Nickelodeon Unveils Subscription Service for Preschoolers at Upfront

February 25, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Starting March 5, Nickelodeon will debut a streaming service for TV's smallest viewers: Noggin, a preschool-targeted, ad-free app that will stream reruns of Blue's Clues; Little Bear; Ni hao, Kai-Lan; and music videos featuring Nick's kids characters. The $5.99 monthly service will be "library-based, separate and distinct from Nickelodeon's preschool content available on its existing distribution platforms," the company assures. But it's a good indicator of which way the wind is blowing—we've been saying for years that kids prefer the iPad to TV. The announcement came out of Nick's Wednesday afternoon presentation, in which the company also announced a number of new series and took a victory lap for its recent movie successes, including The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and Michael Bay's recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flick, represented at the event by star Will Arnett. Nick is doubling down on star Nick Cannon, who co-creates and produces the new musical series Make It Pop. The network is also going really old school: H.R. Pufnstuf masterminds Sid and Marty Krofft will have an upcoming show on the network—yes, really—called Mutt & Stuff starring actual dogs and, obviously, dog puppets. Should be trippy.

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The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar Talks Hip-Hop, Nerd Culture and Hosting The Late Late Show

February 25, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Kunal Nayyar Age 33 Claim to fame Stars as Raj on The Big Bang Theory (Thursdays, 8 p.m. on CBS); guest host of CBS' The Late Late Show from Feb. 25-27 Base Los Angeles Twitter @kunalnayyar What's the first information you consume in the morning? The first thing I do when I wake up is go on Twitter because that's where I get all my news. I follow MSNBC Breaking News, BBC World, Times of India, CNN, HLN, Al Jazeera, ESPN News. Do you follow other actors or comedians on Twitter? I don't follow a lot of comedians on Twitter, to be honest. I try to keep my feed focused on news. I do follow some people on Instagram, like The Fat Jew , who I think is really hilarious. But I mainly follow puppy stuff, like The Dogist, cute puppies, animal videos, things like that. You're guest hosting three episodes of The Late Late Show this week. Did Craig Ferguson give you any advice to help you prepare? The last time I was on Ferguson—I was one of the last guests he had—I told him that I was going to guest host the show and asked him, "What advice do you have?" And he said, "Don't do it even if they want you to." I had no idea what that means! But I think what he was trying to say was just trust your instincts no matter what everybody tells you to do. Do you watch a lot of late-night TV? I love most talk shows, to be honest. I watch Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson, and I love watching Ellen on daytime TV

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Why Keith Olbermann Picked Such a Dumb Fight on Twitter and Ended Up Suspended

February 25, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

ESPN commentator and world-champion friendmaker Keith Olbermann today launched a twitter war with college students who'd raised $13 million to fight pediatric cancer. The incident left Olbermann with a (paid) suspension through the end of the week, and it left many of us with one simple question: What the hell, man? Olbermann's more vocal critics are just chalking it up to him being a jerk. But more specifically and perhaps generously, there are three intersecting issues that likely led to his poor decision to lash out at Penn State's entire student body as they celebrated saving children's lives: 1. His seething anger at how the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case was handled by Penn State and coach Joe Paterno was inflamed again recently by the NCAA's decision to reinstate 112 wins that had been stripped from the school's record during the time Sandusky, an assistant coach, had been molesting children. 2. Olbermann loves sparring on Twitter, and Penn State is an easy topic to rile him up with. Once he was in fight mode, he seemed unwilling or unable to pause for a breather. 3. As with many misunderstandings on the Internet, he probably just didn't click the link to see what the original tweet was about, or else even Olbermann might have decided to pick his battles a bit more carefully. Speaking of the original tweet, here's how it all began, when a Penn State alumna (who had sparred with Olbermann on Twitter in the past ) tweeted at him about the school's success in raising $13 million for children being treated for cancer at the university's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center: @lisaadeleon ...Pitiful — Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) February 23, 2015 So @KeithOlbermann says PSU students raising over $13m for pediatric cancer research is "pitiful." No sir, u r the definition of the word. — Dave Seidel (@dave_seidel) February 23, 2015 As you can see from Olbermann's next reply, he didn't seem to have noticed the fact he had responded to a tweet about students raising money to fight child cancer: . @dave_seidel No, Son. I said PSU students were pitiful. Had nothing to do with fundraising #AlsoPSUReadingComprehensionAppearsToBeWeak — Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) February 23, 2015 . @dave_seidel her tweet reads "we are..." I finished her sentence "...pitiful." At this rate your diploma won't be recognized, Moron — Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) February 23, 2015 . @dave_seidel Again - get your $ back - you didn't learn how to read. PSU students are pitiful because they're PSU students - period.

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Pee-wee Herman’s 30-Year Journey From Obscurity, Through Infamy and Onto Netflix

February 24, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Netflix let it be known today that the long-awaited third Pee-wee Herman film, Pee-wee's Big Holiday, would finally make it to the ... well, not the big screen, but a screen. Specifically any screen hooked up to a Netflix subscription. The project has been in the works with producer Judd Apatow for nearly five years, but the original team —Pee-wee portrayer Paul Reubens and Arrested Development writer Paul Rust on script duties, Apatow producing—is now in place at Netflix. It's a show with a rich history, some of it very strange. The movie goes into production next month and, given Netflix's track record, will probably get made at an impresisve level of investment (the first two seasons of House of Cards cost a reported $100 million ) for television and a totally reasonable level for an indie comedy. With Pee-wee on his way back into the national limelight, we thought we'd take a look back at the long, strange trip that brought him to Netflix:

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SNL’s Vanessa Bayer Gives Sound Advice for Hyundai

February 24, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Vanessa Bayer, the Saturday Night Live actress famously known for her impressions of Miley Cyrus, is teaming up with Hyundai to impart some unnecessary advice to musicians. In her Web series Sound Advice , Bayer plays aloof media coach Janessa Slater, who consults with celebrity clients like Drake , HAIM and TV on the Radio . Above Average is the digital arm of SNL production company Broadway Video, and it licensed the new 12-episode second season to IFC's online comedy portal, the Comedy Crib . The network then worked with exclusive sponsor Hyundai and its agency of record, Innocean USA, to create branded integrations both in the Web series and in 60-second TV spots that will tease the show.

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Emerging Cable Network WGN America Looks to Cast Its Spell Over SXSW Film

February 24, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

On March 13, WGN America and its original series Salem will turn the official SXSW Film opening party into a "witches' playground," complete with fortune tellers, aerial dancers and other elements of the supernatural.

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Reebok Is Quietly Emerging as a Challenger Brand to Contend With

February 24, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For Reebok, the race to distill the soul of its brand—and ignite sales to reverse its market-share decline—has been more of a marathon than a sprint. But with its "Be More Human" global repositioning, the finish line might just be in sight. Launched last month, "Be More Human" casts the athletic apparel and footwear company as a coach, cheerleader and, the brand hopes, gear supplier to everyday athletes who embrace a "no pain, no gain" mentality to attain personal fulfillment. "We want to be peoples' partners in their journey," said Yan Martin, Reebok's vp, global brand communications. "This is a mission we've been on for years." Unfortunately, the company has also spent years losing ground to the competition. Since its acquisition by Adidas in 2006 , Reebok's share of the U.S. sneaker market has fallen to about 2 percent from nearly 8 percent, per SportsOneSource. (Meanwhile, Nike's share has nearly doubled in the past decade to 60 percent.) To some extent, Reebok has become a challenger brand, and it now mirrors the real folks shown in "Be More Human," who bust their tails and lose gallons of sweat to stay in shape and better themselves. Presumably, Reebok can feel their pain.

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Lady Gaga Won the Oscars on Twitter

February 23, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Lady Gaga's medley of songs from The Sound of Music during the Oscars didn't only amaze audiences, it ignited Twitter chatter. According to data from Twitter , the singer's performance was the most tweeted moment during Sunday night's telecast.

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Infographic: a Look at Kids’ Media Consumption

February 23, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It may not be surprising that kids in every age group are watching TV regularly, but that's far from the only way the lunchbox set are consuming media. With digital devices now a facet of everyday life, even the youngest among us are tuning in via tech. "When Nielsen looked at the cross-platform consumption of children, from toddlers to teens, there were a few things that became abundantly clear," said Kelly Abcarian, svp, Nielsen Kids Center of Excellence. "Traditional TV remains the favored choice for kids of all ages to connect with content, but as they cognitively and developmentally grow, so do their media preferences." Exclusive data from Nielsen shows how kids' viewership habits develop and shift from age 2 through high school years.

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After a Rocky Few Years, Hasbro’s TV Strategy Is Changing Again

February 23, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

What looks like an entertainment company, spends like an entertainment company and programs like an entertainment company? It's Hasbro, a toymaker. Hasbro makes not just toys but also hugely popular intellectual property, which for decades has been key to its bottom line. But as kids' consumption patterns change radically with the advent of new technologies, the company has struggled to find a balance between its core business and its entertainment properties. Over the last few years, the company has poured billions of dollars into (and received billions of dollars from) big-budget movies and triple-A video games, plus a joint-venture cable network called The Hub (a costly misstep), which since was rebranded and partially sold back to partner Discovery. And now, Hasbro is trying something new. TV product created and licensed by Hasbro is going in a number of different directions this year.

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