Jul 26, 2017
3:41 pm

21 Million Viewers Tune In to Simulcast (TVWeek, Disney)

A simulcast that ran across broadcast and cable channels attracted a massive audience. Based on Live+3 data, Friday’s simulcast of Disney’s “Descendants 2” delivered 21 million viewers, Disney Channel announced today.

The premiere was the No. 1 cable TV telecast in the past two years among kids 2-11, kids 6-11 and tweens, Disney noted. Additionally, the soundtrack is now the No. 1 album on iTunes.

The program aired across ABC, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Freeform, Lifetime and Lifetime Movies.

The audience of 21 million viewers includes 8.1 million kids 2-14 and 6.9 million adults 18-49, Disney noted.

Click here for more of the numbers and additional details about the telecast.

Jul 26, 2017
3:29 pm

The First Person to Tweet From Space Will Anchor Coverage of Great American Eclipse (TVWeek)

The person who is recognized as the first to tweet from space will have another space-related assignment as the host of Science Channel’s coverage of the upcoming Great American Eclipse.

The channel announced today that former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino will host the coverage of the eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21.

Massimino, a veteran of two missions to the Hubble Space Telescope and four space walks, will also present the series “The Planets,” premiering Tuesday, Aug. 22.

“Mike Massimino is a true hero of space exploration, having risked his life to fix the Hubble Space Telescope,” said Marc Etkind, general manager of Science Channel. “His dedication to furthering our understanding of the universe makes him the perfect guide to take our viewers through the once-in-a-lifetime Great American Eclipse and to the farthest reaches of the galaxy in ‘The Planets.'”

The path of totality for the eclipse will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina, where Massimino will anchor the channel’s coverage from Charleston. The event marks the first time in 99 years that a total solar eclipse will span the continental United States.

For more about the eclipse and Science Channel’s coverage, along with “The Planets,” please click here to read the full announcement.

Jul 26, 2017
2:27 pm

Angelina Jolie Reveals Serious Health Issue (Vanity Fair, TVWeek)

Actress and director Angelina Jolie reveals in a new interview that she was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a condition that can cause partial facial paralysis.

Jolie made the revelation in a cover story for the September issue of Vanity Fair. She said the condition was caused by nerve damage, and resulted in one side of her face drooping.

Jolie says she used acupuncture to treat the condition, and it led to a full recovery from the paralysis.

She also mentions that she developed hypertension last year.

Elsewhere in the interview, Jolie, who recently purchased the 11,000-square-foot mansion in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles that was the longtime home of filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, discusses the difficulties of her divorce from Brad Pitt.

She has recently been involved with directing the Netflix film “First They Killed My Father,” about the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia.

Jul 26, 2017
2:11 pm

Plans Locked In for Return of ‘MythBusters’ (TVWeek, Science Channel)

The beloved series “MythBusters” is coming back, with a return date now locked in along with details about the new season and new team. The show is coming to Science Channel for a 14-episode season premiering Nov. 15.

The show will have a new team in place featuring Brian Louden and Jon Lung, who earned the gig with their performance during “MythBusters: The Search.” The season promises to include rocket-powered swords, exploding gas tanks and airbag disasters, among other myths.

The original version of the show wrapped up its 14-year run on Discovery Channel in 2016, having earned eight consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Reality Program from 2009-2016.

Click here for more about the show’s return.

Jul 26, 2017
10:31 am

Two Big Media Firms in Battle to Acquire Scripps Networks (Variety)

Scripps Networks is at the center of what’s shaping up to be a battle between Discovery Communications and Viacom to acquire the company, Variety reports.

“Viacom and Discovery are both engaged in negotiations for Scripps, according to people familiar with the situation, a purchase that could be worth as much as $10.6 billion,” Variety reports. “A final decision could be reached as soon as next week, but there’s also a chance no deal will take place. Each company sees transformative potential in nabbing the owner of Food Network, Travel Channel and a small suite of cable networks whose mainstay programming is documentary-style series like ‘Flip or Flop’ and ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.’”

The report quotes media-industry analyst Michael Nathanson, in a recent research note, saying: “Given what seems like real competition over Scripps Networks, it seems like the company (and Scripps family) could demand a higher price.”

Variety adds: “Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker estimates the controlling Scripps family would likely require at least $91 per share, and might even hold out for as much as $95. Share of Scripps recently traded at more than $83 a share.”

Jul 26, 2017
10:27 am

CBS News Exec Headed Out (THR)

An executive who has been a part of CBS News, overseeing daily coverage on the company’s live-streaming service CBSN, is headed out. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Albert Lewitinn will take on a new position with MTV.

Lewitinn joined CBS News last summer. A spokeswoman for CBS declined to comment for the THR story.

“Lewitinn is a veteran of the television business, and has previously worked for CNN, HLN and ABC News,” THR notes.

Jul 26, 2017
10:21 am

NBC Viewers Slow to Warm Up to Megyn Kelly (AP, TVWeek)

Former Fox News mainstay Megyn Kelly is closing in on the end of her summer tryout at NBC News, with this weekend to wrap the initial eight-episode run for “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.” The show concludes its initial run with a Ricky Gervais interview — not quite the buzz generator that launched the show, when Kelly sat down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The AP notes that audiences are taking a “wait and see” approach to Kelly’s NBC career as they await the Sept. 25 premiere of her one-hour weekday morning show.

“Kelly’s show isn’t as popular as its predecessor in the time slot, ‘Dateline NBC,’ and lost viewers each week,” the AP reports. “But many shows are seeing audience declines, including direct competitor ’60 Minutes.’ NBC says it is proud of the range and ability Kelly showed with her interviews.”

Kelly’s Sunday show will be giving way for the time being to NFL coverage and, later, the 2018 Winter Olympics before settling back in for a regular run in early 2018.

Jul 26, 2017
9:57 am

Network to Mark 40th Anniversary of the Death of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Icon (TVWeek)

A cable and satellite network is planning a month of special programming in August to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. AXS TV announced plans today for special programming throughout the month built around Elvis movies and concerts.

The “All Hail the King” block will include the documentaries “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is,” “This Is Elvis” and “Elvis on Tour,” along with the 1965 musical romance “Clambake.”

On Aug. 16, the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death, AXS TV will air “Classic Albums: Elvis” at 9 p.m. ET, followed by the AXS TV original “Elvis Lives!” at 10 p.m.

“The month kicks off with a pair of insightful documentaries, featuring an intimate look at Elvis’ return to the stage after a successful film career in the 1970 documentary ‘Elvis: That’s the Way It Is’ on August 1, capturing the King’s Las Vegas Summer Festival, with powerhouse renditions of ‘Sweet Caroline,’ ‘All Shook Up,’ ‘Don’t Be Cruel,’ and interviews with fellow icons such as Sammy Davis Jr., Cary Grant, Charo, and more,” the network says in its announcement. “Then, on August 8, filmmakers Andrew Solt and Malcolm Leo combine archive footage with detailed re-enactments of key moments from Presley’s life and career in the unique 1981 film ‘This Is Elvis.'”

Here’s the full schedule for “All Hail the King”:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 1 – 10pE – ELVIS: THAT’S THE WAY IT IS
  • Tuesday, Aug. 8 – 10pE – THIS IS ELVIS
  • Tuesday, Aug. 15 – 10pE – ELVIS LIVES!
  • Wednesday, Aug. 16 – 9pE – CLASSIC ALBUMS: ELVIS PRESLEY
  • Wednesday, Aug. 16 – 10pE – ELVIS LIVES!
  • Tuesday, Aug. 22 – 10pE – ELVIS ON TOUR
  • Tuesday, Aug. 29 – 10pE – CLAMBAKE

Jul 26, 2017
9:49 am

Judge Throws Out Racial Bias Suit Against Time Warner, CNN and TBS (Deadline)

A lawsuit against Time Warner alleging a pattern of racial discrimination at its networks CNN and TBS was dismissed by a judge in Atlanta, Deadline.com reports.

The suit was filed by two African-American veterans of Turner who alleged they were paid less than their white co-workers and were unfairly denied raises and promotions. “Defendants have engaged in a pattern and practice of racial discrimination in performance evaluations, compensations, promotions and terminations,” the lawsuit alleged.

“U.S. District Court Judge William S. Duffey Jr. did not agree and addressed each claim separately in his ruling today,” Deadline reports, noting that the suit was based in part on statistics in an internal HR report from the early 2010s.

Duffey determined that the data were not consistent with discrimination.

“He also slammed the door on any future action by the plaintiffs by denying their motion to file an amended claim based on ‘new facts,'” Deadline adds.

Jul 26, 2017
9:31 am

How CBS’s Colbert Stretched His Lead Over NBC’s Fallon (TVWeek)

CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” reached a milestone last week, opening up its widest margin over its NBC rival in total viewers since the show’s premiere in September 2015.

“Colbert” delivered an average of 2.87 million viewers during the week of July 17-21, a margin of 450,000 total viewers over NBC’s “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon,” which averaged 2.42 million. ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” was in reruns and settled for 1.62 million.

Fallon continued to have the edge in the key 18-49 demo, averaging a 0.59 rating to Colbert’s 0.43, with Kimmel third with a 0.37 average.

The period featured “Russia Week” coverage on the CBS show, spotlighting Colbert’s much-hyped recent trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow. CBS noted that Colbert’s 19% margin over Fallon in total viewers was the show’s largest during a week of all first-run broadcasts since the week ending Sept. 11, 2015.

For the season to date, Colbert holds a smaller advantage over Fallon in total viewers: 3.25 million on average for the CBS show to 3.08 million for Fallon and NBC, with ABC’s Kimmel third at 2.18 million. The season-to-date figures for the 18-49 demo show Fallon ahead with a 0.79 average rating, followed by Colbert at 0.58 and Kimmel at 0.48.

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