PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
HGTV has enlisted Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) to host its Extreme Makeover: Home Edition reboot. The hire is one way HGTV “will put its own creative lens” on the series, which aired on ABC from 2003-2012, said Jane Latman, President, HGTV. “We’ll make some variations to creative aspects of the show, but it will always deliver the great storytelling that made it one of the most iconic and successful properties in television. Jesse’s a funny guy, with a warm, caring nature who will help us find the humor and joy in every situation.” Produced by Endemol Shine North. America, the show will debut in 2020.
Ken Olin inked an overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television that calls for the This Is Us EP and director to develop new projects for all platforms. “Ken is a special talent and a terrific guy who has been such a valuable resource to [This Is Us creator] Dan [Fogelman] and everyone at This Is Us,” 20th Century Fox TV’s President of Creative Affairs Jonnie Davis said. “Keeping him at this studio and on that important show was literally a mission for Howard [Kurtzman, President of Business Operations] and me, and we’re equally excited to work on other projects with him.”
Janet Mock (Pose) inked an overall deal with Netflix to produce new series exclusively for the streamer, which will have a first-look at Mock’s feature projects. Mock will also serve as EP and director on Ryan Murphy’s upcoming Netflix series on Hollywood, as well as other future Murphy projects. Mock is the first black trans woman to establish an overall deal with a major studio.
Paramount Network ordered a third season of original series Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner. Season one averaged 5.1 million total viewers per episode, making it 2018’s most-watched new cable series and ranking second across all cable TV series for the year; season two premiered last night.
Nat Geo is in talks to turn limited series The Hot Zone into an anthology series, reports Deadline. Launched May 27, the Ebola outbreak drama has become the net’s most-watched scripted series ever, with 9.33 million viewers in Live+7 across premieres and repeats.
Industrial Media announced that director and executive producer Matthew Galkin and his company, Fairhaven Films, have entered an exclusive overall deal with the independent production group behind American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Through the deal, Industrial Media’s CEO, Eli Holzman, and President, Aaron Saidman, will work closely with Galkin to create, develop, and produce new documentary television and film content under the Industrial Media umbrella.
Niecy Nash (Claws) is set to star in Kidnapped: The Kamiyah Mobley Story, the first movie greenlit by Lifetime under the Robin Roberts Presents movie and documentary banner. Executive produced by Roberts, production is currently underway and also stars Rayven Symone Ferrell (The Hate U Gave) and Ta’Rhonda Jones (Empire), in the true story of a young woman who discovers at age 18 that she was abducted as a baby and the family she knew to be hers, wasn’t. The film, set to premiere in 2020, will be followed by a companion documentary featuring the real-life people depicted in the movie.
Queens MediaWorks announced it has finalized a deal with JLL, a real estate and investment management firm, targeting two properties in Long Island City that will serve as the campus for a state-of-the art production, commercial and retail complex. Queens MediaWorks was conceived as a cost-effective alternative for New York’s unscripted video-content production industry, and will offer 350,000+ square feet of office and production space. JLL and the QMW partners are currently in process with potential production companies to discuss and disclose plans and terms, with several prodcos having already signed letters of intent.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
New OWN drama David Makes Man debuts Wednesday, August 14 at 10p, centered on a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by the death of his closest friend and relied on by his hardworking mother to find a way out of poverty. The premiere will be presented by Lexus with limited interruptions.
Showtime ordered six episode comedy series Back to Life, from Fleabag producers Harry and Jack Williams and Daisy Haggard (Episodes). Haggard plays a woman who, after 18 years behind bars, returns home and stumbles back into adult life in the coastal town she once knew, while the mystery of her past looms large. Created by Haggard and written by Haggard and Laura Solon, the series, which aired earlier this year on the BBC, will premiere on Showtime on Sunday October 6 at 8:30p.
MTV’s Ex on the Beach is back Tuesday, July 16 at 9p. Reality show hosted by Romeo Miller features celeb-reality singles whose hopes for new romance are complicated when their exes surprise them.
Topical stand-up series This Week at the Comedy Cellar will return to Comedy Central for a second season, launching Friday, July 19 at 11p. Season one featured 85 comedians over seven episodes, a number the net expects to beat the second time around.
Season three of Netflix’s Dear White People lands August 2. Yesterday’s announcement was timed to Juneteenth, commemorating the June 19, 1865 abolition of slavery in Texas.
Noticias Telemundo will airPresident Trump’s first exclusive sit-down interview with a Spanish-language television network during his presidency tonight, June 20 at 11p. Noticias Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balar scored the sit-down.
This summer, as part of Smithsonian Channel’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, the network is partnering with distributors and museums to bring new documentary The Day We Walked on the Moon to viewers. On June 30, one week before the film premieres on the network, participating distributors will make the doc, along with 10 other Smithsonian Channel space titles, available on VOD for all subscribers. On Monday, June 24, Smithsonian Channel will partner with Comcast for a private screening at the new Comcast Tech Center in Philadelphia, and on Thursday, July 11, the network will team with Altice and Long Island’s Cradle of Aviation Museum for a private screening at the museum. On July 20, the day of the landing, 70 Smithsonian Institution-affiliated museums will screen the film.
Are you involved in esports (yet)? Our colleagues over at the Esports Business Summit (www.esportsbizsummit.com) unveiled a lineup of 2019 keynote speakers that include: Ryan Wyatt, Global Head of Gaming Content, YouTube Gaming; Brad Hiranaga, Chief Brand Officer North America, General Mills; and Greg Via, Global Director-Head of Sports, Esports and Entertainment, P&G/Gillette. Themes and topics to be discussed at this year’s program include collegiate esports, women in esports, emerging markets, venues and communities, Team CEO roundtables, state-of-the-union addresses from the leading game publishers, fan engagement and metrics, best brand activations, and global perspectives.
Starz announced a summer lineup of acquisitions including Sundance Film Festival Selection A Boy. A Girl. A Dream, starring Omari Hardwick (Power) and Meagan Good (Think Like a Man) set to premiere on Tuesday, August 6 at 9p. Starz also acquired eight-part drama series MotherFatherSon (premiering June 21), created by Tom Rob Smith (American Crime Story); as well as Out of Omaha (September 9), a documentary about two brothers’ journey to adulthood. Other titles that will debut this summer include The Great Mother aka “La Gran Madre” (July 22) and Kleptocrats (August 5), as well as feature film Drunk Parents (September 12), starring Alec Baldwin (It’s Complicated) and Salma Hayek (The Hitman’s Bodyguard).
Nielsen’s Gracenote announced the launch of Gracenote Video Popularity Score, a data offering to help entertainment providers understand the TV shows and movies that viewers want to watch so they can promote them accordingly. “Our new Video Popularity Score empowers entertainment providers to identify and put the most relevant, watched and talked about TV shows and movies front and center,” said Simon Adams, Chief Product Officer. “By enhancing content targeting, Video Popularity Score allows for sharper search results, highly topical recommendations and more relevant viewing options from cold-starts where data on user preferences or previous consumption is not available.” For details, go here.
By year’s end, the U.S. will be the world’s largest gaming market, replacing China, reports Newzoo. Driving the rise is the domestic growth in consoles, as well as a shift toward the games-as-service model. Although a nine-month freeze on game licenses in China hurt that country’s results, China’s Tencent remains the largest publicly-listed gaming company, followed by Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Activision Blizzard.
YouTube and Universal Music Group are partnering to remaster classic music videos, many of which were only available in the “outdated standards originally intended for tube televisions with mono speakers,” said YouTube. Videos from the likes of Billy Idol, Beastie Boys, Kiss, Meat Loaf, Smokey Robinson and more will be updated to the highest video and audio standards, and take the place of the old versions but retain the same URL and view counts and likes.
Discovery Inc. struck a new, multi-year carriage agreement that will bring 13 Discovery networks to fuboTV’s live TV streaming service. The deal extends the strategic relationship between the companies that began with the former Scripps Networks Interactive (acquired by Discovery) and included carriage of their five networks. “Our partners at fuboTV are building a unique programming service, and we are pleased to bring more of our portfolio of real-life passion brands and programs to their subscribers,” said Eric Phillips, President of Affiliate Distribution at Discovery.
Multi-platform video distribution company Future Today has entered into a partnership with NCircle Entertainment to launch BusyBee TV, a free kids’ channel created to platform age-appropriate content from NCircle’s library across OTT channels, including Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and other sites.
Starzplay grabbed UK rights to Deadly Class, canceled by Syfy after one season, and will launch it on July 19. The streaming service will also offer season three of Hulu’s Harlots in weekly installments starting July 11.
CBS and Turner Sports scored $655 million in revenue from the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament, according to Standard Media Index data. Overall, revenue was up 5% from 2018, with revenue for the last seven games up 8%.
Comcast, Charter and Cox and teaming for a new initiative, On Addressability, aimed at building a “sound, scalable and sustainable addressable” advertising solution for TV. “TV is a tremendous, resilient medium with unparalleled reach and engagement, but data has changed the way that marketers use media. Historically, TV has lagged digital in this area, and this must change,” said Marcien Jenckes, president of advertising at Comcast Cable, in a statement. “Our industry needs to find a way to fully participate in, and lead, the data-driven future of advertising as only TV can. We’re fully committed to making this happen.”
In another industry collaboration, sixteen advertisers, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, General Mills and Mastercard, are joining with agencies and media companies – Facebook, Google/YouTube, Dentsu, and Publicis Media among them – to fight unsafe digital media. The initiative, discussed in a panel at the Cannes Lions festival, is being led by the World Federation of Advertisers and has the support of industry groups including ANA, 4A’s, IAB, Mobile Marketing Association and others. “The status quo is untenable, and our work through the Alliance will allow us to shift from driving reach at all costs to building reach with responsibility,” said Robert Rakowitz, Global Head of Media for Mars. “The uncommon collaboration and shared accountability we are starting here is essential.”
Uber filed a lawsuit alleging “tens of millions of dollars” in mobile advertising fraud by ad networks and publishers. Among the fraudulent practices the ride-sharing company lists are deceptive naming, missing device IDs and non-mobile optimized sites, leading to inflated click estimates. The suit is a refiling of one made against Dentsu’s Fetch.
On Wednesday, Google rolled out the open-source availability of Private Join and Compute, a new type of secure multi-party computation that allows agencies and brands to share sensitive data without revealing information about individual customers. “Many important research, business, and social questions can be answered by combining data sets from independent parties where each party holds their own information about a set of shared identifiers (e.g. email addresses), some of which are common,” said the company in a security blog post. “But when you’re working with sensitive data, how can one party gain aggregated insights about the other party’s data without either of them learning any information about individuals in the datasets? That’s the exact challenge that Private Join and Compute helps solve.” Using this cryptographic protocol, two parties can encrypt their identifiers and associated data, and then join them. All identifiers remain fully encrypted throughout the process. Neither party ever reveals their raw data, but they can still answer the questions at hand using the output of the computation.
With people growing more aware of – and concerned about – privacy issues, Twitter informed users it is turning off location data. “Most people don’t tag their precise location in Tweets, so we’re removing this ability to simplify your Tweeting experience,” tweented Twitter Support. “You’ll still be able to tag your precise location in Tweets through our updated camera. It’s helpful when sharing on-the-ground moments.”
Talia Parkinson-Jones (The Wendy Williams Show) has been named co-executive producer of Tamron Hall, premiering in national syndication on Monday, September 9. Also joining the senior production team along is Andrew Scher (The Doctors) as supervising producer.
Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon a Time) will recur in a guest role on season four of NBC’s This Is Us…Added to the cast of USA’s Brave New World as series regulars are Kylie Bunbury (When They See Us), Hannah John-Kamen (Killjoys), Sen Mitsuji (Origin), Joseph Morgan (The Originals), and Nina Sosanya (Killing Eve)…The cast for FX drama pilot Gone Hollywood, centered on a group of talent agents, includes John Magaro (The Umbrella Academy), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones), Lola Kirke (Mozart in the Jungle), Ben Schnetzer (Pride), Jonathan Pryce (The Wife) and Judd Hirsch (Taxi)…Josh Holloway (Colony) is joining season three of Paramount Network’s Yellowstone in a major recurring role.
The Weather Channel will be available to Verizon Fios TV customers on channel 611, Starting June 24. “We are happy to bring Fios TV customers another trusted resource for weather information with the addition of The Weather Channel to our Fios lineup,” said Erin McPherson, Verizon’s Head of Content Strategy, Acquisitions and Programming. “Our customers are increasingly impacted by severe weather, and The Weather Channel will be a welcomed addition for our viewers.”
AT&T filed a complaint on behalf of DirecTV, DirecTV Now or U-Verse against nine station owners it says have refused to negotiate “for several months.” Deerfield Media, GoCom Media of Illinois, Howard Stirk Holdings, Mercury Broadcast Group, MPS Media, Nashville License Holdings, Roberts Media, Second Generation of Iowa and Waitt Broadcasting have “pulled” 20 stations from its services, said AT&T, causing blackouts “with no end in sight.”
Altice USA announced the launch of Cheddar Business, Cheddar’s digital-first live business news network, on its Optimum TV lineups across the New York tri-state area. Cheddar, which was acquired by Altice USA earlier this month, has been available as a streaming app on Altice One, the company’s advanced entertainment and connectivity platform. Cheddar’s live news network is now available on Optimum TV Channel 84, bringing Cheddar’s 24/7 national tech and business news to Optimum TV customers across New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
Writers rooms for ITV comedy shows will likely have less testosterone going forward. At Channel 4’s Diverse Festival, head of comedy Saskia Schuster said ITV’s contracts now state that shows “must aim for 50:50 gender representation.”
French animation production and distribution company Dandelooo’s pre-school project Billy The Cowboy Hamster is now in development with France TV. Series is based on the books by Dutch author and illustrator Catharina Valckx.