Cynopsis Media Presents The Best of the Week: January 12-16, 2015

Skip a newsletter last week? “In Case You Missed It” rounds up the top stories in each of our daily editions, so you can be up on the latest news, Cynopsis-style, in the worlds of linear, digital, and sports television. Enjoy!

FLAGSHIP

Ann Curry is leaving NBC News to become founder of a media startup. Curry had been “anchor-at-large” at Today after her messy exit from the morning show in 2012, making occasional appearances on NBC News shows while under contract with the net. Now, “I want to expand my drive to give voice to the voiceless to emerging platforms and produce both scripted and non-scripted content, in addition to continuing to report on-air about stories that matter,” said Curry. But even though she’s leaving NBC the cord isn’t entirely cut – NBCUniversal is an investor in the new project. “We’re proud to support Ann in her new venture, and we look forward to more of her exceptional storytelling,” said NBCUniversal News Group chairman Pat Fili-Krushel on Tuesday.

 

CBS newbies NCIS: New OrleansMadam Secretary and Scorpion all scored renewals for the 2015-16 season. “These freshman dramas have each made a big impact on key nights of the week,” said Nina Tassler, Chairman, CBS Entertainment. “Creatively distinctive, the series are backed by strong showrunners with amazingly talented casts, and have resonated with a big, broad audience.” NCIS: New Orleans is averaging 18.1 million total viewers, Madam Secretary 14.9 million and Scorpion 14.5 million. All are produced by CBS Television Studios. Fellow freshman Stalker and The McCarthys could still make the cut, said Tassler at TCA.

As for warhorse CSI, now in its 15th season, CBS “hasn’t determined what’s going to happen,” said Tassler. “The show continues to be a strong performer.” Two and a Half Men, however, is wrapping as scheduled after 12 seasons, on Thursday, February 19 at 9p – and may or not feature an appearance by Charlie Sheen, who had a bitter public breakup with the show. All Tassler would say was series creator Chuck Lorre promised to deliver a “mystery sandwich.”

William Shatner is courting a new audience: preschoolers. The TV vet will narrate Sprout space series Clangers, a reboot of the BBC stop-animation show from the 1960s. “William Shatner’s highly recognizable voice and humor captures the distinct charm of the show while bringing his own unique sensibility to the role of the Narrator,” said Sprout president Sandy Wax. Michael Palin (Monty Python) is also onboard the series, slated for an June 20 premiere at 11a on the net’s Sunny Side Up, and also running nightly at 8p with The Good Night Show.

 

SPORTS

NBC Sports Group is expanding its presence in the ring, announcing a multi-year deal to carry the boxing series PBC on NBC this spring. The deal will see 20 live boxing shows featuring Premier Boxing Champions in 2015 on NBC and NBCSN starting Saturday, March 7, at 9p on the broadcast channel. The debut show will be hosted by Al Michaels, who will also host subsequent primetime PBC shows on NBC. Overall, programming will include 5 Saturday shows in primetime on NBC, 6 in the afternoon and 9 in primetime on NBCSN. In addition, NBC UNIVERSO, the general entertainment cable channel for Latinos launching on Feb. 1, will televise encore presentations of select shows.

The inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship saw its debut game boost ESPN to the largest audience in cable history, according to Nielsen. Monday’s telecast averaged 33,395,000 viewers with an 18.2 US household rating, setting new records for both the largest audience and highest rating in cable television history. That marks a 31% spike in viewership over the 2014 BCS National Championship with the primary home markets of the two schools recording a 51.2 in Columbus and a 37.6 in Portland. Meanwhile, the simulcast of ESPN’s main telecast of the game on WatchESPN attracted 1,161,000 unique viewers, 82,000,000 minutes viewed and average minute audience of 366,000, according to the company.

DIGITAL

Woody Allen will write and direct his first TV series for Amazon. The company signed off on a full season of the Untitled Woody Allen Project, a half-hour series to be made available onPrime instant Video next year. “I don’t know how I got into this,” Allen said. “I have no ideas and I’m not sure where to begin. My guess is that [Amazon VP] Roy Price will regret this.” Amazon has made deals with other film and TV vets in the past, such as Steven SoderberghRidley Scott and Carlton Cuse.

Although Netflix’s House of Cardsstar Kevin Spacey won a Golden Globe Sunday, Amazon was the big OTT winner of the evening, beating out Netflix in the two categories in which the two competed. Jeffrey Tambor was named Best Actor in a TV Comedy for Amazon’sTransparent, which also won for overall Best Comedy Series. Last year, Netflix was nominated for 31 Emmys (and won seven), while Amazon was left completely out of the race.

 

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