NBCUniversal Launches Original-Video Initiative for Digital (LostRemote)
The news networks are growing more digital by the day, and now NBCUniversal is launching an original video initiative that will appear across the company’s various digital and video-on-demand platforms. Deadline Hollywood NBCUniversal’s various digital platforms include its channel websites, Hulu and VOD. Promos for the digital series will appear during various programs on NBCU TV networks. In some cases, development of the digital series will be in collaboration with advertising partners. WSJ NBCUniversal’s announcement Tuesday comes two weeks after it reached a multiyear deal to give Hulu exclusive rights to stream several TV shows. Big media companies are investing more time and money in developing digital and online content as consumers stream more programming through services such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime service and Hulu, which is owned by Comcast, 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney Co. Mashable The slew of digital-first shows include Tesla And Twain, a comedic series that imagines what would happen if Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla were suddenly transported to modern-day Los Angeles. Other projects coming include Last Single Girl, about an underemployed young woman whose friends are all marrying off, and Saturday Night Line, which follows the superfans who camp in the standby line outside 30 Rock in hopes of catching the TV show. Also coming to NBC.com is the previously announced Heroes Reborn: Digital Series, a prequel to the TV show that ran from 2006 to 2010. Variety The big TV companies have dabbled in this area before. Before the 2008-09 TV season, NBCUniversal launched two Web-based series, Gemini Division and Woke Up Dead. At about the same time, Walt Disney’s ABC formed Stage 9 Digital Media, which launched an online comedy about window washers called Squeegees.
ABC’s World News Tonight Beats NBC Nightly News in News Demo (Deadline Hollywood)
ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ranked as the No. 1 evening newscast in the news demo for the week of April 7 — its first weekly demo win this season. Mediaite ABC’s evening news program had 1.882 million viewers in the 25-54 demo while NBC had 1.870 million. ABC’s broadcast was also the only one of the three network news show that was up compared to the same week last year in the demo. Compared to 2013, ABC World News was up 1 percent in the demo while NBC Nightly News was down 18 percent and CBS Evening News was down 10 percent. HuffPost While NBC News continued to win in total viewers, it is ABC News’ first demo win since July 2013, when it won among viewers 25-54 for the first time in almost five years. It remains to be seen whether the network can sustain its current momentum. The newscast’s last victory turned out not to be an indicator of a long-term trend, and the margin this time around is even thinner. The numbers, however, will surely rattle NBC News, which saw Meet The Press come in third place again this past quarter and the Today show is still solidly in second place after Good Morning America. NYT Last week had a few notable factors: Monday was affected by the NCAA basketball finals, which pre-empted CBS’ newscast; Sawyer featured an entertainment interview with the cast of Mad Men on Thursday; and NBC lost the Philadelphia television audience on Tuesday because its local station carried the Phillies home opener.
Stephen Colbert to Visit David Letterman on CBS’ Late Show (Variety)
In a meeting that could be celebratory or even awkward, Stephen Colbert will meet the man whose duties he is set to assume. Mashable Stephen Colbert — or will it be “Stephen Colbert”? — will stop by The Late Show With David Letterman on Tuesday, April 22, CBS announced Tuesday. Colbert has said he’s dropping the pseudo-conservative persona he cultivated for years on The Colbert Report, so it seems most likely that he’ll appear just as himself. THR / The Live Feed The Comedy Central star was named the new Late Show host last week, replacing Letterman, who announced on the April 3 broadcast he would retire from the show sometime in 2015. This marks the Colbert Report host’s first visit to the Late Show — and first scheduled interview — since he was tapped as Letterman’s successor. USA Today CBS has not announced where Colbert’s Late Show will be located, although the show is expected to stay in New York. Colbert’s Comedy Central show also is based in New York. Colbert will be part of a younger generation taking over the prime late-night time slot on the broadcast networks. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live moved to 11:35 p.m. ET last year and Jimmy Fallon took over NBC’s legendary Tonight Show from longtime host Jay Leno earlier this year.
Michael Strahan Officially Joins Good Morning America (TVNewser)
Michael Strahan officially joined Good Morning America as a contributor Tuesday. He’ll mostly appear in the 7 a.m. hour, so he can get back uptown to his other day job, co-hosting Live, which airs at 9 a.m. HuffPost Strahan made a quick visit to the set to announce his role as the show’s new part-time correspondent. Tuesday’s show confirmed earlier reports that he was slated to join GMA part-time while continuing to host Live, which Strahan himself had alluded to on Live earlier this month. THR / The Live Feed Starting next week, Strahan will make appearances on GMA a few times a week, helping to correct the gender imbalance created by the departure of Josh Elliott, which left Stephanopoulos as GMA‘s lone male co-host. Strahan continues to work as an analyst for Fox NFL Sunday, and although he was somewhat of a surprise pick to replace Regis Philbin alongside Kelly Ripa on Live, he has proved capable in the daytime arena, appealing to the core female demographic that makes up the bulk of morning television viewers.
Moment of Silence Marks First Anniversary of Boston Marathon Bombings (TVNewser)
The first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings was marked Tuesday with a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. ET, the time that the two bombs exploded near the finish line in 2013, killing three people and injuring hundreds more. The broadcast networks presented special reports during the moment of silence: Brian Williams anchored on NBC, George Stephanopoulos on ABC and Scott Pelley on CBS. TVSpy Boston station WBZ preempted CBS This Morning for special coverage of the anniversary, anchored by David Wade and Paula Ebben from a rooftop. “This morning, on this day of remembrance, we stand on a rooftop overlooking Boylston Street here in the city of Boston to reflect that our city was tested one year ago, the day that we proved to the world that we are indeed Boston Strong,” Wade said.
Yahoo! Shows Signs of Growth (WSJ)
For the first time in more than a year, Yahoo! Inc. is growing, albeit barely. Yahoo! on Tuesday reported its revenue, minus commissions paid to partners for Web traffic, rose 1 percent in the first quarter after four straight quarters without growth. Meanwhile, revenue from display ads, excluding the traffic costs, increased 2 percent to $409 million. Re/code But over in China, the Alibaba Group — Yahoo! reports some of the e-commerce giant’s results, since it owns a 24 percent stake — saw revenue rise 66 percent to $3.1 billion, with a 110 percent increase in net income for the fourth quarter to $1.4 billion. Deadline Hollywood Yahoo! shares bumped up in after-hours trading after the Web giant reported its sales gains.
Paul Lee Seals New Contract as ABC Entertainment Group Chief (Variety)
Paul Lee has sealed a multiyear deal to remain president of ABC Entertainment Group, which encompasses the entertainment operations of ABC network, the ABC Studios production division and entertainment fare for Disney syndication and ABC Daytime. His contract renewal talks were underway well before outgoing Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney’s plan to step down in January was announced last month. Deadline Hollywood Lee has faced a number of challenges during his first term, with several high-profile new series not able to take hold. His successes include Shonda Rhimes’ hot D.C. drama Scandal, fairytale drama Once Upon A Time and promising midseason entry Resurrection. Despite some inroads, ABC is expected to finish No. 4 among adults 18-49 again this season. Adweek While terms were not disclosed, it is believed that the contract will keep Lee locked down through spring 2018. Lee took the helm of ABC and the network’s studio unit in July 2010 when he succeeded outgoing entertainment chief Steve McPherson.
National Geographic Channel Overhauls Management (THR)
National Geographic Channels U.S. will undergo a complete management makeover that includes a new CEO and the installation of 21st Century Fox senior executive VP David Hill as board chairman. David Lyle is stepping down as CEO of Nat Geo, a joint venture of Fox Cable Networks and National Geographic. Courteney Monroe, who has served as chief marketing officer for National Geographic Channels’ domestic networks since joining the company in January 2012, has been promoted to CEO effective May 1. The moves come one day after Howard Owens said he would step down in June as president after three years on the job. Deadline Hollywood Coming from marketing, Monroe has no production experience. Hill, who had an oversight of NGC prior to Lyle’s 2011 hire, will remain a member of the NGC Board and also continue to oversee production of American Idol.
New Award Named for AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus (Poynter / MediaWire)
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) Tuesday announced a new award named in honor of the late Anja Niedringhaus, who died Friday, April 4, while working in Afghanistan. The Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award will honor women photojournalists who “set themselves apart by their extraordinary bravery.” HuffPost Niedringhaus received the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award in 2005 and was part of the Associated Press group awarded with the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography.
Alcon Partners With Sleeping Giant Media to Form Movie And TV Music Services Company (Deadline Hollywood)
Alcon Entertainment and Sleeping Giant Media, LLC have formed ASG Music Group, a joint venture designed to integrate the combined companies’ music enterprises into a new music model for the modern business of film, television and commercial media production. Variety The move is designed to help the banner contain costs on music licensing and diversify its revenue base by owning more of the underlying music in its films. The plan is particularly important as Alcon, the production company behind such features as The Blind Side and Beautiful Creatures, expands into TV production.
AOL Adds Video to Homepage (FishbowlNY)
AOL is trying to entice consumers to linger a bit longer by adding video to its homepage. The portal includes original and on-demand videos from partners like Glamour, ESPN, Self, The New York Times, Vogue and Vanity Fair. The videos will also feature “experts,” including Rachel Zoe, Tiki Barber, Tim Gunn, Molly Sims and more.
Scott Pelley Seeking Major Raise at CBS (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley is seeking a major salary raise from the network as his contract comes up for renewal in the weeks ahead, sources familiar with the negotiations told Politico on Tuesday. Pelley, who also serves as a correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes, currently makes a reported $5 million per year, which is less than half the reported salaries of the nightly news anchors at the rival networks. ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer makes an estimated $12 million a year, while NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams makes an estimated $13 million a year.
CBS Rules Out Chelsea Handler for Late-Night Show (THR / The Live Feed)
Chelsea Handler is not in the running for the 12:35 a.m. time slot, so says CBS. The current host of E! late-night talker Chelsea Lately posted an Instagram photo Monday of her with a packet of papers, one of which prominently featured the CBS logo, alluding to the fact that she was in the market for a new project at the broadcast network. After reports surfaced that Handler could be a successor to Craig Ferguson at the Late Late Show, the network issued an official statement regarding the matter. “There are no discussions with Chelsea Handler regarding the network’s 12:30 [a.m. ET] late-night broadcast,” a CBS spokesperson said.
Zai Bennett to Leave BBC Three to Join BSkyB’s Sky Atlantic (Variety)
Zai Bennett, controller of the BBC’s youth channel BBC Three, is to leave to become director of BSkyB’s Sky Atlantic. BBC Three has won four BAFTAs in two years: best factual for Our War, seasons one and two, best drama for The Fades, and best comedy program for The Revolution Will Be Televised. BBC Three, which launched in February 2003, has the biggest 16-34 market share in its transmission hours within its U.K. peer group, which includes E4, Sky One and ITV2.
Robin Roberts, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper on The OUT Power 50 (TVNewser)
Several media personalities have made this year’s OUT Power 50 list, the brand’s annual ranking of the most influential LGBT voices in American culture. ABC’s Robin Roberts, who publicly came out late last year, is the first woman of color in the top 10. Here are some TV notables: Suze Orman at 35, Don Lemon at 27, Anderson Cooper at 14, Robin Roberts at 10 and Rachel Maddow at 3. Ellen DeGeneres, who was No. 2 last year, returned to the top spot on the list. Also on the list are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald at No. 5, Bravo’s Andy Cohen at No. 8, and Gawker CEO Nick Denton at No. 45.
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