02/25/16: Jeremy Clarkson puts lawsuit behind him; NBC and Litton building Saturday morning blocks; CNN’s Sunny Hostin jumps to ABC







Good morning. It’s Thursday February 25, 2016, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
BBC America: Prey at 10p
History: “Night Class” Comedy Block at 11:30p

Tonight’s Finales:
ID: Murder Book at 9p, Real Detective at 10p
MSG Network: The Garden’s Defining Moments at 11:30p
WE tv: Tamar & Vince at 9p


Jeremy Clarkson, whose Top Gear contract was not renewed after a fracas with a producer last year that involved the lack of hot food after taping, has settled the resulting racial discrimination and injury claim. “I would like to say sorry, once again, to Oisin Tymon for the incident and its regrettable aftermath. I want to reiterate that none of this was in any way his fault,” said Clarkson in a statement. Added the BBC, “Oisin is a valued member of the BBC who behaved with huge integrity in dealing with the very difficult circumstances.” Clarkson and his former Top Gear co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May get a fresh start in a new car series to be released on Amazon later this year.

NBC and Litton Entertainment are partnering to expand NBC’s public service awareness brand “The More You Know” into a Saturday morning programming block, familiar territory to Litton. Six half-hour educational and informational series targeted to 13- to 16-year-olds will feature experts in nature, science and technology. Litton’s other family friendly Saturday morning fare includes programming for “CBS Dream Team, It’s Epic!” and “Litton’s Weekend Adventure” on ABC stations.

CNN and HLN host and analyst Sunny Hostin jumped to ABC News as senior legal correspondent and analyst. “She has brought clarity and context to complicated legal and social justice issues in covering some of the biggest stories of the past decade,” said ABC News President James Goldston. Before CNN, Hoston had filled in as co-anchor on ABC’s World News Now and America This Morning.

Scripps Networks Interactive has informed Cox Communications that it plans to buy out Cox’s 35 percent share of Travel Channel. “This notification started the valuation process for the transaction and we expect the transaction will be completed by the end of first quarter,” said Scripps CFO Lori Hickok on Tuesday.Scripps bought its 65 percent interest in the travel net from Cox in 2009 for about $1 billion.

From the White House to…Funny or Die? Former Obama administration Senior Presidential Speechwriter David Litt has taken a job as head writer in the comedy production company’s D.C. office. “He’s funny, clearly much smarter than all of us, and bears a striking resemblance to Tommy Boy-era David Spade, which means a lot to us,” said Mike Farah, president of production. This is not exactly new territory for Litt, who was the lead joke writer for the last four White House Correspondents’ Dinners.

Donald Trump maybe “sitting on the sidelines” when it comes to political ad spend, Steven Marks, Sinclair Broadcast Group COO told analysts on Wednesday, but as the candidates traversed Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, “The spending to date has been enormous.” According to Lucy Rutishauser, SVP, corporate finance, spending in 1Q16 is running 60-90 percent higher than 1Q12.


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Claire Scanlon (Parks and Recreation) will direct the NBC comedy pilot from Matt Hubbard (30 Rock) and Mike Schur (Parks and Recreation) centered on an interracial couple who move to Missouri.


And title of the week goes to… El Chapo & Sean Penn: Bungle in the Jungle airs Thursday, March 10 at 9p on Reelz. One-hour doc tells the story of the ill-fated meeting between the most dangerous drug lord in the world and the Oscar-winning actor/Madonna ex.

GetTV’s March Comedy Month block, airing every Thursday at 8p, starts Thursday, March 3 with a trio of Three Stooges offerings, beginning with The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze at 8p.

Documentary The Method: Kuma Films premieres on Ovation TV on Friday, March 11 at 10p. Film looks at two brothers who became movie makers and then internet stars with the launch of their Kuma Films YouTube channel, featuring extreme performance videos set to original music.


“Comedic, dramatic and intimate” is how OWN bills For Peete’s Sake, a new docu-series following the lives of Holly Robinson Peete (21 Jump Street) and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete. Laughs/tears start Saturday, March 10.

There’s more renovating and flipping in store on HGTV in new series Good Bones. Launching Tuesday, March 22 at 11p, the show features a mother/daughter team of fixer-uppers. First up: a one-bedroom wreck infested with termites.

At the end of Scott Kelly’s 12-month stay on the International Space Station, the astronaut will be featured in PBS’s A Year in Space. First episode, slated for Wednesday, March 2 at 8p (check local listings), is timed to air within a day of Kelly’s planned return to Earth.

Flowers, about a dysfunctional family trying to hold it together, premieres on ad-free comedy streaming channel Seeso in spring 2016. Calling it “the epitome of a Seeso show,” EVP, Digital Enterprises, NBCuniversal Evan Shapiro says, “If Augusten Burroughs wrote a sit-com, it might be Flowers.” Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) and Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh) star.


Decorum, meet drama: Season three of Bravo’s Southern Charm debuts Monday, April 4 at 9p.

Wildfire on the tundra: The villagers of Tanana, Alaska face extinction on this season of Yukon Men, premiering on Discovery Friday, March 18 at 10p.

Hulu’s Deadbeat is back for season three on Wednesday, April 20. Tyler Labine stars as an overweight slacker who can see ghosts, and Kal Penn as an aimless stoner he met in jail.

“While it might be slightly inconvenient for agencies to play an active role in choosing a vendor for their next viewability campaign, it’s a big mistake for them not to,” says Michael Iantosca, chief revenue officer, Integral Ad Science. For more from Iantosca on the importance of vetting vendors, check out the latest Cynsiders.


NBCUniversal is expanding its programmatic media product with the launch of NBCUx for linear TV. Starting in fall 2016, advertisers can use data and automation to build media plans that include premium linear TV inventory across NBCUniversal’s portfolio of cable and broadcast entertainment networks. “Our NBCUx digital programmatic offering was a key component to our clients’ success last year and we expect that by adding premium TV inventory to the mix, it will greatly enhance their efforts,” said Dan Lovinger, EVP, entertainment advertising sales group. The plan: Select advertisers target consumers by developing media plans via a private exchange with  a combination of their own data, third party data sources and NBCUniversal’s television inventory.

Instagram reports it has over 200,000 advertisers, just five months after opening advertising to all marketers. From Taco Bell and Mercedes Benz to startups like iCitizen, “The breadth of the 200,000 advertisers reflects the demand from entertainment, gaming, retail, e-commerce, travel, consumer goods – basically all industries,” said James Quarles, global head of business and brand development. 75 percent of advertisers are from outside the U.S.

What’s the best app for generating excitement among Millennials and Gen Z? “To create buzz you first and foremost need reach,” says Jamie Stewart, media director at redpepper. “So, I’d use Kik. It delivers the right audience, with over 80 percent of its users in the 13-24 age range.” But marketer, beware: “If you don’t use the right tone of voice you’ll be ignored or, even worse, appear out of touch,” adds Stewart. You’ll find more social media insights in the March 1 Cynopsis webinar, New Social Media Strategies to Reach the Young Demos. Details are here.


Netflix’s first German series, Dark, is slated to premiere worldwide in 2017. Supernatural 10-part drama focuses on the disappearance of two young children in a German town.

The Roots reboot will have its world premiere at the MipTV conference in Cannes on April 4. The miniseries’ official launch date is May 30 on History, A&E and Lifetime.

UK’s the BBC was responsible for 300 new shows in 2015, according to a report from Eurodata TV, released at a press conference ahead of the MipTV market. “In terms of volume and content the BBC is far and away the world’s biggest producer of new TV content,” said Sahar Baghery, head of global research and strategy. Second place went to Endemol Shine, while Warners and Fox tied for third.

Time Inc. is developing a Sports Illustrated-branded cable and satellite network with Hong Kong-based ASN. The ASN and ASN2 pay-TV sports channels, websites and mobile apps will be rebranded as Sports Illustrated and Sports Illustrated 2.

All3Media is launching an extension to its factual entertainment format, Be My Guest. Welcome to Our Home, featuring people renting rooms in their homes, Airbnb style, was co-developed by Studio Lambert and Coyote.

Argonon International is bringing three new factual properties to MIPTV: crime thriller The Pusher, animal emergency show Penguin A&E and hospital doc 24 Hours to Save a Face.

Registration is open for NATPE Budapest 2016 Market & Content Summit. Proposals for sessions and speakers for the June 27-30 event are being accepted until March 7 at NATPE.com.

What’s your go-to social media platform? Let us know in the latest Cynopsis poll: http://cynopsis.com/poll/.


Dermot Mulroney (Shameless) has been cast in CBS medical drama pilot Bunker Hill, as a veteran surgeon with a controversial past.

Elizabeth Shue (CSI) will play an influential image-maker in Fox drama pilot Pitch, about the first female to play in the major leagues.

Netflix’s The Ranch, starring That ‘70s Show alums Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson, has added Kathy Baker (Picket Fences) in a recurring role as a waitress.

Patrick Gallagher (Glee) joins NBC’s untitled royal family comedy pilot as a series regular. Gallagher will place the Palace chef.

Anthony Edwards (ER) co-stars in Nancy Drew pilot Drew, inspired by the classic mysteries.

Erin Hayes (Children’s Hospital) landed the female lead in CBS’s untitled comedy starring Kevin James (The King of Queens) as a retired police officer who finds spending time at home more challenging than working on the mean streets.

ABC comedy pilot The Fluffy Shop cast Richard Gant (Men of a Certain Age) to star opposite Gabriel Iglesias in a project inspired by the comedian’s life.

Mouzam Makkar (The Vampire Diaries), Carl Beukes (Dominion) and Tongayi Chirisa (Crusoe) landed series regular roles on CW’s Untitled Mars Project pilot, from CBS Television Studios.


Newsmax TV secured carriage agreements with CenturyLink and GCI. The news, information and lifestyle channel is aimed at Baby Boomers.

About 105 smaller NCTC cable systems are dropping AMC Networks channels. After a carriage deal was reached with the cable cooperative in January that roughly doubled carriages fees, “we knew that not every one of the 700 members was going to be able to come in,” Bob Broussard, president of distribution at AMC, told the WSJ. Your move, zombie lovers.


Fox Television Stations renewed Divorce Court with Lynn Toler through the 2019 season. The show, which has undergone various iterations since the 1950s (when actors reenacted real divorce proceedings), is produced by Lincolnwood Productions and distributed by Twentieth Television.


Cynopsis Webinars   I   Tuesday, March 1st  I 1:30-3:00PM  I  Register
New Social Media Strategies to Reach the Young Demos

In the churn of apps that facilitate sharing, chatting, curating and creating, which digital hangouts should programmers and advertisers be focused on now to connect with elusive Gen Y and Gen Z? And how? Join Cynopsis for our webinar, New Social Media Strategies to Reach the Young Demos, which will provide you with the latest tools you need to engage young viewers and drive tune-in.

Questions? Contact Trish Pihonak.


Syndication’s Judge Judy hit its biggest numbers of 2015-16 the week of February 8, up 4 percent versus the week prior and up 11 percent from last year to 8.1HH in Live+SD. Second place court show Hot Bench scored an all-time high 2.7.

Top talker Dr. Phil rose 6 percent versus last week to 3.5, a new season high. Leading magazine show Entertainment Tonight was also up 6 percent, to 3.6, its second highest rating of the season.

CBS warhorse NCIS was Tuesday’s top show among A18-49 and total viewers (2.4/8 and 17.4 million), but the net’s freshman Limitless hit a season low 1.1/4, with 5.9 million total viewers.

Fox News Channel drew 2.6 million viewers and 585,000 among A25-54 from 8p-midnight on Tuesday, when Donald Trump won the Nevada caucuses. CNN nabbed 1.7 million viewers and 523,000 in the news demo, followed by 952,000/250,000 for MSNBC.

Up movie Love Finds You in Valentine reached over 1.3 million viewers on its February 14 premiere night. The film outperformed 2015 Up movie premiere averages among P25-54 (up 63 percent) and W25-54 (up 57 percent).

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 2/8/16 ranked in order by HH Rtg
Judge Judy (CTD) 8.1AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 7.4AA
Family Feud (2/T) 7.3AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 6.9AA
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 6.3AA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 3.6AA
Dr. Phil (CTD) 3.5AA
Modern Family (2/T) 3.3AA
Live with Kelly & Michael (DAD) 3.2AA
Inside Edition (CTD) 3.2AA
Source: Nielsen Media Research

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 2/8/16 ranked in order by A18-49 Rtg
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 2.7AA
Family Feud (2/T) 2.5AA
Modern Family (2/T) 1.9AA
Judge Judy (CTD) 2.1AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 1.7AA
Family Guy (2/T) 1.6AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 1.5AA
2 Broke Girls (WB) 1.3AA
Two and a Half Men (WB) 1.3AA
Cleveland Show (2/T) 1.1AA
Source: Nielsen Media Research

Tuesday A18-49 Analysis: CBS led with the most A18-49 viewers Tuesday with 1.8/6, according to final primetime national ratings from Nielsen. CBS’s NCIS was first at 8p with 2.4/8, versus 1.5/5 for CW’s The Flash. CBS’s NCIS: New Orleans kept the lead at 9p with 1.8/6, followed by 1.5/5 for NBC’s Chicago Med. NBC moved to the top at 10p with 1.6/6 for Chicago Fire; CBS was second with 1.1/4 for Limitless.

A18-49: CBS 1.8/6, NBC 1.4/5, CW 1.0/3, FOX .9/3, ABC .8/3, UNI .8/2, TELE .5/1, ION .4/1

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
CBS: 7.4/13
NCIS 10.7/18, NCIS: New Orleans 7.8/13, Limitless 3.8/7
NBC: 4.0/7
Hollywood Game Night 2.6/4, Chicago Med 4.3/7, Chicago Fire 5.1/9                   
ABC: 1.8/3
Fresh Off the Boat 2.9/5, Muppets 1.6/3, Marvel’s Agent Carter 1.5/3
CW: 1.6/3
The Flash 2.3/4, iZombie .9/1
FOX: 1.4/2
New Girl 1.7/3, Grandfathered 1.4/2, Brooklyn Nine-Nine 1.3/2, The Grinder 1.1/2
Antes Muerta Lichita 1.1/2, Pasion y Poder 1.3/2, Hotel de los Secretos 1.1/2
ION: .8/1
Criminal Minds .8/1, Criminal Minds .8/1, Criminal Minds .8/2
Quien ed Quien .7/1, Eva la Trailera .7/1, Querida Centuaro .9/2


IFC’s Kim Granito has been promoted to the newly created position of Senior Vice President, Digital Media & Integrated Marketing. Granito will oversee all aspects of IFC’s multi-platform and partnership marketing, digital communication strategy and positioning in the advertiser marketplace.

Tara Brown has been promoted to Director of Media Relations at INSP. Brown will also manage the PR and communications for several of INSP’s subsidiaries, including INSP Films, a theatrical motion picture production company and Imagicomm Entertainment, a content distribution company.

DDB Worldwide announced the appointment of three executive creative directors at DDB New York. Hannah Fishman has been promoted from Group Creative Director to Executive Creative Director, while Cam Hoelter and Cheryl Horsfall have been added to the creative leadership team as ECDs. All three will report to DDB New York’s Chief Creative Officer, Icaro Doria.

In the wake of the exit last week of ABC President of Entertainment Paul Lee, Rebecca Campbell, President, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, adds oversight of daytime programming to her purview. “Rebecca has been involved in daytime for the majority of her broadcast career, whether through producing daytime programming while at WPVI in Philadelphia or buying syndicated programming for our station group,” said Ben Sherwood, President of the Disney/ABC Television Group.

Imogen Banks has been hired to head Endemol Shine Australia’s new drama division, Endemol Shine Banks. Banks will report to CEOs Mark and Carl Fennessy.
The Royal Television Society has appointed Jane Turton, CEO of All3Media and Rob Woodward, CEO of STV Group plc, to its Board of Trustees, which is chaired by ITN CEO John Hardie.

This Day in History:
1870 – Mississippi Republican Hiram R. Revels was sworn in as the first black member of the U.S. Senate, to serve the unexpired term of Jefferson Davis.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question:A cunning cat and good-natured dog starred in which early Hanna-Barbera series? The Ruff and Reddy Show (1957-1960). Kudos to: James Ryan-A+E Networks/NYC, Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing Inc./NYC, Ray Foushee-WDRB Media/Louisville, KY, Lynn Dee McDonald-Carat/Atlanta, Cynthia New-Spectrum Reach/Cape Girardeau/MO, Sheldon A. Wiebe-EclipseMagazine.com/Calgary, Rich Koz-MeTV/Chicago, Kyle Krebs-KXAS-TV/Fort Worth, Judy Margolis-The Ad Place/Dallas, Dale Warshaw-KMSB/KTTU/Tucson, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA, Dan Haberer-Creo Entertainment/ Playa del Rey, CA, Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, Jim Katz-Radcliffe Road Pictures/LA

Today’s Trivia – Best Friends Theme Week: Which pals met at a resort where they were cigarette girls and met their future husbands? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.).

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey: Editorial Director @Lynn_Leahey

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

Cynopsis Ad Sales: Mike Farina | VP, Sales | 203-218-6480
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JOB OPENING: MANAGER DIGITAL RESEARCH/MGR DIGITAL ANALYTICS/E!/LA: Produce quality analytics with an emphasis on site/mobile optimization, editorial and video analysis. 5 yrs digital research exp. Req. Full info/apply HERE (3/3)

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JOB OPENING: SR MGR PROMOTIONS, SPORTS NCAA/Turner/NYC: Resp for acct mngmnt, creative ideation, problem solving & upselling of our clients. 7 yrs mktg/ad/media exp + 2 yrs exp acct mngmnt. Full info/apply HERE (3/3)

JOB OPENING: SALES MGR/Take 1 Transcription/LA: Secure new business & dvlp existing client base w/in the US unscripted TV industry. Balance client-facing activity & autonomy w/effective research & int. communication. Min 5 yrs exp working within the TV industry Full info/apply HERE (3/3)

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JOB OPENING: PR COORDINATOR/HGTV & DIY Network/NYC: Support team in developing, planning & executing PR campaigns for series, promotions, events. 1-3 years PR/Journalism exp. Strong writing & verbal skills a must.Cable ntwk & lifestyle media exp a plus. Apply HERE (3/1) 

JOB OPENING: CONTENT SCREENER/Media Information Services/NYC: Entry-level position writing summaries of TV programs. Requires BA/BS, strong writing skills, attention to detail and love of TV. Fluent in Spanish pref’d. Send resume to [email protected] (3/1)

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JOB OPENING: FEMALE BEAUTY EXPERT, TV HOST or PERFORMER/PERSONALITY with strong beauty expertise/interest. Represent Elemis Skin care on a national shopping channel. National Search. Res/recent photo and on air links to [email protected] (2/27)

JOB OPENING: TRADESHOW SALES DIRECTOR/MGR/MIPTV/MIPCOM Reed MIDEM/NYC: Exp’d in B2B tradeshow. Lead business growth from TV & digital online ent sectors in US & CA. 7-10 yrs exp selling exhibition stand space, sponsorships, print & dig advrtsng & conference regs. Full info/apply HERE (2/27)

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JOB OPENING: PRICING & PLANNING SR MGR/DIRECTOR/beIN Sport USA/NYC: Mng pricing & inventory for all beIN SPORTS networks. Work closely w/sales team to max revenue & inventory and ensure camp delivery. 5+ yrs exp ad sales and/or pricing & planning. Full info/apply HERE (2/26)

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ABC: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder
CBS: Big Bang Theory, Life in Pieces, Mom, 2 Broke Girls, Elementary
CW: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The 100
Fox: American Idol
NBC: You, Me and the Apocalypse, The Blacklist, Shades of Blue
PBS: This Old House Hour [r], Antiques Roadshow [r], Mercy Street [r] 
Telemundo: La Previa del Debate, Decsion 2016 
Univision: Antes Muerta que Lichita, Pasion y Poder, El Hotel de los Secretos

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