guardian Code will premiere as a Netflix original series worldwide excluding Canada on March 30 and exclusively on YTV in Canada in June. Created by Michael Hefferon, the reimagined version of 1994’s ReBoot is the first TV series to feature animation built in the Unreal game engine with 4K resolution.
The second season of Hulu original anthology series, titled National Treasure: Kiri, is slated to drop Wednesday, April 4.
Netflix set April 13 for the launch of its reboot of Lost In Space. In a modern twist, Netflix transmitted the pilot to the International Space Station for astronauts to view.
IFC dropped a new trailer for season 2 of Brockmire, where booze-soaked broadcaster Jim Brockmire (Hank Azaria) finds himself in New Orleans, seeking to reclaim his career while falling headfirst into all the temptations the Big Easy has to offer. Season 2 premieres Wednesday, April 25 at 10p.
Discovery will air its first-ever Motor Mega Week Monday, February 26 at 8p through Monday, March 5 at 11p. The celebration of all things automotive features three new series premieres – Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings, Twin Turbos and Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman, plus a four-part, supersized Street Outlaws vs. Fast N’ Loud: Build To Mega Race series.
Because we don’t have enough political drama… WE tv will begin airing binge-a-thons of CBS drama series Madam Secretary on Wednesday, March 7 from 7p-4a. Beginning the following week, Wednesday, March 14, the series will air during all-day binge-a-thons on Wednesdays from 10a-4a.
Flu season: Three years in the making, Discovery’s three-part series Invisible Killers takes viewers around the world to understand how viruses have shaped our health and history, the biological and social impact they have on our global society, and the work being done to combat them. The special premieres Thursday, March 29 at 8p on Discovery Channel and Science Channel. Second and third installments continue on Science Channel at 9p and 10p.
Andie MacDowell (Cedar Cove, Magic Mike XXL), Minka Kelly (Titans) and Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter, Sun Records) star in The Beach House, a Hallmark Hall of Fame original film premiering Saturday, April 28 at 9p on Hallmark Channel.
VIDEO IN SHORT
El Rey Network announced Saturday, March 10 at 4p for the linear TV debut of Explosion Jones. The 12-part animated short series following the adventures of Bruce “Explosion” Jones, an ex-special forces commando turned rogue detective, first debuted on Go90 in September 2017.
Dish Network yesterday reported a reported a net gain of 39,000 pay TV subscribers in Q4, and for the first time ever disclosed subscriber numbers for its Sling TV service – which Dish said gained 160,000 subs during the quarter. Dish also factored in 75,000 reconnections in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. In less sanguine news, Dish reported continued erosion of its core satellite TV business in the quarter, losing an estimated 197,000 more customers. For all of 2017, Dish lost just more than 1 million satellite TV subscribers, ending the year with 11.03 million satellite users, down nearly 21 percent in two years.
Boat Rocker Media is the lead investor in a seed investment round of $1.65 million for Serial Box, a startup that offers serialized stories in written and audio form, has announced a seed investment round of $1.65 million. Boat Rocker also recently has invested in CAA Creative Labs and The Outline and acquired Fremantle Kids & Family. Other Serial Box investors include Mattias Lundgren, CEO of Sweden’s Word Audio Publishing, and Richard Sarnoff, former co-chairman of Bertelsmann a director of Audible.
YouTube yesterday removed a viral conspiracy theory video that alleged a student who has been advocating for gun control in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is a trained actor. YT made the move hours after tech site Motherboard reported the video was one of YT’s top-trending videos.
In what some smaller publishers see as a boon, Amazon for several months has been testing with a small group of publishers a scenario where versions of their commerce-focused articles are accessible directly inside Amazon’s website. These articles can be found through Google search or via searches for keywords inside Amazon and are shoppable just like they’d be on a publisher’s own site, reports Digiday.
People is expanding its lifestyle coverage with the launch of new vertical People Health, to include digitally distributed health-related celebrity, service and human interest stories available at People.com/Health.
GSN Games and Rovio Entertainment launched new game Angry Birds Champions! on GSN Games’ platform WorldWinner. Game offers for the first time the chance for Angry Birds players ages 18-plus the chance to win real money prizes.
The Nick Jr. Play app went global, launching in the UK and Denmark with more locales to come. International expansion follows the app’s success in the US with more than 16 million downloads to date.
Brandon Flynn (13 Reasons Why) and Michael Graziadei (Good Girls Revolt) will recur in the third season of HBO crime anthology series True Detective… Michael O’Neill is in to recur on the seventh and final season of ABC’s Scandal, which returns March 29. No deets on his character yet… Chris Johnson (47 Meters Down) scored a recurring role in the upcoming second season of The Orville on Fox.
Pilot season: Saturday Night Live alum Sasheer Zamata and Sean Kleier (Odd Mom Out) are in as leads of NBC comedy pilot So Close… Timothy Hutton has been tapped to star opposite Bokeem Woodbine in CBS legal drama pilot Main Justice… Tyler Labine (Deadbeat) scored a role as a series regular in NBC’s untitled Bellevue hospital drama pilot… Rose Rollins (The L Word) booked a series regular role opposite Katie Holmes in Fox’s FBI drama pilot from former Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken and Melissa Scrivner Love, 20th Century Fox TV and 3 Arts… Russell Hornsby (Grimm) is in as male lead in Fox’s untitled legal drama pilot from Empire co-creator Danny Strong and writer David Elliot.
Endemol Shine International signed deals for drama Gunpowder to spread its wings internationally. The series will air in new territories including the UK, Australia, Africa, South Africa, Israel, New Zealand, Italian-speaking Europe and Japan. The thriller previously aired on HBO in North America.
Britain’s Channel 4 ordered new episodes of The Crystal Maze from Fizz, part of RDF Television. The order will extend the games show’s run on the channel, and UK licensing agents Bulldog will retain representation of the property.
OUTtv, Canada’s LGBTQI+ network, is expanding into New Zealand, in partnership with TVNZ. Expansion follows 12 months of Canadian growth for OUTtv and OUTtvGo with year on year subscriptions up by 450-plus percent.
Family entertainment brand Air Bud Entertainment entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with China’s online destination iQiYi for all ABE-branded content, including those films created with Disney.