April 2013

TNT Drama Gets a Third Season

TNT has renewed a drama series for a third season. EW.com’s Inside TV reports that the cable network will bring back its successful “Dallas” reboot.

The series’ 15-episode third season is set to launch early in 2014.

Said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT: “’Dallas’ has built a passionately loyal following with its expertly woven storylines, clever twists and turns, and numerous outstanding performances by a cast that spans generations. Although we said goodbye to Larry Hagman and his iconic character J.R. Ewing this year, Dallas has many more stories left to tell, and the Ewing clan will continue to honor J.R.’s memory by keeping its audience surprised and delighted.”

The piece notes that some observers speculated whether the series would continue past season two after the death of Hagman in late 2012. But the show has done well, averaging 3.8 million total viewers per episode including seven days of DVR playback, with an average of 1.4 million in the 18-49 demo.

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Country Superstar Hit With Copyright Lawsuit

One of the biggest stars in country music has been hit with a lawsuit. Contactmusic.com reports that a copyright suit was filed by Curb Records against singer Tim McGraw.

The hassle appears to be a follow-up to a dispute between McGraw and Curb in 2011 over allegations by Curb that McGraw reneged on his deal with the company by failing to record a fifth project for Curb.

“McGraw subsequently signed with Big MAChine and won a court battle to release music through his new label last September, but now Curb executives have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the singer, claiming his current album, ‘Two Lanes of Freedom,’ which hit U.S. stores in February, was recorded before their contract was dissolved,” the story reports.

The piece adds: “According to papers filed at the U.S. District Court in Tennessee on Monday (April 29, 2013), Curb bosses allege they own the rights to the album's songs and are entitled to damages for lost profit and diminution in the value of their property, reports The Tennessean.”

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CNN Posts Big Gains in Cable News Ratings

CNN has improved dramatically on its viewer numbers from a year ago, based on preliminary results for April. Deadline.com reports that Fox News Channel still won the battle with CNN and MSNBC, but CNN posted a 79% gain in total viewers from April 2012 for total day, and an 81% gain in prime time.

“A year ago, CNN was in third place with its lowest-rated month in total day in more than a decade and its worst prime time in almost two years,” the report notes. “This month, fueled by extended coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, CNN saw double-digit viewership growth and triple-digit upward turns in the key adults 25-54 demographic.”

CNN, now under the stewardship of Jeff Zucker, moved into second place, ahead of MSNBC, in both total viewers and the key news demo for the first time in a year, the report notes. The results were CNN’s best since the November 2012 elections.

“CNN’s sister network HLN actually slipped ahead of MSNBC in the demo too for total day with 142,000 viewers,” the story reports.

Here are the numbers for Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC:

Total day: April 2013 vs. April 2012

FNC: 1,233M total viewers -- up 14% (278,000 in 25-54 -- up 2%)
CNN: 638,000 total viewers -- up 79% (228,000 in 25-54 -- up 111%)
MSNBC: 406,000 total viewers -- down 4% (139,000 in 25-54 -- up 1%)

Prime time: April 2013 vs. April 2012

FNC: 2.016M total viewers -- up 9% (389,000 in 25-54 -- down 2%)
CNN: 918,000 total viewers -- up 81% (338,000 in 25-54 -- up 127%)
MSNBC: 682,000 total viewers -- down 10% (234,000 in 25-54 -- down 1%)

Fox News was No. 2 among all cable networks for the month, with CNN coming in at No. 17 and MSNBC at No. 27, the piece notes.

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17th Annual Webby Award Winners Announced -- Winners Include Mars Curiosity Rover, The Verge, Google Maps for iPhone, Charlize Theron, Red Bull Stratos, Humans of New York, HuffPost Live and Songza

Press release from the Webby Awards:

NEW YORK, April 30, 2013 -- Mars Curiosity Rover, The Verge, Google Maps for iPhone, Charlize Theron, Red Bull Stratos, Humans of New York, HuffPost Live, and Songza are just some of the Webby winners that will be saluted alongside special achievement honorees Frank Ocean, Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti, the Obama for America 2012, Grimes, Burning Love and GIF inventor Steve Wilhite at the 17th Annual Webby Awards, organizers announced today.

Academy judges like Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone, Arianna Huffington and Instagram creator Kevin Systrom, selected The Webby Award Winners while Internet voters around the world chose the Winners of The Webby People's Voice Awards, setting a Webby Awards record with votes from over 200 countries and territories.

The star-studded ceremony will be available to view on-demand in HD at watch.webbyawards.com beginning at 9 a.m. ET on May 22rd, 2013. This year's ceremony will be hosted by critically acclaimed stand-up comedian, writer and actor Patton Oswalt.

Organizers also announced a set of outstanding individuals and breakout achievements that will be recognized with Webby Special Achievement Awards. Joining the ranks of Al Gore, Prince, Sir Tim Berners Lee and Bjork, they are:

Webby Special Achievement: Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti will be honored for their role in creating and producing Netflix's groundbreaking series, House of Cards. The widely acclaimed series was Netflix's first major original program, and its first season success has been heralded as a watershed moment for the entertainment powerhouse.

Webby Person of the Year: Frank Ocean, the R&B music artist, will be honored for proving the power of the Web as a medium for cultural change when he published his letter "thank you's" to his Tumblr. By challenging stereotypes historically engrained in the hip-hop and R&B music communities, Ocean brought a conversation about discrimination to the national dialogue. The launch of his debut album Channel Orange in parallel with the statement was a historic moment for both the music and social media industries, and for popular culture as a whole.

Outstanding Comedic Performance: Jerry Seinfeld will be honored for his performance in the hit Web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The 10-episode series, which chronicles the conversations between Seinfeld and his comedian friends, including Ricky Gervais, Alec Baldwin, and Larry David, demonstrated the continued merging of Hollywood-style entertainment with the Internet.

Webby Breakout of the Year: Obama for America 2012 and its tech team's historic effort masterfully combined savvy political and tech genius to become the secret weapon behind Obama's commanding reelection. Most significantly, the team's unique understanding of the power of big data ensured a real-time analysis of American voters that enabled the campaign to more efficiently read and target voters than ever before.

Webby Artist of the Year: Grimes will be honored for a deep understanding of the Internet as not only a distribution platform for her music and art, but as a social tool to connect with fans through candid, meaningful dialogue. In 2012, on the strength of her breakthrough album Visions, she was on myriad "best of" lists and topped The Hype Machine's increasingly influential 'Most Blogged Artists' list.

Webby Special Achievement: Burning Love and its team including Ben Stiller, Ken Marino, and Erica Oyama will all be recognized with a Webby Special Achievement Award at this year?s Webbys. By successfully challenging the standards of network television with regard to both production quality and distribution, Burning Love has set a new benchmark for quality content on the Web.

Webby Athlete of the Year: Chris Kluwe, punter for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, will be honored for his online activism, including essays, online debates and tweets, against the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. His open letter to Maryland state assembly delegate Emmett Burns via sports website Deadspin was a candid, compelling, and opinionated voice among contemporary athletes who often elect to stay out of controversial conversations.

Webby Lifetime Achievement: Steve Wilhite's two-decades old invention, the GIF file format, has proven to be one of the most durable and enabling achievements in modern computing history. Despite developments in moving image and animation technology on the Web, the GIF remains a staple among image formats used to spread news and information and is a key enabler of NetArt, memes and pop culture trends across the globe.

The entertainment industry's biggest names continued to use the Internet to produce some of their best work.

Justin Bieber won the People's Voice Award for "Girlfriend" Fragrance Launch in the Social Media Campaigns

Rainn Wilson's Soulpancake won two People's Voice Awards for Best Variety and Best Variety (Channel) in Online Film & Video category

Funny or Die earned two Webby Awards for its videos 'Charlize Theron Gets Hacked'and The Wire: The Musical.'

The Onion earned its record 18th and 19th Webbys for Best Humor Website.

One of the breakout stars of the 2012 Presidential Election, Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, earned its second consecutive Webby Award for the Best Political Blog.

The ESPN 30 for 30 Short Film Series, which featured shorts about legends Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer and Walt 'Clyde' Frazier, picked up a Webby Award for Best Documentary Series.

Gaga's Workshop, pop sensation Lady Gaga's social media integration with her storefront at Barney's, was honored with the Celebrity/Fan Social Presence Webby Award.


Other highlights from The 17th Annual Webby Awards winners include:

DoSomething.org: Best Charitable Organizations/Non-Profit (Webby Winner)

One Tiny Hand: Best Weird Website (Webby Winner)

Mashable: Best Business Blog (Webby & People's Voice Winner)

Techcrunch: Best News (Tablet) ) Webby Winner

Angry Birds Star Wars: Best User Experience Games (Webby & People's Voice Winner)

Nike FuelBand: Best Connected Products (Webby People's Voice Winner), Social Gaming (Webby Winner), Consumer Electronics & Services (Webby Winner) and Mobile & Experience Marketing (Webby Winner)

NYTimes: Best News & Information (Social) (Webby & People's Voice Winner)

Conan O'Brien Presents: Team Coco Digital: Best Celebrity/Fan Website (Webby & People's Voice Winner)

HBO Go: Best Practices Mobile & Apps (Webby & People's Voice Winner) ,Best Media Streaming Service Mobile & Apps (Webby Winner)

VICE News: Best News & Politics Series Online Film & Video (Webby Winner)

The Engadget Show: Best Technology Online Film & Video (Webby & People's Voice Winner)


Winners of multiple awards include, among others:

Dumb Ways to Die (7) (Webby and People's Voice Awards for Best Viral Online Film & Video, Best Animation Film & Video and Best Viral Marketing Interactive Advertising & Media and People's Voice Award for Best Public Service & Activism (Social Content & Marketing))

Dropbox (6) (Webby Awards for Best Utilities & Services (Handheld Devices) and People's Voice Awards for Best Practices (Website Features and Design), Best Utilities and Services (Handheld Devices), Best Utilities and Services (Tablet and all other devices), Best Web Services & Applications (General Website))

Google Maps for iPhone (5) (Webby and People's Voice for Best use of GPS or Location Technology (All Devices), Best User Experience (All Devices) and People's Voice for Best Guides/Ratings/Reviews (Handheld Devices))

Tumblr (5) (Webby and People's Voice Awards for Best User Experience (Website Features and Design) and Best Community (General Website) and People's Voice Award for Best Social (Tablet and All other Devices))

HBO Go (4) (Webby Awards for Best Media Streaming Service (All Devices), Webby and People's Voice for Best Practices (All Devices)and People's Voice Award for Best Consumer Electronics & Services Website (Websites, Micro Sites, and Rich Media))

Nike+ FuelBand (4) (Webby Awards for Best Consumer Electronics & Services Interactive Advertising & Media, Best Mobile & Experience Marketing Interactive Advertising & Media, Best Social Gaming (Handheld Devices) Mobile & Apps and People's Voice Award for Best Connected Products (All Devices))

The Onion (4) (Webby Award for Best Humor Website, Webby and People's Voice Awards for Best Entertainment (Tablet and all other Devices) and People's Voice Award for Best Entertainment (Social Content and Marketing))

Our Food. Your Questions. (4) (Webby Awards Best Food & Beverage Interactive Advertising & Media, Best Integrated Campaigns Interactive Advertising & Media and Webby and People's Voice Awards for Best Customer Service (General Excellence Categories))

Pinterest (4) (Webby and People's Voice Awards for Best Social (Handheld Devices), Best Social Media (General Website))

Hashtag Killer (3) (Best Online Commercials Interactive Advertising & Media, Best Public Service & Activism Social Presence, Best Social Media Campaigns Interactive Advertising & Media)

Red Bull Stratos (3) (Webby Award for Best Events & Live Webcasts Online Film & Video and Webby and People's Voice Awards for Best Branded Entertainment Short Form (General Film Categories), Best Branded Entertainment Short Form Online film & Video)

 

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NBC Racks Up Another Monday Ratings Win, Even as 'The Voice' Dips; ABC Rival Slips

NBC continues to perform well in the Monday night ratings, racking up another prime-time win in the key 18-49 demo, based on Nielsen overnights.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the network’s two-hour “The Voice” was the top show of the night despite a dropoff from last week. The show averaged a 4.1 in viewers 18-49, down 16% from a week ago. NBC’s “Revolution” equaled its series low, matching last week’s 2.0 average.

Airing against “The Voice,” ABC’s two-hour “Dancing with the Stars” lost 5% from a week ago to hit a series low for a performance show with a 2.0 in the 18-49 demo. “Castle” also turned in a 2.0, which was down 13%.

The season finale of “Bones” on Fox served up a 2.1 average in 18-49, ticking up one-tenth of a point from last week and improving 11% on last year’s season finale. “The Following’s” season finale delivered a 2.6, rising 8% from a week ago.

CBS’s comedy lineup was mostly higher, with “Rules of Engagement” rising 25% from last week to a 2.0 in adults 18-49, “2 Broke Girls” improving 4% from its previous original to a 2.5 and “Mike & Molly” climbing 5% to a 2.3. “How I Met Your Mother” matched its previous original, equaling its season low with a 2.7. “Hawaii Five-0” slipped 8% to notch its all-time low, a 1.7 average rating.

For prime time overall, NBC coasted to an easy win in viewers 18-49 with a 3.4 average rating, leading Fox (2.3 average), CBS (2.1) and ABC (2.0). ABC was No. 1 in total viewers with 12.4 million, ahead of NBC (10.2 million), Fox (7.4 million) and CBS (7.3 million).

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Seinfeld, Spacey Among Winners of Webby Awards

Jerry Seinfeld and Kevin Spacey are among the entertainers who will receive Webby Awards this year, in honor of Internet achievement. Winners of the 17th annual Webbys were announced today.

“The Webby Awards are honoring ‘House of Cards’ producers Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti with a Webby special achievement award,” the AP reports. “The political thriller, for which Netflix released all 13 episodes at once, proved that digital media can produce cable-quality drama. Netflix also won for best streaming media site.”

Other winners include Justin Bieber, being honored for the social media campaign for the launch of his fragrance, and The Onion, which now has a record number of Webbys, 19.

“The Webby person of the year is Frank Ocean, the R&B singer, whom the Webbys hailed ‘for proving the power of the Web as a medium for cultural change when he announced his bisexuality to his Tumblr community,’" the report notes. “Singled out for outstanding comedic performance is Jerry Seinfeld, whose 10-episode Web series ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ showcased the ‘Seinfeld’ star hanging out with comedian friends.”

Click here to see all the winners and read the press release from the Webby Awards.

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Video: Courtesy of 'Conan,' Here's Willie Nelson Trying Out for the 'Hobbit' Sequel

The country music legend supposedly has his sights set on replacing Ian McKellen as Gandalf in “The Hobbit 2.” Here’s the clip:

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'Friends' Reruns Raise Alarms About a Health Issue

A new study turned up a health concern in the reruns of the long-running NBC comedy hit “Friends.” Scientific American reports that a researcher from Marquette University is sounding alarms about the amount of caffeine the characters ingest on the show.

"No TV show exemplified our love of coffee more than ‘Friends.’ An appreciable percentage of the show took place in a coffee shop, and it introduced us to the monstrous 20 oz. mug," writes Kyle Hill, the researcher.

Assuming each character drank two 20-ounce coffees in each episode, Hill writes, "The whole gang downed, in total, 445 gallons of coffee. You could brew that amount of coffee in five large water heaters. These six friends could start a small coffee importing company."

He continues: "If you distributed all the caffeine the friends ingested over the decade at Central Perk, it would be enough of the drug to send almost 300 people to the hospital -- if not outright kill them.

"Of course, each episode of Friends represents a small portion of the characters’ days (sometimes longer). So what if we are only joining the gang once a week? If each episode represented a week of time, on average, then these java junkies downed nearly 3,100 gallons of coffee -- enough to fill over half a freight container. This amount of joe could send over 1,900 people to the hospital," he notes.

The conclusion? Don't drink as much coffee as the characters on "Friends."

friends-central-perk.jpg

 

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With Audience Fragmentation, Broadcast Networks Are in a Bad Place at the Wrong Time -- Right Before Upfronts

The broadcast networks are in a tough spot just before the annual upfront ad-selling season begins, reports the New York Post, with much of the problem summed up as audience fragmentation.

“The rapid rise of time-shifted viewing -- driven by DVRs, video-on-demand options and mobile devices -- decimated TV ratings in the first quarter and threatens to drag down the annual ad-sales season that swings into high gear in just a couple of weeks,” the article reports.

It adds: “Total prime-time commercial ratings fell 8% across the board, marking the sixth straight quarter of total TV declines -- and the steepest drop since the third quarter of 2009, according to Nomura analyst Michael Nathanson.”

Without the Super Bowl last year, NBC's was down 40%, while Fox declined 19%. ABC slipped 6.2% and CBS was helped by Super Sunday, giving it an 8% gain, the story notes.

"The first-quarter broadcast ratings, under any metric, were ugly,” Nathanson wrote in a a report.

Cable networks were also down, with an across-the-board decline of 3% in prime time among adults 18-49, the story says.

With audience fragmentation, Nielsen has struggled to catch up to the ways people are now watching TV, such as Xbox, Netflix and DVRs, the story says.

“The steep drop couldn’t come at a worse time for the TV business, as it heads into its annual ‘upfront’ negotiations with billions of ad dollars at stake,” the Post reports. “Nathanson predicts a shift of ad dollars to cable, given broadcast’s especially weak hand. Cable booked $9.8 billion in upfront ad dollars last year, a 5% gain. Broadcast took in around $9.3 billion.”

Nathanson adds: “The world has become more complicated, and behavior is changing. The DVR is in 47% of households.”

The Post article notes: “Right now the networks are paid by advertisers based on how many viewers watch the commercials in their shows over the first three days after a show is aired, known as ‘C3.’ But there has been a push to extend that to C7, or 7 days, allowing the networks to capture more delayed viewing.”

Netflix is cited as one indication of fragmentation.

“Just weeks ago, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings boasted that his service streamed 4 billion hours of content in the first quarter,” the Post notes. “That figure puts Netflix on par with a large cable network, according to BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield.”

Said Gary Carr, head of broadcast buying at TargetCast: “There is no question audiences are fragmented, but people are spending just as much time with TV.”

The Post adds: “In September, Nielsen will change the definition of a TV household to include homes that watch streaming video via a gaming console, for instance. Currently it counts only those watching on a TV set. The definition, however, won’t extend to mobile viewing on tablets.”

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ABC Adds a Third Celebrity Competition Series

ABC is adding to its roster of celebrity competition shows with a series order for a third entry in the genre. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the network has ordered "Sing Your Face Off," which will focus on five celebrities who each train to perform as a particular musical icon.

“The series, based on Endemol Spain's ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar,’ will feature celebrities -- who have yet to be cast -- taking on iconic musicians as they undergo hours of makeup, choreography and vocal coaching,” the piece reports. “Each episode will feature the complete physical transformation -- including the icon's walk, talk, mannerisms and more -- as the celebrities compete in front of judges and a studio audience.”

ABC also airs the celebrity competition shows "Dancing with the Stars" and "Splash." The network placed an order for six episodes of “Sing Your Face Off.”

“In addition to being tasked with a physical transformation, participating talent also will have to actually perform music from their assigned icon each week,” THR reports. “Participating celebs will transform to play -- and sing -- multiple musical performers during the series. Details on prizes still are being worked out.”

 

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