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Upfront TV: Letterman, Ferguson Re-Upped | Epix Middleweight Broadcast | Harris’ Emmy Return

Published on April 04, 2012
  • A strong 2012 upfront, but not as strong as 2011, reports Media Post, quoting Morgan Stanley media analyst Benjamin Swinburne. He expects that rather than the 10% to 15% spikes of 2011, broadcast and cable nets can expect a 5% to 10% rise in cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs). Overall, he estimates the total TV upfront market to be 2.6% higher than 2011, for a total of $18.85 billion. Cable as usual will make bigger gains, climbing 4.3% to $9.69 billion, while broadcast will climb just 1% to $9.16 billion. Swinburne expects CBS will lead the gains in broadcast, and Discovery Communications in cable. As for digital, "Of the about $3 billion we expect to be spent in online video in 2012, the majority is likely on professional content, such as TV shows, on sites like Hulu, ESPN and YouTube," writes Swinburne.
  • CBS has re-upped both David Letterman (“Late Show”) and Craig Ferguson (“The Late Late Show”) through 2014, reports the Associated Press. If he completes that run, Letterman will hold the title as the longest-running late-night talk show host in TV history, edging Johnny Carson’s 30-year run by a few months. Letterman launched on NBC in 1982 with “The David Letterman Show,” before moving to CBS in 1993 when Jay Leno won the spot as Carson’s replacement.

  • Epix will provide more live championship boxing on May 26 with the live telecast of the Lucian Bute-Carl Froch super middleweight championship fight, reports Multichannel News. Epix will air the fight live from the U.K. at 5 P.M. ET, as the undefeated Bute bets his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super middleweight belt in a match with former division champion Froch. EpixHD.com will also stream the event as part of a special free trial offer for boxing fans. Finally, the network will present a closed-captioned simulcast on the jumbotron in Times Square in New York City.
  • Katie Couric’s heavily promoted week-long stint on ABC’s “Good Morning America” failed to excite, reports Deadline Hollywood. Monday was the first day of Couric’s week covering for Robin Roberts, and GMA averaged 4.78 million viewers against 5.11 million for NBC’s “Today.” Among adults 25-54, GMA pulled 1.76 million viewers for a 1.5 rating versus “Today‘s” 2.20 million (1.8 rating). Interestingly, GMA did better with Roberts in place two weeks earlier against “Today,” with 4.974 million viewers versus “Today’s” 4.926. 
  • Emmy Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”) will return to host the 66th Annual Tony Awards, to be broadcast live from The Beacon Theater in New York, Sunday, June 10 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET; delayed PT) on CBS.  This will be the third time that Harris has hosted the Tony Awards. “We are excited to have Neil Patrick Harris return as host of the TONY Awards,” said Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music and Live Events, CBS Entertainment.  “Neil is the ultimate showman. He brings great talent, energy and creativity to the Tony stage and usually a surprise or two. I can’t wait to see what he has in store this year.”

  • Creating a more immersive experience for viewers on Saturday nights (and stretching viewership of repeats), Bravo Media launches new Social Edition episodes of repeat episodes of “The Real Housewives” franchise beginning on April 7. This programming initiative invites fans, producers, bloggers and Bravolebrities to react and comment during premiere airings via Facebook, Twitter and Google +. Then the best of those comments will pop up at the bottom of viewers’ television screen throughout repeat airings, “making it an all-new experience,” promises Bravo. The network promises to provide advertisers “the opportunity to engage with its fans on these groundbreaking multiplatform events through social storytelling and creative solutions.” The network will air two back-to-back Social Editions on Saturday, April 7 beginning with “The Real Housewives of Orange County” at 7 P.M. ET/PT and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” at 8 P.M. ET/PT and then again the following Saturday, April 14 at 7 P.M. ET/PT.