07/16/20: Simon Cowell goes Syco


Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Thursday July 16, 2020

Today’s Premieres
CW: Killer Camp at 8p
HBO Max: The House of Ho
ID: Devil Among Us at 9p
Netflix: Indian Matchmaking
SundanceNow: The Secrets She Keeps

Tonight’s Finales
Fox: Labor of Love at 9p
Freeform: The Bold Type at 10p


CBS Television Studios and the NAACP are teaming to develop and produce scripted, unscripted and documentary content. “An important way to diversify and grow our storytelling is to expand our horizons beyond the traditional studio-producer system,” said George Cheeks, President and CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group. “There is no better partner than the NAACP – the preeminent civil rights organization in our country – to help us find, develop and tell these inclusive stories. At the same time, this is a strategic opportunity for CBS to build upon as well as re-imagine our pipeline for existing and emerging creative talent.” The partnership will focus on content that expands the number of diverse voices, and increases the visibility and impact of Black artists.

Simon Cowell is buying Sony Music Entertainment’s stake in Syco Music Entertainment, giving him sole ownership of the Got Talent and The X Factor global franchises he created. Sony Music will retain the joint venture’s music assets. “At this particular contractual crossroads, it was simply the right thing for Simon to take control of his TV assets and propel his company in a new direction,” said Rob Stringer, Chairman, Sony Music Group. “Sony Music has had incredible global success with so many artists that have been launched through Simon’s vision and innovation and we are proud to continue to represent the Syco music catalogue and its artists.” The company will be renamed Syco Entertainment.

ViacomCBS is cutting ties with Nick Cannon (Wild ‘N Out) over an episode of podcast Cannon’s Class that repeated anti-Semitic theories and praised the ideology of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. “While we support ongoing education and dialogue in the fight against bigotry, we are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him,” said ViacomCBS. In a lengthy Facebook post, Cannon responded by apologizing to his “Jewish Brothers and Sisters for putting them in such a painful position,” and demanding full ownership of Wild ‘N Out, alleging the show “was swindled away from me.” Cannon can apparently have a job at Sean Combs’ Revolt TV if he wants it – Combs tweeted, “We got your back and we love what you have done for the culture…Let’s go!”

Most ViacomCBS employees won’t be taking a subway to work anytime soon. While the company had anticipated bringing “a small number” of people back to US office locations next month, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Backish said in a memo, “Given the continued trajectory of the virus, we believe having fewer people commuting and gathering is best.” As for restarting production, “We’re collaborating with our industry partners at the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and government organizations on industry-wide recommendations, as well as determining our internal process for planning and evaluating all ViacomCBS productions,” said Bakish.

Tyra Banks (America’s Top Model) will replace Tom Bergeron as host of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, as well as serve as executive producer of the competition series. News broke Monday that Bergeron, who has hosted the competition for 15 years, and Erin Andrews, co-host since 2014, will not be returning as the show heads in “a new creative direction.” “I guess I won’t back my monogrammed towels,” quipped Bergeron.

The WGA and United Talent Agency struck a deal that allows UTA to represent WGA members for covered writing services, with each side withdrawing legal claims against each other. The deal extends the packaging sunset date to June 2022, with packaging until then only permitted with the consent of the writer, and addresses late pay and free work. “Our goal remains to move the negotiation process forward with the remaining unsigned agencies,” said the WGA.

For the first time in 75 years, the New Year’s Day Rose Parade has been canceled. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade Association said California safety restrictions due to COVID-19 prevented planning for the event, which includes floats that take months and thousands of volunteers to complete. The last time the parade was canceled was during World War II.

ViacomCBS launched a co-branded multiplex channel, SHOxBET, combining content from Showtime and BET. The channel, featuring series, films and documentaries, takes the place of Showcase.

MSNBC host Joy Reid should face a defamation lawsuit, ruled an appellate court, overturning a district judge’s decision that the case should be dismissed. Plaintiff Roslyn La Liberte claims that social media posts from Reid defamed her by attributing racist remarks to her.

The Association of National Advertisers’ 2020 Masters of Marketing and Media & Measurement conferences are going virtual due to the pandemic. The measurement event was slated for September 23-24 in Naples, Florida, while Masters of Marketing was to take place October 21-23 in Orlando.


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Crown Media Family Networks is in development with sisters Ashley Williams (The Jim Gaffigan Show) and Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Father of the Bride) on a two-part movie about sisters, with each paying a lead in one of the films. The company is also developing projects with Holly Robinson Peete (The Talk) and Tamera Mowry-Housey (The Real). Hallmark Channel’s Good Witch was renewed for season seven, and Chesapeake Shores will be back for a fifth run.

Crown Media also announced Hallmark Channel will premiere 23 new original films for its 2020 “Countdown to Christmas” event, while Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will debut 17 new films for its “Miracles of Christmas” stunt. For details, go here.

Netflix ordered animated series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, based on the comic books by Stan Sakai. Sakai will serve as exec producer of the CGI series, along with Gaumont, Dark Horse Entertainment and Atomic Monster.

Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets) has joined Courteney Cox as the male lead in Starz’ horror-comedy pilot Shining Vale, from Sharon Horgan (Divorce) and Jeff Astrof (Trial & Error).

Netflix is developing a film based on the life of Jessica Watson, the Australian who became the youngest person to sail around the world solo in 2009, at age 16. The screenplay is based on Watson’s memoir, True Spirit.

Comedy series The Undesirables, exploring unexpected relationships that form among a group of outcasts in near-future LA, is in development at Amazon Studios. Ken Cheng and Arvin Chen will write and exec produce. The project comes from Crab Club Inc. and SB Projects.


National Geographic series Weird But True! moves to corporate sib Disney+ for season three, premiering on Friday, August 14. This go-round focuses on dinosaurs, national parks, trains, the solar system and more. Also on Disney+: Muppets Now debuts Friday, July 31; new “muppisodes” will be released Fridays.

A new season of PBS Kids’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood launches Monday, August 17. New episodes kick off with a special, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Won’t You Sing Along With Me? that helps address some of the challenges and disappointments kids and their families may be experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

HGTV’s Love It or List It is back with new installments starting Monday, August 10 at 9p. Episodes are also available on HGTV GO.

A rural British animal rescue center is the setting for HBO Max’s The Dog House: UK, exploring the complexity of “the human-dog dating experience.” All eight episodes drop Thursday, July 23.


FOX News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace will interview President Trump on Sunday, July 19. The White House interview will focus on recent civil unrest, the current status of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and the 2020 election, among other topics. The same day on FOX News, one-hour special Harris Faulkner Presents: The Fight for America airs at 10p. The Outnumbered anchor will lead discussions surrounding the national conversation about race in America.

Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow Your Future – A CNBC & Acorns Town Hall Special is set for tonight, July 16 at 7p on CNBC. The live event will focus on Americans who have been affected by the current health, social and economic crises, along with financial experts and thought leaders.


Hulu is launching a new tool that will help small and medium-sized businesses buy ads on the service. The “self-service” Ad Manager tool offers advertisers with a minimum spend of $500 access to support, with ads vetted via a series of automated and human review processes. Hulu said it is recruiting businesses to join a beta test.

Eighty percent of streaming viewers watch ad-supported content and 60% would choose to watch free content over a paid ad-free service, according to SpotX’s report, in partnership with Mintel, “CTV Is for Everyone.” Key findings include:
* CTV viewers are highly engaged – over 60% watch every day at an average of three hours, a significant increase from just 46 minutes in 2018 (per Nielsen).
* Only 16% of CTV viewers stream alone. Most audiences regularly consume content with others, usually a partner or kids, and sometimes with friends.
* Forty-two percent of CTV households earn more than $75,000.
* Personalization of CTV ads is improving, with nearly 60% of streamers saying they have seen ads for products that they have an interest in, 17% considering making a purchase because of an ad they viewed, and 12% making a purchase because of an ad they were exposed to.
Crash Cinema, purveyor of classic Hong Kong action films, inked a deal with US streaming company Bingey TV to launch the streaming channel Crash Kung Fu Theater on platforms including Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

AMC Networks’ Acorn TV landed exclusive North American rights to seven-part BBC One comedy The Other One, from Endemol Shine International. The series follows half-sisters who had no idea the other existed until their father died.


Zoom is making it simpler for people to run meetings remotely, with Zoom for Home – DTEN ME, produced by partner DTEN. The 27” tablet with three wide-angle cameras and 8 microphones has Zoom software pre-installed. “Remote work and distance education are becoming increasingly prevalent in businesses and schools across the globe,” wrote Jeff Smith, head of Zoom Rooms, in a blog post. “Organizations must ensure that their staff have the tools they need to get the best possible communications experience at home.” The $599 device will ship in August.

Google gives preferential treatment to (Google-owned) YouTube, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which says Google engineers made changes that prioritize YouTube videos on the first page of search results. A Google spokesperson told the paper no preference is given to any video provider, saying, “Our systems use a number of signals from the web to understand what results people find most relevant and helpful for a given query.”

Acxiom announced a new offering that integrates audience insights and strategy, media analytics, addressable advertising, advisory and digital platform services under a brand dubbed ConneCXions. “You can’t best serve your audience by delivering great marketing,” said Arun Kumar, Chief Data and Marketing Technology Officer at IPG. “By bringing together Acxiom’s customer intelligence capabilities with Kinesso and Matterkind solutions, clients are in a position to bring their media, digital and offline marketing together and break down the silos that limit marketing performance.”

Centro launched a new product, Basis Assistant, that’s a web browser extension for digital media buyers to track the changes they make on campaigns running through any self-serve walled garden ad platform, and consolidate the information in one centralized location. “Effective teams do not just ‘set and forget’ campaigns on digital ad tools. Basis Assistant enhances our use of multiple advertising technologies by creating a well-organized process for managing tactics across all campaigns,” said Carol Gleeson, founder and CEO of Gleeson Digital Strategies. “Combining Basis Assistant with the Basis platform empowers us to consolidate insights that highlight our value to clients, and also make our most effective strategies repeatable.”

National Geographic introduced the Everest AR Experience, an interactive AR feature on Instagram that will virtually allow users to climb Mt. Everest. The virtual climb will be the first portal 360 AR experience, which allows users to jump between different 360° views at various spots on the mountain; users can take and share selfies along the way. The expedition, part of a partnership with Rolex, uses a new Spark AR feature that allows for AR filters to be chained together.

The Black Lives Matter protests have had a bigger impact than the coronavirus on the volume of posts that top advertiser brands are sharing on social media, according to data from ListenFirst. In June, during the Black Lives Matter protests, top brands shared 44,938 new posts on social media, a decrease of -27.83% from June 2019. In comparison, in March 2020 when the coronavirus was becoming a pandemic, they shared 58,754 new posts on social media, -14.35% less than the number of new posts they shared in March 2019. Between July 1-12, top advertisers shared 19,151 new posts on social media, a -21.63% decrease from the number of new posts they shared during the same period in 2019.


NENT Studios UK inked two new deals for The Farm. The reality competition format will be produced locally for broadcast in Greece (Antenna) and Hungary (TV2).

A new version of ITV’s The Cube, with a one-million-pound jackpot, will hosted by Phillip Schofield. Produced by Wildcard Television, the game show will see pairs of contestants from the same household take on The Cube.

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In syndication the week of June 29, the week leading into the Fourth of July weekend, a number of shows slipped to season low levels. However, even with a full week of repeats, Judge Judy (5.6 Live+SD national Nielsen rating) matched its second biggest rating since May.

Top 11 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of June 29 ranked in order by HH Rtg
Family Feud (2/T) 5.9 AA
Judge Judy (CTD) 5.6 AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 5.0 AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 4.9 AA
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 2.8 AA
Inside Edition (CTD) 2.4 AA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 2.3 AA
Last Man Standing (AT) 2.1 AA
Hot Bench (CTD) 2.0 AA
Dr. Phil (CTD) 1.9 AA

TV Time’s Binge Report for the Week of July 6
Dark (Netflix) – 3.39%
Modern Family (ABC) – 2.55%
Cable Girls (Netflix) – 2.15%
Warrior Nun (Netflix) – 1.81%
Friends (NBC) – 1.68%
The Office (NBC) – 1.59%
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC) – 1.29%
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – 1.23%
The 100 (The CW) – 1.19%
13 Reasons Why (Netflix) – 1.13%
The weekly Binge Report ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the TV Time app within a given day.

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Tuesday July 14
Show, P2+ 0000s, (A18-49)
ABC: Last Defense 2.56 (0.4), What Would You Do? 2.68 (0.4)
CBS: NCIS 5.03 (0.4), FBI 4.14 (0.5), FBI: Most Wanted 3.97 (0.4)
CW: DC’s Stargirl 0.83) (0.2), CW Happy Hour 0.31 (0.1)
FOX: Hell’s Kitchen 1.35 (0.3), Prodigal Son 0.71 (0.2)
NBC: America’s Got Talent 7.63 (1.1), World of Dance 3.76 (0.6)
TELEMUNDO: Cennet 1.25 (0.3), 100 Dias Enamorarnos 0.89 (0.3), Enemigo Entimo 0.70 (0.2)
UNIVISION: Te Doy La Vida 1.94 (0.5), Medicos Linea de Vida 1.58 (0.4), Como Tu No Hay 1.54 (0.5)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages


Roma Khanna is stepping down as CEO of Revolt TV and taking an advisor role. Colin McIntosh, EVP and Head of Finance and Operations, and Detavio Samuels, COO and Head of Content, will add the role of Co-Heads of Revolt. “Revolt’s time is now and I am very proud to pass the reins to our next generation of amazing leaders as they rise and guide the future,” said Khanna.

This Day in History
1469 – Kissing was banned in England, to stop the spread of the Black Death.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Which sitcom focused on the US President’s daughter, who marries a veterinarian? Nancy (1970-71). Kudos to: Charles Lore/NYC, Errol Da-Re-Venture X Richmond Hill/Toronto, Paul Blutter-Walk and Talk Production Rentals/Burbank, Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing Inc./NYC, John Kukla-KDFW Fox 4/Dallas, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/LA, Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, CA, Natasha Manners Floy-ABC-TV/Disney/NYC, David Garber-Loyola Marymount University/Playa Vista, CA

Today’s Trivia Question
Which series was set in the year 2021,15 years after a virus had killed almost everyone over the age of 13? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four.)

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New 24/7 streaming network aimed at gaming and pop culture audiences is seeking a candidate to plan, schedule and analyze promos and graphics across linear platform. 5+ yrs in broadcast field, media scheduling and analytics perf’d. Full info HERE (7/24)

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Ring2Media: Great opportunity for a passionate person to learn how TV advertising works from ground up. Having strong analytical skills, you will own the day-to-day operations of our insurance-focused TV ad campaigns airing nationally. Highly organized & able to multi-task in fast-paced environment a must. Full info HERE (7/22)

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Identify, negotiate, and secure product placement and brand integration deals across The Weather Channel and Entertainment Studios live and long-form original programming. 7-10 years in Product Integration or Branded Content. Full info HERE (7/22)

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Insight TV Studios US/NYC: Ambitious candidate to leverage their own ntwk of ad and media agencies as well as direct advertisers to expand our reach. Oversee campaign executions w/support teams incl mktg, acct mngmnt, Insights, OTT Programming & Media Plan’g. 5 yrs exp OTT sales and/or multi-platform dig. Full info HERE (7/21)

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ABC: Holey Moley, Don’t, To Tell the Truth
CBS: Young Sheldon, The Unicorn, Mom, Mom, NCIS: Los Angeles
CW: Killer Camp [p], Masters of Illusion, Masters of Illusion
FOX: Celebrity Watch Party, Labor of Love [f]
NBC: 30 Rock: A One-Time Special, Superstore, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Law & Order: SVU
PBS: This Old House, Ask This Old House, National Parks: America’s Best Idea
Telemundo: Cennet, 100 Dias Para Enamorarnos, Enemigo Intimo
Univision: La Rosa de Guadelupe, Medicos, Linea de Vida, Futbol


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