03/15/22: Jane Latman’s role beefed up at Discovery, Inc.

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Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Tuesday March 15, 2022

Today’s Premieres
BritBox: The Bay
Discovery: Street Outlaws: America’s List at 9p
HBO: Phoenix Rising at 9p
HGTV: Fixer to Fabulous: Welcome Inn at 9p
NBC: Young Rock at 8p, Mr. Mayor at 8:30p
Netflix: Team Zenko Go
SundanceNow: Veleno: The Town of Lost Children
TLC: 7 Little Johnstons at 9p

Today’s Finale
ABC: The Bachelor at 8p

IN THE NEWS

Jane Latman’s role at Discovery, Inc. just got meatier. Latman, President, HGTV and Streaming Home Content, will add Food Network to her purview starting April 30. Food Network President Courtney White is exiting to launch a new production company, Butternut Films. “Jane has more than proven her leadership skills at HGTV where, so far this year, she leads the industry in launching six of the top 20 freshman hits among A25-54 — more than any other cable network,” said Kathleen Finch, Chief Lifestyle Brands Officer at Discovery, Inc. “She is the perfect choice to lead our important food and home content businesses and I’m confident she will bring the same creative magic to Food Network that she has to HGTV.”

He’s going the the metaverse! With his run as head of Disney over, Bob Iger has joined the board of, and is making an investment in, avatar technology company Genies. “I’ve always been drawn to the intersection between technology and art, and Genies provides unique and compelling opportunities to harness the power of that combination to enable new forms of creativity, expression and communication,” said Iger.

NBC’s “New Amsterdam” will conclude with its upcoming fifth season. The medical drama is averaging a 1.13 rating among A18-49 and 7.2 million total viewers in Live+7 and multiplatform viewing.

ABC renewed “Abbott Elementary” for season two. The series is ABC’s number one new comedy in two years among A18-49, and is tied with CBS’s “Ghosts” as the season’s top comedy in the demo.

Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was injured outside of Kuyiv in Ukraine, and has been hospitalized. “This is a stark reminder for all journalists who are putting their lives on the line every day to deliver the news from the war zone,” said Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News.

Nielsen is in advanced talks to be acquired by a consortium of private equity firms for about $15 billion, reported The Wall Street Journal on Monday. Among the participants is investment fund manager Elliott Management, which pushed for major changes after taking a state in AT&T. “Nielsen does not comment on market rumors or speculation,” said a Nielsen spokesperson. Nielsen stock closed up 30.5% for the day.

In more Nielsen news, the measurement company is suing TVSquared for patent infringement. Nielsen alleges that TVSquared – acquired last month by Innovid – infringed its patented technique for protecting personal information while measuring audience exposure across platforms. Innovid said it plans to “vigorously contest” the allegation.

Meteorologist Bryan Norcross has joined FAST channel Fox Weather as a hurricane specialist and contributor. “Norcross joins from ABC affiliate WPLG-TV in Miami.

Thanks to the Olympics, automakers spent an estimated $503.9 million in February, up 154% from the year-ago period, according to iSpot.tv. Toyota, one of the lead sponsors of the Games, was the top spender ($178.4 million, with 76% of national TV ad spend during the games). Chevrolet ($108.1 million) was next, followed by Ford ($36.0 million), Nissan ($22.4 million) and Lexus ($22.0 million).

NBCU Launch, home of DEI efforts across NBCUniversal, has teamed with Telemundo to increase the number of Hispanic female directors in scripted television. “Our new partnership with Telemundo is emblematic of one of our core goals, which is to combine inclusion efforts with our sister networks and studios so that together we can create comprehensive and meaningful change,” said Jeanne Mau, SVP, TV Programming Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at NBCUniversal. “Our shared objectives with Telemundo give us a unique opportunity to place an even greater focus on Hispanic female directors. This evolution of our groundbreaking Female Forward initiative is just the beginning of our efforts to grow this underrepresented community while we also continue to focus on other marginalized groups who still desperately need opportunities in the director’s chair.”

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PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT

Producer and writer David E. Kelley is developing natural history series, “Eating Up the Oceans: How Do We Save Our Seas?”, with Andrew Zimmern and his production company Intuitive Content. The pair also is collaborating with sustainable seafood expert and founder of Fed by Blue, Jennifer Bushman. The six-part docuseries is guided by the stories of frontline experts who are working across multiple disciplines to affect change and curtail an impending crisis.

Lydia Hampson (“Fleabag”) has joined Sister (“Chernobyl”) and inked a first-look deal with Amazon Studios, where she was formerly Head of UK Scripted. Shows will be developed and produced for Amazon Prime.

John Eisendrath inked a new three-year deal overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. The agreement calls for Eisendrath to continue as EP and showrunner for NBC’s “The Blacklist.” Eisendrath also has a procedural drama, “Alert,” in development at Fox Entertainment; he’s exec producing the project with Jamie Foxx and his producing partner Datari Turner.

Warner Bros. Television Group and HBO have signed a new first-look deal with producer Stephanie Allain and her Homegrown Pictures production company. The new agreement continues the Studio’s relationship with Allain, and includes a partnership with HBO. Under terms of the agreement, Allain and her Homegrown Pictures team — including Director of Development Gabrielle Ebron — will develop original scripted programming to be produced by Warner Bros. Television for HBO and HBO Max, external streaming services, cable, and broadcast.

“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” is returning to its 11th Avenue studio, complete with a live audience, starting Monday, April 11. The Comedy Central late-nighter will be on a planned hiatus starting Friday, March 18, leading up to Noah hosting the Grammy Awards on Sunday, April 3 on CBS.

Casting notes: Sean Astin (“Stranger Things”) has joined season two of NBC’s “Young Rock” as the childhood nemesis of Dwayne Johnson…Cory Michael Smith (“Gotham”), Gillian Jacobs (“Community”), and Corey Stoll (“Billions”) will star in Netflix limited series “Transatlantic,” set during the 1940 refugee crisis in Marseilles… Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”) has boarded the cast of Netflix spy drama “Treason.”

FilmRise has inked a deal Nicely Entertainment to produce and distribute in the US two new feature films along with US VOD distribution rights for over 20 family-friendly romance and holiday-centric films. As part of the package, FilmRise will also pick up two never-before released feature films produced by Nicely.

NEW & RETURNING SERIES

“Baseball,” the 1994 docuseries from Ken Burns, will stream for free on PBS Thursday, March 31 through Friday, April 29. The series is divided into nine “innings” covering the history of the sport.

In the Wednesday, March 16 premiere of “Home Team,” Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves basketball player and Jordyn Woods, model and influencer test each other in a series of card challenges and a pop-a-shot basketball challenge. The Team Whistle competition series airs on Whistle’s YouTube page and Whistle TV.

HBO docuseries The Invisible Plot” tells the story of a daredevil husband and father who unexpectedly jumped off a bridge in 1977. Years later, a mysterious story emerges involving hypnosis, secret identities and a double life. The three-parter premieres Monday, April 4 at 9p.

TECH TALK

Comcast Advertising is relaunching its media solutions group FreeWheel Media under the AudienceXpress brand. Why the change? “Our ability to provide media solutions that meet unique buyer needs has evolved significantly over the last few years and this rebrand captures that innovative spirit and progress, as well as the industry shift toward reaching audiences across all screens,” Brian Wallach, Head of Revenue, AudienceXpress, tells Cynopsis. “In today’s dynamic and fragmented media marketplace, AudienceXpress offers advertisers direct, easy and scaled access to premium TV audiences across multiple screens.”

Omnicom Media Group will be the first agency to integrate with the NBCU Audience Insights Hub, the company’s proprietary data clean room environment that unlocks data interoperability between NBCUniversal and its partners. The move enables Omnicom to run permissioned measurement queries across NBCUniversal’s first-party data and data sets from within Omni without exposing any underlying personally identifiable information. Clients and partners will be able to conduct their own reach and frequency analysis for more efficient media planning and measurement.

Protection of privacy is on the rise, with consumers more privacy conscious than ever online. According to a new report from Cheetah Digital, incognito browsing has increased by 50% year-over-year, along with increased in PC cleaners (up 48%), password generators (up 40% ), ad blocking tech (up 37%), paid for premium software (up 31%), and password managers (up 31%). While most consumers will trade personal data for personalized content, reports “2022 Digital Consumer Trends,” they prefer brands only use data that they’ve explicitly shared directly to the brand (zero-party data). Other tactics are considered “creepy.” Among the creepiest: ads based on location data (67%), retargeting ads derived from tracking cookies (62%), and ads related to something users discussed near a smart device (61%).

VlogBox, a CTV/OTT app development, advertising, and monetization platform, announced a new cooperation agreement with Viral Talent, a UK-based talent agency that works influencers and brands. The deal includes the creation of dedicated CTV channels on Roku, Amazon Fire, and Android TV, each for two of Viral Talent vloggers “Emily Tube” and “Toys and Fun Sisters” as well as adding their content to Yeet! Kids TV, a channel-aggregator streaming kids’ content from VlogBox’s library. “We’re happy to start working with VlogBox as we realize CTV has become an innovative social media platform for vloggers, and it’s time to test the water and become pioneers while it’s still innovative, not the new norm,” said Chloe Lintott, a Digital Marketing Manager at Viral Talent.

“Team InnOvention,” a business school student team from the University of Colorado – Denver Business School, was named the grand prize winner of the 2022 Media+Tech Innovation Challenge. The 16th annual event from industry association Media+Tech Collective tasked the three final teams to present ideas on how best for DirecTV to survive digital disruption given changes in consumer behavior, competitor flux, revenue models, and technology and navigate the digital revolution with a financially viable business strategy.

On the heels of Netflix true crime series “The Tinder Swindler,” dating site Tinder is adding a $2.50 background check option, enabling users to access public information about violent behavior. Users will also get two free background checks.

While younger social media platforms may skew younger in terms of audience, they are more likely to have children at home. More than 79% of TikTok, Twitch and Snapchat users have at least 1 child at home, compared to 74% for Facebook and 72% for YouTube, according to Comscore’s Shareablee’s Social Dynamics Omnibus Report. Still, more Snapchat and Twitch users are single vs the more established platforms like Facebook. TikTok, Snapchat, & Twitch users are slightly more diverse in addition to skewing younger.

STREAMING

The post-merger combination of streaming offerings from HBO Max and discovery+ will “take a while,” acknowledged Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels on Monday – but it’s going to happen. Speaking at Deutsche Bank’s annual media conference, Wiedenfels said that for now, the focus is on providing a bundle of the services, with “maybe a single sign-on.” The company is on track to close the $43 billion WarnerMedia merger in the first half of 2022.

With podcast listening hitting an all-time high in 2021, year-over-year advertising revenue in the top 100 podcasts rose 20%, according to MediaRadar. The number of companies purchasing podcast ads increased 14%, while the retention rate of companies returning to advertise in 2021 stood at 42%. “With so many different types of podcasts available to suit your interests, there seems to be a podcast genre for every taste,” said Todd Krizelman, CEO & Co-founder of MediaRadar. “As such, advertisers are strategically considering where their ad dollars are best spent that translates to a higher engagement rate and loyal audience base. It’s evident from our findings that popular podcasts genres like True Crime, Comedy and News have seen substantial growth in ad spend to cater to their audience.”

UPFRONTS CALENDAR

Today, March 15: National CineMedia at 11:30a (Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago)
March 15-16: Black Owned Media Upfront at 1p (virtual)
March 22: NBCUniversal’s One22 Conference at 11a (30 Rock Studio H, NYC)
March 23: Fox’s Content Drives Commerce Brand Partnership Summit (Fox Lot, LA)
March 24: Nickelodeon at 4p (Palladium Times Square, NYC)
March 28: National CineMedia at 11:30a (Film at Lincoln Center, NYC)
April 5: PlayFronts (NYC): Meta (9:20a), Activision Blizzard (9:40a), Frameplay (10a), Niantic (11:05a), Admix (11:25a), Unity (11:50a), Zynga (1p), Bidstack (1:20p), Riot Games (1:45p), Anzu (2:10p), Twitch (3:15p), IGN (3:35p), SuperAwesome (3:301), and PlayerWON (4:10).
April 6: Disney’s Sports Summit (virtual); AMC Networks at 6:30p (The Peak in Hudson Yards, NYC); National CineMedia at 11a (Academy of Motion Pictures, LA)
April 12: Black Owned Media Upfront at 1p (virtual)
April 13: FETV (Empire State Building, NYC)
April 25: Disney Storyteller’s Showcase
April 26: FETV (Empire State Building, NYC)
May 2-6: IAB NewFronts
May 2: NBCUniversal/Peacock NewFront
May 3: Roku at 11:30a (Caldwell Factory, NYC)
May 16: NBCUniversal (Radio City Music Hall, NYC); Telemundo (Ziegfeld Theater, NYC); Fox (Skylight, NYC)
May 17: Discovery (Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC); Disney (Basketball City at Pier 36, NYC); YouTube Brandcast at 8p; Univision (Javits Center in NYC)
May 18: Paramount (Carnegie Hall, NYC); WarnerMedia (Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, NYC)
May 19: The CW (New York City Center Theater, NYC)

GOING GLOBAL

Drive has its biggest lineup of content ever, over 110 hours, set for MIPTV 2022. Offerings includes new factual series focused on code breaking, true crime stories, a science series unearthing evidence from cataclysmic events in our past and a documentary revealing the real stories of African Amercans in the Wild West, from producers including Future Studios, Blink Films, Joined Up Films and CAPA TV.

Production on Starzplay’s second Spanish original series,Nacho, An Industry XXX-L” (wt) has started. The comedic drama set in the porn industry stars Martiño Rivas (“Cable Girls,” “El Internado”), María de Nati (“Entrevías), and Andrés Velencoso (“Elite,” “Velvet”).

Fremantle announced a partnership with Salamanda Media to produce entertainment format “Fame in the Family” across the globe. The format, which has four dinner guests work out which of them is related to their celebrity host, premiered in the UK on Channel 4 on Monday.

Armoza Formats announced the international launch of “Drive Therapy,” a new docuseries format that brings therapy to the car on the way to a meaningful meeting. It’s the first format to be announced as part of Armoza’s MIPTV slate.

D360 announced that the first options for the “Race Against the Tide” format have been signed in Australia (Eureka Productions), Belgium (Free Kings), BBC Studios for both French and German-speaking territories in Europe, New Zealand (EQ Media Group) and the UK and Ireland (Tern Television).

This year’s theme for one-day summit Lille Dialogues on March 24 is “Empowering the Audiovisual Industry with Creativity.” “Now more than ever, our goal is to promote a culture that fosters pluralism, diversity, and social cohesion” said Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania.

Nippon TV is headed to MIPTV 2022 with three new formats: escape game show “Dark Doubt,” battle of the brain “Turbo Brain,” and comedic drama “Tall Order.”

Among the MIPTV offerings from Flame Distribution are true crime series “Moors Murders,” children’s hospital docuseries “Aussie Kids A&E,” and travel series “New Zealand from a Train.”

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RATINGS

Univision’s broadcast of Real Madrid vs. PSG delivered the second-most-watched UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match ever in the US among P2+. The telecast posted 990,000 P2+ and 484,000 A18-49 on March 9.

HGTV’s “Fixer to Fabulous” averaged a .57 Live+3 rating among P25-54 and a .75 among W25-54 during a 16-episode season that premiered November 16. During its third season run, the series averaged a .68 rating among upscale P25-54 Live+3 and a .91 among upscale W25-54, gains of 20% and 24% from year-ago levels. The series also attracted more than 31 million viewers and ranked as a top 3 non-news/sports ad-supported cable program among W25-54, upscale W25-54 and upscale P25-54 in its Tuesday timeslot.

Shareablee Top 10 Streaming Shows for the week of March 7
Program, Platform, Total Actions, Total Content, Actions per Content, Fans & Followers
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+), 1.6m, 13, 120,449, 182k
The Boys (Prime Video), 1.2m, 44, 28,156, 1.6m
Bridgerton (Netflix), 1.1m, 14, 75,418, 2.4m
Stranger Things (Netflix), 707k, 9, 78,580, 26.9m
Get Organized With The Home Edit (Netflix), 366k, 2,5 14,627, 6m
Nanatsu No Taizai (Netflix), 35k, 113, 3,141, 1.1m
The Witcher (Netflix), 295k, 7, 42,126, 2.3m
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime Video), 287k, 82, 3,496, 754k
Trailer Park Boys (Netflix), 237k, 50, 4,745, 3.1m
Love is Blind (Netflix), 213k, 10, 21,319, 760k

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Friday, March 11
Show, P2+ 000s, (A18-49)
ABC: Shark Tank 3.55 (0.6), 20/20 3.74 (0.5)
CBS: Undercover Boss 3.56 (0.4), Magnum P.I. 5.01 (0.4), Blue Bloods 6.14 (0.5)
CW: Charmed 0.40 (0.1), Dynasty 0.25 (0.1)
Fox: WWE Friday Night Smackdown 2.23 (0.6)
NBC: NBC Paralympics 1.37 (0.2), Dateline 2.52 (0.3), The Thing About Pam 1.62 (0.2)
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos 1.00 (0.2), Hercai: Amor y Venganza 1.30 (0.3), Pasion de Gavilanes 0.79 (0.3)
Univision: Soltero con Hijas 1.53 (0.5), Mi Fortuna es Amarte 1.71 (0.5), Madre 1.72 (0.5)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages

EXECUTIVE MOVES

Reena Mehta is joining ABC News as SVP of Streaming and Digital Content. Mehta was most recently VP of Content Strategy and Planning at HBO Max. Also joining the network is Lulu Chiang, from Yahoo, as VP of Digital Content; Justin Dial has been upped to VP, Streaming News Content.

GumGum has hired Dave Matthews as Chief Revenue Officer. Matthews was previously CRO for InPowered.

Melissa Boag has been promoted to EVP of Kids & Family at Shout! Factory. Boag was most recently SVP.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM PREMION
 

This Day in History
1855 – Amid an epidemic of Yellow Fever, Louisiana launched the first Board of Health to regulate quarantine.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
On “The Office” (2009-13), when Kevin got himself for Secret Santa, what did he buy himself? A foot bath. Kudos to: Laurie Ulster-Audible/NYC; Sandy Spiegel/Chicago; Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/LA; Rick Dascher-WarnerMedia Studios/Atlanta; Matty Fera-Bader Rutter/Milwaukee, WI; Eric Dunefsy-Crossmedia/NYC; David Koppelman-Billups/NYC; Allison Weiner-MMSI/Warwick, RI; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Tom Boyd-WGN/Chicago; Cristin DeVries-CBS Network/NYC

Today’s Trivia Question
Who played Ilana’s mother on “Broad City” (2014-19)? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com 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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TUESDAY MARCH 15
ABC: The Bachelor [f], Abbott Elementary, Abbott Elementary
CBS: FBI, FBI: International, FBI: Most Wanted
CW: Superman & Lois, Naomi
FOX: The Resident, The Masked Singer
NBC: Young Rock [p], Mr. Mayor [p], This Is Us, The Thing About Pam
PBS: Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Frontline, Frontlime
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos, Hercai: Amor y Venganza, Pasion de Gavilanes
Univision: Soltero con Hijas, Mi Fortuna es Amarte, Madre

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