News Briefs: Starz Is Developing Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds

BOOK-TO-SCREEN NEWS

... Following the news that Starz has renewed Da Vinci's Demons for a third season, the network is also developing a series based on the Chuck Wendig novel Blackbirds. The book is about a young woman named Miriam who has a special gift: If she touches you, she sees how and when you're going to die! But things get complicated when she realizes that she might be the next victim of a killer. Apparently Starz has already set up a writers' room for the project, a good sign that it intends to go all the way with this one. [Deadline]


BUSINESS TIME

... USA has ordered a pilot presentation (which is like a quick glimpse at what a pilot would look like) for Difficult People, a comedy produced by Amy Poehler and starring Billy Eichner (Billy on the StreetParks and Recreation) and Julie Klausner (Ugly Americans). The duo will play a pair of struggling comedians who are obsessed with pop culture. And this sounds important: They hate EVERYONE. USA is totally getting into original comedy, having recently launched Sirens and Playing House. [THR]

... Okay this is getting out of hand. Even WEtv is producing original scripted programming. The network known for Law & Order reruns and Joan Rivers reality shows is ready to launch The Divide, a drama that looks at the justice system through the eyes of a caseworker for the Innocence Initiative and a district attorney on the rise. The eight-episode series will debut July 16 at 9pm with a two-hour premiere, then move to its regular 10pm time slot a week later. It has a pretty solid cast, too: Marin Ireland (the white lady terrorist from Homeland), Damon Gumpton, Nia Long, Clarke Peters, and Paul Schneider. [WEtv via press release]

... Fox has added 10 episodes to the straight-to-series order of its John Mulaney comedy Mulaney. Originally given a six-episode order, the series has been bumped up to 16 episodes as Fox plans out its fall schedule. The show stars Mulaney, a former writer for Saturday Night Live, as a comedian on the ups, with Martin Short playing his boss. [THR]

... Louie returned on Monday with good-for-Louie ratings, drawing 940,000 viewers for its first episode and 910,000 viewers for its second episode, which is a shame because the second episode was goooooooood. Those numbers on their own aren't spectacular, but they're higher than Louie's average Season 3 audience, which was around 790,000 viewers. That's especially notable given that the show hasn't aired for over a year. [Variety]

... Another week, another Game of Thrones ratings record. The HBO fantasy drama hit another series high this week, reaching 7.2 million viewers. I think this show might be a hit, guys! [Deadline]



CASTING NEWS

... Sleepy Hollow has cast America's favorite kite-flying, electricity-researching Founding Father, Mr. Benjamin Franklin. Actor Timothy Busfield (The West Wing) will wear Ben's bifocals, and the character will have a history with Ichabod and a major role role in the Revolutionary War. [EW]

... In some UNcasting news, Downton Abbey will be saying "Cheerio!" to Lady Rose. Actress Lily James is leaving the British soap for the bigshot world of Hollywood films, and has joined Disney's Cinderella redo as Cindy herself. James willl depart Downton Abbey after Season 5, but might not be gone permanently. Showrunner Julian Fellowes wants to keep her character alive so that she can return for Christmas specials or later seasons down the road. In other words, she ain't getting Matthew'd. [Dailymail]

... And the first big-name judge for ABC's singing show Rising Star is... country singer Brad Paisley! He'll make or break young artists' lives on the show that adds a twist to people screaming the hits into microphones. Contestants will perform before a huge video screen showing viewers at home in real time as they decide whether or not to vote for or against the singer using an app. This sounds pretty cool but how are they gonna stop people from showing their butts on TV and what about time zones and how much does the app cost? [Deadline]


OTHER RECENT STORIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED ON TV.COM

... One day after ordering Gotham to series, Fox has picked up two more new shows: the Terrence Howard-starring hip-hop drama Empire, from The Butler's Lee Daniels, and Steven Spielberg's Red Band Society, about a group of teenagers who meet as patients in the children's wing of a hospital.

... NBC pulled Crisis and Believe off its schedule, which is bad, bad news for both. 

... Jimmy Kimmel earned a two-year contract extension from ABC, so expect more viral pranks. 

... 24 returned last night with the premiere of Live Another Day, and it had ratings! Good ones! 

... Starz gave Da Vinci's Demons a third season



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I guess Bran wasn't so boring after all: 7 million, that's amazing!
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I agree the second episode of Louie was fantastic and I get to see Yvonne Strahovski. Lucky Louie get to kiss her.

I wonder if Louie asked for her to be his guest star :-)

Louie always managed to get Jerry Seinfield to play an asshole. I think this is the second time he did it.
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Chuck Who?

Is marketing the slightly smaller size of his name under the title of his show supposed to make us think he's been big time all this time & have us be drawn in because of it?

Seems working for White Wolf is is biggest claim to fame. Call me if he ever writes a pilot for the Masquerade & it gets produced.
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There was series for the Masquerade, it was called Kindred The Embraced. And it was terrible. It's nickname was Melrose Place With Fangs. Think an even more soapy Supernatural: Bloodlines.
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yes, I know. Spelling's series sucked like a broke ass jonsin' crack ho bustin' ass all night to get more crack before morning. Since that was over a decade ago, All I'm sayin' is, the old World of Darkness mythology deserves to be done right. This guy apparently has enough long time White Wolf chops that it's not out of the realm of possibility the dude can probably do some proper justice by doin' a long overdue & much deserved Masquerade reboot..
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BILLY EICHNER! USA better make Difficult People.
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Difficult People sounds like it might be good.
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So, there were around 300,000 confused people watching GoT for the first time on Sunday, then?
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Blackbirds sounds interesting, but it sounds like it could walk the line of being either be good or bad at the drop of a hat.

Sirens was pretty good, I prefered the original UK version but the US one was still better than expected and Playing House's pilot was funny but the 2nd was hilarious.. so I'd definitely watch a show with Billy Eichner in it.

I like John Mulaney fine but Martin Short has always gotten on my nerves for some reason.. so I don't think I'll watch that.

I watched Believe but I won't miss it if it's getting cancelled, it was too cliche and every episode being just Tate and Bo on the run helping random people was sooooooo corny, and the dialogue didn't help either. but I don't see why they don't just air the episodes and get it over with, air one on Saturday and one on Sunday with double episodes until it's done. the actors already got paid, might as well get your money's worth.
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I hope they release the last three episodes of Believe in some form. That show was pretty captivating.

And I'm the only one who will ever know.
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Wait a minute.....has NBC released the unaired episodes of ANYTHING it programmed in the last few years? Dangit, I need to know if Channing lived!
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Like Dads, I won't watch Mulaney but I hope it does well. Dads brings a sexy Brenda Song to TV screens week after week and am hoping Mulaney does the same with Nasim Pedrad.

I liked Believe's first episode, not so much after that as I quit during episode three I think it was. too much screen time given to irredeemable characters we were supossed to believe had good intentions or other such contrivances.

Crisis was pretty blatantly bad but I've been watching regardless. Mostly because Rachel Taylor is incredibly pretty and the black dude was cool and the kids were alright.
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"NBC pulled Crisis and Believe off its schedule, which is bad, bad news for both. "

Good. This means there is room for NBC to air my new dramas "Corruption" and "Calamity". And of course Dick Wolf's new drama Chicago: Public Utilities Dept.
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And it's official; Nasim won't be back on SNL next year.
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since the episodes are likely slated for fall with the six previous episodes already filmed maybe they'll wait for renewal word or something. with the ten new episodes ordered I'd imagine they can be completed by fall. with Lorne being attached to both I'm imagining leeway and hoping for Nasim pulling double duty 'cause the more Nasim the better obviously. An again visibly absent Nasim in upcoming episodes of this season perhaps though if they do get right back to filming.
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I like Nasim and wouldn't mind the double duty. But I've been expecting this for over a year now to happen. And there's just no more room on SNL anymore to begin with.
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But... Benjamin Franklin wasn't a president
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I fucked that up. It's been a rough two days. Sigh. Updated!
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Um, hey Tim, Benjamin Franklin was never President.
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I know I know. Well, now I remember, is what I meant. I need a drink.
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Ummm and about that Kite flying story..........
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