Cynopsis Media Presents the Best of the Week: March 16-20, 2015

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

 

FLAGSHIP

Fox’s Empire wrapped up its smash season on Wednesday with a 6.5 rating among A18-49 and 16.7 million viewers. From its January 7 premiere, the hip hop drama rose in viewers every week, for a total gain of 69 percent, and grew 71 percent among A18-49, with only one demo dip. Season one is now streamed exclusively to subscribers of Hulu Plus, which SVP and head of content Craig Erwichdescribed Thursday as being “ecstatic to be the exclusive streaming home to the biggest show of the year.”

“It just wasn’t the right thing for me,” said Kathy Griffin, at a comedy concert in Connecticut Friday night, of her exit from Fashion Police after just seven episodes. Griffin had announced her departure earlier via a lengthy tweet, explaining, “I’m no saint – I’m a feminist AND a Gurrrrl who loves an offensive joke or a well-timed barb. But I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference.” Said E!, “We wish her all the best and are grateful for her time on the show.” Griffin’s decampment leaves two spots to fill: Kelly Osbourne exited February 27. Fashion Police announced it is going on an extended hiatus.

DIGITAL

Apple will officially get into the TV business this fall. The tech giant plans to launch a 25-channel streaming service with ABCCBS and Fox. For $30-$40 a month, Apple device owners will be able to stream live TV; the service will not include NBC channels. Apple announced last week that the HBO Now a la carte service will debut on Apple devices in April.

Disney/ABC struck an expanded deal with Yahoo, which consists of a Yahoo-branded segment to Good Morning America and clips of ABC programs on Yahoo. Yahoo Your Way will feature Yahoo experts – such as style editor Joe Zee, beauty editor Bobbi Brown and food editor Kerry Diamond – in a daily segment on GMA; Tumblr will integrate with GMA’s Social Square; and Flickr images will land on the morning show’s weather reports. Additionally, Katie Couric’s coverage of the 2016 election will be distributed on ABC News. “We’re well aware that we need to be putting our journalism in front of a new generation of viewers and readers which comes at storytelling in different ways and finds our work in different ways…we see this as a giant step forward in making that happen,” ABC News President James Goldston said. Yahoo-ABC News Network reaches more than 129 million users across combined digital platforms monthly (comScore), and has been the top online news source for the past 34 months.

SPORTS

adidas is bowing out of the NBA wars. The official apparel sponsor of the league released a statement to reporters saying that the brand will not renew with the NBA following the 2016-17 season. The news comes after the NBA informed the company that it would open up bidding to other brands with Nike and Under Armour the likely favorites to step up into the role. The company has been the league’s apparel partner since 2006 via an 11-year deal for a reported $400 million.

Another notch in PBC’s belt, as Premier Boxing Champions locked in a deal with ESPN. The multi-year agreement will see 12 two-hour annual live PBC on ESPN telecasts scheduled with the first taking place on July 11 at 9p via ESPN and ESPN Deportes. The deal will see ESPN telecasts air live in primetime while ABC broadcasts will air on Saturday afternoons. The addition will mark an end to ESPN staple Friday Night Fights, which will now offer its last show on May 22. Blow-by-blow commentator Joe Tessitore and analyst Teddy Atlas will call the fights ringside on ESPN and ABC.

KIDS

Exclusive: The Sinclair Broadcast Group is adding Steve Rotfeld Productions’ STEM-centered Xploration Station block beginning in fall 2016. The three-hour Saturday-morning block will run on 38 Sinclair stations, including all 36 of its Fox affiliates, for five years, according to terms of the new deal. Xploration Station premiered this year with two hours on the Fox Station Group, Tribune’s Fox affiliates, and other stations, in 80 percent of the U.S. The Sinclair deal brings carriage to more than 90 percent of the country.

Targeting kids 13-16, the block currently includes Xploration Awesome Planet, Xploration Outer Space, Xploration and Xploration Animal Science. With the Sinclair deal upping the ante to three hours, SRP will be developing two additional half-hour shows. Steve Rotfeld says he’s looking into a sports program with a science theme, and possibly an engineering show. “The STEM theme is what sold this,” he tells CynKids, “so whatever areas we get into we will stay true to that.” A plan to distribute Xploration Station programming to schools is also in the works.

Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and other Muppet pals reunite for Disney Junior’s Muppet Moments, a new short-form series featuring conversations between Muppets and kids about topics like apologies, favorite foods and manners. The series will debut on Disney Channel with four shorts on Friday, April 3, beginning at 8:25a, with a new short airing daily through Friday, May 8. New shorts will roll out throughout 2015 and will also be available on WATCH Disney Junior. Kermit has this to say about the new show: “In show business, they say never work with kids or animals. Well, on ‘Muppet Moments’ we break both those rules and a lot more–and the results are fun, silly, and even inspiring.”

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