|PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin is teaming with Neil Druckmann to adapt Sony Playstation videogame franchise The Last Of Us for HBO. The co-production with Sony Pictures Television in association with PlayStation Productions takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed as a hardened survivor is hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl out of an oppressive quarantine zone.
Hannah Simone (New Girl) and Elizabeth Hurley (The Royals) will topline an untitled CBS comedy pilot from Corinne Kingsbury, scribes John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein, Trill TV, Kapital Entertainment and CBS TV Studios. Simone and Hurley also are producers on the pilot of the semi-autobiographical story about a daughter who enlists her mom to help raise her son when her and her husband’s career take off at the same time—only to discover the matriarch needs more parenting than the child.
Now’s the time to show members of your team how much their contributions are valued. Nominate yourself or a colleague for the Cynopsis Top Women in Media Awards and join us on September 24th in NYC for the awards gala, where media execs from entertainment, tech and sports unite to raise a glass to media’s game changers.
Ridley Scott’s Scott Free production company scored screen rights to dystopian thriller I Alone Survive, the comedic debut novel from Bethany Clift, to develop as a series. Plot centers on a passive mid-30s woman who has to learn to lead an independent life, free from other people’s rules, after she becomes the sole survivor of a global pandemic.
Hanelle Culpepper is in to direct and co-exec-produce the Kung Fu reboot pilot at The CW. Culpepper also is directing the first three eps of Star Trek: Picard at CBS All Access.
Guilty Party, a half-hour dark comedy starring and exec-produced by Isla Fisher, is a go at CBS All Access. The project, from Rebecca Addelman (Dead to Me), CBS Television Studios and Funny Or Die, stars Fisher as a discredited journalist who gets in over her head when, in a desperate attempt to salvage her career, she latches on to the story of a young mother sentenced to life in prison for murdering her husband—a crime she claims she didn’t commit.
Taika Waititi, who won the best adapted screenplay Oscar for Jojo Rabbit, will write, direct, and exec-produce two original animated series for Netflix based on Roald Dahl tome Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. One treatment will be based on that book’s characters; the other will be an original take on the Oompa-Loompas.
Amazon Prime Video is bringing back Canadian cult sketch series The Kids In The Hall. This project marks the first Canadian Amazon Original Series, and it returns original Kids team Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson in their original roles for the eight-episode run. Series will be exec-produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels.
Just ahead of the March 11 season 3 debut of On My Block, series co-creator/exec producer Lauren Iungerich inked a multiyear overall deal with Netflix. She’ll continue as exec producer and showrunner for On My Block while writing and producing other projects exclusively for the streamer. Iungerich also created Awkward on MTV.
Magnolia, Discovery’s joint-venture with Chip and Joanna Gaines, greenlit Growing Floret for its forthcoming network. Series brings viewers to Washington’s Floret Flower Farm, one of the country’s most successful organic flower farms, and follows founder Erin Benzakein and her team as they seek to turn 20 acres of chemically damaged and overfarmed land into an extension of their operation.
We’re one week away! Register your team for the 4th Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference before Friday, March 13th. View the speakers who will provide you and your team with the right insight to tackle the most pressing issues facing our industry today.
Comedy Central ordered 20 more episodes of Crank Yankers, from Jimmy Kimmel’s Kimmelot production company in association with ITV America. New eps from the current season resume Tuesday, March 17 at 10:30p.
Apple gave a second-season pickup to drama Truth Be Told, starring an exec-produced by Octavia Spencer. Series will play out as a quasi anthology series.
NBCUniversal Television Distribution renewed The Steve Wilkos Show for two more seasons in national syndication. The talk show, hosted by a former Chicago police officer and US Marine, tackles issues such as family and criminal justice, true crime and relationship conflicts.
Red Arrow Studios production shingle 44 Blue Productions partnered with entrepreneur and professor Scott Galloway and his business partner Greg Shove to create unscripted series and documentaries inspired by Galloway’s books Algebra of Happiness and The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, and other projects.
Stacy O’Neil, a veteran of Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Management 360 vet Nicole King are leaving those outposts and partnering to launch management and production venture Linden Entertainment. New gig will focus on producing, managing, branding and talent.
Lifetime movie I Was Lorena Bobbitt is currently in production with a premiere slated for this summer as part of the network’s Ripped from the Headlines slate. Dani Montalvo (Dispatches from Elsewhere) and Luke Humphrey (Tiny Pretty Things) will star as controversial couple Lorena and John Bobbitt; following the movie premiere, Lifetime will run a PSA for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence featuring the actors and Lorena Bobbitt.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
First trailer for the third season of Netflix’s Ozark finds Laura Linney’s Wendy pointing a gun at her husband, Jason Bateman’s Marty. The 10-ep third season, which picks up six months after the events of season 2, debuts Friday, March 27.
Season 4 of The Good Fight premieres Thursday, April 9 at 9p on Canada’s W Network, along with CBS All Access. New season of the legal and political drama starring Christine Baranski finds the law firm of Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart navigating a very different landscape.
To celebrate the most prominent figures of the Latin urban genre, Telemundo presents the second edition of the Premios Tu Musica Urbano 2020 awards this Saturday, March 7 at 7p. Show is hosted by Telemundo star Carmen Villalobos and Latin pop duo Mau y Ricky.
Two specials—Titanic: Conspiracy of Failure and Attila’s Forbidden Tomb—are on tap for Science Channel in March. The former, which premieres Sunday, March 15 at 8:30p, investigates the series of mishaps and mistakes that led to disaster. The latter, which bows Sunday, March 22 at 8p, probes new archeological evidence that may unearth Attila’s lost tomb.
HBO dropped a trailer for the upcoming Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections, which will premiere March 26 at 9p. Documentary reveals the extent of vulnerabilities in voting systems in the US.
Exec producer Ken Burns and author Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee team up for The Gene: An Intimate History, a two-part health doc premiering Tuesday, April 7 at 8p.
CBS Television Stations and CBS Interactive will launch CBSN Pittsburgh, the eighth of ViacomCBS’ 13 local direct-to-consumer streaming news services in major markets across the country. The new service joins similar ventures in NY, LA, Boston, San Francisco, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Denver.
The Walt Disney Co. and Italy’s Telecom Italia Mobile entered a multi-year bundling deal under which Disney+ will be carried exclusively by the telecom’s TIMVision platform beginning March 24, the day Disney+ launches in Italy as part of its European expansion.
The streaming market in India is heating up. Voot Select, Viacom18’s new Indian premium streaming service, aims to augment the success of its ad-supported service Voot via a focus on original content. Meanwhile, Disney’s Hotstar is the current streaming market leader with 300 million monthly active users.
Bell will serve as the exclusive Canadian telecom marketing partner for Quibi, and also signed on as the first Canadian company to provide daily content, a news service, for the short-form service, which is launching in Canada April 6. Quibi has a similar partnership with T-Mobile in the US.
Season 3 of DuckTales waddles back to Disney XD on Saturday, April 4 at 9:30a. Giancarlo Esposito, Selma Blair, Kristofer Hivju and Bebe Neuwirth are among guests this go-round.
The second season of Pinkalicious & Peterrific will premiere on PBS Kids on March 30 with a week of brand-new eps. New season dives deeper into arts education plotlines, covering areas such as music, dance and visual arts.
DISTRIBUTION & SYNDICATION
YouTube TV will drop two Fox regional sports networks and the Yankees’ YES Network, but will hang on to 19 of the 21 Sinclair-owned RSNs in a new deal reached between Google and Sinclair. Dropped from the YT lineup are Fox Sports Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West, which carry games from teams in the greater LA area, effective this week.
Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV acquired North American rights to thriller feature Inheritance, starring Lily Collins and Simon Pegg. The film, which premieres at next month’s Tribeca Film Festival, will bow exclusively on DirecTV in April, a month before its May 15 theatrical release via Vertical.
Fashion designer and feminist Diane von Furstenberg will launch her first podcast, InCharge with DVF, Thursday, March 12 on Spotify. Guests include Kris Jenner, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Elaine Welteroth, Karlie Kloss and SiriusXM Satellite Radio founder Martine Rothblatt.
Westwood One dropped the first and second episodes of Whoop It Up With Vicki, a new podcast from former Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson. Joined by friends and A-list guests, Gunvalson dishes on Housewives, and shares her take on life, financial freedom, relationships and finding love. Weekly podcast is available at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, and Google Podcasts among, other platforms.
Maura Tierney (The Affair) heads back to Showtime as female lead opposite Jeff Daniels in drama series Rust. Bill Camp (The Night Of), David Alvarez (West Side Story), Alex Neustaedter (Colony) and newcomer Julia Mayorga have been cast as series regulars… Mike Vogel (The Brave) will topline opposite Sarah Shahi in Netflix’s dramedy series Sex/Life. Additionally, Adam Demos (UnReal) and Margaret Odette (Boogie) have been cast in the show… Michael Chernus (Tommy) will lead opposite Milo Ventimiglia in USA Network’s limited series Evel… Beau Mirchoff is upped from recurring to series regular for season 3 of Freeform’s Good Trouble… David Alan Grier scored the lead opposite Hunter King in ABC pilot Prospect.
Derek Hough (World of Dance, Dancing With the Stars) joined the cast of Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series… A new judge will take up the gavel on Divorce Court. Former Judge Faith star Faith Jenkins will headline the program effective July 2020. She succeeds Judge Lynn Toler, who exited the syndicated show after 13 years… CBS News reporter Seth Doane will be a correspondent for 60 In 6, set to stream on Quibi… Netflix casted up series regulars for its female-driven spy thriller series In From The Cold, adding Charles Brice, Lydia Fleming, Ivana Sakhno, Cillian O’Sullivan and Alyona Khmelnitskaya.