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Nielsen Weaves Views from Hulu, YouTube TV Into Traditional Ratings

38 minutes ago

A not-so-simple question has plagued the TV and advertising industries for years: What is the value of TV programming that is no longer being watched on TV?

A partial answer has arrived.  Nielsen said Tuesday it is now counting views of certain types of programming on Hulu’s live service and YouTube TV, which can then be used as currency in negotiations between TV networks and advertisers. The maneuver would place viewing from so-called “skinny bundles” of programming offered by subscription-video-on-demand players into the mix when Madison Avenue decides what types of content to support.

With the new technology, media companies “are able to measure their content as it flows across platforms, across devices, through whoever is distributing it, then roll it up and include it in their rating numbers,” said Megan Clarken, president of product leadership at Nielsen, in an interview.

The disclosure shows Nielsen attempting to find a solution to a growing problem in the »


- Brian Steinberg

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Charter Strikes Partnership With Analytics Firm 605

39 minutes ago

Charter Communications said it struck a new partnership with 605, a data and analytics company that is controlled by Dolan Family Ventures. As part of the pact, Charter will appoint two members to the smaller company’s board of directors.

Under the terms of the deal,  Charter will  provide 605 with aggregated and anonymized television platform data from all of its cable system operations nationally. Charter will not share customers’ personally identifiable data with 605. In turn, 605 will utilize its proprietary data infrastructure and analytics capabilities to enhance advertising and campaign measurement solutions for Spectrum Reach, the advertising sales division of Charter.

“We believe our efforts can accelerate the transformation in the advertising industry’s approach to measurement and accountability by moving beyond traditional ratings to include impressions in buying decisions,” said  Kristin Dolan, CEO and founder of 605, in a statement. “Given our close and longstanding relationship with their management team, we are pleased to have Charter as our strategic »


- Brian Steinberg

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Inside Sinclair: CEO Nixes Fox News Rival Rumors, Talks Tribune & Big Ambition for Broadcast Biz

2 hours ago

Of the many challenges Fox News Channel is facing amid a turbulent year, there’s one threat Rupert Murdoch can cross off the list: Sinclair Broadcast Group has no plans to launch a rival conservative-friendly TV network. Chris Ripley, CEO of the Hunt Valley, Md.-based TV-station giant, is ready to end months of speculation that his company was preparing to mount a competitive threat in the wake of its $3.9 billion deal to acquire Tribune Media in May.

“After we acquired Allbritton [Communications] in 2014, we looked hard at launching a national cable news channel, but we decided the world didn’t need another cable news platform,” says Ripley, who makes clear that the rise of Donald Trump and the upheaval at Fox News haven’t changed his calculus. “Our strength is local news,” he maintains. “The market for national cable news is very well served.”

It’s hardly surprising that Sinclair would face speculation over its plans for »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Russia’s Amedia, HBO Renew Pact, Including ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Westworld’

3 hours ago

Amedia will remain the home of HBO content in Russia after the pair struck a new deal. Amedia is one of Russia’s largest producers and channels operators and first inked an output deal with HBO in 2013.

The agreement means that all HBO content, spanning series, documentaries and specials, will appear exclusively on Amedia channels in Russia, including “Westworld”; Julia Roberts’ first TV show, “Today Will Be Different”; and the upcoming final season of “Game of Thrones.”

Denis Gorshkov, CEO of Amedia TV Russia, told Variety that the new agreement with HBO differs from the previous pact in that it means Amedia services will carry HBO branding. “Previously we had an exclusive output deal which had several limitations and we did not hold the Home of HBO brand,” he said. “This new deal is fully exclusive across Russia under the Home of HBO umbrella.”

Amedia also has deals with CBS for Showtime content and programming deals with »


- Stewart Clarke

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Princess Diana Documentary With William and Harry Scores International Buyers

4 hours ago

A host of international broadcasters have bought “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy,” the documentary that features Princes Harry and William talking about the life of their mother, Princess Diana.

The 90-minute program aired Monday evening on ITV in Britain and on HBO in the U.S., a month ahead of the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death in a car crash. Sales are being handled by U.K.-based Drive, which has now also sold it to Canadian public broadcaster CBC.

In Australia it has gone to free TV network Seven, and Three has picked it up in New Zealand.

In Europe, “Diana, Our Mother” has been acquired by Norway’s Nrk, Finland’s Yle, and Denmark’s TV2. Deals are expected to close soon in Spain, where pubcaster Tve is tipped to buy the show, and other territories including Japan, Italy, Sweden, and Russia.

“The response from international broadcast partners has been phenomenal,” said »


- Stewart Clarke

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TV Review: ‘Midnight, Texas’ on NBC

11 hours ago

The best thing that can be said about “Midnight, Texas” is that its badness is at least amiable.

This is not a case of an ambitious show going awry and causing frustration as it falls well short of its lofty goals. All “Midnight, Texas” clearly wants to do is be a bargain-basement copy of “True Blood,” but it has trouble being consistently mediocre, let alone good.

It at least comes by its “True Blood” connection honestly: Like that series, it is based on a string of books by Charlaine Harris. And like the very first episodes of the HBO show, “Midnight” has trouble settling on a tone early on, veering ineptly between suspense, campy coyness and spattery horror.

Unlike the HBO show, which settled into a bats–t groove of sorts within a reasonable amount of time, “Midnight, Texas” is saddled with preposterously low-rent production values and a cast that is uneven, to »


- Maureen Ryan

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TV Review: ‘People of Earth’ Season 2 on TBS

13 hours ago

There’s nothing large about the satisfying and humane “People of Earth,” except the distance its alien characters have traveled to this planet full of mixed-up humans. It’s not a show that traffics in big moves or over-the-top jokes, but it’s all the more enjoyable for its devotion to dry, character-driven comedy.

And despite being about a bunch of people who think they’re alien abductees — and who found out in Season 1 that they actually have unwillingly spent time with extraterrestrials — the use of the word “humane” isn’t incorrect. Like “Superstore,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” — all shows on the resume of Greg Daniels, one of the TBS comedy’s executive producers — “People of Earth” typically views its characters through a warmly bemused lens. As I noted in my review of the first season, “People of Earth” recalls episodes of “The X-Files” that successfully united comedic and bittersweet modes (without the try-hard flop »


- Maureen Ryan

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TV News Roundup: Al Gore to Host Climate Change Town Hall on MTV

13 hours ago

In today’s roundup, Al Gore is hosting a climate change town hall on MTV, and George Lopez announces premiere date of his new stand up special. 

Specials

Former Vice President Al Gore is hosting “An Inconvenient Special” town hall forum on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m. on MTV. The special, also featuring Fat Joe and Steve Aoki, is to help amplify young people’s voices on the topic of climate change in connection with Gore’s upcoming film, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.” During the half-hour town hall, there will be a segment with Fat Joe in Miami to speak about rising sea levels in the city. Viacom Networks will also bring awareness to the issue by making the week of July 31 “An Inconvenient Week,” with social, digital, and on-air support across 10 channels.

Premiere Dates

George Lopez: The Wall, Live from Washington, D.C.” debuts Saturday, Aug »


- Rebecca Rubin

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CBS Corp. Extends COO Joe Ianniello’s Contract Through 2022

14 hours ago

CBS Corp. chief operating officer Joe Ianniello will be sticking around Black Rock through mid-2022 thanks to a new contract that took effect this month.

CBS disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Ianniello has set a contract extension that runs through June 30, 2022 — one year longer than the contract extension recently set with his boss, CBS Corp. chairman-ceo Leslie Moonves. Ianniello has been a key Moonves lieutenant since the company split from Viacom in 2006.

CBS has also extended the contract of Lawrence Tu, senior exec VP and chief legal counsel. Tu’s pact runs through May 31, 2019.

Ianniello’s deal calls for his base salary to remain $2.5 million a year for the first two years. His paycheck will rise to $2.75 million annually for the remainder of the term. His target bonus and stock compensation will grow accordingly.

Ianniello was upped to the COO post in 2013 after serving as chief financial officer. As »


- Cynthia Littleton

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WGA West Members Facing Higher Health Care Costs

14 hours ago

Members of the Writers Guild of America West will face higher health costs next year, the guild’s leaders have told members.

The missive was sent Monday to the 9,000 members of the WGA by president Howard Rodman, VP David A. Goodman, secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn, and executive director David Young.

The changes are due to concessions that the guild made in its negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in order to shore up its health plan, which had been running at a deficit. The two sides reached a deal less than an hour before the contract expired on May 1.

“Our Mba deal includes both contribution increases from our employers and an agreement by the Guild to cut costs,” the missive said. “Basically, the companies agreed to increase contributions by $30 million annually and we agreed to make cuts that yield $7 million in savings annually. Now comes the tough part.”

The »


- Dave McNary

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Sony Pictures Chief Taps Internal Trio to Lead TV Production Division

14 hours ago

Sony Pictures chief Tony Vinciquerra has tapped a trio of insiders to lead its TV production division. Business affairs veteran Jeff Frost has been promoted to president of Sony Pictures TV Studios, while drama development chiefs Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter have been upped to co-presidents focusing on creative matters.

The trio will serve as an “office of the president” spearheading all production and development, per Sony. Frost reports to Vinciquerra, who took the reins of the studio in June. Parnell and Clodfelter report to Frost.

The new structure fills the void left last month by the departures of longtime Sony Pictures TV presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who segued to launch a TV production operation for Apple.

Jeff, Chris and Jason are the perfect team to run our U.S. television business,” Vinciquerra said. “Over the last several weeks, I have been able to see first-hand the strong leadership qualities possessed by Jeff, Chris »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Mario Cantone Wants to Play Anthony Scaramucci on ‘Saturday Night Live’

15 hours ago

Saturday Night Live” has some big shoes to fill now that Melissa McCarthy won’t be needed to play Sean Spicer, who resigned last week as White House press secretary.

Over the weekend, after Donald Trump’s new communications director Anthony Scaramucci made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows, Twitter users speculated about what actor could parody him on the long-running NBC sketch show.

Among one of the more popular suggestions: Mario Cantone, who played another Anthony — Charlotte York’s gay best friend on “Sex and the City.”

When reached by Variety, Cantone said that he’d seen the online chatter about him taking on the role. “Of course I’d do it,” Cantone said. “It would be a very big deal for me and a lot of fun. I know this guy. I have cousins.”

It will be up to “SNL” creator and executive Lorne Michaels to make the decision when the show comes back »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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Nickelodeon Web Show ‘Welcome to the Wayne’ Premieres as Full-Length Animated Series

16 hours ago

The 2014 animated web series “Welcome to the Wayne” is checking into Nickelodeon on Monday as a full-fledged series, debuting at 5:30 p.m. Et/Pt.

“Welcome to the Wayne” was Nick’s first web-only short-form series, with six four to five-minute episodes telling the tale of 10-year-olds Ansi Molina and Olly Timbers, and Olly’s little sister Saraline, as they try to unlock the secrets of the mysterious New York building they live in, the Wayne.

The series was created by Emmy winner Billy Lopez (“Peg+Cat,” “Wonder Pets!”), who doubles as the voice of Olly, and is inspired by his childhood in New York’s Greenwich Village. “I especially remember Halloween, when my neighborhood friends and I would go through the buildings we’d lived in. We would just start from the penthouse and tear down the stairs and bang on everyone’s door. It was sort of like ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ We »


- Terry Flores

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‘Game of Thrones’ Actress Carice van Houten Reveals Her Picks for ‘Prince Who Was Promised’

17 hours ago

Spoiler Alert: Do not keep reading if you have not seen Season 7, episode 2 of “Game of Thrones.”

This week’s episode of “Game of Thrones” revealed that the prophesied “prince who was promised” could actually be a princess instead.

In a conversation with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), the Red Woman herself, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) tells the Mother of Dragons of the mythical prince who is said to be the only one capable of stopping the Night’s King and his army of the dead. But Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) points out that in the original Valyrian, the word for prince has no gender, meaning the person could be either male or female. So which character could be Westeros’ salvation?

“It’s just a guessing game. It’s a lottery at this point,” van Houten told Variety. “Anything can happen in this show. I would like to live in a world where it could be Samwell Tarly, but »


- Joe Otterson

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ABC Sets Fall Premiere Dates for Marvel’s ‘Inhumans,’ Daveed Diggs’ ‘The Mayor’

17 hours ago

ABC has set their fall premiere dates for the 2017-2018 season.

The network’s new offerings will kick off with medical drama “The Good Doctor” starring Freddie Highmore premiering on Monday, Sept. 25 following “Dancing with the Stars.” The new Marvel series “Inhumans” will then launch with a two-hour premiere on Friday, Sept. 29.

The Kyra Segdwick-led drama “Ten Days in the Valley” will begin on Sunday, Oct. 1 following the Season 9 premiere of “Shark Tank.” Comedy series “The Mayor,” from executive producer and “Hamilton” breakout Daveed Diggs, will premiere on Tuesday, Oct. 3 after the Season 4 premiere of “black-ish.” “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,” formerly “The Gospel of Kevin,” will air immediately after.

ABC’s other new series orders–“Alex Inc.,” “The Crossing,” “Deception,” “For the People,” and “Splitting Up Together”–will debut at midseason.

Read the full list of premiere dates below. All times listed are Et, and new shows are listed in bold.

Monday »


- Joe Otterson

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‘Modern Family’ Kids Set Two-Season Deal With Big Pay Bump

18 hours ago

Manny, Luke, Haley and Alex will all be back with the family.

The core “Modern Family” kids have closed their deals to sign onto two more seasons of the ABC sitcom, Variety has learned. Insiders say “significant” pay raises were given to each of the young adult actors — Rico Rodriguez, Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter.

Kids actors Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who plays Lily, and Jeremy Maguire, who plays Joe, joined the series later on in its run and have more time left on their current deals, unlike the other four TV kids, who are now all adults and at least the age of 18 in real life.

ABC and 20th Century Fox Television declined to comment on the actor deals.

The close of the younger actors’ contracts marks the end of rather lengthy negotiations for the regular “Modern Family” cast, who are now all officially set for Seasons 9 and 10. In early May, ABC »


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Fox News, New York Times Tussle Over Isis Raid Report

18 hours ago

Fox News and the New York Times are in a war of words over Fox News reports that a Times story from 2015 compromised U.S. military efforts to capture a key Isis leader.

The New York Times asked Fox News for an apology and correction for a July 22 report on “Fox & Friends” that cited recent comments from U.S. Gen. Tony Thomas asserting that a June 8, 2015, report in the Times about a raid in Syria  cost military intelligence a lead that could have led to the capture of the Isis leader known as Abu Sayyaf.

The Times in a letter to the executive producer of “Fox & Friends” protested the lack of opportunity to respond to Thomas’ claims, and it noted that Fox News reported on the same raid three weeks before the Times report was published. President Donald Trump comments on the “Fox & Friends” segment in a tweet on Saturday.

The »


- Variety Staff

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‘Justice League,’ ‘Walking Dead’ Among Most Tweeted Topics at Comic-Con

18 hours ago

As a mecca for fans of franchises ranging from Marvel to “Star Trek,” it’s no surprise that San Diego Comic-Con’s output of teasers, panels, and meet and greets would foster an explosion of tweets. Topping this year’s outpouring of excitement with the most tweets were properties that revealed new trailers or are supported by obsessive fandoms.

Marvel’s pantheon of offerings was pushed out by DC’s “Justice League” as the most-tweeted about movie, followed by “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Kingsman.” Warner Bros. released an Sdcc-exclusive “Justice League” trailer, which may have prompted the tweets.

As for television, MTV’s “Teen Wolf,” with its massive following, beat out The CW’s “Supernatural,” “Arrow,” ABC’s “Once Upon A Time,” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” as the most-tweeted show. “Teen Wolf” star Dylan O’Brien was also the most-tweeted about celebrity at Sdcc. A »


- Erin Nyren

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Starline Nabs Tighe O’Donoghue Ross Film ‘Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing’ (Exclusive)

19 hours ago

Starline Entertainment will take “Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing” to the international market after snagging the global rights to the feature documentary about Irish-American painter, sculptor and printmaker Tighe O’Donoghue Ross.

The artist had enormous commercial success and won international acclaim during the 1970s and 1980s while living in the Us, before withdrawing from the art scene, and moving to his ancestral home in Killarney, Ireland, where he is now hereditary chieftain of the O’Donoghue’s of Ross.

Cork-based Southernman Films produced the film, which was directed by Patrick O’Shea and produced by Aidan Stanley. It is expected to have a festival run, with Starline selling it to broadcasters and digital services and platforms.

Starline’s Carey Fitzgerald negotiated the rights deal with Southernman at the Galway Film Fair. “’Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing’ is a beautifully realized exploration of the creative process as witnessed through the eyes of a »


- Stewart Clarke

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Our Staff Picks: TV Shows to Watch the Week of July 24, 2017

19 hours ago

Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV.

Each week, Variety‘s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Rick & Morty” makes a long awaited return, while “Midnight, Texas” finally premieres.

“Midnight, Texas,” NBC, Monday, 10 p.m.

Based on the novels of the same name from author Charlaine Harris, who wrote the books that inspired HBO’s “True Blood,” this series is set in the remote town of Midnight, Texas, where your neighbor could be a vampire, a witch, a werewolf or even an angel. Mystery, horror and romance combine to both enthrall and frighten any outsiders who decide to venture into this unusual place. The series will star François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Lewis, Peter Mensah, Sarah Ramos, and »


- Joe Otterson

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