Xfinity and Disney/ABC Television Group have announced that Xfinity TV customers can now access three new authenticated TV+ products – WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD and WATCH Disney Junior — at home or on-the-go — via a suite of new apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and online at WATCHDisneyChannel.com, WATCHDisneyXD.com and WATCHDisneyJunior.com.
The three new WATCH products are the first-ever to provide authenticated users with both access to live, linear network streams as well as an extensive offering of advantaged window “on demand” episodes.
Xfinity TV customers, who subscribe to Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior networks as part of their monthly video service, can now stream these channels live online and via the convenience of their iOS devices. In addition, Xfinity TV customers can view a variety of top series including “Good Luck Charlie,” “Shake It Up,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “TRON: Uprising,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” from Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior on these new WATCH products, on Xfinity On Demand, Xfinity.com/tv and through the Xfinity TV app on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and Xfinity TV Player app on Android-powered devices, anytime.
The free Watch apps include a simple, kid-friendly user interface that brings the current online viewing experience to the high-resolution, Multi-Touch displays of iOS devices. Once a user downloads one of the WATCH apps or visits one of the WATCH websites, they will receive sign-in instructions to verify their Comcast Xfinity TV credentials, allowing them access to their favorite Disney Channel, Disney XD or Disney Junior programs on their device(s).
Non-authenticated users of the WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD and WATCH Disney Junior services will have access to a limited number of “on demand” episodes each month.
Later this year, Xfinity TV will also integrate all of the content available through WATCH apps on Xfinity.com/tv as well as on other viewing platforms. Today, Xfinity TV offers more than 75,000 TV shows and movies, including a variety of kids and family programming, across Xfinity On Demand, Xfinity.com/tv and the Xfinity TV and Xfinity TV Player apps for iOS and Android, respectively.
The launch of Watch Disney Channel, Watch DisneyXD and Watch Disney Junior, as well as the recent launch of WatchESPN with Comcast is part of a long-term, comprehensive distribution agreement between Comcast Corporation and The Walt Disney Company that was announced in January, 2012. The agreement will deliver Disney’s sports, news and entertainment content to Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers into the next decade on televisions, computers, tablets and handheld devices. The new agreement enhances the multichannel business model and supports the companies’ mutual goal to deliver the best video content to customers across multiple platforms using the latest technology and cloud innovation.
For the first time ever, Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers will be able to watch ESPN, ABC or Disney shows live or On Demand and across multiple screens. The companies also agreed to collaborate over the term of the deal to create new, innovative viewing experiences for Xfinity TV customers.
Microsoft Corp has announced the general release of its NUads on Xbox LIVE. Among the first buyers are Toyota, Unilever and Samsung Mobile USA, which are developing NUads campaigns to stream on Xbox LIVE this fall. NUads advertisements transform standard 30-second TV spots into actionable experiences using the power of voice and gesture controls of Kinect for Xbox 360.
Engagement is what makes the ads different, said Ross Honey, general manager of Xbox LIVE Entertainment and Advertising. "We developed NUads to breathe new life into the standard 30-second spot. With NUads, brands can get real-time feedback from audiences, making TV advertising actionable for the first time."
Microsoft released a sneak peek of some of the first NUads that will air on Xbox LIVE this fall, including Toyota’s "Reinvented" ad campaign that premiered during Super Bowl XLVI, and which promoted the reinvention of the 2012 Camry. The ad marked Toyota's return to Super Bowl advertising. Today, Toyota is reinventing that campaign for Xbox LIVE, adding a layer of interactivity enabled by NUads. In this version of the "Reinvented" ad, Toyota asks viewers what they would like to see reinvented. Viewers can then respond using Kinect-powered voice or gesture controls. This gives Toyota valuable feedback it can use for its next campaign.
At first glance—a little underwhelming, according to Adweek. NUads on’t seem to innovate beyond TiVo and Cablevision ads that allow viewers to request more information from or respond to questions from advertisers, or even buy things. Still, with NUads, viewers can respond with hands or voices, rather than just remotes. “I would hope the launch of NUads leverages the platform,” Brandon Berger, chief digital officer of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide told Adweek. But Microsoft counters that it cannot ask TV advertisers to create Xbox-specific spots: NUads can be created from an existing TV spot.
Good enough for Toyota. "The creative possibilities of NUads are endless. We can take a 30-second TV spot and customize it for NUads to get an immediate response from Toyota's customer," said John Lisko, executive communications director at Saatchi & Saatchi LA for Toyota. "It allows customers to participate with our advertising, which is really exciting. The interactivity of NUads is leading the industry and changing the way we're connecting with our customers."
Also good enough for Unilever, which owns the Axe brand. Following on the successful campaign for the launch of Axe Attract for Him and for Her, Axe — called Lynx in the U.K. — will be one of the first brands to turn the digital ad into a NUad with Xbox. The creative centers around a cops-and-robbers setup with the tagline, "Nothing will ever be the same again." Using the new format, Lynx will ask the audience if the Lynx Effect should be given to girls. Viewers will have the option of voting "Yes, of course" or "No way" using hand gestures or a simple voice command.
"NUads and the gesture- and voice-based Kinect technology have great potential for creativity. What we're seeing now is at the very early stages of what we could do. And as always, we're keen to continue to explore more ways of inviting our consumers to get involved with our brands," said Babs Rangaiah, vice president of Global Media Innovation at Unilever.
Microsoft Advertising is claiming a younger, male-skewing and decently-wage-earning demographic for its Xbox LIVE advertising. Some figures:
•61 percent male
•39 percent female
•70 percent 18-34
•20 percent 35-44
•88 percent have a household income of greater than $30,000
•37 percent have a household income of greater than $100,000
- BET Networks (winner of the '2011 Best App Ever' award for its 106 & PARK App) has launched the BET AWARDS 12 App for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices available for download immediately. The BET AWARDS 12 App includes historical moments from the show's twelve years, including hundreds of videos, thousands of photos and details on every nominee, winner and honoree. A brand new co-viewing experience, “The Lineup,” challenges users to predict the order of the performers before the show starts. Scorecard updates happen in real time during the BET AWARDS 12 LIVE broadcast July 1, 2012 starting at 8 P.M. ET, and users with the most correct guesses will be entered to win unique prizes including a celebrity gift bag, autographed t-shirts and the Official BET AWARDS 12 Microphone.
- Critics had their doubts, but they always do. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” has stubbornly defied lead-actor exodus and 10-year ennui to become, once again, the most-watched show in the world, receiving the prestigious International Television Audience Award for a Drama TV Series at the 52nd Monte Carlo Television Festival on June 14, 2012. This is the fifth time the series has been awarded this honor in the past seven years based on stats from Eurodata TV Worldwide for the highest ratings worldwide in 2011 across five continents. CSI star Ted Danson was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the series. The International Audience Awards are presented jointly by the Monte Carlo Television Festival and Eurodata TV Worldwide to reward programs that delivered the highest ratings worldwide in 2011 across five continents in three categories: Drama TV Series, Comedy TV Series and Telenovelas/Soap Operas. “CSI” gathered more than 63 million viewers worldwide, surpassing the nominated shows in all three categories and making it the most-watched show in the world.
- CBS is claiming high gains among young-ish women. CBS’s “The Talk” delivered its highest ratings among women 25-54 rating since February while posting across-the-board growth from the same week last year, according to Nielsen live plus same day ratings for the week ending June 8. “The Talk” averaged 1.7/6 in households, 2.29 million viewers, 1.1/7 in women 25-54 and 0.8/5 in women 18-49. The women 25-54 rating was the highest rating for “The Talk” since the week ending Feb. 17, while the women 18-49 rating was the best since the week ending May 4. Compared to the same week last year, “The Talk” was up +21% in households (from 1.4/4), +24% in viewers (from. 1.85m), +38% in women 25-54 (from 0.8/5) and +33% in women 18-49 (from 0.6/4).
- Time Warner has added the Azteca America affiliated broadcast station to its New York City lineup (albeit on the relatively high channel 192 position). Azteca America's New York station is operated by the Azteca Station Group, which also operates Azteca America stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Miami. New York City is the second-largest Hispanic DMA in the country, after only Los Angeles. Within the Latino community, residents of Mexican origin are the fastest-growing group in the city. Time Warner Cable's New York City footprint serves over 1.3 million customers in four New York City boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and western Brooklyn), Mt. Vernon, Hudson Valley (Orange, Sullivan, Ulster Counties and parts of Dutchess, Greene and Delaware Counties), and Bergen and Hudson Counties in New Jersey.
In theory, TV ads and online video are two stops on the same campaign—but only in theory. What stands in the way, says eMarketer principal analyst David Hallerman, is "A fear of financial loss within the TV industry—broadcast and cable networks, and cable providers (which are often also ISPs)." That is what is behind tactics like broadband and mobile data caps (of which Comcast has been accused), and of authentication protocols that block cord-cutters from watching the tube online.
Still, predicts eMarketer, the growth in online video ad spending will surge past TV growth through 2016. It will surge by 54.7% this year, and slow to 18.9% in 2016; but that will far exceed TV’s 6.8% growth this year and 4.5% in 2016. But as it predicted in January, TV will still exceed the online ad spend in 2016 (albeit by a narrowing gap).
The current study presumes that us-and-them antagonism between TV and online impressions will continue unabated. But the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) announced earlier this week that it is pleased with the results of integrated cross-media campaign measurement, as the New York Times reported. This coalition includes such advertising powerhouses as AT&T, CBS, Discovery Communications, NBCUniversal, News Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Time Warner and Unilever. And they were evaluating cross-media measurements by comScore and Arbitron. CIMM commissioned the tests to determine how to measure consumption of video content in cross-platform ways, whether on TV, online or on mobile devices. So as far as Unilever is concerned, wherever an ad for its Dove brand runs, be it streaming on YouTube or running during a broadcast of “Glee,” it gets measured.
Also true, the study presumes that brands must integrate TV and online campaigns and events to be effective. They do not. Coca-Cola is skipping TV entirely with its over-the-top Coca-Cola.TV channel. It is using the Thismoment social media management technology to to target the online youth market in a social/mobile environment. A Paul McCartney one-time concert would have been a pay-per-view event a decade ago, but a May 10 outdoor concert in Mexico City streamed free via Coca-Cola.TV. Coca-Cola similarly streamed Vive Latino 2012, a three-day music festival in late March attended by hundreds of thousands in Mexico City, which featured four stages and numerous international acts such as Foster the People and Fat Boy Slim. So far, no ads built on either campaigns.
But Coca-Cola is not snubbing television—not by a long shot. As Information Week reported, the brand ponied up about $11 million for two Super Bowl ads in February; but hedged its bets by putting its iconic animated polar bears on TV for 100 million+ viewers, with invitations to visit www.CokePolarBowl.com on tablets and smartphones for more interactive content. So the brand ignored TV with the Mexican events, but blended with it for its US-based Super Bowl ads. And Coca-Cola has alredy booked its Super Bowl 2013 spots.
In short, the eMarketer study presumes that brands will be held hostage by the networks. Major brands will not. It presumes as well that networks are somehow terrified by over-the-top broadcasting. They have proven cautious, so far, but with heavyweights like NBCUniversal and Time Warner eager to prove their cross-media value proposition, the atmosphere in 2016 will be far less “us and them” between TV and online than simply “us.”
Rovi Corporation has launched Rovi Analytics, a new reporting tool that aimed at providing extensive metrics to enable agencies and brands to comprehensively measure TV advertising buys. Combining critical measurements including uniques, impressions, and time spent, Rovi Analytics is designed to drive greater accountability for advanced TV advertising campaign performance.
Rovi Analytics extends measurement capabilities from service provider set-top boxes as well as connected television and video devices, providing extensive campaign performance reports for agencies and advertisers that buy inventory on the Rovi Advertising Network. The advanced reporting capabilities can combine census-level measurement with key metrics such as uniques, impressions, clicks, time spent, video views and user actions within micro-sites, to provide a comprehensive view of campaign results across the multiple digital platforms Rovi serves. These key performance metrics, which can be filtered by a range of criteria including daypart and geography, will enable advertisers to clearly measure the effectiveness of advanced TV ad units, the company claims.
“Connected TV devices are not only transforming the entertainment landscape, they are also set to fundamentally reshape existing TV advertising models,” said Jeff Siegel, senior vice president, Worldwide Advertising, Rovi Corporation. “The Rovi Advertising Network was one of the first platforms to enable companies to develop and test campaigns on new Internet-enabled platforms. Since initial launch, we’ve conducted extensive research to help advertisers sharpen campaigns, increased our Network scale by forming new relationships with service providers and device manufacturers, and added a range of pioneering ad functionality. Now, with the addition of comprehensive reporting tools, Rovi offers the end-to-end toolset agencies and brands need to deliver high-impact TV ad campaigns with measurable results.”
The Rovi Advertising Network targets advertisers, agencies and brand marketers, and provides scalable, measurable, and interactive TV advertising options which the company claims are "tightly integrated into consumers’ entertainment search and discovery experience." Rovi Advertising Network clients include leading brands like BT, Carnival, Channel 4, Ladbrokes, Red Bull TV, and Twentieth Century Fox. In addition to supporting a range of set-top boxes, the Rovi Ad Network has secured placement on connected TVs and Blu-ray Disc players including new and in-market models from Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba.
comScore, Inc. has released a report called “Surviving the Upfronts in a Cross-Media World,” which it says is an actionable guide for success in navigating the cross-media landscape during this said Judy Bahary, SVP, Marketing Solutions at comScore.comScore examines the maturation of the online video market as a supplement to traditional television advertising and the effectiveness of cross-media campaigns in television programming.
Rather than one robbing the other, “Our research shows an incredible synergy between TV and digital video formats when used together in cross-media campaigns, driving effectiveness levels higher than either medium used on its own,” said Judy Bahary, SVP, Marketing Solutions at comScore.” As the online video market continues to develop, we should see it evolve from its current supporting role to an essential part of media planning in the annual upfronts.”
The annual television upfronts are a familiar process for buyers and sellers of television advertising. Now in their second year, the digital upfronts are shaking up the industry in making the case for digital video advertising in long-form TV programming and short-form online video. But the concept of online TV audiences is relatively uncharted territory for most buyers, who are uncertain how to effectively allocate dollars across both TV and digital media.
In a simulation conducted using comScore’s cross-media databases, which contain media usage from multiple platforms for the same households, comScore discovered that the use of online video can build reach and effective reach when advertising dollars are invested in both TV and digital platforms. Reallocating 10% of an ad budget from TV to video boosted a campaign’s reach by 5%, and raised effective reach by 16%.
comScore also measured consumer response (e.g., a visit to the advertised brand’s website) following exposure to TV ads alone versus both TV and digital platforms. It found that consumers who were exposed to one ad on TV and one online were 28% more likely to visit the brand’s website than those exposed to one ad on TV alone. In fact, the impact of two exposures – one on TV and one digital – was almost as high as the impact of two exposures, both on TV. “This reinforces the wisdom of overlaying a digital plan on a TV campaign to boost reach without sacrificing persuasion—especially when one considers that digital is generally less costly than TV,” says the report.
“What if your tablet or phone knew what you were watching on TV and presented bonus features without you having to lift a finger?” asks Microsoft. To kick-start the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Microsoft yesterday unveiled the Xbox SmartGlass, an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with the Xbox 360 console “to make your entertainment smarter, more interactive and more fun.”
Users will, for example, be able to use a tablet to call up a play in the game "Madden NFL" and then play it on a TV screen, or, control websites on a TV using the tablet's touchscreen.
This solidifies Microsoft’s “head start in the battle for every screen,” describes The New York Times. Apple’s iPhones, iPads and and computers are well connected, but Microsoft has sold 67 million Xbox 360 video game consoles and has more than 40 million active Xbox Live members. The company claims its video consumption has grown by 140 percent each year on the Xbox since 2008.
Forbes calls Google and Apple “wild cards” in the connected TV race. “Google’s first connected TV got lots of attention, but little sales,” but it will try again this summer with models from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio. Apple’s smart TV may or may not be out by the end of the year: Apple has been shopping hardware providers and contract manufacturers, but rumor has it the Apple TV will cost in excess of $1,000. The Xbox allows you to keep your old one.
IE for Xbox
Microsoft will launch Internet Explorer for Xbox this fall in all countries where Xbox and Xbox LIVE are available. Between the Xbox, the Kinect gaming platform and Xbox SmartGlass, Microsoft claims users will be able to surf the Internet voice control, and navigate using mobile devices for “an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television.”
Entertainment Via Xbox
Adding to the current catalog of customized sports, TV, movies and music apps from TV and entertainment providers, Microsoft is claiming that Xbox will become “your home for sports,” with NBA Game Time, NBA.com League Pass Broadband (U.S.), NHL GameCenter LIVE and ESPN, including the "SportsCenter" and "SportsNation" properties, plus NFL, MLB and NBA coverage.
Finally, Microsoft announced 35 new content partners (both audio and video) launching on Xbox over the next 12 months, which include Comedy Central Stand Up; Nickelodeon; Paramount Movies; The Weather Channel; and Univision, the Spanish-language channel (and the first Spanish-language channel on Xbox Live).
Rodale Inc.’s Men’s Health magazine has a number of instructional apps already, including "Eat This, Not That!" and a workout designer: But you could not read the magazine or advertise in it on the iPhone, until now. Beginning with the September issue of the magazine (available in August) special content will be developed specifically for the iPhone in order to create an enhanced viewing experience that is unavailable on other devices. Men's Health currently has several branded apps for the iPhone, but this new app is the first that allows the magazine to expand its digital publication delivery across iPhone and iPod Touch devices with more than 220 million users globally. Existing Men’s Health iPad subscribers will have access to the publication with no additional charge on their iPhones.
The app was developed using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, and Rodale claims this is the first iPhone application to launch on the Adobe platform in the United States.
“This brand prides itself on being first to market, so developing an iPhone version of Men’s Health quickly is a natural next step for us,” said David Zinczenko, Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health and GM for Rodale’s Healthy Living Group and Rodale Books.
“Offering iPad subscribers a chance to view Men’s Health on their iPhone gives readers a new outlet to consume our content on-the-go or at the gym,” said Sean Bumgarner, Interactive Design Director for Rodale.
Men’s Health has had success with its digital apps before, as Folio describes. Its “Skin Care Center” was the 2012 recipient of the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) award for digital media, known as the Digital Ellie, in the personal service category honoring service journalism on digital platforms. Its “Eat This, Not That!” also won a Digital Ellie in ASME’s inaugural year of the awards, 2010. The brand offers more than 40 apps across the iPhone and iPad.
Men’s Health bills itself as the “go-to source for guys,” and is published 10 times a year in the U.S. by Rodale. The magazine has garnered numerous industry accolades, including being named by the Media Industry Newsletter (MIN) as the “#1 Most Notable Magazine Launch of the Last 25 Years.”
With no fanfare at all, The New York Times has joined ABC News, NBC, Fox and The Wall Street Journal on Hulu. As the Niemen Journalism Lab describes, NYT has signed a content licensing agreement with the streaming video site.
Right now, there is just one Times offering: “Punched Out: The Life and Death of an N.H.L. Enforcer,” which NYT produced alongside a three-part series about hockey player Derek Boogaard. In-stream advertisers included State Farm and Verizon. But NYT generates plenty of video content to supplement each of its print categories (e.g., "The Future of Zoos" in its Environment category). The video.nytimes.com content sits behind the NYT paywall, but Hulu readers will be able to see the content for free on computers, with a Hulu Plus subscription on mobile devices.
By contrast, The Wall Street Journal has 57 titles on Hulu, many of them "Top 5 In Tech," but also content like its 31-minute special report, "Europe at the Brink" (with Citizens Bank advertised instream and in a display ad).
Newspaper video content is not “journalism lite”: A Boston.com (the Boston Globe website) video series on the late Senator Ted Kennedy was up for a national Emmy. (NYT has yet to be so nominated.)
Nor is Hulu “broadcasting lite.” ComScore in February revealed that Hulu is ninth among online video content properties, behind Google sites, VEVO and Viacom Digital among others; but first in video ad impressions. In April, Hulu delivered 1.6 of the 9.5 billion video ads, followed by Google Sites with 1.3 billion, BrightRoll Video Network with 943 million, Adap.tv with 881 million and TubeMogul Video Ad Platform with 831 million. And Hulu in April announced that it would guarantee 100% completion of its in-stream ad placements. (It already delivers 96%.)
NYT’s Ann Derry, who heads NYT’s video property, told Niemen that the Hulu channel will be for longer-form documentary treatments like “Punched Out.” It is a repackaging of a three-part series that ran on nytimes.com last December.
- Batman news: MTV has announced that the "2012 MTV Movie Awards" will feature exclusive footage from Warner Bros. Pictures' and Legendary Pictures' “The Dark Night Rises,” with director, writer, producer Christopher Nolan and actors Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman on hand to celebrate the "Dark Knight" trilogy. Hosted by comedian, actor and TV personality Russell Brand, the "2012 MTV Movie Awards" will air live on Sunday, June 3, at 9:00 P.M. ET/PT from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.
- Critical darling “Mad Men” is suffering in the ratings, reports Business Insider. Sunday’s episode drew just under two million viewers, about one-third fewer than the show did on March 25, and a 45% drop-off from the 3.54 million viewers AMC claimed for the show’s two-hour premiere in March.) AMC moved its ad-themed reality show “The Pitch” from Monday to follow “Mad Men” on Sunday at 11 P.M., which has doubled the ratings for “The Pitch” to a still 0.1 or less.
- Struggling CNN has announced aggressive multi-platform coverage of “the spectacular pageantry of the Diamond Jubilee,” which marks Queen Elizabeth’s 60 year reign over the UK and Commonwealth. CNN’s special live coverage will be anchored by Piers Morgan and Brooke Baldwin, across CNN/U.S. and CNN International. Users will be able to watch the simulcast live online at CNN.com/live or on the CNN App for iPad and iPhone by authenticating through their cable, satellite or telco providers. CNN’s live simulcast coverage begins on Sunday, June 3, from 11 A.M. at 1 p.m. ET on location at the Tower Bridge for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. On Tuesday, June 5, from 9 to 11 A.M. ET, CNN will broadcast the Royal Carriage Procession, in which the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry of Wales will depart the Palace of Westminster for Buckingham Palace, travelling along a processional route by horse-drawn carriage. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and members of the Royal Family will appear on Buckingham Palace’s balcony, at which point the Royal Air Force will fly over the palace and the Queen’s Royal Guard will deliver a celebratory cascade of rifle fire as a salute.
- Also from CNN, it has recruited world-renowned chef, bestselling author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain to host of a new weekend program showcasing the network’s coverage of food and travel. The announcement was made by CNN Worldwide Executive Vice President and Managing Editor, Mark Whitaker.“For more than a decade, Anthony Bourdain has been a trailblazer in educating Americans about different cuisines and cultures around the world, as well as an outspoken commentator on social trends ranging from the rise of celebrity chefs to the impact of fast food chains to the spread of vegetarianism and veganism.” said Whitaker. “Examining the world through the prism of Tony’s unique expertise and passions continues CNN’s long-standing commitment to international reporting and to promoting global understanding.” The show will launch in early 2013, and will be shot on location and examine cultures from around the world through their food and dining and travel rituals. It is slated to air domestically on Sundays in prime time with repeat airings on Saturday nights.
- Bryant Gumbel will return to morning broadcasts on NBC, reports MediaBistro. The former NBC “Today” and CBS “Early Show” anchor will serve as guest co-host of ABC’s syndicated “Live! with Kelly” on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5. Gumbel, who anchors “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO, was one of “Today”‘s longest-serving anchors, and helped launch a revamped version of “The Early Show” back in 1999. Gumbel famously criticized “Today” weatherman Willard Scott (“This guy is killing us”) and film critic Gene Shalit (“Often late and his interviews aren’t very good”) in an internal memo in 1989 that was leaked to the press. Although Gumbel drew fire from the viewing public, the general take from industry insiders was that “someone had to say it.” The other guest co-hosts on next week’s “Live!” are actor Neil Patrick Harris and “Saturday Night Live’”s Andy Samberg.