01/23/15: Empire takes another ratings leap; “sorely missed” Rosie Perez headed back the The View; Discovery takes a shine to the Big Apple


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Good morning. It’s Friday, January 23, 2015, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Friday’s Premieres:
Lifetime: Bring It! at 9p, Preacher’s Daughters at 10p
PBS: American Masters at 9p
TLC: Love, Lust or Run at 9p

Saturday’s Premieres:
AHC: Patriots Rising: The American Revolution at 8p
Starz: Black Sails at 9p
VH1: VH1 Storytellers at 7p

Saturday’s Finale:
Patriots Rising: The American Revolution at 10p

Sunday’s Premiere:
History: Sons of Liberty at 9p

Sunday’s Finale:
ABC: Galavant at 8p

Empire did it again. In its third outing, the freshman Fox drama jumped four tenths, to a 4.4/13 rating among A18-49. That follows a 5 percent lift from week one to week two. American Idol also saw a four tenths uptick, to 3.4/11 in the demo. 


Broadcast television is the “sacrificial mouse” in Sling TV’s no-contract, low-price model, wrote BTIG managing director and media analyst Richard Greenfield in his blog on Thursday. “Disney appears to be the first media company willing to sacrifice TV station retransmission consent fees and network-level reverse retrans fees, in exchangefor protecting the distribution footprint of its key cable network brands: Disney and ESPN,” wrote Greenfield. Just how much of a threat is Sling TV? Greenfield tells Cynopsis, “I think the broadcast retrans pain will depend on how fast consumers embrace Sling and similar offerings – but it’s clear that an ominous cloud is now hovering over broadcast TV. Disney is willing to disrupt themselves, now the question is, will others follow?”

Former American Idol judge Paula Abdul and singer/dancer Jason Derulo will sit at the judge’s table for season 12 of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, joining returning judge and co-creator/exec producer Nygel Lythgoe. Mary Murphy’s exit was announced earlier this month. Reality series returns this summer.

Were reports of Rosie Perez’s exit from The View greatly exaggerated? ABC announced the co-host, currently on hiatus to rehearse for upcoming Broadway production Fish in the Dark, will be back on the talker Tuesday, February 3. “We look forward to welcoming multi-talented Rosie Perez back to her seat,” said the net on Thursday. “She brings her rich life experience and passion to the table – something we’ve sorely missed while she’s been away.”

Lisa Kudrow (Friends) will host the Writers Guild Awards on February 14. “One of my most proud professional moments was when I qualified to join the Writers Guild,” said Kudrow, who is a co-creator of HBO’s The Comeback and Showtime’s Web Therapy.

Showtime and Suddenlink announced the launch of Showtime Networks’ authentication service, Showtime Anytime, offering network’s subscribers unlimited on demand access to Showtime programming, including live broadcast of East and West Coast feeds. 


Discovery Channel is forming a New York-based Production and Development unit. Matthew Kelly and Michael Sorensen, currently based in Discovery Communications’ headquarters in Silver Spring, MD will head the effort; other Discovery development and production executives and key team members will continue to be based in LA and Silver Spring. “As Discovery Channel creates and delivers more programming to more viewers across all platforms, havinga robustdevelopment and production team in New Yorkis a crucial and necessary move,” said net president Rich Ross.

Unscripted producer and director Brian Neal has signed a first look deal with ITV Studios America to create, develop and produce projects for the studio through his banner Thought Pirates. Neal has set up projects at networks including NatGeo, Discovery, Animal Planet, MTV and TLC in addition to his digital and commercial projects.



In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, AHC will air Schindler’s List on Sunday, January 25 at 8p, without commercial interruption. Calling the Steven Spielberg drama “one of the most significant and, indeed, impactful,films of ourgeneration,” Henry Schleiff, Group President, Discovery Networks, tells Cynopsis airing the film is“atribute to the heroes and survivors of this tragic event, which has forever shaped our world.” The film is “the quintessential example of what AHC tries to portray every day,” adds Schleiff, “that even in the most hopeless of circumstances, an unexpected hero can arise – and, prevail.”

OWN’s Sag Harbor explores the exclusive African American Hamptons enclave, established as a refuge from racism in the early 20th century. Special featuring restaurateur B. Smith airs Sunday, January 25 at 10p.

In the mood for (TV) romance this weekend? Count on Hallmark to have you covered. Hallmark Channel original movie premiere Love By the Book airs Saturday, January 24 at 9p (moved from January 17), and Hallmark Hall of Fame film Away & Back premieres Sunday, January 25 at 8p.

Yup, they’re really doing it. WE tv is launching Sex Box, a couples therapy show that includes participants having (soundproof, thank you) sex in box in the studio, on Friday, February 27 at 10p. Based on the UK original, the reality show will be “amazingly honest, provocative and yes, dare we say it, educational,” promises the net.

Hide the hooch – season three of CMT’s Party Down South launches Thursday, February 26 at 9p. Cast members recap the episode at 10p on Party Down South: Talk of Shame, hosted by Christine Lakin (Step by Step).

Olympic figure skaters Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski have been enlisted to offer their takes on all things Super Bowl during NBC’s pre-game coverage, launching Sunday, February 1 at noon. Since teaming for the Sochi Olympics in February, the twosome have reported on events including the Kentucky Derby and the Academy Awards.

Moment of Truth offers first person accounts and dramatizations of people who stared death in the face and survived. After its Friday, March 6 premiere at 9p on ABC, the series, exec produced by Maria Awes and Andy Awes for Committee Films in association with ABC’s Lincoln Square Productions, moves to its regular Saturday berth on March 7 at 9p. What makes Saturday night a good fit for the series? “There is nothing like it on television today,” Morgan Hertzan, VP and executive in charge of Lincoln Square Productions, tells Cynopsis.“Saturday night is the perfect night for these suspenseful movies about life and death.”

Matchbox Twenty “takes over” AXS TV on Sunday, February 15 starting at 12p. The event features concert performances from bands including Counting Crows, Train and The Fray, as well as the premiere of concert film Matchbox Twenty Live North at 8p.


Live with Kelly & Michael will air its fourth annual live post-Oscars show on Monday, February 23 at 9a, with Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris confirmed as a guest. Last year’s telecast was the talker’s highest-rated broadcast ever.


Trying something new isn’t easy in reality TV, said Jonathan Murray, chairman of Bunim-Murray Productions (Real World), in his NATPE session. “We have innovative ideas that we are coming up with, but trying to get the big nets to take those ideas seriously is hard. They would prefer a show that’s already been on the air somewhere else so they can say it worked.” That said, “If you make one significant change to an idea, it becomes new,” said Murray, pointing Big Brother’s spin on Real World.


Purina Pro Plan is the presenting partner for the fourth year in a row for The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, airing on USA Tuesday, February 17 at 8p. Digital access for earlier rounds of the canine competition will be available starting the day before, at 8a. “We have helped elevate some of the world’s top dogs to great success through innovative products and nutrition,” said Candy Caciolo, portfolio director, Professional Engagement Marketing, Nestlé Purina PetCare, “and we are aiming to continue that legacy this year.”

Little Caesars is all set for Super Bowl Sunday, when viewers to sit back, grab a slice and watch…How I Met Your Mother? WGN America is running its first annual “We know it’s the day of the big game but please watch us anyway How I Met Your Mother Barney Bowl” marathon, with 20 back-to-back eps starting at 12p on February 1, presented by the pizza chain. “We’ve got game…just not the game,” said Brian Dollenmayer, EVP, marketing and promotions, WGN America and Tribune Studios.

Offering another alternative on game day are TLC, Discovery Life Channel and presenting sponsor Mead Johnson for the Enfagrow Toddler Bowl, premiering on both networks Sunday at 12p and encoring at 2p. Host and YouTube star Clintus McGintus will act as referee, guiding tykes through various brain-boosting contests. “Enfagrow is a nutritional drink designed to help nourish healthy brain development. So, we were happy to sponsor a program that showcases both mental and physical challenges for toddlers,” said Leslie Lee, associate director of marketing for Enfagrow.

A Nationwide ad featuring The Mindy Project’s Mindy Kaling that will make it to the big game features the comedian/writer acting as though she’s invisible (sunbathing nude in a public park, walking though a car wash; teaser here). The spot, from McKinney, with an assist from Kaling, addresses the fact that “consumers feel dissatisfied and considered invisible by companies out there,” Matt Jauchius, the insurance company’s chief marketing officer, told AdWeek. “We’re saying, we understand you, America.”

What’s best about the Super Bowl: the game, the ads or the halftime show? Vote in the new Cynopsis poll.


Showtime Networks nabbed the rights to Dreamcatcher, about Brenda Myers-Powell, whose Dreamcatcher Foundation fights to end human trafficking and prevent the sexual exploitation of at-risk youth. The doc was acquired ahead of its premiere on Sunday at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.


Keshet International game show Boom! has been commissioned by Argentina’s Telefe. A local adaptation of the show will be produced in house by Telefe for a fall 2015 premiere.


Melissa Benoist (Glee) has been cast as the lead in CBS drama Supergirl. Pilot comes from Berlanti Studios in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Pharrell will make a cameo on the Sunday, February 8 ep of Fox’s The Simpsons, reports EW. The rapper and The Voice coach will play himself.

CASTING CALL: ABC’s hit series Extreme Weight Loss is back for season 6 and seeking celebrities who want to use their influence to nominate & support a friend, relative or even a fan along their weight loss journey. If you are a public figure and want to pay it forward, contact Casting Director, Lindsay at lindsayluttrell@gmail.com (2/5)


How does your social media game measure up to your competitors’?

Cynopsis Sports’ latest webinar, Monetizing and Maximizing Your Sports Content on Social Media on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 will show you the best practices and strategies for turning a mere following into a powerful revenue channel, and help your partners and fans alike connect across multiple platforms.



Wheel of Fortune was the number one show in syndication the week ending January 11, jumping 25 percent week to week to a season high 8.0 HH rating. Jeopardy hit a 7.6 HH rating, up 23 percent, another season high.

Syndicated magazine shows had big gains for a second week. Hitting season highs were Entertainment Tonight with 3.9, up 26 percent versus the prior week; Inside Edition, up 21 percent to 3.4, and TMZ , with a season high of 2.2.Matching season highs: Access Hollywood (1.9, up 27 percent), Extra (1.7, up 21 percent) and The Insider (1.4, up 17 percent).

Talk shows also saw nice gains: In its third week as the top gabber, Live with Kelly & Michael rose 6 percent to hit 3.3 and Dr. Phil returned with original episodes for a 33 percent leap to 3.2. Ellen DeGeneres, up 22 percent to 2.8, was third.

Fixer Upper on Tuesday garnered a 1.25 A25-54 rating, helping HGTV achieve its highest-rated Tuesday night ever among A25-54 with a .78.HGTV was the number two cable network among A25-54 and W25-54 and the top cable network among upscale viewers W25-54.

From Tuesday, January 13 through Sunday, January 18, over 5.1 million people tuned in to Velocity’s Barrett-Jackson Live, covering of the 44th annual car auction. On average, audiences watched for more than two hours, with the six-day event shattering records to become Velocity’s number one series among HH, P2+ and M18+ in ratings and delivery.

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 1/5/15 ranked in order by HH Rtg
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 88.0AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 7.6AA
Judge Judy (CTD) 7.3 AA
Family Feud (2/T) 6.7AA
Big Bang Theory (WB) 6.5AA
Modern Family (2/T) 4.4AA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 3.9AA
Inside Edition (CTD) 3.4AA
Live with Kelly & Michael  (DAD) 3.3AA
Two and a Half Men (WB) 3.2 AA
Dr. Phil Show (CTD) 3.2AA
Source: Nielsen Media Research

Top 11 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 1/5/15 ranked in order by A18-49 Rtg
Big Bang Theory (WB) 3.5AA
Modern Family (2/T) 2.7AA
Family Feud (2/T) 2.3 AA
Family Guy (2/T) 1.7AA
Judge Judy (CTD) 1.7AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 1.6AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 1.5AA
How I Met Your Mother (2/T) 1.4AA
Two and a Half Men (WB) 1.4AA
Seinfeld (SPT) 1.2AA
TMZ (WB) 1.2AA
Source: Nielsen Media Research

Wednesday A18-49 Analysis: FOX won the most A18-49 viewers Thursday with 3.9/12, according to Nielsen. Fox was first at 8p with 3.0/9 for American Idol, followed by 1.5/5 for CBS’s The Mentalist. Fox’s Empire topped 9p with 4.4/13, versus 2.0/6 for CBS’s Criminal Minds. Tied for the lead at 10p were CBS’s Stalker and NBC’s Chicago PD, with 1.5/5.

A18-49: FOX 3.9/12, CBS 1.6/5, NBC 1.2/4, ION 1.2/3, ABC 1.0.3, CW .8/3, TELE .7/2, ION .2/1

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: January 21, 2015 – time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
FOX: 6.9/11
American Idol 6.8/12, Empire 6.9/11
CBS: 5.9/10
The Mentalist 6.0/10, Criminal Minds 6.5/10, Stalker 5.2/9
NBC: 4.1/7
Mysteries of Laura [r] 3.3/5, Law and Order: SVU 4.4/7, Chicago PD 4.5/8
ABC: 2.5/4
The Middle [r] 3.6/6, The Goldbergs [r] 3.0/5, Modern Family [r] 3.4/5, black-ish [r] 2.5/4, Galavant [r] 1.2/2
Mi Corazon Es Tuyo 1.8/3, Hasta Fin del Mundo 1.6/3, Que te Perdone Dios 1.4/2
TELE: .9/1
Los Miserables .8/1, Tierra de Reyes .7/1, Duenos del Paraiso 1.1/2
CW: 1.3/2
Arrow 1.8/3, The Hundred .9/1
ION: .6/1
Cold Case .7/1, Cold Case .6/1, Cold Case .6/1

Tuesday A18-49 Analysis: FOX won the most A18-49 viewers Tuesday with 1.8/6, according to final primetime national ratings from Nielsen. Fox was first at 8p with 1.8/6 for MasterChef Junior, followed by 1.5/5 for Univision’s Mi Corazon Es Tuyo. While the Big 4 aired the State of the Union address, Uni topped the hour among the remainder of the nets with 1.4/4 for Hasta Fin del Mundo, versus .9/3 for CW’s Supernatural. Uni stayed in the lead with 1.1/3 for Que te Perdone Dios; Telemundo’s Duenos del Paraiso was second with 1.0/3.

A18-49:FOX 1.8/6, NBC 1.3/4, UNI i.3/4, CBS 1.2/4, CW 1.1/3, ABC .8/3, TELE .7/2, ION .5/2

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Tuesday, January 20, 2015  time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
CBS: 5.7/10
NCIS [r] 7.6/12, State of the Union, Mike & Molly 2.5/5 [r]
FOX 3.3/5
MasterChef Junior 3.35, State of the Union
NBC: 2.6/4
Parks and Recreation 2.4/4, Parks and Recreation [r] 2.0/3, State of the Union, Sate of the Union Analysis 2.7/5
ABC: 2.3/7
Marvel’s Agent Carter [r] 2.1/3, State of the Union, black-ish [r] 2.2/4
FOX 3.3/5
MasterChef Junior 3.35, State of the Union
CW: 1.9/3
Flash 2.4/4, Supernatural 1.5/2
Mi Corazon es Tuyo 1.8/3, Hasta Fin del Mundo 1.7/3, Que te Perdone Dios 1.4/3
ION: 1.2/2
Criminal Minds 1.0/2, Criminal Minds 1.3/2, Criminal Minds 1.4/3
Telemundo: .8/1
Los Miserables .8/1, Tierra de Reyes .7/1, Duenos del Paraiso 1.0/2


Jennifer Dorian has been appointed General Manager of Turner Classic Movies. Most recently, Dorian was Chief Strategy Officer for Turner Entertainment Networks. Genevieve McGillicuddy was promoted to Vice President of Brand Activation and Partnerships for TCM, up from Senior Director.

True Entertainment promoted Jo Honig to Executive Vice President of Development and named Bryan Hale Senior Vice President and Head of West Coast Development. Honig had been Senior Vice President of Development; previously, Hale served as Vice President of Current Programming at FremantleMedia North America.

Lanie Strouse has been named Director of Development for the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. Previously, Strouse headed up strategic and corporate partnerships at St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Red Arrow tapped Jay Russell for the position of Director of Talent acquisition. Russell is the star and creator of TruTV’sSouthern Fried Stings, and Co-Executive Producer of Spike’s World’s Worst Tenants.


Want to find out what shows are online and when?

Check out the Watcheroo Digital Programming Guide

Organized by show name, date, and platform, we have everything you’ll need to be caught up on digital premieres, ongoing programs, live-streamed events and integrated series.

Friday Fact: Hamburgers hail from Germany, but it took an American to come up with the bun.

This Day in History: 1977 – The  mini-series Roots began airing on ABC.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: What finally convinced Tru’s brother Harrison on Tru Calling (2003-2005) that she relived certain days? Tru knew it was going to snow. Kudos to David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA/LA.

Today’s Trivia Question: Which 1980s drama included guest appearances by musicians including Adam Ant, Meat Loaf and Ashford and Simpson? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.).
Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey

Roberta Caploe: Editorial Director @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

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ABC: Last Man Standing [r], Cristela [r], Shark Tank [r], 20/20 [r]
CBS: Undercover Boss, Hawaii Five-0 [r], Blue Bloods [r]
CW: Hart of Dixie, Whose Line Is It Anyway? [r], Masters of Illusion
FOX: World’s Funniest Fails, Glee
NBC: Constantine, Grimm, Dateline NBC
PBS: Washington Week, Charlie Rose, American Masters [
p], Live From Lincoln Center
Telemundo: Los Miserables, Tierra de Reyes, Duenos del Paraiso
Univision: Mi Corazon Es Tuyo, Hasta el Fin del Mundo, Que te Perdone Dios…Yo No

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