01/07/21: Protesters storm the Capitol


Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read


Thursday January 7, 2021

Today’s Premieres
ABC: “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” at 8p, “The Chase” at 9p
CBS All Access: “Coyote”
Fox: “Hell’s Kitchen” at 9p
HBO Max: “Arthur’s Law”
History: “Mountain Men” at 10p
TBS: “Go-Big Show” at 9p
WE tv: “Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta” at 9p, “The Real Blac Chyna” at 10p


Chaos at the US Capitol caused major television preemptions on Wednesday. At a rally of his supporters, shortly before a joint session of Congress was set to count electoral college votes, President Trump encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol. They did more than that, storming the building and interrupting the certification process, smashing windows and leaving lawmakers barricading doors and evacuating the premises as law enforcement called for backup. CNN’s Jake Tapper described the scene as “an embarrassing, dangerous, frightening spectacle.” Said Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, “These are absolutely images I never thought I would see in my lifetime.”

“We had an election that was stolen from us, it was a landslide election…but you have to go home now, we have to have peace,” tweeted Trump to his followers amid the rioting. Twitter restricted engagement with tweets by the president, “due to a risk of violence.”

Katie Couric will take a turn as guest host of “Jeopardy,” reports the LA Times. Ken Jennings was first to step in after the death of Alex Trebek, who held the job for 37 seasons before dying of pancreatic cancer on November 8. Trebek’s last turn on the show airs Friday, January 8, in an episode taped in October.

SAG-AFTRA spoke out after the Recording Academy moved CBS’ Grammy Awards telecast from January 31 to March 14 – the same day as the 27th SAG Awards. “We announced the same date for the SAG Awards last July with the intent to give the greatest possible scheduling consideration for other awards shows,” said the actors union. “We expect the same consideration from sister organizations throughout the industry.” Both ceremonies were delayed due to concerns over the spread of Covid-19.

PBS Kids is taking Caillou off the air after 20 years. The animated series, which premiered in 2000, ran for 144 episodes and then went into syndication. “We’re saying farewell to @cailloudhx, but remember, when we say goodbye to something…,” tweeted the PBS Kids account, “…It just means we get to say hello to something new!” While some viewers responded with sadness, many others celebrated the end of the “whiny crybaby.”

Newly appointed to the Television Academy are “Insecure” co-creator Issa Rae; “One Day at a Time” creator Gloria Calderon Kellett; Zack Van Amburg, Chief Content Officer and Head of Worldwide Video for Apple TV+; Vernon Sanders, Co-Head of Television at Amazon Studios; Dawn Olmstead, CEO and Partner of Anonymous Content; and Robert Mills, SVP, Alternative Series, Specials and Late-night Programming, ABC Entertainment. The group will work with the academy to develop a direction for 2021.

Tegna announced preliminary financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year ended December 31, 2020 and guidance for the full-year ending December 31, 2021. Revenue is expected to be in the range of $932-$937 million, up 34-35% year-over- year, driven by record political advertising and continued growth in subscription revenue. The company generated political advertising revenue of approximately $264 million in the fourth quarter, including $50 million of revenue generated from the Georgia Senate runoff elections.



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Amazon’s IMDb TV is developing a TV adaptation of “Lords of Dogtown,” the 2005 Sony film centered on the skateboarding scene. The project from MiddKid Productions is written by Kat Candler (“Queen Sugar”).

Catherine Zeta-Jones is joining the upcoming sophomore run of Fox serial killer drama “Prodigal Son,” in a lead role opposite Michael Sheen that begins in the second half of the season. “I can’t wait to see these two greats to head-to-head,” said Michael Thorn, President, Entertainment, Fox Entertainment.

In more casting news, Tonya Pinkins (“Jelly’s Last Jam”) is replacing Niecy Nash in ABC limited series “Women of the Movement.” The six-parter tells the story of Mamie Till-Mobley, who sought justice for her son, Emmett Till. Nash left the show for personal reasons…Amy Ryan (“The Office”) will star opposite Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez in Hulu comedy “Only Murders in the Building.”

Layne Eskridge, a former Creative Executive at Apple, has inked a deal with Endeavor Content via her POV production company. “Layne is a longtime friend and collaborator who I’ve been fortunate to work with going back to first season of ‘Ozark’ and continuing on during her time at Apple,” said Joe Hipps, EVP, Television, Endeavor Content. “I’ve long admired her discerning taste, creative instincts, and collaborative style.”


Twenty-four couples from TLC’s “90 Day Fiance” franchise compete in “Love Games,” premiering Monday, February 8 on streaming service discovery+. The elimination-style game features three preliminary rounds, culminating in a finale with the four couples still standing.

All ten episodes of “Punky Brewster” drop on Peacock on Thursday, February 25. The revival of the 1984-88 sitcom includes original stars Soleil Moon Frye and Cherie Johnson.

A new slate of “SuperSoul,” hosted by Oprah Winfrey and produced by OWN, is set to stream exclusively on discovery+ starting later this month. The new line-up includes Cicely Tyson (“Just As I Am”), Priyanka Chopra Jonas (“Unfinished”), Sharon Stone (“The Beauty of Living Twice”), Julianna Margulies (“Sunshine Girl”), Martha Beck (“The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self), historian Jon Meacham (“The Soul of America”), and “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, founders of Magnolia.

Sewee Entertainment announced the season four renewal of “Women on the Move.” The first-run quarterly series, which has been cleared in over 80% of the US, is produced by 3LF Entertainment out of Chicago.


Nat Geo’s “Built for Mars: The Perseverance Rover” goes behind the scenes at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to follow the birth of the Perseverance Rover, designed to search for life on Mars. The two-hour special, premiering Thursday, February 18 at 9p, coincides with the landing of the rover in Jezero Crater on Mars.

“Puppy Bowl XVII” airs on both Animal Planet and discovery+ on Sunday, February 7 at 2p. The three-hour event features 70 puppies from 22 shelters.


President Trump issued an executive order prohibiting transactions for eight Chinese-owned apps, including WeChat, and directing the Secretary of Commerce to evaluate others. The ban targets apps that “access and capture vast swaths of information from users,” with “an intent to use bulk data collection to advance China’s economic and national security agenda.”

Gracenote, a Nielsen company, is launching a new live sports solution designed to help smart TV and auto manufacturers enable dynamic sports experiences. Leveraging Gracenote Global Sports Data, CE manufacturers and automakers can integrate real-time team statistics, recent game results and live updates to TV and video home screens and auto infotainment systems. “Live sports are an increasingly important differentiator for entertainment platforms seeking to increase user engagement,” said Simon Adams, Chief Product Officer of Gracenote. “With Gracenote Global Sports Widgets, CE companies and automakers can easily launch new sports experiences which maximize audience engagement and drive consumption while minimizing development costs and engineering resources.”

Samba TV is also aiming to enhance the viewing experience, teaming with TV manufacturer Vestel Group on new AI technology. Picture Perfect will be embedded within the TV so it can recognize and optimize the quality of content playing. “The promise of AI is to make our lives easier and, within the living room, we believe AI should remove the manual steps of setting up your television for the best viewing experience for sports and all of the latest movies and video games,” said Samba TV Co-Founder and CEO Ashwin Navin.

Cable One family is prepping a new IP-based TV service, Sparklight TV, for an early 2021 launch. “Our transition to IP-based TV service will enable us to reclaim spectrum in our network needed to continue to expand the capabilities and speeds of our core high speed data product and provide the communities we serve with the fastest and most reliable internet service,” said Ken Johnson, SVP of Technology Services. “This is even more critical now, with the tremendous increase in customers working and learning from home.”


Roku hit 51.2 million active accounts by the end of 2020, up from 36.9 million in 2019, estimates the company. Global data includes 17 billion streaming hours in 4Q20, and 58.7 billion over the course of the year, up 55%. “The world is moving to streaming and we look forward to continuing to help viewers, advertisers, content publishers, and TV manufacturers succeed in the Streaming Decade,” said Anthony Wood, CEO.

Streaming platform Kanopy struck a digital content partnership with Participant, the media company dedicated to positive social change. The content agreement offers a selection of Participant’s content to participating public library card holders. “Because social justice is a pillar of public libraries, adding to Kanopy’s thought provoking catalog allows Participant to connect with an already engaged audience, bringing added exposure to today’s most pressing social issues through storytelling,” said David Linde, CEO of Participant.

Lingopie has tapped into people’s enthusiasm for television with an interactive SVOD platform leveraging TV shows, movies and music to help teach foreign languages. Co-founder and CEO David Datny offers insights into how the platform makes the grade in Cynsiders.

Global OTT streaming service VideoElephant TV has added Quick Hits News to its channel roster. Quick Hits covers the day’s top stories through succinct, and non-partisan exchanges in news broadcasts and expert conversations. “This is a remarkable time in which news consumption has skyrocketed and consumers are seeking timely information and insights that are presented professionally and credibly by experienced global journalists,” said Stacie Anthony, Head of OTT, VideoElephant TV.


TV3 Group and Viasat World are extending their carriage deal for Viasat World’s channel and VOD portfolio. The deal includes Viasat World’s factual, drama and entertainment portfolio, including factual channels Viasat Nature, Viasat History and Viasat Explore; period drama channel Epic Drama; plus its TV1000 movie channels, which will be available on the TV3 Group’s Go3 and Home3 Pay TV service platforms in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Save the Date!
Our Best of the Best Awards are coming up…

Join us on Thursday, February 25 for our virtual celebration of the industry’s Best of the Best.

Finalists will be announced later next week!



FOX News Channel was the top cable news network in primetime total viewers, behind only ESPN during the week of December 28. FNC garnered 1.8 million viewers and 249,000 among A25-54, and 144,000 among A18-49. In total day, FNC delivered 1.1 million viewers and 180,000 in the 25-54 demo as well as 101,000 among A18-49.

NBC’s “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” returned for season two in a new timeslot, Tuesday at 8p, and delivered 3 million viewers and 0.5 among A18-49, up from 2.0 million and 0.4 in the demo last season, when it aired on Sundays.

HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU” delivered the highest-rated episode of its sophomore season on Monday, December 28, with a .97 Live+SD rating among P25-54, a 94% increase over the prior six weeks. Among W25-54, the episode garnered a 1.23 Live+3 rating, up 98% over prior six-week levels.

Univision delivered week-over-week primetime audience growth among total viewers (+11% to 1.2 million), A18-49 (+11% to 446,000) and A18-34 (+9% to 176,000) the week of December 28.

Basic Cable Top 5 the week of December 28
Primetime (P2+)

ESPN (6,472,000)
Fox News (1,771,000)
CNN (1,594,000)
MSNBC (1,430,000)
Hallmark Channel (1,421,000)
Total Day (P2+)
ESPN (2,428,000)
CNN (1,249,000)
Fox News (1,133,000)
MSNBC (1,015,000)
Hallmark Channel (820,000)

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Monday, January 4
Show, P2+ (millions), (A18-49)
ABC: “The Bachelor” 5.23 (1.33), “The Hustler” 2/08 (0.49)
CBS: “The Neighborhood 6.20 (0.79), “Bob Hearts Abishola” 5.63 (0.63), “All Rise” 4.73 (0.54), “Bull” 6.62 (0.54)
CW: “Whose Line Is It Anyway” 0.79 (0.14), “Whose Line Is It Anyway” 072 (0.13), “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” 0.53 (0.07)
FOX: “L.A.’s Finest” 1.49 (0.27), “The Masked Dancer” 1.25 (0.28)
NBC: “Ellen’s Game of Games” 3.37 (0.67), “Ellen’s Game of Games” 2.87 (0.56), “The Wall” 2.54 (0.49)
Telemundo: “Domo Del Dinero” 0.804 (0.2), “Todo Por Mi Hija” 1.58 (0.4), “Falsa Identidad” 0.81 (0.2)
Univision: “Vencer al Desamor” 1.97 (0.6), “Imperio de Mentiras” 1.48 (0.4), “Dulce Ambicion” 1.28 (0.3)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages


Discovery Inc. named Michele Barney as President of Affiliate Distribution. She succeeds Eric Phillips, who is assuming a new role as Discovery’s President of Global Platforms Distribution. Barney was previously SVP of Content and Programming at AT&T.

Operative, an advertising management technology partner for media companies, appointed Hans Fischmann as VP of Product Strategy leading the MVPD market. Most recently, Fischmann was VP of Product Management at Xandr.

Jon Beck has been promoted to Chief Revenue Officer at LiveIntent, with Kerel Cooper upped to Chief Marketing Officer, and Abby Hamilton to Chief People Officer. Beck was previously EVP, Platform; Cooper was SVP of Global Marketing and Hamilton was SVP, People Development.

Ricky Strauss, a Disney veteran key to the launch of Disney+, is leaving the company at the end of the month, after restructuring that has affected streaming efforts. “With our new structure and the changes to my role, the reorganization does not provide me with the opportunity to do the kind of work I love to do and to continue making the intended impact I have been so fortunate to have achieved at Disney,” said Strauss. Joe Earley, Disney’s EVP Marketing and Operations, will add Content Curation for Disney+ to his responsibilities.

Jeremy Darroch is stepping down as CEO of Europe’s Sky, and will serve as Executive Chairman for the remainder of 2021. He’ll be replaced by Dana Strong, who had been President of Consumer Services at Sky parent Comcast. “It has been a privilege to lead Sky for 13 years, and an experience that I have looked forward to every day, so my decision to leave has not been easy,” said Darroch. “But with the business firmly settled into the wider Comcast Corporation and a strong plan in place, now is the right time.”

The E.W. Scripps Company named Brad Samuels as VP, Distribution Partnerships and Strategy; Damian Riordan as VP, Broadcast Distribution; and Yvonne Haugh as VP, Distribution and Affiliate Operations. Samuels was most recently VP, Distribution for Newsy, Riordan was SVP, Broadcast Relations for ION Media, and Haugh was SVP, Marketing and Affiliate Relations and Chief of Staff for Katz Networks.

Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Global Advertising and Partnerships at NBCUniversal, has been named chair of the Ad Council’s board of directors. She succeeds Facebook CRO David Fischer.

Eric Signorile has joined SSIMWAVE as Director of Sales, and Matt Herren as Senior Director, Sales. Signorile most recently served as Senior Director, Sales Strategy and Business Development for Comcast Technology Solutions, while Herren was a consultant to media companies, content distributors and technology startups.

Semasio appointed Miguel Araujo to the newly-created position of Director of Data Science. Araujo previously served as Data Science Manager at Feedzai.

This Day in History
1929 – Comic strip “Tarzan” first appeared.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Who replaced Pat Sajak on “Wheel of Fortune” when he left to host a late-night talk show? Former NFL player Rolf Benirschke. Kudos to: Albert Acosta-Endeavor/LA, Sally J. Maisel-Wienermania/Van Nuys, CA, Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, CA, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/LA, John Kukla-KDFW/Dallas, Marc Mondry-MSG Networks/NYC, Jeremy Marks-Peltz-Good Karma Brands/West Palm Beach, FL, Natalie Mashaal-Mashaal Media Corp./NYC, Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL

Today’s Trivia Question
The only friend of which sitcom character was a stuffed bunny? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four answers per time zone.)

Cynopsis Team

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director
Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Roberta Caploe

Cynopsis Ad Sales
Albert Nassour
Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
Mike Farina

Check out more jobs in Cynopsis Classifieds »
Job of the day


Create effective sales positioning, develop a strategic plan to leverage research and insights. 8-10 years’ experience in TV, Digital and Social media ad sales research required. Full info HERE (1/21)

UPTV/NYC: Work with advertising agency contacts and other advertising sales personnel to ensure that administration aspects of accounts are in order, build, revise and maintain all sales proposals for AEs. Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university; at least 1+ years related cable experience preferred. Full info HERE (1/21)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Dynamic digital marketer to drive growth in A+E’s Digital business by acquiring OTT, mobile, and website video streamers for A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime brands. Leverage owned, earned, and paid marketing tactics. 5 years’ experience with direct response digital marketing. Full info HERE (1/21)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Critical role in media acquisition team as tech liaison for suppliers/production teams to intake content and shepherd through to air. Project leadership + Media Supply Chain tech exp (camera technology/NLE workflows/content acquisition/QC). Act as technical consultant on prod/post prod. workflows across all A+E formats-scripted/non-scripted/live/movies/episodic series. 4+ yrs hands-on technical exp.(Post-Prod Sup./Online/Finishing Prod. Full info HERE (1/20)

Concept, write, produce and execute best-in-class creative launch campaigns for Peacock Originals for use on all platforms. Minimum 7 years of experience in writing, producing and video editing, experience leading 360° Originals creative campaigns in television or entertainment and Expert in digital video file formats. Full info HERE (1/19)

Looking for a Data Engineer who will be directly responsible for developing efficient data ingestion processes and automated management; develop and operationalize of machine learning models; and building robust data platforms to enable scaling of our products. 4+ years’ experience processing large amounts of structured and unstructured data in a cluster-computing environment required or similar experience in academia. Full Info HERE (1/19)

THE JIM HENSON COMPANY/LA: Collect and track pertinent data and information from production, talent, and license contracts, assist with negotiating terms and conditions of contracts and draft initial contracts and revise as needed. Minimum of two years’ experience in a law firm, network, or studio. Experience with guild agreements and/or Paralegal training and certification a plus. Full info HERE (1/19)

NBCUNIVERSAL/NYC: Seeking a Director of Data Science who will lead a team of Data Scientists that focus on the design and execution of advanced data exploration, data mining, inference and prediction of multiple traditional and non-traditional media measurement data sets. Expert knowledge of R and Python required, additional languages (i.e., Julia, Java, Scala) a plus. Full Info HERE (1/18)

Provide strategic legal counsel to Crown Media executives, on matters of the highest profile, impact, complexity or sensitivity and leads the attorney and legal specialist team members. Substantive experience handling and advising on entertainment network legal issues within a broadcast/cable/digital in-house environment is sought. HERE (1/18)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Ensure Ads are compliant with A+E’s policies and federal guidelines during content and advertising review. Liaise with internal Ad Sales executives and external Ad Agencies. 5+ years experience, preferably at a network working in Ad Standards & Practices/Commercial Clearance. Strong familiarity with rules including FDA, FTC and FCC regulations, indecency and trade libel. Full info HERE (1/17)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Creative point in print, promotion, and marketing from concept to development across A&E, History & Lifetime projects. Must be well versed in managing design principles for both print and digital deliverables. Demonstrated hands-on ability to create key art and design projects from conception to completion. Expert in Adobe Creative Suite software and industry standard programs and software. 5 years experience working for network, film or other entertainment outlets. Full info HERE (1/17)

ABC: “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” [p], “The Chase” [p], “The Hustler”
CBS: “Young Sheldon,” “B Positive,” “Mom,” “The Unicorn,” “Star Trek: Discovery”
CW: “iHeartRadio Music Festival Night 2”
FOX: “Hell’s Kitchen” [p], “Call Me Cat,” “Last Man Standing”
NBC: “Mr. Mayor” [p], “Mr. Mayor,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Dateline NBC”
PBS: “This Old House,” “Ask This Old House, “ “Jazz,” “Antiques Roadshow”
Telemundo: “El Domo Del Dinero,” “Todo Por Mi Hija,” “Falsa Identidad”
Univision: “Vencer El Desamor,” “Imperio De Mentiras,” “Dulce Ambicion”



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