It's a busy recap day today. NBC was up at the TCA Winter 2015 Press Tour on Friday, followed by Fox on Saturday and FX on Sunday...and we have the full scoop! Let's start with NBC. In her return to a starring role on primetime television, NBC is teaming with SAG Award winner and multi-nominee Eva Longoria on the half-hour comedy series Telenovela. NBC has ordered 13 episodes of the singlecam comedy that will star and be executive produced by Longoria. From Universal Television and Unbelievable Entertainment, Telenovela captures the hilarious behind-the-scenes craziness of a popular Spanish telenovela. Longoria will play the willful but popular diva Ana Maria, star of Latin America's most beloved telenovela who strives to stay on top in a world where the drama on-camera is nothing compared to the drama off-camera. Stay with us for info as it will launch in 2015-16. Next, NBC is bringing both the heartbreaking and uplifting stories during one of America's most tumultuous periods to television in adapting author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Betty DeRamus' acclaimed book Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad as an epic eight-hour miniseries titled Freedom Run. It will focus on three specific epic journeys and love stories, each based on actual people. Iconic musician Stevie Wonder will serve as an executive producer.
Zachary Levi is making his long-awaited return to television in NBC's upcoming event miniseries Heroes Reborn to play a key yet undisclosed role. Jack Coleman, who played Noah Bennet in the original Heroes series, has previously been cast to reprise his role as "HRG" for Heroes Reborn. With the return of Heroes Reborn, NBC will launch a digital series prior to the premiere that will introduce the characters and new storylines. This leveraging of social media is a way for fans to re-engage with what was one for the true pioneers in multiplatform storytelling. Still no premiere date has been given. And finally for NBC, they have signed a development deal with Dolly Parton, one of the most honored female country musicians of all time and an American icon. In conjunction with production partner Sam Haskell of Magnolia Hill Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television, NBC will develop a slate of two-hour TV movies based on the songs, stories, and inspiring life of Dolly Parton. This extraordinarily prolific country music artist and movie star will produce these projects that are meant to appeal to an inclusive family audience.
On to Fox, well that was fast. After just two episodes, Empire is coming back. Fox has renewed hit drama series Empire for a second season. The second episode grew from its already big premiere rating. It is the only new broadcast drama this season to grow from week one to week two. Fox has also ordered a third season of the award-winning comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. And if two renewals weren't enough, Fox has also renewed hit drama series Gotham for a second season. Get ready to scream. Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee Lea Michele (Glee), Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Keke Palmer (Masters of Sex) have been cast as series regulars in Scream Queens, a new comedy-horror anthology series from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan and Dante Di Loreto, the executive producers of Glee and American Horror Story. Additionally, Grammy Award nominee and actress Ariana Grande will guest-star in a recurring role. Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) and Emma Roberts (American Horror Story: Freak Show) were previously announced in starring roles in the limited series. The first installment in the new anthology series revolves around a college campus which is rocked by a series of murders. Fifteen one-hour episodes have been ordered, which are scheduled to begin production in the spring, and premiere in Fall 2015 on Fox.
Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) and Paramount Television announced that superstar singers, dancers and actresses Julianne Hough (Safe Haven, Rock of Ages, Dancing with the Stars) and Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Spring Breakers, Gigi on Broadway) have been cast in leading roles in Grease: Live (working title). With Hough as the angelic Sandy - Rydell High's most talked-about newcomer - and Hudgens as iconic bad girl Rizzo, this first-ever live television production of Grease will re-imagine the hit crossover musical for an entirely new generation. Airing LIVE Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 from 7:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed on Fox, Grease: Live (wt) will be executive-produced by acclaimed film, television and theater producer Marc Platt. Grease: Live (wt) is based on the original musical Grease by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, and Paramount Pictures' 1978 feature adaptation. It will be a Paramount Television production.
Moving on to cable network FX, they have set the premiere date of Thursday, April 9 for the series premiere of the new comedy series The Comedians starring Billy Crystal and Josh Gad and the fifth season of the Emmy(R) Award winning comedy series Louie starring Louie C.K. The Comedians will air at 10:00 PM ET/PT, followed by Louie at 10:30 PM ET/PT. Also, FX has acquired the television rights to Emmy Award winner Louis C.K.'s next standup comedy special, Louis C.K. Live From the Comedy Store. C.K. will make the special available to fans first on his website, LouisCK.net, in coming weeks after his record-breaking run of shows at Madison Square Garden. C.K. is the first comedian to sell out three shows for the same tour in Madison Square Garden history. Tickets for the fourth Madison Square Garden show on January 27 went on sale Saturday. The hour-long comedy special will subsequently air on FX this spring. C.K. will write and direct the special. And the third piece of FX news also has Louie C.K. involved. FX Networks has ordered the comedy pilot Better Things, created by and starring Pamela Adlon and directed by fellow Louie star Louis C.K. Better Things is the fifth comedy series pilot produced or ordered by FX Networks within the past year, including the comedy series pilots Atlanta, created by and starring Donald Glover, and Pariah, starring Bill Burr for Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton. These projects reinforce FX Networks' position as the leading comedy brand in television. Let's see which of these make it to series. Stay with us.