03/25/14: Joey Fatone joins the Hub Network with “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, March 25, 2014, and this is your first early morning briefing.


The Hub network is a happening place to be these days. In addition to a recent brand refresh, which included a logo modification and a new tag line, "Making Family Fun," the net will premiere an original primetime parent-child swap series, Parents Just Don’t Understand, hosted by Joey Fatone (‘N Sync, Dancing with the Stars). The 22-episode series will start in late August/early September, and is the first in a slate of new content to reflect the Hub’s expansion into programming for kids and their families to watch together. We caught up with Margaret Loesch, Hub President and Chief Executive Officer, and Nicole Cleary, Vice President of National Ad Sales, to get the scoop.

What led you to sharpen the focus on programming that appeals to kids and their families?
Margaret: We were inspired by feedback from the public and from advertisers: our programming creates a strong connection with today’s modern family, which has been missing since the TGIF days from ABC. We also did a big IPSOS research study in January 2014 talking with 300 kids and 300 adults. So we decided to step up the amount of original programming in prime time and bring the family together.

Your first original is Parents Just Don’t Understand, and you ordered 22 episodes – which is a lot in this environment.
Margaret: We mean what we say… this is a major commitment. Today’s audience really likes to have a lot of new programming, so we are jumping in with both feet.

During this upfront, what are advertisers asking of you? 
Nicole: Clients want a content-friendly environment. And mom is becoming even more important; she’s the CFO of the household, so reaching her across a variety to categories is really critical.

Will we be seeing brand integrations?
Nicole: Maybe into Parents Just Don’t Understand. We are limited in what we can offer because we’re a kids network. But talent might possibly do a vignette outside of the show promoting a product.

What are some of new ad areas you’re targeting because of this shift?
Nicole: Non-endemic categories: insurance, packaged goods, QSR, auto. Packaged goods clients have been really responsive. We’ve also seen great traction in theatricals and family movies.

How would you characterize the changes in the Hub’s promos?
Margaret: They reflect the recognition that today’s families look like a lot of different things. We try to capture all kinds of people and make them feel comfortable. We want to create an emotional bond. I think we’ve done a good job at inviting everyone in the family. We’re not uninviting any audience. That gives us momentum and competitive opportunity.

ABC News President Ben Sherwood has been tapped to replace Anne Sweeney as Disney/ABC Television Group president. He will take over the position of co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group on Feb. 1, 2015, when Sweeney leaves after 10 years in the position. He will however, begin to transition into the role immediately. Sherwood’s varied resume includes stints running The Today Show, NBC, and writing the novel The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.


Following a PaleyFest screening of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., showrunners revealed that the April 8 episode will have a direct connection to the feature film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which will have opened four days earlier. The ABC series’ freshman season will conclude with a continuous seven-week run starting April 1, and comedian Patton Oswalt will appear as a guest star. The series has not been picked up for a second season yet.


Disney Channel favorite Bella Thorne, who starred on Shake It Up! has reportedly been cast in a new adaptation of the Amityville Horror movie franchise for Dimension Films and Blumhouse Productions. The movie is set for release on Jan. 2, 2015.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu announced in a YouTube video that he is working on a "modern-day, live-action reinvention" of the 1980s Hasbro cartoon Jem and the Holograms. In the video, fans were asked to submit images or videos on JemTheMovie.com explaining their love for the original rocker, along with two-minute videos of themselves singing to be considered for the movie.

Sony’s PlayStation Network has ordered 10 one-hour episodes of Powers, based on the graphic novel and comic book series of the same name. The combination superhero fantasy and crime procedural will follow two detectives investigating people who have superhero abilities. The series will be produced by Sony Pictures TV, and had originally been considered by FX.


Disney Interactive and Harmonix Music Systems are revealing more about their upcoming motion capture video game, Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved. In addition to listing a partial roster of artists who have allowed users to remix and rearrange their songs in the game (David Bowie, Lorde, Nicki Minaj, the White Stripes), Disney said the game would include an interactive "discovery realm" where users can perform within a forest environment. The game will also now offer two-player gameplay, and will be available for Xbox One and Kinect for Xbox 360 later in 2014.



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A British advocacy group, Action on Junk Food Marketing, said that TV advertising promoting unhealthy food should be banned during prime-time hours. The group cited an analysis by the University of Liverpool, which found that unhealthy food items made up 11 percent of all TV ads, and around half of all food advertisements in the UK. Another UK group, the Advertising Association, condemned the study as "lobbying dressed up as science" and said current rules for TV advertising were sufficient.

Zodiak Kids and China’s Ciwen Media Group have paired up to share content, with Zodiak granting Ciwen exclusive distribution rights to over 390 episodes of animated programming from Marathon Media and the Illuminated Film Company. Ciwen will agent deals in China, Macau and Hong Kong, and the programming (which includes shows like Totally Spies) will be dubbed into regional languages. The deal may be expanded to include licensing, merchandising and publishing.

Superights has partnered with Je Suis Bien Content to distribute the worldwide rights of the French studio’s animated comedy series Boyster. The series will be broadcast on Disney XD in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the U.S. and France.


Nabi tablet creator Fuhu, Inc. has hired Peter V. Coleman as its chief financial officer, effective immediately. Coleman has more than 20 years of financial management and investment banking experience in technology companies, and joins Fuhu from Loyal3 Holdings, a start-up financial technology company. Previously he served as chief financial officer for Merriman Holdings, Inc. He reports directly to Fuhu CEO Jim Mitchell.


Don’t panic you can still access it On-Demand!

Featured Speakers:
Abby Jenkins – Director of Content {PBS KIDS Digital}
Graham Farrar – Co-Founder {IStoryTime}
Caroline Fraser – VP, Digital Products & Prod. {Scholastic Media}
Mindy Brooks Director, Education & Research {Sesame Workshop}

Click Here For More Webinar Information.


Answer to yesterday’s Trivia Question: What was Gilligan’s first name on Gilligan’s Island? WILLY Kudos to: No one got the right answer – but try again today!

Today’s Trivia Question: What were SpongeBob SquarePants’ first words on the show? (Email cathy@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)


Nielsen’s Twitter TV Weekly Top Ten (Week of March 17, 2014)

Show/Network/Airdate/Uniques (000s)/Tweets (000s)

Pretty Little Liars/ABC Family/3-18-14/6,285/1,454
The Walking Dead/AMC/3-23-14/4,424/408
Teen Wolf/MTV/3-17-14/3,604/671
Dancing With the Stars/ABC/3-17-14/3,016/176
The Voice/NBC/3-17-14/2,238/99
How I Met Your Mother/CBS/3-17-14/1,882/24
WWE Monday Night RAW/USA/3-17-14/1,791/165
The Voice/NBC/3-18-14/1,697/66

Source: Nielsen SocialGuide

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