Cynopsis Media Presents the Best of the Week: May 4-8, 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

Self-described David Letterman fan Jimmy Kimmel announced he’s not going up against Letterman’s final Late Show broadcast May 20 on CBS. “I have too much respect for Dave to do anything that would distract viewers from watching his final show,” the host of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live told the New York Times. “Plus, I’ll be crying all day, which makes it hard to work.” The net will air a repeat.

In the wake of a $15 million lawsuit alleging discriminatory practices and the exits of three top executives, Al Jazeera Media Network replaced CEO Ehab Alshihabi with Al Anstey . Anstey, who started his career with CBS News, joined Al Jazeera in 2005.

Syfy and Amblin Entertainment are reteaming to develop Aldous Huxley classic Brave New World as a scripted series for Syfy. Previously, Syfy and Amblin collaborated on Steven Spielberg Presents: Taken, which won a 2003 Emmy for Best Miniseries. Net president Dave Howe said the project promises to be “a monumental television event…precisely the groundbreaking programming that is becoming the hallmark of Syfy.” Universal Cable Productions will serve as the studio.

DIGITAL

Twitter is getting close to launching its autoplay video, which will allow marketers to post six-second videos that can convince consumers to click for more. According to Adweek.com, “Twitter has been heavily promoting autoplay in its latest sales pitches, and it will launch by the end of June.” Execs at Twitter have been debating the video format for some time but advertisers seem to want it, Adweek notes. Two versions have been tested. One that has the six-second preview playing on a loop and another that plays the full video automatically.

Calling the Facebook video ad team: A new report from Innerscope Research that measured such things as changes in heart rate, breathing, and “skin conductance” on 390 18-34-year-old viewers of video ads on Facebook, TV, and other platforms found that 47% of Facebook users immediately ignore or skip video ads, but the same ads were four times less engaging on FB than on other platforms. Bigger screens made for more effective ads. The report recommends that video ads should be bright, use bold copy, and have early branding moments.

SPORTS

At Tuesday’s Sports EmmysNBC and ESPN brought home the most trophies, led by NBC’s coverage of the XXII Olympic Winter Games which drew seven awards. In addition, NBC’s presentation of Super Bowl XLIX earned the nod for Outstanding Live Sports Special, while Cris Collinsworth and Mike “Doc” Emrick also walked out as winners. ESPN’s trophies included: a first-time win by ESPN Deportes in the on-air personality Spanish-language category, while E:60 nabbed a trio of Awards and George Bodenheimer also was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Other notables include FOX Sports/FOX Sports 1 winning for Outstanding Live Sports Series for NASCAR on FOX; Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel capturing Outstanding Sports Journalism; MLB Network’s MLB Tonight winning its fourth award for Outstanding Daily Studio Show, with Harold Reynolds landing Outstanding Studio Analyst, while  Ken Rosenthal won for Outstanding Sports Reporter for his work with MLB Network, FOX, and FS1; and Univision winning two honors for the first time in the company’s history. One standout moment saw Turner Sports’ Ernie Johnson take home the Emmy for studio host and then give the award to the late SportCenter anchor Stuart Scott’s daughters, following Scott’s passing in January due to cancer.   

Here’s the overall tally by network group according to the Academy:

·         NBC Sports Group 17

·         ESPN 15

·         FOX Sports Media Group 11

·         MLB Media 4

·         HBO Sports 3

·         Univision 2

·         CBS 1

·         NFL Media 1

·         Turner Sports 1

The battle between Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Al Haymon is now officially getting into the legal ring. Golden Boy is suing for $300 million against Haymon and affiliated companies claiming multiple violations of the antitrust laws and the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. The charges stem from Haymon’s launch of Premier Boxing Champions, signing deals to bring boxing back to primetime network television with the likes of NBC, CBS, ESPN and Spike TV, with the lawsuit claiming that Haymon has acted as both a manager and a promoter for his fighters, which is prohibited. The case was filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles.

KIDS

Comcast used the INTX show in Chicago as the vehicle to reveal Kids Zone, a new feature of the X1 operating system that provides a gated destination for kids to browse and watch video programming. Brian Roberts touted the new feature at the trade show’s opening general session, and Jennifer Metz, director of product management at Comcast Cable, walked CynKids through the new system. Features include the integration of the Common Sense Media Program Guide and parental controls that can restrict the viewing of certain programs based on a variety of factors. Two things Kids Zone does not have: Individual user profiles for different family members. “We decided not to pair this to profiles because profiles are difficult and we want to make sure TV is as much of a lean-back experience as possible,” Metz says. She also noted “advertising is not in the cards. We are not planning to integrate any advertising into Kids Zone.” A beta version of Kids Zone is available now to turn on through the Comcast Labs section of X1; the feature will launch wide in a few months.

Better call Saul? Mandy Patinkin is trading in the stress of Homeland in his role as Saul Berenson for a walk in the animated world of a 6-year-old Latina girl. The venerable actor is joining the cast of Sprout’s newest original series, Nina’s World, lending his voice to the character of friendly community librarian Mr. Lambert. The show, which will premiere in September, already has another big-name talent on its roster. Rita Moreno voices the title character’s grandmother, Abuelita.

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