PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on the Street) has been named showrunner, exec producer and one of the writers on upcoming Showtime drama City on a Hill, starring Kevin Bacon (The Following) and Aldis Hodge (Underground). Boston-set series, based on an idea by Ben Affleck, premieres in 2019.
Amblin TV optioned the TV rights to Elaine Weiss’ The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, with Hillary Clinton attached to exec produce alongside Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey and Weiss, reports the Hollywood Reporter. Book was published in March.
Hulu gave a straight-to-series order to Shrill, co-written by and starring SNL’s Aidy Bryant. Comedy hails from Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, Brownstone Productions and Warner Bros. Television.
Acorn TV announced its third series commission this year with British drama series Queens of Mystery. Acorn Media Enterprises, the UK-based development division for the Acorn brand of RLJ Entertainment, has partnered with Sly Fox Productions in association with Ferncroft Media to produce the new series along with Acorn Media International distributing in all English-speaking territories, and international distributor ZDF Enterprises distributing in the rest of the world.
Cut! Animal Kingdom star Shawn Hatosy makes his directing debut on the episode airing Tuesday, August 7 at 9p on TNT.
A reboot of extraterrestrial sitcom ALF is in the early stages at Warner Bros. TV. Original aired from 1986-1990 on NBC.
Chris Hardwick will serve as a judge on the August 7 episode of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, as scheduled, and return as host for the third season of the net’s The Wall. Hardwick’s TV career was in question after he was accused of sexual assault by an ex-girlfriend, and put on leave at AMC’s Talking Dead; he was reinstated at AMC after an investigation cleared him of the allegation.
Antenna TV gets set for fall with a Head of the Class marathon from 5a-11:30p on Sunday, August 19. Sitcom regularly airs weeknights at 3a and weekends at 2p.
Raycom Media’s InvestigateTV has released Licensed to Pill, a documentary focused on victims of the opioid crisis that will air in every Raycom Media market this month. “Our national investigative unit worked tirelessly to expose abuses in the system and we want to do our part to inform our local consumers,” said Pat LaPlatney, president and CEO, Raycom Media.
NOVA also looks at the drug epidemic in Addiction, examining the science of addiction through interviews with victims, their families and researchers on the front lines of the crisis on Wednesday, October 17 at 9p on PBS (check local listings).
Cate Blanchett will guest on IFC’s Documentary Now! as a world-renowned performance artist preparing for a major career retrospective; Fred Armisen plays her ex-lover in an episode shot in Budapest earlier this summer. Season launches Wednesday, February 20 at 10p.
MEASUREMENT & DATA
LiveRamp and Adobe struck a deal that integrates LiveRamp’s IdentityLink across Adobe’s Adveritising Manager, allowing for addressable advertising using first or third party data. “The TV landscape is at a watershed moment, created by the convergence of digital and the cord-cutter or cord-never generation. To stay relevant as the industry evolves, digital and TV must work together to create seamlessly-executed omnichannel marketing,” said Todd Gordon, director, programmatic TV at Adobe.
TV data company Alphonso is introducing a new suite of digital-like TV advertising measurement metrics and tools to its self-serve Alphonso Insights Dashboard, a dashboard for real-time TV ad analytics and closed-loop attribution. The service now includes several new features and data sets that will help marketers better understand TV ad efficacy.
It’s not too late (if you’re reading this really early) to get insights, robust discussion and solutions around one of the media industry’s hottest topics at the Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference today in New York City. For info, go here.
Stand-up comedian Tom Papa breaks bread (and pastries) on a mission to find the country’s best baked goods in Food Network series Baked, launching Monday, September 3 at 10p. First stop: New York City.
Five-part Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers premieres Saturday, September 15 at 7p on Oxygen. Docu-series tells the story of the horrific December 2014 murder of a Mississippi teen.
Brent Spiner (Star Trek) will recur on season four of CW’s Supergirl, as Vice President Baker….Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy) is onboard season five of Amazon drama Bosch.
CBS Television Stations and CBS Interactive have plans to launch CBSN Local, a portfolio of 24/7 direct-to-consumer services that will stream anchored news coverage and live breaking news events from major markets served by CBS stations owned by CBS Corp. CBSN Local services will be available on CBSNews.com and the CBS News apps for mobile and connected TV devices, and through CBS Television Stations’ websites and mobile apps.
Apple slipped to third among smartphone companies with a 12% market share, (down 1% year-over-year) with China’s Huawei taking its place as number two (up 41% to a 16% share). Samsung remains the leader, with a 21% market share (down 10%).
But more eyes were on Apple’s stock price than smartphone ranking on Wednesday, with shares jumping almost 6% to close at $201.50; $203.45 would have made Apple the first publicly traded company to be worth $1 trillion.
Vizio and Pluto TV are teaming for WatchFree, offering free streaming channels on a channel grid guide that will be available on Vizio smart TVs. Over 100 live and linear channels will be available. “WatchFree is a next-generation streaming service with an easy-to-naviate, cable-like interface that delivers creative and thoughtful content selections,” said Bill Baxter, Vizio chief technology officer.
In the wake of Facebook’s revelation that it had uncovered a new influence campaign targeting the midterm elections, the Senate Intelligence Committee set a hearing date for September 5 to question executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg have confirmed their attendance.
Technology company Scandit has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Alphabet’s GV. Scandit, which develops mobile computer vision, barcode scanning and AR, will use the investment to “propel [its] long-term vision of bringing the Internet of Things to everyday objects.”
Despite a tweet from controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan telling followers to watch a documentary about him on Netflix yesterday, the streaming service said “the film will not be released…Due to an internal miscommunication, it appeared to be scheduled for release on Netflix, but it is not.”
Showtime has an introductory offer for new subscribers who sign up for its streaming service through September 3: $4.99/month for the first three months.
Viasat World announced that CEE provider of digital and communications solutions A1 has added Epic Drama to its IPTV and cable (DVB-C) platforms in Bulgaria.
China International Television Corporation secured a license deal with Netflix for Chinese romantic drama Here To Heart for worldwide distribution.
Synergy88 Entertainment Media’s new Filipino anime TV series, Barangay 143, will launch in October on Philippines net GMA 7.
Kids app Hopster and Scotland’s STV are partnering for a deal that will see Hopster’s content made available of streaming platform STV Player.
ADVERTISING & BRANDS
Sixty percent of content being produced by brands to engage consumers “is not meaningful” to them, according to Maria Garrido, global chief insights & analytics officer of Havas, in MediaPost. Havas asked consumers how much content from brands is relevant to them as part of its “Meaningful Brands” study.
DISTRIBUTION & RIGHTS
Refinery29 struck a new partnership deal with studio NEON (Ingrid Goes West) to identify, purchase and co-distribute films that align with both companies’ missions to work with rule-defying storytellers. “Since its inception, NEON has established itself as a major player in the industry, disrupting the way the next generation consumes and views films, which aligns with how we speak to and challenge our audience and the media industry as a whole,” said Amy Emmerich, chief content officer, Refinery29.
Pilgrim Media Group landed film, TV and other rights to The Kiss Quotient, the breakout debut novel from Helen Hoang featuring a heroine with Asperberger’s Syndrome. Development is underway first for a feature film.