03/27/15: The end is near(ish) for Downton Abbey; HBO strikes a deal for daily Vice newscast; Oscars looking for new producers


In Season 5 The Walking Dead has its biggest ratings ever
#1 SHOW ON TELEVISION caps its biggest season
with a special 90 minute episode this Sunday

Better Call Saul makes its own history
with the

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Good morning. It’s Friday March 27, 2015, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
TLC: Bride by Design at 9p

Tonight’s Finales:
CW: Hart of Dixie at 8p
HGTV: Love It or List It, Too at 9p

Saturday’s Premiere:
GSN: Monopoly Millionaires’ Club at 8p

Saturday’s Finales:
CNBC: The Suze Orman Show at 9p
HGTV: House Hunters Renovation at 10p
Starz: Black Sails at 9p

Sunday’s Premieres:
Bravo: Blood, Sweat & Heels at 9p
DIY: Building Alaska at 10p
PBS: Call the Midwife at 8p

Sunday’s Finales:
AMC: The Walking Dead at 9p, Talking Dead at 10:30p
Bravo: The Millionaire Matchmaker at 10p
Showtime: House of Lies at 10:30p


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Season six will be the last for Downton Abbey, the UK’s highest-rated drama of the past decade and a hit for PBS. “Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end, and Downton is no exception,” said exec producer Gareth Neame on Thursday. “We wanted to close the doors on Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show is still being enjoyed so much by its fans.” But the Crawley clan might live to see another day – Neame said a big-screen production of the show is “definitely something we’re contemplating.”


HBO struck a robust content deal with Millennial-skewing Vice Media. In addition to a four-year extension for documentary news show Vice, upping the number of episodes from 14 to 35, the premium cabler announced a Vice daily newscast of five half-hour shows a week – HBO’s first daily news program – and gave the company a channel on HBO Now ahead of the streaming service’s April 12 launch. “This extension of the HBO/Vice relationship, which will include more shows, more documentaries and even a Vice daily newscast is a natural evolution of our partnership,” said HBO CEO Richard Plepler and president Michael Lombardo

Cord-cutters might have the freedom to watch TV anywhere, anytime, but they’re likely doing it like their cable-connected cousins – in the home from 8p-11p, according to research from Horizon Media’s Where Group. Almost three quarters of respondents said they watched on smart or connected TVs, while 36 percent viewed on laptops and 31 percent on mobile devices. One difference: when it comes to live events, many of those without access to broadcast (60 percent) get off the couch and head elsewhere to view.

Rod Perth, president and CEO of NATPE//Content First, extended his contract through February 2016, when he will join the Board of Directors. “We will be conducting a search for a new executive who will work closely with Rod, culminating in the hand off next February following our 2016 market and conference,” said NATPE board chairman Jordan Levin on Thursday.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the producers behind the Oscars for the last three years, announced they’re not going for a fourth. This year’s telecast averaged 36.6 million viewers for ABC, the lowest audience in six years.

Be careful what you wish for: Cable consumers could face hefty bills if programming was served a la carte, according to MoffettNathanson’s “Why an OTT World Might Be Out of Reach.” To meet their revenue needs, ESPN would require $36.30/month per subscriber, estimates MoffattNathanson, versus the current $6.10 the net gets from pay TV providers; TNT would have to charge $8.95, versus $1.50. “Most of these top networks would be prohibitively expensive,” noted the report.

CBS boasts it was the TV Network Brand of the Year in the 27th Harris Poll EquiTrend study. Brand ratings were determined on the basis of familiarity, quality and consideration.

Do you agree it’s time to wrap up Downton Abbey? Let us know in the new Cynopsis poll.


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IFC is developing Start Making Sense(wt), with an order for multiple scripts from creator and writer Jake Fogelnest (Billy on the Street), produced by Legendary Television and exec produced by Ben Stiller, Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld and Mike Rosenstein through Red Hour. “I am thrilled to be working with IFC, Red Hour and Legendary on this project,” said Fogelnest.“I just hope they never figure out they’ve put a complete dumdum in charge of writing what has been sold to them as a smart comedy. Seriously, have you seen what I put on Twitter?”


Meryl Streep narrates PBS’s Caring for Mom & Dad, focused on the emotional challenge and financial burden of caring for aging parents. Says author Jane Gross in the one-hour doc, premiering Thursday May 7 (check local listings), “Your mother or father better have a gazillion dollars, or by the time this is over, mom and dad are broke, and so are you.”

Michael Keaton (Birdman) threepeats as Saturday Night Live host on April 4, with Carly Rae Jepson ( “Call Me Maybe”) as first-time musical guest. The following week, Taraji P. Henson (Empire) leads the NBC sketch show for the first time, with Mumford & Sons making their second appearance.

Outdoor Channel announced a spring schedule that includes nearly 80 shows, and three new series: GunnyTime with R. Lee Ermey, Wednesdays at 8p starting April 15, followed by Shootout Lane. Alaska’s Ultimate Bush Pilots airs Mondays at 10p. “We’re continuing to evolve our programming to provide a broad range of thrilling, thought-provoking content that is designed to appeal to the more than 130 million outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers in the U.S.,” said Jeffrey Wayne, EVP of programming at Outdoor and Sportsman.

Not to be outdone, Sportsman had some 2Q15 announcements of its own, including 470 new episodes beginning March 30, part of the net’s “Red, Wild & Blue” initiative. Highlights include Apex Predator, premiering Thursday, April 9 at 8p; Shed Wars, out Thursday, May 21 at 8p, and Sheep Shape, launching Thursday, June 25 at 8:30p. And hosting the second season of Saving Private K-9, returning April 23 at 9p: Lt. Col. Oliver North.

AXS TV goes for laughs with a politically charged stand-up special Lewis Black and Friends: A Night to Let Freedom Laugh on Thursday, April 16 at 10p. Two-hour event was filmed at the Warner Theater in downtown Washington, DC.

MSG is celebrating Walt Frazier’s birthday today with Clyde: 70 Years of Cool, an all-day marathon dedicated to the Knicks legend. In addition to past games and specials running from 7:30a through 3:30a, Frazier will call the Knicks-Celtics game at 7:30p.

Lifetime picked up the film Stockholm, Pennsylvania, starring Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) and Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), to air Saturday, May 2 at 8p. Ronan plays a young woman abducted as a child who struggles readjusting to
being home.

Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) follows his ancestral trail to Ireland on TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, Sunday, March 29 at 10p.


Food Network has two new series debuting in May. American Diner Revival sends Ty Pennington (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) and Chopped judge Amanda Freitag to the aid of struggling diners across the country starting Friday, May 22 at 10:30p, while network stars share food secrets in Guilty Pleasures, launching Monday, May 25 at 10p.

TLC’s The Willis Family follows the 14-member singing group gone viral after making it to the quarterfinals of America’s Got Talent. Docu-series from Figure 8 Films/Heart Bridge Media premieres Tuesday, May 5 at 10p.

I Love You…But I Lied, telling true stories of family secrets and betrayal, launches on LMN Wednesday, April 8 at 10. Series from Original Media is based on the hit Dutch format, Behind Closed Doors.

NBC’s suiting up for summer: Reality series The Island premieres Monday, May 25 at 10p, and celeb variety show I Can Do That bows the following day at 10p. Comedies Mr. Robinson, starring Craig Robinson (The Office), and Jerrod Carmichael’s The Carmichael Show make their debuts Wednesday, August 5 at 9p and 9:30p.


History picked up a season four of Vikings, currently the top cable series Thursdays in Live+3 with an average 4.3 million total viewers and 2 million among A18-49. Season finale is slated for Thursday, April 23 at 10p.

AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire launches its sophomore run Sunday, May 31 at 10p, with a season exec producer Jonathan Lisco promises will be “brasher and more addictive than ever.” Complete first season is available through Tuesday, April 7 on AMC On Demand and AMC.com.

BBC America’s Ripper Street is back Wednesday, April 29 at 10p. Season three picks up in 1894, four years after the close of season two.

Summer return dates were announced for NBC’s Food Fighters (Thursday, July 2 at 8p), Hollywood Game Night (Tuesday, July 7 at 10p), Running Wild With Bear Grylls (Monday, July 13 at 10p), Welcome to Sweden (Sunday, July 19 at 8p and 8:30p) and Last Comic Standing (Wednesday, July 22 from 9-11p for the premiere, 10p beginning July 29).


Dr Pepper and Telemundo are collaborating for the second year on an effort to build brand awareness for the soft drink brand among the network’s Millennial viewers.  Suelta La Sopa hosts Jorge Bernal and Erika de la Vega, along with  other celebs, will try something “they always wanted to do” and encourage viewers to do the same, as part of a “Dare To” campaign that includes custom videos to air during commercial time and cross-promotional segments. “Dr Pepper is a one-of-a-kind partner for Telemundo, helping us bring our devoted fans the engaging, innovative content we dare them to try,” said Mike Rosen, EVP, NBCU Hispanic Group Advertising Sales.

Alcohol advertising might impact brand choice, but it doesn’t make people drink more, according to a study from the University of Texas at Austin. Between 1971 and 2011, per capita consumption remained steady, according to the report, while alcohol advertising increased 400 percent. “Although criticisms of alcohol advertising and promotional methods abound,” wrote advertising professor Gary Wilcox, “remedies that would restrict or overly regulate such communication activities usually do not have the desired effect of reducing consumption.”

Want to learn more about themodern digital ecosystem, and how advertisers, marketers and brands are managing money to make money? Then you want to attend the THE NEW REVENUE LANDSCAPE panel at 9:50am at The Cynopsis Digital Business Summit. Join us on Thursday, April 23 at the Astor Center in NYC and register now to receive the early bird rate: http://j.mp/CynDMS


Nickelodeon’s 28th Annual Kids Choice Awards will simulcast for the first time across Nickelodeon, TeenNick, Nicktoons and TV Land, and live stream on Nick.com and the Nick App on Saturday, March 28 at 8p.Encores will air across Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, TeenNick and CMT following the show.

Ricardo Hurtado, Lance Lim (Growing Up Fisher), Aidan Miner (Homeroom), Jade Pettyjohn (Henry Danger) and Breanna Yde (The Haunted Hathaways) joined the cast of Nickelodeon musical comedy series School of Rock, based on the 2003 movie. Currently in production, series is slated for fall 2015.


Former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry is back on television – and Fox – for dramedy pilot Studio City, about a young singer whose songwriter dad (Perception’s Eric McCormack) is a drug dealer. In addition to his recurring role, Daughtry will write music for the show.

William Peterson (CSI) joins the season two cast of WGN America’s Manhattan as a deeply religious military officer called by God to usher in the atomic future.

Colin Ferguson (The Vampire Diaries) landed a recurring role on season three of Hallmark Channel’s Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove. Drama starring Andie McDowell and Dylan Neal returns with a two-hour premiere in July.


Tricon Films & Television sold dramedy Sensitive Skin, starring Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall, to Tele Munchen Group Germany and Sky Arts UK, which is launching the series April 1. Israel’s Hot Telecommunication Systems debuted the series in February.


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Fox’s Empire-less Wednesday drew 1.7/6 among A18-49 for a two-hour American Idol, versus 6.5/21 for the final two hours of the hot hip hop drama last week. Idol’s March 11 outing delivered 2.4/8 in the demo.

TV One’s News One Now’s first primetime news special, Mo’Nique: Uncensored, delivered a .24 P25-54 rating (144,000) on Sunday at 10p, an increase of 95 percent among P25-54 versus the prior six-week time slot delivery, and ranked as the number seven program among Black A25-54 in all of cable in the time period.

Sunday Morning News Shows March 22, 2015
CBS: Face the Nation 2.998 million total viewers; .7 and 818,000 A25-54
ABC: This Week 2.976 million total viewers; .8 and 988,000 A25-54
NBC: Meet the Press 2.938 million total viewers; .7 and 810,000 A25-54
CBS: Face the Nation-2 1.649 million total viewers; .4 and 433,000 A25-54
FOX: Fox News Sunday 1.442 million total viewers; .4 and 516,000 A25-54
Source: Nielsen, NTI Total Viewers and A25-54 Live+SD

Broadcast Morning Shows Weekly Average Ratings (week of March 16, 2015)
ABC: Good Morning America 5.24 million total viewers; 1.6/14 and 1.95 million A25-54
NBC: Today 4.66 million total viewers; 1.5/13 and 1.8 million A25-54
CBS: This Morning 3.25 million total viewers; .8/7 and 966,000 A25-54
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers and A25-54 Live+SD

Late Night Talk Shows Weekly Average Ratings (week of March 16, 2015)
ABC: Nightline 1.68 million total viewers; .4/500,000 A18-49
NBC: Late Night 1.44 million total viewers; .6/664,000 A18-49
CBS: Late Late Show 1.14 million total viewers; .3/374,000 A18-49
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers and A18-49 Live+SD

Wednesday A18-49 Analysis: CBS won the most A18-49 viewers Wednesday with 1.9/6, according to Nielsen. CBS was first at 8p with 2.3/8 for Survivor, followed by a 2.0/7 average for ABC’s The Middle and The Goldbergs. ABC won 9p with a 2.5/8 average for Modern Family and black-ish; CBS took second with 2.1/7 for Criminal Minds. It was NBC’s turn at the top at 10p with 1.5/5 for Chicago PD, versus 1.4/5 for CBS’s CSI: Cyber.

A18-49: CBS 1.9/6, ABC 1.7/6, FOX 1.7/6, NBC 1.3/4, UNI 1.2/4, CW .9/3, TELE .7/2, ION .2/1

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: March 18, 2015 – time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
CBS: 5.7/10
Survivor 5.6/10, Criminal Minds 6.2/10, CSI: Cyber 5.3/9
FOX: 5.2/9
American Idol 5.2/9
NBC: 4.1/7
Mysteries of Laura 4.2/7, Law and Order: SVU 4.0/7, Chicago PD 4.1/7
ABC: 3.9/7
The Middle 4.6/8, The Goldbergs 4.1/7, Modern Family 5.2/9, black-ish 4.0/7, Nashville: On the Record 2.8/5
Mi Corazon Es Tuyo 2.0/3, Hasta Fin del Mundo 1.7/3, Que te Perdone Dios…Yo No 1.4/3
CW: 1.5/2
Arrow 1.8/3, Supernatural 1.1/2
TELE: 1.0/2
La Biblia 1.2/2, Tierra de Reyes .8/1, Duenos del Paraiso .9/2
ION: .5/1
Cold Case .6/1, Cold Case .5/1, Cold Case .5/1


Jason Wyrick was promoted to the position of Vice President, Digital Platforms at Starz. Most recently, Wyrick was Senior Director of Digital Platforms.

Genius Brands International appointed Margaret Loesch to its Board of Directors. Loesch was the founding President and CEO of the Hub Network, the first President and CEO of Crown Media United States and founding President and CEO of Fox Kids Network, Worldwide.


Former President and COO of Turner Entertainment Roger Mayer died March 24. He was 89. A philanthropist who served as chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the National Film Preservation Foundation, Mayer won an Emmy for producing the 2004 PBS documentary Judy Garland: By Myself.


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Friday Fun Fact:
In relation to body size, cats are the mammals with the largest eyes.

This Day in History: 1513 – Juan Ponce de Leon sighted Florida.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: In what state did Alias Smith and Jones‘ (1971-1973) Hayes and Curry grow up? Kansas. Kudos to: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NYC, Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL, Linda Grillo-Viacom/NYC, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/LA, Kim Simmons-PM Digital/NYC.

Today’s Trivia Question – TV Western Theme Week: In which western was the main character’s wife killed by an Indian’s arrow in the first episode? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.).
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JOB OPENING: ASSOCIATE PRODUCT MANAGER/NBC/Univ. City, CA: Assist product management team to generate requirements for NBC digital products. 2 yrs digital product exp. required. Full info/apply HERE (4/3)

JOB OPENING: MGR DESIGN SERVICES/AMC/NYC: Participate in ideation, dvlpmnt/implementation of design & mktg solutions. 3-5 yrs. design & art exp, expert level w/After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Powerpoint, extreme attention to detail, creative thinker Full info/apply HERE (4/3)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, ON-AIR PROMOS/PAC-12/SFO: Developing, writing & implementing promotional & marketing concepts and assets for broadcast, digital & mobile use. Previous exp in sports is a must. Full posting/apply HERE (4/3)

JOB OPENING: SPECIALIST, COMM (Edu & Children’s Media/Nat Geo/NYC: Resp for publicity outreach for Nat Geo’s Edu & Children’s Media Group. BA degr pref comms. 2-4 yrs PR exp req’d. Exp as consumer publicist dig media & w/family bloggers a +. Full info/apply HERE (4/3)

JOB OPENING: DIR, AUD ANALYTICS/CNBC/NYC: Establish and analyze KPIs for strategies across CNBC’s digital platforms & develop tools to facilitate biz decision making. Must have 4 yrs Omniture exp Full info/apply HERE (4/3)

JOB OPENING: MKTG ASSOCIATE/MediaCom/NYC: Assist in creation/implementation of mktg activities to enhance image/position of MediaCom. 2-5 year mktg related exp. Exc verbal/written comm skills & ability to mng many projects at once. Full info/apply HERE (4/2)

JOB OPENING: SALES PLANNER/ION@NY: Sales planning pos; plan building, delivering upfront + scatter deals, build plan to specs. Review inventory load. Prep MSA reports. Rate card mgmt, knowl of Dealmaker. 3+ yrs exper. Resume: [email protected] (4/1)

JOB OPENING: DIR, PROGRAMMING (Orig. Movies)/Crown Media/LA: Development current original movies, current programs/oversees assigned projects from start to finish. Seeks out programming for HC’s scripted needs. Min.7 yrs. develop/production exp.. Apply HERE (4/1)

JOB OPENING: ART DIRECTOR/REVOLT Media & TV/NY: Support ad sales/integrated mktg initiatives by designing internal/external content & design materials. BA graphic design & 3-10 yrs exp in graphic design for a design studio/agency/in-house creative dept. Resume HERE (4/1)

CLASSIFIED AD: CONTENT DISTRIBUTION: Danny Lipford Media seeks domestic/intl platforms for large home improvement library, including 400 HD ½ hr episodes of Emmy-nominated TV show Today’s Homeowner (17 seasons) and 3,000+ videos. Email [email protected] (3/31)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR-RESEARCH/Discovery Channel/LA: Talented researcher to utilize Nielsen ratings+consumer databases to inform/devel ntwrk strtgy. Skill to turn data into stories. Pro w/ind systems-esp. Npower & Starmedia, prmry rsrch a +. 8+ yrs media rsrch. Apply HERE (3/31) 

JOB OPENING: SR. DIR- DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION/Discovery/NY: Strong negotiator to navigate dist deals & dvlp strategy. Identify, create & foster strong partnerships w/ digital distributors to maximize the value of Discovery products/services. 8-10 yrs exp req’d. Apply HERE (3/31)

JOB OPENING: MARKETING MGR/IFC/NYC: Execute network partnerships, promotions, events, and oversee show campaigns, for this “slightly off” network. 4+ yrs. exp. in marketing/promotions/events. Full info apply HERE (3/31)

JOB OPENING: EXECUTIVE ASST/RECEPTIONIST/NYC: Prolific production company seeks receptionist/executive assistant. Provide administrative and executive support. 1+ years admin and industry experience is a plus. Please send resume: [email protected] (3/31)

JOB OPENING: DIR DIGITAL COMMS/NBC NEWS/NYC: Manage PR strategy, outreach & communications for NBC News digital properties; NBCNews.com, TODAY.com & our various apps/digital platforms (NY) Full info/apply HERE (3/31)

JOB OPENING: EVENT MARKETING MGR/NYC/CT: Mng integrated mktg campaigns to attract audience for events. BA Deg/Mktg & 2-4 yrs mktg exp. Exp using social media tools & able to devise/execute a plan in support of events. Full info/apply HERE (3/31)

JOB OPENING: RESEARCH ANALYST/CBS/NYC: Marketing exp pref’d. Help track/analyze the audience for CTD barter programming Knwlg Nielsen software, MRI & Wrap Sweeps is pref’d, as is exp in marketing and presentation writing. Resume to: [email protected] (3/31)

JOB OPENING: DIR, RESEARCH/PBS/VA: Research consult & proj mgmt for Brand Strat., Mktg, & Promos. Mng staff allocated to nat. Nielsen rsch. 7+ yrs in advertising, mktg or audience research. Info/apply HERE  (3/31)

JOB OPENING: DIR, GENERAL AUDIENCE MKTG & COMM STRAT/PBS/VA: Market general audience content & products. Develop mktg & commn campaigns.Lead project mgmt for mktg initiatives. 6-8 yrs mktg/advert/promos/strategic plan’g. Info/apply HERE (3/31)

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JOB OPENING: PROGRAM PLANNING COORD/NYC FOOD NETWORK/COOKING CHANNEL: Heavy data entry in prog. databases incl prog changes/mthly releases/specials; manage strategic planning for schedules; 2 yrs exp in Scheduling/Traffic/Research/Prod & strong attn to detail. Res HERE (3/31)

JOB OPENING: CM360 SALES COORD/NYC: Asst. Sales & Planning with all acct. management. Interact w/finance, traffic, and research. Some admin. Bachelor’s & Excel exp preferred. Media/Marketing exp is a + but not required. Please apply HERE (3/31)

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ABC: Cristela, Cristela, Shark Tank [r], 20/20
CBS: NCAA Basketball Tournament, NCAA Basketball Tournament
CW: Hart of Dixie [
f], iZombie [r]
FOX: Grownups [
NBC: Grimm, Dateline NBC [r]
PBS: Washington Week, Charlie Rose, Great Performances
Telemundo: La Biblia, Tierra de Reyes, Duenos del Paraiso
Univision: Mi Corazon Es Tuyo, Hasta el Fin del Mundo, Que te Perdone Dios…Yo No

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