PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
At Home with Amy Sedaris isn’t going anywhere – truTV ordered a second season of the variety sketch series, headed into production later this year.
Deadly Class, based on the teen angst graphic novel, was picked up to series by Syfy. Show comes from Joe and Anthony Russo (The Avengers), Sony Pictures Television and Universal Cable Productions.
Carla Gugino (Wayward Pines) will star in and exec produce Jett, about a thief drawn into doing one last job. Drama got a straight-to-series order from Cinemax.
A+E Networks inked an overall first-look development deal with journalist Elizabeth Vargas (ABC News). The agreement makes Vargas the face of the net’s new nonfiction primetime banner, A&E Investigates. Vargas will also collaborate with A+E Networks to develop and produce new nonfiction programming for newly launched content development company, A+E Originals.
News from Netflix’s See What’s Next event in Rome: Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and 42 are teaming with the streamer on a new series about the invention of modern football….Idris Elba (Luther) will star as a struggling DJ in UK comedy Turn Up Charlie. Elba will also exec produce the series, from Brown Eyed Boy Productions….German series The Wave, based on the 2008 film Die Welle, will center on a high school teacher’s social experiment gone wrong…. France’s Mortal tells the tale of teens bound by a supernatural force.
Also on Netflix: The service picked up true crime series The Staircase, from What’s Up Films, as well as docu-series Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist, exec produced by Mark and Jay Duplass.
Former Channel 4 head David Abraham has launched Wonderhood Studios, a UK TV production studio for networks and streaming services that will include an agency for brands. “We began our new creative company with a blank sheet of paper in order to align our thinking with the opportunities created by unprecedented levels of change,” said Abraham. “In a world of increasingly connected consumers, channels and platforms require content that is more highly differentiated while brand owners are seeking editorial skills to engage with audiences.”
Azteca America presented a programming slate last night in NYC that included Mas All del Miedo (Beyond Fear), a horror show “filled with mystery, suspense and the struggle for survival against the most evil and ruthless criminals.” The Spanish-language net also announced the return for the fourth consecutive year of the Miss Universe competition, as well as a September 15 special, El Grito, commemorating Mexico’s Independence Day. New Year’s also gets a nod in Azteca’s New Year’s Special, airing live from both New York and Mexico City, and Las Mananitas a la Virgen joins the celebration of singing to the patron saint of Mexico.
New Azteca America game show Mi Pareja Puede (My Man Can) will have women gambling on the abilities of their partners, and reality competition Al Ritmo del Boxeo, hosted by Roberto Duran, mixes boxing and live Latin pop music. Multiscreen initiative “Year of the Latina” will celebrate the achievements of U.S. Hispanic women with monthly themes and awards, with content integrated into shows and live events.
Among the new series announced at Nat Geo’s “Further Front” in NYC (puppies!) was Hostile Planet, which uses new camera technology to take a close-up look at how animals have found ways to survive in inhospitable landscapes. “The series celebrates the surprising resiliency of animals that survive and thrive in the face of adversity,” said Tim Pastore, president of original production and programming, National Geographic. Factual series In Their Own Words, weaving together stories from forgotten recordings, and Chain of Command: Secret Service were also announced. New scripted series The Hot Zone, based on the bestseller, recounts the true story of the origins of the Ebola virus. Brain Games Live turns the Emmy hit into a two-hour live event, and Yellowstone Live will showcase the national park in real time.
New series on Nat Geo WILD include Prairie Dog Home Companion and Babies Diary (baby animals), arriving in June, and 6-parter Savage Kingdom III: After the Fall, coming in spring 2019. Other highlights include special events The Flood, Zeb Hogan’s Monster Fish: Philippines and Tree Lions, showing an area in Uganda where big cats climb trees.
Nat Geo Mundo also unveiled a slate of series and wildlife specials. Paying homage to National Hispanic Heritage Month, the net will air Spanish-language original specials on Sunday nights from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Lineup includes Giant Carnivorous Bats, a special on a rare breed of bats found in Mexico, and Wild Mexico, a three-part natural history series about the country’s diverse landscapes.
You’ll find programming details on the Azteca America and Nat Geo programming slates, as well as more news and updates, at the Cynopsis Upfronts and NewFronts 2018 portal here.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
DIY landscaping series Lawn & Order (ha!) helps homeowners boost curb appeal starting Saturday, May 12 at 8p.
Netflix female wrestling comedy GLOW will be back for a 10-episode season 2 on June 29, and British supernatural teen series The Innocents debuts August 24.
ABC’s “Sunday Fun & Games” lineup is back June 10, with the season four premiere of Celebrity Family Feud at 8p, and season three bows for The $100,000 Pyramid at 9p and To Tell the Truth at 10p.
Giada De Laurentis and her daughter Jade celebrate summer at their California beachfront home in Giada on the Beach, launching Sunday, May 20 at 11:30a on Food Network.
Relationship comedy This Close got the go-ahead for a second season on Sundance Now. Production on eight new episodes begins this summer.
Amy Schumer returns to NBC’s Saturday Night Live on May 12 for her second time as host, with first-timer Kacey Musgraves as musical guest. Tina Fey will sixpeat as host for the show’s season finale on May 19, accompanied by Nicki Minaj, back for her third appearance.
Tony Award nominees Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban will host the Tony Awards, airing Sunday, June 10 at 8p on CBS. They’re both first-time Tonys hosts.
AXS TV is offering a Saturday Stack event dedicated to Willie Nelson on April 28, in honor of the country icon’s 85 birthday the next day. Festivities begin at 1p with Nelson’s talk with Dan Rather on The Big Interview.
Velocity, in partnership with Discovery, Inc. sib Eurosport, struck a multi-year agreement to become the exclusive U.S. and Canadian home for live flag-to-flag coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans beginning with this year’s race on Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17.
Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Michael Strahan will host Thursday Night Football Pregame Show live from NYC for the 2018 season. The new show will air beginning week four at 7:30p on Fox and NFL Network.
BBC America is marking Earth Day on Sunday, April 22 with a marathon of Planet Earth and Planet Earth II episodes starting at 11a.
Lifetime’s UnREAL starts an hour early to allow for a 2-hour season three finale on Monday, April 23 at 9p.
CBS formed a new sales unit, CBS Eye Max, aimed at developing cross-platform innovation and integrations for advertisers on CBS and CBS All Access. Linda Rene, EVP, primetime sales and innovation, will lead the effort.
Cary Elwes (Princess Bride) and Jake Busey (Starship Troopers) will guest on season three of Netflix’s Stranger Things.
Sports Illustrated is going over the top with SVOD offering Sports Illustrated TV. The service, already on Amazon Channels and fuboTV, will be available direct to consumers for $4.99/month. Meredith Corp., which acquired the title as part of its Time Inc. purchase, has said it plans to sell SI.
OTT revenue in 2017 rose 41% versus the prior year, to $11.9 billion, according to a study from Convergence Research Group. That revenue number is expected to rise to $16.6 billion in 2018, and to $25.6 billion in 2020. U.S. cable, satellite and telco revenue grew 1% last year, to $107.6 billion.
Faced with backlash from creators over new eligibility criteria to monetize YouTube, the company is launching a pilot with a small set of creators to test a new video upload flow that will ask creators to provide information about what’s in their video as it relates to advertiser-friendly guidelines. “In an ideal world, we’ll eventually get to a state where creators across the platform are able to accurately represent what’s in their videos so that their insights, combined with those of our algorithmic classifiers and human reviewers, will make the monetization process much smoother with fewer false positive demonetizations,” wrote CEO Susan Wojcicki in a blog post.
Facebook is testing a video format called Facebook Premieres, which lets publishers and creators to release pre-recorded videos like movie trailers and music videos as a live moment. The format allows people to experience a new video together in real time.
Snapchat is introducing the Shoppable AR feature, allowing advertisers to more easily lead users to purchase through the app’s Lenses. Brands can add a button to Lens, which users tap on the visit a web site where they can buy a product. Among the rollout partners are Clairol, Adidas and movie I Feel Pretty, reports TechCrunch.
Amazon is partnering with Best Buy to sell 11 TV sets with Amazon’s Fire TV built in. Best Buy will be the exclusive retailer to sell Fire TV Edition devices, made by Toshiba and Best Buy house brand Insignia. Which means Amazon could be helping, not hurting, brick and mortar operations. “Amazon has always been a big believer in stores,” said Amazon chief Jeff Bezos. “Physical stores aren’t going anywhere.”
Vivicast Media, which licenses cable networks to affiliates worldwide, and MAVTV Motorsports Network finalized a multi-year agreement providing Vivicast Media with OTT and alternative technologies distribution rights for the U.S. and Caribbean markets on behalf of the motorsports network.
Sports-first live streaming platform fuboTV has raised $75 in Series D funding. The round includes AMC Networks, joining existing investors 21st Century Fox, Luminari Capital, Northzone, Sky and Scripps Networks Interactive-turned-Discovery Inc. “This latest capital raise underlines a seismic shift in viewing behavior as consumers migrate from traditional platforms to streaming television,” said David Gandler, fuboTV CEO and co-founder. “The pay TV space is experiencing a renaissance, and the company will use this investment to continue to drive technological advancement in video quality and latency, machine learning and predictive analytics to deliver a best-in-class experience.”
UK-based production company Chalkboard TV landed a commission from Channel 4 for a one-hour broadcast pilot of a factual entertainment show The Slim Reaper, focused on a Russian weight loss guru.
Spun Gold TV has been commissioned by ITV to produce The Real Camilla: HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, the first full profile documentary with unprecedented access to the Duchess.
Anime streamer Crunchyroll is launching on linear TV in Brazil on Saturday, April 21, with an hour that will include two subtitled shows as well as eight minutes of local programming from Crunchyroll Brazilian community managers.