TVGN has found a replacement for former chief financial officer Amy Thurlow, who took the CFO and COO gig at dick clark productions last week. Debra Wichser has been appointed CFO at TVGN, where she will oversee the cable network’s finance and accounting, financial planning and administration, human resources, engineering and operations, and facilities. She had been VP Corporate Development at CBS Corp. in New York; she is relocating to the network’s headquarters in LA and will report to TVGN President of Business Operations David Wisnia. Previously, Wichser worked at Viacom and in strategic analyst positions at 20th Century Fox and Disney.
Banijay International has entered into an exclusive multi-year agreement with TVGN (TV Guide Network) to distribute internationally new original series and entertainment programming aired on the U.S. cable network. The agreement gives the London-based distributor access to first-run programming broadcast on the cable network jointly owned by CBS Corporation and Lionsgate.
In addition to the new programming, the deal includes TVGN’s back catalogue of over 130 hours, covering both in-house productions and third-party commissions. The deal comes as Banijay International expands into finished programming distribution, building on its business in the global formats market.
From today’s announcement, TVGN programming included in the agreement:
ROCK THIS BOAT: NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: Die-hard fans take the vacation of a lifetime when they board a cruise for a week-long party on the high seas with America’s favorite bands. The first group to headline this all-new eight-episode series franchise is New Kids on the Block (NKOTB), one of the hottest boy bands in music history with more than 80 million albums sold worldwide, countless sold out tours and record-breaking #1 hit songs. For the past five years, NKOTB has sold out its wildly popular concert cruises, and for the first time ever, cameras will follow the fun, free-spirited voyage of a few select groups of super fans at sea with the band mates of NKOTB. In addition, TVGN will air a 30-minute television special dedicated to the casting for ROCK THIS BOAT: NKOTB to showcase all the fun and fandom. ROCK THIS BOAT: NKOTB and the
TVGN‘s 2014-2015 upfront slate unveiled today includes six new and returning original series and four primetime event specials along with exclusive cable premieres of event programming airing on CBS. TVGN also announced three new original series in development, including a new project with Lionsgate Television. New series include Rock This Boat: New Kids On The Block, an eight-episode series featuring the hot boy band of the same name as they board a cruise for a week-long party on the high seas with a group of die-hard fans. Band member Donnie Wahlberg exec produces. TVGN will debut previously announced The Sorrentinos, featuring Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of Jersey Shore fame, whose life came crashing down after a battle with addiction. The docu-comedy follows life after reality as Mike makes a comeback and shares the spotlight with his family—mom Linda (mother), Marc (middle brother), Melissa (sister) and Frank (older brother). Series in development include Soap Town (working title), from the producers of Hatfields & McCoys and Gene Simmons Family Jewels. The docu-series follows a group of former daytime and primetime soap stars as they attempt to produce a new primetime serial drama to star in. Here’s TVGN’s complete slate with descriptions:
David Wisnia has been appointed President of Business Operations for TVGN, a CBS Corp and Lionsgate partnership. He will oversee TVGN’s operational strategy, including ad sales, content distribution, corporate strategy and business development, finance, and business and legal affairs. Wisnia’s appointment is effective immediately, and he will report to TVGN’s Board of Directors working alongside Brad Schwartz, TVGN’s President, Entertainment and Media. Wisnia succeeds Dennis Miller, who had been a consultant to Lionsgate for TVGN, and later served as the interim president during the network’s recent transition of partnerships from One Equity Partners to CBS.
Former Jersey Shore star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino will headline a new reality series at TVGN. The cable network has ordered The Sorrentinos, an eight-episode half-hour docu-comedy series featuring Sorrentino and his family—Mike (youngest brother), Linda (mother), Marc (middle brother), Melissa (sister) and Frank (older brother). Production starts this week in New Jersey. “The reality of the situation is… for the first time, fans and the general public, will be able to see and, well, meet Michael Sorrentino,” said The Situation. “This next chapter of my life is about sobriety and family, and I’m stoked to take people on this journey with us.” The Sorrentinos is executive produced by Julie and Seth Jarrett of Jarrett Creative (Boston’s Finest). Sorrentino is the latest Jersey Shore star to get their own series. Nicole Polizzi, Jennifer Farley and Paul DelVecchio headlined Jersey Shore spinoffs for MTV, Snooki & JWoww and The Pauly D Project.
TVGN has picked up Alan Thicke’s faux-reality series Unusually Thicke and will premiere it on Wednesday, April 16 at 10 PM ET/PT. The series stars the Growing Pains patriarch and his real-life family including wife Tanya and teenaged son Carter. Also showing up in the 14-episode run: Thicke’s son Robin, David Hasselhoff, Bob Saget, Jon Stamos, Bill Maher, Tom Green, Magic Johnson, and Wayne Gretsky, according to Toronto-based Peacock Alley Entertainment, which is producing. Canadian press has said the first season also will include cameos by Jay Leno, the entire cast of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, and Minnie Driver.
Following its ratings success with The Young And The Restless reruns, TVGN is adding daily repeats of CBS’ other daytime soap, The Bold And The Beautiful. Beginning December 2, TVGN will encore the prior day’s B&B episode weekdays at 6:30 PM, leading to the repeats of Y&R at 7 PM. (There also will be a weekly B&B marathon every Sunday from 11 AM, starting December 8). The move expands the corporate synergy between CBS and new sibling TVGN. TVGN’s biggest ratings success so far has come from airing Y&R repeats, which have driven triple-digit time slot increases in households and women 25-54 (198% and 125%, respectively, for the third quarter), and the Big Brother companion series Big Brother: After Dark.
TVGN’s First Development Slate Includes ‘New Kids On The Block’ Series, ‘Celebrity Celebrity’ Game Show
Seven months after CBS Corp. acquired half of TVGN, partnering with Lionsgate, the cable network is announcing its first development slate. The projects on it indicate that TVGN does not plan a major change of course, keeping its focus on celebrity, pop culture and television. Corporate synergy with CBS already has done well for TVGN, which has seen triple-digit ratings increases from its broadcasts of Big Brother After Dark and The Young & The Restless. Following the recent premiere of docuseries Mother Of All Talent, about mother-daughter kids talent agents, and the upcoming debut of Tequila Sisters, about a Miami-based tequila business clan, TVGN has unveiled a development slate featuring seven other unscripted projects. It includes a series featuring New Kids on the Block, produced by band member and star of CBS’ Blue Bloods Donnie Wahlberg, and a game show based on the Celebrity Celebrity parlor game produced by Scandal‘s Joshua Malina.
Corporate synergy is again on full display, with a show about CBS’ Watch! Magazine and two series from Lionsgate TV — a magazine based on celebrity tweets and posts, and a show about the cutthroat Hollywood tour business. TVGN also is paying homage to its roots as a TV guide service with a show about the stories behind television’s biggest hits. “We have commissioned a slate of original projects that capture compelling and exciting stories of Hollywood, fandom and obsession,” said Brad Schwartz, TVGN’s President of Entertainment and Media. Here are details about TVGN’s projects in development:
Rock The Boat: New Kids On The Block: Obsessed fans take the vacation of a lifetime when they board a cruise for a weeklong party on the high-seas with America’s favorite bands. The first group to headline this all-new series franchise is New Kids on the Block (NKOTB), one of the hottest bands in music history.
The veteran exec has held senior posts at Bravo, Style Network and Nickelodeon, and now Nicole Sabatini will oversee brand and marketing strategies for TVGN as SVP Marketing. Based in LA starting next week, she also will lead the cable net’s digital and social media marketing campaigns. TVGN today also tapped NBCUniversal alum Beecher Scarlett as VP Ad Sales. “Nicole and Beecher are two superstar executives who bring industry savvy, leadership and creativity to their new roles at TVGN,” President of Entertainment and Media Brad Schwartz said in a statement. “Both of them will play critical roles in the future of TVGN, as we continue to launch more original programming, define our brand and innovate alongside our advertising partners.”
Big Brother: After Dark and The Young And The Restless have delivered triple-digit ratings increases in overall audience and among women 25-54 for TVGN in the first 10 weeks of the third quarter, the network reported this morning. The two fan-obsessive series have turned TVGN — owned by CBS and Lionsgate — into the fastest-growing entertainment network in the quarter, its entertainment president Brad Schwartz said. BBAD, running Saturdays through Wednesday in late night, spiked TVGN’s numbers by 290% in the female demo – the network’s biggest late-night weekly audience ever — and nearly 240% in overall audience. That audience was 243,000 viewers for live + same day, and 364,000 when 3-day viewing is added. BBAD, the late-night companion show to CBS’ controversial glass-house competition Big Brother, airs exclusively on TVGN. Meanwhile, Y&R, telecast weeknights at 7 PM, has lifted that slot by 125% in women 25-54 and 199% in overall audience. Its 362,000 viewers is TVGN’s largest ever weekly audience in the slot.
TVGN, the CBS and Lionsgate co-owned cable network formerly known as TV Guide Network, today announced two new unscripted series and two celebrity-driven shows which it will add to its lineup in the fall. The network recently began telecasting the soap The Young And The Restless weeknights at 7 PM and Big Brother After Dark at midnight. The new programs include a reality series about a mother/daughter Staten Island-based talent agency for toddlers, another about an affluent Hispanic family living in Southern California, a behind-the-scenes look at Wendy Williams preparing to play prison matron Mama Morton in the Broadway production of Chicago, and a talk show starring country singer/Celebrity Apprentice winner John Rich. Here are the network’s descriptions of the new projects:
CBS is not wasting any time putting a stamp on TVGN. Just three weeks after CBS Corp. acquired half of the cable network to form a partnership with Lionsgate, TVGN has named a new president, Fuse’s Brad Schwartz. His full title will be President of Entertainment and Media and his main responsibility is to oversee programming for the network, which is expected to ramp up its original slate and undergo a creative overhaul. “This partnership is all about improving a property that has tremendous potential it has yet to realize,” said CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves. “The key to that improvement will be growing the quality of the programming offered to the more than 80 million viewers who have access to TVGN.”
TVGN has been without a permanent president since January when Mike Mahan stepped down as President of TV Guide, the company that encompasses the TVGN and TVGuide.com. (He has since joined dick clark prods. as president of parent company DC Media). For the past three months, Dennis Miller, strategic adviser of TV Guide co-owner Lionsgate, had served as interim president. He now has been named President of Operations and will continue to manage affiliate sales, finance and operational strategy, working closely with Schwartz in ad sales, which will report to both of them. Schwartz comes from a music/pop culture cable TV background. He most recently was SVP of Programming and Operations for music channel Fuse. He previously served as General Manager of a suite of eight CTV music and pop culture cable networks in Canada, including MTV Canada, MuchMusic, MTV2 and MuchMore, and Director of Global Marketing Partnerships at MTV. Here is the official release: