03/16/15: Kathy Griffin: Fashion Police “just wasn’t the right thing for me”; union bites back at Sharknado 3; Sylvester Stallone muscles onto NBC


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Good morning. It’s Monday March 16, 2015, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
ABC: Dancing With the Stars at 8p
Bravo: Southern Charm at 10p
Discovery Family: Dinosaurs: The Untold Story at 8p
ID: True Crime With Aphrodite Jones at 9p

Tonight’s Finales:
Discovery: Fat N’ Furious: Rolling Thunder at 10p
MTV: Eye Candy at 10p
Nat Geo: Brain Games at 9p



(Premiering with 2MM total viewers, it’s anything but impractical.)
THE CARBONARO EFFECT (Critical and fan fave- it’s no gimmick)
HACK MY LIFE (The only network that shows you how to open a bottle of wine with your shoe…for those late nights in the office!)

And we haven’t even gotten to our new stuff yet. That’s next week.
Upfront planning made easy. Courtesy of
The New truTV: All New Line-Up. WAY MORE FUN.

“It just wasn’t the right thing for me,” said Kathy Griffin, at a comedy concert in Connecticut Friday night, of her exit from Fashion Police after just seven episodes. Griffin had announced her departure earlier via a lengthy tweet, explaining, “I’m no saint – I’m a feminist AND a Gurrrrl who loves an offensive joke or a well-timed barb. But I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference.” Said E!, “We wish her all the best and are grateful for her time on the show.” Griffin’s decampment leaves two spots to fill: Kelly Osbourne exited February 27. Fashion Police returns as scheduled on Monday, March 30 at 9p.


The war of words between Sharknado 3 producers The Asylum and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees over the fact that the Syfy film sequel is not being made under an IATSE contract is getting uglier by the day. Asylum COO Paul Bales called dealing with NYC union locals for the franchise’s second installment, “The worst experience we’ve had in making over 200 movies. After all of the manipulation and bullying, inefficiency, overcharging, lying and featherbedding, we had absolutely no desire to repeat this experience.” Fired back Vanessa Holtgrewe, assistant director of the IATSE motion picture department, “This new collection of lies is nothing more than an anti-union screed.”

The CBS affiliates board and the CBS network agreed to terms for CBS All Access, the net’s OTT service. The deal gives participating affiliates a share of subscription dollars, with the percentage increasing as the number of $5.99/month subs grows.

NYTVF’s first event of 2015, focused on the players, strategies and trends in independent TV, takes place Wednesday, April 8 in LA. Paul Davidson, SVP Film & TV, The Orchard, and Phil and Mike Luciano, creators of Animals, will be on hand for a panel discussion.

Robert Durst was arrested in New Orleans on Saturday, on a murder warrant related to the 2000 death of his friend, Susan Berman  just one day before the final installment of HBO documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. In addition to Berman, suspicions have been raised about Durst’s involvement in his first wife’s disappearance in 1982, and the shooting of a neighbor in 2001.

Top 10 Weekend Domestic Box Office Estimates: March 13-15, 2015
Cinderella (Disney) $70.1 million, opening weekend
Run All Night (Warner Bros.) $11.0 million, opening weekend
Kingsman: The Secret Service (20th Century Fox) $6.2 million, cume revenue $107.4 million
Focus (Warner Bros.) $5.8 million, cume revenue $44.0 million
Chapple (Sony) $5.8 million, cume revenue $23.3 million
Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) $5.7 million, cume revenue $18.1 million
Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water (Paramount) $4.1 million, cume revenue $154.7 million
McFarland, USA (Disney) $3.7 million, cume revenue $35.0 million
American Sniper (Warner Bros.) $2.9 million, cume revenue $341.5 million
The DUFF (Lionsgate) $2.9 million, cume revenue $30.3 million
Source: Rentrak Corporation

Join us on Thursday, April 23 at the Astor Center in NYC for The Cynopsis Digital Business Summit. Speakers from Citi, GroupM, IAB, Marriott, Alex and Ani, NBCUniversal, Rebelmouse and others will be on hand for an information-packed day of learning, networking and discovery. Register by March 27 to receive the early bird rate: http://j.mp/CynDMS.


Sylvester Stallone will exec produce fitness competition S.T.R.O.N.G. (Start to Realize Our Natural Greatness) for NBC with Dave Broome (The Biggest Loser) and Kevin Templeton for Sony Television and 25/7 Productions.

Rorschach and Awe, based on a 2007 Vanity Fair article about extreme interrogation tactics used by the CIA, is in development at HBO Films. Scott Z. Burns (Contagion) will write and direct.

Who should replace Kathy Griffin on Fashion Police? Let us know in the new Cynopsis poll.


A&E’s 8 Minutes follows a team of advocates and volunteers on undercover missions to save women forced into prostitution. Docu-series produced by Relativity Television launches Thursday, April 2 at 10p.

Stars and producers from Warner Bros. Television’s Gotham, iZombie, Teen Titans Go! and The Flash will be on hand for WondercCon 2015, kicking off in Anaheim Friday, April 3. Special showings of the series will be presented on the big screen.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will fourpeat as host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live on March 28. Johnson stars in Furious 7, coming out April 3, and San Andreas, out May 29. First time musical guest: George Ezra (“Budapest”).

Are you part of a team that works on a groundbreaking kids series, an addictive game or app, an infectious children’s entertainment campaign? Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards honor the year’s best in children’s, tween and family programming and marketing. Enter Today at http://cynopsis.com/event/kids-awards-2015.


Cox Media Group will carry LAFF, the broadcast network launching April 15, on its stations in Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Dayton. It’s the comedy net’s third major distribution agreement, after deals with ABC Owned Television Stations and the E.W. Scripps Company, making it available in 47 percent of the country.

Blue Ant International’s new 4K nature and wildlife documentary series include The Big Feed, Volcanos, Land of Gremlins and Arctic Secrets. The new roster of original programming is being developed through partnerships with key global content creators.


Marcia Gay Harden (The Newsroom) moves from co-star to lead in CBS medical drama pilot Code Black. She replaces original lead Maggie Grace, who was released. Bonnie Somerville (Golden Boy) landed the co-star spot.

Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) will join Mom as a series regular next season. Pressly has been guest starring on the CBS comedy as a rich, self-obsessed divorcee working on her sobriety.

Busy Oliver Hudson (Nashville) takes on another TV role, on Fox’s straight-to-series comedy-horror anthology Scream Queens, from Glee’s Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. He replaces Joe Manganiello (True Blood), exiting due to scheduling conflicts.

Newcomer Gus Halper grabbed the lead in ABC drama pilot The Kingmakers, as a young man who infiltrates his late sister’s Ivy League school to investigate her death.

Ben Feldman (Mad Men) landed the lead in NBC comedy pilot Superstore, about employees at a big box store, written by Justin Spitzer (The Office).

Greg Grunberg (Heroes) stars opposite Megan Hilty in ABC’s untitled Judah Miller comedy pilot. Project centers on parents of a natural athlete befuddled by the world of youth sports.


ITV’s Mister Selfridge will make it to season four, with Jeremy Piven (Entourage) and Katherine Kelly (Coronation Street) returning as Harry Selfridge and Lady Mae Loxley.

Warner TV in Asia debuted a fresh logo, tagline and packaging on Sunday, with programming divided into action, drama and comedy. New shows from the U.S. include DC Comics-inspired iZombie, joining Arrow, Gotham and in May, The Flash.


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In week four, CBS The Odd Couple reboot dipped five tenths among A18-49 on Thursday, to 2.5/8 versus the week prior. Lead-in Big Bang Theory dipped four tenths in the demo, to 4.4/16. Mom held steady at 2.2/7, and Elementary was up one tenth, to 1.4/5.

With usage down 9 percent in primetime (thanks, Daylight Savings), NBC’s The Blacklist was down one tenth among A18-49, to 1.7/6. New lead-in Dateline: The Real Blacklist drew .9/3. Fox’s American Idol slipped four tenths, to 1.8/6.

CBS’s Amazing Race was up 25 percent in early Nielsens for Friday versus the week prior, to 1.5/9. Hawaii Five-0 was up 8 percent (to 1.3/5) and Blue Bloods up 7 percent (to1.5/5). ABC’s Shark Tank was Friday’s top-rated show with 1.8/6, down 18 percent from its last original ep. 

President Obama’s first in-person appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live delivered 3.9 million total viewers and 1.2 million among A18-49 on Thursday, the talk show’s 4th-largest-ever single day audience in late night. President Obama visited Kimmel via satellite in primetime in 2008.

Bravo Media delivered record ratings on Sunday, March 8 with Thicker Than Water’s most-watched episode of the season: 1.8 million total viewers in Live+3. That’s a 13 percent jump in P18-49 and 10 percent among total viewers versus the week prior.

ID’s On the Case With Paula Zahn hit ratings highs for its Sunday, March 8 episode in Live+3, posting its highest series telecast ever in P25-54 (717,000) delivery and the second-highest on P2+, with 1.43 million viewers. 

Thursday A18-49 Analysis: CBS had the most A18-49 viewers Thursday with 2.4/8, according to final primetime national ratings from Nielsen. CBS was first at 8p with a 3.4/12 average for Big Bang Theory and The Odd Couple, followed by 2.1/8 for ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. ABC grabbed the lead at 9p with 2.7/8 for Scandal, versus a 2.2/7 average for CBS’s Big Bang Theory repeat and Mom. It was a tie at the top at 10p with ABC’s American Crime and CBS’s Elementary both scoring 1.4/5.

A18-49:CBS 2.4/8, ABC 2.1/7, FOX 1.8/6, UNI 1.2/4, NBC 1.1/4, TELE .6/2, CW .5/2, ION .2/1

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Thursday, March 12, 2015  time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
CBS: 6.2/11
Big Bang Theory 9.6/17, The Odd Couple 6.3/11, Big Bang Theory [r] 5.8/10, Mom 5.6/9, Elementary 4.8/9
ABC: 4.9/8
Grey’s Anatomy 5.0/10, Scandal 5.6/9, American Crime 4.0/7
FOX: 5.0/9
American Idol 5.0/9
NBC: 3.2/6
Dateline 3.0/5, The Blacklist 4.8/8, The Slap 1.9/3
Mi Corazon Es Tuyo 1.8/3, Hasta Fin Del Mundo 1.8/3, Que to Perdone Dios 1.4/3
ION: 1.1/2
Blue Bloods 1.0/2, Blue Bloods 1.1/2, Blue Bloods 1.1/2
Los Miserables .8/1, Tierre de Reyes .7/1, Duenos del Paraiso .8/1
CW: .7/1
Vampire Diaries .9/2, Reign .6/1


Indiana-based agency Young & Laramore promoted Account Director Brad Bobenmoyer to Vice President, Marketing, and hired Writer Deidre Lichty, Production Manager Lynn Kendall and Account Manager Sarah Scranton.

This Day in History:
2003 –  On Meet the Press, Vice President Dick Cheney said American troops would be “greeted as liberators” by the Iraqi people.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: Of the five original doctors on ER (1994-2009), which was never shown dozing in Exam 8? Ross. Kudos to: Barbara Linebarger-Turner Broadcasting/Atlanta, Paul Schur-Discovery/Silver Spring, MD, Synda Kollman/Boca Raton, FL, Linda Grillo-Viacom/NYC, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/LA, Dan Haberer-Creo Entertainment/Playa del Rey, CA, Steve Rubin-Fast Carrier Pictures/LA, Lorrie Shillling/El Segundo, CA.

Today’s Trivia Question  Be My Guest Theme Week: Which of the following actors did not guest star on F Troop (1965-1967): Don Adams, Milton Berle, Zsa Zsa Gabor or Don Rickles? (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: Dancing With the Stars [p], Castle
CBS: Big Bang Theory [r], Mike & Molly, Scorpion [r], NCIS: Los Angeles [r]
CW: The Originals, Jane the Virgin
FOX: Gotham [r], The Following
NBC: The Voice, The Night Shift
PBS: Antiques Roadshow [r], The Ghost Army [r], Independent Lens [r]
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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