12/21/16: Nielsen buys metadata provider Gracenote; No more Blunt Talk for Starz; FLOTUS a ratings winner







Good morning. It’s Wednesday December 21, 2016 and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
CBS: Undercover Boss at 8p
IFC: Joe’s Pub Presents at 10p
RLTV: Style in Steel at 10p
Smithsonian Channel: Polar Bear Town at 8p

Tonight’s Finales:
Lifetime: Little Women: Dallas at 10p
NFLN: The Timeline at 8p
truTV: Jon Glaser Loves Gear at 10p


Nielsen is buying media and entertainment metadata provider Gracenote from the Tribune Media Company for approximately $560 million, a deal that gives Nielsen data and technology that underpins the programming guides and personalized user experience for major video, music, audio and sports content. Gracenote’s global content database spans across platforms including multichannel video programming distributors, smart televisions, streaming music services, connected devices, media players and in-car infotainment systems.

The announcement of A&E docuseries Generation KKK, which examines the recent resurgence of the hate group in the United States, is stirring controversy. While some have expressed concern that the doc’s depiction of the Ku Klux Klan might “normalize” hatred – Wendell Pierce (The Wire) went so far as to ask for a boycott – the eight-parter, which bows Tuesday, January 10, received a “proud” endorsement from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, and civil rights activist Shaun King, who saw a preview of the series’ first episode, posted to Twitter, “It was clear that it was NOT them normalizing racism & bigotry, but exposing it.”

After two seasons Starz pulled the plug on Blunt Talk, the comedy from Seth McFarlane, Jonathan Ames (Bored to Death) and MRC and starring Patrick Stewart. “We are grateful to Jonathan and Patrick for the tirades and laughs that Walter Blunt delivered to fans with such aplomb,” said Carmi Zlotnik, President of Programming at Starz. “While Walter may not be returning to the airwaves, we are incredibly proud of the work that was done these past two seasons.”

NBC and Esquire Network’s American Ninja Warrior announced the cities across the U.S. that will be home to the action for its summer 2017 season. The series will make stops in Los Angeles, CA (March 7-8); San Antonio, TX (March 26-27); Daytona, FL (April 7-8); Kansas City, MO (April 24-25); Cleveland, OH (May 8-9); and Denver, CO (May 23-24). Finals take place in Las Vegas, NV (June 19-24).

NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns surprises four special students at Oakland, NJ’s Reed Academy with tickets to a Minnesota Timberwolves vs. New York Knicks basketball game and a special meet-and-greet with him after the game. The Pop Up Santa surprise airs Saturday, December 24 during the movie Elf at 7:40p on Freeform and on 25DaysofChristmasTV.com.


The results are in: how do you $tack up?


Is your pay competitive? Check out the latest Cynopsis Salary Survey of media execs for the “dollars and sense” of who’s making what, and why!


TBS comedy The Detour returns with back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, February 21 at 9p. Among the special guests to be featured on the show’s sophomore season, are EP and co-creator Samantha Bee.

Kevin Delaney leaves his lab to hit the streets for unusual experiments on Street Science. New series premieres Wednesday, January 11 at 10p on Science Channel.

The Game of Dating offers a new take on a classic dating show, starting Tuesday, January 31 at 8p on TV One. Comedian Tony Rock hosts.

Tia Mowry serves up easy-to-make recipes when Tia Mowry at Home bows Sunday, January 8 at 8:30p on Food Network. Joining her on the new season are Naya Rivera, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Kelly Rowland and more. 

Bobby Hamilton, his friend Jim Lansdale, and their team of monster hunters, Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization star in Killing Bigfoot premiering Saturday, February 4 at 10p on Destination America

Discovery’s Killing Fields returns Tuesday, January 3 at 10p. Shot in real time, the true crime series picks up from last season as Detectives Rodie, Aubrey and the team zero in on the 1997 homicide of former Louisiana State University student Eugenie Boisfontaine.

Portlandia returns to IFC for a seventh season on Thursday, January 5 at 10p. Stars and creators Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein make their directorial debuts this go-round. Among the actors set to appear on the series are Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live, Inside Amy Schumer), Judy  Greer (Archer, Married), Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls, Central Intelligence) and Sam Richardson (Veep, The Office).


One-hour special Vanishing America debuts Wednesday, December 21 at 9p on The Weather Channel, exploring the places across the world that are in danger of disappearing due to extreme climate change.

World’s Toughest Mudder debuts Sunday, December 25 at 2p on CBS. From the creative minds behind Tough Mudder events, the special is an extreme 24-hour race set on a grueling five-mile looped course, featuring over 1,500 athletes.

NBC airs PGA Tour 2016: Must-See Moments of the Year sponsored by Myrbetriq on Sunday, December 25 at 2:30p. The hour-long special examines the incredible moments, biggest events and breakout stars of the 2015-2016 PGA Tour season.

All-Around Performance Horse returns to RFD-TV with several prime-time specials in 2017. The series features behind-the-scenes stories and interviews focused on western sports, along with coverage of the top ranch rodeos held around the country.

For more on RFD-TV, including why, post-election, the net’s perspective on rural America is more important than ever, hear from founder and president Patrick Gottsch in the latest Cynsiders.

Fusion documents the journey of five girls from The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls inaugural class as they mark new milestones in their lives in O Girls, bowing Sunday, January 15 at 8p on Fusion. Kimberly Brooks hosts the one-hour doc.

In other Fusion news, the net honors the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali on Thursday, December 22 with two half-hour specials. Fightin’ Talk: Muhammad Ali airs at 7p, followed by 2016 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards, which celebrate individuals around the world who are passionate in their dedication to innovative social justice issues in local and global communities, at 7:30p.

American Masters: By Sidney Lumet premieres An interview with Treat Williams, who starred in Lumet’s Prince of the City, follows. Film is available on digital video on demand and DVD/Blu-ray from FilmRise on January 9.


Forest Whitaker, who stars as Rebel freedom fighter Saw Gerrera in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, joins the cast of animated series Star Wars Rebels. Whitaker reprise his role as Gerrera, providing the voice of the character. Show bows Saturday, January 7 at 8:30p on Disney XD.

Fargo added to the cast of its third installment. David Thewlis (Harry Potter, Wonder Woman) portrays a mysterious loner and true capitalist, Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) plays Emmit’s right hand man and consigliere, and Jim Gaffigan (The Bleeder) portrays Gloria’s deputy at the local police department. Production begins in Calgary in January for a 2017 premiere on FX.


The ZhuZhus returns with new adventures featuring Frankie and pet pals Pipsqueak, Num Nums, Chunk and Mr. Squiggles on Saturday, January 7 at 9:30a on Disney Channel.


Logan Paul is set to create and star in a short original series for Blackpills, a digital media company specializing in short scripted content. Paul, who rose to fame through his Vine videos, is the #1 viewed and engaged personality on Facebook for video entertainment, with his videos earning more than 165+ million views a month.


Air Farce New Year’s Eve 2016, the one-hour comedy special satirizing and saluting the biggest news stories, events, people and pop culture phenomena of the year, airs Friday, December 30 at 8p. Now in its 24th season, Canada’s  party special will be rebroadcast on Saturday, December 31 and Sunday, January 1 (check local listings).


CYNOPSIS SPORTS has launched the call for entries for the highly anticipated…
Honoring the best and brightest work from around the spectrum of sports business, with categories that include VR, eSports, live coverage of a sporting event, social media excellence, marketing campaign, apps and more!

For more information & to enter, visit the awards webpage:


First Lady Michelle Obama Says Farewell to The White House: An Oprah Winfrey Special won its time period with 9.39 million viewers, according to Nielsen Live+SD for Monday, December 19. The special delivered CBS’ largest audience in the Monday 8p to 9p time period since October 17. OWN airs the second showing of the special on Wednesday, December 21 at 9p.

Ho ho ho! Hallmark Channel original movie premieres My Christmas Love and Sleigh Bells Ring held the net’s place as the #1 network among W25-54 ratings and delivery for the eighth consecutive weekend and the fifth consecutive week. Saturday’s My Christmas Love averaged a 4.0 HH rating and 4.6 million Total Viewers, tying as the network’s highest-rated telecast of 2016, while Sunday’s Sleigh Bells Ring earned a 3.5 HH rating and 4.1 million Total Viewers.

Food Network‘s Sunday night finale of Holiday Baking Championship posted a .8 rating (730,000 IMP) among A25-54, a gain of 11 percent over last year’s season two finale. Show ranked sixth in the 9p timeslot across ad-supported cable networks.

Empire’s winter finale on FOX was up 6 percent among A18-49 (3.7/14 Live+3) and up 8 percent in 3-day Total Multi-Platform Audience (11.4 million viewers) from last week, ranking as the #1 program of the night. The premiere of Star (2.6/9 L+3) was television’s highest-rated debut since the October 3, 2016 (NBC’s Timeless, 2.7/10 L+3). Among programming last Monday through Wednesday, the series was the #2 drama behind only Empire, posting a 3-day Total Multi-Platform Audience of 8.3 million viewers.

Last Man Standing hit an all-time ratings high in syndication, including Households (2.0 HH, up 5 percent over last week), Total Viewers (3.06 million, up 11 percent) and W25-54 (1.2, up 9 percent). The sitcom also matched its all-time highs among A18-49 (0.8, up 14 percent over last week) and A25-54 (1.1, up 10 percent).

Univision finished the week of December 12 as the #5 broadcast network among Total Viewers 2+. For the entire week, the network averaged 1.7 million Total Viewers 2+, 714,000 A18-49 and 331,000 A18-34.

UP announced that 2016 is the network’s best ratings year ever in W18-49, P18-49, W18-34 and P18-34, and the youngest year ever with the median age at 49 years. The net has also had four consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth in all key demos. Additionally, Christmas 2016 is Up’s strongest and youngest ever in all key demos with a median age of 51.

Despite some repeats for part of the week, most of syndication’s top tier held on to recent gains in the session ending December 11. Dr. Phil (3.5 L+SD national Nielsen rating, down 3 percent from the week before) dominated the talk shows for the 14th straight frame, surging 21 percent from last year at this time. Ellen DeGeneres (2.6, unchanged) dropped 4 percent from last year, but held on to second place. 

Entertainment Tonight (3.4, steady) cruised to its 19th consecutive victory in the magazine race, maintaining its season high and improving 10 percent year-to-year, the biggest annual advance in the genre. Top court show Judge Judy (7.2, down 1 percent) was in repeats for part of the week and finished in a dead heat for first place in syndication overall with Family Feud (new season high 7.2, up 1 percent). 

NIELSEN TWITTER TV TOP TEN for the week of December 2, 2016 Program, Date, Total Interactions (000), Facebook Interactions (000) Twitter Interactions
The Voice (NBC)
12/13, 1177, 1022, 95
Empire (FOX) 12/14
637, 502, 84
The Voice (NBC) 12/12,
540, 461, 79
A Pentatonix Christmas Special 12/14, 503, 468, 34
Love & Hip Hop (VH1) 12/12, 463,333, 129
WWE Monday Night Raw (USA) 12/12,
326, 218, 109
WWE Roadblock: The End of The Line (Pay-Per-View) 12/18,
305, 143, 162
Saturday Night Live (NBC) 12/17, 268, 222, 64
Star (Fox) 12/14, 199, 144, 54
The Late Late Show With James Corden (CBS) 12/14 178, 176, 3
Source: Nielsen. Nielsen Social captures relevant Tweets from three hours before through three hours after broadcast, local time. Unique Audience measures the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to a program from when the Tweets are sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. The data includes new/live primetime and late fringe programming only and excludes sports events. For multicast events, networks are listed alphabetically and metrics reflect the highest Unique Audience across all airing networks.

Top 10 Broadcast Programs among A18-49 rating/share for the week of December 12, 2016
NBC Sunday Night Football (12/18) 8.1/26
NBC: NBC + NFL Thursday Night Football (12/15) 4.3/16
NBC: Football Night America: Part 3 (12/18) 4.0/14
CBS: The Big Bang Theory (12/15) 3.4/13
FOX: Empire (12/14) 2.7/10
NBC: The Voice (12/13) 2.5/9
CBS: 60 Minutes (12/18) 2.3/8
NBC: The Voice (12/12) 2.2/7
FOX: Star (12/14) 2.2/7
NBC: Football Night America: Part 3 (12/18) 2.0/7
Source: Nielsen Media Research, Galaxy Explorer, Live + SD Data

Top 11 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 12/5/16 ranked in order by HH Rtg
Judge Judy (CTD) 7.2AA
Family Feud (2/T) 7.2AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 6.5AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 6.3AA
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 5.6AA
Dr. Phil (CTD) 3.5 AA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 3.4AA
Inside Edition (CTD) 3.1AA
Modern Family (2/T) 2.9AA
Two and a Half Men (AT) 2.6AA
The Ellen DeGeneres Show 2.6AA
Source: Nielsen Media Research

Top 11 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 12/5/16 ranked in order by  A18-49 Rtg
The Big Bang Theory (WB) 2.6AA
Family Feud (2/T) 2.5AA
Judge Judy (CTD) 1.9AA
Modern Family (2/T) 1.8AA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD) 1.5AA
Jeopardy (CTD) 1.4AA
Family Guy (2/T) 1.2AA
Dr. Phil (CTD) 1.1AA
2 Broke Girls (WB) 1.1AA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 1.0AA
Two and a Half Men (WB) 1.0AA

Broadcast Morning News Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of December 12, 2016
NBC Today
4.96 million total viewers, 1.6/13 and 1.87 million A25-54
ABC Good Morning America 4.75 million total viewers, 1.3/11 and 1.56 million A25-54
CBS This Morning 3.74 million total viewers, 0.9/8 and .779 million A25-54

Broadcast Sunday Morning News Shows December 18, 2016
CBS Face the Nation
4.13 million total viewers, 0.8 and 950,000 A25-54
NBC Meet the Press 3.67 million total viewers 0.8 and 1,015,000 A25-54
ABC This Week 3.39 million total viewers, 0.8 and 911,000 A25-54
CBS Face the Nation-2 2.64 million total viewers, 0.5 and 637,000 A25-54
FOX News Sunday 1.80 million total viewers, 0.5 and 550,000 A25-54

Broadcast Evening News Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of December 12, 2016
NBC Nightly News
9.25 million total viewers, 1.8/8 and 2.20 million A25-54
ABC World News Tonight 8.99 million total viewers, 1.6/7 and 1.92 million A25-54
CBS Evening News 7.54 million total viewers, 1.4/6 and 1.72 million A25-54

Late Night Shows Weekly Average Ratings week of December 12, 2016     
NBC: The Tonight Show
3.47 million total viewers, 0.92/5 among A18-49
CBS: The Late Show 2.79 million total viewers, 0.48/3 among A18-49
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live 2.15 million total viewers, 0.47/2 among A18-49

Monday A19-49 Analysis: NBC 4.4/16, ABC 0.8/3, FOX 1.6/6, CBS 1.1/4, UNI 0.9/4, TELE 0.4/2, CW 0.3/1

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Monday, December 19, 2016 time period averages.
Source: NTI, Galaxy as dated. Live+SD
NBC: 4.8/9
America’s Got Talent 5.7/10, Wall 3.9/7
CBS: 4.6/8
First Lady Michelle Obama Says Farewell to the White House: An Oprah Winfrey Special 6.3/10, Man With A Plan 4.0/7, Adam Steps Up 3.2/5, Scorpion 4.8/9
ABC: 2.3/4
The Great Christmas Light Fight 2.7/4, The Great American Baking Show 1.8/3
Desperator Contigo 0.9/2, Vino El Amor 1.2/2, Color de la Pasion 1.1/2
FOX: 1.0/2
Gotham 1.0/2, Lucifer 1.0/2
TELE: 0.9/1
Silvana Sin Lana 0.8/1, La Dona 0.9/1, La Chema 1.0/2

CW: 0.6/1
Supergirl 0.8/1, McYoung Women’s Honors 0.3/1

Monday A19-49 Analysis: NBC 1.9/7, CBS 1.4/4, ABC 1.1/4, UNI 0.7/2, TELE 0.7/2, FOX 0.4/1, CW 0.3/1


Kantar Media appointed Manish Bhatia as CEO of its North American business. He joins the company from comScore.

Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. named Richard D. Lara as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. He previously practiced law at Mase Lara, P.A., a trial law firm in Miami.

PS260 promoted Laura Patterson from Senior Producer to Head of Production. She has been with the company since 2010.

This Day in History:
1983 – Gerald Ford, Betty Ford and Henry Kissinger made cameo appearances on Dynasty.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: Before he turned to TV, which popular series actor attended USC on an athletic scholarship for javelin throwing but had to give up the sport when he tore his shoulder ligaments? Michael Landon. Kudos to: Rick Dascher-Turner Studios/Atlanta, GA; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NYC; Marion Z Murphy-GroupM Direct/NYC; Randy Ingram-WBTW-TV/Myrtle Beach, SC; Steve McDonald/Dallas, TX; Patti Rodriguez-Sinclair Broadcast Group/Colorado Springs, CO;Paul Blutter-Hollywood Depot Rentals/Burbank, CA; Paul Blutter-Hollywood Depot Rentals/Burbank, CA; Dan Haberer-Creo Entertainment/Playa del Rey, CA; Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment, Inc./Los Angeles, CA.

Today’s Trivia Question: What shoe brand did Tamera have a penchant for on Sister, Sister (1994-1999)? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: A limit of four correct answers from each time zone will be selected.).

Initial This: DB played SS in DW (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
reported by Janet Di Lauro
reported by Cathy Applefeld Olson

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

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JOB OPENING: DIR DIGITAL DESIGN/FX Networks/LA: oversees FX Networks visual branding across all digital platforms & leads design strategy for visual, user experience & interaction design as it applies to all digital marketing tactics/initiatives. Full info/apply here: http://bit.ly/2gMvNEm (12/23)

JOB OPENING: MANAGING EDITOR/NBCU/NYC: We are looking for an exceptional journalist who is highly motivated to lead the daily editorial mission of NBC News Digital. Full info/apply HERE (12/22)

JOB OPENING: SENIOR EDITOR, WELLNESS/NBC NEWS DIGITAL/NYC: NBC News Digital is seeking an editor that understands this mix, someone who can drive our coverage of wellness, personal finance, family, career, etc. Full info/apply HERE (12/22)

JOB OPENING: SCI/TECH VIDEO PRODUCER/NBCNEWS.COM/NYC: NBCNews.com, the digital arm of NBC News, is looking for a highly skilled video producer to produce smart, stylish videos for our digital, mobile and social platforms. Full info/apply HERE (12/22)

JOB OPENING: SENIOR PRODUCER/MSNBC/NYC: MSNBC is seeking a Senior Producer, MSNBC Dayside who is responsible for creating, producing and supervising programming for MSNBC. Full info/apply HERE (12/22)

JOB OPENING: SR MGR DIGITAL AD SALES OPERATIONS/AT&T/NYC: Mng operationalizing advanced digital, & cross-screen targeted ad product opps from initiation thru delivery & be resp for matching digital ad sales bus. needs w/internal & 3rd Party ad insertion, measurement, & reporting capabilities. Full info/apply HERE (12/22)

JOB OPENING: SR ANALYST/ANALYST, TV ANALYTICS/Nickelodeon/NYC: Resp for handling daily req’s & maintaining daily, wkly, monthly & quarterly performance reports across all Kids & Family group channels incl Nickelodeon. Min 2 yrs exp TV ratings rsrch. Comprehensive exp w/Nielsen systems. Full info/apply HERE (12/22)


ABC: The Goldbergs, American Housewife, Modern Family, The Real O’Neals, Game Changers With Robin Roberts
CBS: Undercover Boss [
p], Code Black
CW: Terry Crews Saves Christmas, Arrow
FOX: Lethal Weapon, Star
NBC: Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, Law & Order: SVU, Chicago P.D.
PBS: Nature, NOVA, Secrets of the Dead
Telemundo: Silvana Sin Lana, La Dona, El Chema
Univision: Despertar Contigo, Vino el Amor, El Color de la Pasion

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