News Nuggets: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ reveals full cast; Harrison Ford has ‘gigantic’ role

Director J.J. Abrams officially announces the cast members for the much anticipated “Star Wars: Episode VII” shooting soon in London. It includes a mix of up-and-comers, new faces, veterans, returning favorites, and the big three — Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill — from the original trilogy. An earlier report says that Ford has a “gigantic” role in this installment. Take a tour through a photo gallery featuring cast members Oscar Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis”), Adam Driver (“Girls”), Andy Serkis (“Lord of the Rings,” “The Hobbit”), Oscar nominee Max von Sydow, Domhnall Gleeson (“About Time”), John Boyega (“Attack the Block”), and Daisy Ridley (“Mr. Selfridge”). Also returning from the classic films will be Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). The movie is slated for a release on December 18, 2015. Deadline.

Jamey Giddens reports that TVGN (formerly TV Guide Network) offered one million dollars to televise this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards. The National Academy of Arts and Sciences (NATAS) turned down that bid to “pursue more lucrative pacts.” One of her sources said, “They’ve been talking to ABC, OWN, but so far no one else has picked up. TVGN would have been the perfect vehicle. Soaps are doing really well for them. They wanted to save the telecast.” The Daytime Emmys are set for June 22 in Beverly Hills but have no TV home yet for this year. Daytime Confidential.

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Brian Lowry analyzes Monday’s news that Craig Ferguson is departing his late night show in December. He says that “the prospect of Ferguson moving on had seemed likely after CBS opted to fill David Letterman‘s slot with Stephen Colbert.” He adds that “he wasn’t going to get a promotion, and after doing the same thing for nearly a decade, chose to quit his job.” He says the move “is more classy than convincing” in regard to Ferguson saying he planned to quit all along. Variety.

The 2014 Cannes jury is announced by this year’s president, director and writer Jane Campion. They are: actress Carole Bouquet, director/writer Sofia Coppola, actor Willem Dafoe, actor Gael Garcia Bernal, actress Leila Hatami, actress Jeon Do Yeon, director/writer Jia Zhang Ke, and director/writer Nicolas Winding RefnAwards Daily.

Not to be outdone by NBC with its live musical events of “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan,” Fox announces that it will stage its own. Sometime next year, they will air a live three-hour version of “Grease.” There is no word yet on whether it will strictly be based on the original Broadway musical or use some of the liberties and hit songs from the hit 1978 film. Names being tossed around for the lead role of Sandy are Taylor Swift, Laura Osnes, and Kristen Bell. For the role of Danny, how about Aaron Tveit, Skylar Astin, or Zac Efron? Entertainment Weekly.

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Bill Gorman makes his predictions about which NBC shows will return and which will be cancelled. He believes “Community” will make it back for one final short season. Either “Hannibal” or “Dracula” will return but not both. He thinks the Hugh DancyMads Mikkelsen drama will be the one to survive. Chances are slim for “Believe,” “Crisis,” and “Revolution.” TV by the Numbers.

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Google, Jay-Z, and Kickstarter are among the 2014 Webby Awards winners for online greatness. Other trophies will go to Beyonce, Tumblr, NASA, and The Onion. The awards will be presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences at a New York ceremony hosted by Patton Oswalt on May 19. Associated Press.

The sixth annual Produced by Conference from the PGA is lining up a top-notch list of speakers. The agenda for the June 7-8 event in Los Angeles includes speeches from Cean Chaffin, Francis Ford Coppola, David Fincher, Norman Lear, and Seth Rogen. Thompson on Hollywood.

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