PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Chris Hemsworth inked a first-look deal with National Geographic. Hemsworth and Ben Grayson’s new production company Wild State will create nonfiction content for Nat Geo in a deal sealed before the debut of “Limitless With Chris Hemsworth,” which is set to premiere on corporate sibling Disney+ later this year. Wild State, which will work across scripted and nonscripted, has several properties prepped to go out to the market. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to tell highly impactful, important stories in the unscripted space backed by the support of the premier global conservation and environmental brand in Nat Geo,” said Hemsworth and Grayson in a statement.
Jeff Frost, who recently departed his post at the helm of Sony Pictures Television Studios, but he’s not going far. Frost launched production company Bristol Circle Entertainment and inked a first-look TV production deal the studio under which he’ll exec-produce the new series from “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan, for Apple TV+.
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is doubling down on four of its most-watched series. The net ordered more than 85 new hours of content by picking up additional seasons of “Belle Collective,” “Love & Marriage: D.C.,” “Love & Marriage: Huntsville” and “Put A Ring On It.” The series will air during the network’s Friday and Saturday night unscripted programming blocks throughout 2023 starting with “Love & Marriage: D.C.” in January.
“Barry” co-creator/exec producer Alec Berg signed an overall deal with ABC Signature. The three-year pact finds Berg jumping to ABC from HBO, where he’s been based for more than 15 years.
Samantha Bee, but make her kid-friendly. Bee and her Swimsuit Competition production shingle are teaming with Sinking Ship Entertainment on a new kids sketch comedy show called “Best Day Ever.” Created by Allana Harkin, series follows a style similar to premium adult-driven sketch shows like “I Think You Should Leave” and “Key and Peele.”
In an expansion of its US presence, Paris-based studio Superprod acquired The Co-Production Company, the NY-based boutique firm specializing in finance and distribution arrangements for international productions and named The Co-Production Company founder/CEO Doug Schwalbe as president of Superprod US Inc. Superprod also named former Cartoon Network exec Tatiana Krokar as VP.
Casting notes: Elizabeth Perkins snagged a major recurring for the second season of HBO’s “Minx”… Mary McDonnell will star opposite Justin Hartley in CBS drama pilot “The Never Game”… Jim Gaffigan joined the cast of HBO Max limited series “Full Circle”… Charmaine Bingwa (“The Good Fight”) and Nkeki Obi-Melekwe (“Tina -The Tina Turner Musical”) will star, and Tony Kgoroge (“Invictus”), Sindi Dlatu (“The River”) and Bahle Hadebe (“Bone of My Bones’) will guest in new Showtime series “King Shaka”… Austin Hebert (“Unbelievable”), Jonah Wharton (“The Rookie”) and Hannah Love Lanier (“A Black Lady’s Sketch Show”) are in for Paramount+ series “Lioness”… Alice Braga and Jimmi Simpson are the latest cast additions to Apple’s “Dark Matter”… Addie Weyrich, Sydney Kuhne and Sabrina Wu scored lead roles in FX’s untitled Lauren Ludwig half-hour comedy.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
Season 2 of Crackle’s “The Wall” debuts Saturday, October 1. Nine-ep new season kicks off when an engineer responsible for the deadly collapse of a Quebec City overpass is found murdered, and Detective Celine Trudeau is on the case.
“America’s Funniest Home Videos,” the longest-running primetime entertainment show in the history of ABC, premieres its 33rd season Sunday, October 2 at 7p. Hosted by Alfonso Ribeiro, the show is doubling the weekly prize money for the new season.
Chris Cuomo’s new gig on NewsNation will debut Monday, October 3 at 8p. “Cuomo,” which will be produced live at Nexstar’s midtown Manhattan production studios, has been staffing up, including Alexandra “Dusty” Cohen, who will serve as exec producer.
Drew and Jonathan Scottare back for a new season of “Property Brothers: Forever Home” on Wednesday, October 26 at 9p. Filmed in their newly adopted hometown of LA, the duo will continue to help homeowners unlock their property’s full potential through thoughtful renovations… Also coming up from HGTV on October 17 is “Townsizing,” the net’s latest podcast featuringauthor Anne Helen Petersen uncovering the allure of the American small town.
Apple TV+ set premiere datesfor the return of several hit series. Season 2 of “The Mosquito Coast” continues the journey Friday, November 4; workplace comedy “Mythic Quest” returns for a third season Friday, November 11; spy drama “Slow Horses” season 2 debuts Friday, December 2; and anthology “Little America” returns with eight new eps Friday, December 9.
Kevin Costner’s John Dutton is sworn in as Montana’s governor in the new season 5 trailer for “Yellowstone,” which premieres on Paramount Network on Sunday, November 13 with two new eps.
Warner Bros. Discovery opted to cruise with The Ocean Race, the offshore sailing race, inking a long-term partnership that will extend the global race to Warner Bros. Discovery’s audience around the world. The partnership will focus on live broadcasts, editorial content production and multi-platform distribution as well as third-party commercial agreements and will lead off from the start of next edition of The Ocean Race, starting in Alicante, Spain in Jan. 2023.
The Big 12 Conference appointed WME Sports and IMG Media, both Endeavor companies, to “facilitate its global content and commercial strategy.” WME Sports and IMG Media will now lead the Big 12’s media strategy, advisory and negotiation; conference composition strategy; premier asset assessment; and sales analytics and valuation. As part of its scope, WME Sports and IMG Media will support the Big 12 in its multimedia rights and social media strategy; advise on the use of data, sports wagering, NFTs, and more.
ESPN re-signed MMA insider Brett Okamoto to a new, multi-year contract that extends his tenure as a contributor across all ESPN platforms. In the new agreement Okamoto, who joined ESPN in 2010, will continue to serve as an MMA breaking news reporter, feature writer and analyst, and host ESPN’s Best Bets on YouTube.
HBO Sports Documentaries presents Say Hey, Willie Mays!, a film exploring the life and career of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays. The program debuts on Nov. 8 at 9p on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max. Directed by Nelson George, the documentary includes exclusive interviews with Mays and his family. The film will have its world premiere at the 2022 UrbanWorld Film Festival on October 27.
Major League Baseball announced a new partnership with the American Gaming Association’s Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly. public service campaign to educate fans and broaden the league’s responsible gaming efforts. In addition, MLB expanded its partnership with the National Council on Problem Gambling with the league now serving as a Platinum Member and a part of the group’s Leadership Circle.
Athletes Unlimited raised $30 million in new funding. Early investors are led by Schusterman Family Investments and includes Jane Gottesman of Earlystone Management and film producer Sharon Harel-Cohen, as well as Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s 35V, David Blitzer, Angela Ruggiero, Salil Seshadri and Keith Meister. Gottesman will also join the Athletes Unlimited Board of Directors.
beIN MEDIA GROUP (beIN) and Group ONE Holdings (ONE) announced an exclusive multi-year partnership to broadcast ONE Championship events live across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for the first time in the region. beIN SPORTS, beIN’s flagship channel, will broadcast ONE’s international events with both Arabic and English commentary across 24 territories in the MENA region.
Combate Global is launching on TikTok for the first time ever on October 1 thanks to a partnership with Wave Sports + Entertainment. In addition to establishing and managing the Combate Global brand on TikTok, the landmark deal calls for WSE to take on management of the franchise’s Snapchat discover show.
Crackle will debut several documentaries Saturday, October 1. “Kili Big” follows 20 plus-sized women determined to conquer the roof of Africa, while “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road” features the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson reminiscing on his career with Rolling Stone editor and longtime friend Jason Fine.
Peacock original documentary “Prince Andrew: Banished” unpacks the tumultuous story of how Prince Andrew, Duke of York fell from grace as a beloved son of Queen Elizabeth II and decorated naval officer through scandal. The doc premieres Wednesday, October 5.
Bravo’s two-part “Southern Charm” season 8 reunion will air on consecutive Thursdays, October 6 and October 13, at 9p. Host Andy Cohen will sit down with the cast to dish on the season’s relationships and resentments.
Country superstar Alan Jackson will be honored with the Artist of a Lifetime award at this year’s “CMT Artists of the Year,” premiering Friday, October 14 at 9p on CMT.
FETV is traveling to Dodge City in October for the Gunsmoke Movie Collection. James Arness reprises his iconic role as Matt Dillon for five Gunsmoke movies, airing Saturdays at 8p with an encore presentation Sundays at 3p.
Peter Farrelly’s “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” starring Zac Efron, bows on Apple TV+ today (September 30), followed by a slate of film premieres: “Shantaram,” starring Charlie Hunnam and based on the internationally best-selling novel by Gregory David Roberts, on October 14; and “Causeway,” starring and produced by Jennifer Lawrence and “Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me,” both on November 4.
HBO Sports Documentaries and Major League Baseball present “Say Hey, Willie Mays!,” a film exploring the life and career of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays, on Wednesday, November 8 at 9p on HBO.
ADVERTISING & BRANDS
FreeWheel and Comscore launchedadvanced connected TV contextual targeting capabilities on FreeWheel’s demand-side platform Beeswax. The integration is the first step in a partnership to enable more advanced contextual services for both FreeWheel and Beeswax. Media buyers using the Beeswax platform now have access to Comscore’s Predictive Audiences and CTV brand protection offering that can help them more easily identify impressions and reach the best-suited viewers.
Bunim/Murray Productions is launching “Reality Bites Back,” a podcast that pulls back the curtain on the unscripted TV industry. Bunim/Murray is responsible for reality series including “The Real World,” “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and “Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Girrrls.”
To help celebrate its 50th anniversary, “The Young and the Restless” is launching an audio-only showcast today (September 30), just as the CBS series rolls into its milestone season.
It’s curtains for Googlevideogame streaming service Stadia. After three years of struggle, Stadia VP/GM, Phil Harrison said in a blog post the service “hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected.” Players will be able to access to their games library and play through January 18, 2023.
My Little Pony is galloping into the metaverse via Visit Maretime Bay, a new game in Roblox that coincides with new episodes of “My Little Pony: Make Your Mark” on Netflix. Game features customizable pony avatars and an immersive world of friendship, fun and adventure.
Netflix came out on top in nominations for best drama for the International Emmy Awards, which will be presented November 21 in NY. Noms in that category went to the streamer and Gaumont Television’s “Lupin” and crime series “Narcos: Mexico,” “Reyka,” from M-Net and Fremantle, and World Productions’ “Vigil” series from the UK. The comedy category will see Netflix and Eleven Film’s “Sex Education” from the UK face off against HBO Latin America’s “Bunker” from Mexico, UK-based Big Deal Films’ “Dreaming Whilst Black” and Canal+ series “On The Verge.”
Charter Communications launched new South Asian-focused “India View” video packages with up to 24 new channels thanks to an agreement for all of the ZEE channels from India.