05/28/20: Robin Roberts to host tribute to women on the front lines


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Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Thursday May 28, 2020

Tonight’s Premieres
DIY: Insane Pools: Off the Deep End at 9

Tonight’s Finale:
Freeform: Siren at 10p


The HBO Max distribution universe is widening, with Comcast on board as the latest company to ink a deal for the WarnerMedia streaming service that debuted yesterday. Existing Xfinity HBO customers received access to HBO Max on launch day at no additional cost via the HBO Max app and website, and the companies will now bring the HBO Max app to the Xfinity X1 platform, and recently-launched broadband device Xfinity Flex. New customers will be able to purchase HBO Max directly through Xfinity.

… But not for all. Roku and Amazon do not as yet have an HBO Max distribution deal. Yesterday, Amazon called out parent AT&T for not enabling access to HBO Max via its Prime Video Channels, noting that nearly 5 million HBO streamers currently use their subscription through the platform. “We believe that if you’re paying for HBO, you’re entitled to the new programming though the method you’re already using,” noted a company spokesman in a statement.

Judd Apatow, Dave Attell, Ray Romano and Wanda Sykes are among those confirmed for Laughter in Lockdown, a two-hour special to benefit comedians impacted by the pandemic. The event, hosted by Mo Amer, will stream Friday, May 29 at 8p at nylaughs.org/lockdown. Proceeds will benefit comedians and comedy club professionals as part of The Actors Fund’s COVID-19 initiative. Special, presented by NY Laughs, will be posted on YouTube following the initial stream.

Divisions within the CBS Entertainment Group are being hit particularly hard in a new round of post-merger layoffs at ViacomCBS. CBS employees largely had been spared during initial layoffs that came immediately post-merger.

The clock’s ticking. Deadline day is here and if your adtech teams has been stepping up their game by providing solutions and results during these volatile times, we want to hear from you. Enter your company’s latest campaigns, platforms or technologies to the Cynopsis Adtech Awards for a chance at industry-wide recognition. Click here to get started – entries are due tonight at midnight!

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. released its annual list of eligibility rules and regs in TV and film categories, with little pandemic-era change other than the allowance for streaming and VOD movies to compete without a seven-day theatrical requirement, which had previously been announced. In the TV department, anthology TV has a stepped-up role this year in the categories involving limited series and TV movies. The broadened category is now known as Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made For Television, and the anthology title change also applies to lead actor and actress awards in those categories as long as a performer appeared in at least 50 percent of the anthology series.

With the annual Licensing Expo canceled this year, MGM will host its first virtual licensing summit, June 15-17. The invite-only event will enable MGM to provide a peek at upcoming initiatives for brands including The Addams Family, Legally Blonde, Pink Panther and Rocky.

Walt Disney plans to reopen Magic Kingdom and Disney Animal Kingdom on Saturday, July 11 and Epcott and Disney Hollywood Studios on Wednesday, July 15. Visitors to the parks can expect masks and temperature checks over parades and character meet-ups.

It’s Time To Prepare For Success In A Post-Covid-19 World
The Great Sports Disruption: A Virtual Event Presented By Cynopsis
June 9 | 1PM – 5PM

Register for this free conference and take a close look at an unprecedented year in collegiate sports with Pac-12, see visions for the future of esports with Riot Games, check out professional leagues’ new approach to competitive play with Athletes Unlimited and NBC Sports Group, learn from New Balance’s take on positive brand messaging, glimpse the future of the Olympics with the USOC and more.


Warner Bros. Television will adapt as a series The Forbidden Game novels by LJ Smith after acquiring rights to the trilogy of young adult horror books. The project is housed at Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions. Series adaptation will be exec-produced by Berlanti Productions’ Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and David Madden.


Food Network Kitchen in June will premiere two shows available exclusively to subscribers of the app. Debuting Monday, June 1 at 6p, Alton & Elizabeth Cook Some Food features Alton Brown and his wife Elizabeth Ingram offering weekly live cooking classes inspired by their YouTube series Quarantine Quitchen. Boy is Back on the Grill: Bobby’s Bangin’ Burgers premieres in early June and will bring viewers into Bobby Flay’s LA kitchen and backyard. Additionally, season 2 of Ready Jet Cook will bow later in 2020, featuring Jet Tila tackling new recipes.

Chasing the Sun returns for a second season on Ovation TV on Sunday, June 7 at 6a. Series follows adventurer Stephen Friedman, who this season travels throughout Asia, including stops in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Bali, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

A new series is on tap at Travel Channel. Buried Worlds with Don WIldman debuts Monday, June 8 at 9p, following Wildman as he travels to remote regions to explore dark mysteries like vampires and voodoo.

MyNetworkTV announced its fall 2020 schedule, debuting on select Fox Television stations the week of September 21, which includes the return of Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: CI and Chicago P.D. The 15th season of MyNetworkTV programming will add a third run of both Dateline and Law & Order: CI on Thursdays, which will include additional inventory for stations.


The fourth installment of the America Works Together town hall series airs on Fox Business Network today (May 28) at 11a. Hosted by Stuart Varney, the town hall will focus on the phased re-opening of the American economy and the ongoing economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Groomzilla, debuting Sunday, May 31st at 7p on UPtv, centers on a newly engaged woman who makes a wish that her fiance take the planning of their wedding seriously. To her surprise – and dismay – her wish comes true.

In celebration of National Pride Month this June, USA Network and Syfy are partnering with advocacy organization GLAAD to spotlight positive representation. The campaign will feature Pride-themed marathons, custom short-form videos, fan testimonials, PSAs and new podcast eps. GLADD will support the networks’ campaign via social handles, across digital platforms and with PSAs featuring resource and donation links. On USA, linear marathons will be wrapped with custom content featuring BD Wong.

Lifetime is partnering with Variety for a one-hour special celebrating the women serving on the frontlines during the pandemic. The Robin Roberts-hosted Lifetime Presents Variety’s Power of Women: Frontline Heroes premieres Tuesday, June 9 at 10p on Lifetime and Variety’s Facebook page. Doctors, nurses, teachers and researchers are among those who will be featured in the special, which examines ways women are confronting domestic violence, changes to the way children are educated, mental health and homelessness. Program also will highlight the 2020 Power of Women honorees including Cate Blanchett, Patti LuPone and Janelle Monae.


Premium video streaming services’ ad spending this spring is up 87 percent over the same time period a year ago, according to MediaRadar. The average spend of all premium services has been $20 million a week for TV, digital and print media since March 1. HBO Max, not surprisingly, tripled its marketing spend the week of May 10 leading up to its launch vs. the previous week, according to the advertising researcher. On television, HBO Max has been running promos on sister WarnerMedia networks TBS, CNN and Adult Swim, as well as ABC and Fox. On digital, the streamer’s been messaging on Snapchat, Yahoo, IMDB and Forbes.
Among other findings:
* The top three advertisers in the streaming service category include Disney+, Hulu & Quibi, which collectively spent more than $135 million on advertising, year to date.
* Netflix hasn’t shifted advertising during the pandemic, or in response to the launches of new competitors, such as Quibi or HBO Max. Its ad spend in April was down 11 percent, YoY.
* Amazon Prime Video upped its ad spending, nearly doubling the week of May 10 from where it was a few weeks earlier.


Harry Potter fans worked their magic. All eight movies are available for streaming on HBO Max at launch.

Park Pictures hopped on an exclusive virtual release of AG Rojas’ Godchild, a celebration of the works of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and John Coltrane that originally was intended to tour the country as part of The Smithsonian Institute’s Men of Change exhibition. While the tour is paused, Park Pictures will make the film available for a one-month run at www.godchild.film/ beginning June 4.

Did you know? 88 percent of viewers say they encounter mobile streaming frustrations. This data (and more) is from Penthera’s new U.S. Mobile Streaming Behavior Report. Learn more here about the issues plaguing U.S. viewers, how to solve them, and how to increase revenue by improving the mobile video experience.

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the most recognized name in professional gaming, today (May 28) is launching live competition series Ninja Battles Featuring Fortnite, featuring 60 of the world’s best Fortnite players and gaming personalities. Nick Eh 30, Bugha and Ewok are among those competing for a share of a $400,000 prize pool at www.mixer.com/Ninja. New eps will air Thursdays at 3p.

Whistle and Fruit by the Foot’s first ever live virtual tournament will air on YouTube Live Friday, May 29 at 7p. Hosted by social media personalities Carlos “Famous Los” Sanford and Anthony “Spice” Adams, challenge will see two fans facing off against WNBA All-Star A’ja Wilson, and NBA prospect R.J. Hampton.


At Twitter’s annual meeting yesterday CEO Jack Dorsey continued to reject calls for the platform to remove posts by the President in the wake of his tweets suggesting Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough was implicated in the death of his former aide Lori Klausutis. “We feel terrible for what the family is going through as a result of these actions and these behaviors, and we’re doing everything that we can to make sure that we continue to incentivize healthy debate, healthy conversation on Twitter,” Dorsey said in response to a shareholder question. “We also believe that it’s important that people have conversations around what’s happening, especially with our global leaders, that they can push back, that they can speak truth to power, that they can share and show why this particular behavior is not right, and not just.”

Facebook chairman/CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in on the topic of platform policing, yesterday telling shareholders FB’s criteria for removing content remains “imminent harm.” At the company’s annual meeting, he said Facebook continues to police hate speech that dehumanizes and incites violence. “Our default position is giving people a voice and then carving out places where there could be real harm, not down the line.”

Instagram is launching ways for creators to monetize their content on the platform via Instagram Live and IGTV. Next week Instagram will begin running ads in IGTV, with at least 55 percent of ad revenue shared with creators. Initial brands running ads include Sephora, Puma and Ikea. Then, beginning in June, the platform will enable users to purchase “badges” during Instagram Live videos to support for creators, and Instagram will share revenue with the creator partners.


The CBC yesterday unveiled its 2020-21 slate of original programming, led by a fall schedule featuring 1,300 new television hours spanning 22 new and returning series across all genres. Among new fall content are Samuel L. Jackson-helmed docuseries Enslaved, which charts the history of slavery through underwater archaeology; factual series Orangeville Prep and relationship-driven thriller The Sounds. Trickster, based on the novel Son of A Trickster, will be back for a second season. New for winter 2021 are Lady Dicks, a portrayal of two radically different female detectives in their early 40s, and Arctic Vets, an immersion with the team of vets who work with the wildlife that inhabits Canada’s frozen north.

Martin Scorsese’s self-shot short about life during lockdown will debut in the UK today (May 28) on BBC Two as part of Lockdown Culture with Mary Beard. Short also features fellow filmmaker Lee Daniels discussing why he believes the current Hollywood disruption could be a creative opportunity for filmmakers.

Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV canceled series Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020 following the death of pro wrestler and star Hana Kimura. Japan is considering stepping up its cyberbullying laws as a result of her death.

A+E Networks International and SBS Belgium inked a deal to bring five seasons of Live PD: Police Patrol and Nightwatch to the Benelux region.


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The April 9 season 16 finale of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy drew 16.5 million Total Viewers—marking the show’s most-watched telecast since its season premiere in September 2019—after 35 days of delayed viewing on linear and digital platforms. The finale surged by 9.2 million Total Viewers and by 318 percent with A18-49 from Live+Same Day to Multiplatform+35 Day.

A&E Network finished the week of May 18 as the No. 1 cable network in the A25-54 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research.

HGTV’s Celebrity IOU is the highest-rated first-year series in network history among A25-54, W25-54, M25-54, P2+ and households. It also is the No. 3 new unscripted original series in all of cable among A25-54 and the No. 4 among W25-54 so far this year. During its first season, the series attracted more than 25.7 million total viewers.

In the syndication market, Dr. Phil (eight-week high 2.2 live plus same day national Nielsen rating, up 10 percent from the week before) shrugged off the pandemic pre-emptions that stymied most of syndication and rose to the top of talkers in the session ending May 17. Not far behind was Live with Kelly and Ryan (2.0, down 5 percent), which had led the genre for the previous seven weeks. Ellen DeGeneres (new season low 1.5, down 6 percent) was third. Among the talk show newcomers Tamron Hall (0.9, steady) was inundated with top market preemptions but nevertheless grew 33 percent in the key W25-54 age group.

The highest-rated show overall in daytime was Judge Judy (5.9, down 8 percent) despite being in repeats on all five days. Judy also leads all syndicated shows season to date in the household ratings. In access Entertainment Tonight (2.7, down 4 percent) and Inside Edition (2.7, down 4 percent) tied for top magazine honors.

Top 11 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of May 11 ranked in order by HH Rtg
Family Feud (2/T) 6.5 AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 6.0 AA
Judge Judy (CTD) 5.9 AA
Jeopardy! (CTD) 5.8 AA
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 3.2 AA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 2.7 AA
Inside Edition (CTD) 2.7 AA
Dr. Phil (CTD) 2.2 AA
Hot Bench (CTD) 2.1 AA
Modern Family (2/T) 2.0 AA
Live with Kelly and Ryan (2/T) 2.0 AA

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Tuesday, May 26
Show, P2+ 0000s, (A18-49)
ABC: The Conners 3.0 (0.5), The Conners 2.6 (0.4), Our New Reality: A Diane Sawyer Special 2.6 (0.4), the Genetic Detective 3.2 (0.4)
CBS: NCIS 5.7 (0.5), FBI 5.0 (0.5), FBI: Most Wanted 4.0 (0.5)
CW: DC’s Stargirl 1.2 (0.3), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 0.8 (0.2)
FOX: Hell’s Kitchen 1.4 (0.3), Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours To Hell and Back 1.3 (0.3)
NBC: America’s Got Talent 9.7 ( 1,4), America’s Got Talent 9.9 (1.5), World of Dance 5.1 (1.0)
TELEMUNDO: Cennet 1.1 (0.3), 100 Dias Enamora 0.8 (0.3), La Reina del Sur 2 0.6 (0.2)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages


Gaumont is expanding with two executive hires. Karen Vermeulen has been appointed SVP, global co-production, financing & business development, based in London. She previously was head of global content strategy & co-production/managing director of Cloudco Entertainment. Cyril Le Pesant joins as the head of Animation & Family, Gaumont Animation, based in Paris. He most recently served as co-founder/CEO of Knightworks.

Programmatic advertising company MainAd launched a US division led by Ben Segal, VP, Americas, who recently joined MainAd after serving as VP of sales and programmatic partnerships at advertising technology pioneer Iponweb. MainAd plans to hire ad operations, business analysts, sales and account managers by the end of 2020 to support the market expansion.


Members of the Hollywood, Broadway, music and activist communities are mourning the loss of Larry Kramer, the playwright, author, essayist and outspoken AIDS activist whose work and words helped to shift national public health policy. Kramer died yesterday of complications from pneumonia. He was 84. He penned the 1985 autobiographical play The Normal Heart, which centered on the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York. The work stirred intrigue in Hollywood but languished without a firm development commitment until Ryan Murphy boarded the project and brought it to the screen on HBO in 2014. “His fight changed the health care system as we know it. I admired him above all others. He deserved the Medal of Freedom,” Murphy wrote in an Instagram post yesterday. “I loved working with him, his passion… I eventually even came to love our fights.” Murphy in his tribute noted he and Kramer had planned to collaborate on a Broadway version of The Normal Heart and its sequel, The Destiny of Me.

This Day in History
1961 – Amnesty International was founded.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Which sitcom character worked at one point for radio station WZUP? Martin’s (1992-1997) Martin Payne. Kudos to: Barbara E. Bevel/Staten Island, NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/Queensbury, NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL; Carl Mayer-Active International/Pearl River, NY; Jared Paventi-Alzheimer’s Association/Syracuse, NY; Joel Dearing-Virtual News Center/Indianapolis; Brian Corpuz-Nickelodeon/Burbank; Dan Haberer-Creo Entertainment/Playa del Rey, CA; Kerri Huyck/Kennewick, WA; Tom Moore -Kalt Productions/LA;

Today’s Trivia Question
What actor got his TV start in the early ‘90s playing Griff Hawkins on Boy Meets World? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four.)

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Job of the day
State College PA

Produce compelling live video segments for the national network on a daily and as-needed schedule. Put together the rundown for each individual segment and work with a team. Entrepreneurial spirit & working knwldg of non-linear editing suites req’d. Full info HERE (6/11)

AMC Networks’ Acorn TV/Silver Spring, MD:
Plans, implements, evaluates performance/KPIs of multi-territory subscriber acquisition campaigns; acts as creative lead and agency POC. Spanish fluency required; marketing exp, 5+ yrs. Full info/apply HERE (6/10)

Passionate, innovative & driven candidate to support planning, development & execution of marketing, brand building & PR initiatives for the company’s Football & Basketball clients. 5+ yrs comms, sales, superior marketing & athletic brand building skills a must. Full info HERE (6/7)

Earth Day Network/DC:
Help support the dvlpmnt/ execution of multi-channel, integrated communications and engagement strategies. 3+ yrs of communications planning and execution exp. Superior communication skills a must. Full info HERE (6/6)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Exceptional storyteller with a dedicated command for news and cultural trends to write for fast-paced primetime and overnight newscasts. 3+ yrs of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (6/5)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Exceptional storyteller with a dedicated command for news and cultural trends to write for fast-paced primetime and overnight newscasts. 3+ yrs of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (6/5)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for working with show hosts, preparing the rundown of new stories, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the prod of key video & graphic elements w/guidance from the EP. 3+ yrs EP exp or overseeing newscast production. Full info HERE (6/5)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live newscasts, news shows and recorded video segments for TV & digital platforms. Strong understanding of Newsmax brand and talent. Strong writing & organizational skills req’d as is the ability to produce content under heavy deadline pressure. Full info HERE (6/5)

SNEAKY BIG/Scottsdale AZ:
Prepare/present client presentations. Strong communicator. 10+yrs business development & sales exp in TV and/or film industry with strong ties and relationships with broadcast vendors producers and directors. Full info HERE (6/4)

Shop LC/Austin TX: Resp for launching our Shop LC brand on new and emerging media platforms outside of just cable and DISH television. 3+ yrs of exp in advanced media sales &/or digital advertising incl online media buying, campaign management and performance analysis is a must. Full info HERE (6/3)

(PT) >>
Previous sale asst exp a must! Execute/input all client orders ensuring that they are in approved weekly programming and compliant with all client requirements. Strong customer problem solving skills and highly organized. Full info HERE (6/3)

Playstation/San Mateo CA: Build a strategy and a team of developers to evolve SIE’s marketing data infrastructure to align with and accelerate our marketing strategy for the next generation of gaming 10+yrs mktg tech exp. Full info HERE (5/31)

Partner with Creative Production. Assist Strategy Planning & Analysis team to shape strategy and inform important business decisions with actionable data-driven insights. 10-15yr exp in highly analytical envir – top management consulting firm, investment bank, corporate strategy. Full info HERE (5/30)

A + E/NYC:
Have an aptitude for data and planning as well as a salesperson’s drive? you will learn how to be a team player in a fast-paced, innovative environment. Full info HERE (5/30)

Partner with Creative Production. Assist Strategy Planning & Analysis team to shape strategy and inform important business decisions with actionable data-driven insights. 10-15 yr exp in highly analytical envir – top management consulting firm, investment bank, corporate strategy. Full info HERE (5/30)

Jump 450 Media/NYC:
Dvlp big ideas for our digital mktg campaigns. This includes working with our clients on the strategy and implementing it with our creative production and media buying teams. Full info HERE (5/30)

ABC: Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, Holey Moley, To Tell the Truth
CBS: Young Sheldon, Man With a Plan, Mom, Broke, S.W.A.T.
CW: Burden of Truth, In the Dark
FOX: Celebrity Watch Party, Labor of Love
NBC: Council of Dads, Blindspot, Law & Order: SVU
PBS: This Old House Hour, Last Tango in Halifax, College Behind Bars
Telemundo: Cennet, 100 Dias Para Enamorarnos, La Reina del Sur 2
Univision: Te Doy la Vida, Amor Eterno, Como Tu No Hay Dos?


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