May 2012

New Head of Disney Studios Brings Impressive Track Record -- Including One Unmatched TV Success

The Walt Disney Co. announced today who will be taking over as chairman of Walt Disney Studios -- an industry heavyweight with a long track record of success in feature films and at least one television credential that almost any executive would envy.

The new studio chief is Alan Horn, who steps up June 11. “Horn will oversee worldwide operations for The Walt Disney Studios including production, distribution and marketing for live-action and animated films from Disney, Pixar and Marvel, as well as marketing and distribution for DreamWorks Studios films released under the Touchstone Pictures banner. Disney’s music and theatrical divisions will also report to Horn,” the company said in a press release.

Horn was most recently president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment, where he oversaw Warners’ “theatrical and home entertainment operations, including the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Warner Premiere (direct-to-platform production), Warner Bros. Theatrical Ventures (live stage) and Warner Home Video,’ the company noted in its release. “During his 12-year tenure, Warner Bros. Studios was the global box office leader seven times.”

Horn has at least one television credit that would make almost any industry executive jealous. Before his tenure with Warner Bros. he co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment, where he oversaw what has been described as the most successful show in television history, “Seinfeld.” As chairman and CEO of Castle Rock, he also racked up a string of feature successes, including “A Few Good Men,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green Mile,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “City Slickers.”

Horn has also been president and COO of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and chairman and CEO of Embassy Communications.

In making the announcement, Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said: “Alan not only has an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience in the business, he has a true appreciation of movie making as both an art and a business. He’s earned the respect of the industry for driving tremendous, sustained creative and financial success, and is also known and admired for his impeccable taste and integrity. He brings all of this to his new role leading our studio group, and I truly look forward to working with him.”

Said Horn: “I’m incredibly excited about joining The Walt Disney Company, one of the most iconic and beloved entertainment companies in the world. I love the motion picture business and look forward to making a contribution as part of Bob Iger’s team working closely with the dedicated and talented group at the studio.”

Horn replaces Rich Ross, who was ousted in April, in part in response to the “John Carter” fiasco, as we reported previously.

alan-horn.jpgAlan Horn

more »

History's Juggernaut Miniseries Shatters Its Own Record

The third installment of the three-night “Hatfields & McCoys” miniseries on History broke its own all-time viewership record set two nights earlier. The cable channel reported that Wednesday’s finale delivered 14.3 million total viewers for its initial airing, topping the mark of 13.9 million set by Monday’s opening night.

The number is a record for ad-supported cable telecasts, excluding sports.

Demo numbers for the final installment include 6.3 million adults 25-54, 5.1 million adults 18-49, 3.5 million males 25-54 and 2.8 million males 18-49.

The three episodes rank as the top three entertainment telecasts of all time on ad-supported cable in total viewers, the channel reported.

Over the span of three nights, the miniseries averaged 13.8 million total viewers, 6 million adults 25-54 and 4.9 million adults 18-49.

History was the No. 1 network on television during prime time on May 29 in total viewers, adults 25-54 and adults 18-49, the network reported.

Additionally, the three-day period from May 28-30 was History.com’s highest-trafficked 72-hour span of all time across key metrics, with more than 1.6 million unique visitors, the network reported.

more »

Wednesday Ratings: Fox Is Top Dog -- Even as CBS Unleashes the Hounds

Fox ruled the roost in the Wednesday night ratings, as nothing on the other broadcast networks came close to the number for its two-hour “So You Think You Can Dance” in the Nielsen overnights, TVbytheNumbers.com reports. Meanwhile, a canine-themed series premiere on CBS pretty much rolled over.

Fox’s “Dance” pulled a 2.6 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, with nothing else mustering better than a 1.5 on a lackluster night for most of the networks.

Fox’s 2.6 average for prime time in 18-49 put it well ahead of CBS (1.3 average), Univision (1.2), ABC (1.2) and NBC (1.0). Things were tighter in total viewers, but Fox still won, averaging 7.0 million to 6.5 million for CBS, 3.6 million for ABC, 3.1 million for Univision and 2.7 million for NBC.

Some of the other networks didn’t even try to put up a fight. ABC aired all repeats, while NBC was saddled with a low-rated opening game in hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals. The NHL game had an initial 1.0 average rating in the 18-49 demo, with the disclaimer that the nature of the live broadcast means it may be subject to more than the standard level of adjustments. Initially, the game was down a whopping 44% from the 1.8 average for game one a year ago.

CBS didn’t have much to bark about either, airing all repeats except for the premiere of its new reality show “Dogs in the City” at 8 p.m., which follows a New York-based dog behavior expert. The premiere managed only a 1.3 average in 18-49.

more »

ABC News Announces New Documentary Series

ABC News has announced plans for a new documentary series from producer Terry Wrong, TVNewser.com reports. The series, “NY Med,” will focus on medical issues, as did Wrong’s previous shows ”Boston Med,” in 2010, and 2008's “Hopkins.”

The new eight-part series will be set in New York-Presbyterian Hospital and will include Dr. Mehmet Oz, best known from the syndicated "Dr. Oz Show."

“NY Med” will premiere Tuesday, July 10, at 10 p.m. ET, and will take viewers along with the surgeons and staff of the hospital as they treat patients. Dr. Oz is one of the cardiac surgeons the crew has been been following.

In a statement, Wrong said, “Medicine is a universal subject. At some point in our lives we or those we love will become patients for one reason or another. This series takes you behind the curtain to learn about those we depend on to fix us and how sometimes they just can’t.”

more »

Six-Year-Old Reality Star Gets Her Own Show

A 6-year-old girl who is already a TV star as part of a reality show will be the focus of her own series, Deadline.com reports. Alana, a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo, one of the kids featured in TLC’s controversial “Toddlers & Tiaras,” will be in the spotlight in a spinoff that tracks her as she continues to prepare for kiddie beauty pageants.

According to the TLC production release, the new show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” will be “an inside look into Alana’s world where the 6-year-old pageant sensation proves that she is more than just a Go-Go Juice-drinking beauty queen. When she’s not chasing after crowns, Alana’s with her family in rural Georgia doing what her family does best: four-wheeling through mud pits and picking up road kill for the family cookout.”

The network hs reportedly ordered six half-hour episodes. The program is set to premiere in August, with Authentic Entertainment producing.

more »

Tom Cruise to Receive Honor That Was Previously Given Only to Douglas Fairbanks, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra

Tom Cruise is about to enter one of the most exclusive clubs in the entertainment industry, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The actor will receive the Friars Club’s Entertainment Icon Award, which has been given out only three times before.

In the 108-year history of the organization, the award has previously been given out only to Douglas Fairbanks, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. The award, according to the Friars, is an opportunity to "pay tribute to someone whose accomplishments transcend the entertainment industry by positively redefining the very culture we live in."

Jerry Lewis, a Friars Club abbot, said, "Tom Cruise will join an elite group of only three other entertainment legends who have received our Icon Award, and whose work has made a global impact on our industry and changed the face of cinema."

Joseph Zappala, Friars Foundation chairman, added, "This will be an incredible night that will live forever in our club’s history. We are so proud to be presenting this unique honor to Tom Cruise whose humanitarian endeavors mirror his accomplishments in cinema and the arts."

The award will be given out June 12 at the Waldorf-Astoria in midtown Manhattan, the story reports.

more »

CBS Says 2013 Super Bowl Is More Than 50% Sold -- Auto Marketers' Demand Is Called Intense Even Though GM Veered Away

By Brian Steinberg
Advertising Age

General Motors may have driven away from next year's Super Bowl broadcast, but other advertisers aren't following suit.

CBS has sold more than 50% of its ad inventory for its 2013 broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII and could reach sell-out levels approaching 80% in the next few weeks, according to the network's head of sports ad sales.

"The marketplace continues to be pretty active," said John Bogusz, exec VP for sports sales and marketing at CBS, in an interview. "We are over 50% sold in the game, and we have a number of active negotiations with a number of people with a number of units that will get us closer to 80% sold," he added, possibly in "a week or two." He confirmed recent remarks made by CBS Corp. CFO Joseph Ianniello at an investor conference.

The pace of sales is being pushed by automotive marketers, Mr. Bogusz said. The Super Bowl ad roster has become a veritable parking lot of auto promotion over the last three years, with Hyundai, Audi and others attempting to make big sales statements.

CBS's effort does not appear to have been affected by a recent and surprising disclosure by General Motors that it would not advertise in the 2013 event.

GM has been a steady presence in the TV classic over the years, though it also declined to appear in CBS's 2010 broadcast, citing economic duress sparked by the recent recession. Earlier this month, GM cited the cost of advertising in the next game -- said by ad buyers to total between $3.7 million and $3.8 million per thirty-second spot for marketers purchasing multiple ads -- as a reason to place its ad dollars elsewhere.

The auto category "is extremely healthy and it has been active," Mr. Bogusz said.

Movie studios and beverage marketers are also in the mix, he added. "We do have movies in the game and we are still talking to movies," he said. "We are in active negotiations with beverages."

Recent Super Bowl ratings have been astronomical, shattering viewing records and making the event the most-watched TV broadcast each year for the past three games, spurring marketers to get on board early and networks to seek higher prices each year.

Last year, NBC was able to sell between 65% and 75% of its Super Bowl inventory by early June as it wrapped upfront negotiations. CBS was selling time for the 2013 Super Bowl before NBC's 2012 broadcast started, just as NBC began its ad-sales discussions well before Fox's 2011 broadcast.

Of course, selling the first three-quarters of Super Bowl ad spots is usually easy. It's the last 25% that's hard.

Anheuser-Busch InBev and PepsiCo buy multiple spots each year, combining for more than seven minutes' worth of ad time in the most recent game. What's more, TV networks typically do business with advertisers from the last game before moving on to new accounts. Mr. Bogusz said "the majority" of business already done was with incumbent advertisers who have had a presence in previous Super Bowl broadcasts.

more »

CNN Cuts Two On-Air Personalities

CNN is letting go two on-air personalities, TVNewser.com reports. The cable news channel, which is struggling to regain ratings after losing ground to Fox News Channel and MSNBC, has cut meteorologists Reynolds Wolf and Jacqui Jeras, the story reports.

Wolf has worked at the network since 2006, while Jeras has been on board since 1999, the report notes.

"It appears as though Wolf and Jeras are the only cuts in CNN’s weather unit, but we will update if we hear more," the story notes. CNN still has Chad Myers and Rob Marciano in its weather unit, as well as additional meteorologists at CNN International and CNN en Espanol.

Wolf was one of CNN's most visible correspondents during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010, while Jeras spent 84 hours on the air covering Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the story notes.

more »

Kathie Lee Gifford Apologizes for Faux Pas Over Martin Short's Dead Wife

Kathie Lee Gifford apologized for a faux pas on Wednesday's "Today” show, when she asked guest Martin Short about his wife, Nancy, without realizing that she died two years ago after fighting cancer, reports the New York Post.

Gifford lauded their marriage, saying, "“He and Nancy have got one of the greatest marriages in show business," and asking, "How many years now for you guys?"

"We ... married 36 years,” Short said, apparently both startled and embarrassed for Gifford, the story says.

“But you’re still, like, in love,” she said.

“Madly in love. Madly in love,” Short replied.

Gifford asked why, to which Short replied, “Cute. I’m cute.” Gifford then asked if they still make each other laugh, to which Short replied, "Yes."

Short told her off-air that his wife was dead.

“I feel so badly,” Gifford said. “So my apologies to him and his family for not realizing that. He’s one of the greatest guys ever.”

Here's a brief clip of the interview:

more »

Fox News Pulls Anti-Obama Video, Denies It Was Authorized by Top Execs

Fox News has pulled an anti-Obama video from FoxNews.com and Fox Nation, after the four-minute video aired on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday morning, reports TVNewser.com.

The report drew "withering criticism," with the video appearing as a campaign attack ad -- except that it was produced and paid for by a cable news network instead of a candidate or political action committee, reports The New York Times' Media Decoder.

The video includes sound bites, graphics and news clips set to ominous music, and drew congratulations from "Fox & Friends" hosts, who lauded Chris White, the associate producer who put together the video, according to TVNewser.com.

White might not remain with Fox News much longer -- although it's not because of the video, the story adds. He has an offer from CNN, the piece notes.

The video "was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network,” executive vice president of programming Bill Shine said. He added the incident “has been addressed with the show’s producers.”

Here’s the video ...

more »

PAST ARTICLES

TVBizwire | May 31, 2012

'Hatfields & McCoys' Was Rejected by HBO, Showtime, TNT, TBS, USA and FX Before History Said Yes to Project. And Which Hollywood Legend Was Once Set to Play the Kevin Costner Role

TVBizwire | May 31, 2012

Marc Cherry Project 'Devious Maids' May Head to Lifetime, Along With Canceled CBS Drama

TVBizwire | May 31, 2012

Disney CEO Points the Finger for High Cable Rates

TVBizwire | May 31, 2012

CBS Says It Has Already Sold More Than Half of 2013 Super Bowl Ad Inventory -- With Important Market Segment Pushing Demand

TVBizwire | May 31, 2012

NBC's 'Up All Night' Gets New Executive Producer

TVBizwire | May 31, 2012

May Produced Some of Cable News' Worst Ratings

TVBizwire | May 31, 2012

Fox Business News Takes Wraps Off Plans for New Show, New Prime-Time Schedule

TVBizwire | May 31, 2012

TiVo Warns of Wider Anticipated Loss for Q2

TVBizwire | May 31, 2012

Tyler Perry Denies Report Whitney Houston's Daughter Walked Off Set

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

Hollywood Power Couple Who Co-Founded Amblin Entertainment With Steven Spielberg Sign Major Deal With CBS

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

No Arguing Between Hatfields and McCoys on This: Record-Breaking Cable Miniseries Proves It Has Staying Power, as Second Night Again Tops 13 Million Viewers

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

One of the Most Influential Guitarists of the 20th Century Dies

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

Character Made Famous by Jodie Foster to Be at Center of TV Series

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

CNBC Shuffles On-Air Lineup, Replaces Co-Host of Daily Program

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

Honoring the Best Work in the 'Fempire'

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

Former NBC Chief Working With Premium Cable Channel to Find Unscripted Programming

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

Report: Arsenio Hall Eyes Return to Talk Show Game

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

Talented, Likable Syndication Vet Jim Paratore, 58, Dies. He Championed Ellen DeGeneres, TMZ and 'The Bachelor'

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

Video: Wolf Blitzer's Donald Trump Interview Gets Heated

TVBizwire | May 30, 2012

CNN Names New Co-Anchor