Monday January 4, 2021
ABC: “The Bachelor” at 8p, “The Hustler” at 10p
HGTV: “100 Day Dream Home” at 8p
NBC: “The Wall” at 10p
Outdoor Channel: “WildFed” at 7p
PBS: “Antiques Roadshow” at 8p
TLC: “1000-Lb. Sisters” at 10p
Vice: “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia” at 10p
IN THE NEWS
It’s debut day for Discovery+. The streaming service is brimming with cooking, home improvement, nature and other unscripted and lifestyle content Discovery chief David Zaslav and other company execs have been touting as “comfort food” during the pandemic. Animal Planet, Discovery, Food Network, HGTV, ID, Magnolia, TLC and Travel Channel are among the networks that are contributing to 55,000 hours of on-demand fare ranging from concurrent linear content, spinoffs and original offerings on the service. Cost is $5/month with commercials and $7 without.
Spanish-language media giant Univision is under new ownership as the FCC granted new owners Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight’s petition regarding foreign ownership restrictions just before the end of the year. Under the deal, Searchlight and ForgeLight now hold a majority stake in Univision, and Televisa maintains a minority shareholder interest in the company. As expected, veteran media executive Wade Davis, formerly CFO at Viacom and CEO of ForgeLight, takes the reins as CEO.
It’s official! The call for entries are open for Cynopsis’ 9th annual Sports Media Awards. The Awards recognize the best in show both in front of and behind the cameras—especially coming off a year like 2020, where so many of you challenged yourselves, pivoted and produced exceptional work. Check out the categories and start the process today: http://www.cynopsissportsawards.com/.
Veteran media figure Larry King at press time was hospitalized in LA as a result of complications from Covid-19. King, 87, is known for his decades-long career as a talk-show host on CNN as well as as a columnist for USA Today.
Most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until at least mid-January, according to a notification from SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White. Amid a continuing surge in Covid cases in LA, they wrote to members: “We are closely monitoring the recent surge in Covid-19 infections along with the reported lack of intensive care unit beds throughout the state of California and particularly in Los Angeles County… Our safety protocols ensure appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production.”
Amazon is acquiring Wondery, and will integrate the popular podcast hub into its Amazon Music streaming operation. Although financial terms were not disclosed, The Wall Street Journal reported the valuation for the company, founded in 2016 by former Fox International executive Hernan Lopez, was more than $300 million. Several Wondery podcasts have made their way to small-screen adaptations, including “Dirty John” at Bravo and “Dr. Death,” in development at Universal Cable Productions.
The top-earning execs at Netflix aren’t seeing a salary bump in 2021. Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer, will see his salary remain at $20 million, while Reed Hastings, co-CEO and chairman, will retain his $650,000 salary. The streamer’s top two execs also are receiving the same allocation of stock options for 2021 as they did last year—which will bring Sarandos $14 million in options and Hastings $34 million.
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|PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
A “Sex and the City” limited series reboot is on the list at HBO Max. The streamer is working to bring back original cast members—Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Kim Cattrall were the fab four in the original—from the Darren Star-created, NY-based, fashion-saturated series that originally aired on HBO from 1998-2004.
04 Entertainment acquired rights to “Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Forgiveness,” a memoir penned by Scarlett Lewis inspired by the loss of her son in the Sandy Hook massacre. 04 will develop the story as a TV movie, with Elisabeth Rohm (“Law & Order”) set to star, direct and exec produce.
NEW & RETURNING SERIES
A swirl of Travel Channel original series are headed to Discovery+. “Ghost Adventures: Top 10,” whose first episode will also debut on Travel Channel January 7 at 10p, features Zak Bagans counting down fans’ favorite moments from more than a decade of shooting… A new season of “The Dead Files” brings former NYPD homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi and physical medium Amy Allan back on the case… New series “UFO Witness,” which gets a Travel Channel debut January 14 at 10p, features former federal agent and paranormal investigator Ben Hansen.
Additionally on Travel Channel, “Expedition Bigfoot” premieres Sunday, January 10 at 9p; “Mountain Monsters” drops Sunday, January 10 at 10p; “World’s Most Unexplained” debuts Monday, January 4 at 9p; “Paranormal Declassified” appears Monday, January 4 at 10p; “Paranormal Caught On Camera” debuts Friday, January 8 at 10p; “Ghost Nation” premieres Saturday, January 9 at 9p; and “Kindred Spirits” drops Saturday, January 9 at 10p.
Hunter and forager Daniel Vitalis takes viewers on a culinary journey through the mountains, woods and waters on Outdoor Channel’s new series “WildFed,” debuting today (January 4) at 7p.
Magnolia Network teased “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” the net’s reboot of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ OG “Fixer Upper” series. First four episodes of the new season will debut on Discovery+ Friday, January 29, with additional eps available weekly through February 19.
Magnolia content due today on Discovery+ includes “Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines” and “The Courage to Run with Chip Gaines and Gabe Grunewald,” a documentary special about Chip’s journey with the runner and cancer survivor to train for a marathon. Premiere episodes from 10 additional series including “The Lost Kitchen,” “Home on the Road with Johnnyswim,” “Family Dinner,” “Restoration Road with Clint Harp” and “Super Dad” debut today.
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A new season of “Street Outlaws” heads to Discovery Channel on Monday, January 11 at 8p. The 405, among Oklahoma’s fastest street cars in history, return to their roots to attempt to once again rule the roads… Also on January 11, new spinoff “Street Outlaws: Mega Cash Days” rolls on to Discovery at 9p.
In Netflix news, Martin Scorsese-directed docuseries “Pretend It’s a City” premieres Friday, January 8. Critic and essayist Fran Lebowitz explores all things NYC from tourism to real estate to transportation, real estate and more through the episodes… season 2 of glass blower competition series “Blown Away” arrives Friday, January 22.
Family entertainment net BYUtv has several premieres on tap this winter, including sketch series “Studio C,” which returns for season 13 on Monday, February 8 at 9p. Also on the schedule are new unscripted series “Operation Awesome” on Wednesday, March 10 at 8p and season 2 of “Holly Hobbie” Sunday, January 10 at 7:30p; season 7 of genealogy-based competition “Relative Race” premieres Sunday, February 21 at 9p.
“A Wild Year on Earth,” which debuts Saturday, January 23 on BBC America,
Gal Gadot dropped a first look at “National Geographic Presents: Impact with Gal Gadot,” a six-part shortform docuseries she exec-produced with Jaron Varsano (“My Dearest Fidel”) and Vanessa Roth (“Freehold”) that follows the stories of resilient young women around the world who overcome obstacles and do extraordinary things. Set to debut in Q1, “Impact” follows women living in communities marred by genocide, gang violence, poverty, discrimination and oppression, who against all odds speak up and lead.
Meghan McCain returns to “The View” set today (January 4), after having been away from the talker since the birth of her daughter in September. McCain had been co-hosting from home before the birth as a Covid-19 precaution.
Specials and one-offs set for Discovery+’s debut today include “Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel,” about the paranormal activities around the iconic LA site, and “Shock Docs—Amityville Horror House,” which will also get a Travel Channel presentation on Friday, January 22 at 8p.
“The Little Things” debuts Friday, January 29 on HBO Max and in theaters. John Lee Hancock’s psychological thriller, starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto, will be available on the streamer for 31 days in the US at no additional cost to subscribers. Also headed to HBO Max are season 3 of Italian crime drama “Gomorrah,” and both seasons of “Warrior” from Cinemax.
The rat that roared: “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” raised more than $1 million in premiere night ticket sales January 1 to benefit The Actors Fund. The virtual Broadway performance, which started as a viral TikTok about a musical adaptation of the Disney-Pixar title, morphed into a crowd-sourced production featuring TikTok creators performing alongside Titus Burgess, Wayne Brady, Adam Lambert and Ashley Park.
Joe Biden will start his Presidency with a clean slate, at least on Twitter. The social platform confirmed the President Elect won’t inherit Donald Trump’s millions of followers on the official White House account, despite Trump inheriting former President Barack Obama’s followers back in 2017. This time around, Twitter will notify current followers that accounts @WhiteHouse, @VP and @FLOTUS among others will need to be reupped come inauguration day, January 20.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle dropped the first podcast of their multiyear deal with Spotify just before the new year. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex kicked off the podcast by thanking health care and frontline workers, and playing a greeting from Elton John. Other guests include Stacey Abrams, Jose Andres, Brene Brown, Deepak Chopra, James Cordon and Tyler Perry.
Free, ad-supported service CBSN surpassed 1 billion streaming engagements in 2020, crushing its 2019 tally of 1 million during a year marked by heightened news cycles ranging from Covid-19 to the Presidential election to demonstrations around racial reckoning.
Peacock is puffing up its kids content with a new season of DreamWorks’ “Cleopatra In Space.” Premiering Thursday, January 14, season 3 continues the untold adventures of Cleopatra’s angsty teen years based on the graphic novel series by Mike Maihack.
Idina Menzel launched a kids and family series on her YouTube Channel. “Idina’s Treehouse,” which the Tony and Grammy winner developed during quarantine, is an iPhone-filmed series that takes place in her son’s treehouse. It’s backed by Scooter Braun’s SB Projects and counts Braun, Loudmouth Media, and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh as producers.
Nickelodeon’s “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate” today debuts a special ep featuring the LA Rams’ Aaron Donald. The two-time NFL defensive player of the year will go head-to-head with 9-year-old Ryan in challenges including bench-pressing bananas, a whoopie cushion tackle and an end-zone dance off.
Actor/comedian John Bishop will join the upcoming 13th season of BBC America’s “Doctor Who”… Sitcom stars are aligning with the news that “Murphy Brown” star Candice Bergen will appear on ABC’s Roseanne spinoff “The Conners” in a guest role Wednesday, January 13. Bergen will play Ben’s (Jay R. Ferguson) mother, Barb… “The Real Housewives of Potomac” will be flying sans Monique Samuels. Samuels, a four-year veteran of the Bravo reality show, revealed via Instagram, “It’s not easy doing reality TV, and to be quite honest… I’m over it. I’m over it.”
Simon Cowell will have a seat at the judges table for the “The X Factor Israel,” marking the first time the music mogul will be a judge on an iteration of the show he created outside of the US and UK. The Israeli version of the competition series airs on Reshet 13, and went into production in December.
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“Live with Kelly and Ryan” (new season high 2.1 live plus same day national Nielsen rating, up 11 percent from the week before), “Tamron Hall” (new season high 1.0, up 11 percent) and “Kelly Clarkson” (new season high 1.2, up 9 percent) were the only syndies able to celebrate their best ratings of the TV year in the week ended December 20. For the first time sophomore “Tamron” tied veteran “Ellen DeGeneres” (1.0, down 9 percent) with both shows laying a claim to fourth place out of the 14 programs in the talk field. “Judge Judy” (5.7, up 2 percent) ruled the court shows for the 1,265th straight week and was syndication’s top show overall for the 14th time in the past 18 weeks.
Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of December 13 ranked in order by HH Rtg
Broadcast Nielsen Ratings for Friday, January 1
Josh Selig and Sharon Gomes, respectively CEO and COO of Little Airplane Productions, have parted ways with Studio 100. Little Airplane Productions was acquired by Studio 100 in 2017.
Richard M. Bates, longtime SVP of US government relations for The Walt Disney Co., died suddenly December 31. In a joint statement Disney executive chairman Bob Iger and CEO Bob Chapek called the loss of Bates “profound” and said, “He was passionate about his work and approached it with the same astuteness and unwavering enthusiasm he demonstrated when he first joined Disney three decades ago.” Since 2010, Bates oversaw Disney’s DC office. He joined the company in 1991.
Ron Dominguez, named a Disney Legend in 2000 and former EVP of attractions, died January 1, at age 85. Known affectionately as “Mr. Disneyland,” Dominguez was a key architect of the Disney California Adventure theme park. He retired from Disney in 1994 after 39 years, having served numerous executive roles around the company’s theme parks and attractions.
Dawn Wells, who portrayed castaway Mary Ann on comedy series “Gilligan’s Island,” died December 30 of complications due to Covid-19. She was 82. Wells appeared in more than 150 series and several movies during her career, as well as in several Broadway stints, and in 2016 was named Marketing Ambassador for MeTV.
Veteran animator Tuck Tucker, whose work was seen in “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Rugrats” and “The Simpsons,” died Tuesday, December 22 at age 59. Tucker served as a storyboard editor for the series “Hey! Arnold,” as well as storyboard artist for “SpongeBob SquarePants The Movie” in 2004. Other film work included Disney feature “The Little Mermaid.”
Larry Barron, an unscripted producer and executive who worked alongside Mark Burnett among others, died Thursday, December 24. He was 55. Aside from Burnett, Barron worked with Ben Newmark and Dan Newmark on 2016 Fox series “Coupled,” and co-created and exec-produced 2010 VH1 unscripted series “What Chilli Wants,” and GSN shows “Idiotest” and “Emogenius.” The former Fremantle executive also from 2002-03 served as a producer on CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” a co-executive producer on Fox’s “Paradise Hotel” and consultant on UPN’s “America’s Top Model.”
Nick McGlashan, a fisherman who appeared on 80 episodes of Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” since 2013, died Sunday, December 27 in Nashville. McGlashan was 33, and a cause of death was not given. He most recently appeared in the September 22 episode on season 16, and previously appeared on “Deadliest Catch: The Bait” from 2014-18, as well as “Deadliest Catch: Greenhorn,” “Deadliest Catch: Captain vs. Captain” and “Bering Sea Gold,” among other series in the franchise.
Syrian filmmaker and TV director Hatem Ali died at the age of 58. Known for spearheading works that depicted Arab history, Ali helmed 31-episode drama “The Palestinian Exodus” as well as 2009’s “The Long Night,” a drama about three political prisoners who are released from a Syrian prison and try to adjust to freedom, and more recently the series “Once Upon A Time,” available on Netflix.
Three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker died December 23 following a nearly yearlong battle with A.L.S. She was 59. Luker made her Broadway debut in 1988 as an original cast member of The Phantom of the Opera, later taking over the lead role of Christine. In 1991, she co-starred in the Marsha Norman-Lucy Simon musical adaptation of “The Secret Garden,” and in 1994 starred as Magnolia in a revival of “Show Boat.” In 2003 she appeared in “Nine,” and in 2006 featured as Winifred Banks in Disney’s “Mary Poppins.” In 2013 and 2016 she led the replacement casts in, respectively, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” and “Fun Home.”
|This Day in History
1965 – The Fender Guitar Co. was sold to CBS for $13 million.
Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Today’s Trivia Question
|MONDAY JANUARY 4
ABC: The Bachelor, The Hustler
CBS: The Neighborhood, Bob Hearts Abishola, All Rise, Bull
CW: Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Penn & Teller: Fool Us
FOX: L.A.’s Finest, The Masked Dancer
NBC: Ellen’s Game of Games, Ellen’s Game of Games, The Wall
PBS: Antiques Roadshow, Antiques Roadshow, Independent Lens
Telemundo: El Domo Del Dinero, Todo Por Mi Hija, Falsa Identidad
Univision: Tey Doy La Vida, Amor Eterno, Como Tu No Hay Dos