PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Grammy winner Mary J. Blige and her Blue Butterfly inked a first-look deal with Lionsgate to develop and produce TV series. The deal also gives Blige the opportunity to create content across the company’s other platforms. “Mary is a very talented artist, fearless visionary and an incredible human being,” said Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs. “We’re delighted to be working with someone with such a powerful and impactful creative voice.”
Paramount Network ordered scripted border patrol drama Coyote from Sony Pictures Television. Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones) will direct the pilot and executive produce the series; Michael Chiklis (The Shield) is attached to star and exec produce. Slated to debut in 2020, Coyote comes from MacLaren Entertainment, Dark Horse Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television.
CBS issued a series production commitment to The Lincoln Lawyer, the legal drama from David E. Kelley based on Michael Connelly’s series of bestselling novels and the 2011 feature film starring Matthew McConaughey. Project hails from A+E Studios, which will co-produce with CBS TV Studios.
From Mayberry to LA, test your knowledge of sitcom towns in the Cynopsis quiz.
Fox ordered six-episode holiday event series A Moody Christmas, based on an Australian show. CBS Television Studios will co-produce with Fox Entertainment.
Mike Richards signed an overall deal with Sony Pictures Television that will have him leaving his EP roles at The Price Is Right and Let’s Make a Deal.
El Rey Network announced today that production has begun in Austin, TX on United Tacos of America, a new docu-travel series that strives to find the best tacos across the country. The 8 episode series debuts this fall.
Montreal-based production company WAM Media GRP has created a new scripted division, and appointed Misha Solomon as the Director of Scripted Development. It’s the company’s first foray into scripted content production. “The success of our award-winning hybrid factual series, CBC’s The Detectives, and Netflix and Investigation Discovery’s Real Detective, has opened the door for us to expand the company into the scripted space,” said Scott Bailey, Executive Producer and Partner.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
ID’s new original series Til Death Do Us Part tells tragic tales of love turned lethal starting Tuesday, July 9 at 10p.
HGTV’s Flip or Flop returns for a new season on Thursday, August 1 at 9p. Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead, who divorced early last year, will both be back – but don’t look for drama of the relationship kind. “I feel like Tarek and I have started a brand-new chapter,” said Anstead. “We may not always agree on kitchen backsplashes or floor plans, but we’re always on the same page when it comes to our kids. We’ve learned to put our differences aside.” El Moussa will be going solo, though, for a digital series, Tarek’s Flip Side, premiering the same day on HGTV digital platforms.
A&E Network greenlit five paranormal-focused shows, including a revival of Ghost Hunters, which returns Wednesday, August 21 at 9p, followed at 10p by a reimagined version of A+E’s Psychic Kids. Celebrity Ghost Stories, new series Trey the Texas Medium (wt) and two-hour special World’s Biggest Ghost Hunt (wt) will premiere this fall. “A&E has been on the forefront of programming in the paranormal space and with that success, we have been eager to bring the genre back to the network for some time,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, EVP and Head of Programming. “
USA’s Miz & Mrs is back with new season one episodes starting Tuesday, August 6 at 10p. The net has already renewed the reality series following married WWE Superstars for season two.
A new cast of characters falls prey to a killer in Scream, kicking off a three-night event on VH1 starting Monday, July 8 from 9p-11p. The series jumped to VH1 from Viacom sib MTV, where it aired its first two seasons.
Also on VH1: Love & Listings landed an eight-episode order from the net, reports Deadline. Jacob Knight, son of Suge, stars in the Celebrity docu-series, debuting Wednesday, July 31` at 9p.
UMC original drama series A House Divided premieres Thursday, July 18, focused on a family fighting to save their legacy.
Studio71’s new Facebook Watch series, Sunk & Found, premieres Saturday, June 29. Unscripted series follows treasure hunter Dallas Rowley as he looks for items people had given up on finding.
A U.S. government crackdown on robocalls includes almost 100 cases brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department and 15 states. One man in the cross-hairs is Derek Jason Bartoli, who allegedly was responsible for 57 million calls to U.S. phone numbers over six months in 2017. “By putting people like Derek Bartoli out of business, we are able to deprive the robocallers of the important tools of their trade,” said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection. Robocall analytics firm Hiya reports Americans received 25.3 billion robocalls in the first half of the year, up 128% versus the same time last year.
YouTube announced three changes that give more control over Homepage and Up Next videos. Users will be able to more easily explore topics and related videos based on personalized suggestions; remove suggestions from channels they don’t want to watch; and learn why a particular video was recommended to them. “One thing we’ve consistently heard from you is that you want more control over what videos appear on your homepage and in Up Next suggestions,” said YouTube in a blog post. “So we’re doing more to put you in the driver’s seat.
Roku-based devices accounted for 15.2% of all media streaming devices in 1Q19, with over 41 million, according to Strategy Analytics, and the number will rise to 18%, or 52 million, by year’s end. “Roku had another strong quarter in Q1 and continues to hold a commanding lead in streaming media platforms in spite of Amazon’s growing influence in the living room,” said David Watkins, Director at Strategy Analytics. But when it comes to Roku’s international potential, the company will need to “face down the twin challenge of building brand awareness and drawing users away from well-established players sucn as Amazon, Apple and Google,” said Watkins.
BritBox, the streaming service from BBC Studios and ITV, is launching a home and garden channel offering viewers “a practical and pastoral window into British living.” At launch will be food and cooking programs including Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets, Mary Berry’s Absolute Favorites, The Chelsea Gardening Challenge and Marco’s Great British Feast. The new channel can be found on the homepage of the service and is available to subscribers starting today.
Acorn TV expanded its distribution channels, with increased availability on Apple TV channels in the Apple TV app, The Roku Channel, Amazon Prime Video Channels in Canada, and as an app on Android TV Smart TVs and digital media players.
The Preview Channel , the free advertiser supported OTT 24/7 linear and AVOD streaming television channel, has launched nationwide on Samsung TV Plus and is available on 2016-2019 Samsung Smart TV’s. The channel, which debuted on the XUMO platform in February, programs first run movie and video game trailers, as well other original and archival short form movie, TV- and video game-related themed programming.
The National Rifle Association has shut down production on its streaming network, NRATV, and cut ties with advertising firm Ackerman McQueen, which operated NRATV. “Many members expressed concern about the messaging on NRATV becoming too far removed from our core mission: defending the Second Amendment,” wrote Wayne LaPierre, the N.R.A.’s chief executive, to members. “Today, we are undergoing a significant change in our communications strategy. We are no longer airing ‘live TV’ programming.” Ackerman responded that it was “not surprised that the N.R.A. is unwilling to honor its agreement to end our contract and our long-standing relationship in an orderly and amicable manner.”
Netflix limited series When They See Us, focused on the men in the Central Park Five case, has been seen by over 23 million people since its May 31 release, says the streamer. That makes it the second most-watched series ever on Netflix, after Black Mirror.
Online piracy costs the U.S. economy at least $29.2 billion in lost revenue per year, according to a new study, “Impacts of Digital Piracy on the U.S. Economy,” from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Global Innovation Policy Center and NERA Economic Consulting. Eighty percent of piracy is attributable to streaming, thanks to the proliferation of piracy devices that deliver unauthorized live TV shows and video-on-demand.
The Directors Guild of America board voted to ban day-and-date film releases from eligibility for its Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film award. “The DGA proudly affirms that a first-run theatrical release is a distinctive element of our feature film award,” said DGA President Thomas Schlamme. Still, films like Netflix’s award-winning Roma would remain eligible – Roma did have a first-run theatrical release, albeit a short one. Banned from the DGA’s top honor would be films that premiered on a streaming service the same day they debuted on the big screen.
TV5Monde USA is offering the U.S. TV premiere of documentary Je suis la fête des vignerons (I’m the Winemaker’s Party), celebrating the winegrowing festival that only takes place five times a century, on Saturday, July 6 at 6:30p.
UPtv’s A Very Country Wedding premieres Saturday, July 6 at 7p. The movie is a sequel to A Very Country Christmas.
Not so fast with those 6-second ads. Among the insights in the latest Video Benchmark Report from Extreme Reach: While the advertising conversation in 1Q18 revolved around mobile and the adoption of 6-second video ads, 1Q19 reflects “a near-opposite paradigm.” Mobile video ads, at just 25% of all impressions, were at their lowest since 1Q17 and 6-second ad impressions were negligible. Connected TV impressions are now 49 percent of the total. “Connected TV is rapidly and dramatically impacting digital advertising in ways we wouldn’t have predicted,” Mary Vestewig, Senior Director Account Management at Extreme Reach, tells Cynopsis. “Not only are viewers of CTV generally more committed to what they’re watching, they usually can’t skip the ads. Where we once saw an explosion of really short ads when mobile was the emerging platform, we’re now seeing longer ads. In fact, we saw 5 times more 60-second ads in Q1 2019 than we did Q1 the previous year. It will be interesting to see how brands adjust their creative to maintain the positive viewing experience with these longer ads.”
Media and entertainment companies increased ad spend on YouTube from January-May 2019 versus the same period last year, while retailers have cut it by 20%, according to an analysis by MediaRadar. YoY, the study found that the Tech industry remained flat in terms of share of YouTube ad revenue year-over-year (26% in both 2018 and 2019), while the Media & Entertainment sector increased advertising on the platform, accounting for 3% more of YouTube’s ad revenue in 2019 (22% in 2018 compared to 25% in 2019). Of the almost 200 retail companies that advertised on YouTube between January and May of 2018, only 13% spent more on the platform during the same time period this year – but even with thatdecrease in ad spend, Retail remains a top three industry for YouTube.
The ARF announced the launch of its Research Quality Certification Program, created to raise the standards and increase the transparency of advertising and marketing studies. A key element of certification includes making study data available for public review and reanalysis. “Our Research Quality Certification program is central to the ARF’s mission to improve the practice of advertising, marketing, and media research through objective research-based insights,” said Paul Donato, Chief Research Officer, the ARF. “There is no better way to generate such insights and achieve industry leadership than through research that addresses gaps in our knowledge with scientific rigor and transparency.”
CBS Interactive is partnering with game engine Unity to build AR advertising campaigns. “Through the introduction of new ad formats like AR, we are continuing to create meaningful moments for CBS advertisers to connect with audiences in innovative ways,” said David Lawenda, EVP of Digital Sales and Sales Strategy at CBS. “Together with Unity, we look forward to leveraging augmented reality to create more engaging branded content and ad experiences for our advertisers.”
Discovery, Inc. announced it is launching “RISE,” a global initiative focused on reducing inequality and supporting empowerment around the world by working with local and global organizations focused on addressing social mobility through access to basic human needs. Powered by a new partnership with Save the Children and amplified through local charities and organizations, RISE will drive viewer engagement and awareness across the company’s global footprint and brands through localized PSAs, take-action websites, and social media as well as efforts of Discovery employees, who will be “boots on the ground in fostering education and life skills.”
In more Save the Children news, the humanitarian organization, announced that singer-songwriter Camila Cabello will be honored at “The Centennial Gala: Changing The World for Children” in NYC on September 12, while Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert Iger will be honored at the “Centennial Celebration: Once in a Lifetime” in LA on October 2. The New York event will be hosted by Today’s Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, while the California gathering will feature a special presentation by Oprah Winfrey.
Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) will star in Sky Original comedy Two Weeks to Live (wt), about a young misfit forced to go on the run from a murderous gang…Lena Headley (Game of Thrones), Benedict Wong (Avengers), Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians), Sigourney Weaver, Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Dave Goelz (The Dark Crystal) are onboard the voice cast for Netflix prequel series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
All3media international signed new deals in Central and Eastern Europe for programming from its portfolio of gardening-themed content. In Hungary, AMC Networks Central Europe has acquired a package of titles totaling 123 hours for air on its Spektrum Home, including Britain’s Best Back Gardens; Monty Don’s Japanese Gardens; and season eight of Gardeners’ World.
French TV production company Pernel Media and Vivendi Entertainment announced that French media group Canal+ has ordered 4K docudrama series, Secrets of the Pyramid Builders, about the building of the ancient Egyptian Pyramids, for its Planète+ and C8 channels.
The winning project for Horsepower, the 6-month-long Canadian format incubator initiative aimed at creating exportable TV formats from Quebec, offered a new twist on dating, and was created by An Tran. She will receive an investment from Quebecor Content for further development; Media Ranch will produce and distribute her format internationally.