Posts Tagged ‘cable’

ESPN Sues Verizon Over FiOS’ New Custom TV bundle

April 27, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

ESPN isn't wasting any time in challenging Verizon's new, slimmer cable bundles as part of its FiOS service. The sports network behemoth filed suit Monday in New York Supreme Court, alleging breach of contract and seeking damages related to FiOS' new Custom TV package, while claiming it seeks to stop Verizon from "unfairly depriving" it of "the benefits of its bargain." "ESPN is at the forefront of embracing innovative ways to deliver high-quality content and value to consumers on multiple platforms, but that must be done in compliance with our agreements," ESPN said in a statement. "We simply ask that Verizon abide by the terms of our contracts." Verizon, however, isn't backing down. "Consumers have spoken loud and clear that they want choice, and the industry should be focused on giving consumers what they want," Verizon spokesman Alberto Canal said. "We are well within our rights under our agreements to offer our customers these choices." Verizon has maintained that argument since announcing its Custom TV bundles on April 17. Starting at $55 per month, Custom TV allows customers to pay for a basic channel package of more than 35 networks, including CNN, AMC, HGTV and QVC. Bundles of other channels, comprised of at least 10 channels each, are offered in seven themed tiers: Lifestyle (including Lifetime, TLC, Bravo), Entertainment (TBS, FX, USA), Pop Culture (Comedy Central, E!, MTV), Sports (ESPN, ESPN2), Kids (Nickelodeon, Disney), News & Info (Fox News, MSNBC) and Sports Plus (ESPN News, NFL Network, MLB Network). Customers can choose two channel packs for no additional costs; other packs will be $10 each. ESPN immediately objected to Verizon's packages, claiming it "would not be authorized by our existing agreements. Among other issues, our contracts clearly provide that neither ESPN nor ESPN2 may be distributed in a separate sports package." Verizon said that its new configurations are in line with its existing contracts with ESPN and other networks. With both companies firmly entrenched, ESPN's lawsuit appears to be the first salvo fired in what will be a bloody battle for slimmer cable packages as pay TV providers fight to keep consumers from cutting the cord.

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How Mike Rowe went from the Opera to Dirty Jobs

April 23, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Mike Rowe got his first big break in TV because of a bar bet and a pencil. Rowe, the longtime host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, who now presides over CNN's Somebody's Gotta Do it, told AdweekTV the key to landing the job of your dreams isn't by doing something you love, but by doing something you're good at. "Learn to love it later," he says.

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Roma Downey’s Evolution From ‘Angel’ Actress to Producing Partner

April 20, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Shortly after marrying in 2007, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey decided to work together as producers, creating the company LightWorkers Media. "We didn't have any doubts," says Burnett. The same cannot be said of their stunned pals. "We have so many friends who say, 'Working with your husband? Are you crazy? I couldn't hang wallpaper with my husband!'" says Downey. "But it's been fantastic." That is an understatement. The couple's first project, 2013's The Bible, for History, became the year's highest-rated cable miniseries, drawing more than 100 million viewers during its run. "You might as well start big!" says Burnett. "That was epic," adds Downey, president of LightWorkers, which is now United Artists Media Group's faith and family division. "We hoped that it would have reach. We had no idea that it would have the kind of reach it had." Since then, Downey and Burnett have teamed up on miniseries A.D. The Bible Continues, last year's film Son of God, last December's Lifetime special The Women of the Bible, last month's CBS miniseries The Dovekeepers , the upcoming TLC series Answered Prayers and next year's remake of Ben-Hur. "We have a little slogan over at LightWorkers, which is that it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness," says Downey. "And so I'm personally most interested in material that in some way celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, that has as its essence an optimism or a hopefulness." It has been an organic evolution for Downey, who starred as the angel Monica on CBS' hit drama Touched by an Angel from 1994 to 2003

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How the Reality TV King Created 11 Popular Shows and Counting

April 20, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As of a couple of weeks ago, Mark Burnett's schedule for the week of May 11 was still surprisingly unfilled. "It's funny, but I haven't been invited to an upfront yet," says the prolific producer, looking ahead to the culmination of upfront season when the broadcast networks finally unveil their fall schedules. "Maybe we'll just stay home!" Don't bet on it. The most powerful producer in television will be plenty busy all that week, wooing advertisers and media buyers in New York. After all, Burnett is responsible for an astounding 11 network programs, on CBS (Survivor and the People's Choice Awards), NBC (The Voice, Celebrity Apprentice, The Sing-Off, A.D. The Bible Continues—the follow-up to The Bible, his massively successful 2013 History miniseries—and Angels Unveiled, his scripted pilot hoping for a series order), ABC (Shark Tank and spinoff Beyond the Tank, premiering May 1, plus new game show 500 Questions, which debuts May 20) and Fox (Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, which returns May 26 after a long hiatus).

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ABC Family Doubles Down on Original Programming to Reach Young Women

April 14, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As women between 14 and 29 enter new life phases, ABC Family wants to be the channel they flip to for programming that helps them navigate the next step. The cable network will announce at its upfront presentation in New York on Tuesday that it will double its original programming slate over the next four years. While the shows will vary from scripted dramas to reality series, they'll all be conscious of evolving technology and incorporate digital media and mobile viewing options. "This current market, there's a lot of pundits saying it's very weak," ABC Family evp of sales and marketing

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ABC Family Doubles Down on Original Programming to Reach Young Women

April 14, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As women between 14 and 29 enter new life phases, ABC Family wants to be the channel they flip to for programming that helps them navigate the next step. The cable network will announce at its upfront presentation in New York on Tuesday that it will double its original programming slate over the next four years. While the shows will vary from scripted dramas to reality series, they'll all be conscious of evolving technology and incorporate digital media and mobile viewing options. "This current market, there's a lot of pundits saying it's very weak," ABC Family evp of sales and marketing

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Amy Schumer Unleashes a ‘Big Booty’ Anthem to Rule Them All

April 14, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer is back for another season on April 21, but instead of a boring promo, she made a satirical music video offering an important cultural perspective on booty anthems, with the help of Method Man and Amber Rose. If you don't know the childhood rhyme about bodily fluids—"Milk, milk, lemonade, round the corner fudge is made," where kids dance about the playground gleefully pointing to the relevant body parts—then I'm sorry. You missed an important part of American culture. But your sad excuse for a childhood aside, we can all appreciate Amy bringing back this delightfully crass little jingle for a booty anthem that's almost good enough to actually make it to the charts. I think Schumer or Method Man or Rose or somebody realized it was a little too good, though, about halfway through, when you really get an urge to shake your rump along. So they decided that if you didn't get that this is humor, they would start chanting, "This is where my poop comes out." It is this transcendent moment, my friends, where this promo becomes a viral piece in the making that you know you are going to send to all your friends. In fact, the video probably doesn't need all the star power it's got, which also includes Amber Tamblyn (from Two and a Half Men) and Jemima Kirke (from Girls). Tegardless of how many rump-shaking celebrities you witness in this three-minute masterpiece, your main takeaway will be an unending refrain of "This is where my poop comes out," stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome.

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A Day After Their Season Premieres, HBO Renews Veep and Silicon Valley

April 13, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The day after the season premieres of Veep and Silicon Valley, HBO announced it's renewing the two Sunday night comedies for 2016. "Veep and Silicon Valley are terrific series, and I'm immensely proud that they will return to HBO next year," said Michael Lombardo, HBO programming chief. Silcon Valley returned Sunday night for its 10-episode second season with fictional startup Pied Piper in search of venture capital funding. Veep's return featured now President Selina Meyer—played by Emmy-winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus—fumbling her way through an address to Congress. While the cast of Veep will be back for Season 5, creator Armando Iannucci will not, reports The Hollywood Reporter. HBO's other Sunday night staples, Game of Thrones and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, already got the green light for next season.

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USA Network Is Trying to Reach Millennials With More Dramas and More WWE

April 7, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

USA Network understands that audience demographics are changing. To further appeal to the mainstream, the NBCUniversal property is working on a new strategy to reach millennials. USA announced Tuesday at its 2015 Upfront press breakfast in New York that it is banking heavily on dramas, starting this summer, and shying away from its traditional half-hour scripted comedies. The network is placing its biggest bet so far on

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Robert Downey Jr. Is Getting an Award for Reaching the MTV Generation

April 2, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

He's a movie star who has played other movie stars. Now Robert Downey Jr. will be honored for his work at the upcoming MTV Movie Awards. Downey will receive the MTV Generation Award, which honors an actor "who has engaged the MTV audience throughout their career." His "Avengers: Age of Ultron" co-stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner will present the award at the April 12 show. "Throughout his career, Robert Downey Jr. has mesmerized audiences by capturing the humanity in larger-than-life characters like Charlie Chaplin, Sherlock Holmes and Tony Stark," said MTV president Stephen Friedman. Last year's awards averaged 2.8 million viewers, down from 3.8 million in 2013. MTV is hoping an Avenger-filled awards show—airing before the May 1 release of the Marvel sequel—will bring viewers back. Last year, the awards went up against the return of Mad Men on AMC Official sponsors of the MTV Movie Awards, which will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, include Fiat, Geico, Taco Bell and T-Mobile.

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