03/13/20: NBCUni, CBS and WarnerMedia cancel Upfront events



Cynopsis Long Story Short
Friday March 13, 2020

Tonight’s Premieres
DIY: Beachfront Bargain Hunt Renovation at 8p
Discovery: Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail at 8p
Travel: Portals to Hell at 9p

Saturday’s Premieres
Cleo TV: Cleo Speaks at 9a
Discovery Family: Cake Boss at 9p
Oxygen: Cold Justice at 6p

Saturday’s Finales
Oxygen: Up and Vanished at 7p
TLC: Say Yes to the Dress at 10p

Sunday’s Premieres
BYUtv: Dwight in Shining Armor at 8:30p
Disney: Just Roll with It at 8:45p
Food: Buddy vs. Duff at 9p
HBO: Westworld at 9p
NBC: The Wall at 7p
Showtime: Black Monday at 10p
Smithsonian: World of Weapons at 9p

Sunday’s Finales
HBO: Avenue 5 at 10:15p
MSNBC: What’s Eating America with Andrew Zimmern at 9p
Smithsonian: Air Disasters at 8p
Starz: Wrong Man at 9p


Parties over? Upfronts are taking a big hit from the coronavirus outbreak, but the shows will go on online. NBCUniversal canceled Monday, May 11 event and announced it will instead televise and stream its Upfront Presentation to ensure the safety of all participants. ViacomCBS nixed its live Upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall in May, too. The network will unveil its 2020-2021 primetime lineup, as well as highlights from CBS Entertainment, CBS News, CBS Sports and CBS All Access in a video Upfront special posted to digital platforms on Wednesday, May 13. And WarnerMedia/Xandr released the following statement regarding its Upfront situation:“The health and safety of the advertising community, our employees and production partners is our absolute priority, so we will alter our plans for this year’s Upfront presentation,” said Gerhard Zeiler, Chief Revenue Officer, Warner Media and Kirk McDonald, Chief Business Officer, Xandr. “We have the technological and creative means to showcase our unified WarnerMedia/Xandr message through a unique video experience and do just that on May 13.”

Disney canceled its May 12 Upfront presentation a Lincoln Center, and Hulu’s May 6 NewFront event at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. “Production plans are already underway to develop two star-studded and innovative streaming events, showcasing the breadth and depth of Disney’s rich portfolio and infrastructure,” said Disney. Discovery Inc. canceled its live Upfront presentation in New York, scheduled for May 12 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. The company will offer “an alternative digital experience,” with details to be announced at a later date. “The decision to cancel is bittersweet but unequivocally the right one,” said Jon Steinlauf, Discovery’s Chief U.S. Ad Sales Officer.”

For the latest Upfront news, go here.

BBC director general Tony Hall noted that some of the British broadcaster’s services could be knocked off the air by the spread of COVID-19 in the UK. While speaking before the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Hall acknowledged there “could be” a situation where some news and local services suffer, if there is a coronavirus outbreak among staff. However, he stressed that the BBC is working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Universal Television delayed production of three series: Season 2 of Russian Doll for Netflix, Season 2 of Little America for Apple, and Season 1 of Rutherford Falls for Peacock, according to Deadline. None of the comedies had started filming, nor do they have firm delivery dates. Writing and casting for the shows continues.

The 2020 TCM Classic Film Festival was also canceled amid growing concerns about COVID-19. “Nothing is more important to TCM than the safety of our fans,” TCM said in a statement. “In light of the increasing public health concerns related to coronavirus, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 [festival].”

In the sports world, the NBA made a dramatic decision to suspend its season “until further notice,” following a positive coronavirus test for Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz. On Thursday, Major League Baseball delayed opening day by at least two weeks and canceled spring training games, while the NHL halted its regular season, beginning with Thursday night’s games. Plus, Major League Soccer, which just kicked off its 25th season, is postponing its season for 30 days.

With voter turnout expected to reach near-record highs in November, MTV and over 60 partners are launching Vote Early Day. The goal is to encourage Americans to – obviously – vote early, but also help people stay educated on what their state’s laws are related to the matter. Vote Early is planned for Saturday, October 24, more than a week before the general election on Tuesday, November 3.

The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act passed the Senate and is headed to President Donald Trump’s desk. The act includes Federal Communications Commission data gathering, processing for consumer challenges to FCC maps, and crowdsourcing methods to aid the public with contributing information. “Flawed broadband maps are a huge problem for rural and underserved communities,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS). “Accurate maps will pave the way for more Americans to access high-speed broadband and the economic opportunities that come with it.”

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment awarded the second round of NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre to 94 music, theatre and digital media projects led by artists who identify as women or coming from a female perspective. These grants total $2 million and are designed to help artist complete their projects. This year, $500,000 was added to support music projects.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Comedy Dynamics is releasing content/specials made for and by women, this March. The production company is putting out four key releases: The Social Ones, a mockumentary about influencers; Tammy Pescatelli: The Way After School Special; Mary Prankster: Live at the Ottobar; and Nicole Blaine: Life’s a Bit.

Data research shows that people who procrastinate have higher levels of stress and lower well-being. Data can reveal so much about consumer behavior. Don’t procrastinate any longer. Today is the last day to get early bird pricing for the Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference June 2 in NYC. Save $200. Register now.

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Lifetime greenlit five new movies from best-selling true crime author Ann Rule for the network’s summer Ripped from the Headlines slate. Titles include Danger In The Dorm, Mortal Danger, Practice To Deceive, Bitter Harvest and A Murder to Remember adapted from Empty Promises.

Amazon Prime is moving forward with a new, five-part docu-series about Spanish racing driver Fernando Alonso. Titled Fernando, it will feature intimate access to the two-time Formula One champion and his racing team through the past year, leading up to his debut in the Dakar Rally in South America.

Discovery Channel and The Explorers Club announced a new multi-year partnership to promote exploration and invest in science in learning across Discover Channel globally. As part of the agreement, Discovery will invest in exploration and research through a new Explorer’s Fund. The content from the Discovery-funded expeditions, as well as additional series, films and documentaries highlighting the work of The Explorers Club members, will be featured exclusively on Discovery Channel and its digital platforms. Additionally, Discovery Channel will have access to the full historical archives of The Explorers Club.

Quibi is developing We’re Never Getting Married (wt). Romantic comedy series comes from writer Mason Flink (Co-Ed), producer Neal Moritz and his Original Film banner, and Sony Pictures TV, where Moritz and Original Film are under a deal. Written by Flink, it centers on two friend forced to confront their perpetual singlehood during an extravagant wedding weekend.

In addition to the Cynopsis Sports Awards finalists (click here to see who made the cut), Cynopsis is proud to spotlight this year’s Luminary Award Winners, joining us from: FOX Sports, NBCUniversal, WWE and Doritos. Learn more here.


Cameras follow families on 72-hour house hunts in new HGTV series House in a Hurry, bowing Sunday, March 22 at 9p and 9:30p. Series focuses on clans who need to relocate, pronto.

Season 3 of Disney XD’s Marvel’s Spider-Man: Maximum Venom debuts Sunday, April 19 at 9p. Comprised of six one-hour specials, the new season follows Spider-Man as he’s pushed to his breaking point.


PopTV celebrates the end of Schitt’s Creek with behind-the-scenes special Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell. Hour-long documentary, bowing Tuesday, April 7 at 8:30p, takes an look at the final season of the comedy series.


Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne will guest star on the Tuesday, March 17 episode of ABC’s The Conners Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley) will lead the cast of Julia, HBO Max’s drama pilot about the chef, cookbook author and TV personality…Lex Scott Davis (The First Purge, Superfly) was cast as a series regular in ABC drama pilot, Rebel, while Elliot Fletcher (The Fosters, Shameless) nabbed a series regular role in upcoming FX drama Y: The Last Man… Roman Banks (Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen) and Olivia Rose Keegan (Days of Our Lives) are set to recur in Season 2 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.


Pluto TV struck a partnership with over 55 major media and content providers, building a library of streaming content to debut with the launch of the free new service for Spanish-speaking audiences in Latin America. It will offer over 12,000 hours of high-quality content with programming that includes the Star Trek movie franchise, MasterChef and more.

Smithsonian Channel celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with new digital short-form series, Last Call for the Bayou. Five stories from Louisiana’s disappearing delta debut Friday, April 10 on the net’s digital platforms and streaming for free.


John Stankey, president of AT&T, addressed the status of DirecTV following a USA Today headline reading, “DirecTV’s days are numbered.” Apparently, there will be less marketing for the product going forward in “more rural or less dense suburban areas. In terms of our marketing muscle and our momentum in the market, it will be about software-driven pay-TV packages,” said Stankey. AT&T will put more effort around AT&T TV, an internet-based pay TV provider; AT&T TV NOW, a slimmed down, cheaper on-demand and live linear TV networks platform; as well as the forthcoming OTT platform, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max.

Brizzly+ is serving the needs of Twitter users in search of features the social media site hasn’t built in – namely, an edit button and auto-deletion option, among other things. The features are part of new subscription service Brizzly+, which offers a t toolset built on the Twitter API. Twitter has refused to build an Edit button, despite the feature being a request among its users who want to correct typos in tweets.

Microsoft released a Windows patch for a security vulnerability prematurely disclosed earlier this week. Details of the bug, rated critical, were released on Tuesday as part of Miscrosoft’s monthly release of security patches. The bug exists in the latest version of Windows’ server messages block, known as SMB, which allows Windows to communicate with devices like printers and file servers on the network and across the Internet.


France’s Warner TV acquired NBC’s drama Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist from Lionsgate. The series, which premiered in the U.S. earlier this year, will bow in France on Tuesday, May 19.

NBCUniversal Formats and Asahi Television Broadcasting Corporation teamed to create non-scripted format, The Secret Game Show, starring unsuspecting employees who have been nominated by a colleague or boss. It debuts in Japan this March and then rolls out in international markets.

Magnify Media’s documentary Contagion was picked up by public broadcasters worldwide amid coronavirus fears. The special, originally commissioned by BBC Four, centers on Dr. Hannah Fry, who launches a nationwide mathematical-modelling experiment to help predict and plan for the impact of a pandemic.

Young chefs showcase their culinary skills in Food Network Canada’s Junior Chef Showdown. The Corus Studio’s original series premiers April 19 at 9p.

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According to Tunity Analytics, 2,395,000 people viewed President Donald Trump’s address across cable and broadcast networks on Wednesday night in out-of-home numbers.

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Wednesday, March 11
Show, P2+ 0000s, (A18-49)
ABC: Modern Family 3.30 (0.6), Modern Family 2.60 (0.5), ABC News Special Report 4.82 (0.9), Modern Family 2.76 (0.6), Modern Family 2.18 (0.5), Modern Family 2.10 (0.5)
CBS: Survivor 6.91 (1.4), CBS News Special Report 6.56 (1.0), SEAL Team 4.91 (0.7), S.W.A.T. 4.19 (0.6)
CW: Riverdale 0.66 (0.2), Nancy Drew 0.67 (0.1)
FOX: The Masked Singer 7.24 (1.9), Presidential News Conference 4.76 (1.4), Lego Masters 3.43 (1.0)
NBC: Chicago Med 4.63 (0.6), NBC News Special Report 6.01 (0.9), Chicago Fire 4.31 (0.6), Chicago P.D. 3.95 (0.5)
UNIVISION: Ringo 1.68 (0.5), Presidential Report Coronavirus 1.79 (0.6), Rosa de Guadelupe 1.63 (0.5), Sin Miedo a la Verdad 1.10 (0.4)
TELEMUNDO: Exatlon 1.35 (0.3), La Dona 1.06 (0.4), Presidential Report Coronavirus 0.78 (0.4), Operacion Pacifico 0.94 (0.4)
Source: Nielsen, live + same day time period averages


CuriousityStream named David Emery Head of Growth. He most recently served as Vice President of Growth at Cheddar.

ViacomCBS promoted Nadja Webb Cogsville to Executive Vice President, Programming Operations & Business and Legal Affairs for BET. This expands her scope from her previous responsibilities as SVP & Deputy General Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs, ViacomCBS.

Prime Focus Technologies appointed Andy Steele as Vice President, Operations for the EMEA division. He joins from TVT Media.

Amber Gainey Meade joined Levity Live as Vice President of Marketing. She was previously employed at Caruso.

This Day in History
1982 – Crime drama T. J. Hooker, starring William Shatner, premiered on ABC.

Friday Fun Fact
Rain is precious on Jupiter and Saturn, where scientists says lightning storms turn methane into soot that hardens into chunks of graphite, and then diamonds as it falls.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
What was the only drama ordered by UPN for the 1996-97 season? The Burning Zone. Kudos to: Rev. Mark Wajda/Lakeland, FL; Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing, Inc./NYC; Charles Lore/NYC; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL; Paul Blutter-Walk and Talk Production Rentals/Burbank, CA; Susan Nessanbaum Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/Los Angeles, CA; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, CA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/Los Angeles, CA.

Today’s Trivia Question
What legendary singer ended up recording the song Sam’s boyfriend wrote for her on Who’s the Boss? (1984-1992) (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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ABC: Shark Tank, 20/20
CBS: MacGyver, Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods
CW: Penn & Teller: Fool Us, Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, Who’s Line Is It Anyway?
FOX: WWE Friday Night SmackDown
NBC: Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, Dateline NBC
PBS: Washington Week, Firing Line with Margaret Hoover, Great Performances
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos, La Dona, Operacion Pacifico
Univision: Ringo, Amor Eterno, Sin Miedo a la Verdad


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