04/26/23: Netflix sets season three premiere date for “The Witcher”

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM WARNER BROS. DISCOVERY

WBD SWEEPS SUNDAY PRIMETIME
WITH A 64 SHARE OF VIEWING

SUNDAY, APRIL 16: WBD scored a 64 SHARE on ad-supported cable,
and a 46 SHARE on broadcast and cable combined (A18-49)

With ALL OF THE TOP 10 cable programs of the night, including:
NBA Playoffs (TNT) | 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way (TLC)
Naked and Afraid (DSC) | Home Town (HGTV) | The Big Bang Theory (TBS)

WARNER BROS. DISCOVERY: DREAM BOLD HERE

Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday April 26, 2023

Today’s Premieres
Comedy Central: Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens at 10:30p
Disney+: Matildas: The World at Our Feet; Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures
Hulu: Saint X; Sam – A Saxon
Netflix: Love After Music; The Good Bad Mother; Workin’ Moms
PBS: Iconic America: Our Symbols and Stories With David Rubenstein at 10p
Smithsonian Channel: In for the Kill at 8p

IN THE NEWS

CBS and Pluto TV are partnering on a Tony Awards pre-show. “The Tony Awards: Act One” will air from 6:30-8p on Pluto TV, leading into the CBS’s telecast of the 76th Annual Awards on Sunday, June 11. A first round of Tonys will be presented on the special. “This cross-company partnership allows us to utilize the breadth of the Paramount Global family to bring the best of Broadway into homes of more viewers than ever before,” said Jack Sussman, EVP of Specials, Music, Live Events and Alternative Programming at CBS.

He does not believe in streaming movies, WBD CEO David Zaslav told an audience of theater exhibitors at CinemaCon. Noting that movies brought to HBO Max after a theater run performed “substantially better” than the direct-to-streaming model, Zaslav said, “At Warner Bros., at DC Studios, we believe that everything is possible. This business could be bigger and stronger it’s ever been. We believe in full windowing of the motion pictures. We do not want to do direct-to-streaming movies.”

Verizon’s household TV ad impressions grew 64% year-over-year in the recent quarter, despite a smaller share allocated toward NFL games, according to iSpot’s Q1 TV ad report. The brand doubled its share of impressions during drama & action shows, while also increasing during movies and reality TV, among other program genres. Other takeaways from the report include:
· GEICO, which traditionally invests heavily in tentpole events, reduced spend by over 50% while putting greater emphasis on daytime TV ad impressions and sports commentary programs relative to 1Q22.
· Weight loss brands are always active in Q1, but were the 11th most-seen industry in Q1 2023 (vs. 16th in Q1 2022). Meanwhile, legal services blitzed TV with spots around class-action suits for Camp Lejeune and mesothelioma and were No. 15 by household TV ad impressions in Q1, up from No. 52.

Spotify posted a wider-than-expected loss for 1Q23, and average revenue per user dipped 1%. Compensating for that news was 22% growth of its user base, to 515 million, the company’s fastest-ever listener growth in the first quarter.

Disney layoffs have “substantially impacted” FiveThirtyEight, posted Nate Silver, founder of the politics website, who added, “My contract is up soon and I expect that I’ll be leaving at the end of it….I’m so sorry to the people impacted by this.” A spokesperson from ABC News said the company plans to keep the brand, with a “streamlined structure.” FiveThirtyEight was hardly the only unit hit by Disney’s second round of layoffs, which involved numerous other unscripted and alternative jobs.

Do media industry layoffs have you jittery? The Cynopsis Virtual Job event takes place today from 1-2p, with hiring pros on hand to tell you where the jobs are, and how to get them. To find out more, go here.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Rohde is joining NBC News as senior executive editor, national security. Rohde joins from The New Yorker’s digital site.

The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences announced the Winners for the 27th Annual Webby Awards. BASIC/DEPT® nabbed the top honor for Webby Agency of the Year. With 19 wins and four nominations, the company earned more Webby Awards across all categories than any other agency this year.

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PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT

MGM+ placed a 10-episode series order for “Emperor of Ocean Park,” a suspenseful take on author and law professor Stephen L. Carter’s best-selling novel, from executive producer/writer Sherman Payne (“Shameless”), John Wells Productions, and Warner Bros. Television. Damian Marcano (“Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”) is set to direct multiple episodes. The series centers on an Ivy League law professor whose quiet life is shattered when his father dies of an apparent heart attack.

Athletes Unlimited, a network of professional women’s sports leagues, announced a partnership with Boardwalk Pictures (“Welcome to Wrexham”) to develop a documentary project highlighting the inspiring women of the player-driven organization, which features professional softball, lacrosse, volleyball and basketball leagues. Produced by Boardwalk, the unscripted content will follow their lives on and off the field and court.

Audible Originals’ 10-part series “She Got Game: Inspiring Women, Inspired by Sports” illustrates the link between female sports participation and career success. Sports journalist, Bonnie Bernstein, who serves as the series’ creator, host and executive producer, discusses the show’s relevance at a time when interest in women’s sports is on the rise, in Cynsiders.

Netflix released its 2023-24 animated film slate. Coming this summer is “Nimona,” based on the graphic novel by ND Stevenson, and “The Monkey King,” exec produced by Stephen Chow. Adam Sandler musical comedy “Leo” will premiere in the fall, along with sequel “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.” Slated to drop in 2024 are “In Your Dreams,” following kids who travel into a dreamworld to save their parents’ marriage; live action/animation hybrid “Saving Bikini Bottom: The Sandy Cheeks Movie”; “That Christmas,” based on the books by Richard Curtis; “Thelma the Unicorn,” about a horse masquerading as a unicorn; and “Ultraman,” based on the Japanese character.

Adult animated workplace comedy “Space Junk,” focused on garbage collectors in space, has been released by Toonstar and will be available to stream beginning Friday, May 19. The series, created and written by Dominic Russo (“Workaholics”) and powered by Beta blockchain, features a character voiced by AI voice generated software.

Peri Gilpin will guest on Paramount+’s sequel to “Frasier.” Gilpin played Roz in the original.

UPFRONTS UPDATE

Latin star Nicky Jam will perform at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises invite-only Upfront event “Come With Us” on Monday, May 15. The presentation and performance will take place at The Glasshouse in NYC.

NEW & RETURNING SERIES

“The Witcher” is back for a third season on Netflix starting June 29 with five episodes. The final three episodes of the supernatural drama’s season drop July 27.

“Date Night Thursdays” return to TV One with the premiere of “The One” on May 18 at 9p. In the competition series, a bachelor and a bachelorette look for love during risqué nights out.

“Fatal Attraction” premieres with three episodes Sunday, April 30 on Paramount+. The reimagining of the 1987 film stars Alyssa Jirrels, Lizzy Kaplan and Jonathan Jackson.

Netflix’s “McGregor Forever,” starring UFC champ Conor McGregor, kicks off Wednesday, May 17. “Conor is unlike anyone I’ve ever collaborated with. As one of his trainers described him, he’s an entirely unreasonable man,” said director Gotham Chopra. “And for that reason, he’s impossible not to watch and be fascinated by. Don’t look away, because I guarantee you, you will definitely miss something inexplicably wild.”

“Accomplice to Murder with Vinnie Politan” debuts Sunday, May 7 at 8p on Court TV. The 10-parter tells the stories of everyday people caught up in a world of deception and manipulation as they become accomplices to murder.

HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab” returns with a new eight-episode season on Tuesday, May 23 at 9p.

Season 17 of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” launches Wednesday, June 17 at 8p on Bravo. Tamra Judge returns to the group to shake things up, while “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” alum Taylor Armstrong is the first housewife to switch cities.

COMING UP

Sequel film “Vacation Friends 2” makes its Hulu debut on August 25. The 2021 original notched the streamer’s biggest opening weekend before “Prey.”

“Bendita Suegra” (Blessed Mother-in-Law) premieres Wednesday, May 10 on ViX. The comedy film centers on a veterinarian aiming to impress her boyfriend’s demanding mother-in-law.

theGrio will honor CBS News journalist Gayle King with theGrio’s “Journalist Icon Award” during a DC event following the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents’ Association on the evening of Saturday April 29. The event, titled Byron Allen Presents the Washington, DC Gala, will take place at The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture. A special featuring moments from the gala will air on theGrio Television Network and other platforms on Monday, May 1.

STREAMING

TelevisaUnivision is unifying its ViX and ViX+ streaming offerings under the ViX name. “One of our main learnings from the past couple quarters relates to brand efficiency and customer confusion around the marketing of these two tiers as separate brands,” said CEO Wade Davis during an earnings call. “Separate campaigns and separate brands for two different tiers inside of the same service ended up being confusing to the consumer and expensive for us.”

Netflix plans to spend $2.5 billion through 2027 on content made in South Korea. After a D.C. meeting between Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos and South Korean President Yook Suk Yeo, Sarandos said, “We were able to make this decision because of our great confidence in the Korean content industry, and we’ll continue to make great stories. I have no doubt that our investment will strengthen our long-term partnership with Korea and Korea’s creative ecosystem.”

Netflix’s new “Basics with Ads” option includes about five minutes per hour of programming, comparable to other services. Yet 49% of the streamer’s new customers believe that’s “a bit too much” or “far too much,” according to a study by Aluma Research. Existing Netflix subscribers, who switched from an ad-free tier, are another matter, with only 28% saying the ad load is too heavy. Overall, about 40% of those who made the switch from Netflix’s standard ad-free service to the cheaper $6.99-a-month service say the advertising is “about right.”

Xfinity has integrated 20+ FAST channels from Xumo Play, NBC and Sky into the Xfinity Stream app. The channels are seamlessly integrated into Stream’s channel guide, enabling customers to surf between their subscribed and FAST channels to find something to watch, without having to toggle between apps.

TECH TALK

Omnicom Group is partnering with Adobe to “reinvent the creation and delivery of creative content” through an enterprise licensing deal of Adobe’s new Content Supply Chain solution. The end-to-end solution is aimed at enabling Omnicom’s agencies to efficiently produce creative content that delivers the most effective customer experiences. “This partnership brings together the most creatively awarded holding company and the leader in creative and marketing tools,” said Paolo Yuvienco, EVP, Chief Technology Officer at Omnicom Group. “The two of us share a goal of providing integrated solutions to brands, and our collaboration brings it to life. Through this offering, our agencies from different disciplines and geographies will remain connected throughout the entirety of the content supply chain, helping to transform our clients’ businesses in a faster, more effective way.”

VIZIO announced the addition of new partners, features, and analytics to its Household Connect cross-device advertising solution, helping marketers extend TV-first campaigns to additional devices within the VIZIO household. “In addition to building out our in-house ad tech team and proprietary ad tech solutions, another big focus for us right now is expanding our ecosystem of best-in-class data partners,” said Travis Hockersmith, Group Vice President of VIZIO’s Platform+ business. “This helps marketers to optimize and better understand the full-funnel impact of campaigns.”

DirecTV Advertising and Dish Media are implementing new standardized products that aim to simplify addressable linear TV for programmers. “In the past, the programmer enablement process has been custom and often quite manual, slowing down the adoption of addressable and the benefits that it brings,” said Kevin Arrix, SVP of Dish Media. “By offering these standardized and consistent solutions that improve programmer operations, we’re making it easier for media owners to light up more of their inventory for addressable targeting across out platforms.” The options include direct integration through the INVIDI Conexus consolidated campaign management platform; a plug-and-play product from Adcuratio for broadcast or broadcast and cable networks; and unified workflows across multiple distribution endpoints via Canoe Service Assurance.

Revry, the LGBTQ-first media network, is launching PrismRiot™, a multi-minority certified LGBTQ+ advertising network. PrismRiot will enable brands, agencies and advertisers to purchase premium programmatic ad inventory for LGBTQ+ content and audiences, and as a certified minority-owned company, sales will satisfy diversity budget spend requirements. “It builds upon our dedicated audience, viewership insights and highly curated advertising inventory available from Revry and our publisher partners,” said Damian Pelliccione, CEO and Co-Founder of Revry. “With this ad network, brands can align with our mission of celebrating and empowering the LGBTQ community, while also tapping into the immense loyalty and purchasing power of this influential audience.”

SPORTS ROUNDUP

Warner Bros. Discovery Sports’ coverage of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs continues on Thursday, April 27 as the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs series heads back to Scotiabank Arena for Game 5. Brendan Burke will provide play-by-play, alongside Darren Pang and Tarik El-Bashir.

FOX Sports unveiled its broadcast schedule for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand, where the United States Women’s National Team will compete for a chance at history in winning a third-consecutive title. From Thursday, July 20, through Sunday, August 20, FOX Sports will present 64 matches live across FOX (29) and FS1 (35) with every match live streaming on the FOX Sports App. The 29-match slate on FOX represents the largest number of FIFA Women’s World Cup™ matches ever on a U.S. English-language broadcast network with five of the 29 airing in primetime and a dozen landing on weekends. The FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Quarterfinals, Semifinals, third-place match and the Final will all be televised on FOX, while 35 group stage matches will air on FS1.

“Unfinished Business,” a documentary about the formation and history of the WNBA, will be available on Prime Video beginning on Saturday, May 13 and will have a special broadcast on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 14.

Endeavor Group Holdings sold IMG Academy to a division of private equity firm EQT. Founded in 1978 as the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the company was acquired by IMG in 1987 and added additional sports to its program. Endeavor acquired IMG in 2014. “Our purpose is to empower student-athletes to win their future, preparing them for college and for life,” said IMG Academy President Brent Richard. “BPEA EQT and Nord Anglia are ideal partners to achieve and accelerate those goals, and we are excited for that future.”

Vizrt, specialists in real-time graphics and live production solutions for content creators, announced that Coupang Play OTT platform is using Viz Libero for its K League football analysis to give viewers in South Korea a completely different and more engaging fan experience. Launched in December 2020, Coupang Play streams a range of other sports events including La Liga, Ligue1, Major League Soccer, Formula 1, and the National Hockey League.

The Association of Pickleball Professionals has appointed APP pro Andrei Daescu as Director of the APP Academy, the APP’s development clinics program. Daescu, a multi-time APP Tour gold medalist, will oversee all programming and organization of the APP Academy clinics, which are co-ed and catered to multiple age and skill levels and held in conjunction with APP Tour stops throughout 2023.

GOING GLOBAL

Warner Bros. Discovery has acquired the upcoming season of spy-fi animated series “Totally Spies!” across the EMEA and the US. French broadcaster Gulli, and Discovery Kids LatAm have previously been announced as co-producers of the Zodiak Kids & Family France (part of Banijay Kids & Family) show.

Newsmax Media and Telecom Serbia have signed an agreement for a multi-year license that will allow Telecom Serbia to broadcast Newsmax content to its customers.

Fred Media has secured pre-sales for its newest series, “First on Scene,” with Nine, (Australia), TVNZ (New Zealand), ProSieben (Germany), Play Media (formerly SBS, Belgium) and Viaplay (for the Nordics, Baltics, the Netherlands and Poland).

Game show “Still Standing,” distributed by Armoza Formats, has been commissioned in Argentina. The local version of the format, which drops contestants straight through the floor, will air on Canal 13 Artear and will be produced by BoxFish. Additionally, a second season of the series has been commissioned in Uruguay for Canal 4.

Big Talk Productions has rebranded to Big Talk Studios. The new name reflects the company’s evolution into a global studio to “provide a range of disciplines to support the creation, production and exploitation of original premium television and genre bending film.” The rebrand will coincide with a management restructure led by CEO Kenton Allen; Christina Angeloudes will become Commercial Director.

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RATINGS

Showtime’s “Waco: The Aftermath” has doubled its audience since its April 16 premiere, to 1 million viewers, making it Showtime’s third most-streamed original to date. The season two premiere of “Yellowjackets” has taken the #2 spot from “Dexter: New Blood,” with 5.5 million viewers.

With an assist from the NBA Playoffs on TNT, Warner Bros. Discovery networks delivered nearly a 61% share of viewing among A25-54 and a 64%share of viewing among A18-49 across ad-supported cable in primetime on Sunday, April 16, the highest prime share for the networks this year. Together, the networks also delivered a 46% share of total television viewing among A18-49 that night.

Fox’s coverage of Kyle Busch’s victory at the NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega on Sunday drew 4.55 million viewers, up 5% from last year.

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Monday, April 24
Show, P2+ 000s, (A18-49)
ABC: American Idol 4.90 (0.61), The Good Doctor 3.69 (0.34)
CBS: The Neighborhood 3.20 (0.30), Bob Hearts Abishola 2.79 (0.25), NCIS 3.59 (0.23), NCIS: Hawaii 2.98 (0.21)
CW: All American 0.60 (0.15), The Flash 0.23 (.05)
FOX: 911 4.53 (0.53), Fantasy Island 1.82 (0.17)
ION: FBI .98 (0.11), FBI .99 (0.11), FBI .93 (0.12)
NBC: The Voice 5.20 (0.47), That’s My Jam 2.41 (0.32)
Telemundo: La Casa de los Famosos 1.68 (0.43), El Senor de los Cielos 0.93 (0.35),
Univision: Perdona Nuestros Pecados 1.57 (0.42), El Amor Invencible 1.54 (0.42), Cabo 1.56 (0.43)
Source: Nielsen, live + same day time period averages

EXECUTIVE MOVES

Higher Ground, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s media company, announced that Vinnie Malhotra has been named President of Higher Ground Productions. Malhotra was most recently EVP, Nonfiction Programming at Showtime. Tonia Davis, previously Head of Film and TV at Higher Ground, has been named Head of Motion Pictures.

101 Films has appointed Marzenna Czubowicz as Director of Acquisitions. Czubowicz was most recently Acquisition Consultant at Sky and Sky Showtime.

Two hires at Loud Minds: Tim Haines, showrunner for Netflix’s “Earthstorm,” has taken the position of Head of Development for unscripted content. Emma Parkin has joined from Pioneer Productions as a development executive.

The Ad Council has tapped DJ Perera to serve as Chief Media Officer. She succeeds Kathy Kayse, who will be retiring on May 12 after leading the Media team for 5 years. Prior to joining the Ad Council, Perera led Boehringer Ingelheim’s US Media Center of Excellence. In addition, The Ad Council elected 19 new members to its Board of Directors.

Playground is upping Scott Huff and David Stern to joint Managing Directors, handling the day-to-day management of the UK and US operations of the company.

Brook Hoy has been named the first VP of Product for AnalyticsIQ. Hot was previously Director of Product & Strategy at Infogroup.

This Day in History
1986 – A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the USSR exploded.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
The lead actress in which sitcom, which lasted only two seasons, on two different networks, won an Emmy both seasons it ran? Hope Lange, for “The Ghost & Mrs. Muir” (1968-70). Kudos to: David Garber-Loyola Marymount University/Playa Vista, CA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/LA; Jim Kelly-Jim Kelly Consulting/Central Islip, NY; Andrew Goldman-CampNova TV/NYC; Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing Inc./NYC

Today’s Trivia Question
What was Fox’s longest-running late night talk show? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four per time zone.)

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GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA/NYC, Hybrid, Remote: Strategically sells linear & digital properties to drive Ad Sales revenue. Works with agencies & clients to develop unique advertising solutions for their brands. Requires 3+ years of sales experience with established agency & client relationships. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong negotiation, communication & presentation skills. Full info HERE

SALES ASSISTANT – AD SALES >>
GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA/NYC, Hybrid, Remote: Provides workflow support to ensure effective campaign delivery for advertisers. Verifies order and schedule accuracy and entry. Monitors accounts while booking and maintaining inventory. Works closely with Account Executives and Sales Planners. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong communication, analytical & problem-solving skills. Full info HERE

MANAGER, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS
TV ONE
CHICAGO, NYC, Hybrid, Remote

Supervise & train copy coordinators & log editors for accuracy & attention to detail of building a commercial log & reading agency instructions. Monitor employee performance & output; provide back-up for all desks including log editing, added value insertion & continued communication with marketing for all custom creations. Min of 3 yrs of exp. Full info HERE

TRAFFIC MANAGER >>
WHYY/Hybrid, PHILADELPHIA:
Create monthly programming grids for 12.1 and 12.3. Update programming grids when schedule changes are made. Prepare daily logs & submit to Centralcast Joint Master Control. Work w/WHYY Traffic Specialist who creates programming grids for 12.2 and logs for 12.2 and 12.3. 3-5 yrs of management exp. & working with data or traffic systems. Full info HERE

IN-HOUSE COUNSEL
NORTHSOUTH PRODUCTIONS
Remote, must be licensed in NY or CA

Negotiating and drafting development deals, shopping agreements, amendments, talent deals, above-the-line contracts, PSAs, production release templates, trade-out agreements, specialty releases and other necessary documents. Shaping corporate and production legal policies. 5-10 yrs of entertainment legal exp. working with a law firm or production. Full info HERE

WEDNESDAY APRIL 26
ABC: The Conners, The Goldbergs, Abbott Elementary, Not Dead Yet, A Million Little Things
CBS: Survivor, FBI, True Lies
CW: The Flash, Riverdale
FOX: The Masked Singer, Farmer Wants a Wife
NBC: Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love, Chicago P.D.
PBS: Nature, NOVA, Iconic America: Our Symbols and Stories With David Rubenstein [p]
Telemundo: Top Chef VIP, El Senor de los Cielos, Juego de Mentiras
Univision: Perdona Nuestros Pecados, El Amor Invencible, Cabo

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