Cynopsis Media Presents the Best of the Week: July 20-24, 2015

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


Coming and going: Chris McCarthy has been named General Manager of VH1, overseeing all creative and business functions for the pop culture brand. McCarthy most recently oversaw MTV2 and Logo; both nets are riding eight consecutive quarters of year-over-year ratings growth. McCarthy will report to Doug Herzog, President of the Viacom Music and Entertainment Group. Meanwhile, Susanne Daniels is leaving her post as Programming Chief at MTV and heading to YouTube. Daniels will help lead the platform’s original content efforts in the newly created position of Vice President of YouTube originals.

CBS gave a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes of BrainDead, a one-hour comic-thriller from The Good Wife creators/executive producers, Robert and Michelle King. It marks the first project from the duo as part of their three-year producing deal with CBS Television Studios.

The third season of Starz drama DaVinci’s Demons will be its last. “While ending Leonardo’s journey is bittersweet for me, I’m happy we’re ending the story on a high note,” said series creator David Goyer. “Leonardo was famous for his mirror-writing, and there’s a symmetry to the entire series – between the first episode and the final one – that I think the maestro would have appreciated.” Swan song season premieres Saturday, October 24.

Hulu subscribers may soon have an ad-free option, but it will cost them. Currently, users pay $7.99 for the streaming service’s premium version, which includes commercials. According to the Wall Street journal, an ad-free tier could launch this fall for $12-$14/month. Hulu has about nine million paid subscribers, versus ad-free Netflix’s 65 million worldwide.

Collective Digital Studio (CDS) signed rock band Boyce Avenue, a group with seven million subscribers and over two billion views on YouTube. “We joined YouTube only two years after its launch, before being a YouTube star was a thing,” said the band in a statement. “We knew this was a platform from which we could share our music internationally with our fans in a very direct and personal way.” European media company ProSiebenSat.1 recently announced it’s creating a new multi-channel network through a merger of CDS and Studio71.

Free agent Bill Simmons opted for HBO as his next television stop, with the channel announcing that the pair entered into an exclusive multi-year, multi-platform agreement that will include a new weekly series coming next year. HBO will serve as Simmons’ sole television home, leaving his digital services up for grabs. The agreement launches in October and will also see Simmons with a production deal to produce content and assets for the network and its digital platforms, delivering video podcasts and features. In addition, Simmons will be consulting with HBO Sports, working closely with HBO Sports president Ken Hershman on non-boxing-related programming, including the development of shows and documentary films for the network.

“We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time,” said Michael Lombardo, President, HBO Programming. “His intelligence, talent and insights are without precedent in the areas he covers. We could not be more thrilled for him to bring those talents to HBO and to become a signature voice at the network, spanning the sports and pop culture landscapes.”

LeBron James’ empire is getting bigger, with the NBA star and his company, SpringHill Entertainment, partnering with Warner Bros. Entertainment for “an unprecedented agreement spanning all areas of content creation” and plans for projects in television, film and original digital content. “Connecting with my fans and telling meaningful stories have always been my passion. In everything I’ve done, from Nike commercials to Uninterrupted and Survivor’s Remorse, it’s always about connecting with people of all ages and providing unique content they can all enjoy,” said James. “And I’ve always loved movies, which makes Warner Bros. the ultimate partner to help us continue to push the envelope. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.”

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