|PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Netflix signed The Big Bang Theory’s co-creator and executive producer Bill Prady to a first-look deal for scripted series programming. Prady will be tasked with writing and producing TV series across a range of genres.
NBCUniversal’s aforementioned streaming service, Peacock, issued a 10-episode order to Punky Brewster, a follow-up to the 1984 NBC sitcom that will feature original series star Soleil Moon Frye as the titular character. Project hails from Universal Content Productions and Universal Television.
Peacock’s development slate includes comedies MacGruber, starring and co-written by Will Forte and based on his Saturday Night Live skit; Clean Slate, starring and co-written by Laverne Cox and George Wallace, about a car wash owner with a trans daughter; Expecting, centered on a couple infanticipating via sperm donation, exec produced by Mindy Kaling; coming-of-age comedy Division One, exec produced by Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions; and animated The Adventure Zone, based on a Dungeons & Dragons podcast. An anthology drama series, starting with Hatching Twitter, is also in development.
Among the projects on AMC’s development slate, announced at TCA: More as This Story Develops, inspired by the friendship between Katie Couric and Wendy Walker; National Anthem, a musical dramedy following a family who, after falling down the ladder of American life, need to figure out what actually makes life worth living; Sleeping Beauties, based on the novel by Owen King and Stephen King; Bunny, centered on a lonely student drawn into a mysterious clique of girls called The Bunnies; one-hour animated drama series Pantheon, based on short stories by Ken Liu; and Nigeria 2099, the story of a local police officer in a poor district of Lagos.
Reese Witherspoon will narrate and appear in the upcoming Quibi docuseries Fierce Queens, which takes a look at female animals. Project comes from BBC Studios Natural History Unit; Jo Shinner is set to serve as executive producer.
HBO Max, the upcoming direct-to-consumer offering from Warner Media set to launch this spring, ordered The Event. The unscripted series from Wolfgang Puck and Renegade 83 will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the events created by Wolfgang Puck Catering and the estaurateur.
Three-part animated mini-series Aquaman: King of Atlantis has also been set at HBO Max. Executive produced by James Wan (Aquaman) via his Atomic Monster production company, the project is based on the classic DC character created by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris. Each stand-alone episode will have a unique storyline following the adventures of Aquaman as a protector of the deep.
Chinonye Chukwu (Clemency) will direct the first two episodes of HBO Max limited drama Americanah. Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same name, the 10-episode limited series stars Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Black Panther), Zackary Momoh (Harriet), Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black) and Danair Gurira (Black Panther, Eclipsed).
HBO Max also greenlit The Uninhabitable Earth written and directed by Adam McKay (Succession, The Big Short). The anthology series from wiip is inspired by David Wallace-Wells’ global best-selling book and New York Times article of the same name.
Netflix renewed Bonding, the short-form dark comedy from Rightor Doyle (Barry), reports Deadline. Zoe Levin, Brendan Scannell, Micah S tock and Theo Stockman are confirmed to reprise their roles for the show’s second season.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
The reboot of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, bowing Sunday February 16 at 9p and hosted by Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, headlined the announcement of HGTV’s 2020 programming lineup. New series premiere dates include Unsellable Houses on Tuesday, February 4 at 9p; 100 Day Dream Home on Sunday, February 16 at 10p; and Flipping 101 w/ Tarek El Moussa on Thursday, March 5 at 9p. Meanwhile, Frozen in Time and House in a Hurry are set to launch in Spring 2020, with Build Me Up and Farmhouse Fixer (wt) are slated to debut in Summer 2020.
HGTV’s Hot Properties: San Diego debuts Thursday, February 6 at 10p. On the digital front, Erin’spired bows Monday, January 20, while Windy City Rehab is scheduled for a Spring 2020 debut and Brother vs. Brother is slated to premiere in Summer 2020.
BBC America announced a new series of short films, Disability Monologues (wt), focusing on challenging and changing the perception of disability. Writer and performer Mat Fraser (His Dark Materials, American Horror Story) will curate the six, 15-minute works, to be performed by himself, poet and playwright Jackie Hagan, Ruth Madeley (BBC AMERICA’s The Watch), Robert Softley Gale (My Left/Right Foot), Liz Carr (Silent Witness) and more.
Rob Riggle travels the globe to unearth some of the world’s greatest legends and mysteries in Rob Riggle: Global Investigator. Series premieres Sunday March 8 at 10p on Discovery Channel.
TNT’s post-apocalyptic, long-gestating sci-series Snowpiercer bows Sunday, May 31 at 9p. Based on the graphic novel series and film from Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), drama stars Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs.
Robert Englund takes viewers on a nightmarish journey through history’s horrors in True Terror with Robert Englund. Six-part series debuts Wednesday, March 17 on Travel Channel.
OWN original anthology drama Cherish the Day is set for a two-night premiere on Tuesday, February 11 at 10p and Wednesday, February 12 at 8p. Series is created and executive produced by Ava DuVernay (Queen Sugar, When They See Us).
Two lion prides fight for survival in Smithsonian Channel’s Big Cat Country, debuting Wednesday, February 12 at 8p. Wildlife filmmakers Nathan Pilcher and Sam Davies take viewers to Zambia in the six-part series.
OJ25, the new Court TV’s first original true crime series, takes a look back at the O.J. Simpson murder case 25 years later, starting Thursday, January 23 at 9p.
Food Network and Girl Scouts of the USA have teamed up on Girl Scout Championship. Hosted by Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother), the four-episode event challenges accomplished bakers to transform Girl Scout Cookies into edible pieces of art. Series kicks off Monday, February 3 at 8p.
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Bounce original movie The Nomads bows Monday, January 20 at 8p. Based on a true story, it centers on a female African-American teacher who joins forces with a male Caucasian colleague to develop a men’s rugby team in an inner-city North Philadelphia school.
BBC America added two shows to its nature programming slate: documentary She Walks With Apes, narrated by Killing Eve’s Sandra Oh and premiering Wednesday, April 22 at 9p, and a new installment of the Meerkat Manor series, Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty (wt), set to arrive next year.
IFC’s Sherman’s Showcase will return with a one-hour “Black History Month Spectacular” this summer, created by and starring Bashir Salahuddin (Top Gun: Maverick, South Side) and Diallo Riddle (Marlon, South Side), and executive produced by John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. and RadicalMedia. “When the network told us we could do an hour-long episode, we said we wanted it to be the Black History aMonth episode. When they warned us that the episode might not air until the summer, we said we wanted it to be the Black History Month episode. It was a brief negotiation,” said creators and stars Riddle and Salahuddin.
What does Sir Isaac Newton have to do with TV today? Media consultant Brad Adgate, an expert in digital strategy, market research and competitive intelligence, suggests the scientist’s third law of motion – for every action there is an equal reaction – has everything to do with the impact of the NFL on television, and why the FCC could help station groups achieve the scalability they need to negotiate effectively. “In recent years, station groups have petitioned the FCC to expand ownership caps to no avail,” says Adgate. “With the chance stations could lose NFL games to digital media, perhaps next time the FCC will relax the ownership caps for stations.” For more from Adgate, go to Cynsiders.
Ryan Murphy will receive with the Vito Russo Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York on Thursday, March 19. Ceremony honors media for fair, accurate and inclusive representation of LGBTQ people and issues.
New original series begin debuting on Fuse Media’s digital channels today, and will continue rolling out through the weeks ahead. Culture Filter, premiering Friday, January 17, taps opinionated voices for a debate show on all things music culture. Struggle Gourmet features host Dariany Santana and a guest celebrity teaming up to make basic meals using crazy exotic ingredients. In Rappers Review Regular Cars rappers do exactly that – rate, review and test drive everyday cars. Finally, Trust Me sees guest artists presented with a series of small challenges that correspond to a punishment and a prize for a fan.
AMC’s Acorn TV acquired UK drama Deadwater Fell, starring David Tennant and Cush Jumbo, from Endemol Shine International. The Acorn TV original miniseries will make its exclusive North American premiere in April 2020.
FuboTV’s 4K offering is expanding beyond live and sports programming to include lifestyle/entertainment content with the premiere of BBC America’s Seven Worlds, One Planet. The series, which bows on Saturday, January 18 at 9p in HD, will be available in 4K on Sunday, January 19 via BBC America video-on-demand.
CBS All Access and Showtime OTT now have 10 million subscribers combined. The new total is up from the 8 million last year. CBS Interactive CEO Marc DeBevoise told Variety that the services are in a “great position” to hit their goal of 25 million subscribers combined by 2022, and are growing at a rate of 60% year-over-year.
Google has made a move, surpassing Facebook as the top mobile publisher of worldwide app downloads for the first time in more than five years. The news comes via a report from Sensor Tower, which assessed mobile market shifts in the fourth quarter of 2019. It revealed that YouTube’s parent company had 841 million first-time downloads during that period, which was up 27.6%. Facebook racked up just shy of 800 million.
Disney’s Hulu is preparing to push the ad format envelope in 2020 with choice-based ads and ads allowing viewers to receive information about products or buy them, according to TechCrunch. The streamer is also working on a capability to digitally insert products, post-production, into its original content. Jeremy Helfand, Hulu Vice President and Head of Advertising Platforms, told the tech site that Hulu’s continued experimentation reflects its goal of delivering advertising that is less disruptive and more engaging for viewers, and that improves advertisers’ ROI.
TiVo’s Video Trends Report: Q4 2019 found that in a digital age, major networks still have broad appeal. The most popular nets survey respondents said they’d want in an a la carte bundle are ABC (61.2%), CBS (55.1%), Discovery (48.3%), A&E (47.8%), NBC (47.4%), Fox (46.7%), History (41.4%), FX (40.2%), AMC(38.3%) and Food Network (37.9%). Other findings include:
· 72% want the ability to view, browse and search available content from a unified experience or interface.
· Consumers spend an average of 11+ minutes discovering new shows or movies through major OTT platforms.
· 54% indicated learning about new shows or movies from commercials or ads running within their content.
· More than 85% said recommendations from their pay-TV and/or streaming provider(s) are either “sometimes” or “always” accurate.
· Respondents want an average of 22 channels in their TV packages and are willing to pay $33+ per month to access them.
A survey of over 300 marketers and agencies showed that advanced TV is being used by the majority of advertisers to reach their target audiences. According to “The Changing Face of TV Advertising: 2019, 2020 and Beyond,” from FreeWheel, a Comcast company, OTT/CTV was purchased by the highest percentage (66%) of advertisers over the past month, while addressable TV (household-level targeting), streaming full-episode players (FEPs) and audience-based linear TV were all also used by over half of all advertisers and agencies surveyed. “In 2019, we saw our clients embrace data and automation for TV buying in ways we’d never seen before,” said Brian Wallach, SVP, Advanced TV Media Sales, FreeWheel. “The technology is there and the interest is there. We expect the breadth of capabilities and applications to increase as we move through 2020.” For more, go here.
Paulina Chavez is set to star as the lead in Netlfix’s upcoming original series, The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia. The Latinx comedy, co-created by Mario Lopez and Speechless producer Seth Kurland, centers on the world’s first 15-year-old robotics engineer and rocket scientist, who lands her dream job working for NASA. Series is set to premiere February 17.
Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), Malin Akerman (Billions), Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad, Life in Pieces) and JJ Feild (Turn) have joined the cast of AMC’s Soulmates, the six-part episodic anthology series debuting this summer.
Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story) will star AMC’s upcoming courtroom drama 61st Street, from Peter Moffat (Criminal Justice, The Night Of, Your Honor) and executive produced by Michael B. Jordan and Alana Mayo of Outlier Society (Just Mercy, David Makes Man). Produced by AMC Studios, the series, which has been ordered as a two-season television event with eight episodes per season, is set to debut in 2021.
How people react to an ad varies on the individual, the ad type, and the situation. First-party data platform Disqo released a report, Ad Reactions Study, that gauged how people feel about the most common kinds of advertising. The most negative reactions came from pop-up ads that take users away from the site they’re on (10%), ads on social for a brand they don’t know (13%), and ads within an app that are for another brand (14%). “Unsurprisingly, people react more positively when advertising is either related to their current browsing interests or pertains to a brand for which they already have a positive affinity,” said the report. “While pop-up promotions on a given site or app may elicit a positive reaction when it provides a meaningful message – such as a discount – that is related to the current content the person is browsing, ads that are both interruptive in nature and disconnected in context are not advised.”
· 63% said advertising has a negative impact on their experience.
· 60% feel strongly negative when seeing a pop-up ad take them away from the site they’re on.
· 52% would react positively to a visual ad for a product they’re shopping for.
· 48% expressed they are okay with viewing ads while browsing social media.
Hisense and basketball icon Dwayne Wade have teamed on a multi-year marketing deal. As the brand’s first ever U.S. ambassador, Wade will support product launches, make in-person appearances and be featured in upcoming marketing campaigns.
AT&T’s advertising company Xandr launched the first episode of its new podcast, Unsponsored Content. It features candid conversations with Xandr executives, employees and industry thought leaders who are making moves and impacting the advertising industry in unprecedented ways. Jessie Resnick, a member of the CEO chief of staff team at Xandr, hosts.
A+E Networks UK is remaking U.S. show American Pickers for Blaze, its free-to-air channel, reports Deadline. Irish Pickers, set to launch in March, will be based in Ireland and has a new cast.
My5, the UK streaming service operated by ViacomCBS’ Channel 5, launched two new channels from Endemol Shine Group: Masters of Food and Reel Truth Crime.
BBC One commissioned Plimsoll Productions special Oti’s South African Odyssey.
Blue International secured new licensing deals for over 320 hours of content across Latin America, the United States and Canada. Among the series sold are Airport Below Zero, Great Blue Wild and Celebrity Legacies.
Hopster launched in Africa, partnering with South Africa’s Vodacom and Congolese telecom provider MTN. The preschool educational and entertainment digital platform develops young children’s learning through kids TV shows, music, games and books.