09/21/15: New boss talks cuts at Cablevision; DiCaprio drama lands at Showtime; ABC developing The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport


Good morning. It’s Monday September 21, 2015, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
ABC: Castle at 10p
CBS: Big Bang Theory at 8p, Life in Pieces at 8:30p, Scorpion at 9p, NCIS: Los Angeles at 10p
FOX: Gotham at 8p, Minority Report at 9p
HGTV: Love It or List It at 9p, Houses Hunters: Where Are They Now? at 10p
NBC: The Voice at 8p, Blindspot at 10p
Weather: Natural Born Monsters at 10p

Winners of last night’s Andy Samberg-hosted Emmys on Fox included HBO’s Veep for Outstanding Comedy Series, HBO’s Game of Thrones for Drama, Transparent’s Jeffrey Tambor and Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Lead Actor and Actress in a Comedy and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and How To Get Away with Murder’s Viola Davis for Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama. For a full list of nominees and winners, click here.


It’s belt-tightening time at Cablevision. Shortly after the announcement that his company had struck a $17.7 billion deal for the house that Charles Dolan built, Altice SA founder Patrick Drahi talked cost-cutting. “I pay as little as I can,” said Drahi at a Goldman Sachs conference. “No one in our company is making more than a couple hundred thousand a year…. There’s a new sheriff in town. We will probably run things a little differently.” Noted Drahi, “Cablevision has five million homes in a very dense area around New York, which is half what Numericable has in France, so the cost of running this network should be around the half the cost of running a network in France. It is three times. That is a problem.”

Season one of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder is now available for streaming on Netflix, joining sister Shonda Rimes dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal on the service. The deal “underscores the value of this series, and reinforces the overall popularity of How to Get Away With Murder on ABC and its other first-run platforms around the world,” said Disney-ABC home entertainment and distribution president Janice Marinelli.


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Leonardo DiCaprio is exec producing a mob drama project for Showtime. Brett Johnson (Ray Donovan) is writing and will exec produce with DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson of Appian Way, Bryan Zuriff, Charles Pacheco, Jennifer Erwin and Dan Pearson.

Dumb Prince, written by Charlie Grady (The Mindy Project) and exec produced  by Amy Poehler, landed a production commitment from NBC. The Universal Television and 3 Arts project focuses on a Crown Prince’s  misguided attempt to run the family business.

Busy NBC also gave a script commitment to In the Line of Fire, based on the 1993 film, reports Deadline. Drama will be written by CSI’s Carol Mendelsohn and Josh Berman; studio is Sony Pictures Television.

ABC is developing The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport, from writer Sarah Dunn and Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertaiment and ABC Studios. Comedy focuses on a woman dealing with a wealthy town full of seemingly perfect wives and families.

Also at ABC: Ordinary People, produced by musician John Legend and his supermodel/TV host wife, Chrissy Teigen, has a pilot order. The romantic comedy, named after Legend’s hit song, is loosely based on the celeb couple’s life; music will be incorporated into the show.

CBS grabbed a comedy project starring Jermaine Fowler (Friends of the People), inspired by the actor/comedian’s life. Fowler will exec produce with 3 ArtsMichael Rotenberg and CBS Television Studios’ Josh Lieberman. Another autobiographical-ish project with Fowler made it to pilot last year at ABC.

A drama series inspired by H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau is in development at CBS. Phillip Iscove (Sleepy Hollow) is writing the script for CBS Television Studios and Kennedy/Marshall.

Top 10 Weekend Domestic Box Office Estimates: September 18-20, 2015
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (20th Century Fox) $30.3 million, opening weekend
Black Mass (Warner Bros.) $23.4 million, opening weekend
The Visit (Universal) $11.4 million, cume revenue $43.3 million
The Perfect Guy (Screen Gems) $$9.6 million, cume revenue $41.4 million
War Room (TriStar) $6.3 million, cume revenue $49.1 million
A Walk in the Woods (Broad Green Pictures) $2.7 million, cume revenue $24.8 million
Mission: Impossible – Rogue (Paramount) $2.3 million, cume revenue $191.7 million
Straight Outta Compton (Universal) $2.0 million, cume revenue $158.9 million
Captive (2015) (Paramount) $1.4 million, opening weekend
No Escape (Weinstein) $1.0 million, cume revenue $26.2 million
Source: Rentrak Corporation


‘Mazing Results
The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials’ massive 4.6 A18-49 rating sprinted NCM to the top of the charts.
Click here to run on
America’s Movie Network.


With a tip of the hat to Jimmy Stewart, the season one finale of TV Land’s The Jim Gaffigan Show has Jim wishing he’d never gotten married and had children, only to learn to be careful what he wishes for. Episode airs Wednesday, September 23 at 10p.

Forty-five (gulp) years after The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered, PBS is airing Mary Tyler Moore: A Celebration, featuring interviews with the actress’ co-stars, as well as fans like Oprah Winfrey and Tina Fey. Doc airs Tuesday, October 13 at 8p.

Fusion’s got the Pope’s historic visit to the U.S. and Cuba covered, with reporting across its digital and social platforms as well as “Losing My Religion,” a special edition of America with Jorge Ramos on Tuesday, September 22 at 10p. Last month, Fusion participated in the first-ever televised virtual audience with the pontiff.

In honor of World Rhino Day (it’s legit, we checked), Animal Planet will air a morning marathon of programs dedicated to the five remaining endangered species of rhinos. First up on Tuesday, September 22 is Battleground: Rhino Wars at 7a.

Two episodes of truTV’s first original scripted comedy, For Those Who Can’t, get the screening treatment at the New York Television Festival on Tuesday, October 20. Creators and stars will be on hand for a talk afterwards at the SVA Theatre.

Stories of kidnapped children who escaped their captors are shared in LMN original series They Took Our Child: We Got Her Back. Seven one-hour eps produced by The Company launch Wednesday, October 7 at 10p.

Fun of Your Business is back by popular demand. What’s the most memorable piece of swag you ever received at an industry event? Let us know at FOYB.Cynopsis@gmail.com, and your answer might be featured in the newsletter. Please include your name, title and company.


Advertisers have an unlikely ally in the developer of ad blocker Peace, which made it to the top of the paid app list in the U.S. App Store. Marco Arment yanked the app on Friday, saying, “I’m just not built for this business.” In his blog, Arment explained, “Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit.”

TV ad spending grew 3 percent in August, according to data company Standard Media Index. “A strong back-to-school market has delivered the most robust month for the ad market this year to date,” said James Fennessy, chief commercial officer. “We saw big jumps across local and cable TV.” Digital recorded “big double-digit percentage gains and the majority of these dollars are coming from new advertisers, rather than stealing share from traditional media,” said Fennessy. As for the Big Four, “Unfortunately, broadcast TV didn’t join the party in August due to programming shifts which had a big impact on the performance of the sector.” Broadcast dipped 6 percent year-over-year. Big winners in cable: TNT, TBS, Food Network, AMC and HGTV.

“Engagement isn’t about ‘likes’ or one-off interactions; it’s about a genuine two-way connection between a brand and a person,” says Havas Worldwide NYC Chief Strategy Officer Tim Maleeny. “Ultimately, if your brand can’t answer every consumer’s question – ‘Why should I care?’ – then you’re only talking to yourself, no matter how much money you spend. "This is just one insight from Maleeny, who’s keynoting the Cynopsis TV Conference on October 15th. To hear more from him as well as speakers from Deutsch, Weight Watchers, and more, register here.


Pilgrim Studios optioned TV and film rights for The Mensch on a Bench. Plans for the Hanuukkah adventure story created by toy maker and entrepreneur Neal Hoffman include an animated holiday special. Mensch first gained notice last year on Shark Tank.

Weigel Broadcasting net Heroes & Icons struck a deal with the Fox Television Stations to launchH&I in the following Fox markets in 4Q15: New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Detroit, Tampa, Orlando and Charlotte. “Like Movies! and Buzzr, H&I will provide viewers in our markets with another compelling, fun choice. And nobody executes this stuff better than Weigel,” said Frank Cicha, SVP of Programming for the Fox Television Stations.

Were you happy with the Emmys? Rate the show in the Cynopsis poll: http://cynopsis.com/poll//


Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) joins HBO drama Westworld as a regular. Series starring Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Evan Rachel Wood launches in 2016.

Thora Birch (American Beauty) will recur on USA’s Colony. Futuristic drama debuts Thursday, January 14.

Jenna Coleman is leaving her role on Doctor Who to play a young Queen Victoria in ITV eight-parter Victoria. Coleman played the Time Lord’s assistant for three years.


FremantleMedia is packing heavy for Cannes, with titles including music reality show La Banda from SYCO Entertainment, Saban Brands and Univision; game shows Eureka from Blue Circle, Rebound from Thames and Who Knew? from UFA Show and Factual; classic formats Celebrity Family Feud and To Tell the Truth, and new lifestyle format Lords and Ladies from Mind the Gap Films.

DHX Television’s rebranded preschool networks Family Jr. and Telemagino were just introduced to Canadian households. On demand channels and network websites offer a full multiplatform experience.

Federation Entertainment sold The Bureau (Le Bureau des Legendes), a Canal+ Creation Originale, to Mediengruppe RTL Germany’s pay-tv channel RTL Crime. Season two of the spy thriller shoots in Morocco and the Paris region.


CYNOPSIS DIGITAL is now accepting nominations for the inaugural
HALL OF DISTINCTION, which honors prestigious ongoing work in digital media, to be honored at the
MODEL D awards luncheon on November 13.

Open to those who have demonstrated continuing excellence in engaging audiences and spurring online growth. We are looking for elite innovators with a record of outstanding achievement, creativity and strategic thinking in online communication.



NBC was tops among A18-49 on Friday, according to Nielsen fast nationals, with 1.0/4. CBS was first in total viewers, delivering 5.14 million. NBC’s Dateline led the demo race with 1.2; CBS’s Blue Bloods drew the most viewers (6.24 million).

The morning show race is heated: ABC’s GMA tied NBC’s Today in ratings and share, with only 5000 viewers separating the shows in the news demo the week of September 7.

Broadcast Morning News Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of September 7, 2015
GMA 5.02 million viewers; 1.5/12 and 1.727 million A25-54
NBC: Today 4.54 million viewers; 1.5/12 and .1732 million A25-54
CBS: This Morning 3.346 million total viewers; .8/7 and 961,000 A25-54
Source: Nielsen, NTI

Thursday A18-49 Analysis: CBS won the most A18-49 viewers Tuesday with 7.4/27, according to final primetime national ratings from Nielsen. CBS topped 8p with 6.1/24 for NFL’s Denver at Kansas City, followed by 1.3/5 for NBC’s Jeff Dunham: Unhinged. Football continued to dominate at 9p with 8.0/27, versus 1.3/4 for NBC’s Matt Franco’s Got Magic. CBS’s game scored 7.9/27 at 10p; Telemundo’s Senor de los Cielos was second with 1.2/4.

A18-49:CBS 7.4/27, NBC 1.1/4, UNI .9/3, TELE .8/3, ABC .6/2, FOX .5/2, CW .3/1, ION .2/1

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: September 17, 2015  time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
CBS: 12.8/23
CBS Thursday Night NFL Kick-off 5.6/11, Thursday Night Football 12.9/24
NBC: 3.3/6
Jeff Dunham-Unhinged 4.0/7, Matt Franco’s Got Magic 2.9/5
ABC: 2.1/4
Grey’s Anatomy [r] 2.3/4, Scandal [r] 2.2/4, How to Get Away With Murder [r] 1.8/3
Amores con Trampa 1.2/2, Imperdonable 1.5/3, Yo No Creo en Hombers 1.3/2
ION: 1.2/2
Blue Bloods 1.1/2, Blue Bloods 1.3/2, Blue Bloods 1.3/2
Telemundo: 1.0/2
Avenisa Brasil .8/1, Bajo el Mismo Cielo .9/1, Senior de los Cielos 1.4/3
FOX .9/2
Scream 3 .9/2
CW: .6/1
Flash [r] .6/1, Arrow .6/1 [r]


Jana Bennett was upped to President and General Manager of History. Bennett, who joined A+E Networks in 2013 as President of FYI and LMN, replaces Dirk Hoogstra.


Best-selling author Jackie Collins died September 19 of breast cancer. She was 77. Among her eight novels that were adapted for TV or film was hit 1985 mini-series Hollywood Wives.

This Day in History:
1937 – J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit was published.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: Who killed Teri Bauer in the first season of 24? Nina Myers. Kudos to: Laurie Ulster-Fuse/NYC, Nina Myers-Screenvision/NYC, Jerry Kapner-Kapner Group/Montclair, NJ, Jim Bono-Crown Media Family Networks/NYC, Cynthia New-Spectrum Reach/Cape Girardeau/MO, Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville, Eric Litt-Tribune Broadcasting/Chicago, Caroline Perry-Compass Advertising/Beverly Hills, Vince Garza-Fox Sports/LA, Gayle Gluck-At Last Productions/LA, Allison Roy-WGN America/LA.

Today’s Trivia Question: Who played Crockett’s doomed partner in the pilot for Miami Vice (1984-1990)? (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

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

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ABC: Dancing With the Stars, Castle [p]
CBS: Big Bang Theory [p], Life in Pieces [p], Scorpion [p], NCIS: Los Angeles [p]
CW: Penn & Teller: Fool Us, Whose Line Is it Anyway? [r], Significant Mother
FOX: Gotham [
p], Minority Report [p]
NBC: The Voice [p], Blindspot [p]
PBS: Antiques Roadshow [r], America After Charleston, POV
Telemundo: Avenida Brasil, Bajo el Mismo Cielo, El Senor de los Cielos
Univision: Amores con Trampa, Lo Imperdonable, Yo No Creo en los Hombres

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