Filed under: BROADCAST/CABLE | Tags: Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Showtime, Television program, The Hollywood Reporter, Tudors, Viacom
“The Tudors,” Showtime’s popular series about King Henry VIII and his many, many wives, will be back for a third season, which begins production June 16. During its second season, the show averaged 912,000 total viewers for its first-run episodes, according to Nielsen. (The Hollywood Reporter 4/22)
Mark Greenberg, former Showtime veteran, may be tapped as CEO to lead the new premium TV channel start-up from Viacom, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and MGM, reports Business Week. The new channel, which remains unnamed, is set to launch in 2009. Mark left Showtime after 17 years in 2006 to pursue other career interests. (Cynopsis 4/23, http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/apr2008/db20080422_287056.htm 4/22)
Larry King will continue with CNN at least until 2011 according to his new contract extension with the network. The deal calls for no major changes and Larry will be at the helm of his Larry King Live show, which averages 1 million viewers per night, M-F at 9p. (Cynopsis 4/23) Yahoo!/Reuters/The Hollywood Reporter (4/22)
In the same week that the public learned that CBS and Katie Couric had held secret talks about her future as anchor of “CBS Evening News,” the third-place newscast sank to a record ratings low. The “Evening News” averaged a mere 5.39 million viewers for the week of April 14. (Iwantmedia 4/23, http://www.tvweek.com/news/2008/04/katies_evening_news_ratings_hi.php 4/22)
The Nickelodeon kids series “iCarly,” launched in September, aims to break ground in combining scripted television with viewer participation via the Web. The show is a hit in both mediums, says both Nielsen and comScore. And iCarly.com is produced by a staff of three. (Iwantmedia 4/23, http://www.tvweek.com/news/2008/04/kids_cotton_to_web_extension_o.php 4/20)
BBC America has picked up two seasons of the recent BAFTA winner, Gavin & Stacey. The 30m romantic comedy will make its U.S. premiere this August with 13 total episodes over two seasons. The series is produced by Baby Cow Production and is distributed by BBC Worldwide. Much like The Office, NBC is considering making an American version of this series sometime in the future. (Cynopsis 4/23)
Gavin & Stacey Clip
If you enjoy James Blunt, you will enjoy this clip.
Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane which opened its second season this past Sunday (8p) on the Style Network, averaged a .63 rating among W18-49. (Cynopsis 4/23)
Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane Promo
As he nears completion of a deal to acquire Newsday, Rupert Murdoch appears likely to pose the first challenge to the media ownership rule that the Federal Communications Commission recently adopted. Even without Newsday, Murdoch was in the process of seeking waivers. (Iwantmedia 4/23, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/business/media/23ownership.html?_r=1&oref=slogin 4/23)
Liberty Global, John Malone’s cable television company that operates outside the United States, probably won’t bid for the assets of Virgin Media, says Michael Fries, Liberty Global’s CEO. “We have so much opportunity in front of us.” Liberty earlier said it may bid for Virgin Media. (Iwantmedia 4/23, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601204&sid=a7llDc1_jb4k 4/23)
Fox wants the Federal Communications Commission to rethink its decision not to consider its challenge to indecency fines for a 2003 airing of “Married by America” that showed pixilated body parts. Fox says the rejection was a ploy to “avoid examination of constitutional and factual arguments.” (Iwantmedia 4/23, http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6554131.html 4/22)
Filed under: BROADCAST/CABLE | Tags: Anne Sweeney, Arts, Hannah Montana, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, MGM, Movies, Philippe Dauman, Viacom
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is ending Paramount’s deal with CBS pay channel Showtime to start a rival network with MGM and Lionsgate. His decision is said to be fueled by CBS boss Les Moonves‘ refusal to sweeten an offer on a renewal pact to run Paramount films on Showtime. (http://www.nypost.com/seven/04222008/business/moonves_waning_107560.htm 4/22)
Cable-company executives took a look at the recently announced joint venture by Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lions Gate to create a pay-TV movie channel and, according to this article, collectively shrugged their shoulders. Michael Willner, chief executive officer of Insight, said the as-yet-unnamed channel could have a hard time securing carriage agreements: “If they are just another outlet for movies, they will have a tough go.” (The Wall Street Journal 4/22)
Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television, is credited with boosting Disney profits with smash-hit multiplatform tween products like Hannah Montana and “High School Musical.” Sweeney is seen to hold the top spot on the list of those who might succeed Disney CEO Bob Iger. (Iwantmedia 4/22, http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/04/14/Disneys-Evolving-Business-Model 5/08)
I am a HUGE Anne Sweeney supporter in part because of her ability to garner the tween marketplace and for her confidence in bringing online streaming video to ABC.com. In case you don’t believe me, I bring you a pic from the bulletin board in my office. I’m thinking of making a T. Only media geeks will get it. . .
Netflix added 3 more (unnamed) set-top partners to its streaming video-to-the TV project, according to CEO Reed Hastings in an earnings call, who join previously-announced LG Electronics. Netflix now offers over 9,000 movies and TV shows for online rental. (Cynopsis 4/22, Reuters 4/21)
Fox Television Stations and distributor Debmar-Mercury are co-producing a six-week preview of The Wendy Williams Show. The daily, 60m entertainment and talk show will be based in New York and surround radio DJ and author Wendy, who will offer advice to the audience and viewers on various life issues as well as dish on celebrity gossip and new events. (Cynopsis 4/22)
CBS’s Entertainment Tonight and The Insider will be the first to entertainment magazine shows to be broadcast in HD beginning this September, reports B&C. (Cynopsis 4/22)
Beginning this week, NBC will flip-flop two of its Thursday night sitcoms as 30 Rock will move into the 930p time slot following The Office, per Variety. Scrubs will move to 830p filling the vacancy left by 30 Rock. (Cynopsis 4/22)
FOX renewed the sci-fi drama Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles for a sophomore season, confirming the series will be back this fall. FOX ordered 13 episodes though the fall season time slot for the series is yet to be determined. (Cynopsis 4/22)
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
(Below) Even for broadcast TV, this is a new low.
Appearing on NBC’s Celebrity Circus series which premieres on June 11 at 930p, are Christopher Knight, Rachel Hunter, Antonio Sabato Jr., Blu Cantrell, Janet Evans and Jason “Wee Man” Acuna. Signed as ringmaster is Joey Fatone, Celebrity Circus, produced by Endemol USA, features celebs performing a variety of circus feats including the high trapeze and fire eating, reports Variety. (Cynopsis 4/22)
TV Guide Network rebranded its ad-supported VOD barker channel as TV Guide Network On Demand, which provides news and behind-the-scenes content to VOD viewers. The service is also planning to roll out original content from next month, including minisodes of “Making News” and a newly ordered comedy series from internet impresarios from Rhett & Link. (Cynopsis 4/22)
Charter has announced a corporate reorganization, primarily at its St. Louis headquarters, to streamline operations and maximize efficiencies as the company looks to bundle services. As part of the move, some executives will be leaving the company, most notably Cathy Fogler, vice president and general manager of video services. (Multichannel News 4/21)
AT&T is introducing its full U-verse package to western Michigan, marking the first time the company has debuted TV, broadband and telephony service at once in a market. Still, Comcast spokesman Patrick Paterno seemed underwhelmed by the news of the competition’s latest move: “We deal with competition all the time. We still feel we offer the best value in TV, high-speed Internet and home phone service.” (MLive.com (Mich.) 4/21)
Filed under: Feature | Tags: 2008, ABC, Bill Gates, CES, Disney, IPTV, Keynote, Media Center Extender, MGM, Microsoft, Slash, Sync, XBox Live
CES Buzz: Bill Gates’ Keynote
Bill Gates took the stage last night in what he described as his last keynote at CES. Check out the highlights below. But first, check out a video of Gates’ last day at Microsoft. Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, is stepping down from his day-to-day role. As of July, Gates will continue as Chairman and advise on key development projects shifting direction to spend more time on his global health and education.
Highlights Video Part 1
- A partnership with NBC whereby MSN will be the exclusive online provider of live, on demand footage from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
- Xbox Live is literally killing it amassing 10 million members to date. New TV content will be added to the Xbox live platform, available for direct download from ABC and Disney. This will amount to over 500 hours of content available in standard definition and high definition. Very cool. New film content will also be available on the Xbox platform care of MGM, also available in both standard definition and high definition.
- Microsoft’s Media Room IPTV upgrades with a new application in union with partners: CNN, TNT, and Showtime. This application, distributed via AT&T U-Verse, allows users to change the camera angle while watching video. For example, as an example from Showtime, viewers watching a boxing event can change the camera and audio feed from the perspective of the trainer, ref, or the commentators. Double cool.
- Samsung supports Media Center extender to offer a connected TV with MCE compatibility.
- British Telecom will be the first provider to offer the Xbox as a set-top box.
- Reference to the Zune as the “clear alternative to the iPod” announcing that the Zune will be offered for sale in Canada. Bold statements. BOLD. Can’t wait to see what Jobs’ response will be to that one at MacWorld. . .
- Microsoft Sync to offer 911 Assist. On-Star anyone?
- Slash. At the end of the keynote, Slash took the stage after a brief demo of Guitar Hero. Later, Slash was seen walking through the casino with 4 large body guards. Love the Slash. Don’t touch the Slash.
All in all a bit lackluster, but a few interesting announcements none the less.
Highlights Video Part 2
Microsoft boss Bill Gates is unveiling a prototype navigation device that stores photos, plays videos and suggests nearby options for shopping and dining. Also, Microsoft’s Xbox Live online video-game service will begin selling television shows from Disney’s ABC. (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aqzxdooZC3xU 1/6)
Bill Gates, making his final keynote address at the 2008 International CES, applauded the industry for completing its first “digital decade.” Gates, who will retire from his full-time position at Microsoft this summer, predicts the industry will become more focused on connecting people, as well as creating natural interfaces that respond to speech and touch. (Los Angeles Times 1/7, Yahoo!/Agence France-Presse 1/6)