04/29/16: NBCUni gets more animated with DreamWorks; Nat Geo goes straight to series with scripted Genius; Alec Baldwin playing games with ABC


Smithsonian Channel It’s Brighter Here

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Miracle on Ice Flag | Immaculate Reception Football | Lou Gehrig’s Bat and more

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Good morning. It’s Friday April 29, 2016, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
Discovery: Trailblazers at 10p
Nat Geo WILD: United States of Animals at 10p

Tonight’s Finale:
Fox: Hell’s Kitchen at 9p

Saturday’s Premieres:
Centric: Curvy Style With Timothy Snell at 10p
Travel: Hungrytown, USA at 11a

Saturday’s Finales:
HBO: 24/7 Canelo/Khan at 10:30p
OWN: Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10p
Spike: Cops at 8p

Sunday’s Premieres:
American Heroes Channel: Forbidden History at 10p
Animal Planet: Fish or Die at 11p
E!: Keeping Up With the Kardashians at 9p, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills at 10p
Showtime: Penny Dreadful at 10p

Sunday’s Finales:
CMT: Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge at 9p
Food: Guy’s Grocery Games at 8p
TLC: Who Do You Think You Are? at 9p


The Weather Channel
Named 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend® TV News Brand of the Year for 6th Consecutive Year
Where You Get Your Weather Matters


NBCUniversal is acquiring DreamWorks Animation in a $3.8 billion transaction expected to close by the end of 2016. The studio will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (Universal Pictures, Fandango and NBCUniversal Brand Development). “DreamWorks Animation is a great addition to NBCUniversal,” said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal. “Jeffrey Katzenberg and the DreamWorks organization have created a dynamic film brand and a deep library of intellectual property. DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products businesses for years to come.” Katzenberg won’t have day-to-day control of the animation unit he built, but he will become Chairman of DreamWorks New Media, to be comprised of the company’s ownership interests in Awesomeness TV and NOVA. Katzenberg, who called NBCUni “the perfect home for our company,” will also serve as a consultant to the Comcast company.

Nat Geo is going straight to series with its first-ever scripted series, global anthology Genius from Fox 21 Television Studios (The People V. O.J. Simpson), Imagine Television (Empire), OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow. Ron Howard will direct the first episode of the season, focused on Albert Einstein. Smart move? “I cannot think or a more pitch-perfect project for the National Geographic brand than Genius as our first scripted series,” National Geographic Channel EVP and head of global scripted development and production Carolyn Bernstein tells Cynopsis. “We will tell the surprising, provocative, and powerful stories of the biggest innovators of our time, exploring their lives, their curiosities, their trials and tribulations, and everything in between that made them geniuses.”

Alec Baldwin will host a 10-episode primetime edition of Match Game. The FremantleMedia North America reboot is part of a “Sunday Fun & Games Night” block kicking off on ABC June 26, along with Steve Harvey-hosted Celebrity Family Feud and The $100,000 Pyramid with Michael Strahan. “I am beyond grateful to ABC and FremantleMedia for the chance to host a summer series of the legendary Match Game,” said Baldwin, who added he and his wife are donating the fee to arts-related charities.

Telemundo and NBC Universo are offering over 200 hours of coverage for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, the most extensive ever for Spanish-language TV. “Telemundo is going to redefine Spanish-language Olympic event coverage in the United States with our Río presentation,” said Eli Velazquez, EVP for sports at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises 100 days before the opening ceremony. “Not only will we see more competitions than ever before, but we’ll also experience the moving stories of the Hispanic athletes on their quest for Olympic glory.” Nets’ games begin with women’s soccer on Wednesday, August 3.

NBC docu-style dating show First Dates, based on the UK hit, has a narrator: 50 First Dates star Drew Barrymore. Hour-long series will be produced by Shed Media; Ellen DeGeneres is among the exec producers.

America Ferrara, Rosie Perez, Angie Martinez, Remy Ma and “Fat Joe” are among the celebs enlisted to support Fuse and Vote Latino’s “Crash the Parties” initiative with PSAs encouraging American Latino millennials to vote. As part of the campaign, two Latino winners will have chance to serve as Fuse TV reporters at the national conventions, in segments that will air on the network.


The competition for best kids’ programming and marketing initiatives

Entry Deadline: May 18, 2016
Late Submissions: May 25, 2016
Awards Event: September 27, 2016 (NYC)
Visit our website for additional information on:
Who Should Enter, How to Enter, Eligibility Period, Categories, Deadlines, Sponsorship Opportunities, Contact Information, FAQ’s and more!


A TV adaptation of Mario Puzo’s Omerta is in the works, with Sylvester Stallone expected to star as the story’s mafia kingpin. The project has yet to be shopped to cable or streaming services, according to the Hollywood Reporter, but a pilot could film this summer.

Sam Pollard and James Abadi (Release the Hounds) are teaming with FremantleMedia for the launch of UK indie Dr Pluto. “All we are interested in is content that will stimulate people,” said Pollard. “James and I delineate ourselves by an ideology rather than by a genre: that ideology is original, subversive, clever and playful.” FremantleMedia holds a 25 percent stake in the company, aiming to develop concepts across platforms.

Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder) inked an overall deal with ABC Studios that calls for Davis and her partner Julius Tennon to develop projects for broadcast, cable and streaming services via their JuVee Productions. Andrew Wang will serve as Head of Development for JuVee.

Formats company Small World IFT inked a deal for stunt battle show format Super Combat Teams with Smart Dog Media, to develop the show for the U.S. market. Super Combat Teams, originally produced by Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, is the number one show in China.


Michael Douglas and “Dream Team” defense attorney Robert Shapiro, in his first interview since John Travolta’s not-terribly-flattering portrayal of him on FX’s The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, will be interviewed on Fox’s Megyn Kelly Presents. The special hosted by the Fox News Channel anchor, slated for Tuesday, May 17, will also include an interview with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

American Heroes Channel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, May 5, with a marathon of Auschwitz: Hitler’s Final Solution at 5p. What do Nazis have to do with heroes? ID, AHC, and DA group president Henry Schleiff tells Cynopsis, “AHC documents all sides of history, through the lens of the heroes who truly made these stories defining moments of their time. Our world today continues to be shaped by the tales of perseverance, and frankly, heroism that arose from Nazi concentration camps – showing the sheer power of the strength of the human spirit.”

The season five finale of OWN’s Oprah: Where Are They Now? focuses on Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and family, Grammy winner Brian McKnight, music exec L.A. Reid, and actresses Josie Bissett (Melrose Place) and Laura San Giacomo (Just Shoot Me!) on Saturday, April 30 at 10p.

Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato have hopped aboard the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, airing Sunday, May 22 at 8p on ABC. The musicians are summer tour mates.

Don’t stop: AXS TV is airing 12 hours of programming featuring Fleetwood Mac on Sunday, May 15. First up: Lindsey Buckingham’s chat with Dan Rather on The Big Interview at 1p.

Twinsters bows on Freeform Saturday, May 7 at 8:30. Two-hour documentary focuses on two women adopted from South Korea and raised on different continents, who found each other and connected via social media.


Sundays will be all wet this summer on Travel Channel. The net is featuring new, water-themed premieres for its “Dive Into Summer” stunt, starting June 19 at 9p with special Xtreme Waterparks – Jeff Henry: The Madness Continues, followed by the debut of series Top Secret Swimming Holes at 10p.

“Monster Week” is back for year five on Animal Planet, kicking off with a new episode of River Monsters on Thursday, May 26 at 9p, and concluding with the show’s season finale on Thursday, June 2 at 8p. In between is a line-up including the likes of Rabid, 9-1-1 Encounters, Lair of the Killer Crocs and Killer Swarms.

Mother, May I? Wendy Williams hosts LMN’s “Don’t Mess With Mommy” May movie stunt on Mother’s Day weekend. Films include Desperate Hours: An Amber Alert on Friday, May 6, A Mother’s Revenge on Saturday, May 7 and Where’s My Baby on the big day, Sunday.


A human herd of 20 men and women attempt to follow the tracks of the wildebeests who race from the Serengeti plains to Maasai Mara in Kenya each spring in Mygrations, premiering Monday, May 23 at 9p on Nat Geo. Spoiler alert: Not everyone makes it.

Diehard fishermen with questionable judgment film their off-the-grid adventures in Animal Planet’s Fish or Die, premiering Sunday, May 1 at 11p.

International series The A Word will be introduced to American audiences on Wednesday, July 13 at 10p on SundanceTV. UK telecast of the six-episode drama, following a family after their young son is diagnosed with autism, delivered a consolidated audience of 5.5 million viewers and 22 percent market share for BBC One.

MTV’s Are You the One? season four launches on a new night, Monday, June 13 at 10p, with a “game-changing twist”: contestants on the matchmaking series will be asked if they believe in love at first sight, and the first three that say yes will be asked to walk over to their potential perfect match.

ION 24/7 kids channel Qubo is launching five new series: George and Martha, about BFF hippos; Grossology, centered on sibs who tackle crimes too disgusting for adults; Ned’s Newt, about an oversize amphibian; food group-focused Nutri Ventures, and Stickin’ Around, exploring the imaginary creations of kids.

Andy Richter (Conan) hosts Food Network’s Celebrity Food Fight, pitting stars against each other in food-themed challenges (losers wash the dishes). Series premieres with back-to-back eps Sunday, May 29 at 10p and 10:30p.

Health/entertainment net Z Living is ramping up original programming with green lights for four new series: Finding Fido, focused on a canine expert matching people with pets; wedding weight loss show Altar’d; transformation show The Big Fat Truth, and docu-soap Yoga Girls.

Animated LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures premieres Monday, June 20 at 10a on Disney XD. Action comedy is set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Revolt announced a new monthly series, Global Spin Presents: Respect the DJ, launching Thursday, May 5 at 7p. The show gets up close and personal with some of the world’s hottest DJ ahead of the annual Global Spin Awards.


Viacom and Roku announced a partnership that enables Viacom to use aggregated audience insights from Roku to deliver targeted advertising on the Roku platform. The partnership brings targeted advertising at scale in a way “that – until now – was not available in the premium television environment,” said Kern Schireson, EVP data strategy & consumer intelligence, Viacom. “This is the first time dynamic, 1:1 advertising will be possible as part of a larger linear TV buy.”

Viacom is also expanding its suite of data-driven ad solutions with Vantage Studio Edition, a product exclusively for movie studios. Matching movie ticket purchase data with household viewing behaviors, Studio Edition aims to identify the most qualified impressions for a specific movie campaign, while maximizing awareness. 

Cinema advertiser Screenvision Media announced that Sir John Hegarty will join the company as Creative Chair in Residence. The ad industry veteran, who launched his career in 1965 and went on to found Bartle Bogle Hegarty (where he chose an unknown Brad Pitt to star in a Levi’s commercial), will collaborate with the Screenvision team and its ad partners to elevate cinematic storytelling. 

Pepsi is rolling out 100 five-second spots to air on TV and digital this summer. Five seconds – on TV? “The stuff that works best is the stuff that’s unskippable,” Linda Lago, brand marketing and digital director at Pepsi, told Adweek. “This campaign is a perfect example of us taking something that’s been happening in digital for a while and applying it to more mainstream media.” The too-cute-to-skip soda spots show Pepsi bottles enjoying summer activities like sunbathing and eating ice cream.


Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries) will recur in season two of PBSMercy Street, opposite AnnaSophia Robb.

Paula Jai Parker (Recovery Road) landed a recurring role in season four of Showtime’s Ray Donovan. Parker will play a lounge singer.


A+E Networks signed deals with broadcasters in over 50 territories covering five continents for mini-series Roots, including SBS (Australia), TVNZ (New Zealand), THAI PBS (Thailand), D’LIVE (South Korea), ATRES MEDIA (Spain), HBO (Spain – SVOD), HBO Europe (Central and Eastern Europe), HBO Nordics (SVOD), RTL (Netherlands), Crave (Canada), and HISTORY in Japan, Latin America, Southeast Asia, India and Africa. “The incredible reaction we experienced at our world premiere screening of Roots was matched on the sales floor at MIPTV,” said Sean Cohan, president, international and digital, A+E.

Turner inked a deal with Korea’s pooq, an N-Screen platform, for CNN International and Cartoon Network. “This is the first-of-a-kind launch for us in Korea,” said Phil Nelson, Turner’s managing director of North Asia. “To reach an expanded audience via an innovative new service like pooq is an important landmark in making our content available everywhere.”


CNN Politics launched an election app yesterday, tracking the latest polling, delegate, voting and fundraising data in the 2016 presidential race. “We partnered with CA Technologies to build a native mobile experience for users to digest the meaning behind the numbers in a compelling and entirely personal way,” said Matthew Drooker, VP of app development and technology at CNN. “The result is an informative, immersive and indispensable multimedia experience.” iOS users can find it in the app store.

The news that BBC America’s Doctor Who cast stage actress Pearl Mackie as the Doctor’s new companion racked up 2.6 million views on Facebook, and ranked as the series’ most viral post since 2013. There were over 10,000 views on every Snapchat post about the announcement – and the new season doesn’t start until 2017.


Entries are now open for the inaugural [Cynopsis TV Awards] saluting excellence in national TV programming!

From writing and directing to casting and hosting, we will recognize outstanding achievement across teams, platforms, and overall merit. In short, winning a Cynopsis TV Award is a symbol of acknowledgement and appreciation from your peers  and from the leading B2B digital publication in our industry  that your work has risen to the top in entertaining and enriching a broad audience.
>> Enter before June 2 <<


Food Network‘s 8p co-viewing strategy paid off with Tuesday night’s return of Chopped Junior – 1.2 million P2+ viewers tuned in, up 88 percent versus year-ago. The series posted a .6 rating among A25-54, up 50 percent.

The CW’s Arrow jumped 33 percent among A18-34 to .8/4 with its first original since April 6, outrating NBC in A18-34 and A18-49, and ranking second in the hour among M18-34 (.8/4).

Fox’s Empire, still mighty but suffering three weekly drops since returning March 30, rebounded Wednesday with a one tenth rise to 3.8/13 among A18-49.

The fourth episode of Bounce TV’s Mann & Wife season two grew by 16 percent in Households, 13 percent in P25-54, 5 percent in W25-54 and 9 percent in W18-49 versus the week prior, and reached 721,000 total viewers across two premiere telecasts Tuesday, April 26. Versus season one, the show is up 27 percent in P25-54, 28 percent in W25-54 and 6 percent in both P18-49 and W18-49.

Broadcast Morning News Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of April 18, 2016
ABC: GMA 4.90 million total viewers; 1.4/11 and 1.64 million A25-54
NBC: Today 4.68 million total viewers; 1.5/12 and 1.76 million A25-54
CBS: This Morning 3.75 million total viewers; .9/7 and 112 million A25-54
Source: Nielsen NTI

Late Night Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of April 18, 2016
NBC: Tonight 2.765 million total viewers, and .75/4 A18-49
CBS: Late Show 2.556 million total viewers, and .49/2 A18-49
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live 2.102 million total viewers, and .46/2 A18-49
Source: Nielsen NTI

Wednesday A18-49 Analysis: Fox led with the most A18-49 viewers Wednesday with 2.6/9, according to final primetime national ratings from Nielsen. CBS’s Survivor topped 8p with 2.1/8, followed by ABC’s The Middle (1.7/6) and The Goldbergs (1.6/6). Fox’s Empire earned the ratings crown at 9p with 3.8/13, versus ABC’s Modern Family (1.3/4) and black-ish (1.5/5). CBS’s Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders led at 10p with 1.2/4, followed by Telemundo’s El Senor de los Cielos, ABC’s Nashville and Univision’s Hotel de los Secretos, all with .8/3.

A18-49: FOX 2.6/9, CBS 1.4/5, ABC 1.3/5, CW .8/3, UNI .8/3, NBC .7/3, TELE .5/2, ION .2/1

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 time period averages. Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD.
FOX: 4.7/8
Rosewood 3.2/6, Empire 6.2/10
CBS: 4.5/8
Survivor 5.7/10, Criminal Minds [r] 3.5/6, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders 4.3/8
ABC: 3.3/6
The Middle 4.3/8, The Goldbergs 3.7/6, Modern Family 3.3/5, black-ish 3.2/5, Nashville 2.7/5
NBC: 2.7/5
Heartbeat 3.0/5, Law & Order: SVU [r] 2.5/4, Chicago PD [r] 2.5/5
CW: 1.3/2
Arrow 1.5/3, Supernatural 1.1/2
Camino Hacia Destino 1.1/2, Pasion y Poder
1.5/3, Hotel de los Secretos 1.2/2
Eva La Trailera
.8/1, Esclava Blanca .8/1 El Senor de los Cielos 1.0/2
ION: .7/1
Law & Order .8/1, Law & Order .7/1, Law & Order .6/1


Bill McGoldrick, newly minted Executive Vice President, Scripted Content for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s USA, Syfy, E! and Bravo, promoted USA’s Alex Sepiol to EVP Scripted Development for the four networks, while USA’s Michael Sluchan will now oversee Scripted Current for the group. Heather Olander, formerly Head of Alternative for Syfy, adds USA to her purview. Sepiol and his team will evaluate all incoming projects and recommend where they would be best placed, offering more streamlined access for content creators and agents.

Discovery Channel promoted Joseph Schneier to Vice President of Production and Development. Schneier, who joined the network in 2012, will continue to executive produce and also work with the development team in New York and LA.

Liza Burnett Fefferman was named Senior Vice President of Communications for VH1 and Logo. Most recently, Fefferman was EVP, Publicity at RADiUS.

Media agency Maxus hired Kevin McCarthy as the Head of Effectiveness for North America. Previously, McCarthy was SVP, Group Client Director of Business Intelligence at MediaVest.

DanceOn named Karen Schuchardt as Chief Revenue Officer and Betty Tran as Executive Vice President of Marketing. Schuchardt will be based in NYC, while Tran will operate out of LA.

MGM Television Group tapped Barry Poznick to serve as President, Unscripted Television. Reporting directly to Mark Burnett, MGM Television and Digital Group’s president, Poznick will be charged with overseeing the creative and development of all unscripted television content. Poznick has produced and/or created unscripted formats for ABC, E!, CMT, TLC, Nickelodeon,VH1 and Pop.

Friday fun Fact:
Peregrine falcons can reach up to 200 miles per hour when diving for prey.

This Day in History: 1996 – The musical “Rent” opened on Broadway.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: The theme song to which sitcom included the words, “Portland is a long way from L.A.”? Hello Larry (1979-1980). Kudos to: Gail Goins-Wile/Atlanta, Cristin DeVries-CBS Television/NYC, Larry Smith-Scripps Networks Interactive/Knoxville, TN, Tom Boyd-WGN-TV/Chicago, Adam Leston-Weigel Broadcasting/Milwaukee, Judy Margolis-The Ad Place/Dallas, John J. Wood-Wood Agency/LA, Danielle R. Linder-The London Day School, Amy Kessler-Oakland Symphony/Oakland, CA, Cammie Buerry-Station Casinos/Las Vegas, Bob Telford-SAG/AFTRA/Valley Village, CA.

Today’s Trivia Question: Which show’s theme song was covered by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and Sammy Davis Jr.? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.).

NEW GAME! Initial This (example: MH plays LJGon NCIS = Mark Harmon plays Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS): BC played WW on BB (Email [email protected]; first three respondents with the correct answer and three chosen at random  who aren’t in trivia – will be posted along with the answer on www.Cynopsis.com.)

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey: Editorial Director @Lynn_Leahey

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

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ABC: Shark Tank [r], Shark Tank, 20/20
CBS: The Amazing Race, Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods 
CW: The Vampire Diaries, The Originals
FOX: Hell’s Kitchen [r], Hell’s Kitchen [
: Caught on Camera With Nick Cannon, Grimm, Dateline NBC
PBS: Washington Week, Charlie Rose, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea [r]
Telemundo: Eva la Trailera, La Esclava Blanca, El Senor de los Cielos
Univision: Un Camino Hacia el Destino, Pasion y Poder, El Hotel de los Secretos

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Cynopsis 05/23/24: Apple asks, What If?

Apple asks, What If?

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM WARNER BROS. DISCOVERY Our Primetime Winning Streak Continues… Claiming the majority of P18-49 cable viewing on back-to-back Sunday nights (May 12: 57% | May 19: 66%) – WBD delivered massive primetime reach across iconic sports and entertainment brands, including: NBA Playoffs (TNT, truTV) | NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs (TBS) 90 Day […]

Cynopsis Esports 5/23/24: Larian Studios expands; MSI breaks records; Chipotle keeps fighting

Thursday May 23, 2024 Good morning! It’s Thursday, and this is your monthly Esports and Gaming Brief. Larian Studios is doing something few people expect of any game studio in 2024: expanding. Following the commercial and critical acclaim Baldur’s Gate 3 received throughout the past year, Larian has become an example of how talented right-sized […]

05/22/24: Cynopsis Jobs


MARKETING ASSOCIATE MANAGER GSTV NEW YORK, NY – HYBRID REMOTE Touch various teams within our group such as Marketing Solutions, Marketing Communications and Design. Our group develops thoughtful marketing and promotional programs alongside our business development team. We collaborate with teams across the organization to develop concepts that meet client needs and then bring the […]

Cynopsis 05/22/24: Comcast offers details on StreamSaver

Comcast offers details on StreamSaver

Wednesday May 22, 2024 Today’s Premieres Apple TV+: Trying BET: Sistas at 9p Fox: Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars at 9p Hulu: Chief Detective Magnolia: Happy to Be Home at 8p Netflix: Toughest Forces on Earth; Buying London Today’s Finales ABC: Jeopardy! Masters at 8p; Abbott Elementary at 9p; The Conners at 9:30p CBS: Survivor at […]