PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Apple is developing Swagger, a basketball-themed drama series from NBA star Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Media and Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Television. Inspired by Durant’s youth basketball experiences, series explores the world of AAU basketball in DC, and the players, their families and coaches who walk the line between dreams and ambition, and opportunism and corruption.
Production house Raw has been commissioned by ITV to produce a fourth season of doc-series Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport. Season 4 will feature a new half-hour format.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
The new season of FX’s Atlanta – Atlanta Robbin’ Season – bows Thursday, March 1 at 10p. And, yes, if you guessed there will be a robbery based on the show’s new title this season, you would be correct.
Early ratings success of HGTV freshman series Restored by the Fords and Home Town scored mid-season pickups for both series. Restored by the Fords delivered a 26 percent ratings increase above the HGTV prime average among A25-54 in January, and has been picked up for 14 eps. Home Town has been picked up for 13 episodes.
Food explorer and Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern stars in new series The Zimmern List, premiering with back-to-back eps on Tuesday, March 13 at 9p. Zimmern will share his personal recommendations on the food and places where he most loves to eat.
Reelz changed the premiere date for the return of new episodes of documentary series Gangsters: America’s Most Evil. New eps will now premiere Tuesday, March 27 at 9p.
Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail returns for a second season on Discovery on Friday, March 30. This season, Parker Schnabel and his friends will go deep into the jungles of Guyana, South America, to chase a 21st century gold rush at the site of the legendary El Dorado.
Love is in the air at Cinelatino, which is celebrating Valentine’s Day by showcasing a variety of romantic comedies today (February 14) beginning at 8a.
Ovation will US-premiere Hamilton: One Shot To Broadway, an unauthorized one-hour doc about how the group of inspired mavericks made an unlikely marriage of hip-hop and history one of the biggest musicals, on Wednesday, March 7 ay 7p.
Amazon renewed its longest-running drama series, Bosch, for a fifth season. News comes ahead of the series’ season 4 premiere, set for April 13. Exec producer Eric Overmyer, who developed Bosch for TV and was showrunner for the first three seasons before leaving to showrun sister Amazon drama The Man In the High Castle, will be back as co-showrunner alongside exec producer Daniel Pyne.
YouTube Red gave a straight to series order to half-hour comedy Psychopath, from Undateable alums Chris D’Elia, also set to star, and Craig Doyle; Richie Keen (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), 3 Arts Entertainment and Funny Or Die. Series centers on a guy who discovers he’s a bona fide psychopath.
CBS All Access ordered a second season of its first original comedy series, Funny Or Die’s No Activity, from exec producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. The eight-ep first season is currently available to stream on CBS All Access.
It’s a date: Netflix is wasting no time in premiering Chris Rock: Tamborine, the first stand-up special from Rock in a decade. The service picked today (February 14) for the debut of the first of two Rock comedy specials that came to roost at Netflix.
Kevin Hart’s YouTube original series Kevin Hart: What the Fit will premiere March 8, with guests including Conan O’Brien, James Corden, Tiffany Haddish and Leslie Jones as Hart teams up with celeb friends to laugh their way through a different trending, grueling and sometimes ridiculous workouts.
45th & Dean, an in-house content hub within the A+E Networks family, will premiere a season 2 of its Snapchat show Second Chance today (February 14) at 6a. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Second Chance follows emotional exes as they meet face-to-face to explore the breaking point in their relationship for the first time.
Avalon and Vertical Networks are shopping their unscripted comedy format Ghost Hunt to US television nets for development into a long-form series following the show’s successful launch on Snapchat. Ghost Hunt, produced exclusively for Snapchat’s Discover page, premiered November 2017 and secured 5.35 million unique viewers.
Nerdist is partnering with comedy organization Upright Citizens Brigade to develop a new original comedy series that will debut exclusively with a 10-ep run on Legendary Digital Networks’ interactive streaming platform Alpha.The untitled project will showcase undiscovered comedic talent.
KSL-TV and Major League Soccer Team Real Salt Lake announced a first of its kind deal to bring 90-plus live games and VOD content to KSL’s OTT apps. RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen and KSL VP/GM Tanya Vea created the strategy to help bring live local sports content to a new “app generation” on OTT. Coverage begins with Real Salt Lake’s 2018 MLS opener on Saturday, March 3.
USA Today Network is amping up its video team, with plans to fatten its current 40-person team with another 20 new editors and producers.
Cynopsis Kids honoree Pocket.watch announced two licensing partnerships – a master apparel agreement with the Bentex Group and a toy licensing agreement with Bonkers Toys – aimed at helping build real-world franchises for its creator partner YouTube brands, including Ryan ToysReview, EvanTubeHD, JillianTubeHD, HobbyKidsTV, and Captain Sparklez. “The creators are intimately involved in the creation of their lines,” Stone Newman, pocket.watch chief revenue officer, tells Cynopsis. “The first segments out of the gate in toys, we’ll see the launch of Ryan’s World. But quickly behind that from Bonkers, we’ll also see HobbyKids and EvanTube.” Newman says product launches are planned for Q4 2018. More details on pocket.watch’s plans to bridge digital and real-world fandom when CynKids returns on March 6.
HITN TV Programming and Acquisitions Director Erika Vogt, a veteran in the Hispanic media world, discusses the challenges Hispanic families face in the children’s entertainment market, and shares what HITN TV is doing about it, in Cynsiders.
YouTube’s new publisher certification program, SuperAwesome’s SafeFam initiative went live, and more than 30 YouTubers and five agencies announced participation. SafeFam allows YouTubers to showcase that they are sharing safe content and protecting their under-13 audiences.
Cleo&Cuquin, a new series from Spanish production company Anima, launched on Nick Jr. Anima partnered with Mattel as global master toy licensee.
All 78 eps of Geronimo Stilton are now available on Netflix with different seasons set to stream on several Netflix platforms internationally. The second season of Geronimo Stilton is available for streaming in the US now.
ADVERTISING & PARTNERSHIPS
Comcast NBCUniversal and the Association of National Advertisers are teaming in support of the ANA’s #SeeHer movement, dedicated to global, national and regional brands working together to eliminate gender bias in advertising and media. Kicking off with the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the partnership begins with a #SeeHer Presents “takeover” celebrating America’s female athletes on NBC Sports’ morning and primetime coverage and other NBCU properties and platforms in the coming days and weeks. Supporters of the initiative include #SeeHer members AT&T, Procter & Gamble, USAA and Verizon. #SeeHer launched in June 2016.
Fox Television Stations partnered with ITN Holdings to license its ProVantageX platform. The deal offers an end-to-end advertising technology platform for both traditional and programmatic business solutions.
Melissa Roxburgh (Valor) and alum Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time) have been cast as the female and male lead, respectively, of NBC mystery pilot Manifest….Damon Dayoub (Stitchers) will feature in a multi-epi arc on season 6 of NBC’s Chicago Fire….Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead) will star in ABC’s untitled ’70s-era comedy pilot from former Last Man Standing showrunner Tim Doyle and ABC Studios.
Bella Heathcote (The Man in the High Castle) scored the female lead opposite Jack Reynor in CBS All Access’ drama Strange Angel….Judy Greer (Married) is in as a series regular in upcoming Showtime half-hour comedy Kidding, which also features Jim Carrey in a series regular role….They’re back: Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester, who starred in the original run of series Strike Back, will reprise their roles as Sgt. Damien Scott and Sgt. Michael Stonebridge, respectively, in season 5 of the series, which debuted this month on Cinemax.
The match for UK rights to Premier League soccer coverage was ongoing at press time, with Sky and BT retaining several packages, and telecom company BT scoring one package of games, while several others were yet to be determined.