Friday, June 26th, 2009



Good morning. It’s Friday, June 26, 2009, and this is your first early morning briefing.  And as always, if you prefer to watch this morning’s news instead of reading it, click here.  

Sunday’s Premieres:
Built to Shred at 8p
HBO: Hung at 10p

Thursday was a tragic day in the entertainment and music industries with the deaths of two beloved and iconic mega stars – the sad news of Farrah Fawcett passing away in the morning and then the shocking news of the death of Michael Jackson late in the day.

Actress and former sex symbol, Farrah Fawcett, 62, died of cancer yesterday at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. Farrah was diagnosed in September 2006. This past May, a documentary on NBC’s Dateline, Farrah’s Story revealed her battle with cancer attracting renewed interest in her condition. Farrah may be best remembered for her starring role in the 1970s detective drama Charlie’s Angels on ABC which catapulted her to fame and icon status. Also, at the same time Charlie’s Angels began in 1976, a now-famous poster depicting Farrah wearing a red swimsuit was released and to date has sold a staggering 12 million copies. Farrah left Charlie’s Angels after one year, opting to try for a film career. Throughout her television career, Farrah was nominated three times for an Emmy Award, the first for the 1984 television movie The Burning Bed, followed later by the miniseries Small Sacrifices and then for a guest role on the drama The Guardian. Farrah’s other films include The Cannonball Run, Extremities, Logan’s Run, Saturn 3, Sunburn, The Apostle, Dr. T and the Women and her final film The Cookout in 2004. Another bit of notoriety came in 1995, when Farrah posed nude for Playboy magazine at the age of 48 with that particular issue selling more than 4 million copies, making it the top-selling issue of the entire decade. In her personal life, Farrah was married to actor Lee Majors from 1973 to 1982. From 1982 to the present, Farrah had an on-again, off-again relationship with actor Ryan O’Neal which produced one son, Redmond, born in 1985.

Scheduled televised tributes and specials about Farrah:

  • Tonight at 9p, NBC News will re-broadcast Farrah’s Story, the two-hour documentary chronicling her battle with cancer. Oxygen will also re-broadcast this same NBC documentary Farrah’s Story on Saturday at 330p.
  • TV Land will honor her memory as an actress and pop culture icon by airing the first two episodes of their 2005 original series Chasing Farrah this Saturday at 9p.
  • Next Monday, BIO Channel will air the biography special BIO Remembers: Farrah Fawcett at 10p.

Singer/entertainer Michael Jackson aka the “King of Pop,” died yesterday at the age of 50 after reportedly suffering from cardiac arrest and being rushed to the UCLA Medical Center. Michael was scheduled to perform a series of 50 comeback concerts at the O2 Arena in London starting July 13 through March 2010. Tickets for these concerts were sold out within minutes of going on sale last March. Throughout his lifetime, Michael earned his nickname the King of Pop for selling an estimated 750 million records for such hits as Thriller and Billie Jean and winning 13 Grammy Awards, making him one of the most successful entertainers of all time. Michael’s personal life, though, was often mired in controversy.  Michael was born August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. When Michael was just 6 years old, he and four brothers – Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon first performed at a talent show and won first prize. The group went on to become The Jackson 5, to great notoriety, fame and accolades. Michael made his first solo album in 1972, which was followed ten years later by the album Thriller which became a huge hit generating seven top 10 singles and selling 21 million copies in the US alone. Michael has three children: Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II.

Scheduled televised tributes and specials about Michael:

  • BIO Channel will honor Michael’s tragic and sudden death with a special on Saturday at 10p called BIO Remembers: Michael Jackson.
  • TV One will air its documentary The Michael Jackson Story Friday night at 8p, repeating at 11p

NBC follows other networks with the release of premiere dates for their new and returning primetime series.

September 13: Football Night in America at 7p; NBC Sunday Night Football at 815p
September 14: The Jay Leno Show at 10p
September 15: The Biggest Loser at 8p
September 17: Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday at 8p; Parks and Recreation at 830p; The Office at 9p; Community at 930p (*note: Community moves to Thursdays at 8p on October 8)
September 21: Heroes at 8p
September 23: Parenthood at 8p; Law & Order: SVU at 9p
September 25: Law & Order at 8p; Southland at 9p
September 26: Dateline NBC at 8p; Saturday Night Live at 1130p
September 28: Trauma at 9p
October 15: 30 Rock at 930p

Note: Download the updated Fall Broadcast Primetime Schedule at in Excel or PDF format.

The N introduces its viewers to a new 30m original comedy series The Assistants starting July 10 with two piggy-backed episodes at 830p. The 13-episode series follows four 20-somethings as they hope for big breaks in Hollywood by working as showbiz assistants for a big-time producer. The Assistants will air in its regular time slot of Fridays at 830p following new episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation at 8p. The opening episode of The Assistants will also air July 12 at 9p on Nick At Nite. The series is executive produced by The Tom Lynch Company, Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi; McRobb and Viscardi are also show creators and show runners. CONTENT FILM holds the international distribution rights for the series.


Turner Sports and The PGA of America reupped their broadcasting and interactive media deals involving the PGA Championship, PGA Grand Slam of Golf and through 2019. The agreement also expands to include a licensing deal through Turner’s Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE), becoming the PGA’s licensing agent to the youth market. The two entities will also work together on additional new media and consumer marketing campaigns to bolster awareness and brand recognition of The PGA of America to key audiences, especially, introducing new, younger audiences to the game. 

Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales unit of Comcast Cable made a deal with Verizon to sell local advertising on FiOS TV in select markets where both companies currently provide television service. These markets include Baltimore, Boston, Fort Wayne, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, OR, Richmond, Seattle and Washington, D.C.


Former talk show host, Rosie O’Donnell will host a new daily radio show on Sirius XM Radio Inc. starting this fall. Rosie Radio will cover news and entertainment as well as chatting with occasional guests. Rosie’s show will broadcast from a custom-built studio inside her guesthouse located on her New York property. Rose was approached to do the radio show after her recent appearance on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM show.

Casting Call: A top cable network and production company is seeking celebrities who are facing financial crisis during these hard economic times. The individual stories must be appealing and powerful and participating celebrities must be open and candid about their situation. Each episode will focus on one celebrity as they work with a professional financial expert to help them straighten out their financial problems and get them back on track. To submit your clients and find out more details about the show, send an email to


CYNOPSIS DIGITAL – TODAY’S TOP STORY:  Tensions are mounting between China and the U.S. over filtering of content on the internet. China reiterated accusations that Google is spreading vulgar content across the web yesterday after Obama administration officials lodged an official complaint over the Chinese government’s plan to require filtering software on all computers beginning July 1. “China is putting companies in an untenable position by requiring them, with virtually no public notice, to pre-install software that appears to have broad-based censorship implications and network security issues,” wrote U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in a letter signed with U.S. Trade representative Ron Kirk on Wednesday.    Full edition: CYN DIGITAL.

CYNOPSIS KIDS – TODAY’S TOP STORY: Ever wonder what it is like to be an assistant in the entertainment industry?  Hmmm  wait a second  most of us started that way didn’t we?  Well, tween/teens will get a chance to find out what it’s like when The N premieres its new original live-action comedy The Assistants (13×30) on July 10, with two back-to-back episodes 8:30p-9:30p.  The Assistants will air regularly Friday nights at 8:30p, following new episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation.  The Assistants comes from creators/writers/producers/show runners Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, who also serve as executive producers on the series with The Tom Lynch Company (South of Nowhere, Secret World of Alex Mack among others and the upcoming The Troop).  The series revolves around four showbiz assistants toiling for a big-time producer as they try to make it in Hollywood as a filmmaker, writer, actor and producer.  McRobb and Viscardi have worked together for 15+ years including as the creators of The Adventures of Pete and Pete and KaBlam!, moving on to serve screenwriters of Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Tale of Despereaux, Snow Day and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and the upcoming Big Brave Brian and Measle and the Wrathmonk.  Content Films holds the international distribution rights to the series.  Full edition: CYN KIDS


Wednesday – A18-49 Analysis:  Dancing brought success to FOX Wednesday night as the network posted a 2.9/9 among A18-49, according to final national ratings from Nielsen Media Research. At 8p, ABC’s Wipeout and FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance shared the spotlight at 2.8/9 each followed by NBC’s finale of I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! at 1.5/5. NBC edged into the winner’s circle at 9p with America’s Got Talent at 3.1/9, just a tenth of a rating point ahead of FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance at 3.0/9. NBC’s series premiere of The Philanthropist won the 10p hour with a 1.9/6 while normal time period winner CBS’ CSI: NY took a back seat with a repeat airing at 1.7/5.

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 time period averages. Source: NTI Galaxy, as dated. Live+SD.

FOX: 4.7/8          So You Think You Can Dance 4.7/8

NBC: 4.5/8           I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! [f] 2.8/5, America’s Got Talent 6.1/10, The Philanthropist [p] 4.6/8

CBS: 4.2/8           Old Christine [r] 2.9/6, Gary Unmarried [r] 2.8/5, Criminal Minds [r] 5.0/9, CSI: NY [r] 4.9/9

ABC: 3.2/6           Wipeout 4.3/8, I Survived A Japanese Game Show 2.1/4, Primetime: Questions 3.1/5

UNIV: 2.0/4         Cuidado con el Angel 2.0/4, Manana para Siempre 2.4/4, Don Francisco Presenta 1.6/3

TELE: 0.8/2         Rumbo Al Mundial: Mexico vs. Venezuela 1.0/2, El Rostro de Analia 0.6/1, Los Victorinos 0.6/1

CW: 0.7/1           America’s Next Top Model [r] 0.7/1, Hitched or Ditched [r] 0.6/1

ION: 0.7/1          Wednesday 7PM Movie: Outlaw Josey Wales [r] 0.7/1

MNT: 0.5/1          World’s Funniest Moments [r] 0.5/1, Twilight Zone 0.5/1, Twilight Zone 2 [r] 0.6/1

A18-49: FOX 2.9/9, NBC 2.2/7, ABC 1.8/6, CBS 1.5/5, UNIV 1.5/5, TELE 0.8/3, CW 0.4/1, ION 0.3/1, MNT 0.2/1



Joseph Freed and Shane Farley were both upped to Co-Executive Producers of the syndicated talk show Rachael Ray. Previously, Joseph was the show’s Senior Supervising Producer and Shane was Supervising Producer. Together, they will now manage all creative and administrative facets of the show’s production while reporting to Janet Annino, Executive Producer.  Congratulations guys!

Mark Higgins takes charge of LIN TV Corp.’s duopoly WTNH-WCTX/Hartford-New Haven as VP/GM. He will report to Scott Blumenthal, EVP/Television, LIN TV. Mark joins LIN TV from The Spark Group, an advertising agency based in Phoenix where he served as COO/Managing Partner.

MGM Networks (Deutschland) GmbH promoted Christine Brand to Managing Director where she replaces Marcus Ammon who recently departed to take on a new programming position with the network’s client, Sky Germany. Based in Munich, Christine will supervise daily operations of MGM Networks in Germany and German-speaking European markets, including all programming, marketing, sales and technical operations.


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Friday Fun Fact:  “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is reportedly the hardest tongue twister in English.  Go ahead and try it … we’ll wait … … … see, what’d I tell ya??

This day in History:  1979 – Muhammad Ali, at 37 years old, announced that he was retiring as world heavyweight boxing champion.

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question submitted by Steve Lance/PS Insights:   Barry played the title role in the TV series “Bat Masterson.” Masterson lived to a ripe old age and became a fight promoter in Brooklyn, NY. What famous Broadway musical character is based on the real William Barclay “Bat” Masterson?  SKY MASTERSON IN GUYS AND DOLLS. Guys and Dolls was based on the characters written by sports reporter on Runyan who knew Bat Masterson as a fight promoter.  Kudos to: Nina Rayburn Dec/NY; Jim Kelsh-Comcast Spotlight-West Chester PA; Stuart Goodman-Goodman Entertainment/NY; Robin Keats-Tupelo Entertainment/NY; Roz Seibold-Tucson Hearing Clinics/Tucson; Brooke Romagnano-WGNO/New Orleans; Amy Semtner-Cox Media/Oklahoma City; Renee Moffitt-Vision Media Sales/Anthem AZ; Larry Wiedemann-CESD/LA; Karen Glass-Glassworks Entertainment/Encino; Frank Hagan-Circa Pictures/LA; Melissa Bemel-Bemel Management/Beverly Hills

Today’s Trivia Question :  The Committee was headed by Professor Frank Morgan until his death and Oliver Sampson took his place.  What show is this?   (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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ABC:  Surviving Suburbia, The Goode Family, According to Jim [r], According to Jim [r], 20/20
AZTECA: Laura de Todos, Lo Que Callamos Las Mujeres Edicion Especial, Al Extremo
CBS: Ghost Whisperer [r], Flashpoint [r], Numb3rs [r]
CW:  Privileged [r], Everybody Hates Chris [r], The Game [r]
FOX: Movie:  Virtuality
ION:  Movie: Assassins
MNT: WWE Friday Night Smackdown
NBC: Chopping Block, Dateline
PBS: Washington Week, Now on PBS, Bill Moyers’ Journal, Inside
TELE: Mas Sabe el Diablo, El Rostro de Analia, Victorinos
UNIV: Cuidado con el Angel, Manana es para Siempre, Rosa de Guadalupe   

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