Posts Tagged ‘networks’

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.

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Fox Renews New Girl, The Mindy Project, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Following

March 8, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fox late Friday gave fans of its Tuesday night comedies something to cheer about, announcing it has picked up the gloriously goofy Golden Globe Award-winning ensemble Brooklyn Nine-Nine for a second season, while booking return engagements for veteran sitcoms New Girl and The Mindy Project. The network did not indicate exactly how many episodes of each series it has ordered, saying only that they all would be back on the schedule in the 2014-15 broadcast TV season. Also getting a new lease on life is the sophomore thriller The Following . While none of the four shows is exactly a ratings giant (more on that in a moment), Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly characterized them as “core assets within our…portfolio of content,” adding that the programs are “some of the best and [most] acclaimed” on TV. Fox cautioned that announcements on other pickups have yet to be made, but that will be of little solace to the cast of its 8 p.m. sitcom, Dads. Over the course of its 18-episode run, Seth MacFarlane’s live-action comedy averaged just 3.51 million live-plus-same-day viewers and a 1.4 in the adults 18-49 demo. A newcomer with a far better shot at a renewal is J.J. Abrams’ futuristic cop show, Almost Human. Averaging 6.23 million viewers and a 1.9 in the dollar demo, Human may be worth risking another 13-episode arc.

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You Won’t Believe How Big TV Still Is

March 3, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As the upfronts approach and the NewFronts try again to imitate them, expect to hear a lot about the twilight of traditional television with the rise of digital video. But don’t believe it. A new study from Nielsen reveals the depth and breadth of both universes, and comparative viewership numbers aren’t even close. The study, conducted with ad targeting firm Simulmedia , contains plenty of insights, but among the most striking is the size of either industry. Nielsen rarely pulls back the veil on exactly how big the TV and video worlds are (they do mint the currency in the former, after all), but here it is in black and white: There are 283 million television viewers monthly (the population of the United States is 313 million), each watching an average of 146 hours of TV. Compare that with 155 million online video viewers averaging just shy of six hours monthly on mobile and almost six and a half hours over the Web. So while TV’s audience is still almost twice that of digital video, the amount of money in digital isn’t even 5 percent of the mammoth $74 billion chunk of change in television. What’s going to bring about growth in the former, said Amit Seth, Nielsen’s evp, global media products, is equivalency. ABC already offers digital options for audience deficiency units (ADUs, or makegoods), and Fox said last year it would provide Hulu inventory for the same purpose (neither network was able to provide comment by press time), but Seth said he foresees greater porousness between digital video and TV. The company isn’t just hoping for that—Nielsen’s oft-delayed DPR product, which measures non-mobile streaming video, is set to finally launch in the spring. Nielsen also will be continuing to refine a tool that other third-party data miners are already selling: purchaser data that gives a measurable ROI to advertisers. “We have access to 90-plus percent of credit card transactions, anonymized through a third-party data provider,” said Seth. “Do you shop home improvement? If so, do you shop at Home Depot or at Lowe’s?” Nielsen now knows. Content producers like NBCUniversal have pioneered similar initiatives, but it’s impossible to overstate the importance of third-party measurement as the analytics world gets more complicated. Lest this sound like too much progress too quickly, Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of Simulmedia, says not to worry. Business as usual will probably continue apace for a while. “The silos aren’t coming down anytime soon,” said Morgan

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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

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Nina Tassler Upped to Chairman, CBS Entertainment

February 20, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Veteran CBS hit-maker Nina Tassler has been promoted to chairman of CBS Entertainment, inking a new deal with the network that extends through 2017. In her new role, Tassler will lead CBS’ programming across prime time, late night and daytime, while spearheading programming development in all genres. Tassler’s promotion comes as CBS commits to a slate of summer originals like the returning thriller

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Showtime App Goes Live on Roku — But Comcast Is Not on Board

February 18, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Showtime Networks has launched its authenticated streaming-video service on Roku broadband set-top boxes, providing access to to hundreds of hours of on-demand content and live TV feeds, available to subscribers of several major pay-TV partners. Customers of Comcast, however, are out of luck: The nation’s largest cable operator is not allowing its Showtime subs watch the... Read more

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NBC to Promote New Comedies After Final Night of Olympics, Closing Ceremony

February 17, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

NBC is putting an end to all the post-Olympics monkey business. Two years after making viewers go ape by interrupting the closing ceremony of the London Games with a preview of the simian sitcom Animal Practice , the broadcaster is taking a much more cautious approach in Sochi. The plan for next Sunday’s prime-time broadcast is to air two hours of edited curtain-closing footage, followed by the commercial-free premiere of Growing Up Fisher . The single-camera effort stars J.K. Simmons as an irascible blind attorney and is of a piece with NBC’s move toward broad family comedies. While Fisher is certain to draw a healthy amount of sampling—at the very least, the closing ceremony should provide a lead-in of some 20 million viewers—if recent trends are any indication, the artificial buzz generated by a postevent premiere will be ephemeral at best. (After bowing out of a blockbuster 49ers-Saints game on Nov. 17 , Fox’s Almost Human the very next night plummeted more than 25 percent in the 18-49 demo.) On Saturday, immediately after the final night of competition, NBC will roll out its other new midseason comedy, About a Boy . Originally developed for Fox in 2003, Boy stars David Walton and Minnie Driver. Both shows will have their time slot premieres on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

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4 Burning Questions About CBS’ New NFL Package

February 6, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In securing the rights to the National Football League’s new Thursday night franchise , CBS effectively pulled the rug out from under its broadcast competition. While it’s no secret that NBC has been having a rough time of it on the crucial night, Fox isn’t faring all that well on fall Thursdays, either. (While its 8 p.m. time slot remains a quandary, ABC’s battery of the indefatigable Grey’s Anatomy and the smash hit Scandal make it bulletproof, especially among female viewers.) Those who were absolutely convinced that NBC would spend its way to a rights win remain perplexed by how the Peacock let itself get outflanked by CBS. But according to sources with insight into the auction, CBS’ offer, which was estimated to be around $275 million, actually did not overshadow its rivals—in fact, one suitor suggests that NBC’s bid was the highest of the five. Instead, the network’s dominance on Thursday nights and its willingness to shoulder the load on the production costs for all 16 games (this includes the eight telecasts that will run on NFL Network in the second half of the season) gave CBS the edge. And while the impact of erecting another broadcast NFL tent pole will be significant, CBS faces some uncertainty as it plans its fall schedule. Here are five of the biggest questions facing the network as of today: 1) What’s going to happen to The Big Bang Theory? It’s a ratings monster and generates tremendous amounts of ad sales revenue , but the endearingly nerdy sitcom’s 8 p.m. start time is likely to overlap CBS’ pre-game show. (NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football games kick off at 8:29 p.m. ET.) So, while CBS could just as soon bench The Big Bang Theory until Nov. 6, it’s more likely to shift the show to Monday night in the slot currently occupied by the departing How I Met Your Mother

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New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Come Back Down to Earth

February 6, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For all the hype afforded it, the Super Bowl does a pretty lousy job at series promotion. According to Nielsen fast national data, the two shows that aired immediately after Super Bowl XLVIII failed to capitalize on their time in the national spotlight. Two nights after delivering a dizzying 26.3 million viewers and an 11.4 rating among adults 18-49, Fox’s New Girl sobered up, drawing just 3.48 million viewers and a 1.6 in the demo. The latter number ties a series low for New Girl, now in its third season on Fox. Lead-out Brooklyn Nine-Nine faced a similar letdown in the 9:30 p.m. slot, averaging 3.22 million viewers and a 1.4 in the dollar demo. The antic workplace comedy scared up 15.1 million viewers and a 6.9 rating in its post-Super Bowl slot. That network series fail to catch fire after landing the plumiest of assignments is nothing new. In fact, the last show to really get a lift from a post-Super Bowl position was ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy . After drawing 37.9 million viewers and a 13.5 in the demo following Super Bowl XL (2006), the hospital drama returned the following Sunday to a sturdy 25.4 million viewers and a 9.1 in the demo, up a whopping 38 percent from its most recent regularly-scheduled episode (6.6). Last year , CBS’ Elementary improved by just one-tenths of a ratings point after its post-Super Bowl episode, which was bumped out of prime time by a lengthy blackout delay. The 2012 example was a bit of an outlier; Season 2 of NBC’s The Voice debuted directly out of the Big Game. The previous year, Fox’s Glee inched up just two-tenths of a ratings point versus its most recent pre-Super Bowl airdate. Elsewhere, it was business as usual Tuesday night, as CBS put up its usual huge numbers with NCIS (19.5 million viewers and a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating) and each show in ABC’s all-new lineup was more or less flat versus their respective previous first-run airings. NBC wrapped the 15th cycle of The Biggest Loser with a season-high 7.45 million viewers; all told, the 15-episode slate averaged 6.52 million viewers and a 1.9 in the demo, down 17 percent from last winter’s 2.3 rating. Tonight marks the last time you’ll see much in the way of original content on the broadcast networks for the next two-and-a-half weeks, as ABC and CBS effectively are sitting out the period that coincides with NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics . (In other words, both nets will practically air wall-to-wall repeats until Feb. 24.) Fox is taking a more aggressive counterprogramming tack, airing new installments of American Idol in its regular Wednesday and Thursday night slots, while prepping first-run episodes of Almost Human, The Following , Dads, New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

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With NFL Win, CBS Lands an Even Bigger Bang

February 5, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, CBS appears to have outbid its broadcast competition for the rights to the new Thursday night NFL package. While NBC was thought to be the lead dog in the hunt for the eight-game parcel, CBS emerged the victor. The broadcaster will air Thursday night games in September and October, all of which will be simulcast on NFL Network.

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