12/07/20: Apple TV+ orders surfing series


Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Monday December 7, 2020

Today’s Premieres
Acorn TV: “A Suitable Boy”
NBC: “Nurses” at 10p


Over-the-air broadcast television network Light TV, acquired by Allen Media Group from MGM in October, will transition to TheGrio.TV network on January 15, the start of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. The rebranded broadcast network will feature African American-focused content reaching over 100 million US households. “The Grio – which means ‘storyteller’ in Africa – is the first platform to offer an online digital news destination, a free streaming app providing local news, weather, sports, traffic, and entertainment content geofenced to the user’s zip code, and an over-the-air broadcast television network,” said Byron Allen, Founder/Chairman/CEO of Allen Media Group. “TheGrio.TV is especially important to me as it will both serve and uplift all viewers.”

Showtime’s getting “Shameless” about holiday gifting, offering the season premiere of the dramedy’s final season, along with the series premieres of “Your Honor,” starring Bryan Cranston, for free on streaming platforms. New subscribers who sign up for the premium cable net before January 11 will receive a 30-day free trial and lock in a lifetime price of $8.99 per month.

Video game company Activision Blizzard is suing Netflix for grabbing its CFO, Spencer Neumann, in late 2018. “Netflix unapologetically recruits talent without regard to its ethical and legal obligations,” alleges Activision in a suit files in LA Superior Court. It’s not Netflix’s first time at this rodeo – the streamer has also been accused of poaching talent from Fox and ViacomCBS.

Netflix is also facing some backlash in the UK over “The Crown,” with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden asking for a disclaimer making its clear that the drama about the royal family is a work of fiction. “Our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events,” said the streamer. “As a result we have no plans – and see no need – to add a disclaimer.”

The board of trustees of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan labeled a class action lawsuit filed last week “entirely without merit,” and said they will contest it. The lawsuit filed by 10 plaintiffs – including former SAG president Ed Asner – alleges benefit changes illegally discriminate based on age, with “draconian” measures taken in the midst of a pandemic. While Trustees estimate 3500 performers and 2800 of their dependents will lose benefits under the new plan, most of them will be eligible for coverage under Medicare or Obamacare, they say.

The Television Academy has made changes to awards categories, including the merger of the Variety Talk and Variety Sketch Emmy categories for 2021. The two had been split in 2015. Limited Series and Anthology series have also been merged, and a new category has been created to honor stunt performers.

BET renewed “The Family Business” for a third season. “We are honored and forever grateful to BET/Viacom for this opportunity to employ and empower our stellar cast and crew during these unprecedented times,” said Nikaya D Brown Jones, executive producer and showrunner. “To be granted a Season 3 is a testament to the strength and tenacity of our entire ‘Family Business’ Team and our ability to uplift and entertain our audience in the midst of it all.”

Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” stunt is underway, and people-based advertising software company Viant looked at approximately 2.2 million viewers of the Freeform channel to find out what food brands viewers are more likely to purchase as they settle in to watch the likes of “The Santa Clause,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Home Alone.” Insights include:
· When it comes to holiday cookie baking (and eating) Freeform viewers are 13% more likely to purchase Nestle Toll House brand cookies, with Pillsbury coming in second at 5%.
· Viewers of Freeform are 35% more likely to purchase Horizon Brands eggnog. Silk Brands follows at 19% with Blue Diamond Almond Breeze coming in third at 11%.
· 16% of viewers prefer the brand Ghirardelli for hot chocolate. Hershey’s, Nestle, and Swiss miss all follow at 6%, 4% and 3% in terms of likeliness to purchase.

To discover new holiday programming and find old favorites, go to the Cynopsis Holiday Guide.

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Apple TV+ ordered a docu-series from Box to Box Films and the World Surf League
offering a behind-the-scenes look at the aspirations, failures and accomplishments of the world’s best surfers as they battle for the WSL Title. James Gay-Rees (“Exit Through the Giftshop,” “Amy”), Paul Martin (“Formula 1: Drive to Survive”), and Erik Logan (World Surf League) will executive produce on behalf of Box to Box Films.

Ava DuVernay is developing DC teen superhero drama “Naomi” for CW. DuVernay’s ARRAY Filmworks will produce in association with Warner Bros. Television. Jill Blankenship (“Arrow”) is onboard to write and exec produce.

How has shooting for ABC’s extreme decorating competition, “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” been affected by COVID-19? Season eight, premiering Wednesday, December 9 at 8p, filmed in 2019 – but season nine was shot this fall, mid-pandemic, and it was a different experience. “’The Great Christmas Light Fight’ shoots at twenty-four different locations around the country, so we customized our COVID protocols to meet the show’s unique travel challenges…all while exceeding the entertainment industry’s ‘Safe Way Forward’ guidelines,” Brady Connell, EP of The Great Christmas Light Fight, tells Cynopsis. “In addition to strict testing, PPE, and closed-set zone procedures, we had crew drive from location to location in individual rental cars to uphold and maintain social distancing while traveling. We also had a full-time COVID-19 Compliance Officer embedded with each of our 4 traveling crews. One of our on-camera judges, Carter Oosterhouse, even traveled in an Airstream to limit exposure during the seven-week schedule.”

Ryan Michelle Bathe (“All Rise”) struck a first-look deal with ViacomCBS MTV Entertainment Group, to develop and executive produce programming with an emphasis on emerging talent and underrepresented voices.

Adrianna Mitchell (“The Good Fight”) has joined season four of FX’s “Snowfall” in a recurring role…Also set for a recurring role is Gabriela Flores (“The Last Ship”), in CW’s “Walker.”


HGTV holiday specialWhite House Christmas 2020” premieres Sunday, December 13 at 6p, spotlighting this year’s décor theme, America the Beautiful. Narrated by Alison Victoria (“Windy City Rehab”), the special is also a retrospective on the last decade of holiday transformations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Six Degrees with Mike Rowe” premieres on Discovery+ with the Monday, January 4 launch of the streaming service. In the new series, the “Dirty Jobs” host links some of society’s taken-for-granted moments to their surprising origins, and connects them to the modern world of today. Also available at launch will be “Frozen in Time,” a home renovation series starring Maureen “Marcia” McCormick and interior designer Dan Vickery overhauling SoCal homes stuck in a time warp.

Outrageous killers in the Sunshine State are examined in Oxygen’s “Florida Man Murders,” debuting with a two-night series premiere on Saturday, January 9 and Sunday, January 10 at 7p. Also bowing next month on the true crime net: “Framed By the Killer” on Friday, January 15 at 9p; “One Deadly Mistake” at 9p on Saturday, January 16; and “Exhumed” on Sunday, January 17 at 7p.

Scary Mommy has partnered with Huggies to produce a late-night talk show for moms, by moms called “Up Early Tonight.” The show’s format includes monologues, a panel, and parodies geared toward giving 2020 moms relatable comic relief. The show will stream on Hulu on Thursday, December 17, with four 20-minute episodes.

Tea is sure to be spilled during the three-part season five reunion of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of the Potomac,” starting Sunday, December 13 at 9:15p.


Local TV stations in 12 US cities will be added to Amazon’s Fire TV news app by year’s end, with another 90 headed for the streamer in 2021. “There have been so many important events and stories in 2020 that have driven the news industry like never before; and we believe it’s more important than ever to provide free access to both local and national news for all our customers,” said Amazon Fire TV VP Sandeep Gupta. “Adding access to local news is the latest step in our commitment to helping our customers stay informed. We’ve been amazed by the popularity of Amazon’s news app and view local news as the next indispensable piece for our customers.”

The Weather Channel’s free streaming service, Local Now, inked a distribution partnership with Cinedigm. The deal gives the Local Now audience acess to channels including “The Bob Ross Channel,” “Gametoon,” “FashionBox,” “Art House HD,” “Dove Channel,” and more. Cinedigm channels will also become available on Local Now’s portfolio of OTT, CTV, mobile, and TV platforms at the end of the year.

Crunchyroll and Loading announced a partnership that will bring more than 50 Crunchyroll series to linear TV in Brazil. Among the titles that will be available is “Goblin Slayer,” as well as a late-night block for mature viewers, with explicit violence. Loading will also dub a number of titles in partnership with Crunchyroll.

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Comedy Central’s “Jeff Dunham’s Completely Unrehearsed Last-Minute Pandemic Holiday Special” delivered 1.8 million viewers for its November 27 premiere. Across five telecasts over the weekend, the show drew 4.2 million total viewers, ranking as cable’s second most-watched prime time comedy of the year in Nielsen Live+3 numbers.

Discovery ended November on a high note, with “Street Outlaws: Fastest in America,” “Gold Rush, Gold Rush: White Water,” and “Alaska: The Last Frontier” all hitting season-to-date highs during the week of November 23 in Nielsen Live+3 data. For November, Discovery sib HGTV was the #2 non-news/sports cable network in Prime for P2+ total viewers (+8% delivery growth year-over-year), fueled by “Flip or Flop,” which was a the #8 cable series for the month (1.9 million P2+, 2 t/c min).

Food Network ranked as the #1 non-news/sports cable network among P18-49 in Total Day during November in Live+3, driven by double-digit increases for M18-49 in both Prime (+16%) and Total Day (+21%). November’s performance was fueled by new and returning seasonal content, most notably “Holiday Baking Championship” and “Candy Land.”

Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Wednesday, December 2
Show, P2+ 000s, (A18-49)
ABC: “The Goldbergs” 3.94 (0.7), “American Housewife” 3.15 (0.6), “The Conners”
3.58 (0.6), “black-ish” 2.23 (0.4), “For Life” 1.95 (0.3)
CBS: “Amazing Race” 4.30 (0.7), “SEAL Team” 4.24 (0.5)
CW: “Devils” 0.36 (0.1), “Coroner” 0.57 (0.1)
Fox: “The Masked Singer” 6.56 (1.6)
NBC: “Christmas at Rockefeller Center “7.40 (1.2), “Radio City Christmas” 5.13 (0.9)
Telemundo: “Domo del Dinero” 0.76, Futbol 0.74, Futbol 1.40
Univision: “Vencer el Desamor” 1.75 (0.5), “Imperio de Mentiras” 1.37 (0.4), “Dulce Ambicion” 0.32 (0.4)
Source: Nielsen live + same day time period averages


Samantha Thomas has been appointed Executive Vice President at Bron Studios and Emma Fleischer is now Creative Producer. Previously, Thomas served as a consultant for the Bron International Television division, and Fleischer was VP of Television at Elevated Films.

Dan Silver is taking the position of Director of Documentary Feature Films at Netflix. Silver had been VP of Nonfiction Originals at Disney+.

Michael Jaffa has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer at Genius Brands. Jaffa had been General Counsel & SVP of Business Affairs.

Jean-Francois Pigeon has been named General Manager and SVP, EMEA at Synamedia. Pigeon was previously at Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent.

Rooster Teeth Studios announced two new development hires. Wayne Sampson joins the company as Head of Unscripted Content, and Emily Hughes boards as Manager of Scripted Content.


Veteran entertainment reporter David Sheehan died December 1 from complications of a stroke. He was 82. Sheehan was the first entertainment interviewer on local television when he joined LA’s KCBS-TV in 1970, going on to produce specials like “Macho Men at the Movies,” and “Holiday Movie Magic.”

Actor David Lander died December 4 from complications related to multiple sclerosis. He was 73. Lander was best known to TV audiences for his role as Squiggy on “Laverne & Shirley.” Tweeted John Stamos, “He made me and so many laugh.”

This Day in History
1949 – Chinese military leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Which series centered on an astronaut who was accidentally frozen for over 500 years? “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” (1979-81). Kudos to: Austin Cassidy-Meridian Interactive/Jacksonville, FL, Ken Nice-TeamPeople/Falls Church, VA, Carolyn Hayes/Atlanta, Ted Linhart-NBCU/NYC, Dan Whitford-WTTW/Chicago, Andy Nelson-Heartland Industries/Richland, IA, Beth Stockton-Spectrum Reach/Kansas City, KS, Dave Sikula-San Francisco State University/San Francisco, Paul Blutter-Walk and Talk Production Rentals/Burbank, David Garber-Loyola Marymount University/Playa Vista, CA, Ethan J. Tyler-Fox Corporation/LA

Today’s Trivia Question
What had been Gary’s college major on “Veep” (2012-19)? (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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Check out more jobs in Cynopsis Classifieds »
Job of the day

Must be able to perform ingest and playback functions during live and pre-recorded programs. Traffics video clips according to shows’ rundowns. Edits content as necessary. Min 3yrs exp in executing video playback in live control room environment. Plus 1yr exp with Ross Tria or EVS. Full info HERE (12/14)

TELEMUNDO/SACRAMENTO, CA: Responsible for partnering with local clients, both on the agency level and direct, to create innovative and unique mrktg and adv solutions that target a client’s demos and products/services. AE will also need to deliver quarterly results and meeting individual budget requirements. Min 2yrs direct sales exp with 3yrs of media sales exp. Full info HERE (12/16)

BBC STUDIOS/NY, NY: Resp for building relationships with key retail accounts at the buyer/mrktg levels. Partner with licensee’s sales teams to pre-sell BBCS franchises and meet the needs of key buyers across retail. Build retail strategies that drive brand strategies set by the franchise/licensing teams. 10yrs exp in licensing or entertainment focusing on retail development. Full info HERE (12/15)

NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Directs, co-develops/delivers locally prod programs and PSA for nat and inter’l audiences. Also oversees prod crew that produces regular, special and live shows related to various political, historical and other appropriate topics. Min 3yrs exp in directing Live television news, studio-based programming or similarly related professional media productions. Full info HERE (12/14)

Exp in configuring and setting up all broadcast studio cameras both manned and robotic for daily use. Maintains network-level camera blocking and composition. Monitors/adjusts video signals including cameras, monitors, playback sources, color correction equip/incoming feeds. Min 4yrs exp. Full info HERE (12/14)

NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Resp for managing tech/logistical traffic supporting live news shows. Full knwldge of video and tech workflow throughout all locations. Provide tech guidance to help create better video workflows. Ensure all broadcast feeds are meeting specific tech quality standards. Min 3yrs tech managing, or equivalent knwldge. 5 yrs in live TV prod. Full info HERE (12/14)

GFX Op >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Must be able to set up and play out all graphic elements which are included in pre-recorded or live programming. Mnge graphic content as it corresponds to live and pre-recorded programs. Satisfy all production req for live and pre-recorded programming under the supervision of the show’s director and technical operations mngmt. Min 3yrs of exp in graphic and character generation, plus 1yr exp with Ross Xpression. Full info HERE (12/14)

NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Operate/executes audio mixing/creation for live and taped broadcasts, in the context of orig produced programs and PSAs. Collaborate with News depart and prod crew that produce regular, special and live shows. Generate timely and pertinent broadcast material. Min 2yrs exp in graphic and character gen in television news, creative services, studio-based prog or related profession. Full info HERE (12/14)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for designing and building shows, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (12/14)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Write for fast paced news and opinion show. You are an exceptional storyteller with a command of political news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (12/14)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE (12/14)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live news & talk show, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs in TV news and/or talk production. Full info HERE (12/14)

CROWN MEDIA FAMILY NETWORKS/LA, CA: Resp for supporting the implementation of advtg campaigns (on/off-channel), mktg partnerships, promotions, sweepstakes, experiential events, creative adv development & email mktg initiatives. Min 1yr of professional mktg exp within the entertainment industry. Full info HERE (12/11)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Assess company-wide developmental needs and drive the design, development, delivery, evaluation and admin of various training and development programs (including leadership training, coaching, DE&I, etc.). 3-7 yrs of developing eLearning training with strong data analysis skill and excellent communication ability is required. Full info HERE (12/11)

Idea generator in developing and vetting program ideas and genres for creating new programs for in-house development, and identifying the right distributor for each property. Min 8 yrs exp and must be able to share ideas and contribute to the strategic vision/direction of the Workshop. Full info HERE (12/11)

Seeking VP, Mktg for the Americas region, to design/implement an audience-led mktg/media strat to dev/enhance the commercial relationship between BBC Studios and its global strategic customers. Must have proven track record within a global Mktg envir, focusing on customer engagement and strong customer brand relationships. Full info HERE (12/10)

EMERGING NETWORKS, LLC/REMOTE: Responsible for development and growth of web, mobile and social platforms. As well as, all overall support for all digital content efforts and tactical responsibilities as it relates to the website and social media strategy. Full info HERE (12/10)

MARKETING MANAGER (Always-On Show Lead) >>
WONDERY/LOS ANGELES, CA: Responsible for developing marketing strategy aligned to business goals to effectively and efficiently launch and maintain key Wondery shows. Must have 3 years of podcast marketing experience. Full info HERE (12/10)

WONDERY/LOS ANGELES, CA: Responsible for developing and executing media strategy including planning, analyzing and optimizing media campaigns. Must have media-buying experience and a passion for podcasts, audio storytelling and entertainment content. Full info HERE (12/9)

A+E NETWORKS/NYC: SME within the Consumer Mktg & Media team. You will develop and manage owned media strategy for the LIFETIME/LMN brands. Partner with Planning, Digital Media and On-Air Scheduling teams. 7yrs exp managing Owned Media within an Entertainment firm with deep knowledge of entertainment landscape, including competitive set and non-linear platform. Full info HERE (12/9)

NICKELODEON/NY, NY: Hardworking, pro-active and inquisitive Mgr for a newly formed Brand Mktg and Strategy team at Nickelodeon. This role will aid in defining Nickelodeon’s brand mission/values as well as Mktg efforts across series, brand, platforms, emerging media and more. Min 5yrs exp in consumer strategy, digital, mktg or media. Full info HERE (12/9)

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME/REMOTE: Seeking motivated individual responsible for the creation of a WBHOF donor base that will increase donations through donor relationships, contributions, capital campaigns and ongoing fundraising efforts. Proven track record with min 5yrs exp managing/forging relationships with multiple donor sources. Full info HERE (12/8)

JUMA ENTERTAINMENT/Remote: Looking for creative and highly motivated individual to access and clear videos for network prime time clip series. Must possess a love of TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and be able to navigate platforms. Full info HERE (12/8)

NBCUNIVERSAL OWNED STATIONS & AFFILIATE RELATIONS/DALLAS-FORT WORTH: The Arthouse, NBCUniversal’s Owned Stations’/Telemundo Stations’ internal design team who supports newscasts is seeking a Sr. Designer with a broadcast design background, solid conceptual skills and 3D expertise. Min 4yrs exp, must be able to work on individual assign and team projects. Full info HERE (12/8)

ABC: NFL Football
CBS: “The Neighborhood,” “Bob Hearts Abishola,” “All Rise,” “Bull”
CW: “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” “Penn & Teller: Fool Us”
FOX: “I Can See Your Voice,” “Cosmos: Possible Worlds”
NBC: “The Voice,” “Nurses” [p]
PBS: “Antiques Roadshow,” “Antiques Roadshow,” “Independent Lens”
Telemundo: “El Domo del Dinero,” “Todo por mi Hija,”Falsa Identidad”
Univision: “Vencer el Desamor,” “Imperio de Mentiras,” “Dulce Ambicion”


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