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TV News Roundup: Leah Remini Developing Scientology Series; USA Pilot Casts ‘Prometheus,’ ‘Rectify’ Stars

Leah Remini is developing an unscripted series about the Church of Scientology, USA has cast Logan Marshall-Green and Aden Young in its new pilot “Damnation,” and more in Tuesday’s news roundup.

GREENLIGHTS

Leah Remini‘s long-buzzed-about Scientology TV project has found a home at A&E, Variety has confirmed. Already in production, Remini has been filming this summer for the unscripted series that will center around the actress’ experience with the Church of Scientology, which she departed in 2013. Rumors surrounding the show began to surface this summer, following a post by Scientology blogger Tony Ortega, who broke that Remini was producing a Scientology-centric series, though no network was included in his initial blog. A&E declined to comment, but an insider confirms the cabler is in fact working on the project with Remini.

CASTING:

Fox’s new fall drama The Exorcist has added Mouzam Makkar in a recurring role, Variety has learned exclusively. Makkar will play the role of Jessica, an old flame from Father Tomas’ (Alfonso Herrera) past. Makkar has appeared in The CW’s “Vampire Diaries,” “American Horror Story,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Following” and “Matador.” Makkar is represented by Gray Talent Group, Principato Young Entertainment & Myman Greenspan.

Nickelodeon is developing a TV movie version of “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library,” based on the novel by Chris Grabenstein. What starts out as an overnight stay in the new hi-tech local library turns into a thrilling escape as a group of friends come in contact with literary characters. The cast includes Nickelodeon stars Breanna Yde and Casey Simpson, along with Russell Roberts, A.J. Luis Rivera Jr. and Klarke Pipkin. Production is underway in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

USA Network has announced six regulars for pilot “Damnation.” The show takes place in the 1930s American heartland where Seth Davenport (Aden Young) is masquerading as a small town Iowa preacher in the hopes of starting a full-blown insurrection against the status quo. Standing in his way is Creeley Turner (Logan Marshall-Green) a strikebreaker hired to stop the uprising by any means necessary. But unbeknownst to everyone around them, these two share a secret bloody past. Other cast regulars include Sarah Jones, Chaston Harmon, Christopher Heyerdahl and Melinda Page Hamilton. David Mackenzie is set to direct the pilot episode the executive producers Tony Tost, James Mangold, Guymon Casady and Daniel Rappaport on behalf of Entertainment 360.

PRODUCTION:

Genius Brand International Inc. has partnered with Disney’s “Lion King” Director Rob Minkoff and “Frozen” co-writer Shane Morris on a new series. The animated series “Rainbow Rangers” will be geared toward preschoolers and ventures seven unique magical girls from the other side of the rainbow. Their mission is to protect Earth from a wicked villain through teamwork, bravery, creativity and compassion. Emmy Award-winning producer Andy Heyward will executive produce and key series designs were created by Brittany Myers and Ruben Aquino, who was a supervising animator on many major Disney characters from Pocahontas to Frozen. GBI anticipates a fall 2017 premiere special and a full series lunch in spring 2018.

EXECUTIVE:

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios announced their hiring of James Gronfein as Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales For Global Syndication. Gronfein has held several similar roles in his previous careers, his most recent being Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales at CBS Television Distribution. Gronfein’s position will take effective immediately and his responsibilities include ad sales, sponsorship and new business developments across Entertainment Studios broadcast syndication and digital platforms.

DATES:

MTV is airing an hour block of comedy for two new series titled “The Almost Impossible Game Show” and “Acting Out.”

“The Almost Impossible Game Show” is based on the UK show under the same name that features six neon-sporting contestants to complete hilarious, yet difficult tasks. The show is produced by Endemol Shine North America the same company that produced the show “Wipe Out”. The tasks will be so difficult that each contestant will be given “40-lives” throughout the game to complete multiple tasks. The comedic duo The Rubber Bandits will chime in their commentary to make the cringing tasks a little more bearable and funny.

Chicago comedian Lil Rel Howery is set to host “Acting Out” which will take comedians both irrelevant and exceptional to the stage to perform their best routines. The comedians will have to try extra hard to keep their composure while their standup is simultaneously being acted out making for an outrageous display of their best bits. This show clashes improv and standup and the effect is to be big belly laughs.
The MTV series will premiere back-to-back on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 10pm ET.

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