Disney Channel has promoted Adam Bonnett to the newly created position of EVP, original programming, Disney Channels Worldwide. Bonnett will continue to oversee all live action development and current original series and movies for Disney Channel and Disney XD as well as casting and talent relations for those channels, reporting to Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide. Bonnett’s promotion comes on the heels of Disney Channel finishing 2012 as the #1 channel in Total Day among Kids 2-11, breaking Nickelodeon’s 17-year streak. “Adam is an extraordinarily talented executive who brilliantly blends great storytelling with great comedy and in doing so, has helped create the #1 kids network on television,” Marsh said.
CBS was the most nominated network at the 40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards announced this morning with 50 nominations, almost half of them for soap The Young And The Restless, which was the most nominated program with 23. All surviving soaps on the broadcast networks received a best drama series nomination, plus One Life To Live for its final episodes on ABC. (The Daytime Emmy Awards cover the previous calendar year. OLTL and All My Children‘s reboots by Prospect Park will be eligible next year.) Among talk shows, stalwart The Ellen DeGeneres Show again leads the way with 10 noms and will square off for best talk show with Live!, The View and The Talk. Katie Couric’s freshman syndicated talk show was the only newcomer in the top talk show categories, nominated for best talk show/informative alongside The Doctors and Dr. Oz. However, fellow rookie talk show host Steve Harvey snagged a nomination for his game show host duties on Family Feud.
The National Academy Of TV Arts & Sciences kept with tradition in the morning show category, nominating the three broadcast network morning programs including the embattled Today. Speaking of embattled, Kevin Clash, subject of multiple sexual abuse lawsuits, landed his last nomination as Elmo puppeteer. This year’s Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award for lifetime achievement will be presented to game show veterans Monty Hall and Bob Stewart. The 40th Daytime Emmys will he held June 16 at the Beverly Hilton and air on HLN. Here is a full list of the nominees and tallies by network and by program:
Shares opened up more than 4% this morning after Philippe Dauman reassured investors that Viacom will continue to generate lots of cash from deals with streaming services — even if its program licensing pact with Netflix expires at the end of this month. “We’re still in discussions with Netflix…and with others,” he told analysts in a conference call. “We’re open to licensing content, some of it on an exclusive basis.” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings raised some fears last week when he said that his company would let its current deal with Viacom expire. Netflix is shifting its focus to “exclusive and curated content” as opposed to “non-exclusive, bulk content deals,” he said. The streaming service would be fine without Nickelodeon shows because “with all the recently added fresh programming from Disney, Cartoon Network, Hasbro’s The Hub and DreamWorks Animation, we have a great kids offering.” But Dauman also says that Viacom has little to fear without Netflix — and has “enough visibility” to know that the entertainment company can realize its forecast to see streaming revenues grow 10% this fiscal year.
Several key numbers were down, although cost-cutting at Paramount appears to have enabled Viacom to slightly beat the Street’s profit expectations. The company’s fiscal Q2 net earnings from continuing operations came to $489M, -18.4% vs the period last year, on revenues of $3.14B, -5.9%. Analysts thought revenues would reach $3.19B. But earnings at 96 cents per share were a penny above forecasts. At Viacom’s core pay TV networks operation, revenues increased 2% to $2.23B while operating income fell 2% to $873M. Domestic affiliate revenues were up 3%, but the company says that if you factor out the streaming deals that helped last year’s results the number would be up by a low-double-digit percentage. Ad sales in the U.S. and abroad were up 2% — an upturn that many investors wanted to see after last year’s ratings declines at Nickelodeon. Filmed entertainment was the weakest link with revenues -20% to $941M and operating income -43% to $65M. Viacom says its worldwide theatrical revenues fell 15% without a film that provided the same boost it saw last year from Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.
The studio’s being “pretty aggressive” about at least one potential venture and hopes to have “news to share pretty quickly,” CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told analysts this evening following his company’s Q1 earnings release. He didn’t provide details, but offered his comment in response to a question about TV opportunities with a traditional cable channel, a possible DreamWorks Animation channel, and online. “There are too many plates spinning right now and we don’t have certainty on which will be the best,” he says. Cable presents a “complicated set of challenges and circumstances,” and while he’s “not close to concluding a deal” there “we continue to have interest.” DWA’s three shows on Nickelodeon make a “negligible” contribution to the company, mostly from licensing and merchandising. But the studio has equity in Dragons on Cartoon Network which is “a more advantageous model for us.” Plans for a Netflix show based on the upcoming movie Turbo provide “another set of economics that have opportunity.” Indeed, he says that with Classic Media’s 450 titles “it is a meaningful place of opportunity for us.”
Analysts expect to hear encouraging news across the board from the barrage of Big Media Q1 earnings reports and conference calls this week and next. But they’ll be listening especially carefully to Viacom on Wednesday. Its shares — which recently hit all-time highs — are down 3.6% since Monday night, when Netflix said that it will let its streaming deal with Viacom expire next month. Netflix says it would rather secure exclusive rights to particular shows instead of broad deals for shows that also appear on other streaming services including Amazon and Hulu. That worries some investors: Viacom has reassured them that all’s well following Nickelodeon‘s ratings dive last year — and backed up its confidence by promising to repurchase $2.5B in stock this year and pay $1 per share in dividends. The question now is whether Viacom can afford to make good on those vows. “Cash, rather than content, remains king,” Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser says this morning. The Netflix news adds to the concerns about Viacom already held by Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger — the company’s toughest critic on Wall Street. “We don’t think Netflix will bid a big sum for the specific programs it wants from Viacom,” he says this AM. “If they were willing to do so, they wouldn’t have gone through this exercise.” Nor does Juenger believe that Amazon will become a white knight. It “has all the leverage. Anything they offer to Viacom is better than nothing.” He adds that it would be “the ultimate irony if Viacom claimed the loss of Netflix would help their linear ratings, given years of arguing the opposite.” Others are more sanguine about Viacom’s prospects.
This news nugget was tucked into Netflix‘s letter to investors that CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells released today: They say that at the end of May they won’t renew their broad deal with Viacom Networks that enables Netflix to carry programming from Nickelodeon, BET and MTV. “We are in discussions with them about licensing particular shows but have yet to conclude a deal,” the execs say. The change reflects Netflix’s effort to “focus on exclusive and curated content” which lessens its willingness to pay for “non-exclusive, bulk content deals.” Hastings and Wells add that “with all the recently added fresh programming from Disney, Cartoon Network, Hasbro’s The Hub and DreamWorks Animation, we have a great kids offering.” Netflix also says that it will try to appeal to large families by offering an $11.99 a month service that enables subscribers to stream up to four shows simultaneously vs the standard $7.99 service which allows two streams. The execs say that they expect “fewer than 1% of members to take it.”
Former Walt Disney Television International and Nickelodeon exec Nicky Douglas will oversee Universal Networks International’s Universal Channel, Syfy, E! Entertainment Television, The Style Network and Movies 24 in the UK. The group of channels has been ramping up its business in the territory with a series of significant deals. Universal Channel just acquired A&E Network’s Bates Motel for two seasons and launched TNT’s Major Crimes as part of an exclusive pact. Syfy premiered drama series Defiance yesterday, 24 hours after its U.S. bow. Douglas most recently had her own consulting firm and will start her new job immediately.
EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon‘s top programming executive Marjorie Cohn is leaving. I hear that she has opted to depart the kids cable network after a 26-year tenure. Following a series of promotions, Cohn, a very well liked TV executive, most recently served as President, Content Development, Nickelodeon. She added animation and digital to her existing portfolio of live-action programming last year, following the departure of Brown Johnson when Russell Hicks was elevated to President, Content Development and Production for the Nickelodeon Group. Cohn has shepherded some of Nick’s biggest hits, including Rugrats, iCarly and SpongeBob. In the wake of her departure, Cohn’s direct reports are now expected to report to Hicks as Nick’s programming efforts have been shifting from New York, where Cahn has been based, to Los Angeles, where Hicks is. UPDATE: In addition to Cohn, also departing is EVP Nickelodeon Prods. Alison Dexter as part of a restructuring that eliminates the position as the production groups will now report to the live-action and animation executives. Here is the internal Nick memo from Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon and MTV Networks’ Kids & Family Group, outlining the changes:
Eight months ago, Russell Hicks took on his new role as our head of content development and production and relocated to Los Angeles. Since that time, we have focused our attention on serving the first generation of post-millennial viewers with exciting new content, introduced an innovative new brand experience through our App, and experienced new momentum in our ratings.
Here’s more proof that Wall Street has freed Viacom from the penalty box following last year’s steep ratings declines at Nickelodeon and MTV. The stock’s up 2.5% in late morning trading — and touched a record $65.25 — after Nomura Equity Research’s Michael Nathanson and RBC Capital Markets’ David Bank said that trends are improving for the entertainment giant. Nickelodeon’s ratings rose 1% in Q1 and with new shows including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles establishing themselves “we expect that the ratings momentum at Nick should continue,” Nathanson says. That could pay off if, as the analyst expects, studios boost spending to promote new movies later this year. If that happens and Nick’s ratings continue to improve then it “can likely take back some [advertising] market share from Cartoon Network,” he says. Bank’s upbeat case for Viacom goes beyond Nickelodeon. He says that ratings momentum “accelerated in roughly half of Viacom’s ad revenue portfolio” including Nick At Nite, BET, and Comedy Central. What’s more, he says MTV should look a lot better when year-over-year comparisons no longer include Jersey Shore, which ended its run late last year.
Nick at Nite comedy pilot Instant Mom (working title) has been picked up to series with a 13-episode order. But in a twist, the multi-camera comedy starring Tia Mowry-Hardrict will have its premiere airings on NickMom, marking the first scripted series for the primetime TV block. It will then repeat on Nick at Nite. Instant Mom was created by Warren Bell and Jessica Butler. Bell will not be involved with the series, with Howard Gould (The Jeff Foxworthy Show) coming on board as executive producer/showrunner. Instant Mom hails from executive producer Aaron Kaplan. It marks Kaplan’s second Nick pilot, along with Wendell & Vinnie, both of whom have gone to series. (Both are directed by John Fortenberry.)
The Drew Barrymore-John Krasinski feature film Big Miracle, Stephen Colbert’s satirical The Colbert Report, David E. Kelley’s Harry’s Law, Rock Center With Brian Williams, Discovery Channel’s Ivory Wars, and ABC’s Nightline were among winners in news and entertainment categories presented at the Humane Society of the United States’ Genesis Awards Benefit Gala tonight at The Beverly Hilton. Dancing With The Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba hosted the event.
Universal’s Big Miracle is based on Thomas Rose’s book about efforts to save a family of trapped cetaceans, Freeing The Whales. Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report took the Sid Caesar Comedy Award for its biting satire of a Congressman’s defense of dogfighting, and NBC’s Harry’s Law won the Dramatic Series Award for an episode questioning the ethics of keeping primates in captivity.
Best TV Documentary went to Discovery’s Ivory Wars for its examination of the elephant ivory trade, and the best TV Newsmagazine Award was shared by NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams for in-depth reporting on endangered orangutans and rhinos and the issue of chimps in research, and ABC’s …
Despicable Me 2 launches July 3 in theaters but the Despicablimp already is in the air. The promotional vehicle (literally) for the Universal Pictures-Illumination Entertainment sequel took off today for a 20,000-mile coast-to-coast trip and makes its first official public appearance tomorrow over Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards in LA, so it will be hanging around town for a while. The blimp — that Minion is 165 feet long, 55 feet high and 46 feet wide — can be tracked here along with its promotional appearances. Here it is:
NoHo Arts District, CA, March 18, 2013 – The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences today announced the honorees for the Sixth Annual Television Academy Honors. Celebrating “Television With A Conscience,” this year’s honorees are A Smile as Big as The Moon, D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List, Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide, Hunger Hits Home, The Newsroom, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, One Nation Under Dog: Stories of Fear, Loss & Betrayal and Parenthood. The Awards, honoring television programs that aired January 1 – December 31, 2012, will be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on May 9th and hosted by Emmy® Award-winning actress Dana Delany.
Hyde Park Names Stephen Gary VP
Ahead of Cannes, Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment Group has picked Stephen Gary as VP of its international sales division. He comes from IM Global, where he worked on titles like Before Midnight Dead Man Down. He’ll report to Hyde Park International’s president Eric Christenson. The company’s current slate includes Every Secret Thing with Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks, Adult World with Emma Roberts and John Cusack and Sunlight Jr. with Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon, as well as an untitled Elmore Leonard project that stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes and Tim Robbins. Gary’s career began in the global finance and distribution department at William Morris Endeavor and includes a stint at Essential Entertainment, where he executed sales on The Expatriate and Barney’s Version. - Joe Utichi
Michele DiLorenzo & Jada Miranda Among Nancy Tellem’s First Top Executive Hires At XBox Entertainment Studios
Since Nancy Tellem officially joined Microsoft as Entertainment and Digital Media President in September, launching the Santa Monica-based Xbox Entertainment Studios, which she oversees, has been a priority for her. Over the past couple of months, Tellem has been putting together a senior management team, which is now taking shape. Michele DiLorenzo joined two weeks ago as SVP, Strategy & Business Development, while veteran network executive Jada Miranda came on board a month ago as SVP, Creative. Both are based in Santa Monica and report to Tellem. DiLorenzo will be responsible for driving all aspects of XES strategy, financial modeling and business development efforts and will lead distribution, programing, licensing and monetization partnerships. DiLorenzo previously handled monetization strategies for Yahoo!, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Virgin. Miranda will oversee the creation of linear and interractive content for the studio. She previously served as SVP of Drama Programming for NBC and spent eight years as a programming executive and producer at HBO. Also recently joining XES’ Santa Monica office and reporting to Tellem is Cheryl Ricketts, VP, Marketing, who will be working closely with the Microsoft production, business, strategy and marketing teams.
SVP, Creative, Xbox Entertainment Studios
Wil Mozell, GM of Sports Entertainment Group (SEG.tv), and the BigPark and Skybox studios, are now part of XES, effective immediately as sports are considered a …
WGA West Demands $3M Bond From Nickelodeon Over Late Payments; Writers Could Stop Working With Network
The Writers Guild of America West has demanded a $3 million bond from Nickelodeon because of “chronically late residuals payment and inadequate reporting practices.” In a March 8 dated letter I have obtained, the WGA West tells the Viacom-owned network that if the multi-million dollar bond is not posted by March 25, the guild could take further action. That action could include instructing “writers to withhold their services from any signatory Company for which Nickelodeon is the residuals payer.” Invoking Article 42 of the guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement, the bond demand came in a letter earlier this month from the WGA West’s director of Legal Services Katherine Shannon Christovisch sent to Nickelodeon’s lawyers at LA firm Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp. Stating that “Nickelodeon pays haphazardly, often only after the Guild initiates an arbitration claim” and “scores of writers have had to wait years to get the residuals due,” Christovisch notes that the company is falls under Article 42’s definition of not being “reliable or financially responsible residuals payers.” She adds “we have determined the adequacy of the bond by projecting, based on recent reuse history, the residuals that we project will become due in 2013.”
Sources tell me that WGA president Chris Keyser decided to act on the long simmering situation earlier thus year after members complained of increasing economic hardship because of the late …
The argument in a redacted version of Cablevision’s antitrust lawsuit at U.S. District Court in New York, released today (read it here), hits at a key part of Viacom’s defense. The entertainment company says that Cablevision could have licensed Viacom channels individually in the long term deal that they signed two months ago, and that businesses often provide discounts to customers who accept package deals. But the cable company says the “penalty” for not taking the package was so onerous that it “was no offer at all.” Indeed, the difference in prices over the life of the contract (undisclosed, although they typically run about six years) ”exceeded Cablevision’s entire 2013 budget for programming.” Viacom has so much market power, the suit says, that it was able to raise its prices at a time when ratings fell for its most popular networks which include Nickelodeon and MTV. What’s more, national ratings show “substantial declines in the daytime and primetime ratings” for nearly all of Viacom’s networks with Logo and VH1 Classic ranking “among the 10 lowest-rated cable networks, for both prime-time and 24-hour average viewing.” If Cablevision wasn’t forced to carry the lower rated Viacom channels, it says that it could have offered “superior programming” from Ovation, GMC, Me-TV, ASPiRE, and Retirement Living TV.