Monday December 3, 2018

Discovery boss David Zaslav said Monday that when Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines exited HGTV, it ‘sucked all of the air out of my lungs.’ ‘We can’t forget that in the content business we’re really about stories and people. That’s what [viewers] tune in for. That’s why, a month before we closed, when Chip and Joanna Gaines left HGTV — it sucked all the air out of my lungs,’ Zaslav said this morning at the 46th UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off the two of them.’ He continued: ‘They’re great characters, people love them, they want to watch them, they want to know how they’re doing, they love their taste, they built a billion-dollar business with Magnolia, they’re like one of the Top 5 tourist sites in America — in Waco — but they’re not in our family anymore. I went to Waco multiple times because that’s the business that we’re in,’ Zaslav said. Fortunately, those trips got them back in the family. After negotiating directly with Zaslav, the Gaines are partnering with Discovery, Inc. to launch their own TV network, which will include a linear platform. The way cable TV generally works, Discovery will either have to buy another existing network or rebrand one of its own. Logically, the latter is the most likely play here. After acquiring Scripps earlier this year, Discovery is now the proud home of 19 cable channels: Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Velocity, Science Channel, DIY, Cooking Channel, Discovery Family, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Discovery Life, Great American Country, and Spanish-language channels Discovery en Espanol and Familia Discovery.”

This guy is all that is wrong with the television industry IMHO. He’s a star f*cking, attention seeking, windbag. By way of example, he bought the Brady Bunch house for almost double the ask, green lit projects with clowns from Boyz II Men and NKOTB, partnered up with Tiger Woods on an investment that is bound to fail, he’s clinging to Bobby Flay for dear life (see below), and used whatever tricks he could to woo the Gaines back to TV, which ended up in him giving them a network! I will enjoy watching this crumble, when it does. . . and it will . . . at some point.

If you need a few laughs this week, check out Bumping Mics on Netflix and Inside Jokes on Amazon Prime. I very much enjoyed both.

A new season of Vanderpump Rules premieres tonight on Bravo.

Speaking of which, I’m done with Dirty John. I think it’s awful. I know ratings were great for the premiere last week, but it reads like a Lifetime movie, I’ve listened to the podcast, and am way way over this one, which is a shame.

“Ever since season 4 finished, Black Mirror fans have been eagerly awaiting the next installment of the gritty, dystopian sci-fi series from Charlie Brooker to return to Netflix. And, it seems, we've not got long to wait. One Twitter user claims to have caught a post from an official Netflix account, which has since been deleted, which revealed Black Mirror Season 5 will air on Netflix on December 28th - and the first episode will be called Bandersnatch . Of course, this may not be true, but based on previous seasons being released in December, it seems a good bet we'll be ending the year by delving into another disturbing, thoroughly enjoyable universe. Netflix have been keeping most of the details for the new series close to their chests, with only the odd photo from set making it out into the big, wide world.”

Hootie & the Blowfish are reuniting.

Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next surpassed 46,000,000 views in the 24 hours after it was released on YouTube on Friday, setting a new one-day record for most-watched debut video. It’s over 91,000,000 as of this AM.

Nexstar Media Group Inc has reached an agreement to acquire to Tribune Media Co for about $4.1 billion, a deal which would make it the largest regional U.S. TV station operator, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday. Nexstar’s acquisition would come just three months after Tribune’s $3.9 billion deal to sell itself to Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc, currently the largest U.S. TV station operator, collapsed over regulatory hurdles.”

Will & Grace hit a new series low in the Thursday overnight ratings. The show put up just a 0.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 2.8 million viewers. That is down ~20% versus last week’s episode in the demo. This season as a whole is currently down around 40% in both measures compared to the first revival season in Live+Same Day. Adios!

Tamron Hall’s new syndicated daytime talk show has increased its coverage in the U.S. with 24 Hearst Television markets joining the previously announced ABC Owned Television Stations Group for a fall 2019 launch. The stations include WCVB-TV Boston, WMOR-TV Tampa, WESH-TV Orlando, KCRA-TV Sacramento, WTAE-TV Pittsburgh, WBAL-TV Baltimore, KMBC-TV Kansas City, WLWT-TV Cincinnati, WISN-TV Milwaukee and WPBF-TV West Palm Beach, among others, bringing the show’s reach to 50% of U.S. television households, including eight of the top 10 markets. The show was announced by Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International in September.” If it clears 50% of US markets but no one tunes in, does it matter?

Starz is headed to the dark side of Dublin with its latest series. The premium cable outlet has picked up Dublin Murders, an eight-episode drama based on Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad novels. It's due to air on Starz in 2019. Sarah Phelps (The ABC Murders, The Casual Vacancy) adapted the first two novels in French's series, In the Woodsand The Likeness, for Dublin Murders. The series will star Killian Scott (CB Strike) and Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful, Ransom) as Dublin detectives Rob Reilly and Cassie Maddox, whose close working relationship is sorely tested when murder cases bring up pieces of their pasts both would rather forget.”

Comedy Central said it would launch four one-hour stand-up comedy specials in January as well as a later slate of 12 half-hour stand-up programs, two under the banner of being presented by comedienne and actress Amy Schumer. The Viacom-owned network said the four hour-long specials, led by comedians Ron Funches, James Davis, Chris Distefano and Roy Wood Jr. would air on consecutive Fridays throughout January at 11 p.m. eastern. Meanwhile, the network will launch the latest in its more than 22 seasons of half-hour stand-up programming, led by comedians including David Gborie, Vanessa Gonzales, Charles Gould, Joe Kwaczala, Will Miles, Sara Schaefer, Dulce Sloan, Allen Strickland Williams, Tom Thakkar and Jaboukie Young-White. Nore Davis and Mia Jackson will appear under the Amy Schumer Presents banner. All 12 half-hour specials will tape January 31 through February 2 at the Civic Theatre in New Orleans.”


Per Deadline, “Famous astrophysicist/TV personality Neil deGrasse Tyson has come under scrutiny as two more women have accused the Cosmos host of sexual misconduct. In light of the new allegations, the networks and producers behind the Emmy-winning Cosmos reboot are vowing to look into the matter.

“‘The credo at the heart of Cosmos is to follow the evidence wherever it leads,’ the show’s producers said in a statement to Deadline. ‘The producers of Cosmos can do no less in this situation. We are committed to a thorough investigation of this matter and to act accordingly as soon as it is concluded.’

“Following the acclaim the 2014 revival of the classic Carl Sagan docuseries received, Fox and National Geographic ordered a second installment with Tyson returning as host. It is slated to premiere March 3. In addition to Cosmos, Tyson hosts StarTalk,also on Nat Geo.

“‘We have only just become aware of the recent allegations regarding Neil deGrasse Tyson,’ the two networks said in a statement to Deadline. ‘We take these matters very seriously and we are reviewing the recent reports.’

“The action follows a report by David McAfee, in which Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Bucknell University, claimed that Tyson groped her at an after-party following a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in 2009, while Tyson’s former assistant Ashley Watson claimed that she was forced to quit her job over his inappropriate sexual advances.

“The two women join musician Tchiya Amet, who a year ago accused Tyson of raping her while both were grad students. In a recent interview, she revealed additional details about the alleged incident.

“UPDATE: In a lengthy Facebook post on Saturday, Tyson addressed in detail each accusation, giving his side of the story. He also welcomed Fox and Nat Geo’s independent investigation.”


Per Variety, “Food Network has set an exclusive TV content pact with Bobby Flay, one of its most ubiquitous stars.

“The three-year pact covers new episodes of Flay’s current Food Network series Beat Bobby Flay, plus a new series, The Flay List, that he will host with his 22-year-old daughter Sophie Flay, targeted for debut in the spring. The deal also covers Flay’s work as a producer and developer of programs and personalities through his Rock Shrimp production banner.

“The deal is good news for Food Network’s new parent company, Discovery Inc., at a time when marquee names like Flay are being courted by a range of platforms for exclusive talent deals.

“Flay made his first appearance on a then-fledgling Food Network in 1994 and now ranks as the cabler’s longest-running active personality. By 1996, Flay had landed the series that helped make him a household name, Grillin’ & Chillin’. He’s a regular across many Food Network franchises such as the Food Network Star talent search series, Iron Chef America and the Worst Cooks in America competition show.

“‘Bobby Flay is a culinary superstar in every regard, and we are thrilled to be able to continue this extraordinary and productive partnership,’ said Courtney White, president of Food Network. ‘Bobby has a unique way of inviting audiences to experience food through the lens of his own passion. He’s both an expert as well as approachable, someone most people feel they know and can trust to steer their own culinary curiosities.’

“Flay said he was looking forward to exploring new programming possibilities now that Food Network is part of the larger Discovery family of channels. Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive, parent of Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel and others, in for $14.6 billion in March.

“‘In my conversations with (Discovery CEO) David Zaslav, he’s expressed a desire to bring the content I produce with my Rock Shrimp Productions team to an even more global audience,’ Flay said.

“Flay operates numerous restaurants around the country, with his latest venture, Shark, set to open in Las Vegas next year. At present he’s also at work on his 15th cookbook.”


Per AdAge, “Some WeWork locations are going back in time.

“In partnership with National Geographic, a handful of WeWork spots in L.A., New York and San Francisco will be transported to the 1990s at the beginning of next month, to promote the network’s upcoming show, Valley of the Boom.

“The six-part National Geographic series will make its debut Jan. 13 and will cover the leaders in tech during the rise of the internet age.

“Some WeWork locations will undergo a transformation to accommodate a so-called Valley of the Boom Internet Café.

“Desktop computers will feature old-timey games such as Oregon Trail and Tetris.

“‘WeWork is the modern-day start-up garage – a place with a high density of aspiring entrepreneurs who use the shared workspace to bring their big ideas to life in an environment that fosters creative energy. It’s a perfect fit,’ said Jill Cress, chief marketing and communications officer of National Geographic Partners, in a statement.

“The locations will offer members advice on how to optimize their LinkedIn accounts, as well as headshots.

“Once a member tweets or posts on Instagram using a #ValleyOfTheBoom hashtag, vending machines will dispense candy from the ’90s, as well as trading cards.

“There will be some ’90s fun, too, with desktop computers with old-timey games such as Oregon Trail and Tetris. Once a member tweets or posts on Instagram using a #ValleyOfTheBoom hashtag, vending machines will dispense them candy from the ’90s and trading cards.

“The cafés will be in New York at Times Square (Dec. 3), Grand Central (Dec. 4), SoHo West (Dec. 5) and 7th Avenue (Dec. 6); in L.A. at Vine (Dec. 3), Burbank (Dec. 4), Pacific Design Center (Dec. 5) and Playa (Dec. 6); and in San Francisco at Transbay (Dec. 3), Embarcadero (Dec. 4), 600 California (Dec. 5) and Valley Towers (Dec. 6).

“The campaign was done in partnership with BCXP, the experiential arm of Berlin Cameron.

“‘Companies of all sizes and industries come together at WeWork locations around the world to pursue their life’s work, drink good coffee and thrive. Partnering with best-in-class brands like National Geographic helps us bring them unique content and experiences they can’t enjoy anyplace else,’ said Laura Brounstein, vice president of campaigns and content for WeWork, in a statement.”

From TheWrap: “The Boss is Coming to Town! And just in time for Christmas.

Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show is landing on Netflix and the streaming service dropped the first look trailer of Springsteen on Broadway, showing the intimate performance that earned him a Tony Award.

“Springsteen concludes his run on Broadway on Dec. 15, and Netflix will make their recorded special available the next day, Dec. 16.

“Springsteen’s show is based on his autobiography Born to Run, featuring personal anecdotes about his family, his hometown and the state of the country, all spliced in between acoustic renditions of songs like Born to Run, Thunder Road and Brilliant Disguise. It also features a special appearance and performance by Patti Scialfa.

“‘I want to know my story, your story, and where we’re going together as a people,’ Bruce says in the trailer for the special. ‘More than anything else, I wanted to be able to tell that story to you.’

Springsteen on Broadway was filmed live for Netflix at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr Theatre and directed and produced by Emmy Award-winner Thom Zimny, who also directed the concert special from 2001 ‘Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Live in New York City.’ In addition to Zimny, the Netflix original special is produced by the same team that produced Springsteen On Broadway, including Springsteen manager Jon Landau, Springsteen tour director George Travis, and Landau Management partner Barbara Carr.

“Netflix will release Springsteen on Broadway on Dec. 16. Watch the trailer above.”


Per Deadline, “Lifetime’s drama You is moving to Netflix for its upcoming second season. The streaming giant already had international distribution for the Berlanti Prods. psychological thriller, whose first season will air as a Netflix original outside of the U.S.. It launches Dec. 26. Starting with Season 2, You will be a Netflix global original.

“Lifetime renewed You, starring Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail, for a second season in July, ahead of the series’ September premiere. At the time, Netflix already had been on board as an international partner, and I hear the early renewal was done with a move to the Internet network as a possible option. You, developed by Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti based on the book by Caroline Kepnes, garnered strong reviews but couldn’t attract wide linear audience on Lifetime. Meanwhile, its heavily serialized nature makes it very suitable for binging on a streaming platform. That also was the case with another praised Lifetime series, UnReal, which also couldn’t attract large enough viewership on Lifetime and made the transition from the cable network to an SVOD platform, Hulu, for its fourth and final season.

“You’s departure leaves the upcoming Jenji Kohan-produced dramedy American Princess as Lifetime’s only original scripted series. (The network also had been the U.S. home of the Canadian series Mary Kills People for its first two seasons but will not be carrying its upcoming six-episode third and final installment.)

“The move comes as Lifetime has been shifting its scripted programming focus on original movies which had traditionally performed well. The network, which has some of the highest-rated original cable movies of 2018, already upped the number of Christmas films this year. And in July, it announced a major ramp-up with an ambitious slate of 75 original movies planned for 2019, including telepics from veteran newswoman Robin Roberts along with book franchises from authors V.C. Andrews and Victoria Christopher Murray.

“It is possible for the network to opportunistically turn a successful original movie into a series like it once did with The Client List.

“You hails form Berlanti Productions, Man Sewing Dinosaur and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television. Greg Berlanti, Sera Gamble, Sarah Schechter, Leslie Morgenstein, Gina Girolamo and Marcos Siega executive produce.

“You is described as a 21st century love story about an obsessive, yet brilliant twentysomething who uses the hyper connectivity of today’s technology to make the woman of his dreams fall in love with him. “What would you do for love?” When a brilliant bookstore manager crosses paths with an aspiring writer, his answer becomes clear: anything. Using the Internet and social media as his tools to gather the most intimate of details and get close to her, a charming and awkward crush quickly becomes obsession as he quietly and strategically removes every obstacle — and person — in his way.”