Nearly six in 10 core radio listeners (57%) start their day with another medium or gadget, rather than turning on the radio, reports Inside Radio. That according to media analyst and consultancy Jacobs Media, in their Techsurvey8 report.
The 18-34 year old demo is more likely to engage with email or Facebook as their first media interaction of the day, along with their first cup of joe.
The Techsurvey8 results were gathered online from January 31-February 15 from listeners of 170 broadcast stations across the U.S. and Canada, contributing 57,358 total respondents. Jacobs Media surveyed 170 stations, 12 radio formats and 57,358 radio listeners, claiming it is the “largest technology survey ever conducted for radio.”
As a format, radio is hardly dead, but, is a more high-touch medium which, like TV, is finding itself having to meet digital natives wherever they listen.
Why AM/FM Radio still matters: While "favorite songs" and personalities rank highest, there are four emotional triggers that listeners value:
1. Having a radio on while they work
2. Putting them in a better mood
3. Providing a feeling of companionship
4. Offering an escape from the pressures of everyday life
Pandora is a (pure) player: By far, Pandora is the most popular pure-play Internet option, as nearly half (45%) of "streamies" listen to some extent, easily besting competitors like iHeartRadio (19%), Spotify (7%), TuneIn Radio (7%), and Slacker Radio (5%).
However, Pandora users are split as to whether the Internet pure play should be considered "radio" – 43% "yes" – 49% "no."
Protecting The In-Car Listening Franchise: More than half of all respondents say that most of their radio listening takes place in cars. One in ten (9%) now drives a car equipped with a system like Ford's Sync, especially fans of News/Talk and Sports/Talk.
Smartphones, Apps and Tablets coming on strong: More than half (52%) own a smartphone.
Tablets are becoming a significant part of the digital story. One-fourth say they own one (24%), and iPad has a big lead over its competitors.
The Social Media tidal wave: Eight of ten are on Facebook. More than one-fifth use Twitter, and Sports/Talk emerges as the format where Twitter rules.
Nielsen Company released some intriguing demographic data, from part 2 of its “State of the Media Spring 2012” report—this part presenting an in-depth look at usage by demographic (ethnicity, gender and age).
White TV viewers use their DVRs at twice as much as any other group on a daily basis for time-shifted viewing; yet Asians watch the most timeshifted content as a share of overall TV time.
Among the online destinations for streaming TV content, Hispanics are most likely to watch on Netflix (still no advertising opportunities), where Asians are most likely to watch on Hulu and black viewers on YouTube (both ad friendly).
- Teens used a gaming console for an average of eight minutes during primetime, more than twice as much as the general TV population.
- When watching TV and using their tablet computers simultaneously, male tablet users were more likely to look up information related to a TV program, and females were more likely to up look info related to a TV ad.
- Females spend 61.2% of timeshifted viewing during primetime to watch dramas.
- Females spend 46.9% of real-time viewing watching drama, versus 34.5% for men.
- Females spend 13.5% of their time viewing sports, versus 32.7% for me.
- Online adults aged 25-54 are 23% more likely than the average U.S. Internet user to follow a brand via social networking and 29% more likely to purchase a product online that was featured on TV.
That eight-minute figure for teens and gaming seems low, frankly. Few games can be played in eight minutes. Presumably, that average is dragged down because teens who spend zero minutes on gaming outnumber those who spend hours at a time.
- Will Ferrell will return to “Saturday Night Live” for his third time as host on Saturday, May 12. Ferrell was last seen in the telenova comedy, “Casa de Mi Padre” and can next be seen in “The Campaign,” due out August 10 with Zach Galifianakis. Usher makes his third musical guest appearance alongside Ferrell. The seven-time Grammy-award winner’s seventh studio album, “Looking for Myself,” is due out June 12th and is already enjoying massive reaction to its number one lead single “Climax” and his just released “Scream.”
- A&E Network will premiere the new original scripted drama series, “Longmire” on Sunday, June 3 at 10 P.M. ET/PT immediately following the third season premiere of the returning hit drama “The Glades” at 9 P.M. ET/PT. “Longmire”is a contemporary crime thriller set in Big Sky country, and is based on the Walt Longmire Mystery novels by best-selling author Craig Johnson. The series stars Australian actor Robert Taylor (The Matrix) as Walt Longmire, the charismatic, dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming,along with Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”), Lou Diamond Phillips (“Numb3rs”), Bailey Chase (“Damages”), Cassidy Freeman (“Smallville“) and newcomer Adam Bartley. The premiere season will feature ten one-hour episodes.
- CNBC‘s ratings are way down across the board, according to Deadline Hollywood, citing Nielsen data. The network’s core business programming (airing from 6 A.M. to 8 P.M.) is down 10% in total viewers and 6% in adults 25-54 from April to April. Especially hard hit are the “marquee shows” “Squawk Box” and “Closing Bell,” each in its fourth straight quarter of declines. From April 2011 to April 2012 “Squawk Box” is down 16% in total viewers and 29% in the 25-54 demos. “‘Closing Bell” is also down 16% year over year and 11% in the 25-54 demo.
- The NLF Draft is a ratings giant. ESPN's live telecast of the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft in primetime on Thursday took a 5.1 cable rating and nearly 6.7 million viewers, reports Multichannel News citing Nielsen data. That represents an 11% gain from last year's 6 million. That makes the opening round the second highest-rated and second most-viewed NFL Draft telecast on record, second only to the 5.3 rating with 7.29 million watchers in 2010, the first time the college selection event aired in primetime. ESPN has televised the NFL Draft every year since 1980. NFL Network’s first-round coverage reached 1.4 million viewers on average, which is a 40% jump from the 1 million who tuned in the 2010 event.
- ABC Family has pulled the plug on “Make It Or Break It,” which will wrap up its current season on May 13 at 9 P.M., reports The Wrap. The scripted drama follows young female gymnasts training for the 2012 Olympics, and has steadily declined in ratings since it debuted in 2009, averaging 1.4 million total viewers for its current third season (down about 50% from season one).
- NBC has pulled the plug on midseason comedy “Best Friends Forever,” The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The half-hour sitcom premiered in early April with a modest 4 million viewers and a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49, and has declined since. The show was created by comediennes Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, who also starred. Next week, an original episode of “Betty White's Off Their Rockers” will air in the Wednesday 8:30 P.M. No announcement yet as to when NBC will burn off BFF’s last two episodes.
- In syndication news, Nick at Nite has added “Yes, Dear” to its nightly lineup, beginning May 1. This 122-episode family comedy stars Mike O’Malley (Glee, GUTS) and follows two couples and their wildly divergent parenting styles. Yes, Dear will air regularly on the network Monday-Friday at 11:00 P.M. ET/PT.Originally airing from 2000-06 on CBS, Yes, Dear showcases first-time parents Greg (Anthony Clark) and Kim Warner (Jean Louisa Kelly) who aspire to be the model of parenting. Greg is a successful movie studio executive who must also keep Kim– a neurotic, stay-at-home mother – calm as she strives to be the perfect mother and wife. Meanwhile, Kim’s sister, Christine Hughes (Liza Snyder), and her layabout husband, Jimmy (O’Malley), are down-to-earth parents living in Kim and Greg’s guest house, continually reminding them that life will never be perfect.
New York’s 30-year-old WRKS (Kiss FM) will no longer broadcast at 98.7, reports the Wall Street Journal. Owner company Emmis Communications announced Thursday that it will lease the frequency to ESPN, effective Monday, April 30.
WRKS will merge with its WBLS, at 107.5 FM—a long-time rival—consolidating the city’s urban adult contemporary market under one call. The stations have announced they will "Maintain the Kiss FM legacy," by bringing aboard Kiss FM personality Shaila, and night-time DJ Lenny Green. Emmis has sold WRKS’s intellectual property to WBLS parent company YMF Media.
ESPN has for 11 years broadcast at 1050 AM, as the New York Times describes, challenging the better-established WFAN (a 24/7 sports station on the AM 660 frequency, which used to run “Imus in the Morning”). ESPN Radio New York will take over 12:01 a.m. Monday, and in mid-September, its AM slot will become the Spanish-language ESPN Deportes New York. That, said Traug Keller, an ESPN senior vice president, "Is the real gem [of the shuffle] which will better allow us to add a Hispanic element."
The Times speculates that this is a strong sign that ESPN Radio will pursue the rights to carry Yankees games, for which WCBS-AM pays $14 million in a yearly contract. ESPN Radio already carries the New York Knicks, Rangers and Jets games, while WFAN has the Mets, Giants, New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils.
This is the year analysts predicted that digital advertising will surpass print in revenues, and here is some proof. Digital revenues outpaced print at business-to-business group United Business Media for the first time in Q1. UBM publishes InformationWeek, The Journal of Commerce and Psychiatric Times, among other titles. It also owns PR Newswire, TechWeb, and offers marketing services.
The company released its Q1 fiscal report yesterday, and for the first time, its online revenue exceeded print. As BtoB describes, revenues from online marketing services totaled $34.4 million, and print marketing services totaled $30.8 million.
That represents an 11.2% boost in online marketing services for Q1 compared to 2011, while print marketing services plummeted 31.4% in Q1 year-over-year (YoY). This was due in part to drops in ad pages, also, to some divestments in titles.
Earlier this week, its InformationWeek title unveiled three new marketing services products in educational programming, social media and live streaming video. The InformationWeek University product includes a sponsored track, which can supposedly deliver a minimum of 800 leads for the sponsor.
The experts at eMarketer called it in January, when they predicted that the online ad spend would bypass print in 2012—across all media. UBM is a well-diversified business publisher, but consumer publications are expecting a digital boost too, after a healthy growth across media of 42.1% in 2011. That growth will be fueled this year by, among other factors, the move to e-reading and magazine apps, and by advertising around the 2012 election and summer Olympic Games. eMarketer has projected that U.S. online ad spending will grow 23.3% in 2012 to nearly $40 billion, and nearly $53 billion in 2013. This will make 2012 the first year in which online ad spends will surpass the total spent on print ads, with $39.5 billion online versus $33.8 billion in magazines and newspapers.
- Discovery Channel will premiere “Secrets of Bin Laden’s Lair,” a one-hour special that provides the first comprehensive television report on currently classified intelligence seized during the May 2, 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The special airs on Tuesday, May 1 at 10PM ET/PT, The special will also air on Discovery Chanel across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia-pacific and Latin America beginning on May 10. NBC News correspondent Harry Smith serves as narrator. It provides a look into the treasure trove of intelligence that United States Navy SEALs captured the night they killed Osama Bin LadenDiscovery, in concert with NBC News, was given an exclusive briefing on the classified intelligence by a senior U.S. Counterterrorism official.
- FOX has picked up “Fringe” for a fifth and final 13-episode season, Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company announced yesterday. “Fringe’s” fourth season concludes with three all-new Friday episodes in a row, counting down to the two-part season finale on Friday, May 4 (9:00-10:00 P.M. ET/PT) and Friday, May 11 (9:00-10:00 P.M. ET/PT). In “Worlds Apart,” airing Friday, April 27 (9:00-10:00 P.M. ET/PT), team members on both sides, including Olivia (Anna Torv) and Peter (Joshua Jackson), continue to fight for a common cause, and there are shocking developments tied to the Cortexiphan children.
- Also from Fox, its “Teen Choice 2012” awards, celebrating the year in film, television, music, sports, comedy, fashion and the web will air live Sunday, July 22 8:00-10:00 P.M. ET live/PT tape-delayed. The choicest stars, best films most-loved TV shows, hottest music, favorite fashion icons and funniest comedians of 2011-2012 will receive the “coveted Teen Choice Surfboard” in such categories as Choice Hottie, Choice Movie Liplock, Choice Break-Up Song and Choice Twit.
- Fox Soccer is partnering with Liverpool Football Club on a new six-episode docuseries that will premiere this fall, reports Multichannel News. “Our Liverpool: Never Walk Alone” will offer a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most successful clubs in England's Barclays Premiere League as it concludes its 2011-2012 season, then will continue through the club's July tour of North America.
- TV land has done well with original programming, so has ordered additional episodes of “Happily Divorced,” bringing the sophomore season of the sitcom starring Fran Drescher to 24 episodes, reports Deadline Hollywood. So far, season two is averaging 1.5 million total viewers. The second season premiered last month with 1.4 million viewers, way down from 2.4 million viewers for its series premiere last summer. The show is drawn from Drescher’s real life, and follows a woman who re-enters the dating world after her husband admits that he’s gay.
Aspire, the cable start-up launched by basketball player NBA Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson, has signed the Chrysler Group, L’Oreal USA and Nationwide Insurance as sponsors, report the New York Times and Multichannel News.
The three advertisers will enjoy exclusivity on Aspire through 2013 in their verticals (domestic autos, beauty products and insurance), plus value-adds like having Johnson appear at company events. But there is plenty of room left in other verticals. Mary Jeanne Cavanagh, executive vice president for ad sales in the New York office of GMC TV told the Times she expects to complete $10 million+ by the june launch, in categories including beverages, distilled spirits, fast food, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications.
Aspire will launch on June 27, and is one of four new minority-owned independent networks to be distributed on Comcast Cable systems between April 2012 and January 2014. Another is Revolt, led by Sean "Diddy" Combs, and El Rey, led by director Robert Rodriguez ("From Dusk til Dawn," "Desperado"). These launches partly fulfill a commitment that Comcast to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in connection with its early 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal. Comcast entertained more than 100 proposals before selecting the four nets, two of which are majority African-American owned and two that are majority American Hispanic owned and operated and programmed in English.
Aspire is spearheaded by Johnson, in partnership with GMC TV (formerly the Gospel Music Channel). Johnson emphasizes Aspire’s positive messaging—no true crime, dating disasters or cutthroat competition shows. “Aspire will be a network that encourages and challenges African-Americans to reach for their dreams and will appeal to all generations,” said Johnson. Aspire will deliver what Comcast calls “inspiring and positive programming” including movies, documentaries, short films, music, comedy, visual and performing arts, and faith and inspirational programs.
As the Times describes, Aspire will go head-to-head for black audiences, with BET, Black Heritage Network and Centric, among others.
Oxygen has announced a 50 percent increase in original programming with five new series joining the 2012 schedule, including: “Girlfriend Confidential,” a new programming franchise which will have New York and Los Angeles editions, “All the Right Moves,” “My Shopping Addiction” and “I’m Having Their Baby.” Additionally, three new projects have been added to the development pipeline: “#VideoStar (working title),” “Propos’d” and “Longest.Date.Ever.” The network promises that the new slate will “provide relatable and authentic programming that speaks to the network’s core demographic of young, female viewers.”
These series join the previously announced shows “The Glee Project” season two, which will premiere Tuesday, June 5 at 10 P.M. ET/PT and “The Next Big Thing: NY,” following performance coach and musical director Trapper Felides as he trains a group of young performers, which will premiere Tuesday, June 12 at 11 P.M. ET/PT.
“We have ramped up our 2012 schedule with relatable and genuine series that reflect the diverse and distinctive tastes of our core viewers,” said Rod Aissa, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and Development. “These series all dive into themes that Gen O” (presumably “Generation Oxygen”) “women are obsessed with – friendship, dating, fashion and entertainment.”
The five greenlit titles and the three series in development represent Oxygen’s commitment to programming and developing content that resonates with the young, modern woman and the themes and topics that they are obsessed with. The network’s new programming franchise, “Girlfriend Confidential: NY” (formerly “Taking NY”) and “Girlfriend Confidential: LA” (formerly “Taking Hollywood”) follow a group of best friends in New York City and Los Angeles, each up and coming but well-connected across several different industries – beauty, fashion and entertainment. These women all at different stages in their lives – married, single and new moms – are making decisions that will affect their friendships and their futures. “All the Right Moves” joins the schedule with an upbeat and entertaining look into the lives of four professional dancers. Fresh off a “Dancing with the Stars” performance, Emmy-nominated choreographer Travis Wall (“So You Think You Can Dance”) is at the epicenter of a group of friends and roommates that are putting their immense talent together in a risky business venture – starting their own dance company, Shaping Sound. “My Shopping Addiction” is a serious look into the lives of young people facing a crisis brought on by a dangerous addiction to spending, and finding the underlying cause for and a way to alter this compulsive behavior. “I’m Having Their Baby” is a deep and emotional look at young, pregnant twentysomething women forced to make one of the most important decisions of their lives – to keep or place their unborn children for adoption.
NEW SERIES GREENLIGHTS:
“Girlfriend Confidential: NY”
Part of a new franchise on Oxygen, this series focuses on a group of gorgeous, well-dressed, high-powered and well-connected female friends in New York City that include: Leigh Cherrier (Public Relations Director for Louis Licari), Marianne Garvey (News Editor, InTouch Magazine), Leila Shams (Fashion Designer), Kelly Brady (Celebrity Publicist) and Raina Seitel (correspondent for NBC’s “New York Live”).“Girlfriend Confidential: NY” is produced by Discovery Studios with Daniel Soiseth and Jason Sands serving as executive producers.
“Girlfriend Confidential: LA”
The LA version of Oxygen’s new franchise follows four beautiful and successful best friends who help each other navigate the tumultuous waters of love, celebrity life and the entertainment industry – they are nobody’s wife. At the epicenter of this beautiful, intelligent and savvy group is Eva Marcille (“America’s Next Top Model”), fashion model, actor and producer. Her group of friends include: actress Denyce Lawton Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne”), Nikki Chu, a dynamic interior and product designer and Kelly Marie Dunn, a talent and brand manager who has worked with A-list musicians and pop stars. “Girlfriend Confidential: LA” is produced by Ish Entertainment with Michael Hirschorn, Wendy Roth, Madison Merritt and Gil Lopez serving as executive producers.
“All the Right Moves”
Showcasing Emmy=/-nominated choreographer Travis Wall (“So You Think You Can Dance”) and his lifelong friends and roommates: Teddy Forance (dancer/choreographer with “Cirque du Soleil”), dancer Nick Lazzarini (winner of “So You Think You Can Dance” season one) and Julliard trained Kyle Robinson (recently featured on “Dancing with the Stars”) in their quest to launch their own dance company, Shaping Sound. “All the Right Moves” is produced by World of Wonder Productions with Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey and Tom Campbell serving as executive producers.
“My Shopping Addiction”
“My Shopping Addiction” features shoppers who love the thrill of finding that perfect dress, beautiful décor item or fabulous piece of jewelry to purchase and call their own. But what happens when the high of the buy becomes an addiction and obsession, and causes their finances – and their lives – to start spinning out of control? “My Shopping Addiction” is produced by executive producers Matt Chan, Jodi Flynn and Jeff Kuntz for Screaming Flea Productions.
“I’m Having Their Baby”
“I’m Having Their Baby” follows would-be moms as they make the most difficult decision of their lives – whether or not to place their babies for adoption. They want better lives for their unborn children and brighter futures for themselves. The cameras follow these women in these docu-series as they search for potential adoptive parents, make their birth and transfer plans and ultimately struggle to go through with their decision. “I’m Having Their Baby” is produced by executive producers Michael Rourke and Michelle Kongkasuwan for Hud:sun Media.
“The Glee Project” (Season Two) – Premieres Tuesday, June 5 at 10 P.M. ET/PT
During the 11-week run of season two of “The Glee Project,” 14 talented contenders will be narrowed down as the creative forces of “Glee” carefully assess who has what it takes to win the prize of a lifetime – a seven episode guest starring role on the hit FOX series. Ryan Murphy joins casting director Robert Ulrich, choreographer, “Glee” co-producer Zach Woodlee and vocal producer Nikki Anders in the final deliberations of each installment of the series. “The Glee Project” is produced by Ryan Murphy Television and Embassy Row with Ryan Murphy, Dante Di Loreto, Michael Davies and Shauna Minoprio serving as executive producers.
“The Next Big Thing: NY” – Premieres Tuesday, June 12 at 11 P.M. ET/PT
“The Next Big Thing: NY” features Trapper Felides, a top New York City performance coach and musical director who gives his clients the blunt truth and tough love they need to succeed. The series will follow Felides as he mentors a group of performers, and takes on stage moms, as they prepare for their next career changing audition or their big music industry break. “The Next Big Thing: NY” is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions and Omelette Bar Productions with Izzie Pick Ashcroft, Jo Honig, David St. John, Jane Tranter, Stacey Angeles and Eric Cyphers serving as executive producers.
TITLES IN DEVELOPMENT:
“#VideoStar (working title)”
Everyday across America, millions of talented performers post videos of themselves online in hopes of finally scoring their big break in the music industry. #VideoStar gives the best of these undiscovered talents a chance at their dream – starring in their very own music video directed by acclaimed music video director Erik White (“The Glee Project”). “#VideoStar” is produced by Embassy Row with Michael Davies and Shauna Minoprio serving as executive producers.
In this hilarious hidden-camera reality show, a team of pranking experts help mischievous but well-intentioned grooms come up with the most over-the-top and hilarious proposal stunts to give their girlfriends who have been driving them crazy for a proposal a taste of their own medicine. Each prank culminates with a genuine moment where the groom-to-be will get down on his knee and finally pop the question to his shocked and ecstatic girlfriend. “Propos’d” is produced by 11 Television with Kevin Healey serving as executive producer.
“Longest.Date.Ever.” follows two women per episode, who are exhausted by their quest to find “Mr. Right,” and sets them up on a date that lasts not just a few hours, but an entire week. The show will take singles that are scientifically proven to be each other’s ideal mates and move them in together for the longest blind date of their lives. At the end of the Longest. Date. Ever., they will certainly know the answer. “Longest.Date.Ever.” is produced by Electus and Five by Five Media with Ben Silverman, Jimmy Fox, Craig Armstrong and Rick Ringbakk serving as executive producers.
Upfront TV: “Bethenny” Test Run | “Deadliest” Hooks Viewers | Coldplay for “Idol” | More Betty White
- Self-proclaimed “Skinny Girl” Bethenny Frankel (late of “Real Housewives of New York”) will get a six-week text run talk show on six Fox-owned stations, reports Hollywood Reporter. The run begins June 1, and if all goes well, will be picked up for national syndication in the fall. The test markets are in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, Phoenix and Minneapolis. The program will offer Bethenny’s “no-nonsense perspective” on the usual—pop culture, beauty, fitness and lifestyle. Frankel’s TV pedigree began with “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” on network TV, then “Housewives,” “Bethenny Getting Married?” and “Bethenny Ever After,” includes “Housewives,” all on Bravo.
- Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” reeled in more than 3.29 million viewers on Tuesday, April 24, with a 2.32 household rating. The 9 P.M. premiere episode “Weak Links” out-delivered most broadcast programs Men (25-54 and 18-49 delivery), finishing #3 in all of television, behind only NBC’s “The Voice” (Results Show) and CBS’ “NCIS.” “Catch” out-delivered ABC’s “Private Practice,” “Cougar Town,” and “Dancing with the Stars”; NBC’s “Fashion Star” and “Biggest Loser”; FOX’s “Glee” CBS’s “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
Coldplay will perform on the May 3 “American Idol” results show, confirms Entertainment Weekly, which will air at 8 P.M. ET. They’ll likely perform a song (or two) from their latest album “Mylo Xyloto,” and frontman Chris Martin will “almost definitely spastically dance around the stage.”
- From the enough-is-enough department, 90-year-old phenom and comedienne Betty White will appear on the season finale of the Jeniffer Love Hewitt/Lifetime drama “The Client List.” As People details, the “Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland” star will play the wife of one of the “clients” (or “johns,” as the police know them). The show depicts single mother Riley Parks (Hewitt) pushing past her initial revulsion to work at The Rub of Sugar Land, a day spar which offers “more than standard massage therapy.”
- ReelzChannel has ordered a second 13-episode season of Steven Seagal’s crimefighting drama “True Justice,” reports Deadline Hollywood. “True Justice” is Reelz’s first original scripted drama series, which acquired the show year after it had proved successfully internationally. “True Justice” premiered just a few weeks ago on March 30, and Episode 3 was the highest-rated program of the year for Reelz, with 1.2 million viewers.
Coming off Syfy’s most-watched Q1 ever in total viewers, and in the Adults 18-34 and key women demos, Syfy and Chiller President Dave Howe had unveiled the next phase of the channel’s largest original programming slate to date. This will feature Syfy’s most original primetime hours ever, with a record 28 scripted and reality development projects and the 2013 premiere of the highly-anticipated “Defiance,” “the visionary transmedia experience that will unite television and Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) gaming for the very first time.”
Said Howe: “Syfy’s Upfront celebrates the power of Igniters, our influential audience who has the highly coveted ability to move brands forward faster. This audience ‘Imagines Greater’ and, as a result, we will be bringing them the most groundbreaking entertainment phenomenon in 2013.” After nearly four years in development, “Defiance” is the first weekly scripted television/Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMOG) convergence.
Among the scripted development projects are adaptations of popular works by best-selling novelists such as Stephen King (“Eyes of the Dragon”), John Christopher (The Lotus Caves) and Charlaine Harris (“Grave Sight”), as well as adaptation of the hit movie “The Adjustment Bureau.”
This record expansion, including eight scripted development projects from Universal Cable Productions, builds upon the channel’s powerhouse lineup of hit series such as “Warehouse 13,” “Being Human,” “Alphas,” “Face Off” and “Ghost Hunters.” These programs have transformed Syfy into a top 10 cable entertainment network among Adults 25-54 for 16 consecutive years.
Syfy is also expanding its multi-platform growth. Syfy Ventures announced a partnership with Hasbro to develop the first online social game based on the iconic G.I. JOE franchise. “G.I. Joe: Special Ops,” published by Syfy Games, will debut in June on Facebook and Syfy Games.com, among other platforms worldwide.
A global brand, Syfy is currently available in 75 countries, reaching nearly 150 million households.
NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
“Defiance,” in collaboration with Trion Worlds, with the Syfy series and Trion’s multi-platform shooter MMO poised to debut simultaneously. The series stars Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Fionnula Flanagan, Mia Kirshner and Oscar-nominee Graham Greene. Set in the near future, “Defiance introduces a completely transformed planet Earth, inhabited by the 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 where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story. “Defiance” is directed by Scott Stewart (“Legion,” “Priest”) and written/executive produced by Rockne O’Bannon (“Farscape”), Kevin Murphy (“Desperate Housewives,” Caprica,” “Hellcats”) and Michael Taylor (“Battlestar Galactica”). Kevin Murphy serves as showrunner. “Defiance” is produced by Universal Cable Productions.
NEW REALITY SERIES
“School Spirits,” premiering June 2012, will tell true ghost stories of hauntings that have happened at schools across the country. The stories will be told in first person narratives through the testimonials of real students, teachers, parents and staff that have encountered the paranormal activity, blended with bone-chilling cinematic reenactments to further bring the haunting experiences to life. Executive producers: Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Apprentice”) and Seth Jarrett & Julie Insogna Jarrett (“Celebrity Ghost Stories”).
“Paranormal Highway,” slated for summer 2012, puts the pedal to the metal as Jack Osbourne and Dana Workman investigate the most frightening claims of paranormal activity along America’s remote back roads. Fueled by eyewitness interviews and evidence collected by state-of-the-art equipment, Jack and Dana will travel alone, self-documenting their harrowing road trip while coming face-to-face with paranormal legends. Production company: BASE Productions. Executive producers: John Brenkus, Mickey Stern, Ron Ziskin.
“Collection Intervention” follows Elyse Luray, a sharp and to-the-point collectibles expert as she helps couples who are divided over what to do with an overwhelming collection of memorabilia. Whether it’s a husband’s collection of mint-condition G.I. JOE action figures worth thousands of dollars or a girlfriend’s treasure trove of Star Wars movie posters, Elyse helps couples decide what’s worth keeping and what they can sell. For each couple, their new cash windfall will make their dream come true, whether it’s an engagement ring, a down payment for a home, or the honeymoon they never had. Production company: High Noon Entertainment. Executive producers: Pam Healey, Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees, Jim Berger.
“Hot Set,” from the producers of Syfy’s hit series “Face Off,” is an extreme design challenge pitting two Hollywood production designers each week in a head-to-head battle to design, build, decorate and ultimately create an original and signature movie set that transports the viewer into an immersive world. Production company: Mission Control Media. Executive producers: Michael Agbabian and Dwight Smith.
“Viral Video Showdown” pits viral video creators head-to-head each week in an epic battle for bragging rights and a cash prize. Two teams will have to dig deep into their bag of viral tricks to create a video that best captures that week’s theme and impresses the expert panel of viral video judges. Production company: 495 Productions. Executive producers: SallyAnn Salsano, Kevin Pereira.
“Ghost Mine.” In the remote woods of Oregon lays one of the richest gold mines in the United States. For the last 100 years, it has remained abandoned — until now. Soon to be re-opened by a scraggly group of miners, these hardy souls will battle the elements to find their fortune. But with a rich history of paranormal activity surrounding the mine, they may just find something else. Production company: 51 Minds. Executive producer: Mark Cronin.
“Rewind” revolves around a team of military field operatives and civilian scientists who must use untested technology to travel back in time to alter events and change the future — and avoid a devastating terrorist attack. Shane McRae stars as Sean Knox, ex-Special Forces who ranks as a field operative in a special division of the Department of Homeland Security. The pilot also stars Jennifer Ferrin, Academy Award nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes (“Whale Rider”), Robbie Jones and Keon Mohajeri, and is currently in production in Toronto. Jack Bender (“Lost,” “Alphas”) is directing the pilot, written by Justin Marks (“Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li”), who will also executive produce with Tom Spezialy, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein. A production of BermanBraun and Universal Cable Productions.
“The Adjustment Bureau,” ]based on the hit movie starring Matt Damon, follows guardian angel-type agents work to keep the world according to The Plan. They create everything from plane crashes to coffee spills in order to steer people to realize their true destiny. But there is one thing the operatives and their Chairman can’t control — free will. Writers: Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer (“Melrose Place,” “Smallville”). Executive producers: George Nolfi (“The Adjustment Bureau”, “The Bourne Ultimatum”), MRC, Slavkin and Swimmer. A production of Universal Cable Productions.
“High Moon.” Based on the novel, The Lotus Caves, by John Christopher, this imaginative, out-of-this-world series explores a world where the countries of Earth have established colonies to mine the Moon’s resources. When a new life form is discovered, chaos erupts as various factions race to uncover its powerful secrets. Executive producer: Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies). Co-executive producer: Jim Danger Gray (“Pushing Daisies”). Writers: Bryan Fuller and Jim Danger Gray. Executive producer: Granat Entertainment. A production of Universal Cable Productions.
Untitled “Booster Gold” Project – Based on the best-selling DC Entertainment Comic, this is the story of a washed-up athlete from the future who travels back to the present in hopes of becoming the greatest superhero of all time. But instead of chasing criminals, his main priority is chasing fame and money. “Booster Gold” discovers that being a hero takes more than just a megawatt smile. Writer: Andrew Kreisberg (“Warehouse 13”). Executive producers: Greg Berlanti (“Green Lantern”) and Andrew Kreisberg. Producers: Greg Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television. The “Booster Gold” comic book series is published by DC Entertainment, which will also act as an executive producer.
“Grave Sight.” From the best-selling author of True Blood, this Charlaine Harris book series follows Harper Connelly – a young woman with a unique gift. After being struck by lightning as a teenager, Harper can sense the location and last memories of dead people. She teams up with her protective stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, to help find a missing teenage girl — only to uncover a network of lies and murders throughout a small town in the Ozarks. Writer: Kam Miller (“Law and Order: SVU”). A production of Universal Cable Productions.
“Seeing Things,” based on the comic “Grey Legion” from Platinum Studios. After a cop meets his violent demise, he returns as a ghost to close his last case. But the only person who can help him is a socially awkward man who is realizing for the first time that his hallucinations may not be all in his head. Writers: David Slack (“Person of Interest,” “Lie To Me”) and Gabrielle Stanton (“The Vampire Diaries”). Executive producers: David Slack, Robert Cort and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. A production of Fox Television Studios.
“Defender.” In the aftermath of an intergalactic war between humans and transhumans, the starship Defender, populated by a combustible mix of former enemies, is sent on a seemingly simple goodwill mission, which turns into a fight for their lives and for the safety of the Universe at large. Executive producer/writer: Robert Hewitt Wolfe (“Alphas”). A production of Universal Cable Productions.
“The Family.” Like “Third Rock From The Sun,” but war-like. For generations, an alien family has hidden amongst humans in plain sight using their advanced intellect to carve out a life for themselves as their family grew. But when “The Family” patriarch that kept peace amongst the factions dies, a war begins to brew with some members believing the time has come to reveal themselves, and their superior power, to the inferior human race. Writer: Dan Harris (“Superman Returns”). Executive producers: Neal Moritz (“Total Recall”), Mark Verheiden (“Battlestar Galactica”). A production of Sony Pictures TV.
LONGFORM SCRIPTED DEVELOPMENT
“Eyes of the Dragon” – Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel. A kingdom is in turmoil as the old king dies and his successor must battle for the throne. Pitted against an evil wizard and a would-be rival, Prince Peter makes a daring escape and rallies the forces of good to fight for what is rightfully his. Writers: Michael Taylor (“Defiance”) and Jeff Vintar (“I, Robot”). Executive producers: Michael Taylor and Bill Haber. A production of Universal Cable Productions and Ostar Productions.
“Darkfall.” When, without warning, modern forms of power and technology become a thing of the past, Los Angeles, and the world at large, becomes a place where magic rules and life as we know it is turned upside down. Writers: Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (“Sleeper Cell”). A production of The Jim Henson Company and Universal Cable Productions.
“One Mile Straight Down.” When a powerful earthquake hits California and opens up a chasm bigger than the Grand Canyon, it reveals an enormous hidden ocean lying deep beneath the earth’s crust. Billionaire adventurer James Exeter works with the government to take an advanced nuclear submarine down to explore it and discovers more than he ever could have imagined. Writers: Skip Woods (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), Naren Shankar (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) and Deran Sarafian (“CSI: NY”). Executive producers: Skip Woods, Naren Shankar and Deran Sarafian. A production of Universal Cable Productions.
“The Genie” follows Steve Sims and his extreme concierge company, Blue Fish, as they make outlandish experiences and imaginative adventures come to life for their clients. Whether it’s rebuilding the chocolate river from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or experiencing life as a Hobbit, making the impossible possible is the job of “The Genie.” Production company: Smart Dog Media. Executive producer: Craig Plestis.
“Stranded.” In each episode of this frightening paranormal social experiment, a family or group of friends moves into an infamously haunted location, self-documenting their experience in total isolation. Production company: Ping Pong Productions. Executive producers: Brad Kuhlman, Casey Brummels, Josh Gates.
“Awesome Foundation.” In this new project starring Destination Truth’s Josh Gates, each week inventors, artists and regular people from all over the country pitch their amazing and imaginative ideas to the “Awesome Foundation”, a group dedicated to turning awesome ideas into awesome reality. The members grant their own money to the lucky three people with the best ideas, leading to a race to complete the projects in the given time and budget. Production company: Idiot Box Productions. Executive producer: Dan Taberski.
“Exit.” Based on the hit Japanese format, “Exit” is a nail-biting game show where two teams of contestants battle to escape three diabolical rooms. To do so, they must beat the clock while solving rapid-fire brain games and navigating booby-traps and bottomless pits. Production company: Zig Zag Productions. Executive producer: Danny Fenton.
“Buyer Beware.” What does someone do when they need to sell their house — but it’s haunted? They call in a real estate professional who specializes in matching haunted properties with eager buyers. In each episode, viewers will see what it takes to sell a home — still occupied by the spirits — and what kind of buyers have the guts to take it off the market. Production company: Zodiak USA. Executive producers: Natalka Znak, Claire O’Donohue.
Untitled Mark Burnett Project. From acclaimed producer Mark Burnett comes a competition show where fans of science fiction/fantasy books and movies compete to create the most flavorful and inspired dishes from the foods featured in the imaginary worlds that they love. Production company: Mark Burnett Productions. Executive producer: Mark Burnett.
“Deadfinder.” When the morgue drawer closes on a Jane or John Doe, rarely is it reopened. “Deadfinder” follows a group of mediums as they search through the vaults of cold cases using their paranormal skills to bring the mysteries of the murdered back to life. Production company: NorthSouth. Executive producers: Charlie DeBevoise, Mark Hickman.
“Ghost Town, USA.” Settled in 1677, Mount Holly, New Jersey, is a town teeming with reports of paranormal activity. And for the residents of this town, that’s just the way they like it. “Ghost Town, USA” follows the colorful characters and real drama that plays out among the town’s living residents, from renovating a haunted house to organizing the annual Witches Ball. Production company: Cream Productions. Executive producers: David Brady, Christopher Rowley.
“The Wrights.” Joe and Chris Wright are relatives of the famous Wright Brothers, but instead of building airplanes, this father-and-son-duo build paranormal contraptions to communicate with the dead. Each week the show follows The Wrights as they use their inventing ability to gain answers from the “other side.” Production company: Jarrett Creative Group. Executive producers: Julie Insogna Jarrett, Seth Jarrett.
Chris Cox Project. Young and charming, Chris Cox is the mind reader who can’t read minds. Cox has the mind-manipulating abilities of Derren Brown, the mischief of Ferris Bueller and the comic eccentricity of Mr. Bean all wrapped in a style uniquely his own. In everyday situations and locations – at a coffee shop, the post office, or just walking down the street – Chris amazes and confounds real people. Production company: Mission Control Media. Executive producers: Dwight Smith, Michael Agbabian, Erich Recker.
“Divas of Dress Up” follows the six hottest cos-play stars as they push the boundaries of creativity and costuming in this docu-series that takes viewers inside the amazingly creative world of cos-play competition. Each week, the top women competitors transform themselves into fictional characters with visually arresting costumes, pushing the boundary between fantasy and reality. Production company: Skip Films. Executive producers: Skip Chaisson, Brian Gallagher.
Fan Girl/Fan Boy Project. From the producer of "Jersey Shore" comes a docu-series that celebrates the incredibly unique, often misunderstood and infinitely fascinating fan girl and fan boy cultures. Production company: 495 Productions. Executive producer: SallyAnn Salsano.
“Limitless” is a cutting-edge series that recounts firsthand, true-life tales of ordinary men and women who discovered hidden powers – that they never knew existed – when faced with extreme life and death circumstances. Every story will explore the often unexplainable potential of the human body and psyche, leaving viewers to wonder what hidden abilities humans might possess. Production company: Karga 7. Executive producers: Kelly McPherson, Miriam Leffert, Sarah Wetherbee, Emre Sahin.
“Superhumans” uncovers the secrets of unbelievable stunts, record-breaking abilities and exceptional feats of human power and skill by putting real people through physical on-location challenges and a series of tests in a high-tech lab to answer the question: “How did they do that?” Production company: BASE Productions. Executive producers: John Brenkus, Mickey Stern.
“Toy Traveler.”– Shane Turgeon, the Indiana Jones of toy collectors, travels to remote corners of the world to find the rarest and most valuable toys and collectibles. Whether it’s in an old toy warehouse in a remote Guatemalan town or a small swap meet in the Ukraine, Shane will go to all lengths to find the most unique and collectible toys. Production company: Jarrett Creative Group. Executive producers: Seth Jarrett, Julie Insogna Jarrett.
“Master Control”is a weekly competition that pits user-generated videos against each other in a battle for viewer popularity. Each week, self-submitted videos must entertain the host, celebrity panel and the entire viewing audience, who are all simultaneously rating the video and anointing a winner. Production company: The Gurin Co. Executive producers: Phil Gurin, Kevin Pereira.
“Stranger than Fiction” is the only viral video clip show where comedians compete for laughs while commenting on and arguing over the strangest clips from the web. Good jokes earn points, while lame jokes lose them. At the end of the show, one comedian is crowned the irreverent victor. Production company: BASE Productions. Executive producers: John Brenkus, Mickey Stern.