Cynopsis Media Presents: The Best of the Week: August 4-8, 2014

Welcome to “In Case You Missed It,” which is a quick roundup of the top stories of the previous week in each of our four daily editions. So if you skipped a newsletter, this is where you want to go to make sure you’re up on the latest news, Cynopsis-style, in the worlds of linear, digital, sports, and kids television. Enjoy!

Flagship

Breathe easy, Big Bang Theory fans. Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco have come to agreements with Warner Bros. Television for new three-year contracts, with reported $1 million-per-episode paychecks and larger pieces of the CBS comedy’s backend. Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar also reached new deals. Production on season eight, which started Wednesday, August 6, was delayed a week during extended contract negotiations.

British actor/comedian James Corden is in serious contention for Craig Ferguson’s job as host of CBS’s The Late Late Show, according to sources. No stranger to performing in front of an audience, Corden won a 2012 Tony for his performance in One Man, Two Guvnors. Ferguson announced in April that he’d be leaving his late night hosting gig when his contract expires in December; The Wrap was first to post the news of his possible replacement.

Sports

Thursday saw the NCAA Division I board of directors vote 16-2 to grant more autonomy to the power conferences and allow them to determine their own rules regarding cost-of-attendance stipends, insurance benefits, recruiting regulations, staff sizes, etc. The AP writes that the top 64 schools from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 as well as Notre Dame are able to submit their own legislation by Oct. 1 and have it enacted at the January 2015 NCAA convention in DC. The board’s endorsement now must pass through a 60-day comment period. “These changes will allow us to continue to prioritize how to better address the needs of our institutions, athletic programs and, most importantly, our student-athletes,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a statement.

SEC Network found yet another home on DIRECTV after ESPN locked in an agreement to offer the upcoming channel to fans and followers of the Southeastern Conference when the network launches Aug. 14. The first college football game on the new network will run on Aug. 28, featuring Texas A&M/South Carolina. “The SEC boasts powerhouse athletic programs, especially in football, representing deeply loyal communities, many of which do not have any professional teams,” said Dan York, DIRECTV’s Chief Content Officer. “The depth of SEC competition and the quality ESPN brings to game production and complementary programming makes SEC Network a valuable addition to our sports programming lineup, and we’re excited to bring it into our customers’ homes and on their devices.”

Digital

Social media darling Grace Helbig is officially crossing over to TV, to host a pilot for E!. The Grace Helbig Project (wt) will be produced by Embassy Row, the studio behind Talking Dead and Watch What Happens: Live. But don’t despair, YouTubers: the web star is still producing videos for her it’sGrace channel (1.8 million subscribers and counting). “I love the Internet and I love television,” Helbig tells Cynopsis. “I’d really love for them to consummate their relationship while you watch!”

Netflix subscribers are aware of original series Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, but according to a new study, less than half actually watch the shows. Centris Marketing Science surveyed households from July 17-20 and found 44 percent of Netflix subs watched OITNB and 31 percent watched HoC – compared to the 94 percent that had heard of OITNB and 89 percent that knew of HoC. Variety points out that season two of HBO’s Game of Thrones was watched by 41 percent of its subscribers, while season four grew to 66 percent penetration. Netflix CEO and founder Reed Hastings, noting that his service’s $1.15 billion Q2 sub revenue surpassed HBO’s $1.14 billion, said this week in a Facebook post, “HBO rocks, and we are honored to be in the same league.”

Kids

Fox is beefing up its new Saturday-morning TV block of STEM programming, “Xploration Station,” which debuts in September. Two new hosts–YouTube and social media’s MysteryGuitarMan Joe Penna and MIT graduate and astronautics expert Emily Calandrelli will join previously announced host Philippe Cousteau. Penna will host Xploration Earth 2050, which investigates what the world and technology will look like in the year 2050. Calandrelli will host Xploration Outer Space, which explores space projects at NASA, private companies and top universities. Cousteau, the keynoter at the upcoming Cynopsis Kids Business Summit, will host Xploration Awesome Planet. Conceived and produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions, these two series are both part of a two-hour block of 30-minute programs featuring science and technology. The fourth series is Xploration Animal Science.

Two big distribution deals for the Walt Disney Co. this past week: The Mouse House signed multiyear pacts with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) and Suddenlink, which will both deliver the Disney lineup across platforms. Among included content are the company’s suite of networks, its WATCH TV Everywhere products, the SEC Network (debuting Aug. 14), University of Texas’ upcoming Longhorn Network, and Fusion, the Disney joint venture service with Univision. Financial terms were not disclosed. NCTC has 950 members; Suddenlink is the seventh largest cable operator in the US, serving approximately 1.4 million residential and commercial customers in markets including Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.

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