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‘Twin Peaks’ Posts Soft Linear Ratings, Drives Record Showtime Streaming Sign Ups

30 minutes ago

The long-awaited return of “Twin Peaks” may not have been a ratings breakout during its Sunday premiere, but the show will most likely see the lion’s share of its viewership in delayed viewing.

According to Nielsen data, the two-hour premiere averaged 506,000 viewers in its initial airing and a 0.2 rating in adults 18-49 in live-plus-same day viewing. That is of course a fraction of the 34 million viewers the initial series debut pulled in back in 1990, but that was also before the rise of cable, let alone streaming.

Showtime won’t be sweating those numbers, however. The premium cabler announced that Sunday was the single biggest sign up day for their Showtime streaming service ever. The show also generated 4.7 million total impressions on Twitter, trending both in the United States and worldwide and ranking number one in prime time among all series.  In addition, the show has already averaged 1.1 million viewers, when »


- Joe Otterson

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Amazon Orders ‘Hanna’ Series From NBCUniversal International Studios

46 minutes ago

Amazon Studios has given a straight-to-series order to Hanna, adapted from the 2011 film directed by Joe Wright. The series hails from NBCUniversal International Studios.

David Farr, who wrote the feature film and as well as last year’s “The Night Manager” for the BBC and AMC, will write the new series. The Amazon drama is described as a high-concept thriller and coming-of-age drama which follows the journey of an extraordinary young girl as she evades the relentless pursuit of an off-book CIA agent and tries to unearth the truth behind who she is.

Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements will executive produce with Scott Nemes and JoAnn Alfano for NBCUniversal International Studios.

“From the moment JoAnn Alfano and I saw Hanna it was evident that the film would make an incredible TV series,” said Michael Edelstein, president at NBCUniversal International Studios. “Fortunately, David Farr felt there was more Hanna story to tell and wanted to revisit this extraordinary »


- Daniel Holloway

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TV Ratings: ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 13 Premiere Holds Solid on ABC

57 minutes ago

The season premiere of “The Bachelorette” was steady enough to help ABC claim a win in the key demo on Monday night.

According to Nielsen data, the Season 13 opener of the ABC reality series, which features the show’s most diverse cast ever, opened to a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.7 million viewers. That was down slightly from the Season 12 premiere (2.0, 6.6 million) last May, but was still good enough to tie for second in the demo for the night, behind only “The Voice” (1.9, 9.5 million) on NBC.

Earlier on ABC, “Dancing with the Stars” (1.8, 10.4 million) was up in the demo from last week.

On NBC, “The Voice” was followed by the season premiere of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (0.9, 3.7 million), which was up from last summer’s premiere but down from the last original episode in September.

CBS aired the special “Princess Diana: Her Life, Her Death” (0.8, 6.1 million), followed by James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special »


- Joe Otterson

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ABC Marketing Exec Marla Provencio Wins PromaxBDA Lifetime Achievement Award (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Longtime ABC marketing executive Marla Provencio will be honored with the PromaxBDA 2017 lifetime achievement award at the organization’s annual conference, Variety has learned exclusively.

The network announced in February that Provencio would leave her position later this year. “I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the 2017 PromaxBDA Lifetime Achievement Award from Promax,” said Provencio. “Being part of this creative community is a true privilege. Now, to be acknowledged by my peers is emotionally overwhelming. I am extremely grateful.”

PromaxBDA celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016 and is a member association representing more than 10,000 companies and individuals from major media organizations, marketing agencies, research companies, strategic and creative vendors and technology providers around the globe. Previous award winners include NBC marketing executive John Miller, producer Brian Grazer, filmmaker Spike Lee, and actress Betty White.

“Throughout her 35+ year career at ABC, Marla has proven to be an inspiration to so many people in our industry not only »


- Joe Otterson

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Upfronts 2017: Grading the Networks’ Presentations

1 hour ago

Digital and cable fare mixed into many of this year’s presentations — but simple worked best. Here’s our take on how the networks impressed (or not) during Upfronts.

ABC

A-

The Disney network cut back on the anti-digital talk and focused on the shows it hoped to sell and the stories they were meant to tell.

ABC couldn’t send Jimmy Kimmel out to blast its audience of ad buyers as he has for years, owing to the late-night host’s desire to stay close to a newborn son and family. But it could dispatch “Goldbergs” mom Wendi McLendon-Covey to give out cookies to those assembled at New York’s David Geffen Hall. And that changed the tone of the proceedings.

Instead of hand-wringing over TV’s many technology and audience challenges, ABC dispensed comfort food: lively Shonda Rhimes dramas and the network’s trademark diverse-family comedies. Audiences warmed to Kyra Sedgwick’s mysterious “Ten Days »


- Brian Steinberg

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TV Targets Middle America With Little Risky Business

2 hours ago

More than ever, the razzle-dazzle served up at the annual upfront events in New York provides an opportunity for top brass to stand on a big stage and plead their case for the power of broadcast television.

There’s no disputing that the Big Four networks remain the tallest trees in what has become an overgrown forest of channels serving up original programming. But there is also no denying that the upfronts underscore how much the broadcast nets have had to trim their sails in recent years.

There was a palpable sense of caution in this year’s crop of new series. There’s no big-budget swing for the fences, few concepts that veer far from tried and true. The Big Four in the past few years have faced unusual struggles in recruiting top creative talent, primarily because so many are otherwise engaged in the Peak TV era.

Ambitions have been tempered this year by a host »


- Cynthia Littleton

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‘Chicago Justice’ Canceled After One Season at NBC

2 hours ago

Chicago Justice” has been canceled after just one season at NBC, Variety has learned.

The series from superproducer Dick Wolf  followed prosecutor Peter Stone (Philip Winchester), the ambitious Deputy Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau for the city of Chicago. The series also starred Carl WeathersMonica BarbaroJoelle Carter, and Jon Seda. In addition to Wolf, Michael S. Chernuchin, Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas, Michael Brandt, Arthur Forney, and Peter Jankowski serve as executive producers. Wolf Films produced in association with Universal Television.

The series was one of four “Chicago” shows produced by Wolf, along with “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” and “Chicago Pd.” All of the other three shows were renewed, as was Wolf’s other NBC series, “Law & Order: Svu.” This fall, NBC will air the first installment of the new Wolf-produced anthology series “Law & Order True Crime,” with Season 1 focusing on the case of the infamous Menendez brothers.

Justice »


- Joe Otterson

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Roger Ailes Leaves Long Shadow at Fox With Complicated Legacy

3 hours ago

Even some of Roger Ailes’ closest friends and admirers admit that the man routinely described as “larger than life” has left a complicated legacy.

There’s no disputing that Ailes, who died May 18 at 77, turned Fox News Channel into a political and cultural force, generating outsize profits for Rupert Murdoch’s empire along the way. But his personal indiscretions and attitudes shaped in the “Mad Men” era of workplace culture proved to be his professional undoing. The state of Fox News today, 10 months after Ailes’ abrupt exit, reflects the essential conflict of its founder. He was undeniably one of the most influential, innovative and successful media mavens of the past 50 years. He was also the highest-ranking media executive to have been taken down by a sexual harassment lawsuit.

“It’s all so complicated. Everything here was and is … as he was,” longtime Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said of Ailes during an emotional on-air tribute. Smith »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Roger Moore, James Bond Star, Dies at 89

3 hours ago

Roger Moore, the handsome English actor who appeared in seven films as James Bond — the most of any Bond actor — and as Simon Templar on “The Saint” TV series, has died in Switzerland after a short battle with cancer. He was 89.

His family issued an announcement on Twitter: “It is with the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated.”

With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg

Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017

Moore appeared in more official Bond pics than his friend Sean Connery over a longer period of time, and while Connery’s fans were fiercely loyal, polls showed that many others favored Moore’s lighter, more humorous take on 007.

In 1972, Moore was asked to join Her Majesty’s Secret Service »


- Carmel Dagan

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James Corden to Star in ‘Late Late Show’ Offshoot for Snapchat Shows (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

James Corden is coming to Snapchat Shows.

The messaging app’s growing roster of TV-style short-form series will be joined by “James Corden’s Next James Corden,” a six-episode satire of reality-competition shows launching this fall featuring the late-night host himself.

“The line between your television screen, your computer and your phone has never been more blurred,” Corden told Variety.

The series pretends that Corden is searching for a successor at “Late Late Show with James Corden,” so he decides to put a group of young potential replacements to the test.

The Corden project will mark the first collaboration between CBS and Snapchat for Discover, the content platform where Snapchat Shows can be found. NBCUniversal, Disney, Vice and MGM are among the other media partners Snapchat has brought in for original programming on Discover.

Corden’s Snapchat Show will also feature other familiar faces including bandleader Reggie Watts. Ben Winston and Rob Crabbe will serve as executive »


- Andrew Wallenstein

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Snapchat Shows: Inside the Plan to Reimagine TV for the Mobile Era

3 hours ago

When Elisabeth Murdoch said goodbye to the family business in the wake of the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal in 2014, there was considerable anticipation regarding her next career move. The safe bet was that she’d find something to do in the television industry, where she had cranked out global hit series formats from “MasterChef” to “Big Brother” for Shine Group, which she’d sold to her father for $675 million.

But when Murdoch resurfaced in 2015, she focused her programming savvy not on TV but on a single digital platform: Snapchat.

Her new venture, Vertical Networks, has produced only for the Venice, Calif.-based messaging app, and includes a trio of so-called Snapchat Shows, a short-form video format exclusive to the Snapchat platform. As Murdoch sees it, the seismic shift a new generation of younger viewers is making from TV to mobile can no longer be ignored.

Art Streiber for Variety

“I don’t think there are many other »


- Andrew Wallenstein

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Banijay Group Expands Scripted Business With New U.K. Label BlackLight Television

5 hours ago

Banijay Group is expanding its scripted business with the announcement that it has added new scripted label BlackLight Television to its British arm. The worldwide content creator and distributor said the move marked a renewed focus on the scripted genre in the U.K. and that it expects to make additional announcements in the coming months.

Banijay’s COO Peter Langenberg said the group’s ambition was to create “a thriving entrepreneurial environment for talented people.”

Takis Candilis, Banijay’s head of fiction, said the move would significantly increase the company’s capacity to produce drama “not only in our existing territories but also beyond.”

BlackLight is a new British production company founded by Ben Bickerton and “Being Human” producer Phil Trethowan (pictured, left to right), who recently partnered on 2016 single drama “Ellen” for Channel 4.

“We’re thrilled to help bring BlackLight TV into existence as we expand the Banijay U.K »


- Robert Mitchell

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Amazon Launches Channels in U.K. and Germany With Discovery, ITV, NBCU, Rtl

5 hours ago

Amazon Channels has launched in the U.K. and Germany with digital nets from Discovery, ITV, NBCU and Rtl. The e-commerce giant already has streaming service Prime Video, and the Channels rollout means it now offers a full pay-tv service in the U.K. and Germany, upping the ante against Sky, the largest pay-tv operator in both countries.

The Channels service is available to Amazon’s Prime subscribers and allows them to build an a la carte package, paying only for the channels they select, rather than the traditional pay-tv bundle.

Major players offering channels on the U.K. service include Discovery, which will offer the core Discovery channel as well as its Eurosport Player premium streaming service. ITV Hub+, the British broadcaster’s catchup and ad-free service, is available on Amazon Channels, as is NBCUniversal’s reality-tv streaming service Hayu.

Film services are represented by MGM, BFI Player+, Filmboc and Mubi, plus »


- Stewart Clarke

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TV Drives Growth at Entertainment One Amid Overhaul of Film Side

7 hours ago

Mark Gordon and TV distribution powered growth at Entertainment One in 2017, as the Canada-based company overhauls its film operations and plans for fewer bigger-budget features next year.

International sales drove TV revenues, with new series “Private Eyes,” “Cardinal,” and “Mary Kills People” coming through in the company’s 2017 financial year. EOne also has AMC zombie hit “The Walking Dead,” as well as ABC series “Designated Survivor,” after taking a majority stake in The Mark Gordon Co., which posted a seven-fold rise in revenue to £119 million ($155 million). Overall TV revenues for eOne were £328.2 million, up 85% from the previous year.

Film revenues were £594.2 million, a 7% increase year-on-year. Earlier this month, U.K.-listed eOne had warned investors to brace for $47 million of writedowns, mostly stemming from its film business.

The largest single charge recorded in the full-year results released Tuesday was $25 million, which eOne said related to an unspecified film distribution agreement. The »


- Stewart Clarke

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Fox TV, ProSiebenSat.1 Extend Licensing Agreement (Exclusive)

9 hours ago

ProSiebenSat.1 and 20th Century Fox Television Distribution have extended a licensing agreement that provides the German broadcasting group with major feature films and TV series, including blockbusters “Alien: Covenant” and “Logan.”

While the broadcasting rights apply to ProSiebenSat.1’s free TV stations in Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland, the deal also includes selected exclusive rights for the group’s pay-tv and subscription video-on-demand platforms.

Titles covered by the agreement include such recent box office hits as “Deadpool,” “The Martian” and “Ice Age: Collision Course,” as well as series “The Gifted,” “The Mick” and the critically acclaimed “This Is Us.” The broadcasting group said 20th Century Fox Television’s TV series would strengthen the group’s programming supply in the long term.

“Be it big-budget blockbusters or strong series, the studio delivers exactly the kind of television our viewers want to see,” said Ruediger Boess, ProSiebenSat.1’s executive vice president of group programming acquisitions. “We »


- Ed Meza

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James Corden Sends Heartfelt Message to Manchester Following Ariana Grande Concert Tragedy

10 hours ago

James Corden spent a few minutes of his “The Late Late Show” on Monday night addressing the people of Manchester, following the deadly explosions that took place that night near an Ariana Grande concert.

The host acknowledged that they’re just now seeing reports unfold, and that “all we know is the tragic news that there are multiple fatalities and many injuries.” “It shocks me every time we hear this sort of news, that attacks like this can happen, and especially when there will be so many children at this concert tonight,” he said.

“Many won’t have ever been to Manchester, but you will definitely have heard of it. It’s famous all over the world for so many wonderful things,” he said before going on to list some of those attributes, from the football teams to being the birthplace of the leader of the suffragettes.

“But when I think of Manchester, the »


- Alex Stedman

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Dina Merrill, Elegant Actress and Philanthropist, Dies at 93

11 hours ago

Dina Merrill, a beautiful, blonde actress with an aristocratic bearing known as much for her wealthy origins, philanthropy, and marriage to actor Cliff Robertson as for her work in film and television, died on Monday at her home in East Hampton, N.Y. She was 93.

Her son, Stanley H. Rumbough, told the New York Times that Merrill had Lewy Body dementia.

Her parents were Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, and her second husband, Wall Street’s E.F. Hutton.

In 1983, on the occasion of Merrill’s musical comedy debut in a revival of Rodgers and Hart’s 1936 musical ”On Your Toes,” the New York Times gushed, “Long regarded as the essence of chic, the epitome of class and such a persuasive purveyor of charm and charity that she could have a rightful claim to fame as an eloquent spokesman — and fund-raiser — for a slew of worthy causes, Miss Merrill has evoked instant recognition and elegant associations »


- Carmel Dagan

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Food Network Producer Alleges He Was Cut Out of Spinoff Shows

13 hours ago

The creator of the Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” filed a lawsuit Monday, alleging that he was cut out of the production of two spinoff shows.

David Hoffman claims that he is entitled to compensation for the shows “Guilty Pleasures” and “Top 5 Restaurants.” He alleges that both shows derive from concepts he developed while producing two earlier Food Network shows, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and “The Best Thing I Ever Made.”

Hoffman filed suit against Authentic Entertainment, the production company behind each of the programs. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit claims that “Guilty Pleasures” is “a virtual carbon copy” of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

“Selected episodes have similar themes, if not the same themes,” the suit states. “Episodes feature similar talent (noted chefs and television food personalities), if not the same talent. Both ‘Guilty Pleasures’ and ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’ are »


- Gene Maddaus

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‘The Bachelorette’ Premiere Recap: Rachel Takes Off Her Lawyer Hat and Puts on Her ‘Love One’

13 hours ago

Only one episode into “The Bachelorette” Season 13, we’ve already learned so much about the woman at the center, Rachel Lindsay. ‘N Sync or Backstreet Boys? ‘N Sync. Michael Jackson or Prince? Michael. Does she love chocolate? She sure doesn’t. Does she love a good corny joke? She sure does. Has she ever dated a Colombian guy before? “Not Colombian!” But she does give one a first impression rose. More on that later. But first … let’s meet the men in the running for Rachel’s heart.

Some of the dudes get special introduction packages where they get to act out a version of their real life (it’s mostly just a lot of fake legal banter), while others only get to meet America via their limo entrance.

First, the former. There’s Kenny, a professional wrestler who loves his 10-year-old daughter Mackenzie sooo much that he’s … leaving her for potentially months to go on »


- Seth Kelley

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Cable-News Scrambles to Cover Ariana Grande Concert Tragedy

13 hours ago

MSNBC and Fox News Channel shook up their primetime schedules in the wake of a tragic explosion outside Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert in the United Kingdom Monday that is said to have killed at least 19 people and injured approximately 50.

Fox News Channel dispatched Shepard Smith to its 9 p.m. slot, a roost typically occupied by its panel show “The Five.” Smith was also scheduled to anchor the network’s 11 p.m hour following a live broadcast by Sean Hannity in his usual 10 p.m. time slot. Fox News said it planned to cover the aftermath of the explosion overnight, tapping Los Angeles correspondent Trace Gallagher to anchor from midnight to 1 a.m, followed by Kelly Wright and Arthel Neville, who were scheduled to anchor a three-hour news block between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.

MSNBC, meanwhile, dispatched Brian Williams to anchor its 10 p.m. hour, in part because the time-slot’s regular presence, Lawrence »


- Brian Steinberg

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