Feb 22, 2018
6:09 pm

NBC’s Olympics Coverage Sinks to Another Milestone (Deadline, TVWeek)

Even on a night when the U.S. women’s hockey team delivered a thrilling shootout win over Canada to claim the gold medal — an event carried in late-night on NBCSN — NBC’s prime-time Olympics coverage had another bad night.

Deadline reports that Wednesday’s prime-time tally of 16.4 million total viewers was the lowest weeknight result to date during the 2018 PyeongChang Games.

NBC, meanwhile, sent out an announcement pointing out that Team USA’s gold medal win in women’s hockey ranks as the most watched late-night program in NBCSN history (since 2003).

“The hockey game registered a Total Audience Delivery average of 3.7 million viewers, which included a live NBC simulcast of overtime and the shootout, as well as live streaming by NBC Sports Digital,” NBC said. “The NBCSN-only telecast delivered 2.9 million viewers, which is the largest audience ever for the network in the 11 p.m.-2:15 a.m. ET late-night window.”

NBC also pointed out that the Peacock Network was No. 1 in prime time for the 70th consecutive Olympic night. The streak began with Day 14 of the 2010 Vancouver Games.

“In addition, more than 525,000 uniques watched the live stream of the U.S.-Canada women’s gold medal game to rank as NBC Sports Digital’s fifth-largest hockey audience ever (behind only four  games from the Sochi Olympics, which featured more streaming-friendly morning and afternoon ET game times),” NBC added.

The network noted that last night’s NBC/NBCSN viewership peaked at 17.9 million viewers from 10-10:15 p.m. ET, for women’s alpine skiing.

Deadline added: “Airing on the second Saturday of the Winter Olympics, the February 17 primetime broadcast was the Games-low so far with 16.1 million TAD viewers. Wednesday to Wednesday, the February 21 Olympics coverage took a 15% fall from February 14.”

Feb 22, 2018
5:09 pm

Trailer Released for New Sandra Oh Thriller (TVWeek, BBC America)

The trailer was released today for the upcoming thriller starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, airing on BBC America. You can watch the clip for “Killing Eve” below.

“Two women, a psychopathic assassin and a brilliant MI6 agent. Both tasked with the same deadly mission: Find Her,” the channel says in a promo blurb with the trailer.

The show is based on the novellas by Luke Jennings and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”).

The series “centers on two women; Eve (Sandra Oh) is a bored, whip-smart, pay-grade MI5 security officer whose desk-bound job doesn’t fulfill her fantasies of being a spy. Villanelle (Jodie Comer) is a mercurial, talented killer who clings to the luxuries her violent job affords her,” BBC America says, adding: “‘Killing Eve’ topples the typical spy-action thriller as these two fiercely intelligent women, equally obsessed with each other, go head to head in an epic game of cat and mouse.”

“Killing Eve” premieres Sunday, April 8, at 8/7c on BBC America. Here’s the trailer …

Feb 22, 2018
4:44 pm

Comedy Central Series Renewed
(TVWeek, Comedy Central)

A Comedy Central series has picked up a renewal for a sixth season. According to media reports, “Drunk History” received an order for a 16-episode season.

Based on a Funny or Die Web series, the show is created by Derek Waters and executive produced by Waters along with Jeremy Konner, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Owen Burke. The current fifth season premiered Jan. 23.

Feb 22, 2018
2:09 pm

CBS Signs ‘Sense8’ Actor for Lead in High-Profile Reboot (THR)

The CBS Network just locked in the leading man for a high-profile project, tapping “Sense8” star Brian J. Smith for its reboot of the 1997 feature “L.A. Confidential,” The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

Smith will play Det. Ed Exley, the part handled by Guy Pearce in the movie.

“CBS described its ‘L.A. Confidential’ take as giving James Ellroy’s novel a ‘2018 treatment’ in terms of tone, music and style,” THR reports. “The paths of three homicide detectives, a female reporter and an up-and-coming actress intersect while the detectives pursue a sadistic serial killer among the secrets and lies of glamorous and gritty 1950s Los Angeles.”

Feb 22, 2018
1:51 pm

CBS Names New Anchor for ‘Face the Nation’ (TVWeek)

CBS has named a new moderator for its long-running Sunday morning political talk show “Face the Nation,” replacing John Dickerson. Taking over the position on a permanent basis starting this Sunday, Feb. 25, will be Margaret Brennan.

Brennan, who has been the White House and senior foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News, has been substituting as a moderator on “Face the Nation” along with Nancy Cordes and Major Garrett since Dickerson exited the program to join “CBS This Morning.”

CBS News President David Rhodes announced the appointment today. Brennan will continue to report on foreign affairs for the network, but will exit her White House position.

Brennan has been covering politics, international affairs and global markets since 2002, and joined CBS News in 2012. She has been White House and senior foreign affairs correspondent since 2017, working with Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief Christopher Isham.

“’Face the Nation’ is one of the longest-running traditions in television,” said Rhodes. “Margaret’s coverage of the White House and the world make her the ideal moderator for this legendary CBS News franchise at this moment in time.”

Added Mary Hager, executive producer of “Face the Nation”: “Margaret’s ability to ask newsmakers tough but fair questions in a deft and respectful manner, her sharp news instincts, and her tremendous ability to make complicated subjects understandable make her the perfect person to lead us into the next chapter of the broadcast.”

Brennan commented: “Both domestically and globally, news is breaking at an unrelenting pace. ‘Face the Nation’ has long been the place that viewers across the country rely on to make sense of it all by cutting through the noise to break down what matters and how it affects our daily lives. I am deeply honored and excited to carry on ‘Face the Nation’s’ tradition of helping provide this crucial context to our viewers.”

Margaret Brennan

Feb 22, 2018
1:44 pm

Taco Bell Overtakes Burger King to Become the Fourth-Largest U.S. Restaurant Brand — Can You Name the Top 3? (We Couldn’t) (Bloomberg)

Taco Bell eclipsed Burger King in U.S. sales last year to become the fourth-largest domestic restaurant brand, Bloomberg reports, citing a preliminary report by research firm Technomic.

The top three remained unchanged. McDonald’s Corp. holds down the No. 1 spot — by a lot — followed by Starbucks Corp. at No. 2 and Subway Restaurants in third place.

“Taco Bell’s systemwide sales — the total sales of restaurants that carry the brand — jumped 5 percent in the U.S. to about $9.8 billion in 2017,” Bloomberg reports. “The company, owned by Yum! Brands Inc., has made inroads with indulgent fare, along with $1 items that appeal to budget-strapped millennials.”

The Technomic report will be finalized in March, but the preliminary data shows McDonald’s at close to $38 billion in sales, Starbucks with about $18 billion, Subway at around $11 billion, Taco Bell’s $9.8 billion and Burger King just behind at about $9 billion.

Feb 22, 2018
1:31 pm

Report: 21st Century Fox and Sinclair Putting Finishing Touches on Station Sale (Variety)

“21st Century Fox is closing in on an agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group to buy at least six TV stations, a transaction that stems from Sinclair’s pending $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media,” Variety reports.

“The deal is understood to encompass Tribune-owned Fox affiliates in five markets — Seattle, Denver, Salt Lake City, Sacramento and Cleveland — and Tribune’s CW affiliate that serves the Miami market,” the report adds. “The pact also ensures [that] Sinclair will lock in long-term Fox Broadcasting Co. affiliation deals for dozens of other stations it owns that are currently Fox affiliates.”

The report notes that the fine points of the agreement are still being hammered out, with the possibility that more stations may be added.

“The sale is contingent on Sinclair closing its acquisition of Tribune Media,” Variety adds. “The regulatory review process on the Sinclair-Tribune merger is coming to a head at the FCC and Justice Department now that Sinclair has filed its plan for station divestitures. The Tribune acquisition will put Sinclair well over the limit of the FCC’s TV station ownership rules, forcing some divestitures.”

Feb 22, 2018
12:21 pm

Veteran Station Executive Announces Retirement (TVWeek)

A longtime television executive who has been serving as president and general manager of the ABC flagship station WABC-TV has announced his retirement. Dave Davis will retire after more than 40 years in the business.

Davis was first named president and general manager of WABC-TV in 2003. From 2007-2010 he served as executive vice president of ABC News before returning to WABC in 2010 as president and general manager.

Davis commented: “It has been a privilege to have spent the majority of my career with the ABC Owned Station Group and the past 15 years with WABC. Our job is to reflect and serve the many local communities of the greater New York region, and I’m very proud of the work done by the team to make it the most watched station in the country.”

Please click here to read the full announcement, with additional details about Davis’ career.

Dave Davis (ABC/Steve Fenn)

Feb 22, 2018
9:19 am

Oprah Responds to Trump’s Tweet Attacking Her — and Ellen Uses Humor to Respond to It on Oprah’s Behalf … Watch Both Clips Below
(USA Today, The Hill, )

Whether or not they will become political rivals, the hostilities between Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey are getting a lot of attention — and now Ellen DeGeneres is getting involved.

USA Today reports that Winfrey responded on Ellen’s show after Trump called Winfrey “very insecure” and critiqued her recent panel discussion on “60 Minutes.” Winfrey told Ellen: “I don’t like giving negativity power.”

Here’s a clip of that part of the “Ellen” interview …

The Hill posted a second clip in which DeGeneres addresses Trump, saying: “Oprah is my friend, and when you mess with Oprah, you mess with me.”

Here’s that clip …

Feb 22, 2018
8:27 am

CNBC Rolls Out New Prime-Time Series
(TVWeek, CNBC)

CNBC today announced a new prime-time original series. Premiering Wednesday, April 11, will be the entrepreneurial series “Staten Island Hustle.”

The announcement says the six-episode series “follows a group of animated friends and businessmen from Staten Island who have yet to come up with an idea or product too far-fetched for them to invest in. Without MBAs (or even college degrees) these men prove that grit, ingenuity, and imagination may be the real key to success. Of course, it helps that somebody’s always ‘got a guy’ with the right connection or a good hook-up.”

Click here for details about the cast members and other information on the show.

Here’s a look …

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