Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Update: TV Majors Running News for TV Majors!

As you may have noticed, it's been quiet around here the last week, and that's because the semester has started for me in London (where I'm teaching this fall). But I wanted to first tell you of an exciting new development: I expected that I'd have trouble keeping up with the blog while here, so I've been able to arrange for semester-long fix: actual TV majors running News for TV Majors!

This is happening courtesy of Ethan Tussey, an Assistant Professor in the Communication Dept at Georgia State University, who is teaching a Media Industries course this fall. His MA students will be taking over the blog, so it should finally get back on a regular schedule, and it will benefit from their expertise and fresh perspectives. That should get rolling next week, so be prepared for a whole new N4TVM era!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Good TVeets

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Late Night & Trump

THR surveyed how late-night shows handled the Charlottesville events across the week, and Bill Carter notes that late night shifted from comedy to outrage.

CNN's Retracted Report

Paul Farhi looks into how CNN got the Russia-Scaramucci report wrong and how it acted in the aftermath.

Rightwing Media

21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch criticized Donald Trump's Charlottesville response in an email to friends, and Emily Steel wonders if this signals a shift at the Murdoch-owned conservative media outlets. An African-American Fox News host also criticized Trump and has received death threats in response. At least Trump still has Fox & Friends to turn to. But Fox News now apparently has to watch out for new competition courtesy of Steve Bannon, who is reportedly plotting to start up a new outlet. Lucia Graves says it's Sinclair we really need to worry about.

YouTube TV Expansion

YouTube TV has added new markets and is now available to half the country's households. Sinclair Broadcast Group is also now a partner.


For the first time ever, MSNBC edged out Fox News for total viewers across a day last Wednesday.

AT&T-Time Warner Seems Likely

AT&T-Time Warner merger talks have reportedly reached "an advanced stage" at the Justice Department, and it doesn't look like the Trump administration will block it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Nielsen News

Nielsen has announced views on Facebook, Hulu, and YouTube will count in its digital content ratings; Will Richmond explains why this is important. ABC has signed on to Nielsen's out-of-home ratings data service. David Bloom questions if Nielsen's Total Audience Measurement can keep up with ever-expanding viewing options.

Four Trends

Ben Munson pinpoints four trends driving the TV industry today.

The YouTube Left

With talk of alt-right dominance on YouTube, Max Cea wonders where the left is.

C3 Projections & Football Viewership Declines

As part of his annual C3 network ratings projections, Brian Steinberg relays ad agency belief that NFL viewership will continue to drop this season.

Critics' Choices

James Poniewozik breaks down a beloved scene from Freaks and Geeks. And other critics name the TV characters with whom they first felt strong identification.

Fox News Settlements

Brian Steinberg reports that 21st Century Fox has paid out $50 million in Fox News sexual harassment and discrimination settlements thus far this year. Meanwhile, 21st's bid for complete Sky ownership hangs in the balance and is looking more toxic with each passing day.

A Decade of Kardashians

THR's cover story this week focuses on the Kardashian empire, now a decade old.

State of Advertising

Derek Thompson believes the ad-filled cable bundle is doomed, as new OTT services come along. Alexandra Bruell notes that companies like Viacom and Turner are reducing ad time to keep viewers happy, but it's not paying off yet. Mike Shields says AT&T could try to revolutionize the TV ad business.

Tribeca TV Festival

Madeline Berg reports on the Tribeca Film Festival's plan to launch a standalone TV festival in September.

Rebranding A&E

Bryn Elise Sandberg reports on A&E's new ad campaign, which is trying to rebrand the channel as a home for serious factual storytelling, and not Duck Dynasty anymore.

Netflix & Competition

Ramin Setoodeh talked with Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos about the service's growth and impact on Hollywood. Jack Hough sees trouble ahead for Netflix given its spending (note: behind Barron's paywall), with $16 billion in content commitments coming, but Joe Nocera disagrees. Lisa Richwine and Anjali Athavaley note that cable operators are increasingly aligning with Netflix. Of course, there's the opposite Disney move, and Peter Csathy says Netflix should worry about Disney's OTT plans, while Rich Greenfield believes Disney has an uphill battle ahead. Paul Bond wonders if Disney can make a "Netflix of sports" out of an ESPN streaming service.

Suits Spinoff

USA Network's Suits will end its seventh season with a backdoor pilot for a spinoff.

Legendary One Tree Hill Scene

Andrew Gruttadaro delivers a glorious oral history of the time a dog ate a donor heart on One Tree Hill.

Summer's Highs & Lows

Daniel Fienberg and Tim Goodman talk highs and lows of Summer 2017 programming.

New Communications Director

The White House has a new communications director, on an interim basis: Hope Hicks.

Amazon Ends Lovefilm

Amazon has shuttered its UK and German DVD rental service Lovefilm. Ian Hunt says this is bad news for film buffs.

The BBC's Lost TV

Jake Rossen delves into how the BBC erased so much of its pre-1980s programming and the effort to find lost episodes.

WGNA Acquisitions

After canceling its expensive prestige dramas, WGA America has now picked up three cheaper foreign crime dramas. Etan Vlessing analyzes the new strategy.

Thrones Leak

Another episode of Game of Thrones has leaked, unrelated to the hacking issue. Hanh Nguyen explores why the show is still setting ratings records despite the leaks.

Talent Wars

Lesley Goldberg notes that Shonda Rhimes' Netflix deal has upped the talent and ownership war in television, and Will Richmond doesn't see the SVOD talent wars ending well. In related news, Carlton Cuse just signed a mega-deal with ABC Studios. And Stephanie Merry takes note of all the big creative names Netflix has attracted.

Apple's TV Push

Apple is reportedly ready to spend one billion dollars on original programming. Peter Kafka and Will Richmond have analysis. Apple has also hired ex-WGNA president Matt Cherniss as head of US programming.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Late Night's Trump Responses

We'll see what they do tonight after the things Donald Trump just said, but in regard to last night, Lorena O'Neil covered how late-night hosts addressed Trump's response to the events on Charlottesville Monday night. Jimmy Fallon in particular got more political than he ever has before.

Update: Frank Pallotta covers last night's late-night host comments about Trump.

Sinclair's Expansion

Ceclia Kang, Eric Lipton, and Sydney Ember explore how Trump's FCC under Ajit Pai is paving the way for conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group's ownership growth by eliminating regulations. Harper Neidig reports that House Democrats are demanding answers from the FCC on apparent preferential treatment of Sinclair.

Walking Dead Lawsuit

More bad news for AMC: The Walking Dead's entire executive producer crew is suing AMC claiming they have been cheated out of massive profits. Lesley Goldberg notes this will make AMC's search for a new head of programming more challenging.

Kirkman Signs With Amazon

In another big streamer coup, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman has left AMC for a two-year deal with Amazon.

Shonda Signs With Netflix

Shonda Rhimes has signed a big multi-year overall deal with Netflix. Her old shows will remain on ABC, but any new shows she produces will appear on Netflix. Michael Schneider says this is just the beginning of a talent war between streamers and networks. Josef Adalian sees it as a bleak sign for broadcasters, and Cynthia Littleton says it's a big hit to broadcast TV's image, but Rick Porter doesn't think it's a death blow. Peter Kafka criticizes legacy media companies for being too slow to contend with Netflix. On Twitter, TV scholars Kristen Warner and Myles McNutt offered their analyses of the positions of Rhimes, ABC, and Netflix. Michael Ausiello addresses some questions about Rhimes' move.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Orphan Black Fandom

John Koblin profiles the devoted Orphan Black fan community, which helped to keep the low-rated show alive.

Conservative Media News

Sydney Ember notes that conservative media outlets are raising concerns about the Sinclair-Tribune deal, while Paul Bond surveys the rise in conservative competitors to Fox News in the Trump era. Oliver Darcy traces out the events of Fox News' retracted Seth Rich story.

Atlanta Viewer & Brand Analysis

Eleanor Semeraro charts out emotional and advertiser analytics tied to FX's Atlanta.

Netflix Price Hike in Canada

A Netflix subscription just got more expensive for Canadians.

Renewals & a Cancellation

Netflix has canceled Gypsy after one season, while GLOW is getting a second season, as is Snowfall at FX.

Hulu Losses

Daniel Frankel reports on Hulu's 2017 losses as its programming costs soar.

Critical Clout Problem

Brian Lowry notes critical clout for shows like The Leftovers doesn't seem to boost viewership much these days.

Program & Character Analysis

Ryan McGee insists character is everything in television, not plot. Todd VanDerWerff explores what separates good antihero dramas from bad ones, as well as the idea of Game of Thrones as a soap opera.

More Facebook Watch Analysis

Todd Spangler analyzes Facebook Watch's strategy. Lisa Eadicicco says Facebook Watch will take a different approach than YouTube, and Eric Jhonsa says it doesn't need to try to be YouTube. Kurt Wagner questions who will want to watch TV on Facebook.

More Disney Analysis

Alan Wolk identifies winners and losers in the Disney streaming service announcement. Amanda Lotz sees viewers winning out, Adam Rogers sees more such services coming, and David Lazarus sees bundles losing. David Faber says major media execs aren't happy with Disney's decision, though. There's still uncertainty about plans for ESPN in this, and Joe Nocera sees online trouble ahead for ESPN. Meanwhile, the outlet is grappling with cord shaving.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Judge Judy Archive

Judge Judy has reportedly raked in $95 million for selling the archive of her shows to CBS.

CBS News

Les Moonves says ad revenue now makes up only 40% of the overall revenue for CBS, with retrans revenue growing. Moonves also announced CBS plans for a streaming sports network, akin to CBSN.

CNN Fires Lord

CNN has cut ties with Trump sycophant Jeffrey Lord following his "Sieg Heil" tweet.

Trump & TV

Chris Cillizza delves into Donald Trump's cable news obsession. Sean Illing covers the news outlet Trump's team has created, and Jeremy Barr highlights how Trump surrogate guests are putting the Christian Broadcasting Network on the map. David Bauder looks at how Trump resistance has boosted MSNBC.

Fox News Coverage

21st Century Fox reportedly declined a settlement over Fox News sexual and racial discrimination allegations. For his part, Eric Bolling is suing the reporter who broke the news of his alleged sexts. Erin Gloria Ryan writes, "Fox News seems to be functioning less like a news organization with a sexism problem and more like a sexism organization with a news hobby."

Max Boot says Fox News has transformed into Trump TV at this point. Alvin Chang analyzed 17 months of Fox & Friends transcripts and offers analysis of how the show tries to appeal to Trump. One of those Trump connections -- the Seth Rich case -- could affect Rupert Murdoch's Sky takeover bid.

Talk News

David Letterman will host a six-episode talk show for Netflix next year. In traditional talk show news, Stephen Colbert continues his ratings gains on Jimmy Fallon.


AT&T is reportedly considering a selloff of some Time Warner assets once their merger goes through, but the incoming entertainment chief, John Stankey, says CNN will stay. Brian Steinberg says that's probably the right move. Kim Masters talked more with Stankey about his new job.

Altice Eyeing Charter

Altice might try to take over Charter Communications.

Disney's Slime Settlement

Disney reportedly paid at least $177 million to settle ABC New's "pink slime" lawsuit.


Series renewals announced this week include Greenleaf at OWN, Insecure and Ballers at HBO, and Queen of the South at USA.

Seeso Done

Seeso will shut down sometime later in the year. Colin Dixon offers three reasons it was doomed from the get-go.

TCA Coverage

Daniel Fienberg has summaries of Fox day and FX day at TCA this week. John Landgraf talked about "too much TV," as usual, saying competition with streaming services has become a "titanic struggle", which is why FX has started an ad-free service. We also heard from Ryan Murphy on American Horror Story and his efforts toward gender equality among directors.

Jason Lynch shares five things learned at TCA about the changing TV industry.

Facebook TV

Facebook announced a big slate of TV-like shows coming to the platform. Sami Main breaks down the offerings. Will Richmond has analysis. Nick Cicero says this demolishes the Nielsen-dominated old model of TV. Jason Damata is both excited and skeptical.

Disney Streaming Service

Disney announced plans to start its own streaming service, pulling its content from Netflix, and an ESPN service is part of the plan. There could also be separate Star Wars and Marvel services. Read analysis of Disney's moves from Peter Kafka, Todd Spangler, Will Richmond, and Michael Schneider. Read considerations of the impact on Netflix from Paul Bond & Georg Szalai and Paul R. La Monica. Nicholas Cole says there's a streaming model lesson in Disney's move.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Good TVeets

Amazon's Moves

Seb Joseph looks at Amazon's moves into sports rights, while Jeffrey Dastin covers Amazon's soaring spending overall.

Trump & TV News

Michael Schneider notes that NBC's creation of Donald Trump via The Apprentice is today bringing around high ratings for MSNBC. A former CNN anchor is the new face of Trump's Facebook "news" outlet; Kayleigh McEnany has also added a job as RNC spokesperson. James Poniewozik covers Norman Lear's anti-Trump stance. Politico looks at how the Trump-era FCC is helping Sinclair to expand, which in turn is raising concerns that Sinclair will be excessively powerful after the Tribune acquisition. Over at Fox News, the new Seth Rich-related allegations could reverberate back on Rupert Murdoch's bid for Sky. And Fox News has suspended Eric Bolling over sexual harassment allegations, which he denies.

Netflix Acquires Comics Publisher

Netflix has made its first major acquisition, buying up comic book publisher Millarworld. Andrew Wallenstein says it's a risky bet.

Antennas & Millennials Article Questioned

Phillip Swann calls out a WSJ article for shoddy reporting on millennials discovering antennas and the free TV concept.

Ad-Free FX

FX has joined AMC in offering an ad-free subscription VOD service via Comcast.

HBO Hack Update

After saying they were negotiating with HBO competitors to sell obtained data, the HBO hackers have now released a month of emails from an executive.

More From TCA

Friday was "industry panels" day at TCA; Daniel Fienberg has a summary. Nielsen gave a presentation, discussing out-of-home measurements and ratings measurement changes.

Tim Goodman covers the networks' insistence that they really are thriving right now, not dying.

Saturday night brought the TCA Awards.


ABC Entertainment chief Channing Dungey spoke to critics at TCA Sunday. Daniel Fienberg has the day's highlights and lowlights. Cynthia Littleton analyzes ABC's family comedy strategies.

Friday, August 4, 2017


A new Ofcom report finds binge viewing pervasive in the U.K., and Televisual offers six charts capturing the state of the U.K. TV industry.

Time Warner's Future

Peter Bart wonders if AT&T's takeover will kill off the creative legacy of Time Warner.

Fox Eyeing New Stations

Anousha Sakoui reports that 21st Century Fox may partner with Ion to operate a set of broadcast stations so it can dump its Sinclair affiliates.

American Idol's Revival

Michael O'Connell spoke with an American Idol producer about the show's ABC revival.

Sports & Streaming

Natalie Jarvey considers how streaming services could change the sports rights game.

DOJ Threatens Press

Attorney General Jeff Sessions warns of a crackdown on the media if White House leaks continue to be reported.

Lear's Trump Boycott

Norman Lear will reportedly skip the Kennedy Center Honors reception as a statement of opposition to Donald Trump.

Future of the FInale

Alan Sepinwall considers the possible impact on future series finales with news that the Will & Grace revival will operate as if the previous series finale never happened.

More Confederate Commentary

Ta-Nehisi Coates offers concerns about HBO's Confederate, while Lili Loofbourow says it shows how creatively bankrupt the prestige TV anti-hero concept has become.

Reinvention of CBS News

Sahil Patel looks at CBS News' attempts to reinvent itself for the online news era.

The Right & YouTube

John Herrman notes that young far-right activists are dominating political talk on YouTube, the new version of conservative talk radio.


ESPNU will turn into ESPN8, or The Ocho, for a day.

Salinas Leaving Univision

Longtime Univision news anchor Maria Elena Fernandez is leaving the network.

Q2 Pay TV Losses

Q2 brought the worst subscriber losses ever for pay TV providers.

FCC Members Confirmed; Pai Postponed

The Senate confirmed two new additions to the FCC, while putting off until fall a vote on Ajit Pai, after the net neutrality situation plays out.

HBO Hacks

It's still not clear how much data hackers have gotten from HBO, but Janko Roettgers says this isn't looking like a Sony hack situation. However, there is a stated threat of an email release. Unrelated to the hacking, Sunday's upcoming Game of Thrones episode has been leaked.


NBC execs talked about the state of their network at TCA yesterday, including the cancellation of The Carmichael Show. Robert Greenblatt insisted network TV still has a lot of viewers; many just watch later. NBC also announced a plan to pave the way for more woman directors and renewed Will & Grace for a second reboot season. Daniel Fienberg has Day 10 highlights.

The CW at TCA

CW president Mark Pedowitz discussed the state of his network at TCA Wednesday. Daniel Fienberg covers highlights from TCA Day 9.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hating Cable Providers

Sheelah Kolhatkar explores why cable providers are now "among the most despised businesses in the country, regularly coming in below airlines, banks, and drug companies in public-opinion polls."

The Bachelorette's Weak Conversation

Megan Garber criticizes The Bachelorette's "Men Tell All" special for its empty conversation about race.

Hollywood Reporter in DC

Elaina Plott says the Hollywood Reporter is taking off in DC due to the meshing of entertainment and politics in the Trump era.

OWN's Future

Kate Stanhope and Mia Galuppo consider what's ahead for OWN after Tyler Perry departs. Cynthia Littleton notes that OWN is making numerous deals with high-profile producers.

Podcast on TV Criticism

Alan Sepinwall's podcast welcomes Linda Holmes for a conversation about TV criticism.

Netflix Criticism

Philip Swann questions why Netflix didn't respond sooner and more forcefully to overblown reports about its debt problems.

Casting Sharknado

Seth Abramovitch takes us inside the Sharknado casting process.

Why Emmys Matter

Ben Travers and Michael Schneider separately discuss why Emmys attention is so valuable for channels.

TV Sets Disappearing

Rani Molla and Peter Kafka report on the decline in TVs per household.

Must-See TV History

The Masked Scheduler is sharing his memories of building NBC's Must-See TV lineup.

Microsoft's Motives

Susan Crawford questions Microsoft's motives in its announced plan to deploy unused broadcast airwaves for rural internet access.

Doctor Who Casting

Matt Hills insists the big casting risk for Doctor Who would have been another white man.

Ricky & Morty Sauce

McDonald's delivered on a wish from Ricky & Morty's creators.

Trump's Facebook News Show

Donald Trump's daughter-in-law is hosting a show on Facebook about his alleged accomplishments.

End of The Middle

ABC announced that The Middle will end after its upcoming season.

Locations in Dexter & Burn Notice

Myles McNutt analyzes narratives of place in Dexter and Burn Notice. (An open-access academic journal article!)

Free TV

Ryan Knutson finds that many young people don't realize TV can be free with just an antenna.

Worst Job: Network President

Tim Goodman explains why now more than ever he wouldn't want to be a network president.

HBO Hack Concerns

Janko Roettgers reports that the HBO hack includes internal documents like emails. The FBI is now investigating.


CBS execs at TCA were on the defensive about the network's lack of diversity and the Hawaii Five-0 exits. Todd VanDerWerff doesn't expect much to change. There was also news of Kevin Can Wait killing off a character, as well as new programming coming to CBS All Access. Jason Lynch reports on CBS's calculated delay for Star Trek: Discovery to build interest. Rick Ellis is skeptical about CBS All Access's future. Daniel Fienberg has TCA Day 8 highlights (and catch up on days 5, 6, and 7).

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Good TVeets

Six-Second Ads

Brian Steinberg reports on Fox trying out its new six-second ads during the Teen Choice Awards in a few weeks.

Cable Fear & Denial at TCA

Tim Goodman reports from TCA, where "there are varying degrees of hope and worry" over the state of cable.

Fuller & Discovery

Bryan Fuller talked with EW about his departure from Star Trek: Discovery.

PBS Chief at TCA

PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger spoke at TCA yesterday about funding, stations, and programming.

Fan Studies for Fans

Scholar Lori Morimoto is offering an online Fan Studies 101 course for fans themselves.

TRL Returning

MTV is reviving Total Request Live starting October 2. John Koblin talked with MTV's president about bringing the past into MTV's future.

HBO Hacked

HBO underwent a cyber attack, with scripts and episodes possibly taken and their release threatened.

Amazon's TV Encroachment

Will Richmond assesses possible moves into pay TV by Amazon, while over in the UK, Amazon has nabbed ATP tennis rights away from Sky.

Netflix's Debt

David Ng raises questions about the debt Netflix has taken on to offer original programming.

Trump & TV

Ben Smith and Kate Aurthur analyze the success of President Trump as reality TV. Kelsey Sutton notes that Andy Lack's plan to push MSNBC rightward seems to have been derailed by the Trump era. Over at Fox News, there's a vehement denial of an explosive story claiming the White House was involved in the outlet's false Seth Rich reporting. Sinclair continues to draw controversy with its required pro-Trump segments as it continues to buy stations. And Lois Beckett says the White House has a new favorite news outlet in a youth-targeted site called Circa.

Confederate & Black America

HBO is asking for patience in response to an anti-Confederate hashtag campaign. Jake Nevins wonders if the backlash could be enough to sink the series. Academics Ben Railton and Matthew Teutsch have putting together a #NoConfederate reading list (which incidentally could use some media studies input). Meanwhile, Amazon just announced a project in development called Black America, also an alt-history series about post-slavery reparations in America. Todd VanDerWerff offers comparative thoughts on Black America and Confederate.

Discovery Buying Scripps

Discovery Communications will pay $14.6 billion to buy Scripps Networks Interactive. Kevin Tran says the deal makes sense, while Michael Schneider sees a downside for producers and danger ahead for smaller channels. Brian Steinberg has analysis.