Why Did It Take So Long to Cancel Manhattan Love Story?

October 27, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As the fall TV season kicks off, the networks usually have itchy trigger fingers when it comes to killing off their new shows that flop out of the gate. But not this season: it took more than a full month before fall's first cancellation: Manhattan Love Story. ABC pulled the plug on the (alleged) comedy late Friday, Oct. 24, after four episodes had aired. It's the longest the networks have gone into the season without canceling a new show since 2003, when Fox waited until Oct. 28 to axe the Luis Guzman sitcom Luis, which lasted five episodes. By this same point last fall, four shows had already bitten the dust — ABC's Lucky 7, CBS's We Are Men and NBC's Welcome to the Game and Ironside — with a fifth (ABC's Back in the Game) just a week away from joining them. And over the past several years (see The Worst TV Shows of The Century, So Far ), networks usually made their first moves in late September or early October, after just two or three episodes had aired. How DVRs and On-Demand Changed The Rules This season, networks have been emphasizing the need to wait for delayed viewing ratings (live-plus-three and live-plus-seven) as viewers caught up with shows via DVR or VOD. "The growing truth is that picking winners today isn't as simple as looking at the overnight ratings," CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler said this summer. And unlike last year, when the networks paid that idea lip service but still quickly moved to cancel several low-rated shows, they've actually been practicing what they preach. That's because those delayed viewing bumps can be considerable. How to Get Away With Murder doubled its already hefty series premiere rating in adults 18-49, from 3.8 to 7.5, after two weeks of DVR, VOD and online viewing. And the wait-and-see approach has helped buoy Fox's Red Band Society, which saw a 82 percent increase in live-plus-seven ratings in 18-49 for its second episode, from 1.1 to 2.0; the following week jumped 73 percent, from 1.1 to 1.9. Bigger Bets and Slower Cancelations Manhattan Love Story — airing at 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, one of TV's worst time slots —received only a 15 percent lift in live-plus-seven, the lowest for a scripted series this fall. And its final episode last Tuesday fell to an unsustainable 0.7 rating in 18-49, with just 2.62 million total viewers

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Why Did It Take So Long to Cancel Manhattan Love Story?

October 27, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As the fall TV season kicks off, the networks usually have itchy trigger fingers when it comes to killing off their new shows that flop out of the gate. But not this season: it took more than a full month before fall's first cancellation: Manhattan Love Story. ABC pulled the plug on the (alleged) comedy late Friday, Oct. 24, after four episodes had aired. It's the longest the networks have gone into the season without canceling a new show since 2003, when Fox waited until Oct. 28 to axe the Luis Guzman sitcom Luis, which lasted five episodes. By this same point last fall, four shows had already bitten the dust — ABC's Lucky 7, CBS's We Are Men and NBC's Welcome to the Game and Ironside — with a fifth (ABC's Back in the Game) just a week away from joining them. And over the past several years (see The Worst TV Shows of The Century, So Far ), networks usually made their first moves in late September or early October, after just two or three episodes had aired. How DVRs and On-Demand Changed The Rules This season, networks have been emphasizing the need to wait for delayed viewing ratings (live-plus-three and live-plus-seven) as viewers caught up with shows via DVR or VOD. "The growing truth is that picking winners today isn't as simple as looking at the overnight ratings," CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler said this summer. And unlike last year, when the networks paid that idea lip service but still quickly moved to cancel several low-rated shows, they've actually been practicing what they preach. That's because those delayed viewing bumps can be considerable

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Alibaba Is in Talks With U.S. Movie Studios to Stream in China

October 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Alibaba founder Jack Ma, fresh off his company's record-breaking $22 billion public stock offering, is shopping for U.S. movies to stream online in China. Ma and a group of Alibaba executives are meeting with studio chiefs next week to get the rights to content to sell to Chinese consumers hungry for TV and movies from Hollywood, according to Bloomberg. Ma’s reported wish list includes Walt Disney, Viacom, Lions Gate Entertainment, Warner Bros., Sony, 21st Century Fox and Comcast. In July, Alibaba struck a deal with Lions Gate to stream the Hunger Games franchise and TV show Mad Men to Chinese audiences. The New York Post reported that Ma wants to buy chairman Mark Rachesky’s controlling shares in Lions Gate, when he steps down as early as next month. Rachesky’s shares are worth about $1.6 billion. China is the No. 2 film market in the world, making the convenience of online subscription content a natural fit for Alibaba’s e-commerce network. However, China is not a straightforward place to do business. Last month, Chinese regulators announced they would cap the amount of foreign TV programs local providers could stream to online subscribers. Neftlix’s House of Cards, which attracts millions of Chinese viewers, was rumored to be in jeopardy. In April, Chinese regulators yanked NCIS, The Practice, The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory off video streaming services without giving a reason. The Big Bang Theory was reportedly pulling in 120 million viewers a month. It remains to be seen if Ma’s clout and business savvy will overcome Chinese regulators and net him another lucrative revenue stream. Alibaba’s stock has been soaring on news of its interest in movie streaming.

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Honey Boo Boo Show Canceled Over Mom’s Reported Relationship With Sex Offender

October 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is going off the air for a really appalling reason: the hit TLC reality show about the misadventures of an Arkansas family has been canceled in the wake of reports that "Mama" June Thompson got back together with former boyfriend Mark McDaniel, who was convicted in 2004 of forcing himself on an 8-year-old child. McDaniel and Thompson were also dating when he committed the crime, according to reports . "TLC has canceled the series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and ended all activities around the series, effective immediately," reads the unbylined statement submitted by a network spokesperson. "Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority. TLC is faithfully committed to the children's ongoing comfort and well-being." It's a sad end to a show that was always a little sad and inspired reams of cultural criticism discussing not just whether the show's mere existence constituted exploitation of a poor family, but life in the South and poverty in general. The star of the show was supposedly Alana Thompson, Honey Boo Boo from TLC's beauty pageant reality series Toddlers and Tiaras, but Mama June quickly became the focus, as the series focused its gaze on her struggle to navigate motherhood of Alana and her three other daughters, Lauryn, Jessica and Anna. Thompson has denied seeing McDaniel, but TMZ has posted recent photos of the pair together. A fifth season of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo had reportedly been shot; it joins reruns of 7th Heaven among family-friendly shows rendered unwatchable for some by the poor decisions of the cast.

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AMC Gets Big Piece of BBC America for $200 Million

October 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

AMC is taking over BBC America, buying a piece of the U.K. broadcasting property for a reported $200 million. The deal gives control to AMC, but BBC Worldwide will retain a 50.1 percent stake in the cable channel. The companies will invest in BBC productions, and AMC will enjoy free rein pursuing U.S. advertising for BBC America and BBC World News. BBC America is available in 80 million U.S. homes. Its programs include the long-running classic Dr. Who, the over-the-top motor enthusiast show Top Gear, the dramas Orphan Black, Luther and Broadchurch, and the Planet Earth natural history series. BBC Worldwide and AMC have collaborated before—on the drama Top of the Lake and the spy thriller The Honourable Woman, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal which aired on the BBC in the U.K. The BBC said, "AMC will run (BBC America) consistent with BBC’s editorial standards and policies."

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AMC Gets Big Piece of BBC America for $200 Million

October 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

AMC is taking over BBC America, buying a piece of the U.K. broadcasting property for a reported $200 million. The deal gives control to AMC, but BBC Worldwide will retain a 50.1 percent stake in the cable channel. The companies will invest in BBC productions, and AMC will enjoy free rein pursuing U.S. advertising for BBC America and BBC World News. BBC America is available in 80 million U.S. homes. Its programs include the long-running classic Dr. Who, the over-the-top motor enthusiast show Top Gear, the dramas Orphan Black, Luther and Broadchurch, and the Planet Earth natural history series. BBC Worldwide and AMC have collaborated before—on the drama Top of the Lake and the spy thriller The Honourable Woman, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal which aired on the BBC in the U.K. The BBC said, "AMC will run (BBC America) consistent with BBC’s editorial standards and policies."

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TV’s 10 Worst Time Slots

October 21, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If a TV series is placed in a terrible time slot and no one is around to watch it, does it make a noise in the ratings? Of course not, which is the conundrum of network TV scheduling: every show, no matter how good or bad, is ultimately at the mercy of its time slot, especially when it’s put one of the spots that routinely repels audiences. As CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler explained to me recently, “You get into the room with a bunch of options, and it is moving pieces around on the chessboard.” Except that on TV, some of the chessboard squares are more like black holes, where series after series quickly disappear without a trace. One ABC time slot was so toxic that it took down three shows last season, and that radioactivity can linger for years. Those scorched earth time slots are once again wreaking havoc on new shows this fall. While two long-doomed spots seem to be safe for viewers again—the Mysteries of Laura has reclaimed Wednesdays at 8 p.m. for NBC, while a relocated Grey’s Anatomy has brought audiences back to ABC on Thursdays at 8 p.m.—others have already slid into television’s equivalent of death row. Here are the 10 worst timeslots on broadcast television. Abandon hope, all ye who are scheduled here:

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When Not Whacking Zombies, This TV Star Is Lurking on Reddit

October 20, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Steven Yeun Age 30 Claim to fame Stars as Glenn Rhee on AMC’s The Walking Dead (Sundays, 9 p.m.) Base Los Angeles Twitter @steveyeun What’s the first information you consume in the morning? I turn on the computer and I’m probably on Reddit straight away. I’m a lurker. That’s what they call them, right? People that don’t post but they just read stuff? I really like the science subreddits, but typically I just go to the front page and let it tell me what the day is about. What are your go-to social media platforms? I use Instagram and Twitter. A long time ago, when I first started, I used to tweet a lot of “this is what I’m into” or “this is what I just watched” or stuff like that. I’ll still do that on occasion, but I’ve gotten better at not boring people who are following me. So I just periodically post some information or something that I’m interested in. It’s still not very well-curated, I guess [laughs]. Who do you follow? My favorite people to follow on Twitter are probably Howard Stern, Sarah Silverman, Steve Carell—he rarely tweets but when he does, it’s very potent—Hannibal Buress, Jimmy Fallon. Any comedy dudes. Do you listen to any comedy podcasts?

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You’ll Be Able to Get HBO Go Without a Cable Subscription Next Year

October 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

HBO Go has finally done what subscribers have been begging for since the announcement of the streaming service: it's going cable-sub-free. The over-the-top streaming network will be available without a cable package starting next year, HBO CEO Richard Plepler announced at Time Warner's investor day on Wednesday morning. This has been in the air for a while—HBO Go has been available on progressively smaller and smaller cable pacakges over recent months, but never totally subscription-free. But there's a fairly large burden of proof on Time Warner today, as it fends off angry stakeholders still sore over the company's rejection of 21st Century Fox's $85-a-share offer for the company (the stock sits at $71.85 at the time of this writing, down from a high of $87 and change just before the Fox deal collapsed). The goal today is to give investors a sense that the company has strong growth prospects without consolidation; HBO remains the companys most lucrative single asset outside its movie studio division and is a point of focus during the proceedings; also at issue (though less pleasant for Time Warner) is the problem of declining ratings at Turner. The subdivision is in the midst of a major round of layoffs during which 10 percent of its workforce is expected to leave. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO, " Plepler told investors. "So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners, and we will explore models with new partners. All in all, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.” Much of this territory has been colonized by Netflix and it remains to be seen whether people will want another streaming service on top of their current offerings; but HBO Go has been very popular and is frequently spread across users without cable subs through password sharing. This gives HBO a chance to monetize some of that spread, and to clamp down on pirates while providing an alternative

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Walking Dead, Killer Clown Top TV Twitter Ratings

October 14, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Twitter users turned their attention away from Scandal and Washington D.C machinations to zombies and freak shows in this week’s Twitter TV top ten list provided by Nielsen. AMC’s The Walking Dead trampled the competition with 1.32 million tweets reaching an audience of 7.4 million twitter accounts. The show even sacked NBC’s Sunday Night Football by attracting 17.3 million viewers in the 18-49 old demographic. The season five premiere of the zombie drama picked up after the season four cliffhanger at the Terminus which saw the main characters locked up in a train car to feed the undead hordes. Fans were certainly happy to have the zombie fighting crew back together. My weekends actually have a meaning again ❤️ @WalkingDead_AMC #thewalkingdead — Danny (@iversdr) October 13, 2014 So happy to have @WalkingDead_AMC back! I almost cried just now! This episode was awesome and the reunion just now was everything! Everybody back together again!!! #TheWalkingDead — Nat King Troll (@MrMaalyMal) October 13, 2014 FX’s American Horror Story: Freak Show finished a respectable second in the Twitter top ten, producing just over a million tweets seen by 6.4 million Twitter accounts. The season four premiere featured a murderous clown that killed parents and robbed little kids. Scary? TV critics thought it was the scariest episode yet and fans took a real liking to Twisty the clown. . I do not like that clown..good job AHS. I will be having nightmares tonight. @AHSFX #americanhorrorstory #AHS — Taylor Leigh (@TayLor___Leigh) October 9, 2014 " @John_Yarbrough2 : I already hate clowns, then this guy comes around. #americanhorrorstoryfreakshow #twistytheclown pic.twitter.com/ghLrBmOTqg — ❥.HollyWo0d&Co. (@Qween_Wezt) October 9, 2014

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