Special Report: CYNOPSIS MEDIA PRESENTS: Upfront Weekly Wrap-up 05.19.14


AMC delivers something more


something POWERFUL:

something INFECTIOUS:
The Walking Dead
AMC something more


By Lynn Leahey

Sliding into home, advertisers traversed Gotham for no fewer than fifteen presentations during the final week of NYC Upfronts. 



Over 2M VIEWERS tuned-in for the premiere of
AMC’s new original spy drama on April 6th

Double digit growth among A18-49 for episode two

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May 13
‘s big pitch to advertisers at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall: Disney and its properties offer a "brand halo." "When you bring them all together they are as unstoppable a force as The Force," said Disney-ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney.

Sweeney also talked up the company’s WATCH ABC app, and "a more integrated, immersive, personalized experience," saying, "When you invest in ABC you get our innovation and passion for technology." Sweeney introduced her successor, Ben Sherwood, with the words, "I can’t wait to see you on this stage next year. Don’t forget I’m still a shareholder."

Cast members of ABC’s new series were onstage to help pump up enthusiasm – among the shows that got the strongest audience response was comedy Black-ish.

The net’s Jimmy Kimmel didn’t disappoint with a routine that took no prisoners.  Kimmel joked that with all ABC’s shows about superheroes and fairy tales, "We may be a terrible network but we’re a great birthday party for a six-year-old." At the end of the presentation stars from ABC shows emerged, and Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet brought out a cake reminding everyone about their characters’ upcoming wedding.

May 15

Adult Swim didn’t take itself too seriously (surprise!) at a lively, packed Upfront party at NYC’s Terminal 5. The night was all about fun – Triumph the Insult Comedy Dog gave a video introduction that set the tone, then hip hop duo Outkast rocked the house in a rare intimate club show. Four floors were set up with activities including a funhouse, a picture area with props and an adult "baby" in a crib.

Programming was announced ahead of the event. Original series include a comedy created by Robert Smigel (SNL, Conan) starring Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) and the aforementioned Triumph the Insult Dog, and pilots Dream Corp LLC, about a questionable experimental treatment facility, Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter, the tale of a neon-clad man with a special skill set, and a comedy inspired by WorldStarHipHop.com, covering hip hop culture.

Premiering this summer and fall are Mike Tyson Mysteries, showing the heavyweight champ as crime fighter; Black Jesus, with the Son of God spreading love in present-day Compton, CA; Mr. Pickles, about a deviant border collie; anthology series  Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories and The Venture Bros. Special, an hour-long adventure "that will change the Ventureverse as we know it forever."

May 14

CBS‘s Carnegie Hall Upfront launched with Alan Cummings (The Good Wife) welcoming advertisers with an adaptation of Cabaret’s Wilkommen ("Other networks make you sad. We have no losers here. Here, TV is beautiful!") that was a rousing success. CEO Les Moonves took the stage to remind everyone that CBS has been America’s most-watched network 11 times in the past 12 years, saying, "Nobody on Earth brings more quality programs to audiences than we do."

With Thursday Night Football on its way, NFL announcer Jim Nantz arrived to gush, "We can’t wait to bring the NFL to CBS on Thursday nights." David Letterman, leaving Late Show next year, took to the stage for a chat with Moonves, and Halle Berry made an appearance on behalf of her upcoming summer series, Extant. Clips of upcoming shows included The McCarthys, Stalker and Madam Secretary (the crowd went wild when Morgan Freeman stood up). Nina Tassler told the crowd that thanks to Thursday football, there will rarely be repeats on the night.

On the business front, CBS network sales president Jo Ann Ross promised custom multiplatform solutions to reach viewers "wherever and whenever they’re watching."

May 15

At New York City Center, Neon Trees warmed up the glow stick-armed audience for The CW‘s presentation, which included the introduction of three new dramas and a new comedy.

Net president Mark Pedowitz noted, "It’s a very different CW" from the days of Gossip Girl, with a more gender-balanced audience and 43 percent more original programming than 2010.

In the fall, one-hour comedy Jane the Virgin, about an engaged virgin who is accidentally inseminated at a medical clinic, drops into the Monday-at-9p slot, following relocated The Originals. Superhero drama The Flash, from DC Entertainment, takes over Tuesdays at 8p. Debuting in 2015: dramas iZombie (med student-turned-zombie) and rapture series The Messengers, along with the returns of Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast.

The name of the Veronica Mars spin-off was revealed: Play It Again, Dick. And in July comes new eps of CW Seed‘s Backpackers.

May 13

Discovery U.S. Hispanic Networks had big news to share at NYC’s Stage 37: enhanced theme nights, a new reality show… and a little magic.

"Our U.S. Hispanic networks provide advertisers with the opportunity to participate in a broad range of contextually relevant environments that uniquely differentiates the Discovery brand and truly engages the Hispanic community," said Ivan Bargueiras, GM, Discovery U.S. Hispanic, promising "surprising stories and edgy characters."

As part of Discovery en Espanol‘s successful "Motor Mondays," the net announced the additions of Cromo Clandestino (Chrome Underground), the recently developed docu-realities Texas Trocas and Taller de Vaca. The premiere of Al Limite (Tethered) and Salvate si puedes (Survive That) give the human adventure genre a new twist, and to address viewers’ interest in natural history, the channel announced series Islas mortales con Dave Salmoni (Mystery of the Lost Island) and Sobrevivir (Survival). Bringing magic to Enigma thematic night: Mago Pop, with a young magician using all the tricks up his sleeve to meet a pop icon.

The focus of Latina-oriented Discovery Familia is on topics that affect women’s lives, from health, in new series such as Soy Muy Joven Para Esto (I Don’t Have Time for This), about young women facing breast cancer, to beauty programs like Volver a Empezar (Starting Over), showing the makeovers of eight women carving new career paths. Added to parenting programming will be 13-part series Sobreprotegidos (World’s Worst Mom), dedicated to "diffusing parental paranoia."

May 13

At a breakfast at Manhattan’s Hearst Tower, ESPN Deportes highlighted the significant growth of American sports among Hispanics, and reinforced its total market approach and multimedia positioning in the marketplace.

Promising "the most diverse and complete offering of live sports events available on Spanish-language media," the net announced more than 1,000 live events scheduled across ESPN Deportes Television, ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN Deportes+, the brand’s broadband channel available via ESPNDeportes.com and ESPN3.

Highlights: The return of the Pan American Games in 2015 and the Road to the UEFA Euro 2016, and interactive news show Nacion ESPN will expand to weekends. The expansion of ESPN’s studios in Mexico City, with state-of-the-art technology, in over 60,000 square feet, will give its Sportscenter a "new look and feel." And original series Brothers in Exile premieres in the fall.

May 12

A capacity crowd was on hand at NYC’s Hudson Hotel Rooftop Terrace to take in the spectacular view, dine, dance and, in between, hear about Estrella TV‘s fall season programming slate. Calling the evening "electric," Judy Kenny, EVP, network sales told Cynopsis the net is thrilled with the response their programming is getting. "The pulse at this company is amazing," said Kenny. "These new shows are going to send us to a new level."

The shows in question include Rica, Famosa, Latina, following the lives of five successful Latinas, a la "Real Housewives"; miniseries Chalino: El Corrido de un Valiente, chronicling the rise of "godfather of regional Mexican music" Chalino Sanchez, and awards show Premios El Don, covering the same broad swath of films the Academy Awards do, but honoring Hispanics within those movies, in January 2015 – and, of course, great dresses in a red carpet extravaganza.

Estrella TV is also launching a three-hour live daily morning show, Buenos Dias Familia ("new, fresh and funny," said Kenny), and growing its sports franchise with the addition of Mexico’s Primera Division soccer.

But mostly, the night was about having fun. "We make it a year long conversation" with advertisers, said Kenny. "This was a party!"


something POWERFUL

The most upscale drama on television among A18-49 and

The most award-winning basic cable TV show EVER

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May 12

At the Beacon Theatre, Ryan Seacrest announced "THIS… is the 2014 Fox Upfront." Fox chairman Kevin Reilly called the net’s 2014-2015 portfolio "the biggest investment in programming we’ve ever made," with "distinctive series, addictive event dramas and can’t-miss live specials that will deliver broadcast’s most youthful audience at scale."

Debuting in the fall are Batman prequel Gotham and coming-of-age drama Red Band Society, starring Octavia Spencer (The Help); both trailers got a hearty audience response. Also bowing in the fall: mystery event series Gracepoint, comedy Mulaney and unscripted social experiment Utopia.

On deck for 2015 are dramas Empire, Hieroglyph and Backstrom, event series Wayward Pines, and three comedies: singles ensemble Weird Loners, Will Forte‘s The Last Man on Earth and animated comedy Bordertown. Other highlights include live specials Jump of the Century, calling for two men to attempt the jump Evel Knievel didn’t make across a 2300-foot canyon, and a three-hour live production of Grease.
The net is going for a bigger slice of year-ender action with Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution (wt). The 2015 countdown, featuring musicians, DJs and celebrity pals of the Miami rapper, is the first live televised special to be announced under the new Endemol LIVE division.

New media initiatives include a studio with over 100 animators working on digital shorts and a partnership for online videos with Andy Samberg‘s The Lonely Island comedy group. Samberg himself was on hand to lend star power and one-liners ("What we lack in boobs we make up for in commercials").

"Fox is redefining the network experience on our air and as a 24/7/365 platform," said Reilly. Added COO Joe Earley, "The new series and specials we’re presenting today feature buzzworthy worlds and characters that we think will be the most talked about, liked, tweeted and shared of the season."

May 14

For not-quite-2-year-old net MundoFox, the talk at Paramount Hotel’s Diamond Horseshoe in Times Square was about momentum. "We are the fastest growing network in Spanish-language television," cheered EVP of ad sales Tom Maney, touting an increased reach of over 2 million households in less than a year. "We’re kicking ass!"

The net is launching two new series, El Mariachi and Quien Mato a Patricia Soler? (starring Mexican actress Itati Cantoral, who accepted a bouquet of flowers onstage), rebranding its national news division and launching VOD platform Vive MundoFox in the fall. "We aim to provide our content across multiple platforms giving viewers access to the content they want anywhere, anytime," said Ibra Morales, net president.

May 12

NBC got the packed house at NYC’s Javitz Center warmed up with Seth Meyers, who griped to the assembled that the event "could just as easily have been covered in a mass email." As for the Olympics, which the net picked up last week through 2032, the Late Night host joked, "Because of global warming, they will all be summer Olympics."

NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt noted that even without Sochi, NBC is still number one in its target A18-49 demo. But "the biggest story for the year"? The Blacklist. Most of the cast was on hand, and James Spader appeared via a taped message, ominously in character. "Today is about the future," he told advertisers, "your future – if you wish to have one." Greenblatt called the hit drama’s February relocation to the Thursday-at-9p linchpin spot "a critical move" to change the course of once-might Thursday night, and announced the post-Super Bowl and February 5 shows will be a two-part arc.

Greenblatt also announced that in addition to live special Peter Pan, NBC will air a live production of The Music Man. "You’re going to hear the word ‘event’ a lot this week," added the exec. "We’re trying to event-ize everything."

Linda Yaccarino, president of ad sales, said NBC has made "critical investments in analytics and technology" that will give advertisers a better return on investment, including a Nielsen study showing how viewers consumed the Winter Olympics.

NBC unveiled its schedule for the 2014-2015 season, and it includes slipping Katherine Heigl CIA drama State Affairs into The Blacklist‘s Monday at 10p slot starting November 17. Blacklist returns with new eps Thursday, February 5 at 9p, after a big Super Bowl push on February 1. The Biggest Loser moves to Thursdays at 8p, replacing a comedy block. Freshman comedies Bad Judge and A to Z fill in the 9p hour.

Parks and Recreation was not on NBC’s sked, but will return for a seventh season – its last. "We have several of our strongest comedies by some of our best auspices being held for midseason, including the final season of Parks and Recreation," said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. Other laughers being held: Mission Control, Mr. Robinson, One Big Happy and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

NBCUniversal Cable Networks
May 15

Housewives, Kardashians, Joan Rivers – NBCUniversal‘s Cable Entertainment Group’s Upfront for Bravo, E!, Esquire, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy and USA at NYC’s Javits Center was hardly short on flash, as the nets gathered for a first-ever joint presentation in front of an audience of 3000. "We’ve never done an upfront event on this scale, but we felt it was the best way – in fact, the only way – to convey the collective strength of the most engaging, focused and creative brands in the business," said chairman Bonnie Hammer.

Among the programs on tap: Syfy previewed six-hour event series Ascension, supernatural thriller Dominion and time travel adventure 12 Monkeys. Esquire presented Car Matchmaker, helping men choose the perfect set of wheels, and cooking competition Knife Fight. Bravo introduced unscripted beauty pageant series Game of Crowns and real-time docu-series 100 Dates, as well as the net’s first scripted series, Girlfriends Guide to Divorce and comedy Odd Mom Out.

Oxygen, headed for a rebrand, showed off a slate featuring "authentic and relatable characters with extraordinary stories." New series include Nail’d It, focused on the nail craze, and gospel artist Deitrick Haddon appeared on behalf of his Fix My Choir.

Jason Isaacs and Anne Heche, stars of upcoming event series Dig, introduced their show, set for a fall premiere on USA. Also coming up on USA: summer dramas Rush, about a renegade doctor, and relationship drama Satisfaction. Complications, about the unexpected consequences of an ER doctor’s actions, is due in 2015.

After the fast-paced peek shows’ sizzle reels, Joel McHale, fresh off the cancellation of NBC’s Community, joked that NBCU was starting a network called Sizzle – then wrapped things up. "I was going to make a joke about every network," he said, "but I need a drink and you do, too."


something INFECTIOUS

#1 show on television

Out-delivered the Sochi Winter Olympics and
Beat ALL of broadcast prime in A18-49

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May 12

NUVOtv made its big announcements at NYC’s Edison Ballroom, including six music and entertainment series and specials, three unscripted dramas, two comedies and live sports specials. With dancers dipping and twirling between every sizzle reel, NuvoTV made it clear it’s a network "on the move." Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lopez she took to the stage to back NuvoTV’s powerful Latino audience. "We are and will continue to be the fastest growing demographic, a loyal audience and a voracious consumer," Lopez told advertisers. "We are the game changers for America’s cultural and economic future."

"We have more than doubled down on our original programming efforts since last year’s Upfront," said Michael Schwimmer, NUVOtv CEO. "Our commitment to the future of NUVOtv is complemented by the purchase of Fuse and we’re excited about what’s ahead for both networks."

Among the offerings are new documentary series Los Jets and reality competition Sensation (wt) from Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions, and Tequila King, featuring a Mexican entrepreneur launching the Casa Mexica brand in the U.S. One-hour special Supersong, coming June 8, follows Ricky Martin as he writes and records the World Cup Anthem, and original comedy specials will feature the likes of Rick Gutierrez, Pablo Francisco, Pete Correale, Jim Breuer, Alonzo Bodden, Sebastian Maniscalco and Jamie Kennedy. Knockout Live Boxing specials launch June 7.

"Based on the very positive response we have been receiving in early meetings with agencies and advertisers," said SVP ad sales Craig Geller, "we expect a very robust market from new and existing advertisers."

TELEMUNDO and mun2
May 14

Telemundo and sister net mun2 unveiled ambitious programming slates at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in NYC, with over 800 original hours across all platforms. Included are five previously announced primetime telenovelas and a music competition, Yo Soy El Artista, promising "hellish days of massive eliminations."

Sports will be big, as the nets become the Spanish-language home of the FIFA World Cup, with over 550 hours across platforms; Telemundo Sports and NBC Sports will join forces for an extensive digital experience. Joe Uva, chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, also announced new brand positioning for mun2, as the home of major sporting events like the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, the FIFA World Cup and the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series.

Kate del Castillo, star of La Reina del Sur, the highest-rated series in net history (4.2 million viewers and 2.8 million A18-49), returns to Telemundo for Duenos del Paraiso (Owners of Paradise).

A partnership with Mashable will put popular video content on all of Telemundo’s online video, on-demand and social platforms.

The event ended on a high note, with a performance by Prince Royce, coach on Telemundo’s La Voz Kids together with Paola, one of the show’s winners.

May 14

Turner unveiled a slew of series in development at TNT and TBS. With the casts of series like Rizzoli and Isles, Falling Skies and Dallas in the audience, execs talked about "Now Media"  not old media or new media, but capitalizing on both.

There was hearty audience response to clips of upcoming TNT dramas, including The Last Ship, Murder in the First and Legends; Public Morals, starring Edward Burns, and Proof, with Jennifer Beals, were especially well received. Reality shows On the Menu, from Mark Burnett, and Wake Up Call, with The Rock, were introduced – then Steve Carell heckled from the audience, urging programming head Michael Wright to get to the comedies over on TBS. Laughers on that lineup included Carell’s procedural spoof Angie Tribeca, workplace comedy Buzzy’s and family comedy Your Family or Mine.

Shows in development at TNT include Anonymous, about an ex-Special Ops soldier who goes off the grid; supernatural drama Breed and crime drama Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct, from Donnie Walhberg.

TBS is going for laughs with its development slate, including Good Bread, about a tough real estate developer partnered with an idealist, and odd couple comedy Jake & Amir, both with Ed Helms (The Office) on the producer list. Another Office alum, John Krasinski, is behind comedy Jackass of All Trades.

May 13

At its May 13 Stage 37 bash in Gotham, Univision offered advertisers "the transmedia solutions to engage deeply with Hispanic consumers," said CEO Randy Falco. The net announced new entertainment, sports and news programming across platforms.

Upcoming programming includes four telenovelas brimming with star-crossed lovers and disapproving families; documentaries This Is Not a Ball, exploring the meaning of the soccer ball, Who Is Dayani Cristal?, focused on the U.S. war on immigration, Marmato, about a historic mining town and Narco Tek, looking at the drug trafficking business.

Unimas, a network developed for Millennials, introduced five weekday dramas: Senorita Polvora (Miss Gunpowder), La Fiesta del Chovo (The Feast of the Goat), En la Boca del Lobo (At the Devil’s Table) and De-Mente Criminal (Demented Criminal).

Galavision Network promised culturally relevant content, like drama series Los Heroes del Norte 3 (Heroes of the North) and Mistico e Inexplicable 3 (Mystical and Unexplainable). Sports net Univision Deportes announced Copa America Centario, a special edition of the tournament that will be played in the U.S. for the first time, and biannual soccer event Copa Oro 2015.

Simon Cowell was on hand to announce the talent show he’s launching on the net in 2015. La Banda will scour Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico to find members of a boy band; winners land a contract with Sony Music Latin and Syco Music. "There was only one destination, and that was Univision," Cowell told advertisers.

The message from Univision to advertisers: "You won’t sell your stuff if you don’t speak the language," said EVP ad sales Steve Mandala.

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey

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