PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
CBS ordered a pilot for procedural God Friended Me, from Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt (Alcatraz), director Marcos Siega and Berlanti Productions.
Anonymous Content and Paramount Television landed the rights to develop a series based on the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), focused on the small group of survivors of a global pandemic.
Lionsgate signed a new overall television deal with unscripted TV producers Katy Wallin and Stephanie Bloch Chambers. Under the agreement, the duo will create original nonfiction programming and formats for television and digital platforms through their new Wallin-Chambers Entertainment banner.
Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) and her She Ready production company inked a first-look deal with HBO. Haddish will also star in TBS’s upcoming The Last OG with Tracy Morgan, among a myriad of other projects.
Pretty Little Liars exec producer/showrunner Charlie Craig, with I. Marlene King, will take the same titles for PLL spinoff pilot The Perfectionists. King wrote the pilot based on the book series.
Independent prodco The WorkShop has entered into a partnership with PGA tour champion Rickie Fowler and his newly-formed Main Event Productions on a new docu-series, Rezball. Fowler, who is part Navajo, will serve as executive producer on the docu-series, following the lives of the Chinle High School boy’s basketball team based on the Navajo Nation reservation. Production began earlier this month.
CMJ Productions struck a series development agreement with cult crime book author and inventor of baseball’s “sabermetrics,” Bill James, whose Popular Crime features unconventional sleuthing techniques.
Liz Friendlander (Conviction) will direct and exec produce the first episode of ABC crime drama The Rookie, starring and exec produced by Nathan Fillion (Castle).
ABC gave a pilot order to drama Get Christie Love!, from Courtney Kemp (Power) and producers Vin Diesel, Debra Martin Chase and Shana C. Waterman. The order revives the 1974-75 series.
Sonar Entertainment has entered into a first-look deal with UK-based Wildseed Studios encompassing all Wildseed kids and family content. The partnership will also focus on developing and producing strategic and incentivized pipelines for creator driven properties from the UK and North America, with Sonar acting as worldwide distributor.
If the Super Bowl is any indication, the advertising market is “pretty hot,” said NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke in an earnings call Tuesday. NBC is getting an average of $5 million per 3-second spot for the big game, up 15-20% from last year, and inventory is “essentially sold out,” said Burke.
TV networks are scoring the most spend on brand integration, according to Advertiser Perceptions’ 2017 Content Marketing Study. 76% of brand integration dollars land at TV networks, with 45% on linear content and 32% on TV network digital content. Digital pure play reels in just 24% of spending. As for tradition ads, 62% or respondents in the study said integrated marketing efforts are more effective.
Discovery’s first “Motor Mega Week” runs Monday, February 26 at 9p through Monday, March 5 at 11p. The event gets into gear with 4 consecutive nights of car builds culminating in a Mega Race finale. Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings, Twin Turbos and Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman will all premiere during the week.
The midseason premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead will run for 82 minutes, instead of the usual 60. The zombie drama returns Sunday, February 25, presumably telling the end of the story of the-popular-character-whose-name-we-will-not-say who was bitten by a zombie.
Added to the lineup of the 60th Annual Grammy Awards are Emmylou Harris with Chris Stapleton; Zuleyka Rivera, who will perform with Luis Fonsi and Danny Yankee; and Sting. Show airs Sunday, January 28 on CBS.
Fox’s Empire and Star are back from winter hiatus on Wednesday, March 28 at 8p and 9p.
CBS Corporation and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have created a series of CBS Cares PSAs to honor the victims of the Nazi Holocaust and mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The campaign will debut with two PSAs featuring 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley tomorrow, January 26 and Saturday, January 27. A 60-second PSA featuring the lives of children before they became Holocaust victims will debut in primetime on February 2 and will be scheduled throughout the year.
The April 18 episode of CW’s Riverdale will focus on a Riverdale High production of “Carrie: The Musical,” and feature 11 songs.
The 2018 Bounce Trumpet Awards took place last weekend, and among the memorable moments were a musical tribute to So So Def Recordings founder and honoree Jermaine Dupri, a tribute to honoree Cameo and performances by Arrested Development, Michel’le and Major, among others. The event celebrating African-American achievements will air on Bounce Sunday, February 11 at 9p.
Outdoor Channel’s Major League Fishing is back on Saturdays from 2-4p for a new season of the Summit Select tournament. Outdoor Sportsman Group also acquired the programming library of MLF (including MLF Raw, MLF Extended Cast and highlights), for its outdoor SVOD service, MyOutdoorTV.
In response to reports that Kremlin-connected accounts were part of a social media campaign, #ReleaseTheMemo, aimed at discrediting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “This latest example of Russian interference is in keeping with Moscow’s concerted, covert, and continuing campaign to manipulate public opinion and erode trust in our law enforcement and intelligence institutions,” said the lawmakers, who asked Facebook and Twitter to investigate by Friday how many Russian-linked accounts were involved in the effort, what the extent of their activity was, and how many users were exposed to it.
Nielsen has added Instagram owned measurement into its Social Content Ratings platform, which also includes Facebook and Twitter. SCR offers insight into the engagement driven by owned accounts, those officially associated with the program, as well as organic activity between friends and fans.
Netflix is raising its marketing spend by a whopping 50% in 2018 versus last year. “Our testing results indicate this is wise,” said the company in a 4Q17 letter to shareholders. “We want great content, and we want the budget to make the hits we have really big, drive our membership growth.” According to iSpot.tv, Netflix spent $46.3 million on national TV advertising in 2017.
IBM Watson Media has partnered with the Recording Academy to use AI to streamline operations behind the Grammys red carpet on Sunday, January 28. Watson will categorize video, tagging celebrities and topics; analyze photos for color and look to create a gallery of similar styles; and analyze audio cues to generate insights into emotional tone in nominated songs.
El Rey Network’s The Director’s Chair and Man at Arms: Art of War are now available on audience-focused aggregation platform VRV, featuring premium SVOD channels alongside a curated house channel, VRV Select.
CNBC is offering an audio news brief for HomePod, Apple’s new wireless speaker for the home. Ask Siri, and users will be able to get news updates throughout the business day, and weekend look ahead features from CNBC anchors and reporters.
Boat Rocker Media has acquired FremantleMedia’s Kids & Family Entertainment division, headquartered in London. “Today marks a major step in our expansion on the international stage,” said John Young, CEO and David Fortier and Ivan Schneeberg, co-executive chairmen of Boat Rocker. “We have deep respect for the unique expertise and brands that the FremantleMedia Kids & Family team have created over the last 8 years and are excited for future collaborations.”
Gaumont is establishing a new office in Cologne, Germany, slated to open July 1. Sabine de Mardt, former director of fiction and film at Warner Bros. Inernational TV Production Deutchland GmbH, will serve as president.
Globo telenovela Rock Story has been licensed to Israel. In Brazil, the show reached an average 37 million daily viewers and a 44% share.
Hey Qween debuts on Canada’s OUTtv Thursday, February 1 at 9:30p, following RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars. Hot T will slip in at 10p.
Lolita Davidovich (Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders) is set to recur on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder later this season….John Malkovich (Dangerous Liaisons) will guest on Showtime drama Billions as a Russian billionaire. Season 3 premieres Sunday, March 25 at 10p.