03/09/17: CNN taps Trump talk-to; The CW renews Riverdale; WE tv is spinning


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

Tonight’s Premieres:
ABC: The Catch at 10p
Cooking: Carnival Eats at 9p
Fox: Kicking & Screaming at 9p
HGTV: Joined at the Flip at 11p
Velocity: AmeriCarna at 9p

Tonight’s Finale:
IFC: Portlandia at 10p


This should be interesting: Former Donald Trump spokeman Jason Miller has been hired by Trump target CNN as a commentator. Miller had been named White House communications director in December, but bowed out days later following allegations of an extramarital affair. One-time Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski reportedly ruffled feathers during his own brief CNN stint, which ended right after Election Day.

Not so fast, said consumer groups about new FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s expected repeal of regulations that require broadband providers to get consent from consumers before using digital data for ad targeting. “Before the internet was developed, consumers relied on the law to protect their privacy and the security of their correspondence through the mail, telegram, and telephone,” said Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America in papers filed with the FCC.  “Consumers should not have less privacy and security just because our systems of communication have evolved to include the internet.” The new regs were passed in October.

Speaking of the FCC, Pai assured the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday that despite White House criticism of CNN, when it comes to a possible review of AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of CNN parent Time Warner, he would “render a decision based on the law and…will make a determination based on what I and my colleagues believe is in the public interest.” But in light of Time Warner’s recent deal to sell Atlanta TV station WPCH to Meredith, eliminating the need for a license transfer, Pai suggested the FCC would have no jurisdiction in the matter.

Actors in Telemundo telenovelas voted to join SAG-AFTRA, in an election the union called “a momentous step” toward ending a double standard between Spanish-speaking and English-speaking performers. Said a Telemundo spokesperson, “We continue to be dedicated to making Telemundo a great place to work and to Telemundo’s long-term success.”

Fred Savage (The Grinder) has been tapped to host ABC’s upcoming game show, Child Support. The hour-long series from Ricky Gervais and Banijay Studios North America will feature Gervais chatting up kids who can “save” adults stumped by quiz questions. “With Fred’s charisma and Ricky Gervais’ hilarious interactions with the kids, Child Support is going to be a terrific addition to our game show slate,” said Robert Mills, SVP, alternative series, specials & late night programming. Child Support joins ABC game show slate Match Game, To Tell the Truth and The $100,000 Pyramid.

Spanish-language HITN is launching programming based on family-friendly thematic blocks dedicated to topics like health, science and technology, natural history and children’s content. Progams started rolling out this week with “Vida y Salud TV,” a daily block designed to promote good health and well-being among US Hispanic audiences. “HITN wants to contribute to the well-being of the Hispanic families by providing meaningful content that promotes a healthier lifestyle,” Guillermo Sierra, head of television and digital services at HITN, tells Cynopsis.“This is one of several important additions that we will have in 2017 to provide new, exciting and meaningful content for our audience.”


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Projections from Zenith Media state that programmatic advertising will rise by 31% in 2017 – faster growth than any other digital channel, including social media & online video. And you can throw programmatic TV into that mix as well: According to eMarketer, it’ll be a $4.43 billion industry by 2018.

Are you up to speed? Register today to hear from AOL, Assembly and the The Weather Company during the latest webinar on March 15.



Arts net Ovation is developing drama Hot Art, based on the book Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art. Written by Simeon Thornton (Sovereign) and produced by Storyscape Entertainment’s Bob Cooper, it will be Ovation’s first scripted series.


ID’s Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery delves into the investigation and trial of the 22-year-old accused of killing her toddler. Three-parter launches Sunday, April 9 at 10p on the true crime net.

They’re in the money: Showtime picked up Billions for a third run. The hedge fund drama, airing season 2 Sundays at 10p, just had its best telecast of the season, up 13% from its premiere. “Billions continues to be a show on the rise, growing not only in audience, but in critical buzz and cultural relevance,” said David Nevins, president and CEO, Showtime Networks.

The CW renewed Riverdale for a second season. The Archie Comics drama is averaging 1.2 million viewers and .5 among A18-49, with an 85% playback boost among W18-34. Fellow CW frosh Frequency and No Tomorrow have yet receive word about renewal or cancellation.

FX drama Taboo will also be back for season 2. The first run of the series, exec produced and starring Tom Hardy as a man thought long dead, ranks third among new cable dramas over the past year among A18-49 (1.32 million) and sixth in total viewers (2.62 million) on a Live+3 basis.

Kindred Spirits landed a season 2 renewal from TLC. The ghost hunting series debuted last fall to kick off TLC’s Friday night supernatural strand. 

WE tv is spinning off 2 of its popular series, Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars and Growing Up Hip Hop. Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars Family Edition, focused on famously dysfunctional clans, premieres Friday, April 28 at 9p, while Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta makes its debut later this year.

RFD-TV’s FarmHer comes out of the gate with new episodes Friday, March 10 at 9:30p. First up: a 22-year-old Iowa native, lover of agriculture and pigs, and Miss Iowa contestant.


AMC is going big in Austin, with the network’s largest ever participation at SXSW. Starting Friday, March 10, screenings, panels and activations will support new series The Son and returning series Better Call Saul and Preacher. Events include the world premiere of The Son, the opening of the first Los Pollos Hermanos pop-up location (serving Gus Fring’s famous curly fries), a Q&A with Saul’s Bob Odenkirk, and a panel for the upcoming second season of Preacher with executive producer Seth Rogen, executive producer and showrunner Sam Catlin and co-executive producer and comic book writer Garth Ennis.

The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards have been set for Sunday, January 7, 2018 on NBC. This year’s telecast averaged 20 million viewers and a 5.6 among A18-49, up 8% in viewers and 2% in the demo.

Marking the 20th anniversary today of the death of hip hop legend Notorious B.I.G., Fuse is running a #WeMissYouBiggie music block starting at 9a. Fuse will pay homage to Biggie’s iconic crown by adding it to the net’s logo for the day.


Speaking of, Fuse heads into agency upfront meetings with a slate of new content aimed at its young, Latino and multicultural audience. Among the offerings are The Hollywood Puppet Sh!t Show (wt), featuring outrageous true stories told by celebs and reenacted by marionettes, premiering July 11; ride sharing/dating social experiment Picked Up, and They Have a Dream (wt), a series of docs celebrating the cultural heritage of diverse subjects.

Season 3 of Fluffy’s Food Adventures (formerly Fluffy Breaks Even) launches July 11, with expanded digital content, and Big Freedia Bounces Back starts season 6 on September 12.

Fuse was the fastest-growing cable network in prime time for the first 2 months of 2017 versus the comparable months a year ago, delivering 55% growth in prime time and 38% growth in total day among its core Adults 18-34 demographic. “Our line-up of original content appeals to our core young multicultural audience who value entertainment that is engaging, authentic and relatable, while providing our advertising partners with the opportunity to reach these young consumers across platforms,” said Fuse Media EVP, ad sales and integrated marketing, Jason Miller. “Providing multiple touchpoints  from TV, digital and social media to branded content tied to live events, festivals and concerts  is just a part of what we are bringing to our partners during the upfront season, and year-round.”


Nadine Nicole (Scorpion), Austin Basis (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Kerri Kenney (Love) will recur on Hulu comedy Casual, currently in production for season 3.

Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Patton Oswalt (The Goldbergs) have been cast in NBC’s untitled comedy pilot from Seth Meyers, SNL’s Mike O’Brien and Lorne MichaelsBroadway Video, about an Ivy League professor forced to take a job as a high school biology teacher.

Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) has joined the cast of the ABC comedy pilot based on Alex Blumberg’s podcast, Start Up.

Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) will costar with Jason Ritter in ABC dramedy pilot The Gospel of Kevin, reports TVLine. Alonzo will play the “warrior for God” who explains to Ritter’s down-on-his-luck character that he’s been tasked with a sacred mission.

A.J. Buckley (CSI: NY) landed a role in CBS’s untitled Navy SEAL drama pilot, following elite teams as they train and execute dangerous missions.

Arden Myrin (Shameless) and Natalie Dreyfuss (Baby Daddy) will recur on CMT comedy Still the King, returning for season 2 this summer. Austin Swift (Live By Night) is set to guest star as the manager of The Bluebird Cafe.

Jerod Haynes (Southside with You) nabbed the male lead in NBC drama pilot Redliners, following a pair of former operatives who get reactivated.


Sinclair Broadcast Group has begun the rollout of over-the-air network TBD, aiming for Millennial audiences with web series, short films, fashion, comedy, eSports and more, curated through partnerships with creators. Content companies include Jukin Media, Legendary Digital Networks, Whistle Sports, Kinonation, Zoomin’, The QYOU and Canvas Media, among others. “We call TBD a television network for people who love the internet,” said Scott Ehrlich, co-founder and CEO of The QYOU, “and so our focus is on surfacing the best of the incredibly vibrant, creative world of online video culture and programming.”

TV viewers would choose ABC (65.8%), CBS (63.5%), Discovery (61.8%), NBC (61%) and History (56%) over other channels if they could purchase TV service a la carte, according to a study from Digitalsmiths. Those results are similar to the quarter prior, but how much consumers want to pay for the top 20 channels took a turn, dropping 12.3%, to $28.87. “It’s apparent that OTT providers are placing a considerable amount of pressure on broadcast networks,” noted Digitalsmiths. “In the early days of OTT, almost all of the content was movies; nowadays, not only are OTT providers offering original episodic content, they are also offering episodic content of shows that originally ran on broadcast/pay-TV channels.”

In related research, almost 29% of U.S. homes have smart TVs and 23% have a streaming service, according to a study from Nielsen, and that’s leading to cords being cut from traditional pay-TV distributors. “The penetration of these devices is increasing as is the time spent using them,” said the measurement company. “This combination is having a meaningful impact on how people view and engage with content on the TV set, and consequently is changing the ways in which media companies provide services.”

CNN Digital debuted its virtual reality unit, CNNVR, an immersive journalism unit and VR platform. A dedicated global team is in place to cover major news events in 360 video, starting yesterday with the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Bounce TV has added season one of original series Saints & Sinners to its SVOD service, Brown Sugar, with season 2 episodes being added every Monday. Complete seasons of the net’s Mann & Wife, Family Time and In the Cut will be added shortly. Brown Sugar, which boasts an extensive library of iconic black movies, is priced at $3.99/month after a free trial period.

Exclusive live streaming site NCAA March Madness Live, developed by Turner Sports in partnership with CBS and the NCAA, will provide coverage of the Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship through a record 15 platforms, including Amazon Alexa devices and Xbox. For the first time, Turner’s iStreamPlanet will provide the live streaming infrastructure for all games. The NCAA March Madness Live App will be available Saturday, March 11, leading up to Selection Sunday.


But back to last year. In 2016, the NCAA championship generated a record $1.24 billion of national TV ad spend, according to Kantar Media, up 4.7% from the year prior, including game programming on CBS and Turner networks TBS, TNT and truTV. In terms of national TV ad spending, the tournament is the second largest post-season sports franchise, after the NFL playoffs.


Snapchat just launched a second season of its in-house political news show Good Luck America, an attempt to help millennials make sense of what’s happening in the political landscape (good luck with that). Former CNN correspondent Peter Hamby hosts.

Musician Ed Sheeran scored over 1 billion video views on YouTube for content surrounding his new album, “Divide.” Hit single “Shape of You” has over 693 million views for the lyric video and official music video. And counting.

A digital series from wildlife filmmaker Filipe DeAndrade, winner of Nat Geo WILD’s “Wild to Inspire” short film competition in 2015, launches Tuesday, March 14. Ten-part Untamed shows backyard wildlife encounters across the country.


AMC Networks International Iberia, producer of themed channels in Spain and Portugal, will start broadcasting Canal Cocina and Canal Decasa in 4K UHD resolution from June 2017 in Spain. Channels focus on cooking and lifestyle.

Sky Vision has a partner in Altice Studios for production of 10-part drama Riviera, focused on the dark underbelly of the glamorous luxury locale. Riviera will air on Sky Atlantic in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Ireland in 2017.


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/

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NBC’s This Is Us hit series highs of 11 million viewers and 3.0 among A18-49 for its 9p slot on Wednesday.

CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is on a roll, averaging 2.9 in metered markets on Tuesday, matching its January 20 broadcast as its highest regularly scheduled local rating since September 2015, and up +53% from the same night last year. The week prior was Late Night’s fifth consecutive week as the number one late night program, with 3.0 million total viewers.

The season 2 premiere of Bounce’s Saints & Sinners reached 1.4 million unduplicated viewers across 2 initial airings on Sunday, March 5, an increase of 5% versus the season one launch.

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 time period averages (*The presidential speech to Congress aired at 9p.)
Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD
CBS: 7.0/13
NCIS 8.8/15, Bull 6.4/11, NCIS: New Orleans 5.8/11
NBC: 6.1/11
The Voice 7.1/12, This Is Us 7.1/12, Chicago Justice 4.0/8
ABC: 2.4/3
The Middle 3.7/7, American Housewife 3.1/5, Fresh Off the Boat 2.2/4, The Real O’Neals 1.8/3, People Icons 1.7/3
FOX: 1.4/2
New Girl .9/2, The Mick .9/2, Bones 1.9/3
CW: 1.2/2
The Flash 1.5/3, DC.s Legends of Tomorrow .9/2
Pequentes Gigantes USA .9/2,
Vino el Amor 1.2/2, La Piloto 1.0/2

Tuesday A19-49: NBC 2.3/9, CBS 1.3/4, ABC 1.0/4, CW .7/3, UNI .6/2, FOX .6/2,
Source: Nielsen


Randy Jones was named Director of Programming at Travel Channel. Previously, Jones was a developer and showrunner on Scripps Networks Interactive series.

This Day in History:
1562 – Kissing in Naples, Italy was banned, punishable by death (though in fairness it was less about prudishness than spreading the plague).

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question:  Which television teacher famously attempted to assassinate Kathie Lee Gifford? Mr. Garrison on South Park. Kudos to: Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station, TX, Beverly Wolfe-Fox/NYC, David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NYC, Ryan Hull-Discovery Communications/NYC, Cheryl Gandert-The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company/Marysville, OH, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burband, CA, Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, CA

Today’s Trivia Question: Which show focused on a former First Lady who lost the nomination for president, then became Secretary of State? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: A limit of four correct answers from each time zone will be selected.).

Answer to Our Last Anagram: Epic Salt Son = Lost in Space. Kudos to: Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

Short-lived Political Drama Anagram: Foists a Fat Fear (Email [email protected]; first three respondents with the correct answer who aren’t in trivia will be posted in tomorrow’s newsletter.)
Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey: Editorial Director @Lynn_Leahey

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

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JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, MEDIA SALES/BRITE MEDIA/NYC: Senior sales role to lead and cultivate programs with brands and agencies. Client and agency relationships – OOH, shopper, multicultural, promotional, sampling experience desired – 7+ years exp. Resume HERE (3/16) 

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JOB OPENING: MGR, BRAND MKTG/PROMOTIONS/SYFY/NYC: Ideate & execute on ground consumer promotions, stunts, events & partnerships for Syfy’s original series & brand initiatives. 3-5 year’s experience. Full info/apply HERE (3/16)

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JOB OPENING: NAT’L SALES ASSISTANT/UP/NYC: Provide support to ad sales by working with AEs, Sales Plners & Pricing/Inv to service clients. Work w/agency buyers. Maintain order entry, inventory moves & allocations.Strong organizational skills and attn to detail. Send res: HERE (3/15)

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JOB OPENING: AD SALES PLANNER/Crown Media Family Networks/NY: Provide support to Ad Sales by working W/Acct Execs to srvc clients. Incl sales plans, mng added value, build & modify sales orders. Detail oriented w/ability to work in fast paced environment. Min 1 yr Sales exp. req. Full info/apply HERE (3/14)

JOB OPENING: MANAGING EDITOR/WRNN-TV, FIOS1 News/Rye Brook NY: The Managing Editor will gather news, allocate assignments, handle logistics and the internal coordination of news stories for on-air and online news for Fios1 News. Must be exp’d w/managing staff. Full info/apply HERE (3/14)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, RESEARCH/WNBC/NYC: Responsible for the creation of compelling information and analyses in support of Sales, News and Digital strategies. 7+ yrs in the media or market research field with expertise in Nielsen ratings. Full info/apply HERE (3/14)

JOB OPENING: CLIENT SOLUTIONS DIR/UP & ASPIRE/NYC: Create & execute 360 partnerships; oversee upfront strategy/events, ad trade; digital exp + : out of the box thinker. 6+ yrs cable exp in brdcst/cable mkt req’d. Send res: HERE [email protected] (3/14)

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JOB OPENING: MGR, BRAND MARKETING/Syfy/NYC: Responsible for conception, developing & executing promotional mktg campaigns for Syfy’s original series & brand initiatives. Focus on consumer marketing & events. Full info/apply HERE (3/10)

JOB OPENING: COORDINATOR, TRAFFIC/Crown Media Family Networks/NY: Edit daily broadcast logs, log reconciliation, and execute agency traffic instructions. Maintains commercial inventory for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. 2yrs Ad Sales Traffic exp. Full info/apply HERE (3/10)

JOB OPENING: COORDINATOR, PROGRAMMING & SCHEDULING/Crown Media Family Networks/LA: Track all programming and scheduling updates, data and scheduling input, screens content for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. BS/BA req. 2 yrs TV exp. Full info/apply HERE (3/10)

JOB OPENING: PROGRAMMING & SCHEDULING SPECIALIST/FUSION MEDIA GROUP/MIAMI/NYC: Build/present comprehensive program scheduling plans to achieve Fusion’s content goals. Min 3yrs prgrmmng & scheduling exp, strategic thinker, collaborative & detailed-oriented, strong comm skills & BA Deg. Resume/cvr HERE (3/10)


ABC: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, The Catch [p]
CBS: The Big Bang Theory, The Great Indoors, Mom, Life in Pieces, Training Day
CW: Supernatural, Riverdale
FOX: MasterChef, Kicking & Screaming [
NBC: Superstore [r], Powerless, Chicago Med, The Blacklist: Redemption
PBS: This Old House Hour [r], Mercy Street [r], Antiques Roadshow [r]
Telemundo: La Fan,
La Dona, El Chema
Univision: Pequenos Gigantes USA, Vino el Amor, La Piloto

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