There was a lot cooking on primetime last night and Friday’s menu was a mix of the undercooked and the more-than-just-right. The second week of Season 6 of Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares traveled to the troubled Old Neighborhood Restaurant in Arvada, CO and to a Greek joint in Queens, NY, where the owner couple were in almost as much trouble as their establishment. Unfortunately for the two-hour reality show, the trouble didn’t stop there: the Gordon Ramsay series took a 17% dive from its 8 PM (1.0/4) premiere April 11 and an 18% drop from its 9 PM (0.9/3) broadcast last week.
With just days to go before they meet their Aereo foes face-to-face at the Supreme Court, the broadcasters this week took one last swipe at what they claim is the “blatant and unapologetic copyright infringement” by the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. “Aereo is in the business of retransmitting performances of the copyrighted works of others to the public for a profit,” said bluntly in a final reply brief filed by Disney, CBS, NBC, Fox and the other plaintiffs on April 14 with the SCOTUS (read it here). Aereo and the broadcasters are set to present their respective oral arguments in a 1-hour hearing before the High Court on April 22. In their March 26 response to the broadcasters’ February 24 filing, Aereo insisted that they are not engaged in public performance of copyrighted works. The company also said “this Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from lawful and logical advancements in technology or from the economic consequences of their transmitting works for free over the public airwaves.”
With the previously recused Judge Samuel Alito now joining the case the court docket revealed today, the stakes have gotten higher for all concerned, as it is impossible for the SCOTUS to have a tie on …
Editors Note: The first of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: A primer about Aereo and what’s at stake in the dispute with broadcasters.
U.S. Supreme Court justices are so mistrustful of technology that they bar TV cameras from their proceedings and require visitors to check their smartphones at the door. But on April 22 they will take an hour to hear arguments in a case that could re-shape television and the Internet. All of the major broadcast companies are challenging the legality of an upstart streaming service: Aereo, a company backed by IAC chief Barry Diller that began to sign up subscribers in New York City in February 2012. The issues both sides will raise are complicated. But the controversy boils down to an important question: What rights do broadcasters and citizens have to content on the publicly owned airwaves?
Q: How does Aereo work?
A: Subscribers in the cities Aereo serves pay a minimum of $8 a month. That gives them exclusive access to one of its thousands of dime-sized antennas that pick up free, local, over-the-air broadcasts. The company then streams the live programming in the same local market to subscribers’ Web-connected TVs, computers, or mobile devices.
Q: Does it just stream live TV?
A: Aereo also offers a remote storage DVR. Just like with a home DVR, each customer can choose programs to record, and then watch later with the same fast-forward and rewind capabilities. The difference is that the digital files are kept on Aereo’s servers, not on a hard drive in the home. Those who pay $8 per month get 20 hours of DVR storage each month and access to one antenna, while those paying $12 get 60 hours and access to two antennas.
Q: Where can people subscribe?
A: Aereo began in New York, and now also is available in Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Miami, and San Antonio. It plans to launch in cities including Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Kansas City.
Q: Why does that bother broadcasters?
A: Aereo doesn’t pay local TV stations when it streams their programming. Broadcasters say that infringes on their copyrights.
Participant Media‘s network Pivot today announced the pickup of Sky Atlantic’s 12-episode drama series Fortitude starring Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon. The series became available in the U.S. in December when Starz, which originally had committed to the project, pulled out. Pivot is designed as a younger skewing network than Starz, with its target demo being 18-34. As part of its upfront presentation, Pivot also announced an overhaul of its nightly topical series, TakePart Live. Beginning Monday, May 12, the hour-long late-night program will move to primetime (10 PM) with a new producer, Michael Davies’ Embassy Row, which is behind Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead/Bad. Also undergoing makeover is the hosting team of Jacob Soboroff and Cara Santa Maria, with only Soboroff coming back, joined by Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain and comedian Eddie Huang.
Pivot also unveiled a development slate that includes eleven projects from production companies including IAC’s Electus, Universal Cable Prods., FremantleMedia North America/Pukeko Pictures, Funny or Die, and Eyeworks, and revealed premiere 2014-15 dates, including an August 8 debut for the sophomore season of coming-of-age comedy, Please Like Me, and the comedy Human Resources. “Our second slate demonstrates our significant investment in, and commitment to, groundbreaking content for the thought-leading segment of Generation Y we call ‘Upstanders,’” said Pivot president Evan Shapiro. Here is Pivot’s full slate:
The 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards were held tonight at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, honoring 12 of their 29 media categories, with comedian Ross Mathews hosting. Previously announced honorees include Jennifer Lopez, who received the Vanguard Award, a kudo that honors artists and media professionals whose work has increased the profile and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions is behind the ABC Family series The Fosters, which portrays a blended family with lesbian parents. Also Orange Is The New Black star Laverne Cox was presented with the Stephen F. Kolzak award by Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page. The honor, named after a casting director who was a LGBT crusader, is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality. The GLAAD Media Awards honor those who display a fair, accurate and inclusive representation of the LGBT community and their issues. Additional awards will be presented at the org’s New York City event on Saturday, May 3.
Announced winners tonight include:
Pioneer Award (presented by Wilson Cruz)
Vanguard Award (presented by Rita Moreno)
Stephen F. Kolzak Award (presented by Ellen Page)
Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black
International Advocate for Change Award
Manny de Guerre, founder of the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia
TIE: Bridegroom …
Jerry Seinfeld, Aaron Paul and Batkid were among the big winners tonight as the 6th annual Shorty Awards for the best in social media were handed out in New York. The trophy show, which this year added a category for best Vine video, honors various online video, business, entertainment, journalism and social-media stars. Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee was voted best web show, while Paul was tapped as favorite actor Parks And Recreation‘s Retta took the actress prize. Other winners included Patton Oswalt, Paul Feig and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson. Will Ferrell picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here’s Seinfeld’s taped acceptance speech. The full list of winners is after the jump:
MIPTV Briefs: Germany Finds ‘Utopia’; eOne Sells AMC Titles; ‘SAF3′ Secures 2nd Season; ITVSGE Adds Major Series; More
Social experiment format Utopia is getting a German version. The ProSiebenSat.1 Group has acquired rights with the local version to be a co-production between Talpa Media and its German partner, Schwartzkopff TV. In the States, Talpa Media U.S. is working with Fox on the American version for launch later this year. The reality series features a group of everyday people whisked to an isolated, undeveloped location for an entire year and challenged to create their own civilization.
Raul Gonzalez, most recently the co-host of Univision‘s Despierta America, has jumped to Telemundo, where he will host a new variety series slated for next season. He also will contribute to multiple series and specials, the first of which will be the Billboard Latin Music Awards Presented by State Farm to be broadcast live on April 24 at 7 PM. “I am delighted to be joining the team at Telemundo and for the trust they have shown in me,” said Gonzalez. “I am a firm believer in following your dreams and for me hosting a prime time series has always been one of my major goals. We share a passion for quality television and will bring our audience the programming they want and deserve.” Gonzalez left Univision last month after 12 years as co-host of Despierta America. He also frequently co-hosted the long-running variety show Sabado Gigante.
LOS ANGELES, CA (March 27, 2014) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) is pleased to announce the initial slate of speakers confirmed to participate in the 6th annual Produced By Conference (PBC). Director and producer David Fincher (GONE GIRL, FIGHT CLUB, SE7EN, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON) & producer Ceán Chaffin (GONE GIRL, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO), producer Norman Lear (“The Jeffersons, “All In The Family”), actor and producer Seth Rogen (NEIGHBORS, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, KNOCKED UP), and producer Joe Roth (MALEFICENT, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN) will participate as featured speakers at the 2014 Produced By Conference, hosted by Warner Bros. Studios on June 7-8.
Additional speakers include some of the entertainment and digital industries’ most renowned producers and visionaries. Confirmed speakers are noted below in alphabetical order. Additional speakers will be announced prior to the conference.
Aereo may have agreed with broadcasters late last year that the best venue for their ongoing legal “war of attrition” is the Supreme Court. But as today’s response brief (read it here) to the plaintiffs reveals, that’s all the two sides agree on in this case. “This Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from lawful and logical advancements in technology or from the economic consequences of their transmitting works for free over the public airwaves,” said the Barry Diller-backed subscription streaming service in its filing today at the SCOTUS. “The ‘one-to-one’ transmissions from Aereo’s equipment – individual transmissions from personal recordings created from data received by individual antennas – do not constitute ‘public’ performances,” the dense, 100-page brief also noted one of the broadcasters’ primary complaints about the company. With the high court scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case on late next month, Aereo now must send in an amicus curiae brief of its own by April 2.
Ben Sherwood To Succeed Anne Sweeney As Disney/ABC Television Group President, ABC’s Paul Lee Closing In On New Contract
ABC News president Ben Sherwood cemented his status as Disney’s golden TV boy as he has been appointed a successor to Anne Sweeney. Sherwood will assume the title of co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group on February 1, 2015, a day after Sweeney ends her 10-year run in the same post. ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee is expected to finalize a new multi-year contract, ensuring the network’s stability at the top heading into next month’s upfronts. Sherwood’s appointment comes after a short search, with the news wiz considered an early frontrunner as Disney again looked within ranks for the next top executive hire.
Sherwood will begin the transition as Co-President, Disney/ABC Television Group alongside Sweeney immediately, while also continuing to oversee ABC News until a successor is named. “Ben is one of those unique executives who combine rich creative experience with great business acumen,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said. “He’s also focused, strategic, and competitive, as evidenced by the success of GMA, the Yahoo deal that delivered ABC News online dominance, and his vision behind our new cable and digital joint venture, Fusion. These reasons, and many others, make Ben the ideal candidate to oversee the future of the Disney/ABC Television Group.”
While Sherwood’s career trajectory resembles that of Jeff Zucker, who also transitioned from the No. 1 morning program, Today, to running NBC (they both also went to Harvard), observers point out that Sherwood also has entertainment experience. He took a break from the news business and became a best-selling author, with his novel The Death And Life Of Charlie St. Cloud turned into a studio feature. Still, it was Sherwood’s accomplishments as head of the ABC News division that propelled him to the reins of Disney’s entire non-sports TV portfolio. Among them is leading Good Morning America to No. 1, brokering a successful online partnership with Yahoo to and launching Fusion, a joint venture news and lifestyle network with Univision. “Over the years, he has moved from success-to-success, and helped create a more vibrant, collaborative and powerful news division that embraces innovation and risk-taking,” Sweeney said. “Ben’s now set to bring those same attributes to bear for the larger group, and I could not be more thrilled. This announcement simply highlights the fact that our talent and succession planning process works.”
Creative Artists Agency has signed Eugenio Derbez, one of the top Latino filmmakers/actors in the business and certainly one of the most recognizable Latino actors in the world. Derbez is the creator and star of one of Mexico’s most popular sitcoms La Familia P. Luche (The Plush Family) which ran fot 10 years on Univision and also created the Televisa produced sketch-show XHDRbZ which ran for two seasons. Both programs not only appeared in the U.S. but also ran in Europe and, of course, Latin America. He had very recognizeable names in the Latino market on his sketch show, including the president of Mexico Vincente Fox. He also wrote, directed and starred in last year’s Instructions Not Included, which is touted as the highest-grossing Spanish-language film in the U.S., earning $44.4M in the U.S. and $41M internationally for a total of $85.5 million worldwide. He was also the voice of Donkey in the Spanish-language version of Shrek and also played a character voice in Guillermo Del Toro’s animated comedy Book of Life. U.S. audiences may remember him from Liongate’s Girl in Progress starring opposite Eva Mendes (2012) or in Fox Searchlights Under the Same Moon from 2008. He was previously with WME. His attorney is Howard Abramson of Behr & Abramson, LLP.
Is This Hollywood’s Next Major Studio? Bob Simonds & TPG Growth’s Venture Fully Financed, JP Morgan Says; Hiring, Deals To Start In Earnest
There has been a fair amount of speculation since producer Robert Simonds, TPG Growth, Gigi Pritzker and Chinese concern Hony Capital announced their plans for “a next generation film studio” to finance, produce and self-distribute eight to 10 star-driven films every year. The group has already gone around the traditional business model in making deals for screen plays directly with the nation’s exhibitors and it will also make other output for home video, pay and other ancillaries. It also boldly announced that they would spend $1B over the next five years. When folks around town heard that, they rolled their eyes. After all, there is a history of largess announcements with Chinese investors only to find out later that it’s not real. So who better to confirm than with the bankers.
According to JP Morgan’s David Shaheen, the head of the financial institution’s entertainment banking team for the past 18 years, the deal is closed. “The funding is in place. We’ve been working with them for the past year and in earnest the last several months,” he said. “We were engaged from the beginning evaluating their business strategy and helped structure the financing. The combination of the equity capitalization that has been funded, the subordinated debt capital, the prints and advertising facility, and the senior debt revolving line of credit are sufficient to fund the production and releasing of film (and television content) for the term of the deal.” Which is? “Five to six years.” The prints and advertising facility is being handled by a separate company. But a billion dollars? “It’s fair to say that the capital is there,” says Shaheen. The Raine Group also served as the financial adviser to the studio.
Shaheen added that he was impressed with “the quality of the shareholders — all blue-chip players — including their exhibition partners and how they were able to pull the ingredients together. The capital is in place and ready to go. I’ve gotten some calls on this, too, from people around town wondering if this was real. I don’t know what else to tell you but it’s real.” It’s basically a revolver financial structure, which means that they can tap into larger resources if needed.
Also, the exhibitors — AMC Theaters, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark and Carmike — have all negotiated separately with the joint venture. In order to agree, they also needed assurance, which was provided. They all put a conditionality on the agreement that they had to see the capital to produce the films before they would make an agreement to offer them a certain amount of screens each year. By making deals directly with the theater owners, it is a major shift away from the traditional way of doing business with exhibition.
EXCLUSIVE: Mexican actor-singer-heartthrob Jaime Camil is making his US pilot debut with a co-starring role opposite Gina Rodriguez in the CW‘s drama Jane The Virgin. Based on the successful Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, Jane The Virgin centers on Jane (Rodriguez), a hardworking religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated. International telenovela star Camil will play the series regular role of Rubio, who happens to be a world-famous telenovela star with a surprising connection to Jane. Camil, who is coming off back-to-back hit Spanish-language series in Mexico and the U.S. with Que Pobres Ran Ricos and Poy Ella Soy Eva, is currently seen on Univision’s new rom-com novela, Qué Pobres Tan Ricos. He made a successful feature debut in the US as the star of bilingual Patelion/Lionsgate hit Pulling Strings, which ranked as the third highest-grossing foreign language film of 2013. Additionally, a recent guest appearance by Camil on Devious Maids delivered strong ratings for the Lifetime series, which also has Latin roots. Jane the Virgin, from CBS Studios, is written by Jennie Snyder Urman and directed by Brad Silberling. Camil is with ROAR, WME and attorney James Mandelbaum.
The change will take place in 2015 and will help to solidify the relationship between Univision and Bounce, which describes itself as the first broadcast TV network for African Americans. In addition to the new carriage arrangement, Bounce renewed its deal with Univision to air as a multicast channel on its stations in San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Raleigh and Tampa. “Bounce TV has been a hit for our stations,” Univision Television Group President Kevin Cuddihy says. “We are looking forward to expanding our successful relationship to more markets.” The companies didn’t disclose financial terms. But Bounce TV Distribution EVP Jeffrey Wolf says the new agreements “ensure that the leading over the air broadcaster targeting the Hispanic viewer and the only over the air network targeting African Americans are side by side for many years to come.”
UPDATE, 5:20 PM: The companies have officially announced a “wide-ranging” deal, which “will result in dismissal of all pending litigation between the two companies, including disputes over PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop.” The agreement calls for Dish to disable AutoHop functionality for ABC content within the C3 ratings window. The pact also for the first time allows Dish customers to access Disney’s authenticated live and VOD products. The full release is below the original story.
PREVIOUS, 3:59 PM: They both made big concessions as part of a new — and long-awaited — program carriage deal that Dish Network cut with Disney, The Wall Street Journal reports. It says that Dish Network has agreed to disable the Hopper DVR’s “Auto Hop” feature for ABC shows for the first three days after they air. Disney, in return, will drop out of broadcasters’ suit against Dish. They’ve said that the DVR’s feature that automatically jumps past ads on some recorded shows infringes on their copyrights and violates carriage contracts. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has steadfastly cast himself as a champion for his customers’ interests, saying that Hopper simply automates what DVR owners already can do with their remote controls. Now that Dish and Disney have agreed to allow ad zapping after three days, we’ll have to see whether other broadcasters can accept similar terms. CBS chief Les Moonves said in November that he’s “very flexible. We’re willing to negotiate.” Last month Ergen said that he was “cautiously optimisic” about striking a deal with Disney, in part because CEO Bob Iger — who’s also a member of Apple’s board – “has looked at [terms] in ways that others have not.”
Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has greenlighted America’s Court With Judge Ross for Seasons 5 and 6 with clearance in 85% of U.S. television markets. The daily half-hour courtroom series has clearances with group-owned stations including CBS O&O, Gannett, Univision, Titan, Tribune, Sinclair, Cordeillera, Meredith, Entravision, Cox, Trans America, Griffin, Corridor, Schurz, Mission Broadcasting, Comcorp, Bonten, Drewry, Quincy, Block, Lin, Post Newsweek, Journal, West Virginia Media, Scripps, Nexstar, New Age, Northwest, Sainte, and Lockwood. America’s Court With Judge Ross is one of five court shows produced and distributed by Entertainment Studios. The others are Justice With Judge Mablean, Justice For All With Christina Perez, We The People With Gloria Allred, and Supreme Justice With Judge Karen.