Warner Bros-owned Shed Media Group has named Leanne Klein CEO of its production subsidiary Wall to Wall as current chief and founder Alex Graham exits. Wall to Wall creative director Klein will take over from Graham who will remain connected to the company as an executive producer on TLC’s U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? which Graham created. Klein has been at Wall to Wall, producer of The Voice UK, since 1995 and recently exec produced Hitchcock biopic The Girl. She has also overseen such programs as Long Lost Family, The Young Ones, Child Genius and The Voice UK. Graham founded Wall to Wall in 1987 and sold the company to Shed in 2007. Warner Bros acquired Shed in 2010.
Ahead of tonight’s Season 4 finale, TLC has picked up another season of Who Do You Think You Are? Ten one-hour episodes have been ordered to air in 2014. The series, which has been averaging 1.8 million P2+ viewers in its first season, takes celebrities on a journey into their personal histories, mining their pasts to reveal unknown details about themselves and their families. Celebrities featured this past season include Christina Applegate, Kelly Clarkson, Cindy Crawford, Zooey Deschanel, Chelsea Handler, Chris O’Donnell, and Trisha Yearwood. Tonight’s season ender follows The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons as he explores the ancestors on his paternal side of the family, in tribute to his father. Who Do You Think You Are? is produced for TLC by Shed Media U.S. and Is or Isn’t Entertainment. It ran for three cycles on NBC before TLC picked it up in May.
After keeping mum on reports that it was taking in docu-reality series Who Do You Think You Are for the past nine months, TLC now officially announced that it has ordered eight new hour-long episodes of the Emmy-nominated series, which was cancelled by NBC after three cycles. Production is underway for a July 23 premiere. Celebrities who will be featured on the new season include Christina Applegate, Cindy Crawford, Zooey Deschanel, and Chris O’Donnell. The series, produced by Shed Media U.S. and Is or Isn’t Entertainment, reveals celebrities’ ancestry.
Discovery Communications’ TLC network is in discussions to pick up the celebrity genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are?, Bloomberg reported this evening citing people familiar with the discussions. NBC canceled the show, which traced celebrity family trees, earlier this year which resulted in the website associated with the show, Ancestry.com, losing a third of its market value. WDYTYA producers are also said to be in talks with other networks. Revival of the show would likely boost prospects for the sale of Ancestry.com, which has been talking to potential buyers. Shares in Ancestry.com rose less than 1% to $31.42 at market closing but rose as much as 3.7% in after-hours trading. Discovery rose 1.6% to $59.44. Who Do You Think You Are? was adapted from a British show and traced the ancestry of celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow and Spike Lee, using Ancestry.com’s genealogical data.
Shares in the tiny Utah-based company are down about 12% in pre-market trading this morning after the network said it will cancel the show, which traces celebrities’ family roots. Ancestry.com’s prominent presence on WDYTYA, a partnership with NBC, contributed to a 42.6% spike in its online subscriptions, to 1.87M, in the two years since the show debuted. Ancestry.com CEO Tim Sullivan said in a statement that his company has “a great relationship with the show’s producers, Is or Isn’t Entertainment and Shed Media, and we look forward to exploring other avenues of distribution.” Ancestry.com warned investors in its quarterly earnings report filed this month at the SEC that if the show is cancelled “it could have a negative effect on our business and our stock price.”
As primetime continues to lose viewers to the longer days and warmer springtime, Fox’s Fringe last night (1.1/3 in adults 18-49) went up a tenth from last week in its first airing since the sci-fi series was renewed for a 13-episode final season. It was one of only two series to post gains vs. their most recent originals last night. The other was NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are (1.0/4), whose Rob Lowe episode was up 25% from the previous new episode 3 weeks ago featuring Edie Falco. After surging 33% last week, Fox’s The Finder (1.1/4) was down 8% this week as it faced all-original competition in the 8 PM hour vs. all-repeats on the major nets last week.
NBC has renewed three reality series: veteran The Biggest Loser, the Lisa Kudrow-produced docu Who Do You Think You Are? and singing competition series The Sing-Off. “Alternative series such as these three bona fide hits are important not only to their loyal audiences but also as strong components of the NBC schedule,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “They are each unique, attention-getting shows with terrific producing and talent auspices, and we’re proud to be associated with them.”
The pickup of Biggest Loser was a given. Even though the one-time powerhouse is down this year, it still averages a 3.1/8 in adults 18-49 and 8.3 million viewers to rank as one of NBC’s strongest series. The Sing-Off also was expected to be picked up after a solid limited run in December when it averaged a 3.2/9 in 18-49 and 9.2 million viewers, 28% up from its first season.
The early renewal of Who Do You Think You Are? is a little surprising. The series airs in the low-trafficked Friday 8 PM slot and has averaged 1.4/5 in adults 18-49 and 7.0 million viewers. But according to NBC, the unscripted genealogy show based on a British format is the network’s most watched Friday series so far this season.
Also somewhat surprisingly missing from the pickup announcement is NBC’s reality series Minute to Win It. While it has taken a hit from American Idol recently, the game show has been a solid utility player for …
Shed Media, the UK producer which Time Warner wants for £100 million, has announced a 22% rise in first-half profits to £6.2 million ($4 million). Turnover was also up 27% in the first six months to £59 million. This broke down into £25.5 million from its UK production business, £26.2 million from U.S. production and £7.3 from programmes sales. Chairman Heather Rabbatts singled out the launch of the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? and the continued success of Supernanny in the States as factors behind Shed Media U.S. growth. The Time Warner/Shed Media deal looks set for mid-October.