Posts Tagged ‘television’

How ABC Got Its Groove Back (Only Partly Because of Shonda Rhimes)

April 13, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

ABC has had little reason to smile over the past dreary decade, as it often has found itself bringing up the rear among viewers ages 18-49. Its sole upfront highlight is usually Jimmy Kimmel's annual skewering of the network and its perpetual ratings woes. But this season, things are finally starting to look up for ABC. The network has pulled itself out of the 18-49 ratings basement it occupied for the past three seasons (it's now in third place, just ahead of Fox), and it's the only broadcast network up season to date in the 18-49 demographic (to a 2.2, from last year's 2.1). Thanks to its mighty, all-Shonda Rhimes TGIT block, Thursdays are at a five-year high in the demo. And its fortified Wednesday comedy block (featuring The Middle, The Goldbergs, Modern Family and Black-ish) is at a three-year high. While the network canceled the Manhattan Love Story this season, it has also had several freshman hits, including How to Get Away With Murder (already renewed for next year), Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat, which is doubling the ratings ABC got in the time slot last fall. As the upfronts approach, ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee talked about how the network has reinvented itself—and why its recent success is only partially due to Queen Shonda. Thank God It's Thursday Lee's most successful play this season was handing over his Thursday night lineup to Rhimes: Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, both of which she created, and How to Get Away with Murder, which she executive produces. Most critically, he branded the night TGIT (Thank God It's Thursday), an ode to the TGIF Friday night comedy block that was a ratings hit in the '90s. "We took a brand that my boss Bob Iger invented [in 1989], TGIF, and we burnished it. It was very sweet to take a dormant brand and reinvent it on Thursday as something that was just as fresh today as that was then," said Lee. But as successful as TGIT has been, Lee isn't sure he can replicate it on another night. "A brand has to match the shows that are there.

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Showtime’s Boss Talks About the Twin Peaks Avalanche

April 13, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When David Nevins arrived at Showtime in 2010, the premium cable network was searching for the next generation of shows to replace fading stalwarts Dexter and Weeds. The network's president, former head of Imagine Television, has done that and much more, taking the net to 22.8 million subscribers and launching a host of acclaimed series like Homeland, Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex. Now, Nevins believes he's found Showtime's next great property in Happyish, a comedy debuting April 26 that stars Steve Coogan as a disillusioned advertising executive. Nevins talked about forthcoming moves—including the launch of a streaming service—as well as his efforts to salvage Showtime's much-anticipated revival of Twin Peaks , which was thrown into disarray after David Lynch's surprise April 5 announcement that he would not be directing the series as planned. Where do things stand with Twin Peaks? We're in the middle of it. I can't say too much. It sounds like you're still holding out hope that Lynch's departure isn't definitive. It's either a negotiation, or he's had cold feet. But I am hopeful. So at this point, you're waiting to figure out what's going on with David before you decide anything else about the future of Twin Peaks? Correct

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Disney/ABC TV Group Digital Chief Albert Cheng to Exit

April 11, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Albert Cheng is stepping down from his post as Disney/ABC Television Group’s top digital exec. Cheng, exec VP and chief product officer of digital media for Disney/ABC TV Group, has been the architect of Disney/ABC’s digital initiatives for more than a decade. In a note to staffers, Cheng said he felt it was time to... Read more

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Why Streaming Service Crackle Ditched the NewFronts for the Upfronts

April 9, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Xbox, Kindle Fire, Roku, Smart TV—no matter what device you have, you can find Crackle on it. Each month, 18 million users in the U.S. access the Sony-owned, advertiser-supported streaming network to watch a selection of movies and TV shows, as well as a growing number of original series, including Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. But Crackle still has a bit of an identity crisis as it looks to make a name for itself among the likes of Netflix and Amazon. After an erroneous New York Post report in December indicated that Sony—at the time under siege from hackers and seeking alternative distribution for its controversial comedy The Interview—would be releasing the film for free on Crackle, most people said, "What's Crackle?" (In the end, Crackle landed rights to the film next year in the first ad-supported window.) Crackle's general manager and evp Eric Berger, who's also general manager of digital for Sony Pictures Television, is trying to change that. He's taking big swings like commissioning Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser—the first digital sequel to a movie—and pushing original series like the drama Cleaners, starring David Arquette and Gina Gershon, and the thriller Chosen, starring Chad Michael Murray and Rose McGowan. And in his loudest statement yet, he's moved Crackle out of the NewFronts and into the upfronts for the first time this year: on April 14, it will become the first streaming network to present at the upfronts. On the eve of Crackle's first upfront, Berger talked about his bold move, what really happened with The Interview and meeting the challenge of raising Crackle's profile.

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Former SNL Funnyman Gary Kroeger Gets Serious, Runs for Congress

April 8, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Gary Kroeger is following in his former Saturday Night Live co-stars footsteps. Like Al Franken, Kroeger is running for Congress. Kroeger, a Cedar Falls native, is running for the democratic nomination in Iowa's first congressional district. Kroeger spent three seasons on SNL, beginning in 1982. He returned to Iowa in 2003 and began working as creative director at Mudd Advertising in Cedar Falls. "I came back for 'Iowa Values' and now I see many of those values being marginalized, even eliminated, and I have to do something about it," Kroeger wrote on his campaign page . "I have to so that my sons can have the opportunities that I had ... and more." In an interview on Mudd's blog in 2011, Kroeger described a typical day at the office: "Busy. Scripts to write, radio commercials to voice, television spots to host, meet with account execs about future creative direction and spots in production. Meet with production teams to create new content for online, television and radio advertising." Another of Kroeger's 1980s SNL cast-mates, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, lives in the fictional world of politics, playing President Selina Meyer on HBO's Veep.

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Time Inc. and Telemundo Team Up For Weekly Home Improvement Show

April 7, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Time Inc. and Telemundo are joining forces for the launch of SOS: Salva Mi Casa (or SOS: Save My House). The weekly home improvement TV show, debuting Saturday, April 11 at noon E.T., is Time's first Spanish-language television program and first major collaboration with Telemundo. "Time Inc. is expanding in many ways, including the launch of new digital, video and television products, and we're thrilled to add our first Spanish-language TV venture to the mix," said Time Inc. evp Evelyn Webster in a release. Each week, hosts Andrea Minski and general contractor Jose Perez come to the rescue of homeowners in need of extreme home makeovers. "We've built this series on the foundation of Time Inc.'s trusted and well-established properties in order to address the increasing number of Spanish speaking DIYers in need of solid home improvement advice," said Maria Lopez Alvarez, svp of reality programming for the NBCUniversal network. The media companies have signed GMC, State Farm and The Home Depot as launch partners for the first season, which will include TV spots, digital and on-air integrations, and print and online ads in People en Espa

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Time Inc. and Telemundo Team Up For Weekly Home Improvement Show

April 7, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Time Inc. and Telemundo are joining forces for the launch of SOS: Salva Mi Casa (or SOS: Save My House). The weekly home improvement TV show, debuting Saturday, April 11 at noon E.T., is Time's first Spanish-language television program and first major collaboration with Telemundo. "Time Inc. is expanding in many ways, including the launch of new digital, video and television products, and we're thrilled to add our first Spanish-language TV venture to the mix," said Time Inc.

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The Beeb Creates Buzz With Splashy Thrillers

April 6, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Sarah Barnett hasn't been genetically engineered, like all those clones in Orphan Black, for the job at hand. It just seems that way. Barnett's new gig—she's a few months into her tenure as president and general manager of the buzzed-about cable channel BBC America—brings her back to the place where she began her stateside career a decade ago, so she intimately knows the lay of the land. It also keeps her in the AMC Networks fold, where she methodically built SundanceTV from the quirky home of indie flicks into an ad-supported, original-content player with scripted series like Rectify, Top of the Lake and Carlos. Now that AMC has taken an operating stake in BBC America, the U.K.-born-and-bred Barnett will be running point on the new relationship. She'll also be guiding the channel, which recently logged its highest-rated year in prime time and total viewers, into the ever-competitive upfront presentations to advertisers and beyond, where she says she'll continue to take "the big swings" that helped put the "Beeb" on the map in the U.S.

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Twitch, HBO Partner to Promote ‘Silicon Valley’

April 3, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Silicon Valley is hoping it can get tech and video game nerds to unite, with a little help from streaming video platform Twitch . To promote the second season of the HBO comedy series—which will debut on April 12— the stars of Silicon Valley will livestream a Q&A for the Twitch community and debut an exclusive clip from an upcoming episode. (And, of course, they'll be playing video games with Twitch's live programming director and host Jon Carnage during the program.) To introduce new viewers to the series and jog the memory of fans, the platform will also livestream the show's pilot episode, marking the first time a network has done so on the platform. "There is an authentic connection between Silicon Valley and the Twitch audience, and this unique event is a great way to build upon that," Sabrina Caluori, HBO vice president, digital and social media, said in a release. "Twitch offers a unique opportunity to provide exclusive content and a highly social experience to this influential community." The idea of Silicon Valley coming to Twitch isn't that far of a stretch, considering actor Thomas Middleditch (who plays main star Richard Hendricks on the show) already is a streamer on the site. But, more importantly, it shows that Twitch can be used for different marketing techniques besides traditional pre-roll and banner ads. And it highlights its livestreaming capabilities, which have garnered buzz thanks to the releases of Periscope and Meerkat . More than 1.5 million broadcasters use Twitch to share content, and it gets over 100 million unique viewers a month. The platform recently made headlines when Amazon purchased it

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Star-Driven Comedies and Late Night Talk Show for CMT

April 2, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

CMT packed its 2015 upfront with stars: singer Darius Rucker performing at the upfront presentation at New York's TimesCenter, and the stars of the network's slate of new shows, including Billy Ray Cyrus and Kellie Pickler, introducing clips of their shows. "This year, we're enlisting some of the biggest names in the industry to unleash a groundbreaking new programming slate including epic events and music specials, a bold scripted comedy and brilliant documentaries," said CMT evp of development Jayson Dinsmore. The network will introduce two new star-driven comedies: "Still the King," a scripted comedy starring Billy Ray Cyrus as a washed-up one-hit-wonder kicked out of country music only to return years later posing as the new minister of a country church; and "I Love Kellie Pickler," featuring the American Idol Season 5 contestant. "It's kind of a modern-day 'I Love Lucy,'" Pickler said. Comedian Josh Wolf will host CMT's first-ever nightly talk show, "The Josh Wolf Show," produced by Chelsea Handler. The show will air Wednesday through Saturday nights, with panel discussions, comedy sketches and country music stars

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