Cynopsis Media Presents the Best of the Week: March 9-13, 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

AMC gave a two-season order for a companion series to monster hit The Walking Dead. First season of the as-yet-untitled drama, set in LA, will include six one-hour eps premiering in late summer; sophomore run is set for 2016. Dead’s Robert KirkmanGale Anne HurdGreg Nicotero and David Alpert are exec producers for the new series, which, like the original, is being produced by AMC Studios. “From the beginning … we’ve been asked questions about what was going on in other parts of the zombie apocalypse, and what it looked like as the world really did ‘turn,’” said AMC president Charlie Collier. “Through this new series, we’re going to find out.”

It’s official: Andrew Lack is returning to NBC as chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, announced NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke in a staff memo on Friday. Lack, who ran the news division from 1993-2001, begins in April. “Andy’s experience and familiarity with our company and specifically the news division will be critical to our growth and future success,” said Burke. Lack replaces Pat Fili-Krushel, who will move to a new corporate role; NBC News president Deborah Turness and MSNBC president Phil Griffin will remain in their positions, reporting to Lack.

DIGITAL

HBO’s a la carte streaming service will exclusively premiere on Apple devices as of April 12 for $14.99 a month. Announced at an Apple event in San Francisco this week, HBO Now will offer more than 2,000 titles for Apple iPhoneiPadApple TV as well as via HBONow.com. “With HBO Now, you will have access to all our acclaimed original programming – past, present and future,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler said. HBO will explore distribution opportunities with existing distributors and digital partners for HBO Now after launch.

Apple will launch the Apple Watch on April 24 with three versions – Apple Watch SportApple Watch, and Apple Watch Edition, with a starting cost of $349. ESPNCNNFacebook,Twitter, MLB.com and other companies will provide text and photo alerts to wearers of the watch, which will support Apple Pay. Pre-orders start April 10.

SPORTS

CBS Sports and Turner Sports detailed programming plans for the upcoming NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship set to run across four national television networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – as well as NCAA March Madness Live. While CBS takes on the National Championship on April, 6, TBS will televise the NCAA Final Four with the national semifinal games set for April 4. The companies will also offer team-specific, originally produced telecasts of the Final Four with the return of its “TeamCasts” on TNT and truTV, featuring separate announce teams and multiple viewing options highlighting each of the competing schools. This year will also see the return of NCAA March Madness Confidential, offering behind-the-scenes access with NCAA Tournament bound teams. Overall, CBS carries 22 games, TBS has 20, truTV gets 15 and TNT is on deck for 14.

On the digital front, NCAA March Madness Live will serve as the digital destination for all 67 games and offer “a sleeker design, improved navigation, an all-new GameCenter experience, a new “run” game and new sections focused on providing fans with more content than ever before.” Co-presenting sponsors for NCAA March Madness Live include: AT&T, Capital One, Coke Zero with Buick, Capital One and Coke Zero sponsoring the app for iPhone and iPad, while AT&T, Capital One and Infiniti sponsor the Android app.

The NFL is handing the keys to MP & Silva, locking in the agency to represent the league in 42 territories across Europe. The deal will see the company distribute television and select digital rights for the 2015 – 2019 NFL seasons for pre-season and regular season games, all playoff games, Pro Bowl, as well as the Super Bowl. The deal also includes NFL Red Zone, NFL Network programming content, and key calendar events such as the NFL Draft. Territories include Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and the Vatican City.

 

KIDS

Production is already underway on a second season of Super 4, PlayMobil’s foray into kids programming, before the series even begins airing in the U.S. Aimed at kids 5-9, it will debut here on Netflix in April after a successful launch in markets including France and the U.K. Co-produced with Morgen Studios and Method Animation, it introduces four characters whose adventures occur in a distinctly PlayMobil universe. A Super 4-specific merchandise line is on its way to market, too.

Disney Channel gave a direct-to-series-order to time-traveling comedy series Best Friends Whenever, starring Landry Bender (Crash & Bernstein), newcomer Lauren Taylor and Gus Kamp (Deadtime Stories: The Beast of Baskerville). Premiere will be this summer. The series was created by Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas (both of Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja). Michael Kaplan (Dog With A Blog), Elinoff and Thomas are executive producers.

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