02/08/21: Fox Business Network cancels “Lou Dobbs Tonight”


Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read


Monday February 8, 2021

Today’s Premieres
Acorn TV: “Balthazar”
BritBox: “Winterwatch”
BYUTV: “Studio C” at 9p
CW: “Black Lightning” at 9p
discovery+: “Love Games,” “BattleBots: Bounty Hunters”
MTV YouTube: “MTV’s Following: Bretman Rock”
Nick: “Tooned In” at 5p
Ovation: “Crossing Lines”
Pasiones: “Madre” at 7p
VH1: “VH1 Family Reunion: Love & Hip Hop Edition” at 8p


Fox Business Network abruptly canceled its highest-rated show, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” on Friday. President Trump defender Dobbs, along with Jeanine Pirro and Maria Bartiromo, were named in a $2.7 billion lawsuit by voting technology company Smartmatic for defamation related to claims of a rigged election, but a Fox News Media spokesperson maintained that the programming change was routine. “Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes and plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate post-election, including on Fox Business – this is part of those planned changes,” said the rep, adding that a new 5p show will be announced “in the near future.”

Reaction to the Dobbs cancellation included this statement from Trump: “Lou Dobbs is and was great. Nobody loves America more than Lou. He had a large and loyal following that will be watching closely for his next move, and that following includes me.” The former president’s words were retweeted by Dobbs, along with comments from other supporters.

“Yellowstone” is going back in time. ViacomCBS and MTV Entertainment Group extended their relationship with the Paramount drama’s co-creator, Taylor Sheridan, in a deal that includes prequel “Y:1883” for Paramount+. The series, which builds on Paramount+’s strategy to franchise marquee shows and IP for which MTV Entertainment Studios will be a major supplier, follows a family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in Montana. The third season of “Yellowstone” was the most watched season premiere on cable in two years, drawing 6.5 million total viewers in Live +3.

While on Western series comes, another (very different one) goes. Syfy’s “Wynonna Earp” – which follows Wyatt Earp’s great-granddaughter as she battles supernatural beings – will end with the finale of its current fourth season, airing Friday, April 9 at 10p. “Every once in a while a show comes along with a powerful message that resonates beyond all expectations with its fans, and for Syfy that show has been ‘Wynonna Earp,’” said Frances Berwick, Chairman, Entertainment Networks, NBCU. The series was a top ten social scripted series in 2020, according to Nielsen.

The History Channel is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to #SaveOurRestaurants, a philanthropic initiative aimed at helping preserve historic restaurants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort is an extension of the network’s public outreach campaign “Save Our History,” dedicated to preserving historic sites, and the James Beard Foundation’s “Open For Good” initiative, helping independent restaurants survive the COVID-19 crisis. The first recipient is Ben’s Chili Bowl, located in Washington, D.C.

Ryan Seacrest is leaving his co-hosting post at E!’s “Live From the Red Carpet” after nearly 14 years. “We are extremely appreciative of his many contributions and he will always be part of the E! family,” said the network. Not that Seacrest will be putting down the mic – he’s still hosting “American Idol,” “Live With Kelly and Ryan” and radio show “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” among other jobs.

Spectrum News is dedicating a week of programming to vaccination education and awareness across its 30+ local news networks and on the Spectrum News App. Throughout this week, cross-platform news programming will include feature segments on the science behind the vaccine, daily reports from Spectrum journalists in regional markets, podcasts and more.

YouTube yanked My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell’s film about election fraud, “Absolute Proof.” “Per our presidential election integrity policy, we remove content uploaded after the safe harbor deadline that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election,” said YouTube. The two-hour video was also flagged by Facebook; OAN aired it with a disclaimer.

The SAG-AFTRA board voted to deny Donald Trump from joining its ranks again. While the former “The Apprentice” star resigned from the union last Thursday, ahead of the disciplinary hearing, “Preventing Donald Trump from ever rejoining SAG-AFTRA is more than a symbolic step,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “It is a resounding statement that threatening or inciting harm against fellow members will not be tolerated. An attack against one is an attack against all.”

The Clock is Ticking!

The buzzer is sounding this Wednesday on your Sports Media Awards application.

This is your final chance to get on the industry’s most renown and referenced list for the elite players in sports media.




Bravo picked up a second season of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”

The reality show ranked as a top five new unscripted series on cable last year among A18-49, garnering 3.2 million total viewers across platforms.

HGTV ordered two pilot episodes for “My First Time” (wt), following a former educator who uses her classroom experience to guide first-time home buyers. Production begins this spring.

Comedy series “Boo, Bitch” nabbed a series order from Netflix. Lana Condor (“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”) will star and executive produce, with Erin Ehrlich (“King of the Hill”) and Lauren Iungerich (“Awkward”) serving as showrunners and exec produce.

Meanwhile, “Punk Ass Bitch,” a comedy pilot from comedian Chris Estrada inspired by his life in South Central LA, got a green light from Hulu. ABC Signature is producing.

HBO is jumping into GameStop mania, with the development of a scripted feature film about the wild stock market story. Len Amato, former HBO Films, Miniseries and Cinemax President, will exec produce via his Crash&Salvage banner; Jason Blum will EP via Blumhouse Television, and “Billions” creator and financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin will exec produce via TBTF Productions.

Chiwetel Eljiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) landed the lead in Paramount+’s series based on the 1976 film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” “Chiwetel Ejiofor’s stage and film career are staggering in their bravery, commitment and quality,” said Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, co-writers and co-producers. “He’s everything we could imagine and a million things we can’t.”

Focus Features is developing a film based on Rachel Maddow podcast “Bag Man,” following the true story of a political bribery scandal. Adam Perlman wrote the script with Ben Stiller and Mike Yarvitz. Lorne Michaels, Stiller, Yarvitz and Josh McLaughlin will produce.

Casting notes: Mira Sorvino (“Hollywood”) and Merrin Dengey (“The Fix”) landed lead roles in Starz horror/comedy pilot “Shining Vale,” opposite Courteney Cox and Greg Kinnear…Taran Killam (“Single Parents”) will star opposite Elizabeth Hurley and Hannah Simonein CBS comedy pilot “Welcome to Georgia.”


WE tv’s “The TS Madison Experience,” starring the social media star, premieres Thursday, March 4 at 10p. The six, one-hour episodes follow Madison as she navigates her journey as an internet star.

Docu-series “Allen v. Farrow” debuts Sunday, February 21 at 9p on HBO. The four-parter offers a look at the relationship between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, and the shattering effects of trauma on a family.

With “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” under her belt, reality show queen Lisa Vanderpump has a new show on the horizon: E!’s “Overserved with Lisa Vanderpump.” Bowing Thursday, March 18 at 9p (moving to its regular 10p timeslot the following week), the series has Vanderpump hosting celebrity guests for cocktails and games.

The first two episodes of FXX’s “Cake” will be served starting Thursday, March 11 at 10p. On FX, season three of “Mayans M.C.” debuts Tuesday, March 16 at 10p; the sophomore run of “Breeders” starts Monday, March 22 at 10p; and “Hysterical,” a documentary feature focused on female stand-up comedians, premieres Friday, April 2 at 9p.

“Playing with Power: The Nintendo Story” launches Monday, March 1 on Crackle. The five-part docu-series is “the perfect blend of fun and fascinating history that our audience really responds to,” said Philippe Guelton, President of Crackle Plus.

An army of alien beings are unleashed on Earth when “Power Rangers Dino Fury” premieres Saturday, February 20 at 8a on Nickelodeon.


NBCUniversal’s Content Distribution team is offering TV and film titles featuring prominent African American talent and stories for distribution partners to include in their Black History Month destinations. Among the shows: “Race in America: A Movement Not a Moment,” “Kenan” (premiering February 16), “This Is Us” and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Horror film “Saint Maud,” centered on a hospice nurse obsessed with saving a dying patient’s soul, makes its television premiere Friday, February 12 at 8p.


Magnite, the independent sell-side advertising platform, is acquiring competitor SpotX from the RTL Group for $1.17 billion, in a deal aimed at diving deeper in the CTV space. “Sellers have been looking for a scaled independent alternative to the giant companies who dominate the CTV marketplace,” said Michael Barrett, President and CEO of Magnite. “Magnite wants to be that alternative.” Magnite was formed with the merger of the Rubicon Project and Telaria.


Google launched a platform in Australia last week offering paid news content. “We have been continually working with Australian news publishers of all sizes to provide their readers with a different kind of news experience under News Showcase,” said Kate Bleddoe, Head of News, Web and Publisher Product Partnerships at Google. “As this early version of News Showcase rolls out, the partnerships will provide financial support for some of the country’s most respected independent, local and regional publications.” Proposed legislation in Australia calls for companies that curate news from publishers to pay for that content, a move Google hopes to demonstrate is unnecessary.

Sabbatical Entertainment, a media company that produces and distributes content and operates in the US and Brazil, has partnered with OTT channel development, video content distribution, and monetization platform VlogBox, to unveil premium kids’ content across Connected TV.

India and Singapore-based animation studio Cosmos-Maya has secured a deal with WarnerMedia for “Dabangg – The Animated Series,” produced by Cosmos-Maya. The show is an extension of the Bollywood film franchise and will debut on WarnerMedia’s kids TV channel Cartoon Network in India and the Indian subcontinent in mid-2021.

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Lifetime’s “Wendy Williams: The Movie” was the top cable movie in the last nine months among A25-54 (1.2 million), W25-54 (893,000), A18-49 (958,000) and W18-49 (682,000) in Live+3 ratings, according to Nielsen. The biopic drew 2.9 million Total Viewers in Live+3 and was the #1 telecast in prime on Saturday, January 30 with W25-54 and W18-49.

For the week of January 25, HGTV was the #1 cable network across Total Day among W25-54 and W18-49, fueled by “Home Town” (2.5 million P2+), which was the #2 cable program of the night, behind only sister net TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé.”

ID finished January as the #2 non-news cable network in Total Day for W25-54 (behind Discoverty Inc. sib HGTV) and in the top 10 (#8) non-news cable nets in Primetime among W18+. On the last day of January, “On the Case with Paula Zahn” finished its latest season with the finale episode (1.14 million P2+) garnering a season-high among P/W25-54.

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Thursday, January 28
Show, P2+ millions, (A18-49)
ABC: “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” 4.04 (0.5), “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” 3.02 (0.5), “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” 2.18 (0.3),
CBS: “Young Sheldon” 4.67 (0.5), “B Positive” 3.28 (0.4), “Mom” 3.33 (0.4), “The Unicorn” 3.16 (0.4), “Star Trek: Discovery” 1.63 (0.2)
CW: “Walker 1.86 (0.3), “Legacies” 0.62 (0.02)
FOX: “Hell’s Kitchen” 2.82 (0.7), “Call Me Kat” 2.55 (0.5), “Last Man Standing” 2.52 (0.3)
NBC: “Mr. Mayor” 3.08 (0.5), “Superstore” 2.22 (0.5), Law & Order: SVU” 2.55 (0.50, “Dateline” 2.79 (0.3)
Telemundo: “Exatlon Estados Unidos” 1.11 (0.3), “La Suerte de Loli” 1.05 (0.3),“Busdandoa Frida” 0.95 (0.3)j
Univision: “Vencer al Desamor” 1.81 (0.5), “Imperio de Mentiras” 1.62 (0.5), “Dulce Ambicion” 1.36 (0.4)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages


Tim Jones has been promoted to COO, Publicis Groupe Marketing Services US. Most recently, Jones served as CEO Publicis Media Americas. That role will be taken by Dave Penski, who has been COO of the media group, and Global Chairman of Publics Media Americas.


Legendary actor Christopher Plummer died February 5. He was 91. While Plummer was an Oscar winner best known for film roles, particularly “The Sound of Music,” and won two Tony Awards, he also picked up two Emmys during his career, for miniseries “The Moneychangers” and children’s special “Madeline.” “Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come,” said his friend and manager Lou Pitt.

This Day in History
1922 – Radio arrived at the White House.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Who was the only actor besides Matt LeBlanc to play the same character in “Friends” (1994-2004) and “Joey” (2004-2006)? Robert Costanza, who played Joey’s father. Kudos to: Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing Inc./NYC, Paul Blutter-Walk and Talk Production Rentals/Burbank, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

Today’s Trivia Question
Which sitcom character’s catchphrase was “Wellll, doggie!”? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four answers per time zone.)

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ABC: “The Bachelor,” “The Good Doctor”
CBS: “The Neighborhood,” “Bob Hearts Abishola,” “All Rise,” “Bull”
CW: “All American,” “Black Lightning” [p]
FOX: “9-11,” “9-11: Lone Star”
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