TV News Wrap-Up: David Fincher's Utopia is Dead, HBO Orders Two Pilots From David Simon & More

David Fincher HBO series Videosyncrazy halts production

This Week in TV:

HBO orders two pilots from David Simon; FOX orders a new pilot from Lee Daniels; Empire Season 2 gets a trailer; FX Renews The Strain and announces fall premieres; David Fincher's Utopia is dead; NBC's The Wiz Live! has found its Dorothy; Dan Harmon to host IFC comedy show; Bill Hader joins Brooklyn Nine-Nine; and The CW is streaming the 1990s Flash TV series.


HBO has ordered two pilots from David Simon, creator of The Wire: The Deuce set in 1970s New York and an untitled pilot set in the present-day Capitol Hill.

The Wire creator David Simon

The Deuce stars James Franco as twin brothers in New York during the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry. The series is inspired by two real-life twins who were important figures in Times Square and became fronts for the Mob to control the growing industry. The script was written by Simon and his long-time collaborator George Pelecanos, with Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad) set to direct. Simon had the following to say about the project:

"We're interested in what it means when profit is the primary metric for what we call society... this story is intended as neither prurient nor puritan. It's about a product, and those humna beings who created, sold, profited from and suffered with that product."

Details about the second pilot are currently scarce, but Simon teamed up with veteran journalist Carl Bernstein and Ed Burns to write the script. The series is said to explore partisanship and the influence of money on national government, a subject worthy of detailed examination.

The Deuce pilot begins filming this October with the second pilot scheduled to film within a year.

Source: Deadline


Fox has ordered Star, a new series from Empire creator Lee Daniels, to pilot.

Lee Daniels Star Fox

Like Empire, the drama is set against the backdrop of the music industry. The series follows three girls in Atlanta who form a band and try to rise to the top of the charts. Little else is known about the plot, but it was confirmed that the story will be from the perspective of the artists rather than the business side of music.  The pilot was scripted by Daniels and Tom Donaghy (The Whole Truth) and Daniels is expected to direct.

While there are no current plans for a crossover between Star and Empire, Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden confirmed that the idea is not out of the realm of possibility.

Source: Deadline


A new trailer for the upcoming second season of Empire was released.

The trailer sees Lucious Lyon (Terrance Howard) in prison for the murder of Bunkie in the first season. The second season of Fox's incredibly successful hip hop drama will detail the struggle between Lucious and his son Andre (Trai Byers) as he tries to have Lucious removed as Empire's CEO. The trailer offers an extended look at previously teased details, including Jamal (Jussie Smollett) performing at a concert with the hashtag 'Free Lucious' in the background.

The season will also feature actor Chris Rock, who is shown briefly in the trailer locked up alongside Lucious.

The second season of Empire premieres on September 23rd, 2015 on Fox.

Source: Empire


FX renewed The Strain for season 3 and announced several new series during the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

The Strain Season 2 Teaser Artwork

  • FX has renewed Guillermo del Toro's The Strain for a third season. Though the series hasn't earned the critical praise of its television horror counterparts, such as The Walking Dead, the series thrives on its ability to tell an entertaining story.
  • FX announced that it has picked up the Louis C.K.-produced comedy series Better Things for a full season. This news comes after the comedian announced an extended break from his self-titled series Louie.
  • FXX is going to be the new home of the hit animated comedy Archer starting with the show's seventh season. Joining Archer is the new animated comedy Cassius and Clay, which stars Katilin Olsen and Lake Bell as two bandits trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic dystopia.
  • The Bastard Executioner, a new historical drama from Kurt Sutter, is set to premiere on September 15th on FX. The series takes place during the reign of King Edward III of England and follows a warrior forced to become an executioner, even after he has sworn off of violence.
  • The latest season of the horror anthology series American Horror Story will premiere on October 7th. This season's theme is 'Hotel' and is focused on a haunted hotel in Los Angeles. There's sure to be plenty of horror elements in the series, but series co-creator Ryan Murphy has promised this season will also tackle the real life horrors of addiction.
  • The second installment of the hit-series Fargo premieres on October 12th. Like HBO's True Detective, this season will be a self-contained story, featuring a new cast of characters.

Souce: FX


David Fincher's Utopia is officially dead.

David Fincher HBO Utopia

The series has been in limbo as Fincher and HBO struggled to reach an agreement about the series' budget. It was announced this week that the two could not reach a compromise and the cast were all released from their contracts. While the cast was never officially announced, it seems that the series would have starred Rooney Mara (The Social Network), Colm Feore (Thor), and Dallas Roberts (The Walking Dead). The series was to be penned by Gone Girl scribe Gillian Flynn and would have marked Fincher and Flynn's second collaboration.

Utopia was based on a British action- thriller of the same name, to which HBO retains the rights.  Because of this, Fincher will be unable to shop the project around to other networks. It's possible that HBO will try to find a new director, but after releasing the full cast the project will have to be built from the ground up.

Source: Deadline


The Wiz Live! has found its Dorothy, as well as its Cowardly Lion.

After a nationwide search, NBC has chosen newcomer Shanice Williams (above) to join the cast of The Wiz Live!, as lead character Dorothy. Williams has a theater background, but this production will mark her first appearance on television. Additionally, the network has cast none other than three-time Tony Award nominee David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion.

The two are set to join Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige in the production, who play Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West, respectively. The full cast is beginning to come together, though the search is ongoing for Scarecrow and Tinman.

Source: Variety, EW


Community creator Dan Harmon will host the pilot for a new comedic panel show on IFC.

Dan Harmon Harmontown

The show is titled Great Minds and features a panel of history's "greatest minds" tackling modern trending topics. For example, the pilot episode's panel features Benjamin Franklin (Rory Albanese), Albert Einstein (Robert Smigel), Eleanor Roosevelt (Bonnie McFarlane) and Frederick Douglass (Seaton Smith). If the pilot is ordered to series, the plan is to introduce a revolving cast of comedians as different historical figures.

Great Minds was created by Richard Korson, who served as a producer on the The Daily Show With Jon Stewart for a number of years. The series is one of three late night talk shows in consideration for the network.

Source: Deadline


Bill Hader is joining the third season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the new precinct captain.

Bill Hader and Seth Rogen in Superbad

Hader will be guest starring in the season 3 premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, replacing Andre Braugher's Captain Holt as the precinct captain. Fans will remember Holt was forced out of the job by Madeline Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick) and now works in public relations. Co-Showrunner Mike Schur confirms that Hader's role is not the only surprise in the premiere, and that the episode will take many more twists and turns before it ends.

At this time, Hader is only confirmed as a guest star in the premiere. There's no word yet on whether he will have a recurring role on the series, but it's likely Fox will want to include the popular actor as much as possible in the series.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns to Fox on September 27th, 2015.

Source: TVLine


The CW is streaming the entire 1990s Flash television series on their digital platform CW Seed.

John Wesley Shipp in The Flash CBS

Fans anxiously awaiting the return of The Flash this October can stream all 22 episodes of the original Flash series that aired on CBS from 1990-1991. The series starred John Wesley Shipp as the titular hero as well as Amanda Pays, both of whom have had recurring roles on the CW's new series. The series also contains the first appearance of Mark Hamill as the villainous Trickster, a role he recently reprised on an episode of The Flash.

While the visuals and effects are dated, the series is still a bit of light-hearted fun that will hold fans over while we wait for Grant Gustin to face the multiverse.

Source: CW Seed

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