Sep 29, 2016
11:11 am

Creator of ‘One Life to Live’ and ‘All My Children’ — Soap Opera Legend Agnes Nixon — Dies at 93 (NY Times, Broadcast Pioneers)

Agnes Nixon, who was behind a string of successful TV soap operas, including creating “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” has died. The New York Times reports that Nixon died Wednesday in Rosemont, Pa.

Her family said she died of pneumonia resulting from Parkinson’s disease. Nixon was 93.

Nixon “introduced uterine cancer, venereal diseases, child abuse, AIDS and other societal terrors into the weekday fantasy worlds of millions of daytime viewers,” The Times notes.

“In a career that paralleled the rise, enormous popularity and gradual decline of soap operas in the last half of the 20th century, Ms. Nixon fashioned many of television’s most popular daytime shows, drawing on a rich imagination to find the great and small human dramas lurking just below the surface of American life,” The Times reports.

Her scripts in the 1950s for shows including “The Guiding Light” and “Search for Tomorrow” offered an escape for the show’s mostly female audiences, providing “a glimpse of dashing lives, handsome cads, passions run amok, dark secrets and terrible betrayals,” The Times notes.

“But in the 1960s and ’70s she virtually reinvented soaps, creating for the ABC network ‘One Life to Live,’ ‘All My Children’ and other shows infused with social relevance and politically charged topics like racism, abortion, obscenity, narcotics, the generation gap and protests against the Vietnam War.”

Here’s a featurette created a couple of years ago by Broadcast Pioneers in connection with its bestowing honors on Agnes Nixon …

Sep 29, 2016
10:44 am

Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson Has an ‘Aleppo Moment’ — Here’s the Painful Clip (MSNBC, TVWeek)

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson suffered through an awkward few moments — again — on live TV when he was unable to come up with a response to questions from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during a town hall appearance with running mate William Weld.

Matthews asked Johnson to name his favorite world leader — or any world leader he admires. Johnson, who couldn’t come up with a name, said, “I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” referring to another TV moment, earlier this month, when he had to ask, “What is Aleppo?” and wound up being ridiculed for his lack of knowledge about the situation in Syria.

Here’s Johnson’s latest tough spot …

Sep 29, 2016
9:51 am

Felicity Huffman Project Lands at ABC (Deadline)

“In one of the biggest half-hour sales so far this season, ABC has landed a family comedy from ‘Black-ish’ creator/executive producer Kenya Barris and co-executive producer Vijal Patel, which has Emmy winner Felicity Huffman attached to star and executive produce,” Deadline.com reports.

The single-camera project focuses on a politically divided family. Barris and Patel have overall deals at ABC Studios, which is producing.

“The big commitment, a rarity for a deal between a studio and its sister network, underscores the competitiveness of the sale,” Deadline notes.

The Untitled Political Project, which was formerly known as “Libby & Malcolm,” is written by Barris and Patel. “Barris executive produces through his Khalabo Ink Society alongside Patel, Huffman and Principato Young Entertainment’s E. Brian Dobbins,” the report adds.

abc studios logo

Sep 29, 2016
9:07 am

HBO Comedy Renewed (THR, HBO)

A comedy series that premiered on HBO less than two weeks ago already has a renewal for season two. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the pay-cable channel picked up another season of “High Maintenance,” which debuted Sept. 16.

The marijuana comedy from Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair started out as a self-funded project running on Vimeo in 2012, the report notes.

HBO announced the renewal Wednesday. Said HBO Programming President Casey Bloys: “The response to the new episodes exceeded all of our expectations. Ben and Katja are brilliant, unconventional storytellers and we’re excited to see what they dream up for us in our second season.”

Sep 29, 2016
9:01 am

‘Live with Kelly’ Announces Co-Hosts for Week of Oct. 10 (TVWeek)

The morning talk show “Live with Kelly” today announced who will be co-hosting the show along with Kelly Ripa during the week of Oct. 10, as the program continues to carry on without a permanent co-host.

Here’s the lineup:

Monday, October 10 — Actor ZACHARY QUINTO

Tuesday, October 11 — Actor, producer, director TYLER PERRY

Wednesday, October 12 — Journalist ANDERSON COOPER

Thursday, October 13 — “Dancing with the Stars” Judge CARRIE ANN INABA

Friday, October 14 — “Dancing with the Stars” Judge CARRIE ANN INABA

live kelly-new logo

Sep 29, 2016
8:44 am

End in Sight for Animated Cult Hit (Deadline, Cartoon Network)

An animated series that has become a cult hit since it premiered in 2010 will be wrapping in 2018. Deadline.com reports that Cartoon Network has the endgame in place for the Peabody- and Emmy-winning series “Adventure Time.”

“‘Adventure Time’ content will continue to debut on Cartoon Network over the next two years, including specials, miniseries and the ninth and final season,” Deadline reports.

The show is executive produced by Adam Muto and produced by Cartoon Network Studios.

“The Pendleton Ward-created series centers on the post-apocalyptic adventures of Finn the Human (Jeremy Shada) and Jake the Dog (John DiMaggio), best friends who have increasingly surreal adventures in the magical Land of Ooo,” Deadline notes. “Long acclaimed for its groundbreaking visual style and mixture of darkness and whimsy, the show has won six Emmys and two BAFTAs. It has also long attracted numerous celebrity guests including Andy Samberg, Matthew Broderick, Laura Silverman, George Takei, Rainn Wilson and Neil Patrick Harris.”

Here’s a sample …

Sep 29, 2016
8:17 am

After Two Go-Rounds on the Big Screen, Heist Caper Heads to NBC (THR)

NBC is moving forward with a drama project that has already been made into two feature films. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the network handed out a script order, with penalty attached, for “The Italian Job.”

The material was produced as a Michael Caine movie in 1969 and resurfaced in 2003 with a cast led by Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron. Both movies were Paramount productions, and Paramount Television is behind the new project.

“NBC’s ‘The Italian Job’ follows a make-shift family of expert criminals who are forced out of retirement when an opportunity arises to get their beloved ‘patriarch’ out of jail,” THR reports. “At the core of this dysfunctional family is Charlie Croker, a handsome and charming ex-con who tried to go straight, but like the rest of his crew, can’t resist the adrenaline rush of the high-stakes heist world.”

Rob Weiss and Benjamin Brand are lined up to write the script and executive produce along with Donald De Line, who produced the 2003 movie.


Sep 29, 2016
7:57 am

New Service Allows Advertisers to Buy Ad Time on 200 TV Stations Programmatically (MediaPost)

A new platform launching today gives advertisers and agencies the ability to buy local broadcast TV inventory programmatically. MediaPost reports that the “supply-side” TV sales platform, Videa, was incubated by Cox Media Group.

“The platform, which was beta tested late last year, enables buyers to plan and buy full local TV schedules on a forward reserve basis, leveraging the same kind of consumer segmentation data they use to buy, analyze and optimize digital programmatic media,” MediaPost reports.

The report adds: “The platform, which was officially unveiled at the Television Bureau of Advertising’s Forward Conference in New York City Thursday morning, already is working with about a dozen agencies and a similar number of DSPs, or demand-side platforms, used by agencies, advertisers and trading desks to buy programmatic media.”

The service has reportedly already signed more than 200 stations that will make their inventory available directly through the service. “The company cited deals to represent inventory from Graham Media Group, Gray, Hearst Television, Raycom, E.W. Scripps Company, TEGNA, Media General, as well as Cox Media,” MediaPost notes.


Sep 29, 2016
7:31 am

Spotify in Talks to Acquire a Rival as Streaming Music Sector Heats Up (NY Post)

Music streamer Spotify, which is looking to take itself public as early as next year, is said to be in “advanced talks” to buy rival site SoundCloud, The New York Post reports.

“The acquisition by the Sweden-based Spotify could bolster its standing as the world’s biggest streaming service,” the story reports. “Earlier this month, Spotify said it had 40 million paying subscribers, up sharply from 30 million in March — and well ahead of the 17 million subscribers Apple Music had reported a week earlier.”

The sector appears to be heating up, with iHeartMedia readying a paid streaming service, soon after Pandora launched a new, $5-a-month option.

“The music streaming sector could get further crowded by Amazon, which is rumored to be launching a stand-alone service of its own in early 2017 that could get paired with Echo, its sleeper-hit home speaker,” the report adds.

Recent reports indicated SoundCloud was seeking to sell itself for more than $1 billion.

soundcloud logo

Sep 29, 2016
7:07 am

NBC Pulls Plug on Brangelina Breakup Special — But Not for the Rumored Reason (NY Post)

“NBC’s in-house production company Peacock Productions has abruptly pulled the plug on a one-hour special on the breakup of Brangelina, Page Six has exclusively learned,” The New York Post’s Page Six reports.

The report adds that the reason for the decision does not appear to be the one that was widely rumored — that NBC News wanted to avoid taking itself out of the running for a much sought-after sitdown with Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt.

“Sources close to the production said it was actually commissioned by Lifetime — which pulled the plug at the eleventh hour,” the story reports. “A source told Page Six, ‘It was Lifetime’s vice president of nonfiction programming who pulled it,’ and that they greenlighted the show, then quickly decided not to pursue it.”

The report quotes a source saying: “The special was canceled at the last minute — the show had already booked talking heads, hair and makeup, B-roll … Staffers were working to slam it all together. Now they’re all like, ‘F - - k! We just did all this work for nothing?’”

peacock productions

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