PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
The Impractical Jokers franchise is expanding. truTV committed to an eighth season of the series and is starting production on the brand’s first feature-length film, which will be directed by Chris Henchy and produced by Funny Or Die.
Sonar Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company are developing Rift, a live action sci fi series for teens, created and written by Simon Racioppa and Richard Elliott (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Fangbone!, Teen Titans). You think you had it tough in high school? The show follows Sydney Jensen, caught between the struggles of school life and another world where she’s a rebel a parallel world, determined to stop a dark organization.
The CW acquired 10-hour fantasy adventure series The Outpost from Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment and Arrowstorm Entertainment. It’s the first hourlong summer scripted series for the net.
Martin Freeman (Sherlock, Fargo) has created and is starring in Breeders. The comedy about parenting is being piloted by BBC and FX.
Defy Media and GRB Entertainment have joined forces on a programming partnership, reports Deadline. The goal: bring each company closer toward a desired audience. For GRB it is the Millennial and Gen-Z viewers, while Defy is aiming for viewers A 25-54.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
National Geographic prepares to Drain the Oceans in a series from UK’s Mallinson Sadler Productions and Australia’s Electric Pictures. Using the latest scientific data with state of the art digital recreations, the 10-parter reveals the full scope of shipwrecks, treasure, sunken cities, geology and technology at play on the floors of lakes, seas and oceans around the world. Look for a global premiere in 2018.
Nobodies debuts on Paramount Network on Thursday, March 29 at 10p, following Groundlings alums Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf and Rachel Ramras as they navigate life on the outskirts of fame.
Discovery’s Bering Sea Gold returns for a new season on Friday, March 30 at 10p.
Season 6 of HBO’s Vice bows Friday, April 6 at 11p. The new season of the weekly news magazine will include 35 episodes, up from 30 last year.
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia appears in his first television interview, with Norah O’Donnell, on CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday, March 18, two days before the heir to the throne arrives in the U.S.
48 Hours explores the murder of Los Angeles hairstylist and beauty company executive Fabio Sementilli and the hunt for his killer in Who Killed Fabio? Episode airs Saturday, March 10 at 10p on CBS.
Paramount Network and filmmaker Derik Murray joined forces on a new doc on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am MLK Jr. bows Wednesday, April 4 at 9p on the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination.
Roads to Memphis, a film tracing the fateful journeys of Martin Luther King Jr. and James Earl Ray to their deadly collision, airs Tuesday, April 3 at 8p on American Experience on PBS (check local listings).
More laughs are headed to Laff. The broadcast net struck a multi-year licensing agreement with Disney/ABC Television Group for Home Improvement, acquiring the rights to all eight seasons of the sitcom. Series will make its debut in September.
NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises launched Telemundo Academy, a multimedia education institution aimed at empowering and training the next generation of media leaders. The academy’s first partners will include Armando Christian Perez’s (Pitbull) SLAM Miami and the Doral Academy. Supported by the company’s “El Poder En Ti” (The Power in You) corporate social responsibility initiative, the 16-week program will immerse students in the media world.
Raven Goodwin was upped to series regular in the upcoming second season of Showtime’s SMILF.
Denyse Tontz (The Fosters) landed a lead role in ABC drama pilot Grand Hotel… Kimrie Lewis (Scandal) and Jake Choi (Hawaii Five-0) were set as series regulars in ABC comedy pilot Single Parents…Nelson Franklin (Veep), Jessica Chaffin (Search Party) and Leonard Ouzts (Master of None) nabbed leads in NBC comedy pilot Abby’s.
Yusuf Gatewood (The Originals) landed one of the male leads in NBC drama pilot In Between Lives…Kether Donohue (You’re the Worst) nabbed the female lead in NBC comedy pilot Like Family… Michael Beach (Pitch, The 100) will be a series regular in ABC’s Untitled Holmes drama pilot… Justin Johnson Cortez (Turbulence) booked a series regular role on ABC drama pilot Staties… Ben Lawson (Designated Survivor) and Mark L. Young (The Comeback) landed series regular roles in ABC’s False Profits pilot.
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Netflix’s red-hot stock, which has gained 65% in 2018 and more than doubled in the past year, pulled back 1% on Wednesday, after Stifel analyst Scott Devitt lowered his rating on the streaming giant from buy to hold. Netflix’s shares declined 1.25%, finishing the session at $321.17, down about $4 from its 52-week high.
HG Trivia, the live-streaming games show app that has users playing for real money, closed a $15 million round of investment from Founder’s Fund, with participation from previous investor Lightspeed Venture Partners, reports Axios. Launched in August, HQ Trivia boasts players in the millions.
Snapchat is snipping about 100 people, or 10% of its engineering team, according to Cheddar. It’s the biggest layoff to date for the company, which numbers about 3000 employees.
Facebook’s Messenger Lite is getting video chat. The pared-down app is designed for people with older Android devices or slower internet connections.
Comcast and National Public Radio launched the NPR One app on Xfinity X1, enabling X1 customers to access its library of NPR news, talk and music programs that can be personalized to their specific tastes, locale and routines directly on the TV.
CuriousityStream debuts Dream the Future on Thursday, March 15. Narrated by Sigourney Weaver, the documentary series takes viewers to 2050 and explores how vastly different life will look.
Emma Watson partnered with National Geographic to become the first guest editor of the National Geographic Instagram account, @NatGeo, to mark International Women’s Day 2018 on Thursday, March 8. Watson will curate the account, highlighting the work of eight National Geographic female photographers from around the world, who cover a wide range of important topics including male guardianship and the longstanding ban of women driving in Saudi Arabia, the effects of displacement on women and girls running from Boko Haram in Nigeria, unequal pay in India for women day laborers in the brick industry and more.
Firsthand Films inked a deal with Epoche Media for documentary series The Hitler Chronicles – Blueprint for Dictators. Series was pre-sold to The History Channel on Foxtel in Australia and SRC in Quebec.
The Royal Television Society announced nominations for the RTS Programme Awards 2018, which honor excellence in all genres of television. Leading the way with three noms is BBC One’s drama Three Girls. Ceremony takes play on Tuesday, March 20 in London.
Eutelsat Communications and Globecast have teamed on a new media platform, which will allow broadcasters across the Americas to gain access to Globecast’s advanced media management solution designed for both linear television distribution and new media technologies, including streaming, local ad insertion, IoT services, HEVC encoding and regionalization services.