04/04/16: Fox News Channel bags Duck Dynasty star; This Old House gets new owner; Dish/Media General blackout averted


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Good morning. It’s Monday April 4, 2016, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
Bravo: Southern Charm at 9p
Canal 22 Internacional: Caminando Zacatecas at 7p
Cartoon: Powerpuff Girls at 6p
DIY: Yard Crashers at 10p
Great American Country: Building Alaska at 9p
VH1: Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta at 8p, Black Ink Crew at 9p

Tonight’s Finales:
Food: Cake Wars at 9p
History: Billion Dollar Wreck at 10p


Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson has joined Fox News as a contributor, and will host a new Fox News Radio podcast focused on faith and family. “Being a redneck millionaire has its perks,” notes the conservative Christian and Donald Trump supporter on his A&E reality show’s website.

Speaking of Fox News “gets,” the net landed presidential hopefuls Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich for hour-long interviews tonight, hours before the Wisconsin primary. Greta Van Susteren talks to Kasich at 7p, Megyn Kelly interviews Cruz at 9p and Trump’s in the hot seat with Sean Hannity at 10p.

It’s moving day for This Old House. Time Inc. vet Eric Thorkilsen and private equity fund TZP Growth Partners have entered into an agreement with Time Inc. to acquire This Old House Ventures and all of its associated media properties, including two TV series, online destination, magazine and line of books, as well as capabilities including custom video production and digital marketing. Thorkilsen, president of This Old House Ventures between 1995 and 2004, will become chief executive of the company.

TV winners of the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, announced Saturday, included E!’s I Am Cait and TLC’s  I Am Jazz, tied for Outstanding Reality Program; Amazon’s Transparent for Comedy; HBO’s Bessie for TV Movie or Limited Series; Netflix’s Sense8 for Drama and CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful for Daily Drama. For a complete list go here.

In the nick of time: Dish and Media General struck a new carriage deal just before their negotiation agreement extension expired on Thursday night, thus avoiding a scenario like 2013’s, which had Media General stations in 17 markets go dark for 46 days. “We believe that our agreement with Dish is one that recognizes the essential value of our content,” said Media General in a statement.

The tenth annual “What Gets You Outdoors?” campaign has launched from Outdoor Channel. Timed to the start of fishing/turkey hunting, and held with sponsor Bass Pro Shops, the sweepstakes will give away over $25,000 in prizes throughout April.

What’s your guilty pleasure TV viewing? Let us know in the new Cynopsis poll: http://cynopsis.com/poll/.


What Programmers & Marketers Need to Know About Snapchat

Cynopsis and our panel of industry experts from Innovid, Huge, MTV/Viacom and National Geographic Partners will be on-hand to advise you on the latest tools you need to engage young viewers and drive tune-in. In 90 minutes, learn to take advantage of the special marketing opportunities provided by Discover and Stories, and determine how and when to use them.

Register now: http://www.cynopsis.com/?p=57172.


WWE Network gave the green light to Holey Foley, a docu-series following WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley and his daughter. Trooper Entertainment is producing in association with Lionsgate; series is slated for an August premiere.

Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams and exec produced by Marti Nixon (UnReal), landed a straight-to-series order from HBO. Drama is based on the 2006 debut novel by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl).

Dean Strang will exec produce and star in crime investigation series Dean Strang: Road to Justice, produced by Covert Media. Eight episodes will look at flawed landmark legal cases. Strang was the defense attorney for Steven Avery, whose case is featured in Netflix’s Making a Murderer.

VH1 greenlit a Hit the Floor summer special following up on Derek Roman’s proposal to Ahsha Hayes, center court style, on the season three finale of the reality show. Plus – who shot Jelena?

Liz Feldman (One Big Happy) inked an overall deal with CBS Television Studios. Feldman will develop new projects for network, cable and streaming services.

USA ordered eight more episodes of Chrisley Knows Best, for a season four order of 20. Reality show airs Tuesdays at 10p (average total viewers: 2.4 million in Live+3); back eight will premiere in the fall.

Top 10 Weekend Domestic Box Office Estimates: April 1-3, 2016
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
(Warner Bros.) $52.4 million (week 2), cume revenue $261.5 million
Zootopia (Buena Vista) $20.0 million (week 5), cume revenue $275.9 million
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Universal) $11.1 million (week 2), cume revenue $36.5 million
God’s Not Dead (Pure Flix) $8.1 million, opening weekend
Miracles From Heaven (Sony) $7.6 million (week 3), cume revenue $46.8 million
The Divergent Series: Allegiant (Lionsgate) $5.7 million (week 3), cume revenue $56.4 million
10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount) $4.8 million (week 4), cume revenue $63.6 million
Meet the Blacks (Freestyle Releasing) $4.1 million, opening weekend
Eye in the Sky (Bleecker Street) $4.1 million (week 4), cume revenue $6.1 million 
Deadpool (Fox) $3.5 million (week 8), cume revenue $355.1 million
Source: Rentrak Corporation


Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Doomsday

These four upset the other final four this weekend, scoring NCM a breakaway 8.1 A18-34 rating.
Our season never ends – we’re premium, live event programming every week.

It’s millennial madness every month on America’s Movie Network.


PBS science series NOVA follows the search for evidence of what could be the furthest known point of Viking expansion, in two-hour special Vikings Unearthed. The co-production with the BBC will premiere online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ Monday, April 4, at 3:30p, followed by the U.S. broadcast bow on Wednesday, April 6 at 9p on PBS.

Fusion’s Imagining Zootopia, about the making of the Disney hit film, premieres Tuesday, March 5 at 8p. One-hour doc offers a look inside Walt Disney Animation Studios. “What we originally thought was going to be a behind-the-scenes project turned out to be something more meaningful,” co-directors and producers Natalie Osma and Kristofer Rios tell Cynopsis. “When we started this project, we didn’t know Zootopia was going to evolve into a new Disney classic. We also had no idea that the filmmakers at the animation studio would be so candid. By the end of the two years of filming, we realized that we had a rare glimpse into one of the world’s most important animations studios. Essentially, Imagining Zootopia is a portrait of Disney Animation Studio’s creative process.”

And now it has a name: The title of Syfy’s next Sharknado movie is Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (ha!). Set five years after the third installment, two-hour film premieres Sunday, July 31 at 8p. 

Diva drama: A two-part Real Housewives of Potomac reunion will keep host Andy Cohen on his toes. Airing Sunday, April 10 at 10p and Sunday, April 17 at 8p on Bravo, shows promise arguments, accusations and admissions.

MTV “Generation Award” recipient Will Smith, along with Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and Cara Delevingne, stars of super villain movie Suicide Squad, will debut footage of the film during the 2016 MTV Movie Awards on Sunday, April 10 at 8p. Suicide Squad’s release date is August 5.

Variety special Woody Allen Looks at 1967 comes out of mothballs Monday, April 4 at 9p as part of getTV’s Monday night classic variety block. Joining Allen in the Kraft Music Hall show were Liza Minnelli and Aretha Franklin, and political commentator William F. Buckley.j

Freddie Prinze Jr. will host USA competition series First Impressions, featuring SNL alum Dana Carvey. Project from Renegade 83 and Gaspin Media launches Tuesday, May 10 at 10:30p.


Bright news for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: FXX has renewed the comedy for 13th and 14th seasons. With season 14, points out the net, Sunny – which moved from FX to FXX for season nine – will tie The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet for the longest-running live-action comedy in TV history.

Summer on CNBC will include the returns of West Texas Investors Club on Tuesday, June 7 at 10, Jay Leno’s Garage on Wednesday, June 15 at 10p, The Profit on Tuesday August 23 at 10p followed by the launch of new unscripted series Cleveland Hustles on Wednesday, August 24 at 10p.

NBC turns up the heat this summer with season three of The Night Shift, bowing Wednesday, June 1 at 10p. Competition series Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge makes its debut Monday, June 13 at 10p; after previews on the 13th and June 20 with American Ninja Warrior as its lead-in, Team Challenge moves to its regular timeslot on Thursday, June 23 at 9p.

Another new series previewing with a strong lead in is EJ and the City. The #RichKids of Beverly Hills spinoff premieres on E! Sunday, June 19 at 11p after #RichKids, moving to Thursdays at 9p on June 23.

AMC has an opening date for Feed the Beast, about two friends trying to open a restaurant. Drama starring FriendsDavid Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) launches Tuesday, May 31 at 10p. Taste of what’s to come is here.

Reelz grabbed U.S. broadcast rights to The Real Story Of… from UK’s World Media Rights. Series uncovers the facts behind the true stories upon which movies like American Sniper and Unbroken were based.

Amazon picked up Bosch for a third season. The cop drama’s sophomore season dropped March 11.


Political ad spending in 2016 will hit $11.7 billion, predicts Borrell Associates, $347 million more than its previous forecast, as candidates “scramble to clarify their messages or, more likely, spend money to simplify their opponents’.” About half the increase will go to radio, cable and digital, “which are quickly becoming viable alternatives to already-clogged TV programming.” The report also noted the oddity of the “Trump Effect,” when a candidate with the most delegates is spending the least on advertising and getting twice as much earned media as all his opponents combined.

Global media network Carat forecast a 4.5 percent increase in global ad spend for 2017 to $562 billion, with digital attaining 29 percent market share by capturing $161 billion. But TV is still king. “TV spend remains as the foundations of our industry,” said Jerry Buhlmann, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Networks of the study. 


NYC’s Town Hall was the site of a rollicking Comedy Central upfront event on Thursday hosted by The Daily Show host Trevor Noah. Viacom heads Philippe Dauman and Thomas Dooley were on hand, as was a slew of talent including Amy Schumer, Jeff Ross, Another Period creators Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome and Broad City creators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, among others – none of whom felt the need to tone their act because the bosses were in the room. But whether in person or onscreen, Comedy talent knew the Upfronts are about business. Said Nathan Fielder (Nathan for You), via a video in which he interviews a millennial: “Millennials are so valuable to advertisers because they can be influenced before their brains have developed.” Daniel Tosh (Tosh.0), also by video, went through a montage of times he’d mentioned products and brands on his show then added,“My fans are always telling me, less comedy, more advertising.” After the laughs, the crowd was herded into event space Gotham Hall.

Among a slew of programming orders are two series from Kevin Hart; a special starring Daily Show’s Jordan Klepper; fresh roasts with Jeff Ross; a series of comedy documentaries from Drunk History’s Jeremy Konner; stand-up specials from Kurt Braunohler, Deon Cole, Pete Davidson, Joe DeRosa, Trevor Moore, Big Jay Oakerson, Dan Soder and The Goddamn Comedy Jam, and digital series Typical Rick.

Development news includes independent deals with Jessica Williams and Jordan Klepper, with Williams co-writing, producing and starring in a half-hour scripted narrative pilot and Klepper producing and starring in a late night talk show presentation. Production deals include projects from Schumer, Chris Hardwick, Channing Tatum, Olivia Wilde, Jack Black, Eva Longoria, Ed Helms, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone, along with Abominable Pictures, Above Average, Funny Or Die, Gloria Sanchez Productions, and Serious Business, among others.

The network had also just announced an expansion of its Discover channel on Snapchat, with an extensive development slate of original series exclusive to the platform.


Asia Television shut down on Friday. In operation for 59 years, the world’s first Chinese-language broadcaster had suffered drops in audience and advertisers, and was under the control of court-appointed administrators. Its frequencies were taken by Radio Television Hong Kong and HKTVE started transmitting its ViuTV Channel 99 through radio waves. “These new free TV services will provide additional program choices for TV viewers,” said Greg So, government Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.

Thailand mobile operator AIS now carries five Turner channels on its Playbox OTT service and Play mobile app: Warner TV, World Heritage Channel, HLN, Boomerang and Toonami.

European competition series Master of Photography launches on Sky in May in the UK, Italy, German and Austria. Isabella Rossellini will host the show, from Sky Arts Hub.

Nippon Television Network Corporation agreed to a renewal of its UK deal for game show format Train of Thought (called Copycatsin the UK market), a comeback, since it was last produced in 2011.

Zinc Media acquired video production business Straker Films Limited, which counts among its recent clients Rio Tinto, National Grid, Nationwide, Aviva, the RAF, Sanofi Pasteur and TfL. The deal “gives Zinc Media a significant and credible footprint in the corporate video and story-telling market,” said Zinc CEO Mark Wood.


European cultural broadcaster ARTE and U.S. SVOD platform CuriosityStream announced the commission of science feature film and TV series The Living Universe, a co-production between Australian independent production company Essential Media and Entertainment and French producer and distributor ZED.

all3media International has partnered with UK independent Rumpus Media to secure global distribution rights for An OAPs Guide to Modern Life and An Immigrants Guide to….Three-part series commissioned by UK’s Channel 4 will air later this spring.

Format highlights from MGM International Television Distribution include dating game Coupled; technology competition series, Greatest Makers; the Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice franchises, and game show Generation Gap.

Zig Zag Productions announced a joint Anglo-French co-production for Quest in the UK and RMC Decouverte in France. Factual series British Treasure, American Gold offers a new take on the world of antiques, with Jesse McClure (Storage Hunters).


Gen Y women are suddenly using Snapchat a lot more than millennial men, according to a new YouGov BrandIndex report. On August 27, 2015, the number of men reporting they had used the app in the last month was 31.6 of those surveyed, versus 31.1 percent for women. Jump to March 27 2016, and the number is 29.1 percent for men, and 48.6 percent for women. In addition to measuring customer usage, YouGov measures general impression with the question, “Do you have a general positive feeling about the brand?”. Says the report, “While the general impression levels have been on the upswing with women since August (and currently hitting their 16-month highs), male impression scores have steadily been on a downturn since the middle of December.”

Starz is offering a chance for viewers to catch up on (or get hooked on) Outlander. The first season of the series is now available for free on select cable, satellite and telco affiliates, as well as Starz.com, Starz on Demand and the Starz Play app. Season two premieres Saturday, April 9 at 9p.

Showtime is also offering sampling opportunities, for the series premiere of Andrew Dice Clay comedy Dice as well as returning comedy House of Lies. The shows are free across multiple platforms to non-subscribers in advance of their linear debuts on Sunday, April 10.

For much more on digital news that impacts the media industry, subscribe to the Cynopsis Digital edition. Sign up (it’s free, of course) on www.cynopsis.com.


Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones) will play the female lead in Netflix’s upcoming Marvel series Iron Fist. She joins fellow GoT alum Finn Jones.


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Discovery wrapped 1Q16 as the #1 non-sports cable network in M25-54, and ratings grew over 1Q15 across all key women demos (W25-54, 18-49, 18-34), with Discovery’s best 1Q in over a decade among W25-54 and W18-49. The net also celebrates its best March in 15 years among P25-54.

Travel Channel saw a 15 percent increase in its prime rating year-over-year among viewers P25-54 in March. Tuesday and Wednesday nights delivered their highest-rated March in five years and saw double digit gains year-over-year: Tuesday prime was up 31 percent among P25-54 and Wednesday prime was up 64 percent.

The season finale of HGTV’s Fixer Upper on March 29 scored a 1.64 Live+SD prime rating among viewers P25-54, the fifth highest-rated telecast in net history. The series also was the #1 cable program in primetime on Tuesday night among viewers P25-54. New series Good Bones delivered a .93 among viewers P25-54 and a 1.06 among W25-54.

CBS’s Rush Hour premiered to a soft 5.1 million viewers and 1.1/4 rating among A18-49 on Thursday. The net’s Life in Pieces delivered a 1.9/7 rating at 8:30p and 1.7/6 for the season finale at 9p.

CNBC Prime posted its ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth among P18-49 and delivered its most-watched quarter in network history among P18-34.The two most recent quarters were CNBC’s most-watched in network history among P18-49, and average audience for CNBC’s original programming grew year over year by 21 percent among P25-54, 31 percent among P18-49 and 35 percent among P18-34.

Velocity earned its best delivering Primetime quarter ever in 1Q16 among HH, P2+, P18-49, P25-54, M18-49 and M25-54. During the quarter Velocity also earned its best month ever in January Primetime ratings and delivery for HH, P18-49, P25-54, P2+ and Men. February 2016 marked Velocity’s best delivering February ever in Primetime among HH and P2+, and its best delivering March ever in Primetime for HH, P2+ and Men. Not impressed yet? March 2016 also marked 53 consecutive months of delivery growth for Velocity in Primetime among HH.

The premiere of CNN docu-series The Eighties drew 598,000 viewers among A25-54, beating Fox News (383,000) and MSNBC (300,000) in the demo. FNC won the most total viewers with 1.99 million, versus 1.4 million for CNN and 1.34 million for MSNBC. Those are the second-best numbers for an original series launch on CNN, after Race for the White House: Kennedy vs. Nixon.

Thursday A18-49 Analysis: FOX won the most A18-49 viewers Thursday with 2.1/8, according to final primetime national ratings from Nielsen. CBS was first at 8p with a 2.7/11 average for Big Bang Theory and Life in Pieces, followed by 2.2/8 for ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. Fox’s American Idol topped 9p with 2.1/7, versus 1.7/6 for ABC’s Scandal. CBS’s Rush Hour tied NBC’s Shades of Blue for first at 10p with 1.1/4.

A18-49:FOX 2.1/7, CBS 1.8/6, ABC 1.6/6, NBC .7/3, UNI .7/3, CW .6/2, TELE .6/2, ION .3/1

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Thursday, March 31, 2015  time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
FOX: 5.6/10
American Idol 5.6/10
CBS: 4.6/8
The Big Bang Theory 8.8/16, Life in Pieces 4.4/8, 2 Broke Girls 3.6/6, Rush Hour 3.2/6
ABC: 4.5/8
Grey’s Anatomy 5.4/9, Scandal 4.5/8, The Catch 3.6/7
NBC: 2.5/4
You, Me & The Apocalypse 1.9/3, The Blacklist [r] 1.9/3, Shades of Blue 3.5/7
Seuno de Amor 1.0/2, Pasion y Poder 1.3/2, Hotel de los Secretos 1.1/2
ION: 1.2/2
Blue Bloods 1.2/2, Blue Bloods 1.2/2, Blue Bloods 1.2/2
CW: 1.0/2
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 1.3/2, The Hundred .8/1
Quien es Quien .7/1, Eva la Trailera .7/1, Senor de Cielos 1.2/2


Discovery Networks named Vera Buzanello as Executive Vice President General Manager of Discovery Networks Iberia, responsible for Spain and Portugal. Her new role as General Manager is focused on defining and implementing the growth strategy of Discovery Networks in the region, which includes 7 channels.


Indian television star Pratyusha Banerjee died April 1 in Mumbai, allegedly by suicide. She was 24. Banerjee appeared in both series and reality shows.

This Day in History:
1887 – Kansas’ Susanna Medora Salter became the first female elected mayor of an American community.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: What lodge was Raymond’s father a member of on Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005)? Order of the Caribou Lodge. Kudos to: Ken DuBow-Bob’s Your Uncle/LA, Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NYC, TJ Healy-Black Sheep Production Company/Montchanin, DE, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-Generate/Beverly Hills, Bob Telford-SAG/AFTRA/Valley Village, CA, Dan Haberer-Creo Entertainment/Playa del Rey, CA

Today’s Trivia Question: Who played a temperamental opera singer who takes a shine to Ann on That Girl (1966-1971)? (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 Janet Di Lauro
reported by Cathy Applefeld Olson

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

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ABC: Dancing With the Stars, Castle
CBS: Big Bang Theory [r], Big Bang Theory [r], Scorpion, NCIS: Los Angeles
CW: iZOmbie [r], Jane the Virgin [r]
FOX: Gotham [r], Lucifer [r]
NBC: The Voice, Blindspot
PBS: Antiques Roadshow, Antiques Roadshow [r], Independent Lens
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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