Posts Tagged ‘cable’

Canceling 19 Kids and Counting Cost Discovery $19 Million

August 5, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting last month , the network knew it would take a hit. Now we know just how big that hit was. On this morning's earnings call, TLC's parent company, Discovery Communications, revealed a restructuring charge of $19 million "primarily due to content impairment charges from canceling TLC's 19 Kids and Counting," said CFO Andy Warren. TLC canceled the reality show July 16, two months after reports surfaced that the oldest of the Duggar children, Josh Duggar, now 27, had molested several underage girls when he was a teenager. While the show will no longer air, TLC will continue to work with the family, producing a one-hour, commercial-free documentary featuring Jill and Jessa Duggar, two of Josh's victims. Discovery's revenues increased 3 percent in the second quarter of 2015, but earnings were down 2 percent. "We will look back on July 2015 has a pivotal month in our company's history," said CEO David Zaslav on the call, touting Discovery's acquisition of Eurosport, an agreement to air the Olympic Games in Europe, and inking a long-term renewal deal with Comcast in the U.S.

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Destination America Tries to Scare Up Viewers With a Live Exorcism

July 30, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Discovery may have gotten out of the outlandish-TV-stunts business, but its sister networks didn't get that memo. Destination America will televise what it's calling the first live exorcism in U.S. history, airing Exorcism: Live! on Oct. 30. A house, not a person, will be the subject of the exorcism, which will take place at the same suburban St. Louis home where an exorcism was performed on Roland Doe in 1949. That event inspired William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel The Exorcist and its iconic 1973 film adaptation, which starred Linda Blair. During the telecast, paranormal investigators the Tennessee Wraith Chasers from the network's Ghost Asylum, along with psychic medium Chip Coffey, "will explore each crevice of this terrifying home, from the attic to the basement, to find whatever or whomever has scared Americans to death for decades," said Destination America in a release.

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How the Creator of Jersey Shore Ended Up Working for CNBC

July 15, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If Mark Burnett is the king of reality TV , then SallyAnn Salsano is certainly its queen. Salsano, a former Howard Stern Show intern, has produced dozens of reality shows for her company, 495 Productions, including MTV's mega-hit Jersey Shore and its various offshoots. She's worked on series for HGTV (Design Star), Oxygen (Dance Your Ass Off), TLC (Wedding Island), VH1 (Tool Academy), TV Guide (Nail Files), Spike (Repo Games) and Syfy (Fangasm), and she's spent the last year as showrunner of the syndicated daytime talk show The Real. Salsano's latest reality creation is Blue Collar Millionaires, which premieres Wednesday night at 10 p.m. on a seemingly unlikely network for her: CNBC. Blue Collar Millionaires, which she described as "Dirty Jobs meets MTV Cribs," spotlights entrepreneurs who made money by getting their hands dirty in professions like pest control, hazmat services and waste management

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To Promote Its New Scream Series, MTV is Killing Its Audience

June 19, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As MTV continues its huge promotional push on social media for the upcoming series Scream, the network has unveiled its latest method for hooking potential viewers—killing them. In the spirit of Scream, a series based on the hit horror-film franchise that debuts June 30, MTV has launched Choose Your Own Murder, an interactive online game that places users in the middle of their own horror movie scenario, which unfolds from their POV and asks them to select from various options a way to escape a killer that's pursuing them. As the game begins, the user is about to have sex with a half-naked woman when there's a noise outside the bedroom. The action pauses while the user has 10 seconds to choose between two options: "Go check it out" or "Ignore it." As in the Choose Your Own Adventure books, the story unfolds differently depending on the path users take. (Later options include "Run for door"/"Hide & call someone" and "Stay where you are"/"Go out window.") The end result, however, is always the same: users are murdered, and in a variety of different ways—sometimes right after their first selection.

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First to Tweet and Take Selfies? It Was This Horrid Family From a Century Ago

June 5, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Kim Kardashian may be the queen of selfies, with a bestselling book to prove it, but she's not the first over-sharing, narcissistic reality show star. That dubious title would go to the Bellacourts of the upcoming Comedy Central series Another Period. They're the debauched, filthy-rich members of a famous-for-being-famous clan that the cable channel is calling "the original ballers." The Rhode Island bluebloods never fail to make an entrance (think upskirts and crotch shots), and they're social media early adopters (credited with early, crude tweets and swipe lefts). They know a thing or two about virality, quite literally—they are 19th century celebrities, after all. A handful of promo spots, created in-house, launched this week. They mix the show's turn-of-the-century twisted Downton Abbey-esque setting with today's tropes. "We wondered what these hilariously terrible people of another time would do with modern technology," said Lu Chekowsky, the channel's svp of brand creative, "and wanted to play with all the ingredients of the show that make it great—the gilded age, the reality show excess and the hip-hop sensibility." The 10-episode series, from writer-producer-stars Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, also features Michael Ian Black, Christina Hendricks, Paget Brewster and Jason Ritter. The show debuts June 23.

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USA’s Playing House Stars Hilariously Explain TV Industry Acronyms

May 22, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Acronyms were flying at the upfronts last week , which is why we brought you the guide to sorting out MVPD, SVOD and everything in between. NBCU Cable Entertainment had the same idea, only they tapped the eps, writers and stars of the USA comedy Playing House to give a more humorous take. In this video, which was played at the NBCU Cable Entertainment upfront, Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair break down the acronyms that dominate how TV is produced, sold and viewed.

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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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