|PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Netflix is continuing on its film roll. The company acquired rights to Bradley Cooper’s untitled Leonard Bernstein film, which he’ll direct, star in and produce from a script he co-wrote with Spotlight writer Josh Singer. The project, which centers on Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre, initially was set at Paramount in 2018. Producers on the film include Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Cooper and Todd Phillips, his Joint Effort producing partner. Film is expected to begin production early next year and will have a theatrical release before heading to the streaming site.
ABC gave a pilot order to Prospect, its first comedy pilot order or the season. From Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer, director/producer Randall Einhorn and ABC Studios, where Einhorn has an overall deal, series is touted as a comedic Western with a feminist twist centered on an idealistic young woman who moves to the frontier to be a schoolteacher.
NBC renewed four-time Emmy-nominated series American Ninja Warrior for its ninth season. Hosted by Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila, series will return this summer shooting in three cities—LA, DC and St. Louis. The show’s annual USA Vs. the World telecast will air Sunday, January 26 at 9p.
Have you taken our 2020 workplace satisfaction survey yet? The survey results will be shared in a report in the Spring and in our bi-weekly Jobs Newsletter. Bonus: you’ll have your name entered into a drawing to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card.
Pose co-creator Steven Canals inked an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Co-created and exec-produced by Canals, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the Peabody Award-winning Pose recently finished its second season on FX and will return for a third season in 2020.
Screenwriter Gary Dauberman, the scribe behind top-grossing horror films It: Chapter Two and Annabelle Comes Home, and DC Universe drama Swamp Thing, signed a first-look deal with UCP, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios. Dauberman will write and produce scripted projects via his new production company Coin Operated.
Laura Dern will star in Quibi series Just One Drink, written by author and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby. Project, a series of one-act vignettes between a bartender and the customers she serves, comes via Jaywalker Pictures.
HBO Max crowned The Prince, created by Gary Janetti (Family Guy, Will & Grace), as its latest animated comedy series order. The series is inspired by Janetti’s Instagram account that satirizes British Royals through the eyes of a young Prince George, eldest child of Prince William and Princess Kate.
Digital series Take it There with Taylor Rooks will get a second season on Bleacher Report. The show, which streams on YouTube and Bleacher Report’s site and app, features sit-downs with NBA and NFL players and other pro athletes.
Entertainment Studios ordered 130 new half-hour eps for five of the studio’s current court series. These series renewals consist of a total of 650 new half-hours for the 2020-21 season.
Endemol Shine Iberia (Spain) signed an agreement to co-develop dramedy series Fuego, created by Carlos Wasserman (Cumbia Ninja). Story centers on a pop singer who, after trying to leave her manager/husband, is tricked and sent to a strange “clinic” for women.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Heartland Docs, DVM premieres on Nat Geo Wild Saturday, January 25 at 10p. Series features Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder, who help animals from hamsters to horses to horned owls at their rural veterinary practice in Hartington, NE.
Also emanating from middle America is new Travel Channel series Haunting in the Heartland, premiering on Friday, February 21 at 10p. Viewers can catch paranormal investigator Steve Shippy visits Midwestern towns that have been traumatized for generations by ripples of fear.
All 10 eps of Netflix’s Latinx series Gentefied will premiere Friday, February 21. Exec producer America Ferrera and Wilmer Valderrama will guest on the comedic series, adapted from the 2017 Sundance digital project about three Mexican-American cousins struggling to chase the American Dream.
TV One’s longest-running series Unsung returns Sunday, February 23 at 10p. New season kicks off with ‘90s R&B group Dru Hill, and future episodes will feature MC Roxanne Shante, Christopher Williams, Skyy, and Al Jarreau.
Netflix will debut I Am Not Okay With This, from the producers of Stranger Things and director/exec producer of The End of the F***ing World, on Wednesday, February 26. Irreverent story follows a teenage girl navigating the trials and tribulations of high school… Then on Thursday, February 27, the streamer is set to drop season 2 of sci-fi series Altered Carbon.
AMC Networks’ streaming service Acorn TV announced five commissioned originals for the 2020 lineup including Irish comedy drama The South Westerlies, New Zealand thriller The Sounds, and Irish period mystery series Dead Still. On the roster in January are season 6 of the Brokenwood Mysteries, season 13 of Murdoch Mysteries and season 3 of Ackley Bridge. February 10 brings the return of Agatha Raisin. Stay tuned for a Cynsiders interview with star Ashley Jensen.
Discovery Family Channel has a toasty slate of series returns for February. Season 10 of Cake Boss bows Saturday, February 15 at 9p, with Buddy Valastro and the Carlo’s bakery crew. Dinosaurs, Brush Strokes and Edible Art returns Saturday, February 15 at 9p, Valastro-fueled Rollercoasters, Cook-Offs and Cupcake Island premieres Saturday, February 15 at 9:30p, Waves, Watermelons and Wipe Outs drops Saturday, February 22 at 9p and there’s more Buddy in Thunderbirds and Butterflies premiering Saturday, February 29 at 9p.
To Europe and beyond: Disney+ set its launch schedule for western Europe, including debuts in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland on March 24. Belgium, the Nordics, Portugal and other markets will follow in summer 2020. The service launched in the US November 12 priced at $6.99 per month.
AVOD streamer Tubi, already headed into the UK market later this year, will expand into Mexico as well through a deal with TV Azteca. Tubi also will partner with TV maker Hisense and its Vidaa platform to be the exclusive connected TV partner in Mexico.
Sinclair Broadcast Group feted yesterday’s one-year anniversary of Stirr, its ad-supported streaming service, by announcing plans to launch a new channel, 2020 LIVE, that will offer a continuous stream of live election coverage. The company also said Stirr has attracted more than 1.6 million app downloads during its first year.
Roku is headed to Brazil thanks to deals with local smart TV manufacturing and subscription streaming companies. Roku is partnering with manufacturer AOC to release a pair of smart TVs for the Brazilian market. The 32-inch and 43-inch models will include wireless connectivity and access to Roku features, including search, remote, mobile app and automatic software updates. AOC Roku TV models will be available online on January 22 in Casas Bahia, Ponto Frio and Extra, and in stores as of early February. The 32-inch AOC Roku TV will be priced at $1.199,00 Reais and the 43-inch AOC Roku TV will be priced at $1.599,00 Reais.
New year, new SNL: Adam Driver will return to host for the third time January 25, with musical guest Halsey, followed by Texans QB JJ Watt and Luke Combs on February 1, and RuPaul with his debut SNL host appearance and Justin Bieber on February 8.
Nat Geo will debut Academy Award-nominated documentary feature The Cave on Saturday, January 25 at 9p. The film, about a subterranean hospital in war-torn Syria and its chief, Dr. Amani Ballour, will be presented without commercial interruption.
CNBC’s latest one-hour original documentary is the story of former Nissan and Renault Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn’s rise and spectacular fall. Doc premieres Monday, January 27 at 10p.
Black History Month begins February 1, and programmers are prepping a variety of viewing opportunities:
Revolt TV will return talk show State of the Culture on Tuesday, February 18 at 10p. Among other programming tee’d up at the network are new seasons of stand-up showcase Funny AF, premiering Wednesday, February 5 at 10p; Breakfast Club Extra, bowing Saturday, February 8 at 5p; and short film anthology Short & Fresh, debuting Friday, February 21 at 5p; New eps of morning show The Breakfast Club, Revolt Summit Presents, Director’s Reel and more are on tap as part of the net’s “Black Excellence” initiative.
Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier premieres on Smithsonian Channel Monday, February 24 at 8p. Special documents the world’s first African-American astronauts, and examines the moment when America’s history of racial prejudice collided with the space program.
At PBS, an Independent Lens episode bowing Monday, February 10 at 10p examines how the 1995 Chicago heat wave claimed the lives of more than 700 mostly poor, elderly and African American residents, while the February 24 ep investigates the alleged lynching of teenager Lennon Lacy. Finding Your Roots episode “Slave Trade,” February 11 at 8p, journeys with film director Ava DuVernay, actor S. Epatha Merkerson and musician Questlove to the unexpected places where their ancestors were scattered by slavery. American Masters: Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool premieres Tuesday, February 25, 9p.
DISTRIBUTION & SYNDICATION
The Drew Barrymore Show has been cleared in 85 percent of the country. CBS Television Distribution’s daytime talker, hosted by actress Drew Barrymore, will launch nationwide in fall 2020. New to the party are stations from the Nexstar, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Weigel Broadcasting, Scripps, Gray Television, Tegna, Meredith and Mission Broadcasting station groups.
Dabl, the ad-supported, multi-platform lifestyle net CBS Television Distribution launched last September, has cleared 90 percent of the US. Dabl also acquired more than 400 hours of programming from ITV Studios and all3media, including new Gordon Ramsay titles, and recently added cable distribution with Altice USA.
Localish, a digital native lifestyle brand from ABC Owned Television Stations, will have a broadcast home beginning February 17 on the Live Well Network, a multicast network in the ABC-owned markets and will expand its short-form series of local storytelling into long-form programming to reach approximately 14 million households.
Digital Media Rights announced linear launches of five free ad-supported channels. Available first on the Samsung TV Plus platform, AsianCrush (pan-Asian), Cocoro (kids/family), KMTV (K-pop), Midnight Pulp (horror/thriller/cult) and YuyuTV (general entertainment) showcase premium movies and other entertainment content.
The Broadway Channel’s nationally syndicated Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal beginning in fall 2020 will increase frequency from monthly to weekly. Hosted and exec-produced by 12-time Emmy winner Fadal, series features sit downs with Broadway’s A list.
Cole Sprouse will star in and produce eight-ep podcast series Borrasca. Created and written by Rebecca Klingel (Netflix’s The Haunting Of Hill House), the 30-minute thriller hails from QCode and will debut in April. The Riverdale and Five Feet Apart star will topline as Sam Walker, who becomes obsessed with untangling local lore after his sister disappears in the family’s new hometown in Missouri.
Newly minted NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez launched his podcast Wide Open with Tony Gonzalez, through which Gonzalez interviews people at the top of their respective games and learn more about how they got to where they are in their career. Guests have included manager Scooter Braun, Jessica Alba, David Spade and Michael Strahan.
Vella Lovell (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) is in as a series regular opposite Ted Danson, Holly Hunter and Bobby Moynihan in NBC’s untitled LA Mayor comedy series… Keon Alexander (NCIS, Impulse), Nadine Nicole (Casual) and Jasai Chase Owens (The Deuce) were promoted to series regulars for the upcoming fifth season of Amazon’s The Expanse… Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. TV series at Hulu added Sam Richardson (Veep), Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs), Ben Schwartz (House of Lies) and Aimee Garcia (Lucifer) to the cast of animated supervillain family sitcom starring exec producer Patton Oswalt.
Telemundo signed Mexican actor Fernando Colunga to a deal that will see Colunga starring in various original productions, beginning with the new superseries Malverde: El Santo Patrón (Malverde: The Patron Saint), slated to premiere next year.
ADVERTISING & DATA
With 35 consecutive quarters of growth, digital out-of-home advertising will continue to grow in 2020 as the channel becomes more data-driven and easier to buy. This according to new analysis Vistar Media, which saw OOH programmatic spend through the company grow 80 percent in 2019. “The fact that 75 percent of campaigns that ran through Vistar leveraged audience targeting or measurement shows the real impact of adding data into the OOH sphere,” Leslie Lee, Vistar VP of marketing, tells Cynopsis. “Buyers continue to drive new dollars into the space the more that we can prove the effectiveness of the channel and provide solutions for precision targeting at scale. Additionally, the variety of inventory available continues to expand, from either the largest networks in the world or new place-based networks, expanding opportunities to engage at unique moments throughout a consumer’s day.” Among findings in 2019 compared to the prior year Vistar found:
* Media owner networks available on the Vistar platform increased by 86 percent
* Unique brands buying through the platform increased by 55 percent
* The number of campaigns run through its platform up by 49 percent
* Overall programmatic OOH spend through the platform increase by 80 percent
* 75 percent of campaigns within Vistar Media’s platform used targeting or measurement capabilities in 2019 vs. 63 percent of campaigns in 2018
A+E Networks International sold tour movie titles to Univision/TVM, including A+E’s first Spanish-language sale of Lifetime TV movies. Additionally, A+E International sold its UnReal format to Brazilian production unit Floresta Producoes, marking A+E’s first scripted format sale in Latin America.
Univision Communications and Televisa announced a distribution arrangement to make a Univision-branded pay-TV channel available in Latin America this year. The channel, to be operated by Televisa, initially will be distributed across 17 Latin American markets, excluding Brazil, and feature content including productions from Univision Studios and Televisa.
ShortsTV is making a move into Mexicovia a new deal between its TVCortos short-form Spanish entertainment shingle an Megacable.