Posts Tagged ‘cable’

Despite Losing Mad Men and Breaking Bad, AMC Is More Popular Than Ever

January 9, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

AMC's president and general manager, Charlie Collier, knows that many competitors and onlookers were expecting his network to stumble after losing its two signature shows—Mad Men and Breaking Bad—in a year. But instead of imploding, AMC has just wrapped its most successful year ever. "We faced an important transition over the last two years, with both Breaking Bad and Mad Men coming to a close, and many looked at 2015 as a sort of, what's next here for the network? And we're very proud of what we've accomplished," Collier said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. Before presenting the network's upcoming new shows for 2016, Collier noted that three of AMC's four premieres in 2015—Fear the Walking Dead, Into the Badlands and Better Call Saul—are the top three cable series launches of all time among adults 18-49 and 25-54. "At a time when many are focused on too much TV or measurement challenges and the impact of time-shifting, it's remarkable that viewership records can even be set anymore," said Collier, who added that AMC also ended last year "as the no. 1 destination for original programming in prime time, including broadcast, averaging nearly 4 million viewers in adults 18-49 and 25-54 all original episodes in live-plus-three." The network also became a top 5 cable network in primetime for the first time, in both the 18-49 and 25-54 demos. AMC has 14 original shows set to roll out this year, Collier noted. "We head into 2016 confident and optimistic about the future, and that's largely because we believe in the vision of the creative talent that's at the heart of our network," said the exec, who has so many shows in the pipeline that he is adding a fourth night of original programming: Tuesdays, alongside Sundays, Mondays and Saturdays. Among AMC's other TCA announcements: Fear the Walking Dead, AMC's Walking Dead prequel, will return on April 10 for Season 2. The 15-episode season will be split in two parts: seven episodes airing in the spring; the remaining eight later in the year

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Starz Plans Its Own Stand-Alone Service to Compete With HBO and Showtime

January 8, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

After previously insisting that it was "far away" from developing a stand-alone service to reach viewers without a cable subscription, Starz has reversed course. The premium cable network is now following HBO and Showtime's lead in preparing its own OTT app. "Yeah, we're in the midst of doing it," Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "Nothing to really talk about right now. To have your own app is the opportunity to be distributed, either by our current distribution partners in different ways … or potential other portals. It is early days with that stuff, but it seems as if the new and the old are willing to exist side by side for a while.

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Discovery Will Try to Capitalize on People’s Sudden Obsession With ‘Making a Murderer’

January 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As the country's enthusiasm for Netflix's Making a Murderer continues to grow, Investigation Discovery is jumping on the bandwagon, fast-tracking a special on Steven Avery, the man whose case is the focus of the riveting true-crime series. "As the country's most experienced true-crime network, we feel compelled to address what we believe are missing from the case as presented in Netflix's current documentary series, Making a Murderer," Henry Schlieff, group president for Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and Destination America, said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. Investigation Discovery has partnered with Peacock Productions (a division of NBC News) to produce a special, Front Page: The Steven Avery Story, which started production this week and will air later in January. Hosted by Dateline NBC correspondent Keith Morrison, the program is "an attempt to provide critical, crucial evidence and testimonies that answer many of the questions surrounding Steven Avery," said Schlieff. Making a Murderer, which Netflix released Dec. 18, has left the country buzzing about Avery, who along with his nephew, was convicted of murdering photographer Teresa Halbach. Avery had previously served 18 years in prison for rape when he was released in 2003 after DNA evidence exonerated him. He was arrested and convicted of Halbach's murder two years later, after he had filed a civil suit over his false conviction. More than 360,000 people have signed online petitions calling for Avery's pardon as a result of Making a Murderer, which raises serious questions about the case against Avery. A year ago, Investigation Discovery quickly developed its own true-crime podcast to take advantage of the frenzy around the first season of Serial. But ID isn't the only Discovery network looking to get in on the true-crime craze sparked by Making a Murderer, Serial and HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. On Tuesday, Discovery launched its first true-crime series, Killing Fields, which the network said is shot in "real time" as an investigation unfolds. Executive produced by Barry Levinson, the show follows a cold case from June 1997 in Iberville Parish, La., where a Louisiana State University graduate student, Eugenie Boisfontaine, disappeared. Her body was discovered two months later. Detective Rodie Sanchez, who was assigned to the case in 1997, has come out of retirement and reopened the case. In Killing Fields, he is paired with a younger detective, Aubrey St. Angelo, as they reinvestigate the murder.

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Here’s How Viceland Plans to Lure Millennials Back to TV

January 6, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The conventional wisdom is that millennials are fleeing TV, but as usual, Vice is playing the role of disrupter. On Feb. 29, the company will take over History offshoot H2 and launch a new network called Viceland. "As a company, to get this kind of production budget can still only be done in television," said Spike Jonze, Viceland's creative director, speaking at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif. "The idea of a TV channel seems like a fun medium to explore and play with," said Jonze.

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T.J. Miller Warms Up for Critics’ Choice Awards Hosting Gig With Booze-Soaked Promos

January 5, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Actor and comedian T.J. Miller was "dumb, and not in a funny way," in the big-screen flop Yogi Bear in 3D. And he's game for trotting out the memory of that critical drubbing if it means driving viewers to a presumably better use of their time—his hosting gig at the 21st annual Critics' Choice Awards. The show, airing live Jan. 17 on A&E, Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network, launches the year's award-season broadcasts, so expect a steady stream of Hollywood backslapping to follow. And Miller, currently hot for his role on HBO's biting satire Silicon Valley, shows off his self-deprecating loveable loser persona in several promos from L.A.-based Stun Creative. He's hapless but in a funny way. (He wore cut-off tux pants under that sophisticated black tie, execs at Stun say, and destroyed about 50 champagne glasses in his attempt to serve a cocktail). For those interested in the awards themselves, which combine movies and television for the first time into one three-hour self-congratulatory extravaganza, the year's most nominated film is Mad Max: Fury Road, and on the TV and streaming side, FX's Fargo and Amazon's Transparent lead the pack.

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Here’s How Syfy Plans to Hook Viewers on Skippable Ads

December 10, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

You know how the old psychological theory goes: Someone tells you not to think of a white bear, and then that's all you can think about. To help promote its miniseries, Childhood's End, which premieres Monday night, Syfy is testing the phenomenon in the hopes it's all wrong. Using YouTube's TrueView skippable ad format—which allows viewers to clickthrough after five seconds—Syfy created three custom spots that implore viewers to watch the ads in full, telling them, "Don't skip the ad." "We're getting somebody's attention because we're saying, 'I'm paying attention to you right now and what you're doing,'" Sara Moscowitz, Syfy's svp of brand and strategic marketing, told Adweek. Based on Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 novel of the same name, Childhood's End centers on an ostensibly benevolent alien race that rules the earth. In one of the spots , Syfy incorporates that theme by telling viewers (within the first few seconds) they don't need to be afraid of the ad. In another, which you can see below, Syfy plays on viewers' familiarity with the actors by referencing their previous roles ( Tywin Lannister , anyone?). The third spot also plays on familiarity with the actors but in a more subtle way. It serves quick shots of all of them before showing footage from the new show

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Nexstar Says Acquisition Talks With Media General Have ‘Reached an Impasse’

December 9, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In September, Nexstar Broadcasting Group gleefully played party crasher when it tried to scuttle Media General's $2.4 billion merger with Meredith Corp . by making an unsolicited $4.1 billion offer for the former. But today Nexstar lost a bit of swagger, announcing it has "reached an impasse" in its negotiations with the Richmond, Va.-based media company. Media General's board of directors rejected Nexstar's revised proposal, valued at $16.31 per Media General share, up from its initial $14.50-per-share offer. Nexstar said the Media General board countered with an "unreasonable" $18.61 share price. "The response from Media General is disappointing," said Nexstar chairman and CEO Perry Sook in a statement. "As a disciplined acquirer, we will only consummate a transaction that makes sense for both companies' shareholders." Irving, Tex.-based Nexstar has built up a portfolio of more than 100 TV stations across the country. It made its unsolicited $4.1 billion offer in September, a few weeks after Media General announced a $2.4 billion merger with Meredith, which owns 16 TV stations but may be best known as a publisher of storied magazine titles including Better Homes and Gardens, Shape, Parents, Family Circle, and More.

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Fox Isn’t Laughing About an ABC Sitcom Called ‘Fair and Balanced’

December 1, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes isn't amused by ABC's plans for a comedy called Fair and Balanced. The show, from ABC and Lionsgate, stars Kal Penn as a journalist who aspires to work for NPR, but instead takes a job at a cable news network that resembles Fox News Channel. Ailes, who was a comedy writer earlier in his career, told Adweek he doesn't find the idea of co-opting Fox's trademarked slogan at all funny. "They ought to call it an attempt at liberal comedy which will fail," Ailes said. "People tried to poke at this, and the whole Fair and Balanced concept. They wouldn't know fair and balanced if it hit them in the ass with a fish." Fox trademarked "Fair and Balanced" in 1997, and is looking into its use in the proposed title of the ABC sitcom. The series is currently in script development. ABC will decide by February whether to move ahead with a pilot. Still, Ailes is ready for a fight. "I might have the lawyers call," he said, adding: "I've got 24 hours a day to trash ABC programming. You guys can't program your way out of the men's room. "I have friends at ABC. Why do I want to trash these poor dumb bastards. But I thought, alright, one more guy's going to pick a fight with everybody else. Let's go," Ailes concluded. This is not the first time Fair and Balanced has been used as a comedic trope against the news network.

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South Park Hysterically Satirized Ad Blocking and Sponsored Content

November 19, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

South Park's 19th season has been unusually strong, thanks to a season-long storyline involving topics like political correctness and gentrification. "Sponsored Content," last night's episode of the Comedy Central hit, was one of its best yet in 2015. Show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone hilariously took on several of the issues advertisers have been grappling with, including ad blocking and sponsored content. In the episode, the elementary school's new principal, PC Principal, informs the student editor of the school newspaper, Jimmy, that he can no longer distribute the paper in school until the content is pre-approved. Jimmy refuses and instead delivers it door to door, to the delight of parents who are finally able to enjoy news stories that aren't obstructed by ads. "There's no ads, no sponsored content, no links to click on," says one overjoyed parent, Stephen. He then goes off on this rant about the insanity of reading content online: "Do you know how long it's been since I was just able to sit back and read the news? I got so used to getting news off the internet, but I feel like I'm always trying to chase the news somehow. It's like I'm in a black void trying to reach the news story, but then the next thing I know, I'm reading an ad for Geico.

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Trevor Noah Undergoes Emergency Appendectomy

November 4, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah was rushed this morning into emergency surgery, where the late-night comedian underwent an appendectomy. "We're happy to report that the procedure went well and he is currently recuperating from the surgery," Comedy Central said in a statement. Tonight's show will be a repeat, but Noah is expected back Thursday night. In an interview with Adweek for this week's cover story , the 31-year-old South African comedian talked about the rigors of hosting a new show every day. "Three things," he told us. "No. 1, having a great angle, covering the news, making it funny. The second thing is planning for the future while we're working on the present. You're doing that at the same time, and that's tough, because often creativity lives in the space of a very relaxed atmosphere. Third is, on a personal level, finding that you have to make your skin thicker and thicker every single day."

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