Posts Tagged ‘cable’

A Look at What the Broadcast TV Networks Have in Store for 2014-15

March 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

“Time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.” —Rustin Cohle While his musings have more to do with Nietzsche than Nielsen, True Detective’s nihilist ex-cop just as easily could have been inveighing against the infernal hamster wheel that is broadcast TV’s development process. Two-thirds of the way through another unremarkable season, the pilots designed to replace the failures of 2013-14 are a familiar stew of cop shows, bland comedies and spinoffs. And yet, hope springs eternal … Poised to win its first seasonal ratings crown in 10 years, NBC is still struggling with its Thursday night comedy lineup. All three newcomers have been shuttered, but with 19 sitcom pilots in the hopper, the Peacock has plenty of options. The twin comedy suns that light NBC’s corner of the universe are represented in Tina Fey’s Tooken and Amy Poehler’s Old Soul ; along with a Craig Robinson vehicle and Rob Lowe’s turn as a tennis hustler. These are the only projects that deviate from the cookie-cutter relationship comedy template. On the drama front, the resurrected CBS pilot Babylon Fields could bring NBC’s Wednesday 8 p.m. slot back from the dead. Speaking of CBS , the Eye Network once again has few weak spots to shore up, as it is expected to renew the vast majority of its lineup. (As CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves said last week, “The problem with our new development is, where do you put it all?”) Having secured the rights to the new Thursday Night Football package , CBS has a powerful new vehicle with which to promote its ailing Monday 10 p.m. slot. Look for Vince Gilligan’s Battle Creek and an untitled Wall Street drama from Taylor Elmore (Justified) and John Cusack to help level the playing field. Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly has made good on his promise to scrap the insanely inefficient custom that is pilot season, jumping straight into seven series orders. Among these are the Batman prequel Gotham, which could make for a nice fit on Monday nights with the returning Sleepy Hollow , and the Rainn Wilson detective strip, Backstrom. Seth MacFarlane, John Mulaney and Fey have comedies in the works for next season when Fox will have as many as six-and-a-half hours to fill each week.

Read More

Suits Star Patrick J. Adams Obsesses Over Instagram

March 5, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who

Read More

Walking Dead Breathes Life Into AMC Networks

February 27, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Powered by the voracious and indefatigable phenomenon that is The Walking Dead , AMC Networks enjoyed a strong fourth quarter, boosting ad sales revenue 31 percent to $205 million. Advertiser demand for the AMC zombie apocalypse drama and solid distribution gains helped lift the company’s net income by 133 percent to $35.4 million, up from $15.2 million in Q4 2012. Affiliate fees grew 9 percent in the quarter to $199 million. All told, the domestic networks segment ( AMC , IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv) generated $404 million in overall revenue during the last three months of the calendar year, an improvement of 19 percent versus the year-ago period. AMC in Q4 aired eight episodes of The Walking Dead, which is now in the midst of its fourth season. The Oct. 13 premiere, “30 Days Without an Accident,” smashed all sorts of cable ratings records, scaring up 16.1 million viewers and a staggering 8.2 in the adults 18-49 demo . (Upon application of seven days of DVR playback, the episode delivered 20.8 million viewers and a gaudy 10.7 rating.) The one major drag on AMC’s performance was a $52 million write-off primarily related to the cancelation of two original series at the flagship network. “We were not happy with the performance of Low Winter Sun, which ran for one season, and The Killing, a show that ran for three seasons,” said AMC Nets president and CEO Josh Sapan, during a call with investors

Read More

Rob Rodriguez Will Make Sure His New Network Gets His Movies First

February 26, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

At a breakfast at the Lamb's Club in Manhattan today, Robert Rodriguez, founder and chairman of the El Rey Network, was voluble on topics ranging from the vampire prosthetics in From Dusk Till Dawn to his network's new sponsorships. The presser featured commentary from other execs—notably vice chair Scott Sassa—but for the most part, it was the Rob Rodriguez show. Indeed, Rodriguez seems to have had hand in everything from the promotion of the movies he's buying to fill airtime (Tarantino helped him winnow down the list and now emails him when Starsky and Hutch is on) to windowing on his own films, which he plans to write into his director's contracts. "I'll build that in going forward," he told Adweek. "All roads lead to El Rey." The famously prolific writer-director is adding "network big-shot" to his lengthy resume, and his pitch to press this morning was chiefly that El Rey is going to be a "pipeline to the audience" for talented up-and-comers, especially from the Hispanic community. That market is both vast and hard-to-reach, but with the backing of Univision

Read More

Can’t Wait for Mad Men’s April 13 Return? Watch Don’s Entire Journey So Far in 2 Minutes

February 25, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

How many times can a two-minute recap of Don Draper's six-season-long journey on Mad Men capture the off-the-rails boozer puking into a potted plant? Zero. But the rest of his repertoire is nicely represented in this short promo video ahead of the season 7 premiere. There are the suave drags on cigarettes, highball in hand, the prolific womanizing, the creative genius. AMC, as usual, has been stingy in releasing new material for the upcoming, final season. Hence the look back at Draper's world-by-the-tail early days on Madison Avenue through his infidelities, betrayals, failed marriages and, where fans last saw him, forced sabbatical from his namesake ad agency. It's not much, since the season 7 premiere is still six weeks away

Read More

Piers Morgan Never Really Arrived on CNN and Now He’s Leaving

February 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Piers Morgan's daily show at 9 p.m. on CNN is ending, the host told the New York Times' David Carr . Morgan is one of the few remaining high-profile hires from Jonathan Klein's era at the cable network, which featured everything from a prime-time talk series hosted by recently resigned and disgraced New York governor Eliot Spitzer to an 8 p.m. show hosted by Campbell Brown (another show that didn't hit). Morgan was in the unique position of having almost nowhere to go but up: he was hired to replace Larry King, and King's ratings bottomed out at around 63,000 viewers in the demo in the fall of 2010 just before he passed the torch to Morgan. Morgan managed to beat that record last week with 50,000 demo viewers on Feb. 18 (the show sunk even lower last year). "[L]ately we have taken a bath in the ratings," Morgan told Carr frankly. (For the same day, Rachel Maddow logged 227,000 viewers and Megyn Kelly clocked 354,000 in that hour) A few factors may have helped to usher Morgan into the tub: first, beyond a stint as a judge on NBC's reality competition show America's Got Talent, Morgan is much better known in the U.K., where his brash persona and Twitter-based Arsenal hooliganism inspire more passionate reaction. In the colonies, he's another British newsguy a lot like Martin Bashir, and his long segments on gun rights have frequently seemed like monlogues that would be more at home on MSNBC than CNN (now significantly less political after a year of CEO Jeff Zucker's leadership). It also doesn't help that Morgan's journalistic reputation was seriously tarnished by a stint at the Daily Mirror when, while the British military was in Iraq, he published a faked photo of soldiers appearing to abuse a prisoner. Morgan refused to apologize, was dismissed in 2004, and continued to refuse to apologize . Carr wrote that Morgan's show is likely to end "sometime in March." What will take its place is a mystery but Zucker has been on a hiring spree of late and the network has benefited from infusions of fresh talent, so expect a new face. There have been rumors around Bill Weir, hired from ABC News to the network in October amid enough fanfare that the network issued a statement saying that "Bill Weir was not brought to CNN to replace Piers Morgan," which, we feel the need to point out, absolutely does not say that Weir will not end up replacing Morgan. Another candidate for the position: Jay Leno, whom Zucker has often said he likes and whose long stint at the Tonight Show recently came to a close. 9 p.m. is a prime spot, and Zucker is likely to look for a big-ticket hire—CNNers have told Adweek that for the moment, "Money is no object." Under Jim Walton, there were more rules and regs around who could report a story, how much they could do, and what kind of crew they'd need. Today, said one newsman, "If we hear in the morning meeting that he wants something covered, we go cover it." That same philosophy seems to be in place when it comes to acquiring talent.

Read More

Independent Cable Networks Don’t Agree on Comcast-TWC Merger

February 21, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As Comcast prepares to add millions more subscribers to its already vast base, there's one group particularly vulnerable to the newest and biggest kid on the block: independent cable networks. These folks don't have the leverage of channels owned by a Viacom or an ABC-Disney—they have to negotiate on their own individual merits, rather than as a value-add (or an additional burden, depending on whether the network or the MSO is talking) to the two or three must-have networks in a portfolio. Eric Sherman, CEO of health and lifestyle network Veria Living, is unimpressed with the merger, which will give Comcast nearly a one-third share of the 100 million subscriber cable market. "Over our history, consolidation hasn't been beneficial, and I can't imagine more consolidation providing new opportunities," Sherman told Adweek. "I think there needs to be an aggressive approach from the government in putting conditions on this merger. If you're going to give someone so much power in the marketplace, you have to make sure it's fair." Sherman points to the recent court victory effectively jeopardizing net neutrality laws and the ease of Comcast's purchase of NBCUniversal as evidence that cable and satellite operators are trying to collude against networks and ultimately, consumers. "The Comcast-NBC merger [was going to provide] more opportunity for minorities, supposedly," he said. "That doesn't appear to have happened." Comcast's FCC-mandated minority-owned networks are mostly underdistributed outside Comcast and barely programmed, though El Rey in particular is seeking to break out with leg up from Univision, ironically a prime competitor of Comcast's own Telemundo. Aspire airs reruns of The Bill Cosby Show, The Flip Wilson Show, and Julia four times a day each. For Sherman, the new deal will seem like another win for the big guy over the little guy unless there's more stringent regulation. "We're going to explore our options with the FCC, with the DoJ, with other government groups so that consolidation doesn't stop diversity in the industry and our growth specifically," he said.

Read More

Moonves: Big Bang Theory Will Move to Accommodate NFL Games

February 13, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In a bid to accommodate the hulking bruiser that is the National Football League, Leonard, Sheldon, Penny and the rest of The Big Bang Theory crew next fall will be moving out of the Nerdvana of Thursday night for a slot earlier in the week. Speaking to investors during CBS Corp.’s fourth quarter earnings call, CEO Les Moonves confirmed that broadcast’s No. 1 scripted show would temporarily step aside to make way for the network’s new eight-game NFL package . “What we will do with our Thursday night is, we have some big shows, such as The Big Bang Theory … and we’re not going to wait until November to launch that,” Moonves said. “That’s going to be on the air on some other night, which will grow the ratings and the rates on some other night.” (That answers one question .) Moonves added that the sophomore drama Elementary is also likely to shift to another night, and while he did not offer a specific target destination, the smart money’s on Monday. Such a move would be a homecoming of sorts for Big Bang, which in its first three seasons occupied various time slots during the night before moving to the Thursday anchor position in fall 2010. CBS could also use a boost from Elementary, which if nothing else might stanch the bleeding in the network’s Monday 10 p.m. slot. In a rare stumble, two new CBS dramas have faltered in that position; the serialized thriller Hostages averaged just 5.16 million live-plus-same-day viewers and a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49, while successor Intelligence is faring only slightly better against NBC’s The Blacklist. While no decisions have been made on its Thursday freshman comedies The Millers and The Crazy Ones, CBS is all but certain to cancel the long-in-the-tooth Two and a Half Men. Now in its eleventh season, the Chuck Lorre sitcom has plummeted 44 percent in the demo and features one of TV’s priciest casts. (Leads Ashton Kutcher commands on the order of $700,000 per episode for his work on Men, while Jon Cryer rakes in $600,000 for any given show.) After acknowledging that the competition for the new Thursday night NFL show case was “pretty fierce,” Moonves suggested that CBS was really the only proper fit for the league’s purposes. “At the end of the day, it really wasn’t about money,” he said. “The NFL was more interested in establishing their Thursday night and being in partnership with a brand, a company, a network that would do a better job of establishing that into the future.” Moonves went on to note that much as it does already on Sunday afternoons, football will serve as a powerful promotional vehicle for CBS’ fall schedule. He then added that the network hopes to extend the deal beyond the single year for which CBS is contracted. (The NFL has the right to add a second season of Thursday Night Football at its discretion.) “I am extremely pleased to have this.

Read More

Comcast-Time Warner Cable Regulatory Review Will Be Raucous

February 13, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The proposed $44.5 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable will keep both public interest groups and regulators busy in the coming months. Expect a raucous and drawn-out transaction before regulators make their decision.

Read More

HLN Refocuses on Viral, Social Content

February 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

HLN is drastically switching focus from salacious court coverage to viral-hopeful segments and upbeat coverage of stories like " Is America Ready for a Gay NFL Player? " (not coincidentally also the front-page story on BuzzFeed, which broke news of the major rebrand this morning). The network is making its website a friendlier place to find whatever's a big deal on Facebook or Twitter at the moment, and Turner (which owns HLN) announced this morning that it would be replacing What Would You Do, its 10 p.m. hidden-camera show, with a syndicated series called RightThisMinute. WWYD will continue running at 5 p.m. The new show will find "the most captivating web videos and the stories behind them as they break," with the aspiration of locating videos before they go viral.

Read More