PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Following in the footsteps of Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore, This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown inked a pod deal with 20thCentury Fox TV, the studio behind the hit NBC drama.
Kevin Hart inked a first look deal with Nickelodeon to develop and produce live-action scripted kids’ content for the network through HartBeat. “For me, Nick has always represented everything fun about being a kid, and it’s still at the forefront today of kids’ and family entertainment,” said Hart. “I’ve been slimed at Kids’ Choice, won a lot of Orange Blimps, and my kids are my very own built-in focus group, so I’m ready to dive in.”
FOX issued a script commitment plus penalty to police drama Saturday Night Special. Project hails from Robert Specland, producer Marc Platt (La La Land, FOX’sGrease Live!) and 20thCentury FOX TV, where Platt’s Marc Platt Productions has a deal.
Hulu gave a straight-to-series order to Wu-Tang: An American Saga. The 10-episode drama from Wu-Tang Clan front man The RZA, writer Alex Tse (Superfly) and Imagine Television was created and written by The RZA and Tse.
Hulu picked up the U.S. rights to World War II drama series Das Boot. The project, which is co-produced by Bavaria Fiction, Sky Deutschland and Sonar Entertainment, has been sold to over 100 territories worldwide.
Ovation acquired broadcast rights to two seasons of Frankie Drake Mysteries in the U.S., joining a host of international broadcasters that signed the second season. Set in 1920s Toronto, series follows the city’s only female private detectives as they take on cases the police won’t touch. Set to premiere in the U.S. in June 2019.
Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories nabbed the rights to The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, the debut novel from Australian writer Holly Ringland, with plans to develop it into a drama series for TV. The book explores the story of a young girl whose violent childhood casts a dark shadow on her adult life.
BBC is producing Blue Planet Live, a spin-off the Sir David Attenborough-fronted wildlife series, set to launch as a four-part event revisiting the wildlife and stories explored in Blue Planet II.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Nearly three-and-a-half years after its sophomore finale, HBO’s True Detective returns for a third season on Sunday, January 13 at 9p. Comprised of eight episodes, this go-round will explore a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks.
Via aerial photography and on-the-ground human stories, China From Above showcases the country starting Monday, November 12 at 8p on Smithsonian Channel.
Big Cat Tales debuts as a five-day event on Animal Planet on Monday, October 29 at 8p. Docu-series present families of lions, leopards and cheetahs of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
IFC’s Baroness von Sketch Show, the all-female comedy, returns on Thursday, November 8 at 9p.
National Geographic introduces United States of Secret Service: On The Front Line on Sunday, October 14 at 9p. Series offers a look at some of the most confidential and covert operations of any US law enforcement agency.
Candace Cameron Bure hosts Hallmark Movies & Mysteries “2018 Miracles of Christmas Preview Special” on Sunday, November 14 at 11p. Special gives viewers a sneak peek at the network’s holiday programming event.
TBS will be the exclusive home of the 2018 American League Championship Series presented by the Google Assistant, featuring the Houston Astros vs. the Boston Red Sox. Coverage begins with game one on Saturday, October 13 a 8p.
FilmRise acquired North American distribution rights to Wildland. The film takes viewers inside the lives and experiences of a group of men who battle wildfire over the course of a single fire season, airing nationally on PBS’s Independent Lens on Monday, October 29 (check local listings for time).
Marcia Gay Harden was tapped to star in Lifetime movie Love You to Death, a true story about a controlling mother and her seemingly sick daughter that ends in murder… Grimm alum Sasha Roiz landed a recurring role on USA’s Suits… Merle Dandridge (Greenleaf) nabbed a recurring role on CBS’ Murphy Brown revival… Blue Bloods alum Amy Carlson will guest star on NBC’s midseason drama The Village….Emma Roberts (America Horror Story) is set to star in Netflix‘s newly ordered drama Spinning Out, focused on an up-and-coming skater who has to give up her dream after a disastrous fall.
Shorter television ads are capturing higher levels of attention, according to an iSpot.tv analysis that found that from the end of 2017 to early 2018, 10-second commercials earn an “attention” score of 91.0 to 91.5, while 30-second spots earned a 90.0 score. The difference is greater when 10-second commercials are compared to 60-second spots, which tallied 88.0 to 88.5. Research also showed that shorter 10-second to 15-second ads grabbed the best “attention” numbers when short-length commercials were placed in the second or second to last position in a pod of ads.
PBS KIDS announced its first ever live action theatrical experience, PBS KIDS Live! Really BIG tiny Adventure, presented by Zappos Adaptive! Slated to travel to more than 100 cities coast-to-coast beginning in January, the interactive production features activities that highlight science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) learning concepts with an augmented reality experience.
Rainbow secured a deal with France TV to launch new pre-school animation 44 Cats. Series follows the daily adventures of four musician kittens, who are part of the band The Buffycats.
Google has signed its second big sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball; a multiplatform brand content partnership that includes its Google Assistant service becoming the presenting sponsor of the American League and National League Championship Series. Google’s YouTube TV service is already the presenting sponsor for the MLB World Series. That deal, which runs through 2019, was signed in 2017.
Go To Team announced an expanded strategic partnership with LiveU to provide live video streaming throughout the U.S. for clients and verticals using LiveU’s LU500 portable transmission unit. “This is an unprecedented deal for our 19 elite video crews across the U.S. that increased our ability to broadcast live content for our diverse array of broadcast, cable and Fortune 500 clients,” said Go To Team’s Managing Partner, Shawn Moffatt.
Persado added Narrative Intelligence, the ability to tell stories and humanize marketing interactions, to its AI-based platform. According to Alex Protopapas, Vice President of Innovation at Persado, the objective is to “make storytelling not just one element of an algorithm, but to make it the entire driving force.” The company says it can create personalized messaging in email subject lines and body copy, as well as for web, mobile and social media by analyzing a brand’s tone, style, voice and audience characteristics, then building a custom language mode.
Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s shortform video serviceNewTVwill have a new name, Quibi, when it launches in 2019. Whitman announced the name at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, noting that it’s a combination of the words “quick” and “bite,” the type of content she and Katzenberg plan to produce.
Endemol Shine Group announced that Global hit MasterChef has now sold to 60 markets. Endemol Shine Latino has been commissioned by Mall TV in Panama to produce a first series for the channel.
Actress and recording artist Hailee Steinfeld is set to host and perform at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards (MTV EMAs). Ceremony airs globally from Bilbao Exhibition Centre in Spain on Sunday, November 4 at 7p.
Breakthrough Entertainment acquired worldwide distribution rights to Fight Mom. The doc follows Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Watterson as she balances life a mother and professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter.
Karga Seven Pictures Turkey, part of LA-based Karga Seven Pictures, a Red Arrow Studios company, picked up scripted remake rights to long-running USA drama Suits.
Gusto Worldwide Media is expanding into European territories with Pluto TV. The deal will see Gusto’s food programming available to viewers in the UK and other European territories.
Tobias Lindholm is set to write and star in The Investigation, a crime series based on the probe into the murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall. Drama is being developed by Miso Film, Denmark’s TV2 and TV4 and Sweden’s C More.
An English-language adaptation of hit international series a Cop’s Best Friend is in development at Canada’s Citytv. Production has begun on Rex (wt) about a police detective and his hardworking dog.
Studiocanal concluded a deal regarding production of a Russian remake of crime thriller La Porta Rossa. The series will be produced in house by TV-3’s new production arm, 1-2-3 Production and distributed internationally by Studiocanal.