09/14/16: Katie Couric and EPIX sued over gun control doc; Lady Gaga could take the Super Bowl stage; Bake Off hosts won’t take the dough


Good morning. It’s Wednesday September 14, 2016, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
AXS TV: The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands at 10p
Bravo: Don’t Be Tardy at 10p
Comedy: South Park at 10p, Legions of Chamberlain Heights at 10:30p
Cooking: Sugar Showdown at 10p
Discovery: Still Alive at 10p
Food: Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition at 9p
FX: American Horror Story: 6 at 10p
Great American Country: Going RV at 9p
IFC: Documentary Now! at 10p
NBC: Blindspot at 10p
PBS: Forces of Nature at 8p
FantomWorks at 9p

Tonight’s Finales:
FOX: MasterChef at 8p
NBC: America’s Got Talent at 8p
POP: Sing It On at 9p
USA: Suits at 9p


Katie Couric and EPIX are being sued for over $12 million for alleged manipulation of footage in gun control advocacy documentary Under The Gun. “The Defendants intentionally disregarded the truth” of an exchange about background checks, “and took at least six intentional steps to manufacture a fictional exchange to support their agenda,” said the defamation suit, filed in Virginia federal court on Tuesday. Plaintiffs the VCDL, Patricia Webb and Daniel Hawes, who appear in the doc, want compensatory damages of $12 million, as well as punitive damages of $350,000 for each plaintiff. Responded the film’s director, Stefan Friedman, “It’s ironic that people who so passionately defend the Second Amendment want to trample on the rights guaranteed to filmmakers under the First.”

Bill Clinton is headed to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show tomorrow, September 15. It marks the former president’s tenth appearance on the late night show, but first since Trevor Noah took over as host. DVR alert: The very same night, Donald Trump stops by NBC’s The Tonight Show, the GOP candidate’s third visit to Jimmy Fallon’s talker.

Late Night with Seth Meyers airs live on Monday, September 26 at 12:35a, to incorporate post-debate discussion during the telecast. The highly anticipated first debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee  Donald Trump will be moderated by NBC Nightly NewsLester Holt.

Billboard reports that Lady Gaga is in talks to take the half-time stage at Super Bowl LVI, having impressed the NFL with her performance of the National Anthem at this year’s big game. The Bowl is slated to take place at Houston’s NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017.

The Five co-host Dana Perino has teamed with digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt for Perino & Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What. The new FOX News Channel program debuts September 18 and will air on Sundays at 5p through November’s presidential election. The co-hosts will be joined by a rotating panel.

Great British Bake Off hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc won’t continue with the hit UK competition series when it moves from BBC One to Channel 4 next year. “The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy and helped give it its distinctive warmth and charm, growing it from an audience of two million to nearly 15 [million] at its peak,” Perkins and Giedroyc said in a statement. “We’ve had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps. We’re not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success.” Series airs on PBS as The Great British Baking Show.

Charles Pratt (Desperate Housewives, Melrose Place) has been named showrunner of new FOX series Star, created/executive produced by Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy. Pratt replaces Charley Murray, who served as co-showrunner with Donaghy before leaving last week over creative differences.

The launch of Vice News Tonight has been postponed from September 26 to October 10. The half-hour nightly newscast hails from Vice Media and HBO. “We want to test it on all its various platforms and make sure it’s perfect,” Vice News chief Josh Tyrangiel told press members at Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters on Tuesday.

The 2016 Beta Research Cable Subscriber Study rated basic cable networks in categories important to cable TV providers: importance to enjoyment among potential cord-cutters, average perceived value among viewers and favorite among total adults. The top ranked basic networks among potential cord cutters included Discovery, History and FX, each with 51 percent, followed by A&E, Food Network and Comedy Central with 48 percent. AMC and TNT came in with 47 percent, and ESPN with 46 percent. On average perceived value, the top ranked networks were Disney Junior ($2.03), ESPN and ESPNU ($1.87), Golf Channel ($1.85), Disney Channel ($1.84), Nat  Geo and Nickelodeon ($1.83), AMC ($1.80), ESPN2 ($1.78) and HGTV and ID ($1.76). Favorite networks were ESPN and Food (21 percent), Discovery, AMC, FX and History (20 percent), TNT (17 percent) and A&E, USA and Comedy (16 percent). “Three of these networks (Disney Junior, ESPNU and Golf Channel) were partial digital basic networks with lower viewing levels,” Beta president, cable division Andy Klein tells Cynopsis,“but high value among their smaller audience.”

CMT named Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett as the premiere country artists of 2016, to be celebrated at the seventh annual CMT Artists of the Year special on Thursday, October 20 at 8p. Rising star Kelsea Ballerini is slated to receive the second annual Breakout Artist of the Year award.

Justin Lin and Marlon Wayans were named judges for NBCU Short Film Festival, part of the company’s ongoing initiative to find new voices. The panel for the 11th annual festival also includes producer Will Packer (Straight Outta Compton), writer-producer Tracey Wigfield (The Mindy Project), Masi Oka (Heroes, Hawaii Five-0) and writer-director Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man, Barbershop: The Next Cut), as well as festival alumni Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat, Trainwreck) and Hasan Minaj (The Daily Show).


Cablefax TV Innovation Summit
Speakers include Craig Moffett
Moffett to discuss OTT, apps, channel packages and
more in TV ecosystem.
Thursday, Sept. 22 | 10:00am-5:30pm
Cynopsis subscribers and their staffs can access an exclusive offer.
Email Kate Schaeffer at [email protected]
within the next 48 hours for details: www.CFXtvsummit.com


FOX ordered Justice, a legal drama from Scandal co-EP Judy Smith, the inspiration for the lead character in the Washington drama. Project focuses on a high-powered African-American woman who is made the new US Attorney.

NBC is developing an office comedy set in Antarctica from Bob’s Burgers duo Steven Davis and Kelvin Yu, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and Universal TV. The untitled project, written by Davis and Yu, follows a young researcher named Nora, who travels to Antarctica with big plans, but finds she’ll need a different kind of survival skills to navigate the eccentric people who work in her office.

We are thrilled to host our Rising Star + HR Awards reception TOMORROW evening at the New York Athletic Club. Will you be joining us? Grab a drink and network/celebrate with an exciting group of talented individuals.


Kevin Hart and the Real Husbands of Hollywood return for Season 5 on Tuesday, October 11 at 9p on BET. This season reunites Hart with original motley cast members Nick Cannon, Nelly, JB Smoove, Robin Thicke, Boris Kodjoe, Duane Martin and Cynthia Kaye McWilliams


American Masters – Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You premieres nationwide Tuesday, October 25 at 9p on PBS (check local listings). With unprecedented access to Lear, his work and his massive personal archives, the documentary combines stories from his turbulent childhood and early career with his groundbreaking TV success (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude) and social activism.

In honor of World Rhino Day, Nat Geo WILD premieres Operation Sumatran Rhino: Mission Critical on Sunday, September 18 at 9p with an encore on Thursday, September 22 at 9p. The project explores Sumatran rhinos in Borneo, where numbers are down to single digits.

INSP premieres its latest movie, Heritage Falls, on Sunday, October 16 at 8p. The dramatic comedy stars David Keith (CSI: Miami, Hawaii Five-0), Coby Ryan McLaughlin (Castle, Parenthood), and Keean Johnson (Nashville).

Lifetime announced its list of world premiere movies for fall. Suite Francaise bows Monday, October 10 at 10p; Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le debuts Saturday, October 15 at 8p; A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story airs Saturday, October 17 at 8p; Death of a Vegas Show Girl premieres Saturday, October 22 at 8p and Amish Witches: The True Story of Holmes County bows Saturday, October 29 at 8p.



Tony Shahloub (Monk) has been tapped to play Rachel Brosnahan’s father in Amazon drama pilot The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Nurse Jackie alum Dominic Fumusa joins Season 6 of Homeland. He’ll recur as FBI Special Agent Ray Conlin. Showtime returns Sunday, January 15 at 9p.

Judy Reyes (Devious Maids) has landed her next gig. Reyes has been cast as a regular in TNT‘s nail salon dramedy pilot Claws.

Jacob Artist (Glee) is joining the season six cast of FX’s American Horror Story. Series returns Wednesday, September 14.

Jen Richards (Her Story, Doubt) has booked a recurring role on CMT’s Nashville. This marks the network’s first transgender character and the first out transgender actor on the network. Series’ fifth season debut is Thursday, January 5 at 9p.

Actress/singer LeToya Luckett and Camille Spirlin (Marvin Marvin) are headed to FOX drama Rosewood. Luckett, will play Tawnya, a new love interest for Rosewood. Spirlin will portray Tawyna’s daughter.

Malcolm-Jamal Warner has nabbed a role on Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. He’ll play an upscale contractor, widower and single dad.


The Africa Channel expanded its partnership with Comcast Cable in Video On Demand content targeting multicultural audiences. Comcast is the first provider to launch TAC on VOD. “We look forward to working with The Africa Channel to continue to enhance our experience for African-American and multicultural audiences across our Xfinity products,” said Javier Garcia, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Multicultural Services at Comcast. 

PXTV, the 24/7 extreme sports, lifestyle and music network for the Americas, secured a multi-year deal with Jasaji Fighting League, the only Mixed Martial Arts circuit in Mexico. The agreement solidifies ownership and exclusive broadcast rights to JFL fights. The kickoff event, JFL XIII, airs exclusively on PXTV on September 25 at 9p with a second fight slated for November and six more fights confirmed for 2017.

NBCUniversal reached a long-term pact with AT&T to extend its portfolio of networks across all AT&T DIRECTV products, including new streaming services DIRECTV NOW and DIRECTV Preview. Per the agreement, AT&T DIRECTV and U-Verse customers will continue to have access to NBCUniversal broadcast and cable networks live and on-demand through linear TV, online, and TV Everywhere apps.


Food Network skill launched on Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo on Tuesday, the first culinary network to do so. Users of devices Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap and Amazon Fire TV can enable the Food Network skill by saying “Alexa, enable the Food Network skill” and gain access to show information and scheduling, as well as recipes seen on air.


Amazon is in talks to acquire live-streaming rights to internationally popular pro sports, including tennis and rugby. According to Bloomberg, Amazon has talked to programmers, including the Tennis Channel, in hopes of possibly streaming events like the French Open, on its Amazon Prime Video SVOD service.

Season Two of Crackle’s first scripted drama, The Art of More, premieres Wednesday, November 16. Returning are stars Dennis Quaid, who also serves as EP, Kate Bosworth, Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) and Christian Cooke (Magic City). Merritt Patterson (The Royals, Ravenswood) and Sandrine Holt (House of Cards, Mr. Robot) join the ensemble.


Lionsgate teamed with Vimeo to license its content for Vimeo’s global television store. Titles include Orange is the New Black, Casual, The Royals, Mad Men and Weeds. Under the deal’s terms, the titles will be available on Vimeo in the U.S. and over 150 countries worldwide.

CBS Studios International and Movistar+ secured an exclusive licensing agreement in Spain for the linear and SVOD rights to all future Showtime-owned series and current owned hits and select library titles. As part of the pact, Movistar+ will become the official home of Showtime programming in Spain, with exclusive use of its brand and trademark in that territory.

Gusto Worldwide Media announced production of nine series and specials.  Slate includes new food series Urban Vegetarian and The Latin Kitchen, four holiday specials and the renewal of original programs Fish the Dish, One World Kitchen and A Is for Apple.

In honor of the 206th anniversary of the national independence of Mexico, Canal 22 Mexico features special programming in primetime on Thursday, September 15 and Friday, September 16. Highlights include Mezcales de Occidente y la destilacion prehispanica, Ceremonia del “Grito de Independencia” and La Armonia del viento.


Nickelodeon premieres animated series Kuu Kuu Harajuku from co-creator and EP Gwen Stefani on Monday, October 3 at 4p. Show follows the kuu kuu adventures of the band HJ5 through their world of music, fashion and style. “Partnering with Nickelodeon on Kuu Kuu Harajuku is a dream come true!” said Stefani. “I love that this is an animated series for young girls that celebrates creativity, imagination and individuality.”

Cartoon Network’s Regular Show begins its eighth and final season on Monday, September 26 at 8p. Last season’s cliffhanger ripped The Park from earth and took Mordecai, Rigby and the gang with it. Season eight takes place entirely in outer space. New episodes air weeknights through January 2017.


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FX’s premiere of Atlanta scored the best audience of any basic cable primetime scripted comedy in over three years among A18-49. On a Live+3 basis, the total audience delivery for the telecast and encore airings was 3 million total viewers and 1.9 million A18-49.

Harry Connick Jr.’s Harry, this season’s only new first-run strip launching nationally in syndication, had a strong debut on Monday, September 12. The talk-variety series opened up 27 percent from its year-ago time periods to a 1.4 Nielsen rating/4 share primary run average in the 56 metered markets. Compared to the most recent successful talk show premiere, Harry improved 56 percent over the 2014 debut of The Real, which already has a fourth season renewal. In the W25-54 target demo, Harry took its time periods up 40 percent to a 0.7/4.

Hasta Que Te Conoci, the Telemundo series based on the life of musical icon Juan Gabriel, ranked as the highest-rated, scripted weekend premiere in Spanish-language TV in more than five years among total viewers (2,913,000) and A18-49 (1,358,000), according to Nielsen. The show reached a cumulative audience of 4,724,000 total viewers and 2,207,000 A18-49.

With the 23rd season premiere of Dancing With the Stars and the season finale of The $100,000 Pyramid, ABC was Monday’s top broadcaster in total viewers (11.3 million) and A18-49 (2.2/8). Dancing ranked as Monday’s #1 broadcast series in Total Viewers (13.7 million) and A18-49 (2.6/9).

Top 10 Broadcast Programs among A18-49 rating/share for the week of September 5, 2016
NBC NFL Thursday Special (9/8) 9.4/34
NBC: NBC Sunday Night Football (9/11) 8.4/27
FOX: The OT (9/11) 5.2/19
NBC: NBC Football Night America Part 3 (9/11) 4.3/15
NBC: NFL Opening Kick Off Show (9/8) 3.6/16
NBC: America’s Got Talent (9/6) 2.5/9
NBC: Commander Chief (9/7) 2.4/9
FOX: Son of Zorn (9/11) 2.4/8
NBC: America’s Got Talent (9/7) 2.0/7
CBS: Big Brother (9/7) 1.9/8
Source: Nielsen Media Research, Galaxy Explorer, Live + SD Data

Top 11 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 9/5/16 ranked in order by HH Rtg
Judge Judy (CTD) 6.3AA
Family Feud (2/T) 6.0AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 5.2AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 4.9AA
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 4.6AA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 2.8AA
Inside Edition (CTD) 2.5AA
Modern Family (2/T) 2.3AA
Two and a Half Men (WB) 2.3
Hot Bench (CTD) 2.1 AA
Dr. Phil (CTD) 2.1 AA
Source: Nielsen Media Research

Top 12 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 9/5/16 ranked in order by A18-49 Rtg
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 2.0AA
Family Feud (2/T) 1.8AA
Judge Judy (CTD) 1.4AA
Modern Family (2/T) 1.3AA
Family Guy (2/T) 1.3AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 1.1AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 1.0AA
Two and a Half Men (WB) 0.9AA
The Cleveland Show (2/T) 0.9AA
2 Broke Girls (WB) 0.8 AA
How I Met Your Mother (2/T) 0.8 AA
King of the Hill (2/T) 0.8 AA
Source: Nielsen Media Research

Broadcast Evening News Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of September 5, 2016
NBC Nightly News
7.90 million total viewers, 1.6/7 and 1.94 million A25-54
ABC World News Tonight 7.88 million total viewers, 1.4/6 and 1.68 million A25-54
CBS Evening News 6.24 million total viewers, 1.1/5 and 1.33 million A25-54

Broadcast Morning News Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of September 5, 2016
NBC Today
4.41 million total viewers, 1.5/13 and 1.8 million A25-54
ABC Good Morning America 4.48 million total viewers, 1.2/11 and 1.5 million A25-54
CBS This Morning 3.29 million total viewers, 0.8/7 and 1.0 million A25-54

Late Night Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of September 5, 2016
NBC: Tonight
3.42 million total viewers, .97/6 among A18-49
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel 2.06 million total viewers, .46/3 among A18-49
CBS: Late Show 1.98 million total viewers, .36/2 among A18-49

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Monday, September 12, 2016 time period averages.
Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD
ABC: 5.8/10
Dancing With the Stars 8.0/13, The $100,000 Pyramid 3.6/7
CBS: 3.1/5
The Big Bang Theory 3.9/7, CBS Fall Preview 3.1/5, The Big Bang Theory 3.3/5, Mom 2.5/4, Scorpion 2.5/5
NBC: 2.8/5
American Ninja Warrior 3.4/6, Running Wild with Bear Grylls 2.2/4
FOX: 1.4/2
So You Think You Can Dance 1.4/2
TELE: 1.0/2
Silvana Sin Lana 0.8/1, Sin Senos Si Hay Paraiso 1.0/2, Senora Acero 3:  La Coyote 1.1/2
Univision: 0.9/2
Despertar Contigo 0.8/1, Tres Veces Ana 1.0/2, Color e la Pasion 0.9/2
CW: 0.7/1
Supergirl 0.7/1, Supergirl 0.7/1

Monday A19-49 Analysis: ABC 1.6/6, NBC 1.5/5, CBS 0.9/3, TELE 0.7/2, FOX 0.7/2, UNI 0.6/2, CW 0.2/1


Serge Matta has resigned from comScore as company Executive Vice Chairman; his official exit date is October 10. Matta was previously the Nielsen competitor’s CEO, a role he stepped down from in August.

Stun Creative upped Dave Mellott to Senior Creative Director. Mellot, who joined the company in 2012, had been Creative Director.

Broadcast equipment manufacturer, TSL Products, appointed Greg Siers as Director of Sales for East Region North America. He joins the company from Discovery Communications, where he spent eight years as a director/producer of live production and custom content.

This Day in History: 1972 – The Waltons premiered on CBS.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: Which drama included a student nicknamed “Salami,” and who played him? Timothy Van Patton played Mario “Salami” Pattrino in The White Shadow (1978-1981). Kudos to: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NYC; Willy Gibson-WTG Consulting/Columbus, OH; Tori Gallarello-Alcock-Little Roosters, Inc./NYC; Eric Emeric-AMC Networks/NYC; Judy Margolis-The Ad Place/Dallas, TX; Cynthia New-Spectrum Reach/Cape Girardeau, MO; Melissa Friedman/Los Angeles, CA; Steve Hirsen/Sherman Oaks, CA; Thomas Profit-Babcock Knolls International Entertainment/Studio City, CA; Bob Telford-SAG-AFTRA/Valley Village, CA.

Today’s Trivia Question: (Back to School Theme Week): Which future Broadway star played Horshack’s little sister, Doris, in one episode of Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979)? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.).

Switcheroo: (two TV characters, one actor): Stella Hansen (Email [email protected]; first three respondents with the correct answer who aren’t in trivia – will be posted along with the answer on www.Cynopsis.com.)
Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey: Editorial Director @Lynn_Leahey
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Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
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ABC: The Goldbergs [r], The Goldbergs [r], Modern Family [r], blackish [r], Modern Family [r], Fresh Off the Boat [r]
CBS: Big Brother, Criminal Minds [r], Code Black [r]
CW: Penn & Teller: Fool Us [r], Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Whose Line Is It Anyway? [r]
FOX: MasterChef [
NBC: America’s Got Talent [
f], Blindspot [p]
PBS: Forces of Nature [
p], NOVA
Telemundo: Silvana Sin Lana, Sin Senos Si Hay Paraiso, Senora Acero 3: La Coyote
Univision: Despertar Contigo, Tres Veces Ana, El Color de la Pasion

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06/06/23: Apple unveils Vision Pro

Apple unveils Vision Pro

Tuesday June 6, 2023 Today’s Premieres A&E: Customer Wars at 9p; Storage Wars at 10p ESPN: 30 for 30: The Luckiest Guy in the World at 8p HBO: Burden of Proof at 9p History: Beyond Skinwalker Ranch at 11p ID: Late Night Lockup at 10p Paramount+: Destination: European Nights IN THE NEWS “To those whose […]

06/05/23: Cynopsis Media Tech Update

Big reveal for "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi

Monday June 5, 2023 Amazon has agreed to payments to settle two federal lawsuits alleging that the tech giant violated users’ privacy through its Alexa voice assistant and its Ring doorbell cameras. The FTC found that Amazon violated children’s privacy law COPPA by keeping voice recordings of children, in some cases failing to honor deletion […]

06/05/23: Big reveal for “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi

Big reveal for "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi

Monday June 5, 2023 Today’s Premieres Fox: Stars on Mars at 8p; Crime Scene Kitchen at 9p Freeform: Cruel Summer at 9p Hulu: Age of Influence Nat Geo: America’s National Parks at 9p NBC: American Ninja Warrior at 8p Netflix: Barracuda Queens IN THE NEWS YouTube will no longer remove content that advances false claims […]

06/04/23: Cynopsis Jobs


SR. DIRECTOR, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT SHOUT! FACTORY LOS ANGELES P&L responsibility, ownership over all aspects of a project, standalone releases or a licensed library of titles. Works w/production, publicity, creative services, distribution/sales, digital, finance, legal, acquisitions & licensors to best position the project for success. 7+ yrs of exp. in marketing, business development, or product management. […]

06/02/23: “The Drew Barrymore Show” is the fastest-growing talker on TV

Friday June 2, 2023 Today’s Premieres Amazon: Deadloch; Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets; With Love Food: Guy’s All-American Road Trip at 9p HBO: Painting with John at 11p Hulu: Searching for Soul Food Netflix: Scoop; Valeria; Vortex Paramount+: Love Allways; Queen of the Universe Saturday’s Premieres HGTV: Vacation House Rules at 9p Weather Channel: […]