08/25/20: Turner Sports Shaq’s up; only 2% consumers reducing streaming subscriptions; Keira Knightley sets period drama at Apple TV+

Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Tuesday August 25, 2020


Big news at Turner Sports, as the company lands a multiyear extension of its partnership with Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq’s expanded role gains the Basketball Hall of Famer more airtime, including on TNT’s Inside the NBA and NBA on TNT, as well as contributions to NBA.com. He also will develop projects throughout the WarnerMedia portfolio including the series The Business of Basketball. Additionally, O’Neal will expand his Shaqtin-a-Fool franchise to include new genres and platforms, will step into the DJ booth as part of CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live and serve as exec producer for several Bleacher Report products.

The iHeartRadio Music Awards telecast, originally slated to air March 29 on Fox, has been officially canceled for this year. Winners now will be unveiled on radio stations and social media over the four-day Labor Day weekend.

Consumers are expanding their streaming habits and showing signs of keeping them permanently. Only two percent of adults say they are reducing the number of paid services they subscribe to, while 25 percent have added a service in the past three months, according to the new Nielsen Total Audience Report. Among other insights: Streaming among OTT-capable homes accounts for 25 percent of consumers’ collective time spent with the television; streaming has taken hold among consumers 55 and older; and Hispanics have adopted new services even more wholeheartedly at 40 percent.

ONE MONTH AWAY! Join Cynopsis and your peers for September’s premiere media experience: That Big TV Conference, and get up to speed on the most critical trends & topics (CTV pain points, AVOD challenges, Audience Targeting opportunities, Local OTT influence, Niche Streamers’ growing prominence, and more) in our industry. Plus, we are doing everything we can dream up to connect you with colleagues—as well as people you want to meet but haven’t had the chance to. By that, we mean matchmaking, real Q&A, and hands-on projects. Head on over to the website to read more about all the sessions and topics.

Annie Awards organizer ASIFA-Hollywood said this year’s animation-honoring event will be staged April 16, 2021, the week before the Oscars. The org will decide in October whether the ceremony will be virtual or live.

The Directors Guild rolled out a hotline for members to report racial harassment they’ve experienced on the job. Noting its goal is to steer the entertainment industry “toward achieving safer, fairer and more equitable workplaces,” the Guild said reports will be kept private and trained staff will take calls and collect information.

Join Cynopsis for a candid conversation on why Black Owned Media Matters this Thursday, August 27 at 1p ET with Entertainment Studios’ Byron Allen +TheGrio’s Natasha Alford, and learn how to create a better marketplace for all players in the media space; grow a healthier business community; and score bigger wins by looking more deeply at what percent of media investment goes to diversity-owned businesses. Registration is free, sign up here.

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ABC is developing an untitled matchmaking comedy from Nisha Ganatra, who directed The High Note and Late Night, and ABC Signature, where Ganatra and her Ladies’ Car Productions are parked. Show centers on a romantic hopeful and her pragmatic mom, who run the most successful matchmaking service in Little India.

The world once again will be saved before bedtime. A live-action incarnation of The Powerpuff Girls is in the works at the CW from Diablo Cody, Heather Regnier & Berlanti Productions. Based on the original Cartoon Network animated series created by Craig McCracken, project features twenty-something versions of Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles, who now resent having lost their childhood to crime fighting but are needed now more than ever.

Keira Knightley will topline and exec produce an adaptation of Sarah Perry novel The Essex Serpent for Apple TV+. The period drama hails from See-Saw Films (The King’s Speech) and follows newly widowed Cora, played by Knightley, who relocates to a remote village from Victorian London after being released from an abusive marriage.

Shopify isn’t solely about digital commerce any more. As the company prepares to launch its first series, Shopify Studios head Sarah North does a deep dive into its content, distribution and business blueprint. Check out her interview here: https://www.cynopsis.com/cyncity/shopify-studios-gets-to-work/

Dennis Quaid is the cat’s meow. He’s partnering with ITV America’s Leftfield Pictures for unscripted TV project Saving Dennis Quaid, which he’ll star in and exec produce. Project documents the animal lover’s recent headline-making pet rescue where he and partner Jimmy Jellinek set out on a mission to adopt a 6-year-old black cat from Lynchburg, VA, named none other than Dennis Quaid. Companion podcast miniseries of the same name is also in the works with Audio Up Media.

AMC Networks-operated streamer UMC ordered For the Love of Jason, created by Trell Woodberry. Series probes being single in your 30s from the male perspective, with Woodberry starring as a guy who’s among the most desirable in LA, but is having a tough time segueing to dating from his bachelor lifestyle.

Starlings Television and Canada’s Mediabiz International are teaming with Nordic Entertainment Group and Germany’s Herbert Kloiber-led Night Train Media for futuristic, female-driven augmented reality drama Veil. Series takes place in the near future, when everyone has an implant in their brain that makes them see the world through a veil of AR.


Cobra Kai is headed to its new Netflix home this week. The first two seasons of the Karate Kid spinoff, which initially debuted on YouTube, will be available Friday, August 28. Season 3 will debut in 2021 on the streamer.

MTV is marking National Recovery Month with new limited series 16 and Recovering, which premieres Tuesday, September 1 at 9p. In the tradition of 16 and Pregnant, series follows students at Northshore Recovery High School grappling with addiction against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic. The network is collaborating with recovery and addiction experts including the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Raised by Wolves, from exec producer Ridley Scott, debuts on HBO Max Thursday, September 3 and centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet.

Acorn TV thriller miniseries The Sounds debuts Thursday, September 3 on the streamer. Series is about the twists and turns that unfold after a married Canadian couple looking to start a new life in an idyllic New Zealand.

Peacock will debut young adult drama series Noughts + Crosses on Friday, September 4. Series is the BBC adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s book series.

Steven Soderbergh survival thriller series Wireless will debut Monday, September 14 on Quibi. Quibi teased the series, starring Tye Sheridan, at this year’s CES. It features a college student who’s gets stranded with a quickly dying cell phone in his car on a snowy, sparsely traveled Colorado road while en route to reunite with his girlfriend.

Showtime teased a trailer and poster art for The Comey Rule, the two-part limited series starring Jeff Daniels and Brendan Gleeson and airing Sunday, September 27 and Monday, September 28 at 9p. Daniels (The Newsroom) stars as former FBI director James Comey and Gleeson (Mr. Mercedes) as President Trump.

Nightly newscast The News with Shepard Smith is set to launch on CNBC on Wednesday, September 30 at 7p. With Sandy Cannold as senior exec producer along with Sally Ramirez, series aims to provide nonpartisan coverage and perspective.


The Hunt for Escobar’s Hippos, a probe into the how hippos landed in Columbia, South America, far from their native home, as part of the exotic zoo of narcotics trafficker Pablo Escobar, surfaces on Smithsonian Channel on Wednesday, August 26 at 8p.

Oprah Winfrey will host the special OWN Spotlight: Culture Connection & August 28th, Ava DuVernay & Rev. Sharpton on Friday, August 28—the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech”—at 1p, 4p and 6p on OWN. Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, Regina King and David Oyelowo are among others to be featured.

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News debuts on CNN Saturday, Aug. 29 at 10p. The HBO Docs project, exec-produced by Brian Stelter and produced by Andrew Rossi, explores the dark side of disinformation through exclusive interviews with purveyors and victims of so-labeled “fake news.”

Being the Queen debuts Monday, August 31 at 9p on Nat Geo. Documentary provides a window into the extremely private life of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ad-supported streamer Crackle will air horror comedy film Corporate Animals for free beginning Tuesday, September 1. Film stars Demi Moore as a delusional CEO who takes her staff on a disastrous team building trip led by a helpless guide played by Ed Helms.

Chloe x Halle, Jack Harlow, Lewis Capaldi, Tate McRae and Machine Gun Kelly featuring Travis Barker and blackbear will perform during the 2020 VMAs” Pre-Show airing Sunday, August 30 at 6:30p. Preshow will be hosted by Nessa Diab and Jamila Mustafa.

All-day marathon “It’s A Living” comes to Antenna TV on Labor Day, September 7 in celebration of the classic ‘80s comedy. Sitcom follows the lives of waitresses at a fancy LA restaurant where the women serve up class with a side of sass.

Agents of Chaos, a two-part doc examining Russia’s Interference into the 2016 Presidential election, premieres Wednesday, September 23 at 9p on HBO and HBO Max with part two airing the following night at the same time. Academy Award winner Alex Gibney directs.

Spike Lee’s film adaptation of David Byrne’s American Utopia is set for an October 17 debut on HBO. The net released a first-look teaser, set to Byrne’s cover of Janelle Monae song Hell You Talmbout.

The 2020 edition of the Billboard Latin Music Awards will be broadcast live Wednesday, October 21 at 8p from the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL, on Telemundo and Universo. The event, postponed from its April date in Las Vegas, will be preceded by a red carpet preshow. Finalists include Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Daddy Yankee and J Balvin. Awards will coincide with the three-day virtual Billboard’s Latin Music Week.


Membership tiers and offline viewing options are coming to anime hub Crunchyroll. Crunchyroll will continue with a free AVOD option, with new eps available one week after premiere. With a new $7.99/month Fan tier, subscribers will get ad-free viewing, access to Crunchyroll’s anime library of more than 1,000 titles, and access to its digital manga library and one stream. The $9.99/month Mega Fan tier includes all that plus offline viewing and access to four concurrent streams. The Ultimate Fan package, at $14.99/month, adds on six concurrent streams and additional swag.

Three new music-focused networks from Quincy Jones’ Qwest TV will join Samsung TV Plus, the free streaming service that comes installed on all 2016-2020 Samsung Smart TVs. The new nets are F.A.S.T channels—Qwest Jazz & Beyond, Qwest Classical and Qwest Mix.

Cinedigm is expanding its ad-supported portfolio with So…Real on STIRR, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s free live and on-demand streaming service. Cinedigm’s The Bob Ross Channel, CONtv and The Dove Channel also are available on STIRR. The new STIRR platform is accessible on iOS and Android devices, as well as Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, and online at www.STIRR.com.


Amazon-owned service Audible is launching a lower-priced subscription tier. Audible Plus, at $7.95/month, provides access to 11,000 podcasts, books and series. The legacy entry-level subscription plan, which costs $14.95, will adopt the new moniker Audible Premium Plus and include one credit per month, which can be used to download any piece of content outside the Plus catalog, regardless of price or length.

Who’s Zooming who? It was anyone’s guess yesterday morning when the video chat service experienced a widespread outage that affected business, government offices and schools. Service was back up by 1p.


Alison Sweeney will reprise her role as troublemaker Sami Brady when NBC’s Days of Our Lives resumes taping next month, producer Corday Productions revealed to Deadline. She’ll appear in new Days eps, beginning in late 2020, though most of 2021.


Season 1 of Mia’s Magic Playground, the first original series from Moonbug, begins streaming in English and Spanish this week on HBO Max. Additional Moonbug content is headed to the platform later this fall.


KitchenAid is the brand behind A Woman’s Place, a documentary short now streaming on Hulu. The film raises awareness of the inequalities women in the culinary profession face and was created in conjunction with Vox Creative, Digitas and Ventureland.

Advanced television platform Cadent is partnering with 0ptimus Analytics to elevate the ways advertisers can activate against custom audience segments, and provide them with real-time insights into campaign performance. 0ptimus’ on-demand data creation and audience modeling tech allows segments to be built or updated within a matter of hours in response to real-world triggers.


Historian, television personality and writer David Olusoga sounded the alarm for inclusiveness in the UK television industry and warned about the profound lack of trust the Black, Asian and other ethnic communities have for the existing system. Speaking yesterday at the Edinburgh TV Festival, he said: “We need to make structural changes, not merely seek to bring black and brown people into a system that has historically failed them.”

Sky ordered a documentary on John Lennon’s murderer Mark David Chapman and the UK’s first kidnapping for its nascent Sky Documentaries channel.

The BBC ordered a spinoff of The A Word and a thriller from the producer of Chernobyl. Both series will be housed on flagship network BBC One.

UK’s Channel 4 ordered crime drama My Name Is Lizzie, starring Niamh Algar. Series is based on the true events surrounding the investigation into the murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992.


The future of advertising will no doubt be different. We’ve seen evidence of that in the months of COVID-19, but with enhanced technology, targeting, data, attribution and measurement, the future is bright for savvy media buyers.



Joe Biden and Kamala Harris gave their first joint interview Sunday night on ABC’s The Ticket, scoring the network a 0.7 rating in the A18-49 demographic and 5.13 million viewers.

The Season 3 finale for Paramount Network’s Yellowstone drew 5.2 million Total Viewers in Live+Same Day, 1 million more than any other ep in the series’ history, making it the top-watched cable telecast of the year, according to Nielsen.

Shareablee Top 10 TV Shows for the week of August 17
Program, Network, Total Actions, Total Content, Actions per Content, Fans & Followers
E! News 10.1M, 590, 17,121, 37.8M
The Daily Show 5.1M, 170, 29,895, 25.5M
Hannity 3.7M, 301, 12,341, 9.5M
The Rachel Maddow Show 2.5M, 88, 28,046, 12.8M
Today Show 2.0M, 948, 2,068, 13.7M
Good Morning America 1.6M, 1,047, 1,571, 14.0M
Entertainment Tonight 1.5M, 601, 2,450, 9.1M
PBS NewsHour 1.1M, 827, 1,330, 3.0M
Fox & Friends 973.1K, 79, 12,318, 4.8M
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert 849.1K, 147, 5,776, 4.3M

Shareablee Top 10 Streaming Shows for the week of August 17
Program, Platform, Total Actions, Total Content, Actions per Content, Fans & Followers
Umbrella Academy 4.7M, 52, 90,027, 2.9M
Stranger Things 1.1M, 2, 551,784, 26.1M
Lucifer 541.5K, 25, 21,661, 5.7M
The Crown 321.3K, 3, 107,085, 1.2M
Black Clover on Funimation 310.5K, 20, 15,524, 651.7K
The Boys 235.4K, 18, 13,077, 611.7K
Netflix Is A Joke 222.1K, 74, 3,002, 2.0M
The Rain 180.4K, 8, 22,551, 400.3K
One Piece 136.4K, 7, 19,483, 3.0M
Cursed 134.5K, 18, 7,472, 193.4K
Toei Animation (US) 108.8K, 24, 4,535, 1.5M

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Friday, August 21
Show, P2+ 0000s, (A18-49)
ABC: Shark Tank 2.65 (0.4), 20/20 2.21 (0.3)
CBS: MacGyver 3.14 (0.3), Magnum P.I. 3.43 (0.3), Blue Bloods 3.94 (0.4)
CW: Masters of Illusion 0.59 (0.1), Masters of Illusion 0.50 (0.1), Being Rueben 1 0.23 (0.0), Being Reuben 2 0.22 (0.0)
FOX: WWE Friday Night Smackdown 2.20 (0.6)
NBC: America’s Got Talent 1.76 (0.3), Dateline Classic 2.18 (0.4)
UNI: Rosa de Guadelupe 1.10 (0.3), Medicos Linea de Vida 1.33 (0.4), Como Tu No Hay? 1.71 (0.5)
TELE: Exatlon 1.08 (0.2), Cennet 1.21 (0.2), Enemgo Intimo II 0.80 (0.2)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages


Walt Disney Co.’s Tim McNeal and his Creative Talent Development & Inclusion Team are becoming part of Disney Television Studios and will report directly to Disney Television Studios president Craig Hunegs.

Genius Brands International appointed former Corus Entertainment sales executive Jessica Brinder as VP of international distribution.

Common Sense Media hired Eric Berger, former Sony Pictures Television exec and GM of Crackle as CEO of its new for-profit entertainment division.

This Day in History
1939 – The Wizard of Oz opened in theaters around the United States.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Why did Dwight fire Jim and Pam on the season finale of The Office (2005-2013)? So he could give them generous severance packages when they move to Austin. Kudos to: Heather Allen-WWE/Stamford, CT; C.J. Bottitta-Big Picture Productions/Apex NC; Michael Hochman-Bowling Alley Lunch Entertainment/Bucks County, PA; Emma Houghton-Turnkey Search/Fairfield, CT; Natasha Manners Floy-ABC-TV/Walt Disney TV/NY; Lisa Prieto-Brenton Productions/Tampa; Dan Whitford-WTTW/Chicago; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank.

Today’s Trivia Question
Who voiced Herb Kazzaz in Netflix’s BoJack Horseman? (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
Newsmax Media

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

GLASS ENTERTAINMENT GRP/PHILA, PA: Seeking full-time, in-house legal counsel. Must have min 5yrs of legal exp with 3 yrs of entertainment law exp. Responsibilities include overseeing all legal matters, working directly with the management team on all business legal affairs, as well as tracking and completing all contracts with networks, talent and clients. Full Info HERE (9/4)

FUTURE TODAY INC/CHICAGO, LA, NYC: Seeking salespeople to represent our CTV portfolio spanning kids/family, entertainment and lifestyle content. Ideal candidate will have exp within Retail, Insurance, and/or CPG verticals as well as existing relationships with major agencies. Minne relationships are essential for the IL role. Full info HERE. (9/1)

NBCUNIVERSAL/NY, NY: 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. (8/28)

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 (8/28)

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 7 yrs 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 (8/27)

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 (8/27)

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 (8/26)

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 (8/26)

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 (8/26)

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 (8/25)

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 (8/25)

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 (8/25)

ABC: Modern Family, Modern Family, What Would Yo Do?, The Republican National Convention
CBS: NCIS, Love Island, The Republican National Convention
CW: Dead Pixels, Dead Pixels, Tell Me A Story
FOX: Hell’s Kitchen, Prodigal Son
NBC: America’s Got Talent, Republican National Convention
PBS: PBS NewsHour Convention Coverage
Telemundo: Exation Estados Unidos, Cennet, Enimigo Intimo
Univision: La Rosa de Guadelupe, Medicos Linea de Vida, Como Tu No Hay Dos?


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