May 23, 2018
4:51 pm

Key Executive Exits Disney-ABC Television Group (Deadline)

One of the top executives at Disney-ABC Television Group is headed out. Deadline reports that veteran TV executive Bruce Rosenblum, president of Business Operations, will exit his post at the end of this month.

Rosenblum, formerly with Warner Bros. Television Group and Legendary, exits after just a year and a half on the job, Nellie Andreeva reports in the Deadline story. Rosenblum will also vacate his seat on the Hulu board.

“I hear Rosenblum’s exit comes with a year and a half left on his contract and a brief non-compete period,” Andreeva reports. “It stems from the major reorganization The Walt Disney Co. announced in March as the company prepares to launch direct-to-consumer services and seeks to grow internationally. It involved the creation of a new Direct-to-Consumer & International division, consolidating business operational areas across the company under one unit run by Kevin Mayer.”

May 23, 2018
4:23 pm

Emmy-Winning Actress to Receive Mark Twain Prize (AP)

An actress who has been a fixture in TV comedy — and has taken home a whopping 11 Emmys, including a record-setting six in a row — is about to add another honor to her resume. The AP reports that Julia Louis-Dreyfus will be the 21st recipient of the Mark Twain Prize.

The award honors lifetime achievement in comedy. The Kennedy Center announced today that Louis-Dreyfus will be the honored guest at a gala event to take place Oct. 31.

Previous recipients of the Twain Prize have included Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, George Carlin, Tina Fey, Bill Murray and Carol Burnett. The AP notes that Bill Cosby received the award in 2009 but it was rescinded earlier this year.

“Louis-Dreyfus started as a cast member on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and went on to create a pair of iconic and long-running television characters: Elaine Benes on ‘Seinfeld’ and Vice President Selina Meyer on ‘Veep,'” the report notes.

May 23, 2018
4:19 pm

Comcast Preparing for War With Disney (Bloomberg)

In a looming battle between media mega-companies, Comcast Corp. is “ready to go to war with Walt Disney Co.,” Bloomberg reports.

“The cable giant confirmed on Wednesday that it may make an offer for a wide swath of 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainment assets, a business that Disney has already agreed to buy for roughly $52 billion,” the Bloomberg story reports. “The move threatens to escalate a bidding contest that’s already underway over Fox’s European satellite business — and further complicate a global game of M&A chess that’s being waged by the biggest media companies.”

The report notes that Comcast said in a statement that it “is considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the business that Fox has agreed to sell Disney. Any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney.”

Bloomberg adds: “While no final decision has been made, Comcast said its work to finance the offer — and preparation to file key regulatory statements — is ‘well advanced.’ A person familiar with the discussions said earlier this month that Comcast was mulling such a step. Comcast was talking to investment banks about obtaining bridge financing for the all-cash deal, the person said at the time.”

May 23, 2018
3:44 pm

CBS Goes Back to Court in Its Battle Against Parent Company (AP)

CBS Corp. continues to play hardball in its legal battle with parent company National Amusements. The AP reports that the company was back in court today seeking the backing of a Delaware judge for a recent move by the board to dilute the voting power of its controlling shareholder.

“In amending a lawsuit filed earlier this month, CBS attorneys asked Chancellor Andre Bouchard to rule that a board vote last week to approve a dividend that would drastically reduce the voting stake of National Amusements Inc. was ‘effective and permissible,'” the AP reports. “The special dividend approved by the board would decrease NAI’s voting stake in CBS from roughly 80 percent to about 20 percent.”

The report notes that the board vote came after National Amusements, led by Shari Redstone, “submitted documents to CBS decreeing that any dividend must be approved by a ‘supermajority’ of its 14-member board, a threshold that was not met.”

“CBS argues that the purported bylaw amendments are invalid and, under federal securities law, were not effective at the time of the special board meeting,” the AP reports.

May 23, 2018
3:01 pm

ABC Expands ‘GMA,’ Pulls the Plug on Another Morning Show (TVWeek)

ABC announced plans today to expand its flagship morning show “Good Morning America,” adding a new third hour at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT/PT.

The expansion comes at the expense of “The Chew,” which will cease production at the end of this season. “The Chew” will continue to air as planned until September, including rolling out all-new episodes starting in June.

Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney|ABC Television, commented: “Over the past six years ‘Good Morning America’ has solidified its place as America’s No. 1 morning show. We believe there is great opportunity for viewers and advertisers in expanding to a third hour.”

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

May 23, 2018
1:31 pm

New Norman Lear TV Series in the Works — But It Won’t Be Like ‘All in the Family’ or ‘The Jeffersons’ (TVWeek)

A new TV project from Norman Lear is being developed, but a big difference between this one and the classic sitcoms most closely associated with Lear — “All in the Family,” “Sanford and Son,” “The Jeffersons,” “One Day at a Time” and others — is that the new show is animated.

It’s also aimed at a much younger audience than the classic Lear shows. The project, “Man of the House” (working title), from Lear’s Act III Productions, is in development at Nickelodeon.

“With creative concept by Colombian-American writer and illustrator Michael Molina (‘Trivia Night’), ‘Man of the House’ follows 11-year-old José as he helps his mother Maria watch over his two younger siblings, Maria Juliana (Maju) and Diego, while trying to form a hip-hop group with his quirky classmate and neighbor, Wilbur, who lives downstairs,” Nickelodeon says in today’s announcement.

Lear and Brent Miller (“One Day at a Time”) will serve as executive producers. Claudia Spinelli will oversee the project as the newly appointed VP of animation development for Nickelodeon.

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

May 23, 2018
1:19 pm

Advertisers Skeptical of Reboots and Reduced Ad Loads (THR)

With the success of “Roseanne,” TV programmers appear to be more reboot happy than ever — but that enthusuasm does not appear to extend to advertisers.

The Hollywood Reporter surveyed ad buyers in the wake of the upfront pitches, and reports that they remain skeptical about all the reboots. THR quotes one buyer saying: “The networks need hits, but I’m a viewer too, and it’s disheartening that they can’t come up with new concepts.”

The report also notes a mixed reaction to the splashy rollout of reduced ad loads, such as Fox’s “JAZ pods” and NBC’s “prime pods.”

“While many welcome the promise of greater resonance for their messages in a less cluttered environment, they also question the markup, which can be as much as 50 percent more than the standard CPM (cost per thousand viewers),” THR reports, quoting one buyer saying: “It’s tough math to swallow.”

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

May 23, 2018
1:11 pm

ESPN to Be Exclusive Media Home of UFC (TVWeek)

ESPN today announced the scope of a new multiyear agreement with UFC that makes ESPN-branded media platforms the exclusive digital and television home of the UFC in the United States.

Starting in January 2019, ESPN+ and ESPN become the exclusive digital and linear distributors in the U.S. for UFC, showcasing 42 live events, 30 of which will feature a full card of 12 UFC bouts. ESPN linear networks will broadcast 10 exclusive events as well as all UFC pay-per-view preliminary fights, while ESPN+, the recently launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, will offer 20 exclusive events and all preliminary fights for “UFC on ESPN Fight Night” programs.

Events televised by ESPN will be branded “UFC on ESPN Fight Night,” while events streamed live on ESPN+ will carry the “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” brand. With this agreement, the only destination where fans can watch all UFC programming is the ESPN app, and in the future, all of the content will be available on ESPN+.

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

May 23, 2018
1:07 pm

ABC Unveils Plans for New-Look Miss America Competition (TVWeek)

ABC announced today that the upcoming Miss America pageant “marks the dawning of a new day for the Miss America Organization.”

This year’s program, “The 2019 Miss America Competition,” will air live on ABC on Sunday, Sept. 9, 9-11 p.m. ET, from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

“This year’s show will highlight women from all walks of life who are advancing the message of female empowerment through their efforts in the areas of scholarship, talent and social impact,” ABC says in the announcement. “Now with a historic, all-female leadership team paving the way for both the Miss America Organization and the Miss America Foundation, a new era of progressiveness, inclusiveness and empowerment has begun.”

May 23, 2018
1:01 pm

Viceland Set to Roll Out Nine Summer Series (TVWeek)

Viceland unveiled plans today to bring nine series to television this summer, including the new Paris Hilton show “Hollywood Love Story” and “Mister Tachyon,” from prolific music video director and filmmaker Director X.

Also new is the skateboarding show “Post Radical,” hosted by pro skater and amateur anthropologist Rick McCrank.

Returning shows include “Beerland,” “Most Expensivest” and “King of the Road.”

Below is a glance at the new and returning shows and premiere dates. Please click here for details about the programs.


BEERLAND (premiered) MAY 22 @ 10:00 PM









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