Skip a newsletter last week? “In Case You Missed It” rounds up the top stories in each of our three daily editions, so you can be up on the latest news, Cynopsis-style, in the worlds of linear, digital, sports and kids television. Enjoy!
E! confirmed the launch of a “ground-breaking, authentic” reality series following former Olympian Bruce Jenner’s life as a transgender woman. “This series will present an unfiltered look as Bruce boldly steps into uncharted territory and is true to himself for the first time,” said Jeff Olde, EVP, programming and development. Eight-parter premieres Sunday, July 26 at 9p.
Any doubts about public interest in Jenner’s transition were vanquished when Nielsen ratings came in for ABC’s 20/20: Bruce Jenner – The Interview. The two-hour special was Friday’s top show in total viewers (16.9 million and A18-49 (5.2/17), and the biggest Friday non-sports telecast since 2003 in young adults.
All in the Family: Damien, TV sequel to the 1976 horror movie, is moving from Lifetime, where it had a straight-to-series order, to sister net A&E. The move comes after EVP and GM of the nets Rob Sharenow added A&E to his purview in February. “A&E’s unwavering commitment to high quality original scripted drama programming, coupled with the sizable fan base for our hit series Bates Motel, which so perfectly aligns with Damien, make the network the ideal fit,” said the aptly named exec. The order for Damien, produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, was upped from six to ten episodes.
In a flashing neon sign of industry disruption, YouTube is partnering with, aka investing more dollars in, some of its most popular creators—including the Fine Brothers, Joey Graceffa, Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla of Smosh, and Jesse Wellens and Jeana Smith from Prank vs. Prank–to create new series. The company is also working with AwesomenessTV to develop full-length films to air on their YT channels. The Smosh team is working on a series featuring themselves working at a theme restaurant. The Fine Brothers are penning a series that satirizes singing competition shows, and Graceffa is developing a murder-mystery reality show (yes. Murder. Mystery. Reality. You read that right). The AwesomenessTV partnership will yield full-length films starring YT celebs. The first movie is slated for release this fall; all movies will all debut on YT and then make their way to other platforms. “We believe that feature-length content can thrive on YouTube and know that many of our top creators are eager to explore long form storytelling,” said Kelly Merryman, YouTube VP, content partnerships.
Hulu is raising its profile. That was the message at Wednesday’s Newfront, where the online video service announced two big new deals—landing exclusive SVOD rights to all 180 Seinfeld episodes (in a deal valued around $850,000 per episode), and signing a multiyear deal for all new and upcoming AMC Networks primetime scripted series on AMC, IFC, BBC America, SundanceTV and WE tv—a new slate of originals, and subscriber growth of 50 percent to nearly 9 million from last year. Beginning in June, every episode of Seinfeld will be available for Hulu subscribers to stream via a deal with Sony Pictures Television. The AMC deal brings series including Walking Dead companion Fear The Walking Dead to Hulu. The company also touted its new deal with Cablevision, which we reported yesterday. What you need to know:
* Within the first 90 days of 2015, total streams have increased by 77 percent and viewers have streamed more than 700 million hours of premium content on Hulu. On average, each Hulu viewer is watching at least 30 percent more content.
* For advertisers, Hulu introduced the custom integrated commercial, for which it will create custom 30-second spots that integrate the values of a marketer’s brand with the values of the Hulu brand for a shared brand story. The company also will roll out programmatic ad buying during the next several years.
The PGA TOUR is going OTT. The organization is launching PGA TOUR Live, a digital Over-The-Top subscription service that will give fans live Thursday and Friday morning coverage of more than 30 PGA TOUR events per season. The PGA TOUR and MLB Advanced Media struck a multi-year deal to develop, produce, and distribute the OTT service to golf fans in North America and other key markets around the world. The service launches this summer and will feature exclusive Thursday and Friday coverage of two morning-featured groups leading up to the afternoon Golf Channel broadcast.
“PGA TOUR LIVE is an important development for golf fans, as it will bring live action to the devices they use most, while building great momentum and viewership for the ensuing broadcast coverage each weekday afternoon and into the weekend,” said Tim Finchem, Commissioner of the PGA TOUR. “Working with MLBAM was a natural fit, as it was a top priority to find a partner to meet the challenge of delivering the digital hybrid our fans want most – a live HD broadcast with world-class technology distribution.”
ESPN threw down the hammer in response to Verizon’s new Custom TV bundles for FiOS customers, which features packages offering ESPN as part of its add-on Sports package. ESPN has now filed a lawsuit in New York State Court, alleging breach of contract with Verizon and is looking to enforce contractual obligations, according to a court filing,
“ESPN is at the forefront of embracing innovative ways to deliver high-quality content and value to consumers on multiple platforms, but that must be done in compliance with our agreements. We simply ask that Verizon abide by the terms of our contracts,” ESPN said in a statement.
Maker Studios is peppering its slate of new original programming with plenty of picks for young viewers. The studio, owned by the Walt Disney Company, is also working with Disney sibling Marvel to develop original digital content. Among the new programming unveiled at this week’s Maker Newfront:
* Maker Tales: Classic kids stories including Pinocchio, Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood are reimagined as music videos by Maker talent including Tessa Violet, Iman Crosson, Dodger and Timothy DeLaGhett.
* Nursery Rhyme Mashups: A sing-along series that combines classic nursery rhymes with modern musical genres.
* Polaris Animated Universe: Big names in online gaming and animation collide in this anthology series bringing mash-ups, parodies and fan-favorite moments to life from popular “Let’s Play” series and podcasts.
* Toddler Tonight: From the creators of “Convos with my 2-year-old,” this new comedy gives Entertainment Tonight, TMZ and Fashion Police the toddler treatment by putting a paparazzi lens on kids just doing their thing while adults provide comedic, color commentary along the way.
* Toy Detective: Live-action mystery adventure follows unboxing star EvanTube as he solves mysteries for toys with the help of sister Jillian and other YouTube friends. The EvanTubeHD Detective Agency quickly gets in over its head, falling victim to hijinks on their quest to solve crimes.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will step up to the frontline to host Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Sports 2015. The event returns for its second year airing live from UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on Thursday, July 16, 8-9:30p. “What an honor to be the king of slime for one crazy night! I’m just a big kid at heart, so let the fun begin,” Wilson said. Verizon is onboard as presenting sponsor; associate sponsors include Nationwide and Popsicle. Kids’ Choice Sports 2015 is produced by Done and Dusted, in association with Nickelodeon Productions. Jay Schmalholz and Shelly Sumpter Gillyard are executive producers.