TVBizWire

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
7:48 pm
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In Case You Had Any Doubt That Netflix is a Serious TV Player, This Should Convince You: NBCU/Tina Fey Produced Sitcom, Which was Supposed to Have a Midseason Debut on NBC, Has Instead Been Sold to Netflix with a Two Season Commitment (Deadline.com, THR)

Netflix “is taking over a series that has not yet premiered, midseason NBC comedy ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock,” writes Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

The story continues, “Netflix has doubled the 13-episode order the series — starring Ellie Kemper — had at NBC. The 13-episode first season will debut on Netflix in March, around the same time it should’ve premiered on NBC. Universal TV remains as the studio in its first foray at Netflix.”

Writes Lesley Goldberg in The Hollywood Reporter, the show had multiple network bidders when NBC won the project.

Goldberg adds, “ ‘When the opportunity arose for Tina Fey and Robert Carlock to premiere their new show on Netflix with a two-season commitment, we decided this was the best possible scenario to launch this captivating new series,’ NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said. ‘While it was originally developed for NBC, we have a very drama-heavy midseason schedule so we’re thrilled about this Netflix opportunity; it’s an instant win-win for everyone, including Tina, Robert and Universal Television. We’re already talking to these extraordinary creators about new development for NBC, but meanwhile, everyone here from Universal Television will do everything possible to see that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt becomes a long-running hit on Netflix.’ ”

To read more about this deal we urge you to click on the links, above, which will take you to the original stories at Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter.

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TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
1:48 pm
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‘Queen Latifah’s’ Syndicated Talk Show to End (B&C)

Producer Sony Pictures Television has confirmed that it is pulling the plug on “The Queen Latifah Show,” B&C reports.

The company said today that the show will wrap up production by the end of December. Original episodes of the show will continue to air through the end of March 2015.

B&C notes: “The news comes after word that CBS Television Distribution’s ‘Man in the Middle’ would not be going forward, largely because of economic considerations. What the CBS Owned Television Stations will air in its place is unclear, but some sources speculated that the group would pick up CTD’s ‘Hot Bench’ in some markets. ‘Hot Bench’ is this season’s top-rated rookie.”

“Latifah,” which bowed in September 2013, has been averaging a 1.0 in households this season, the report notes, placing it among the lowest-ranked talk shows.

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TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
1:41 pm
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Why Winnie the Pooh Was Banned From Polish Playgrounds (NY Daily News)

A debate among local politicians in Poland became an international story after an audio recording surfaced in which an official called Winnie the Pooh a “hermaphrodite” and voted to keep the cartoon bear out of Polish playgrounds, the New York Daily News reports.

“The British bear known for its love of honey and misadventures has no place in a Polish playground because [it is] ‘wholly inappropriate for children,’ a Tuszyn councilman said at a closed meeting to debate its pick for a playground’s mascot,” the publication reports.

Some of the officials apparently were disturbed by the character’s lack of pants.

The report notes: “Tuszyn councilmembers questioned Pooh’s sexuality and incorrectly called the fictional bear a hermaphrodite behind closed doors while debating whether to designate Pooh the mascot of their town’s playground, the Croatian Times reported.”

In an audio recording that was leaked to Polish media, one member of the council reportedly says of the character: “It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex. It’s a hermaphrodite.”

While at least one other official spoke graphically about author A.A. Milne’s apparent motivation for creating the asexual bear — which the report notes is not a hermaphrodite, according to the dictionary definition — another, Ryszard Cichy, offered a more measured response.

Said Cichy: “The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe. It is half naked, which is wholly inappropriate for children.”

Cichy proposed a Polish character, “Floppy Bear,” as the mascot. The report notes that Floppy Bear wears pants.

winnie the poohWinnie the Pooh

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
1:37 pm
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Dish Network Brings Missing Turner Networks Back Into Its Lineup (WSJ)

Dish Network has restored the Turner Broadcasting channels that have been missing from the lineup while Dish and Turner work out their differences over a carriage agreement, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The companies released a brief statement today, saying:

“Dish Network and Turner Broadcasting announced today that they have mutually decided to restore service of CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, TCM, HLN, CNN en Espanol and Boomerang, and extend the carriage of TBS and TNT. Dish and Turner will not have any further comment.”

The WSJ report notes that the accord is a short-term arrangement and the companies have yet to sort out their disagreement.

“The temporary agreement came on the verge of another standoff between Turner and Dish,” the story reports. “The distribution agreement for Turner’s popular channels TNT and TBS was set to expire on Dec. 5. Both those channels have hit shows and TNT also carries a heavy load of NBA basketball games as well as a large chunk of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament.”

CNN, Cartoon Network and the other channels had been out of the Dish lineup since October. Without access to Dish’s 14 million customers, ratings for the Turner networks have suffered.

While the companies declined to provide details about the accord, the WSJ reports: “A person familiar with the deal said the extension for all the Turner networks runs to early spring. Going forward, all the Turner networks will be under the same contract as well, the person said.”

Dish is also engaged in difficult negotiations with CBS, as we reported earlier today.

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TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
1:29 pm
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Big November Ratings for One of the Big Four: Broadcast Network Does Something It Hadn’t Done in at Least 23 Years (TVWeek)

One of the big four TV broadcast networks had some November sweeps ratings news to crow about today. ABC sent out a press release announcing that it won all four Thursdays in November for the first time in “at least 23 years.”

The results are in the key demo of adults 18-49, based on Nielsen Live + Same Day ratings. ABC accomplished the feat for the first time since at least November 1991, the earliest sweeps period in the Nielsen database.

The Alphabet Network is thriving on Thursdays — traditionally a key night for broadcasters for advertising revenues — with its “all-Shonda Rhimes” lineup of “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away With Murder.” In Thursday results for this week, “Scandal” and “Murder” both delivered preliminary 3.1 average ratings in 18-49 while “Grey’s” pulled a 2.4. ABC easily won the night in the metric with an average rating of 2.9, ahead of CBS (2.1 average), Univision (2.0), NBC (1.6), Fox (1.0) and CW (0.6).

ABC also won the night in total viewers, averaging 9.37 million to lead CBS (8.90 million), Univision (4.49 million), NBC (4.42 million), Fox (4.22 million) and CW (1.41 million).

The network noted that “Murder” hit a six-week high in 18-49 and topped the combined drama competition from NBC (“Parenthood,” 1.5 average) and CBS (“Elementary,” 1.0) in the 10 p.m. hour.

Please click here to read the full press release from ABC.

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TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
1:11 pm
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Aereo Files for Bankruptcy (Washington Post)

The struggling television streaming service Aereo may have come to the end of the road, with the company announcing today that it’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, reports The Washington Post.

The announcement comes after Aereo said it was laying off dozens of workers in New York and Boston, following a defeat in the Supreme Court, which caused it to suspend its services.

“Chapter 11 will permit Aereo to maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts,” chief executive Chet Kanojia wrote on the company’s website.

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TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
8:57 am
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Cable Comedy Series Canceled (Deadline)

As part of a programming overhaul taking place at a couple of major cable channels, a comedy series has been canceled after three seasons. Deadline.com reports that TBS canceled “Sullivan & Son,” part of an ongoing renovation of the programming lineups at that channel and TNT.

“Sullivan & Son” and “Men at Work” were the first original comedies series on TBS to take hold, the story notes. “Men at Work” was canceled in May, while “Cougar Town” was also wrapping up. That means the only returning original scripted series on TBS for 2015 is “Ground Floor,” the story reports.

“Sullivan & Son” was set at a bar in a working-class Pittsburgh neighborhood. The third season averaged 1.6 million viewers and a 0.6 rating in viewers 18-49, with those numbers down 21% and 26%, respectively, from the previous season, the piece reports.

The article notes that TBS’s sister network TNT has recently canceled three established shows: “Dallas,” “Franklin & Bash” and “Perception.”

HART OF DIXIE

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
8:47 am
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Here’s a Good One: 40 Percent of HBO’s Subscribers Watch Only This … (and We’ll Bet You’ve Just Guessed Wrong) (B&C)

Here’s a terrific factoid we picked up from B&C this morning: According to Richard Plepler, HBO’s CEO, 40% of HBO’s subscribers ONLY watch the channel’s theatrical releases, and not any of HBO’s award-winning original programming.

And fully 78% of ALL viewing on HBO comes from watching theatrical features. Said Plepler: “While original programming obviously takes up an enormous amount of the cultural halo for HBO, don’t forget the power of theatrical movies.”

Plepler made his remarks at an event called the International Council at the Paley Center for Media in New York City.

Plepler also spoke about HBO’s upcoming over-the-top service. According to the B&C article, Plepler “reiterated his stand that the premium network’s play to offer its broadband HBO Go service to non-HBO subscribers will not cannibalize its customer base.

Said Plepler: “I don’t think it’s cannibalistic at all. … We’re going to have a big business with [MSOs] and we’re going to have a big business with new partners.”

B&C adds: “In fact, Plepler argues that since most consumers around the country get their Internet service from their cable companies, those operators would only serve to benefit. ‘Who controls the broadband pipes in the U.S.? Our distributors,’ he said. ‘There is gold in the hills, let’s go get it together … its your money too.’ He estimated there are roughly 10-15 million homes that are broadband only.”

rpleplerRichard Plepler

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
8:31 am
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TLC Being Pressured to Cancel Reality Show (THR)

On the heels of a widely publicized controversy that led to the cancellation of one reality show, TLC is getting heat over another show. This time around, TLC is under pressure to cancel “19 Kids and Counting” after a controversy flared up over what is being called anti-gay speech.

The controversy comes after TLC canceled “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” last month amid a scandal centered on a convicted child molester.

A petition seeking the cancellation of the long-running “19 Kids and Counting” has gained more than 100,000 signatures, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

The Change.org petition was reportedly sparked by a robocall from Michelle Duggar, the matriarch of the family featured on the program, who urged Arkansas residents to oppose an anti-discrimination ordinance. According to the call’s claim, the ordinance would have allowed men “to use women’s and girls restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only.”

The ordinance, geared to prohibiting public facilities and businesses from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation or gender, eventually passed, the piece notes.

“The Duggars have thrown massive amounts of money to repeal this law so business owners and land lords can evict and fire people solely over gender idenity and sexual orientation! They need to be taken off the air!“ the petition claims.

On the robocall, Duggar said, “Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I’m calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children.”

She added, “I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls. ”

According to the petition, her “words reek of ignorance and fear mongering. Just because someone is transgendered doesn’t mean they are a child predator or a rapist.”

As of Friday morning, the petition had gained more than 122,000 supporters.

TLC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, according to THR.

19 kids & counting-title

TVBIZWIRE
Nov 21, 2014
8:17 am
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Fox Unveils Midseason Premiere Dates, Maps Out Endgame for ‘Glee’ — and a Former Ratings Juggernaut Gets Its Episode Count Reduced (Deadline)

Fox has scheduled its midseason series, including the final season of “Glee,” which will return Jan. 9 and will air on Fridays during its 13-episode run, reports Deadline.com.

“Glee” will share Friday prime time with a new unscripted hourlong comedy project, working title “World’s Funniest Fails,” which is based on the YouTube channel FailArmy.

Fox also said it is officially reducing the number of “American Idol” episodes. The competition program, which was the highest-rated program on broadcast prime during its heyday from 2003-2011, has struggled with dwindling ratings in recent seasons.

“The veteran singing competition will start off its fourteenth season with its usual twice-a-week airing pattern before dropping the Thursday edition starting March 26,” the story reports.

Two new live-action comedies will air in midseason. They are “The Last Man on Earth,” which stars Will Forte and will debut March 1 behind Sunday’s “Family Guy,” and “Weird Loners,” which will air Tuesdays after “New Girl,” and will debut March 31.

“Idol” will help debut the new drama “Backstrom,” which will air on Thursdays after the reality series starting Jan. 22.

Please click here to see the full Fox midseason schedule.

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“Glee”

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