Posts Tagged ‘cable’

Gus Fring Was Behind That Clever Los Pollos Hermanos Ad for Better Call Saul

January 15, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When AMC's Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul returns for Season 3 on April 10, the show will feature another familiar face from Breaking Bad: ruthless drug lord Gus Fring, played by Giancarlo Esposito. AMC teased Esposito's appearance last week by releasing a clever ad for Los Pollos Hermanos—the fictional fast-food fried chicken chain that Fring operates as a drug front—featuring Fring himself, which caused Breaking Bad fans to lose their minds. Esposito confirmed his return at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., when he appeared in character as Fring during AMC's panel for Better Call Saul, and handed out boxes of Los Pollos Hermanos chicken to reporters. The actor told Adweek that he came up with the idea for last week's pitch-perfect Los Pollos Hermanos spot himself. It's been gestating for years, Esposito said, since he first appeared on Breaking Bad in 2009. "I always say it was divinely guided, because it came out of a meditation. I always knew from the time I first started working at Pollos Hermanos that there might be some juice in doing something that was centered in the restaurant, that was commercial-like," said Esposito. "But when I thought of it earlier on, with Breaking Bad, it just didn't fit" with that show's dramatic tone. The idea resurfaced again as he began filming Better Call Saul. "It came back to me two or three weeks ago, and I thought, this is the perfect way to tease a Gus Fring return. Because this show has some comedy in it. It's a little funnier than Breaking Bad was," said Esposito. But still, the actor hesitated to share his vision with the show's co-creators Vince Gilligan (who also created Breaking Bad) and Peter Gould. "We're dealing with Sony [which produces Saul] and Vince Gilligan, who's a genius, and AMC, and I thought, 'Will they ever accept that idea? And then I thought, it doesn't matter whether they do or not, it came to you; put it out there!' So I did, and I even guided them as to what it might look like." Gilligan and Gould were on board. "We loved it, and fortunately, AMC decided to make it," said Gould. "We just sat back and enjoyed it." Added Gilligan, "I thought that was brilliant.

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Without Game of Thrones, HBO Will Rely on The Young Pope and Murderous Moms

January 14, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Every spring since 2011, HBO has been able to rely on the new season of Game of Thrones and the audience surge that show provides. Last year, Season 6 helped the series become the network's most-watched series ever, with an average of 25 million viewers on all platforms. But the streak ends this spring, as the production rigors of Season 7 have required HBO to delay the show's return until summer. Instead, HBO is hoping to fill the dragon-sized gap in its spring schedule with programming from a slew of A-listers, including Reese Witherspoon, Robert De Niro, Jude Law and music industry icons Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Actors and producers from those shows met with reporters today at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif. Up first is the limited series The Young Pope, starring Law as the first American Pope—and yes, the youngest one—in history. The show, which premieres Jan. 15 is "more than a meme on Twitter," said HBO miniseries and Cinemax programming president Kary Antholis, referring to social media's recent obsession with the title. Law said that until he began doing press for The Young Pope a week ago, he was "completely unaware of what a meme was." Now that he has seen a sampling of the Young Pope memes, "I love them.

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Viacom’s Upheaval Continues With the Exit of Music and Entertainment Group President Doug Herzog

December 21, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Viacom finally has a new CEO and isn't merging with CBS after all, but that hasn't put a stop to the company's 2016 upheaval. Doug Herzog, president of Viacom's Music and Entertainment Group, announced today that he'll be leaving the company next month. He oversees MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike and Logo. In a memo sent to staff, Herzog said he'll be leaving Viacom as of Jan. 12. "It was a helluva run, and I would wish it on anyone. I loved every minute of it," he said. Just last week, Viacom's parent company, National Amusements, which owns 80 percent of the voting shares of both Viacom and CBS, decided to pull the plug on discussions of a potential merger. That same day, the company announced that Bob Bakish, who had been serving as acting president and CEO since Nov.

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Stephen Colbert Calls His Live Election Night Show ‘The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done’

November 20, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Stephen Colbert has had a lot of tough gigs in his career, but he says nothing compares to his live Election Night special for Showtime, which became more of a wake than a comedy show due to Donald Trump's surprise victory . "That show was the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life," Colbert said Saturday night. "The audience was sobbing openly." Colbert made his comments while holding an election postmortem with fellow late-night host (and Daily Show alum) John Oliver, as part of a Montclair Film Festival fundraiser at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J. In the leadup to his Showtime election night show, which Colbert was able to do because CBS had preempted The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that night for election coverage, "we had gone over every possible eventuality. We had so many guests, we had so many pretaped pieces, all based on a different eventuality," including that Hilllary Clinton won, or Clinton was the likely winner but the race was too close to call, or that Trump was possibly going to win. "And then there was the last show, the show we did, Donald Trump is going to win and we know he's going to win. And then execs and my writers were like, 'You don't want to write something for that?' And I was like, 'No!'" said Colbert, explaining that performing jokes about Trump winning the presidency for his studio audience of 400 would be like doing standup comedy during an execution. Of course, that's pretty much what unfolded that night. "Over my guests' shoulders, people kept putting up signs: Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska," recalled Colbert, referring to the states that Trump had won. "We only did about 20 minutes of material before we went, fuck it, it's going to be him, let's just talk for another hour. We have two and a half whole shows that you will never ever see of material that we had to kill that night." That unaired material included a number of pretaped pieces and a parade of naked men "with high, tight butts," said Colbert. "They were going to going to come out there and painted on their asses, it said, 'I'm with her, exclamation point.'" Colbert also addressed the recent controversy around fake news on sites like Google and Facebook , and said he and Oliver took issue with the term. "Because what we did was fake news" as correspondents on The Daily Show, Colbert said.

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Last Year’s Biggest Freshman TV Hits Have Lost Momentum in Season 2

November 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For a new TV series, the only thing harder than becoming a freshman hit is maintaining that momentum in Season 2. Several of last year's biggest critical and commercial hits, including Blindspot and Mr. Robot, have been felled by ratings and creative challenges in their sophomore seasons. Two of last fall's biggest success stories, NBC's Blindspot and ABC's Quantico, were hoping to grow their audiences in Season 2, but instead they've stumbled out of the gate. Blindspot, which averaged a 1.8 in the 18-49 demo last year, is off 30 percent, averaging a 1.3. However, much of that ratings drop can be explained by NBC relocating Blindpsot from its cushy post-Voice time slot on Mondays to Wednesdays at 8 p.m., when the network is much more vulnerable (and when the show is being trounced by another action-heavy series, Fox's Lethal Weapon). Quantico's fall is more alarming. It remained in the same time slot as last year (10 p.m. Sundays), but the series, which averaged a 1.2 in the demo last season, is off 33 percent with a 0.8. Last season's most promising freshman series for ABC is now the network's lowest-rated scripted series in the demo—though the network notes that it's had significant gains in delayed viewing

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A CEO by the Age of 40

October 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Search the term "wunderkind" and several entries about Jeff Zucker will no doubt turn up. The ink had barely dried on Zucker's Harvard bachelor's degree when he joined NBC as an Olympics researcher ahead of the 1988 Seoul Summer Games. In 1989, he parlayed that into a gig on the Today show, and was named its youngest-ever executive producer in 1992. He was 26. "Looking back on it, I can't believe they gave me the job," Zucker said. "I lived and breathed every aspect of the show 24/7, and I loved every minute of it. I was young, and I made some mistakes, and doing so in the bright spotlight of media attention wasn't always easy. But I did my best to learn from them, and not make the same mistake twice." In his early 30s, two bouts of colon cancer proved to be only a minor a setback

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FX Will Show America’s Uncomfortable Truths in Its People v. O.J. Followup About Hurricane Katrina

September 19, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story has been more successful than even FX could have imagined. The miniseries won nine Emmys in all Sunday night, including outstanding limited series, and was watched by an average of 12.6 million people across all platforms. Now FX is shifting its focus to the second season of American Crime Story, which will focus on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The decision raised eyebrows when it was first revealed in January, given that the topic would seem to be less palatable to audiences than People v. O.J. was. Yet the network has never wavered in its Katrina plans, says FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, who noted that a 10-episode miniseries focusing on the Simpson trial was met with just as much initial skepticism as Katrina was. Katrina "was our only choice from the very beginning," said Landgraf. "If we're all honest—and I'll be honest on my behalf—when we heard they're going to make something based on The People v. O.J. Simpson, it was like, 'Really? Do we really need that?' Because essentially on its face, what we had is cheesy, self-serving, profit-seeking, poor narrative built around that story. The reason we wanted to do it was that we could see from Jeff Toobin's book and from [Scott] Alexander and [Larry] Karaszewski's scripts and through our producers, that actually it was something much richer and more humane and deeper." Then, after People v.

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The People v. O.J. Simpson, Game of Thrones Dominate 2016 Emmys

September 19, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

On the night before the 2016-17 TV season began, the television industry honored its very best shows and actors at the 68th Emmy Awards—and the broadcast networks once again found themselves dominated by cable and streaming networks. For three hours on ABC, a series of broadcast stars strode onstage at the Microsoft Theater, and more often than not, presented Emmys to HBO's Game of Thrones, FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and Amazon's Transparent. Of 27 Emmy awards, just four went to broadcast outlets: Kate McKinnon won for supporting actress in a comedy (NBC's Saturday Night Live), NBC's The Voice was named best reality competition program, Regina King won for supporting actress in a limited series (ABC's American Crime) and Fox's Grease: Live was honored for directing in a variety special. HBO and FX dominated the evening, with 6 Emmys apiece, led by Game of Thrones and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Netflix and Amazon were also well represented (with 3 and 2 awards, respectively), and even BBC America snuck in, as Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany, who read her acceptance speech via smartphone, was a surprise pick for best actress in a drama series

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Stephen Colbert, Kelly Ripa and Other TV Stars Recall Their Most Memorable Commercials

September 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Many of fall TV's biggest stars have one thing in common: They appeared in commercials early (and sometimes, not-so-early) in their career as they tried to break into Hollywood. Earlier this year, several television actors shared their wildest commercial stories with Adweek; now with the fall season approaching, a new group of TV personalities looked back on the ads they appeared in that made them laugh, cry—and choke. Stephen Colbert, Wonderful Pistachios For his 2014 Super Bowl ad, The Late Show host—who was still on The Colbert Report at the time—pitched Wonderful Pistachios on the concept of cracking his own head open, pistachio-style. "They said, 'It has to be something startling, and we need you to be really enthusiastic about the pistachio.' I said, 'Well, what if I am just a pistachio?' They said, 'We like it. Are you okay with an eagle?' I'm like, 'Sure, that's fine,'" said Colbert. Between his "normal" face, his face covered in green makeup, a mold of his head, a "puppeted pistachio head" and a digital version, "there were like six different heads, all composited into that one three-second moment," said Colbert. "Star Wars did not have more render time than what happened to my head [in order] to have it be seamless! Everything was extraordinary." But what Colbert remembers most of all is his souvenir from the shoot, from the puppeteers who had also worked on the Lord of the Rings films. "I got a Lord of the Rings crew t-shirt from one of the guys, [made] before any of the graphics had been settled on," said Colbert, who is famously a huge fan of the J.R.R. Tolkien novels and films. "And so I've got a shirt with pre-approved graphics of what the Eye of Sauron was originally like, and what the original font was like. It's my 'precious'!" Kelly Ripa, Burger King The Live with Kelly host was 18 when she landed her first acting job, on a Burger King commercial. "They were testing out a brand new product—this is how long ago this was—called Chicken Tenders. It was their response to the McDonald's Chicken McNugget, and I shot a commercial for them where I had to run down the West Side Highway and break into a dance, because I was eating these Chicken Tenders," said Ripa, laughing. "That was pretty memorable." Kiefer Sutherland, Jose Cuervo In 2013, Sutherland learned the hard way that the alcohol used in liquor ads isn't fake, like it is for his other movie and TV projects.

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The People V. O.J. Simpson, Mr. Robot and Black-ish Win TCA Awards

August 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story cemented its status as one of the year's most acclaimed shows on Saturday, as it picked up three Television Critics Awards. At the L.A. ceremony, FX's critically acclaimed miniseries, which is nominated for 22 Emmys next month, was honored in a trio of categories: program of the year, outstanding achievement in movies, miniseries and specials, as well as individual achievement in drama for Sarah Paulson, who played Marcia Clark. The 2016 TCA Awards, which honor the top TV shows and actors of the past season, recognized some programs and stars overlooked by Emmy voters, including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom (individual achievement in comedy) and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (outstanding achievement in news and information), which did land a writing nomination, but was shut out in the variety talk series category.

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