Discovery CEO David Zaslav says that OWN beat his forecast that it would begin to generate cash in the second half of this year. He told analysts this morning, in his Q2 report, that Discovery’s joint venture with Oprah Winfrey is “now cash flow positive and starting to …
TCA: OWN Orders Deion Sanders Reality Soap; Oprah To Chat With ‘The Butler’ Notables, Lohan Chat Date
Oprah Winfrey Network has ordered a new docu-series about “the crazy and chaotic family life” of former NFL star Deion Sanders. The network also announced this morning the next crop of celebs sitting down with Oprah for her Next Chapter franchise. The reality docu-series about Sanders – described by OWN as “football legend, baseball great, broadcaster, Hall of Famer, international superstar, businessman, educator and father” – is called It’s Prime Time and will premiere in early ’14.
Oprah’s Next Chapter chatters in August include the cast of The Butler – a.k.a. Lee Daniel’s The Butler – will undergo the Next Chapter treatment on August 11. Oprah herself is in the movie about Cecil Gaines, who served as head butler at the White House under eight presidents. She will sit down with fellow cast members Forest Whitaker, who plays Gaines in the film, and with David Oyelowo, as well as director Lee Daniels. The movie is set to open on August 16. One week after her sit-down with The Butler notables, OWN will unveil Oprah’s much-ballyhooed TV tete-a-tete with Lindsay Lohan, who is looking for yet another career re-boot after the Lifetime Liz Taylor flick thing didn’t work out so well. Other upcoming Next Chapters will pair O with Gloria Estefan and Tina Turner.
Online soaps All My Children and One Life To Live have found a network home. OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has acquired the first 40 episodes of The OnLine Network’s revivals for a 10-week limited engagement that will bring the cancelled ABC daytime dramas back to daytime. Half-hour episodes of each show will air Monday through Thursday beginning Monday, July 15 with All My Children at 1 PM and One Life to Live at 3 PM. “These shows have proven to be very popular with a significant, loyal fan base, not to mention Oprah herself is a big fan,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN. Added Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO of the soaps’ producer Prospect Park, “We are really excited to bring OWN viewers and our audience at large an opportunity to catch up on All My Children and One Life to Live on traditional television.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: Éclair Group Raises $16.6M; OWN Heads To Oz; Depardieu Breaks Silence; LoveFilm Streams Dis Pics
France’s Éclair Group Raises $16.6M Digital Switch, Development
Here’s some good news for France’s troubled postproduction sector. The Éclair Group has raised €12.4M ($16.6M) to complete its digital transition and speed up development across all of its businesses. The recapitalization was financed by the company’s current management, France’s Fonds de Consolidation et Développement des Entreprises, and by Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications. (Ben Ammar had acquired 43% of Éclair back in 2007 and was keen to merge it with his LTC Laboratories but was blocked by the competition authority at the time.) Éclair will also use the funds to strengthen its restoration business and to equip French cinemas in partnership with Deluxe and HP.
OWN Programming Heading Down Under
OWN and Discovery Networks International are planning a weekly block of OWN programming for Discovery Home & Health in Australia. Starting August 4, Aussie viewers will have access to shows that include Oprah’s Next Chapter, Super Soul Sunday, America With Lisa Ling and The Oprah Winfrey Show: Behind The Scenes. The Australia bow will follow the recent UK launch of OWN programming on TLC.
EXCLUSIVE: Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious will air Saturday, July 13 and Saturday, July 20 at 10 PM on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN. The one-hour original comedy specials will be hosted and produced by Sykes and Page Hurwitz’s Push It Prods., in conjunction with Harpo Studios. The shows will be taped in front of a live studio audience at Harpo Studios in Chicago, the former home of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Scheduled to appear are emerging female stand-ups Andi Smith, Gloria Bigelow, Marina Franklin, Tracey Ashley, Carmen Lynch and Dominique Witten. Kym Whitley from OWN’s Raising Whitley is among those scheduled for a guest appearance. Sykes also will appear with her guests in a series of comedy shorts that will air throughout each hour. Sykes, Hurwitz and Harpo’s Jill Barancik executive produce. Longtime Sykes collaborators Lance Crouther (Wanda At Large) and Alyson Fouse (The Wanda Sykes Show) are writers on the project.
Listen to (and share) episode 37 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive editor talks with host David Bloom about who’s likely to buy Hulu; whether OWN will pencil out for Discovery this year; Netflix plans to triple spending on original content; and whether the new News Corp. will scoop up the LA Times or other print publications.
Up to now the company promised that its joint venture network with Oprah Winfrey would break even on a cash flow basis in the second half of 2013. But CEO David Zaslav slightly raised the stakes this morning, promising those attending Sanford C. Bernstein’s Strategic Decisions Conference that “we’ll be making money on OWN.” The channel — which stumbled out of the gate in 2011 — is “ahead of where we thought it would be” and “finding enormous success for us.” For example, on Saturday night, when it runs original programming without Winfrey, “we’re the No. 1 network for African American women.” The comment buttressed Zaslav’s broader argument that the pay TV business is in good shape, and Discovery is doing especially well in that environment. Zaslav is unfazed by the seemingly growing number of consumers who say that they’re fed up with rising pay TV rates, and want distributors to offer channels a la carte or on low-priced tiers. “This is a very sturdy system,” he says. “Viewers really enjoy the basic package…I don’t see that being challenged.”
MIPTV Briefs: Keshet Int’l; AMC/Sundance; ‘Big Brother’; ‘Restless’; Bear Grylls; OWN UK; Warner TV Distribution
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Keshet International‘s UK office has hired producer Amelia Hann as head of unscripted programming to oversee a new factual production venture. Hann was most recently executive producer on Channel 4’s The Undateables and her other credits include the BAFTA winning Ross Kemp On Gangs, Wife Swap USA, Baby Bible Bashers, Scrapheap Challenge/Junkyard Wars and The Hunt For Britain’s Sex Traffickers.
EXCLUSIVE: The Dukes Of Hazzard and Smallville alum John Schneider is set to star in Tyler Perry’s drama series for OWN, The Haves And The Have Nots, while six actors, including Jonathan Chase and Palmer Williams, have been cast in Perry’s comedy series for the cable network, Love Thy Neighbor. Both shows, written, directed and Produced by Perry through his Tyler Perry Studios, are set to premiere at the end of May.
The Haves And The Have Nots follows the dynamics of the affluent Cryer family and the impoverished family of Hanna, their housekeeper, and the obstacles and secrets that exist within both families. Innovative-repped Schneider will play Jim Cryer, the Cryer family patriarch.
In the first clip from Oprah’s Next Chapter interview with the athlete, he answers simply “yes” to her questions about his use of different performance-enhancing substances and touches on his history, specifically when he began using banned substances:
In the clip that follows, Winfrey points out that for 13 years Armstrong “brazenly and defiantly denied everything you just admitted to … why now admit it”? Armstrong says “I don’t know that I have a great answer … I will start my answer by saying this is too late.”
Oprah Winfrey’s two-part interview with Lance Armstrong is close to selling out commercial time at premium prices, Reuters reports. OWN President Erik Logan said current and new sponsors have been calling to secure ad …
Los Angeles – Oprah Winfrey’s exclusive no-holds-barred interview with Lance Armstrong, “Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive,” has expanded to air as a two-night event on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The special episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” will air Thursday, January 17 from 9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT (as previously announced) and Friday, January 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The interview will be simultaneously streamed LIVE worldwide both nights on Oprah.com.