PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Courteney Cox, with her new shingle Hopper Productions, signed a co-production partnership with Ample Entertainment. Ample is the production house behind upcoming Facebook doc series Nine Months, for which Cox serves as an exec producer. Cox and the Hopper team will create, develop and produce unscripted and scripted content with an initial focus on high-end lifestyle programming in the US, Canada and the UK. Already in development is content in design and crime genres.
Russell Crowe will topline an eight-ep limited series about Fox News founder Roger Ailes that Showtime ordered. Based on reporting by Gabriel Sherman in New York magazine and his best-selling book “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” series is a co-production from Showtime and Blumhouse Television (Sharp Objects, The Normal Heart). Sherman co-wrote the initial ep with Tom McCarthy (Spotlight, Win Win), who will exec produce with Jason Blum.
Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Merritt Wever (Godless) and Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing) are in for Netflix limited series Unbelievable, from “Erin Brockovich” writer Susannah Grant. CBS TV Studios, studio-based producers Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly (Masters of Sex, Elementary) and Katie Couric. Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) will direct and exec produce the first three eps.
AwesomenessTV is producing a comedy series for subscription service YouTube Premium that spirals around the musings of two women as they become friends. The half-hour, six-ep Kat & June Think Stuff! (working title) stars Tenea Intriago (Law & Order: SVU) as Kat and Alexia Dox (Quick Draw) as June.
High-er: Stoner classic flick How High is getting a sequel from MTV and Universal 1440 Entertainment, which created a nontheatrical follow-up to the 2001 Universal comedy. Sequel was written by Artie Johann and Shawn Ries (Family Guy) and focuses on two business-savvy stoners who embark on a weed-infused journey through Atlanta to find their missing stash and wind up uncovering a government conspiracy. Universal 1440 Entertainment, the production entity of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, will act as the studio; Shauna Garr, who was a producer on the original movie, is exec producing.
London-based indie producer Nevision optioned a trilogy of children’s books penned by M.G. Leonard: Beetle Boy, Beetle Queen and the recently released Battle of the Beetles, for adaptation into a live-action trilogy for TV with Leonard as writer, Nigel Pickard as exec producer and Ceri Barnes as development executive.
Murder Mystery, the comedy for Netflix that reunites Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston (remember Just Go With It?), who co-star alongside Luke Evans, has begun production. Project, set to debut in 2019, follows a NY cop and his wife who become entangled in a murder investigation during a European vacation.
Vice Studios secured game show Beat the Internet with John Robbins from British network UKTV. The deal marks the first game show for the Discovery and BBC Studios-backed broadcaster.
European kids content producer Cottonwood Media is in a new collaboration with creative producer Sarah Haasz. The partnership will see the Canadian former network exec oversee the company’s growing North American slate of live action series and animation, while giving Cottonwood a right of first refusal to shows created by Haasz.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
As Lifetime kicks off its Real Love Tuesday night programming block with the seventh season premiere of docuseries, Married at First Sight, the network is celebrating matrimony by covering the costs of courthouse weddings for 70 couples in seven cities taking place on Tuesday, July 10. Real life couples are invited to join in the nationwide “I Do’s” in Dallas, NY, LA, Chicago, Boston, Miami and Atlanta. Season seven debuts with a two-hour premiere on July 10 at 9p.
Science Channel’s Strange Evidence returns for a second season on July 10 at 9p to investigate bizarre phenomena and mysteries caught around the world on millions of surveillance cameras.
Hulu will return Harlots for a second season on Wednesday, July 11, with the premiere of the first two episodes, followed by a weekly release of the remaining six.
Paula Zahn brings her passion for justice back to Investigation Discovery for a new season of On the Case With Paula Zahn, premiering Sunday, July 15 at 10p. Season premiere follows the disappearance of 8-year-old April Tinsley in Fort Wayne, IN.
Telemundo continues with its premium series on Sunday nights with the debut of new crime drama Falco, based on the worldwide hit The Last Cop, coming to the US Hispanic television for the first time on July 22 at 9p. Scripted drama follows the story that unfolds when a detective, who as a young and promising homicide detective was shot in the head and went into a coma, awakens after 23 years to find his wife married to another man and his then-baby daughter all grown up.
Hard To Kill—a new series featuring Tim Kennedy, an active Green Beret special forces sniper and top five professional MMA fighter who with grit and dedication will highlight the unsung heroes of the American workforce—premieres Tuesday, July 31 at 10p on Discovery Channel.
National Geographic will premiere its first late-night special, WILD After Dark, on Saturday, June 30 at 11p. The 45-minute special, in conjunction with online creator network Tongal, comprises off-the-wall and experimental animal-centric shorts and features 20 segments assembled by Tongal creators. The special began as a campaign where Tongal creators submitted clips that could be used in the program, ranging from animation to live-action. Special arose from Nat Geo and Tongal’s multiplatform content partnership to provide filmmakers the opportunity to co-create for Nat Geo’s digital and linear platforms. Nat Geo also has leveraged the Tongal community to develop content around Explorers, Genius, Explorer Academy, SharkFest and more.
Thriller, horror and suspense streaming service Shudder on Friday, July 13 will air a 24-hour marathon of programming featuring horror host Joe Bob Briggs, of Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater and MonsterVision.
Slather on the SPF and get ready for the HGTV Beach Week programming event airing Monday, July 16, through Sunday, July 22. Promo will feature new sun-soaked eps of series including House Hunters, Caribbean Life, Beachfront Bargain Hunt and Mexico Life.
El Rey Network renewed its agreement with Score International to air the 2018 Score World Desert Championship race series with the return of Baja Desert Challenge. Taking place over Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, El Rey Network’s coverage of the 2018 races begin with the premiere of the 32nd Score San Felipe 250 on July 8 at 6p. The special, hosted by Score desert racing superstars Aaron Ampudia and Cameron Steele, encompasses more than 315 miles of terrain.
CBS and the National Football League extended their agreement to stream all NFL on CBS games on CBS All Access through the 2022 season. CBS also will expand its NFL game streaming access for CBS All Access subscribers and TV Everywhere to include mobile devices beginning this season. The entire 2018 NFL on CBS schedule, highlighted by Super Bowl LIII, will be streamed live on all CBS All Access platforms, including on mobile phones and tablets via the CBS App for iOS, Android and Windows 10, online at CBS.com, and on select connected devices.
Netflix shares took a pummeling yesterday, dropping more than 6 percent in morning trading, on the heels of a potential trade war between the US and China and the ouster of the company’s chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland, who was fired because he made racially insensitive remarks during company meetings. In a staff memo, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said Friedland’s “descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions at work showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity, and is not in line with our values as a company.”
AT&T is buying advertising technology specialist AppNexus and will fold the company into its advertising & analytics division, which is led by the group’s CEO, Brian Lesser. AppNexus operates a global ad marketplace and offers digital ad products.
Facebook yesterday released Oculus TV, a new app for its Oculus Go VR headset, several weeks after the initial planned launch. The app is designed as a way for users to short-cut to watch traditional 2D content on the headset.
Snapchat will begin sharing ad revenue with creators, the app parent Snap announced last week at Vidcon.
Grammy winner Gloria Estefan will guest opposite Rita Moreno in an episode of the upcoming third season of Netflix’s One Day At A Time. Estefan is also the voice behind the series’ Cuban-flavored theme song… Rory Kinnear (Skyfall) and John Heffernan (The Crown) join Benedict Cumberbatch-fronted drama special Brexit (working title)… Acorn TV is casting up its first straight-to-series commission, London Kills, which begins production this week. Hugo Speer (Marcella, Britannia), Sharon Small (Inspector Lynley Mysteries), Bailey Patrick (Casualty, EastEnders) and Tori Allen-Martin are in as regulars in the series, which dramatizes the experiences of a team of top murder detectives.
ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery are architecting a new streaming platform in Germany by integrating 7TV, maxdome and Eurosport Player in one place. The platform will combine entertainment, live streams and sports content and is earmarked to debut in first half of 2019.
Sesame Workshop launched its first branded Sesame Street section on China’s online video platform iQIYI. The offering features exclusive seasons of Sesame Street, The Furchester Hotel, Smart Cookies and more.
Canada’s Family Channel beginning July 1 will debut two new series–Polly Pocket at 8:30a and Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia at 10:30a.
Distributor Blue Ant International secured a slew of new deals in NATPE Budapest. Among them: Russia’s First HDTV ordered 135-plus hours from the Blue Ant catalog, ITI Neovision S.A. (Poland) snapped up a 50-hour package deal of natural history programming, and FTV Prima (Czech Republic) acquired 60 hours of content across several of Blue Ant International’s tent-pole categories.
Gusto Worldwide Media launched linear channel Gusto TV in Singapore. The channel will be available through Singapore’s pay TV operator StarHub TV and StarHub’s OTT service, StarHub Go. This is the first time Gusto TV will be available internationally.