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AMC/Sundance Channel Global To Acquire Germany’s KinoweltTV

42 minutes ago

Expanding its European reach, AMC Networks‘ AMC/Sundance Channel Global is buying Frankfurt-based KinoweltTV. The pay-tv channel airs classic and contemporary films and is distributed to 4.5 million subscribers throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The acquisition provides the international arm of AMC Networks with distribution across all platforms in German-speaking Europe for the first time. AMC has been actively growing its overseas presence; last year, it paid about $1B for Chellomedia which produces and distributes TV channels across such territories as the UK, Benelux, Central Europe, Spain and Latin America, and reaches about 390 million households. Founded in 2004, KinoweltTV was the first German TV station completely dedicated to high-class feature films; it now offers European and American cult movies, indies, arthouse fare, classics and monthly retrospectives. The channel’s existing management will join the AMC/Sundance Channel Global team which is led by Bruce Tuchman. Achim Apell will continue as KinoweltTV’s Managing Director. »

- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor

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Larry Levinson Prods Refutes WGA Claims Over Unpaid Wages

7 hours ago

Prolific TV movie producer Larry Levinson Productions has denied claims from the WGA that it owes millions of dollars in residuals to writers. The production company told Deadline today that the dispute instead is “over what appears to be the WGA’s unfair, improper, over-reaching and arbitrary application of its residual calculation for these pay TV movies.” In the past 20 years, the company has produced nearly 200 family-oriented telefilms, most of which were made for Hallmark Channel or in association with Hallmark Entertainment. The guild is pursuing arbitration claims against Levinson’s various production entities for unpaid residuals and interest owed on 33 of those TV movies and is threatening to bar the company from using guild writers again until it pays up. An arbitration hearing is scheduled for May 14. Related: WGA Targets Larry Levinson And Hallmark For Unpaid Residuals Llp said in a statement today, “The companies involved and drawn into »

- PATRICK HIPES, Managing Editor

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David Letterman Gets Colbert-Bumped

9 hours ago

David Letterman got a Colbert Bump on Tuesday night, enjoying a rare win over NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in metered-market households. CBS‘ Late Show With David Letterman, with the host’s designated replacement Stephen Colbert guesting, clocked a 2.5 rating, while Jimmy Fallon logged a household 2.3 rating. ABC‘s Jimmy Kimmel Live! finished third with a 1.7 household rating, according to Nielsen. Related: Colbert Gives Viewers Glimpse Of Self On Letterman: Video Letterman also enjoyed one of his closer nights in the demo. In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, Fallon hung on to the top spot with a 0.9 rating to Letterman’s 0.5. Letterman tied Kimmel in the 18-49 age bracket advertisers covet. The broadcast late-night shows seem to be getting into a rhythm in which some people tend to overlook Letterman when Kimmel does well and vice versa. »

- LISA DE MORAES, TV Columnist

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Flex Option For ‘Sunday Night Football’ To Start 6 Weeks Earlier As NFL Unveils 2014 Schedule

10 hours ago

The NFL is coming off most-watched program in U.S. TV history with the Super Bowl, and its just-released 2014 schedule arrives today with a couple key differences from last year – one of which is bound to make NBC execs smile. The league said that its “flex” scheduling for the Paeaock’s Sunday Night Football games can begin as early as Week 5, moving up from Week 11 in the past. That means the NFL can move any scheduled day game into primetime to air on what has been the No. 1 show in primetime viewership for four consecutive years and tops in the adults 18-49 demo for six straight. But there is a catch: The flex option can be exercised only twice between Weeks 5 and 10, which means Fox or CBS won’t have to give up their best matchups every week during that span. The flex-scheduling say-so remains with the league, which must »

- ERIK PEDERSEN

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Melissa Rosenberg’s Tall Girls Prods. Names Kate Schumaecker President

10 hours ago

Melissa Rosenberg’s Tall Girls Productions has tapped former Universal Cable Prods exec Kate Schumaecker as President. In her new role, Schumaecker will oversee day-to-day operations and develop television projects. Formed by Rosenberg in 2011, ABC Studios-based Tall Girls Prods is focused on film and TV series development with an emphasis on interesting, complex roles for women. In her previous position as VP Development and Current Series at Universal Cable Prods, Schumaecker was the executive on the final two seasons of USA’s Psych and developed various cable projects with a focus on USA Network. She oversaw four pilots, including Satisfaction written by Sean Jablonski, which was recently picked up to series at USA. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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David L. Cunningham Launches First Hawaii Transmedia Content Accelerator

10 hours ago

Filmmaker David L. Cunningham (The Seeker) has launched the first ever transmedia content accelerator in the state of Hawaii, where he was raised. Launching in June, the Global Virtual Studio (Gvs) Transmedia Accelerator will highlight startups with IP that has wide commercial appeal for their program, which will grant $50K in seed funding and mentorship to six selected companies. Eligible IP must be owned by companies based in Hawaii and be applicable to least three separate potential revenue generating platforms. The accelerator is a joint effort between global transmedia co. Gvs, private investors, and the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, Hawaii’s Creative Industry Division, and the County of Hawaii. Honua Studios will play host to the accelerator, which is open to content ranging from film and TV projects to apps and digital properties. Founder Cunningham was raised in the Aloha State »

- JEN YAMATO

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Legendary TV Options Max Brooks’ Horror Comic Series ‘Extinction Parade’

11 hours ago

Legendary Television and Digital Media has optioned World War Z and Zombie Survival Guide author Max Brooks‘ horror comic series The Extinction Parade for development as a TV series. Brooks will assist in development of the project and pen the pilot episode, Brooks and Avatar Press said today. Extinction Parade pits zombies against vampires in a world where the zombie plague has put the human race on the endangered species list, according to a description of the series on Avatar’s website. Fearing the end of their food supply, the vastly outnumbered vampires enter into an all-out subdead war with the zombies, with humans caught in the crossfire. “I only brought the idea to one company, Legendary, because they do the kind of quality work of which any writer would be proud.” said Brooks. “Max Brooks is a visionary with an incredible ability to tell stories that deliver a fresh »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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USA’s ‘Chrisley Knows Best’ Scores Best Stats In Season Finale; Lifetime’s ‘True Tori’ Opens With 1.2M Viewers

11 hours ago

USA Network‘s Chrisley Knows Best went out with a whoop last night clocking 1.5 million viewers — 890,000 of them in the 18-49 demo and 803,000 of them in the older 25-54 age bracket. That’s up by double digits over the previous week’s 1.2 million viewers. Last week, paired with USA’s off-network family comedy Modern Family, Chrisley Knows Best — following the antics of Atlanta-based multimillionaire Todd Chrisley, his wife Julie, and their five children — hit what was then the show’s season high with 823,000 demo viewers and 742,000 in the older bracket, as well as that  overall crowd of 1.2 million. (Last week’s ratings had been a jump of 34% in adults 18-49 and 10% in total viewers from the previous week). When combined with an encore, last night’s season finale delivered 2.4 million viewers — 1.4 million in the demo. Chrisley Knows Best has grown to more than 1 million demo viewers in Live+3 viewers during »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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2015 Art Directors Guild Awards Set For January 31

12 hours ago

The 19th Annual Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Awards, honoring production design in theatrical motion pictures, TV, commercials and music videos will be held Saturday, January 31, at the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton. Here’s the timeline announced today: Tuesday, October 7 Submissions open at www.adg.org Thursday, November 6 Submissions close .Monday, December 1 Online voting for nominations begins .Friday, January 2 (5 Pm Pt) Online voting for nominations closes .Monday, January 5 Nominations announced .Tuesday, January 6 Final online balloting begins .Thursday, January 29 (5 Pm Pt) Final online balloting ends .Saturday, January 31 Winners announced at Adg Awards »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Meg Ryan To Voice The Mother In CBS’ ‘How I Met Your Dad’

13 hours ago

Meet the future Mother. I have learned that Meg Ryan has been quietly tapped as the narrator in CBS‘ How I Met Your Mother spinoff How I Met Your Dad. In the way that Bob Saget supplied the voice of future Ted (Josh Radnor) in Himym, Ryan will voice future Sally (played by Greta Gerwig) in the spinoff, telling her kids the story of how she’d met their dad. Like Saget, Ryan will never be seen on the show. CBS and How I Met Your Dad producer 20th Century Fox TV declined comment. In the vein of the original series, Himyd tells the story from a female point of view, that of Sally (Gerwig), and revolves around a new group of friends in New York, played by Gerwig, Drew Tarver, Nick D’Agosto, Andrew Santino and Tiya Sircar. The spinoff pilot has been garnering strong early buzz and is »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Apple Fiscal Q2 Earnings Blast Past Analyst Expectations As It Raises Dividend

13 hours ago

Apple shares are up more than 8% post market after it released a lot of news designed to please investors — including a 7-for-1 stock split, an increase in stock repurchases to $90B from $60B, and an 8% increase in the quarterly dividend. “We are confident in Apple’s future and see tremendous value in Apple’s stock,” CEO Tim Cook says. The announcements come as the consumer electronics company released earnings for the first three months of the year that trounced Wall Street forecasts. Apple generated net income of $10.22B, +7.1% vs the period last year, on revenues of $45.6B, +4.7%. Analysts thought the top line would come in at $43.5B. Earnings at $11.62 a share far exceeded the consensus prediction of $10.18. Some of the upbeat news comes from higher-than-expected iPhone sales. Apple sold 43.7M units, up 17% vs the period last year. But iPad sales slipped 16% to 16.4M units while Mac computers were +5% to 4.1M and iPods fell 51% to 2.8M. »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Contestant On New Season Of ‘The Bachelorette’ Dies In Accident

13 hours ago

Eric Hill, one of the contestants on the upcoming season of ABC‘s The Bachelorette, has died as a result of injuries sustained in a paragliding accident over the weekend that was not part of the show. By then, Hill had completed filming The Bachelorette, presumably after being eliminated, so his death won’t impact the outcome of the show but it is expected to be addressed on the new season, which premieres May 19. “We are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic passing of our friend, Eric Hill,” The Bachelorette producers said in a statement. “Eric inspired us every day with his passion, his courage and his adventurous spirit, and for that we are very thankful. On behalf of our cast, crew and producers, we send our love, our thoughts and our prayers to Eric’s family during this difficult time.” »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Netflix Orders First Spanish-Language Original Series From Gaz Alazraki

14 hours ago

The 13-episode comedy series from director Gaz Alazraki and creator Mike Lam is set in the world of professional futbol. The untitled project, slated to premiere in 2015 on Netflix, centers on a family feud among heirs of a soccer club after the owner’s death. Luis Gerardo Mendez stars in the series, which will be shot entirely in Mexico and feature a cast from throughout Latin America. The project reunites Alazraki and Mendez, who worked on the Mexican box office hit Nosotros los Nobles (We Are The Nobles). Mendez starred in the pic and Alazraki directed. “We formed a very special team for We Are The Nobles, and we all knew we wanted to keep working together,” said Alazraki. “When I told the team that Netflix was interested in producing the show, the excitement was contagious since there’s nobody cooler and more innovative in this day and age than Netflix. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Wall Street Wonders: Will HBO’s Deal With Amazon Change The Online Video Game?

14 hours ago

Some analysts say it could as investors lifted the value of Time Warner shares by 1.8% and drove Netflix down 5% and Amazon down 1.5% in afternoon trading. The agreement giving Amazon series from HBO including The Sopranos and Six Feet Under “is unparalleled for a subscription-only online streaming service from a quality perspective,” Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter says. He estimates that when the deal kicks in next month Amazon will be able to offer its customers 800 episodes of original content “compared to roughly 100 episodes of original content currently available on Netflix.” That could help Amazon to turn its Prime Instant Video offering into a stand-alone streaming service, separate from the current arrangement which — for $99 a year — also includes no-charge delivery for many retail items. Related: HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Deal With Amazon Prime Pachter estimates that Amazon is paying “well above” $200M for HBO’s shows. Bernstein Research’s Carlos Kirjner and »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Debmar-Mercury Names Karen Bonck Svp Branded Partnerships

15 hours ago

Debmar-Mercury has named Karen Bonck new Svp Branded Partnerships. Based in New York City, she will report to Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus, and will create and execute branded content and advertiser partnerships for the company’s first-run series, including The Wendy Williams Show (produced and distributed by Debmar-Mercury) and fall 2014 entry Celebrity Name Game (co-produced and co-financed by Debmar-Mercury and FremantleMedia North America, and distributed domestically by Debmar-Mercury). “Branded partnerships and integrated marketing have become important aspects of our business and we are thrilled to have a first-rate executive like Karen lead this integral area for us,” Marcus and Bernstein said in today’s announcement.  Prior to joining Debmar-Mercury, Bonck served in branded entertainment posts at NBCUniversal and Disney-abc Television Group. »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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VH1 Cancels ‘Best Week Ever’

15 hours ago

VH1 has pulled the plug on Best Week Ever, the weekly comedic commentary on pop culture. “Best Week Ever was a pioneer in pop culture commentary on television when it launched in 2004, delivering its signature blend of comedy and tongue-in-cheek opinions on the most entertaining news and pop culture stories of the previous seven days,” the network said in a statement. “The series also served as a national launching pad for many talented creatives and comedians. We thank them, and the viewers who tuned in each week.” Best Week Ever premiered in 2004 as a platform for comedians to comment on the week’s events in pop culture. It switched to a single-host format four years later with Paul F. Tompkins at the helm. Best Week Ever was first cancelled in 2010 but was resurrected two years later and resumed airing in January 2013. Comedians who have served as panelists through the years »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Bravo Developing Feuding Families Dramedy From Jennifer Garner

15 hours ago

Bravo Media has put in development All The Pretty Faces, a dramedy-mystery executive produced by Jennifer Garner. Written and executive produced by J. Mills Goodloe, the project is set in the bucolic beach town of Half Moon Bay, CA. It centers on two warring families engaged in an epic, decades-long feud. The death of one of their own brings both families together in search of the secret to the affliction that has plagued them for generations…immortality. “All The Pretty Faces tracks with Bravo’s tradition of presenting strong, relatable characters and tackling provocative subjects in an entertaining way,” said Bravo’s VP Andrew Wang. Garner’s Vandalia Films is producing with Warner Horizon Television where the company has a deal, with Garner and Goodloe executive producing, and Juliana Janes serving as a producer. Bravo recently greenlighted its first two original scripted series, hourlong Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce and  half-hour Odd Mom Out. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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Andy Samberg Makes ‘SNL’ Hosting Debut For Season Finale As Part Of NBC Late Night Show’s Symphonic Slate

16 hours ago

NBC’s Saturday Night Live will explode in a Comcast symphony of cross-promotion for its final original episodes of the TV season. SNL alum Andy Samberg will make his hosting debut for the season finale May 17 — Samberg stars in/produces Universal TV’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine for Fox network (Universal and NBC both being divisions of Comcast). Charlize Theron, one of the stars of Universal-distributed Seth MacFarlane movie A Million Ways To Die In The West — will take her second swing as SNL host May 10. The network also made official that Andrew Garfield will make his SNL hosting debut May 3 as his The Amazing Spider-Man 2 premieres nationwide May 2 — Spider-Man being a big attraction at Universal theme parks. Coldplay will make its fifth appearance as musical guest when Garfield hosts; the group’s latest album Ghost Stories will be released May 19. Black Keys makes its third musical guest appearance with Theron »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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FX Networks Taps MillerCoors To Be Exclusive Beer Partner

16 hours ago

Now you’ll know why characters will drink Miller High Life on The Americans, Coors Light on The Strain, Leinenkugel’s in Fargo, and Miller Lite on The Bridge. The three-year deal will make MillerCoors brands the “official beers” for FX, Fxx, and Fxm giving the brewer exclusive rights to program integrations and first look placement rights for shows that FX is developing. The beers also will have “a strong presence” on FX’s digital app, Fxnow. The agreement — which the companies call “groundbreaking” — expands on an existing relationship that gives MillerCoors exclusive product placement rights to Sons Of Anarchy and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. The new terms make this “the most comprehensive advertising deal ever for the FX suite of channels,” says FX Networks Ad Sales Svp Michael Brochstein. MillerCoors’ Marketing Connections VP Jackie Woodward says that “our objective is to make sure our brands are woven »

- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor

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Sam Register Upped To President Of Warner Bros. Animation, Will Head New Digital Unit

16 hours ago

Warner Bros Animation’s Evp Creative Affairs Sam Register has been promoted to President, Warner Bros Animation and Warner Digital Series. The second part of the title refers to Register’s role as head of a newly formed live-action digital content production unit where he will oversee the development and production of original live-action digital series, working with both Warner Bros TV-based creative talent as well as outside writers and producers. The studio already has such a division in Studio 2.0, which has spawned series like Childrens Hospital, which migrated to TV via Adult Swim. It is unclear whether Studio 2.0 will be absorbed by the new unit or remain autonomous. Register also will continue to run Warner Bros’ television animation unit as president, after having served as Evp Creative Affairs for the past six years. He will continue to report to Warner Bros Television Group President and Chief Content Officer Peter Roth. »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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