PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Netflix ordered eight episodes of coming-of-age series I Am Not Okay With This, from British director Jonathan Entwistle and Shawn Levy, director/exec producer of Stranger Things. Project, based on a series of self-published Forsman microcomics, is co-created by Entwistle and Christy Hall and is about a teenage girl navigating high school while dealing with her family, her budding sexuality and mysterious superpowers beginning to awaken within her.
Freeform picked up Everything’s Gonna Be Okay to series, with a 10-ep order for the project from Please Like Me creator, writer and comedian Josh Thomas. Half-hour comedy follows a neurotic 25-year-old still living at home with his single dad and two teenage half-sisters who has to step up when his dad becomes terminally ill. It’s produced by Avalon Television and Freeform, based on a concept created by Thomas, who wrote and stars in the pilot and will serve as showrunner.
Fan-owned entertainment company Legion M and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment are in a new film and TV partnership that will see the two companies jointly source, develop and produce community-driven content. CSS Entertainment, which owns distributor Screen Media, will gain exclusive rights to several TV series in the works at Legion M; Legion M will participate in forthcoming Screen Media film titles. Deal also offers fans the opportunity to invest and receive equity in the projects. Initial projects in the partnership include POSITV, a package of uplifting news and unscripted fare; sketch comedy competition show Comedy Royale; entrepreneur series Up$ide; and music showcase New York Rock Exchange.
All3Media is revving its sports engine with the acquisition of Aurora Media Worldwide. Founded in 2012, Aurora is run by former Endemol and IMG exec Lawrence Duffy and produces live sports content including Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival and International Six Day Track Cycling.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Netflix wants to help you clean up your act. Eight-ep Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, featuring the global organization guru, launches January 1.
My 600-Lb Life and Family By the Ton return to TLC on Wednesdays beginning January 2. The night kicks off at 8p with two-hour eps of My 600-Lb Life.
The Dakota Boys are back for a second season of Gold Rush: White Water, starting Friday, January 4, at 10p Discovery. This season, they’re mining for nuggets in the raging torrents of glacier-fed McKinley Creek.
Ben and Erin Napier return for season 3 of HGTV’s Home Town on Monday, January 14, at 9p. The husband and wife use their artistic vision and passion to restore worn properties in a small Mississippi town.
Paramount Network dropped a trailer for season 5 of Lip Sync Battle, debuting January 17 at 9p, hosted by LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen.
Hulu secured Anna Friel-fronted British drama Butterfly in a deal with Fremantle and will launch the three-part miniseries January 18. Butterfly, penned by The Secret Agent writer Tony Marchant, follows the relationship between separated parents and their divided opinions over how to support their youngest child. Show is produced by RED Production Co. and Aenon for ITV. Nicola Shindler, Caroline Hollick and Adam Kemp are exec producers.
E! is expanding its original nightly programming lineup with a 20-ep order of new unscripted comedy blind-dating series Dating #NoFilter. Series, from Lime Pictures and All3Media America, will air Monday-Thursday starting Monday, January 21, at 10:30p.
Reelz announced new original programming for winter 2019 including four new specials, three new series and three returning series. The dark and messy sides of celebrity take center stage in the three new series – I Lived with a Killer (premiering Friday, January 25, at 8p), Famous Fortune Fights (Thursday, January 31, at 9p) and Notorious (Saturday, March 16, at 10p). Autopsy: The Last Hours Of… leads returning series on Sunday, February 10, at 9p, followed by Price of Fame (Sunday, February 10, at 10p) and Murder Made Me Famous (Saturday, March 16, at 9p). New specials include Donna Summer: Disco Queen (Monday, January 14, at 9p), Saturday Night Fever: The Ultimate Disco Movie (Saturday, January 19, at 9p), Slenderman Stabbing: The Untold Story (Saturday, January 26, at 8p) and Mariah Carey: The Diva, The Drama (March 2019).
CentroAmerica TV on Saturday, December 15, at 8p will premiere a special edition of its original production Immigrantes: El Camino Hacia un Sueno (Immigrants: The Road Toward a Dream), filmed on the Mexican/U.S. border in Tijuana.
Primetime annual holiday special CMA Country Christmas will air an encore presentation Saturday, December 22, at 8p on ABC.
Singing in the new year: Florida Georgia Line and Maren Morris are on board to perform live on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, beginning at 8p on ABC, from the Allstate Fan Fest in New Orleans…NBC’s New Year’s Eve will feature performances by Diana Ross, Kelly Clarkson, Andy Grammer, John Legend and Blake Shelton, with Carson Daly and Chrissy Teigen hosting live from Times Square along with Leslie Jones. Festivities begin Monday, December 31, at 10p.
Victoria and Albert: The Wedding, a new two-part series hosted by Royal historian Lucy Worsley, will air Sunday, January 13 and 20, at 10p on PBS… Also upcoming on PBS series Independent Lens are two music docs. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World debuts January 21 and follows the trailblazing Native American musicians who shaped American blues and rock. Eugene Jarecki’s The King, a cross-country road trip in Elvis Presley’s Rolls Royce, debuts January 28.
Oxygen will debut two-hour doc Dirty John, The Dirty Truth on Monday, January 14, at 8p as a companion to the Bravo series based on the podcast of the same name.
Apple plans to relaunch in early 2019 the news subscription app Texture, which it acquired in March, as a premium tier of Apple News, according to Bloomberg. Texture currently offers unlimited access to 200-plus magazines, including GQ, Vanity Fair and Wired, for $9.99 a month.
Outdoor Sportsman Group partnered with digital media company ViewLift for the global relaunch of OSG’s subscription-based VOD streaming service MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) on web, mobile, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Xbox applications.
China-based music streaming company Tencent Music Entertainment Group raised $1.1 billion in its initial stock offering in the U.S.
RESEARCH & DATA
U.S. adults spend 10 hours and 24 minutes per day connected to media. Adults 50-64 spend more time per day on media than any other age group, and A18-34 spend more time on digital than TV and TV-connected devices. These are the top lines from Nielsen’s latest Total Audience Report, which also noted time spent with the television set is shifting, with consumers spending more time using TV-connected devices to stream content in addition to traditional TV. Among other highlights:
* Black adults spend 2 hours, 22 minutes longer per day across all media than average.
* More than half of Asian-American households have an enabled smart TV.
* TV and TV-connected device usage peaks during the 9p hour.
* Nearly three-quarters (73%) of media time spent at 11p is consumed through the TV glass.
* 92% of adults listen to radio during the average week, more than any other platform.
* Devices are used simultaneously, with consumers choosing to multitask by researching something they heard or saw, checking email, online shopping or simply staying connected with others.
ADVERTISING & BRANDS
Pixability, which provides video advertising optimization across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and connected TV, launched its Partner Connect Program. The program provides a curated marketplace of video platforms; partners include supply, data, measurement and creative services companies.
Season 2 of Milo Murphy’s Law, starring Al Yankovic as the voice of Milo, debuts with a one-hour Phineas and Ferb crossover special Saturday, January 5, at 7p on both Disney Channel and Disney XD. The special, titled “The Phineas and Ferb Effect,” will also be available that same day on DisneyNOW and Disney Channel VOD.
Toonz Media Group, in partnership with Gummybear International, today (December 13) launches season 2 of animated series Gummibär And Friends: The Gummy Bear Show on YouTube and YouTube Kids. Additionally, Toonz’s new non-dialogue comedy Boo Bah B is also running exclusively on YT.
Xilam Animation secured global broadcast sales for its new 2D animation reboot series Mr Magoo. Turner picked up Mr Magoo in France, French and English-speaking Africa, the Middle East, Israel, Turkey, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Central and Eastern Europe for Boomerang, and Discovery Kids acquired the series for Latin America, among others.
DHX Media struck 10 new distribution deals for family series The Deep, including with CBBC (UK), Super RTL (Germany), VRT (Belgium), NRK (Norway), KidsZone (Baltics), S4C (UK and Wales), SVT (Sweden), and TVP (Poland), in addition to previously announced deals with Netflix (worldwide) and Family CHRGD (Canada).
Amir Wilson (The Secret Garden), Ruby Serkis and Nathanael Saleh (Mary Poppins Returns) lead the young cast of Netflix’s coming-of-age drama The Letter For The King… Joel McHale has been cast in the recurring role of Sylvester Pemberton, aka Starman, in upcoming DC Universe series Stargirl. Also in the DC Universe, Ian Ziering (Sharknado) joins the cast of upcoming series Swamp Thing in a recurring guest role… BBC Two’s The Luminaries cast Himesh Patel (The Aeronauts, EastEnders) and Ewen Leslie (The Cry).
Phil McGraw, host of daytime talker Dr. Phil, is launching a new podcast early next year with Stitcher as part of a partnership that also will bring three more shows to listeners throughout 2019. Stitcher will support the launches in and rep the shows for advertising through Midroll, its advertising arm. First up is Phil in the Blanks, which will feature McGraw talking with various accomplished guests.
Crown Media Family Networks launched Hallmark Channels’ Official Podcast. Hosted by a rotating panel of Hallmark talent, the program will give listeners an insider’s passport to all things Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, with program previews, exclusive talent interviews, surprise guests and behind-the-scenes stories from the sets of the networks’ productions.
Hearst Television in January will launch a yearlong initiative to chronicle undertakings across the country focused on uniting people within their communities. Project CommUNITY will shine a light on positive efforts bringing neighbors together and will feature local content developed by each participating Hearst station. The effort also will include select features across all the Hearst stations throughout 26 media markets, supported by the group’s DC bureau and its recently launched DC-based investigative unit.
Sesame Workshop launched an initiative to support the growing number of children across the U.S. who are experiencing homelessness. The program will feature Lily, a 7-year-old Muppet whose family is staying with friends on Sesame Street after losing their home. Lily will be featured in new videos, books and digital content.