PRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
NBC gave a put pilot commitment to Closure, from Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva), John Legend and Sony Pictures TV Studios. Legal drama is based on the story of Serena Nunn, teenaged victim of the mandatory minimum prison sentence for drug crimes.
Travel Channel wants to keep Man v. Food along for the ride. Four weeks into its Monday timeslot the show, with new “Man” Casey Webb, has delivered 3.5 million viewers, prompting Travel to give the series a mid-season green light for a 14-episode season 2.
NBC and The Paley Center for Media are collaborating on an hour-long Will & Grace special, to air Tuesday, September 19 at 10p. The Paley Center Salutes the Best of Will & Grace will feature clips as well as interviews with the series’ stars and creators; revival premieres Thursday, September 28 at 9p for a 16-episode run.
In more Paley Center news, along with Cartoon Network the center is presenting “Cartoon Network: 25 Years of Drawing on Creativity,” illustrating the creative process from sketch to screen for shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Adventure Time. Exhibit runs from September 16-October 8 in NYC, and October 14-November 19 in Beverly Hills.
TLC renewed Nate & Jeremiah By Design for a sophomore season. Series produced by Asylum Entertainment follows designing husbands Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent as they help turn renovation wrecks into dream homes.
Reese Witherspoon is sticking with ABC Studios, extending an overall deal via her Hello Sunshine to develop comedy and drama TV projects.
TV One movie Bobbi Kristina, starring Joy Rovaris (Stuck in the Middle) as the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, premieres Sunday, October 8 at 7p. “Krissy, like most young adults, shared one side of herself with her family and another side with her closest friends,” said one of the film’s exec producers, Tracey Baker-Simmons. “This movie is told from that perspective.”
Discovery en Espanol is revving up for Hispanic Heritage Month with 2 new shows: RMD Garage and The Auto Firm Con Alex Vega, premiering September 11 at 9p and 10p as part of the net’s “Lunes de Motores” programming block.
Discovery special American Made Inventors features inventors pitching shoe soles, an ice-fishing tool and a car-catching device, tomorrow, September 1 at 10p. On Tuesday, September 5 at 10p, comes special episode Deadliest Catch: Jonathan Hillstrand Legacy, focused on the retiring Bering Sea skipper. Also on the way this fall: Hot Grease, a Discovery Impact film following an environmentally beneficial industry built around spent kitchen grease.
Before you head for the hills (or beach) this long weekend, take a look at new series and seasons around the corner in the Cynopsis Fall Preview.
Univision Communications and Too Small to Fail, an early childhood initiative of The Opportunity Institute and the Clinton Foundation, are collaborating on a miniseries, La Fuerza de Creer (The Power of Believing). The show, which includes two hour-long television episodes and three webisodes, as well as digital content designed to encourage activities that boost early learning, is the first time Univision has used dramatic storytelling to promote a social impact message.
Tokyo Project, a short film starring Elisabeth Moss that premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, will air on HBO on Saturday, October 14. Richard Shepard (Girls) wrote, directed and produced the 30-minute movie.
The seventh “Sportsman Channel’s Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day Marathon” runs Saturday, September 2 from 5-8p, with 6 consecutive episodes focused on the stories of Union members.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Vampirina will premiere on Disney Channel and Disney Junior on Sunday, October 1 at 11a with back-to-back episodes. New eps debut every Monday and Friday in October on both nets. The animated series will also get the big screen treatment, with special screenings at movie theaters on Saturday, October 21, Thursday, October 26 and Saturday, October 28, as part of “Disney Junior at the Movies – HalloVeen Party!”.
Discovery has a trio of new series premiering this fall (working titles all): hunt-for-a-fortune Escobar’s Millions; true crime spin-off Killing Fields: Isle of Wight; and artisan challenge The Bush League. And coming back in 2017 with a new spin is a “revived and revved up” Cash Cab.
Will E! strike gold with The Platinum Life? We’ll see on Sunday, October 15 at 10p, when the docu-series following leading ladies in music debuts.
OWN’s Queen Sugar doubles up on its midseason premiere, with an episode on Tuesday, October 3 at 10p followed by another in the drama’s regular timeslot on Wednesday, October 4 at 10p.
Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone joins the crew as co-host when Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking returns for season 5 on public television Saturday, September 2 (check local listings).
Season 2 of Starz’ The Girlfriend Experience doesn’t officially premiere until Sunday, November 5, but you can catch it as early as September 9 – if you go to the Toronto. And can get a Toronto Film Festival pass. This time around, the anthology series will follow 2 parallel stories, each focusing on new characters, relationships and plotlines, one set in Washington, D.C. and the other in New Mexico.
New daily syndicated show Page Six TV premieres Monday, September 18, announced Twentieth Television. Pop culture program from Endemol Shine North America and the New York Post has been sold in over 98% of the country.
Mark Duplass (Togetherness) landed a series regular role on season 2 of Amazon’s Goliath, as a successful LA developer….Francia Raisa (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) and Jordan Buhat (Summer of ’84) have joined the cast of Freeform’s black-ish spin-off, grown-ish. Singing duo Chloe x Halle will recur on the show, slated to premiere in early 2018….Anna Osceola (Mad Men) landed a recurring role on NBC’s Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, premiering Tuesday, September 26 at 10p….J. Anthony Pena (Justified) will recur on upcoming Crackle drama The Oath.
Universal Kids acquired the US linear rights for seasons 1-5 of tween series The Next Step, broadcast in over 120 countries worldwide, from Boat Rocker Rights and BBC Worldwide, and entered into a production partnership with Boat Rocker Media for season 6.
VIDEO IN SHORT
Mitu is partnering with Facebook to rework 2 of their viral series into weekly shows on the Watch platform. Unscripted comedic Mom’s Movie Review and What’s Good In Your Hood, an extension of mitu’s original viral video franchise, air on Wednesdays. How did mitu go about adapting the content? “Both Mom’s Movie Review and What’s Good in Your Hood were reworked with the new Watch platform in mind from the inception of development,” Joe Rivadeneira, head of development at mitu, tells Cynopsis. “We had to take into account the type of viewers that watch our content on our platform, digest the analytics of what audiences responds to from the original videos and elevate that to a new level. Another large challenge was taking into account the new mid roll features in the videos based on the length of the content. Our original videos were about 3-4 minutes long and we were challenged with doubling that while still making sure the content was engaging.” For more from Rivadeneira on reworking series for Watch, check out the latest Cynsiders.
Poker Central and Roundhead Creative Group have partnered for 5-episode reality show Major Wager, featuring performance-based prop bets (it’s a gambling thing). Challenges start streaming Monday, September 4 on PokerGO.
Crackle and VR studio Future Lighthouse announced the premiere of 6-minute Snatch HR Heist Experience at the Venice Film Festival. Onboard the immersive experience of a safe-cracking diamond heist are Rupert Grint (Harry Potter), Luke Pasqualino (The Borgias), Lucien Laviscount (Scream Queens) and Phoebe Dynevor (The Village).
Sales for Singapore-based Bomanbridge Media include John Torode’s Korean Food Tour to National Geographic Asia and Philippines’ ABS-SBN, which also picked up My Floating Home, as well as Top Travel to A+E Networks Asia and On the Go to Thailand’s True Visions.
Facebook docu-series Ball in the Family, following basketball star Lonzo Ball and his clan, premieres on the Facebook Watch platform today.
Amazon revenge thriller Tin Star debuts on Prime Video Friday, September 29. Tim Roth (The Hateful Eight) and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) star.
Sundance Now’s premiere date for Rillington Place, starring Tim Roth and Samantha Morton, is now Thursday, October 5, while scripted original Back, created and written by Simon Blackwell (Veep) arrives Thursday, November 3.
From Buffalo, NY to Butte-Bozeman, Montana, DirecTV Now added over 25 local ABC, NBC and Fox affiliates to the streaming service, reports AT&T, with “more channels coming,” said Daniel York, senior executive VP and chief content officer. DirecTV claims upwards of 500,000 subscribers, and about 130 local stations.
Oxygen launched an app for Apple TV devices that will offer episodes of true crime fare including Snapped, Cold Justice, It Takes a Killer and more.
All Girl Band, from Digital Media Studios and We Are Hear, is set to scour the country “looking for the female Rolling Stones,” said songwriter/producer Linda Perry. And the music-driven TV series will offer nothing less than a “massive brand opportunity across a multi-platform ecosystem,” claimed Kerry Mann. Like? “Through linear programming, mobile-first digital platforms and live events, the search will create mass viewership and a network of experiential marketing potential,” said Mann. “There will be numerous opportunities for corporate sponsorship and brand integration into both television and film properties.”