PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
FX placed a pilot order for Devs, a drama series created by writer/director Alex Garland, who will executive produce along with DNA TV and Scott Rudin Productions, with whom he partnered on feature film Ex Machina. The pilot will be produced by FX Productions. Story follows a young computer engineer who investigates the secretive development division of her employer, a tech company she believes is behind the disappearance of her boyfriend.
Empire director/executive producer Sanaa Hamri broadened her relationship with 20th Century Fox TV with an overall deal that will see her developing projects, and directing pilots and episodic TV for the studio. The deal renders Hamri exec producer on its upcoming pilot from Ilene Chaiken and Melissa Scrivner Love.
Telemundo is bringing to the US for the first time Exatlon, the sports and reality survival competition that’s a hit in Mexico and around the world. Series will feature teams comprising five men and five women each competing in a combination of extreme circuits and 10 different sports.
More of a good thing for HBO, which is re-teaming with some of the crew behind Big Little Lies for a new limited series to include star Nicole Kidman and writer David E. Kelley. The Undoing is an adaptation of Jean Hanff Korelitz’s book You Should Have Known, which follows a successful therapist on the brink of publishing her first book when she begins to unravel in a chain of horrible events.
Hulu bested the competition to score Little Fires Everywhere, a limited series based on Celeste Ng’s bestselling book. Series is toplined and exec produced by Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, and has a straight-to-series eight-ep order.
CNBC greenlit Deal or No Deal, with its host Howie Mandel. The reimagined show, produced by Truly Original, a subsidiary of Endemol Shine North America, will feature some new twists. It’ll join the primetime lineup in Q4 2018.
Docu-series Finding Fido returns to Z Living, with season 2 premiering Sunday March 18 at 8p. Series, hosted by Seth Casteel, author of Underwater Dogs, helps pet-owners-to-be meet with three potential canine candidates best-suited for their health and lifestyle needs.
Investigation Discovery explores the suspicious death of Kathleen Peterson in limited series An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase, premiering Sunday, April 8 at 10p.
Aerial America spinoff Aerial Cities, debuting on Smithsonian Channel on Sunday, April 8 at 8p, will take a closer look at the nation’s great urban areas. The six-part series will zoom out on Las Vegas, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, San Francisco and LA.
April on Food Network brings new seasons of culinary competitions including Vegas Cakes, premiering Monday, April 2 at 10p, Iron Chef Gauntlet on Wednesday, April 4 at 9p and Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition on Sunday, April 15 at 9p.
Contractor and carpenter Jeff Devlin returns to refurbish more centuries-old homes when DIY Network’s Stone House Revival returns Wednesday, April 18 at 9p.
The nostalgia continues on a new season of Hollywood Darlings, which returns to Pop on Wednesday, April 18 at 8p.
NOVA Wonders, a six-episode primetime series produced by WGBH Boston, will launch on PBS on Wednesday, April 25 at 9p. Hosted by three young scientists, the program follows researchers who are tackling the biggest unanswered questions about life and the cosmos.
In advance of wrapping production on season 5, Starz renewed original series Power for a sixth season. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is scheduled to direct the season 6 premiere ep.
BYUtv out of Provo, Utah, this spring will debut a programming slate beginning with the US premiere of seasons 1 and 2 of BBC drama Hetty Feather, March 18 at 6p. Seasons 3 and 4 will premiere in the fall. In addition, BYUtv acquired Splatalot, a medieval-themed game show set to debut Monday, April 2 at 6:30p, and Painting the Town with Eric Dowdle, premiering Tuesday, April 10 at 8:30p.
ABC is crossing the pond again for more monarch madness. After the success of last year’s The Story of Diana, the network is again teaming with People and Time Inc. Productions on The Story of The Royals, a four-hour primetime television special that will air over two nights in August. The special will showcase the key figures who represent four generations of the crown: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.
Smithsonian Channel special The Mountain Lion and Me airs tonight at 8p, following wildlife filmmaker Casey Anderson on a journey that took a surprising turn. “Filming a wild mountain lion in North America is extremely difficult because these predators are incredibly elusive, so being able to deliver a story like this that spans more than a year is remarkable,” Tria Thalman, executive producer, Natural History, Smithsonian Channel, tells Cynopsis. “What makes this film especially powerful is Casey Anderson’s deep bond with this lion. His emotional investment is what drives him to go out and find her day after day for months on end, witnessing her struggles and victories as she raises her cubs. He gives us an intimate look into the life of a mountain lion that hasn’t been seen before.”
TV5Monde USA, the French-language entertainment channel, scheduled the world television premiere of Le Grand Remix, the inaugural recipient of the 2017 French Culture Film Grant, for Wednesday, March 21 at 8:30p.
Netflix original film Paradox, from Daryl Hannah and featuring Neil Young + Promise of the Real, debuts globally March 23. The film is described as a “a fantasy, a loud poem and a free-spirited tale of music and love.”
America’s first female serial killer captivated the nation’s attention when she was found guilty for brutally murdering six men, and confessing to a seventh between November 1989 to November 1990. In the two-hour Snapped: Notorious–Aileen Wuornos, premiering Sunday, March 25 at 6p, Oxygen Media takes a closer look at the turbulent trial that was the first of its kind.
CBS set Tuesday, April 10 at 9p for the premiere of Elton John: I’m Still Standing – A Grammy Salute Music. Among those tipping their musical hat to John are Alessia Cara, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Kesha, Little Big Town, Chris Martin, Maren Morris, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith.
USA Network’s new digital experience Beyond the Beats: The Rise of Hip Hop maps out the degrees of separation between the most unexpected artists from various decades and genres. Inspired by the net’s limited series Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious BIG, the digital experience builds on the musical metadata capabilities that power the likes of Spotify and Apple Music and brings it to the foreground to give fans a new way to explore, learn about and find connections within hip-hop music.
YouTube added search-based targeting based on information parent Google collects outside the YT sphere as an option of the Google Preferred ad-buying program. The program culls the most popular YouTube channels into category-specific bundles, such as music and kids, which brands can target.
Debuting on Facebook Watch on Wednesday, March 21, Bear Grylls: Face the Wild, features the survival expert making some of his biggest fans’ dreams come true in a new docu-series.
VIDEO IN SHORT
The first episodes of new Snapchat show James Corden’s Next James Corden are live. The six-ep CBS Interactive series will release new episodes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6a on Snapchat’s Discover page. Series takes Corden from late night to the world of a fictional reality competition show to find a young up-and-comer to be his Late Late Show successor. Actor Haley Joel Osment and singer/songwriter/actress Sabrina Carpenter will serve as celebrity guest judges.
Adaptive Studios acquired rights to Astral, a dramatic thriller digital series created by Canadian filmmaker and actress Sonja O’Hara. O’Hara (Amazon‘s Creative Control) is also set to act and direct in the short-form series, which will be exec produced by Perrin Chiles, TJ Barrack, Marc Joubert, Stephen Christensen and Kate Grady.
There’s a reason short form video is red hot right now, so much so that it has its own category in Cynopsis. “We are living in a digital age. People want content readily at their fingertips. The key to reaching these digital consumers is engagement,” says Christine Lubrano, SVP, original programming at IFC and a juror for the Cynopsis Short Form Video Festival. To find out the most effective strategies for engaging viewers – and maximizing ROI – as well as see stand-outs in the arena, you’ll want to be in the room for the festival, postponed due to weather last week but back on the calendar for March 22. You can find out more here.
WGN America scored US rights to six-part crime series The Disappearance, starring Peter Coyote (The 4400, Law & Order: LA), Camille Sullivan (The Man in the High Castle) and Aden Young (Rectify, Killer Elite).
ADVERTISING & PARTNERSHIPS
Viacom entered a partnership with marketing data analytics firm Movio that connects Movio’s consumer data to set-top box viewing data, providing film studios with the ability to deliver marketing campaigns at scale with more precision and impact. Movio’s global moviegoer database comprises more than 750 million behavioral and transactional records.
Matt Shively (The Real O’Neals) alum and Emily Osment (Young & Hungry) will topline cast of CBS comedy pilot 25. Denee Benton (UnREAL) and Jessie Ennis (Veep) will co-star… Leslie Bibb will star opposite Alyson Hannigan in Man of the House, ABC’s family comedy pilot… Trevor St. John (Containment) is in as a series regular opposite Jeanine Mason in CW pilot reboot Roswell… Jocko Sims (The Last Ship) scored a lead role opposite Ryan Eggold in NBC‘s upcoming untitled medical drama pilot… Tone Bell has joined as a lead for CBS comedy pilot Fam… Amy Seimetz (The Girlfriend Experience) snagged a recurring role in season 2 of Epix’s dark comedy Get Shorty.
Riley Smith (Frequency) is in as a series regular in Fox’s untitled drama pilot from Empire co-creator Danny Strong and feature writer David Elliot… EstrellaTV tapped Gino Del Corte and model/actress Maria Elena Anaya as hosts for its midday shows iTestigo and En Vivo, respectively.