03/23/16: Sprout doubling down on originals; Nick travels to The Other Kingdom; Disney outlines gaming strategy


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 23, 2016, and this is your weekly issue of Cynopsis: Kids!


Sprout is amping up its original offerings, with plans to double original series this year and triple them by 2018, says Jennifer Giddens, Sprout VP of marketing. Upcoming fare – including Dot, about the adventures of a tech-savvy girl, and Kody Kapow!, about a Chinese-American boy whose grandpa is teaching him mixed martial arts  focus on “the possibilities that exist every day,” she says. “We’re not trying to take them away to another world. We don’t want to burden parents, there’s so much pressure for parents and ultimately that trickles down to the kids. We want to showcase for kids how great their world really is, lay out the extraordinary in the ordinary of their lives.”

More than a month into the NBCU Cable Entertainment Group reorg that placed Sprout under the purview of Frances Berwick in the Lifestyle group and the departure of network founder/CEO Sandy Wax, “We are now officially integrated into Lifestyle, and Frances is head of that group so she will assume oversight of Sprout,” Giddens tells CynKids. “We will be looking to fill a general manager role but it will be Frances’ job to lead the division and how Sprout fits into the Lifestyle profile.”


Nickelodeon is merging the worlds of mythical creatures, magical beings and high school teens in The Other Kingdom, premiering Sunday, April 10 at 7p. The live-action series follows the journey of Fairy Princess Astral (Esther Zynn), who has to choose between being a princess or becoming human. Nick will air two new episodes back to back on Sunday nights. Series is created and exec-produced by Thomas W. Lynch (Make It Pop) and produced by DHX Media, with Steven DeNure and Anne Loi of DHX Media also serving as executive producers. Check out a sneak peek here.

Anna and Elsa will be taking over Freeform for a Frozen-centered weekend programming March 26-27. The network will show Disney-Pixar film Up that Saturday at 5:45p, followed by the Freeform premiere of Frozen at 8p. At 10:30p, Easter-themed Hop will air, followed by Disney’s Dumbo on Sunday at 12:30p.

Republic Records recording artist and Academy Award nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld is scheduled to perform at the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards, which will air Sunday, May 1 at 7p on Disney Channel.

The third annual iHeartRadio Music Awards, airing live Sunday, April 3 on TBS, TNT and truTV, will feature a hefty lineup of artists with appeal to the tween set. Zayn, DNCE and Demi Lovato are on board to perform at the event alongside Justin Bieber, Meghan Trainor and more. Jason Derulo will host the event.


Roku customers in North America are now able to watch their favorite Oznoz shows on Roku devices via the Oznoz Video Channel. The channel features educational and entertaining cartoons for children ages 0-14 in more than 10 languages, including Chinese, Spanish, German and Arabic. Titles include Sesame Street, Super Why!, 1001 Nights, Babar and Mixed Nutz. Through Roku, Oznoz will now have access to more than 10 million homes in the US alone; Oznoz content is also available as iOS and Android apps, and on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick.


Social Good Awards Breakfast
Thursday, April 7 – 8:15-10:30 a.m. | Yale Club NYC

The event will feature a case study on the “Save The Park” initiative, a social good partnership between Games for Change and American Express. Also, this year’s presenters are set to include:

-Jennifer Button, Sr Director of Corporate Relations & CSR – Discovery Communications
-Mary Ellen Curran, VP of Community Relations – WWE
-Steve Pacheco, Director of Sponsorship – FedEx


Disney is retooling its mobile games business with a focus on fewer, stronger titles. The company’s current hit titles include, on the licensing side, Marvel Contest of Champions from Kabam and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes from EA, and on the vertical published side, Frozen Free Fall and Star Wars: Commander. Chris Heatherly, head of Disney Interactive’s mobile game business, told the publication VB last week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco that having Maker Studios under the same roof has been a boon to game development and discovery. “Having the Maker guys… this is the benefit of being at the Walt Disney Co. We have the experts in YouTube, short of YouTube themselves,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of experiments there. One thing we’d like to do going forward is, how do we build mechanics into our games that allow influencers to be an active part of the community and help manage their own micro-communities within our games? That’s a whole thread we’re thinking about.”


Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Kermit the Frog and other members of The Muppets are among the stars who will be on hand April 7 a the Forum in LA for WE Day. The event, which brings together students and educators from around the globe, combines live performances with educational events and stories of leadership and change. “When I first spoke at WE Day California two years ago, I was blown away by the amazing kids spending their free time giving back,” said actor, comedic writer and Hilarity for Charity co-founder Seth Rogen. WE Day is connected to the yearlong WE Schools program, which provides hands-on, student-led campaigns designed to enhance a school’s existing social initiatives or to spark new ones. A global movement of 2.3 million, youth involved with WE Day and WE Schools have raised $62 million for more than 2,500 local and global organizations.

Andrea Parker will return to Pretty Little Liars as a series regular in the upcoming seventh season of the hit show on Freeform. Parker returns as Mary Drake, the biological mother of Charlotte DiLaurentis and the identical twin to Parker’s deceased character Jessica DiLaurentis. The premiere for the seventh season has not been announced.
Disney Channel star and recording artist Dove Cameron performed – as her fan favorite character Mal in Disney’s Descendants – a new version of the pop song Genie in a Bottle in a music video that premiered Friday, March 18 during a new Stuck in the Middle ep. The music video is now available on DisneyMusicVevo.

Attendees at the SXSW fest in Austin, TX, were among the first to check out Cartoon Network’s new The Powerpuff Girls series, during the “Power It Up! World Premiere Celebration,” a free event held at the Long Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, March 14.

This year’s Safe Kids Day will be held April 24 at Smashbox Studios in LA. Presented by Nationwide, the event brings together celebrities and families to raise awareness and funds to prevent childhood injuries through the life-saving programs of nonprofit org Safe Kids Worldwide. Mark Wahlberg, Gwen Stefani and Sir Elton John are among those named "Celebrity Heroes" for this year’s event.


9 Story Media Group licensed a trio of animated children’s shows to UK broadcasters. Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoonito UK came on board for the first season of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which now airs in 150-plus countries. A third season was recently greenlit. CITV picked up the second season of the animated comedy Nerds and Monsters, and Sony Pictures Television’s Kix channel acquired the first season of animated comedy Numb Chucks.

Disney Europe Middle East & Africa (EMEA) started production on The Lodge, a teen drama series that tells the story of a 15-year-old girl who returns with her father to her childhood vacation spot in Northern Ireland. The new series features a cast drawn from emerging talent across Europe including Great Britain, Denmark, The Netherlands and France. It will be shot in the Northern Irish town of Ballynahinch before airing on Disney Channel in 108 territories across EMEA later in the year. Series is inspired by Disney Channel Israel original live-action series North Star.

Animated special We’re Going on A Bear Hunt is set for an international adventure, having secured four overseas broadcaster deals. The hand-drawn film, produced by Lupus Films (The Snowman and the Snowdog) and Walker Productions, and distributed by Union Media, has been sold to ABC in Australia, SVT in Sweden, NRK in Norway and YLE in Finland. Project is based on the book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is produced by Ruth Fielding and Camilla Deakin with Helen McAleer and Julia Posen as exec producers, and Joanna Harrison and Robin Shaw as co-directors.


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Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of March 14-20, 2016

K2-11 Total Programming Day

K2-11 Prime (Monday Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K2-11 (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K6-11 Total Programming Day

K6-11 Prime (Monday Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K6-11 (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K9-14 Total Programming Day

K9-14 Prime (Monday Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K9-14 (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)
Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research National MIT, ranked on coverage ratings
Viewing Type: Live + Same Day

K2-11 Top 10 Programs for the week of February 29-March 6, 2106
3/6/16 KC Undercover/DSNY/8-9p/1114
3/4/16 Blaze and the Monster Machines/NICK JR/12-12:30p/1074
3/5/16 Game Shakers/NICK/8-8:30p/1047
3/5/16 SpongeBob Squarepants/NICK/11-11:30/1036
3/5/16 Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn/NICK/8:30-9p/1029
3/6/16 Peppa Pig/NICK JR/6-6:30p/1021
3/5/16 Ratatouille/DSNY/8-10p/1006
3/5/16 SpongeBob Squarepants/NICK/11:30a-12p/981
3/5/16 SpongeBob Squarepants/NICK/9-11a/973
3/4/16 Descendants/DSNY/8-10:059p/971

K6-11 Top 10 Programs for the week of February 22-28 2016
3/6/16 KC Undercover/DSNY/8-9p/940
3/5/16 Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn/NICK/8:30-9p/864
3/5/16 Game Shakers/NICK/8-8:30p/857
3/4/16 Descendants/DSNY/8-10:05p/760
3/3/16 Spy Kids: All the Time In the World/DSNY/8-9:35p/634
3/6/16 Stuck in the Middle/NICK/9-9:30p/634
3/5/16 Descendants/DSNY/10a-12:05p/625
3/5/16 Ratatouille/DSNY/8-10p/623
3/1/16 Paradise Run/NICK/7-7:30p/619
3/2/16 Paradise Run/NICK/7-7:30p/584
Source: Turner Research based on Total US Television Universe of 116,400,000 homes, Final Live+7.

Top Weekend Domestic Box Office Estimates for the top-grossing movies rated G, PG or PG-13: March 18-20, 2016

Zootopia (Buena Vista) PG $37.16 million (week 3) cume revenue $200.93 million
The Divergent Series: Allegiant (Lionsgate/Sony) PG-13 $29.01 million (opening weekend)
Miracles From Heaven (TriStar) PG $14.81 million (opening weekend)
10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount) PG-13
$12.51 million (week 2), cume revenue $45.18 million
Risen (Sony) PG-13 $1.15 million (week 5), cume revenue $34.47 million
Gods of Egypt (Lionsgate) PG-13 $1.12 million (week 4) cume revenue $29.51million
The Young Messiah (Focus) PG-13 $1.09 million (week 2), cume revenue $5.40 million
Kung Fu Panda (Fox) PG $971,417 (week 8), cume revenue $138.38 million
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Buena Vista) PG-13 $966,071 (week 14) cume revenue $932.32 million
Eddie the Eagle (Fox) PG-13 $602,325 (week 4), cume revenue $14.73 million
Source: Rentrak Corporation


Emmy-winning producer Christine Davis joins Tricon Films & Television as director of animation production for Tricon Kids & Family. Davis has worked on numerous series including Arthur, Justin Time, and Anne of Green Gables.

Entertainment brand and marketing agency Troika hired Smruti Shah as head of strategy. She formerly was director of strategy at Interbrands. Troika’s clients include Sony Pictures Television, Cirque du Soleil and Awesomeness TV.


Last Week’s Trivia: Who was the original voice of Shaggy on Scooby Doo, Where Are You!? Casey Kasem. Kudos to: Len Appel, Corbis Entertainment, NY; Meghan Barrett, UP TV, Atlanta; John Rooney, Johnromedia, Toronto; John Santora, Magnet Media, NY; David Pearlman, Disney Channels Worldwide, Burbank.

Today’s Trivia Question: What was the first animated cartoon to combine sound and color? Email cathy@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Cathy Applefeld Olson

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