FX to launch new cable network FXX targeting young adult viewers

FX says it’s spinning off a new cable network aimed at young adult viewers. Launching Sept. 2, FXX will join big brother FX along with the movie-oriented FXM as the brand’s trio of channels. The company says Thursday that the lineup for FXX will consist of original series, movies and acquired series targeting adults 18 to 34, a slightly younger audience than FX attracts. The new channel will be anchored by the comedies “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “The League,” two veteran series that until now have been telecast on FX. Coming to FX this July is a new drama series titled “The Bridge.” Starring Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger, it centers on two detectives hunting down a killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

J.Lo joins forces with cable network nuvoTV

Jennifer Lopez is partnering with nuvoTV, the English-language cable network aimed at American bi-cultural Latinos. With her company, Nuyorican Productions, she’ll collaborate on programming, production and marketing. “As an artist, businesswoman, producer and Latina, I’m passionate about seeing multicultural America on TV,” Lopez said in a statement. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

New cable network pivots toward social change

NEW YORK — A new cable network aims to entertain millennials with messages of social change, and is employing celebrities from Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Meghan McCain and media partners from Univision to Rolling Stone to help its cause.Pivot, due Aug. 1, will feature a mix of programming aimed at the "new greatest generation," the 85 million or so 15-to-34-year-olds, says Jim Berk, CEO of parent Participant Media, being created from the ashes of Documentary Channel and Halogen TV, two small cable networks that reach 40 million homes. In an apparent first, the channel's entire lineup also will be available via a mobile app to viewers who don't subscribe to cable, at a monthly cost paid to Internet providers that's "less than a cup of coffee," promises Pivot president Evan Shapiro.Participant, formed in 2004 by eBay's first president, Jeffrey Skoll, is behind recent films The Help and Lincoln and documentaries such as An Inconvenient Truth and Food Inc. Among original programs are HitRecord on TV!, a variety show to be produced and hosted by Gordon-Levitt, culling material from his online community of filmmakers and performers, who are paid for their contributions."Television can be very pigeonholing" and full of compromises, Gordon-Levitt said at a press event Wednesday. "I need to have creative freedom to do what I want to do," and Pivot "was not just interested in me because I'm in Batman."Other original shows include TakePart Live, a topical daily talk show; Raising McCain, a 10-episode series starring Sen. John McCain's 28-year-old daughter, who described it as "a cross between Meet the Press and Jackass"; Will, a scripted drama series about a young William Shakespeare, from Craig Pearce (Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge); and Jersey Strong, a docu-series profiling two connected Newark families, one comprising gang members, the other made up of criminal lawyers.Pivot also has acquired rights to reruns of Friday Night Lights, Farscape and Little Mosque on the Continue Reading

Oprah Winfrey’s cable network OWN needs a reason to belong in the lineups

It’s time we all stopped dancing around the truth: Oprah’s cable channel isn’t delivering anyone an ah-ha moment. In fact, it has failed to deliver much of anything but hand-wringing from its owners and speculation from the media about what went wrong. Admit it, we all blew it. We thought because Oprah Winfrey was able to move people during the daytime hours for more than two decades she’d be able to do the same 24 hours a day. Back then, when we called her the Daytime Queen, she could get people to rush to bookstores or the Body Shop simply because she named a product as one of her favorites. Turns out that magic stops short of riveting us to a new cable channel. No one said getting a new network off the ground would be easy. Few, however, would have expected Winfrey’s branded channel to struggle like some anonymous lifestyle stepchild. Going into the OWN era, many believed the magic of Winfrey, which worked fine in an hour of TV, could serve as an umbrella for a cable network. We couldn’t have been more wrong.RELATED: OPRAH LAYS OFF 30 OWN STAFFERS Some 15 months into the life of OWN, it has yet to make a significant impact on the TV landscape. So far, its high-water mark in the ratings was the byproduct of a terrible, unexpected tragedy: Oprah’s interview with members of the late Whitney Houston’s family, including daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown. This doesn’t mean that OWN doesn’t have a smattering of good programming. It does. But there’s also a lot of not-so-good stuff. For every “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” the reality show following the folks who run St. Louis’ legendary soul food restaurant, Sweetie Pie’s, there’s something like the cheeseball reenacted reality show “Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal.” For every edition of the superb “Our America With Lisa Ling” documentary, there’s the Continue Reading

Sean (Diddy) Combs wants to launch cable network Revolt: report

Sean (Diddy) Combs has his eye on launching a music and lifestyle cable network later this year. Combs’ channel will be called Revolt, according to Broadcasting and Cable magazine, which broke the news. A spokeswoman for Combs did not respond to an email seeking comment Monday. Citing sources with knowledge of the plan, Broadcasting reported the channel would have an urban skew, and feel like an old-style MTV for African-American viewers. Former MTV programming chief Andy Schuon is part of the project, according to the report. Cable giant Comcast reportedly will carry the channel as part of its ongoing effort to launch minority-owned networks. Launching the networks were part of the company’s agreement to merge with NBC Universal. The company said it would launch 10 such networks over an eight year period. Two African-American owned networks are targeted to launch by Jan. 28, 2013, according to the agreement. Multichannel News has reported a package of six networks owned by comic Byron Allen, and one, HBCU, featuring programming from Historically Black College and Universities, were being considered as well. Having a cable network could expand Combs’ already huge entertainment reach. And he’s not alone in that arena, either. Ryan Seacrest’s company Ryan Seacrest Media just bought a stake in Mark Cuban’s HDNet, which will be renamed and transformed into more of a music and lifestyle channel this summer. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Oprah Winfrey makes herself CEO of OWN cable network, which has struggled in ratings

Oprah Winfrey is shaking things up at her cable network OWN — again — starting with putting herself in charge.Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, both who worked closely with her on "Oprah," have been named presidents of the network, effective immediately. They'll work with interim CEO and Discovery Communications CEO, Peter Liguori.David Zaslav, Peter and all of Discovery behind us, we can unleash the full potential of the network."Harpo Studios will go exclusively to OWN.Rosie O'Donnell set for this fall and the current series "Oprah Presents Master Class," "In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman" and "Oprah's Next Chapter," due in January.Lisa Ling, Rosie and a number of projects that will continue building OWN's audience, brand strength and growth." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Kate Gosselin and brood of children are coming back to cable network TLC with new reality show

Just when the world was wrapped up in the Charlie Sheen train wreck comes this news: TLC is bringing back new episodes of "Kate Plus 8." Remember them? Kate Gosselin and her brood of kids are coming back to the cable network starting April 4 at 10 p.m. with all-new episodes of her and her kids going on trips. The first episode has Gosselin and her eight children traveling 21 hours to Australia. Once there, Mama Gosselin apparently takes a boat ride in the ocean, where she hopes to swim with sharks - probably a lot like her dealings with the media. Gosselin, once the hottest thing in the tabloid world - especially during battles with her ex, Jon - has been off the radar for a while. Hoff suit charges Ch. 11 age bias Former WPIX/Ch. 11 correspondent Larry Hoff has filed an age-discrimination lawsuit against the station and former general manager Betty Ellen Berlamino. Hoff, 60, filed his suit as one related to an earlier action filed by former sportscaster Sal Marchiano. Hoff's contract was not renewed in 2009. In the suit, filed yesterday, he said he was replaced by Lisa Mateo, "his junior by several decades." Former news director Karen Scott has also filed an age-discrimination suit against the station. Scott, Hoff's suit claims, said Berlamino had made age-related comments about Hoff such as "Isn't he too old?" According to Hoff's suit, since being dropped he has "suffered, and continues to suffer, severe mental anguish and emotional distress" along with a loss of self-esteem and self-confidence. He's seeking money and other relief. Roker targets child hunger NBC's Al Roker has produced another issue-based special to air on NBC stations around the country, on March 19. "Child Hunger Ends Here: A Special Report," is hosted by Roker and Natalie Morales, and is designed to raise awareness and support for ending childhood hunger. The special will air locally on WNBC/ Ch. 4 at 7 p.m. It is produced by Al Roker Productions. CNN Continue Reading

Oprah Winfrey to host new primetime show, ‘Oprah’s Next Chapter,’ on her OWN cable network

The queen of daytime is about to become a night owl.Oprah Winfrey is set to host an hour-long primetime show, entitled "Oprah's Next Chapter," on her new cable network.Taj Mahal to the Great Wall to Winfrey's own teahouse <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> – anywhere but inside a stuffy studio.American Idol" and "The Biggest Loser."Harpo Inc. and Discovery Communications, is scheduled to debut on Jan. 1, replacing Discovery Health. It will feature 24-hour programming.Lisa Ling" and "Oprah Presents: Master Class," featuring personalities such as Jay-Z, Simon Cowell and Condoleezza Rice, have already been unveiled.Mark Burnett; "Visionaires: Inside The Creative Mind," a one-hour weekly series that examines entertainment's true masterminds, including director James Cameron and Lady Gaga; and "Why Not? With Shania Twain," a reality series about the country star and how she's dealing with and moving on from her much-publicized divorce. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Viacom, owner of ‘Jersey Shore’ cable network TV channel MTV, posts second-quarter rise in profits

Snooki's heping Viacom rake in the cash. Media giant Viacom, the owner of "Jersey Shore" cable TV network MTV and movie studio Paramount, said its profits rose 52% in the second quarter as its cable TV ad sales climbed. Profits in the quarter hit $420 million, or 69 cents a share, compared with $277 million, or 46 cents, a year ago. Sales were little changed at $3.3 billion. Viacom is seeing cable-TV ad sales rise as more viewers have been tuning into hit shows like MTV's "Jersey Shore," starring Snooki. Advertisers are "scrambling" to buy ads for the show, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said yesterday, adding he expects advertising to increase next quarter. "We are expecting to see further sequential improvement in domestic ad sale growth," Dauman told analysts in a conference call. The Viacom boss cited improvements in advertising sales to automakers, electronics and insurance companies and consumer product companies like Procter & Gamble. Viacom is benefitting from a broader rebound in the ad market that is lifting media companies. "The ad market is back," said Chris Marangi, an analyst at Gabelli & Co. Viacom's cable TV channels "are all strong brands with an improving slate of shows," he added. Overall, Viacom's cable networks' sales rose 6.4% to $2.09 billion, and operating income jumped 14% to $789 million. Viacom's film sales fell 9.8% to $1.25 billion, dragged down by a 43% decline in home entertainment sales because of fewer DVD releases. The division reported a $69 million operating profit, up from a year-ago loss. The company's shares closed at $38 yesterday, down 40 cents, or 1%. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Oprah Winfrey in talks to move syndicated talk show to cable network OWN by 2011

Will she or won't she? Oprah Winfrey is expected to say by year's end whether she'll continue her syndicated talk show beyond Sept. 2011 or if she'll move it to her cable network OWN, a partnership with Discovery. Tinseltown web site DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com reported yesterday Winfrey will leave the syndicated world behind, and the The Wrap.com suggested she's inching toward Hollywood, where OWN will be based. "It would be a sea change, in that ‘Oprah' has been the most significant program in afternoon television for the past two decades," said Katz Media Group analyst and vice president Bill Carroll. "It has impacted the local newscasts in most markets, and, so, what you're looking at is if ‘Oprah' goes away, it's not clear who or what will fill that void." What is clear, is that Winfrey isn't saying anything. "She has not made a decision yet," said a Winfrey spokesman. "As she has previously stated, she'll be making an announcement before the end of the year." A spokeswoman for OWN kicked calls back to Harpo. "Nothing has changed," a spokesman for CBS TV Distribution said. "The decision is Oprah's to make, as we've stated repeatedly, we love Oprah, and if she wants to continue here show, than we want to continue to be in business with her." Winfrey's current deal takes her through the 2010-2011 season. According to reports, there has been pressure from the folks at Discovery, which will convert Discovery Health to the Oprah Winfrey Network, to get the channel going by 2011. OWN initially was going to launch in 2009, then 2010, but has since been pushed off. Earlier this week it was announced that Lisa Erspamer, the co-executive producer of Winfrey's daytime show, would move to from Chicago to Los Angeles in January, where she would "partner with the senior team to create, shape and drive programming and ensure Oprah's unique editorial voice across all platforms," according to the Continue Reading