02/26/20: Bob Iger steps down as Disney CEO



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Cynopsis Long Story Short
Wednesday February 26, 2020

Tonight’s Premieres
Lifetime: Bride & Prejudice: Forbidden Love at 10p
Science: Mega Machines at 9p
TBS and truTV: It’s Personal with Amy Hoggart at 10p

Tonight’s Finales
Bravo: The Real Housewives of New Jersey at 8p
MTV: True Life Crime at 9p


Bob Iger is stepping down as CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Bob Chapek, most recently Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, has been named CEO, effective immediately; Iger will remain executive chairman through 2021. “With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said of the surprise move. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the company’s creative endeavors.” Iger had been anticipating his succession for a while, saying at Disney’s investor day last year, “2021 will be the time for me to finally step down.”

An investment group made up of Searchlight Capital Partners, and ForgeLight, an operating and investment company launched by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis, announced it will acquire a 64% majority ownership interest in Univision. Mexican TV giant Televisa will retain its 36% stake in Univision. “We are a re-energized and refocused company, and today marks the start of an exciting new chapter with partners that recognize the excellent position Univision is in,” said Vince Sadusky, CEO of Univision. “Our talented operating team has transformed Univision to be strategically, operationally and financially stronger than it has been in years.”

NBCUniversal announced its new One Platform technology solutions and unveiled its all-audiences transaction model ahead of the 2020-21 upfront season. “One Platform represents the transformation of our business and our roadmap for the future of advertising,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising and Partnerships, NBCUniversal. “We’re combining storytelling with scale, technology with trust, and innovation with insight – all in service of our viewers and our partners.” NBCUniversal’s One Platform aims to give marketers the power to reach all audiences everywhere they are across the full NBCUniversal ecosystem, and enable every impression to be data-informed.

Kelly Clarkson will return to host NBC’s three-hour live telecast of the 2020 Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday, April 29 at 8p. It will be Clarkson’s third time at the helm of the awards show.

Donald Trump and CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta got into another squabble, after the president bashed the network during a press conference in India. When Trump claimed CNN apologized “that they said certain things that weren’t true,” Acosta retorted, “Mr. President, I think our record on delivering the truth is a lot better than yours, sometimes, if you don’t mind me saying.” “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” scolded Trump.

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FOX renewed Mental Samurai for a second season, and the casting process is already underway. The Rob Lowe-hosted reality competition series, which debuted last March, will return Wednesday, April 22 at 9p.

Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live) has signed on as a lead in half-hour comedy pilot Big Deal, starring and executive produced by fellow SNL alumna Vanessa Bayer
. Co-created by Bayer and Jeremy Beiler (SNL, Inside Amy Schumer), who will also executive produce, project is produced by Showtime. Bayer portrays Joanna, a character inspired by her own past, who overcame childhood leukemia to achieve her lifelong dream of landing a job as a successful home shopping channel host. Shannon plays Jackie, the host at the network.

Hulu landed Summer Sisters, a limited drama series from writer Liz Tigelaar based on Judy Blume’s bestseller. The project, from ABC Signature, is the first for Tigelaar and her Best Day Ever production company under the overall deal she inked with ABC Studios. Set in Martha’s Vineyard, Summer Sisters explores the coming-of-age of two best friends.

HBO Max signed an exclusive two-year pact with writer Mo Willems. As part of the agreement, HBO Max acquired streaming rights to Willems’ first live-action special, Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, from Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures. The streamer has also committed to additional live-action Storytime specials, in addition to multiple animated specials based on Willems’ popular children’s books.

Fox Entertainment signed a direct, exclusive, broadcast-only talent deal with writer-producer Kyle Killen (Halo, Awake). Under the agreement’s terms, Killen will develop scripted series for the Fox network. Projects will be developed under the Chapter Eleven banner, where Killen is partnered with Scott Pennington.

LeBron James is looking for a new overall deal for his content company SpringHill Entertainment, reports Variety. The NBA champion and has creative team had called Warner Bros. Entertainment home since 2015, but that deal expired last July. The AT&T-owned shop is still in the running to keep James on the lot; however, Disney Television Studios, Universal Pictures, Amazon Studios, Netflix and other companies have met with James and his team in recent months.


Betty, a series based on Crystal Moselle’s feature Skate Kitchen, premieres Friday, May 1 at 11p on HBO. Set in New York City, the comedy follows a diverse group of young women navigating their lives through the predominantly male oriented world of skateboarding.


Climate Change – The Facts premieres on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22 at 8p on PBS. One-hour special examines the impact of climate change, while offering possible solutions.

The True Life: Crime finale, produced by ITV America’s Good Caper, airs tonight at 9p on MTV. “Tonight’s finale really tells two stories,” Kathryn Vaughan, Executive Producer & President of ITV America’s Good Caper content, tells Cynopsis. “While diving into the events of a specific crime and investigation, the episode chronicles a family’s tireless fight for justice that ultimately propels new state legislation, helping future victims and their loved ones. This case offers a glimpse at the larger crisis surrounding missing and murdered indigenous women, and the problems plaguing many Native American reservations today.”


AMC Networks reached a comprehensive, long-term distribution deal with DISH Network and Sling TV. The agreement includes continued carriage of its linear networks AMC, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and BBC World News, as well as the launch of AMC Networks’ targeted SVOD service Acorn TV.

Ovation TV secured the non-exclusive U.S. broadcast rights for Season One of The Art of Architecture from distributor DRG. Docu-series explores the work of some of the world’s most famous contemporary architects, from Santiago Calatrava to Sir David Adjaye, while examining how art influences their designs.

Acorn TV acquired Beaubourg Stories’ French crime drama Balthazar, following the investigations of forensic pathologist Raphael Balhazar. Season 1 is already available on the service, while Season 2 makes its U.S. premiere on April 20.


Sarah Gadon (True Detective) nabbed the lead opposite Milo Ventimiglia and David Krumholtz in USA Network’s limited series, Evel… Mekai Curtis will star as young Kanan Stark in Power Book III: Raising Kanan, Starz/Lionsgate’s upcoming Power prequel series… Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy) joined Showtime’s drama pilot The President Is Missing as a series regular… Stella Baker (Tell Me Your Secrets) landed the title role in The CW drama pilot The Republic of Sarah.

Kelsey Grammer is set to guest star on the season finale of CBS’ Carol’s Second Act and will return as a recurring player if the show is picked up for a second season.


New podcast 5-4 offers an irreverent take on the U.S. Supreme Court’s past. Each episode focuses on a pivotal case in which the Justices make one of the most important decision in recent memory. 5-4 is already charting in the Top 10 on the Apple Podcasts Government chart. The first episode, available now, tackles Bush v. Gore. For more, go here.

A special Red Table Talk episode with guest Snoop Dogg debuts Wednesday, February 26 at 9a. In it, Snoop Dogg addresses the controversy over his verbal rant to Gayle King, what led to his apology, and what he’s learned since.


Streaming platforms have changed the way Americans consume content, resulting in viewership across traditional Pay TV and theatres dipping each passing year, according to Pipslay. Among the key findings: 28% of Americans only watch content on streaming platforms; 62% of OTT subscribers prefer paid subscription, while 38% prefer free content; 34% of Americans spend more than 3 hours watching Pay TV every day, compared to 21% of OTT subscribers; and 46% of Americans have either reduced or stopped going to theatres completely.

Crunchyroll announced its inaugural slate of Crunchyroll Originals, including eight series spanning adventure, fantasy, romance, historical fiction and more. Among the content are In/Spectre, about a couple who set out to solve a series of dark incidents plaguing the world; Tower of God, a dark fantasy action series about a young man battling his way through the mysterious Tower; and Onyx Equinox, centered on a young Aztec boy saved from death by the gods and chosen to act as humanity’s champion.

Netflix launched country-specific top 10 lists of popular movies and TV shows in terms of popularity for its subscribers. The list will be updated daily and the position of the row will vary depending on how relevant shows and films are to the user. In addition, the TV shows and movies will have a special “Top 10” badge wherever they appear on Netflix.


Comcast acquired free advertising-supported streaming service Xumo from previous owners Panasonic and Meredith Corp. Xumo, which had 5.5 million monthly active users as of spring 2019, offers over 190 free channels, grouped by genre, with live and on-demand streaming entertainment, news and sports. It will continue to operate as an independent business unit inside Comcast Cable.


ITV Studios announced pre-sales of Latin drama Romulus, which reconstructs the tale of the founding of Rome, to HBO Europe and SBS in Australia. The SBS deal also includes crime procedurals Petra, an Italian adaptation of the international bestselling novels series from Alicia Gimenez Barlett, and Masantonio, which digs into the heart of missing persons investigations.

Big Brother Canada announced three new and five returning sponsors for its eighth season, including Wendy’s, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, SkipTheDishes, Summer Fresh, Skechers, Expedia, Kraft Dinner and First Choice Haircutters.

Moonbug acquired hit Korean animated series ARPO, which has over 2 million subscribers and 100 million views on YouTube. The slapstick show follows the relationship between Arpo, a commando robot-turned-nanny, and Baby Daniel, the curious boy he cares for. Throughout 2020, Moonbug will produce and unveil 26 premium 3.5-minute episodes of ARPO on global OTT platforms in the U.S., EMEA and APC.

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The 51st NAACP Image Awards, broadcast Saturday on BET and simulcast across 10 ViacomCBS networks, drew 1.8 million Total Viewers P2+, with 850,000 Total Viewers P2+ tuning in on BET alone. With three hours of live NAACP Image Awards related content, the network drew 2.3 million Total Viewers P2+ (simulcast) and 1.33 MM Total Viewers P2+ on BET. The telecast saw +488% increase in viewers year-over-year and a +149% increase on BET.

FOX News Channel delivered its highest-rated month in primetime television history, topping all of basic cable from 8-11pm, according to Nielsen. It also marked 218 months as the most-watched cable news network in total day and primetime viewers, garnering 2 million viewers in total day and 3.5 million viewers in primetime.

TV Time Binge Report: Most Binged TV Shows for the week of February 17 (Show/Share of Streams)
Locke & Key (Netflix) 2.84%
Cable Girls (Netflix) 2.41%
Friends (NBC) 1.99%
Sex Education (Netflix) 1.94%
Vikings (History) 1.82%
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC) 1.67%
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 1.42%
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) 1.32%
Riverdale (The CW) 1.26%
Narcos: Mexico (Netflix) 1.22%
*The weekly Binge Report ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in our TV Time app within a given day.

Late Night Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of February 17
CBS: The Late Show 2.04 million total viewers; 0.26/2 A18-49
NBC: The Tonight Show 1.72 million total viewers; 0.32/3 A18-49
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live 1.57 million total viewers; 0.27/2 A18-49

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Monday, February 24
Show, P2+ 0000s, (A18-49)
ABC: The Bachelor 6.79 (1.9), The Good Doctor 5.57 (0.8)
CBS: The Neighborhood 4.93 (0.7), Bob Hearts Abishola 4.43 (0.5), All Rise 4.10 (0.4), Bull 4.32 (0.4)
CW: All American 0.77 (0.3), Black Lightning 0.63 (0.2)
FOX: 9-1-1 Lone Star 5.60 (0.9), Prodigal Son 1.89 (0.4)
NBC: The Voice 8.96 (1.6), Little Big Shots 4.90 (0.9)
TELEMUNDO: Exatlon Estados Unidos 1.52 (0.4), La Dona 0.99 (0.4), Operacion Pacifico 0.97 (0.4)
UNIVISION: Ringo 1.64 (0.5), Amor Eterno 1.84 (0.5), Rubi 2020 1.65 (0.5)
Source: Nielsen, live + same day time period averages


Hulu’s Chief Marketing Officer Kelly Campbell has been promoted to President of the streamer.

Staci Hallmon was upped to SVP and General Manager, Live Events, BET Experience. She was previously SVP of Ad Sales for BET Her.

Lifetime hired Amy Winter as Executive Vice President, Head of Programming. She last served as EVP and General Manager of UPtv.

Vibenomics promoted Paul Brenner from Chief Strategy Officer to President and Chief Strategy Officer. The company also hired Josh Pyne as Vice President of Ad Sales and Brian Liebler as Director of National Ad Sales.

Lightbox appointed Nicole Laufer as Vice President, Development. She joins from Lionsgate Television, where she was VP, Alternative Programming.

This Day in History
1975 – The first kidney transplant was televised on the Today Show.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
In which medical drama did Mamie Gummer play a doctor who owned a chicken named Dinner? Off The Map (2011). Kudos to: Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing, Inc./NYC; Jim Ryan-A+E Networks/NYC; Marni C. Gold/Hawthorne, NJ; Paul Blutter-Walk and Talk Production Rentals/Burbank, CA; Susan Nessanbaum Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/Los Angeles; Dan Haberer-Creyo Entertainment/Playa del Rey, CA; Laurie Shilling/El Segundo, CA.

Today’s Trivia Question
Which 90’s sitcom was originally going to be titled Father Knows Nothing, a parody of Father Knows Best? (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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New 24/7 post-cable network aimed at gaming, esports and entertainment audiences seeks candidate who is fan of gaming & pop culture to develop, plan and execute VENN socials. 3+yrs running brand socials w/exp in paid/organic and editing/photography skills pref’d. Full info HERE (3/6)

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Wednesday February 26, 2020
ABC: The Goldbergs, The Goldbergs, Modern Family, Single Parents, 20/20
CBS: Survivor, SEAL Team
CW: Riverdale, Nancy Drew
FOX: The Masked Singer, LEGO Masters
NBC: Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD
PBS: Nature, NOVA, Expedition with Steve Backshall
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos, La Dona, Operacion Pacifico
Univision: Ringo, Amor Eterno, Rubi


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