Friday, January 1st, 2010


Cynopsis: Year in Review 2009
01/01/10
 
Happy New Year!  Before looking ahead to a brand new year, let’s take a moment to look back to 2009. 
 
The year began with the most devastating economy most of us have ever known in our lifetimes, and it would only grow worse thru the first three quarters of the year.  We saw hundreds and thousands of layoffs, entire companies going under, others cutting so far back they became virtually unrecognizable. Not until late in the first quarter did we begin to hear grumblings of an improving economy.
 
It was also a year of one of our industry’s biggest mergers with Comcast and NBC Universal.  Rumors started running amok on October 1 about a potential acquisition. By Nov 9, it was announced GE and Comcast agreed to agree on the value of NBC Universal at $30 billion. The remaining major piece is Vivendi. The official news of the merger comes on December 7, and now sits in a waiting pattern wait for final approval.
 
Rumors this year were not limited to the Board Room …. Rumors swirled concerning Oprah and if she would continue in syndication … and more rumors about Jon & Kate – and then even bigger Tiger Woods – provided a huge boost to the syndicated magazine series world.
 
The year began with a potential SAG & AMPTP strike; the fever to get everyone prepared for the switch to digital TV from analog (and the subsequent delay from February to June).  Net Neutrality becomes a hot topic with new FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.  Old shows may be new again .. V, Fantasy Island, Hawaii 5-0, Upstairs Downstairs.   Older shows may become movies – Rockford Files.

And the year is ending with the potential of a Fox being removed from the Time Warner cable systems unless TW agrees to pay New Corp retransmission fees for its broadcast network.  The fee demanded by News Corp is $1 per subscriber, and TW is likely worried about CBS, NBC and ABC coming knocking for the same consideration. Check at midnight – if Fox is still on your TW system, an agreement was reached.
 
All in all, it was a helluva rocky year with huge changes on all sides – the economy, Comcast/GE, Oprah, Tiger, the passing of Cronkite and Jackson and so many others.  And we made it to the end, hopefully smarter, better, wiser. 
 
Here’s to a much stronger and prosperous 2010!
 
Cyn
 

THE NETWORKS:

  • MLB Network launches in 50 million cable and satellite households
  • Time Warner Cable and MTV Networks settled a carriage dispute at the 11th hour on New Years Eve just hours before the 19 Viacom-owned channels were set to be removed from over 15 million households
  • A&E debuts The Beast starring Patrick Swayze the same week the actor goes into the hospital with pneumonia … the show debuted with 3.6 million total viewers
  • Paula Zahn inked an exclusive agreement to develop a weekly investigative newsmagazine show on cable network Investigation Discovery slated to premiere this year. Zahn will create the series along with Weinberger Media and Scott Sternberg Productions.
  • TNT picked up a third new series, handing a 10-episode order to Ray Romano’s drama Men of a Certain Age (debuted in December 09 with 5.4 million total viewers)
  • Fox: Prison Break ends, Simpsons celebrates 20th anniversary, House celebrates 100th episode
  • SCI FI Channel’s series finale of Stargate Atlantis drew 2.02 million total viewers
  • NBC announces Southland will return in April … wait for it … then in late August, this: NBC is opting to delay the second season premiere date for the John Wells cop drama, Southland … then on 10/9 … NBC has pulled the plug on its cop drama series Southland … wait, there’s more … on 10/13:  TNT announced it would pick up NBC’s recently cancelled cop series Southland
  • Late night shifts at NBC – Conan hosts Late Night for the last time on February 20; Jimmy Fallon steps in.  Leno hosts The Tonight Show for the last time on May 29, Conan steps in.  Leno joins primetime in the fall
  • 37.8 million U.S. viewers tuned in between 10a and 5p to watch inauguration events from a combined total of 17 broadcast and cable networks.
  • Super Bowl XLIII on NBC is now the most-watched Super Bowl in history – the game between the winning Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals averaged 98.7 million viewers
  • MyNetworkTV announced it is making changes to its programming schedule for the upcoming fall season – MNT President Greg Meidel referred to the new model as a hybrid versus a “strict network model”, opting rather for a “programming service model” including a two-hour block of Law & Order: Criminal Intent repeat
  • USA Network made an unprecedented deal giving the cable network exclusive network television premiere rights to Universal Pictures’ 2009 movie roster. The agreement, worth an estimated $200 million, is one of the largest between a film studio and a basic cable network and it covers 24 films
  • President Obama’s first primetime press conference Monday night, airing live from 8p to 9p drew in nearly 49.5 million viewers over eight networks
  • Epix, a joint venture made up of Viacom, its Paramount Pictures unit, MGM and Lionsgate, picked its first scripted drama pilot: Tough Trade
  • Tennis Channel issued a statement yesterday saying it canceled its coverage of this weekend’s Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, U.A.E., because a single female player was blocked from entering the country and thus the competition because of her nationality
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon premiers March 2 on NBC
  • 81st Annual Academy Awards on ABC averaged 36.3 million total viewers with a 12.1 rating among A18-49 viewers
  • CBS and Cookie Jar Entertainment inked a three season deal extension for Saturday mornings
  • ESPN will start broadcasting the West Coast version of SportsCenter on April 6 from the network’s new production base in the L.A.
  • ABC officially cancelled the drama series Life on Mars and will allow it to gracefully conclude with a definitive ending to the storyline
  • Turner Classic Movies celebrates its 15 year anniversary all this year, with a handful of original programs, more TCM Spotlights than you can shake a stick at, as well as a the return of The Essentials, The Essentials Jr., and guest programmers
  • CNN’s Saturday night talk show D.L. Hughley Breaks the News will end in March after only being on the air five months
  • Tom Brokaw takes to the road in a new documentary series for USA Network titled Highway 50: A Road Trip Across America
  • The Sci FI Channel is getting a new name on July 7th, both the on-air and online will have the new name Syfy
  • Bravo expands its Housewives franchise to The Real Housewives of New Jersey … the premiere brought in the highest ratings ever for a premiere episode of its “Real Housewives” franchise over all demos. The Real Housewives of New Jersey premiere on Tuesday at 11p attracted 1.26 million A18-49 and 1.72 million total viewers.
  • George Lopez lends his comedic flair and talent as host of a new late-night talk show series for TBS
  • NBC cut the cooking competition series Chopping Block from its primetime schedule after airing episodes for only three weeks
  • US Jewish cable network Shalom TV, has surpassed a total of 30 million households
  • FOX is working on a new late night show for Saturdays headlined by Wanda Sykes
  • Telemundo announced it will be the first Spanish-language network to broadcast content in hi-def nationwide starting in April for both the local and network levels
  • After the year-long legal battle that kept Project Runway in limbo since last September finally ended in early April when NBC Universal, The Weinstein Co. and Lifetime together announced the legal dispute was resolved, and the show will air on Lifetime starting in the summer
  • CBS announced it will end the long-running daytime drama Guiding Light which has spanned 72 years and more than 15,700 episodes on television and radio
  • WHDH/Boston, the NBC affiliate in the #5 market, announced on its website it will not be airing the network’s planned Jay Leno show at 10p Mon-Friday this fall, choosing instead to produce a local one hour news program to air nightly at 10p … they would eventually change their minds:  “Upon further consideration, we have decided to telecast Jay Leno at 10:00 p.m. starting in September. Jay is from Andover where I went to school.  I enjoy his humor.  We hope the new show is a big success.”
  • The 7pm hour on CBS of the 2009 Masters golf tournament in a 3-way sudden death playoff between Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Angel Cabrera, delivered 14.7 million viewers, and a green jacket to first time winner Argentinean Angel Cabrera … will anything close to that happen in 2010?
  • Showtime has ordered a fourth and final season of The Tudors
  • ABC made a deal to bring back Who Wants to be a Millionaire? for a limited two-week summer stint
  • NBC exiled drama series Kings off its schedule entirely
  • NBC is giving its newer police drama Southland a second season chance … wait for it …
  • FOX announced it will not continue with its half-hour Saturday late-night program Talk Show With Spike Feresten for a fourth season
  • ABC approved an early series pickup for the comedy Modern Family
  • FOX pulled the remaining episode of Sit Down, Shut Up from its schedule following a 0.7/3 posting among A18-49
  • ABC, the network officially renewed Scrubs for a ninth season from ABC Studios
  • Comcast Corporation and the National Football League have patched things up
  • Retirement Living TV completed its first acquisition for the series Fraud Squad
  • Beginning Sunday, July 5, night begins an hour earlier, when Nickelodeon permanently moves the 9p start of the Nick at Nite block to 8p, Sundays to Thursdays
  • A&E Network officially cancelled its frosh police drama The Beast, starring Patrick Swayze
  • Hallmark Channel established a new commercial format called “Fast Break” featuring shorter commercial pods to help eliminate on-air commercial clutter
  • ABC announced T.R. Knight will not reprise his role as Dr. George O’Malley in next season’s Grey’s Anatomy, three years before his contract was scheduled to expire
  • Turner Sports and The PGA of America reupped their broadcasting and interactive media deals involving the PGA Championship, PGA Grand Slam of Golf and PGA.com through 2019
  • Promoting it’s newest show Dark Blue, TNT in July will take over New York’s Grand Central Terminal, transforming it to become the underworld of Los Angeles
  • Nielsen reports 31.1 million US viewers watched coverage of Michael Jackson’s public memorial service on one or more of the 18 broadcast and cable networks carrying full coverage; online Nielsen cites the service ranked as the third most-discussed topic ever at 3% of conversations
  • American Idol judge Paula Abdul announced her departure … Fox later announces Ellen DeGeneres will step in
  • Rainbow Media Holdings, LLC launched a new 24/7 multi-platform and interactive network Wedding Central
  • IFC will air the complete six-hour documentary Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut)
  • Tony Danza has been approved by Philadelphia school officials to co-teach a 10th grade English class this fall for a 13-episode A&E Network reality series
  • VH1 cancelled reality series Megan Wants a Millionaire and I Love Money on Friday. Both series featured episodes containing Ryan Alexander Jenkins which aired before he was charged with murdering his wife and former model, Jasmine Fiore
  • ABC News’ Charles Gibson announced yesterday he will retire as anchor from World News at the end of this year … Diane Sawyer will step into the anchor seat, and George Stephanopoulos will accept Sawyer’s GMA position
  • Don Imus and his Imus in the Morning show will be back on TV via Fox Business Network
  • CBS and Cookie Jar Entertainment will launch Cookie Jar TV, a three-hour Saturday morning kids block, on Saturday, September 19 on CBS
  • CENTRIC, the new 24-hour entertainment network targeting African-American and multi-cultural adults age 25-54, officially launched yesterday at 6a ET replacing channel brand BET J
  • CBS has given full season orders to two new series — NCIS: Los Angeles and The Good Wife
  • Scripps Networks Interactive announced plans to rebrand Fine Living Network into the Cooking Channel launching it during third quarter 2010
  • In early October, Epix announced it will launch on October 30
  • News Corp. announced it will close down its Fox Reality Channel, and will be replaced by National Geographic Wild
  • The Weather Channel is branching out with its programming lineup by adding movies to the schedule for the first time in the network’s 27-year history
  • TBS premieres its new late-night talk show Lopez Tonight, sister networks TNT and truTV will also simulcast the debut episode at 11p
  • While hosting his show last night, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs announced live on the air to viewers just after 7p ET he is resigning his position at CNN effective immediately
  • FOX decided the Joss Whedon drama Dollhouse is no more … and then come 12/4, Fox announces the show will return in January
  • ABC followed suit and pulled the frosh comedy Hank off the air
  • World Wrestling Entertainment and USA Network made a four-year renewal deal involving the show WWE Monday Night Raw, keeping the show on USA through fall 2014
  • Christina Norman, CEO of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network said the new 24-hour channel will premiere in January 2011
  • TNT canceled its legal drama Raising the Bar from Steven Bochco
  • Series finale of Monk on USA Network at set the record as the most-watched basic cable original drama series telecast ever with total viewers with 9.4 million total viewers
  • After 54 years, CBS canceled the long-running daytime drama As the World Turns
  • OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network struck a deal with ro*co productions, a division of the documentary film distribution company, ro*co films international to find documentary films to air on the network

 

BLAME THE ECONOMY:

  • Broadstripe Communications, formerly named Millennium Digital Media, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
  • ReelzChannel is moving the majority of its corporate operations to Albuquerque, NM from Los Angeles and Minneapolis-St. Paul, consolidating its programming, production, web development, creative services, marketing and communications units in one location
  • As Entertainment Rights (ER) continues to search for investors or acquisition partner(s) to work its way out of debt, while drastically reducing its annual costs including workforce, the company is set to sue its US DVD distributor, Genius Products, concerning allegedly unpaid fees
  • Long troubled electronics retailer Circuit City is officially throwing in the towel, announcing plans to seek Bankruptcy Court approval in order to liquidate assets
  • Warner Bros. announced in late January it would shed 800 jobs in the coming weeks as well as outsource 300 positions to a third-party company
  • Microsoft announced it will resort to its first-every major round of layoffs, cutting up to 5,000 jobs in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, LCA, HR, and IT over the next 18 months
  • Disney-ABC Television Group announced yesterday morning it will lay off approximately 200 employees across all divisions. Another 200 open positions, previously put on hold, will also be eliminated. Additionally, approximately 200 jobs were cut at Disney and ABC including 35-57 positions at ABC News. The total cuts represent about 5% of the company’s workforce
  • Time Warner Cable is eliminating 1,250 employees across the U.S. in a major restructuring move
  • Time Warner cited a $16 billion loss due to a large write-down revealed last month based on the decreasing value of America Online, magazine division Time Inc., as well as Time Warner Cable which will be spun off to shareholders
  • Panasonic was the latest electronics manufacturer forced to downwardly revise its full-year earnings outlook, now projecting a net loss of 380 billion yen or $4.2 billion for the year ending March 31
  • The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives hammered out an agreement on the Stimulus Bill yesterday to a tune of $789 billion, just one day after the Senate agreed to a $838 billion version
  • The fourth biggest cable operator in the U.S., Charter Communications Inc. announced late last week it will file a prearranged Chapter 11 bankruptcy by April 1
  • Young Broadcasting Inc. owner of 10 television stations, including KRON/San Francisco and WKRN/Nashville, will also seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
  • Sirius XM Radio reached an 11th hour investment agreement with John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. to stave off bankruptcy on Tuesday – the day Sirius was due to pay back investor Charlie Ergen $175 million in notes the company did not have
  • Univision has undergone layoffs of 6% of its staff base, resulting in the loss of approximately 300 staff positions
  • Belo Corp. will enact several “cost-saving measures” to decrease the company’s expenses, including eliminating approximately 150 positions, suspending company 401(k) matching contributions for all employees and a 5% salary trim for those employees involved in Belo’s management compensation programs
  • Sesame Workshop shed one-fifth of its 355 employees, equaling 67 staffers across all divisions
  • he New York Times circulated a memo internally informing staffers of 100 job reductions on the business side, accompanied by a 5% non-union employee pay cut in exchange for 10 additional personal days.
  • Google announced it would cut about 200 sales and marketing jobs globally in an effort to eliminate inefficiencies
  • ION Media Networks, Inc. confirmed talks with its secured lenders and stakeholders regarding a comprehensive recapitalization of the company’s balance sheet involving a debt-for-equity exchange … then on May 21:  ION Media Networks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday in US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan
  • Yahoo reported a 78% drop in net income, which totaled $118 million for Q1 compared to $537 million a year earlier. Revenue dropped 13% to $1.58 billion, down from $1.8 billion Q1 2008. Double digit declines in display advertising and revenues from affiliated sites didn’t help.
  • Paramount Pictures let go several top-level executives. Those leaving the company include Georgia Kacandes, head of Physical Production; Ben Cosgrove and Dan Levine, both SVPs/Production; Gail Levin, head of Casting; Guy Stodel, in charge of Paramount Vantage; and Animee Shieh, head of Paramount’s New York literary office. In a memo to staffers from Adam Goodman, the newly appointed president of Paramount’s film unit, he indicated 31 people were eliminated from the production division. The news of these layoffs also follows the recent departures of John Lesher, President/Paramount Film Group and Brad Weston, President/Production.
  • Program Partners announced the one-hour stripped talk show, Marie starring Marie Osmond will not debut as planned this September. Program Partners cites the challenging economic conditions as the cause for the show’s demise, even though Marie had cleared in more than 80% of the US
  • Nielsen reports advertising revenue in the US declined by -15.4% during the first half of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008
  • After 17 years, Cable Positive, the HIV/AIDS awareness organization will close its national office in New York per a vote from its board of directors
  • Carat released updated forecasts for global advertising spending in 2009 and 2010. Since its first prediction from this past March, Carat now expects global ad spending to decrease by -9.8% overall (vs. -5.8% last March)
  • Following the August 2009 absorption of Lifetime Entertainment Services by AETN and the partnership of Disney-ABC TV Group, NBC Universal and Hearst Group, news came late Friday of staff cuts across A&E and Lifetime, and hitting an array of departments and divisions.  The total number of positions eliminated are estimated at 100, or 10% of the overall staff.
  • Cable network Current TV, founded by former Vice President Al Gore, laid off 80 full-time staffers in an effort to reorganize its programming model.
  • Charter Communications finalized its eight-month restructuring process and has emerged out of bankruptcy protection after filing last March 27
  • After 23 years, Pepsi announced yesterday it will pull out of the Super Bowl as an advertiser … FedEx also declared they will not be buying ad time in the Super Bowl

 
 
SYNDICATION:

  • Debmar-Mercury announced a production commitment for The Wendy Williams Show, set to premiere in July 2009
  • Starz Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment ink a multi-year extension of their agreement, which grants Starz the exclusive pay TV rights to all Sony Pictures theatrical releases into the next decade
  • Trifecta Entertainment and Media is handling the domestic syndication and ad sales for three animal-themed shows from LongNeedle Entertainment
  • MGM Domestic Television and Weigel Broadcasting offer THIS TV, a new digital service highlighting blockbuster movies and TV series from the MGM library
  • CBS Television Distribution takes Star Trek: The Next Generation into syndication for a new generation
  • Program Partners sold its first-run talk show Marie in the two largest U.S. markets – NY and LA
  • Twentieth Television announced syndicated court show Cristina’s Court will not return this fall
  • Walt Disney Studios made a distribution agreement with DreamWorks Studios, allowing Disney to market at least six DreamWorks live-action movies per year produced via DreamWork’s deal with India-based Bollywood production company Reliance BIG Entertainment
  • Litton Entertainment confirmed The Brian McKnight Show is a firm go for fall 2009
  • Entertainment Studios announced its newest 30m weekly series, PETS.TV has cleared
  • Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD) signed multi-year agreements for the off-network syndication launch of The Closer and a third syndication cycle of Without a Trace
  • Tony Reynolds and his production company Reynolds Sports and Entertainment Television (RESET) formed a distribution deal with sports cable network VERSUS to produce Xtreme Monster Mashups
  • FX made a deal with Paramount Pictures on a multiple movie title package covering Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD) confirmed a two-year renewal for syndicated entertainment news program TMZ in 97% of the U.S
  • Hallmark Channel acquired the miniseries Comanche Moon, the prequel to the miniseries Lonesome Dove, from Sony Pictures Television
  • Starz Entertainment bought four first-run film titles from Summit Entertainment including Penelope; Sex Drive; Never Back Down and the 3D animated children’s movie Fly Me to the Moon
  • ABC Family made a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD) to acquire the seventh and last season of Warner Bros. Television’s series Gilmore Girls
  • NBC Universal syndicated series moves production to Stamford.  Jerry Springer, Steve Wilkos and Maury Povich’s daily series made the move from Chicago, and New York, respectively
  • NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution will sell national advertising on behalf of several syndicated programs from Litton Entertainment for the 2009-2010 television season
  • Twentieth Television, Inc. confirmed My Name is Earl has sold in 100+ markets for Fall 2009
  • Digital Rights Group has picked up the format distribution rights to the new entertainment game series Sell Me the Answer
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment is uniting its domestic and international television divisions as part of its strategy to produce and distribute content on a worldwide basis, and will be headed by Steve Mosko, President/Sony Pictures Television
  • Spike TV picked up the ten-part World War II miniseries Band of Brothers
  • Twentieth Television, Inc.’s new syndicated version of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Cleared in 80% of the US
  • NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution has sold the NBC comedy The Office to local broadcast stations equaling more than 93% of the US
  • FX made a deal with distributor Paramount Pictures for all DreamWorks Animation releases through 2012
  • Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, Fox Television Stations and Telepictures Productions are partnering on an eight-week preview trial of Beyond Twisted, a new first-run syndicated 30m strip series
  • Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions signed Jenny McCarthy to a multi-year overall contract to develop various projects involving the actress/author as host
  • Spike TV picked up the comedy Entourage from HBO and starting January 2010 will be the exclusive basic cable home for the series
  • FX continues its acquisition of major blockbuster films as it picked up the rights to X-Men Origins: Wolverine for 2011
  • Tribune Broadcasting acquired the sitcoms Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm from HBO
  • ION Television is packing its primetime schedule with major theatrical movies as it acquired a feature film package from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution
  • On the heels of CBS cancelling The Unit from its primetime schedule, Twentieth Television, Inc. will usher the one-hour drama series into the broadcast syndication marketplace for Fall 2010
  • FX acquired the exclusive television rights to this past weekend’s #1 movie at the box office, Night at Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian from 20th Century Fox
  • Tribune television stations WPIX/New York, KTLA/Los Angeles along with Weigel Broadcasting’s WCIU/Chicago have picked up the comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine distributed by Warner Bros. Television for a finite three-year term with no extensions starting fall 2010
  • TNT and TBS picked up exclusive television rights to a 13-title movie package from Warner Bros.
  • BET Networks acquired nationally syndicated The Wendy Williams Show from Debmar-Mercury
  • Twentieth Television sold all seven seasons of the FOX comedy Malcolm in the Middle to Nick at Nite
  • CBS Television Distribution’s Rachael Ray was renewed through the 2011-2012 television season
  • American Latino Syndication’s American Latino TV and LatiNaton have both received a firm go, returning in September 2009
  • Trifecta Entertainment & Media announced the series Punk’d is renewed for the 2009-2010 broadcast season in more than 90% of US TV households, as is the movie package Paramount Elite
  • Comedy Central announced it made a multi-year agreement with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution to license the comedy series 30 Rock beginning 2011
  • NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution also sold 30 Rock to local television stations in top markets for off-net syndication with a fall 2011 debut
  • Lifetime Television signed with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution for the exclusive off-net cable rights to CBS’ comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine
  • TV Guide Network made a deal with Disney-ABC Domestic Television acquiring the exclusive basic cable off-network rights to the series Ugly Betty produced by ABC Studios
  • Viral web video show Smash Cuts joins the ranks of syndication via CBS Television Distribution clearing in 95% of the US
  • CMT made a multi-year licensing agreement with Twentieth Television to become the exclusive cable network for the syndicated version of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?
  • Epix made a distribution deal with Samuel Goldwyn Co. for all Epix platforms involving up to 20 of Goldwyn’s theatrical films coming out in 2010 and 2011
  • Trifecta Entertainment & Media’s two MTV series, Laguna Beach and The Hills are launching in national syndication on September 21, 2009 in more than 80% of US TV households
  • Lifetime Networks picked up the exclusive basic cable rights to three Sony films: Obsessed, The Ugly Truth and Julie & Julia
  • ION Television gained 40+ major movie titles through new theatrical film deals with NBC Universal Domestic Distribution (NBCU) and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution
  • Launching in October. Mango Distribution, a new kids/family distribution company focused on the Asia, Australia and New Zealand territories
  • Litton Entertainment announced its new 30m syndicated court show Street Court is cleared in more than 94% of the US
  • Twentieth Television is pitching National Geographic’s popular series The Dog Whisperer to TV stations as a one-hour syndicated strip for fall 2010
  • MGM Domestic Television and Weigel Broadcasting announced the digital network THIS TV is nearing clearances totaling 80% of the US
  • TV Land picked up the primetime broadcast rights for the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond from CBS Television Distribution
  • NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution announced it sold Bravo’s The Real Housewives franchise to local stations for a Monday-Friday off-network syndication roll out in fall 2010
  • Entertainment Studios, Inc. declared the hi-def court show America’s Court with Judge Ross will launch in national broadcast and cable syndication in fall 2010
  • Rachael Ray was renewed through the 2011-2012 season in 90% of the US where the show is seen in 28 of the top 30 markets, distributed by CBS Television Distribution
  • IFC picked up all three seasons (53 total episodes) of Arrested Development from Twentieth Television
  • Comedy Central inked a deal with Twentieth Television gaining the exclusive basic cable syndication rights to the first-run FX series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Canadian talk show Steven and Chris will be distributed for syndication in the US by Program Partners for the Fall 2010 season
  • TNT acquired the exclusive off-net syndication rights to the CBS drama The Mentalist from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. The Mentalist begins airing on TNT in 2012
  • USA Network picked up the exclusive off-net syndication rights to the CBS series NCIS: Los Angeles, currently in its freshman season
  • CBS Television Distribution announced a three-year renewal for Dr. Phil, taking the syndicated talk show through its twelfth season
  • Magic Lantern Entertainment concludes a $10 million deal with TF2 Ventures via its Innovation Entertainment label for up to 20 feature films for production over the next three to five years
  • Debmar-Mercury announced it has sold off-cable episodes of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns in more than 70% of the US
  • FX picked up the television rights to the apocalyptic film 2012 from Sony,
  • Viacom’s MTV Networks picked up the exclusive US television rights to air Michael Jackson’s This Is It from Sony Pictures Television
  • Sony Pictures Television and Harpo Productions are prepping for a new syndicated daytime show starring interior designer Nate Berkus, a regular on The Oprah Winfrey Show for launch in fall 2010
  • Oprah Winfrey will break her silence today about the fate of her syndicated daytime talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, confirmed a spokeswoman from Harpo Productions Inc.
  • Judge Jeanine Pirro was renewed by Fox Television Stations (FTS) for the upcoming 2010-2011 season, marking the show’s third season on television and second in syndication
  • FX made a deal with Summit Entertainment, snapping up the ad-supported television rights to all four of the Twilight films
  • Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution renewed the drama series Cold Case in off-net syndication for two more years through the 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 television seasons
  • CBS Television Distribution (CTD) said the new syndicated strip series Swift Justice With Nancy Grace has been sold in 80% of the US as part of a two-year deal
  • Twentieth Television, Inc. announced renewals for Divorce Court and Judge Alex, taking both syndicated series through the 2011-2012 season
  • The Bonnie Hunt Show will end production of new shows next May. The show has been on the air for two years, airing on NBC stations in major markets and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution
  • CBS Television Distribution reupped the medical talk show The Doctors for two more years through the 2011-2012 season
  • NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution announced the sale of Bravo’s The Real Housewives in syndication to 85% of the US
  • Half-hour series Edgemont distributed by Program Partners’ new affiliated company, PPI Releasing, LLC, will make its syndication debut January 18 in more than 85% of the US

 

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS:

  • Lionsgate made an agreement with Macrovision Solutions Corporation allowing Lionsgate to purchase the TV Guide Network and TV Guide Online for $255 million
  • Raycom Media and Local TV Holdings LLC formed a definitive Asset Exchange Agreement involving two local market television stations. Local TV will give Raycom WBRC/Birmingham (FOX) in exchange for Raycom’s WTVR/Richmond (CBS) plus additional consideration.
  • Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. acquired Tulsa-based Winnercomm Inc., an independent sports production, program development, marketing and sales representation company
  • Toronto-based Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) purchased a majority interest in GolTV Canada, the 24-hour soccer channel with almost 600,000 subscribers in Canada from Insight Sports
  • Tribune Broadcasting will merge its 24-hour cable news station, CLTV with WGN-TV, moving CLTV’s entire business and television operations to WGN-TV’s facility this summer
  • Nexstar Broadcasting Group revealed it is paying $18 million for WCWJ/Jacksonville, the CW affiliate from Media General
  • FremantleMedia has picked up a 75% stake in Thom Beers’ Original Prods., producers of Ice Road Truckers, America’s Toughest Jobs, Deadliest Catch and a host of other reality based television series
  • Time Warner Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. are parting ways as Time Warner elected to spin-off a pro rata dividend of all TWC common stock it held to Time Warner stockholders.
  • Granite Broadcasting and Barrington Broadcasting have formed a joint sales agreement and shared services agreement to jointly operate their respective stations in Syracuse, NY and Peoria, IL.
  • Moonscoop unveils a re-branding and restructuring plan under which its affiliated companies Taffy Entertainment and Mike Young Productions will now operate under the Moonscoop brand banner
  • Liberman Broadcasting, Inc. (LBI Media), a privately-held, minority-owned Spanish-language US company, acquired WASA, a television station serving the New York Metropolitan area on channel 25 from 4 Times Square
  • Software giant IBM is in talks to acquire Sun Microsystems in blockbuster deal valued at nearly $7 billion
  • Hearst Corporation announced it will make a tender offer starting in mid-April for all outstanding shares of Series A Common Stock of Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. not currently owned by Hearst
  • FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) is purchasing a stake in Wide-Eyed Entertainment an independent production company
  • CBS Radio and Clear Channel Communications, Inc. finalized their station-swapping deal involving five mid-size market radio stations and two large market stations. The deal has Clear Channel obtaining CBS Radio’s KBKS-FM/Seattle, WQSR-FM/Baltimore, KXJM-FM and KLTH-FM/Portland, OR and KQJK-FM/Sacramento. On the flip side, CBS Radio picked up KLOL-FM and KHMX-FM, both in Houston, the 6th largest radio market in the US.
  • Entertainment Rights‘ principal US and UK kid-centric subsidiaries, Entertainment Rights, Big Idea and Classic Media, have been acquired by Boomerang Media
  • eBay announced Tuesday it would spin off its Skype internet-based calling service via an initial public offering during the first half of next year
  • Oracle Corp. agreed to purchase Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion stock in a blockbuster deal, just two weeks after Sun concluded merger talks with IBM
  • Leaders from the 111-year old WMA and the 14-year old Endeavor voted to merge forming WME Entertainment
  • Disney confirmed it will become a joint venture partner and equity owner of Hulu along with NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners
  • Hasbro, Inc. and Discovery Communications are partnering in a new 50/50 joint venture that includes the creation of a new kid-targeted TV channel, which will take the place of the current Discovery Kids Network, and a corresponding website
  • CTVglobemedia sold three stations for a $1 each to Calgary-based cable operator Shaw Communications
  • DirecTV will merge into a new incorporated company encompassing Liberty Media’s regional sports networks and Game Show Network (GSN). At the same time, Starz Entertainment and other businesses falling under Liberty Entertainment will be formed into a separate company called Liberty Starz
  • AmericanLife TV Network (ALN), an independent network targeting the baby boomer generation, was purchased by ComStar Media Fund, LP, through its subsidiary ComStar Networks, LLC
  • Time Warner confirmed it will formally end its association with AOL after nearly ten years.
  • Vancouver-based Lionsgate sold its 49% ownership stake in the TV Guide Network and complimentary online business, TVGuide.com to One Equity Partners and media investor Allen Shapiro for $123 million in cash
  • Disney-ABC Television, Hearst Corporation and NBC Universal formed a new powerhouse entity, merging the assets of A&E Television Networks and Lifetime into one cable company with ten channels in 145 countries, as well as 15 websites
  • The Walt Disney Co. is purchasing Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in a 60% cash and 40% stock transaction
  • eBay announced it was selling a controlling share in internet calling service Skype to private investors led by Silicon Valley-based Silver Lake Partners
  • Salt & Light Radio, Inc. is involved in a purchase deal with Journal Broadcast Corporation and Journal Broadcast Group, Inc. to buy KGEM-AM and KCID-AM in Boise for $950,000
  • Scripps Networks Interactive is purchasing a 65% portion of Travel Channel Media from Cox Communications, valuing the Travel Channel at close to $1 billion
  • Ebay reached a legal settlement with the co-founders of Skype on Friday, clearing the way for a planned $2 billion deal to sell a majority share in the online communications company to a group of investors led by venture capital firm Silver Lake
  • Google inked a deal to purchase mobile advertising start-up AdMob for $750 million in stock, providing the company with the technology to significantly enhance its presence in the mobile marketing space

 
 
NEW MEDIA BUSINESS DECISIONS:

  • CNN and Facebook will team up to deliver a live webcast of Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20 via the CNN Live portal.
  • Comcast Corporation teams with Disney-ABC Domestic Television to launch the subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, Disney Family Movies
  • Studio 3 Networks, the premium entertainment venture established by Viacom Inc., its Paramount Pictures division, MGM and Lionsgate named its new entertainment service, epix
  • Hallmark Channel can now sell movies and movie-related products from its library via a new online movie shop at www.hallmarkchannel.com and www.hallmarkmoviechannel.com.
  • House approved a bill to move the DTV transition date firmly to June 12, 2009
  • Nickelodeon rolls out a series of iPhone and iTouch applications based on its series SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and iCarly
  • Sony/UMG joint venture TotalMusic has officially pulled the plug
  • Merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation was finally announced, joining two music industry monopolies – the largest ticket seller and the biggest concert promoter – at the hip
  • On February 11, 2009, President Obama signed the DTV delay bill, making the analog-to-digital transition date officially June 12, 2009
  • Online ad outfit Betawave (f/k/a GoFish) is launching a new online video syndication platform to deliver original video content to its youth-targeted publishing partners
  • Dailymotion launches DM Kids as a stand-alone video web portal for kids and tweens offering a range of videos including animation, TV shows, music videos and original web series
  • Google announced it will finally begin offering behavioral ad targeting, a move that has been expected ever since the company acquired DoubleClick for $3.1 billion nearly two years ago
  • American Express Publishing, CNN and Time Inc. are collaborating on a new multi-platform series launching this month called Travel + Leisure “Weekend Getaways”
  • Qualcomm agreed to pay rival Broadcom $891 million over four years in a settlement of all their legal disputes
  • Time Warner and Comcast announced a partnership to make original TBS and TNT programming available online to Comcast customers for no extra charge under the MSO’s “On Demand Online” brand.
  • TiVo filed an infringement lawsuit against DISH Network and EchoStar, seeking almost $1 billion in damages based on the Time Warp DVR technology patent case dispute between the companies
  • Microsoft hammered out a 10-year search and advertising partnership with Yahoo that will take effect beginning in early 2010, pending regulatory approval
  • the FCC opened an inquiry into Apple‘s rejection of the handy Google Voice app from the iPhone store
  • Facebook made a rare acquisition yesterday acquiring Mountain View, CA-based social media aggregator FriendFeed, a service that culls together users’ updates from a number of sites in real time including Twitter, Yelp, Netflix, Blogger and Flickr in a single stream
  • The Twilight Saga is coming to Habbo, the tween/teen-targeted virtual world, under a newly bitten deal between Summit Entertainment and Finland-based Sulake Corp‘s Habbo
  • FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to give speech on Monday to transform existing net neutrality principles into codified rules that specify how internet service providers are allowed to manage the flow of traffic on their networks … on 10/23: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski introduced his proposed rules to impose net neutrality principles and “reasonable network management practices” on the broadband industry
  • A decade after the birth of Napster, the music industry is going into business with Google to offer a music-themed, rich media search service

 
 
THE SUBLIME TO THE RIDICULOUS, AND ALL IN BETWEEN:

  • America’s Next Top Model held auditions in New York City this past weekend, and before the day was over three people were arrested for inciting a riot and disorderly conduct and six others were injured. At some point chaos broke out involving hundreds of people outside the Park Central New York hotel, reports the AP, though what exactly happened to create the free-for-all remains unclear.  Once it was all over, the street outside the hotel was strewn with clothing, sleeping bags, beach chairs and shoes, all left by several potential auditioners who had been waiting on line, many overnight.
  • Will ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may end up starring in NBC’s summer reality series I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here?  Nope, but his wife will.
  • CBS is changing the date of its 61st Primetime Emmy Awards presentation to September 13 to avoid a previously scheduled doubleheader with potential of spilling into primetime and delaying the start of the awards … then it was moved back to the 20th after CBS learned MTV had scheduled the VMAs on the 13th
  • Octomom … need we say more?
  • Then there was the Letterman/Palin “conflict” which went on and on and on
  • June 16:  A moment not to be missed, I, Cynthia Turner, will be making my appearance on WWE’s Monday Night Raw!  After some discussion between all involved parties regarding the fake-out of Cynopsis Media on the pseudo “news” of Trump’s purchase of WWE’s Monday Night Raw in yesterday’s edition, it was decided the only way to solve this is in the ring!  I’ll be taking on the Divas of my choice for a one-night only, 2-against-1 Grudge Match! …  Okay, that’s not entirely true, but the part about Cynopsis Media falling for the dupe – we concede, we fell for it.  Trump will NOT being buying WWE’s Monday Night Raw, at least not anytime soon as far as we’re aware.  And Cynopsis Media will not be as quick to toss our hat into the ring next time.
  • And then there’s Jon & Kate … + more coverage than anyone could have anticipated.   Scandal, divorce, court room drama … TLC announced its Jon & Kate Plus Eight will re-launch this November 2 to become more succinctly Kate Plus Eight … TLC is halting Jon & Kate Plus 8 in mid-November and will not re-launch the series as Kate Plus 8 on November 2 … TLC filed a lawsuit in the state of Maryland, where the network is based against Jon Gosselin, star of the network’s reality show Jon & Kate Plus 8 saying he breached his contract by granting unauthorized interviews
  • Letterman … gets in front of the bad press and swiftly and cleverly diffuses
  • Facebook upstaged Wimbledon over the July 4 weekend in the British press after the wife of the new head of England’s spy agency MI6 posted pictures of her husband, family and friends on the social networking site.
  • Heene family of Fort Collins, Colorado, who had all of the cable news networks following the flight of a Kevlar-type 20′ x 5′ silver balloon, reportedly carrying their 6 year old son, Falcon

 
 
etc …

  • Apple CEO Steve Jobs cleared the air with an open letter about his health on the eve before the company’s final Macworld conference
  • Senate unanimously approved a compromise bill to move the DTV transition date from February 17 to June 12, 2009
  • Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors with a vote of 73% to 27%, SAG voted against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ “last, best and final offer dated February 19, 2009.”
  • Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) voted unanimously on Saturday in favor of a new, three-year contract involving commercials on TV, radio, internet and new media
  • The Dark Knight hit another milestone as the Warner Bros. feature film officially made its way past $1 billion in worldwide box office revenue
  • Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards will all appear together this fall in several episodes of HBO’s comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • The Cook County, Illinois sheriff’s department has set its sites on the “er*tic services” segment of Craigslist, claiming that the largest online classified service also facilitates “the largest single sources of prostit*tion in the nation.”
  • Merscom is partnering with Showtime Networks, Inc. to create a casual game based on the popular drama series The Tudors
  • Worldwide singing sensation, Susan Boyle advanced to the final round of Britain’s Got Talent television show and while she lost the game, she certainly did manage to win the bigger picture!
  • Television is a more effective platform for commercials than the internet or mobile devices, so says a new research study initiated by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing and the research company NeuroFocus
  • Cablevision Systems Corporation announced its board of directors approved the company to spin-off its Madison Square Garden (MSG) business to Cablevision stockholders
  • Current TV reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee who had been detained in North Korea since March have been pardoned and released by that country’s leader Kim Jong-Il
  • US Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst said the USOC is, for now, halting plans to have its own television network after fielding complaints from international Olympic officials
  • In the Daytime Emmy Awards presented last evening, the Emmy goes to:

    • Outstanding Drama , , , Series: The Bold & the Beautiful (CBS)
    • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:  Christian LeBlanc / The Young & The Restless (CBS)
    • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:  Susan Haskell / One Life to Life (ABC)
    • Outstanding Talk Show/Entertainment:  The Rachael Ray Show / CBS Television Distribution
    • Outstanding Talk Show/Informative: The Tyra Banks Show / Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution
    • Outstanding Talk Show Host: Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd, Barbara Walters – The View/ ABC
    • Outstanding Morning Program:  Good Morning America / ABC
    • Outstanding Game Show:  Cash Cab / Discovery Channel
    • Outstanding Game Show Host:  Meredith Viera / Who Wants to be a Millionaire
  • The US Court of Appeals sided in favor of Comcast and the cable industry when it ruled against the FCC’s 30% cap rule
  • The US District Court, Eastern District of Texas ordered Dish Network and its sister company, EchoStar Corporation to pay damages to TiVo Inc. totaling approximately $200 million
  • MTV Games & Harmonix chose 9/9/09 to launch the 45-song Beatles version of Rock Band in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and other territories, released simultaneously with the digitally re-mastered Beatles CD catalogue from EMI and Apple Corps
  • Maura Tierney will bow out of the upcoming NBC drama series Parenthood, citing conflicts with the timing of her breast cancer treatments and the show’s production schedule
  • and the Emmy® goes to …

    • Outstanding Actor in a Comedy … ALEC BALDWIN (30 ROCK/NBC)
    • Outstanding Actress in a Comedy … TONI COLLETTE (UNITED STATES OF TARA/SHOWTIME)
    • Outstanding Comedy … 30 ROCK (NBC)
    • Outstanding Actress in a Drama … GLENN CLOSE (DAMAGES/FX)
    • Outstanding Actor in a Drama … BRYAN CRANSTON (BREAKING BAD/AMC)
    • Outstanding Drama … MAD MEN (AMC)
  • More than 30 years after fleeing the US and pleading guilty in 1978 for having unlawful sexual relations with a 13-year old girl, director Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police
  • Former CBS anchor Dan Rather’s $70 million lawsuit against CBS was thrown out by a New York Supreme Court appellate division
  • Sesame Street celebrates being 40
  • Regis Philbin is taking a leave of absence from his ABC daytime talk show Live with Regis and Kelly for hip surgery
  • Alec Baldwin, star of NBC’s 30 Rock announced he will retire from acting when his sitcom contract expires in 2012
  • Nielsen reports it will start measuring TV viewing in Puerto Rico with TV ratings data available in first quarter 2010
  • 2010 NATPE conference in Las Vegas is downsizing its floor space. The January 25-27 event, themed Content Commerce Connections will move from its former home in the conference space at the Mandalay Bay Resort to several ballrooms in the hotel
  • Nancy O’Dell announced she is departing Access Hollywood this week after 13 years

EXECUTIVE MOVES: NEW TOPPERS ONLY (too many exec moves to include all of you!)

  • Craig Hitchcock will join The Paley Center for Media located in Los Angeles on January 12 as VP/Executive Director
  • Tribune Company appointed Don Corsini as President/GM of KTLA/Los Angeles
  • Alan Perris, COO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has had his contract renewed with multiple year extensions
  • Univision Communications Inc. has renamed Univision Online to Univision Interactive Media and has tapped former AOL EVP Kevin Conroy as President
  • Cary Nadel is the new President at Converging Insights
  • The non-profit interfaith media organization, Odyssey Networks tapped Nick Stuart as President/CEO
  • Yahoo hired former CEO of Autodesk Inc. Carol Bartz to succeed Jerry Yang as CEO of the company
  • Rainbow Media Holdings LLC upgraded Ed Carroll to COO of Rainbow Entertainment Services
  • Brent Willman was tapped as CFO for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network
  • Turner Entertainment Ad Sales/Marketing and Acquisitions elevated Linda Yaccarino to EVP/COO
  • Integrated Media Measurement Inc. appointed Bill McKenna to President/CEO
  • FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is resigned
  • Katz Media Group reorganized its management tier at Clear Channel Radio Sales, naming Jeff Howard as President, Clear Channel Radio Sales
  • FCC Commissioner Michael Copps was appointed by President Obama as Acting Chairman of the FCC
  • Walt Disney Company announced yesterday Stephen McPherson, ABC Entertainment President will now head a newly merged unit called ABC Entertainment Group, consisting of ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios
  • Tribune Company tagged Don Meek as President/National Media Sales for Interactive and Publishing
  • Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) merged recent acquisition 2waytraffic and SPTI’s production operations together and in so doing has named Kees Abrahams as President/International Production
  • Comcast Programming Group established the Comcast Sports Sales group, combining the Golf Channel and Versus sales teams. Leading this new unit will be Comcast Network Advertising Sales President David T. Cassaro
  • ZOO Productions tapped Charles Steenveld as President
  • Christina Norman was selected as CEO of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network following her most recent stint as President of MTV
  • Dan A. Adams moves to ABC-owned KFSN/Fresno as President/GM
  • Chad Hazen and Steve Kantscheidt launched a full-service research consulting business called Three and both are Principals of the new company
  • The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) appointed Frank J. Radice as President/CMO
  • Petry Holding, Inc. added two top-level positions: Alexander Brown was appointed President/CEO of the company and Richard Intrator was recruited as Chief Strategic Officer
  • Pamela Russo is the new GM of TMZ
  • GamePro Media, publisher of GamePro Magazine and Gamepro.com, named Marci Yamaguchi Hughes as EVP/GM
  • Steve Dolcemaschio advanced to COO with Comcast Entertainment Group
  • Research firm Centris named William J. Beaumont as President
  • David Auerbach is the new President of Rive Gauche Television
  • Jon Mandel, President of NielsenConnect is departing Nielsen after two years
  • Nielsen announced the retirement of Jack Oken; his last day was February 13
  • Geoffrey Gilmore joined New York-based Tribeca Enterprises as CCO
  • Paul Levine will become President/New Media with cross-platform media company Current
  • Peter Chernin, President/CEO of News Corp. is departing the company as his current contract ends June 30
  • The following month news came Peter Liguori, Chairman/Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting is leaving
  • President Obama has chosen former MPAA lobbyist and current FTC member Jon Leibowitz to serve as the next Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission
  • Mark DiDia joined Island Def Jam Music Group as EVP/GM, Island Records to supervise daily operations of the label
  • Petry Holding, Inc. appointed Julie Holmberg Bowyer as President of Petry Network, formerly named Petry International
  • Discovery Communications named Laura Michalchyshyn as President/GM of Planet Green, reporting to David Zaslav, CEO
  • Lou Castriota, Sr. is the new VP/GM of independent television station WGCB/Harrisburg
  • Brian Philips advanced to President of CMT where he will oversee the network’s complete portfolio
  • Laika, Inc. names Travis Knight as President and CEO.
  • Peter Rice, who joins the television side after serving as President of Fox Searchlight. Fox Searchlight COOs Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula will now jointly run the film division; Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman/CEO of Fox Networks Group will continue to lead the cable networks; Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos will supervise all Los Angeles-based creative production as Co-Chairmen/CEOs of Fox, Filmed Entertainment; Gary Newman and Dana Walden, Co-Chairmen of Twentieth Century Fox Television will now report to Rothman and Gianopulos while Emiliano Calemzuk, President of Fox Television Studios will report to Newman and Walden
  • Chris Rohrs will end his decade-long stint as President of the Television Bureau of Advertising at the end of 2009
  • USA Network advanced Jeff Wachtel to President/Original Programming
  • Jon Hitchcock was appointed President/GM of the CBS television duopoly in Philadelphia, KYW and WPSG
  • TNS announced its new Senior Global Management Team: David Kieselstein will be CEO North America, Mike Gettle as CFO/COO, Jamie Hall as CEO Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa,
  • Willy Burkhardt was appointed President of The Sportsman Channel (TSC) effective immediately, while network Co-Founder Michael Cooley was advanced to Chairman
  • Sony Pictures Television (SPT) named Peter Bazalgette as Non-Executive Chairman for its UK-based production business
  • Bunim-Murray Productions upgraded Gil Goldschein to President up from COO
  • The Brand Union, part of the WPP Group, re-established its North American operations and in so doing tapped Robert Scalea as CEO of The Brand Union North America
  • Ronald Gordon was appointed President of Telemundo Television Station Group
  • Brandon Brown joined Zodiac Interactive as CEO where he will replace the company’s co-founder Michael Rivkin who will now become the Zodiac’s CTO
  • Brandissimo! elevated. EVP/GM Andy Babb to President
  • Saavn, digital distributor of Bollywood entertainment, named Rishi Malhotra to President/COO of Saavn, and partner in [212]MEDIA
  • 30-year NFL broadcaster and Hall of Fame coach, John Madden announced his retirement from broadcasting
  • Robin Schwartz has resigned as President, OWN Television
  • Discovery Communications upped Deborah Adler Myers to General Manager/Science Channel and EVP/Discovery Emerging Networks
  • Tom Cerio moves to Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD) as EVP/Cable Sales
  • News Corp. CEO of Digital Media Jonathan Miller decided to fire MySpace CEO and co-founder Chris DeWolfe … a day later Owen Van Natta is named as replacement
  • Sundance Channel named Sarah Barnett as EVP/GM
  • Lenny Daniels advanced to the new position of EVP/COO with Turner Sports
  • Alan Citron advanced to President of Buzz Media, Inc.
  • Peace Arch Entertainment Group Inc. announced CEO Gerry Noble resigned from his position
  • CBS Corporation formed the CBS Interactive Music Group and taps David Goodman as President
  • Titan Worldwide added Mike Collins as VP/GM
  • Henry Schleiff, President/CEO of Crown Media Holdings, Inc., owner and operator of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel, will be leaving his position as of May 31, 2009 … soon thereafter Henry announced as topper of Discovery’s ID network
  • Jerry Bruckheimer Games, Inc. and MTV Games, a unit of Viacom, Inc., announce the appointment of Jim Veevaert as President/Production and Jay Cohen as President/Development
  • Phil Cowdell was promoted to Head of Mindshare North America
  • Blitz Media based in New England, tapped Chris Perkins as President
  • Jose Tillan will become the new GM/EVP for MTV Tr3s
  • Aegis Media named Nigel Morris as CEO of Aegis Media North America
  • Barry Watts becomes the new CEO of Seattle-based Screenlife Games
  • FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) named Keith Hindle as CEO for the Americas
  • Jorg Roth was tapped as COO/Entertainment for Zodiak Entertainment
  • Lindsay Sloane is the new Co-Head/Drama Development with Fox Broadcasting Company
  • Debmar-Mercury recruited former EVP of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, Lenny Bart as EVP/GM
  • Todd Asher is the new COO for NYC Media Group
  • Travel Channel announced Patrick Younge, President/GM will step down as of January 2010
  • Mindshare adds Scott Sorokin to the new position as Head/Digital, Global
  • Julie Nunnari retires from broadcasting after 20 years, and most recently from Showtime
  • News Corp. announced that DirecTV CEO (and former News Corp. executive) Chase Carey will return to the company as President and COO assuming Peter Chernin’s role, effective July 1
  • Kathy Timko became COO of Canoe Ventures as of June 1
  • Frank Sandusky was tapped by Titan Worldwide as VP/GM of its Southern California region based in Los Angeles
  • Bob Cook, President/COO of Twentieth Television announced his resignation to establish his own business called MBN Inc.
  • Welsh-born Sony Chairman Howard Stringer had President added to his title as part of a larger management shuffle approved by the Sony board in Tokyo.
  • Fred Reynolds, EVP/CFO of CBS Corporation will retire from the company as of August 15, 2009
  • Scott Carlin, President/HBO Program Distribution resigned his post just shy of his 7th year anniversary at the network. Scott is leaving HBO to take on new and varied business challenges
  • Mark Higgins takes charge of LIN TV Corp.’s duopoly WTNH-WCTX/Hartford-New Haven as VP/GM
  • US Senate voted unanimously to confirm Julius Genachowski as the new Chairman of the FCC
  • MTV Games, a division of Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks, hired Scott Guthrie as EVP/GM to oversee the group’s management team
  • Globecomm Systems Inc. promoted Keith Hall as President/COO
  • Valhalla Motion Pictures headed by producer Gale Anne Hurd, recruited Wendy Japhet as President
  • Titan Broadcasting hired Cesar Angulo as President/GM for KTNC/San Francisco
  • Granite Broadcasting Corporation promoted Matthew A. Rosenfeld as President/GM of KSEE/Fresno and Greg Catlin as GM of WBNG/Binghamton/Elmira
  • Peace Arch Entertainment Group Inc. elevated John Flock to CEO up from President/COO
  • Don Ohlmeyer was tapped to be ESPN’s third ombudsman
  • Lindsay Weedon was appointed to the new position of CEO with Maxus UK
  • Barry W. Ilovitch was upgraded to President/Production with Entertainment Studios Networks
  • Hasbro and Discovery Communications tap kid’s entertainment industry veteran Margaret Loesch to serve as President and CEO of their new joint kid-targeted TV network
  • Mark Rosenthal named to CEO/Current Media, owner of cable network Current TV
  • Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman/NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios announced he is departing the company to pursue his own entrepreneurial endeavors as he made a deal with Barry Diller’s IAC to start a new production company. Jeff Gaspin expands his role with the company and advances to Chairman/NBC Universal Television Entertainment, effective immediately
  • Granite Broadcasting Corporation announced broadcasting veteran Sarah Norat-Phillips, President/GM of WMYD/Detroit resigned from her position … succeeding Sarah as Pres/GM is David T. Bangura
  • Hasbro appoints Stephen J. Davis to the newly created position of President, Hasbro Studios
  • Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced his resignation from the Apple board of directors
  • W. Don Cornwell, Founder of Granite Broadcasting Corporation announced he will leave his position as Chairman/CEO after establishing the company in October 1988. In addition, John Deushane, COO will also depart the company. Peter Markham will step into the role of Chairman and Duane Lammers will become COO and together will oversee the company
  • CBS Outdoor International promoted Antonio Alonso to CEO up from Chief Development Officer
  • Ray Rodriguez, President/COO of Univision Communications Inc. will retire from his position after almost 20 years with the company. Additionally Cesar Conde will assume responsibility as President, Univision Networks starting October 1 and Joe Uva, CEO will now also become President, Univision Communications
  • Robert B. Clasen, Chairman/CEO of Starz, LLC announced his retirement at the end of 2009
  • Sony Pictures Television (SPT) upgraded Irving Plonskier to SVP/GM, Advertising Sales, Latin America
  • Meredith Corporation appointed Kirk Black as VP/GM of WGCL/Atlanta
  • Madison Square Garden tapped Gavin Harvey as EVP/GM of music network Fuse
  • Stephen David, formerly of The Idea Factory, established a new television development and production company called Stephen David Entertainment
  • Travel Ad Network (TAN) and its Board of Directors announced its CEO/Founder Cree Lawson was named Chairman of the Board. In addition, Brian Silver was elevated from President/COO to President/CEO
  • NBC Universal International appointed Denise O’Donoghue as President/International Television Productions
  • Bill Abbott named President/CEO of Crown Media’s Hallmark Channel
  • Kevin Z. Smith was named President of the Society of Professional Journalists for a one-year term
  • Meredith Corporation appointed Martin F. Reidy as President/Meredith Integrated Marketing and will also serve as EVP/National Media Group as well as Corporate VP/Interactive Strategy
  • Jonathan Breiter was tapped by New York-based Public Group LLC as Principal/Head of Licensing and Strategic Partnerships
  • Ian Hogg was named CEO for FremantleMedia Australia
  • FremantleMedia Enterprises named Mel Alcock as CEO for the EMEA region
  • Louis Jones is the new CEO, North America at Maxus, one of four worldwide WPP media agency networks within GroupM
  • Cineflix named Stephen Tapp to the position of CEO/Cineflix Rights
  • WorldLink re-hired Daniel Casey as EVP/Sales and GM
  • Maria Brennan was tapped as President/CEO of Women in Cable Telecommunications
  • Disney, Dick Cook announced on Friday that he is stepping down as Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, effective immediately
  • Gordon Smith will become the new President of the National Association of Broadcasters
  • Jane Smith was named GM of ibtikar commercial, a division of twofour54 ibtikar
  • Glam Media promoted Jack Rotolo to the newly created position of President/GM, North America
  • The British Academy of Film and Television East Coast (BAFTA East Coast) reupped Gillian Rose as Chairman and Harlene Freezer as Vice Chairman for another two year term each
  • Actor Ken Howard was elected to the position of national President of the Screen Actors Guild for a two-year term
  • News Corp. has finally done away with its Fox Interactive Media division once and for all in its latest reorg., replacing it with the News Corp. Digital Media Group
  • Rich Ross, President of Disney Channels Worldwide was appointed Chairman of Walt Disney Studios
  • Robert G. Totsch was named VP/GM of KCTV-KSMO/Kansas City, owned by Meredith Corporation
  • Tennis Channel elevated William Simon to COO, in addition to his current role as CFO
  • NBC Local Media appointed Greg Scholl as President/Local Media Platforms, effective November 2
  • Warner Entertainment Japan Inc. hired Taichi Fukuda as GM/Warner Home Video and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Japan
  • Gene Steinberg was appointed immediately to the position of GM for the stations ABC 17, FOX 22, MyZouTV, ABC 17 STORMTRACK 24/7, KMIZ.com and 360Columbia.com all located in Columbia, MO and operated by Alta Communications
  • Telemundo Station Group appointed Celia Chavez as President/GM of WSNS/Chicago
  • AmericanLife TV Network (ALN) added Aaron Norris as President/Development to provide oversight of acquisitions and production
  • CBS Television Stations appointed Peter Dunn as President to manage the operations of the company’s 29 stations
  • CBS Corporation reorganized its local broadcasting operations and restructured its management team by appointing Anton Guitano as COO of CBS Local Media
  • Comcast Corporation appointed Steven A. White as President of the company’s West Division
  • DirecTV named Pepsi executive Michael White as President/CEO, effective January 1
  • Garth Ancier, President, BBC Worldwide America, announced he will depart the company in March 2010
  • Bill Shaw tapped for the duel role as SVP of Cordillera Communications and President/GM of KVOA/Tucson
  • Bill Moyers, a fixture on PBS, announced his retirement from weekly television
  • National Public Radio newscaster Carl Kasell will retire from his position as of December 30, 2009
  • Carolina Lightcap advances to President of Disney Channels Worldwide up from her most recent dual role as SVP/Programming and Creative Affairs, Disney Channels Latin America and CMO, The Walt Disney Company, Latin America
  • Fox National Cable Networks announced David Sternberg, EVP/COO, Emerging Networks will be departing the company at the end of December
  • Tribune Company’s board of director appointed Randy Michaels as CEO and to the board. Sam Zell continues as Tribune’s Chairman
  • Discovery Communications advanced Mark Hollinger to the position of President/CEO of Discovery Networks International. Greg Ricca, current President/CEO of Discovery Networks International will depart the company following a transition period
  • Discovery Communications tapped Peter Liguori as COO where he will report to David Zaslav, President/CEO
  • ABC News’ Chris Cuomo ends his run as newsreader on Good Morning America today, moving to primetime as co-anchor of ABC’s 20/20 with Elizabeth Vargas
  • Steve Mauldin was tapped as President/GM of the Los Angeles TV stations KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV, both owned by CBS Television Stations.
  • As a result of the recent pact between General Electric and Comcast over the sale of NBC Universal, current President/CEO Jeff Zucker signed a new three-year contract
  • Disney’s top Washington lobbyist, Preston Padden announced his upcoming retirement in January 2011
  • David Nathanson will soon become EVP/GM at Fox Soccer Channel
  • CBS Corporation appointed Nancy Tellem as Senior Advisor to CEO Leslie Moonves beginning in January

 
 
IN MEMORIUM:

Eartha Kitt … Bernie Hamilton … Steven Gilborn … Patrick McGoohan … Ricardo Montalban … Bob May … Gene DeWitt … Greg Bendin … Phil Carey … Sandi Robinson Spreckman … Paul M. Hughes … Natasha Richardson … Beatrice Arthur … Nora O’Brien … Robert B. Hance III … Dom DeLuise … Jack Reilly … Terry Harper … David Carradine … Johnny Palermo … Kathleen Gardner-Sullivan … Frank de Jonge … Ed McMahon … David S. Allen … Farrah Fawcett … Michael Jackson … Billy Mays … Jeff Sears … Karl Malden … Steve Brennan … Mark A. Mandala … Walter Cronkite … John Hughes … Robert D. Novak … Don Hewitt … Dick Colbert … Senator Ted Kennedy … Dominick Dunne … Larry Gelbart … Patrick Swayze … Henry Gibson … William Safire … Collin Wilcox … Soupy Sales … David Lloyd … Ken Ober … Bill Bresnan … Gene Barry … Oral Roberts  … Brittany Murphy … George Michael
 

Did I forget anything or anyone? Of course I did, tho not intentionally.  Here’s to a happy and prosperous New Year!

Later — Cyn
01.01.10

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