Thursday, March 13th, 2008


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Good Morning.  It’s Thursday, March 13, 2008, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Tonight’s Premieres:
Fox Reality Channel: American Idol Extra at 7p
truTV: The Smoking Gun Presents: The World’s Dumbest Criminals at 9p
VH1: Celebrity Fit Club at 9p


ABC ordered 10 one-hour episodes of the game show Duel from BermanBraun scheduled for Friday nights starting April 4. Hosted by ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, ABC originally aired six episodes of Duel during the December holidays, and for this new run the network indicated it has made some format changes to upgrade the show. 

Crown Media Holdings, Inc., owner and operator of Hallmark Channel, says it is no longer on the auction block, according to Multichannel News, despite looking more attractive in recent months because of stronger financial results, ratings growth in first quarter 2008 and the renewals of major carriage agreements. In August 2005, Crown Media began looking for a potential buyer then backed off the following year, after no buyer came forward due to the estimated $2 billion price tag and the multiple 2007 expiration date on carriage deals representing 60% of the base distribution. 

Spike TV goes undercover with federal agents during drug raids in its new original series titled DEA which debuts April 2 at 11p. The series is created and executive produced by Al Roker and his company Al Roker Entertainment Inc. and Size 12 Productions.

In the new Oxygen comedy-romance reality series, Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love viewers will experience the lifestyle of sports star Deion Sanders, wife Pilar and their five kids on their deluxe ranch in a small Texas town outside of Dallas. The series starts April 15 at 1030p and the eight 30m episodes are produced by Tolbooth TV and Sokolobl Entertainment.

A&E’s third season premiere of Gene Simmons Family Jewels with two 30m episodes airing back-to-back (10p and 1030p), drew in an average of 1.4 million A18-49 and 1.4 million A25-54 viewers as well as 2 million total viewers for the hour.

ReelzChannel acquired the animated comedy series The Critic featuring the voice of actor/comedian Jon Lovitz. The network opens the series with an eight-hour marathon March 16 at 2p followed by its weekly time period premiere on March 17 at 630p with encore airings at 830p and 1130p. ReelzChannel also launches this week on Time Warner Cable in metropolitan New York City.

UPFRONT UPDATE: Comedy Central

Comedy Central offers a multi-faceted slate of projects in development from short-form and sketch/variety to animation and scripted narrative. One series has been greenlit and it debuts first quarter 2009:

  • Krod Mandoon and The Flaming Sword of Fire – reluctant knight living in the medieval period is the only hope against the evil Dongalor.

Comedy Central has several pilots/presentations in the works (all titles are working titles):

  • Untitled Snoop Dogg Animated Project – 30m animated comedy depicting Snoop Dogg as a 15-year old growing up during the 1980s in Long Beach, CA.
  • Untitled Andy Richter Sketch Show – sketch show starring Andy Richter.
  • America’s Biggest Idiot – weekly series hosted by Daniel Tosh where three guys compete against each other in a series of zany physical challenges to see who will take the most punishment.
  • David Alan Grier’s Chocolate News – fake magazine show hosted by David Alan Grier focused on urban pop culture topics.
  • Gay Robot – animated, scripted series with two 11-minute stories per episode about a gay robot voiced by Nick Swardson and his three friends living together after college. Produced by Happy Madison and Sony TV.
  • The Scariest Show on Television – anthology series of hilarious scary stories and morality tales hosted Julius Darkshaft, played by Paul F. Tompkins.
  • Search and Destroy – scavenger hunt consisting of two teams of comedians in New York City running through a series of challenges hosted by radio duo Opie & Anthony.
  • Speed Freaks – scripted show about two small town losers who are being chased by a redneck mafia hit-man after they blow up a meth lab.

Other Comedy Central projects that are in script form or in development on paper include (all titles listed are working titles):

  • Untitled Bobby Lee Project – narrative comedy starring Bobby Lee about living in a multicultural world.
  • Gypsy Cab – animated series with two 11-minute stories per episode about the life of a rundown Gypsy Cab and his passengers who will be a different stand-up comedian.
  • Michael and Michael Have Issues – sketch comedy from comedians Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter who have problems with each other, themselves and the world.
  • Reality Bites – Comedy Central’s spoof on the reality genre where ten comedians compete to be the ultimate reality television star. Executive produced by 3 Ball Productions.

The network also has three specials planned:

  • John Oliver: Terrifying Times on April 20 at 10p;
  • Carlos Mencia: Performance Enhanced on May 18 at 10p; and
  • Untitled Brian Regan Stand-up Special set for third quarter.


Didn’t get enough Idol last night?
Get the Whole Idol Story
The Fox Reality Channel Original American Idol Extra delivers the inside scoop straight from the Idol studios
TONIGHT at 7p & 10p ET/PT

  • Host JD Roberto has the very first interview with the eliminated contestant
  • Go behind the scenes with co-hosts and Idol alums Constantine and Gina
  • Exclusive performances by past contestants Melinda Doolittle & William Hung

Only on Fox Reality Channel – the all reality, all the time cable & satellite network


John Rich, singer/songwriter/producer and half of the musical duo Big & Rich was tapped to be the first judge/mentor for the sixth installment of Nashville Star which premieres June 9 at 930p on NBC. The show will also get a boost this season from a joint venture between AEG Live, Warner Bros. Records and Reveille as Warner Bros. has pledged to support artist development and the recording and releasing of songs from the winner and other show contestants, while AEG Live will promote a future Nashville Star nationwide concert tour. Nashville Star was created by Reveille and is produced by 495 Productions.

The CW has a new project in development – one that may sound a little familiar to most viewers – a remake of the 1990s drama serial Beverly Hills 90210.  CBS Paramount Network TV is producing the project, which was originally produced by Spelling TV.  According to THR, on board to write the updated version is Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas.

NBC has a new project on board – I Can Do That from BermanBraun and Original Prods, a competition series wherein contestants travel the country competing in various acts of strength and stamina. 


CYNOPSIS DIGITAL – TODAY’S TOP STORY:    In an effort to maximize ad revenue, YouTube is spreading its wings from a video publisher to a full-fledged video services company. The UGC site released a new group of free APIs and developer tools that will enable third party publishers to offer YouTube services directly to their users. Publishers can upload a customizable player with community features that will publish videos to YouTube directly from their sites. In exchange they agree to allow only YouTube to serve ads through the video. Some developers are already taking the Google subsidiary up on its offer. Electronic Arts will use the APIs to integrate UGC into its new Spore game. Animoto music video mash up creators can publish their creations to YouTube with a single click. Users of white label social media application provider KickApps will be offered a YouTube integration tool as well.    Full edition: CYN DIGITAL. (Or to listen to the Cynopsis Digital Podcast click here or subscribe to it at iTunes here .)

RECORD BREAKING – Most fashions only last a season. Our pants never go out of style.

CYNOPSIS KIDS – TODAY’S TOP STORY: There are seven Harry Potter books, but there will be eight Harry Potter movies, per the LA Times.  This confirms the unending rumors that Warner Bros. would produce the seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling’s HP series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in a two-part movie, with the first set for release November 2010 followed by part two in May 2011.  Titled Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part I and then Part II, both will be directed by David Yates (he helmed Half-Blood Prince), with screenwriter Steve Kloves also returning.  Both Yates and actor Daniel Radcliffe insist in the article that the two-part movie finale is creative one and will prevent the omissions that would have been necessary to adapt the book as a single picture.  Though the two note many will see the move as a way for the studio to extend the franchise for another movie and another year.  Full edition: CYN KIDS.

CYNOPSIS INTERNATIONAL – TODAY’S TOP STORYRumors are swirling around that Sony Pictures Television International is the buyer alluded to in yesterday’s news that advanced negotiations were taking place for an acquisition of the Netherlands’ 2wayTraffic.  Per C21, the deal is imminent with SPTI buying a 75% stake and a private investor investing in 25%.  Full edition: CYN INTERNATIONAL


Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 2/25-3/2/08 ranked by HH Rtg
Wheel of Fortune (CTD)                                    8.3 AA
Jeopardy (CTD)                                               6.7 AA
Oprah Winfrey Show (CTD)                                6.1 AA / 6.2 GAA
Two and a Half Men (WB)                                  5.6 AA / 7.4 GAA
Judge Judy (CTD)                                             5.2 AA / 8.2 GAA
Dr. Phil Show (CTD)                                         4.9 AA / 5.0 GAA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD)                             4.7 AA / 4.8 GAA
Family Guy (2/T)                                             4.6 AA / 5.3 GAA
Seinfeld (SPT)                                                4.3 AA / 4.9 GAA
Everybody Loves Raymond (CTD)                       4.0 AA / 4.7 GAA
Source Nielsen Media Research – Live + SD Data

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 2/25-3/2/08 ranked by A18-49 Rtg
Two and a Half Men (WB)                                3.3 AA / 4.3 GAA
Family Guy (2/T)                                            3.1 AA / 3.6 GAA
Seinfeld (SPT)                                                2.5 AA / 2.8 GAA
Everybody Loves Raymond (CTD)                      2.3 AA / 2.7 GAA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD)                                  2.2 AA
Oprah Winfrey Show (CTD)                             2.2 AA / 2.3 GAA
King of Queens (SPT)                                     2.0 AA / 2.6 GAA
Friends (WB)                                                 1.9 AA / 2.2 GAA
Jeopardy (CTD)                                             1.8 AA
Dr. Phil Show (CTD)                                       1.7 AA / 1.7 GAA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD)                          1.7 AA / 1.8 GAA
Judge Judy (CTD)                                          1.7 AA / 2.6 GAA
Source Nielsen Media Research – Live + SD Data

Tuesday – A18-49 Analysis:  FOX towered above the competition Tuesday night with 10.8/28 A18-49, according to primetime preliminary fast national data from Nielsen Media Research. American Idol on FOX was a stand out the first two hours as it delivered a 9.9/28 at 8p and an even higher 11.6/28 during 9p. The CW’s Beauty and the Geek returned during 8p with a sixth place 0.9/2. Then at 10p, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU encore won with 3.0/8. 

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 time period averages. Source: Nielsen Media Research, Live+SD.

FOX: 16.7/26        American Idol 16.7/26

NBC: 5.4/9            The Biggest Loser 5 5.0/8, Law & Order: SVU [r] 6.4/11

CBS: 4.5/7             NCIS [r] 5.8/9, Big Brother 9 3.9/6, Jericho 3.8/6

ABC: 3.8/6              Just For Laughs 3.2/5, Just For Laughs [r] 3.0/5, According to Jim 3.2/5, According to Jim [r] 3.1/5, Primetime: What Would You Do? 5.1/8

UNIV: 1.8/3           Al Diablo con los Guapos 2.3/4, Pasion 1.8/3, Aqui y Ahora 1.5/3

CW: 1.6/2             Beauty and the Geek [p] 1.3/2, One Tree Hill 1.8/3

TELE: 0.7/1           La Traicion 0.6/1, Victoria 0.9/1, Pecados Ajenos 0.7/1

A18-49: FOX 10.8/28, NBC 3.0/8, ABC 1.8/5, CBS 1.8/5, UNIV 1.6/4, CW 1.0/2, TELE 0.4/1


Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. added Louis Gutierrez as SVP/Human Resources to supervise the HR staff and HR activity in support of TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, truTV, Peachtree TV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, GameTap and Super Deluxe. He will also cover other areas such as the technology and strategy and operations division, Turner Sports, Turner Ad Sales and Marketing and Sales Operations. Based in Atlanta, Louis will report to Loretta Y. Walker, SVP/Chief Human Resources Officer, TBS, Inc.

Deborah Adler Myers was tapped by Discovery Emerging Networks to lead the development, production and programming divisions for Science Channel, Investigation Discovery and Military Channel as SVP/ Programming. Deborah, who will report to Clark Bunting, President, Discovery Emerging Networks, is also responsible for commissioning and creating new series and specials for all three networks as well as working to find top scientists, experts and personalities to appear in shows.

Colin McLaughlin joined Classic Media, an Entertainment Rights group company, as Licensing Manager, starting immediately. Colin will be responsible for strengthening partnerships in North America with specific licensees and retailers on behalf of the company’s portfolio of children’s and family properties including Casper the Friendly Ghost, George of the Jungle among other brands. He will be located at the company’s New York headquarters and will report to Karyn Schneider, VP/Licensing.

Fox Entertainment Group recruited Beth-Ann Eason as GM/COO of, the multi-faith online community that was purchased last December by Fox Digital Media. Beth-Ann will lead in sales, marketing and technology strategies and joins from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia where she served as SVP in charge of online sales and business operations and helped with the re-launch of She will report to Dan Fawcett, President, Fox Digital Media.

Mandalay Media, Inc. appointed Bruce Stein to the position of CEO, coming most recently from The Hatchery, LLC where he served as Founder/Co-CEO. Bruce was involved in Mandalay Media’s recent acquisition of Twistbox Entertainment, Inc. a mobile content and casual game distribution company.



Ed Hersh, Chief Creative Officer of the programming/production consultancy StoryCentric,
and veteran of Court TV, A&E and ABC News,
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Click here to read Hersh’s guide to CableU … FREE! Learn how to master the best tools in the trade.

Programmers and Producers: U Need CableU! – Know Networks Better. Pitch Smarter.

This day in History:  1970 – An edition of Life magazine featured an extremely popular cover.  The lead story, “The Great Hemline Hassle,” pictured the current fashion battle over long vs. mini skirts.

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:  We all know that Roy Rogers had a horse named Trigger but what did Roy’s sweetheart, Dale Evans, call her horse?  BUTTERMILK     Kudos to:  Nancy Chiller Janow/South Orange, NJ; Evan Kutner-WNBC/NY; Linda Lieberman-IMG Media/NY; Bruce Shachat-NBC/NY; Michelle Thomas Nouvel-McCormick Distilling/Plano, TX; Steve A. Womack-SAW-PRO/Franklin, TN; Kristin Staskowski-Marketron Broadcast Solutions/AL; Ed Worthington-Worthington Productions/Horseshoe Bend, AR; David S. Hauptman-Continental Television Sales/Denver; Paul Blutter/Northridge, CA; Gail Moore-Kalt Products/LA; Richard London-RML Media/LA; Jack Krayson-SCTV/Toronto; Amanda Gordon-Allan King Films Ltd./Toronto

Today’s Trivia Question:  Morticia’s Addams had a man-eating plant on the TV series The Addams Family. What did she call this plant?    (
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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Cynopsis website – Video Resumes, Extended Classified Ads, Archives, and the Cynopsis Daily Video

CableU – Know Networks Better. Pitch Smarter. Click here


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Cynopsis CLASSIFIEDSFor More classifieds, visit the classifieds page here

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JOB OPENING: PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS MANAGER/VERSUS/PHILADELPHIA: Position will assist in strategic planning of the network and negotiations of program acquisition. Read more and apply (Req # 60729) at   (3/20)

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JOB OPENING:  AFFILIATES MARKETING MGR/PHILA.: Work with Director, Consumer & Affiliate Marketing & Comcast Corporate to drive affiliate distribution & build value for Versus. (3/15)

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SITUATION WANTED ADS, POSTED BY THOSE LOOKING TO BE HIRED … Interested in posting your Video Resume?  Contact
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Are you looking for a job? Post your Situation Wanted Ad here — Email
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WHAT’S ON TONIGHT – Thursday, March 13, 2008

ABC: Lost [r], Lost, Eli Stone
CBS: Survivor: Micronesia-Fans vs. Faves, CSI [r], Without a Trace [r]
CW: Smallville, Reaper 
FOX: Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, Don’t Forget the Lyrics!
ION: Mama’s Family, Mama’s Family, Drew Carey Show, Drew Carey Show, Baywatch
MNT: Movie: The Crow
NBC: My Name is Earl [r], My Name is Earl [r], Celebrity Apprentice, Lipstick Jungle
PBS: This Old House Hour, Antiques Roadshow [r]
TELE: La Traicion, Victoria, Pecados Ajenos
UNIV: Al Diablo con los Guapos, Amas de Casa Desesperadas

All outgoing e-mails are scanned and sent out virus free.  Copyright Cynopsis 2008

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