A&E Network partnered with WWE Studios to produce five original documentaries about WWE Hall of Famers under the Biography banner. The project showcases WWE superstars including “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Booker T, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels via new and archival interviews and never-before-seen footage, offering a look at their early lives, rise to fame and careers.
Two Spanish originals are headed to Netflix. El Inocente, a remake of Harlan Coben’s book, has been adapted for TV by Oriol Paulo and tells the story of Mateo, who interceded in a fight and ended up becoming a murderer. Los Favoritos de Midas, based on the 1901 short story by Jack London and adapted for TV by Mateo Gil and Miguel Barros, centers on Victor, a rich businessman who is blackmailed by a mysterious organization that threatens to kill a person a day.
Netflix also ordered Q-Force, a half-hour adult animated comedy that hails form Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner’s Hazy Mills, Mike Schur’s Fremulon, Gabe Liedman (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Universal TV. The project, written by Liedman, centers on handsome secret agent and his team of fellow LGBTQ superspies, who are underestimated by their colleagues.
ABC picked up Holey Moley, an extreme miniature golf competition series that will showcase mini-golf lovers from around the country as they compete head-to-head through on an obstacle golf course. NBA superstar Stephen Curry will serve as executive producer, resident golf pro of the course, and appear in every episode. Rounding out the on-camera talent will be color commentator Rob Riggle, play-by-play Joe Tessitore, and sideline correspondent Jeanie Mai.
Comedy Central inked a comprehensive development deal with Roy Wood Jr. The agreement includes the taping of Wood’s pilot, Jefferson County: Probation in his hometown of Birmingham, AL, in May, his third one-hour standup special, and original digital series, The Night Pigeon.
John Cho (Star Trek, Searching), Mustafa Shakir (Marvel’s Luke Cage), Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, What/If) and Alex Hassel (The Miniaturist, Suburbicon) were tapped to lead Cowboy Bebop, the live-action adaptation of the cult Japanese animated series. Written and executive produced by Chris Yost (Thor: the Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok) the project is a jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of a rag-tag crew of bounty hunters on the run form their pasts.
Accenture is buying ad agency Droga5, causing many to speculate on the interplay between consulting and advertising. Join us for a focused panel discussion: Consultancies and their Impact on the Business with executives from McKinsey, Bain and others at the Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference June 11 in NYC. You won’t want to miss this important conversation. Register today for early bird rates.
Fandom Fiction, which was set up by Tim Byrne, former Creative Director of Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment, inked a first-look deal with BBC Studios. BBC Studios Content Partnerships also signed a first-look agreement with British production company Magnum Media. Both pacts give the British distributor access to an increased roster of entertainment formats for its global content slate.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
The Chi debuts its sophomore season on Sunday, April 7 at 10p on Showtime. The episode is available to non-subscribers of the premiere cable network online a head of its linear debut on YouTube, Sho.com and Showtime.com.
Food Network’s Best Baker in America returns on Monday, May 13 at 9p. Scott Conant resumes hosting duties, alongside judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid.
TNT dramedy Claws is back for a third season on Sunday, June 9 at 9p. Last season, the series, which follows the rise of three treacherous manicurists, reached 33.6 million Total Viewers and ranked among the top 10 cable dramas among A18-49.
Boss: The Black Experience in Business premiere’s Tuesday, April 23 at 8p on PBS (check local listings). Directed by Stanley Nelson, the documentary brings largely unknown stories of enterprising African Americans to the forefront. Out of State premieres on Independent Lens on Monday, May 6 on PBS and PBS.org, following the journey of two native Hawaiians in prison thousands of miles from home.
The National Association of Broadcasters announced the successful transmission of a Nielsen audience measurement watermark on Thursday, using the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard. The transmission is part of an ongoing collaboration preparing broadcasters and manufacturers for the transition to the Next Gen TV standard. The installation and transmission of Nielsen watermarks, inaudible signals in a program’s audio that help identify the program for audience measure purposes, was completed last week at the NAB/Consumer Technology Association ATSC 3.0 test station located in Cleveland, OH, hosted as Tribune Media’s WJW. “Broadcasters are eager to deliver interactive benefits and dazzling features through Next Gen TV to our millions of viewers, and this milestone brings us another step closer towards the deployment and adoption of Next Gen TV,” said NAB Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Sam Matheny. “We thanks Nielsen for their hard work, and we will continue working with them and others to bring Next Gen TV to the market.”
Eddie Ramos (Incorporated) will recur on the upcoming fourth season of TNT’s Animal Kingdom… Julia Jones (Westworld) landed a role as a series regular and Leslie Grossman (American Horror Story) is set to recur on Season 3 of Amazon’s Goliath… Josh Pence and Emma Hunton were upped to series regulars for the sophomore season of Freeform’s Good Trouble… Deadline reports that Andre Holland (High Flying Bird, Moonlight) was tapped to lead upcoming Netflix series The Eddy, while Punam Patel (Kevin From Work) is set as a regular in NBC comedy pilot The Kenan Show.
Apple’s digital magazine serviced signed up 200,000 subscribers in the first 48 hours, with iPhone, iPad and Mac users responding to a free one-month trial offer, according to The New York Times. How many readers stick with the service once Apple begins billing $9.99 a month remains to be seen.
Verizon Digital Media Services is teaming with Microsoft to deliver an easier way for broadcasters, content owners and streaming services to deliver high-quality, personalized viewing experiences on Microsoft Azure. “Verizon Media Services, powered by Azure, the fastest growing cloud service provider, is the ultimate streaming solution to address the growing demand for video content online,” said Ralf Jacob, President of VDMS in a statement. “Paired with Azure’s global scale we can now deliver, high performing, simplified video workflows to content creators anywhere. Out partnership will create new opportunities for Verizon, Microsoft and our joint customers to shape the future of media.”
In other Verizon Media news, the company announced the release of Digital Out-of-Home inventory for its omnichannel DSP, allowing customers to programmatically serve ads on digital screens in public spaces. The feature unlocks a new unique inventory source for advertisers, helping them reach consumers who are on the go and off-device.
Deluxe Entertainment announced a multi-year collaboration with Amazon Web Services selecting it as its primary cloud provider. Deluxe fully integrated with AWS services to enable end-to-end content solutions on the Deluxe One platform. Through the partnership, Deluxe is ensuring clients and partners are able to efficiently work and scale across the entire media landscape.
Amazon Prime Video acquired some 2,500 hours of programming from The Jim Henson Company. Content includes specials and series 68 English language territories including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Nordics. Much of the content, however, is not available in the U.S. due to other licensing deals. Eight titles that are available are Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series, and specials Doozer Music, Fraggle Songs, The Song of the Cloud Forest, Living with Dinosaurs, Lighthouse Island and Monster Maker.
Snapchat is set to debut 10 new shows, ranging from unscripted daily entertainment news to scripted. “Mobile is now the dominant medium for telling stories and consuming content,” announced Snapchat original content head Sean Mills at the Snap Partner Summit on Thursday. “In 2019, mobile will surpass television in time spent for U.S. adults. “This transformation is creating massive new opportunities.” Among the new shows are Two Sides, a drama from New Form about a teenage couple navigating a modern-day breakup, and Dead of Night, from Bazelevs in association with Hooked, that follows a teenage girl who must escape a quarantined city full of zombies armed with only her phone.
With the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, The Roku Channel added HBO to its list of available premium subscriptions. It will be priced at $14.99 per month.
Mary Kills People is heading to the UK. British broadcaster Channel 4 acquired the Canadian thriller from eOne. It’s a life of series deal for the show, which launched on Global in Canada in 2017.
Global announced its ensemble cast for new original drama Nurses (wt), a coming of age story focused around rookie nurses, from Canadian broadcaster and production partner Corus Entertainment with Entertainment One, ICF Films and Piazza Entertainment. Featured in the project are Tiera Skoybye (Riverdale), Natasha Calis (The Possession), Jordan Johnson-Hinds (Blindspot), Sandy Sidhu (Home Before Dark) and Donald MacLean Jr. (Workin’ Moms). Production is underway in Toronto for a 2019 premiere.
Applause Entertainment in India acquired A+E Networks scripted series, UnREAL. The agreement marks the first international deal for the series and the first scripted format from A+E to be acquired for an official Indian adaptation in the territory.
Starzplay struck a deal with Vodafone TV in Spain to bring original series and movies to the network. The catalogue includes full seasons of shows including Power, Now Apocalypse, The White Princess and The Firsts.
Orange Smarty closed deals with broadcasters in Australia and New Zealand. Foxtel
licensed a 200-hour documentary package headlined by Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago for BBC Two. Foxtel also bought follow-up Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome to roll out on BBC Two later this year.
Endemol Shine Iberia created an original format for Antena 3. Masters of Renovation features pairs of contestants in a close relationship as they use their decorating and renovation skills in hopes of impressing a jury of top interior and architectural talent.