PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Lifetime issued a straight-to-series order for Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble’s psychological thriller, YOU, based on Caroline Kepnes’ best-selling novel. “YOU is the most twisted love story ever,” promised Liz Gateley, EVP and Head of Programming for Lifetime.
Half-hour scripted dramedy American Woman starts production in Los Angeles, this week. The series, starring Alicia Silverstone, Mena Suvari and Jennifer Bartels (Broken), is inspired by the real-life upbringing of Kyle Richards (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills).
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
This Is Life Live bows on TLC Sunday, April 23 at 10p. In each episode hosts Lisa Joyner and DeVon Franklin go live from different locations across the country to share two unique stories of families and their loved ones as they experience an epic, pivotal moment.
TNT set a premiere date for Will. The net’s young Shakespeare drama bows on the 453rd anniversary of the Bard’s birth on Sunday, July 10 at 9p. Series stars newcomer Laurie Davidson as William Shakespeare and chronicles his wild 20s in the punk-rock theater scene of 16th century London.
With prisons overflowing and heroin use reaching epidemic levels, America’s War on Drugs uncovers the origins of the drug war and its unexpected effects on American culture, institutions and politics. The eight-hour limited documentary series premieres Sunday, June 18 at 9p on History.
Spike TV’s Ink Master returns for a ninth season on Tuesday, June 6 at 10p. This season, shops from all around the country are sending two of their strongest artists to compete for a $200,000 grand prize, an editorial feature in Inked, and the title of “Master Shop.”
Karen E Laine and Mina Starsiak return for a new season of HGTV’s Good Bones on Tuesday, May 30 at 10p. Attracting more than 13 million total viewers in its first season, the series follows mom Karen, a former lawyer, and daughter Mina, a real estate agent, as they revitalize Indianapolis neighborhoods one house at a time.
Shaquille O’Neal, Lupe Fiasco, Reggie Bush and Natalie Eva Marie face off in ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational Celebrity Showdown, airing Friday, April 28 at 10p on TBS. The celebrities will compete to raise money for the charities of their choice. For a deep dive into the exploding world of esports, sign up for the weekly Cynopsis esports newsletter (it’s free) on Cynopsis.com.
Showtime airs the TV premiere of Jackson on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:30p. The documentary from Maisie Crow offers is an intimate look at the lives of three women caught in the complex issues surrounding access to abortion in the Deep South.
Science Channel presents two special episodes of Space’s Deepest Secrets, premiering Tuesday, April 25 at 8p and 9p, delving into the real science behind Einstein. Space’s Deepest Secrets: Was Einstein Wrong? re-examines Einstein’s theory of relativity, while Space’s Deepest Secrets: Black Holes: The Einstein Prophecy investigates the dark secrets of this mysterious phenomenon.
The Weather Channel broadcasts live coverage of the March for Science in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 22. Scientists Maria LaRosa and Reynolds Wolf will be on-site reporting from the event. The following day, Winter Warfare, airs on Sunday, April 23 at 9p. The special takes viewers behind the scenes with the U.S. Marines as they prepare for combat in extreme cold conditions.
In celebration of APA (Asian Pacific American) Heritage Month in May, World Channel, in partnership with the Center for Asian American Media, Pacific Islanders in Communication and KQED San Francisco, celebrates the voices of Asian Pacific Americans with eight documentary films that spotlight the identity and diverse stories of this community. The curated collection includes premieres from award-winning series America ReFramed, Local, USA, and Doc World.
Consumers feel significantly more positive about advertising on traditional platforms like TV and print than they do about online formats, according to a new international study, “Dimension,” from Kantar Media. While 68% of respondents said they like or accept being advertised to, over-targeting on digital platforms is an issue, with 71% of respondents saying they see ads over and over again, finding them too repetitive. “Consumers’ openness to marketing will diminish if the channels used to reach them are not used intelligently,” warns Andy Brown, CEO and chairman of Kantar Media. The solution? “Consistent, comparable metrics across every channel and every major advertising market.”
USA Network drama Shooter has added to its recurring cast. Jerry Ferrara (Entourage) will play a former marine who always detects a conspiracy. Jesse Bradford (Flags of Our Fathers) portrays a D.C. Staffer and love interest for Nadine (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). Todd Lowe (True Blood) is a former marine living large in Texas.
A launch date for Hulu’s live TV service is drawing nearer. According to TechCrunch, the streamer is telling employees to prepare for a mid-May start. The new service plans to offer alerts when live events (mainly sports, initially) are reaching a tune-in point. Moving forward, the alerts will also let users know about breaking news and when titles are about to leave Hulu’s on-demand service.
Meanwhile, Hulu has greenlit a one-hour pilot of comic property Locke and Key from IDW Entertainment, which was created by bestselling author Joe Hill (The Fireman, NOS4A2) and artist Gabriel Rodriguez (Little Nemo). Locke & Key is a horror/ fantasy series that revolves around three siblings who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Maine only to find the house has magical keys that give them a vast array of powers and abilities.
And on a final Hulu note, the streamer’s first original documentary, Batman & Bill, premieres Saturday, May 6, delving into the story of Bill Finger, a struggling writer who was the key figure in creating the iconic superhero.
Netflix set a summer premiere date for Disjointed, the pot comedy starring Kathy Bates and co-starring Chuck Lorre. Series starts streaming on Friday, August 25.
Mark Burnett, MGM’s President, Television Group & Digital, and Jeanie Buss, Los Angeles Lakers Owner and President and WOW owner, are teaming to develop new content across a range of unscripted programming and digital formats for WOW – Women Of Wrestling. MGM will work with WOW for the series’ fifth season. In addition, Burnett and his team of producers will work with Wow Founder and President, David McLane, to create content for potential use across networks, digital platforms, cable and multicast networks.
Complex Networks announced a slate of new digital series coming this year to its Complex, Rated Red, First We Feast and Sole Collector channels. Programming includes: Jeremiah Bullfrog Forks It!, Complex Closets, The Neighborhood, Play By Play, A Little Too Farr, Going Cambo, Throttle Rockets, The Infidels, Unsigned, Food Grails and Price The Hype. In addition, QB1: Beyond the Lights, from Peter Berg’s Film 45, has been renewed for two more seasons.
420 Entertainment Group is launching 420TV, a video-on-demand channel, covering all things cannabis. It will feature original, multi-episodic series, as well as long and short form news, information and entertainment content.
Viacom International Media Networks secured a deal to acquire a majority interest in Porta dos Fundos. The acquisition adds one of Brazil’s leading short-form comedy content producers and its global YouTube channel to the Viacom portfolio, expanding the company’s scale in Latin America and further extending its content creation pipeline.
Independent UK based distributor DCD Rights secured a range of new sales for FirstLookTV’s docudrama true crime content. Nurses Who Kill was been picked up by A&E Networks Italy, Foxtel in Australia and Viu, a direct to consumer video-on-demand service, in the Middle East. Stalkers Who Kill was acquired for the UK and Poland on behalf of CBS Reality, Sky Italia for Italy and SIC CARAS in Portugal.
Eleven Sports will air 19 live and 35 past events from MMA Bushido, King of Kings Kickboxing and WGP Kickboxing as part of the network’s drive to deliver live action aimed towards millennial sports fans. Content will be available in 50 million homes across the US via carriage with AT&T, DIRECTV, Verizon, Charter and NCTC.
Keshet Studios launched Keshet Films. The newly formed global feature development and production division will be co-headed by Mandy Tagger-Brockey and Adi Ezroni. The duo will form a unit producing features budgeted between $10 million and $20 million for the US and international markets. The inaugural development slate includes a feature adaptation of the Carl Hiaasen caper novel, Skinny Dip, and Newburgh Sting, a fictional adaptation of the HBO documentary.