Friday, January 2nd, 2009


Join Cynopsis and NATPE for “Coffee With” Q&A Sessions
Dana Walden & Gary Newman
Twentieth Century Fox Television Co-Chairmen
Wednesday, January 28, 8:00  9:00 am


Michael Steib
Director of TV Ads, Google
Thursday, January 29, 8:30am – 9:30 am
Register for NATPE, Promo Code ZERSN09, and save $500



Good morning. It’s Friday, January, 2, 2009, and this is your first early morning briefing.   

Tonight’s Premiere:
TLC: Miss America: Countdown to the Crown at 10p

Saturday’s Premieres:
CBS: Game Show in My Head at 8p
Animal Planet: Underdog to Wonderdog at 8p
The Style Network: Peter Perfect at 9p

Sunday’s Premieres:
VH1: Confessions of a Teen Idol at 8p; Rock of Love with Bret Michaels at 9p
NBC: Superstars of Dance at 9p
Food Network: Ultimate Recipe Showdown at 9p


Starting the New Year on a happier note, Viacom and Time Warner Cable made a tentative deal yesterday in principle involving the continued carriage of Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and 15 other Viacom channels. Both companies announced jointly the details of the agreement are still being hashed out. Viacom threatened to pull the signals of its 19 networks off of TWC New Year’s Eve at midnight over a license renewal disagreement which flared up between the two companies. Viacom was asking for a carriage fee increase of 12% or $39 million in excess of the approximate $300 million it receives from TWC each year. TWC balked at the proposed increase saying due to the current economic conditions, this was not the time to raise subscriber fees which would be passed on to customers. TWC reaches 13.3 million households across the U.S.

Strike Talk Update: Last Tuesday, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) national executive director, Doug Allen sent a message to the guild’s 120,000 members saying even if the upcoming mid-January strike authorization vote results in an approval from 75% of those members voting, a strike on primetime and features may not necessarily occur and if it does it would not shut down the industry, reports Variety. However, many have disagreed with Allen’s contention both inside and outside SAG. Allen said directly: “If the SAG National Board is authorized to call a strike, we all hope a strike will not be necessary. But, if the National Board decides to call one, it will not ‘shut down’ the industry. Why not? Because the national board’s decision would have no effect on work done under the Guild’s other contracts.” The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers came back with this statement: “Today’s SAG statement suggesting that a SAG strike would not have a devastating impact on our industry, in the midst of the greatest economic turmoil since the Great Depression, simply defies reality. The 100-day writers strike — which resulted in the writers receiving the same terms that the DGA achieved without a strike — cost our economy $2.5 billion. A SAG strike would cost the working families who depend on our industry even more — at a time when everyone is already under extreme pressure by the unprecedented national economic crisis.” Earlier right before Christmas, SAG leaders postponed the strike authorization vote to follow an emergency board meeting on January 12 and 13. Originally, SAG intended to send out ballots today. The reason for this delay, according to SAG leaders, was to address the discord between members about the strike authorization vote. An anti-authorization effort is underway among more than 1,400 SAG members headlined by George Clooney, Russell Crowe, Matt Damon, Sally Field, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford and others who have all vowed to vote no, saying this proposed strike authorization should not happen during an economic crisis.

On Christmas Day, entertainer Eartha Kitt, 81, died of colon cancer in Connecticut. Known for her cat-like purring, Kitt called herself a “sex kitten” and during her 60-year diverse career won two Emmys and was nominated for a third as well as several Tonys and two Grammys. Kitt’s career encompassed dancing with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabaret stints, acting and singing on stage and in movies and television which included playing Catwoman in the Batman television series from 1967-68. Kitt is survived by one daughter and two grandchildren.

Michael Eisner will end his monthly CNBC series Conversations With Michael Eisner this March after three years. Eisner, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Co., conducted one-on-one interviews with people in the media and show business industries. Eisner’s plans include running several businesses under his own Tornante Co. umbrella including the online production company Vuguru which produces the online series Prom Queen.

MLB Network, opening live yesterday in 50 million cable and satellite households, will air the 1994 PBS Ken Burns’ documentary series Baseball starting January 6 at 8p following the nightly baseball news show Hot Stove Report, per THR. The Emmy Award-winning nine-part series will air on Tuesdays through February and will include special commentary recorded by Burns.

In an apparent one-year deal with the NFL, ESPN will televise the Pro Bowl in 2010 on January 31 a week prior to the Super Bowl on February 7 at Dolphin Stadium in Florida. Usually the network airing the Super Bowl televises the Pro Bowl. In 2010, CBS will broadcast the Super Bowl and has presumably declined on the Pro Bowl. Under terms of the 2006 rights agreement, the NFL can offer the Pro Bowl rights if the Super Bowl network passes. This year, NBC will televise both the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl after Fox Sports aired both in 2008. 

Broadcast Evening News Ratings Wrap-Up: The final results for the week of December 15, 2008:
NBC: 10.0 million total viewers and 2.7/10 A25-54
ABC: 9.18 million total viewers and 2.4/9 A25-54
CBS: 7.43 million total viewers and 1.8/6 A25-54

On December 19 at 9p, the first season finale of Animal Planet’s Whale Wars washed up 529,000 A25-54 viewers and 309,000 M25-54 viewers.

Program Call: If your company will be attending NATPE ’09 with programming, we will send out a special NATPE Shopping Guide edition the Thursday before the conference.To have your programming included, please send only the following info for your top 5 shows: title, availability date, number of episodes, length, type (i.e., movie, series, special, etc.), genre and your terms (barter, cash, etc.). If your company is interested in being included, please send the details to
by Friday, January 16, 2009.


Tristar Products Inc., a direct response television company based in Fairfield, NJ is partnering with Montel Williams to launch a new TV format dubbed “talkmercial” which combines a talk show and an infomercial. The new series, Living Well with Montel began in December and in both 30m and 60m talkmercials, Williams and experts will discuss topics covering health, spirituality and financial issues along with featured products and books. 


CYNOPSIS DIGITAL – TODAY’S TOP STORY:  Time Warner Cable and MTV Networks settled a carriage dispute on New Years Eve just hours before 19 Viacom-owned channels such as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon were set to be removed from over 15 million TWC and Bright House Networks customers’ cable line-ups. The dispute was about more than just fee increases (MTV Networks was asking for an increase of “less than 25 cents/month per subscriber” according to a Viacom release.) Cable operators increasingly feel their product is being undervalued by the easy availability of television programming online. At the same time, providers such as Time Warner Cable continue to position themselves as broadband providers of choice to consumers who prefer to view their shows online. MTV Networks shows are available on multiple sites including Hulu, Fancast, Veoh, Joost, and Viacom-owned show sites.   Full edition: CYN DIGITAL.

CYNOPSIS KIDS – TODAY’S TOP STORY:  While we were away – Time Warner Cable and Viacom continued to have difficulty coming to an agreement on a new carriage deal for Viacom’s MTV Networks‘ 19 channels, which of course includes Nickelodeon and Noggin and so on, for TWC and Bright House Networks subscribers in major markets including NY, LA, and Orange County and Raleigh among several others.  Things went public on Tuesday December 30, just ahead of the 12:01a January 1, 2009 deadline, with press releases and accusations flying, and then Viacom taking out ads in newspapers and online warning customers that the channels might no longer be available to them, including one that featured a crying Dora the Explorer hanging onto a scared-looking Boots (her buddy) that read, “Why is Dora crying? Time Warner Cable is Taking Dora Off the air tonight! Along with 19 of your favorite channels.”  The ad offered phone numbers and encouraged viewers to call and complain.  Additionally, a similar message scrolled across the bottom of the screen on at least some of the MTV Networks.  Alas, in a release issued January 1, at 2:54a, the two titans announced they had reached a deal “in principle” that would see the renewal of carriage for Viacom’s MTV Networks, with agreement expected to be finalized over the next week.  Full edition: CYN KIDS.


Monday – A18-49 Analysis:  CBS led with a passel of reruns Monday night at 2.9/8 A18-49, according to final national ratings from Nielsen Media Research. At 8p, CBS’ comedies Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother averaged a winning 2.8/8 over a House encore on FOX at 2.2/6. Then at 9p, two more CBS sitcoms, Two and a Half Men/Gary Unmarried averaged a top-rated 3.2/9 while UNIV was came next with Fuego en la Sangre at 2.1/6. CBS ended its winning streak through 10p with a repeat of CSI: Miami at 2.9/8 ahead of second place Momma’s Boys on NBC at 1.8/5.

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Monday, December 29, 2008 time period averages. Source: NTI Galaxy, as dated. Live+SD.

CBS: 6.1/10        The Big Bang Theory [r] 4.7/8, How I Met Your Mother [r] 4.7/8, Two and a Half Men [r] 7.2/11, Gary Unmarried [r] 5.3/8, CSI: Miami [r] 7.3/12

FOX: 4.1/7           House [r] 4.1/7, Bones [r] 4.1/7

NBC: 3.9/6           Great Holiday Moments 3.8/6, Deal or No Deal 4.6/7, Momma’s Boys 3.3/6

ABC: 3.0/5         ABC Monday Movie of the Week: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 3.0/5

UNIV: 2.3/4         Cuidado con El Angel 2.4/4, Fuego en la Sangre 2.5/4, Cristina 2.0/3

MNT: 1.1/2           World Music Awards Encore 1.1/2

CW: 0.8/1           Gossip Girl [r] 0.9/2, One Tree Hill [r] 0.7/1

TELE: 0.7/1          Dona Barbara 0.7/1, El Rostro de Analia 0.6/1, Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso 0.8/1, Cartel M 0.7/1

A18-49: CBS 2.9/8, FOX 2.0/6, UNIV 1.8/5, ABC 1.7/5, NBC 1.6/5, MNT 0.7/2, TELE 0.5/1, CW 0.4/1



Craig Hitchcock will join The Paley Center for Media located in Los Angeles on January 12 as VP/Executive Director. Previously, Craig was Director/Sales at The Hollywood Reporter.

Cablevision Systems Corporation elevated two in its sales division: Donna Alda to SVP/Telemarketing and John Machalski to SVP/Residential Director Sales. Both report to Bob Sullivan, EVP/Sales.

Tennis Channel reorganized its programming and network strategy division and in so doing expanded the duties of Victoria Quoss, EVP/Programming and Network Strategy. Located now at the network’s New York office, Victoria will concentrate on broad network growth initiatives including multiplatform development and international distribution. Victoria will continue to report to Ken Solomon, Chairman/CEO. Additionally, Laura Hockridge was upgraded to VP/Original Programming and David Scott to VP/Programming. Both will now report to Ken Solomon and will remain based in Los Angeles.   Happy New Year ladies!

Los Angeles-based Beck Media & Marketing recruited Michael Hope to head the company’s corporate technology practice, while Laura Hart and Ben Mann were hired as client service team members in the agency’s entertainment practice. Michael will report to Todd Beck, Founder/President and Laura and Ben report to team leader Steve Spignese.

Friday Fun Fact: Renamed in April 1904, New York’s Time Square was originally known as Long Acre Square.

This day in History:  1968 – Dr. Christian Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant.

Today’s Trivia Question:   Caroline Duffy create and drew what comic strip?  (Email
with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)

Later — Cyn

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WHAT’S ON TONIGHT –  Friday, January 2, 2009

ABC: Wife Swap [r], Supernanny [r], 20/20
AZTECA: Lo Que Callamos Las Mujeres Edicion Especial, Viernes Espectacular: Doc Hollywood
CBS: Ghost Whisperer [r], Ghost Whisperer [r], Numb3rs [r]
CW: Everybody Hates Chris [r], The Game [r], Everybody Hates Chris [r], The Game [r]
FOX: BCS Bowl Pre-Game [7:30p], Allstate Sugar Bowl: Utah Utes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
ION: Movie: Out of Time [7p], Movie: Beyond the Call
MNT: WWE Smackdown
NBC: Deal or No Deal , Lipstick Jungle, Dateline
PBS: Washington Week, Now on PBS, Bill Moyers’ Journal, How Art Made the World [r]
TELE: Dona Barbara, El Rostro de Analia, Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso
UNIV: Cuidado con el Angel, Fuego en la Sangre, La Rosa de Guadalupe

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