Tuesday, March 31st, 2009


The Weather Channel = MOMENTUM
New programming is generating powerful results!
#1 in REACH: 127+ million unduplicated audience.* #1 among cable news brands!
INCREDIBLE GROWTH: +51% in A25-54, Total Day!**

We look forward to sharing our MOMENTUM with you.
Powerful Connections. Powerful Results. www.twcmediakit.com

*Source:The Nielsen Company TV/Internet Fusion Data. **Source: Nielsen Media Research via StarTrak. Click here for the full source data.



Good morning. It’s Tuesday, March 31, 2009, and this is your first early morning briefing, coming to you from MIPTV in Cannes, France. 

Tonight’s Premieres:
Animal Planet: Night at 8p
ABC: Cupid at 10p
FOX:  Osbournes Reloaded at 930p
TBS: My Boys at 1030p
Oxygen: Pretty Wicked at 11p

Tonight’s Finale:
MTV: T.I.’s Road to Redemption at 9p



  • USA is #1 1Q09 – P18-49, P25-54 & Total Viewers
  • More P18-49 than TBS (+32%), TNT (+44%) and FX (+91%)
  • More P25-54 than TNT (+43%), TBS (+61%) and A&E (+99%)
  • USA is #1 for the 11th Consecutive Quarter P18-49
Characters Welcome

SOURCE: Nielsen Media Research. Click here for the full source data.


Monty Python fans get ready for a new six-part, original documentary series, Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut) is set to air on IFC this October from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Coinciding with the comedy troupe’s 40th anniversary, surviving members John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will participate in this retrospective anthology taking viewers from the beginning through the end. The late Graham Chapman will be represented in archived footage. IFC will air the series in one-hour segments nightly beginning October 4 through October 10. Additional footage and teasers will be available via www.IFC.com and on-demand at IFC Free before the series debuts. After the US premiere, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release the series worldwide on DVD. “Python Week” on IFC will also include such film classics as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

ABC barely got the new baby changed and diapered when it announced it cut the episode order for new midseason comedy In the Motherhood, per Variety. ABC will air just six episodes this season including the pilot, despite the network originally ordering 13 episodes. This news comes directly after ABC premiered the series last Thursday night to lukewarm reviews and ratings results: a 2.1/6 among A18-49 and 6.7 million viewers. ABC, though, says there isn’t room on the schedule for all 13 episodes as Ugly Betty returns in the time slot it has temporarily left open as of May 7.

CBS Sports announced tip times for the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Final Four games available in hi-def for this coming Saturday. Connecticut battles Michigan State beginning at 607p followed by North Carolina versus Villanova.

NBC invested two more seasons into high school football drama series Friday Night Lights. NBC and DirecTV have completed a 26-episode order agreement (13 eps per season) for the series produced by Universal Media Studios. The deal also allows Friday Night Lights to premiere on DirecTV with a second window on NBC.

Discovery Channel renewed several recently launched series, giving all the go-ahead for a sophomore season: American Loggers produced by Half Yard Productions; Destroyed in Seconds produced by Pilgrim Films & Television; How Stuff Works from Jupiter Productions; Time Warp produced by Creative Differences; and Treasure Quest from JWM Productions.

A new weekend series will bloom on WGN America starting April 18. Cultivating Life with Sean Conway, with 26 half-hour episodes will air Saturdays at 1230p, showing viewers easy DIY projects to enhance outdoor living, cooking, gardening and entertaining. The series aired three seasons on Public Television and will now air its fourth exclusively on WGN America.

Outdoor Channel announced its spring programming lineup:

  • Savage Wild – a new series featuring stunt expert Manny Puig, who takes risks in the wild without using modern technology or protection. Debuts April 4 at 5p and airs Saturdays at 5p.
  • Adventure Guides – returning series that is part of the network’s Fishing Friday block. Premieres April 3 at 8p.
  • Archer’s Choice – returning series featuring Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo. New season opens April 5 at 12p.
  • Step Outside – produced in partnership with the National Shooting Sports Foundations to introduce viewers to traditional outdoor sports. Debuts April 1 at 8p.

MIPTV 2009 Update: While attendance is down year to year, the market is alive and active here in Cannes.  The general consensus seems to be that business is being done and deals are being made, tho with more caution than in previous years, with specific care to working smartly.  “Smartly” – that is, with solid companies, projects that are not major risks in either content or deal structure, and with projects that aren’t too far out on the production & development calendar.  As far as the market floor, many of the lavish stands from previous years have been replaced with smaller and yet still efficient set ups, and in some areas where there once stood exhibitors, there are now expanded lounge areas.  All signs of the time. 

  • Scandinavian distributor, Nordisk Film TV World closed a slew of option deals with US producers just prior to the opening of the MIPTV market. The deals involve Construction Nightmares, optioned by Renegade; Don’t Date Him Girl, optioned by Reveille; US rights to Celebrity Devil Race was picked up by Scott Stone; Phil Gurin has optioned Melody Challenge; and 71 Degrees North was acquired by 25/7’s Dave Broome.
  • RDF Rights (RDFR), part of the RDF Media Group is launching the hit BBC Two series Oz and James Drink to Britain’s at MIPTV 2009. The eight-episode, half-hour series follows Oz and James May as they travel throughout Britain in search of drinks that define the nation. RDFR has already sold the third season of the series to Africa (BBC Lifestyle), Australia (XYZ Entertainment), Poland (BBC Lifestyle), New Zealand (Sky Network Television) and to broadcasters in Finland and Norway.
  • RDF Rights (RDFR) is also distributing and representing a handful of “actuality” programming from cable network truTV. The series include Speeders Series 6 (13 eps, 30 min), Speeders Fight Back Series 1 and 2 (7 eps, 30 min), Best of Speeders specials (4 eps, 30 min), Principal’s Office Season 2 (10 eps, 30 min) and World’s Wildest Vacation Videos (6 eps, 30 min). Other recently sold shows include: Bait Car to the UK and Australia; Disorder in the Court to the UK; and Party Heat Series 1 to 3 to the UK, France and Scandinavia.
  • Independent production and distribution company, Off the Fence (OTF) signed an exclusive agreement with Rainbow Media’s VOOM HD to distribute 225 hours of hi-def programming to global markets outside the US. The VOOM HD catalog available at MIPTV 2009 includes titles ranging from arts and culture and entertainment, to fashion and style to adventure and travel. In addition, OTF brought 100 new hours of programming from WE tv to MIPTV including Disney’s Dream Wedding (1 ep, 60 min), Girl Meets Gown (1 ep, 60 min) and Unforgettable Wedding Venues (1 ep, 60 min).



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Meredith Corporation’s daily lifestyle television program Better will soon be available in 50 markets nationwide, taking the viewership to approximately 35% of US households. Better was picked up by KTXA/Dallas, owned by CBS; KTBU/Houston and WGCL/Atlanta also picked up the show as well as stations in Albany, Columbus and Dayton. Tribune renewed the program for another year for WPHL/Philadelphia and LIN TV renewed it for six of its stations.


ABC and Mark Burnett are working on a reality series Shark Tank, an adaptation of the British hit Dragon’s Den where ambitious entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to five multimillion tycoons in hopes of receiving investment money. ABC ordered seven episodes and this marks the first time the network partners with Burnett who has successful shows on the three other major broadcast networks. The format originated in Japan and is now a global hit with Dragon’s Den airing on BBC Two in the UK for six seasons and here in the US on BBC America. ABC has not yet set a premiere date for Shark Tank though sometime next season is probable. The five “sharks” have been tapped: Robert Herjavec (internet security systems), Kevin Harrington (infomercials), Barbara Corcoran (real estate), Kevin O’Leary (top Canadian investor) and Daymond John (FUBU sportswear).

FOX is getting back into the reality dating/competition genre on a new series titled More to Love, reports THR. FOX along with partner Mike Fleiss, producer of The Bachelor, will focus on “average looking” people who are overweight and looking for love. The series will copy the format of The Bachelor as a group of real women compete for the attention of one guy who, according to producers, looks more like a Kevin James-type.

FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) made a first-look agreement with writer/creator/producer Paul Abbot (Cracker, Touching Evil, Reckless and more). Abbot’s new three-year deal allows FME first option on the global television and DVD rights for IP created by his new company, Abbott Vision.

Science Channel and Popular Science Magazine are teaming to create the new series, Popular Science: The Future of offering viewers a glimpse inside the technological and scientific advancements expected in the next 25 years. Science Channel and Science Channel HD will premiere the 10-episodes series this June. Incubator produces the series and executive producers are Simon Andre and James Taylor along with Science Channel’s Christo Doyle.

Alchemy Television and Sienna Films made a deal with ABC for the miniseries Diamonds slated to air in May. Diamonds, shot on location in South Africa and Canada and starring Judy Davis, James Purefoy, Derek Jacobi, Louise Rose and Joanne Kelly, centers on the global diamond trade and specifically on Joan Cameron (David) a US senator whose daughter is murdered at a diamond mine in Sierra Leone. Joan then travels to Africa with the goal to find out why her daughter was killed. Sienna Films originally developed and produced Diamonds for the CBC and it will premiere in April. The miniseries has also been sold in other territories worldwide include Canal+ (France) and Antena 3 (Spain).

Starz Media tapped UK-born actor Andy Whitfield to portray the warrior hero Spartacus in the new action series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. In addition, Lucy Lawless was cast as Lucretia, who along with her husband Batiatus, own the Ludus or gladiator camp and thus Spartacus. Production on the series begins Wednesday in New Zealand and will open on Starz next January. Starz Media produces with Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and Joshua Donen as executive producers. 

Paula Zahn will become a fixture this fall on Investigation Discovery (ID) headlining a new series. The weekly investigative series titled On the Case with Paula Zahn consists of 13 episodes slated to premiere this October. Zahn, Scott Weinberger of Weinberger Media and Scott Sternberg of Scott Sternberg Productions will all serve as executive producers.


CYNOPSIS DIGITAL – TODAY’S TOP STORY: Walt Disney Co. announced a far-reaching agreement with YouTube to launch multiple ad-supported channels featuring clips and other short-form content from ESPN and the Disney/ABC Television empire including ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family and SOAPnet. Under the terms of the deal Disney Media Networks will have the option to sell its own ad inventory to the content, the traditional model, or take advantage of Google’s more innovative approaches. ESPN’s video player will be integrated on its YouTube channel to showcase sports highlights and Sportscenter clips but apparently full episodes will not be part of the offering. No word yet on whether or not this deal will take the place of joining the Hulu venture.  Full edition: CYN DIGITAL.

CYNOPSIS KIDS – TODAY’S TOP STORY:  India’s DQ Entertainment unveils plans to produce a new 3D HD animated version of Rudyard Kipling’s’ The Jungle Book as a TV series (52×11) and TV movie (1×60) based on the series, which are slated for delivery by 2010.  With a budget of about US$12 million, the TV series and TV movie are a co-production with German broadcaster ZDF and its distribution/licensing arm ZDF Enterprises (ZDF-E).  DQE holds majority global rights including TV and all platforms of distribution, home video, VOD, publishing, merchandising and all form of licensing.  ZDF/ZDF-E holds distribution rights for Europe (excluding French, English and Irish territories), Middle East and Latin America for the series and movie.  Already set in place, TF-1 Broadcasting and its distribution/licensing TF-1 Enterprises, will serve as the French partner, while NBC Universal will be responsible for home video distribution in the UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Full edition: CYN KIDS.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

“To create a night that’s all about substance is really heartening for everybody, not just in
this room, but in the television community.”
— Margaret Nagle, accepting for Side Order of Life, Television Academy Honors

Television has the power to enlighten, create awareness and encourage positive change.
For more information or to buy tickets, click here.


Friday – A18-49 Analysis: CBS ranked #1 Friday night with A18-49 according to final national ratings from Nielsen Media Research.College basketball action on CBS dominated the evening starting with a 3.2/12 at 8p with UNIV’s Cuidado con El Angel next at 1.8/6. Hoops on CBS dunked in a win during 9p with 3.7/12 followed again by UNIV and Manana es para Siempre at 2.4/7. Then at 10p, NCAA basketball on CBS jumped up to a 4.1/13 with ABC’s 20/20 in second place at 2.2/7.

Live + Same Day Household Ratings: Friday, March 27, 2009 (March Sweep Day 23) time period averages. Source: NTI Galaxy, as dated. Live+SD

CBS 6.4/12      NCAA Basketball Championship (7-930p) 5.5/10; NCAA Basketball Championship (930-11p) 6.9/13

ABC 4.6/8       Wife Swap 3.8/7, Supernanny 4.5/8, 20/20 5.6/10

NBC 2.9/5       Howie Do It 2.5/5, Howie Do It [r] 2.2/4, Friday Night Lights 2.5/4, Dateline 3.8/7

FOX 2.5/4       Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.5/4, Dollhouse 2.4/4

UNIV 2.3/4      Cuidado con el Angel 2.4/4, Manana es para Siempre 2.7/5, Lo Que No Vio P Ntro 1.8/3

MNT 2.0/4       WWE Friday Night Smackdown 2.0/4

CW 1.2/2       Everybody Hates Chris 1.1/2, The Game 1.2/2, America’s Next Top Model [r] 1.2/2

TELE 0.7/1      Dona Barbara 0.5/1, El Rostro de Analia 0.7/1, Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso 0.7/1, El Cartel 0.7/1

ION 0.4/1       Movie: Batman Forever [r] 0.4/1

A18-49:  CBS 3.6/12, ABC 2.0/6, UNIV 1.9/6, FOX 1.3/4, NBC 1.3/4, MNT 1.1/4, CW 0.8/2, TELE 0.6/2, ION 0.2/1


Zodiak Entertainment, part of DeAgostini Group, named Saku Tuominen as Entertainment Group CCO. Saku will manage the Entertainment Central Creative Unit of the company and will report to Giorgio Gori, SVP, Zodiak Entertainment.

Christina Foley was tapped as Commercial Director for The History Channel UK, a joint venture between A&E Television Networks and British Sky Broadcasting. Christina’s appointment is effective immediately and she will be based in London, reporting to Tom Davidson, Managing Director, The History Channel UK. In her new role, Christina will supervise the company’s continued brand expansion in Europe, Africa and the Middle East in addition to other functions.

Tribune Company is merging operations of the Hartford Courant with WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV later this year. This combination will become Connecticut’s largest print/broadcast news gathering operation in the state and will be headed by Richard Graziano, SVP/GM of the two television stations who was also named Publisher of the Courant effective immediately.

Virgin Media Television (VMtv) tagged Donna Lazard for the position of Scheduling Manager, LIVING and LIVING2. Donna will have responsibility for the scheduling of both LIVING and LIVING2 and will report to Chris Collie, Head/Scheduling and Channel Strategy, VMtv.

Elrick Williams was appointed President/CEO of The Africa Channel (TAC), effective immediately. Elrick has served as a long-time board member and key shareholder of the network as well as a successful entrepreneur and investor through his company Williams Group Holdings. He will continue serving on TAC’s Board of Directors. 

Lifetime Networks recruited Lindsay Drewel as VP/Publicity and Talent Relations and Les Eisner as VP/Corporate Communications. Both appointments are effective immediately and both executives will be based in Los Angeles. Lindsay will supervise publicity initiatives for all of Lifetime Network’s programming and is charged with managing the company’s talent relations efforts. Les will oversee Lifetime Networks’ strategic positioning that encompasses programming, distribution, ad sales, marketing, digital, research and advocacy efforts within the trade and business media.

Horizon Media hired Ellie Date as a Brand Group Director of the brand strategy group. Most recently, Ellie supervised some of the Unilever/Foods and Sun Products/Laundry accounts at Mindshare Worldwide.

Tiffany Smith Anoa’i was promoted to the new position of VP/Diversity and Communications with CBS Television based on the West Coast. Tiffany will report to and support Josie Thomas, SVP/Diversity, CBS Corporation in efforts designed to celebrate diversity across the company. She will also continue to report to Chris Ender, SVP/Communications, CBS Television in the areas of ongoing and developing communications functions. Tiffany’s role will also have her working closely with CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler on programs that recruit, nurture and hire diverse talent for both on-camera and behind the camera positions. Furthermore, Tiffany will act as a liaison to multicultural coalition groups among other duties.

Christopher Durham was named Director/Symphonic Services with the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.

Metan Development Group LLC added Jennifer Moravitz as Director/International Media Development/Special Projects where she will enlist business relationships and strategic media partnerships within the worldwide entertainment industry. Prior to this appointment, Jennifer was with ABC Network News in Los Angeles and at network headquarters in New York City.

MTV Networks’ Entertainment Group elevated Shane Satterfield to VP/Content, Spike Digital Entertainment. Previously, Shane was Editor-in-Chief/Supervising Producer for GameTrailers.com at MTV Networks. Based at the network’s Los Angeles office, Shane will continue to manage GameTrailers’ editorial and will now conceptualize, create and acquire editorial content for Spike.com in addition to spearheading content distribution with Viacom’s various brands and worldwide partners.

The Hotel Networks hired Miranda Brown as Manager/Traffic where she will supervise the traffic staff with copy, inventory and broadcast log integration. Prior to this appointment, Miranda managed MGM’s New York domestic syndication traffic department.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM www.TalpaCreative.com .

Got a Great Idea?

Do you have a fantastic non-scripted TV idea?
Want to create the next international hit?
The creator of Big Brother, Fear Factor and Deal or No Deal, John de Mol, wants to hear from you.

Join TalpaCreative.com, a selective creative community.
It’s a place to be Inspired, to be Heard, and to get Paid.

Click link to join the Talpa Creative Team www.TalpaCreative.com
We take risks to bring your idea to life.

This day in History:  2004 – Google Inc. announced that it would be introducing a free e-mail service called “Gmail.”

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:   True or False?  In the pilot episode of Seinfeld, Kramer was never seen.  TRUE  …. AND FALSE.   WHILE MICHAEL RICHARDS WAS IN THE PILOT, “KRAMER” WAS NOT. RICHARD’S CHARACTER WAS “KESSLER” IN THE PILOT.  ELAINE WAS NOT IN THE PILOT EPISODE.   Kudos to: Cori McGowan-WBNX/Cleveland; Howell Edwards-Peachtree Settlement Funding/Boynton Beach; Bob Brewer-Opus 3 Artists/NYC; Bob Von Kohorn-INVISION Inc./New York City; Jay Goslee-WTVF/Nashville; Chuck Gordon-Charter Media/Birmingham; Kandy Hartsfield-KDAF/Dallas; Bryan Graves-Starcom/Chicago; Richard Lawrence-Rebel Entertainment Partners/Los Angeles; Stephanie Carrera-Telerep/LA; Michael Gutenplan/Evolution Media-Burbank; Daniel Druger-AMC-WE/Santa Monica; Lindsay Smith-Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc./Toronto

Today’s Trivia Question:  What workplace sitcom has the tagline, “Work can be such a production.” (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.)


Who will be the advertising king of the future:
Google, Microsoft, or a yet to be known company?
Join world-class faculty, and media and entertainment industry experts, as they guide you through actual industry cases.

Learn how some companies have prospered by embracing elegant digital strategies and others have failed by ignoring the digital danger warning signs.

Business Strategy in the Digital Age
June 8-10, 2009 – New York City
Limited seats available! Request info now.

Later — Cyn

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ABC: Better off Ted, Dancing with the Stars, Cupid [p]
AZTECA: Los Que Callamos Las Mujeres Edicion Especial, Los 25 Mas, Al Extremo
CBS: NCIS, The Mentalist, Without a Trace
CW: The Reaper, 90210
FOX: American Idol, Osbournes Reloaded [p]
ION: Boston Legal, Boston Legal, Boston Legal
MNT: Street Patrol, Street Patrol, Jail, Jail [r]
NBC: Biggest Loser: Couples, L&O: SVU
PBS: Nova, Frontline, Independent Lens
TELE: Dona Barbara, El Rostro de Analia, Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso, El Cartel
UNIV: Cuidado con el Angel, Manana es para Siempre, Aqui y Ahora

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