PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Producer Greg Berlanti renewed his production and development deal with Warner Bros. Television Group, the studio behind all 14 scripted series (Arrow, Black Lightning, The Red Line and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, to name a few) he has on the air. The pact keeps the uber-producer put through 2024. “A lot has changed about TV since I started working in it 20 years ago, but what hasn’t changed is how blessed I feel to come to work every day, where I work with the most talented, hardest-working company, executives, showrunners, actors, writers, directors, casts and crews in the business,” said Berlanti.
IFC and UK’s Channel 4 greenlit comedy Year of the Rabbit, starring Matt Berry (Toast of London). The series, produced by Objective Fiction and distributed internationally by all3media, is “irreverently and profanely inspired by the world of legendary detective Sherlock Holmes in Victorian era London.” Shooting is set to begin this fall for a 2019 debut.
Love Nature, a joint venture with Blue Ant Media and Smithsonian Networks, announced today the greenlight and pre-production of its latest commission, Dogs with Extraordinary Jobs. Co-produced by Oxford Scientific Films, in association with Positively, series will show how dogs’ natural abilities are being harnessed by to improve lives, increase safety and maintain the health and biodiversity of the planet.
Fox is developing a true crime special about Charles Manson, Inside the Manson Cult: The Lost Tapes. The doc from Naked Entertainment and narrated by Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) will include footage from inside the ranch where the murderous Manson cult lived.
Canada’s CBC greenlit Cavendish, a half-hour comedy series created by comedians Andrew Bush and Mark Little, with Garry Campbell. It’s Temple Street’s first comedy series with the network; preproduction is due to start in July.
Stage, the streaming network devoted to the world of theatre, has begun production on its third original series, We Can Cook Too!. Half-hour episodes are hosted by composer and performer Jeff Blumenkrantz and feature a musical artist cooking a dish connected to a show from their past.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Season nine of Shameless debuts on Showtime Sunday, September 9 at 9p, followed by the series premiere of half-hour comedy series Kidding, starring Jim Carrey l at 10p. It’s Carrey’s first series regular role in over 20 years.
Breaking the Band, launching with the story of the rise and fall of The Beatles, is a natural for Reelz. “We all remember the time our favorite band broke up and we feared we’d never hear their music again and we just wanted to know why,” Steve Cheskin, SVP of Reelz programming, tells Cynopsis. “The drama that led to the breakup is a perfect fit for our brand of storytelling about the real stories of real celebrities.” Series premieres Sunday, June 10 at 10p.
Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee returns for the back half of season ten on Friday, July 6. Kate McKinnon, Ellen DeGeneres, Hasan Minhaj, Dana Carvey, Tracy Morgan, Zach Galifinakis and Alec Baldwin are among those strapping in.
Just in time for Independence Day picnics, Burgers, Brew & ‘Que will launch a new season on Cooking Channel. Host Michael Symon eats his way across American starting Tuesday, July 3 at 9p.
Disney Junior renewed animated series Fancy Nancy for season two, ahead of its Friday, July 13 premiere. Family comedy is based on the bestselling book series.
Season four of SundanceTV daytimer Close Up with the Hollywood Reporter premieres Sunday, June 24 at 10a. Guests this season will include Jason Bateman, Claire Foy, Elisabeth Moss, Tracee Ellis Ross and Drew Barrymore, among others.
Two series make their season three debuts on USA on Thursday, June 21: Queen of the South at 9p, followed by Shooter at 10p.
National Geographic documentary Inside North Korea: Race to Peace will debut Sunday, June 10 at 10p, two days before the planned summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. One-hour special follows the twists and turns leading to the event, with current and archival footage as well as insights from dignitaries and experts.
Travis Tritt is joining Shania Twain and Jake Owen on USA’s musical showcase, Real Country, premiering this fall. The trio will select emerging musicians to perform and compete in country showcases.
Carrie Underwood and Ludacris are scheduled to perform “The Champion” for the first time live together at the Radio Disney Music Awards. Event takes place Friday, June 22 and will run on Disney Channel and other Disney platforms Saturday, June 23 at 8p.
Bounce SVOD service Brown Sugar is premiering its first original short film on Sunday, June 24. Blackstar Warrior, described as “Blaxploitation-meets-Star Wars,” stars Leonard Roberts (Drumline) as a space detective.
Ad tech company Viant used automatic content recognition technology and data points from partners to compare new fans of golf’s U.S. Open versus returning fans, data it noted would be useful for brand advertisers. For example? “Like with all professional sports, PGA viewership and following is largely driven by its biggest stars. Tiger Woods has long been a superstar in professional golf and despite his lack of recent titles, he still draws a crowd,” Jon Schulz, CMO at Viant, tells Cynopsis. “Tiger missed much of last year due to injury, but is back on tour in 2018. We wanted to explore the impact of Tiger Woods’ return to golf and relate that impact to those that sponsor the sport. The data reveals some major differences in brand affinity, social media behavior and sports interests between new golf views and the existing fanbase that watched the major tournaments in 2017.” For instance, “With new fans 22% more likely to be social influencers that post frequently, and 28% more likely to be influenced through actively reading friends’ posts, advertisers looking to capture the attention of these consumers should be creating digital and social campaigns timed with the tournament.”
Broadcast TV’s reach has slipped from 92% of viewers 2+ in 1Q11 to 82%, while cable nets have dropped from 89% to 80%, according to MoffettNathanson Research. NBC fell 6%, to 72.9%; ABC was down 12%, to 63%; CBS dipped 13%, to 66.5%; and Fox fell 28%, to 54.3%. “The longevity of TV’s pricing power has been predicated on its ability to offer efficient national reach versus other marketing platforms that haven’t built the same national scale,” wrote senior media analyst Michael Nathanson. “However, in recent years, the decline in PUT levels, the drip, drip, drip of cord-cutting and the increase in viewing options has negatively impacted linear C3 ratings.”
Upfront deals may have started, but as MediaPost reports, it could be slow going. Said John Janedis, media analyst at Jeffries, “We believe upfront deals have started to get written, though complicated cross-platform deals and measurement have someone slowed down the pace.” Janedis thinks ABC has started to write business “likely pricing at the lower end of the peer-group range,” while NBC is close to striking deals “but CPM demands and measurement have slowed the process.” For the latest updates on Upfront dealmaking, go to the Cynopsis Upfronts/NewFronts portal.
Turner Sports launched live sports marketplace Turner Sports Live, to help advertisers buy ads across its digital portfolio. “Sports continues to be the preeminent content category driving live video engagement, and you would be hard-pressed to find a media company with the depth and breadth of owned and operated sports intellectual property than Turner Sports,” said Seth Ladetsky, SVP of sales for Turner Sports. “We know there are an increasing number of crazy gimmicks and plenty of digital transparency issues that marketers are faced with every day. With the Turner Sports Live network, we are making it very simple for an advertiser to come in and tap into some of the most valuable audiences available anywhere.”
Acxiom struck deals with GfK MRI and mobile marketing platform Kiip to help advertisers target American consumers. With GfK, the Big Data firm’s data segmenting consumers will be integrated with MRI’s respondent-level survey data to target media usage and purchase behaviors. Kiip is licensing Acxiom’s LiveRamp Identity Store to create audiences based on real world actions.
Ad software platform provider Mediaocean and Vevo, the music video and entertainment platform, are teaming to enable agencies to access Vevo’s inventory within Mediaocean’s Spectra platform. By integrating Vevo’s inventory, media buyers can manage digital video campaigns within Mediaocean’s end-to-end media management platform. “At Vevo we want to bring global icons to local markets, we want to make partnering and buying Vevo even easier by being where the brands are; this partnership with MediaOcean will enable us to do exactly that,” Jesse Judelman, SVP, national sales, tells Cynopsis. “Our goal is to create even more brand safe, ad supported, addressable premium video inventory that is sold nationally and locally at scale.” Available beginning August 1, Spectra users will have access to Vevo’s local and network inventory across desktop, mobile, tablet, and TV systems.
The impact of celebrity endorsements on brand credibility is dictated to a significant extent by the perceived trustworthiness of the celebrity, according to a study published in the Journal of Advertising Research, “What We Know About Celebrity Endorsement in Advertising.” Advertisers considering celebrity endorsement should select an attractive celebrity who is perceived to be trustworthy to best influence both their low- and their high-involvement consumer base, concluded the report.
Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) landed the lead opposite Uma Thurman in Netflix’s upcoming supernatural drama, Chambers….Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) will star in Apple drama Are You Sleeping opposite Octavia Spencer….Kelli Berglund (Lab Rats), Beau Mirchoff (Awkward) and Roxanne Mesquida (The Last Mistress) have been cast as series regulars in Starz coming-of-age comedy Now Apocalypse.
Amazon bought a piece of English Premier League soccer action – the service grabbed a package of 20 matches per season, running 2019-2022. Sky nabbed 128 matches per season, while BT scored 52.
Telemundo, Spanish-language home of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, and Google are partnering to expand the World Cup fan experience. World Cup fans searching on Google for their favorite teams, matches and scores in Spanish in the U.S. will see close to real-time video highlights from Telemundo Deportes, including in-game clips featuring goals, halftime highlights and major moments, within Google Search.
Media and entertainment companies are planning to increase investment levels in emerging technologies as the industry continues to embrace its digital transformation, according to the SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) 2018 Innovation and Technology in Media and Entertainment Survey. Over the next 12 months, 36% of respondents planned to put more dollars into immerse media (VR, AR, MR), 41% into AI and machine learning, and 56% in better pixels projects.
Toronto-based digital distribution company Syndicado inked a digital distribution deal with UK content distributor Cineflix Rights for digital rights to over 100 hours of factual content for the US. Highlights include Most Haunted and Wild Animal Rescue.
VantagePoint Software is using AI technology to predict stock market trends up to 3 days in advance for Twitter, Snap and other social media stocks. “We decided to investigate if we could forecast social media stocks at the same level of accuracy as other technology stocks which we were already forecasting for,” said president Lane Mendelsohn. By using their AI process to feed through the data from the social media stocks, and allowing artificial intelligence to do its pattern recognition, VantagePoint was able to achieve the same level of accuracy it has for other technology stocks, said Mendelsohn.
Sling TV has launched Cheddar Big News, offering national and international news stories “with the feel of a local news station.” The millennial-targeting show is available on Sling Orange and Sling Blue base services at no extra cost. In 2016, Sling TV was the first live OTT service to launch Cheddar.
FilmRise struck an exclusive deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment for the ad-supported rights to Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. The Gordon Ramsey shows are available for free across the FilmRise streaming network.
fuboTV has added 6 more local stations, giving the livestreaming TV service a total of 294. These include stations owned & operated by or affiliated with CBS, FOX, NBC, The CW or Telemundo; plus access to FOX network programming in 36 additional local markets.
Amazon introduced Fire TV Cube, a $119.99 box combining a voice-activated speaker with a 4K set-top box that enables users to control TV and home entertainment devices using just their voice (or remote control, if they can summon the energy) to beckon apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, ESPN, NBC, Fox Now, Showtime, Starz, CBS All Access and PlayStation Vue. Prime members can preorder today for $89.99.
Complex Networks is expanding its franchise series, Hot Ones, on Snapchat. The viral interview show, in which celebrities eat increasingly hot wings, has been reimagined and produced as a 12-week series for Snapchat and launched yesterday on Snapchat’s Discover page. New episodes arrive every Thursday at 11a; previously aired episodes are available using Snapchat’s Search feature.
GLOBAL GOINGS ON
Endemol Shine Group factual thriller series Hunted has been commissioned by France’s RMC Decouverte. Produced by Endemol Shine France, the format will be known locally as Escape: 21 Jours pour Disparaitre.