National Geographic Channel to Air Carl Sagan's Groundbreaking Original Series 'Cosmos: A Personal Voyage' in Advance of the Highly Anticipated Premiere of New Voyage to the Stars 'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey'
Press release from National Geographic Channel, March 4, 2014:
Nearly 34 years after it originally aired on television, the National Geographic Channel will rebroadcast all 13 episodes of Carl Sagan’s ground-breaking series “COSMOS: A PERSONAL VOYAGE” as a two-day event this weekend, Saturday, March 8, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, March 9, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. The two-day marathon will conclude in time for the global world premiere of the new series COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY on Sunday, March 9, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET/PT across multiple U.S. Fox networks, including Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX), National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, FX, FXX, FXM, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Life.
After the cross-network premiere event, COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY will continue its epic 13-episode run, airing Sundays from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET/PT on FOX and Mondays -- with all-new bonus footage and behind-the-scenes content -- on the National Geographic Channel from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT.
The original series “COSMOS: A PERSONAL VOYAGE” first premiered in September 1980 on PBS, and for 10 years was the most watched series ever on public television in America. Based on his book of the same name, and written for television by Sagan, Ann Druyan and Steven Soter, the series was a stunning and iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science that took viewers through a galaxy of topics to help explain the universe and humanity’s place in it. Called “a watershed moment for science programming” by Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times, Sagan brought science into the mainstream by explaining complex theories in a way that everyone could comprehend and appreciate. Among the areas explored are the life cycle of stars, genetics, laws of planetary motion, the journey to Mars, the search for intelligent life beyond Earth and the big bang theory.
More than three decades after the debut of “COSMOS: A PERSONAL VOYAGE,” Seth MacFarlane has teamed with Sagan’s original creative collaborators Druyan and Soter to conceive the 13-part series that will serve as a successor to the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series.
COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY is hosted by renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. As with the legendary original series, the new COSMOS is the saga of how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. The series brings to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge, transporting viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest -- and the smallest -- scale.
The series invents new modes of scientific storytelling to reveal the grandeur of the universe and reinvent celebrated elements of the original series, including the Cosmic Calendar and the Ship of the Imagination. The most profound scientific concepts are presented with stunning clarity, uniting skepticism and wonder and weaving rigorous science with the emotional and spiritual into a transcendent experience.
The original series special encores include:
Saturday, March 8
12 p.m. - The Shore of the Cosmic Ocean
1 p.m. - One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue
2 p.m. - Harmony of the Worlds
3 p.m. - Heaven and Hell
4 p.m. - Blues for a Red Planet
5 p.m. - Travellers’ Tales
Sunday, March 9
12 p.m. - The Backbone of Night
1 p.m. - Journeys in Space and Time
2 p.m. - The Lives of the Stars
3 p.m. - The Edge of Forever
4 p.m. - The Persistence of Memory
5 p.m. - Encyclopaedia Galactica
6 p.m. - Who Speaks for Earth?
COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY is produced by Cosmos Studios, the Ithaca, N.Y.-based company Ann Druyan co-founded in 2000, and Fuzzy Door Productions, MacFarlane’s company. Druyan and Steven Soter are the series’ writers. Druyan, MacFarlane, Cosmos Studios President Mitchell Cannold and Brannon Braga (the “Star Trek” franchise, “24”) executive-produce the series. Jason Clark (“Ted,” “42”) co-executive produces. “Like” COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY on Facebook at facebook.com/COSMOSonTV. Follow the series on Twitter @COSMOSonTV and join the discussion at #cosmos.more »
Maxim Magazine Sold to Restaurant Holding Company -- Biglari Holdings Bought the Troubled Men's Title
By Michael Sebastian
Here's hoping this deal is real: Alpha Media Group has sold Maxim magazine to a subsidiary of Biglari Holdings, a holding company that specializes in owning restaurants such as Steak 'n Shake, the companies said Thursday.
Maxim's current management team will continue to run the magazine and it will remain headquartered in New York. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Calls to Maxim and Biglari on Friday were not returned by press time.
In a press release issued late Thursday, Sardar Biglari, chairman and CEO of Biglari Holdings, said his company will make long-term investments in the Maxim brand. "Maxim's inclusion into our collection of companies will benefit from our financial strength," he said. "We plan to build the business on multiple dimensions, thereby energizing our readership and viewership."
Maxim had a turbulent 2013, including a previous sale attempt that failed spectacularly. In September, Alpha Media announced that it had struck a deal to sell Maxim to an affiliate of Darden Media Group, which planned to distribute Maxim's content across TV, radio and music platforms. That deal fell through after the buyer failed to secure the money for the actual purchase.
It was later alleged that Calvin Darden Jr., son of Darden Media Group Chairman Calvin Darden Sr., had impersonated his father in an effort to defraud investors of millions to buy Maxim. U.S. prosecutors brought charges against Calvin Darden Jr. last month.
Print ad pages at Maxim fell 17% in 2013, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, a much sharper decline than the industry-wide decline of 4.1%. Its total paid and verified circulation fell 20% to just over 2 million last year, with single-copy sales declining 22%, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.more »
Marijuana + Sushi = Bizarre Local-TV Spot for Medical Marijuana Service -- Ad for Medical Cannabis Network to Run in Overnight Hours
By Michael Sebastian
Medical Cannabis Network, a website pairing patients with doctors willing to recommend medical marijuana, is rolling out a cable TV blitz in New Jersey starting this weekend.
The ad, which depicts a dealer slinging sushi from his leather jacket, is aimed at doctors and patients, according to Jason Draizin, founder of Medical Cannabis Network. But the nature of the ads, and the time slots in which they're scheduled to air, could make them more appealing to the late-night set.
In the spot, which Medical Cannabis Network created itself, the slick dealer pulls raw fish from his coat, saying: "I got tuna, I got salmon, I got sweet shrimp. I got the finest sashimi this area has seen in years."
It's a befuddling message until a voiceover makes the appeal: "You wouldn't buy your sushi from this guy, so why would you buy your marijuana from him?"
The commercial is set to appear on dozens of cable networks across the Garden State, including A&E, MTV2, History, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox News and more, according to Medical Cannabis Network. The spot will run between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and not on family or children networks, according to a spokeswoman for Comcast Spotlight, which sold the ads in New Jersey.
Mr. Draizin said his company is not a marijuana dispensary or an advocacy group. The focus, instead, is exclusively on palliative care. But the ad comes after Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana, raising the possibilities for an influx of advertising around the product. Marketing dollars are mostly parked on the sidelines in Colorado, even though the new law has already taken effect.
Mr. Draizin founded the company in 2009 after seeing a family member battle a debilitating illness that medical marijuana could help soothe. Finding a doctor to recommend marijuana for this purpose was extremely difficult, he said. On MarijuanaDoctors.com, patients "can locate doctors who will evaluate their medical condition so that they may register for a medical marijuana card and then legally obtain cannabis to alleviate their pain," said Mr. Draizin, a former online marketer.
Twenty-two states, including New Jersey and Massachusetts, along with Washington, D.C., allow medical marijuana.
The ads are set to run for two weeks in New Jersey in March and another two weeks in Massachusetts in April. The requirements to qualify for medical marijuana in both states are among the stiffest, so the demand for a service such as Medical Cannabis Network could be higher. The company is planning to buy air time for the spot in Illinois this summer.more »
Press release from A+E Networks, Feb. 27, 2014:
Lisa Mallen has joined A+E Networks as Senior Vice President of Ad Sales, FYI, the company’s newest channel set to launch this Spring. Mallen previously served as Vice President, National Sales Manager for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network since 2009. The announcement was made by Mel Berning, President, Ad Sales, A+E Networks, to whom Mallen will report.
“Lisa is a dynamic corporate executive with nearly 20 years of television ad sales experience,” Berning said. “She played a pivotal role in the successful launch of OWN in 2011, one of the largest cable start-ups in television history, by developing and directing the network’s go-to-market on-air sales strategy. This experience will be invaluable to us as FYI establishes its new identity as a contemporary upscale lifestyle network.”
In her 11 years with Discovery Communications, Mallen advanced from the position of account executive for TLC, Animal Planet and Discovery Health Channel (2003-2005) to Eastern Regional Sales Manager and VP, National Sales Manager for Discovery Health, Fit TV, Travel Channel, BBC America, DTimes and DHD (2006-2011) to her duties for OWN. She managed OWN’s national sales team, securing 10 launch partners, all at multi-level revenue and multi-year deals, and drove more than $140 million in upfront revenue prior to the Jan. 1, 2011, launch. Before that, Mallen played a key role in selling the re-launch of Discovery Times Channel as ID and in selling the first two partnerships for the launch of Planet Green.
Prior to that, Mallen was an account executive and West Coast Sales Manager for Tribune Broadcasting’s WGN Superstation (1998-2003). She started in sales with Turner Broadcasting’s TNT and TBS (1996-98). She began her career as a media buyer at Zenith Media (1994-1995) and MediaVest (1995-96), handling such high-profile accounts as Toyota and Burger King. Mallen majored in marketing at the University of Rhode Island.
Launching in summer 2014, FYI will cater to a younger, upscale audience by reflecting the way a new generation experience their lives, proudly hyphenated and not constrained by one interest or passion. FYI is already developing more than 30 potential new series that will inspire viewers.more »
Press release from A+E Networks, Feb. 27, 2014:
Don Robert has been elevated to Senior Vice President, Research and Analytics, A+E Networks, reporting to Mel Berning, President, Ad Sales, A+E Networks. This announcement was made today by Berning.
All A+E Networks’ research teams will now report into Robert in his new position. Robert will be facilitating A+E Networks’ research efforts across Ad Sales, Distribution, Programming, Scheduling, International, Public Relations, Marketing, Digital and Consumer Products, as well as Multi-Platform Analytics.
Previously, Robert was Senior Vice President, Program Research, A+E Networks. He and his team were responsible for all audience and consumer insights supporting the programming and marketing teams, including the Scheduling and Public Relations departments, for A&E®, Lifetime®, HISTORY®, bio.®, LMN® and H2®.
“Don is an industry leader with unparalleled audience insights. He has been instrumental in the growth and success of A+E Networks,” said Berning. “For over a decade, Don and his team have put A+E Networks at the forefront of trends in viewership patterns in the multi-platform environment. I am thrilled he is taking on this expanded role.”
Robert joined A+E Networks in 2004. His expertise in program and market research, both qualitative and quantitative, has been the foundation for all brand and audience building across the company, in both the U.S. and global markets. He has worked across the brand teams to help navigate the multi-platform universe and how it impacts content and viewership.
Prior to joining the company, Robert was Vice President, Research at NBCUniversal, working in national syndication. Earlier research roles included positions at ABC Television Network and Katz American Television. He has worked in television research for more than 25 years. Robert received a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting & Film from Boston University.more »
Announcement from the Costume Designers Guild, Feb. 22, 2014:
The winners of the 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards were announced tonight. The Guild handed out competitive awards for costume design excellence in seven categories for in film, television and commercial work.
Four honorary awards also were presented at the Awards Gala. This year, the Guild honored five-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams with the LACOSTE Spotlight Award, which was presented to her by Jeremy Renner, her co-star in the film “American Hustle.”
The Distinguished Collaborator Award was presented to acclaimed writer, producer and director, Judd Apatow by Bill Hader and Jonah Hill in recognition of his support of Costume Design and creative partnerships with Costume Designers.
Actors Debra Winger and Ciarán Hinds presented Emmy Award-winning Costume Designer April Ferry with this year’s Honorary Career Achievement Award for her outstanding work in film and television.
The 2014 Costume Designers Guild Distinguished Service Award was presented to Sharon Day, a longtime member of the Costume Designers Guild Local 892, for her dedication and tireless efforts on behalf of the Guild.
Actor Joshua Malina, known for his roles in “The West Wing” and “Scandal,” hosted the Awards Gala. Presenters also included Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Olivia Munn, Tony Hale, Mindy Kaling, Ike Barinholtz, Kiernan Shipka, James Wolk, Kathleen Robertson, Geoff Stults, Elisabeth Röhm, Raquel Welch, Steve Coogan, J. August Richards, June Squibb and Will Forte.
Presenters, nominees and honorees were escorted to the Beverly Hilton Hotel in stylish and luxurious Audi sedans. Additional celebrity attendees included: Scott Foley, Columbus Short, Bellamy Young, Darby Stanchfeld, Katie Lowes, Dan Bukatinsky, Jeff Perry, Guillermo Díaz, Amandla Stenberg, Kim Tillman, Angelique Cabral, Meredith Monroe, Jacqueline Mazarella and Parker Young.
16th COSTUME DESIGNERS GUILD AWARD WINNERS
OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY TELEVISION SERIES
House of Cards – Tom Broecker
OUTSTANDING PERIOD/FANTASY TELEVISION SERIES
Downton Abbey – Caroline McCall
OUTSTANDING MADE FOR TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Behind the Candelabra – Ellen Mirojnick
EXCELLENCE IN CONTEMPORARY FILM
Blue Jasmine – Suzy Benzinger
EXCELLENCE IN PERIOD FILM
12 Years a Slave – Patricia Norris
EXCELLENCE IN FANTASY FILM
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Trish Summerville
EXCELLENCE IN COMMERCIAL COSTUME DESIGN
Call of Duty: Ghosts Masked Warriors – Nancy Steinermore »
Will Ferrell Pitches Obamacare on Facebook and Gets Slammed -- Over 4,000 Comments on Comedian's Post, Many of Them Contemptuous
By Cotton Delo
One of the White House's celebrity pitchmen for Obamacare is taking a bruising on Facebook for urging fans to sign up for coverage through their state health insurance exchanges.
Will Ferrell posted a picture to his 8.8 million Facebook fans of himself yesterday holding a cardboard sign with the hashtag #GetCovered written on it. The White House reposted it to its 2.1 million followers.
Mr. Ferrell's post has racked up more than 17,600 likes and 1,750 shares, but also 4,000 mostly scathing comments.
A sampling that doesn't contain expletives:
"How much are they paying you for this? Please don't get involve in politics Will!"
"I thought he was only a fool in the movies…………."
"Great at comedy, terrible at common sense."
The White House has already had the help of celebrity endorsers to promote the rollout of Obamacare. Jennifer Hudson, Olivia Wilde and Elizabeth Banks made Funny or Die videos last fall, and Gabrielle Union, Scarlett Johansson and Aisha Tyler recorded greetings for Planned Parenthood.
A long list of stars including Kerry Washington, Connie Britton and Lady Gaga tweeted out selfies of themselves holding #GetCovered signs in October when the health insurance exchanges opened.
Mr. Ferrell's post comes as a deadline is looming. The last day to sign up for 2014 coverage without tax penalties is March 31, which was extended from mid-February. Vice President Joe Biden said last week that reaching the forecast of 7 million sign-ups for private health insurance once put forth by the Congressional Budget Office would be a stretch. (The projection had since dropped to 6 million.)
As of Feb. 1, there were 3.3 million sign-ups.more »
Why Olympic Sponsor Samsung Passed on Games Broadcast -- Amid What Looks Like Spending Drop, Electronics Giant Spreads Its Buy
By Beth Snyder Bulik
Samsung's Olympics advertising never aired on the Olympics.
Though it is one of a select group of ten global The Olympic Partners sponsors, Samsung did not buy any NBC Olympic TV time slots. Instead, it bought airtime just about everywhere else on ABC, CBS, Fox, TNT, ESPN and CNN, and even on NBC during non-Olympic coverage. The ads ran on programming including NBA basketball games, nightly news and talk shows like "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," according to TV tracking firm iSpot.
Gone are the days when a TOP sponsor like Samsung needs to spend the majority of its marketing money on TV ads right before and during the Games. With the games being streamed live on NBCOlympics.com, covered on MSNBC, NBCSN and chattered about on everything from morning news shows to late-night, Samsung seems to be spreading its buy to be more strategic.
"More and more advertisers are looking to break out of the Olympics [broadcast]. There is a certain sameness to the advertising and it's hard to break out of that creative clutter," said Mike Reisman, principal and founding partner or sports-marketing agency Team Epic, part of the Dentsu Aegis network. "I think it's counterintuitive to only [advertise] in the Olympics. … You're putting the [Olympic] rings in the aisles of grocery stores and retail stores to reach a broad group of Olympic fans, why not do that within a media context as well?"
Samsung has two Olympic spots running in the U.S. The first, which broke in late January before the games, is its official sponsor ad and features snowboarders Alex Pullin of Australia and Norway's Stale Stenbech.
The second, "Home Olympics," is its designated U.S. spot, a Samsung spokeswoman said. It shows kids and parents creatively re-enacting Winter Olympic sports, such as three young boys dressed in winter gear sitting in a bathtub holding a Galaxy phone with bobsled footage, and a little girl in a skater dress dancing while her father records on his Galaxy.
That spot, from 72andSunny, began airing Feb. 12 and by the end of last week was No. 4 on iSpot's list of the most-talked about TV spots of the week. The only Olympic-themed ad ahead of it (at No. 3), was from TOP sponsor Procter & Gamble called "Thank You, Mom." Samsung's "Home" ad topped big spenders (and non-TOP partners) on the Olympics broadcasts such as Geico, Five Hour Energy and Chrysler.
Samsung declined to discuss its media strategy, but Forrester analyst Jim Nail suspects it wants to avoid wearout. "The danger of a huge event like the Olympics that goes on for days is you get hardcore fans watching every night and you can very easily oversaturate your market," he said.
For Samsung, however, the Sochi Olympics seems to mark a decline in spending. A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment on spending changes, but ad trackers show the communications giant has spent aggressively on past Olympics. During the Vancouver Games in 2010, Samsung spent $18.6 million in measured media, according to Kantar, compared to $3.6 million during the same time period in the non-Olympic year of 2009. (Kantar figures for this year's Olympics won't be available for several weeks).
But lately, Samsung seems to have spent more aggressively in non-Olympic years during January and February. Last year, for instance, it placed 2,127 TV ads from Jan. 1 through Feb. 20, 2013, but this year placed just 1,126 during that same time period this year according to iSpot.
Samsung, like many heavy fourth-quarter spenders, traditionally drops off in the first quarter. And it may be pulling back following its fourth-quarter results in late January, which marked its first quarter-to-quarter decline in profits in two years. Samsung attributed that in part to "seasonally higher marketing expenditure."
Then again, it could be biding its time. One executive noted that Samsung is prepping a large Paralympic Winter Games push for March. And it's also said to be already gearing up for a big effort around the 2018 Winter Olympics set to be held in its home country, South Korea.
Contributing: Alexandra Bruellmore »
Nina Tassler Promoted to Chairman, CBS Entertainment -- Top Entertainment Executive Signs New Deal Through 2017
Press release from CBS Corp., Feb. 20, 2014:
CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) announced that Nina Tassler has been promoted to Chairman of CBS Entertainment, and has signed a new agreement with the Company that extends through 2017. The announcement was made today by CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves, to whom Tassler continues to report.
In this expanded role, Tassler will lead the Network’s Entertainment programming across primetime, daytime and late night, as well as program development in all genres, including comedy, drama, reality, specials and long-form. She will direct a growing year-round programming portfolio that now includes a full slate of original series in the summer and a newly created limited series and live event program unit. Tassler will also oversee Entertainment division matters in advertising and promotion, business affairs, consumer products, digital/interactive, diversity, publicity, scheduling and research.
“Nina’s creative instincts, programming savvy and leadership skills have helped form a hit-making machine that has fueled the Network’s success and benefitted the Company’s bottom line,” said Moonves. “She’s been a friend and colleague for 25 years, and I’ve witnessed first-hand the genuine and positive energy, as well as hands-on skills, she brings to every facet of the creative process. There are very few executives with her track record of consistently achieving high-level success in all forms of entertainment programming.”
Under Tassler’s leadership, CBS has been America’s most watched network for 10 of the last 11 years. As President of Entertainment, she has introduced a steady supply of hit programs across all genres, including THE BIG BANG THEORY, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, THE GOOD WIFE, PERSON OF INTEREST, BLUE BLOODS, ELEMENTARY and the Emmy Award-winning UNDERCOVER BOSS.
Previously, as Senior Vice President of Drama Development for CBS, she developed the highly rated and commercially successful CSI and NCIS franchises.
Tassler has also helped the Network break new programming ground. Last summer, she introduced UNDER THE DOME, an event program that became the most watched scripted summer series in 21 years. Earlier this season, she created CBS’s Limited Series & Live Event Programming unit, which already has multiple projects in development for next year, including the four-hour mini-series THE DOVEKEEPERS. Both UNDER THE DOME and THE DOVEKEEPERS are cross-divisional collaborations based on bestselling books from CBS Corporation’s Simon & Schuster.
In addition, she has helped transition CBS’s top-rated daytime schedule with successful launches for THE TALK and LET’S MAKE A DEAL, as well as with cross-daypart programming and promotional synergies for a lineup in which every show is growing in ratings.
Tassler joined CBS in August 1997 as Vice President, Drama, CBS Productions, before moving to the Network as Senior Vice President of Drama Development in 1998, eventually becoming President of Entertainment in 2003.
Before coming to CBS, Tassler headed drama development at Warner Bros. Television, where she helped develop successful series such as “ER.”
Tassler currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation and for the Jewish Family Services, and is a member of the Board of Trustees for Boston University (BU). She is a graduate of BU, majoring in Theater, and began her career assisting in all aspects of running the Roundabout Theater Company in New York. Tassler is married to director Jerry Levine and has two children, Matt and Alice.