NEW YORK – May 6, 2013 – NBCUniversal today announced that longtime NBCUniversal executive Maureen Murphy has been promoted to Senior Vice President, E! and Esquire Network Advertising Sales. She will report to Laura Molen, Executive Vice President, Cable Advertising Sales, NBCUniversal. In her new role, Murphy will oversee advertising sales strategy and 360 integration agreements for E!, the pop culture powerhouse, as well as Esquire Network, a strategic partnership between NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines launching this summer. READ MORE »
Beginning April 22, the G4 network will be rebranded the Esquire Network in a partnership between NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines to create a television network for upscale males. Owned and operated by NBCU, Esquire Network will be helmed by G4 General Manager Adam Stotsky, who will work closely with David Granger, Editor in Chief of Esquire magazine, to develop the brand. G4′s flagship competition series American Ninja Warrior will return for its fifth season, to air this summer on Esquire Network and NBC. Additionally, Esquire Network will air an array of off-network scripted series, including NBC’s Parks And Recreation and Starz’s Party Down, both starring Adam Scott.
Esquire Network plans to expand on G4’s foundation of games, gear and gadgets. Program categories and genres will feature not only gaming and technology but also entertainment, food, fashion, women, humor, travel, competition, danger and more. Esquire’s unscripted projects in development include Knife Fight, executive produced by Drew Barrymore, Flower Films and Authentic Entertainment. Hosted by Top Chef winner Ilan Hall, Knife Fight is an underground, after-hours cooking competition where talented chefs go head to head in front of a rowdy crowd of celebrities, critics and die-hard foodies. Another original series, The Getaway (working title), is executive produced by Anthony Bourdain and Zero Point Zero and features travel-loving, well-known personalities — people deservedly famous for excellence in their fields — who take viewers to their favorite city on the planet, giving the insiders’ track on their top spots to eat, drink, shop and hang out. “There is a vastly under-served audience in cable TV — today’s modern man — and by joining forces with Esquire, we will deliver a multi-platform experience to this upscale, engaged, passionate audience, one that widens the aperture beyond G4’s technology and gaming base,” Stotsky said. “Esquire magazine brings 80 years of unparalleled insight into what makes men tick, and we will incorporate the best of this iconic brand to produce original shows that build the network for growth and success.”
The Results Group production company has accused Syfy and NBCUniversal of stealing the concept for the reality show Face Off from a pitch meeting about developing a makeup competition series. Previously known as Studio City, Results says in an LA Superior Court suit filed today (read it here) that it developed content for a proposed reality competition series called Face Off. The material included a synopsis, definitions of challenges, talent documents and a sales presentation video called the “Face Off Pitch Materials”. At a 2009 meeting, a Results executive, a producer and William Morris Endeavor agent met with SyFy execs to pitch the proposed series. Syfy subsequently told the Results Group the network had decided not to pursue a series based on the confidential materials presented at the meeting.
LOS ANGELES – July 27, 2012 — NBCUniversal announced today that Michael Moore will become President and General Manager, Universal Studios Operations beginning September 17, 2012. In this role, Michael will be part of NBCUniversal’s Operations and Technical Services organization and will oversee all the operations of Universal City Studios, including Production Services, Sound Services, Facilities, and Marketing. Michael will report jointly to Ron Meyer, President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Studios and John Wallace, President, Operations & Technical Services, NBCUniversal. This position is currently held by Dave Beanes who is retiring at the end of the year after 42 years in the industry and 17 years with the company.
NEW YORK – May 16 – Fully-distributed NBCUniversal cable channels MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo will again serve as Olympic platforms when they combine to televise 284.5 hours of coverage of the 2012 London Olympic Games this summer.
MSNBC will host 155.5 hours of a wide variety of Olympic sports, CNBC will carry 73 hours of Olympic boxing coverage — including the debut of women’s Olympic boxing — and Bravo will serve as the home of Olympic tennis with 56 hours of coverage. All three channels have previously televised Olympic programming.
MSNBC’s, CNBC’s and Bravo’s Olympic coverage will complement the programming airing on NBC and the NBC Sports Network, the details of which will be released shortly. It has already been announced that Telemundo will provide the most extensive Spanish-language Olympics coverage in NBCUniversal history by offering more than 173 hours of programming, and that NBCOlympics.com will live stream every event and sport for the first time ever, more than 3,500 hours. The vast majority of live streaming on NBCOlympics.com will only be available to authenticated cable, satellite or telco customers.
“The plan is for me to join the NBC family and continue to have a role at the E! network” where he anchors E! News, Ryan Seacrest told Today host Matt Lauer this morning. (Comcast controls NBCUniversal as well as E!.) The Olympics assignment …
NBC Universal is courting Ryan Seacrest as a potential replacement for Matt Lauer on the Today show, the Wall Street Journal reports. The paper says NBC News, Today show, and NBC network executives met with Seacrest on Tuesday about the possibilty of …
‘Arthur Christmas’ Slays ‘Em In The UK
Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman’s Arthur Christmas jumped to the top of the UK box office this weekend – in its fourth week of release. This bit of holiday magic came courtesy of a £1.9 million weekend take for a cume of £11.5 million. The film has been holding steady in second place since it bowed on November 11 and this weekend faced off against Happy Feet Two for the family audience. Largely positive notices and the British voice cast — including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton — have no doubt been a local draw. Sony Pictures Releasing UK’s Peter Taylor said: “Opening a movie at No. 1 in such a competitive market as the UK is difficult enough, but to reach the top of the chart in the fourth week of release is almost unprecedented. We are all delighted.”
Tom Hooper Decides Against 3D For ‘Les Miserables’
Although director Tom Hooper flirted with the idea of filming the new movie version of the hit stage musical Les Miserables in 3D, the Oscar-winning helmer of The King’s Speech has decided to stick with 2D. Hooper told the BBC he had been “very tempted” to use 3D but worried that some audiences might “physically struggle” with the format. Not to worry, purists. “I can definitely announce it’s good old-fashioned 2D,” Hooper said at the British Independent Film Awards. “I wanted to make a film that would touch everyone. I believe the story is so strong, 3D is not essential.” Hooper added that the casting of Eponine and Cosette would be announced soon. “I’ve never done a film where big star actors are as obsessed with being in it as this.” Starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert,
Harry Potter will materialize sometime in the future in Universal City with his own special section of the theme park much like “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando Resort. NBC Universal is expected to announce plans …
(Silver Spring, Md.) — Discovery Communications today announced the appointment of Jean-Briac (JB) Perrette as Chief Digital Officer, effective October 17, 2011. Perrette most recently served as President, Digital and Affiliate Distribution and Content Distribution Strategy for NBCUniversal.
Here’s a deal that would reshape the online streaming business and set Netflix on its heels: Apple is “considering making a bid” for Hulu, Bloomberg reports today citing two people “with knowledge of the auction.” The story says …
So Hulu’s for sale -– it has hired investment banks to find a buyer. But what, exactly, would a purchaser receive? The answer could be not much — unless Hulu can cut long-term and preferably exclusive deals for TV shows and movies from its main program suppliers and equity owners News Corp, Disney, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. The problem is that those deals will be hard to strike before a sale. That means anyone buying Hulu would need deep pockets to buy new programming –- or to compete with Netflix and possibly other online services for existing entertainment. “Hulu’s real competitors are the cable companies,” says media investor and author Larry Kramer.
A sale would show that the vision that led to the creation of Hulu in 2008 has been a bust. At the time, the broadcast networks wanted a slick destination to offer ad-supported TV shows online. It was their best defense against seeing companies such as Apple and Google move in and dominate online video the way Apple has with online music. But ads haven’t materialized the way initial backers had hoped. Last year, the company created subscription service Hulu Plus. CEO Jason Kilar says more than 1 million customers will sign up for the $8-a-month product by year’s end.
Yet Hulu Plus is an also-ran against Netflix, which has 22.8 million domestic subscribers and is spending a fortune to license TV shows and movies. That’s one reason why it’s been so hard for Hulu’s existing owners to cut long-term deals with the company. They want Netflix’s cash. Disney CEO Bob Iger said last month that “we never believed that Hulu would end up … in an exclusive position as a distributor” for Disney’s entertainment.
Time Warner Jeff Bewkes comes across as the media world’s most laid-back CEO. But he asked a lot this morning when he told movie theater owners to cool their jets about Premium VOD. “There’s been too much excitement about this,” Bewkes said at a panel discussion sponsored by investment firm Jefferies & Co. “Our interests are aligned.” That will come as a surprise to the National Association of Theater Owners and its members who loathe PVOD as much as the Tea Party hates taxes. Exhibitors say many would-be ticket buyers will wait to watch films at home as studios including Warner Bros begin to offer 8-week-old releases on cable and satellite VOD services for about $30 a showing. Bewkes says theater owners are wrong: “I’m saying (box office revenue) doesn’t go down.” Everyone will suffer, he says, if the studios can’t provide an alternative to pirates who sell bootlegged copies of recent movies to people who don’t want to wait for the official home video release. Other panel members — none of them exhibitors — supported Bewkes. CBS chief Les Moonves said that although theater owners are scared, “you have to change a bit.” And Sony Corporation of America CFO Robert Wiesenthal said that “everybody is experimenting and being aggressive,” even though studios should recognize that theaters are “the foundation of the economic value chain for a feature film.”