Daily Marauder



As expected, Comcast and the NFL Network have made final a carriage deal. The agreement means that the National Football League‘s cable channel will be available by Aug. 1 on the digital-basic tier of the country’s largest cable provider, adding 10.8 million subscribers to the network’s roster. The Wall Street Journal (5/20) , The New York Times (5/19

Comcast NFL2

As Fox’s “American Idol,” U.S. television’s No. 1 series, ends its eighth year, the juggernaut is seeing a 8.4% drop in average audience this season. While advertisers spent $903.3 million on “Idol” last year, it “has begun to show signs of wear,” analysts say. (Iwantmedia 5/20, http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2009-05-19-ratings-american-idol_N.htm 5/19)


A few years before NBC signed up Jay Leno to host a nightly series in prime time, the network approached both Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman about taking on similar gigs. NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker says Winfrey declined his offer to move her show to the network. (Iwantmedia 5/20, http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003977.html?categoryid=14&cs=1 5/19)

The season two finale of HISTORY’s Ax Men on Monday at 10p attracted 1.1 million A25-54 and 1.9 million total viewers. (Cynopsis 5/20)

Ax Men

The final episode of the first season of “River Monsters” on Animal Planet drew 1.4 million viewers, good enough to make the show the most-watched in the network’s history. “River Monsters” averaged 1.4 million viewers in its eight-episode first year, topping “Whale Wars,” which averaged 1 million viewers in its freshman season. Multichannel News (5/19)

A special sponsorship with Subway sandwich shops is enabling NBC to renew “Chuck” for a third season. Subway played a role in an episode of the series last month. Chuck’s girlfriend, Sarah, works at a mall food court. She could be selling Subway sandwiches next season. (Iwantmedia 5/20, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/business/media/20adco.html?_r=1 5/20)

ABC confirmed the following returning series Better Off Ted, Castle, Scrubs, True Beauty, America’s Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Brothers & Sisters, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Private Practice, Supernanny, Ugly Betty, Wife Swap, 20/20 and Saturday Night College Football. Cynopsis 5/20

Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation are working on a triple crown of sorts. The two companies, which collaborated on “The Penguins of Madagascar” and recently announced plans for “Kung Fu Panda: The Series,” now say they will team up on a pilot for Nick based on DWA’s “Monsters vs. Aliens” movie. The Hollywood Reporter (5/19)

Eight of the 11 new shows ABC is lining up for next season are made by outside suppliers, breaking with tradition. The move could save money for ABC because most shows fail, losing millions for the studios that produce them. Even successful programs typically lose money. (Iwantmedia 5/20, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-abc20-2009may20,0,441327.story 5/19)

Comcast Corporation made an agreement with Disney and ESPN Media Networks to add ESPNU to its Digital Classic level as well as ESPN360.com to Comcast.net. The launch of ESPNU will coincide with the opening of the college football season. This launch takes ESPNU to more than 46 million subscribers and ESPN360.com will be available to almost 41 million homes. Cynopsis 5/20

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Comcast and the National Football League are reportedly close to a deal that would bring the league’s NFL Network to one of the MSO’s more widely distributed programming tiers. If a deal comes to fruition, it will likely help the NFL network expand its reach. The Wall Street Journal (5/19)

Comcast NFL

Fox Television, the proud home of The Simpsons and Family Guy, is looking for another cartoon franchise to add to its roster. But rather than searching in Hollywood, it is crowdsourcing cartoon ideas on the Web. In a contest hosted on animation site Aniboom, professional and amateur animators alike will be able to submit a two- to four-minute animated video online for a chance at cash prizes and a shot at producing a full-length pilot for TV. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/18/fox-television-tries-to-crowdsource-cartoons-through-aniboom/ 5/18)

Family Guy Aniboom

MTV tackles a sensitive and controversial subject in its new series, 16 & Pregnant opening June 11 at 10p with six one-hour episodes. The intimate series will follow the lives of pregnant teenagers as they become young parents while juggling relationships, finances, school and other new responsibilities. (Cynopsis 5/19)

Drew Carey, host of The Price Is Right on CBS, made a two-year first-look production agreement with CBS Television Studios involving scripted and non-scripted shows, reports THR. (Cynopsis 5/19)

Drew Carey

News Corp.’s Fox television is unveiling a new schedule aiming to lure more prime-time viewers next season. Two new shows, “Human Target” and “Sons of Tucson,” will begin airing in 2010 to benefit from the added viewers who tune in when the top-rated “American Idol” returns. (Iwantmedia 5/19, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a_85epjtNTNo 5/18)

Time Warner is closing on its acquisition of a 31% interest in Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the Bermuda-based broadcaster founded by cosmetics billionaire Ronald Lauder. CME operates TV channels in countries including Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Romania. (Iwantmedia 5/19, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Time-Warner-investment-in-CME-apf-15277989.html 5/18)

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Football fans flocked to watch the 2009 NFL Draft, with the NFL Network, ESPN and ESPN2 gauging a record 39 million viewers, based on data from Nielsen. This year’s viewership number equates to approximately 2.5 million more tuning in from the previous year and also breaks the 2007 record of 38 million viewers. (Cynopsis 4/28)


Beginning next week, FOX is moving its newer animated comedy Sit Down, Shut Up out from under The Simpsons‘ shadow on Sundays to 7p followed by reruns of American Dad at 730p. The final episodes of King of the Hill’s last season will fill the 830p time period following The Simpsons. (Cynopsis 4/28)


(Below) It’s official.  I’m outside the target demo age range.  Now, I officially feel bad for watching The Hills…

MTV serves up a variety pack of new programming covering different genres such as reality, fashion, sports, comedy, animation as well as a live afternoon show. MTV continues to aim its programming to the millennial generation, those born between 1980-2000, with shows that are “aspirational, escapist and optimistic.” Nine new series join MTV’s lineup. (Cynopsis 4/28)

Despite a strong push by TNT with its coverage of the NBA playoffs, USA Network maintained its dominance in the weekly ratings race among ad-supported cable nets. For the week that ended April 26, USA averaged 3.18 million total viewers; TNT finished with 2.93 million viewers and finished No. 1 in the 18-to-34, 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 demographic groups. Mediaweek (4/28)

The U.S. Supreme Court says that the Federal Communications Commission may penalize even the occasional use of certain expletives on the air. The court’s ruling says the FCC — prompted by Cher’s use of the F-word during a 2002 live broadcast — is justified in fining broadcasters. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/04/28/ST2009042801819.html 4/29)

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Hoping for input into Jay Leno‘s fall primetime program, the NBC affiliates board is conducting a study to keep local newscasts from suffering due to the network’s decision to move “Leno” to 10 p.m. The study will help reveal, for example, the ideal length of Leno’s monologue. (Iwantmedia 3/24, http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/190391-NBC_Affils_Launch_Study_to_Shape_Leno_.php 3/23)


In a sign that media rights for major sports may defy the recession, the National Football League is entering a four-year extension with DirecTV valued at $4 billion — a 43% increase over the current deal. The league will soon seek new deals with broadcasters. (Iwantmedia 3/24, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123786503490122053.html 3/24)


Lifetime’s latest adaptation of a Nora Roberts novel, “Northern Lights,” attracted 4.5 million viewers in its premiere on Saturday night. The movie scored 1 million women between the ages of 18 and 49 and 1.2 million in the 25-to-54 group. Variety (3/23)

Hmmm…could their affair have anything to do with it?  Don’t know what I’m talking about.  Grab an Us Weekly or check out your favorite gossip blog.


Fox has ordered up a second season of Kitchen Nightmares feature Gordon Ramsay‘s visits and fixes of restaurants in dire need of help. (Cynopsis 3/24)


Turner is expanding its 25-year relationship with the National Basketball Association with a number of projects in development for the television, online and mobile platforms. First up is a short-form TV series about the kids of NBA players titled “My Dad’s a Pro,” which is slated to debut on Turner’s Cartoon Network this fall. The Hollywood Reporter (3/23)

A year ago, the smart money was on GE dropping NBC Universal, but the media company has shed its “black sheep” image and is a cash-contributing asset, according to this report. GE’s overall profits were down 22% in 2008, but NBC Universal, with cable assets such as USA and Bravo, saw profits increase 1%. The New York Times (3/23)

AT&T’s U-verse IPTV service is expanding its ethnic programming line-up adding international  channels to serve Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese and Korean viewers in the U.S. New offerings include Mandarin-language based ET News and ET Global; Hindi-based STAR India PLUS, added to the South Asian package for no extra charge; Korean drama and variety channel MBC America; and the Vietnamese-dubbed TVBV drama channel. (Cynopsis 3/24)

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When the National Football League broadcasts next week’s San Diego-Oakland game to theaters in three cities, it will mark the first time that the league has used 3-D technology during a live event. The game will be shot using special cameras and broadcast via satellite. CNET (11/24)


ABC Family on Dec. 5 begins a three-day marathon featuring the first four “Harry Potter” movies. The programming stunt, all part of the network’s 25 Days of Christmas event, includes an extended edition of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” as well as a first look at this summer’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Multichannel News (11/24)


The CW Network announced its new official Sunday evening schedule starting November 30: first season episodes of Everybody Hates Chris at 5p and The Game at 530p; two second season back-to-back episodes of The Drew Carey Show from 6-7p; first season episodes of Jericho at 7p; and MGM movies at 8p. Film titles from MGM include The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course on November 30 as well as Spaceballs, Carrie, Throw Momma From the Train, Mr. Mom and many others. (Cynopsis 11/25)

Alan Colmes, the liberal co-host of Hannity & Colmes for 12 years will exit the show at the end of 2008. Colmes said in a statement he wants to “develop new and challenging ways to contribute to the growth of the network.” He will continue to be a left-leaning commentator for Fox News and host his Fox radio show. The network has not announced Colmes’ replacement to sit opposite Sean Hannity. (Cynopsis 11/25)


A&E Network began production on a new reality series Steven Seagal: Lawman based on the action movie star’s nearly twenty year on/off stint as a New Orleans crime fighter. The series will follow Seagal as he works as a fully-commissioned deputy with the Jefferson Parish County Sheriff’s Office. A&E will roll out the new show late next year. (Cynopsis 11/25)


Despite the growth on online video, Americans watch an average of 8 hours and 18 minutes of television each day, according to a study from Nielsen. That’s up substantially from a decade ago — before Internet video was part of the culture — when Americans watched an average of 7 hours and 15 minutes each day. Los Angeles Times (free registration) (11/25) , The New York Times/The Associated Press (11/24)

Comcast will launch The Comcast Network by the end of the year in the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh and Washington/Baltimore markets as a way to concentrate on more targeted public affairs and sports programming. The Comcast Network will take the place of CN8, a multiregional channel launched in 1996 that reaches more than 9 million households along the East Coast. Broadcasting & Cable (11/24)

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WIRELESS by Marauder


For the first time Thursday, a National Football League game — the Cleveland Browns vs. the Denver Broncos — will be broadcast on Sprint mobile phones as part of the wireless outfit’s league partnership. Says Sprint exec Steve Gaffney: “Live compelling content is a game changer.” (Iwantmedia 11/6, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122592543148702857.html 11/6)


In an interview with Michael Arrington at the Web 2.0 Summit, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph De La Vega let it be known that an official, AT&T sanctioned method of using the iPhone as a 3G modem for a laptop is on the way “soon”. (http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2008/11/06/att-sanctioned-3g-tethering-on-the-way-for-iphone 11/6)


AT&T loves WiFi. And it knows that you love WiFi too. So it just bought up WiFi hotspot operator Wayport for $275 million in cash. The acquisition will add about 3,000 WiFi hotspots to AT&T’s network in the U.S., bringing the total to 20,000 hotspots (including those in Starbucks and McDonald’s). (http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2008/11/06/att-bulks-up-its-wifi-coverage-by-buying-wayport-for-275-million 11/6)


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E! announced a season two renewal for the 30m reality series Denise Richards. New episodes will begin production early next year and will follow the actress as she gets into physical shape for movies, pilots and other acting projects all the while surrounded by her supportive family and friends. (Cynopsis 10/30)

Sci Fi Channel is developing a new reality series with a working title of “GameQuest,” in which 12 top-notch video gamers battle one another’s best scores to win prizes, including $100,000. The show is scheduled to debut in the first quarter of 2009. Reuters/The Hollywood Reporter (10/30)

Nickelodeon on Nov. 8 will premiere “True Jackson, VP,” a comedy starring 15-year-old Keke Palmer as a girl who serendipitously becomes a top design executive at a major fashion company. The show should get plenty of sampling: Its lead-in that night will be the new “iCarly” movie, “iGo to Japan.” TVWeek.com (10/29)

A strong third-quarter showing by Scripps Networks Interactive‘s Food Network pushed SNI’s Lifestyle Media channels — which also include HGTV, Fine Living and DIY — to $144 million in profit, 5.1% higher than the comparable period in 2007. According to Nielsen Media Research, the Food Network averaged about 900,000 viewers each night in prime time during the period, a high-water mark for the 15-year-old channel. Mediaweek (10/29) , Variety (10/29)

Several U.S. Senators, headed by Arlen Specter (R-PA) delivered a letter to Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner late Tuesday, calling out the League for airing specific games only on the NFL Network starting November 6 and saying the NFL Network is showing an “interest in moving toward a pay television model.” In response to the Senator’s letter, the NFL Network issued a statement assuring Sen. Specter of its goal to provide NFL games to a national audience. (Cynopsis 10/30)

A&E Network introduces a new reality crime show with Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force premieres December 9 at 10p. Viewers will follow agents of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force NY/NJ Division based in New York City as they ferret out the most violent criminals. (Cynopsis 10/30)

VH1 Classic debuts a new series taking a look at the heavy metal music genre over the last 40 years. The Metal Show opens November 15 at 11p, and features three hosts  Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson as well as special guests who will all debate about which bands remain on top of the pack and which have gone by the wayside. (Cynopsis 10/30)

Millennials are more likely than baby boomers to use DVRs, watch TV outside the home, switch channels during prime-time commercials and watch programs with other people, according to a new Knowledge Networks study. Use of DVRs has increased from 27% in 2004 to its current 38%, with 48% of the survey respondents indicating they turn on the TV when they intend to watch a particular show. TVWeek.com (10/29)

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