05/09/17: Let’s Make a Deal: Sinclair agrees to acquire Tribune for $3.9 billion; Comcast and Charter team to up their wireless games

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Sinclair Broadcast Group struck a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media that will combine over TV 200 stations. Calling it a “transformational acquisition,” Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair, said the sale will create a leading nationwide media platform. Tribune’s 42 stations include 14 Fox affiliates, 12 with CW, 6 with CBS, 3 with AMC and 2 with NBC. Tribune also owns WGN America, Antenna TV and a stake in Food Network.
What will the Sinclair acquisition mean for WGNA? Ripley told analysts yesterday that the network is shifting strategy from pricey original programming (think Outsiders, Underground) to more cost-effective shows and reruns. “We believe quite firmly that that channel could be run much more profitably with just a fraction of what they spend on programming,” said Ripley. The CEO also said that while the plan is to hold onto Tribune’s 31% stake in “incredibly valuable” Food Network, if Scripps Networks Interactive wants to make an offer, “we are open to that.”
The top 2 cable operators, Comcast and Charter, have agreed to partner to explore wireless opportunities “to accelerate and enhance each company’s ability to participate in the national wireless marketplace.” They’ll maintain their own wireless services, but share information and technology, and use combined muscle for leverage in negotiations. And for a year, neither can make a wireless acquisition without the other’s okay. Said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, “Both of our companies have regional wireless businesses using the same 4G LTE network, and by working together our goal is to create even better experiences for our customers.”
Steve Kornacki, a breakout star in 2016 election coverage, has been named National Political Correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. Kornacki will contribute to Today, fill in for the host of Hardball with Chris Matthews and appear on MSNBC’s new show hosted by Nicholle Wallace, among other duties.
One and done: The CW canceled two soft-rated series. Frequency, based on the 2000 film, and No Tomorrow, about a risk-averse woman encouraged to take chances by a man who thinks the world is ending in 8 months, won’t make it to a sophomore run. Frequency drew an average 1.5 million viewers, while No Tomorrow pulled in about 1 million.
The Writers Guild did not take kindly to the FCC’s decision to investigate a monologue joke told last week by The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert about President Donald Trump. “Colbert was poking fun at authority, a time-honored tradition and an essential principle of democracy,” said the WGA in a statement. “What is obscene is not what Colbert said but any attempt by the government to stifle dissent and creativity.” An FCC spokesperson told CNN that reviewing consumer complaints is “a matter of standard practice.”
Jennifer Morrison, star of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, is leaving the series after 6 seasons. “After very careful consideration, I have decided that creatively and personally, it is time for me to move on,” said the actress. While the drama has not yet been picked for a seventh season, if it is, “I have agreed to appear on one episode,” said Morrison.
Don’t blame Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for the slowdown at the FCC’s website that started around midnight on Sunday. While the HBO late night host had encouraged viewers to go to the FCC site and post comments about the plan to rewrite net neutrality rules, the agency said Monday that the trouble stemmed from DDoS attacks, not people trying to leave comments.” Ou r analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks,” the agency said in a statement. “These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system.” DDoS attacks flood a website with useless traffic, intended to slow it down.

The Paley Center Honors Gala in NYC on May 17 will focus on the achievements of women in media. Marlo Thomas (That Girl) will open the evening, and a tribute to Carol Burnett will be a highlight of the festivities.


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Bravo is developing 6 new series, including 3 in the high-end real estate space. Projects include Center Staged (Kingdom Reign Entertainment), Million Dollar Home Hacks (Shed Media and Wall to Wall Media) and Flippin’ Exes (Rock Shrimp Productions), along with The High School Project (Wilshire Studios), a re-creation series about hard-partying NYC teens; social experiment Welcome to America (Our House Media), diversifying the population of a small town, and Empty Nesters (Left Hook Media), about parents cutting loose while their kids are at summer camp.
Amazon placed a 6-episode, straight-to-series order for The Dangerous Book for Boys, from Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Greg Mottola (Superbad), Based on the best-selling British novel of the same name, the family comedy will film in New York this summer.
HGTV has picked up home renovation series Restored by the Fords, following  siblings who transform outdated rural Pennsylvania homes into modern gems. The eight half-hour episodes are scheduled to premiere in January 2018.
Z Living gave a green light to 3 original series: Work It Out, featuring fitness guru Denise Austin, from 3 Ball Entertainment; Brooke Peterson’s Celebrity Book Club from Critical Content; and I Lied for Love, hosted by actress and comedian Amy Paffrath, from T Group.
Paramount Television struck an exclusive, 2-year overall television deal with Brian Yorkey (13 Reasons Why), giving Paramount exclusive rights to develop, produce and distribute all television projects from Yorkey across broadcast, cable and digital services.
Kenya Barris extended his and his Khalobo Ink Society’s overall deal for with ABC Studios by 4 years. Barris will continue as exec producer of black-ish, while developing new projects for broadcast, cable and streaming services.
The premier media awards program dedicated to encouraging and rewarding stand out performers who are 30 years or younger is now accepting nominations.  Check out the 3rd annual Rising Star Awards and join Cynopsis as we applaud the work that they have accomplished over the past year. 
Celine Dion will perform mega-hit “My Heart Will Go On” at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 21 at 8p on ABC. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Titanic ballad.
Episode 3 of Nat Geo’s Genius, showing Albert Einstein’s personal and professional struggles, airs tonight at 9p. To find out why Nat Geo EVP, head of global scripted development and production Carolyn Bernstein calls the series “a true turning point” for the rebranded network, check out the new Cynsiders .
The spring finale – and 100th episode – of Freeform’s Baby Daddy airs Monday, May 22 at 8:30p.
GetTV will air 10 episodes of before-he-was-a-movie-star Burt Reynolds in 1970-71 crime series Dan August, as part of its “Get Lost in TV” overnight block starting Sunday, May 21 at 8p.
The American Veterans Center is partnering with Raycom Media to broadcast the National Memorial Day Parade in all 44 Raycom Media markets, as well as the American Armed Forces Network. The parade takes place in D.C. Monday, May 29 at 2p.
RLTV ’s A Taste of History is back tonight at 8p, recreating dishes from the 18th century. Among the destinations this time around: Barbados, the only place George Washington traveled to outside the U.S.
Season 2 of E!’s Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry launches Wednesday, May 17 at 8p. Celebs added for the sophomore run include Jamie-Lynn Sigler with Lance Bass, Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Glanville, Pauly D, Peter Facinelli, Allison Janney and Linda Blair, among others.
New FX drama Snowfall, about the start of the crack epidemic in LA, launches Wednesday, July 5 at 10p. Drug drama was created by John Singleton & Eric Amadio and Dave Andron.
Oh, baby: TLC’s Counting On returns for a 7-part run on Monday, June 12 at 9p.
Health/entertainment net Z Living picked up second seasons of Altar’d, about the journeys of engaged couples, and Finding Fido, centered on a canine matchmaker, its first original primetime series. Renewing the shows was “a no-brainer for us, with both series generating audience loyalty week to week and meaningful social conversation,” said EVP and head of programming Tim Krubsack.
Orphan Black ’s fifth and final season premieres on BBC America Saturday, June 10 at 10p.
The Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app is now available on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, in addition to being Chromecast enabled. Its launch marks the first time a U.S. network has offered a stand-alone, fully-dedicated Spanish-language sports app on connected TV devices. 
In April, Scripps Lifestyle Studios topped 1.4 billion video views for the first time (more than quadruple April 2016), across digital, social, and mobile platforms. Scripps Lifestyle Studios also reached more than 560 million visitors in April 2017, more than double last April.
More from the Scripps family: Food Network ranked #1 among food and drink outlets, topping Buzzfeed’s Tasty, Tastemade, and Delish last month, according to Tubular Labs. Travel Channel grew its digital video views 38 times over last April, while HGTV tripled its digital video views.


Benicio del Toro and Patricia Arquette are attached to star in limited series Escape at Clinton Correctional, exec produced by Ben Stiller. The project is in development at Showtime.

Turkey’s first English-language international news platform, TRT World, now reaches 11.3 million subscribers across UK and Ireland via Sky UK.
All3Media secured a deal with HBO for pay TV rights in Central and Eastern Europe, plus SVOD rights for HBO Nordic and Spain, to 6-part thriller Clique. HBO Europe also acquired thriller Rellik.
Germany’s Good Times picked up Armoza FormatsOVO, which has passersby in cities sharing their stories in egg-shaped “confession booths.”
Alfred Haber Distribution  secured the exclusive international rights to 2-hour Showtime concert special, Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour.
In a market where brands “continue to want more for less,” ad research firm Standard Media Index suggested there could be a “softening” this upfront season. SMI noted the upfront spending for the Oscars in the 2016-2017 broadcast season fell 12%, while the Grammys dipped 10%, and said some upfront dollars are moving from entertainment to sports and news. 
Burt’s Bees is this year’s sponsor of General Hospital’s 13th “Nurse’s Ball,” aimed at raising awareness of AIDS research, as well as giving the soap’s cast a chance to display their vocal talents. Extra’s Mario Lopez will make his first GH appearance, on Monday, May 22.
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April 2017 was up 27% versus year ago, propelling TLC to the #6 Primetime ad-supported cable network with W25-54. For the month, TLC saw double-digit growth on five nights of the week and was #1 on Wednesday night among W25-54/18-49. It was also the highest rated Wednesday night ever for any April with W25-54 and most watched with P2+ viewers. 
On Sunday, ABC’s The Last 100 Days of Diana was tops in its time slot among total viewers (6.4 million) and tied among A18-49 (.9/3), the net’s best numbers in the 9p-11p time period since the Oscars.
And they’re off! The first week Ryan Seacrest was by Kelly Ripa’s side, syndicated talker LIVE with Kelly and Ryan was up 18% in Households week over week (to 2.6/9), its highest-rated week in 9 weeks, and rose 22% among W25-54 (to 1.1/9), matching a 9-week high, according to metered market ratings.
Animal Planet delivered Primetime increases of +9% (to 623,000) in Total Viewers P2+ in April versus April 2016 in Live+3. The network also climbed five positions on the A25-54 monthly ranker versus March, and broke into cable television’s Top 30 (#30) for the month.
Top Ten Basic Cable Network Live+7 Performance among Total Viewers for the week of April 17, 2017
Primetime (000)/Total Prog. Day (000)
TNT 3097/FOXN 1459
FOXN 2288/NICK 1181
HGTV 1503/TNT 1140
MSNBC 1430/ADSM* 872
DISC 1393/HGTV 851
TBSC 1375/DSNY 820
USA 1347/MSNBC 761
ESPN 1257/NAN* 741
HIST 1178/ID 726
FX 1164/TOON 701
Source: Turner Research from The Nielsen Company data. All ratings based on Total US Television Universe of 116,400,000 homes. * + Network broadcasts less than 51% of minutes in a 24 hour day. Notes: Data based on most currently available Nielsen Data stream; Preliminary: Live+7. Primetime is Mon-Sat 8p-11p and Sun 7p-11p. Total day is Mon-Sun 6a-6a for household and demographic performances.
Top Ten Basic Cable Network Live+7 Performance among A18-49 for the week of April 17, 2017
Primetime (000), Total Prog. Day (000)
TNT 1584/TNT 554
TBSC 627/ADSM* 539
ESPN 597/NAN* 366
USA 597/NICK 351
BRAV 562/ESPN 328
VH1 551/TBSC 276
ADSM 549/ID 262
DISC 533/HGTV 247
FX 464/USA 246
A&E 434/TOON 245
Source: Turner Research from The Nielsen Company data. All ratings based on Total US Television Universe 116,400,000 homes. * + Network broadcasts less than 51% of minutes in a 24 hour day. Notes: Data based on most currently available Nielsen Data stream; Preliminary: Live+7. Primetime is Mon-Sat 8p-11p and Sun 7p-11p. Total day is Mon-Sun 6a-6a for household and demographic performance.
Top-Rated Cable Shows among A18-49 for the week of April 17 2017 (000)
Love & Hip Hop Atlanta (VH1) 2635
Golden State/Portland (ESPN) 2413
Portland/Golden State(TNT) 2249
The Real Housewives of Atlanta (BRAVO) 2246
Boston/Chicago (TNT) 2205
LA Clippers/Utah (TNT) 2031
Basketball Wives (VH1) 2023
Oklahoma City/Houston (TNT) 2014
Better Call Saul (AMC) 1919
Indiana/Cleveland (TNT) 1900
Source: Turner Research from The Nielsen Company data. All ratings based on Total US Television Universe 116,400,000 homes. * + Network broadcasts less than 51% of minutes in a 24 hour day. Notes: Data based on most currently available Nielsen Data stream; Preliminary: Live+7. Primetime is Mon-Sat 8p-11p and Sun 7p-11p. Total day is Mon-Sun 6a-6a for household and demographic performance.
NIELSEN SOCIAL CONTENT RATINGS: Top Series and Specials by Total Interactions for the week of May 1, 2017
Program, Total Interactions (000), Facebook (000), Twitter (000)
The Real Housewives of Atlanta (Bravo) 652, 481, 171
The Voice (NBC) 631, 104, 526
MTV Movie & TV Awards (MTV) 602, 364, 239
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC) 506, 484, 22
Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta (VH1) 340, 297, 43
Empire (Fox) 338, 192, 89
WWE Monday Night RAW (USA) 280, 192, 89
The Profile in Courage Award (MSNBC) 279, 171, 58
The Late Show (CBS) 212, 97, 115
Source: Nielsen. Uniques and Interactions are a measure of total relevant U.S. social media activity grossed across Facebook and Twitter from three hours before through three hours after broadcast, local time. Includes primetime and late fringe programming with metrics available across social platforms on Broadcast and National Cable and excludes sports events.
SHAREABLEE SOCIAL TV RATINGS: Top U.S. Shows Overall by Engagement for the week of May 1, 2017
Program, Total Actions (000), Total Content, Actions per Content (000), Fans/Followers (000)
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Warner Bros./synd.) 8661, 103, 84, 139543
E! News (E!) 7031, 918, 7, 29274
Pretty Little Liars (Freeform) 3869, 217, 18, 25778
Today Show (NBC) 1901, 577, 3, 11598
Good Morning America (ABC) 1233, 594, 2, 11692
TMZ (Warner Bros./synd.) 1204, 1019, 1, 13040
The Tonight Show (NBC) 1198, 167, 7, 19757
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 1077, 50, 22, 29167
NBC Nightly News (NBC) 993, 522, 2, 4060
The Flash (CW) 965, 35, 27, 10358
includes the total volume of post-level likes, shares, favorites, retweets and comments. Total content includes all posts, tweets and media posted by each TV property across all platforms. Actions per post metric notes the average e number of actions garnered by each TV property. Total fans/followers includes Facebook and Twitter and Instagram followers


Top 13 Live+7 Playback Rankers by actual gain for the week of April 17, 2017
Live+SD/Live+7/+7 Actual Gain
Designated Survivor (ABC) 1.0/2.4/1.4
Scandal (ABC) 1.3/2.4/1.1
Blacklist (NBC) .8/1.7/.9
Bull (CBS) 1.1/1.9/.8
Scorpion (CBS) 1.1/1.9/.8
NCIS (CBS) 1.3/2.1/.8
Prison Break (Fox) .9/1.7/.8
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) .8/1.5/.7
American Housewife (ABC) 1.2/2.9/.7
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) 1.1/1.8/.7
Survivor (CBS)  1.7/2.4/.7
Superstore (NBC) .9/1.6/.7
The Voice (NBC) 2.0/2.7/.7
Based on the difference between Nielsen’s first-reported Live + Same Day and the final Live + 7 Day ratings (for regular, original programs only).
Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Friday, May 5, 2017 time period averages.
Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD
CBS: 4.7/9
Undercover Boss 3.2/7, Hawaii Five-0 5.0/10, Blue Bloods 5.6/11
NBC: 3.0/6
First Dates 2.4/5, Dateline 3.3/6
ABC: 2.4/5
The Toy Box 1.8/4, Shark Tank 2.8/5, 20/20 2.6/5
FOX: .9/2
Lucifer .9/2, Lethal Weapon .9/2
Rosa de Guadalupe .8/2, Vino el Amor 1.4/3, La Piloto 1.1/2
TELE: .5/1
El Capo .5/1, Guerra de Idolos .4/1, Querida Centauro .5/1
CW: .6/1
Originals .7/1, Reign .5/1
Friday A19-49:  CBS.9/4, ABC .8/4, NBC .8/4, FOX .3/2, UNI .7/3, TELE .3/1, CW .2/1
Source: Nielsen
Comcast Cable promoted Marcien Jenckes to President, Advertising. Jenckes had been Executive Vice President, Consumer Services.
NBCUniversal veteran Marianne Gambelli has been named President of Ad Sales for Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, effective May 22. Gambelli, who will replace Paul Rittenberg, recently served as Chief Investment Officer at Horizon Media.
Joseph Boyle was upped to Vice President of Production and Development for Discovery. Most recently, the Emmy-winning producer served as Senior Director of Production and Development.
Showtime Networks Executive Vice President, Business Affairs and Production Melinda Benedek is retiring after 22 years with the company. Benedek will remain with Showtime through the end of the year; no replacement has been announced.
Shout! Factory promoted Lauren Blum to Associate Vice President of Publicity. Blum previously served as Senior Director of Publicity.
HITN hired Laura Masnatta as Executive Producer. Before joining HITN, Masnatta led her own production house, People Project Film.

This Day in History: 1961 – FCC chairman Newton N. Minow called television programming a “vast wasteland” in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters.  
Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: Which series set in a high school featured a secretary named Miss Hogarth? Room 222 (1969-1974). Kudos to: Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station, TX, Mark Wajda/Leesburg, FL, Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach, FL, Helene Castellon-Mediavest|Spark/NYC, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/LA, Alex Petrilli, David Garber-Loyola Marymount University/Playa del Vista, CA, Ken DuBow-Bob’s Your Uncle/LA, Jeffrey Want-Brian Graden Media/LA, Julie Houston-Tom Scott Agency/Boise, ID
Today’s Trivia Question: Which unlikable TV character’s daughter kidnapped her as payback for sending her to reform school? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: A limit of four correct answers from each time zone will be selected.).
Answer to Friday’s Anagram:  Home Tech Martyr = My Mother the Car. Kudos to: David Stern-BARD Entertainment, NYC, Joel Dearing-Virtual News Center/Indianapolis, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
Variety Show Anagram: Networks Heed Sloth (Email [email protected]; first three respondents with the correct answer who aren’t in trivia will be posted in tomorrow’s newsletter.)


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JOB OPENING: CASTING MGR/Discovery Studios/LA: Tenacious mgr w/history of creating talent based concepts to join Dvlpmnt Dept. Success in rsrching finding building/maint relationships w/ talent. Team oriented to find best undiscovered, diverse & dynamic talent. 3-7 yrs exp w/focus on male skewing non fic prgrmng  APPLY (5/16)

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JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA/OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK/LA: Develop and lead marketing strategies and campaigns across social and digital platforms. 7 yrs + leadership experience, BA required. Apply HERE: http://careers.own.tv (5/12)  
JOB OPENING: INTEGRATED MKTG MGR/Interactive One/NYC: Work on strategic/creative dvlpmnt/mngmnt of revenue-generating mktg solutions for existing and prospective clients. Respond to RFP, RFI and general Sales Requests Min 5-7 yrs at agency media co or sales/mktg organization. Full info/apply HERE (5/12)
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JOB OPENING: TEMP AD SALES PLANNER/Smithsonian Channel/NY: Daily maintenance of ad scheds; ensure accuracy; handle sched changes & make-goods. Provide admin support & asst w/client presentations. 1yr ad sales exp at ntwk or agency. Strong orgnztnl/analytical Full info/Apply (5/11) HERE
JOB OPENING: TEMP. RESEARCH ANALYST/Smithsonian Channel/NY: Prep ratings summary rpts; provide research support; develop ratings summary rpts, prep viewership demo rpts. Solid intern exp. in research, Nielsen exposure, passion for qualitative work, attn to detail, knwlg of PP, MS Word, Excel. Full info/Apply (5/11) HERE
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PUBLICIST/CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ: Work closely with VP, PR to manage communications and press efforts for Business News. 3+ years in media publicity. Experience in television or print media industries pref’d. Full/info apply HERE  (5/10)


JOB OPENING: PUBLICITY MANAGER/CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ: Dvlp & manage PR strategies for CNBC Primetime programming. 4+ years in entertainment media publicity. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Full info/apply HERE (5/10)


TV PRODUCTION INTERNSHIP/National TV show: Raw Travel TV has opening for 1 serious intern interested in learning hands on TV production 4 college credit. Submit to [email protected]  (5/12)

ABC: The Middle, American Housewife, Fresh Off the Boat, Imaginary Mary, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
CBS: NCIS, Bull, NCIS: New Orleans
CW: The Flash, iZombie 
FOX: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Prison Break  
NBC: The Voice, Great News, Great News, Chicago Fire
PBS: Victorian Slum House, American Experience [r], Frontline 
Telemundo: El Capo, Guerra de Idolos, La Querida del Centaura  
Univision: La Reina de la Cancion, La Doble Vida de Estala Carrilo, La Piloto

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