Why Shark Week Is Sinking Its Teeth Into July

July 6, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In this year's promos for Shark Week , Discovery is calling it "The Most Wonderful Week of the Year"—and that's not just hyperbole. The network owes much of its success over the past three decades to the franchise, its annual weeklong programming celebration of all things sharks, which enters its 28th year with a bigger bite than ever. Last year's Shark Week was Discovery's highest rated yet in adults and women 25-54, making it the week's No. 1 cable network in adults, men and women 18-49 and 25-54, while coming in first in all of television in men 18-49 and 18-34. "Shark Week is our Super Bowl," said Ben Price, evp, ad sales, Discovery. "Who doesn't love Shark Week?" As Shark Week has evolved from a mere programming block into a full-blown phenomenon (its dozen-plus returning partners include Cold Stone Creamery, Southwest Airlines and Dunkin' Donuts), competitors have jumped into the fray, hoping to siphon off a portion of Discovery's audience for themselves. Syfy is bringing back Sharknado Week for the July 22 premiere of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, while Nat Geo Wild's new promo for SharkFest (returning for Year 3) gleefully admits that it hopes to lure away unsuspecting Shark Week viewers: "We want you to confuse the two, and you will!" This year, Discovery is fighting back. The network has moved Shark Week earlier than ever to put its stamp on summer. It kicks off July 5, a full month earlier than last year (and two weeks ahead of this year's Sharknado Week). In addition to 19 hours of prime-time Shark Week programming, its most ever, Discovery is also bookending the summer with an additional Shark Weekend of shows in late August. As Shark Week dominates, Syfy dove in with its own Sharknado Week. "Shark Week is synonymous with summer, and to me, the holiday that is synonymous with summer is July 4," said Rich Ross, who is overseeing his first Shark Week as Discovery president, of this year's early start. "Our advertisers and promotional partners got it in a millisecond

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NBC Dumps Trumps’ Beauty Pageants, Keeps ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

June 29, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

NBC has cut its lucrative business ties with Donald Trump following Trump's comments about the United States' relationship with Mexico during his announcement for president on June 16. "The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," Trump said. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." NBC responded with this statement: "At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.

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How TV Shows Are Beaming Over the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling

June 26, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

From the White House to Westeros, from Litchfiled Pen to McKinley High, your favorite TV shows have been sharing the love all day following this morning's Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states. We start with the ladies from Litchfield Pen: Today is a good day. #LoveWins pic.twitter.com/h0WM7CXxUO — Orange Is the New... (@OITNB) June 26, 2015 Modern Family went with Mitch and Cam, natch: #LoveWins #ModernFamily pic.twitter.com/eltDG2Gf22 — Modern Family (@ModernFam) June 26, 2015 And from Brooklyn 99, Capt. Holt and husband Kevin Cozner: Today is a celebration. #LoveWins #Brooklyn99 pic.twitter.com/HhRwwJQ7pC — Brooklyn Nine-Nine (@Brooklyn99FOX) June 26, 2015 While the ruling doesn't extend to Westeros, Renly is proud: Be proud. #equality #SCOTUSMarriage pic.twitter.com/W0wC7rUjDT — Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) June 26, 2015 Two Shonda Rhimes shows deliver the message with a similar look: Equality for all. #LoveWins pic.twitter.com/SUTDInjnpq — Greys Anatomy (@GreysABC) June 26, 2015 Equality for all. #LoveWins pic.twitter.com/5SmSqiEzfk — Scandal (@ScandalABC) June 26, 2015 Even programs no longer in production, but which have been supportive of the cause all along, shared the love: Filled with glee! #LoveWins #LoveIsLove #Glee pic.twitter.com/AH4Wjwa5x0 — GLEE (@GLEEonFOX) June 26, 2015 President Obama's sentiment was retweeted by President Underwood, adding his own devious twist: Sometimes you have to take what is rightfully yours.

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Fox Sets Empire’s Return for Sept. 23

June 25, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fox won't be wasting any time this fall, debuting its hottest show, Empire, on Sept. 23—the thick of premiere week. The network said last month that Empire—which debuted in January—would be moving from midseason to the fall. It became official today when the company announced its fall premiere dates for the 2015-16 season. Empire was a surprise hit when it arrived in midseason, and now the network hopes the show will provide a big lift to its fall schedule, and help prevent it from finishing No. 4 next season in adults 18-49. Most of the Fox's shows will launch in the days after it airs the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards (hosted by Andy Samberg) on Sept

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This Hilarious Promo for SharkFest Bites Shark Week Where It Hurts

June 23, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Nat Geo Wild is taking an unapologetic chomp out of a Discovery Channel summer staple. The network, a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and Fox, has released a promo that all but admits it's stolen the idea of multiple nights of shark-infested programming from its cable competitor. Discovery Channel's 28th Shark Week begins July 5 and features 19 hours of sharktastic shows—the most ever. Nat Geo Wild also kicks off its SharkFest on July 5. "It's the same friggin' sharks anyways," the promo blares. "Sharks cannot sign an exclusive contract with a network ... we're pretty certain on that." Want even more sharks?

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TV Land Cements Its Gen X Rebranding With a New Logo

June 23, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

TV Land has been giving its channel a Generation X-themed overhaul, and now it's done the same with its logo, which debuted on the network today. Its first new logo in four years is meant to represent what the new TV Land is all about: "quality, cleverness and truth," according to the network. More accurately, the network is no longer catering to the older audiences that watched its multicam sitcoms like Hot in Cleveland, Retired at 35 and Kirstie. It's going after Gen Xers. "Our new logo, look and editorial voice are a part of a major overhaul of the TV Land brand itself," said Kim Rosenblum, evp, marketing and creative. "The majority of our audience in prime time and weekends are now Gen Xers—vibrant, working adults who grew up on MTV and edgier shows.

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Could House Hunters Be HGTV’s Gateway Drug?

June 22, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Usually by the time a TV franchise hits its 16th year, it has begun running on fumes. But not HGTV's House Hunters, which is going stronger than ever, with the franchise's ratings up 8 percent this year. "House Hunters represents everything that people love about HGTV, all wrapped up in one show, which is buying and loving homes," said the network's president, Kathleen Finch. The show, which follows homeowners-to-be as they tour three properties and settle on one to purchase, "is appealing to both people who have not yet bought a home and people who have bought a home," said Brian Balthazar, vp, original programming, who oversees the series. "It's that voyeuristic, fly-on-the-wall feeling and lets you live vicariously through a set of homeowners." HGTV gets a regular influx of new viewers.

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How Lester Holt Went From Nearly Unemployed to NBC Nightly News Anchor

June 22, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fifteen years ago, Lester Holt was demoted and being "pushed toward the door" at WBBM, the CBS TV station in Chicago, where he was the main news anchor. Today, he has one of the rarest jobs in TV: anchor of a network evening newscast. "When I sit back and reflect on that journey just weeks from unemployment and to where I am right now, it's gratifying, and it's kind of life-affirming that you can't plan your life sometimes," Holt told Adweek in a wide-ranging interview Monday afternoon. "There are only three of these jobs, and none of them were open or would be open for a long time. So it was not on my radar," Holt said. "I got some advice a long time ago that you always want to prepare yourself if doors open at weird times for weird reasons—and that's exactly what happened." When Holt takes the NBC Nightly News chair this evening, he'll also become the first African-American solo anchor of a network evening broadcast. Holt joined NBC News in 2000 as an anchor for MSNBC. He was tapped to anchor the weekend editions of the Today show in 2003, added the weekend editions of Nightly News in 2007 and was named anchor of Dateline NBC in 2011. Holt will continue to anchor Dateline for now, but the future is "up for discussion." Holt's ascension to the top of Nightly News, which finds itself in a tight ratings race with ABC's World News Tonight, follows the decision to permanently remove Brian Williams from the broadcast. Holt and Williams have been friends from the day Holt joined the network. But the two didn't talk about all that's transpired in the last five months until last Thursday after the network revealed change. "We had a very, very good talk and we both acknowledged we would have liked to have had earlier, but that this was awkward for a lot of reasons," Holt said. "We are friends, and nothing that has happened has gotten between us." When Williams returns from his suspension in August, he'll become breaking-news anchor for MSNBC. The network is not ruling out Williams filling in on NBC when news breaks and Holt is unavailable. Holt says it's not for him to judge the outcome. "I knew going into this that that side was going to be taken care of, and that was between Brian and our bosses. I didn't judge it then, and I'm not in a position to judge it now. In many ways, I'm too close. We're friends. As far as I'm concerned, I need to focus on this broadcast and keep moving forward." Holt also says he won't shy away from those late-night talk show appearances which became a forum for Williams' fabrications.

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How the Sundance Doc ‘The Wolfpack’ Kickstarted a Media Frenzy

June 22, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

With the June 12 theatrical release of The Wolfpack —winner of this year's Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary—the Angulo brothers have been thrust into the media spotlight, landing in Vogue, Vanity Fair and on the cover of The New York Times' Arts & Leisure section, and even collaborating with Vice Media on a short film. Being plunged into such a media frenzy could overwhelm anyone, but for the young men who spent much of their lives locked away from civilization in an apartment on New York's Lower East Side and who are just being exposed to media, advertising and everything else in the outside world, it seems to have been a surprisingly seamless transition. "How we're experiencing life right now is definitely [on the go]," 20-year-old Mukunda Angulo said in a phone interview from Los Angeles where the documentary just premiered. "That means, well, I'll give you an example: It's as if you're riding on an airport escalator and all these things are passing you by and we are grabbing every single thing." Mukunda and his brothers—Bhagavan, Narayana, Govinda, Krsna (who now goes by Glenn) and Jagadisa (who goes by Eddie)—have spent the last several years emerging from the isolation of their childhood home. Now fully immersed in society, the brothers are at last experiencing media, technology (they have iPhones and Samsung smartphones, while three of the brothers are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and consumer products (brands they have a fondness for include Coca-Cola, Heinz ketchup and Kellogg's cereal; they also like '80s punk fashion and yearn to check out a drive-in movie theater). The Angulos' unusual upbringing was the focus of filmmaker Crystal Moselle's acclaimed documentary, which chronicled their lives over four years following Moselle's encounter with the family during one of their first public outings.

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How Jeff Lewis Is Building a Flawless Lifestyle Empire

June 22, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Jeff Lewis, the notorious perfectionist, is late for lunch. It is mid-May, and the Los Angeles-based star of Bravo's Flipping Out is in New York for NBCUniversal's annual upfront presentation to advertisers and running around town for various meetings and TV appearances (Rachael Ray, Meredith Vieira) to promote the forthcoming eighth season of his real estate-centered reality show, a cornerstone of the cable channel's programming slate. Back home, Lewis, 45, oversees a domain that includes, aside from the TV show, his day job at Jeff Lewis Design and a burgeoning lifestyle brand that encompasses his own line of paint and (coming soon) rugs and partnerships with Home Depot and other retailers. "Jeff brings something very special to the products he's developing. It's not simply design theories and studies—it's good design based on years of learning what works and what doesn't," says Newell Turner, editorial director of Hearst Design Group.

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