08/28/20: A new suitor eyes TikTok in wake of Kevin Mayer exit; majority of FX shows in ’21 to be helmed by women and diverse directors; Gomez keeps on cooking for HBO Max

 

Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Friday August 28, 2020

Today’s Premieres
Netflix: I Am a Killer: Released, Masaba Masaba

Today’s Finale
HGTV: Yard Crashers: Best of the Best at 11p

Saturday’s Premieres
CBS: Love Island: More to Love at 8p
Outdoor Channel: Wild Boar Fever at 5:30p

Saturday’s Finale
Travel: Believers at 9p

Sunday’s Premieres
BBC America: Top Gear at 8p
Cooking Channel: Carnival Eats at 9p
HGTV: Renovation Inc. at 8p
Showtime: Love Fraud at 9p

Sunday’s Finale
CNN: United Shades of America at 10p

IN THE NEWS

Time’s up for TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, who resigned from the Chinese-owned short-form video sharing app after three months on the job, amid intense scrutiny from the US government and the presidential threat of a ban if the company isn’t sold. “In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for,” said Mayer in a memo to employees. “Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.” Mayer jumped to TikTok in June from Disney, where he was Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International, and became COO of TikTok parent ByteDance. Said TikTok, “We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision.”

Meanwhile, the app has a new suitor. Walmart said yesterday it is partnering with Microsoft on a deal to acquire TikTok. The retail giant said TikTok’s integration of e-commerce and advertising would be a valuable fit for its business.

The pro sports team boycotts over the police shooting of Jacob Blake are escalating, and so is their effect on scheduled television programming. Major League Baseball’s scheduled Oakland A’s-Texas Rangers game was canceled last night not after players on both teams agreed to sit it out in protest. The decision marks the fourth MLB game to be postponed in the wake of boycotts. In basketball, the NBA said Thursday it will resume its postseason play today after two days of postponements to protest Blake’s shooting. The WNBA yesterday also postponed its schedule.

Sixty-three percent of FX’s productions in 2021 will be helmed by diverse and/or female directors, marking the first time white male directors will not be in the majority at the network. John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions, delivered the news at the Edinburgh International TV Festival and noted he is “ashamed” by FX’s 2015 stats, where white male directors comprised 85% of the net’s directors.

It’s NBC’s turn to tweak its previously announced fall schedule. The network says it will bring back seven scripted series beginning in late October. None have gone back into production yet on their new seasons. They include Superstore, slated to debut October 22 and This Is Us, set to bow its fifth season with a two-hour premiere November 10. Law & Order, The Blacklist and the trio of Chicago dramas also are on the schedule for a November return. Series including New Amsterdam, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Manifest and Law & Order: Organized Crime will be held until after the new year.

Nailed It! host Nicole Byer scored hosting duties for the 2020 Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which the Television Academy will present in virtual ceremonies during five nights September 14-19. The awards show will stream on Emmys.com the first four nights and wrap with a two-hour ceremony on FXX.

During the first two days of the Republican National Convention, broadcast and cable networks devoted 19 hours and 37 minutes of live coverage to the event, versus 12 hours and 39 minutes the the DNC the week prior, according to Media Matters analysis. Ratings-wise, the second day of the RNC drew 19.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen, not only squeezing past the 19.2 million who watched the second day of the DNC’s coverage, but beating by 2% live coverage of the night in 2016.

A cross-platform campaign highlighting good works is live from A+E Networks. Voices Magnified, which will run across the company’s portfolio, amplifies the voices of those making changes in their communities for the greater good and include specials and short-form videos.

Fox News is threatening sanctions against Wigdor LLP, which represented Cathy Areu, one of the women who accused hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Howard Kurtz and Gianno Caldwell of sexual misconduct. Areu made “patently false allegations” against the men, said Fox News. The network did not dispute allegations against Ed Henry, who was dismissed in July.

AJ McLean will be putting on his dancing shoes for ABC. The Backstreet Boys member is the second celeb, after former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, announced as a contestant in season 29 of Dancing With the Stars, launching Monday, September 14. McLean can get tips from BSB bandmate Nick Carter, who place second in season 21.

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The Cynopsis Adtech Awards

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED!

In the face of surprising acquisitions, privacy concerns, and drops in ad spend, we at Cynopsis are blown away by the incredible work we see the ad tech community producing – and we want everyone to hear about it. See who made the cut and stay tuned for ceremony details coming on early December.

[ VIEW FINALISTS ]

PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT

HBO Max is headed back into the kitchen. The streamer renewed Selena Gomez vehicle Selena + Chef for a second season. Unscripted 10-ep cooking series features the recording artist, actress and producer as she attempts to making delicious meals while stuck at home in quarantine.

Also at WarnerMedia, HBO is developing drama series Sphere, based on the Michael Crichton novel. From Westworld exec producer/writer Denise The, Lisa Joy and Kilter Films, Team Downey and Warner Bros. Television, project takes place in the depths of the ocean where scientists on a sweeping exploration turn up a mysterious alien connection.

Amazon ordered musical drama Jungle, from production company Nothing Lost. The UK series follows the lives of strangers viewed through the prism of grime and drill music in inner city London.

Amazon also picked up an untitled reality dating series from Studio Lambert, centered on a diverse group of single Brits living in the world of an American high school.. “The idea of finding love in the melting pot of an American High School is a pop cultural cornerstone,” said Studio Lambert Creative Director Tim Harcourt. “Every romantic singleton would love a chance to relive a cinematic version of their school days knowing what they know now and more importantly who they are now. Maybe this time the jock might fall for the captain of the chess club and the cheerleader might fall for the math Geek.”

HGTV is digging deeper into Good Bones, with an order of 14 new episodes of the mother/daughter renovation show. Attracting more than 19.8 million total viewers since it premiered on June 9, season five ranks as a top 5 cable program among W25-54 and upscale W25-54 and a top 10 cable program among P25-54 and upscale P25-54 in its Tuesday timeslot.

Get ready for more Group Chat. Nickelodeon ordered an additional six eps of the remotely produced talk show with social media star Brent Rivera, who has more than 73 million followers across his socials, joining current co-host Jayden Bartels. Nick also ordered seven eps of game show Nickelodeon’s Unfiltered, which will return Saturday, September 5 at 8p followed by new Group Chat.

Netflix handed an eight-episode order to a drama inspired by Capcom’s Resident Evil survival horror game franchise, featuring a new story across two timelines. Andrew Dabb (Supernatural) will write; Constantin Film is producing.

Swirl Films and Gray Television have expanded their relationship to provide Swirl Films with added resources and platforms. Swirl Films and Gray’s Tupelo Honey video production company have deepened their prior working relationship to enable both companies to expand their production capabilities and content libraries. In addition, Gray has become the new majority owner of Swirl Films. Founder Eric Tomosunas remains Swirl Film’s CEO.

Cynopsis’ That Big TV [Virtual Experience] agenda might be our best ever… and we’re not done yet! Check out the sessions and topics on our website to read more about them. There’s still a few complimentary spots available, so register yourself and your team stat!

NEW & RETURNING SERIES

MTV’s Ghosted: Love Gone Missing returns Wednesday, September 2 at 9p with a completely virtual season. First ep features the story of a relationship that bloomed in a ride share, until one day one-half of the couple disappears without a trace.

Returning with more stories showcasing tragedies whose repercussions reverberate throughout society, Impact of Murder resumes for a second season on ID on Thursday, September 10 at 9p.

Two Fox series have a premiere date: Season four of The Masked Singer debuts Wednesday, September 23 at 8p, followed at 9p by the new musical game show I Can See Your Voice, hosted by Ken Jeong. The Masked Singer also gets a sneak peek on Sunday, September 13.

Facebook Watch reupped Steve Harvey’s Steve on Watch for a second season. From Steve Harvey’s East 112 and Film 45, new season to premiere Monday, September 14, will tape from Harvey’s apartment in Atlanta and feature his his take on issues affecting his show in quarantine, plus interviews with talent and everyday heroes.

Bridezillas returns to WE tv on Thursday, September 24 at 10p. Season 13 continues to spotlight “normal” women who’ve morphed into Bridezillas in the name of planning their perfect wedding.

AXS TV’s countdown series The Top Ten Revealed is back for a third season on Sunday, October 4 at 8p. Jack Osbourne, Rocsi Diaz, Sebastian Bach, and KT Tunstall are among those weighing in on topics such as ‘90s one-hit wonders and music power couples.

New faces and more drama are in store for the second season of TLC’s The Family Chantel, which debuts Monday, October 12 at 10p. Prior to the new season launch, the net will air season 1 highlights special The Family Chantel: Reliving the Past on Monday, October 5 at 10p.

STREAMING SNIPPETS

The Preview Channel, featuring film, TV and streaming teasers, is now streaming on VIZIO SmartCast TVs via the Wurl platform. Launched in February 2019 and exclusive to SmartCast sets, TPC had a makeover in May, enhancing and expanding its programming.

For its “Sweet September” event, Hallmark Movies Now is offering seasons one through four of Hallmark Channel’s Chesapeake Shores, plus ten additional Hallmark movies starting with Love, Take Two on Monday, August 31.

Off Broadway solo show Happy Birthday Doug had its run cut short by the coronavirus, but a quarantine performance produced by Michael Urie will premiere on BroadwayHD on September 24. Drew Droege plays the title character and all of his birthday party guests.

COMING UP

Crackle Plus, in partnership with Screen Media, announced action comedy Blue Iguana will be available for free beginning Tuesday, September 1. The movie, written by Hadi Hajaig and, starring Sam Rockwell and Phoebe Fox, is about small-time crooks who break their parole for an offer they can’t refuse.

The Social Dilemma, which parses our growing dependence on social media, is set to debut on Netflix on Wednesday, September 9. As digital platforms increasingly become a lifeline to stay connected, Silicon Valley insiders reveal how social media is reprogramming civilization.

Mo Willems’ first live-action special, Mo Willems and the Storytime All-Stars Present; Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! makes its debut on HBO Max on Thursday, September 17. The special, shot at the Kennedy Center, includes live readings and sketch comedy from Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live) and more.

Seven weeks before Election Day, ABC News will host a town hall with President Trump and undecided voters on Tuesday, September 15 at 9p. ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos will anchor the live event.

ADVERTISING & BRANDS

With consumers’ expectations of brands are changing, there are three steps marketers would be wise to take, according to “From Disruption to Reinvention: Three Tips for Meaningful Marketing in Moments of Disruption,” by Kavita Vazirani, NBCU’s Head of Insights and Measurement. Based on a new study of expectations for brands, advice includes:
– Acknowledge: Consumers appreciate when brands reflect their reality. Two-thirds believe brands should create special messaging acknowledging current events.
– Act: Over 80% of consumers are more likely to buy and use products that help others, and 51% said they would stop purchasing products if they notice the brand is not supporting the larger community in times of need.
– Assure: Consumers crave positive media moments – 64% look to brands to keep things feeling as normal as possible in uncertain times, and 2 in 5 want brand messaging that makes them laugh during the crisis.

TECH TALK

UK-based data analytics and measurement company Brightblue Consulting is merging with MightyHive, S4Capital’s data and digital media practice. “Data, particularly first-party data, is at the heart of S4Capital’s ‘holy trinity’ business model. Brightblue’s skills in making sense of it and using it to drive profitable growth are a timely addition to our client-focused service offering,” said S4Capital Executive Chairman Martin Sorrell. “We believe the measurement and modeling systems in our industry are in dire need of innovation. They are either too slow and traditional and no longer fit for purpose, or too narrowly confined to digital channels. We look forward to disrupting this multi-billion dollar industry with a modern new-era approach which is faster, better, and cheaper.”

GOING GLOBAL

As it shifts to launching new series on a year-round basis, Cineflix Rights is adding four acquired factual series to its catalogue: Wizard of Paws, featuring bionic pets getting a new lease on life; paranormal series Believers; Ted Bundy: The Survivors, telling stories of the lucky few who escaped the clutches of a serial killer; and Lost Treasures of Egypt.

UK’s Grand River Productions is partnering with The Bridge on a television feature adaptation of stage play Wireless Operator. The story explores the experiences of the WW2 Bomber Command whose role in attacks on civilians made their service in the war a shameful secret.

all3media international struck a drama deal with WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks Asia Pacific which confirms HBO as an official partner on Miss S, the new Chinese scripted format adaptation of the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

TV Isn’t going anywhere. It’s going everywhere.

Check out Media Buying for Today’s Market: our 6-page report
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RATINGS

The August 17 episode of Bravo’s Below Deck Mediterranean ranked as the most-watched episode in series history and second-most-watched ever for the Below Deck franchise, garnering 2.74million total viewers in Live+3 ratings.The August 10 episode of the net’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen was the show’s most-watched episode in over 4 years, delivering nearly 1.7 million total viewers.

Chrisley Knows Best is averaging 2.27 million viewers across platforms and has grown more than 4% over season seven, reports USA Network. Additionally, the most recent episode of the series, which aired Thursday, August 20, was the highest rated telecast of the series in more than a year.

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Wednesday, August 26
Show, P2+ 0000s, (A18-49)
ABC: United We Fall 2.85 (0.5), The Goldbergs 1.73 (0.3), The Conners 1.79 (0.3), American Housewife 1.51 (0.3), Democratic Convention 2.48 (0.4)
CBS: Big Brother 3.85 (1.0), Tough as Nails 2.64 (0.4), Democratic Convention 1.99 (0.3)
CW: The Hundred 0.54 (0.1), Coroner 0.60 (0.1)
FOX: MasterChef 1.26 (0.3), MasterChef 1.47 (0.4)
NBC: America’s Got Talent 5.14 (0.6), Ellen’s Game of Games 2.19 (0.4), Democratic Convention 2.53 (0.5)
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos 1.10 (0.2), Cennet 1.45 (0.3), Enemigo Intimo 1.01 (0.2)
Univision: Rosa de Guadelupe 1.38 (0.4), Medicos Linea de Vida 1.36 (0.4), Medicos Linea de Vida 1.33 (0.3)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages

EXECUTIVE MOVES

Longtime Warner Bros. TV exec Susan Rovner is a top candidate for the job at NBCUniversal overseeing the company’s entertainment cable nets, and programmng for NBC, USA Network and Peacock, sources close to the situation told Variety.

42West execs Bianca Bianconi, Michael Gagliardo and Whitney Tancred all have been elevated to EVP roles and have been named co-heads of the company’s talent division.

IN MEMORIAM

Joe Ruby, animator and Scooby Doo co-creator, died on Wednesday, August 26. He was 87. The co-founder of production house Ruby-Spears began his animation career at Walt Disney Productions before turning to editing and producing. After a stint in the US Army, Ruby met Ken Spears at Hanna-Barbera Productions and worked with him to create animated and live-action titles, including the iconic cartoon Scooby Doo.

Friday Fun Fact
The fear of long words is called Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

This Day in History
1965 – The first Subway sandwich shop opened, in Bridgeport, CT.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Every main character in How I Met Your Mother (2005-14) had their own musical number except for one. Who was it? Lily. Kudos to: Marni C. Gold/Hawthorne, NJ, Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing Inc./NYC, Paul Blutter-Walk and Talk Production Rentals/Burbank, Dino Alexander-ItWasAThingOnTV.com, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

Today’s Trivia Question
Dabney Coleman played an obstetrician in which sitcom? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com 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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M&A and INT’L PARTNERSHIP COUNSEL
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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.

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ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE; CTV PARTNERSHIPS
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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 (8/31)

CHIEF INCLUSION OFFICER
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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. (8/31)

AD SALES PARTNERSHIP DIRECTOR >>
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M&A and INT’L PARTNERSHIP COUNSEL >>
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FRIDAY AUGUST 28
ABC: Shark Tank, 20/20
CBS: MacGyver, Love Island., Blue Bloods
CW: Masters of Illusion, Masters of Illusion, Being Reuben, Being Reuben
FOX: WWE Friday Night Smackdown
NBC: America’s Got Talent, Dateline NBC
PBS: Washington Week, Firing Line With Margaret Hoover, Great Performances
Telemundo: Exatlon Estados Unidos, Cennet, Enemigo Intimo
Univision: La Rosa de Guadelupe, Medicos, Linea de Vida

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