|PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
A TV series based on bestseller The Terminal List is in development, with Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) as star and executive producer. The project, in the works at MRC, comes from Antoine Fuqua and Fuqua Films, and writer David DiGilio (Strange Angel).
Blonde Mamba, the production house led by Amelia Baker and Mackenzie Munro, is partnering with Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL, and independent producer Casey Russell Hanley (Justin Bieber: Seasons) on original series FanGirl. Half hour comedy about two best friends who become the first female assistant coaches in the history of their team will be executive produced by Welter. Ellie Monahan (Mr. Robot), Will Ropp (The Way Back) and Jacqueline Toboni (The ‘L’ Word: Generation Q) are attached as writers.
Exciting news – the Cynopsis Best Of The Best Awards featuring media’s Rising Stars is sold out! The event will bring together media’s elite to toast the campaigns, content, and individuals whose work has risen to the top in maintaining and enriching a broad audience. We can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow for lunch! To join the wait list, email Cynopsis’ Marketing Manager Cathy Pearson.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Tarek El Moussa (Flip or Flop) mentors real estate greenhorns in a new HGTV series, Flipping 101 w/Tarek El Moussa, premiering Thursday, March 5 at 9p. “I’m sharing every lesson I’ve learned to help novice flippers survive their projects unscathed,” said El Moussa. “I’m going to show them how to take the worst of the worst and make a mountain of money turning their homes into the best on the block.”
It’s a gathering of geeks on Syfy Wire’s The Great Debate, tackling questions like, “Who’d be a worse boss, Darth Vader or the Joker?”. Baron Vaughn (Mystery Science Theater 3K) and his robot sidekick DB-8 host the new series, based on Comic Con panels, set to debut this summer.
Telemundo super series Operacion Pacifico launches Monday, February 10 at 10p. Sixty-episode police drama is shot in Mexico and Colombia.
A new crew of elite bakers face off when Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship returns Monday, March 9 at 9p. First challenge: spring-themed fruit tarts.
OWN’s Love Goals, an unscripted series centered on five celebrity couples at a crossroads, launches Saturday, March 7 at 9p. Series joins the net’s lineup focused on romance and relationships.
Season three of Frankie Drake Mysteries debuts on arts net Ovation TV on Saturday, April 4, with the ladies of Drake Private Detectives facing off against more challenging foes.
In partnership with esports organization FaZe Clan, Quibi is giving 6 skilled subscribers the chance to play their way onto the FaZe roster in interactive series FaZe Up (wt). Six contestants, selected and voted upon by the Quibi audience, will get the opportunity to live the FaZe lifestyle, game competitively and win money.
MotorTrend Group and NASCAR are teaming for sports documentary series NASCAR All In: Battle for Daytona. Episodes will premiere Mondays, starting February 10, on the MotorTrend app.
Jameela Jamil (The Good Place, The Misery Index) is set as MC and judge for Legendary, the unscripted voguing competition series coming to HBO Max. The judging panel includes rapper Megan Thee Stallion, Law Roach (America’s Next Top Model), and “the Wonder Woman of Vogue” Leiomy Maldonado.
NBCUniversal announced the initial lineup for the first Peacock Live! two-day fan festival, taking place March 28-29 at the Universal Studios backlot in LA. Among the highlights: Panels for This Is Us and Good Girls, a sneak peek at the Saved by the Bell reboot, and appearances by Jay Leno, Al Roker, Derek Hough, Lilly Singh, Kate del Castillo and more.
The Kingmaker, WGA winner for Best Documentary Screenplay, will have its TV debut Friday, February 28 at 9p on Showtime. Film offers a searing portrait of Imelda Marcos, shoe-loving former first lady of the Philippines.
Save the date for Cynopsis’ That Big TV Conference on Sept. 23-24 in NYC. Connect the dots between network, brand, agency and tech to grow your business in the new TV landscape. If you attended last year – we hope to see you again! And if you didn’t, we’re sorry to say you missed out. So, save the date and join us this September. Agenda + speakers will be revealed soon!
HBO Max acquired US rights to Impact Partners’ and Jane Doe Films’ On The Record, which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The streamer’s first festival acquisition, movie tells the story of music executive Drew Dixon, one of the first women of color to accuse hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct.
Mezzo Live HD channel is launching its Beethoven Year to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Each month, Mezzo will dedicate a live broadcast, reference archives, and concerts and interviews with well-known musicians, to Ludwig van Beethoven and his work.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Bounce one-hour special, Bounce Celebrates Black History, will accompany movies inspired by contributions of African Americans in honor of Black History Month. Queen Latifah, Common and Harry Belafonte headline the special, which covers people and events of historical significance, on Monday, February 10 at 8p.
AMC Networks is also celebrating Black History Month, with its 7th Annual Black History Month Public Service Announcement campaign, in partnership with the NAACP. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus share stories of inspiration and perseverance in spots that will air on AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and streaming service UMC throughout the month of February.
Verizon Media has launched programming to celebrate Black History Month across its portfolio of media brands, including multimedia project Black Hair Defined, HuffPost exploring what it means to be a Black voter, and more. “We want to continue to be a trusted place that provides a platform for diverse perspectives. We feel we have the opportunity to play a crucial role and elevate stories in a meaningful way across our portfolio as we celebrate Black History Month,” said Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media.
With Disney+ and Apple TV+ in the game, time spent streaming rose a whopping 58% from a year ago, according to Conviva’s State of Streaming report. On the down side, the average wait time for an ad to start rose to 2.27 seconds from 1.14 seconds, and 49% of those surveyed said they had stopped watching while waiting for an ad to start. “As with any disruptive technology, growing pains are inevitable,” said Conviva CEO Bill Demas. “The companies that win the streaming wars will be those able to offer viewers a fast, clear, reliable experience regardless of where in the world they live, or what device they use.”
Speaking of Disney+, the streaming service, launched in November, boasts 26.5 million subscribers, the company said during its earnings call on Tuesday, above estimates in the 20-25 million range. “We had a strong first quarter, highlighted by the launch of Disney+, which has exceeded even our greatest expectations,” Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger said. “Thanks to our incredible collection of brands, outstanding content from our creative engines and state-of-the-art technology, we believe our direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, position us well for continued growth in today’s dynamic media environment.”
VIZIO Smartcast is launching five new channels, CONtv, Dove Channel, Docurama, Bambu & Comedy Dynamics, in partnership with app development partner Cinedigm. The additions continue VIZIO Smartcast’s expansion into niche content verticals.
UK streaming service All 4 will stream Seinfeld, until global rights to the classic comedy are handed over to Netflix in 2021 (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The first three seasons drop for free on February 7, with one season released every Friday for the next six weeks.
Poker Central acquired the High Stakes Poker brand and assets from the game show that ran on Game Show Network from 2006 to 2011. PokerGO will begin streaming episodes in the coming months.
TikTok is now a top ad mobile network in mobile user acquisition, joining the likes of Facebook and Google, according to measurement company Singular’s 2020 ROI Index. TikTok had 614 million downloads in a year, with 75 times growth in ad spend from May to November 2019.
TV Squared has launched an industry-first platform to power attribution across all forms of video advertising, combining coverage of streaming publishers and media owners, along with household-level data metrics and analytics for performance and true reach extension. “Together, linear and digital is giving the TV industry the greatest scale and reach potential of all time,” said Jo Kinsella, President, TVSquared. “We have strategic partnerships across the advertising ecosystem to create the most robust closed-loop attribution solution in the world. This means we can power independent TV measurement for advertisers and publishers – from direct streaming services to DSPs and MVPDs.” For more, go here.
The coronavirus in China could impact Sony Corp. forecasts and results, said the Tokyo-based company, which reported a drop in fiscal third quarter due to faltering video game, networking and film businesses. Sony said production and sales of its image sensor division were at risk. Higher sales from TV shows, including The Crown, were offset by higher expenses. Profit from October-December was 229.5 billion yen, down from 429 billion a year earlier.
The Apple TV app has launched on LG smart TVs, and include access to Apple TV+. Users can access the app from the LG Home Launcher on 2019 sets; it will be available on 2018 models later this year, and is available on 2020 TVs at launch. The Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 and HomeKit will work on all of LG’s 2019 OLED TVs and NanoCell TVs (series SM9X and SM8X).
People Magazine is joining conversation platform Community, allowing it to text with its Community audience directly. The partnership kicks off during the Oscars, with People offering exclusive, Community-only content. “At People we’re all about meeting our users where they are and tailoring content to the platform they’re on,” said Zoë Ruderman, Editor of People Digital. “This partnership lets us take that relationship with our audience to the next level and add an element of real interactivity.” People is the first media brand on the platform, which includes “Leaders” like Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lopez, and Kerry Washington.
Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) will star in and exec produce Ways & Means, a D.C. drama picked up to pilot by CBS…Jeanne Tripplehorn (Big Love) will recur on HBO’s upcoming period drama The Gilded Age, reports Deadline.
Sky plans to become Europe’s first net zero carbon media company over the next ten years. “Every business depends on and is fundamentally connected to the environment, and we have a responsibility to protect it. We need to take action now – because the world can’t wait,” said Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, Sky. “We’re on the journey, and we want to bring everyone with us. Sky Zero will transform our business, advocate for change and inspire our 24 million customers to go zero.”
Netflix was accused of not paying its fair share of UK taxes, with Dame Margaret Hodge arguing in the House of Commons that the streamer’s tax situation amounts to “superhighway robbery.” Last month, British think tank Tax Watch reported that Netflix, along with other big tech companies, “has structured itself to avoid paying tax”; Netflix countered that it has simplified its tax structure and “invests heavily” in the UK.
Scottish production companies Red Kite Animation and Once Were Farmers are joining to create a new combined studio, Wild Child Animation. The 50/50 joint venture will be based in Scotland and focus on providing content and animation services for both the UK domestic and international marketplaces.
Zodiak Kids announced global sales for the children’s series and specials it acquired for international distribution from Amazon Studios last year, among them Lost in Oz, Little Big Awesome, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, among others. Zodiak Kids represents the linear broadcasting rights for 17 Amazon Prime Originals titles globally while all series continue to air on Amazon Prime Video.
NBCUniversal Formats’ Suits will be back for season two on FUJI TV in Japan. Produced in-house by FUJI TV, Suits is the first adaptation of a US drama to return for a second season on a Japanese television network. Filming will commence this month.