The Disney/FOX deal was the hot topic during Fox’s Thursday session at the Television Critics Association tour. The proposed acquisition of certain Fox assets by Disney is good news for independent studios, like Warner Bros. Television and Sony Television, said Fox chairman Gary Newman. With in-house studio 20th Century Fox Television moving to Disney, “There will be a great opportunity for these companies to be advantaged at a network,” said Newman. As for how Disney picking up much of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets will affect the remaining television divisions, “It’s business as usual for the next 12-18 months,” said Newman.
Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story, 9-1-1) said of the Disney/Fox deal, “Three months ago, I literally though I’d be buried on the Fox lot…. I was not very prepared for what happened.” While he’s taking a wait-and-see attitude, said Murphy, “I was surprised – but I’m hopeful. I think it’s a great time to be a content creator.”
On the other hand, when Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) got wind of the proposed deal, “I was remarkable unfazed,” he said. “I don’t think a whole lot is going to change.”
Fox is developing a “new iteration” of Prison Break, announced president of entertainment Michael Thorn, adding, “It’s in very early stages of development but we’re really excited about it.” While there’s no outline for a pilot yet, the exec said he expects Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller to return if they’re available. Season 5 of Prison Break launched last April, earning an average 1.0 rating among A18-49 and 2.6 million viewers in Live+SD, with a significant delayed viewing boost.
Fox also announced the renewal of The Gifted, the family adventure series set in Marvel’s “X-Men” universe, for a second season. The move comes ahead of the show’s Season 1 finale.
The network slotted Tuesday, April 10 at 9:30p for the premiere of the eight-episode seventh and final season of New Girl. The show will wrap with a one-hour finale on Tuesday, May 15 at 9p.
Also ahead on Fox: the first-ever limited commercial interruption episode of Family Guy, on Sunday, March 11 at 9p. Titled “Send in Stewie,” the episode finds Stewie being sent to the office of his school’s child psychologist, Dr. Cecil Pritchfield (Ian McKellen), after pushing one of his classmates.
The Resident has a sexual harassment themed episode in the works with Matt Czuchry as a young and idealist doctor who uncovers what’s going on, and Emily Van Kamp (Revenge) guesting as a whistle-blowing nurse. “We’re trying to show the general audience what they don’t know that goes on in hospitals, so you can protect yourself,” said co-creator and EP of the Fox series, Amy Holden Jones.
PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Syfy picked up Nightflyers, a series based on George R.R. Martin’s novella and 1987 film of the same name. Jeff Buhler (Jacob’s Ladder) wrote the television adaptation and will EP alongside Daniel Cerone (The Blacklist), who will also serve as showrunner.
Hulu, Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation announced a deal to create and premiere a new version of iconic cartoon franchise Animaniacs. Under the two-season straight-to-series order, Steven Spielberg will return as EP. The series, the first Hulu Original made for families and is set to premiere in 2020. The deal also brings the complete libraries of the original Animanicacs, Pinky and the Brain, Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain and the complete Tiny Toon Adventures collection exclusively to Hulu.
David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Bright) and Chris Long, former Audience Network programming chief, teamed to form Cedar Park Entertainment. The venture will develop film and TV projects for multiple platforms and kicks off with Family Crimes, written by Ayer, which Cedar Park will produce with Jerry Bruckheimer Television.
Call for submissions: Cynopsis is compiling a special Upfronts Guide for the Cynopsis web site. To be included, networks must submit the dates/times/locations of upfront events (if no events are planned, please include a tagline or up to 25-word mission statement) and logo by January 22 to Lynn@Cynopsis.com. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Mike@Cynopsis.com.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Univision debuts Descontrol on Sunday, January 7 at 9p. Series explores real and imagined situations that unleash the worst instincts of humankind.
In honor of his January 8 birthday, AXS TV salutes Elvis Presley with a block of his movies. Included are Fun in Acapulco on Thursday, January 11 at 9p and Blue Hawaii on Thursday, January 18 at 9p.
Hallmark Channel ushers in the New Year with “Winterfest,” a slate of four all-new original movies premiering every Saturday in January. The event starts with Love on the Slopes on January 6 at 9p, followed by Frozen in Love on January 13 at 9p, One Winter Weekend on January 20 at 9p and Winter’s Dream on January 27 at 9p.
60 Minutes investigates studies that find combat vets suffer the same brain disease as concussed athletes on Sunday, January 7 at 7p on CBS.
Puppy Bowl returns to Animal Planet on Sunday, February 4 at 3p with adoptable pup players going paw to paw to win the Chewy.com “Lombarky” Puppy Bowl XIV trophy.
Animals with Cameras, A Nature Miniseries bows nationwide on Wednesday, January 31 at 8p on PBS (check local listings). Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan and a team of pioneering animal behaviorists join forces to explore stories of animal lives “told” by the animals themselves.
Pam Grier hosts Leading Ladies Takeover triple feature on Saturday, January 6 on Bounce, in anticipation of new movie Proud Mary, starring Taraji P. Henson. Event kicks off with Baby Boy, starring Henson in her big screen debut, at 9p, followed by Out of Sight, starring Jennifer Lopez, at 11:30p and Grier’s star turn in Sheba, Baby at 2a.
Dish Network has reached a new measurement pact with comScore, which will create a new cross-platform measurement product to measure addressable ads. The system will measure impressions from Dish Network-owned OTT TV service Sling TV, along with impressions from Dish’s satellite set-top boxes. The new service is designed to let Sling TV advertisers take a closer look at campaigns that run across mobile, desktop, and connected TV platforms, as well as linear ad impressions on Dish’s traditional service. Dish has offered addressable ads since 2012.
Debra Winger landed a series regular role on Season 2 of Amazon Prime’s Patriot… Frank Langella signed on as a series regular, opposite Jim Carrey and Catherine Keener, for Showtime comedy Kidding…Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) was tapped to guest star as a murder suspect in an upcoming episode of Fox comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
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Telemundo launches six new kids’ programs under Mi Telemundo, the network’s three-hour Saturday programming block, on January 6. The series, which present inspiring stories about the environment, social change, health and wellness, and community engagement, include at El Viajero Con Josh Garcia at 8a, Salvando Animales at 8:30a and more.
Pinkalicious & Peterrific bows on PBS KIDS on Monday, February 19. Based on the best-selling book series, Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann, series follows the color adventures of Pinkalicious and her brother Peter and encourages kids to engage in creative crafts and self expression.
Entertainment One secured new licensing agreements for Peppa Pig to develop products for special occasions. CSS Industries is producing seasonal classroom exchange products and accessories for Valentine’s Day and Easter, while PTI Group
is focusing on parties and Halloween.
Complex Networks set Monday, January 8 as a premiere date for Liberty Crossing to bow on Verizon’s go90. The workplace comedy focuses on a hapless young intelligence analyst at the National Counterterrorism Center, who must untangle a terror plot.
We Speak Dance, a new global series on dance cultures around the world, went live on Netflix on January 1. Show follows creator and former UN advisor and Alvin Ailey trained dancer Vandana Hart across the world as she explores how dance connects people, places and cultures.
The complete library of Lost is now available on Hulu. The supernatural drama, which had a six-season run on ABC, follows the survivors of Oceanic Air flight 815, flying from Sydney and Los Angeles, that crashed on a mysterious Pacific Island.
Armoza Formats talker The Running Show is headed for Spain. Local rights to the format were commissioned by Movistar and will be produced for channel #0 by Zanskar Producciones. Series premieres January 2018 under local title El Running Show.
Globo premieres Deus Salve o Rei in Brazil on Tuesday, January 9. Set in medieval times, the telenovela centers on two prince brothers who do not want to ascend to the throne.