09/13/23: Football gets the “Toy Story” treatment

Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday September 13, 2023

Today’s Premieres
Disney+: Animals Up Close with Bertie Gregory
Hulu: The Other Black Girl
ID: Caught in the Net at 10p
Netflix: Class Act; Wrestlers
Telemundo: El Señor de los Cielos, Sus Comienzos at 10p

IN THE NEWS

Disney’s new carriage agreement with Charter caused concern in some quarters over the dropping of eight cable networks: Baby TV, FXX, FXM, Freeform, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nat Geo Mundo and Nat Geo Wild. Not to worry, wrote Disney Entertainment Co-Chairmen Dana Walden and Alan Bergman and ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro in a memo to staff: “In every negotiation, especially in times of transition, tradeoffs are necessary. Our commitment to all our brands and the people who work for them is unchanged. We will continue to program these channels and deliver the same high-quality shows to our fans.”

Among a plurality (46%) of consumers, live TV is still the top viewing default, but its lead over SVODs has shrunk over the past five years, according to Hub’s annual Decoding The Default survey. It now leads by only a single percentage point. In the past two years, smart TV apps have caught up with set-top boxes as viewers’ starting point, according to the report. In 2021, almost twice as many viewers started to watch through a set-top box as chose a built-in smart TV app. Currently, however, those two sources are on par as the default. Viewers are sticking with their connected devices, which have shown no decline as a home base over the past two years.

FOX News Media has extended Bret Baier’s multi-year contract as chief political anchor, anchor and executive editor of “Special Report,” co-anchor of 2024 election coverage and host “The Bret Baier Podcast” on FOX News Audio. “I am honored to continue anchoring ‘Special Report’ and alongside my dedicated team and co-anchoring our election coverage for many years to come,” said Baier, who took over “Special Report” from Brit Hume in 2009.

Jason Blum, CEO and founder of Blumhouse, will join the Guest Sharks for season 15 of ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Other new Guest Sharks include Fanatics chairman & CEO Michael Rubin and Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Connell McShane is joining NewsNation as host of the afternoon weekday program “NewsNation Now” beginning Monday, September 25. Nichole Berlie will move to an earlier timeslot. Most recently, McShane served as anchor and chief national correspondent for FOX Business Network.

Spanish-language versions of “Sesame Street content” are now available with descriptive audio and captions through a collaboration with funding from the US Department of Education. Sesame Workshop will also include expanded accessibility for other shows available on Plaza Sesamo’s YouTube channel.

STRIKE UPDATES

CBS Studios and NBCUniversal Studio Group have suspended additional overall production deals, as production is delayed during the writers’ and actors’ strikes. The move hits big players like Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks and Phil McGraw’s Stage 29. CBS Studios will continue to pay salaries to assistants associated with the suspended term deals through 2023.

Senate Bill 799, which would provide unemployment insurance to striking workers in California, has overcome one hurdle: it passed the state Assembly and is making its way to the Senate Labor Committee and then to the Senate floor. From there would go to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature. The bill has the backing of SAG-AFTRA and the WGA.

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PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT

“Zillow Gone Wild,” greenlit by HGTV, will showcase wildly quirky homes and their histories, inspired by the Instagram account. The series is set to debut in early 2024.

Food Network has renewed “BBQ Brawl” for season five, to air next summer. Season four drew over 16 million total viewers across Food Network, Max and discovery+.

Hulu ordered docuseries “It’s All Country,” from Omaha productions, NFL Films and Walt Disney Television Alternative. The six-parter is hosted by Luke Bryan, who also exec produces with Peyton Manning.

BBC StoryWorks and Brand USA are teaming for the USA Through Film campaign, aimed at driving tourism to the US. Produced by BBC StoryWorks, the multiplatform media campaign will capture the spirit of diverse cities via the personal stories and experiences as told by Jane Krakowski, Common, Mary Steenburgen, Yaya DaCosta, and more.

The writers of MTV’s “Ridiculousness” have voted to unionize. The unscripted series is hosted and produced by Rob Dyrdek.

NEW & RETURNING SERIES

Season 32 of “Dancing With the Stars” has relocated from Mondays to Tuesdays, with a premiere date of September 26. The move is part of ABC’s realignment of its fall schedule due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes.

TLC’s “90 Day Fiance” is back for season ten on Sunday, October 8 at 8p.
“90 Day Fiancé has arrived at a very special milestone season,” said Howard Lee, President of Discovery Networks and TLC. “From its inception, this series has found dynamic couples from all around the world whose diverse love journeys have captivated us every minute along the way. With over 68 billion hours of 90 Day Fiancé viewed, I know I’m not alone when I say, I can’t wait to see what this next season holds.”

“The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion” premieres Wednesday, October 25 at 8p on MTV and across MTV’s international networks in over 165 countries in the coming months. This season, returning contenders compete against each other and legendary “Challenge” champions in a fight for the throne.

Sundance Now Original series “The Vanishing Triangle” premieres with two episodes on Thursday, October 26 on Sundance Now and AMC+. The dark crime drama stars India Mullen (“Normal People”) and Allen Leech (“Downton Abbey”).

“Andrew Zimmern’s Wild Game Kitchen” returns to Outdoor Channel for season three on Monday, September 25 at 9p. “I’m excited to share even more of the recipes and techniques that will help cooks go beyond the basics when preparing food over fire,” said Zimmern. “And while the foods I use in the series are sustainable and wild, the same recipes and methods of cooking can be used with ingredients purchased from any grocery store.”

“RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” returns to WOW Presents Plus for season five on Thursday, September 28. New series “The After Shave with Danny Beard,” hosted by the season four winner, will air after the show.

TECH TALK

Apple rolled out four new iPhone models at its annual fall product event. The devices feature improved battery life (yay!) and processing power, and a new charging cord. The iPhone15 models start at $799, with the largest Pro priced at $1,199. Octavia Spencer appeared via video as Mother Nature, quizzing Apple execs about their commitment to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Google illegally monopolizes search by arranging to serve as the default search engine on other companies’ browsers and mobile devices, argued a DOJ attorney on Tuesday, at the start of an anti-trust trial. Actually, Google grabs the largest share of searches because of the quality of its search engine, argued a Google lawyer. “This case is about the future of the internet and whether Google will ever face meaningful competition,” said Justice Department attorney Kenneth Dintzer during his opening statement in Washington, D.C.

Imagine Communications is collaborating with Google Ad Manager, introducing ad routing to Google Ad Manager via Imagine’s SureFire video ad server. The integration empowers broadcasters and TV operators to fill unsold inventory and dynamically allocate portions of their ad inventory to maximize fill while maintaining a quality viewing experience. “Imagine Communications is expanding cross-platform ad management solutions to help broadcasters and media companies unify TV ad sales and deliver all the attributes advertisers love about traditional Linear TV onto CTV platforms,” said Rob Malcolm, GM of Ad Tech, Imagine Communications. “Our partnership with Google Ad Manager underscores this commitment, as we revolutionize not only direct sold placement, but add programmatic capabilities to meet the evolving media landscape.”

Anuvu, provider of connectivity and entertainment solutions for mobility markets, struck a new partnership with Parrot Analytics to provide customers with further insight on film and TV content demand around the world. “This collaboration is vital to our 360 data-driven approach, which enables our clients to make informed content decisions,” said Estibaliz Asiain, Anuvu SVP, Media & Content. “Many airlines currently rely on insights based on content that is already on the aircraft, meaning their decisions are retroactive. With the wealth of valuable data available to us, our customers can make truly informed decisions when expanding their in-flight entertainment which translates to smarter spend and better use of their server space.”

Nielsen’s Gracenote unveiled a new program developed to help content publishers and broadcasters get their FAST channels and programming distributed by major streaming platforms more easily. Leveraging advanced data enrichment services, the Gracenote FAST Program will help Gracenote customers accelerate time-to-market for their FAST offerings. “The rapid rise of FAST has been one of the most notable recent developments in the global video ecosystem,” said Vikram Kulkarni, VP, Strategic Initiatives, EMEA at Gracenote. “Based on our position at the heart of this ecosystem, we are uniquely positioned to help content publishers from small to large benefit from the maturation of FAST and we look forward to helping them achieve better FAST content visibility, consumption and monetization through our Program.”

Vizrt, focused on real-time graphics and live production solutions for content creators, has joined the AWS Independent Software Vendor Accelerate Program, a program for ISVs who provide software solutions that run on or integrate seamlessly with AWS.

STREAMING

Noggin, Nickelodeon’s interactive learning platform, announced the launch of “Special Delivery.” The feature delivers a personalized experience to children who, every day they log in, will be greeted by a rotation of their favorite Nick Jr. characters who deliver a curated box of learning games, videos and activities.

Modern Luxury Media has launched its first streaming TV offering, M/LUX, on VIZIO’s WatchFree+ service. M/LUX content showcases luxury lifestyles covering Food + Drink, Home + Design, Art + Culture, Travel + Adventure, and Fashion + Beauty. The streaming library launches exclusively as part of VIZIO’s Branded Content Studios offering.

Bilingual speakers are 4.5x and 3.5x as likely to have Paramount+ and Hulu, respectively, on their devices versus Spanish-only speakers, according to App Science’s US Hispanic Streaming Audience Insights report, suggesting they are more likely to pay for their streaming services than their Spanish-only speaking counterparts. In the music app category, bilingual US Hispanic speakers are more likely to have Pandora (11.8x), AudioMack (9x), and Amazon Music (5.3x) downloaded, while Spanish-only speakers who are more likely to have Radio Mexico (7.7x), ESound (3.6x), and LaMusica (3.6x).

COMING UP

BET+ has set its fall slate. First up is part one of “Love and Murder: Atlanta Playboy” on Thursday, September 21, following the murder of a womanizing businessman. Thursday, October 5 brings “First Lady of BMF: Tonesa Welch Story,” inspired by the true story of a woman who builds a drug empire, and “Impact Atlanta” returns with eight new episodes.

“Dashing Through the Snow,” starring Lil Rel Howery, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and Teyonah Parris, debuts November 17 on Disney+. The holiday comedy tells the story of a social worker for the Atlanta police department and the Christmas Eve journey with his estranged daughter.

For 2023’s National Hispanic Heritage Month, Ovation TV is offering a curated on-demand lineup in Ovation NOW destination Arthouse. Starting on September 15, the arts network highlights Hispanic artists who have made a significant impact on the national and international stage, with series and films.

Ahead of the premiere of Paramount+’s “Frasier” reboot on Thursday, October 12, Cozi TV is airing a “Frasier Awards” theme week from September 18-22. The stunt highlights 20 award-winning episodes in the show’s regular weekly timeslot.

SPORTS ROUNDUP

ESPN and Disney announced they will stream a “Toy Story”-themed alternate presentation of the Jacksonville Jaguars/Atlanta Falcons game on October 1. Using tracking technology enabled by the NFL’s Next-Gen player-tracking data and Beyond Sports, “Toy Story Funday Football” will transform players and game announcers into animated characters.

National CineMedia and Religion of Sports announced a new content partnership bringing diverse, real-life stories of athletes and sports to the big screen. Each of Religion of Sports’ sixty-second episodes will feature a human-interest story where sports had an impact on an individual, team or community. The six-part content series launches in September and will run as part of NCM’s The Noovie® Show, which airs in 19,000 + theaters nationwide before the film trailers and will be available for brand sponsors seeking to reach young, diverse audiences at the movies.

HBCU GO struck a 10-year media rights partnership with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference that grants HBCU GO cable, linear, streaming, broadcast, VOD, and pay-per-view rights coverage of all CIAA team sports through June 30, 2032. Sports include regular season contests for football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, Olympic sports, and the football championship game.

The 2023 BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour will be the first sporting event to have its television production powered entirely by green hydrogen, producing zero emissions when it takes place September 14-17. European Tour Productions and distribution partner IMG, are working with UK-based clean energy company, GeoPura, to supply two hydrogen powered generators that will be positioned on the fairway of the 6th hole at Wentworth Club. It is estimated that relying on HPUs will save a total of 16.4 Tonnes of CO2 compared to the 2022 tournament.

Comscore announced the continuation of its media measurement collaboration with the Green Bay Packers. The two-year agreement includes the continued use of Comscore’s local television and digital measurement solutions as well as an extension of Comscore’s social measurement platform.

GOING GLOBAL

ITV is the new UK home of the Academy Awards ceremony, starting with the 96th annual event next year. Sky had previously held the rights.

Fremantle inked a new deal to license global reality competition format “The Farm” (La Granja) to Chilean broadcaster Chilevisión after being off air almost two decades.

CBeebies in the UK and France Télévisions have jointly commissioned animated preschool series, “Big Lizard,” co-produced by UK animation studio Beakus and French production companies Watch Next Media and Je Suis Bien Content.

TeamTO is presenting animated preschool comedy “What’s Up Eesha?”, a spin-off of TeamTO’s holiday special “Winter is Here,” based on the book series by Jean Gouronas, at Cartoon Forum 2023.

Ireland’s Lighthouse Studios (“The Bob’s Burgers Movie”) and Dog Ears (“Puffin Rock”) are partnering to co-produce an children’s animated adventure series, “Stage Struck!”. The series is based on Tor Freeman’s book, Showtime for Billie and Coco.

Amuz Distribution and Pixcom announced their international distribution deal for four seasons of Pixcom-produced “Counter Offer” (Contre Offre). This is the first acquisition for the Amuz Distribution brand (formerly ComediHa! Distribution).

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RATINGS

Saturday’s Colorado/Nebraska game at noon on Fox drew 8.73 million viewers, the highest college football tally for the week. ESPN’s Alabama/Texas on Saturday evening was second, with 7.96 million.

Top 10 Basic Cable Networks for the week of September
P2+ AA (000)
Primetime
ESPN 3105
Fox News 1550
MSNBC 1021
HGTV 903
Hallmark Channel 711
TLC 638
INSP 623
USA 613
CNN 586
History 551
Total Day
ESPN 1117
Fox News 1032
MSNBC 732
CNN 473
HGTV 462
Hallmark Channel 396
USA 358
INSP 356
Food Network 326
ID 316

EXECUTIVE MOVES

Sofia Chang has been hired as EVP, Chief Distribution Officer, for STARZ. Chang was previously President of Distribution at Warner Media.

Asylum Entertainment Group has hired Ben Bitonti as Chief Creative Officer and Eric Hoberman as EVP, Programming and Development. Bitonti returns to Asylum after spending several years as the company’s Vice President of Development, while Hoberman served as Head of Development at Religion of Sports.

John Callahan has joined talent ID registry HAND as Chief Technology Officer. Callahan as served as CTO and senior product engineering leader in organizations including MediaShift, Accenture, Rogers Communications, Active Video and Charter/Time Warner.

This Day in History
1965 – The Beatles’ single “Yesterday” was released.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Who did Brian Cox’s real-life play in “Succession” (2018-23)? At Logan’s funeral, Nicole-Ansari Cox played Sally-Anne, his former mistress. Kudos to: David Garber-Loyola Marymount University/Playa Vista, CA; Andy Ehlen-Grady Britton/Portland, OR, CA; Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/LA; Maggie Takei-Moore Media/LA; Gerry Bixenspan-TV Marketing Inc./NYC; Heather Allen-WWE Corporation/Stamford, CT

Today’s Trivia Question
Which series featured recurring cast members Griffin Dunne, Mo Gaffney and Wanda Sykes? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four answers per time zone.)

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Lead, manage, develop, and grow Ad Sales teams. Attract and retain the best talent. Work with leadership team to set, achieve, and grow revenue targets across OOH, Digital and Experiential. Instrumental in driving the team to exceed all expectations and goals. 15+ years’ experience in advertising, media, and relevant sales management roles. Full info HERE

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WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 13
ABC: The Conners, The Conners, The Conners, The Conners, The Rookie
CBS: Big Brother, So Help Me Todd
CW: The Swarm, Penn & Teller: Fool Us
FOX: MasterChef
NBC: America’s Got Talent, Night Court, Night Court, Chicago P.D.
PBS: America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston, NOVA, Evolution Earth
Telemundo: Los 50. Secretros de Sangre, El Señor de los Cielos, Sus Comienzos [p]

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