07/16/14: The Kids’ Choice Sports playbook; Will Christopher Walken scare your kids as Captain Hook?; Hub invites celebs to game night


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, July 16, 2014, and this is your first early morning briefing.


What does it take to pull off a live TV event like the inaugural Nick Kids’ Choice Sports awards? The event airs tomorrow at 8p on Nickelodeon and features host Michael Strahan, Legend Award winner David Beckham, Pharrell and Florida Georgia Line, and CynKids got the playbook from producers Jay Schmalholz and Shelly Sumpter Gillyard. Here’s seven things I learned about the inaugural KCS:

1. The sports world affords a very narrow window where athletes from all sectors can gather. Their schedule dictated the timing of Kids’ Choice Sports.
2. Nickelodeon created a sports council comprising performers, athletes and agents to helped network execs suss out some of the categories. It’s a mixed bag of straight-up sports honors and tongue-in-cheek kudos like King and Queen of Swag.
3. This event will also go green. In unexpected ways. “Slime is a big part of the Kids’ Choice DNA,” says Schmalholz. “With this show we have the ability to tie it into sports. Without giving away too much, we can look forward to athletes triggering the slime.”
4. You don’t have to be a sports freak to get into the action. “We wanted to cast the net wide,” Gillyard says. “With the voting, there were entry points for kids so that even if you’re not a big sports fan you could get vested in the event. “
5. Halftime is big. Florida Georgia line will take the stage, and the Verizon Power Dunk challenge, between NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald and Earl Thomas III, will commence. Voters will determine in real time what’s in the tankmaple syrup, whipped cream or slime.
6. One lucky kid gets to be part of the action. After hosting tryouts at the Culver City mall this week, the kid with the best arm gets the chance to sink a half-court shot, live, as part of the halftime showand take home $50,000.
7. The producers are really embracing the live crowd. For the first time at a Nick event, fan bags are being placed on every seat full of things to participate in the show like rally towels, foam mohawks and light-up wristbands.


The relationship between socioeconomic factors and how well American children fare when entering kindergarten remains strong, according to findings Sesame Workshop just released from its Kindergartners’ Skills at School Entry report. The research shows 44 percent of kids enter kindergarten with one or more risk factors based on their home environment; the risk factors are incrementally associated with lower school readiness score than those with no such circumstances. The analysis examined four risk factors: single parent households, mothers with less than a high school education, households with incomes below the federal poverty line and non-English speaking households. High-risk children (those with all four risk factors) were found to be almost a year behind their peers with no risk factors in their reading and math abilities. The researchers also created composite readiness scores based on teacher ratings of children’s academic and social skills. Based on the researchers’ calculation, less than one-third of children were rated by teachers as “in-progress” or better on both reading and math skills. “Given the risk factors children face, which puts them at a disadvantage for school success, we are continuing to find ways to use our educational content to help change these outcomes,” said Dr. Jennifer Kotler Clarke, VP, research & evaluation, at Sesame Workshop.

ZM Capital and former DHX Media exec Neil Court have made an equity investment in 9 Story Entertainment, with Court becoming its executive chairman. The investment is being made out of ZM Capital II, a private equity fund from ZelnickMedia. Vince Commisso continues as president/CEO, and will report to a newly formed board of directors. 9 Story’s roster includes Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Almost Naked Animals and Camp Lakebottom.

Cynopsis is introducing a new web feature called “In Case You Missed It,” which is a quick, concise, roundup of the top stories of the previous week: Check it out at In Case You Missed It.

The DreamWorks Animation 20th anniversary party rolls on with a celebration at the Hollywood Bowl, July 18 and 19. Hosted by Jack Black, DreamWorks Animation in Concert will feature music and scenes from films including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon performed by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under Principal Conductor Thomas Wilkins.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is publishing books in conjunction with Marvel’s upcoming box-office franchise releases starting with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which hits theaters Aug. 1. The first five titles hit stores July 1 in several formats including Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Junior Novel, which features eight pages of full-color photos from the film, and two storybooks for younger fans. Starting in November, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will launch a collectible hardcover series for kids ages 8-12, Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on the film franchises and featuring iconic new artwork especially commissioned for this series.


NBC is flying high with plans for its next primetime musical, Peter Pan, and CynKids got the scoop from NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke on how kid-friendly the feature, set to premiere Dec. 4, will be.

The Sound of Music harkened back to an era when the whole family could watch a show together. Hopes for Peter Pan?
I hope it captures the same enthusiasm. There’s an emotional connection to see a classic we grew up on with our families; it attracts multi-generational viewers.

Some were joking that Maksim Chmerkovskiy could play Captain Hook to go up against Julianne Hough’s Peter Pan. But Christopher Walken is a great choice.
(Laughs) That’s funny. We’re really excited to get Christopher. He looks great. He’s physically fit and is into doing the role. We wanted an incredible actor who could really just embody the role and he’s the one.

He’ll have fun with the role, be menacing but not to where he’ll scare kids, I imagine.
That’s right. It won’t have an edge that feels off-putting to a family audience. It’ll have that Christopher Walken odd quirkiness that could feel unsettling, but at the same time it should be a delightful performance.

Wish list for other musicals?
There are so many. We’ve talked about so many different ones from Mary Poppins to Cinderella. A lot comes down to rights.


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Hub Network is bringing back Family Game Night in style. Celebrities and their families will play for charity when the series returns for a fifth season Sunday, Aug. 3 at 7p ET/4p PT. The celeb set includes Joey Lawrence, Marlee Matlin, Jon Heder, Niecy Nash, Tracey Gold, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Lorenzo Lamas and Melissa Rivers. Additionally, lucky audience members will get to play with WWE’s The Miz and WWEDiva Cameron for cash, prizes and the chance to win a new car.

In other Hub news, the net will stage a 50-hour My Little Pony Friendship is Magic marathon encompassing all 91 episodes of the series, back to back. The Mega Mare-athon runs Monday, Aug. 4 and through Friday, Aug. 8. The finale will include three MLP specials airing for the first time on Hub. The network recently renewed the series for a fifth season, slated to air in 2015.


CBBC commissioned Dot To Dot Productions to produce factual entertainment series Art Ninja, which will be presented by animator Ricky Martin and combines art with a sitcom premise that finds Ricky living in a studio flat trying to create art while avoiding the distractions of friends and family who drop by unannounced.

Nelvana Enterprises signed broadcast deals for its new animated comedy The Day My Butt Went Psycho, with France’s Canal J, South Korea’s Tooniverse, Singapore’s OKTO and Israel’s Zoom. Co-produced by Nelvana and Studio Moshi and in association with Scholastic Media, the series is based on the best-selling books created by one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors, Andy Griffiths and published by Scholastic in the U.S. and Canada.

New animated series Super 4, inspired by Playmobil and produced by Method Animation and morgen studios, has been picked up by Neox Kidz (Atresmedia) in Spain, TV3 in Catalonia, Canal Panda (Portugal), RTBF (Belgium) RTS (Switzerland), RTL teleKids (Netherlands & Luxembourg) MTV3 (Finland), Canal+ (Poland), Noga (Israel); Workpoint (Thailand) and Radio-Canada. PGS represents the series in all territories and has secured broadcast licensing agreements across Europe, Asia, and North America.


Congrats to David Kleeman, SVP of insights programs for PlayCollective, has been named to the board of the National Assn. for Media Literacy Education.

Former Style Network chief Salaam Coleman Smith is headed to ABC Family as EVP, Strategy and Programming.

Lisa Yoskowitz will join Little, Brown Books for Young Readers as Executive Editor on July 21. Lisa was most recently Senior Editor at Disney-Hyperion.


Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of July 7-13, 2014

K2-11 Total Programming Day

K2-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K2-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K6-11 Total Programming Day

K6-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K6-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K9-14 Total Programming Day

K9-14 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K9-14  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research National MIT, ranked on coverage ratings
Viewing Type: Live + Same Day

K2-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of July 7-13 , 2104
7/11/14/Sofia the First/DSNY/9-9:25a/1509
7/11/14/Girl Meets World/DSNY/8:30-8:55p/1457
7/10/14/Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue/DSNY/10:30-11:55a/1444
7/9/14/Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue/DSNY/8-9:45p/1379

K6-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of July 7-13, 2014
7/11/14/Girl Meets World/DSNY/8:30-8:55p/1193
7/13/14/Austin & Ally/DSNY/11-11:30p/1074
7/7/14/High School Musical 3/DSNY/12:30-2:30p/1008
7/13/14/Girl Meets World/DSNY/9-9:30p/981

Source: Turner Research based on Total US Television Universe of 115,800,000 homes.

Weekend box office estimates for the 10 top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for July 11-13, 2014:
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
(20th Century Fox) PG-13 $73 million (weekend) $73 million (1-week cume)
Transformers: Age of Extinction (Paramount) PG-13 $16.5 million (weekend) $209.03 million (3-week cume)
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks Animation) PG $5.87 million (weekend) $152.07 million (5-week cume)
Earth To Echo (Relativity Media) PG $5.50 million (weekend) $24.60 million (2-week cume)
Maleficent (Disney) PG $4.17 million (weekend) $221.99 million (7-week cume)
Think Like A Man Too (Sony) PG-13 $2.50 million (weekend) $61.91 million (4-week cume)
America: Imagine the World Without Her (Lionsgate) PG-13 $2.45 million (weekend) $8.27 million (3-week cume)
Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros.) PG-13 $1.87 million (weekend) $94.55 million (6-week cume)
The Fault in Our Stars (20th Century Fox) PG-13 $1.46 million (weekend) $119.58 million (6-week cume)
X-Men: Days of Future Past
(20th Century Fox) PG-13 $1.04 million (weekend) $229.18 million (8-week cume)


August 6, 2014 | StumbleUpon HQ | San Francisco, CA

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Answer to last week’s Trivia Question: Who voices Angelina’s ballet teacher in the series Angelina Ballerina? Dame Judi Dench No correct answers this week. Better luck next time!

Today’s Trivia Question: Which celebrity has won the most Kids Choice Awards? Email cathy@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Cheers — Cathy Applefeld Olson
Cathy@cynopsis.com for
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