03/09/17: As Boomerang enters the digital age, what’s next?; Boggle Battle creator spells out show plans; kids are the secret sauce to Gervais’ new primetime series


Good morning. It’s Thursday March 9, 2017 and this is your first early morning Kids briefing.


Yabba Dabba Digital! Turner and Warner Bros. are taking the Boomerang network into the digital age with the launch of a premium video subscription service that will house classic animated content from the Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes and MGM animation libraries plus exclusive new original series. The ad-free service will provide instant access to more than 5,000 titles including the Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, The Jetsons and Flintstones franchises, and will serve as a platform to launch new animated content. First out of the gate will be Warner Bros. Animation’s Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, a comedic fantasy series that follows the ruby slipper adventures of its brave and feisty princess protagonist; and Wacky Races, a slapstick comedy reboot of the classic Hanna-Barbera series. Boomerang also will be the only place to catch new episodes of the series Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry. At launch the service is available on the web, iOS and Android devices with plans to expand to Amazon, Roku and Apple TV in the near term. Cost is $4.99/month (with a seven-day free trial) or $39.99/year with a 30-day free trial. 

Disney CEO Bob Iger is not having it with claims by some shareholders that his membership on President Trump’s Business Advisory Council is a perceived endorsement of the administration. Council membership provides “a privileged opportunity to have a voice in the room” and express views that are “in the best interest of the company and its values,” Iger said yesterday at Disney’s annual shareholder meeting. Iger added his views are “likely to be adversarial” to the Trump administration, “not an endorsement.”

Nickelodeon’s new overall talent deal with Dance Moms alum and social media darling JoJo Siwa isn’t just a good way for the net to promote its upcoming docu-style special on the 13-year-old. It’s a page right out of the new playbook of Viacom CEO Bob Bakish. Speaking this week at the Deutsche Bank Media & Telecom Conference, Bakish told investors he wants Viacom brands to hold on to their talent. He cited two examples of talent who flew the coop after success on Viacom’s Comedy Central:  Amy Schumer, who scored big with Inside Amy Schumer then “went on and did a film with Universal,” and Jordan Peele, who saw success with the series Key & Peele and then headed to Universal for his recent film. “There’s significant opportunity” to run operations “not as a set of silos,” Bakish said. Look for Nick to sign more Siwa-like deals.


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Entertainment One, Keller/Noll and Hasbro Studios are at work on new game show Boggle Battle, which turns the classic Hasbro game into a family entertainment via dynamic, pop culture-themed boards and dice that come to life. Co-creator Dave Noll (Chopped, Winsanity!) tells Cynopsis the team will be pitching cable, broadcast and syndicators during the next few weeks. “It could go in syndication. You could put it on during the day, at 7 or 7:30, during primetime at 8. The audience is whoever’s watching The Voice, Deal or No Deal, Ellen’s new game show,” he says. “Everyone just wants fun entertainment now. In the last two to three years, the networks keep asking for fun and brands. This is a brand everyone knows, and we’ve added brands into it each board.” Each of the Boggle boards carries a different theme, including Harry Potter, the Marvel Universe, the NBA, The Simpsons and cities of the world.

The cross-promotional opportunities are not lost on Noll. “The grand plan is, hopefully we’ll sell the show to a Paramount Network, and we have all these Paramount brands we can toy with.” Noll says the team looked at several Hasbro games but Boggle emerged the clear choice. “What we noticed right away was Boggle has that game show element. There’s a ticking clock, in the form of the white sand [timer], it’s a letter game, and we love that there’s this great soul to it. But that’s it, it’s really so simple, so you can build anything around it.” Boggle Battle is exec-produced by John Morayniss and Tara Long for eOne; Keller and Noll for Keller/Noll; and Josh Feldman for Hasbro Studios.

Child Support, from Ricky Gervais and Banijay Studios North America, is in the works for ABC. Hosted by Fred Savage, the hourlong game show (formerly known as Five to Survive) will feature adult contestants alongside interactions between Gervais and a group of five kids ages 6-9 who, not surprisingly, add to the unpredictability factor. Contestants must answer 10 questions to earn the top prize. If they answer incorrectly, the contestants have a chance to be saved by the kids, who have been asked the same question by Gervais. The ABC game show roster already includes Match Game, To Tell the Truth and The $100,000 Pyramid.


Annual slime fest the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards happens this Saturday, March 11, airing live at 8p on Nickelodeon. WWE Superstar and actor John Cena is set to preside over the festivities, which include performances by the Little Mix, Machine Gun Kelly and Camilla Cabello. Talent appearances include the Chainsmokers, Nick Cannon, Ellen DeGeneres, DJ Khaled and Zendaya. Sponsors include Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Crest, Hot Wheels, Nintendo, Skechers, Toyota and Walmart.

Justin Bieber, Meghan Trainor, DNCE, Selena Gomez and host Kelsea Ballerini lead the noms for the 2017 Radio Disney Music Awards. Among several new categories introduced this year are #Trending  Favorite Social Media Star and When The Beat Drops!  Best Dance Track, which celebrates the popularity of electronic dance music. Winners will be announced Saturday, April 29 at the Microsoft Theater in LA; two-hour telecast will air Sunday, April 30 at 7p on Disney Channel.


Friday, March 10 at 8p is the debut of Disney Channel’s original movie Tangled Before Ever After, an animated mash-up set between the stories told in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ film Tangled and its short film Tangled Ever After. The movie centers on Rapunzel’s realization she cannot accept her royal destiny until she learns more about the world. 

Saturday’s (March 11) episode of The Voyager With Josh Garcia, 10a on NBC, finds the YouTube personality and travel buff ashore in Singapore. While in the world’s only island city-state he immerses himself in culture, dining in a floating restaurant, and shopping around the city’s Little India district.

Shell Game: Nickelodeon is bringing back Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo for season 5 of the anthology series Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, on Sunday, March 19 at 9a. Series winds through new adventures building on seven distinct stories from the past and future. Premiere ep “Scroll of the Demodragon” guest stars Mark Hamill (Star Wars) as Kavaxas, a hotheaded dragon man with mystical powers. Additional season 5 guest stars include Chris Sarandon (The Princess Bride), Graham McTavish (The Hobbit trilogy); Dana DeLorenzo (Ash vs. Evil Dead) and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Revenge).

Liv and Maddie will take its final bow at the conclusion of season 4 on Disney Channel on Friday, March 24 at 5:30p. The Dove Cameron-starring series wraps with an ep titled “Cali Style End-A-Rooney," which finds the Rooney house finally rebuilt and ready to reunite the family before summer suddenly throw everything into jeopardy.


Although kids value the news media, they feel the media doesn’t cover what’s important to them and they feel misrepresented when they’re covered. This according to a new report from Common Sense Media. News and America’s Kids: How Young People Perceive and Are Impacted by the News is based on a nationally representative survey of 10- to 18-year-olds about their engagement with the news. Among key findings:

*  Kids value the news. Most access it and care about it, and overall they feel smarter when they’re informed. 48 percent say following the news is important to them; 70 percent say consuming news makes them feel smart and knowledgeable; and half feel that following the news helps them feel prepared to make a difference.
*  Kids feel neglected and misrepresented. 74 percent think the media should show more people their age, rather than grownups talking about them; 69 percent say the news media has no idea about the experiences of people their age, and only 42 percent think the news covers issues that matter to them.
*  Kids see racial and gender bias in the news. Half of kids say when they see nonwhite kids in the news, it’s negative and/or related to crime and violence. Children also recognize gender bias, and only 34 percent agree that the news treats women and men equally fairly.
*  What kids are seeing scares them and makes them feel depressed. 63 percent find content to be disturbing, causing them to feel afraid, angry, and/or depressed.
*  Kids are fooled by fake news. This may be why many are extremely skeptical and distrustful of the news media. Only 44 percent agree they can tell fake news stories from real ones. And, of those who have shared a news story online in the last six months, 31 percent say they shared a story that they later found out was wrong or inaccurate.
*  Kids trust their families and teachers for news more than any source, but they prefer to get it from social media. 66 percent say they trust the news they hear from family "a lot," with teachers being the second-most-trusted source (48 percent). However, when asked to select their preferred news source, 39 percent of children picked online news sources – more than those who selected family, teachers, and friends (36 percent) and well above those who selected traditional media (24 percent).


NPR and PBS affiliate-based in San Francisco radio station KQED is launching Above the Noise, a YouTube series for teens that dives into the science behind the issues affecting them. In five-minute episodes, hosts/journalists Myles Bess and Shirin Ghaffary take a close look at topics often distorted in the media, examining the latest research to inspire young viewers to draw informed conclusions, strengthen their media literacy skills and activate interest in civic engagement. “In this new era of fake news and ‘alternative facts,’ I want to provide my peers with another perspective that will enable them to look beyond the surface level of what they’ve seen in their social feeds or have been told,” says Bess. First two eps focus, respectively, on identifying signs of misleading science reporting and exploring the relationships between social status and health. Future topics include whether energy drinks should be banned for kids and teens, whether there are health benefits to marijuana and how data impacts racial bias in the criminal justice system.

Miffy’s World debuts today (March 9) in the App Store for iOS, with a Google Play incarnation coming soon. The app, created by StoryToys, is a new take on the classic white bunny created by Dick Bruna in 1955 and based on the TV series Miffy’s Adventures: Big and Small, which airs on Nick Jr.

Netflix chief Ted Sarandos told UK’s Press Association the streaming service has had “preliminary” talks with the creators of Gilmore Girls for a potential part deux of the hit Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life revival. Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and exec producer Dan Palladino launched the Netflix limited series on November 25, which left fans  and the door  open to continuing the story line. The four installments of The Gilmore Girls reunion averaged 4.97 million viewers in the 18-49 demo.


Top Women in Digital
Tuesday, March 21  I  8:15 – 10:30 AM  I  Sponsored by FreeWheel

Join Cynopsis Media in honoring this year’s Top Women in Digital at an awards breakfast celebrating the exceptional, the creative and the bold in the digital media industry. See the list of honorees here: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/2017-top-women-digital-awards-breakfast/

Register Now.


On-demand kids entertainment service Toon Goggles and KidzSafe, maker of volume-limiting headphone and accessories for children, are in a new agreement to cross-market each other’s products. Families who purchase a Kidzsafe product will receive a free three-month trial of the Toon Goggles premium service.


Eva Green is in talks to star in Tim Burton’s Dumbo, Disney’s live-action reboot of the 1941 animated classic that’s written by Ehren Kruger, who produces with Justin Springer (Tron: Legacy). Green played the title role in Burton’s film adaptation of the novel Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, and also starred in his vampire comedy Dark Shadows in 2012.

The Russian government is not banning Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast under its anti-“gay propaganda” law but rather slapping the movie, which has an MPAA rating of G in the States, with a 16+ rating. The film is set for a March 16 release in Russia.

Cathy Applefeld Olson

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