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TVBIZWIRE
Sep 25, 2017
1:57 pm
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TV Station Group and Newspaper Group Merge (AP, Washington Post)

A station group that owns or operates TV and radio stations in 20 states, covering more than 16% of U.S. television households, is merging with a newspaper group that owns more than 110 newspapers, websites and publications in 22 states.

The AP reports that Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. announced the merger agreement with Raycom Media Inc. today.

“Both companies are based in Montgomery, Alabama, and are financed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, which manages pension funds for state employees,” the report notes.

Raycom Media reportedly owns or operates 65 television stations and two radio stations, mostly in Southern states.

“Under the merger agreement, CNHI will operate as a Raycom Media subsidiary,” the report notes. The merger is expected to be completed Sept 29.

In its statement, CNHI noted that in seven instances where markets for Raycom Media broadcast stations and CNHI newspapers overlap, the newspaper properties will be sold to a third party, the report adds.

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 25, 2017
11:27 am
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‘The Voice’ Returns to NBC Tonight — Here’s a Preview (TVWeek)

“The Voice” returns to NBC tonight with a new powerhouse coach in one of its swiveling red chairs. Jennifer Hudson — who first shot to fame as a contestant on “American Idol” in 2004 before going on to an acclaimed career that has included an Oscar for 2006’s “Dreamgirls” — joins “Voice” OGs Adam Levine and Blake Shelton along with Miley Cyrus, who returns for a second go-round.

Attending a preview screening of the first episode of Season 13 on the Universal lot last week was TVWeek Open Mic writer Hillary Atkin, who had to agree not to reveal TOO much … but still offers a few tidbits about the show — no huge spoilers — in her report on the screening. Please click here to read the report.

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 25, 2017
11:11 am
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Paramount Network Locks In Launch Plans, New Programming (TVWeek)

Paramount Network now has a launch date and time, with the company announcing today that the network will officially bow Thursday, Jan. 18, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The network will kick off with a live one-hour episode of “Lip Sync Battle,” to be televised from the Paramount lot in Hollywood.

Details on the star-studded event will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Spike TV is being rebranded as Paramount Network, a premium entertainment destination that pushes the limits of storytelling with bold original scripted and non-scripted series,” the company said in today’s announcement. “Inspired by over a century of cinema, Paramount Network is where today’s brightest stars bring the experience of the big screen to every screen with stories that are immersive, inclusive, and deeply personal.”

Plans are also shaping up for the premiere later in January on Paramount Network of the six-part event series “Waco” with a cast that includes Michael Shannon, Taylor Kitsch, John Leguizamo and Melissa Benoist.

“On the heels of the 25th anniversary, the eye-opening and captivating series is based on the controversial and harrowing true story of the 1993 FBI siege of a religious sect that resulted in the deadly shootout and fire,” the announcement notes.

New original scripted series coming to Paramount Network in the first part of 2018 include “Yellowstone,” starring Kevin Costner and written and directed by Taylor Sheridan; “American Woman,” from producer John Wells, a single-camera comedy set in the 1970s amid the sexual revolution and the rise of feminism, starring Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari; and “Heathers,” an hour-long pitch-black comedy anthology set in the present day, based on the 1988 cult film of the same name.

Spike TV will have a new website, ParamountNetwork.com, launching  today, along with new social accounts including @ParamountNet on Twitter and @ParamountNetwork on Instagram and other social platforms.

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 25, 2017
11:09 am
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Canceled Drama Series Gets a Spinoff (TVWeek)

After a long run that wrapped up earlier this year, the popular TV drama series “Pretty Little Liars” is poised to live on in the form of a spinoff. Freeform announced today that it has ordered the pilot for the spinoff, “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists.”

“Pretty Little Liars” ended its run on Freeform back in June after seven seasons and 160 episodes. Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish will reprise their roles from the show on the new project.

Announcing the order for the new show, which comes from Warner Horizon Scripted Television, was Karey Burke, Freeform’s executive vice president, Programming and Development.

Please click here for full details in today’s announcement.

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 25, 2017
11:03 am
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Megyn Kelly Says She’s ‘Done With Politics’ (TVWeek, NBC)

New NBC morning show host Megyn Kelly joked about Donald Trump and proclaimed that she’s “done with politics” — “kind of” … “for now” — as she launched “Megyn Kelly Today” this morning on NBC.

Here’s her emotional opening segment, posted by NBC …

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 25, 2017
10:51 am
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Leslie Moonves vs. Lachlan Murdoch: CBS Outmaneuvers Fox to Land Key Acquisition (THR)

A piece published today by The Hollywood Reporter details how Leslie Moonves and CBS got the better of Lachlan Murdoch and 21st Century Fox in a hotly contested fight for control of Australia’s third-ranked TV network, Network Ten.

“CBS surprised, some even say shocked, Murdoch & Co., Australian media and industry folks alike by pulling off the reported $160 million (AUS $201 million) acquisition of Ten, the least-watched commercial network in what is the fourth-largest English-speaking TV market in the world, that had gone into receivership in June when it had a market capitalization of just $53 million (AUS $66 million),” THR reports.

The report adds: “It was a bruising result for Murdoch, executive co-chair of 21st Century Fox and News Corp, both financially and to his reputation as a top media executive. He had sunk $137 million of his own money into Ten in 2010, served in such roles as executive chairman, acting CEO and putative financial savior of the struggling network, and struck content and advertising sales deals with News Corp-managed pay TV outfit Foxtel.”

We encourage readers to click on the link above to THR to read the full analysis.

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 25, 2017
10:44 am
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ESPN a Key Player in Disney Beef With Cable Company (USA Today)

More than 2.6 million customers could soon lose ABC and ESPN in a dispute between Disney and cable company Altice, USA Today reports. The dispute potentially affecting customers in the New York area centers on how much Altice USA should pay The Walt Disney Co. for its programming, with ESPN a big part of the equation.

“Disney has been warning viewers — with scrolling messages on broadcasts — that they could lose those channels, as well as the Disney Channel, if the two companies don’t come to an agreement, reportedly by the end of month,” USA Today reports. “Those customers in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania were previously served by Cablevision, which the Netherlands-based Altice acquired two years ago for $17.7 billion.”

The report notes that Altice USA is the fourth-largest U.S. cable operator, with almost 5 million customers nationwide including those from its May 2015 acquisition of Suddenlink, which covers parts of Texas, West Virginia, Louisiana and 14 other states.

In a statement, Disney said: “Our contract with Altice is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming. We remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so.”

USA Today reports: “Altice charged Disney with making ‘anti-consumer demands,’ including ‘double the rates for ABC’ and ‘exorbitant’ fee hikes for ESPN, overall amounting to ‘hundreds of millions of dollars more’ than the current contract, the company said in a statement.”

The report quotes the Altice statement saying: “We want to carry ESPN and its sister networks, including ABC and Disney, at a reasonable rate and have already offered an increase in retransmission fees and sports programming costs.”

Altice has also said that Disney programming has seen double-digit declines annually among Optimum viewers.

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 25, 2017
10:39 am
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Renowned Television Creators Sign Multiyear Deal With Amazon Studios (TVWeek)

Amazon Studios has entered into a multiyear overall deal with the Emmy-nominated TV creators behind “Gilmore Girls” and “Bunheads.” The studio announced the deal today with Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino.

The husband-and-wife team will develop television projects exclusively for Prime Video, Amazon announced. They have already received a two-season greenlight for their Amazon Original Series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which will premiere on Prime Video this fall.

Please click here for quotes and additional details in the full announcement from Amazon.

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 25, 2017
10:31 am
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CBS Releases Initial Numbers for ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ Projects Huge Delayed Viewing (TVWeek)

CBS rolled out the eagerly awaited premiere of its new “Star Trek” series Sunday on the broadcast network, ahead of the show’s exclusive run on the CBS All Access streaming service. The network announced today that 9.6 million viewers watched the Sunday broadcast of “Star Trek: Discovery,” which aired from 8:48-9:53 p.m.

“CBS Research projects ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ to increase to more than 15 million viewers with 7-day delayed viewing, and an additional 5%-10% with live+35-day viewing,” CBS noted.

“The premiere of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ drove CBS All Access to its highest subscriber sign-up day, week and month ever,” the network added, also noting that “Star Trek: Discovery” was the No. 1 most social non-sports broadcast event and OTT series airing Sunday, according to Nielsen Social.

TVBIZWIRE
Sep 22, 2017
3:42 pm
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Veteran TV Executive Dead at 67 (Variety)

A longtime television executive who was one of the champions of reality TV, and who oversaw National Geographic Channels, has died. Variety reports that David Lyle died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles following a battle with cancer. He was 67.

“The Australian native most recently served as president of Pact US, an advocacy org for unscripted TV producers,” Variety reports. “After working in TV in Australia and in London, Lyle came to Los Angeles in 2001 as head of FremantleMedia North America, where he helped launch ‘American Idol’ on Fox.”

Howard Owens, the co-CEO of Propagate Content, who worked with Lyle at National Geographic, is quoted in the story saying: “David Lyle was one of the few television executives who thrived on both a creative and business level. He was one of the kindest, most fun, and caring people I’ve ever known. He always had time to mentor people and help others out in their careers.”

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