03/31/16: Sorkin brings Few Good Men to NBC; CNN scores big with GOP town hall; Nat Geo sets a date with ‘God’







Good morning. It’s Thursday March 31, 2016, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
Animal Planet: Finding Bigfoot at 9p
AXS TV: Hoff The Record at 9p
CBS: Rush Hour at 10p
CNBC: American Greed at 10p
CNN: The Eighties at 9p
DIY: LogHeads at 11a
FX: Archer at 10p
Great American Country: Extreme RVs at 6p
WORLD: TED Talks at 8p

Tonight’s Finales:
CBS: Life In Pieces at 8:30p
Great American Country: Extreme RVs at 11p
NBC: You, Me and the Apocalypse at 8p, Shades of Blue at 10p


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Aaron Sorkin will helm a live presentation of A Few Good Men for NBC, set to air in early 2017. The creator of the network’s drama The West Wing also wrote A Few Good Men, which premiered on Broadway in 1989; three years later he adapted the play as a feature film. “I am thrilled that Aaron Sorkin is coming back to NBC to adapt and produce a live broadcast of his electrifying play A Few Good Men, which seems as timely as ever today,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. Set in 1986 and taking place in Washington, DC and the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, action centers on a military lawyer asked to defend three Marines on trial for murder.

CNN’s Tuesday night GOP town hall became the most watched of the genre in cable news history in both overall audience and in the news demographic. An average of 3.3 million viewers watched, no doubt fueled by news just hours earlier that Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski turned himself in to police in Florida after being charged with battery.

Another media behemoth is taking measures to cut Upfront season costs: NBCUniversal will host a single Upfront event this year. The company’s broadcast presentation May 16 at Radio City Music Hall will now also comprise cable nets Bravo, CNBC, E!, Esquire, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network, NBC Universo, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, Telemundo and USA. Last year Fox Broadcasting Co. rebranded its Upfront as Fox Networks Group and showcased the entire Fox portfolio.

What 1980s show most changed the television landscape? Let us know in the new Cynopsis poll: http://cynopsis.com/poll/.


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Investigation Discovery is partnering with People magazine to bring viewers a one-hour weekly series dedicated to uncovering the truth behind some of our country’s most infamous characters and iconic stories of crime. People Magazine Investigates will take a deep dive behind the stories of lives and families ripped apart by crimes that transcended news and became part of popular culture, revealing twists, new evidence and unexpected resolutions. Series will premiere this fall.

Discovery Channel ordered The Wheel, a survival reality series featuring competitors attempting to survive sundry inhospitable landscapes, navigating among environments including the freezing tundra, rugged mountains and barren deserts. The series is produced by Pilgrim Media Group.

In other Discovery news, the network will air documentary Cooper’s Treasure, which follows the quest of treasure hunter Darrell Miklos as he attempts to decode the treasure map of his boyhood idol, astronaut Gordon Cooper. The doc is produced by Ample, with exec producers Ari Mark and Phil Lott, and Discovery exec producers Joseph Boyle and coordinating producer Brian Peterson… Additionally, Discovery is revving up its Motor Mondays lineup with an order for new series Sacred Steel. The show, produced by Half Yard Productions, will take viewers inside one of the most exclusive and unusual bike clubs in the world that produces one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

Comedy Central greenlit nine new series across a range of formats including animation, sketch, stand-up, reality television and late night. They are: 7 Mins in Purgatory, Animal-Lolz, Bert’s Dreams, Deadliest Chef, Guber Pool, Messages From the Future, The Lounge, You’re Wrong and Untitled Late Night Series.

In related news, Comedy Central is taking a pass on a second season order for Moonbeam City, which puts an absurdist comedic lens on the sex-drenched crime dramas from the ‘80s. Series cast includes Rob Lowe, Elizabeth Banks, Will Forte and Kate Mara.


Sociopolitical comedian W. Kamau Bell stars in his first solo standup special, W. Kamau Bell: Semi-Prominent Negro, airing Friday, April 29 at 10p on Showtime. The special, directed by Morgan Spurlock and filmed before a live audience at the Roulette Theater in Brooklyn, is executive produced by Bell, Spurlock, Michele Armour and Jeremy Chilnick

TBS, TNT and TruTV will air the iHeartRadio Awards this Sunday, April 3 at 8p. Taylor Swift will be honored with best tour award and is nominated in seven other categories. Performances by Iggy Azalea, G-Eazy, Bebe Rexha and host Jason Derulo have also been added to the mix that includes Zayn, DNCE, Fetty Wap, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber and Meghan Trainor.

Fusion takes viewers behind the world conjured by Walt Disney Animation Studios for current feature film Zootopia in the new original documentary Imagining Zootopia, premiering Tuesday, April 5 at 8p.


Nat Geo will premiere The Story of God with Morgan Freeman on April 3 at 9p. Weekly episodes will probe lofty questions including: Who is God, why does evil happen and what happens when we die?


Season 3 of original medical drama Saving Hope premieres on ION Television on Tuesday, April 5 with 18 all-new episodes. Series ranks in the top five in HH, Total Viewers, A25-54, W18-34, W18-49 and W25-54 in its time period. Additionally, A25-54 has grown every month since its October 2015 debut, including by 17 percent in January 2016 when season 2 premiered.

Cartoon Network ordered fifth seasons of its animated series Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa.


Sheila Vand (Argo) is onboard as a series regular in Fox drama pilot 24: Legacy.

Trevor Einhorn joins the cast of ABC’s Dirty Dancing remake, playing the heir to the resort in the Catskills where the story takes place.

Jill Hennessy will recur in Fox drama Shots Fired, opposite Richard Dreyfuss, Helen Hunt, Sanaa Lathan, Stephen James, Stephen Moyer and Will Patton. Series look at the aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small North Carolina town.

Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) joins the cast of ABC thriller The Catch, from Shonda RhimesShondaland, in a recurring role.

The Librarians exec producer Noah Wyle will reprise his role as Flynn Carsen in the TNT adventure series’ third season. Wyle will appear in six of the 10 season episodes, and direct two of them.

Anthony Stewart Head (Dominion) has been cast on Freeform’s new original series Guilt in a recurring role as James Lahue, Grace and Natalie Atwood’s wealthy, charming stepfather with ties to murder victim Molly Ryan.

More news about NBC’s planned Blacklist spinoff. Edi Gathegi, who’s been recurring on the show, will get a regular cast gig reprising his role as Matias Solomon opposite Famke Janssen and Ryan Eggold if the spinoff goes to series. Tawny Cypress (Unforgettable) has also been cast as a series regular.

Jose Moreno Brooks scored a recurring role on Freeform comedy Baby Daddy. Brooks also recurs on NBC’s Telenovela.


Comedy Central is expanding its Discover channel on Snapchat with renewals for series Quickie with Nikki (Comedy Central’s most-popular Snapchat series), Swag-A-Saurus with James Davis, Like It with Liza and Hot Takes with Brandon Wardell.


For the second year running, more than 100 North American Soccer League matches will be carried live on ESPN3 as part of the league’s agreement with ESPN. ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network will carry a minimum of two matches per week during the NASL spring season and a minimum of three per week during fall… Additionally, NASL announced a national broadcast partnership with beIN Sports, becoming the first North American professional league to team up with the global sports network. During the 2016 NASL season, a minimum of 34 matches will air on beIN Sports in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.


Cablevision Media Sales and FourthWall Media formed a partnership that will expand the reach of CMS’ advanced data analytics portfolio beyond the New York metro area. Using FourthWall’s census-level viewership data and data collection solutions, CMS will now be able to elevate client abilities to target audiences in markets across the country.


Tricon Films & Television acquired Emotion Pictures’ scripted drama Forgive Me, written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald. Series, framed in the sexual revolution, follows a young insomniac priest who becomes engrossed in the private lives of his congregation while trying to protect a secret of his own.

Entertainment One’s martial arts drama Into the Badlands from, AMC Studios, has been licensed to more than 260 territories worldwide including Amazon (UK and Germany); HBO (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden); Universum Film Gmbh (Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland); Viacom (Italy), and TV2 (Norway).

Paris-based Federation Entertainment finalized multiple sales for the Canal + Creation Originale spy thriller series The Bureau, including VRT (Flemish speaking Belgium), SVT (Sweden), RTP (Portugal), and Rialto Channel (New Zealand).  

Indie production company Zig Zag Productions got a commission from UK’s Channel 4 to produce a second season of music-based quiz show Blink, produced by Ben Paul and exec-produced by Danny Fenton and Andy Scott.

Viacom tossed its hat into the burgeoning VOD business marketing in India with VOOT, an ad-based digital platform for scripted and reality shows and kids programming from the Viacom library.

Hunted, the unscripted Endemol Shine thriller, will get a Chinese version via Endemol Shine China in partnership with Shenzhen Satellite Television. The show, which sends a group of regular people on the run with limited cash and ability to contact allies as they are pursued by skilled investigators, has been picked up in local versions picked up by CBS in the US, and broadcasters in Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands.


What Programmers & Marketers Need to Know About Snapchat

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VH1 is the fastest-growing entertainment network of the top 25 cable channels for the quarter ended March 27, thanks to record double-digit ratings growth in both primetime and total day, according to the network. Total day ratings are up 29 percent versus 1Q15, while primetime ratings in the A18-49 demo increased 11 percent in the quarter and jumped 17 percent in A18-34. Its quarterly growth was propelled by franchises including Love & Hip Hop: New York, Mob Wives, Stevie J & Joseline Go Hollywood and Hit the Floor.

Bounce TV was up 24 percent in Primetime in Household delivery and up 32 percent in P2+ versus the year-ago 1Q. The quarter was the network’s best ever in the delivery of key adult demos P18-49 up 55 percent), W18-49 up 60 percent), P25-54 (up 46 percent) and W25-54 (up 47 percent).

Tuesday A18-49 Analysis: NBC had the most A18-49 viewers Tuesday with 2.0/7, according to final primetime national ratings from Nielsen. NBC’s The Voice led at 8p with 2.4/9, followed 1.2/4 for by CBS’ NCIS. NBC’s Chicago Med stayed strong at 9p with a 1.8/4, followed by CBS’s NCIS: New Orleans with 1.2.4. NBC remained on top at 10p with 1.7/6 for Chicago Fire, versus 1.0/4 for Telemundo’s Senor de los Cielos.

A18-49: NBC 2.0/7, CBS 1.1/4, ABC .9/3, CW .9/3, UNI 1.1/2, FOX .7/2, TELE .8/1, ION .8/1

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
CBS: 5/9
NCIS [r] 6.6/11, NCIS: New Orleans [r] 5.6/9, Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke 2.8/5
NBC: 6.0/10
The Voice 6.9/12, Chicago Med 5.6/9, Chicago Fire 5.6/10
ABC: 2.1/4
Fresh Off the Boat 3.0/5, The Real O’Neals 2.2/4, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 2.1/3, Beyond the Tank 1.5/3
CW: 1.4/2
The Flash 1.8/3, iZombie .8/1
FOX: 1.1/2
New Girl 1.4/2, Grandfathered [r] .9/1, Brooklyn Nine-Nine 1.2/2, The Grinder .8/1
Sueno de Amor .9/2 Pasion y Poder 1.3/2, Hotel de los Secretos 1.1/2
ION: .8/3
Criminal Minds .7/1, Criminal Minds .8/1, Criminal Minds .9/2
Quien es Quien .6/1, Eva la Trailera .8/1, Senor de lo Cielos 1.2/2


Morgan Spurlock’s production house Warrior Poets elevated Stacey Kleiger to VP, production and Rachel Traub to creative executive, film and scripted television. Kleiger began at the company in 2011 and most recently was promoted to production manager on the series Inside Man. Former Spurlock assistant Traub most recently was an associate producer on the upcoming doc Pistol Shrimps.

UP appointed Kendra Campbell-Milburn to the post of VP of digital. Campbell-Milburn joins UP from digital marketing agency TVGLA.

Disney ABC Television Group has named current ABC research executive Elizabeth Sloan and Jane Gould to the newly created positions of SVP, consumer isights, for the Group’s broadcast/studio and cable teams, respectively.

David Ellender has been named to the newly minted position of president, global distribution and co-productions, at Sonar Entertainment. He recently stepped down as CEO of Slingshot Global Media.

Anna Holmes, Jezebel founder and former editorial director of Fusion’s digital voices section, is joining First Look Media, co-financer of Oscar-winning best picture Spotlight, to develop new properties.

Manager Jennie Church-Cooper joined the management/production house Haven Entertainment. Church-Cooper, who previously spent seven years at Principato Young, is bringing over her comedic clients including Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj, actor/writer Chris Smith, Kulap Vilaysack, Moses Storm and Erin Gibson.

MTV named Laurel Weir as SVP, strategic insights and research. Weir joins MTV from the Viacom Kids and Family Group, where she most recently served in the same role.

Agency Vizeum US appointed Jan Weinstein as client president. Weinstein who will be responsible for overseeing the agency’s NY-based clients, previously served as EVP/managing director at Carat.


Igor Khait, the animation producer whose credits include Gnomeo & Juliet, Brother Bear, Atlantis: The Lost Empire and upcoming feature Sing, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. He was 52. Khait began his career at Amblin Entertainment in 1989, and most recently had been in Paris working as a co-producer on the upcoming Illumination Entertainment move Sing.

This Day in History:
1918 – The first daylight savings time in the U.S. went into effect.

Answer to Our Last Trivia: What was Mrs. Howell’s full name on Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967)? Eunice Lovelle Wentworth Howell. So many were so close, but for the full name, kudos to: Linda Grillo Viacom, NY; Gail D. Goins, Atlanta; Jim Katz, Radcliffe Road Pictures, LA.

Today’s Trivia Question: Which was the first US drama series to react to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on air? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.).

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey: Editorial Director @Lynn_Leahey
reported by Cathy Applefeld Olson

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

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JOB OPENING: VP, PARTNERSHIP DEV/Home Team Sports/LA: Generate new revenue w/broad range of Sr. level partners. Expertise in client direct sales evangelizing Sports value prop for partners/teams/RSNs. Min 8 yrs in BD/Sales; team mgt, proven relationship builder w/innovative strategies to drive revenue. http://bit.ly/1S7ocIx (4/2)

JOB OPENING: VP, ENGINEERING/Fox Sports Digital, LA: Eval/refine strtgy for FS Interactive Media bus unit’s tech needs. Vet overall archit for FSIM properties apps incl. internal, 3rd Party, & SaaS. Resp for tech vision, execution & ops across web, mobile & social plat. & prod. Min 7-10 yrs w/mgmt exp. http://bit.ly/1q31rir (4/2)

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ABC: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, The Catch
CBS: Big Bang Theory, Life In Pieces [
f], 2 Broke Girls, Rush Hour [p]
CW: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The 100
Fox: American Idol
NBC: You, Me and the Apocalypse [
f], The Blacklist, Shades of Blue [f]
PBS: The This Old House Hour, Masterpiece Mystery! [r], Antiques Road Show [r]
Telemundo: Quien es Quien, Eva la Trailera, El Senor de los Cielos
Univision: Sueno de Amor, Pasion y poder, El Hotel de los Secretos

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