01/14/16: Friends cast reuniting for NBC special; Shaw Comm. sheds networks; Showtime picks up Jim Carrey stand-up series



CYNOPSIS
01.14.16

Good morning. It’s Thursday January 14, 2016, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
Animal Planet: Alaska Proof at 9p
Comedy: Workaholics at 10p, Idiotsitter at 10:30p
MTV: Greatest Party Story Ever and Other Epic Tales at 10:30p
USA: Colony at 10p


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS


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IN THE NEWS

Al Jazeera America is shutting down by April 30. In a memo to staff, network CEO Al Anstey said the decision to fold the news net, launched in August 2013, “is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace.” In addition to low ratings, Al Jazeera has faced controversy in its short lifetime, including allegations of discrimination and a documentary last month about performance-enhancing drugs that was denounced by Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Still, “The decision that has been made is in no way because AJAM has done anything but a great job,” said Anstey.

The six cast members from Friends (1994-2004) will reunite for a tribute honoring the career of James Burrows, who directed fifteen episodes of the sitcom starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. “I’m hoping all six will be in the same room at the same time,” NBC president Robert Greenblatt told reporters at the TCA winter press tour on Wednesday, but “I’m not sure we can logistically pull that off.” Two-hour special airs Sunday, February 21 at 9p.

Late Night host Seth Meyers extended his contract with NBC Entertainment through February 2021. Said Meyers, who started in February 2014, “I can’t thank NBC enough for continuing to support our show and this more than makes up for my disappointment in not getting cast in The Wiz.” Meyers will also host a 2016 New Year’s Eve Late Night special at not-so-late 10p. Late Night averaged a 0.51/3 rating and 1.658 million viewers in 4Q15, maintaining 100% of its A18-49 rating year-to-year and growing by 4% in total viewers.

DGA Award nominees for directing achievement in television, documentaries and commercials were announced Wednesday. Earning nods for drama were Michael Engler (Downton Abbey), Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland), David Nutter (Game of Thrones), Steven Soderbergh (The Knick) and Matthew Weiner (Mad Men). Comedy nominations went to Chris Addison (Veep), Louis C.K. (Louie), Mike Judge (Silicon Valley), Gail Mancuso (Modern Family) and Jill Soloway (Transparent).

Social media is more than just a tool for audience engagement – it’s a form of lifestyle media, according cultural insights company TruthCo. So what does that mean for lifestyle TV content? “Lifestyle television speaks to its audience both as viewers and consumers, which entails that emerging trends provide major opportunities for programmers in the genre,” Rajiv Menon, Cultural Analyst at TruthCo., tells Cynopsis. “While much of the genre has focused on authority figures who instruct viewers about how to live and consume, Lifestyle media is increasingly moving towards amateur innovation, risk-taking and experimentation.”

Bob Scheiffer, who retired from CBS last year as Chief Washington Correspondent, will dust off his mic to contribute political commentary for the net through the 2017 Inauguration. How could the veteran newsman say no? “I’m flattered and delighted to offer thoughts on this campaign,” said Schieffer. “It’s certainly one of the most unusual of my lifetime.”

As it did in November, Fox Business Network is partnering with cable and satellite providers to unbundle the channel for the GOP debates tonight. DIRECTV, Suddenlink, Mediacom, Wide Open West and Cox Communications, along with numerous National Cable Television Cooperative member companies, will make the channel more widely available to their subscriber base.

Was Rand Paul right to boycott tonight’s GOP debate? Let us know in the new Cynopsis poll.

Canada’s Shaw Communications announced a deal to sell Shaw Media, which includes the Global Television network as well as specialty channels (National Geographic, Food Network Canada and HGTV Canada among them) to Corus Entertainment for a value of $2.65 billion. Shaw will become a pure connectivity company. Both companies are controlled by the Shaw family but trade as separate companies.

Antenna TV will be hosting a panel discussion, “Cocktails and Carson Conversations,” today in Chicago to celebrate the launch of Johnny Carson on the network, as well as the opening of Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications Johnny Carson exhibit. Panelists include former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen, producer (and Carson’s nephew) Jeff Sotzig, comedian and Tonight Show guest Tom Dreesen and Carson biographer Bill Zeheme.

Marta Kauffman and David Crane will receive the WGA West’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for lifetime achievement in television writing at the guild’s awards ceremony on February 13. In addition to creating Friends, the pair co-created Veronica’s Closet, The Powers That Be and Dream On, as well as numerous projects separately with other writing partners.

Stayup to date with the latest events, awards and industry news from Cynopsis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


CYNOPSIS SPORTS MEDIA AWARDS
HONORING TOP SPORTS PROGRAMS, CAMPAIGNS, AND PEOPLE

Our awards show continues to spotlight the groundbreaking work created by sports media, don’t let your 2015 efforts go unnoticed!

Entry Deadline: January 21, 2016 |  Late Submissions: January 28, 2016
Awards Event: April 17, 2016 (NYC)

Learn about the awards program & how to enter:
http://www.cynopsis.com/event/2015-sma/
.


PRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

 
Showtime picked up I’m Dying Up Here to series. Ensemble cast in the one-hour comedy set in LA’s 1970s stand-up scene includes Melissa Leo (Louie), Ari Graynor (For a Good Time Call), Clark Duke (The Office), Michael Angarano (The Knick), Andrew Santino (Mixology), RJ Cyler (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Erik Griffin (Workaholics) and Stephen Guarino (Happy Endings). Jim Carrey exec produces.

NBC’s next live musical will be Hairspray. Network head Robert Greenblatt made the announcement at TCA. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who produced A Sound of Music Live, Peter Pan Live and The Wiz Live, will return for the latest live event, slated for December. Tracy Turnblad, Corny Collins and Co. are no strangers to Zadan and Meron – the duo also produced the 2007 Hairspray movie.

New millennial-focused studio Gunpowder & Sky, founded by former Viacom Media Networks CEO Van Toffler, ex-Endemol Group global head of strategy Floris Bauer and Otter Media, is “the defiant love child of YouTube, the MCNs and Netflix,” said Toffler. “The organizing principle is, we want to nurture and find people with new ideas about how to tell stories. And we want to do that globally, with stuff that lives primarily in the digital ecosystem.” Co-production partners so far include UK’s Realm Pictures, Supergravity Pictures, Bona Fide Productions and Adaptive Studios.

Marry Me Now, pitched at Armoza Formats’ Formagination, has been developed and produced by Armoza with Zipi Rozenblum in preparation for international launch at NATPE. The docu-reality show follows women who ambush gun-shy grooms-to-be with proposals … and ready-to-go weddings.

NBC has had early talks with Dick Wolf about launching Chicago Law, reports Variety. It would be the fourth in the net’s successful procedural franchise set in the Windy City.

COMING UP

The Tonight Show is heading back to LA. After a two-hour primetime Valentine’s Day special on February 14, the NBC late night talker will be telecast from Stage One at Universal Studios the week of February 15. Should be worth the airfare – last year, the Tonight Show’s trip to California was its top-rated week in almost eight months in A18-49 and delivered 4.185 million total viewers.

AXS TV honors rock icon David Bowie with a special presentation of 1973 concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars on Sunday, January 17 at 10p. The Fame singer died January 10 at age 69.

Rookies attempting to prove themselves in perilous professions (volcanologist, bush pilot) are profiled in Deadliest Job Interviews, launching on Discovery Friday, January 29 at 10p.

The second annual World Dog Awards airs on CW tonight at 8p. George Lopez hosts the Juma Entertainment-produced show.

RETURNING SHOWS

Barrett-Jackson LIVE returns to Velocity and Discovery with 37 hours of live collector car auctions. Action begins on Velocity Tuesday, January 26 from 6p-11p, running through Sunday, January 31 from 2p-7p. Discovery coverage airs Saturday, January 30 from 3p-8p. New this year is interactive experience Auction Insider.  “Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction set aratings record for Velocity last year. Momentum continued as 34 million people watched all four auctions live on our network,” Robert Scanlon, GM of Velocity and Automotive Content, tells Cynopsis. “The new interactive Auction Insider game will deepen viewer engagement by allowing fans to test their car expertise in real time, and get them closer to the high stakes bidding conflicts on the auction floor.”

Showtime placed a 12-episode order for season seven of Shameless. Season six is airing Sundays at 9p. “Shameless has clearly resonated with audiences as evidenced by their steady growth on Sunday nights over the past 6 years,” said Showtime Networks president of programming, Gary Levine. The net also announced season premiere dates for season five of House of Lies (Sunday, April 10 at 9p) and season three of Penny Dreadful (Sunday, May 1 at 10p).

Season six of AXS TV’s The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands bows Wednesday, February 17 at 10p. Show airs live from the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood.

ADVERTISING AND BRANDS

Turner announced the launch of Turner Ad Lab, a research effort aimed at evolving video ads into a better experience. “We know that video advertising is welcomed by consumers,” said Howard Shimmel, chief research officer for Turner, “but we need to consider ways to improve the content and environment.” The Lab will be staffed by Turner, but an advisory board made up of representatives from others in the industry will be announced later this month.

CASTING

Added to the cast of Disney Junior upcoming animated series Elena of Avalor: Jenna Ortega (Jane the Virgin), Chris Parnell (Archer), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) and Carlos Alazraqui (Sheriff Callie’s Wild West). Aimee Carrero (Young & Hungry) stars as “the first Disney princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore.”

The season two cast of Netflix’s Between will include Steven Grayhm (Alcatraz) and Mercedes Morris (Forest Fairies). The Canadian thriller centered on a quarantined town of people 21 and under has started shooting new episodes in Toronto.

Rutina Wesley landed a series regular role in OWN’s Queen Sugar. The True Blood alum will play a journalist and activist based in New Orleans.

Tina Arning (Everybody Loves Raymond) will guest on ABC’s Modern Family Wednesday, January 20, as the trophy wife of Claire’s colleague.

KIDS’ STUFF

Disney’s smash hit Frozen will air on Disney Channel for the first time Sunday, February 14 at 7p. Fan fave Olaf makes a special appearance on Sofia the First the next morning at 11:30a on Disney and at 7p on Disney Junior.

Hasbro Studios announced Transformers: Robots in Disguise will be back for season two on Cartoon Network in the U.S. Bumblebee will resume her fight to save the world in 1Q16.

GLOBAL GOINGS-ON

Singapore-based Bomanbridge Media announced a deal with NBCUniversal International Networks for Pan-Asian broadcast of paranormal investigative series The R.I.P. Files.



A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


Did you know that budgets for programmatic TV buying are expected to surge to a whopping $10 billion* by 2019?

With dollars steadily shifting to audience-based ad buying and technology ramping up, you can’t afford not to get up to speed on this fast-changing ecosystem. By joining Cynopsis on Thursday, January 28, for the webinar, Programmatic TV 2016: The Keys to Mining Data and Measurement, your team will get the tools they need to understand the opportunities and challenges of unprecedented behavioral targeting.
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RATINGS

CBS delivered the most-watched primetime coverage of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, with 6.89 million viewers, according to Nielsen Live+SD data.

Top syndicated talker Kelly and Michael rose 10% the week of  December 28 to hit a new season high of 3.4. It was also up 10% from last year, the largest annual increase in the genre.

Also reaching season highs in syndication were Maury (up 18% week to week to 2.0), Rachael Ray (up 14% to 1.6), Dr. Oz (up 15% to 1.5), Jerry Springer (up 17% to 1.4) and The Doctors (up 22% to 1.1).

TV One closed out 2015 with five consecutive quarters of year-over-year gains in Primetime (4Q14-4Q15), with returning originals Hollywood Divas (Season 2), Unsung (Season 8), Fatal Attraction (Season 3) and Unsung Hollywood (Season 2) all growing over their previous seasons. The net also posted its best Primetime and Total Day performance ever among W25-54.
 
Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of December 28 ranked in order by HH Rtg
Judge Judy (CTD) 6.9AA
Family Feud (2/T) 6.6AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 6.4AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 6.1AA
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 5.5AA
Live with Kelly & Michael (DAD) 3.4AA
Modern Family (2/T) 3.2AA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 3.2AA
Inside Edition (CTD) 2.9AA
Two and a Half Men (WB) 2.7AA
Source: Nielsen Media Research

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of December 28 ranked in order by A18-49 Rtg
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 2.6AA
Family Feud (2/T) 2.3AA
Modern Family (2/T) 1.9AA
Judge Judy (CTD) 1.6AA
Family Guy (2/T) 1.6AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 1.3AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 1.3AA
Two and a Half Men (WB) 1.2AA
How I Met Your Mother (2T) 1.2AA
2 Broke Girls (WB) 1.1AA
Source: Nielsen Media Research

Tuesday A18-49 Analysis: On a night with the Big Four carrying the State of the Union address from 9p-10:30p, FOX and NBC tied for the most A18-49 viewers Tuesday with 1.2/4, according to final primetime national ratings from Nielsen. CBS’s NCIS topped 8p with 1.4/4, while Fox’s New Girl and Grandfathered earned 1.5/5 and 1.0/3 in their half hours. In non-speech coverage, Univision led at 9p with .9/3 for Pasion Poder, versus .7/2 for Telemundo’s Bao el Mismo Cielo. At 10p Univion’s Pasion and Telemundo’s Querida Centauro tied with .9/3; NBC’s State of the Union analysis was first at 10:30p with 1.0/3.

A18-49: FOX 1.2/4, NBC 1.2/4, CBS 1.1/4, UNI .8/3, TELE .7/2, ABC .7/2, CW .5/2, ION .5/2

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
CBS: 5.3/9
NCIS [r] 6.9/11, State of the Union, Mike & Milly [r] 2.6/5
NBC: 2.9/5
Hollywood Game Night 2.8/5, State of the Union, State of the Union Analysis 2.8/5
ABC: 2.0/3
Fresh Off the Boat [r] 2.3/4, Muppets [r] 1.4/2, State of the Union, The Goldbergs [r] 1.8/3
FOX: 1.9/3
New Girl 2.0/3, Grandfathered 1.7/3, State of the Union
UNIVISION: 1.2/2
Antes Muerta Lichita 1.2/2, Pasion y Poder 1.2/2
TELEMUNDO: 1.0/2
Celia 1.0/2, Bajo el Mismo Cielo 1.0/2, Querida Centauro 1.0/2
ION: .9/1
Criminal Minds 1.0/2, Criminal Minds 1.4/2, Criminal Minds 1.2/2
CW: .9/1
MadTV 20th Anniversary 1.0/2, iZombie .8/1

EXECUTIVE MOVES

Havas Worldwide hired Thomas Funk to serve as Managing Director of Europe, responsible for regional operations, and Eric Schoeffler as European Executive Creative Director, overseeing creative delivery. Funk joins Havas Worldwide from DDB Group Germany, where he was Chief Executive Officer; Schoeffler was most recently Chief Creative Officer at DDB Group Germany.

Jason Zajac joins NBCUniversal as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Insights. Most recently, Zajac was Partner and Managing Director for the Boston Consulting Group.

A+E Networks has named Paul Greenberg Executive Vice President and General Manager of FYI, effective January 19. Greenberg had been CEO of Nylon.

Leopard USA named Simon McKeown as Chief Creative Officer. McKeown joins from Eastern Production, where he was Senior Vice President of Development.

James Betesh was tapped to serve as Senior Vice President of advertiser-supported Vibrant TV. Betesh began his association with the network at its inception, as a consultant building its in-house operations and marketing strategy.

CMJ Productions II filled the newly-created position of Senior Development Consultant with Michael Katz. In the role, Katz, who will continue to operate Michael Katz Consultancy, will be closely involved in the company’s content development.

TRX, the onlinemarketplace for secondary TV and video rights, announced the appointment of RaquelYepes to manage all Latin American content rights, and Sanaz Roohi as Head of Client Services.

IN MEMORIAM

Veteran sportscaster Jim Simpson died January 13 after a brief illness. He was 88. Simpson’s credits include 14 Olympics, six Super Bowls, six World Series and 14 Wimbledon championships.



This Day in History:
1970 – Diana Ross and the Supremes performed their last concert together, in Las Vegas.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: Which series featured voice work from Tom Petty and Tammy Wynette? King of the Hill (1997-2010). Kudos to: Robert Levy-Verizon Video/Washington, DC, Jim Ryan-A+E Networks/NYC, Steve Nason-Simmons Research/Deerfield Beach, FL, Michael Hochman-Stare at Shannon Productions/Holland, PA, Scott Sarra-NBC Sports Group/Denver, Matt Sauer-Imagine Communications/Denver, Gretchen Brady-KTVT/Dallas, Adam Leston-Weigel Broadcasting/Milwaukee, Tim Rank-Blueprint314/St. Louis, MO, Richard Quan-BSSP/San Francisco, Kerri Huyck-Pasco, WA, Bob Telford-SAG/AFTRA/Valley Village, CA. 

Today’s Trivia  Animated Series Theme Week: Which animated show earned four Emmys, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was its network’s highest-rated show for five years running? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.).

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey: Editorial Director @Lynn_Leahey
01.14.16

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

Cynopsis Ad Sales: Mike Farina | VP, Sales | 203-218-6480
Cynopsis Job Listings Sales: Trish Pihonak | Director of Operations | 203-899-8459

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E-mail Trish@cynopsis.com or call Trish Pihonak at 203-899-8459 for rates and specs for Job Openings.


WHAT’S ON TONIGHT – THURSDAY JANUARY 14, 2016


ABC: Beyond the Tank, My Diet Is Better Than Yours
CBS: The Big Bang Theory, Life in Pieces, Mom, Angel From Hell, Elementary
CW: The World Dog Awards
Fox: American Idol
NBC: Heroes Reborn, The Blacklist, Shades of Blue
PBS: This Old House Hour, A Few Great Bakeries [r], Antiques Roadshow [r] [r]
Telemundo: Celia, Bajo el Mismo Cielo, La Querida del Centauro
Univision: Antes Muerta que Lichita, Pasion y Poder

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