07/24/20: A Star (Wars) Is Born


Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Friday July 24, 2020

Today’s Premieres
CBS: The Greatest #AtHome Videos at 8p
Disney+: Rogue Trip
DIY: Lakefront Bargain Hunt Renovation at 8p
HBO: Room 104 at 11p
Netflix: Sing On! Spain
UPtv: 800 Words at 8p

Tonight’s Finale
VH1: RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars at 8p

Saturday’s Premiere
Animal Planet: Pit Bulls and Parolees at 9p

Sunday’s Premieres
Epix: Helter Skelter at 10p
Syfy: Wynonna Earp at 10p


Wonya Lucas has been named CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. “After a thorough search process, we found a remarkable leader with proven general management skills, as well as a track record of success in driving business results and evolving the positioning and programming of a brand,” said Mike Perry, CEO of parent company Hallmark Cards, Inc. Lucas, who has served as President and CEO at TV One and has held leadership positions at Turner Broadcasting System, The Weather Channel, Discovery Communications, the Coca-Cola Company and Clorox, was most recently President and CEO of the NPR and PBS outlets in Atlanta. She replaces Bill Abbott, who stepped down in January after Hallmark Channel drew criticism for its handling of an ad featuring a same-sex couple.

HBO and HBO Max had a combined 36.3 million subscribers as of June 30, up from 34.6 million at the end of last year, reported AT&T along with 2Q20 earnings. “Our solid execution and focus in a challenging environment delivered significant progress in the quarter, most notably the successful launch of HBO Max, resilient free cash flow and a strengthened balance sheet,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey.

During an earnings call, AT&T’s Stankey addressed speculation over whether Warner Bros. sci-fi thriller Tenet, postponed from theatrical release over coronavirus concerns, would debut on HBO Max instead. The Christopher Nolan film will makes its debut in theaters, said Stankey, but said that won’t necessarily be the case for all projects. “Do I think that there could be some things that we had originally chartered and built for theatrical release that maybe migrate into an SVOD construct? Sure, I think that could occur,” said Stankey, adding that it’s “nice to have the optionality” of an SVOD release.

Third-party data spend grew 6% in 2019, but the COVID-19 crisis is likely to drive cuts in this year’s 2Q and 3Q spending by up to 20%, according to the IAB’s new State of Data report. Business recovery from COVID-19 eclipses privacy as the top concern for 2020 – while privacy remains important, only 18.9% of respondents cited government/data privacy regulation as a top concern, versus more than half the previous year. Nearly two thirds (62.3%) of respondents report that privacy and content management are handled in-house versus outsourced.

AMC was handed a big win this week when a California judge ruled it had been properly compensating The Walking Dead producers who allege they were cheated out of profits. “As the court found, these plaintiffs had the most sophisticated lawyers and agents in Hollywood and they got what they bargained for,” said AMC attorney Orin Snyder.

CBS News is forming a unit to ensure the division’s reporting reflects diverse perspectives. “We must always be aware of how race and culture impacts our journalism – and, in terms of the future of CBS News, this unit will be as important as Standards and Practices,” said CBS News President Susan Zirinsky. Alvin Patrick, who joined CBS News in 2012, has been named executive producer of the unit.

Over 100 companies met the requirements to be included in the ANA’s initial list of “Certified Diverse Suppliers for Advertising and Marketing.” In a May report, the ANA said it would curate and publish a list of diverse suppliers that work in marketing/advertising.

Registration is open and the agenda is set for That Big TV [Virtual Experience]. It will be a lively, inspiring space, aimed at refreshing confidence so that we can all move ahead. It’s free to attend, and there will be giveaways, a cooking demo, and fun networking opportunities. Plus, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Feeding America. How have you not registered yet?

The New York Times has entered into an agreement to acquire Serial Productions, responsible for smash podcast Serial, for about $25 million. Serial’s creators, Julie Synder and Sarah Koenig, will join the Times staff as the Executive Editor and Executive Producer of Serial Productions, respectively.

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises announced a non-partisan nationwide civic engagement campaign to inform and encourage the US Hispanic community to participate in the upcoming 2020 elections. Telemundo Network and its TV stations are joining forces to inform and provide people with the resources they need to register to vote and take part in the electoral process.

Cynopsis Sports Awards Breakfast
June 12, NYAC-NYC | Sponsored by: Twitch
Join your peers as we raise a glass to a year marked with intense competition, historic telecasts and exciting new ways to cover/view the games. Finalists will be announced next week (stay tuned), but we are excited to announced a few of our luminary honorees:
NAVIGATOR AWARD: Mark Silverman Fox Sports
HALL OF FAME: Andrea Joyce – NBCUniversal


Taraji P. Henson is building a new Empire. The actress is developing a spin-off series centered on her Empire character, Cookie, as part of a first-look deal with 20th Century Fox Television. Empire co-creator Danny Strong is writing alongside Stacy Littlejohn and Yolonda Lawrence. Lee Daniels will serve as a non-writing executive producer alongside Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Samie Falvey.

Better late than never: The new season of Big Brother didn’t premiere in its usual June slot, but it will still make CBS’s summer slate. Season 22 of the reality show, featuring an all-star cast of past winners and memorable characters, will launch Wednesday, August 5 at 9p. Housemates will undergo quarantine and be tested for coronavirus prior to, and during, production.

Amazon Prime Video ordered season two of Spanish-language thriller La Jauria, centered on an investigation into an online game that encourages men to assault women. Season one premiered on July 10. “In the current political climate and the ongoing fight for justice and gender equality internationally, the first season is more relevant than ever,” said Christian Vesper, EVP and Creative Director of Global Drama at Fremantle.

Amazon also handed a series order time travel adventure Paper Girls, based on the graphic novel by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. The project comes from Legendary Television in association with Plan B.

Netflix giveth… The streamer is bringing back romance drama Sweet Magnolias for a second season. Stars Joanna Garcia Swisher, Brooke Elliott and Heather Headley are all onboard. And Netflix taketh away, by scrapping a yet-to-to-go-into-production unscripted prank show featuring Chris D’Elia, following allegations that the comedian solicited underage girls on social media. While D’Elia denied knowingly pursuing underage women, he added, “I really am truly sorry. I was a dumb guy who ABSOLUTELY let myself get caught up in my lifestyle.”

HBO is adapting stage show, Between the World and Me, based on the bestseller of by Ta-Nehisi Coates, as an HBO Special Event to air this fall. Originally adapted and staged by the Apollo Theater in 2018, the special will combine elements of that production, including readings from Coates’ book, and will once again be directed by Kamilah Forbes. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Susan Kelechi Watson are also executive producers.

Denis Leary (The Moodys) signed a deal to develop and produce shows for Fox Entertainment through his company, Amoeba. “Through his warm, waggish and relatable portrayal as the Moody family patriarch, Denis has become a fast friend of Fox. His creative pedigree speaks for itself; and when the opportunity arose to expand our relationship with him to create new comedies, dramas and animated series for us, we leapt at the chance,” said Michael Thorn, President of Entertainment of Fox Entertainment. “As we ramp up our commitment to programming year-round, we’re honored to partner with Denis on this broadcast-exclusive deal.”

Apple gave a series order to thriller Shining Girls, based on the 2013 novel about a Depression-era drifter who must murder to continue his journey. Elisabeth Moss will star and executive produce via her Love & Squalor Pictures; Leonardo DiCaprio will EP through his Appian Way. Studio is MRC Television.

Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios revealed the title and logo for new animated series Star Trek: Prodigy, following a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship. The series is developed by Kevin and Dan Hageman (Trollhunters) and overseen for Nickelodeon by Ramsey Naito, EVP, Animation Production and Development, Nickelodeon.

HGTV renewed Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa, to premiere in 2021 with a new one-hour format. New episodes of season one will air Thursdays at 9p beginning September 17.

Armando Bó (Birdman) is developing two series based on Argentinian stories. Bó’s About Entertainment is at work on Cromanon, based on an autobiographic novel by Camila Sosa Villada, and Las Malas (Bad Girls), about a trans woman who joins a group of trans sex workers.

Done+Dusted will be back to produce the Primetime Emmys, hosted on ABC by Jimmy Kimmel. Producer/director Reginald Hudlin, nominated for an Emmy for producing the Oscars, will be the first Black executive producer for the telecast. “I’m excited to collaborate with this outstanding team as we produce a show that celebrates the best of what we do and reflects this moment in history,” said Hudlin. The show is set for September 20; nominations will be announced July 28 in a livestream ceremony hosted by SNL alum Leslie Jones.


Attention shoppers: Interactive special Syfye Wire After Dark will be the first NBCU show to feature NBCUniversal Checkout, which turns content into shoppable moments. Dark Horse Comics, goodr sunglasses and DC licensee Graphitti Designs have signed on as retail partners for a show that takes viewers inside the weird world of nerd fandom on Saturday, August 1 at 11p.

Discovery’s Bad Chad Customs kicks off a new season on Monday, August 17 at 10p. This go-round, Chad and the newly branded “Hiltz Auto Co” team attempt a record seven builds in under six months.

Tom Jones shakes things up in the Windy City in Tom Jones: A Soundstage Special, premiering Saturday, August 15 at 9p on AXS TV. The concert was filmed at the landmark Grainger Studio.

ID’s Impact of Hate: Charlottesville relives the story of Heather Heyer, killed in a protest over the removal of confederate statues. The two-hour special airs on the third anniversary of the tragedy, Wednesday, August 12 at 9p.


Plex is taking a deeper dive into live TV with a free offering of over 80 live TV channels and a broad range of content. Channels include KidsFlix, fubo Sports Network, Reuters TV, Yahoo Finance, The Pet Collective, Dove Channel, Game Show Central, Law & Crime Trial Network, along with eight of Cinedigm’s streaming channels, and more. Previously, viewers could only capture and record live TV via a digital antenna and tuner connected to a Plex media server. The service’s free content is supported by programmatic advertising.

Philo and TV One inked a distribution agreement that adds the channel to Philo’s lineup. “Adding more diverse programming aligns with our continued commitment to our community,” said Philo CEO Andrew McCollum. “The addition of TV One is the result of our appreciation for the importance of Black-owned channels and content perspectives to our overall business objectives, which in turn create opportunities for diverse creators.” This is TV One’s first vMVPD distribution deal.

AVOD Pluto TV is now available to Verizon customers, via an app on Android mobile devices and pre-installed on Fios cable boxes and Stream TV and 5G Amazon Home Fire devices. Three new channels will be exclusive to Verizon subscribers: Movies on Verizon, Real Life on Verizon, and Yahoo Finance.

CBS TV Distribution’s AVOD Dabl extended its reach through distribution with Comcast’s Xfinity and Verizon Fios across a number of markets. The lifestyle network also added four programs to its summer schedule: Emeril Live, Instant Gardener, 60 Minute Makeover and Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, via a deal with ITV Studios.

VENN – Video Game Entertainment and News Network – is set to launch August 5, with distribution partners including Facebook Gaming, Twitch, Twitter and YouTube; additional AVOD and vMVPD deals are in the works. Series for gamers feature James “Dash” Patterson, Austin Show, Chrissy Costanza, The Sushi Dragon, Cash Nasty and Sasha Grey. “VENN was designed to be always on and always accessible to its viewers,” said David Eichenstein, its VP of Business Development for the live 24/7 network. “This group of partners – which represent the present and future of streaming – are the perfect cross-section to help ensure that goal becomes a reality right from the start.”

Do you work in esports? If so, it’s time to get in the game: The final entry deadline for the 2020 Esports Tempest Awards is July 30. Winners will be covered on esportsbiz.com and celebrated during the annual Tempest Awards gala. Enter now: https://awards.esportsbizsummit.com/.

STIRR is adding DMR channels RetroCrush (classic anime), Midnight Pulp (horror/thriller/action) and Cinehouse (arthouse and independent cinema). “DMR has a host of content not offered by others in the space, and their channels are going to bring some of the most popular cult classics to the STIRR platform,” said Ben Lister, director of content acquisition and business development for STIRR. “Our audiences have come to expect STIRR to offer a wide variety of free programming, and this partnership furthers that mission.”

Expanding its library of movies, UK AVOD streamer W4free acquired 80 movies and mini-series from Signature Entertainment. Among the titles tbe added to the service beginning in August are Muriel’s Wedding (1994) starring Toni Collette; Contender (2000) with Gary Oldman, Jeff Bridges and Sam Elliot; and Pandemic (2007) with Faye Dunaway and Eric Roberts.

LIT, a cross-platform live streaming entertainment news network “for the social media generation,” has launched across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Indonesian streaming platform Kaskus. Launching with one hour live on air at 2p from Monday to Friday, the service will expand to become a live 24/7 network.


Active daily users of Twitter grew 12% in 2Q20, to 186 million. CEO Jack Dorsey told investors the company is experimenting with potential revenue product opportunities, including subscriptions, and said it is addressing security issues and will “continue to be transparent in sharing our learning and remediation.”

TikTok reported it has set up a Creator Fund, to be distributed over the coming year. The goal is to “encourage those who dream of using their voices and creativity to spark inspirational careers,” wrote TikTok US General Manager Vanessa Pappas in a blog post. “The U.S. fund will start with $200 million to help support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.”

Despite such feel-good gestures, concern over security issues regarding the Chinese-owned company continues – and a group of US investors is reportedly consulting with regulators to determine whether acquiring a minority stake in the company would alleviate concern. “We are very confident in the long-term success of TikTok and will make our plans public when we have something to announce,” said a TikTok spokesperson.

OpenX announced the launch of Bidding Intelligence Data Set (BIDS), a solution to make log-level reporting available to marketers or agencies looking for more visibility into their programmatic media buys. Through a partnership with cloud data platform Snowflake, buyers that work with OpenX can access granular data around auction participation and bid performance on Snowflake Data Marketplace. “One of the macro trends in digital advertising over the past few years is that marketers are taking a much more hands on approach to their digital campaigns, digging deep into what is happening behind the scenes. The increase in log-level data requests is a direct result of that,” said Brian Murphy, SVP, Demand at OpenX. “We love to partner with marketers on initiatives like this, and our partnership with Snowflake is all about making it easy as possible to access and analyze this data.”

WildBrain Spark, the digital media division of WildBrain, is teaming with South Korean AR specialist ANIPEN to bring to life characters from WildBrain’s Teletubbies, In the Night Garden and the original WildBrain Spark’s show Boy & Dragon through ANIPEN’s AR technology, made available within their AnibeaR app. Through the app, users will be able to create short videos which will incorporate the characters in real-world scenes shot on their phones.


Red Arrow Studios International has secured new deals with European broadcasters for its portfolio of TV movie titles. Broadcasters include France’s M6 Group, ProSiebenSat.1 PayTV, RTL Belgium and Sky Italia.

Armoza Formats, part of ITV Studios, has announced that comedy La Famiglia has been licensed in two new territories. The local rights to the format have been taken in Russia by CTC and in Greece by Antenna 1.

Insight TV has entered into a programming partnership with Africa’s digital TV operatorStarTimes et. Insight TV will supply eight sports-themed series to two of its sports channels, StarTimes Sports Focus and StarTimes Sports Lifestyle.

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WE tv’s Love After Lockup delivered nearly 1 million total viewers in Nielsen Live+3 ratings for its season three premiere, up from the premiere of season two’s second half.

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Wednesday, July 22
Show, P2+ 0000s, (A18-49)
ABC: United We Fall 3.71 (0.5), The Goldbergs 2.13 (0.4), The Conners 2.01 (0.4), American Housewife 1.63 (0.3), Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.28 (0.3)
CBS: Tough as Nails 3.44 (0.4), Game On! 2.21 (0.3), SEAL Team 1.70 (0.3)
CW: The Hundred 0.43 (0.1), Bulletproof 0.29 (0.0)
FOX: MasterChef 1.33 (0.3), Ultimate Tag 1.15 (0.3)
NBC: Chicago Med 3.47 (0.3), Chicago Fire 3.56 (0.4), Chicago P.D. 3.78 (0.4)
Telemundo: Ecatlon Estados Unidos 0.73 (0.3), Cennet 1.19 (0.3), Enemigo Intimo 0.85 (0.2)
Univision: Te Doy la Vida 1.96 (0.6), Medicos Linea de Vida 1.49 (0.5), Como Tu No Hay 1.55 (0.5).
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages


Brian Atwood joined NOM as CEO. Atwood has served on leadership teams at Zefr, dataxu, iHeartRadio and AOL.

FaceBank Group named Gina DiGioia Sheldon to the newly-created position of General Counsel. Sheldon was most recently US General Counsel and COO for Fiizy.

Chris Cifarelli has been appointed Head of Programmatic and Brand Partnerships at Insight TV Studios US. Cifarelli joins from AMC Networks, where he oversaw digital ad sales.

Pocket.watched tapped Anshuman Misra to lead its second international office based in Singapore. Misra previously opened WarnerMedia’s first Indian office.

Friday Fun Fact
Kangaroos keep growing until they die.

This Day in History
1961 – Edwin Newman became news anchor of The Today Show.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Which TV series was future president Ronald Reagan’s last work as an actor? Death Valley Days (1952-1970). Kudos to: Charles Lore/NYC, Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing Inc./NYC, Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL, Art Salisch-Nielsen/NJ, Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station, TX, John Kukla-KDFW Fox 4/Dallas, Kyle Krebs-Intersection/Dallas, Tom Boyd-WGN/Chicago, Randall Bosley-Studio Talent Group/Santa Monica, CA, Jerry Jones/Walnut Creek, CA, Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, CA, Richard Quan-Heat/San Francisco

Today’s Trivia Question
On an actress’ last episode of which sitcom did her real-life husband play her groom, and her real-life brother and sister play her siblings? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four answers per time zone.)

Cynopsis Team

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Editorial Director
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Check out more jobs in Cynopsis Classifieds »
Job of the day
Sesame Workshop

Oversee the production of 2 consecutive 30-minute animated specials and 20×5-minute animated segments. 5+yrs in Series Animation Production at a Production Co. or Studio preferred. Full info HERE (8/7)

CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Responsible for managing line production for 1 hour of a live show. 5+ exp segment producing and/or booking in a live television environment with demonstrated written communication and research skills, Full info HERE (8/6)

CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Support the executive producer of (show) in helping to lead and drive the editorial vision of the show, the content and management of the staff. 5+yrs exp in live TV (i.e. financial news network, morning shows, cable shows, broadcast TV) Full info HERE (8/6)

CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Developing and producing live and taped guest segments. At least 2 years of experience booking and producing in a live television environment with demonstrated writing, research, and telephone communication skills. Full info HERE (8/6)

CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Responsible for organizing and crafting accurate, unbiased, and engaging news content aligned with the stated mission of the news program. At least 5 years of general news writing experience at the local and/or national television level. Full info HERE (8/6)

CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Responsible for overseeing spelling, syntax, grammar, style and ensuring consistency for written articles, video copy, graphics and social media posts. Full info HERE (8/6)

The Africa Channel/N. Hollywood:
Digital-savvy individual, incorporating online tools and in-person networking to create relationships & build the company’s brand both online and off. 2 years’ exp, with at least three years of exp in a communications role. Full info HERE (8/5)

Newsmax Media/DC:
The candidate will have expert level shooting skills including all aspects of field production setup from sound mixing and lighting design to camera position and subject framing with a specific focus in a live news based medium. The candidates will be required to have a deep knowledge of post production workflows and be able to flow seamlessly from shooter to producer to editor. Full info HERE (7/31)

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 (7/30)

Leads all aspects of the recruitment function for the enterprise. Works in tandem with sr. mgmt to understand the company’s current and forecasted business priorities. 10+ yrs TA exp, pref within a media envir. Full info HERE (7/30)

Ring2Media: Highly motivated & self-starter type candidate with guerilla mktg mentality & strong tech ability to fully mng/grow our outbound mktg efforts & dvlp new relationships. Strong comm skills are a must to fully understand our data-driven business model & communicate that to prospects. Full info/apply HERE (7/29)

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 (7/29)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Resp for working with show hosts, preparing the rundown of new stories, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video and graphic elements. 3+yrs exec producing exp or overseeing newscast prod. Full info HERE (7/29)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Write for fast paced prime time and overnight newscasts. You are an exceptional storyteller with a dedicated command for news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news exp. Full info HERE (7/29)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live newscasts and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3 years’ experience line producing a newscast. Full info HERE (7/29)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live newscasts, news shows and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. BA Deg pref’d. Full info HERE (7/29)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the administration, organization and secretarial work involved in producing a television program. At least 1 yr of news prod. Full info HERE (7/29)

ABC: Shark Tank, 20/20
CBS: The Greatest #AtHome Videos [p], Magnum P.I., Blue Bloods
CW: Masters of Illusion, Masters of Illusion, Masters of Illusion, Whose Line Is It Anyway, Whose Line Is It Anyway
FOX: WWE Friday Night Smackdown
NBC: The Wall, Dateline NBC
PBS: Washington Week, Firing Line With Margaret Hoover, Great Performances
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos, Cennet, Enemigo Intimo
Univision: Te Doy la Vida, Medicos, Linea de Vida, Como Tu No Hay


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