Fizzy, Busy Finale for ABC’s Scandal

April 18, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

With no fewer than four broadcast series calling it a day, Thursday night was a time for cliffhangers and farewells. But has been the case all season long, only one of these shows delivered a blockbuster audience. The season finale of ABC’s sudsy Beltway drama Scandal went off with an all-too literal bang, as a terrorist bombing changed the stakes, and the ontological status of more than one key character was thrown into question. According to Nielsen fast national data, the Season 3 closer averaged 10.5 million viewers and a 3.4 in the adults 18-49 demo, making it the second highest-rated episode in Scandal’s history. Season-to-date, Scandal is one of just a handful of network series that managed to improve its ratings versus the year-ago period.

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Meet Watch Awards Production Judge Fred Seibert

April 18, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

What’s the key to having a viral hit? Make sure that it’s funny, topical, sexy—and a little off-kilter, media mogul Fred Seibert explains. "I think that weird mostly works because it is novel," Seibert said. "It is a new twist on every day life that through contrast draws attention to itself." The founder and executive producer of independent animation studio Frederator Studios has worn many hats in the entertainment industry. Before his current job, he was the first creative director for MTV . He

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Mad Men Star Vincent Kartheiser Stays Away From Social Media

April 18, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Vincent Kartheiser Age 34 Accomplishments Stars as Pete Campbell on AMC’s Mad Men (Season 7 airs Sundays at 10/9c); voices Marsh Merriweather on the Fox animated series High School USA! Base Los Angeles What’s the first information you consume in the morning? Email. My computer is usually close at hand. If I’m going to work, the first media I probably consume is music in my car. How do you listen to music? I do Spotify. Every once in a while I’ll do satellite radio comedy channels, too. There’s a bunch of them—Comedy Central, Raw Dog, and Jamie Foxx has one. How do you get your news?

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Fargo Earns Solid Sampling in Debut

April 16, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The series premiere of FX’s adaptation of Fargo drew some decent sampling Tuesday night, scaring up 2.65 million viewers and a 0.8 in the 18-49 demo. While the 10 p.m. deliveries weren’t exactly world-beaters—recent dramas The Americans drew 3.22 million viewers and a 1.2 in the dollar demo in its January 2013 premiere, while The Bridge last July bowed to 3.04 million viewers and a 0.9 rating—the network guarantees against multiplay deliveries. As such, the more germane number is the cume: 4.15 million viewers and a 1.4 in the demo. Time-shifted viewing will only serve to boost Fargo’s premiere deliveries. Naturally, the relevant data will align with the C3 currency , which blends average commercial minutes in each live telecast with three days of playback. Because FX has been adept at encouraging viewers to catch up via on-demand platforms in which the trick functionality has been disabled (in other words, there’s no way to zap through the commercials), its conversion from live-plus-three-day data to C3 is particularly favorable. In other words, not only are people watching the content, but they’re being exposed to the paid marketing messages that keep TV afloat. “We are incredibly proud of the towering creative achievement by [writer/producer] Noah Hawley and everyone involved with Fargo,” said John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, by way of announcing the premiere deliveries. (A tip of the hat to Landgraf for not trying to cram a stray “oh, geez!” or “you betcha!” into the canned quote.) Landgraf went on to extol the talents of the cast, which features Billy Bob Thornton as a whimsical sociopath, Martin Freeman as a henpecked insurance salesman, and newcomer Allison Tolman as a folksy, but dedicated, young police officer. “This is truly one of the best shows we’ve ever had on the network,” Landgraf said. “We’re thrilled with the initial viewership last night and really excited for audiences to see the rest of the miniseries.” The ratings rolled in shortly after FX officially announced the renewal of The Americans for a third season

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Tribeca Film Fest Names Vine #6SecFilms Winners

April 16, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If you blink, you may miss the majority of the content in

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ABC Re-Ups Paul Lee

April 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

With just a month to go before it pitches its 2014-15 upfront slate, ABC has re-upped entertainment president Paul Lee. The genial Brit has signed a new multiyear deal with the network, and while terms were not disclosed, it is believed that the contract will keep Lee locked down through spring 2018. Lee took the helm of ABC and the network’s studio unit in July 2010, when he succeeded outgoing entertainment chief Steve McPherson . Previously, Lee had served as the head of the cable net ABC Family.

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Marionette Wives Feel Pretty Insecure in an Age of Wireless DirecTV

April 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If DirecTV is trying to position its Wireless Genie Mini device as a high-tech toy for doofy bros who view women as puppets—mission accomplished! Perhaps that's a tad harsh or too literal. Still, there's something unnerving about these new ads from Grey New York, directed by Bryan Buckley, featuring a life-size blonde marionette. In one ad, she struggles with her wires while pouring lemonade for a pair of DirecTV-lovin' dudes. In a second spot, our heroine dangles from the bedroom ceiling in a sexy negligee, concerned her human beau is more attracted to DirecTV. Self-conscious oddness is the obvious goal, and the campaign certainly works on that level. Even so, there's a touch of mean-spiritedness that doesn't sit right. The puppet is the most appealing part of these commercials, and it's easy to sympathize with her plight. This, in turn, kind of keeps me from feeling good about the Wireless Genie itself, which lets multiple TVs share HD-DVR programming over wifi (so first-worlders won't trip over unsightly wires and fall flat on their Google Glass). Cut those cords and free yourself, my wooden sister! Today, there are so many ways for a marionette to be fulfilled—like rapping for JCPenney or blogging for Target. Don't let some half-wit string you along!

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MSNBC Airing 15-Second Daily News Video

April 14, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Now you have no excuse to not have time for the news. MSNBC announced they will be airing 15-second pieces produced by Now This News as part of a series called 15 Seconds to Truth. “MSNBC viewers want honest and informed perspectives that explore the often overlooked angles of important stories,” Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, said in a statement. “With this new series, we aim to continue delivering that unique vantage point in a visually gripping way, on-air and on mobile and social platforms.” One story will be featured daily, mostly focused on topics that may appeal to a younger audience. It will be used as a bumper in or out of commercial breaks, and the videos will also be shared on both companies various social channels. For example, the inaugural clip on Monday used its time to explain a little more about

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Mad Men Drops in Season 7 Premiere

April 14, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

AMC may have been hoping that the so-called “Netflix Effect” would boost the ratings for the Season 7 premiere of Mad Men , but in a highly competitive Sunday 10 p.m. slot, Matt Weiner’s period piece put up its worst opening numbers since 2008. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the first installment of the bifurcated final season of Mad Men delivered 2.3 million viewers and a 0.8 in the 18-49 demo, marking a decline of 32 percent and 27 percent, respectively, versus last season’s two-hour opener. Not since Season 2, when Mad Men drew 2.06 million viewers, has the moody drama debuted to a smaller audience. (That episode also delivered a 0.8 in the dollar demo.) While never a ratings juggernaut—last season averaged just 2.42 million viewers and a 0.8 in the dollar demo—the year-over-year decline was unexpected. That said,

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Howard Owens Steps Down as Nat Geo Channels President

April 14, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

After a two-and-a-half-year stint as president of National Geographic Channels U.S., Howard Owens is striking out on his own. The former William Morris agent and Reveille co-founder on Monday revealed his decision to leave Nat Geo , saying that while his tenure as programming chief was “an incredible experience…both personally and professionally,” it was time for him to embark on his “next adventure.” Owens was instrumental in launching the Nat Geo original series Brain Games and Wicked Tuna, as well as the scripted programs Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and the upcoming Killing Jesus. (All three specials were based on best-selling books by Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly.) He joined Nat Geo in late 2011, replacing longtime network boss Steve Schiffman. In a note to staffers, NGC U.S. CEO David Lyle announced that Owens would be moving on, or as he characterized it, “flying out the window of National Geographic and into the free world of independent production.” Lyle was effusive in his praise for Owens. “As a senior TV executive, I’m supposed to say everybody is replaceable, but in Howard’s case I say without a shadow of a doubt, we couldn’t have done it without him.” A replacement has not been identified. While high-profile undertakings like the Killing series and SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden gave Nat Geo a temporary ratings boost, the network’s biggest growth came in 2012. Per Nielsen, Nat Geo finished out the year before last up 22 percent in its target demo (adults 25-54), only to dip 2 percent in 2013. “National Geographic Channels have some of the brightest minds in the television business, and I’m proud of the work we have accomplished together—specifically in defining the National Geographic Channels as a destination for innovative, original and brand-defining creativity,” Owens said, by way of signing off.

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