|PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Netflix renewed Lucifer for a sixth and final season, after announcing the drama’s upcoming fifth season would be its last. “The devil made us do it,” tweeted Netflix. The streamer first revived Lucifer after it was canceled by Fox after three seasons. Netflix also picked up Kenya Barris comedy #blackAF for a second run.
And Netflix nabbed rights to the sequel to 2000 animated film Chicken Run. “Produced by @aardman, production is expected to begin next year. Eggsellent,” tweeted Netflix.
Amazon ordered comedy series Nancy Wu Done It, about a frustrated Asian American YA author who finds herself transported into one of her books. The series from writers and executive producers Kai Yu Wu (Carnival Row) and Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones) comes from Amazon Studios in association with Vertigo Entertainment.
Lion Television USA announced a co-production partnership with Michael Krivicka (viral video Devil Baby Attack), a director in the prank space, and his producing partner Peter Veverka (A Good Day to Die Hard). Under the deal, Lion will work with Krivicka and Veverka to develop and produce original prank formats for premium cable networks and streaming platforms. Krivicka and Veverka will work alongside Tony Tackaberry, CEO of Lion Television USA, and Stan Hsue, SVP of Development
Disney Channel picked up a third season of Amphibia ahead of the animated series’ season two bow on July 11. The show is part of a new Saturday night animation block.
NBC will shoot five of the pilots on its 2021 slate later this year, when it’s safe to resume production: dramas Langdon, based on Dan Brown’s novel “The Lost Symbol”, and Ordinary Joe; and comedies Night School, based on the 2018 movie, Grand Crew, and American Auto. The remainder of the net’s pilots will be rolled over to next pilot season.
Quibi ordered second seasons of Punk’d, from STX Entertainment in association with MTV Studios, and dating game show Singled Out, from MTV Studios.
Horror series The Birch made it to season two on Facebook Watch. “Having the show on a platform like Facebook Watch uniquely creates a personalized fan experience where viewers build community, share fan art, theories and forge connections,” said Crypt TV CCO Kate Krantz.
Including US political advertising, global ad spend is expected to drop 9.9% this year, according to GroupM’s mid-year forecast report. But it could have been worse. “While severe to be sure, 2020’s decline can still be considered ‘modest’ given the scale of the impact of the pandemic on global GDP, which will fall by much more than it did in the 2009 global financial crisis,” said the report. “During that year, when GDP declined by 1%, we estimate that global advertising fell by 11.2% in nominal terms.” Global advertising is projected to grow by 5.9% in 2021.
Fifty-eight percent of all US consumers say they have seen companies acting as “a force for good” during the recent racial equality protests, according to a study from GfK. But about half of all US consumers also say they have noticed brands serving as a “negative force” during the social unrest. Two-thirds reported that they have seen some companies taking a stance on racial issues for the first time. “Hanging back is no longer an option; but saying and doing the right things are also essential,” said Stacy Bereck, Managing Director of Consumer Insights for GfK. “With sentiments changing almost daily, brands need to monitor the consumer landscape closely and react with skill and judgment.”
Location-based audio OOH advertising company Vibenomics announced a partnership with Vistar Media, provider of software for digital OOH. “Together, we are opening up access to this growing channel, while utilizing Vistar Media’s experience in building a vast exchange across some of the largest place-based venues in the world,” said Brent Oakley, co-founder and CEO at Vibenomics. “This partnership is so unique because no other SSP could handle both the nuances of out-of-home and provide access to real demand at that level.”
Brand Safety was cited as the most important criterion for buyers when selecting digital video brands/publishers (86%), followed by premium content (82%) and clear ROI measurement (80%), according to IAB’s new report, “IAB U.S. 2020 Digital Video Advertising Spend: Putting COVID in Context.” Other findings include:
* Video advertising on desktop is expected to be the hardest hit in 2020.
* Programmatic in-housing continues to see significant growth, growing 64% YoY.
* Shoppable ads and augmented reality advertising are also poised for growth up 21% and 33%, respectively, YoY.
At its first NewFront presentation, Condé Nast introduced The Influence Network, with new content and measurable performance, along with Prime Live, offering advertisers exclusive ownership of Condé Nast’s marquee cultural moments, and Prime Shoppable, which links audiences directly with purchasing opportunities. The company also announced a 2020-21 programming slate that includes more than 150 digital videos pilots, the launch of the Condé Nast Podcast Network, a renewed branded entertainment strategy with a linear-first approach and an exclusive partnership with the National Basketball Players Association to produce content with GQ Sports. “In a rapidly changing environment, our advertisers are looking for a trusted partner that can deliver flexibility, new incremental audiences and measurable performance,” said Pam Drucker Mann, Global Chief Revenue Officer and President, US Revenue. “Our influence network answers those needs with quality content environments, brand channels with unparalleled engagement, and access to exclusive cultural touchstones that only we can own.” For more Condé Nast news, go to the Cynopsis NewFront portal.
Team Whistle announced a partnership with Banijay Group and The Natural Studios to launch the Bear Grylls Digital Network, producing digitally native shows starring the adventurer and bringing his multiple series to social platforms. Team Whistle, Banijay and The Natural Studios will build the digital-only network for brand-safe, outdoor lifestyle and adventure programming, with content and series featuring Bear Grylls and Team Whistle talent.
Team Whistle also announced the relaunch and expansion of Brother, the channel that reaches young male viewers with comedy, education, culture and dating content, boasting over 22 million subscribers on its Snapchat channel. The relaunch will lead with a new slate of multi-platform shows, an expanded talent roster, and a renewed focus on positive, diverse and relatable lifestyle content on Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, SMS and podcasts. Brother’s new shows include Meet The Pets and Get Out Of My Kitchen, in addition to recently launched shows Guy’s Guide and Know Cap.
Tiffany Haddish will star in an as-yet-untitled project for Ellen Digital Network, while digital series Help Me Gen Z, featuring Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) sitting down with Gen Zers to find out what’s on their minds, is in development. Also in the works at Ellen Digital is Ladyparts, starring Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) and “OBGYN to the stars” Dr. Sherry Ross discussing sex and anatomy with celebrity guests. Game Night follows Lauren Speed Hamilton and husband Cameron Hamilton (Love Is Blind) as they host game nights with celebrity couples, and All Love With Tabitha Brown, starring the TikTok sensation, will feature social media, cooking and parenting segments.
“We’re proud to partner with the IAB during these unprecedented times in 2020 to provide our clients, partners and most importantly our audience with Ellen Digital’s most expansive slate to date,”said Michael Riley, GM of Ellen Digital Ventures. “We’re seeing new formats emerge daily and we’re excited to test, innovate and be at the forefront of digital production with all our talent.”
In its NewFronts presentation, Facebook gave examples of how agencies, creators and brands have been using its tools during the health crisis. In the Community Collabs section of the video, Facebook showed how brands used user-generated video to help generate consumer engagement – as when Away featured people using its luggage in ways other than travel (think pet beds). The Quarantine Creativity section illustrated how Facebook features were used during isolation, and an example of Going Live showed Adidas and Soul Sisters Fitness teaming for routines via Instagram Live.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Amazon series Como Sobrevivir Soltero (How to Survive Being Single) premieres Friday, June 26. In Spanish with English subtitles, the series follows a fictionalized version of Mexican actor Sebastian Zurita navigating his newly single life.
Mike Rowe is back on Discovery Channel with Dirty Jobs: Rowe’d Trip, a look at what made Dirty Jobs an “essential” franchise. “Dirty Jobs Forrest Gumped its way on the air in 2004 and changed my life forever,” said Rowe. “What began as a simple tribute to my grandfather, has evolved into the granddaddy of ‘essential work’ programming, and I’m humbled everyday by the number of people who continue to watch.” Four-parter premieres Tuesday, July 7 at 9p.
NBC has turned to comedian, actor, writer and producer Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) to host new game show Small Fortune, which will have teams competing on miniature playing fields. Howery will also serve as executive producer for the show, set to go into production later this year.
The fifth and final season of Netflix’s Last Chance U, following the “hustle and grind” of the Laney Eagles, a junior college football team in Oakland, CA, premieres July 28. Spin-off Last Chance U: Basketball arrives in 2021.
HBO Europe’s Patria, which was due to be made available in May, will now be released day and date across HBO Europe and HBO Latin America territories, as well as in the US beginning Monday, September 27. In the US, the series will be available on HBO GO, HBO NOW, and on HBO via HBO Max and other partners’ platforms.
Season two of Bravo’s Backyard Envy launches Tuesday, August 4 at 10p. In addition to landscaping challenges, James, Garrett and Mel face a health scare, staff issues and a surprise proposal.
Valerie Bertinelli: In My Own Words makes its debut on Reelz on Sunday, July 19 at 9p. Family, friends and One Day at a Time creator Norman Lear share their experiences with the star.
Vice News and Spotify are teaming for Painkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis, premiering June 29. The series features reporting from Vice News’ Keegan Hamilton, who tracks the chain of fentanyl from production to local communities.
WarnerMedia Entertainment and iHeartRadio announced a partnership to co-produce a slate of companion podcasts for HBO Max. First up: companion podcasts for the comedy thriller series Search Party and sci-fi drama Raised by Wolves. The podcasts will be available on HBO Max, iHeartRadio and everywhere podcasts are heard.
Court TV has launched its first serialized podcast series, Murder and the Menendez Brothers: A Court TV Mystery. New episodes focused on the sensational crime debut every Tuesday for six weeks.
Kantar announced the launch of Link AI, a fully automated, AI-powered machine to predict creative effectiveness. Link AI evaluates high volumes of digital video and TV ads with precision in 15 minutes or less. Current use cases include batch testing campaigns and/or competitive ads as they break, pre-screening ads early in the development process and use iteratively through revision stages, and evaluating versions of ads for multiple media platforms. “Link AI is the fastest, fully automated, AI-powered solution to guide creative and media optimization available today,” said Dinesh Gopinath, Head of Product and Data Strategy for Kantar’s Analytics Practice. “It answers questions on creative assets quickly, iteratively and at scale, decreasing time to market and increasing ROI for our clients.”
Twitter emailed its business customers to inform them of a security lapse that could have compromised their information including email addresses, phone numbers, and the last four digits of credit card numbers. The data was inadvertently stores in the browser’s cache, where it was possible others could have accessed it.
Facebook is launching Forecast, an iOS app that allows users (right now invitees only) to ask questions and use in-app points to predict what will happen in the future. Questions will be moderated (no mentions of death, or sexual or violent assault), and users will be notified if their question is published.
Microsoft is shutting down video game streaming service Mixer, and directing people to Facebook Gaming. “Ultimately, the success of Partners and streamers on Mixer is dependent on our ability to scale the service for them as quickly and broadly as possible,” explained Phil Spencer, Microsoft EVP of Gaming, in a blog post. “It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences we want to deliver to gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform.”
Live global streaming and on-demand audio service TuneIn has launched “Hear, Here,” a brand campaign to showcase the ways audio serves as a companion to consumers as the world finds its way forward amidst a pandemic. With TuneIn’s listening trends pointing to a 27% year-over-year increase in consumption, “Hear, Here” now focuses on listeners’ unique ability to “hear” their favorite audio content wherever “here” may be.
Disney+ will launch in eight more European countries on September 15: Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The service has been available in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland since March.
CuriosityStream struck a partnership with wildlife production company Doclights to bring 50 original natural history documentaries to its SVOD and pay-TV services worldwide in 2020. The first ten world premiere titles debut on CuriosityStream beginning July 2, with Cheetah: Beating the Odds.
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Argh! Thirteen percent of people have a video piracy device in their home, and 40% of those say it is their primary source of movies and TV, according to a new survey from the Digital Citizens Alliance. But users are paying a price for watching for free, since piracy devices are three times more likely to deliver malware. “The classic adage applies here: ‘If you are not paying for the product, you are the product,’” said the DCA. “While you may get a movie, you give up personal identifiable information and perhaps even control of your device. The cost outweighs the rewards.”
Speaking of scammers, security company McAfee issued a list of the top ten TV shows that put people searching for free content most at risk for web crime. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Elite, Harlots, Letterkenny, Poldark, Lost, You, Gentefied, PEN15 and Skins made the list refers, determined by the number of high-risk websites associated with popular shows. “History has proven that cyber criminals follow consumer trends and behaviors to educate their scam strategies,” said McAfee. “It’s important that consumers stay alert while online and avoid malicious websites that may install malware or steal personal information and passwords.”
National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD’s Sharkfest event has a new premiere date: Sunday, July 19. The five-week stunt was originally scheduled to kick off a week earlier.
TLC will celebrate people who have persevered despite adversity beginning Thursday, July 9 at 10p, with the launch of a new series of specials: World’s Smallest Woman: Meet Jyoti; Conjoined Twins: Inseparable; and My Pregnant Husband. “TLC honors people from all walks of life in our programming,” said Rick Holzman, SVP Programming & Strategy, TLC. “These specials tell the unique and remarkable stories of people who face overwhelming challenges every day of their lives.”
Sean Hannity will host a town hall with President Trump on Thursday, June 25 during his Fox News show, Hannity, at 9p. Trump is slated to discuss police reform and the 2020 election.
Kids, Race and Unity: A Nick News Special, premieres Monday, June 29, simulcast on Nickelodeon, TeenNick, Nicktoons and the Nick app and YouTube channel. Hosted by Alicia Keys, the one-hour show will offer tools for families to have constructive conversations about race and inclusivity. It’s the first of a series of Nick News specials that will air in the coming months.
Among the Sunday night specials arriving on Reelz next month are Aaron Hernandez: Jailhouse Lover Tells All on July 5 at 8p; Olivia Newton-John: Behind Closed Doors on July 12 at 8p; and John Candy: Behind Closed Doors on July 26 at 9p.
Combate Americas is returning to live television with an interactive new Mixed Martial Arts fight series, from a state-of-the-art closed set in Miami, FL on Friday nights. The MMA action begins August 28, continuing with two special events on September 11 and September 25 in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. “As live sports return to television, Combate Americas is going to utilize this closed set studio series to deliver something that fans have never seen before and that will bring them closer than ever to the action from their screens,” said Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren.
Added to the list of (virtual) presenters for the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards are Gayle King (CBS This Morning), Kelsey Grammer (Light as a Feather), Kathie Lee Gifford (Today), and Cookie Monster, among others. The show airs Friday, June 26 at 8p on CBS
Winners of the 7th Annual Reality Television Awards (#RTVAs), hosted by Rene?e Young (Total Divas), will be revealed tonight at 7p on RTVAs.com. Seventy-seven shows were submitted in 22 categories.
Telemundo Deportes’ Que Momento returns with a special highlighting the show’s top three stories, selected by viewers via a social media vote: Francia Campeón – their identity, diversity and unity; the 2014 FIFA World Cup Mexico match against Netherlands #NoEraPenal; and final 60 seconds of three CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers for Russia 2018 that were played on October 10, 2017. The Best of Que Momento airs Saturday, June 27 at 11p on Telemundo and the Telemundo Deportes app, and re-airs on Sunday, June 28 at 10a on Universo.
Decades TV Network crosses into the Twilight Zone for its annual July 4 holiday marathon of “Rod, White & Blue: A Twilight Zone Celebration”. The stunt starts Saturday, July 4 at 12p and continues through Monday, July 6 at 7a.
Corus Entertainment struck a deal with NBCUniversal to air Peacock Original programming in Canada. The exclusive agreement includes a selection of original scripted and unscripted content, along with movies and specials.
Endemol Shine India has optioned Damyanti Biswas’s bestselling Indian crime novel You Beneath Your Skin to develop as a drama series. All proceeds from the option will go towards social enterprises in the author’s native New Delhi.
ITV Studios has acquired all non-scripted formats and IP from the Swedish creator and distributor Elk Entertainment. The deal will see the addition of 65 formats to the catalogue of the Group’s Global Entertainment arm located in The Netherlands.
Bumpybox announced that the BBC Children’s has recommissioned its preschool show My Petsaurus for two more seasons, to air on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer.
UK’s NENT Studios has gone into development on The Holiday with Projector Pictures for a four-part crime thriller, after the producer secured the rights to T.M. Logan’s bestseller.
The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is keeping its November 23 date for the 48th Annual International Emmy Awards, with an in-person component “should circumstances permit.” Semifinal judging, which usually take place in person, will now take place online. Nominees will be announced in late September.