PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
An immigration-themed reboot of 1994-2000 family drama Party of Five landed a put pilot commitment from Freeform. The new version, from original series creators Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman and Sony Pictures Television, follows the five Buendias children after their parents are suddenly deported back to Mexico.
Freeform is also developing Augs, a futuristic drama from Scott Stewart (Dark Skies) and Anonymous Content, and has assembled a writers room for period drama Cleopatra, from Michael Seitzman (Code Black), Christina Davis, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and ABC Signature.
A spinoff of Jerry Bruckenheimer’s Bad Boys starring Gabrielle Union (Being Mary Jane) got a pilot order from NBC, reports TheWrap. Union is reprising her role from 2003’s Bad Boys II.
Ample Entertainment inked an overall deal with UK executive producer John Henshaw, whose history with Ample includes having served as executive producer for Murder in the Heartland for Investigation Discovery and Cooper’s Treasure for Discovery. Under the deal, Henshaw will create, develop and produce unscripted programming with a focus on high end documentary series in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
New 6-episode documentary series Nova Wonders is slated to launch on PBS in spring 2018. Series follows researchers tackling unanswered questions about life and the cosmos.
E!’s Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry is back for season 3 on Wednesday, February 28 at 9p. Among the celebs connecting with the dead this time around are Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory), Real Housewife Teresa Giudice, La Toya Jackson and rapper Iggy Azalea.
Clip-based series Zoofari, showcasing animals from around the world, launches on Nickelodeon on Monday, February 5 at 2p.
In honor of the Women’s March taking place January 20, Fuse will air a “We Stand with Women” programming block beginning at 8a. Programming includes a one-hour music block as well as episodes of Moesha and Sister Sister.
Victims lost to gun violence and terrorism will be honored at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards taking place Sunday, January 28 on CBS. A tribute will be performed by 3 of the artists who participated in the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas: Brothers Osborne, Eric Church and Maren Morris.
Discovery Networks International feature length doc Slider: Ice Warrior Challenge follows the journey of a double amputee who redefined himself as a champion powerlifter, now testing his limits in the sport of skeleton.
Reelz’ ABBA: When All Is Said and Done, airing Saturday, January 20 at 8p, tells the story of Agnetha Faltskog and “Frida” Anni-Frid Lyngstad, the two women in Swedish pop super group ABBA.
The NFL players who will vie for the title of MVP: Most Valuable Performer on CBS’s new, live, one-hour interactive talent show are Brandon Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Justin Tucker, Alex Collins, Cody and Jacob Hollister (performing together), and Kevin Zeitler. The finalists, selected via a nationwide vote, will showcase their off-the-field talent on an LL Cool J-hosted broadcast Thursday, January 25 at 8p. If any player is unable to perform due to their football obligations, Domata Peko and Robert Nkemdiche have been named as alternates.
SundanceTV is airing miniseries and films throughout February to celebrate Black History Month. Kicking things off is most-watched-miniseries Roots, starting Saturday, February 10 at noon, followed the next day by sequel Roots: The Next Generations at 11a.
Sportsman Channel is launching its first-ever “Sportsman Channel Outdoor Fest,” with upwards of 500 vendors and 15,000 patrons expected to converge in Houston from July 20-22. Slate of events includes speaking programs, seminars, demonstrations and more.
Grace & Frankie’s Jane Fonda, honored with a Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award at NATPE, told Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who presented it to her, “I would not be getting this award if you haven’t given me a life in television.” Legacy awards also went to Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods), producer Greg Berlanti, TNT and TBS head Kevin Reilly, and chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Television Enterprises, Cesar Conde.
NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution announced at NATPE that it has sold Dateline in over 70% of the country for a sophomore national syndication run. The highest-rated new one-hour strip to premiere in the last 5 seasons, Dateline has improved both primetime and early fringe time periods by 10% for stations in November versus a year ago.
Viacom International Media Networks announced agreements for Nickelodeon pre-school content in Brazil and Mexico, including Rusty Rivets, Nella the Princess Knight, Shimmer and Shine and Dora and Friends, among others.
Influencers prefer Instagram to Snapchat, according to new research from Carusele and TapInfluence. By a lot. Asked “What is your favorite channel to use for branded content?”, 36% of influencers said personal blogs, 35% chose Instagram, Facebook was selected by 12%, with 9% for Twitter, 6% for Pinterest and 1% for YouTube. Of 790 influencers surveyed, none chose Snapchat as their first choice. “Two things are clear from this part of our survey,” said Jim Tobin, president of Carusele. “The first is that blogs aren’t going anywhere, which I think is a good thing for both brands and influencers. And second, Instagram’s moves over the last year or two have really outmaneuvered Snapchat, which had been a hot platform for creators two years ago.”
Amazon canceled 3 comedies: One Mississippi after 2 seasons, and freshmen I Love Dick and Jean-Claud Van Johnson. The streamer also chose not to pick up the 3 comedy pilots from its fall pilot season.
Will Packer Media, the recently launched branded content and production company founded by producer Packer (Girls Trip), has acquired women’s lifestyle site xoNecole, its first foray into the media ownership space. WPM said it will invest in building out the xoNecole platform, increasing its video, social and mobile offerings with the goal of growing it into a top lifestyle brand along the lines of a Refinery29.
Expect to see social companies make even more aggressive moves into video in 2018, as the major OTT providers make similar pushes into social, predicts Ooyala’s State of the Broadcast Industry Report. “They’re all starting to collide over premium content, advertisers and consumers, as the industry continues to contract and expand in new ways,” says the report. Takeaway? “What was once a steady consumer march into mobile video is now an all-out sprint. Content providers from linear, digital and social worlds are following them there, with short and long-form content in play to engage and satisfy.”
Comcast Technology Solutions and DLVR announced a partnership. For the first time, Comcast’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Origin service have added multi-CDN flexibility to provide content delivery optimization and maximize viewing experience across all screens. By leveraging DLVR’s content optimization service, the partnership enables turn-key, real time performance-driven CDN switching functionality in addition to rich Quality of Experience analytics.
Programming notes: OWN’s Black Love begins streaming exclusively on UMC.TV on February 2…. Restaurateur David Chang will star in Netflix docuseries Ugly Delicious, traipsing the globe to eat and drink with chefs, artists and entertainers. Show starts streaming next month.
Facebook is testing a feature called Watch Party that would allow the synchronizing of video so Facebook groups can watch together. Videos are chosen by the group admins and moderators, and can be any public videos on Facebook, live or recorded. “While this is just a small test at the moment, we’ll be learning, and hope to expand Watch Party in the future,” said Facebook VO of product Fidji Simo in a post.
Cross MediaWorks and 605, an advanced data and analytics company focused on the media and entertainment industry, have partnered to provide a measurement standard to help scale the addressable television marketplace. The solution will also create an independent, third-party verification of performance providing a standardization of an impressions-based television campaigns. In addition to campaign measurement, the partnership is aiming for a unified targeting approach that encompasses a new data-driven solution for linear and addressable TV advertising. “This new innovative solution with 605 provides our clients with the best of both worlds,” Nick Troiano, CEO, Cross MediaWorks, tells Cynopsis. “No longer will advertisers be forced to choose between scale and targeting – now Cross MediaWorks will have granular targeting and third-party measurement capabilities for more than 100 million households.”
Publishers will have to adopt anti-fraud tool ads.txt (Authorized Digital Sellers) by July 1 if they want to receive a “certified against fraud” seal, said the Trustworthy Accountability Group. Among the top 1000 Alexa-ranked sites, 22.3% have implemented ads.txt, according to Pixalate; among the top 1000 that support programmatic the number jumps to 59.9%.
Marketers are keeping a close eye on Amazon, and for good reason. Speaking at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview, Geoff Ramsey, co-founder and chief innovation officer for eMarketer, noted that while Google and Facebook account for over 65% of U.S. ad spend versus 2.5% for Amazon, Amazon was the second-fastest growing advertising company last year, after Snapchat. This year, Ramsey predicted, Amazon’s ad business will increase by 42%.
Alec Baldwin, Blythe Danner and Sara Rue will return to Will & Grace to guest in roles they played in the original….Andie McDowell (Trial and Error) has joined the cast of BBC comedy Cuckoo….Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) and Catherine Dyer (I, Tonya) will recur on upcoming Fox medical drama The Resident, launching Sunday.
Season 2 of Alone-Denmark, the locally produced version of A+E Networks format Alone, moved from DR3 to DR1 and averaged a 28.1% share, ranking tops in the timeslot.
UK’s BBC Three acquired Australian drama Romper Stomper, a drama following far right activists and the anti-fascist counterparts who intend to bring them down.
Dynamic Television announced its first slate of sales for Nelson Mandela miniseries Madiba. The drama, which premiered in the U.S. on BET last spring, was licensed in France to Numero 23, in Australia to SBS, in Africa, the Middle East and Turkey to Discovery Networks, in French speaking Africa to C+ Overseas, Pan Asia to FOX Asia, in the Czech Republic to Czech TV, in Greece to OTE and DutchFilm Works acquired the series for the Benelux territories.
FremantleMedia International announced its first presale of HBO’s Italian drama series drama My Brilliant Friend, based on the bestseller, to the Canal+ Group for France and French-speaking territories.