This week in tv news: John Singleton to make the jump to TV with FX

Lisa Kudrow in The Comeback, which she announced will be returning for a third season.
Lisa Kudrow in The Comeback, which she announced will be returning for a third season.

John Singleton is poised to be the next filmmaker to make the leap to television, as FX has picked up the pilot for Snowfall, a show co-created by Singleton. The press release had this summary of the series.

Los Angeles 1981. A storm is coming and its name is cocaine. Snowfall is a one-hour drama set against the infancy of the crack cocaine epidemic and its ultimate radical impact on the culture as we know it. The story follows three characters on a violent collision course: Franklin Saint, young street entrepreneur on a quest for power; Gustavo Zapata, a Mexican wrestler turned gangster in search of his American dream; and Logan Miller, a prominent family’s “black sheep” desperate to escape his father’s shadow.

Singleton will also direct the pilot.

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The partnership between Fox and Abominable Pictures has yielded four shows, as announced this week. The production team, which is behind Burning Love, NTSF:SD:SUV::, and Other Space, announced the four new series this week as part of their first wave of projects.

The four series, along with their descriptions, were described thusly.

“Filthy Sexy Teen$”

Two wealthy teen siblings, thought to be lost at sea, return home and attempt to re-climb the high school social ladder in this half-hour comedy. Created by Curtis Gwinn (“NTSF:SD:SUV::,” “The Walking Dead”), Paul Scheer (“Fresh Off The Boat,” “The League”) and Jonathan Stern (“Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” “Childrens Hospital,” “Burning Love”). Keith Quinn (“Burning Love,” “Jackass 3.5,” “LXD”) and Stern serve as executive producers with Gwinn and Scheer. The series will have its global premiere on Fullscreen in North America.

“Drive Share”

With an all-star comedic cast that includes Rob Huebel (“Despicable Me,” AXE COP) and Paul Scheer, “Drive Share” follows a group of drivers as they shuttle strangers, and their problems, around town. Created by Huebel and Scheer. Jonathan Stern, Keith Quinn, Huebel and Scheer are executive producers.

“Criminal Records”

One record label has taken it upon itself to fix the music industry: Criminal Records. It’s run by Jace (Brooks Gray, “The Amazing Gayl Pile,” “Cock’d Gunns”) and Lyle (Morgan Waters, “The Amazing Gayl Pile,” “Cock’d Gunns”), two out-of-Touch music execs who see themselves as the saviors of rock ’n’ roll. Created by Gray and Waters and executive-produced along with Keith Quinn, Jonathan Stern, Paul Scheer and Becca Kinskey (“Childrens Hospital,” “Adult Swim Late Night Infomercials”).

“Grand Marquee”

Jerry Minor (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Black-ish”) depicts an old-school rapper struggling both to regain relevancy in the hip-hop world and to maintain a relationship with his son – as told through the lens of a Danish news program. Created by Jerry Minor and John Matta (“The Martin Short Show,” “Steve Harvey’s Big Time Challenge”) who will executive-produce, along with Keith Quinn, Jonathan Stern and Paul Scheer.

Premiere dates for the new shows have yet to be announced, though Filthy Sexy Teen$ is confirmed to have an order for an eight-episode first season.

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HBO’s The Comeback will be returning for a third season. While there has yet to be an official announcement, series star and co-creator Lisa Kudrow had this to say when asked about a potential third season in an interview with Blackbook.

We’re talking about what comes next, but we’re not in a rush. At first I didn’t talk to Michael about it, out of panic, but we were done in December and I thought, oh god that means we have to start up again next month. I don’t know if I can, it’s too soon, I’m too tired. And then we talked about it, and said we don’t have to, we can wait a year and a half. Then HBO said, yeah, whenever, whenever you have it, let us know. It’s wonderful. I don’t know, would feel like shit but we’ve got to get moving now and hopefully it will be good enough.

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MTV is developing a series adaptation of Megan Abbott’s 2014 novel The Fever. The series is being co-produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, with Abbott herself writing the pilot. The book’s synopsis, from Abbott’s website, is as follows.

The Nashes are a close-knit family. Tom is a popular teacher, father to two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend Lise is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure during class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria swells and more girls succumb, a series of tightly held secrets emerge, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

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 BBC One has released a trailer for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. The film, an adaptation of the novel by Sussanna Clarke, stars Eddie Marsan and Bertie Carvel as the titular characters. The trailer can be seen below.

The series will make its premiere on BBC One in May.

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Comedy Central has ordered a new comedy from Ghost Ghirls and Drunk History‘s Jeremy Konner. The series, which will revolve around an all-girls basketball team, is created by Amanda Lund, Maria Blasucci, and Angela Trimbur, all of whom will also star in the series, with Konner onboard to direct. A premiere date has yet to be announced.

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The ABC drama Revenge will be ending after four seasons. The show’s current season was announced by the channel to be its last, with the season finale on May 10th acting as its series finale. The stars of the show had this to say.

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Syfy has also brought the axe down on its original series Helix. The show’s second season finale, which aired on April 10th, will now serve as the series finale. The stars of the show had this to say about its end.

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HBO and Lorne Michaels will be working together, as the channel has picked up Brothers in Atlanta. The show is created by Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, who also star in the series and have previously written for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, with Tim Story onboard as director and Michaels as executive producer. Maya Rudolph and Jaden Smith will be among the guest stars.

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Showtime has announced their summer lineup. Ray Donovan will be among the first shows to return, as the Liev Schreiber-starring series will make its third season premiere on July 12th at 9 pm ET. Meanwhile, the third season of Masters of Sex will begin on July 12th, at 10 pm ET.

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A+E has announced their upcoming series. Among the highlights will be a new version of Alex Haley’s Roots, with LeVar Burton onboard as executive producer, and the series slated to air on History, Lifetime, and A&E at the same time during its premiere. The same thing will be done with the network’s newest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and both miniseries will air in 2016. The network also announced the development of period drama Boys of ’67 on History, and the Shiri Applyby-Constance Zimmer drama Unreal on Lifetime. This is what the network had to say about Roots.

HISTORY, A&E and LIFETIME greenlight the scripted event series ROOTS for a new generation of viewers to simulcast on all three flagship brands. Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like A Man) joins as executive producer and original ROOTS cast member and Emmy-award winning LeVar Burton boards as co-executive producer. Mark Wolper is also executive producer. The classic miniseries ROOTS was a television phenomenon that had an indelible effect on American culture.  A+E Networks and The Wolper Organization – the company that produced the original – are making a version of Alex Haley’s American family origin story based around the life of Kunta Kinte. ROOTS is slated to air in 2016.

And this was what was said about War and Peace.

Lifetime, A&E Network and HISTORY are partnering with The Weinstein Company, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point on a major limited series event based on Leo Tolstoy’s enduring novel War and Peace.  Simulcasting in the U.S. on the three networks in 2016, War and Peace will feature an all-star cast including SAG Award® and Film Independent Spirit Award winner Paul Dano (12 Years a SlaveLittle Miss Sunshine), Lily James (CinderellaDownton Abbey), Golden Globe® winner Gillian Anderson (The X FilesHannibal), Oscar®, James Norton (Happy ValleyRush), Golden Globe and BAFTA winner Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge!Iris) and others.

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PBS has announced the cast for their upcoming civil war miniseries Mercy Street. The lead roles will be filled by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Hannah James-Scott, with Josh Radnor, Cherry Jones, Gary Cole, Norbert Leo Butz, Cameron Monaghan, and AnnaSophia Robb among the supporting cast. The miniseries will have six episodes and will air in 2016.

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CBS has released a trailer for their upcoming retrospective on Late Night host David Letterman. The trailer can be seen below.

Titled David Letterman: A Life on Television, the special will air on May 4th at 9:30 pm ET.

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In casting news this week:

  • Byron Mann has joined the next season of Hell on Wheels as a series regular.
  • Vincent Curatola has been cast in Law & Order: SVU.
  • TNT’s Legends has beefed up their cast, with Aisling Franciosi, Kelly Overton, Steve Kazee, and Winter Ave Zoli all joining the show as series regulars.
  • Joe Adler has been cast in a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Lea DeLaria has been promoted to series regular for the fourth season of Orange is the New Black.
  • Wendell Pierce has been cast in HBO’s Confirmation as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
  • Pruitt Taylor Vince and Francesca Eastwood have joined Heroes Reborn in recurring roles.
  • James Purefoy has been cast in Hap & Leonard.
  • Kenneth Choi will play Judge Ito in The People v. O.J. Simpson.
  • Matt Cedeño will be a series regular on the second season of Syfy’s Z Nation.
  • Josh Stewart and Parker Croft have been cast in HBO’s Lewis & Clark.
  • Angela Bassett will be returning for American Horror Story: Hotel.
  • Alberto Rosende and Emeraude Toubia have been cast in ABC Family’s Shadowhunters.
  • Heléne Yorke will be returning to Masters of Sex for its third season, following an absence during the show’s second season.
  • Josh Randall has joined the upcoming Cinemax series Quarry in a recurring role.

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And in the rest of the television landscape:

  •  VH1 has renewed Erin and Sara Foster’s Barely Famous for a second season.
  • A new Dragon Ball series, titled Dragon Ball Super, will make its debut in July, with original creator Akira Toriyama tapped as showrunner.
  • The H2 channel is poised to become Vice channel, following a sale from A+E to Vice Media.
  • Showtime is developing a US remake of the French cop drama Engrenages, aka Spiral. Tom Fontana and James Yoshimura have been tapped to co-write, with Barry Levinson onboard as executive producer.
  • Netflix is working on a tv adaptation of the Dr. Seuss story Green Eggs and Ham, with Ellen DeGeneres onboard as executive producer. A 13-episode first season has been announced.
  • Damien, the series sequel to the horror film The Omen, is making the shift from Lifetime to A&E, with the first season order extended to ten episodes from the previous six.
  • The CW has delayed the season three premiere of Beauty and the Beast. Originally tapped to begin on May 21st, the third season will now begin on June 11th at 8 pm ET.
  • HBO has passed on Mike White’s proposed series Mamma Dallas.
  • Viola Davis is developing a biopic on Harriet Tubman at HBO. The movie is being adapted from Kate Clifford Larson’s book Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, and will see Davis step into the role of Tubman.
  • E! has ordered a pilot for The Arrangement from Mad Men writer Jonathan Abrahams. The show will be the second scripted series from the channel, following The Royals.
  • Fox has announced that their new animated series Golan The Insatiable will make its premiere on May 31st at 9 pm ET. Rob Riggle and Aubrey Plaza will be the lead voice performers.
  • USA Network has ordered a pilot for the period drama Paradise Pictures.
  • Paramount TV is developing an adaptation of mortician Caitlin Doughty’s memoir Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and Other Lessons.
  • Ex-SNL writer Noël Wells has juxtaposed Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn with the second season trailer of True Detective. The results can be seen below.

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