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FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; More

FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; Morecinemaworld2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 3:20 PM PT: Updated figures for the international weekend have come in with all studios reporting. Among the top movies in the marketplace, Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 4th frame was up from original estimates to $84.6M in 58 territories ($662.6M cume), and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was slightly higher than predicted in its 2nd frame with $61.93M on 10,347 screens in 51 markets ($103.6M cume).

Also of note, Fox’s The Grand Budapest Hotel has officially passed $110M internationally, adding $491K in 15 territories this weekend. Meanwhile, Boyhood, which Universal is releasing most everywhere overseas, added 60 locations in its 2nd UK frame. The result was a 0% drop from last week with $537K at 89 dates. The UK/Ireland total is now $1.5M (£892K). With the buzz growing, Universal is looking to continue the pattern by increasing the number of screens in more regional areas this Friday. In the next few days, the studio says the Richard Linklater drama will best the director’s Before Sunset (£932K) and A Scanner Darkly (£995K) to become his 2nd biggest film in the market behind School Of Rock.

Updated throughout the below are figures on the above films as well as Planes: Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Step Up All In, Maleficent, Blended, The Fault In Our Stars, 22 Jump Street, Edge Of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days Of Future Read More »

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Box Office Final: ‘Apes’ No. 1′ With $36.2M, ‘The Purge’ With $29.8M+, ‘Planes’ Flies Low $17.5M, ‘Sex Tape’ Unravels To $14.6M In Soft Weekend

Box Office Final: ‘Apes’ No. 1′ With $36.2M, ‘The Purge’ With $29.8M+, ‘Planes’ Flies Low $17.5M, ‘Sex Tape’ Unravels To $14.6M In Soft Weekend8th UPDATE, Monday, 1:32 PM: It was a down weekend. After the dust cleared today, we can see the final dips: The calendar year-to-date is down 6% with the weekend of the Top Ten from last year to this year down 25%. All films added in, the business is down 23.9%. Given that all pictures underperformed a bit, here are the final box office numbers as they look this morning. Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-Caesar-eyesOf all the newbies, The Purge: Anarchy actually was able to gross the high end of yesterday’s estimate and ended with $29.8M. Both Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue and Sony’s Sex Tape took more of a hit, both off just a tad from their yesterday expectations; neither performed well. Meanwhile, Earth To Echo and Maleficent came in only $29K apart and the more exciting part of this box office weekend was that the smaller films did exceptionally well. Dinesh D’Souza’s controversial documentary America from Lionsgate, at No. 12, held quite well, down only 30% as did Jon Favreau’s Chef (Open Road), which even after dropping about 150 locations saw a significant jump on Saturday and ended the weekend at $25.9M. Another bit of sweet news was the solid per-screen number of Richard Linkaleter’s little masterpiece Boyhood (IFC) which held a nice $34,418 per screen; its cume is now $1.785M after two weeks in a platform release. The Top 20 chart follows: Read More »

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Netflix Touts ‘Orange Is The New Black’ As Q2 Earnings Meet Expectations; Streaming Service Tops 50M Subs

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 1:13pm PDT

Netflix Touts ‘Orange Is The New Black’ As Q2 Earnings Meet Expectations; Streaming Service Tops 50M SubsShares are up about 2% in early post-market trading, though probably mostly due to subscriber gains — topping 50M streaming customers worldwide for the first time — rather than the financial results for Q2. Netflix generated $71M in net income, up from $29.5M in the period last year, on revenues of $1.34B, +25.4%. While the growth is impressive, it was also expected: Revenues came in just a little ahead of the $1.33B that analysts anticipated. Earnings at $1.15 a share were a penny shy of the consensus forecast.

Related: CBS Drama ‘The Zoo’ To Be Available On Netflix In 2015

Jodie Foster earns first Emmy directing nomination with Orange Is The New BlackBut the company says it had 36.24M domestic streaming customers at the end of the quarter, up 570,000 from March, which it attributes to “our ever-improving content offering, including Orange Is The New Black Season 2.” Netflix expects an additional 1.33M in Q3. On the international side, streaming customers increased by 1.12M over the three-month period to 13.8M. But the company lost 342,000 DVD-by-mail customers, ending the quarter with 6.17M.

Related: Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?

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MSNBC Flatlines On Big Big News Day While Fox News Dominates & CNN Ratings Surge

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 12:58pm PDT

MSNBC Flatlines On Big Big News Day While Fox News Dominates & CNN Ratings SurgeThe rule of thumb is that when news is breaking and a crisis is unfolding, cable news networks see a big jump in viewership. Turns out that’s not the case if you are MSNBC. On the first full day of coverage of the Malaysia Airlines disaster and Israeli troop movement into Gaza the day before, the Comcast-owned news channel actually was down double digits among adults 25-54 both in total day and in primetime on July 18. While rivals CNN and Fox News Channel were up 16% and 13% in total day over the comparable day last year, when the news was much quieter to say the least, MSNBC fell 38% to a mere 87,000.

Image (2) foxnewschannel__121107055533__130821210939__130827191454__140401180009-150x149.jpg for post 715548Take a look at primetime, the numbers get even harsher for MSNBC with a 46% fall in the demo to 118,000 from July 19, 2013 compared to a rise of 16% and 30% for FNC and CNN. Winning in all categories on Friday and benefiting from the breaking news, FNC had 268,000 among 25-54s for total day and 323,000 during primetime. Seeing an uptick as it commonly does during breaking news, the often ratings struggling Time Warner-owned network got 208,000 in the demo total day and 263,000 in Image (1) cnnlogo__140117174347-275x131__140122180929__140425214942__140602211242.jpg for post 739150primetime.

Related: FNC Wins 50th Straight Ratings Quarter

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Rising Star’ & ‘Wipeout’ Fall, ‘Big Brother’ Steady, ‘Reckless’ Rises

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 8:55am PDT

RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Rising Star’ & ‘Wipeout’ Fall, ‘Big Brother’ Steady, ‘Reckless’ RisesIt was a half-and-half night among the Big 4 in primetime Sunday. CBS and ABC were almost all originals, while NBC and Fox were all encores. For Big Brother (2.1/8), that literally meant a bit of chess match among the usual housemate intrigue. Although the fourth Sunday broadcast of Season 16 of the vet reality show dipped 5% among adults 18-49 from last week, preliminary ratings have BB as the top-rated show of the night and, with 6.38 million tuning in, the night’s second-most-watched show — following the audience of 7.72 million for a repeat of 60 Minutes (0.9/4) that started the night. New episodes of Unforgettable (1.0/3) and freshman Reckless (0.6/2) followed BB to round out the night. Last night saw another double-digit rise for the Poppy Montgomery starrer as it grew 11% from its July 13 show. The latter took an even bigger jump with a 20% rise from last week, when it was flat with the week before. CBS topped the night in18-49 with a 1.1/4 rating and in total viewers with 6.147 million watching.

Even though it was all repeats, Fox was second in ratings (1.0/4) while ABC was No. 2 in viewers with 4.073 million. With a 1.5/5 rating, Fox’s 9 PM Family Guy encore was the night’s second-highest-rated show. Read More »

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TCA: Fox’s Peter Rice On New Executive Structure; Future Of Pilot Model; More ’24,’ ‘Bones’

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 11:17am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA: Fox’s Peter Rice On New Executive Structure; Future Of Pilot Model; More ’24,’ ‘Bones’With the departure of Fox’s previous top programming executive and the network’s new co-heads not in place yet, their boss, Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice, took the stage on his own at the network’s executive session at the TCAs this morning. Top question of the day: Fox’s new executive structure, in which the network and sibling 20th TV are both under the oversight of the same executives, Dana Walden and Gary Newman.

“We’d been the odd man out,” Rice said, a reference to the other broadcast networks, which have closely integrated with their studios. “As competition for talent has become more intense, it has put us at a disadvantage, and to have the network and the studio aligned would be helpful.”

Rice was asked to elaborate on the ways the previous setup disadvantaged Fox. “The old structure had a clear advantage for the studio: a big independent studio that was able to sell to everyone, which it has done extremely successfully,” Rice said. “But the network was increasingly disadvantaged. The ability to be reactive only because you are a buyer, that funnel became narrower and narrower as the (landscape) became more competitive… By putting these things together, we’re telling the creative community, we have this great network and a great studio, you can speak to us in a single voice.” Read More »

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Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’s’ Big Shoulders Continue To Dominate In Second Week

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 11:05am PDT

Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’s’ Big Shoulders Continue To Dominate In Second WeekBoyhood continued to muscle into the Specialty Box Office in its second frame amid an expansion, even while the weekend’s newcomers showed mixed numbers. Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here and Mike Cahill‘s I Origins, second films from both writer/directors, bowed with averages in the low $7K range. IFC FilmsBoyhood opened last week with the year’s second highest PTA among limited-release titles and only compounded its star status in expansion. The Richard Linklater-directed feature added 29 locations, grossing nearly $1.2 million in 34 theaters, a stellar $35,230 per-screen average and a $1,848,050 two-week cume.
Boyhood’s mid- to long-term momentum appears assured with a 99-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and what IFC Films says is “word of mouth… through the roof, as reflected by eye-popping exit polls this weekend and minimal drop at last weekend’s opening theaters.” IFC, which financed the film throughout its 12-year gestation, said the title played solidly across all demographics, with top scores from teens and from “those in their 60s and beyond.” Boyhood will expand to the top 25 markets next weekend and will continue to widen in coming weeks.
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TCA: Networks Urge Press To Abandon Live + Same Day Ratings Reports

By | Saturday July 19, 2014 @ 3:19pm PDT

TCA: Networks Urge Press To Abandon Live + Same Day Ratings Reports“If you were a sports reporter, you would not report the winner based on the third-inning score – that’s what you’re doing if you use Live + Same Day ratings,” CBS Research guru David Poltrack chastised Reporters Who Cover Television this morning. He was one of four number crunchers who ran the reporters through a “bar chart gauntlet” at Summer TV Press Tour 2014, by way of trying to convince them not to report on next day ratings for their networks’ programs. They came to preach the value of using Live + 3 stats at the very least, in light of how popular delayed viewing has become – particularly of scripted primetime series, with drama series leading the way.

“We all provide projections [for Live + 3 Day]. We understand your skepticism about using our projections,” Poltrack said. “The one thing you can be sure about our projections is that if one of us starts giving you a lot of bullshit, the other ones are going to let you know. You’ve got us to check each other,” he said.

Among the mind-numbing array of charts used in this morning’s pitch was one showing that, among the major broadcast networks, the demo ratings growth from Live + Same Day to Live + 7 averaged 40%. “What’s interesting is how long the tail has become,” Fox Research SVP Will Somers said. He displayed the numbers for his network’s fall-launch drama Sleepy Hollow, showing an overnight audience of 10.1 million viewers that … Read More »

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Soft Start For USA Dramas ‘Rush’ & ‘Satisfaction’

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 6:27pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Soft Start For USA Dramas ‘Rush’ & ‘Satisfaction’USA Network premiered two new dramas last night, Rush and Satisfaction, both of which which opened with 1.7 million viewers. That is low by USA standards, with the network’s two most recent original dramas, Common Law and Graceland, debuting with 2.5 million and 3.3 million, respectively. As is increasingly the case these days, we need to wait at least for Live+3 data to see if there will be any significant DVR bump. It is worth noting that Satisfaction at 10 PM actually built on Rush‘s numbers, especially in the demos. Among adults 18-49, Satisfaction posted 626,000 viewers to Rush‘s 493,000. Both new series fell from the Law & Order: SVU repeat that preceded them.

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‘Boyhood’ By The Numbers: What Else Happened Over 12 Years

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 10:37am PDT

‘Boyhood’ By The Numbers: What Else Happened Over 12 YearsAfter it debuted last week to the second-best opening of any specialty film in 2014, Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood is already considered an early Oscar contender that has a chance to cross over as it broadens its run to 10 markets today. It is unprecedented for a narrative film to be shot like this one was. It proved to be a time-lapse process that allows viewers to watch Ellar Coltrane and his castmates age naturally from age 6 to 18 and believably go through the joys and dramas, big and small, inherent in the lives of children. Linklater told Deadline he was lucky nothing unfortunate happened in the lives of the cast and crew, almost all of whom returned year after year. Here, Deadline looks at some of the things that happened to the participants over that span, including in Texas, where Linklater shot the film.

Boyhood chart

 

Number of other features, TV movies and shorts directed by Richard Linklater:  10
Number of TV episodes created by Richard Linklater: 6 (Up To Speed)
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TCA: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Confident NFL Will Extend One-Year Thursday Football Deal

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 5:02pm PDT

TCA: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Confident NFL Will Extend One-Year Thursday Football Deal“This is the program we know is going to be on the air for many, many years,” CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said of his network’s new Thursday NFL package, to TV critics he noted have slogged through about two weeks of Q&A’s for new TV series,  almost all of which will die quick deaths — “even ours.”

“This, however, is a sure thing,” Moonves boasted at his Q&A session at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “This is the single best product on television anywhere.”

That said, the deal is a one-year pact only, after which the NFL could take all that increased awareness CBS has ginned up for the franchise and slap it back on NFL Network exclusively. “We have not made a determination beyond one year,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said when asked this afternoon if he’d commit to more. “We made the decision knowing it’s a short term, for what we think is a long-term strategy to build Thursday night [for NFL]. We believe the awareness of Thursday football will go up significantly,” he said, stating the obvious.

“We knew going in this was a one-year deal,” Moonves jumped in. “It’s our job to show the NFL what we can do. And we’re confident they’re going to feel like CBS did a tremendous job; we’re confident after this year is over they’ll sit down and hopefully give us a longer deal than that,” he said. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Extant’ Steady In Week 2, ‘SYTYCD’ & ‘ Motive’ Down, ‘Big Brother’ Tops Night In Demo

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 9:01am PDT

RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Extant’ Steady In Week 2, ‘SYTYCD’ & ‘ Motive’ Down, ‘Big Brother’ Tops Night In DemoCBS has made a bet that it can own Wednesdays this summer with its teaming of veteran reality show Big Brother (2.0/8) and freshman sci-fi thriller Extant (1.5/5). If last night was any gauge, the network might be holding a winning ticket. Now granted, with the exception of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance (1.04) there wasn’t a lot of competition against CBS’ originals. Still, the network easily won primetime both among Adults 18-49 with a 1.5/5 rating and 6.54 million viewers. Univision was the second highest rated network with its 1.2/4 result while audiencewise NBC came in the No. # 2 spot with 5.55 million viewers. Individually, BB at 8 PM was up 5% from its July 9 show while the 9PM Halle Berry starrer series dipped a slight 6% from its heavily promoted debut last week. While down over 1.2 million viewers from those who watched its premiere, the audience of 7.87 million who tuned in for Extant last night made it primetime’s most watched show. Big Brother was the highest rated show of the night. CBS ended the night with a Criminal Minds (1.1/4) repeat.

CBS’ bet seems to also have a healthy dollop of digital afterlife. With Live+3 numbers, last week’s premiere of the Steven Spielberg executive produced CBS astronaut series saw a 37% jump among Adults 18-49 to 2.2 from its Live+SD 1.6 result. In terms of viewers, Extant’s launch rose 24% from 9.58 million to 11.88 million in its DVR life.

Elsewhere on TV last night, SYTYCD saw … Read More »

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Hollywood Break: Terrell Lawrence Makes Leap From Accounting To TV Writing

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 5:56pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Hollywood Break: Terrell Lawrence Makes Leap From Accounting To TV WritingThey say to succeed in Hollywood, all you need is to get your foot in the door, whatever that door is. For 31-year-old Terrell Lawrence, it was the accounting department of a talent agency, ICM Partners. After graduating from University of South Carolina in 2005 with a major in Media Arts, he moved to Los Angeles and the next year landed a job as an accounting analyst at ICM. But like thousands of others, Lawrence secretly harbored a dream of becoming a writer. Word of Lawrence’s aspirations got to young ICM TV lit agent Laura Gordon, who has been building a client roster after getting promoted to agent at the end of last year. She read a Big Bang Theory spec Lawrence had written and worked with him on an original sample.  As both Lawrence and Gordon are well liked within the agency, other agents in the TV lit department offered to help, including partner Ted Chervin, who introduced the budding comedy writer to client Bill Lawrence. Bill Lawrence’s shows were fully staffed but he liked Terrell’s writing and recommended him to another top comedy showrunner, Greg Malins, with whom Bill had created the TBS comedy series Ground Floor. The introduction led to a writer staffing job for Terrell on Malins’ new TBS comedy Your Family or Mine… and a vacancy in ICM Partners’ accounting department for another budding writer with a knack for numbers.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Night Shift’ Dips In Finale, Fox Wins Night With MLB All-Star Game, ‘Extreme Weight Loss’ Drops

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 9:20am PDT

RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Night Shift’ Dips In Finale, Fox Wins Night With MLB All-Star Game, ‘Extreme Weight Loss’ DropsYes, we are already that far into the summer that seasonal shows are having their finales. Last night it was NBC freshman drama The Night Shift (1.2/4) taking its turn. Having debuted on May 27 and renewed fairly quickly for a second season on July 1, the medical show dipped 8% last night among adults 18-49 compared with its July 8 episode. With battle memories and scars, the finale was down 25% from the 1.6 its premiere drew in late May. Night Shift’s lead-in was an America’s Got Talent (2.0/7) audition recap special. The two-hour show was down 23% from the last original AGT on Tuesdays, which got a 2.6.

85th MLB All Star GameOf course, the really big game of the night was the baseball’s All Star-Game (3.0/10) on Fox. Final numbers will come from Fox Sports later today, but in preliminary ratings, last night’s victory by the American League over the National League at Target Field in Minneapolis was a bit of a repeat of last year. The game itself was up 3% from the July 16, 2013 match-up. This being live sports, expect the numbers to be adjusted later today. Last year’s game ended up averaging a 6.9/12 in the final numbers. Needless to say, even with the preliminary ratings, Fox won the night in the demo and among total viewers with 10,95 million.

Batting up against the All-Star Game, ABC had a full primetime of originals with Extreme Weight Loss (0.9/3) and Celebrity Wife Swap (1.0/3). … Read More »

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TCA: ‘Cristela’ Hopes To Reach Broader Audience Among Lean ABC Offerings

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 7:12pm PDT

TCA: ‘Cristela’ Hopes To Reach Broader Audience Among Lean ABC OfferingsThere’s been a lot of talk about diversity at ABC’s TCA panels today, yet the network’s shows have all shared one constant: Virtually all their stars are thin. But after the panel on her new multi-camera comedy Cristela, stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo, the show’s co-creator and executive producer, said she’s happy to represent the majority: People of average weight.
Alonzo was wearing a black Fitbit bracelet and said she plans to wear it on the show, in which she portrays an aspiring lawyer who moves back in with her family to pursue that goal. “You see all these shows that have thin people and you never see them eat, you never see them go to the gym,” she said. “Well, I eat. This is what America looks like. This is it.”
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Broadway Hands Dutch Mogul Joop Van Den Ende Latest K.O. As ‘Rocky’ Goes Down For The Count

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 3:31pm PDT

Broadway Hands Dutch Mogul Joop Van Den Ende Latest K.O. As ‘Rocky’ Goes Down For The Count

Dutch entertainment mogul Joop van den Ende is one of Europe’s savviest producers of movies, TV and legit, but he just can’t catch a break on Broadway. His latest venture, the musical adaptation of Rocky, was a hit on the Continent — it’s still selling out in Hamburg — but the tuner will shutter August 17 at the Winter Garden Theatre at a complete loss of its estimated $16 million-plus capitalization. Van den Ende will share the pain with a four-star roster of partners including Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, MGM, the two leading Broadway landlords, the Shubert Organization (which owns the Winter Garden) and the Nederlander Organization, along with a host of independent producers.

Rocky began previews February 13 and opened a month later to mostly critical yawns that tamped the box office despite some enthusiastic patrons getting in on highly discounted tickets. The show offered a certified coup de theatre from set designer Christopher Barreca in the final scene, which called for the folks in the front rows of the orchestra to move to stageside bleachers, offering a simulacrum of a live boxing event. The boxing ring in which Andy Karl’s Rocky Balboa fought Terence Archie’s Apollo Creed was drawn out on risers directly into the house, a knockout move. Strategic miking and custom-made props — including soft gloves that allowed the actors to actually pummel one another — enhanced the illusion. Read More »

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UPDATE: Yahoo Shares Slip As Investors Focus On Weak Q2 Ad Sales

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 1:16pm PDT

UPDATE: Yahoo Shares Slip As Investors Focus On Weak Q2 Ad SalesUPDATE: The relief over the Alibaba news didn’t last long. Yahoo shares are now down 2.4% following management’s call with analysts who mostly focused on the company’s lousy Q2 results — and execs ratcheted back their Q3 guidance. CEO Marissa Mayer said it will take “multiple years” to turn things around, although she called the Q2 numbers a “short term set back.” CFO Ken Goldman says that “clear we need to operate with a greater sense of urgency” as he projected that Q3 numbers will look a lot like Q2′s.

PREVIOUS, 1:16 PM: Yahoo only has to sell 140M of its Alibaba shares after the Chinese e-retailer goes public, down from their previous agreement that required Yahoo to unload 208M shares. That led to a 2.5% jump in Yahoo’s stock price in early post market trading — not bad considering what looks at first glance to be tepid financial results in Q2. Yahoo generated $272.6M in net income, -18.6% vs the period last year, on revenues of $1.04B (not including traffic acquisition costs), -2.9%. The top line is a hair lower than analysts expected. Net earnings at 37 cents a share were a penny light of the consensus forecast.

The Q2 results will do little to assuage investors who are wondering when CEO Marissa Mayer — who’s been at the company for two years — will show solid improvements at Yahoo’s core ad-supported businesses. The stock is down nearly 12% so far in 2014 as people lose patience, and fear what will happen now that it has to reduce its 24% stake in Alibaba, which is seen as a success.
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Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’ Dips & ‘Masters Of Sex’ Down In Season 2 Debuts

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 12:44pm PDT

Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’ Dips & ‘Masters Of Sex’ Down In Season 2 DebutsIt was a double blast of returns from Showtime on Sunday with the Season 2 premieres of Ray Donovan and Masters Of Sex. With the former having moved from 10 PM to 9 PM and the later at 10 PM, the shows pulled in 1.22 million and 825,000 viewers, respectively. While the Donovan debut ray donovan seaosn 2was down 13% from the Season 1 finale last fall, it slipped  just 9% from the 1.35 million who watched its series premiere on June 30 last year – that served as the lead-out for the strong debut of the last season of  Dexter and become the best-ever series debut in Showtime’s history. For Sex, Sunday’s number was 17% down from the 998,000 who saw its Season 1 opener last fall. Over all plays on Sunday, Ray Donovan was seen by 1.76 million while Masters Of Sex was seen by 1.12 million. Read More »

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TCA: ABC’s Paul Lee On Diversity, Cable Vs. Broadcast & ‘Trophy Wife’s Cancellation

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 12:02pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA: ABC’s Paul Lee On Diversity, Cable Vs. Broadcast & ‘Trophy Wife’s Cancellation“Is this a therapy session?,” ABC president Paul Lee asked jokingly after another long-winded question about the network’s new series. That about sums up an uneventful executive session, which also could double as a drinking game over the great number of times the words “diversity” and “specificity” were repeated. There was no mention of ABC’s ratings woes but the diversity of the network’s new slate — which includes comedies about a black family (Black-ish), Asian family (Fresh Off The Boat) and Latino family (Cristela), as well as dramas American Crime, created by John Ridley, and How To Get Away with Murder, exec produced by Shonda Rhimes and starring Viola Davis — was front and center. Asked what the tipping point was, Lee was quick to point out, “we’re not there yet,” in terms of level of diversity. “To be able to pull this off, you need not just stars on air… you need the storytellers and you need the executives to truly reflect America as it is,” he added, giving a shout-out to the network and sister studio’s diverse group of creative executives.

Lee indirectly referenced 21st Century Fox’s move to put both Fox and 20th Century Fox TV under the same leadership, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, as part of a growing trend. ABC and ABC Studios have operated that way for years, and Lee, who oversees both, praised the model. “We’ve used that combination of network and studio to develop a lot of great shows,” he said.

Asked about the perception that cable dramas are cooler than their broadcast counterparts in light of another Emmy shutout of broadcast dramas from the top category, Lee spoke in support of broadcast shows. “I’ll put American Crime or Scandal against any cable drama series,” he said. “Sometime limitations can provide you with better storytelling, and Shonda Rhimes is a beacon of that.” Read More »

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