|PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
HBO Max will co-produce and be the US streaming home for limited series “The Tourist,”
from Two Brothers Pictures (“Fleabag”). The six-part thriller is headed up by writers Harry and Jack Williams, alongside commissioning partners BBC One, Stan and ZDF. Jamie Dornan (“A Private War”) will star as a man searching for his identity. Danielle Macdonald (“Unbelievable”), Shalom Brune-Franklin (“Roadkill”) and Hugo Weaving (“Patrick Melrose”) are also confirmed to join the cast ahead of filming in Australia.
Keke Palmer (“Hustlers”) will host and executive produce “Foodtastic,” a Disney+ competition series. Teams of contestants will be asked to create Disney-inspired works of art made out of all types of food, including everything from cheese and butter to fruits and vegetables.
TBS greenlit “Rat in the Kitchen,” a food format where competition cooking meets whodunit. Hosted by Natasha Leggero (“Another Period”) and judged by celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre, each episode includes one undercover chef who sabotages fellow contestants’ chances. The series is produced for TBS by ITV America’s Thinkfactory Media.
Seth MacFarlane and Amy Pascal are developing a series adaptation of Elan Mastai’s novel All Our Wrongs Today for Peacock. The time travel tale is being written by Mastai, with MacFarlane and Erica Huggins executive producing for Fuzzy Door and Pascal and Rachel O’Connor exec producing for Pascal Pictures.
Entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman is joining Crush Capital’s new show, “Going Public,” as a mentor. In the 10-episode series hosted by Lauren Simmons, the youngest-ever female trader and the second Black female to have held that position at the New York Stock Exchange, Hoffman will join fellow business leaders in guiding a group of entrepreneurs as they navigate the challenges of taking a company public.
Three new series regular roles, plus directors Ayoka Chenzira and Crystle C. Roberson, have been announced for new OWN drama “Delilah,” from “Greenleaf” creator Craig Wright, who serves as executive producer along with Charles Randolph-Wright and Oprah Winfrey. Added to the cast are Kelly Jacobs, Khalil Johnson and Braelin Rankins (“Genius”).
Charmaine Bingwa (“Black Box”) has joined the season five cast of CBS All Access/Paramount+ drama “The Good Fight” as a series regular.
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Freeform picked up “The Bold Type” for a fifth and final season. The final episodes will air later this year, with Nikohl Boosheri returning as popular character Ardena El-Amin during the course of the show’s final run.
“I Can See Your Voice was renewed for a second season on Fox, with Ken Jeong back as host and executive producer. The game show averaged a 1.3 rating among A18-49 and 6.0 million viewers in Live+7 Nielsens.
Set for season three is CBS’s “Love Island,” a dating series featuring young singles looking for love in a tropical location – this time around, Hawaii.
Facebook Watch ordered 12 more episodes of “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” hosted by singer Gloria Estafan, her daughter Emily Esefan, and Lili Estefan. The interview series is a spin-off of “Red Table Talk,” from Jada Pinkett-Smith.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
New CBS comedy “United States of Al” premieres Thursday, April 1 at 9:30, taking over the time slot of “The Unicorn” at the end of that show’s 13-episode season. The move puts “Al” in the company of three other Chuck Lorre comedies – “Young Sheldon,” “B Positive” and “Mom” – on Thursdays.
Sixteen of the best chefs from the East and West coasts go head-to-head in sudden-death cooking battles on Food Network’s “Tournament of Champions II,” launching Sunday, March 7 at 8p. Extended episodes of the tournament and an after show will air on discovery+, featuring backstage conversations with host Guy Fieri and the competitors.
True crime docu-series “The Widower” will go behind the scenes of a murder investigation, with exclusive access to the alleged killer. The first episode of the show from Dateline NBC producers premieres on Thursday, February 18 at 10p, with two-hour parts 2 and 3 airing February 19 and 21 at 9p.
The pandemic has a dramatic effect on Bravo’s “Married to Medicine,” back for season eight on Sunday, March 7 at 9p as the cast deals with a health crisis the likes of which they’ve never seen before.
The second half of AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” season six launches Sunday, April 11 at 9p. Joining the cast for the back nine epsodes are John Glover (“The Good Wife”), Nick Stahl (“Terminator”), and Keith Carradine (“Fargo”).
All ten episodes of sychological drama “Tell Me Your Secrets” drop on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, February 19. Lily Rabe (“American Horror Story”), Amy Brenneman (“The Leftovers”), Hamish Linklater (“Legion”) and Enrique Murciano (“The Blacklist”) star in the series about people pushed to the edge by their troubling pasts.
“Donkey Hodie,” a new PBS Kids puppet series, premieres Monday, May 3. The multi-platform preschool show follows the adventures of the granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie character from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Digital reality series “MTV’s Following: Bretman Rock,” looking at the content creator’s life in Hawaii, premieres on MTV YouTube on Monday, February 8 at 4p. New episodes of the six-parter drop Mondays at 4p.
“Shadow and Bone,” focused on an orphan training as part of an elite army of magical soldiers, premieres on Netflix on Friday, April 23. The series was inspired by Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels.
Two-hour special “Unraveled: The Real Story of the Long Island Serial Killer,” a companion to the podcast “Unraveled: Long Island Serial Killer,” premieres on discovery+ on Tuesday, March 9. The podcast looks for answers regarding a case that started in 2010 when a young sex worker went missing.
Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old poet who came to national attention for her recitation at the Biden-Harrid inauguration, will read a new poem during the Super Bowl pre-game show. Her performance at the Tampa stadium on February 7 on CBS will honor heroes during the pandemic.
Two upcoming Warner Bros. movies will premiere in theaters and HBO Max on the same day. “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which tells the story of a man who infiltrated the Black Panthers, debuts Friday, February 12. Live action/computer animated “Tom & Jerry” premieres Friday, February 26. Both films will be available on HBO Max for 31 days from their theatrical releases.
“Sew the Winter to My Skin,” a film depicting the hunt, capture and trial of Black rebel folk hero John Klepe, premieres Monday, February 1 on Crackle.
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Starz acquired documentary film “Ruth: Justice Ginsburg In Her Own Words,” chronicling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s ascent to the Supreme Court. The film’s premiere kicks off Women’s History on Monday, March 1 at 9p, and air again on Monday, March 15 at 8p on what would have been Justice Ginsburg’s 88th birthday.
The average viewer in North America uses about seven different video services, according to TiVo’s Video Trends Report. Other findings include:
* 79% of survey respondents said that they would rather use free, ad-supported streaming than subscribe to another paid service.
* 25% of respondents added at least one new video subscription as a result of COVID-19, while 15% of respondents canceled at least one video subscription as a result of the pandemic.
* 83% of survey respondents said viewing local content was important (a 10% increase since 2019); 74% of broadband-only subscribers indicated viewing local content was important to them (a 12% YOY increase)
* TV commercials/ads remain the most popular medium by which people learn about new shows and movies.
* 98% of respondents said they feel recommendations from their subscription streaming services are “sometimes” or “always” relevant.
Season one of Netflix’s “Bridgerton” was watched by 82 million households globally during its first four weeks, 19 million more than the streamer projected 10 days after the Shondaland drama’s launch. That makes “Bridgerton” Netflix’s biggest new series ever, easily surpassing the 76 million households “The Witcher” drew during its first 28 days.
HF Productions is launching a new streaming platform on February 17. FILMPIXS, now in soft launch, features short films, in addition to international feature documentaries. The platform will be available worldwide via a monthly/annual subscription model.
Free streaming network DistroTV, launched in 2019, announced it is now home to over 150 live streaming channels. “As an emerging FAST network and one of the few remaining independent streaming services, our mission remains to cultivate content that covers a broad range of diverse topics,” said Navdeep Saini, founder and CEO of DistroTV parent, DistroScale.
Spanish and Portuguese dubs and subtitles will be available on Funimation beginning Wednesday, February 3. “As the popularity of anime continues to grow across the planet, we hope these new language offerings will enable more fans to enjoy their favorite content,” said Asa Suehira, Chief Content Officer at Funimation Global Group.
Facebook reported 4Q20 revenue of $28.1 billion with net profit of $11.2 billion, beating analyst forecasts. A move from consumer demand towards products and away from services “provided a tailwind to our advertising business in the second half of 2020 given our strength in product verticals sold via online commerce and our lower exposure to service verticals like travel,” said the company, which nevertheless warned, “Looking forward, a moderation or reversal in one or both of these trends could serve as a headwind to our advertising revenue growth.”
Apple also beat analyst estimates for 4Q20, with total revenue of $111.4 billion, up 21% from 4Q19. Sales of the iPhone in what CEO Tim Cook called a “historic” holiday season totaled $65.6 billion, versus a projected $59.8 billion.
Video ad platform Unruly has launched a suite of self-service tools that enable publishers to package, price and sell their programmatic inventory. Via a new self-service platform, UnrulyX CTRL, media owners and app developers can set up programmatic deals across their connected TV, video and banner inventory via deal IDs. An user interface gives publishers access to online packaging tools, real-time insights to help maximize inventory value and enhanced reporting for transparency. “Publishers are increasingly looking for greater control and transparency – a trend that has become more prevalent in these uncertain times and the heightened anxiety caused by the global pandemic,” said Chief Strategy Officer Kenneth Suh.
UK’s ITV has commissioned a documentary from True Vision and London-based independent producer Nevision, in association with Topic, on the Irish mother and baby home scandal.
Quintus Studios acquired documentary titles for its on-demand channels Free Documentary and FD Real, including the rights to “Extreme Trades” from France TV Distribution, “Masters of Engineering” from Lucky You, and “Exceptional Transportation” from Ampersand.
Dynamic Television nabbed format and worldwide distribution rights for Icelandic dark comedy “My Funeral,” produced by Glassriver and created by Jon Gunnar Geirdal.
French animation studio Xilam Animation has secured broadcast deals across its “Oggy and the Cockroaches” franchise with Netflix, France Televisions, Discovery Italy, Super RTL in Germany, Gulli and M6.