08/17/20: Smithsonian Channel investigates hippo disaster



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Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Monday August 17, 2020

Today’s Premieres
Discovery: Bad Chad Customs at 10p
El Rey: Correctamundo! at 9p
Food Network: Amy Schumer Learns to Cook at 10p
HGTV: Love It or List It: Change of Heart at 8p
Netflix: Glitch Techs
Quibi: Punk’d


A Change.org petition objecting to “egregious changes” made to SAG-AFTRA’s health plan had over 12,000 signatures by Sunday morning. In the new plan, premiums will double for most members, and tier 2 insurance has been eliminated, so members will all need to earn at least $25,950 in order to receive coverage, among other cuts. Managers of the guild’s health plan said the changes were necessary because of projected deficits of $141 million this year and $83 million in 2021.

The entertainment lineup for this week’s Democratic National Convention includes John Legend, Common, Billie Eilish, The Chicks, Stephen Stills, Leon Bridges, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Porter, Maggie Rogers and Prince Royce. “These artists are committed to engaging with, registering and mobilizing voters to get us over the finish line in November,” said Stephanie Cutter, program executive for the convention. Executive producing is Ricky Kirshner, a veteran of the Tonys and Super Bowl halftime shows.

Disney Channel’s The Owl House includes Disney’s first bisexual lead character. While the animated series’ protagonist, 14-year-old Luz, has been attracted to male characters in the past, recent episodes explore a relationship between Luz and a female character. Series creator Dana Terrace confirmed via Twitter the portrayal of an LGBTQ relationship: “When we were greenlit I was told by certain Disney leadership that I could NOT represent any form of bi of gay relationship on the Channel…Luckily, my stubbornness paid off and now I am VERY supported by current Disney leadership.”

The top 16 US wireline broadband operators added 1.245 million customers in 2Q20, the biggest customer growth period since 2012, according to Leichtman Research Group. Charter led the pack with 850,000, followed by 323,000 for Comcast.

There will be no fall NCAA championships, because there are not enough schools playing ball due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “If you don’t have half of the schools playing a sport, you can’t have a legitimate championship,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert in a video posted on Twitter. “We can’t in any Division I NCAA championship sport now – which is everything other than FBS football that goes on in the fall. Sadly, tragically, that’s going to be the case this fall, full stop.”

The 2020 Billboard Awards have a new date: Wednesday, October 14 on NBC. The show was originally scheduled for April 29. Kelly Clarkson will return for her third year as host.

This September, leading industry experts from Mastercard, GroupM, State Farm, Discovery, Pluto TV & more will convene – virtually – to offer insights on the critical challenges transforming the television industry at Cynopsis’ That Big TV Conference. Check out the website and register now for free (space is limited).

The Cynopsis Digital Model D Awards
Category Spotlight: Individuals & Groups

Do you know teams or individuals who are putting their own stamp on the “new normal” world of digital media? We want to hear all about them.
Individual categories include: Best Digital Consumer Brand, Best Host in a Web Series or Channel, Best Use of a Digital Influencer in a Social Campaign, Outstanding Team of the Year



TV distributor FilmRise is launching its first original, Bloodline Detectives. The forensic investigative series, hosted by Nancy Grace, focuses on criminal investigations using familial DNA. Genesis TV will syndicate.

A reboot of 1995 film Clueless is in development at Peacock. The project, from Jordan Reddout and Gus Hickey (Will & Grace), focuses on the character of Dionne, who must deal with the twin problems of the disappearance of her best friend Cher, and the pressure of being the new queen bee. Corinne Brinkerhoff (American Gothic) and Tiffany Grant are executive producing via Brinkerhoff’s overall deal at CBS TV Studios, as well as Robert Lawrence, who was a producer on the movie, and Eli Bush.

Kenya Barris (black-ish) and Roger Ross Williams (Traveling While Black) are producing a documentary for Netflix on attorney Ben Crump, who represents the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Nadia Hallgren (Becoming) is set to direct.

Miramax landed rights to bestselling novel The Henna Artist, about a woman who escapes an abusive marriage and becomes a henna artist, to develop as a series. Freida Minto (Slumdog Millionaire) will star and produce through her Freebird Films.

Idris Elba (Luther) will star in and produce a spy thriller/romance for Apple written by Daily Show writer Travon Free. Elba will produce with Simon Kinberg (X-Men) and Audrey Chon for Genre Films.

John Redmann is leaving his perch as executive producer of CBS’s The Talk. “I launched The Talk 10 years ago and have been so proud to have built a long-running and successful show,” said Redmann. “After 10 career Emmys and 10 award-winning seasons of this show, I am excited to start a new chapter.”


A new executive order sets a 90-day deadline for China’s ByteDance to sell TikTok, and requires ByteDance to destroy all copies of the data attached to US users. Responded TikTok, “As we’ve said previously, TikTok is loved by 100 million Americans because it is a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection. We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.” President Trump had previously given ByteDance 45 days to sell the social media platform.


Arts net Ovation TV is launching “Mystery Alley” on Ovation NOW, with new mystery series and movie titles added monthly. “Mystery Alley allows us to deliver on our commitment to programming that is artfully made and always satisfying, while unleashing a whole new catalogue of private detectives and whodunnits for our Ovation TV subscribers on-air, as well as with the general public on our digital platforms,” said Scott Woodward, EVP of Programming and Production.

FuboTV posted revenues of $44.2 million, up 53% versus year-ago, and a net loss of $99.8 million. The streamer ended the quarter with 286,126 paid subscriptions, up 47% year-over-year.

AMC Networks streamer Shudder is now available in Australia and New Zealand. The service specializing in horror/thriller/supernatural content is also scaring up viewers in the US, Canada, Germany, the UK and Ireland.

All ten episodes of Fox competition series Ultimate Tag are now available on Fox Entertainment AVOD Tubi. “Sports entertainment enthusiasts are sure to binge Ultimate Tag,” said Adam Lewinson, Tubi’s Chief Content Officer. “We’re excited to tap into Fox’s arsenal of premium competition series for Tubi’s viewers to enjoy absolutely free.”


Smithsonian Channel investigates the escape of Colombian drug lord Pablo Excobar’s illicit exotic pet collection in The Hunt for Escobar’s Hippos, on Wednesday, August 26 at 8p. “Americans know Escobar’s legacy all too well but this invasion of hippos that now threatens Colombia’s wildlife is a remarkable, unexpected twist to the sordid tale of drugs and violence,” said Tria Thalman, executive producer for Smithsonian Channel.

New Orleans real estate expert Brittany Picolo-Ramos helps families find the high-end homes of their dreams in Selling the Big Easy, launching Friday, September 11 at 9p and 9:30p on HGTV.


All3media International inked a multi-title deal with BBC News Persian TV for seven documentary specials and series: The Last Igloo, Bollywood: The World’s Biggest Film Industry, Chris Packam: Asperger’s and Me, Drowning in Plastic, Meat: A Threat to Our Planet, Nadiya: Anxiety and Me, and The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts.

Endemol Shine Germany created a new singing format for Sat1. In I Got You Babe, puppet characters sing duets with celebrities.

Call for Judges: Entries are ramping up for the Cynopsis Digital Awards and we are currently screening industry experts who are passionate about the space to join our judging panel. If you’re interested, please fill out this brief form to apply.

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Univision’s Premios Juventud 2020 (Youth Awards) on Thursday night reached 5.2 million Total Viewers 2+, who tuned in to all or part of the three-hour live broadcast, driving Univision to the #1 broadcast network ranking on the night among A18-34 and P12-34. The program also was the day’s most-social program across all of television, with 7.3 million total interactions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, while a pre-show that featured the first two awards on TikTok delivered 100,000 live views.

Discovery Channel kicked off its annual Shark Week event August 9. Air Jaws: Ultimate Breach, Tyson vs Jaws: Rumble on the Reef, and Shark Lockdown grossed 3 million P2+ in Live+3 Nielsens, making Discovery the #1 cable network in Primetime among M25-54 and M18-49 for the night.

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Thursday, August 13
Show, P2+ 0000s, (A18-49)
ABC: Holey Moley 3.37 (0.6), Don’t 2.49 (0.5), To Tell the Truth 3.00 (0.6)
CBS: Big Brother 4.02(1.0), Young Sheldon 2.54 (0.4), The Unicorn 1.93 (0.3), Bull 2.05 (0.3)
CW: Killer Camp 0.41 (0.1), Penn & Teller: Fool Us 0.52 (0.1)
FOX: Fox Thursday Baseball 1.59 (0.4)
NBC: NBC News Special 2.50 (0.4), Ellen’s Game of Games 1.67 (03), Law & Order: SVU 1.89 (0.3)
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos 1.07 (0.3), Cennet 1.18 (0.3), Enemigo Intimo 0.86 (0.3)
Univision: Premios Juventud 1.56 (0.5)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages


Len Amato is leaving his position as President of HBO Films, Miniseries and Cinemax, amid layoffs across WarnerMedia. “Len’s dedication and passion for the craft have attracted some of the biggest names in creative talent,” said HBO programming president Casey Bloys. “His contributions over the years have played a critical role in some of our finest programming.”

DoubleVerify named Jack Smith as Chief Product Officer, Demand Solutions. Smith was most recently Global Chief Product Officer, Investment at GroupM.

Marie Moore has been named SVP, Communications of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics division. Moore previously served as SVP, Communications, TNT, TBS, truTV and HBO Max.

Group Nine Media promoted Yosef Johnson to President of Group Nine’s in-house branded content studio, Brandshop.


Music composer Duane L. Tatro died August 9. He was 93. Tatro’s TV credits include Dynasty, M*A*S*H, The Love Boat and Hawaii Five-0, among others.

Filmmaker and actor Ash Christian died August 13. He was 35. The founder of Cranium Entertainment won a Daytime Emmy in 2014 for mI Promise.

This Day in History
1998 – President Bill Clinton admitted he “misled people” about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
On which show did Faith Ford guest star as her Murphy Brown (1988-98) character? Ford played Corky Sherwood on Family Guy in 2000. Kudos to: Susie Losco-Cox Media/Jacksonville, FL, Carl Mayer-Active International/Pearl River, NY, Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL, Charles Lore/NYC, Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station, TX, Paul Blutter-Walk and Talk Production Rentals/Burbank, Sally J. Maisel-Wienermania/Van Nuys, CA, Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, CA, Stefanie Williams-MMSI/Long Beach, CA

Today’s Trivia Question
Which series was set in the year 2517? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four per time zone.)

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Check out more jobs in Cynopsis Classifieds »
Job of the day

Seeking an individual who is looking for the opportunity to learn and grow in an exciting, evolving research environment supporting ELG Research team. Min 2 yrs exp in research, advertising, or media outlet. Prefer exp at a cable network. Full info HERE (8/28)

TWIN CITIES PBS/ST. PAUL, MN: New, FT position, that will design and implement a holistic and enterprise-wide inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) strategy into all of our programs and business initiatives. Min 10ys exp in IDEA in a nonprofit, educ and/or media preferred. Full info HERE. (8/27)

GLASS ENTERTAINMENT GRP/Phila, PA: Seeking motivated, self-starter to join our podcast team. This individual will be responsible for securing ad campaigns across our slate of podcasts. Must have podcast, audio or digital ad sales experience. Full info HERE (8/27)

A+E/NY: Support Int’l, Corp Dev and Corp Divisions, incl domestic & int’l mergers & acquisitions and general corp matters in addition to support of relationships with int’l channel partners & int’l content sales. YOU NEED: JD, min 7yrs legal exp at a major law firm or in-house counsel at a media company, exp in an active M&A practice, content licensing exp & strong negotiation & drafting skills. Full info HERE (8/26).

MAVTV MOTORSPORTS NETWORK/Corona, CA: Seeking highly qualified individual to take the lead in developing innovative strategies based on insights and trends to position MAVTV to consumers, clients, and partners. Must have marketing background – Dig, Social Media and/or Consumer Mktg preferred. Full info HERE (8/25)

MAVTV MOTORSPORTS NETWORK/Corona, CA: Seeking individual to support all areas of the programming team’s responsibilities, including editorial, research, analysis, scheduling and presentation of all content categories. Min 2yrs exp in media and enter, with focus programming. Full info HERE (8/25)

Magnolia/New York, Knoxville, Austin: CD w/a strong eye to oversee dev of original programming for Magnolia partnering with Chip & Joanna Gaines. Build new talent and concepts across varying platforms. 7+ yrs network/production exp req’d. Full info HERE (8/24)

Newsmax Media/Washington D.C.: Seeking proven on-air reporter, in possession of an already-developed contact list, including many “who’s who” leaders in Congress, and related government agencies. Min 3 yrs exp with outstanding writing/production skills. Full info HERE (8/21)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE (8/19)

Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for designing and building prime time show, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (8/19)

Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for designing and building shows, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (8/19)

Newsmax Media/NYC: Write for fast paced news and opinion show. You are an exceptional storyteller with a command of political news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (8/19)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live news & talk show, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs in TV news and/or talk production. Full info HERE (8/19)

ABC: Holey Moley, To Tell the Truth, The Democratic National Convention
CBS: The Neighborhood, Bob Hearts Abishola, All Rise, The Democratic National Convention
CW: Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Penn & Teller: Fool Us
FOX: 9-1-1, 9-1-1: Lone Star
NBC: American Ninja Warrior, The Democratic National Convention
PBS: PBS NewsHour Convention Coverage
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos, Cennet, Enemigo Intimo
Univision: Te Doy la Vida, Amor Eterno, Como Tu No Hay


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