Thursday, March 19th, 2009



Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 19, 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. 

Tonight’s Premieres:
MTV: Taking the Stage at 10p

Actress Natasha Richardson, 45, passed away after suffering a head injury from a ski accident.  The news was made public by a publicist for Richardson’s husband, Liam Neeson.  The statement did not expound on the cause of her death.  Richardson is the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave, and the sister of actress Joely Richardson.  She won a Tony for her portrayal of performer Sally Bowles in Broadway’s 1998 revival of Cabaret, and one of her most notable films was in the title role of the 1988 biopic Patty Hearst.  More recent films include Blow Dry, Main in Manhattan, Evening and most recently as Mrs. Kingsley in the film Wild Child with Aidan Quinn and Emma Roberts. 


CBS Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television made a multi-year broadcast deal involving the comedy series Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. The agreement renews Two and a Half Men through the 2011-2012 season and The Big Bang Theory through the 2010-2011 season. Two and a Half Men, currently in its sixth season is averaging a 5.1/11 rating/share among A18-49 (+13%), as well as 15.09 million viewers (+14%). The Big Bang Theory in its second season is averaging a 3.7/10 rating/share with A18-49 (+12%) and 10.05 million viewers (+20%). 

Jersey Girls and all their affluent glory and posh lifestyles will be revealed in the new Bravo series, The Real Housewives of New Jersey premiering May 12 at 11p. The following week on May 19, the series will move to its regular time slot of Tuesdays at 10p. Fans can get a glimpse of the new series on April 7 at 11p, when Bravo airs The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Preview Special. The Real Housewives of New Jersey is produced by Sirens Media for Bravo and executive producers include Rebecca Toth Diefenbach, Valerie Haselton and Nina Diaz.

On television for more than 40 years, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom series opens a seventh season on Animal Planet April 5 at 7p. The series continues with new episodes each Sunday night for six consecutive weeks, bringing top scientists and animal experts together showing off amazing landscapes and the challenges of the animal kingdom. JWM Productions produces the series for Animal Planet.

UPFRONT 2009: WE tv

For the 2009-2010 season, WE tv offers several new original series targeting W18-49 along with an updated network tagline “Simply Fascinating.” The network pinpoints three programming genres: WE Go Bridal, with wedding-themed programming; WE Reveal, chronicling the lives of intriguing women; and WE Transform, real-life stories of change involving experts.

For the next season, WE tv serves up one new series in the WE Go Bridal category:

  • Jilted – Wannabe brides give their boyfriends the ultimatum to marry now or never and viewers will watch to see if they get married or jilted. Six one-hour episodes premiere 2010.

In the WE Reveal category, the network unveils three new series:

  • Raising Sextuplets – The series follows Jennifer and Brian Masche, parents of sextuplets as each child develops their own personality. Six one-hour episodes open this June.
  • Most Popular – Graham Norton hosts a new game show featuring an all-female jury judging seven contestants with one ultimately named “Most Popular.” Six one-hour episodes debut this August.
  • Platinum Babies – Upscale parents spare no expense for their precious babies. Six half-hour episodes premiere this November.

Under the WE Transform banner, the network reveals three more new series:

  • I Want to Save Your Life – Charles Stuart Platkin, nutritionist and public health advocate dedicates his life to help people lose weight by working with the participant’s friends, family and co-workers. Eight half-hour episodes premiere April 25 at 10p.
  • Adoption Diaries – Series documents individual stories focused on the American adoption process. Five half-hour episodes open this September.
  • You’re Wearing That – Mothers and daughters participate in a make-over series working with fashion experts to not only update each other’s look but their relationship in the process. Ten half-hour episodes will premiere in 2010.

UPFRONT 2009: DIY Network

Despite the slump in the national housing market, DIY Network is counting on more Americans tackling home improvement projects with the help of their network. DIY Network, now available to 50 million subscribers, announced a blueprint of new series for its 2009 programming lineup:

  • BATHtastic! – Expert host/project manager and designer, Matt Muenster shows viewers how to upgrade bathrooms, big or small, in a few days. Premieres April 3 at 9p and airs Fridays at 9p. Season two premieres July 3 at 9p and continues airing on Fridays at 9p.
  • Kitchen Impossible – Expert host/carpenter and electrician, Marc Bartolomeo works with homeowners to achieve their dream kitchens. Season one premiered March 4 and the program airs Wednesdays at 9p. Season two will premiere Q4 2009.
  • King of Dirt – Expert host/landscape contractor, Gino Panaro is considered one of America’s best landscape contractors. This Brooklyn-born guy and his brother Ralph manually create high-end landscapes and hardscapes, giving homeowners ideas for their own outdoor space. Premieres April 6 at 930p and airs Mondays at 930p.
  • 10 Grand in Your Hand – Expert host/licensed contractor, John DeSilvia demonstrates to real homeowners how to slice up to $10,000 out of their renovation and remodeling projects by doing some of the basic work themselves. The series offers advice and how-tos. Premieres April 15 at 930p and airs Wednesdays at 930p.
  • Garage Mahal – Expert host/licensed contractor, Brian Corsetti makes over garages into deluxe spaces such as turning one into a drive-in movie theater to a Las Vegas-style casino. Premieres May 5 at 930p and airs Tuesdays at 930p.
  • Disaster House (formerly Crash Test House) – Expert host/contractor, Josh Temple builds a house each week then wrecks it using trees to simulated hail storms all in an effort to show what it takes to repair damage from major accidents or storms. Premieres Q4 2009.
  • House Crashers – Expert host/contractor, Josh Temple and his home improvement crew surprises homeowners while shopping at home improvement stores and follows them home to take on a major room transformation project. Premieres Q4 2009.
  • Wreck and Roll – Demolition experts take down buildings or structures from start to finish all with the clock ticking. Premieres Q3 2009.
  • Operation Salvage – Expert host, Matt White and his family, owners of a salvage business, tear down abandoned structures looking for unusual, vintage objects such as Victorian mantles, tiles, doors, to claw-foot bathtubs. Premieres June 2009.

American Express Publishing, CNN and Time Inc. are collaborating on a new multi-platform series launching this month called Travel + Leisure “Weekend Getaways” sponsored exclusively by automaker Infiniti. The series, created by the editors of Travel + Leisure, will feature itineraries from major US cities and will include what to see and do and where to eat and stay during a short visit. The multi-platform series includes:

  • A three-part booklet appearing in the April, July and October issues of Travel + Leisure as well as select copies of other American Express Publishing titles such as Food & Wine and Departures in addition to select Time Inc. titles such as Time Style & Design, Fortune and Money.
  • Beginning this Saturday, CNN, HLN and CNN Airport Network will air Weekend Getaway segments, highlighting inns, restaurants, art, entertainment, shopping and more across the country. In addition, Travel + Leisure editors will appear weekly on the networks offering expert advice through September 2009.
  • Weekend Getaways will be available online via a special microsite at as well as a dedicated page at Additionally, the Travel Companion special report will be available on wireless devices at

MIP TV Program Call: If your company will be attending and showcasing programming at MIP TV 2009 in Cannes, France, at the end of next month, Cynopsis will send out a special MIP TV 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, your terms (barter, cash, etc.) and names and contact info of those attending from your company. If your company is interested in being included in this free guide, please send the details to
by Friday, March 20, 2009.


Optomen Productions (USA) started production on season two of Samantha Brown’s Great Weekends for the Travel Channel. The new season debuts May 9 and features ever-intrepid host Samantha Brown, Travel Channel’s most recognizable personality. Throughout 20 30m episodes, Samantha will immerse herself into each weekend-long experience from ice camping in Minnesota to hob-nobbing with celebrities at the Sundance film festival. In addition, Optomen will produce 10 webisodes based on the series featuring behind the scenes footage and Samantha’s stylist Christina Burns.

Reality television production company 495 Productions announced it renewed its non-exclusive, three series commitment agreement with MTV. The company already produces the A Shot at Love franchise.

Pilot Casting News, per THR:

  • ABC gained Freddie Prinze Jr. for its comedy pilot No Heroics about four B-list superheroes living among us. Prinze joins Paul Campbell, Eliza Coupe and Arielle Kebbel in the ABC Studios’ project, playing Bradley aka Ultimatum, an A-list cocky, ambitious Alpha male with lots of women, fame and money.
  • Sherry Stringfield (ER) landed a co-starring role on the CBS drama pilot Back from CBS Paramount. Stringfield will star opposite Skeet Ulrich who plays Richard a guy who returns home after disappearing in the 9/11 attacks. Stringfield will play Richard’s former wife, who after a grieving period, has moved on and is remarried.

NBC is launching The Sing Off, described as the first completely a cappella singing competition series. The network has not specified when the eight-episode series will premiere, though it will likely open this summer or next fall when FOX’s American Idol is on hiatus. The winner of The Sing Off will receive a Sony Music recording contract. Judges and host are also to be determined. Producing The Sing Off are Joel Gallen, Outlaw Productions and Sony Pictures Television.


CYNOPSIS DIGITAL – TODAY’S TOP STORY:  Software giant IBM is in talks to acquire Sun Microsystems in blockbuster deal valued at nearly $7 billion, reports The NYTimes. Sun, which counts General Electric and GM Corp. among its customers, would strengthen IBM’s top mover status in the computer server business – a market that topped $50 billion last year globally. IBM had a 31.4% share of the market last year; H-P was second with 29.5%, Dell was third with 11.6% and Sun ranked fourth, at 10.6%, according to the research firm IDC.  Full edition: CYN DIGITAL.

CYNOPSIS KIDS – TODAY’S TOP STORY:  Ellen DeGeneres takes on a mother of a role  as she signs on to play Mother Nature in a new comedy produced by Walden Media.  Based on an original concept, DeGeneres’ Mother Nature returns to earth for the first time since the planet’s creation.  The movie is being penned by Jenny Bicks.  The movie is on the fast track with the goal of production taking place this summer in LA during DeGeneres’ hiatus from her talk show.    Full edition: CYN KIDS.


Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 3/2-3/8/09 ranked by HH Rtg
Wheel of Fortune (CTD)                                   7.7 AA
Jeopardy (CTD)                                               6.5 AA
Oprah Winfrey Show (CTD)                              5.4 AA / 5.5 GAA
Two and a Half Men (WB)                                 5.1 AA / 6.8 GAA
Judge Judy (CTD)                                            4.6 AA / 7.1 GAA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD)                            4.5 AA / 4.5 GAA
Family Guy (2/T)                                             4.1 AA / 4.9 GAA
Seinfeld (SPT)                                                 3.8 AA / 4.4 GAA
Dr. Phil Show (CTD)                                         3.6 AA / 3.6 GAA
Everybody Loves Raymond (CTD)                     3.1 AA / 4.2 GAA
Inside Edition (CTD)                                        3.1 AA / 3.1 GAA
Source: NSS Galaxy Explorer, Live+SD

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of 3/2-3/8/09 ranked by A18-49 Rtg
Family Guy (2/T)                                            3.0 AA / 3.5 GAA
Two and a Half Men (WB)                                2.6 AA / 3.4 GAA
Seinfeld (SPT)                                                2.5 AA / 2.9 GAA
Wheel of Fortune (CTD)                                  1.9 AA
Oprah Winfrey Show (CTD)                             1.9 AA / 1.9 GAA
Jeopardy (CTD)                                              1.8 AA
Friends (WB)                                                  1.8 AA / 2.1 GAA
Everybody Loves Raymond (CTD)                    1.8 AA / 2.4 GAA
Entertainment Tonight (CTD)                           1.6 AA / 1.7 GAA
King of the Hill (2/T)                                       1.6 AA / 1.8 GAA
King of Queens (SPT)                                      1.6 AA / 2.0 GAA
Source: NSS Galaxy Explorer, Live+SD

Fast National Broadcast Ratings data has been delayed by 24 hours — we’ll make up for it tomorrow.


Chris Rohrs will end his decade-long stint as President of the Television Bureau of Advertising at the end of this year. Chris became president in January 2000, following a 20-year career with Post-Newsweek Stations. TVB Board President Frank Comerford said a search committee has been formed to identify prospective candidates as a successor to Chris.

Dana Archer joined DDA Public Relations as VP/Corporate Publicity as part of the company’s expansion at its Los Angeles office. Dana’s appointment is effective immediately and she will solicit film, television, home entertainment and corporate clients in addition to helping existing clients further their reach into North America. Dana, who previously worked for public relations firm Weber Shandwick, will report directly to DDA’s board.

Stephanie Lydecker was promoted to Head/Development with 495 Productions. During her career, Stephanie has produced such shows as Temptation Island, The Bachelor among many others and has hosted several shows including NBC’s Home Delivery, HGTV’s Decorating Cents, A&E’s Makeover Mamas among others.

Independent international distributor Echo Bridge Entertainment appointed Melissa Caron to the new position of VP/International Sales, Europe. Melissa will begin her new role later this month at MIP-TV and her duties will include supervising programming sales across all platforms throughout Europe and especially Spain, France, French-speaking Belgium and Portugal. Melissa will report to Dan March, EVP.

Faction Media tapped Kurt Greves for its senior management team as Partner. Previously, Kurt served as VP at both Rainbow Networks and at Comedy Central in addition to managing the sales team for Cox Media in Phoenix.

Michelle Strong was hired by Lifetime Networks as VP/National Accounts, effective immediately. Michelle will head the company’s Eastern Region national accounts for cable, satellite and telco distributors and will be involved with carriage agreement negotiations and distribution of Lifetime’s channels and services. Michelle is based in New York and reports to Steven Carcano, SVP/National Accounts.

USA Network advanced Jeff Wachtel to President/Original Programming where he will continue to supervise original programming covering scripted series, reality/alternative, longform and limited series. Jeff will also continue to co-head original content with Universal Cable Productions. He reports to Bonnie Hammer, President, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions.


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This day in History: 1954 – Viewers saw the first televised prize fight was shown in color when Joey Giardello knocked out Willie Tory in round seven at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:    What husband and wife team were the subjects of interviews on the very first installment of Entertainment Tonight (in 1981)? BURT REYNOLDS and LONNIE ANDERSON  Kudos to: RT Harris-FOX49/Tallahassee; Glenn Gurgiolo-Comstar Media/Arlington, TX

Today’s Trivia Question:  On The Cosby Show, what is Cockroach’s real name?  (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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Cyn opsis CLASSIFIEDSFor More classifieds, visit the classifieds page here    .

JOB OPENING: BET/NY/ ADSALES-EXEC ASST: 5+yrs. exp. Must be det. oriented & have ability to multi-task in fast paced environment. Proficient in MS Word/Excel/PP. Exc oral/written skills. Email:

JOB OPENING: FREELANCE PROMOTION COORDINATOR, INT’L MKT SVCS /AETN, NY: Coordinating promo materials. Strong communication, flexibility & org skills. Basic editing(Final Cut Pro). Apply: (3/25)

JOB OPENING: VP PRODUCTION/Discovery/MD: Focus on specials and series. Req editorial interest and proven exp from a domestic cable network. 10+ yrs exp in film or video documentary. Apply: #8845 (3/21)

JOB OPENING: BRAND RESEARCH MANAGER/ DIY NETWORK/ Knoxville, TN: Develops, analyzes, & interprets research. 5 yrs exp in market research at a TV network/ studio. Nielsen exp required. #388 (3/21)

JOB OPENING: ACCT EXEC, AFFIL SALES/MKTG/WWE/Stamford CT: Seeks for distribution of all products to implement marketing, P.O.S. &community relations campaigns. Must have 3+ yrs experience & willingness to travel (3/21)

JOB OPENING: DIR AUD DEV/BBC/NY: Grow mkt BBC online news. Dev traf-driving initvs, cons mktg, prtnrshp mngmnt. Anlyz traf & usage pttrns, mng synd rltnshps, up 3rd party links to news cont. (3/21)

JOB OPENING: RSRCH ANALYST/BBC/Miami: Rsrch for Programming & ad sales. Maintain rsrch sales systems, track performance of shows, monitor industry trends. 2+ yrs exp. Apply: (3/21)

JOB OPENING: GRP REPORTING MGR/BBC/NYC: Prod, consolidation & reporting for BBCWW. Set acct’g policies, analyze & challenge perf., improve process, ensure fin. control maintained. CPA pref’d. Apply: (3/21)

JOB OPENING: SALES DIR/BBC/NYC: 5+ yrs exp mng sales team, solid sales track record, media licensing exp, direct selling. Est & imp strat, mng sales pipeline, lead team to grow biz. Apply: (3/21)

JOB OPENING: DIGITAL NTWRK OPS MGR/BBC/NYC: ensure dig ad campaigns supported & trafficked. Set-up, insert orders & comm discrepancies. Analyze success of campaigns & relay to ad sales team. Apply: (3/21)

JOB OPENING: SR ACCT EXEC/ACCT DIR Out-of Home media sales/NY: 5+ yrs nat’l sales exp w/clients & advrtsng agencies strat. plan’g groups. Proven track rec of new bus/acct dvlpmnt req’d. Exp w/Youth mkt a + Res to:

JOB OPENING: MGR/SPIKE MOVE STUDIO PRODUCTION/MTV/NYC: Promo production for movie studios. 3-5 yrs exp. in production & mktg. Passion for movies and exp with talent. Dynamic personality, EOE/M/F/D/AAP. Apply (3/21)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, INTEGRATED CONTENT & BREAK STRATEGY/MD: Work with Programming/Development, Ad Sales, Marketing& Digital for TLC. 8+ yrs in sales is required. Apply: #8817 (3/21)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR – OPERATIONS/LA: work with special projects relating to new business development with TLC. 5+ yrs in buds. dev.& production required. Apply: #8836 (3/21)

JOB OPENING: MKTG MGR/General Electric/NY: Responsible for working w/NBC &’s sales team to dvlp sales prgrms & mktg solutions. Apply:   (3/21)

JOB OPENING: EXEC ASSISTANT, CONTENT DEVELOPMENT/MTV/NYC: 2+yrs exp. Exec Assist, Strg org/detail skills, Superior Cust. Service, Strng comm/comp skills, Able to prioritize/Meet deadlines EOE/M/F/D/AAP. Apply (3/20)

JOB OPENING: RSRCH PROJECT MGR/CNN/ATL: Supporting Strat Mktg & On-Air Promo w/ ability to translate raw data into useable & actionable insights. Solid media math skills/5+ yrs. brdcst and/or cable TV Apply:

JOB OPENING: SR. COUNSEL, BUSINESS & LEGAL AFFAIRS/NY: Negotiate production, programming & talent agreements for AMC NETWORK. L.A. Contacts, JD & 8+ yrs ent law experience required / M&A exp a +. 

JOB OPENING: OFFICE MGR/MGM AD SALES/NY: Mng all aspects of A/R including prep of wkly & monthly accounting reports. Provide sales & admin support to dept. Back up Sales Plan & Traffic Mgrs. Apply #6440 (3/19)

JOB OPENING: TRAFFIC MGR/MGM AD SALES/NY: Resp for proper plcemnt of commercials & copy assgnmnt. Mng prod & reconcil of logs. Liaise betw Ad Agncies, Sls, Mktg & Prog depts to gather fitting copy materials. Apply #6441 (3/19)

INTERNSHIPS – These positions are for credit only – nobody gets paid here. These ads are always posted for free , and students work for school credit only. For more information on the specs for posting an Internship ad, email Trish at

SUMMER INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY: MARKETING/ user-generated public opinion site. Resp: Prdct dev, mkt expansion, corp svcs, for innovative startup. Work remotely, w/ few meetings in NYC. ~35hrs/wk. Send cv & CL to

SUMMER INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY: PROGRAMMER/ user-generated public opinion site. Resp: prgrm’ing & user interface design for innovative startup. RubyOnRails exp. Work remotely, w/ few NYC meetings. ~35hr/wk. Send cv&CL to

SUMMER INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY:  Doc production co. seeks exp’d, orgnzd & energetic JRS/SRS. Driven to gain exp in fast-paced envir. Pls specify “dvlpmnt” or “prod” in app. Resp. incl office, shoot, & post-prod & dvlpmnt asst. Email

SITUATION WANTED ADS, POSTED BY THOSE LOOKING TO BE HIRED …  There is no charge for placing your Situation Wanted ad … for more information contact Trish Pihonak at

SITUATION WANTED: MKTG /ON-AIR: Fox Reality Channel-LA – summer intern for mktg & on-air production. 30-40 hrs/wk. Majors: Mktg, Adv, PR/Comm, TV/Film. Skills: Writing & computer; On-Air Pro/Avid a plus.
SITUATION WANTED: STORY DOCTOR: Is your Post Beast screaming to be fed? Or is it clogged with scripts that can’t be cut? 20+ years crafting nonfic series, specials, sizzles and web content. Contact:
(LA) (3/26)

SITUATION WANTED: DOCUMENTARY PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, WRITER in L.A. Credits: National Geo, PBS, Discovery, History CH, TLC and MSNBC. Contact email:

SITUATION WANTED: OFFICE PA OR EXEC ASST /NY: 3 yrs exp in customer service working at CBS. Former intern at film & talent agencies. Working knwldg of media industry. Creative, reliable, and a team player. E-mail:

SITUATION WANTED: INTERN IN MEDIA/ THEATRE: Seeks work in Film / Theatre in NYC. Theatre and Media Studies at ScrippsCollege. Work experience in communications. Email:

SITUATION WANTED: MARKETING/PROMOTIONS/Boston: Marketing/promotions professional seeks television, web marketing, social networking focused position. Experienced in international markets. Creative + will travel.

or call Trish Pihonak at 203.926.9878 for rates and specs for Job Openings.

Are you looking for a job? Post your Situation Wanted Ad here — Email
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ABC: Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice
AZTECA: Lo Que Callamos Las Mujeres Edicion Especial, Historias Engarzadas, Al Extremo
CBS: NCAA Basketball Tournament
CW: Smallville, Supernatural
FOX: Bones, Hell’s Kitchen
ION: Movie: Goodfellas
MNT: My Thursday Movie: Lethal Weapon
NBC: My Name is Earl, The Office [r], The Office, 30 Rock, ER
PBS: This Old House, Antiques Roadshow [r], Pioneers of Primetime
TELE: Dona Barbara, El Rostro de Analia, Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso, El Cartel
UNIV: Cuidado con el Angel, Manana es para Siempre, La Rosa de Guadalupe

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