Advertising, Marketing & Media Issues

Business Environment

Demographics & Regions

Media Options & Channels

Sales, Operations & Tech

Verticals & Sectors

Subscribe to Media Buyer Daily

Join our LinkedIn group Follow us on Twitter Read our RSS newsfeed

Archives » TV Cable

Disney/ABC And Comcast Partner For Authenticated TV Streaming

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

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.

TV, Online Campaigns Slow To Mesh: But Do they Need To?

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

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.”

Upfront TV: CBS Stones “Glass House” | “Dallas” Draws | History’s “Sharks” | Saratoga Coverage

Published 1 year, 10 months ago
  • ABC’s “Glass House” is still under fire from CBS, which tomorrow will seek a temporary restraining order to stop the series, reports Deadline Hollywood. Judge Gary Feess today set a hearing for early Friday for the networks’ lawyers to plead their cases. The judge may rule to stop production of “Glass House,” which CBS argues is a rip-off of its “Big Brother,” itself based on a UK series which was based on a Dutch series.
  • The “Dallas” reboot averaged 6.8 million viewers on Wednesday, making it the No. 1 scripted series premiere on all of cable so far this year, reports Entertainment Weekly. The show that stars senior citizens Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, opposite newcomers Jesse Metcalfe and Jordana Brewster, attracted 1.9 milion adults 18-49 and 2.4 million adults 25-54. EW Reviewer Ken Tucker enjoyed the “genially hokey set-up” of a doddering J.R. leaving the nursing home to enjoy the prospect of destroying his own family in the name of sport and money.

  • “And we’re done” with broadcast upfront sales, declared Deadline Hollywood. Fox and NBC have completed their upfront deals. Fox, signed nearly $2 billion (even with last year) with cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) increases of between 8 and 9%. NBC brought in about $100 million more than last year’s season for $1.8 billion in volume (fueled largely by two cycles of “The Voice”), and CPM increases of between 6 and 7%.
  • The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the NBC Sports Group have announced the schedule for this year’s Summer at Saratoga series, with five live broadcasts from Saratoga Race Course, starting on Saturday, August 11, going through Saturday, September 1, and including marquee races such as the Alabama, Travers, and Woodward. Saratoga Race Course was named one of the world’s top 10 venues of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated. From late July through Labor Day, many of the sport’s top owners, trainers, jockeys, and horses gather in Saratoga Springs for the premier thoroughbred racing meet in the country. First held in 1863, the Saratoga meet regularly draws more than 20,000 passionate racing fans to the track on a daily basis.
  • History Channel has announced “Shark Wranglers,” a new series premiering Sunday, July 1 at 10 P.M. The series follows real-life Captain Quints to the Great White-infested waters off of South Africa, in what the channel calls “the most ambitious shark expedition in history.” The crew will track the world’s most deadly and threatened sharks, tagging them for research. Their goal is 50 sharks in 40 days – a near impossible mission that will test the team’s resolve as they battle through every conceivable setback. The show centers around pre-eminent ocean explorer and elite fisherman Chris Fischer.

Viewers Claim To Tune Out During Election Season

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

A new survey commissioned by MGH, an integrated marketing communications agency, found that 32% of survey respondents change the channel as soon as a political advertisement airs and during political news coverage, and nearly half (47%) of viewers will change the channel or mute the TV during a negative political ad.

The Baltimore agency commissioned the survey to find if consumers change their viewing habits during election season.

As usual, the vast majority (88%) of respondents said they are turned off by negative political advertising. But as usual, the negative ads work.

Younger millennials aged 18-24, skewed higher in some measures:

  • Forty-five percent change the channel during political news coverage.
  • Thirty-nine percent change the channel as soon as they see a political advertisement.
  • Twenty percent are more likely to watch programs online, and 19% are more likely to record programs they want to watch to avoid commercials.

"This year's election is gearing up to be a tight race, and with tens of millions of advertising dollars being put toward mudslinging political television ads, marketers need to pay attention to some of these statistics to make sure that their consumers aren't changing the channel on their clients," said MGH President, Andy Malis. "During election years, television advertising space is limited and more expensive, so advertisers need to get creative and integrated with their media campaigns to ensure their message is getting through the clutter."

The key takeaways, according to MGH, are that marketers have the potential to lose more than one-third of their potential audience if a political ad airs – and nearly half if a negative political ad airs – in the same commercial block as theirs. Additionally, marketers that target the younger millennials may have an even tougher time reaching this audience through TV ads.

Still the spending is high, and a report released in March from Borrell Associates forecasts that out of the $9.8 billion that will be spent on political advertising for this year’s election, $5.6 billion will go toward broadcast TV and $939 million toward cable TV advertising. The New York Times estimates that at least $50 million worth of ads will appear in swing states in the next several weeks, about five months out from the election.

Time will tell if these viewers actually do tune out as they claim. Viewership was very strong during the GOP debates. ABC claimed big ratings for its “Your Voice, Your Vote – Republican Presidential Debate in New Hampshire” broadcast. Nielsen tallied 6.25 million viewers, including 1.73 million Adults 25-54 and 1.40 million Adults 18-49. The ABC debate topped the Fox News Channel’s December 15 debate with 1.31 million viewers.

According to January figures from The Pew Research Center for The People & The press, it is true that fewer Americans are closely following the campaign than four years ago. Cable TV leads among sources at 36%, but the Internet is next to last at 25% and has not grown in significance since 2007. So, those younger-skewing voters who claim to get ad-free news online might be exaggerating, or simply disinterested. Just 20% of those younger than 30 claimed to follow the campaign closely, down from 31% in 2008. But because younger voters skew Democrat, they may prick up their ears as the conventions and election near.

Equation Research conducted the survey in April 2012 on behalf of MGH. Equation surveyed 1,000 adults aged 18+ who had seen at least one political advertisement recently, located in states where presidential primaries had taken place.

Upfront TV: CNN Cancels “King” | DOJ Investigates Cable | Amazon Streams MGM | CNBC/Yahoo Deal

Published 1 year, 10 months ago
  • CNN is canceling its 6 P.M. broadcast “John King USA,” and replacing it with an extra hour of “The Situation Room,” reports TVNewser. King will become CNN’s lead national campaign correspondent for the remainder of the election cycle, “not as plum a gig as having an hour-long nightly program.” In a memo to CNN staff obtained by TVNewser, CNN/U.S. chief Ken Jautz explained that King will provide reports for “SitRoom,” “AC360” and other programs and CNN platforms. King is a veteran of seven presidential elections while with CNN. “JK USA” launched in March 2010, leading up to the midterm elections, but despite a couple of moves, never garnered much viewership.
  • The Justice Department is actively investigating whether cable operators are trying to suppress over-the-top video competition, reports Broadcasting & Cable. Cable industry sources told B&C that several cable companies have been contacted over the last two months. At odds from complainants like Netflix is that, for example, Comcast does not count its Xfinity video service through Xbox against its broadband data caps, but does so for other video services via Xbox. Comcast announced last month that it was shifting from broadband caps to usage-based pricing.
  • Amazon has struck a deal with Metro-Golydwn-Mayer Studios to enable Amazon Prime customers to stream MGM a library of MGM content, reports Deadline. This includes the the late 1980s TV series “thirtysomething” which inspired America to ask “what about my needs?” It will also include hit films like “Silence of the Lambs,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Rain Man” and “The Terminator.” Among other TV series included are “Stargate Atlantis,” “Stargate Universe” and “The Pink Panther Show.” Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon, said the Prime Instant Video service now includes more than 18,000 movies and TV episodes.
  • Yahoo and CNBC have struck a non-exclusive alliance to share business news content, designed to expand CNBC’s online reach while giving Yahoo Finance a broadcast presence, describes Hollywood Reporter.The agreement follows a similar one between Yahoo and ABC News in 2011. CNBC will become becomes the premier content provider for Yahoo Finance in the US. Under the alliance, Yahoo Finance’s journalists will contribute to CNBC’s Business Day programming, while CNBC clips, news and analysis will be prominently integrated into the Yahoo Finance site and also be featured across the Yahoo network.

Upfront TV: A&E’s “Coma” Reboot | Gore Hires Behar | Oxygen’s Mama Drama | “Devils Ride” Renewed

Published 1 year, 10 months ago
  • This looks like a ratings boondoggle. A&E Network will present “Coma,” a four-hour epic two-night event from Ridley and Tony Scott featuring a multiple Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning cast. Featured are Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”), Steven Pasquale (“Rescue Me”), Geena Davis, James Woods, Ellen Burstyn and Richard Dreyfuss. “Coma” is a modern day retelling of the bestselling novel by Robin Cook and based on the 1978 film by Michael Crichton, which featured a very young Michael Douglas as a doctor, and Tom Selleck as a corpse. “Coma” will premiere on Labor Day, Monday, September 3 and concludes on Tuesday, September 4, airing at 9PM ET/PT on both nights. Network TV and movies have been revisiting '60s and '70s-era sci-fi with success, in "Rise of the Planet Of the Apes" and "I Am Legend," as well as A&E's revisit to Crichton's "Andromeda Strain."
  • Current TV has tapped “The View” panelist, former HLN host and comedienne Joy Behar to host a new nightly program, reports MediaBistro. The new show will air at 6 PM on weekdays beginning in September, and be replayed later in the evening. The format will be the same as Behar’s cancelled HLN show, but will feature a rotating panel of satirists and political commentators, who will riff on the day’s news. Behar will make her Current TV debut next week, when she fills in for 8 PM host Eliot Spitzer. Explaining why he hired a failed commentator for his network, Current TV Chairman and former Vice President Al Gore said in a statement that “Joy Behar is a beloved veteran television personality with her finger on the pulse of what viewers care about.  Millions of Americans tune in daily to hear her take on the issues along with her inimitable style. We are honored that Current TV will be Joy’s new primetime home.”
  • To celebrate Syfy’s June extravaganza of four Saturday Original Movies – “Jersey Shore Shark Attack” (6/9), “Piranhaconda “(6/16), “Arachnoquake” (6/23) and “Bigfoot” (6/30) – Syfy Digital is offering fans (and advertisers) 20 movies in one month at its new Movie Hub (syfy.com/movies) and the popular Syfy Rewind destination. The Saturday Original Movie Hub showcases Caption This!, where fans can add their unique sense of humor as a caption to a photo from their favorite original movie, while users everywhere can join the fun by rating the captions. The mini-site also features weekly Viewer Polls (one per original movie) with a wide variety of questions pertaining to movie themes such as creatures, disasters, aliens and zombies. 
  • Oxygen Media today announced the premiere of its newest docu-series “I’m Having Their Baby” on Monday, July 23 at 11 P.M. ET/PT. The six-part series gives viewers an intimate peek into the world of adoption by telling the story of the birth mother and her experience. Each installment follows two pregnant women who have made the choice to place their babies for adoption.
  • Discovery has renewed its hit Tuesday night series “The Devils Ride” for a second season. The show goes inside the world of motorcycle clubs with the members of San Diego’s The Laffing Devils. Airing after “Deadliest Catch,” “The Devils Ride” averaged over 2 million viewers each week. Produced for Discovery by Bischoff Hervey Entertainment with Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey serving as Executive Producers.

Upfront TV: ION Christmas | Belmont Stakes Record | “Pants” Protest | NBC College Football Schedule

Published 1 year, 10 months ago
  • Not too soon to buy. ION Television today has announced five all-new original Christmas movies for its 2012. The collection will premiere in November, and includes "Christmas Twister," "A Christmas Wedding," "Anything But Christmas," "Golden Christmas 3," and "A Star for Christmas.” Perhaps the highest ratings potential is “Christmas Twister,” helmed by Casper Van Dien of “Starship Troopers” fame. ION claims its 2011 holiday season saw double-digit increases in households, adults 18-49 and total viewers, a well as an ION-record 1.8 million total viewers for the original holiday movie "A Christmas Kiss."
  • Few sports have the drama of horse racing, and it attracts even the non-sports fans. As Deadline Hollywood reports, despite the last-minute scratch of Triple Crown-hopeful I’ll Have Another, NBC’s broadcast of the Belmont Stakes (won by Union Rags) drew a 5.4 overnight rating for the race portion, up 13% from last year’s race on NBC and up 74% from 2010 on ABC. Yesterday’s race had the highest overnight for the race in a non-Triple Crown year since 2005 on NBC (6.0).
  • The Saturday pay-per-view boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley could kill boxing history, projects Multichannel News. The controversial split decision favored Bradley, who (despite Pacquiao appearing to be the clear winner) eliminates a potential fall fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., which sports analysts projected would be the highest-rated PPV event of all time. Still, a Nov. 10 rematch between Pacquiao and Bradley is in the works.
  • This is what you get by crossing the youth demographic. Fans of MTV’s cancelled comedy “I Just Want My Pants Back” protested at the network’s New York and Los Angeles offices last Wednesday, reports Deadline Hollywood. The protestors draped about 500 pairs of pants over walls, lawns and bushes, before being stopped by security guards. The producers of the series are still talking to TV networks and streaming services about picking Pants up.

  • NBC and NBC Sports Network have released their 2012 college football schedule. The networks combined will televise 32 college football games during the 2012 season, beginning with a triple-header on Saturday, Sept. 8. Coverage kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 8, with Purdue at Notre Dame on NBC at 3:30 P.M. ET and Delaware State at Delaware (CAA) at 3:30 P.M. ET on NBC Sports Network. Later that night, NBC Sports Network will air Army at San Diego State (MWC) at 7:30 P.M. ET. The first Ivy League telecasts air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, Sept. 22, when Cornell hosts Yale at 1 P.M. ET followed by defending champion Harvard at Brown at 4:30 P.M. ET. The NBC and NBC Sports Network 2012 college football schedule includes seven Notre Dame games, 10 Mountain West Conference games, six Colonial Athletic Association games, seven Ivy League games, plus the Bayou Classic and Atlanta Football Classic.

Upfront TV: More “Lost Girl” | Dish Punishes AMC | “Glass House” Goes On

Published 1 year, 10 months ago
  • Syfy has renewed “Lost Girl” for a third season, beginning January 2013. SyFy claims “Lost Girl” is the #1 cable drama among Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54 in its time period (Monday 10 P.M.). During season two to-date, “Lost Girl” is averaging 895,000 Adults 18-49, 930,000 Adults 25-54 and 1.64 million total viewers, based on available Live +7 data. On July 20, Lost Girl will move from Mondays at 10PM (ET/PT) to Fridays at 10PM. Anna Silk stars as seductress Bo, a Succubus, a kind of “sexual vampire.” Raised by human parents, Bo had no reason to believe she was anything other than the girl next door – until she “drained” her first boyfriend to death.

  • This should piggyback nicely on the “Walking Dead” and “Zombie Apocalypse” fever. Spike TV has announced “Last Family On Earth” for Fall 2012. The reality series will pit families against one another in a post-apocalyptic worlds. The families will vie for a spot in an underground state-of-the-art Vivos bunker that is fortified to withstand nearly any end-of-days disaster scenario. Produced by Pilgrim Studios, the six-episode one-hour series will air just in time for the family to survive the world’s cataclysmic demise on December 21, as predicted by the Mayan calendar. Perhaps. The competition will showcase survival techniques. In addition to endurance and physical skills, challenges will test the contestants’ leadership abilities, integrity and character. A panel of three survivalist-expert judges, along with viewer input via social media, will help determine which family is eliminated each week.
  • NBC’s “Love In The Wild” ratings are actually rather tame, says Hollywood Reporter. After kicking off Tuesday night with a strong “America's Got Talent” at a 3.4 rating, the second-season premiere of “Love In The Wild,” with new host Jenny McCarthy, was down 27% from the 2011 season premiere. It averaged a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49, which was still enough to lead the 10 P.M. slot. NBC averaged a 2.2 adults rating and 7.4 million viewers for the night.
  • Ad reach on AMC took a hit on sunday night when the carriage dispute between Dish Network and AMC Networks “reached a new low,” reports Multichannel News. Dish Network changed AMC’s channel position suddenly, during an airing of “The Killing,” and after AMC aired a commercial showing its side of the dispute. Dish argues that AMC, the home of award-winning cable shows “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead,” is asking for too much for programming that most Dish customers don't watch. AMC aired a spot with a phone number and web link urging Dish to “Keep AMC.” Without warning, Dish moved AMC’s channel position from 130 to 9069—in other words, outerspace.
  • ABC will continue to produce “Glass House” and premiere on June 18th, reports Deadline Hollywood. CBS had attempted to block the production which it says rips off its own “Big Brother.” Judge John McDermott rejected CBS’ fast-track discovery schedule in favor of a more lenient one proposed by ABC. The ruling gives ABC until June 11 to provide documents and declarations for CBS to examine. CBS said it would file a temporary restraining order against “Glass House” while these matters are ongoing, but had not done so as of end of day Tuesday.

Microsoft with Xbox Pulls Ahead In Connected TV, Delivers 35 More Stations

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

“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).

Upfront TV: “Community” Critics’ Choice | A&E’s “Longmire” Record | MTV Awards Shrivel | Lecter Cast

Published 1 year, 10 months ago
  • A true upset in the just-announced Critics’ Choice Awards. As TVLine reports, NBC’s always-on-the-bubble “Community” leads the way in nominations, including Best Comedy Series, Best Actor (Joel McHale), Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Danny Pudi and Jim Rash) and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs). That puts “Community” ahead of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” as well as NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” each with five nominations. Time will tell if this does “Community” any good. Before you move your ad spend, note that critical opinion can be way out of sync with Nielsen ratings (hence single-season runs for stuff like “My So-Called Life” starring Clare Danes, and long runs of “The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island,” both universally panned by the intelligentsia).
  • Modern westerns are fraught with ratings peril. For every “Deadwood” there are a half-dozen failures like “The Magnificent Seven,” “Lazarus Man” and “Hell On Wheels.” But A&E set a new record for itself with the Sunday premiere of “Longmire,” according to Hollywood Reporter. The Sunday debut pulls in 4.1 million viewers for A&E, topping the network’s previous scripted efforts including "The Glades," "The Cleaner and "Breakout Kings." The broadcast also ranked as a top performer among the 25-54 demographic, averaging 1.4 million for the hour. Based on the Walt Longmire Mystery novels by best-selling author Craig Johnson, “Longmire” stars Australian actor Robert Taylor (The Matrix) as Walt Longmire, the charismatic, dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. “Longmire” also stars Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Gallactica”), Lou Diamond Phillips (“Numb3rs”), Bailey Chase (“Damages”), Cassidy Freeman (“Smallville”) and newcomer Adam Bartley.

  • If youth is fleeting, so is youthful viewership. The Sunday night MTV Movie Awards broadcast was down nearly 30% from its 2011 viewership, according to The Wrap. The show averaged still-pretty-good 3.2 million total viewers, compared to last year’s 4.5 million total viewers. But the MTV Movie Awards faced a couple of handicaps. First, it was up against the season finale of “Game of Thrones” on HBO, and the NBA playoffs. And it was hosted by British comic Russell Brand, whose star seems to have fallen. 
  • NBC has found its Hannibal Lecter. You would know him better by his role as the Bond villain Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale” than by his own name—Mads Mikkelsen. As Deadline Hollywood reports, Danish-born Mikkelsen will star opposite Hugh Dancy FBI agent Will Graham in the 13-episode series "Hannibal" that predates “Silence of the Lambs.” The premise is that Graham is unaware psychiatrist Lecter’s insanity, and enlists Lecter in helping the FBI hunt serial killers. The role of Lecter was made famous by Anthony Hopkins, who won an Oscar for “Silence Of The Lambs,” while both William Peterson (CSI) and Edward Norton have played Graham.
  • NBC has also found its new Herman Munster. Jerry O’Connell (best known as Vern, the hefty kid in “Stand By Me”) will play Herman in the “Munsters” reboot “Mockingbird Lane,” says Entertainment Weekly. He will be joined by British comic Eddie Izzard as Grandpa. By all accounts, this treatment will be a darker one than the 1960s sitcom, and is scripted by Bryan Fuller of “Pushing Up Daisies.” Fuller is both writer and producer, and told EW that he wants the show to be an "American Harry Potter," or a family version of "American Horror Story."