Posts Tagged ‘networks’

Fox Is Rebuilding Its Slate, One Hit at a Time

March 2, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As co-chairman and co-CEO of Fox Television Group, Dana Walden, alongside partner Gary Newman, now oversees both Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century Fox Television, which Walden (who started there in 1992) has run with Newman since 1999. But when she and Newman took over the network last summer, replacing Kevin Reilly, who stepped down shortly after the Fox upfront last May, they received a baptism by fire. Aside from Gotham, audiences rejected all of Fox's new fall shows, including Utopia, Mulaney, Red Band Society and Gracepoint. Then, hip-hop drama Empire, from Walden's studio, wiped the slate clean in January, becoming the biggest new series in decades, with an unprecedented seven consecutive weeks of audience growth and an 18-49 rating of 5.4. The show has helped pull Fox from a distant fourth in 18-49 this season to a tie for third with ABC. Walden—who jokes that she handles the "fun stuff" (i.e., creative issues) while Newman gets the "hard stuff" (business issues)—talked about surviving Fox's fall to forget and how she'll capitalize on Empire's success. Did you have any idea that last fall was going to be as rough as it was? Yes. Going in, Gary and I always anticipated that this was going to be a really tough fall. We were encouraged by Gotham , encouraged by Sunday night. I felt like our job as the new leaders was to stay focused on the positive momentum and point to things that establish what we wanted to do in the future. That was a far better approach than being mired in how demoralizing the overnights can be. You and Gary have been in the new job for seven months. How has it been working out managing your network and studio hats

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How Leonard Nimoy Created an Alien Who Embodied the Best of Humanity

February 27, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

One story often told by Leonard Nimoy, who died today at age 83, was that quite a few fans of his Star Trek character, Mr. Spock, assumed Nimoy himself was a real scientist. Maybe it was the gravity he brought to what was, occasionally, a very silly show. Or maybe it was simply that television was so young when the show premiered in 1966, viewers weren't as skeptical as they are today.

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CSI and Elementary Are Coming to Hulu

February 19, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Two of CBS' biggest crime dramas are heading to Hulu. The video platform scored the exclusive rights to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Elementary. As more people view shows on digital screens, top players like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon end up battling for premium linear content. Scoring CSI, which was TV's top drama for seven seasons, expands Hulu's offerings to more than 5,300 episodes. While the procedural isn't the powerhouse it used to be—only drawing 7.1 million viewers during its two-hour series finale on Sunday—it did spawn three spin-offs, multiple books and video games, and a forensic science exhibit. "CSI is one of the biggest brands in the world and is exactly the kind of premium content that marketers love buying from us," Hulu svp of sales Peter Naylor wrote in an email.

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Could Snapchat Be a March Madness Player This Year?

February 17, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

March Madness, the annual rite of spring for college basketball fans—and a marketing bonanza for brands—is upon us once again (starting March 15 and ending with the championship game April 6). The three-week hoops tourney generated more than $1.1 billion in TV revenue for media rights holders CBS and Turner in 2014, per Kantar, and both networks expect to see more gains thanks to growing digital investments from sponsors like AT&T , Coca-Cola and Capital One. The NCAA's 68-team competition has become a cross-platform juggernaut, and CBS and Turner are leveraging social media labs, mobile video production houses and marketing stats centers in New York, San Francisco and Atlanta to serve an increasingly connected and social audience. New York-based Time Warner Media Lab, in particular, will assist sponsors with enough March Madness data to let them assess their business Xs and Os. "We have eye-tracking biometric equipment where we hook up respondents to measure heart rate, skin response, breathing and nonconscious responses to advertising," explains Will Funk, Turner Sports' svp of sponsorship sales, integration and branded programming. "It's serious research." Funk's division—which works arm-in-arm with CBS and the NCAA—runs the point on all of March Madness' digital and social extensions. He predicts a record-breaking year for revenue, adding that online inventory will be sold out this week, as 19 brands have nabbed roughly 60 percent of all available promos through category-exclusive sponsorships while various companies are buying up the rest. "We have 15 new digital advertisers," adds Funk. "We've seen a trend on the digital side with March Madness that there's more demand than supply, which is always a nice position to be in." Adweek caught up with Funk to talk about how the event may again deliver slam dunks for brands.

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Hot Tub Time Machine Star Says Tweeting Is Like Drunk-Texting America

February 16, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Clark Duke Age 29 Claim to Fame

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Jon Cryer on Two and a Half Men’s ‘Absolutely Crazy’ Series Finale

February 16, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When he landed the role of Alan Harper on CBS' Two and a Half Men in 2003, Jon Cryer says he had "an unusual sense of confidence" that the show would break his streak of four failed TV series. It did a lot more than that, of course. After 12 hit seasons, Two and a Half Men closes shop on Feb. 19, going down in history as television's longest-running multicamera comedy. Shortly after shooting the final episode, the actor spoke with Adweek about the shrouded-in-secrecy, "absolutely crazy" final episode, the Charlie Sheen chapter and how Ashton Kutcher stepped in and revitalized the show, and what's up next. Adweek: What was filming the finale like? Cryer: It was very emotional for everybody. The writers had a huge challenge because they had to basically end two shows and somehow weave them together. And they seized upon a very meta concept and really ran with it. So it's unlike any show we ever did before—and frankly, unlike any series finale I've seen. The title of the final episode, "Of Course He's Dead," seems to tease the return of Charlie Sheen. Does he come back

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How Fox’s Marketing Fanned the Flames of Empire, One of the Biggest New Shows in Years

January 30, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Nothing takes the sting off a lackluster

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FX Wants to be the ‘Best’ Channel on TV, Not the Highest-Rated One

January 21, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

FX is now the No. 4 cable network when it comes to 18- to 49-year-olds, up from sixth place a year ago. While many networks in its position would be gunning for the top spot, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf made an unusual proclamation at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour: He'd rather be the "best" channel on TV instead of the top-rated one. "Obviously we want as many people as possible to watch our shows, we want them to be as highly rated as possible, but there's quite a range [of ratings], and we can support that range," said Landgraf, referring to some of FX's critically acclaimed, but lower-rated, shows like Louie and The Americans. "We're not really a channel that's trying to be the highest-rated channel in television. We're trying as hard as we possibly can to be the best channel in television, whatever that means. If we weren't therefore supporting shows that would help us get there, just because [they weren't among the highest-rated], we'd be idiots." That said, Landgraf's patience does have its limits: The Bridge's declining Season 2 audience forced him to cancel the drama last fall, despite a creative resurgence. Landgraf noted that more than 1,700 original seasons of television aired in 2014, up from the 1,300-plus in 2013. Per FX's research department, 353 scripted original series aired last year on U.S. broadcast, basic and premium cable, and on over the top platforms like Netflix. The number of original scripted series on basic and pay cable in prime-time doubled in the past five years, from 91 to 180. "The amount of competition is just literally insane," Landgraf said. However, "the reality is there's a whole lot of shows on television that are probably relevant to almost no one." FX thinks it's solved the relevancy problem with shows that seem to be resonating. The network's research department compiled all 2014's Top 10 lists from TV critics, and found that FX lagged behind only HBO on the highest representation of shows by network (250 for HBO and 213 for FX, with AMC in third place with 74). At this point, Landgraf said, "the race for the best in TV is really only a competition between two channels: [HBO and FX.]" He also discussed FX's decision to experiment with shows that stray from typical episode and season lengths, explaining that while The Sopranos and other dramas changed the game, eventually their formats "started to feel like a box in some cases

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Resurgent NBC Sets Sights on Two Remaining Weak Spots: Thursdays and Comedies

January 18, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt started at the network in 2011, things looked bleak. NBC has now clawed its way back to first place in the 18-49 demographic, thanks to Sunday Night Football, The Voice and hits like The Blacklist. But the entertainment chairman knows his network still has two big problems to fix if it wants to remain on top: addressing the network's comedy woes and restoring luster to Thursday night, which has gone from Must-See TV to Barely Seen TV. "I think we're moving along nicely, but it's far from a done deal. We're in much better shape than we were two years ago, but we still have a lot of row to hoe," Greenblatt said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour this week. At the top of his list: shoring up his comedy development. "We are really challenged by the comedy brand that we're trying to build on this network," said Greenblatt, who is going away from single-camera sitcoms (he already gave the network's single-cam Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to Netflix, to the delight of creator Tina Fey ) and back to multi-cam shows, including One Big Happy, debuting March 17. "Some of the best shows on NBC in its history were multi-cams." While the refocus on comedy will take months or years to bear fruit, NBC is taking more immediate steps to save Thursdays, which "used to be the big night of television for NBC," Greenblatt said. "It's an important night for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is it is a great, desirable night for advertising." But the network has languished on the night with low-rated, quickly canceled comedies like The Michael J. Fox Show and this season's Bad Judge and A to Z . "Putting comedies we love there and having them fail started to feel like the definition of insanity," said entertainment president Jennifer Salke. Instead, Greenblatt is making a bold but perilous gamble, moving his biggest scripted series, The Blacklist, to Thursdays at 9 p.m., where it will face-off against Scandal on ABC beginning Feb. 5. "It's a risky but necessary move for us to make," said Greeblatt, who pointed to other big Thursday-night shifts that seemed potentially disastrous at the time but paid off, including Fox's The Simpsons, CBS' CSI and most recently Grey's Anatomy, which laid the groundwork for ABC's TGIT. "The only way to really reinvigorate that night is to jumpstart it with something like The Blacklist," Greenblatt said. "If you don't start that move at some point, you'll never get there." Looking beyond those two giant holes, Greenblatt announced several projects with big-name stars. He has given a 13-episode series order to Telenovela, a Soapdish -like comedy about a diva star (played by Eva Longoria, who will also produce) that is set behind the scenes of a telenovela production. And Jennifer Lopez will star in a new drama, Shades of Blue, about a single mom and detective who is recruited to work undercover for FBI's anti-corruption task force.

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Five Shows Premiering This Winter That You Need to See

January 8, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Another new year, another bumper crop of slots on your DVR waiting to be filled with shows that haven't been canceled or started to smell funny after a few episodes. But where to look? We figured we'd look everywhere, so below, please check out our best bets for the first part of 2015 (yes, we cheated slightly—that new Amazon show premiered last month, but it's on demand and it's really good). Of course, you'd be unwise to count out broadcast entirely—there's a new cop show from no less than Vince Gilligan, and we liked the pilot a lot. And iZombie (which, oddly, still doesn't have a premiere date) is one of the best shows we've seen all season.

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