E! Network, the 25-year-old younger-skewing network (and now an NBC Universal property) has announced its Summer 2012 lineup, built chiefly around unscripted series and the good-people-gone-bad premise.
“Opening Act” season one
Premieres Monday, July 9th @ 10:00 P.M. ET/PT
From International Emmy-winning producer Nigel Lythgoe comes the new series that breaks the mold of talent/reality television. In “Opening Act,” Lythgoe and his A-List Artist Development Team – including Grammy-winning superstar Mary J. Blige and producer Antonina Armato from Rock Mafia – comb the Internet to find the web’s most talented amateurs, then give them the chance to open for a top music superstar. But here, there are no judges to woo, auditions to pass or rounds to win: Each band or solo act has only days to prepare after a surprise visit that presents them with the opportunity, and viewers follow them from obscurity to the big-time gig. “Opening Act” will showcase not only some unknown talent, but the very personal journey that awaits them on their way to perform on a national stage.
“Married to Jonas” season one
Premieres Sunday, August 19th @ 10:00 P.M. ET/PT
E! is capturing the lives of one of what it calls “America’s sweetest couples”, being Kevin and Danielle Jonas. Kevin, a member of the Grammy-nominated Jonas Brothers, met the then Danielle Deleasa while on a family vacation in the Bahamas. Dani, a down-to-earth girl from New Jersey, tied the knot with Kevin in 2009.The couple quickly entered a whole new world, balancing marriage, worldwide fame and coming of age. Together, they are working to manage the colliding points of view between Dani’s outspoken Italian family and the Hollywood life of the Jonas clan, including Kevin’s equally successful brothers Joe and Nick. After two years of newlywed bliss, Kevin and Dani are settling down in their New Jersey home and establish a happy suburban life. However, with the Jonas Brothers heading back to the studio to record new music, finding the right mix of “normal” and superstardom isn’t easy.
“E! Entertainment Special: Heroes Gone Wrong”
Premieres Monday, June 11th @ 8:00 P.M. ET/PT
What happens when the people who are supposed to keep us safe turn out to be dangerous predators? “Heroes Gone Wrong” reveals shocking stories of ruthless criminals who made headlines when they violated the public trust and committed horrendous acts. In this brand new one-hour special E! unravels these horrific tales of Scandal and betrayal, and reveals the details of what led to the demise of these fallen heroes.
“E! Entertainment Special: Bridal to Homicidal”
Premieres Monday, June 25th @ 8:00 P.M. ET/PT
In the all new” E! Entertainment Special: Bridal to Homicidal”, E! recounts fascinating and disturbing stories of housewives who snapped.
Airs weeknights @ 11:00 P.M. ET/PT
This series provides late night phenom Chelsea Handler with the perfect showcase for what she does best: comment on pop culture & entertainment news while interacting with the public. The daily program offers a tongue-in-cheek look at entertainment news, celebrity truths and rumors that just won’t die, and other hot topics of the day. Bringing refreshing new energy to the late night arena, “Chelsea Lately” is an authentic and hilarious commentary on the celebrity culture around us.
Airs Weeknights @ 7:00 P.M. & 11:30 P.M. ET/PT
E!’s popular series, “E! News,” gives entertainment fans extensive coverage of breaking news, behind-the-scenes access to the hottest shows, exclusive celebrity interviews and all the biggest red carpet events. Alongside E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic, viewers’ favorite celebrity correspondents – Jason Kennedy, Ashlan Gorse, Catt Sadler, Ken Baker, David Burtka, Alicia Quarles and Melanie Bromley – bring fans breaking news, inside celebrity scoop and coverage of pop culture’s biggest events.
Airs Fridays @ 10:00pm ET/PT
Comedy superstar Joan Rivers brings her no-holds-barred celebrity fashion and juicy pop culture commentary to viewers as host of E!’s popular weekly series, “Fashion Police.” Joining her are E!’s resident fashionista Giuliana Rancic, Red Carpet darling Kelly Osbourne and celebrity stylist George Kotsiopoulos. These Hollywood insiders battle to right all the fashion wrongs and bring viewers their honest critique of the latest celebrity fashion and pop culture commentary each and every week. From runway shows and the hottest red carpets to Hollywood style out and about, this fierce foursome gives viewers a complete recap of the week’s celebrity fashion, along with the latest Hollywood stories.
“Keeping Up with the Kardashians”
Airs Sundays @ 9:00 P.M. ET/PT
Bringing “even more bonding, more love and more drama” from one of the most watched families on television, the Kardashians continue to share their questionable highs and crashing lows with the same candor, strength and humor, if not elegance, that have made this close-knit group one of the world’s most widely recognized families.
“Mrs. Eastwood & Company”
Airs Sundays @ 10:00 P.M. ET/PT
This 10 episode half-hour series takes viewers inside the fascinating world of the Eastwood family, from their hometown of Carmel, CA to Los Angeles and wherever their lives may take them. Following mom Dina, daughters Francesca and Morgan, the six members of “Overtone,” and those intimately involved in their world, this unconventional family proves that familial bonds are shaped by more than DNA. “Mrs. Eastwood & Company” offers an exceptional look at a rarely seen side of pop culture, fascinating personalities who have compelling stories and unique points of view.
Airs Wednesdays @ 10:00P.M. ET/PT
“The Soup” reigns in the week’s wildest and most memorable moments in the world of entertainment. Whether it’s pointing out the latest escapades of celebutants or politicians, commenting on the love lives of our favorite celebrities or re living the most outrageous clips of reality television, host Joel McHale has it covered. With his trademark dry wit and off the cuff humor, there’s never a dull moment on “The Soup,” so stay in touch with popular culture, re live it or catch up on it each week on E!.
Upfront TV: Fios Spanish Channels | Redgrave Joins “Animals” | “Today” Narrowly #1 | “Scream” Series
- Verizon FiOS TV will add 10 new high-definition Spanish-language channels, nine of them from independent distributor Olympusat Inc., reports Multichannel News. Olympusat’s UltraHDPlex lineup of channels include movie network Ultra Cine; music network Ultra Fiesta; kids-targeted channel Ultra Kidz; Mexican film-based Ultra Mex; women-oriented Ultra Luna; male-orientedUltra Macho; Spanish-dubbed cotemporary films channel Ultra Film; documentary-themed Ultra Docu; and the Mexican and Latin America classic film service Ultra Clásico, said company officials. The 10th channel, Multimedios Television, offers Spanish-language family and entertainment programming broadcast from Monterrey, Mexico. Overall, Verizon offers up to 75 Spanish-language channels on FiOS TV in selected markets.
- USA Network has signed Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave for a guest stint on its “Political Animals,” reports Deadline Hollywood. Redgrave will play Diane Nash, a the first openly gay member of the Supreme Court who is friend and mentor to Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver). The six-episode series will center on the divorced former First Lady and newly appointed Secretary of State played by Weaver, who throws herself into the job after recovering from the dissolution of her marriage to ex-President Bud Hammond (Ciaran Hinds) and losing the presidential nomination. The series is slated to debut July 15 and air in the Sunday 10 P.M. slot.
- NBC’s “Today” show retained its #1 slot in May, winning a “nail-biting competition” with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” reports The New York Times. The margin was just 13,000 viewers, which is within the Nielsen Company’s margin of errors. A year ago in May, the total viewer gap between the shows was a less nebulous 780,000, advantage “Today.” “Today” stayed No. 1 among 25- to 54-year-olds, but GMA staffers claim to be closing the gap.
- MTV is developing “Scream,” a series adaptation of the Wes Craven horror franchise, sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. Since 1996, the franchise, with Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, has included four outings and grossed more than $330 million worldwide. The “Scream” project comes as MTV has found scripted success with “Teen Wolf,” a somber adaptation of the 1980s movies that starred Michael J. Fox and Jason Bateman. MTV has just renewed “Teen Wolf” for a second season.
- Samuel L. Jackson will return to Spike TV to host “VGA TEN,” the tenth anniversary of the “Video Game Awards” live on Friday, December 7 at 9:00 P.M. ET/6:00 P.M. PT. The acclaimed international film, stage and video game star, most recently featured in the summer blockbuster, “The Avengers,” has hosted the “VGAs” three times from 2005-2007. The broadcast will once again air live and simultaneously on both Spike TV and Spike.com. “VGA Ten” will also air in over 100 countries and territories around the world. Also returning to the “VGAs” is Executive Producer Mark Burnett, the multi-Emmy Award-winning acclaimed producer of “Survivor,” “The Voice,” “The Apprentice,” the “63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards,” the “MTV Movie Awards” and the “People’s Choice Awards.”
- NBC Sports Group has signed Hines Ward, a four-time Pro Bowler who played 14 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers before retiring after the 2011 season, as an analyst across its NFL, college football and studio programming. As part of the multi-year agreement, Ward will be a regular contributor to NBC’s “Football Night in America”; serve as an analyst every Saturday on NBC’s and NBC Sports Network’s college football studio programming with Liam McHugh and Doug Flutie; and will regularly appear on “NBC SportsTalk” with Mike Florio and Peter King to preview and recap the week in the NFL. Ward appeared on NBC’s Super Bowl XLVI pre-game show, and is a two-time Super Bowl champion. The Super Bowl XL MVP finished his 14-year career with 1,000 catches for 12,083 yards and 83 touchdowns, all Steelers’ records.
- Fox Business Network will begin airing “Money with Melissa Francis, beginning Monday June 4, scheduled weeknights between 5 P.M. and 6 P.M., reports Multichannel News. Francis will break down the day's top stories, focusing on how they impact American taxpayers. Francis will continue in her role as co-anchor of FBN's “Markets Now” at 1 p.m. alongside Lori Rothman. The debut of “Money with Melissa Francis” will shift the FBN evening lineup, with “The Willis Report” moving to 6 P.M. from its previously staked 8 P.M. slot. “Lou Dobbs Tonight” will remain weeknights at 7 P.M., and Neil Cavuto will take over at 8 P.M. with “Cavuto.”
- AMC will air a 19-hour chock-full-of-extras marathon of its zombie drama “Walking Dead” running between January 7 and 8. The marathon will end with a live episode of its recap “Talking Dead,” which will feature a first-look scene from season three. As Hollywood Reporter describes, the cable network will air for the first time a black-and-white version of the pilot episode of the series based on the comics created by Robert Kirkman (themselves in black and white). Episodes will air from January 7 to 8, and the “Talking Dead” primetime special will air live Sunday, July 8 at 9 p.m., followed by the black-and-white pilot episode at 10 p.m. “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick will introduce each episode of the series with cast members on location in Atlanta, where production on Season 3 is under way.
- Oxygen has slated the season two return of “The Glee Project” for Tuesday, June 5 at 10 P.M. ET/PT. Lea Michele joins the show as the first guest mentor. If the music is a bit—well—grating, the show will be a test of social TV viewing. Viewers can chat about the music and the contenders on Twitter using @TheGleeProject and post their thoughts on the guest mentors, homework assignments and music videos using #TheGleeProject. Each week fans will be able to interact with their favorite contenders using Oxygen Connect, while earning points and badges. And they can enter for a chance to win a trip to meet their favorite contender face-to-face by completing weekly “Superfan Search” missions. Fans can also engage with the show by voting for their contender during the “Last Chance Performance” using special hashtags featured on-air.
- Animal Planet original series “River Monsters” finished its fourth season on Monday as the network's most- watched series ever, reports Broadcasting & Cable. “monsters” follows extreme angler Jeremy Wade as he tracks down huge freshwater fish, and drew 1.5 million viewers during its fourth season, according to the network. “Monsters” also topped its previous year's performance in all demos including adults 25-54 (up 9% to 836,000 viewers); men 25-54 (up 6%, 500,000 viewers) and women 25-54 (336,000 viewers). The series' season four premiere was the most-watched debut in Animal Planet's history, delivering nearly 1.8 million total viewers.
- The Weather Channel Companies has ordered a full season of “Iron Men,” a docu-series profiling the iron workers who spend their days battling weather conditions hundreds of feet above New York City to build skyscrapers, bridges, arenas and other major structures. In addition to the four episodes currently airing, nine new episodes have been ordered that will premiere later this year. New episodes will take place at the 4 World Trade Center site in addition to the Barclays Center, the new home of the Brooklyn Nets, and the Alexander Hamilton Bridge. “Iron Men” is produced by Pipeline39 (formerly known as KPI), the producers of “The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero,” “MonsterQuest” and “MegaStructures.” “Iron Men” first premiered on May 8, 2012, as part of “Braving the Elements,” a new docu-series anthology revealing the work, subculture and characters of professions exposed to theelements and impacted by the weather. The series will now be a standalone series outside of “Braving the Elements,” moving into its own timeslot on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 9 P.M. ET.
- CBS has already sold more than 50% of its ad inventory the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII broadcast, and expects to reach 80% in the next few weeks, reports Ad Age. John Bogusz, exec VP for sports sales and marketing at CBS, told Ad Age that the pace of sales is being pushed by automotive marketers. So CBS is feeling no pinch from GM, which announced that it will not advertise. GM complained about the $3.8 million-per-thirty-second pricetag and put its ad dollars elsewhere—like the UK. Citing its global marketing thrust, GM has signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the UK’s champion Manchester United football club.
- NBC has announced “Justin Bieber: All Around the World,” a one-hour special featuring the teen idol, to air Thursday, June 21st from 8-9 P.M. ET. Bieber’s first-ever network special will be a combination documentary/performance show, following his tour around the globe as he showcases his new album “Believe,” including #1 single “Boyfriend.” CBS is promising viewers “an all access pass to his life over a 12-day period, something rarely seen on TV today.” A “Justin-cam” will allow viewers to experience “what life is like through the eyes of Justin Bieber.” In addition to worldwide sales in excess of 15 million units, Bieber has more than 43 million Facebook fans, more than 22 million Twitter followers, and over 2.9 billion YouTube views.
- Next year’s 55th Annual Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 10 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, reports Deadline Hollywood. CBS will air the Awards from 8-11:30 PM (live ET/delayed PT). CBS will also air “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!” on December 5. This year’s 54th Grammy Awards, which followed Whitney Houston’s death, drew 39.9 million viewers, which was the largest Grammy audience since 1984 and the second-largest in history.
- Grammy -winning rock group No Doubt, with lead singer Gwen Stefani, will perform together live for the first time in a year-and-a-half July 22 at the TEEN CHOICE 2012 Awards on FOX. The California-based band last shared the stage in 2010 when they performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, at the annual Kennedy Center Honors. No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal reports being “so stoked.” TEEN CHOICE 2012 will celebrate “the hottest teen icons” in television, music, film, sports, fashion, comedy and the web in “the choicest” two-hour event airing live Sunday, July 22 (8:00-10:00 P.M. ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.
- This matters, if “social TV” takes wing. Ad Age has identified new TV shows with “top Twitter stars,” using data from social-media analytics company Networked Insights. The five most-followed actors on Twitter include Dane Cook who will star in NBC’s “Next Caller,” Matthew Perry (?!) on NBC’s “Go On,” with Anthony Anderson (“Guys With Kids,” NBC), Robert Buckley (“666 Park Ave,” ABC) and Max Adler (“Last Resort,” ABC) rounding out the five. The five most-followed women include Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project,” FOX), Ashley Greene (“Infamous,” NBC), Sophia Bush (“Partners,” CBS), Reba McIntire (“Malibu Country,” ABC) and Meagan Good (“Infamous,” NBC). Dane Cook, star of NBC's "Next Caller," has by far the most Twitter followers (more than 2.8 million) of anyone carrying a new series.
- There will be two “Silence of the Lambs”-inspired shows on TV, according to Indie Wire. Lifetime is developing “Clarice,” based on the character portrayed by Jodie Foster in “Lambs,” which will cover her early career (before meeting Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter). No announcement as to air dates, but “Lambs” fans can watch “Hannibal” on NBC this fall, which follows the yet-to-be-caught Lecter as he dines on strangers and helps FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) solve crimes.
- Actor Michael Chiklis (“The Shield”) will host, and singer Jennifer Hudson will perform when CBS covers the “Boston Pops Firework Spectacular” on July 4 10:00-11:00 P.M., live ET/delayed PT. This is the second year for Boston-area native Chiklis to host the broadcast, now in its 39th year. Hudson will perform some of her biggest hits with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart. The entire concert will be broadcast in HD (high definition), courtesy of Liberty Mutual Insurance. In addition, the final 20 minutes of the broadcast, featuring the spectacular fireworks display, will be presented commercial-free by Liberty Mutual Insurance.
- ABC will debut its true-crime limited series “Final Witness” beginning Wednesday, June 27 at 10:00—11:00 P.M. ET. Each episode examine one case from start to finish, taking viewers inside the murder from the victim’s point of view. A hybrid of documentary and drama, “Final Witness” features interviews with real-life witnesses, prosecutors, law enforcement, family and friends, along with riveting dramatization that thrusts viewers into the heart of each crime. Shot around the world at the actual locations with cinematic style and infused with an indie-band soundtrack, ABC promises that “Final Witness” creates an Unforgettable look at the human psyche at its darkest. In the series premiere, “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” the program revisits the cold-blooded murders of almost every member of the Caffey family in rural East Texas.
- A French court has dismissed a copyright lawsuit against Google and YouTube, a case that “has parallels with the long-running struggle between YouTube and Viacom in the United States,” reports the New York Times. France’s Tribunal de Grande Instance declared that YouTube has made adequate efforts to remove programming like “Heroes” and “Grey’s Anatomy” from YouTube, for which France’s TF1 owns French broadcast rights. TF1 sought $176 million in damages and (humiliatingly) must pay Google’s $100,000+ legal expenses. Google lost a similar suit in Germany and Italy, while in the US, an appeals court has revived a copyright suit brought by Viacom.
TV Land gave Bette White her career re-launch with "Hot In Cleveland," which premiered in Summer 2010. So when this channel that was once devoted solely to reruns announces its summer slate, advertisers take note.
The TV Land summer slate launches on June 1 with two nights of original sitcoms including “The Soul Man,” starring Cedric “The Entertainer” and Niecy Nash, the returning series “The Exes” starring Donald Faison, Wayne Knight, David Alan Basche, Kelly Stables and Kristen Johnston, and “Retired At 35” starring George Segal, Jessica Walter, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Johnathan McClain and Josh McDermitt. TV Land also plans to air the “AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Shirley MacLaine” and syndicated reruns of “That ‘70s Show.”
TV Land’s original scripted sitcoms – “Hot In Cleveland,” “Happily Divorced,” “The Exes” and “Retired At 35” – have each posted double and triple-digit gains over the network’s primetime average. “Hot In Cleveland,” the network’s first original sitcom starring Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Betty White, won two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards for White for her role as “Elka,” a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for the cast, and an Emmy Award nomination for White for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Additionally, “Retired At 35” was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011 for Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series.
Below is a detailed look at TV Land’s summer programming:
“The Soul Man”
SERIES PREMIERE: Wednesday, June 20 at 10 P.M. ET/PT
“The Soul Man” stars Cedric “The Entertainer” and Niecy Nash and revolves around R&B superstar-turned-minister Reverend Boyce “The Voice” Ballentine (played by Cedric). Though he’s used to living in Las Vegas at the top of the music charts, he gets “the calling” and decides to relocate to St. Louis with his wife, Lolli (Nash) and his daughter, Lyric (Jazz Raycole), to take over the preaching duties in his father’s church. However, his family is not exactly eager to give up the fabulous superstar life for their new humble one. The comedy also stars John Beasley (“Everwood”) as Boyce’s father, Barton, and Wesley Jonathan (“What I Like About You”) as his brother, Stamps.
SEASON 2 PREMIERE: Wednesday, June 20 at 10:30 P.M. ET/PT
In season one of “The Exes,” Phil (Faison, “Scrubs”) and Haskell (Knight, “Seinfeld”) were shocked to learn that their landlord and divorce attorney, Holly (Johnston, “3rd Rock From The Sun”), was forcing a new roommate on them – the clingy and recently-divorced Stuart (Basche, “The Starter Wife”). In season two, they’re still attempting to adjust to one another’s quirks and annoying habits, but Holly is there to help avert any disasters – or in some cases, cause them. Meanwhile, Holly’s assistant, Eden (Stables, “Two and a Half Men”), doesn’t exactly let professionalism get in the way of prying into her boss’s dating life – or lack thereof.
“Retired At 35”
SEASON 2 PREMIERE: Tuesday, June 26 at 10 P.M. ET/PT
The new season brings a new cast member as Marissa Jaret Winokur (Broadway’s “Hairpsray”) joins the show! In “Retired At 35,” after 37 years of marriage, Alan Robbins (Segal, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) and his wife Elaine (Walter, “Arrested Development”) are expected to cruise into retirement and live out their days happily ever after. However, they get an unexpected surprise when their uptight and overworked son David (McClain, “24”), sick of the NYC rat race, decides to move in with them in their active-adult community. David finds himself dealing with his overzealous parents as well as his sister Amy (Winokur), who, while successful in business, has made less than impressive choices in her love life.
“TV Land Presents: The AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Shirley MacLaine”
AIRS: Sunday, June 24 at 9 P.M. ET/PT
The annual “TV Land Presents: AFI Life Achievement Award,” will be presented to Academy Award-winner Shirley MacLaine by fellow Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep, her co-star in “Postcards From The Edge.” The event will celebrate MacLaine’s extraordinary life and all her endeavors, from movies and television to Broadway, writing books and beyond. The ceremony tapes Thursday, June 7 in Los Angeles. To apply for press credentials to the red carpet, please visit the TV Land / AFI Life Achievement Awards Credentials Site.
“That ‘70s Show”
PREMIERES: Friday, June 1 at 9pm ET/PT
Hit sitcom “That ‘70s Show” will join the TV Land line-up with a weekend-long marathon on June 1, 2 and 3 from 9 P.M. ET/PT to 12 A.M. ET/PT. The series, which starred Topher Grace (“Valentine’s Day”), Ashton Kutcher (“Two and a Half Men”), Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”), Laura Prepon (“Are You There, Chelsea?”), Wilmer Valderrama (“Awake”), Danny Masterson (“Men at Work”), Kurtwood Smith (“24”) and Debra Jo Rupp (“Better With You”), revolves around a group of teenagers as they come of age in 1970s Wisconsin.
- 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.
DirecTV customers will be able to bundle their video and high-speed Internet services, no matter where they live in the United States, through new agreements with satellite broadband providers ViaSat and Hughes.
DirecTV will offer Excede by ViaSat and Hughes' HughesNet Gen4 next-generation satellite broadband services, with speeds of over 10 Mbps to customers living in mostly unserved and rural areas later this year. This new offering, coupled with already available triple-play bundles with Verizon, AT&T, Century Link and other telco providers, means that any DirecTV customer in the U.S. will now be able to get bundled pricing.
Customers who sign up for satellite broadband through DirecTV will be able to take advantage of certain special offers beginning later this year. More details on the offers and marketing plans will be made available closer to launch.
"We look forward to offering every single DirecTV customer access to fast, affordable broadband options through DirecTV, no matter where they live," said Oswin Eleonora, senior vice president, Emerging Markets, DirecTV. "With greatly improved capacity and speeds, satellite broadband services provided by ViaSat and Hughes will fully support our customers' connected home experience, enabling them to access a host of features like YouTube, Pandora, social TV apps, and more than 7,000 VOD titles."
Viacom has unveiled the results of a new study exploring the social TV phenomenon through the lens of the viewer. While fairly nascent, social TV and co-viewing trends represent a shift in TV viewing from what Viacom calls a “lean-back” to a “lean-forward” experience. If there is a takeaway for advertisers, it is that those “behind the scenes” streams, additional scenes and blooper reels that networks run on their websites are pretty valuable ad real estate.
Viacom finds that viewers engage in an average of seven different types of social TV activities – online or offline – on at least a weekly basis. The most common activities include watching TV with others (85%), searching for supplemental content (61%) and viewing TV show clips on social networks (58%). The new research reveals that consumers engaging in social TV activities "C's the moment" primarily by communicating, consuming content and checking comments.
The two-phase study involved 24 ethnographies in Boston and San Diego with VMN viewers aged 13-52 that engage in social TV activities on at least a weekly basis. National online surveys were conducted with over 1,500 VMN viewers aged 13-54. When asked what social TV means to them, the most commonly reported words were "interactive," "friends" and "Facebook "or "Twitter." The leading source of discovery of social TV services is through search (38%), followed by social networks (26%) and ads run on shows (22%).
"One of the main goals of this research was to understand how to inspire social TV activity among our audiences," said Colleen Fahey Rush, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Viacom Media Networks.
Content is king for social TV users. Viewers want something special from their social TV services rather than commoditized content that can be found through online searches. The number one request for content is full-length episodes (88%), followed by sneak peeks of new episodes (75%), and behind-the-scenes extras (71%) and highlight clips (71%).
The majority of TV socializers are interested in rewards with real value, like free merchandise or signed cast photos. When putting aside the material aspect, virtual rewards offer an emotional pay-off, described as being similar to the feeling when 'liked' on Facebook. Trivia and casual games related to a show are of greater interest if they offer some kind of reward. Real fans want to have their knowledge and skills tested, and expect the game to be challenging.
Communicating is a top priority for social TV users. Many respondents described cobbling together unique communication systems to interact with different social circles while watching a show. "When I'm watching Jersey Shore, I have Facebook chats with 10 friends and I'm texting a dozen people, and I can be on the phone to my best friend," said one participant.
There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of chat options. Of those interested in chat features, 56% prefer communicating through the social TV app/service, 53% through Facebook, 50% through individual or group texts and 38% through Skype or Apple FaceTime. For those that use check-in services, 71% check in to a show to let their friends know and 64% check in to let other fans of the show know. Check-in services are a unique way of communicating viewing activities while simultaneously encouraging others to tune-in and join a shared experience.
Smartphones dominate the use of social TV apps at 82%, trailed by tablets at 18%. For services that are delivered via HTML websites and associated apps, 52% of usage occurs on smartphones or tablets, followed closely by desktop or laptops at 48%.
Social TV users check comments about their favorite shows for a variety of reasons. Comments provide a different point of view, can pick up on something a viewer may have missed on their own and most importantly, create a direct connection between fan and show. "I love reading Daniel Tosh's tweets while watching Tosh.0. It gives the show a whole other dimension," said one survey respondent.
Not all sources of comments are equally valued. The number one source viewers want to hear from is a show's cast and crew, followed by the people they know. Audiences are sensitive to the quality of comments from a show's cast and crew – they look for authenticity and prefer the star(s) to be in character.
Social TV Users "C's the Moment" During Live Viewing
"Viewers C's the Moment" reveals that live TV show viewing unlocks the real value of social TV services and co-viewing activities. Features relating to communication, content and comments are twice as likely to be used during live than time-shifted viewing. Social TV enthusiasts reported feeling "left out" of the conversation if they missed a live airing.
One respondent said, "I'm most likely to engage with Social TV networking when it's live. So when a new show comes on, I'm very likely to check-in just before the show, see comments from other people, [and] make my own comments during the show as well."
Social TV activities also increase directly after a live show, when viewers can access exclusive content like sneak peeks without interrupting the live viewing experience. "I go to the website and watch the director's cut…after it airs as I like the extra scenes. I like to feel that I am getting something extra and it extends the show," said a participant.
Social TV can also help foster show discovery. Features like check-ins, viewer comments and shared video clips help viewers discover shows, incentivize them to watch and encourage them to join the live conversations.
ESPN presented its annual upfront yesterday, with a heavy emphasis on authentication, apps and delivering advertiser value. While the networks struggle to create social TV experience, CNN will likely be the first to make it a norm.
At the same time, ESPN Films announced that it will resurrect its 2010 hit series of sports-oriented films 30 for 30.
As Ad Age reports, Eric Johnson, ESPN's exec VP-multimedia sales, promised advertisers more targeted reach through its digital properties including the espnW platform for female sports fans; a new ESPN radio app for both the iPhone and iPad; ESPNFC, a global soccer destination; and a partnership with Twitter that will start with the NBA Finals.
Johnson claimed as well that with the Watch ESPN authenticated TV Everywhere app (introduced last year), ESPN now reaches 40 million homes, a number it expects to double before 2013.
Of course, few networks have the budget of ESPN, and "Modern Family" fans are hardly as rabid as NBA fans. But ESPN sets the bar for cross-media convergence.
30 for 30 Vol. II
ESPN Films has announced the return of the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning 30 for 30 film series. As with the first series, which included collaborations with acclaimed filmmakers such as Peter Berg (“Kings Ransom”), Barry Levinson (“The Band That Wouldn’t Die”), Ice Cube (“Straight Outta L.A.”) and Academy Award-winner Barbara Koppel (“The House of Steinbrenner”), ESPN Films will once again partner with a wide array of filmmakers to tell inspirational sports stories. 30 for 30 Vol. II is scheduled to premiere in October.
“30 for 30 was conceived as a finite collection and when the original series ended in December of 2010 with ‘Pony Excess,’ we had underestimated the strength of the connection fans had made between sports documentaries and the 30 for 30 brand,” said Connor Schell, vice president of ESPN Films. “We’re proud to have created a brand that has become synonymous with quality sports storytelling and we see value in bringing back a second collection of 30 films.”
In addition to a second slate of 30 feature-length documentaries, ESPN Films will broaden its scope to support a whole new crop of stories with the creation of 30 for 30 Shorts – a 30-part digital short film series. 30 for 30 Shorts will be similar to the feature-length films in that each piece will represent a specific point of view of the filmmaker and will be a reflection of how they blend the narrative with their own visual style. Beginning in September, a new short film will debut monthly on Bill Simmons’ Grantland.com. A 30 for 30 Short entitled “Here Now” about Pete Rose is currently online as preview of the series.
Volume II of 30 for 30 will have a much more defined multimedia component through closer integration with Grantland.com by featuring filmmaker podcasts with Bill Simmons, topical oral histories, in-depth features and more. Each feature-length film and digital short will be complemented with a long-form written piece on Grantland.com that deepens the experience with additional context.
Films scheduled to air as part of 30 for 30 Vol. II include:
- “Benji” about 17-year-old NBA prospect Ben Wilson whose life was tragically cut short;
- “Broke,” a documentary about pro athletes sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems;
- “Bo Knows,” another documentary about the marketing of pro athletes like legendary sports figure Bo Jackson;
- “The Season of Their Lives,” about the 1982-83 North Carolina State Wolfpack basketball team.
Social TV Via Twitter
ESPN announced a strategic collaboration with Twitter that it believes offers fans and advertisers unique, interactive programs around major sporting events, beginning with the upcoming NBA Finals. The effort will be promoted across Twitter, ESPN networks, ABC and ESPN’s broad array of digital assets, including ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile.
Each program will be co-created by ESPN and Twitter, beginning with GameFace – the first effort, which will be focused on the NBA Finals. GameFace will be seamlessly integrated throughout the live ABC broadcasts and ESPN’s NBA Tonight programming with a dedicated Twitter hashtag #GameFace.
Fans will be encouraged to tweet photographs of their “game face” throughout the finals. At the conclusion of each game, NBA Tonight analysts will highlight the competition and reveal the best photographs on-air. The best photos will also be featured in a photo gallery on ESPN.com/NBA.
“Working together, ESPN and Twitter are giving marketers a clear and powerful way to link on-air and online social conversations around sports,” said Joel Lunenfeld, Twitter’s Vice President of Global Brand Strategy. “It’s the first time advertisers can engage the audience around ESPN’s premier content across screens and where the conversation is happening on Twitter.”
Added Ed Erhardt, president, ESPN Global Customer Marketing and Sales, “Advertisers and marketers have been asking for meaningful opportunities that tap into the power of social media. We know fans use ESPN and Twitter as their main source for content and connectivity. By taking that scale and combining it with the passion of sports fans, this program answers the value equation of social media while providing a new way for fans to engage with ESPN.”
On Twitter, #GameFace will be supported through Twitter’s Promoted Products suite (including a Promoted Trend during the Finals), and the experience will be plugged on the @NBAonESPN Twitter handle.
The latest version of the ESPN Radio app for iPhone, iPad and iTouch provides both live and on demand content, and includes a new feature that allows fans to build their own sports stations. Versions for Android and Windows 7 smartphones are slated to launch later this summer.
“This latest version of the ESPN Radio App builds on our promise to deliver the best sports audio content across any device,” said Marc Horine, Vice President, ESPN Digital and Print Media. “With this update, fans now have complete control over their listening experience as the app provides the functionality to customize specifically by sports, teams and athletes they care most about.”
Beginning today (May 16), fans can download the premium version of the app at no cost for a limited time. After that, for a one-time fee of $4.99, fans can access the full experience of the app, complete with the new personalization features and enhancements. The premium app will continue to give millions of ESPN Radio listeners access to live radio streams from more than 35 ESPN Radio stations, fan favorite shows like “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd, “Waddle & Silvy” (Chicago) and “The Michael Kay Show” (New York), plus select play-by-play broadcasts, live scores and text messaging.
ESPN Radio launched its first app in September 2009 and has since been one of the top paid sports apps in the marketplace. Additionally, it was named Best Radio App by Radio Ink Magazine at the Digital Convergence Awards in May 2011. The ESPN Radio App is available from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore.