Shonda Rhimes Smashes It in TV Twitter Ratings

September 30, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Shonda Rhimes is on a roll in Nielsen’s TV Twitter ratings. The producer and screenwriter’s steamy Scandal, set in Washington D.C., generated the most Twitter traffic last week. It inspired 718,000 discrete tweets reaching 4.16 million Twitter accounts, numbers that smashed the competition. The Season 4 premiere episode on ABC featured commentary about Olivia’s Zanzabarian trysts, changes in hair style and some body language observations from Twitter fans of the series. Omg when Olivia and Fitz walked right past each other I got chills all through my body!! Ahhhh #catchingup #scandal — C•dee•C (@EyezLouisVBrown) Sept. 29, 2014 And there was some wry political commentary. Turns out "The Dog ate Obamas intelligence briefings" #Scandal — toni smith (@palmaceiahome1) Sept. 29, 2014 Rhimes’ Thursday night winning streak also featured a TV ratings win with the debut of her latest show, How to Get Away With Murder, a legal drama that pulled in 14 million viewers among adults. The show stars Viola Davis as a take-no-prisoners defense attorney. NBC’s The Voice came in a distant second in Nielsen’s TV Twitter ratings.

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The 5 Artiest Simpsons Couch Gags

September 29, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

All hail the dark lord of the twin moons! How quickly we forget what an art school nerd Matt Groening is. Every so often, producers of The Simpsons get one of their stranger pals to offer a unique spin on the characters to open an episode, and invariably, those ideas are as good as or better than the episode itself. Groening's high-art bonafides are real—he and illustrator

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As Genre Shows Go Mainstream, TV Execs Are Looking to Novelists for the Next Hit

September 29, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

TV network options on books have exploded. Publishers Lunch, a trade that tracks book industry deals, lists an ever-increasing number of television options over the last few years, with 2013 setting the record and this year looking good. And with massive success stories like Game of Thrones ruling the roost on cable , a disproportionate number of those books are genre fiction. Bill McGoldrick, head of programming for NBCUniversal’s Syfy network, says part of the appeal is the charge a reader gets from a good book with a thoroughly thought-out world. It captures your imagination, even if you’re using that imagination to figure out what your programming slate is going to look like. “The imagination behind the intellectual property, when you’re a producer or a writer or somebody sitting in my chair, fills out the world for you in a way that the script can’t,” he said. “You get behind the curtain in a way the script doesn’t allow you to do.” McGoldrick is overseeing his network’s adaptation of The Magicians trilogy , a fantasy cycle by Time book critic and tech writer Lev Grossman that reads a little like Bright Lights, Big City meets The Chronicles of Narnia. Everybody’s looking for “the next Game of Thrones,” as you’ll hear often from execs

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GoPro and the NHL Have Signed a Deal That Will Give Hockey Fans a Player’s POV

September 29, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Ever wonder what’s it like to be Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks streaking in on a breakaway? Or New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist blocking a 100 mph shot? The NHL has struck a content-sharing deal with GoPro cameras to offer TV viewers exactly that kind of player point of view this season. The NHL will use GoPro’s POV footage in promo campaigns for the new season starting Oct. 8. The league’s two national TV partners—NBC Sports in the U.S. and Rogers in Canada—will also weave clips into game telecasts to illustrate the shooting, stickhandling and skating skills of NHL stars, said Bob Chesterman, NHL’s svp of programming. During the recent NHL/NHLPA Player Media Tour, GoPro techs outfitted nearly a dozen top stars with mini-cameras on their helmets, masks and jerseys at Newark’s Prudential Center. If a player filmed by GoPro scores this season, NBC or Rogers can illustrate what they saw on the play by cutting to taped footage from the commercial shoot, said Brian Jennings, NHL’s CMO. The league will also feature the POV content on NHL Network and NHL.com, while GoPro will use it on its YouTube channel. The GoPro mini-cameras capture images that were “unimaginable” before, said Jennings. “The [technology] demystifies our game—and truly shows what skill our players have,” he said. GoPro cut its teeth on action sports such as surfing. But it’s expanding with pro sports leagues such as the NHL and NFL, said Wil Tidman, GoPro’s head of production. Lundqvist, who led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals, can’t wait to see the footage himself. “It can definitely help the game become even more interesting for the viewer, no question.”

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Why Does This Scandal Star Keep Tweeting in All Caps?

September 29, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who

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UFC’s Dana White Is a Fighter Who Always Wins

September 29, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Asked what it’s like to run the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the ruling franchise of the mixed martial arts world, Dana White doesn’t mince words. “This job is insanity,” he says. “Every morning when I wake up, bad shit happens.” It may sound insensitive to say as much, White adds, “but when human beings are your product, bad things happen.” Photo: Sasha Maslov Then again, for a brand built on men climbing into a ring and mauling each another, bad things are supposed to happen—it’s what fans pay to see. And that fact has put White in a position few other marketers find themselves. Because when your job is crafting violence into entertainment, you either feel it in your bones or you don’t. And Dana White does. “I’ve been in the fight business my whole life,” says UFC president White.

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How Shane Smith Built Vice Into a $2.5 Billion Empire

September 29, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

By now, you’ve no doubt heard about Vice’s humble beginnings. It’s 1994 in Montreal, and three guys—Shane Smith, Gavin McInnes and Suroosh Alvi—decide to launch a free punk magazine called the Voice of Montreal. Two years later, the magazine drops the “o,” changing its name to Vice. By 2014, the operation—having since relocated to New York and now known as Vice Media —has become a platform-spanning news and entertainment group valued at more than $2.5 billion. Photo: Sasha Maslov What that brief history doesn’t convey is just how unique a company Vice is. At a time when many legacy media organizations are struggling to stay afloat, Vice has found that magical point of convergence where good journalism, positive cash flow and (most elusive of all) the millennial attention span meet. In the past year alone, Vice Media has launched a full-fledged news division, announced plans for a 24-hour news network and raised $500 million from investors A&E Networks (“It cannot be underestimated their ability to reach a very hard-to-reach audience,” says A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc) and venture capital firm Technology Crossover Ventures. For the company to have reached this point is largely due to CEO Smith, who has emerged as Vice’s tatted-up chieftain. The way Smith sees it, there’s little about the Vice formula that’s magic. “We look at it very simply. We want to do three things. We want to make good content, we want to have as many eyeballs as possible see that content, and we want to make money so that we can keep paying to do that content,” he says. Vice Squad | Vice's brilliant edgy content has made it a hit among elusive millenials. Photo: Vice Productions Not only has Vice mastered those things, but it has also managed to do so without losing the countercultural cred that made it a hit in the first place, first among X-ers, then among the coveted millennial demo. On a given day, Vice.com features provocative headlines like “I Went to a Blowjob Bar in Bangkok, Thailand” and “We Asked Drug Addicts to Rate the Music at Copenhagen Central” alongside news about unrest in the Middle East

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Outlander’s Ron Moore on Time-Travel, Pern and Everything Scottish

September 26, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Does anybody remember when we stopped thinking of the typical sci-fi and fantasy fan as a basement-dwelling male virgin and started admitting that women comprise a huge chunk—frequently the majority—of the audience? It's hard to put a timestamp on that one, but you can be pretty sure that Ronald D. Moore was there for it. Moore is probably as close to speculative fiction royalty as TV showrunners can get these days, and the writer-producer's most recent project is a shoot-the-works adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's bestselling Outlander series of fantasy novels, a twistily plotted story of time travel and romantic intrigue in 18th-century Scotland and postwar (very recently postwar, in fact) Britain. The show's mid-season finale, The Garrison Commander, airs Saturday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m E.T.; Starz announced Friday that the show would go on hiatus until April 4, when it comes back with episode 9. Moore, now in Scotland, took time out of the season 1.5 shooting schedule speak to us about the series, the work of adapting several large and complicated novels into a compelling narrative, and the show's instant popularity among feminists. Adweek: So this show gets a lot of love from women's sites like Jezebel that aren't necessarily speculative-fiction-focused or even TV-focused for its portrayal of a very complicated lead character. Is there any way to take into account and serve that audience specifically as you see it grow? Ron Moore: I mean, to be honest, I don’t really think of it in those terms—I’ve had this question a few times. I just write for an audience. We have a fairly large female demographic, but we don’t talk in terms of “the audience is female and you should think about it in those terms.” That’s how I’ve approached the project since I read the book. It’s just a big adventure story.

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Here Are Your 2014-2015 Broadcast Season Redundancies

September 25, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Every year, broadcast spends millions upon millions turning scripts into pilots and pilots into series. And frequently, it picks scripts with quite a few commonalities. Of course, if you have an entire professional class assigned the task of figuring out what's popular and making it into a TV show, this is going to happen, but we feel like it's worth parsing some of the duplications in order to see what network heads think will work...and sometimes what they're all thinking at once, for reasons known only to them. Blonde Political Women Who Watch Syrian Atrocity Videos State of Affairs Madam Secretary I know, right? This seems specific enough that you'd think the four-and-a-half-network range of broadcast TV, at least, would be narrow enough to edge out one of these shows. But Wednesdays starting in November and Sundays starting this week, check out T

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Super Bowl Rematch Tops Nielsen TV Twitter Sports Broadcasts

September 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Super Bowl rematch between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos put CBS Sports on top of Nielsen's TV Twitter ratings in the sports broadcast category last week. But unlike the lopsided NFL championship game, which saw the Hawks steamroll the Broncos, this week's contest was a corker. The Hawks came out on top in a nail-biting overtime win, which did wonders for CBS, giving the network four out of 10 of its football contests in the top 10 Twitter response ratings. The Hawks-Broncos clash lit up the sports Twittersphere with 663,000 unique tweets reaching an audience of 7.2 million Twitter users. Most of the tweets centered on the see-saw battle that saw Denver QB Peyton Manning engineer a last-minute drive that tied the game and forced it into overtime. But the Broncos came up short, 26-20. One viewer had a religious experience. Dear Football gods, Thank you for this Broncos-Seahawks game. — CBS Sports (@CBSSports) Sept. 21, 2014 Another had a "take that" take. The @DenverBroncos give Seattle a taste of their own medicine. Safety. pic.twitter.com/qNvLPiLexK — CBS Sports (@CBSSports) Sept. 21, 2014 And there was this tweet playing on the Broncos' home town. BREAKING: the Broncos are being renamed the Enver Broncos due to the lack of D. #NFL #DENvSEA — Richard David Jordan (@richarddjordan) Sept.

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