- 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.
CBS has confirmed that it has wrapped its upfront sales with “less money committed to the network than last season,” reports Broadcasting & Cable. ABC sources confirmed to B&C that it too had finished its upfront deals, with flat volume. All the networks are bundling their broadcast and digital sales, which have done little to excite advertisers.
CBS is getting between an 8 and 9% increase in cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs), which is typical year to year, and down from 13% to 15% hikes last year. ABC got increases of between 6% and 7%, versus the 11%-12% it commanded last year. The network sold ads across all platforms, including digital, reports Deadline Hollywood.
No announcement yet from FX, but, Hollywood Reporter confirms the network has sold out ads for the first four episodes of the Charlie Sheen vehicle “Anger Management.” FX has not released figures, but is claiming the highest CPM rates in the network’s history for a first-season show, and has signed Fiat as a sponsor.
None of the nets have confirmed if they have struck deals with General Motors, which is pressing networks to drop their prices, and threatening to boost their European advertising at the expense of domestic. Adweek reports that at least two broadcasters have walked away from GM, the nation’s third largest advertiser, which was asking for rollbacks as high as 20%.
Per Nielsen data, CBS wrapped up the 2011-2012 season with average nightly viewership of 11.8 million, and with an average 3.0 rating among adults 18-49, second only to Fox with a 3.2. It also had eight of the top 10 scripted series, including “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
The CW wrapped up first last week, with 7% CPM increases. The CW bundled mobile (iPhone, Android, iPad) inventory with its linear TV units, with retail and wireless being its strongest ad categories. Buyer were reportedly enthused by, among other properties, the October premieres of a superhero/action series called “Arrow,” and the “Sex and the City” prequel “The Carrie Diaries.”
The youth-oriented CW network has raised its cost-per-thousand (CPM) price by about 7% and sold nearly 75% of its inventory, reports Deadline Hollywood. Retailers and mobile phone companies are especially eager to buy spots. This year’s upfront season is generally considered a bit sluggish overall, and The CW is an indicator: its prices rose 11% last year. But the network is particularly strong in cross-media offerings and social TV: its “America’s Next Top Model” offering will roll in social media and viewer voting in 2012.
The CW las loaded its first-ever summer schedule with original programming, announcing the August premieres for two new reality series “The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep” and “Oh Sit!” as well as the summer debut “America’s Next Top Model: College Edition.” This summer will also feature season two of “The LA Complex” and the return of “Remodeled.”
“Oh Sit!” is a high-octane musical chairs competition, which kicks off the action on Wednesday, August 15 (8:00-9:00 P.M.). Hosted by Jamie Kennedy (“The Ghost Whisperer”) and actress/television host Jessi Cruickshank (“MTV Live”), “Oh Sit!” will see 12 thrill-seekers racing head to head through five physically demanding, obstacle course-style eliminations as they each compete to claim a chair, to the sounds of a live band. At the end of the hour, only one contestant will be left sitting triumphant to seize the cash prize. Adding to the fun, Tanika Ray (“Extra”) will be in the trenches with the contestants both on and off the track and will add color commentary from the sidelines as the action unfolds.
On Thursday, August 16 (9:00-10:00 P.M.), The CW will go on a nationwide search for undiscovered artists on the verge of stardom with “The Next: Fame is At Your Doorstep” from executive producer and hip-hop icon Queen Latifah and executive producer Dave Broome (“The Biggest Loser”). In this new take on the music competition genre, superstar mentors, including Grammy Award-nominated musician and actor Joe Jonas, Grammy Award-winning hip-hop superstar Nelly, pop legend Gloria Estefan, and country star John Rich will travel to where the talent is, immersing themselves in the lives and towns of these local performers and preparing them for the chance to represent their home city on stage, live, in front of America.
On Friday, August 24 (8:00-9:00 P.M.), “America’s Next Top Model: College Edition” makes its debut with a new format, new talent and a new judge – the viewer. Cycle 19 of the show will offer an interactive experience where, for the first time in “America’s Next Top Model” history, the public will be able to have a say in who stays and who goes in the competition. Right now, fans can go online at www.cwtv.com and vote for their favorite contestants based on photo shoots taken during production. These scores will be used by Tyra Banks and the judges to help determine who is eliminated each week and select viewer comments and videos will be featured in the show.
Also this summer on The CW, “The L.A. Complex” returns with the first seven, all-new episodes from its second season, Tuesday, July 17 (9:00-10:00 P.M.). To lead up to its season two premiere, The CW is currently encoring the entire first season of “The L.A. Complex” Tuesdays (9:00-10:00 P.M.). “Remodeled,” starring modeling icon Paul Fisher, will also return to The CW Monday, July 9 (9:00-10:00 P.M.), starting from the beginning and featuring never-before-seen episodes.
Following is the additional CW summer premiere schedule:
Monday, July 9
9:00-10:00 P.M. “Remodeled” (series premiere encore)
Tuesday, July 17
9:00-10:00 P.M. “The L.A. Complex” (season two premiere)
Wednesday, August 15
8:00-9:00 P.M. “Oh Sit!” (series premiere)
Thursday, August 16
8:00-9:00 P.M. “Oh Sit!” (special original episode)
9:00-10:00 P.M. “The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep” (series premiere)
Friday, August 24
8:00-9:00 P.M. “America’s Next Top Model: College Edition”
(cycle 19 premiere)
All of the major TV broadcasters hate the idea of bypassing televisions, but some of their local affiliates love the idea.
All major TV broadcasters have joined forces to fight Aereo, “an upstart company backed by Barry Diller that seeks to distribute stations online to paying customers,” as Hollywood Reporter describes. If Aereo successfully fends off the lawsuits, then Aero will retransmit broadcast programming online (and charge for it) without paying retransmission fees.
Broadcasters see it as a slippery slope. As Matt Bond, executive vp content distribution at NBCUniversal, told a New York federal court on Wednesday, it makes no sense for cable systems or satellite broadcasters to pay for NBCU content: They need only follow the Aereo example and snag it for free. (Aero uses an individual antenna to do so.) Bonds declared that "I know for a fact that cable companies have already considered such a model." Bonds and his opposite numbers at rival networks foresee impaired retransmission negotiations with cable and satellite providers, and lost ad dollars.
At the same time, local station owners are actively working with technology startups that want to broadcast their content to tablets and smartphones, reports USA Today. "It's watching TV in your car or on the train," Colleen Brown, CEO of TV station owner Fisher Communications told USA Today. "There will be a time when consumers don't care how they get TV."
USA Today names Aereo alongside new ventures Syncbak, Dyle and Mobile500 as providing mobile digital TV technology for consumers looking to cut the cable cord.
Mobile500 Alliance is a joint venture of 50 TV station companies (Fisher Communications included, and Brown chairs the alliance), which plans to release an antenna and iOS app this summer to allow iPhone and iPad users to receive local TV broadcast signals. The content will be free, but the antenna will cost $50 to $100.
Thus far,other companies that aimed to deliver TV via Internet (including Filmon, Ivi.tv and iCravetv) have been blocked by lawsuits: But none was backed by a heavyweight like Barry Diller, or by a consortium like the Mobile500Alliance.
More on this as the story evolves.
There is always that nagging doubt—just how accurate are those Nielsen ratings? The Council for Research Excellence (CRE), a think-tank of senior-level media and advertising professionals, intends to find out. CRE will conduct a three-market study of various audience-measurement methods. CRE’s objective is to improve diary-based TV-audience measurement and in turn improve ratings quality.
The three television markets to be included in the “SQ:L” (for “Sample Quality: Local”) Study are Dallas-Fort Worth, the fifth-largest TV market and a Nielsen local people-meter (LPM) market; Albuquerque-Santa Fe, the 45th-largest TV market and a standard Nielsen-meter market; and Paducah, Kentucky-Cape Girardeau, Missouri-Harrisburg, Illinois -- Nielsen market # 81 and a diary market.
The markets were selected due to varying measurement methodology; varying market size; and divergent characteristics, such as geographical coverage, ethnic make-up, number of over-the-air households and penetration levels of electronic devices. During the standard May 2012 diary measurement, a separate diary sample was selected for Dallas, while identified “non-TV homes” in all three markets will receive a modified diary.
Sampled homes in all markets will be mailed a short questionnaire seeking answers on media equipment ownership and general viewing patterns. Homes identified as not having a television set will be contacted and asked if they have any source of viewing television programming; those saying “yes” will be sent a modified diary in which they will be asked to record what they view and the device used for viewing.
The study, involving the CRE’s Sample Quality, Set-top Box, Local Measurement and Media-related Universe Estimates Committees, marks the CRE’s second study of audience measurement in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Data analysis from a 2009 Universe Estimates Committee study of the market revealed significant differences from the Nielsen sample in ownership of HD sets and DVD players, and an unexpectedly high percentage of non-TV households. That same year, Nielsen garnered considerable bad press when local affiliate stations dropped the services. As Broadcasting & Cable reported, New York-based WKBW Buffalo dropped Nielsen in favor of Media Audit. Sunbeam Television in Miami leveled a lawsuit, claiming Nielsen's Local People Meters "produced defective, wildly inaccurate ratings data which-literally overnight-created havoc in [Miami]." Nielsen responded that it was not unusual for stations to cycle in and out of its services.
“Some of our prior research has helped us realize we have many more questions that need to be answered in order to improve diary sampling,” said Ceril Shagrin, executive vice president of Univision Communications, who serves as chair of the CRE as well as its Sample Quality Committee. “We need to learn whether expanded media-related equipment ownership can be obtained from diary samples, whether return-path data can improve diary measurement, and how much ‘TV program’ viewing is now done – and on what devices -- in what are currently defined as ‘non-TV homes.’
“By making comparisons of diary-based measurement to meter-based measurement and set-top-box information – and conducting specific follow-up studies with non-responding as well as non-TV homes – this effort should provide new insights into responders and non-responders of the address-based sampling diary service,” Shagrin added.
This newest study also marks the second major effort for the CRE’s Sample Quality Committee, formerly known as the Non-Response Bias Committee. Its 2009 study, “Measuring the Unmeasured Viewer,” was the most comprehensive of its kind to determine the impact of non-response on ratings -- revealing more about unmeasured viewers than any prior effort.
Data collected from the new study, conducted with the assistance of Research Triangle Incorporated, will be compared with Nielsen LPM, metered and diary market data in an effort to determine, among other details, the impact on response bias of weighting, adjusting return path or set-meter data, geographic and demographic variables, and ownership of a traditional TV set as well as a land-line phone or cellphone only. Findings from the study are expected to be made available by first quarter 2013.
To date, the CRE has completed several major studies, including the Video Consumer Mapping Study, conducted in 2008, involving in-person, computer-assisted observation of media consumption; a Set-Top Box Study, examining the state of set-top box-based audience research; the landmark Non-Response Bias Study, exploring the impact and correlates of non-response to Nielsen surveys; a study of Media-related Universe Estimates; an initial phase of a Study of User Experience on multiple video screens and formats; and a study of Digital publishers’ handling of user data.
- USA promises that “Political Animals” will be “The television event of the summer,”and has announced a premiere date of July 15 at 10 P.M. ET, 9 P.M. CT. “Animals” is a limited-run six-hour series. In addition to headliner Sigourney Weaver (of the “Alien” franchise), Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes”) stars as President Paul Garcetti, who defeated Elaine (Weaver) in the presidential primary and then appointed her as his Secretary of State. The project also stars Carla Gugino (“Entourage”), James Wolk (“Shameless”), Sebastian Stan (“Gossip Girl”), Brittany Ishibashi (“The Mentalist”) with Ellen Burstyn (“Requiem for a Dream”) and Ciarán Hinds (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”). Principal photography has begun in Philadelphia with executive producer Craig Berlanti directing the first episode.
- “FOX Mocks ‘The Voice’ With a New Dating Show, ‘The Choice,’” reported the New York Times. The NYT sees it as a swipe at NBC’s “The Voice,” the only significant rival to FOX’s “American Idol.” Hosted by Cat Deeley and debuting Thursday, June 7 (9:00-10:00 P.M. ET/PT), “The Choice” features the world’s most eligible celebrities (to be announced) competing to find true love among a group of sexy singles they can’t see—rather like “The Voice.” Also like “The Dating Game” from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Filmed in front of a live audience, each episode begins with four eligible celebrity bachelors sitting in rotating chairs, “turning their backs on love” and using only their suitors’ voices and answers to make their selections. When the celebrity bachelor likes what he hears, he will pull his “love handle,” spinning his chair around to bring him face-to-face for the first time with his potential mate. If more than one celebrity pulls the handle, they must battle it out for her affection.
- Alas, no Mitt Romney appearance on “Saturday Night Live” this season, executive producer Lorne Michaels confirmed in a conference call reported by Deadline Hollywood. “We only have three shows left and they’re pretty jammed-packed,” the executive producer said during a conference call. “It might be in the fall, but we’ll never know, that’ll all depend on his availability.” SNL’s 37th season wraps up May 19, and will launch season 38 in September, during campaign season. Michaels extended an invitation to Romney in April, but Romney and Michaels have yet to come to terms on an appearance.
- Plenty of ad opportunities still available for the Saturday Kentucky Derby. The NBC Sports Group will present 14½ hours of Kentucky Derby coverage beginning today at 4 P.M. ET on NBC Sports Network, and culminating with the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on NBC, Saturday, May 5 beginning at 4 P.M. ET. Once again this year, a host of NBCUniversal properties will participate in promoting the food, fashion, celebrity and entertaining spectacle that is the Kentucky Derby. Among other coverage, “Today’s” Jenna Wolfe will report live from Churchill Downs on Friday and continue coverage on Saturday’s Weekend “Today” when she interviews NBC’s on-horse reporter Donna Brothers. “Today” coverage from Churchill Downs continues on Sunday with an interview with the Derby-winning jockey and trainer. Wolfe will also be featured on NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage, where she will contribute features. Local Media & Comcast regional sports nets: NBC Kentucky Derby feature teasers were distributed to all 235 NBC affiliates and 11 Comcast Regional Sports Networks. Additionally, DailyCandy’s Lilliana Vazquez participated in a Satellite Media Tour about Kentucky Derby fashions and traditions, and a reporter from NBC NewsChannel will file live reports from Churchill Downs on Friday. Other coverage will run on E!, Bravo, CNBC, Style and iVillage.
- Cross media ad opportunities abound arouns Syfy’s “Defiance.” This transmedia event will launch in Spring 2013, and has commenced production on the series pilot in Toronto, ON. Syfy partnered with Trion Worlds to produce this first-ever convergence of television and Massive Multiplayer Online gaming, featuring an interconnected world and storylines that will co-exist on both platforms. The pilot is directed by Scott Stewart (“Legion,” “Priest”) and written by veterans of “Farscape,” “Caprica” and “Battlestar Galactica.” Set in the near future, “Defiance” introduces a completely transformed planet Earth, inhabited by the human and alien survivors of a universal war. Forced to co-habitate, the disparate group struggles to build a new society among the devastation. The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of the game will exist in a single universe (which will debut simultaneously), where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story.
- No advertising possibilities, because it’s PBS, but there’s a sponsorship opportunity. Martha Stewart will lend her culinary talents to PBS, reports MediaBistro, with a 30-minute weekly broadcast. “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School” is inspired by her best-selling book, and will be presented in association with PBS station WETA Washington, D.C. “PBS is the perfect home for this series,” says Stewart. “We’ll show viewers how to prepare classic dishes as well as how to use proper techniques.” Hallmark Channel pulled the plug on “The Martha Stewart Show” as of May, due to high production costs versus ratings.
- Sure, “sex sells,” but scandal sells too. The Tuesday, April 17, premiere of Investigation Discovery’s “The Woman Who Wasn’t There” was a hit for Investigation Discovery, scoring a pretty good 0.87 household rating in primetime, and 0.72 among Women 25-54 at 8 P.M. – 9:30 on Tuesday, April 17. The film exposes the truth behind 9/11 “survivor” Tania Head who became the face of 9/11 widows, who was exposed as a fraud. The documentary will re-run tonight (April 20) at 8 P.M. ET/PT on Investigation Discovery.
- Fox Sports Media Group will afford domestic soccer fans the opportunity to witness most (but not all) of “the madness of of Relegation Sunday” in England's Barclays Premiere League (BPL), reports Multichannel News. Fox Sports Media Group is the primary U.S. rights holder of global soccer, and will cover nine of the BPL 10 matches on May 13, the final Sunday of the season. In addition to its primary U.S. “futbol” home Fox Soccer, Fox Sports will feature eight other matches at 10 A.M. on FX, Fox SportsNet, Fuel TV, premium service Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes (with Spanish-language coverage for one of the top matches), as well as FoxSoccer.com and broadband service Fox Soccer2Go (two matches). Pre-match coverage will commence at 9:30 A..M. on all networks
- Democrats are “already spending big on TV campaign ads,” reports MSNBC. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $32 million in broadcast TV advertising alone, in anticipation of a heated battle for House and Senate seats. According to the website Politico, more than 2.5 million has been reserved for Minnesota and $259,000 for Wisconsin, where the Democrats particularly stand to lose long-held seats to Republican contendors.
- News about the “2012 Billboard Music Awards.” Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber, LMFAO and The Wanted have been announced as the first artists to perform at the Awards, which will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 20 at 8:00-11:00 P.M. ET on ABC. With more than 14 million albums sold worldwide, 14 No. 1 singles (six as co-writers), five Grammys and countless other accolades, Underwood now unleashes her most ambitious project yet with “Blown Away,” available May 1. Her 2005 debut, “Some Hearts,” topped Billboard’s Country Albums chart for 27 weeks, has sold over 7 million copies and was voted No. 1 Country Album of the Decade by Billboard. Her 2007 sophomore album, “Carnival Ride,” and 2009′s “Play On” each debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country and All-Genre Album Charts. Justin Bieber is, of course, Justin Bieber, with more than 15 million album sales worldwide and 2.7 billion video views on YouTube. LMFAO’s “Sorry for Party Rocking” was certified gold earlier this year and is quickly approaching platinum.
- Country Music Television (CMT) will announce its award nominees on NBC’s “Today” on Monday. Platinum-selling country group Little Big Town will present the nominees for the 2012 “CMT Music Awards” live during the 10 A.M. EDT hour of NBC’s “Today” show Monday, April 23. The foursome, who will be releasing their brand new single “Pontoon” this month, will sit down with host Hoda Kotb and guest co-host Willie Geist to reveal this year’s nominees in select categories and give their predictions for the night’s big winners. This is the second year in a row that CMT and NBC have partnered to announce the CMT Music Awards nominations. Voting will begin on CMT.com immediately following this announcement. The 2012 awards mark the 11th anniversary of the awards show and will air live from Nashville on Wednesday, June 6 on CMT and CMT.com.
NBC Owned Stations will begin selling national advertising for four Comcast SportsNets cable channels, reports the Washington Business Journal. Those channels include Comcast’s New England, Mid-Atlantic, Northwest and Philadelphia networks.
Comcast Sports Group test drove the model in a trial run at New England Cable News (part of the Comcast Sports Group), and “It worked so well that we decided to expand this relationship to more markets,” Ray Warren, executive VP and chief revenue officer for Comcast Sports Group told Broadcasting & Cable.
Warren went on to describe that Comcast’s regional sports networks “have delivered a lot of value to advertisers because of the hard-to-reach male demos we attract.” Through combining selected regional sports networks with the NBC Owned Stations, Warren sees Comcast as “able to create a complete local package with compelling cross-demo appeal for advertisers that is unprecedented in its reach."
Comcast Sports Group and NBC Owned Stations (there are 10 stations in the group, nationwide) will roll out the model over the next four months, beginning in New England.
- Bad news for ABC and “The Bachelor.” As a Reuters story describes, two African American men expect to file a racial discrimination lawsuit today (April 18) against ABC television and the producers of the reality dating shows "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." Both men come from Nashville, Tennessee, and claim that the reality shows intentionally exclude people of color. Nashville residents Nathaniel Claybrooks, an All-American football player, and Christopher Johnson, an aspiring National Football League player, observe that in the 10 years and 23 seasons, neither show has featured a person of color in a central role. The lawsuit is expected to name ABC television, Warner Horizon television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions and Michael Fleiss, the executive producer of the "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" franchises.
- Bravo Media has renewed the controversial “Shahs of Sunset” for a second season. The Sunday night season one finale earned its most watched episode of the season with over 1.5 million total viewers and 1 million adults 18-49. The show follows wealthy Iranians living in Beverly Hills, which Iranian-Americans have complained is stereotypical. One of its stars, Reza Farhan, scoffs at the criticism, telling the LA Times “This is not a National Geographic documentary about the plight of the Persian people from Mecca to Medina to Beverly Hills.” Compared to last week’s episode, the season finale spiked 20% among adults 18-49 and 15 percent among total viewers. Based on the show’s success the network greenlit a second season of the series from Ryan Seacrest Productions. Additionally, “Watch What Happens Live” hosted by Andy Cohen with guests Reza Farahan, Asa Soltan Rahmati and Mike Shouhed from “Shahs of Sunset” scored an impressive 1.4 million total viewers and 942,000 adults 18- 49, up 31% and 44%, respectively, over the week before.
- Still a few days to buy. Fox has unveiled the guest appearance list for its 25TH Annviersary Special, scheduled for Sunday April 22 from 8 – 10 P.M. ET/PT. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the star-studded special will pay tribute to Fox’s most memorable moments with appearances by Fox talent, highlights from iconic series and specials and reunions with cast members from some of the network’s fan-favorite series. Talent scheduled to appear include Calista Flockhart from “Ally McBeal”; Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler from “American Idol”; Gabrielle Carteris, Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley and Ian Ziering from “Beverly Hills, 90210”; Seth MacFarlane from “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad;” Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal from “Married With Children”; Kiefer Sutherland from “Touch” and “24”; and Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and creator Chris Carter from “The X-Files.”
- NFL Network, ESPN and NBC have announced their football broadcast plans, NFL Networks for Thursday nights; ESPN for Monday Night Football and NBC for Sunday Night Football. Thursday Night Football on NFL Network kicks off in Week 2 (Sept. 13) and features nine 2011 playoff teams, including six which won division crowns and both NFC Championship Game teams (Giants and 49ers). Game times for the contests are 8:00 P.M. ET. The 43rd season of Monday Night Football will kick off on ESPN with a doubleheader Monday, September 10 –Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens, at 7 P.M. ET, and San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders at 10:15 P.M./7:15 p.m. PT) – and will continue with a total of 17 prime-time games. NBC will broadcast 19 primetime NFL games during the 2012 season, highlighted by: the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants hosting their division rivals the Dallas Cowboys on NFL Kickoff 2012, and the new Thanksgiving night game.
- Good news for FX and perennial disgruntled employee Charlie Sheen. According to TV Guide, test audiences who viewed the upcoming FX series “Anger Management” have given it high marks. The sitcom is based on the 2003 movie of the same name, featuring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. Sheen plays an ex Major League Baseball player with rage problems, who becomes an anger management therapist. Over 80% of the group approved of Sheen’s performance. “Anger Management” will premiere back-to-back episodes on Thursday, June 28 at 9 P.M. ET.
- Beginning tomorrow (Wednesday, April 18), the date that marks 100 days from the July 27 Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, NBC Sports Group and the networks of NBCUniversal will take part in a multi-platform marketing initiative to promote the upcoming Olympic Games. In the 8 P.M. ET/PT hour on Wednesday, all 20 NBCUniversal channels will participate in a 30-second roadblock that promotes the 100-day countdown to the Games, and a new phase of increased Olympic promotion will begin. In addition, NBC Sports Group and the networks of NBCUniversal will be participating at the USOC’s Team USA take-over of Times Square that same day.The Olympic Games are an NBCUniversal Symphony initiative, which leverages the company’s promotional resources to drive awareness to key events. Since the acquisition of NBCUniversal by Comcast in January 2011, NBCUniversal has 40% more capacity to promote the Games, including 20 broadcast/cable channels and more than 65 websites.
- Alec Baldwin says he'll return to “30 Rock” for a seventh season according to an AP story—that despite his tweets last week about “leaving NBC just in time.” Baldwin was miffed that “Today” reporters had camped outside of his apartment, following up on a stalker story. Baldwin, who owes his fame to film and TV, grumped that "If every entertainment show went off the air tomorrow, ? difference would it make? Every talk show? Political show? Sitcom, for that matter," Baldwin wrote Thursday. "Media in the US is dull. Deadening. uninformative. You're better off with reading. Or radio." Baldwin went on to tell AP that he’s no fan of “Today,” and prefers rival net ABC's "Good Morning America" or CNN's Anderson Cooper at night.
- A significant jump in second-week ratings for Lifetime’s drama “The Client List,” starring and executive produced by Jennifer Love Hewitt. “The Client List” on Sunday night grew across the key demos from its premiere last week according to Nielsen Research. Total viewers were 2.9 million, up 4%; 1.4 million adults 25-54, up 8%; 1.3 million viewers 18-49 up 8%; 1.1 million women 25-54, up 21%; and 1.0 million women 18-49, up 28%. “The Client List” is about Texas housewife “Riley Parks” (Hewitt), who, after being deserted by her husband, is left in serious financial straits and takes a job at a seemingly traditional day spa in a neighboring town, which turns out to offer “other services.” The series follows Riley as she balances a moral conflict between life as a single mother in a conservative town, and as an ambitious businesswoman working with a "raucous, sexy and unpredictable group of women," as Lifetime describes.
- ABC Family has snagged the basic-cable premiere rights to Warner Bros. “Where the Wild Things Are.” ABC Family will broadcast the family film on Sunday, April 29th at the surprisingly late hour (for a school night) of 10 P.M. ET/PT. Director Spike Jonze brought Maurice Sendak’s beloved book to the big screen in 2010. The film tells the story of Max (Max Records), a rambunctious and sensitive boy who feels misunderstood at home and escapes to where the Wild Things are. Max lands on an island where he meets mysterious and strange creatures whose emotions are as wild and unpredictable as their actions. Co-starring Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos), Catherine Keener and Catherine O’Hara.
- ABC News is crowing that it has “snapped ‘Today’s’ 16-year winning streak.” For the week of April 9, ABC News’ “Good Morning America” drew 5.147 million total viewers to rank No. 1 for the week, outperforming NBC’s “Today” with 5.134 million, according to Fast National Preliminary Nielsen data. In the process, “GMA” outdrew “Today” during the course of a week for the first time in more than 16 years – since the week of December 4, 1995. “We want to thank our loyal viewers, our stations, our amazing team of Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Sam Champion, Josh Elliott, Lara Spencer, and our dedicated staff and crew for getting us to this amazing point,” said Tom Cibrowski, Senior Executive Producer. GMA” improved on the year-ago week by +7% in Total Viewers (4.812 million on w/o 4/4/11), while NBC’s “Today” (-9%) decreased.