Bits & Bytes: TV & Movie News from Around the Web

Universal Shifts ’50 Shades’ Release Date to February 2015

50 Shades of Grey BooksHighly anticipated Focus Features pic had been set for release on Aug. 1, 2014. A delay had been expected after “Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam unexpectedly dropped out of the project after being cast as Christian Grey. Two weeks later, Jamie Dornan was cast in his place.

A few days after Dornan’s casting, Univeral and Focus announced they were moving production back from mid-November to early December. Sources say Uni execs were actually reevaluating releasing the film in August long before Hunnam’s exit and saw that while the brand would do well in that slot it still makes more sense to release the film over Valentines Day to give that more event like feel.

“Homeland” & “Heroes” Decide to “Dig” into New Series

“Homeland” creator Gideon Raff and “Heroes” creator Tim Kring have inked a 6-episode deal with USA Network for a new drama thriller series set in Jerusalem. The program, called “Dig,” is an archeological thriller about an American FBI agent in Jerusalem. In an impressive new notch for Israeli television, it is the first-ever Israeli-made drama to be sold directly to series for U.S. audiences. It is also the first project commitment from NBC Universal Cable production head Jeff Wachtel since he was tapped for the role in September.

“Dig” was developed by Keshet, the mega Israeli media company behind “Homeland” and its Hebrew-language predecessor “Prisoners of War,” in collaboration with BermanBraun. Keshet Media Group CEO Avi Nir and Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein of BermanBraun also serve as executive producers The deal with USA Network was brokered by WME’s Rick Rosen, a longtime friend of Nir’s, along with Kring, who were in the country last week for INTV, Keshet’s annual confab on innovation in television.

“SHIELD” Keeps Loosing Agents

SHIELD-cast

ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” continues to lose viewers, on Tuesday declining in the young-adults demo for a sixth straight telecast following its huge premiere. It was also a rough night for Fox’s comedies and a good one for CW’s dramas. NBC edged out CBS in adults 18-49 (though the Eye could catch it in the nationals) and has now won all three Tuesdays of the season when it has aired its regular schedule. CBS won in 25-54 and total viewers.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, CBS’ “NCIS” dominated at 8 p.m. (2.9 rating/8 share in adults 18-49, 19.2 million viewers overall), steady week to week and opening up its biggest advantage yet over ABC’s competing drama, “Agents of SHIELD” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall).

After opening in September to a big 4.7 rating in adults 18-49, “SHIELD” has declined with its next six original episodes: 3.3, 2.9, 2.8, 2.7, 2.5 last week and now a 2.2. And last night, it wasn’t far ahead of NBC’s third-place “The Biggest Loser” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall). ABC can still point to time-period improvement for “Agents of SHIELD,” but it was clearly hoping the high-profile project would hold on to a much bigger chunk of its opening-night audience than it is now.

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