02/05/21: CNN’s Jeff Zucker isn’t going anywhere…yet


Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read


Friday February 5, 2021

Today’s Premieres
Apple TV+: “The Snoopy Show”
discovery+: “Long Island Medium: There in Spirit,” “Unseamly: The Investigation of Peter Nygard”
Hulu: “Your Attention Please”
Netflix: “Invisible City,” “Hache”

Saturday’s Premieres
Snap: “Colin Kaepernick Vs the World”
Syfy: “Devil May Care” at midnight

Sunday’s Premieres
CBS: “The Equalizer” at 10p
discovery+: “Crikey! It’s the Irwins”
Vice: “Black Lives Matter: A Global Reckoning”

Sunday’s Finale
Cleo TV: “Tough Love: Los Angeles” at 9p


CNN President Jeff Zucker told staffers on Thursday that he expects to step down when his contract is up at the end of the year, contrary to speculation that he was making an early exit. The news chief said he had in fact “basically decided” on an earlier departure date, but had a change of heart. CNN is currently flying high in the ratings, and “I cannot imagine not being here now,” said Zucker during the call. “I have this incredible seat in the very front row of history every day. I work with the best people in the business.” Zucker became the head of CNN in 2013 and in 2019 became Chairman of WarnerMedia News & Sports and President of CNN.

Also stepping down – though not until the end of 2022 – is Charter Communications President and COO John Bickham. “He is widely regarded as one of the best operators in cable,” said Charter Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge. Ahead of Bickham’s departure, Rich DiGeronimo, Chief Product and Technology Officer, and CFO Chris Winfrey will be taking on added responsibilities.

NBC’s “Law & Order: Organized Crime” launches Thursday, April 1, in a two-our crossover event that starts with “Law & Order: SVU” at 9p, reuniting Mariska Hargitay with her former “SVU” castmate, “Crime” star Christopher Meloni. The lineup kicks off with “Manifest” at 8p, taking the place of “Mr. Mayor” and “Superstore,” whose seasons will have wrapped.

Niecy Nash will sub for “The Masked Singer” host Nick Cannon on early season five episodes, as Cannon recovers from COVID-19. The season is slated to start in March. Nash is no stranger to the game – the “Claws” star was a guest panelist on the show last season.

Nearly 3 out of 4 advertisers are willing to try new audience measurement currencies, according to “The Evolution and Revolution of Measurement Currencies,” from Comcast Advertising’s Agency Leadership Council. Advertiser Perceptions examined advertisers’ and marketers’ openness to new providers, and what may be holding them back from moving more quickly on new measurement currencies, and found that nearly 90% of marketers and advertisers say it’s important that measurement partners work with specific data matching solutions and third-party providers. A lack of internal knowledge about measurement is a reason cited by 57% of those surveyed as reason not to work with a new provider; 42% cited pre-existing relationships and agreements.

Netflix hit “Bridgerton” didn’t land a Golden Globes nomination, but scored a nod for Drama Ensemble in the SAG Awards. It will compete against Netflix’s “The Crown” and “Ozark,” AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” and HBO’s “Lovecraft Country.” Vying for Comedy Ensemble will be Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” Netflix’s “Dead to Me,” HBO’s “The Flight Attendant,” Hulu’s “The Great” and Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek,” which also nabbed nods for all four of its 2020 Emmy-winning actors. The ceremony will air live on Sunday, April 4 a 9p on TNT and TBS.

CBS’s upcoming “The Equalizer” and “Clarice” will get promotional pushes from ViacomCBS streaming service Pluto TV, with a two-week sampling of the premiere episodes after their broadcast debuts. In addition, Prime Video Channels will put both shows in front of their paywall during the two week windows, and YouTube will offer the first episodes for free on the CBS YouTube channel. “The Equalizer” makes its bow Sunday, February 6 after the Super Bowl, while “Clarice” arrives Thursday, February 11.

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks has resolved and withdrawn its $10 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Charter Communications, said the companies in a statement. Allen reached a settlement in a similar suit against Comcast last June.

Election technology company Smartmatic has filed a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against the Fox Corporation, Fox News, and anchors Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, as well as lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. The company claims Giuliani and Powell “created a story about Smartmatic,” and “Fox joined the conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic” as part of allegations of election fraud. Calling the lawsuit “meritless,” a Fox News Media spokesperson said the company is “committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion. We are proud of our 2020 election coverage.” Dominion Voting Systems filed lawsuits last month against Giuliani and Powell.

Donald Trump, a member of SAG-AFTRA since 1989, resigned after the union’s national board last month approved a disciplinary hearing over the January 6 attack on the Capitol. “Your organization has done little for its members, and nothing for me – besides collecting dues and promoting dangerous un-American policies and ideas,” wrote Trump in his resignation letter. Replied SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David White, “Thank you.”

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WarnerMedia is serious about the stars of truTV’s highest rated franchise, “Impractical Jokers.”

As part of a first look deal with Joe Gatto, James “Murr” Murray, Brian “Q” Quinn and Sal Vulcano, the comedy troupe will develop and produce original unscripted and scripted programming for TNT, TBS and truTV as well as HBO Max. “Impractical Jokers,” which just launched season nine, has been renewed by truTV for a tenth run.

Starz greenlit “The Serpent Queen,” the story of Catherine de Medici from writer and executive producer Justin Haythe (“Revolutionary Road”). Based on the book Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda, the series will be executive produced by Francis Lawrence (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) and Erwin Stoff (“The Matrix,”). The eight-episode series is produced for Starz by Lionsgate Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.

HBO Max is developing an adaptation of the Leslie Lehr novel, A Boob’s Life: How America’s Obsession Shaped Me – And You. Lehr will serve as an executive producer on the comedy project, alongside Salma Hayek – who is under a two-year deal with the streamer – and Ventanarosa’s Jose Tamez and Siobhan Flynn. Melissa Oman and Julie R. Snyder will also executive produce via their Wheeler Girl Productions. Cynthia Mort (“Tell Me You Love Me”) will serve as showrunner.

Sony Pictures Television is developing a remake of Norman Lear’s 1976-77 syndicated soap opera satire, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” Emily Hampshire (“Schitt’s Creek”) will co-write, executive produce and star. Jacob Tierney (“Letterkenny”) will co-write with Hampshire, and Lear and Brent Miller’s Act III Productions.

SPT also signed an exclusive first-look deal with Nigeria’s EbonyLife Media to develop scripted TV series that showcase a pioneering Africa. The agreement is an expansion of a co-development/production collaboration. “Taking African storytelling to global audiences is something we are very passionate about, and this new opportunity with Sony gives us a chance to reach massive audiences worldwide with our scripted TV series,” said EbonyLife CEO Mo Abudu. “So get ready – we are coming to entertain and thrill you!”

NBC gave a straight-to-series, six-episode order for “The Thing About Pam,” starring and exec produced by Renee Zellweger. The limited series, based on the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria that was featured on “Dateline NBC,” comes from Blumhouse Television, NBC News Studios and Zellweger’s Big Picture Co.

“Love It or List It” star Hilary Farr has landed a second HGTV series. In “Tough Love With Hilary Farr,” the designer creates solutions for families facing life challenges. Eight episodes are slated to premiere in 2021.

Netflix, Boat Rocker Studios and Industrial Brothers announced a new CG animated series, “Daniel Spellbound,” from creator Matt Fernandes (“Dino Ranch”). The 20 x 22-minute animated epic adventure series will debut globally on Netflix in 2022.

Nickelodeon and Awesomeness announced the start of production on a live-action musical, “The J Team,” starring and executive produced by pop star/”Dance Moms” alum JoJo Siwa. The feature-length film follows a young girl who is kicked out of her dance troupe and forced to rediscover what dance and friendship mean to her. It’s the first production under Awesomeness and Nickelodeon Live-Action Film Studio head Syrinthia Studer.

Skydance Television has entered into a first look deal with Impact to source television content from emerging writers worldwide through Impact’s open application and review system. Impact’s evaluation and application system removes bias from the submission process, allowing the writer’s voice to speak for itself and the most viable projects to move forward, regardless of the applicant’s location, demographic or representation status. The application process kicks off February 11.

Pocket.watch announced its 2021 content slate, which will increase its available content library to 300+ hours of original programming. Among the highlights are new seasons of “Love, Diana” and “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate”; animated short film “Lilly Singh’s Proud Princess”; and animated series “Rosanna Pansino Magic Food Truck.”


In 2020, 95.4% of OTT video viewers watched YouTube at least monthly, surpassing even Netflix (74.9%), according to a report from eMarketer and Sightly covering trends around YouTube CTV viewing and advertising. Other stats include:
* In 2020, more than 104 million US households (nearly 81%) had connected TV, an 82% increase from 2016.
* When people watch YouTube on CTV screens, viewing session lengths are longer compared to other devices.
* Net ad revenue for YouTube in 2020 was $4.04 billion, with a forecast of $5.56 billion for 2021.
* Longer video ads, over 30 seconds, dropped to 16% in Q3, down from 33% in the first quarter.

fuboTV has joined the Unified ID 2.0 initiative, an alternative to third-party cookies, as a connected TV partner. Representing 93% of total viewing hours during the third quarter of 2020, CTV is fuboTV’s most popular streaming platform. “We believe Unified ID 2.0 has the potential to both enhance targeting capabilities for our advertisers as well as allow our viewers to experience relevant advertising,” said Diana Horowitz, SVP, Ad Sales, fuboTV. “We have been pleased with the support the initiative, still in its pilot phase, has already had across the industry, and we look forward to working with all partners to develop an independent, open-source framework.”

Circle Network’s programming is now available on Redbox Free Live TV. “It’s great to kick off this new year by partnering with our friends at Redbox,” said Drew Reifenberger, Circle Network’s GM. Their platform’s audience is a perfect pairing for our original programming, which gives us the opportunity to bring even more fans inside the circle of everything country.”


Parler CEO John Matze has been ousted, as the conservative social media site remains dark. Amazon Web Services suspended the platform on January 10 for an inability to moderate content. Parler sued AWS, but a judge denied the request for a temporary restraining order. “Over the past few months, I’ve met constant resistance to my product vision, my strong belief in free speech and my view of how the Parler site should be managed,” said Matze said in a statement.

TransUnion Company has entered a partnership with WideOrbit to offer advertisers audience-based targeting capabilities for streaming audio. WideOrbit’s WO Traffic platform is a content and revenue management solution for maximizing audience value on any audio format, whether it’s delivered over the air, on mobile devices or smart speakers, and its Digital Suite is a cross-media platform for distributing and monetizing digital inventory on any device, supporting live-stream, time-shifted and on-demand content. The Tru Optik Data Marketplace integration will help WideOrbit expand their clients’ advanced audio targeting capabilities.


HBO Max is looking to tug heartstrings with a Valentine’s Day dedicated spotlight page. “Straight From the Heart” will include movies like “The Notebook” (of course), “Dirty Dancing,” “The Wedding Date” and more.

“Attack of the Murder Hornets” premieres Saturday, February 20 on discovery+. The feature documentary centers on a crew of beekeepers and scientists who work to protect a quiet Washington community from the threat of the Asian Giant Hornet.

Maureen McCormick and designer Dan Vickery, stars of discovery+ series “Frozen in Time,” revisit some of the most memorable overhauls of homes stuck in a time warp in HGTV companion series “Frozen in Time: Flashback,” premiering Friday, February 19 with back-to-back episodes at 8p and 8:30p.

“Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” will begin streaming exclusively on Disney+ on Friday, February 12. The TV movie musical starring Brandy and Whitney Houston premiered in 1997 to 60 million viewers.

Tubi will exclusively debut indie feature film “Lazarus” on Friday, February 26. The action thriller centers on a man who regains consciousness after being killed, and finds he has extraordinary power.

Shudder Original series “The Last Drive-In” has its first Valentine’s Day special, “Joe Bob Put a Spell on You,” debuting Friday, February 12 at 9p on Shudder. “We found a holiday we haven’t ruined yet,” said Joe Bob Briggs. “There’s a remarkable amount of horror fare centered around the hearts-and-flowers season.”


ViacomCBS Networks UK has accelerated its streaming business with the launch of a new growth and partnerships division, tasked with increasing streaming revenue and expanding its range of partnerships in the UK. The newly formed unit will be led by Dan Fahy, who has been promoted to SVP, Head of Emerging Business. Fahy will report to Sarah Rose, who takes on an expanded role as Chief Operating and Commercial Officer, VCN UK.

Nelvana and Discovery’s joint venture, redknot, has greenlit its third series, Super Wish, an animated series that takes place in a magical world of birthdays. Produced by redknot, production begins this spring; the show will air on Corus Entertainment’s YTV in Canada and Discovery Kids in LATAM in 2022.

AVOD and studio WildBrain Spark is partnering with Copenhagen Bombay to co-produce the third season of 3D animated comedy series “Kiwi & Strit.” Under the deal, WildBrain Spark also takes exclusive distribution rights to the show’s third season on YouTube, YouTube Kids and additional AVOD platforms worldwide (excluding China).

NBCUniversal Formats has signed a deal with Dubai-based production company Ogmented to produce the first international version of entertainment format “Drive Thru-Oke” in Saudi Arabia. The local version, entitled “Ghanni Safari,” will launch this month in a weekly primetime slot on the Saudi Broadcasting Authority’s SBC. The series is being produced in Riyadhf.

Abacus Media Rights has acquired worldwide international distribution rights (excluding the UK) to new cooking series “Simply Raymond Blanc,” which launched on ITV in the UK last month.

Beyond Rights acquired the worldwide distribution rights for new kids’ series “The World According to Grandpa.” Produced by Saffron Cherry TV for Channel 5 in the UK, the series for three to seven-year-olds that blends live-action and animation.

Marathon Studio has picked up the television rights to “Nora Lakheal – Elite Undercover Agent,” Lakheal’s first-hand account of the eighteen years she spent hunting down Islamism terrorists.

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INSP experienced the highest-rated January in network history, wrapping the month with a 24-hour average rating 10.7% higher than January 2020. INSP was ranked in the top 25 nets in 24/7 C3 HH ratings, and 50 of those weeks ranking in the top 20.

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Wednesday, February 3
Show, P2+ millions, (A18-49)
ABC: “The Goldbergs” 3.24 (0.6), “American Housewife” 2.71 (0.5), “The Conners” 3.63 (0.6), “Call Your Mother” 2.48 (0.4), “For Life” 1.41 (0.3)
CBS: “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials” 5.25 (0.6), “SEAL Team” 2.23 (0.2), “S.W.A.T.” 1.84 (0.2)
CW: “Riverdale” 0.54 (0.1), “Nancy Drew” 0.46 (0.1)
FOX: “The Masked Dancer” 2.75 (0.6), “Name That Tune” 2.34 (0.5)
NBC: “Chicago Med” 7.47 (1.0), “Chicago Fire” 7.31 (1.0), “Chicago P.D.” 6.09 (0.8)
Telemundo: “Exatlon Estados Unidos” 0.96 (0.2), “La Suerte de Loli” 1.05 (0.3), “Buscando a Frida” 1.02 (0.3)
Univision: “Vencer el Desamor” 1.57 (0.4), “Imperio de Mentiras” 1.48 (0.4), “Dulce Ambicion” 1.34 (0.3)
Source: Nielsen, live + same day time period averages


Former Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, who joined Legendary in December 2019 to launch Legendary Global, will take over all TV operations as the company consolidates its domestic and international divisions. Nick Pepper, President of Legendary Television for the past three years, will move to an executive producer role on projects he developed.

Crown Media Family Networks has tapped Josef Robey as Director of Product (VOD). Prior to joining Crown Media, Robey served as a digital consultant, developing product strategies for various digital video startups.

UP Entertainment has hired Stephanie Shuler in the newly formed role of VP, People Solutions & Compliance. Shuler was most recently the Group Vice President of Human Resources for NN, Inc.’s Life Sciences division.

Sky Studios announced the promotions of Stephen Land, Founder and CEO of Jupiter Entertainment; Stephen Land to Chairman of Jupiter Holdings and Senior Adviser, Sky Studios; and current Jupiter Entertainment President Patrick Reardon to President of Jupiter Holdings.

Mark Bauch, has joined Imagine’s film group as SVP, Features. Prior to joining the features department, Bauch was SVP of Imagine Television, working on projects across drama and comedy.

Tubular Labs appointed Scott Ernst as CEO. Ernst most recently led Japan-based Macromill to a successful IPO in 2017.

CBC announced a new scripted content team: Jennifer Shin will join CBC as Director of Development, Comedy; Lea Marin has been named Director of Development, Drama; Sandra Picheca has been promoted to the role of Director of Current Production, Comedy; Sarah Adams has been elevated to the role of Director of Current Production, Drama; and Ty Hyland has been appointed to the expanded role of Senior Advisor, Production and Business Planning.

Ann Berry has joined Wheelhouse as Chief Investment Officer. Berry was most recently a Partner and Investment Committee member at Cornell Capital.

This Day in History
1937 – FDR proposed enlarging the Supreme Court.

Friday Fun Fact
Brevard County, Florida adopted the rocket launch countdown area code “321” in 1999, to commemorate the impact of the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Who was the first “Friends” (1994-2004) cast member to win an Emmy? Lisa Kudrow, in 1998. Kudos to: Tori Gallarello-Alcock-Little Roosters, Inc./ Bronx, NY, Joni Zlotowitz-WABC-TV/NYC, Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL, Theonia Myrie-Williams-phd/NYC, Melissa Friedman/LA, Paul Blutter-Walk and Talk Production Rentals/Burbank, John Kukla-KDFW/Dallas, Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, CA, Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA

Today’s Trivia Question
Who was the only actor besides Matt LeBlanc to play the same character in “Friends” (19940-2004) and “Joey” (2004-2006)? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four.)

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Job of the day


This Original Content role will serve as a key member of the DTC Content Team, driving original content strategy and execution for discovery+. Must have at least 2 years streaming experience, excellent analytical skills, strong creative judgement, and be a great collaborator. Full info HERE (2/19)

Looking for New York or California bar member for drafting and negotiating content acquisition and distribution agreements, television contracts, releases, agreements with streaming platforms, software licenses, vendor agreements and NDAs. Must possess solid understanding of digital streaming platforms and contracts, and substantive knowledge of contract law principles. Full info HERE (2/17)

Will support Social Marketing initiatives through creating and gathering compelling content, assets, and graphics for all segments and platforms of our Social Media presence. Responsible for writing post/tweet copy to go with created assets, scheduling content, and making sure all assets are up to date. Liaise with other internal departments and agencies on all trafficking of assets, media buys, and fulfillment of giveaways. 1-2 years of experience in entertainment. Full info HERE (2/16)

Development of new business and achievement of revenue goals. Makes decisions regarding hiring, evaluation, promotion, and termination of account executives and sales assistants. 3-5 years of television sales management experience is preferred. 5+ years television sales experience mandatory. Full info HERE (2/16)

TEAM WHISTLE/NYC/REMOTE: Win Revenue– prospect, connect with, and secure partnership from agency-led and client-direct branded partners. Educate the media market on the Team Whistle product line and generate revenue via selling video, branded content, and white-label solutions. Experience selling branded content, familiarity within the larger sports/entertainment media landscape, and 5+ years partnering with ad agencies and clients directly required. Full info HERE (2/15)

Manages all aspects of the News Department (other than Production), plans and manages staffing, training, and performance evaluations for the News Department. Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism, or a related field, or an equivalent combination of education and work-related experience required. Full info HERE (2/15)

Digital content strategist to drive distribution and revenue for video content across key digital platforms, primarily A&E’s YouTube Channel. Strong project manager who will leverage data to drive decision making. 3-5 years’ experience working with digital video strategies at the brand/publishing level. Full info HERE (2/15)

Procure talent – research, invite and secure the highest-level speakers/panelists and moderators; book and produce unique and influential programs. 10+ years of programming experience securing high profile talent for industry, entertainment, sports and media programs and other special events on time and within budget. Full info HERE (2/151)

National Linear Buyer, negotiate and strategize to obtain maximum ROI. Collaborator with strong analytical skills, media relationships and buy management. At least 3 years relevant prior work experience in National Media. Full info HERE (2/15)

FIRST MEDIA/NYC: Sales Planner, manages and executes the completion and fulfillment of RFPs, works cross-divisionally to help fulfill client requests and compiles, maintains, and distributes weekly booked business report. At least 2 years relevant prior work experience in the advertising industry and Analytical and able to take a strategic approach when creating proposals required. Full info HERE (2/10)

NBCUNIVERSAL/NYC: Lead and manage a team of Data Scientists in the development of high-impact tools for ad hoc projects and on-going operational analytic platforms, partner with business leaders across NBCUniversal to identify, build, and implement capabilities to leverage advanced data science. Advanced Degree (PhD strongly preferred) with a specialization in Statistics, Computer Science, Data Science, Economics, Mathematics, Operations Research, or other equivalent quantitative fields. Full info HERE (2/10)

UPTV/NYC: Work with advertising agency contacts and other advertising sales personnel to ensure that administration aspects of accounts are in order, build, revise and maintain all sales proposals for AEs. Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university; at least 1+ years related cable experience preferred. Full info HERE (2/10)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Dynamic digital marketer to drive growth in A+E’s Digital business by acquiring OTT, mobile, and website video streamers for A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime brands. Leverage owned, earned, and paid marketing tactics. 5 years’ experience with direct response digital marketing. Full info HERE (2/9)

MY SOFTWARE TUTOR: MST offers three levels of real-time, online courses in Excel with a live instructor: Fundamentals, Basics, and Intermediate. These courses deliver practical, functional business skills to increase your marketability. Use promo code CYNOPSIS20 to unlock a 20% savings. Full info HERE (2/9)

AROUND ROBIN PRODUCTION COMPANY/WASHINGTON, DC: Looking for a Media Executive Consultant who can connect a content creator with distribution partners. Will be tasked with consulting production company on strategy of selling content. Must have experience in sales, traditional and digital media, and distribution strategy Full info HERE (2/9)

Looking for a passionate designer, enthusiastic about working on creative and conceptual design projects. The designer will work within a team of Art Directors and Designers to create high impact key art, and streaming platform product art. Candidates should be well versed in design principles for both print and digital deliverables. 7+ years agency experience, background in entertainment design preferred. Full info HERE (2/9)




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