PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Mark Wahlberg, his longtime producing partner Stephen Levinson, and Wahlburgers EP and showrunner Archie Gips launched Unrealistic Ideas, a full-service production company for non-scripted content. Gips is serving as the company’s president.
Lena Waithe, creator of The Chi, and her production company Hillman Grad partnered with Sight Unseen Pictures to develop and finance independent projects that identify and champion new voices underserved in today’s marketplace.
TNT tapped writer/producer Graeme Manson (Orphan Black) as showrunner for Snowpiercer, a futuristic thrilled base on the film of the same name. Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs star in the series co-produced by Tomorrow Studios, Turner’s Studio T and CJ Entertainment.
National Geographic partnered with creative platform Tongal for its first late-night series, WILD After Dark (wt). The 30-minute episodes feature short-form content created by the Tongal community, including experimental animal-centric short stories from people around the world. Project launched on Tuesday with an open call for submissions at tongal.com/NatGeoWILD.
Netflix greenlit a third season of international reality competition series Ultimate Beastmaster. The next edition features over 100 competitors from nine countries and new hosts including Tiki Barber and Anderson Silva.
Sundance TV and Sundance Now partnered with Blumhouse Television on true crime docuseries No One Saw A Thing (wt). The six-episode series examines an unsolved and mysterious death in the American Heartland and the corrosive effects of vigilantism in small town America.
Apple ordered a series from M. Night Shyamalan and British TV writer Tony Basgallop. The half-hour psychological thriller, yet to be titled, received a 10-episode straight-to-series order.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Ali Kahn’s search for Cheap Eats continues in a new season of the Cooking Channel series on Wednesday, March 21 at 10p.
Mother/daughter duo Mina Starsiak and Karen E Laine tackle bigger home renovations and take on riskier house flips in the third season of Good Bones, returning Tuesday, April 3 at 10p on HGTV.
Original docuseries The Cowboy Way returns to INSP on Thursday, April 26 at 8p.
Shadowhunters is back for season 3 on Tuesday, March 20 at 8p on Freeform.
Former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino again serves as tour guide through the universe on The Planets and Beyond, debuting on Tuesday, March 20 at 10p on Science Channel.
Paramount Network premieres I Am Paul Walker this summer. Doc explores the film career, life and tragic death of the actor.
Smithsonian Channel launches into space with four specials. Billionaire Space Club airs Sunday, March 25 at 8p, followed by Earth from Outer Space at 9p. The following Sunday, April 1, Finding Life in Outer Space bows at 8p, followed by Leaving Earth: Or How to Colonize a Planet at 9p.
Univision, Cricket Wireless and Hearts & Science joined forces to bring the “Momentos de Sonrisas” campaign to Pequenos Gigantes. The multi-platform campaign features emotional content designed to engage with fans and bring them closer to the children’s reality show. As part of the partnership Univision will develop short-form videos created for social platforms featuring behind-the-scenes moments with young contestants.
Mercedes Mason (Fear the Walking Dead) booked a series regular role in ABC’s straight-to-series light crime drama The Rookie… TNT cast Denis Leary (Rescue Me) in Season 3 of Animal Kingdom… Feed the Beast’s Lorenza Izzo is set to recur in the fourth and final season of Hulu’s Casual, while Joy Bryant (Parenthood) joins the upcoming fourth season of HBO’s Ballers in a recurring role.
On the ABC pilot front, Toby Kebell (The Female Brain) landed the lead in pending drama Salvage…. Camille Guaty (Daytime Divas) nabbed a series regular role in the Get Christie Love reboot… Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken and My Wife and Kids) will be a regular on Untitled Holmes drama.
Luna Lauren Velez (Dexter) and Pallavi Sharda (Pulse) booked series regular roles in CBS drama pilot Murder…Daren Kagasoff nabbed a series regular role on NBC drama pilot The Village…Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re the Worst) was cast as the male lead in NBC comedy pilot Like Family.
Nickelodeon welcomes Thomas & Friends to its roster of preschool shows with hour-long special, The Adventure Begins, bowing Monday, March 12 at 10a on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.
Disney Junior has begun production on The Rocketeer. The animated adventure series follows Kit, a young girl who becomes a superhero and has the ability to fly via a rocket-powered jet pack.
YouTube yanked a video from conspiracy theory monger Infowars that alleges the Parkland, Florida shooting was a “deep state false flag operation.” It was the second strike Infowars has received about the high school tragedy; the first suggested grieving activist students were paid “crisis actors.” The channel will be unable to post new content to YouTube for 2 weeks. Once more and they’re out -YouTube has a 3-strikes-and-you’re-banned policy.
Logan Paul, who also had his wrist slapped for bad behavior on YouTube, is back in business, his ads re-enabled. The vlogger’s advertising revenue was suspended on February 8, after he posted a video of himself tasting a dead rat. It’s the second time the video-sharing site took sanctions against him.
President Trump’s campaign paid more than Hillary Clinton’s did to reach Facebook users during the presidential campaign, Facebook exec Andrew Bosworth shared via Twitter. The Trump camp “paid slightly higher CPM prices on most days rather than lower as has been reported,” said Bosworth. The tweet follows the suggestion of Trump’s newly hired 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, that the Trump campaign had CPMs that “were pennies in some cases.”
The Snapchat redesign might have caused a social media shudder, but first-time installs rose 55% week-over-week for the week following the changes, according Sensor Tower, from 589,000 to 911,000. The redesign went live on February 6.
Conde Nast is launching the Next Gen Influencer Platform, curated in part by its editors. The goal is to identify “brand safe” influencers with hefty social followings for advertisers. “By combining the insight and influence of our editors with the exponential impact of our curated group of external influencers, we are offering clients an unparalleled level of measurable engagement and ROI, across all platforms,” said chief revenue and marketing officer Pamela Drucker Mann. The database will be hosted on Conde’s Citizen Net platform.
Funny men Steve Martin and Martin Short, who are on a national comedy tour, announced that their stop in South Carolina is set to become a Netflix special. Titled after their live show, Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, the special was taped last week in Greenville.
Sundance Now premieres Liberation Day on Thursday, March 8. Documentary explores what happens when music and politics merge.
A+E Networks’ expanded its digital production outside of the U.S. in Singapore for Asia. Brands include History, Lifetime, FYI and Crime+Investigation.
MTV International is moving forward with The Charlotte Show, a reality series fronted by Charlotte Crosby set to air across the net’s international channels and digital platforms spanning nearly 180 countries.
Banijay Group acquired British factual producer 7Wonder. The deal is one its biggest acquisitions in several years and is its first non-scripted deal after numerous scripted moves in 2017. A number of new commissions are expected to be announced in the coming months.