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TVBIZWIRE
Jan 20, 2017
12:04 pm
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Media Veteran Richard ‘Mad Dog’ Beckman Joins Discovery’s Group Nine Media

Veteran media executive Richard Beckman, who exited his post as chief revenue officer at Vice Media last year, has been named chief revenue officer for Discovery-backed Group Nine Media, The New York Post reports.

“Discovery, the cable-TV powerhouse, announced in October that it was putting $100 million into the company controlled by Lerer Hippeau Ventures and headed by Ben Lerer,” The Post reports. “It includes Thrillist, The Dodo, Seeker and the news and entertainment site NowThis.”

The report adds: “The move seems aimed at getting video producers more into the long- form video game, rather than being an old-fashioned traffic play.”

Beckman is quoted in the report saying: “We have a combined 4.2 billion video views per month. These are video views — not impressions. It shows engagement — and engagement is replacing reach for the sake of reach.”

The report adds: “Beckman also joked that the ‘Mad Dog’ nickname he picked when he was an up-and-coming executive at Condé Nast — and which stuck with him as CEO at Prometheus Global Media and co-founder of the now defunct Three Lions Entertainment — is being usurped by Donald Trump’s pick for Defense secretary, James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis.”

TVBIZWIRE
Jan 20, 2017
11:51 am
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ABC Orders Two Drama Pilots (TVLine)

ABC has added two drama projects to the development slate for next season, ordering pilots for “The Crossing” and “The Deception,” TVLine reports.

“‘The Crossing’ has a timely-sounding premise, with war refugees seeking shelter in an American town,” the report notes. “Only there’s a sci-fi twist: The refugees are from America… and traveling back in time from 250 years in the future.”

“‘Deception — not to be confused with the short-lived NBC drama of the same name from 2013 — centers on ‘superstar magician’ Cameron Black, who uses his powers of illusion to (what else?) help the FBI solve crimes after a scandal ruins his career as a magician,” TVLine adds.

“The Crossing” comes from writers Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie, while “Deception” is written by Chris Fedak and executive produced by Greg Berlanti and “Blindspot” creator Martin Gero.

TVBIZWIRE
Jan 20, 2017
11:40 am
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ABC Developing ‘Black-ish’ Spinoff (Deadline)

ABC has a spinoff in the works for its well-received comedy series “black-ish,” with the show’s creator and executive producer Kenya Barris working with ABC Studios on the project, Deadline.com’s Nellie Andreeva reports.

The new show “would be toplined by ‘Black-ish’ co-star Yara Shahidi and focus on her character Zoey Johnson in college,” Andreeva notes, adding: “I hear the idea is for the potential new comedy series, created by Barris and former ‘Black-ish’ showrunner Larry Wilmore, to be introduced as a backdoor pilot episode on ‘Black-ish’ this spring.”

The talks are said to be in the early stages, with no script and no deals yet in place.

TVBIZWIRE
Jan 20, 2017
11:10 am
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Series That Just Premiered a Week Ago Picked Up for a Second Season (TVWeek)

A series that just premiered Jan. 13 — and has already chalked up not only great reviews but also strong viewership — has been quickly renewed for a second season.

The series is the Amazon Original “Sneaky Pete,” which has connections to the wildly successful “Breaking Bad” — notably “Sneaky Pete’s” co-creator and executive producer Bryan Cranston, who also appears in the series.

The show features an ensemble cast led by Giovanni Ribisi along with Marin Ireland and Peter Gerety. Co-created by Cranston and David Shore, it has Graham Yost (“The Americans”) on board as showrunner and a team of executive producers that includes Cranston, Yost, Michael Dinner and Fred Golan, and James Degus.

Amazon noted that the show bowed as the second-most-streamed original scripted series on an opening day, behind “The Man in the High Castle,” and opened with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The announcement from Amazon includes rave reviews from a number of high-profile critics, along with comments from viewers and additional details about the show. Please click here to read the full announcement.

TVBIZWIRE
Jan 20, 2017
10:40 am
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Netflix Announces ‘House of Cards’ Premiere Date — and Gives Us a Somewhat Chilling Teaser (TVWeek, Netflix)

Whether the timing of the release — coinciding with Inauguration Day — is accidental or purposeful would be open to interpretation, but Netflix chose today to announce that season five of its mega-hit presidential drama “House of Cards” will premiere May 30.

The streaming service made the announcement via a short teaser posted online and on social media that provides its own somewhat chilling observation on the situation in Washington — fictional or otherwise.

Check it out …

TVBIZWIRE
Jan 20, 2017
10:29 am
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Is It Just Us, or Does the New Series From the Creator of ‘Transparent’ Have an Intentionally Provocative Title? (TVWeek)

We’re not sure whether it’s our middle school-level sense of humor or whether the producers of “I Love Dick” meant to get us to raise our eyebrows over the show’s title … but we suspect it’s the latter.

Either way, Amazon Studios announced today that the new series from Jill Soloway, the creator of the successful Amazon series “Transparent,” will premiere May 12.

The series will also be presented at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday, Jan. 23.

“Adapted from Chris Kraus’ 1997 cult classic, combining feminist art criticism, memoir, and epistolary novel, ‘I Love Dick’ is a bold new series from the team that brought you ‘Transparent,'” Amazon notes in its announcement. “Chris (Kathryn Hahn) is a frustrated New York filmmaker who finds herself marooned in Marfa, Texas, where her academic husband, Sylvère (Griffin Dunne), has a writing residency. Amid the dusty silence, art snobs, and tumbleweeds, she meets renowned scholar Dick (Kevin Bacon). An infuriating and beguiling exchange with this enigmatic, macho character unleashes in her a dramatic awakening.”

The series is executive produced by Soloway, Andrea Sperling (“Transparent”), Victor Hsu (“Transparent”) and co-creator Sarah Gubbins (“Ten Aker Wood”).

TVBIZWIRE
Jan 20, 2017
10:09 am
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Why Budweiser Backed Out of Olympics Sponsorship (Ad Age, Sports Business Journal, TVWeek)

Budweiser is no longer the beer of Team USA after Anheuser Busch InBev pulled the plug on its 32-year sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Team — ending a relationship that began with the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

In a statement, Elco van der Noll, VP of experiential marketing for AB InBev, said: “We continually evaluate our sponsorships as our business priorities evolve and we’re adjusting our portfolio to reflect those priorities. We’re proud of our long-term partnership with the USOC and all that we have accomplished together on behalf of America’s athletes.”

Ad Age cites a former executive for AB InBev saying the Olympic sponsorship is not a good fit for the company.

“The former AB InBev executive said ‘you can only support so much and you’ve got to prioritize.'” Ad Age reports. “This person noted that the brewer had not really been activating its USOC deal in a huge way. In 2014, for instance, AB InBev declined to buy TV advertising during the Sochi games, drawing complaints from NBC executives.”

With the Summer Games in Rio out of the way and the next three Olympics — two Winter Games and one Summer Games — all taking place in Asia, the Olympics appear to be heading into a shaky period for sponsorships.

Ad Age’s source noted that the Winter Olympics do not fall in a “key consumption period” for beer, and added that the Olympics come soon after the Super Bowl, where AB InBev traditionally spends heavily.

The report adds: “While the Summer Games align better with the summer drinking season, they are not a great fit for beer brands because viewership skews older and more female, the former executive said. Beer brands tend to target young adult males, although some brands have made a concerted effort lately to reach females.”

TVBIZWIRE
Jan 20, 2017
9:37 am
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Disney|ABC Fills Key Executive Post (TVWeek)

The Disney|ABC Television Group has made a high-level executive appointment, announcing today that the new executive VP and chief financial officer is Robert Langer.

Langer replaces Peter Seymour, who announced last November that he was stepping down after 20 years with the company.

Making the announcement was Ben Sherwood, co-chair, Disney Media Networks & president, Disney|ABC Television, to whom Langer will report.

In the announcement, Sherwood said: “A superb financial manager and strategist with deep roots in The Walt Disney Company, Robert is a proven leader and problem solver who brings broad domestic business experience and deep knowledge of the international marketplace. Robert is a strong addition to the Disney|ABC leadership team, and we are all delighted to welcome him back to Southern California.”

The announcement notes: “Langer will have financial leadership, strategy and business development oversight for the Disney|ABC portfolio, including the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, ABC Owned Station Group, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Disney|ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution, Radio Disney and Freeform. He will also help oversee Disney|ABC’s equity interests in A+E and Hulu.”

Langer was previously The Walt Disney Company’s country manager for Germany, Switzerland & Austria (GSA), leading all Disney operations and businesses within the region.

Said Langer: “I’ve long been impressed with the Disney|ABC business, and I’m thrilled to be given this new opportunity and excited about the prospects. I look forward to not only working with the talented financial, strategy and business development teams, but also collaborating with colleagues across the group’s channels and brands to grow and evolve our businesses.”

The announcement adds: “Langer joined Disney in 1999 as director, Business Development, Global Licensing. In 2007 he was appointed chief financial officer for the global Disney Consumer Products (DCP) division, responsible for finance, accounting and business development functions and overseeing the division’s information technology function. He was appointed general manager for DCP EMEA in 2009, responsible for DCP’s merchandise, publishing and The Disney Store’s business in Europe. Previous positions within Disney include roles at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, where he served as chief financial officer, Disneyland Resort and chief financial officer, Global Segment Operations.”

Robert Langer (Disney|ABC)

TVBIZWIRE
Jan 20, 2017
1:25 am
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As Donald Trump Is Sworn in Today, Journalists Have a Big Responsibility Covering the New Trump Administration. Here’s Our Journalist Role Model (TVWeek)

Just as it’s clear that Donald Trump is media savvy, it’s clear that he’s anti-journalism. So how should journalists cover him and his administration? Please click here to read an essay by Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross, who says a good starting point would be to try to follow in the footsteps of the late John Higgins.

TVBIZWIRE
Jan 19, 2017
1:07 pm
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Showrunner Shakeup on Two Amazon Drama Series (TVWeek, Amazon)

A shakeup has taken place behind the cameras on two Amazon original drama series, with both “Bosch” and “The Man in the High Castle” getting new showrunners.

Eric Overmyer, who has been overseeing “Bosch,” will become the new showrunner on “The Man in the High Castle.” He will also remain an executive producer on “Bosch.”

Daniel Pyne, who has been an exec producer on “Bosch,” will add showrunner on that series to his job description. Meanwhile, John Mankiewicz, who has been a frequent collaborator with Pyne, joins “Bosch” as an executive producer.

The detective series “Bosch,” starring Titus Welliver, is currently in production on season three, which is due to premiere later this year. The show has already received a pickup for season four.

The key players in the showrunner shuffle have extensive resumes in television and feature films. Please click here for details in the announcement from Amazon.

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