Back again! World’s Funniest Fails continues to keep its ahead above water in the death slot, on Fridays @ 8pm. For a show that should have been off the air a while ago World’s Funniest Fails is making quite the statement as of late. Since February 13th, the total viewers have gone up every single week with the most recent viewing coming in at just under 3 million total. While the ratings have now been stuck at .8 for the last four weeks the show is definitely making progress. Fox has officially ordered EIGHT, yes you heard that right, eight! new episodes. From Variety, “WORLD’S FUNNIEST FAILS ranks No. 1 in its time period among Men 18-34 (tie), Teens (tie) and No. 2 among Adults 18-34 (tie) and has improved upon FOX’s prior season average in the time period with entertainment programming in Adults 18-49 (+38%), Adults 18-34 (+60%), Teens (+50%) and Total Viewers (+45%).” Killing it! Hopefully Terry Crews and Co. can keep their momentum going through March into April and May. Stay tuned ! And don’t forget to check the show out, Fridays @ 8pm on FOX !
Programming has traditionally been made up of two dominant genres, the drama and the situational comedy (or sitcom). In a typical week’s prime time schedule, the major five broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, and NBC) air a combined 43 hours of dramas and 18 hours of comedy. Another notable genre in the current schedule is reality and competition shows which currently make up 14 hours of the broadcast schedule. When looking into the broader scope of television, more and more genres begin to emerge. Currently on cable and premium networks, dramas and sitcoms also dominate the schedule but they are accompanied by more diverse programming such as mini-series, more reality, and developing genres such as mock reality. Schedules are constantly changing and adapting as new programs are developed and programs begin to come off the air. The development process is unique for each genre and the current season has already showed some success and failures.
The beginning of any drama series typically happens in one of three ways. Either a writer-producer meets with the network and a concept emerges which then turns into a script or a writer-producer already has a script and pitches it to the network. The third common way for a show to develop is for a highly regarded star to decide they want to do a television program and a team is assigned to develop something which fits their needs. Once a script is written and the network approves along with a cast and crew, a pilot is produced and shown to the network. How many pilots are commissioned is dependent upon the networks overall tone, for example The CW is unlikely to produce a large amount of comedy pilots since their schedule is dominated by dramas, along with their current needs. If not many dramas survive the season, more are likely to be commissioned for the next season.
In the current pilot season, Vulture magazine has already spotted several programming trends. One of which is franchise programming. Shows such as NCIS, The Vampire Diaries, and Chicago Fire all have related pilots being worked on. Going off of the success of Once Upon a Time, there is also a tendency towards magical or supernatural themed programs. Vulture predicts a rise in “House” type characters as well as many bigger name stars following Kevin Bacon back to the smaller screen. Much of this is based off of the successes of this past season and an effort to keep promising trends rolling.
One of the more successful launches this Spring was Fox’s The Following starring Kevin Bacon. The show has already been picked up for a second season and has been consistently winning it’s time slot.
A significant drama which went off the air this spring was The CW’s Gossip Girl. While not a major player in the ratings, Gossip Girl was still influential in it’s run on the CW as a trend setter for other programming. The network saw an uptick in the amount of programs focusing on the glamorous and elite such as 90210 and this season’s The Carrie Diaries.
Cable networks typically are more adventurous in their programming and have been seeing a lot of success lately.
Among the biggest successes is AMC’s The Walking Dead. It is a slightly nontraditional show that has garnered huge ratings for the cable network. It was a major Sunday night competitor this season despite not being on a major broadcast network.
Another major program this spring was The History Channel’s mini series The Bible. It received a lot of attention for it’s content and created a viewing war with The Walking Dead.
Comedies are developed in a very similar way to dramas. Typically more comedy pilots are produced each year because they are shorter and quicker to make. However, more concepts are abandoned and there are different standards for determining what shows get picked up. A comedy will rarely be picked up just because it’s funny. Comedies are evaluated more based on the current schedule and where there are holes. If a current show is going off the air or needs a stronger lead in, then a comedy has a stronger chance of making it to air. There is also a different target demographic for comedies. They are intended to appeal to younger, typically less educated, and lower income than other types of programming.
NBC had a much hyped new series in 1600 Penn which was given an early release of the pilot. The show did not hold an audience well and saw continually declining ratings. NBC chose to end the season early by airing multiple episodes in a night. The scheduling change combined with declining ratings led to cancellation rumors.
A more successful show this spring has been ABC’s How to Live With Your Parents For The Rest of Your Life. It had a late premiere date but has still seen favorable ratings. It focuses on a single mom having to move back in with her parents and the struggles that ensue from her eccentric family.
This season will see the end of the long running NBC comedy The Office. The show was a hit for the network for many years and led to similar programs such as Parks and Recreation which is still on air. Show Runner Greg Daniels promises a heartfelt goodbye to match the series all around tone and characters.
There are four general rules that define reality television. The first is that they do not involve actors, at least in the traditional sense. Second, while they may be planned, they are not written in the way that comedies and dramas are. They are always produced on location, and finally they have some sort of special gimmick. When in development, these programs are judged more on the potential of the idea than the reputations of the writers or performers. Reality television has created a place for itself in the schedule over the past few decades. It is especially prominent on cable networks with networks such as E! and Bravo airing almost exclusively reality in their prime time slots. Bravo recently announced they have 17 new series being planned, nearly all of which are reality.
On broadcast networks, it is most common to see reality programming in the form of competition. The Voice saw a cast change this spring with Shakira and Usher replacing Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green as judges. The show has been seeing decent numbers with the new judges.
Reality is clearly a genre which is here to stay. Over the years, reality programming has reached to some pretty extreme levels as far as the types of stories and characters that are put on the air. This has led to a new trend of mock realities, shows which are meant to look like reality shows but are scripted or improv and actually make fun of reality programming.
E! has an hour every week titled “Mock Block Monday” which features two of these Mock Reality Shows. The first is Burning Love which is an imitation of dating shows such as The Bachelor. The second is After Lately which is a supposed documentary of the office of Chelsea Lately, another popular program of theirs.
Other networks are picking up on this trend as well. MTV recently announced a new show, appropriately called Reality Stars, which will be about four friends who get involved in reality television. BET has committed to a second season of The Real Husbands of Hollywood. The show follows men of Hollywood in their “natural environment”.
Nielsen announced earlier this winter that it plans to begin using Twitter to measure program popularity. This focus on the “second screen” could give more insight into what viewers are responding too and begin to dictate programming decisions. It can help programmers adapt to the growing social engagement of viewers and use social media trends to their advantage.
19. The Business of Television, Bleumenthol & Goodenough
by Baindu N. Saidu
The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is one of the oldest American broadcasting networks. Originally created in the 1940’s from the NBC Blue rradio network, ABC is now owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. The group is composed of Disney’s global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations group, as well as radio and publishing businesses. This includes ABC Television Network, ABC Owned Television Station Group, ABC Studios, Disney Channels Worldwide, ABC Family, and SOAPnet, as well as Disney/abc Domestic Television and Disney Media Distribution.
The parent company, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide entertainment company with operations in media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Studio Entertainment, Consumer Products, and Interactive Media.
Key Disney Executives:
John Pepper – Chairman
Robert Iger – President, CEO
James Rasulo – Senior Executive Vice President, CFO
Alan Braverman – Senior Executive Vice President, Secretary, General Counsel
Kevin Mayer – Executive Vice President
Key Disney Financials (in USD as of 09/29/2012):
Revenue per share: 23.57 
Walt Disney Co. News (Fall 2012)
- October 30, 2012: Disney Buys Lucasfilm for $4 Billion in cash and stock and will debut a new Star Wars movie, Episode VII,in 2015. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars franchise and CEO of Lucasfilm, owned 100% of the company. Kathleen Kennedy, current co-chair of Lucasfilm, will become its president, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chair Alan Horn. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars features, with Lucas serving as creative consultant .
- November 28, 2012: Walt Disney said that it would boost its annual dividend to shareholders by 25% to 75¢ a share. It was the latest company to do so on jitters over the looming “fiscal cliff.” The dividend announcement came a day after Disney raised $3 billion in a bond offering, part of which would likely go toward funding the bigger shareholder payout .
- December 4, 2012: Disney signed an unprecedented movie deal with Netflix, allowing Netflix subscribers to stream films from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation, Marvel and Disneynature, starting in 2016. When the deal kicks in, Netflix will become the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first-run, live-action and animated feature films from the Walt Disney Studios, receiving access to the movies after they’re made available for sale and rental. Netflix managers also cut a separate multi-year deal with Disney to bring some older catalog titles to Netflix streaming immediately.
ABC Television network provides broadcast programming to more than 220 affiliated stations across the country. the network encompasses ABC News, respoinsible for news programming on television and other digital platforms, ABC Entertainement Group, responsible for the network’s primetime and late-night fair, ABC Daytime,producers of the network’s daytime programming, and ABC Kids, responsible for children’s programming .
-September 10, 2012: Katie Couric’s new daytime talk show premiered to an estimated 1.535-million viewers from the top 56 U.S. markets. put Couric comfortably ahead of the freshman talk-show pack. “Katie” outdrew “Steve Harvey” by 87%, “Jeff Probst” by 150% and “Ricki Lake” by 250%. For entire article.
-November 26, 2012: As sweeps month comes to a close, Good Morning America is poised to beat out Today to win November sweeps in total viewers and the key adults 25-54 demo, according to Nielsen. It would be GMA‘s first November sweep win in total viewers since 1995, and its first sweeps victory in the key demo in more than 18 years. . For entire article.
-December 06, 2012: ABC was Daytime’s number 1 network for the 12th consecutive week in Women 18-34 (0.6 rating / 214,000 – tied), and was #1 for the 8th straight week in Women 18-49 (0.9 rating / 569,000 – tied) . For entire press release.
ABC Entertainment Group develops and produces compelling programming for broadcast on ABC in addition to other television and digital platforms. The group includes ABC Entertainment, which is responsible for all network primetime and late-night entertainment programming. ABC Studios is responsible for the development and production of primetime and late-night entertainment content for ABC, among other platforms. Disney-ABC Domestic Television is responsible for the content distribution within the United States and Canada .
New ABC Series Premiering in Fall 2012:
-666 Park Avenue
For in-depth information about any of ABC’s Fall premiere shows go here.
- October 09, 2012: After two weeks of the 2012-2013 broadcast television season (through Sunday, October 7 2012), NBC is in first place among adults 18-49, with a 2.8 rating average. Runners-up FOX and CBS tied for second, each earning a 2.4 rating average. ABC came in fourth with a 2.1 rating average and Univision was fifth with a 1.4 18-49 rating. The CW finished last with a 0.3 adults 18-49 rating average .
- November 13, 2012: After seven weeks of the 2012-2013 broadcast television season (through Sunday, November 11, 2012), NBC is in first place among adults 18-49, with a 3.2 rating average, up 23% from last season. CBS was second, with a 2.8 rating average, down 18% from a year ago. ABC was third with a 2.6, down 7% from a year ago. FOX was fourth with a 2.5, down 29% from last season. The CW finished last with a 0.7 adults 18-49 rating average .
- November 27, 2012: ABC Draws its 2nd-Largest Audience Since Season Premiere Week and Claims 4 of the Top 15 Most-Watched TV Shows Overall . For specifics on the individual ratings go here.
- December 04, 2012: After eight weeks of the 2012-2013 broadcast television season (through Sunday, November 25, 2012), NBC is in first place among adults 18-49, with a 3.2 rating average, up 23% from last season. CBS was second, with a 2.8 rating average, down 18% from the prior season. ABC was third with a 2.6, down 7% from the previous season FOX was fourth with a 2.4, down 31% from last season. The CW finished last with a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating average, down 20% from the previous season. Among total viewers, CBS is ahead for the season averaging 11.718 million viewers. ABC is second with 9.168m, followed by NBC with 8.913 m, FOX with 6.853m, and CW with 1.888 million .
- December 04, 2012: During the week of November 26, 2012, ABC qualified as the 2nd-most-watched network to CBS, outdrawing an NFL-fueled NBC (8.03 million vs. 7.97 million). And excluding sports, ABC beat out NBC for the week by 10% in Adults 18-49 (2.2/6 vs. 2.0/6). Season-to-Date C3 Ratings (9/24-11/11/12): ABC is the No. 1 network this season in the sales currency of C3 non-sports Adult 18-49 ratings (Commercial Ratings + 3 Days of Playback), out-delivering CBS by 5%, Fox by 10% and NBC by 10%: ABC = 2.3 rating, CBS = 2.2 rating, Fox = 2.1 rating and NBC = 2.1 rating .
So far in the season, 3 shows have been cancelled, two of which are new series. Private Practice, 666 Park Avenue and The Last Resort will not be seeing anymore seasons. To check the cancellation/renewal index for ABC shows, go here. For information on midseason premieres go here.
Owned and Operated Stations
The ABC Owned Television Stations Group includes WABC-TV New York, KABC-TV Los Angeles, WLS-TV Chicago, WPVI-TV Philadelphia, KGO-TV San Francisco, KTRK-TV Houston, WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham and KFSN-TV Fresno. The eight owned stations reach 23.3% of all U.S. television households. All are strong performers in their local markets, with most ranking #1 sign-on to sign-off in key A.C. Nielsen ratings for adults 18-49 and 25-54 [20 ].
O & O News:
- September 4, 2012: Owned and operated station, WABC-TV, home to the popular syndicated series “Live! with Regis and Kelly, ” welcomed new co-host Michael Strahan, to thew show, now titled “Live! with Kelly and Michael.” For more on the story click here.
- For more ABC O&O news check out this website.
There are over 220 ABC affiliated stations across the U.S.
- November, 21, 2012: KABC remains dominant in L.A. local news. Story here.
- December 07, 2012: Sinclair Broadcast Finalizes TV Station Acquisitions, among them ABC Affiliate stations. story here.
- For information on their activities go here.
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by Baindu N. Saidu
Distribution refers to the means by which television programming is delivered to consumers. It is done through traditional means like Broadcast, Cable or Satellite television, or through newer means like Video on Demand (VOD), Digital Video Recording (DVR), and online Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) services like HULU Plus and Netflix.
When it comes to overseeing and regulating of these different means of mass television distribution, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is the principle government agency in charge. Its jurisdiction covers the means of mass emerging television technologies at the intersection of telephone, internet, computing, and digital signals. .
Several events have been ongoing during this semester related to the regulatory and legal aspects of distribution include a satellite provider, Dish’s disputes with both cable and broadcast networks, and the FCC’s ongoing plans for an incentive auction to reclaim spectrum space for wireless operators.
Dish Network vs. AMC Networks
The Networks’ dispute started years earlier with Cablevision’s lawsuit against Dish over their Voom HD channel which Dish stopped carrying in 2008. AMC was spun off from Cablevision in 2011. In April 2012, Dish notified AMC that it would drop their channels and by July, when their contract expired, Dish removed AMC Network channels AMC, WEtv, IFC, and Sundance from its lineup .
The companies indicated different reasons for the dispute. AMC stated that DISH dropped its programming because it wanted to gain leverage in an unrelated lawsuit involving Cablevision and their Voom HD channel . DISH, conversely stated that the dispute was over “bundling,” in which big networks like AMC try to sell several of their channels, both high- and low-rated, to providers in a bundle to get a better price .
By September, Dish’s 14 million subscribers had been without any AMC channels for more than two months and feared not be able to view the season premiere of the AMC hit show, The Walking Dead, set to premiere October 14. Speaking on the dispute, Dish’s senior vice president of programming, Adam Shull stated that “The problem is they’re asking me to pay for four channels for really what is the price of three shows,” thus Dish wouldn’t be paying for any AMC shows .
On their part, AMC turned to social media in a quest to get their channels back on Dish, launching a YouTube video contest for angry Dish subscribers called “Hey DISH, Where’s my AMC?” .
The conflict would not be resolved until October 21 when Cablevision and AMC Networks settled their lawsuit with Dish Network for $700 million. The deal brought to end a dispute over whether Dish breached an affiliate agreement by terminating AMC’s Voom HD Network in 2008. At a trial that began in late September, AMC sought some $2.4 billion in damages from what it believed was Dish’s improper termination. Dish had defended itself by saying that it had the authority to cancel the Voom deal based on a contractual clause requiring Cablevision/AMC to invest $100 million per year on the channel. As part of the deal Dish also reached a new carriage agreement with AMC, bringing the network back to their lineup along with IFC, Sundance, and WEtv .
Dish Network’s AutoHop vs. Broadcasters
Another battle Dish Network has been involved in pertains to the AutoHop feature for its DVR systems, Hopper and Joey. Introduced in March, Autohop, an International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Award Honoree, allows users who are watching Primetime Anytime recordings to completely skip commercials. When the user starts watching a recording, they are allowed to choose whether or not to skip commercials. Users who choose to skip the commercials move from segment to segment of TV shows without having to watch the ads . This feature has undoubtedly caused uproar with broadcasters, who depend on ad sales for a majority of their revenue.
In May, three of the major broadcasters (CBS, NBC, and Fox) filed suit against Dish Network in Los Angles, contending that the technology violated copyright law. Dish simultaneously filed a suit against ABC, CBS, and NBC in New York seeking a declaratory judgment affirming the legality of their technology . In documents filed August 22, Fox’s lawyer argued that AutoHop was in “violation of the express terms and conditions of its contracts with Fox and federal copyright law. Both parties argued their respective points of view in front of U.S. District Court judge, Dolly Gee, on September 21 in Los Angeles. On November 6, Gee denied Fox’s request for a preliminary injunction that would shut AutoHop down. Gee, in denying Fox said, “Although Dish defines some of the parameters of copying for time-shifting purposes, it is ultimately the user who causes the copy to be made.” She also pointed out that Fox hadn’t proved there would be “irreparable damage” if no injunction was issued. Any harm to Fox, she said, could be relieved by monetary damages. The judge did agree with Fox though that Dish had likely committed copyright infringement and broken the contract between the two companies in making copies of Fox programming for alleged quality assurance .
On November 9, Fox filed an appeal against the denial of its request for an injunction, moving the matter from the U.S. District Court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District. More legal action from broadcasters followed on November 24 when ABC sought a preliminary injunction from U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan federal court to also block AutoHop .
The broadcasters’ reason for going after AutoHop is that it “will ultimately destroy the advertiser-supported ecosystem” they depend on for revenue . The networks make more than $19 billion a year in advertising, money that pays for the high cost of programming. Without advertising, network executives say, media companies would have to charge distributors three times the current rate for their signals, added costs which would be passed on to consumers. Dish, on its part, said that it believes that the AutoHop feature does not violate the networks’ copyrights. Instead, the company said AutoHop is simply an enhancement of existing ad-zapping technologies, and ultimately a matter of consumer choice .
FCC Incentive Spectrum Auction
The FCC is a quasi-autonomous commission that has elements of each of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government. It is part of the group of independent regulatory agencies (see also the FAA, FTC, and SEC) . In its control of television, the FCC performs several distinct functions such as rulemaking, licensing, registration, adjudication, enforcement, and informal influence .
Last February, President Obama signed a law empowering the FCC to buy spectrum from broadcasters wishing to give it up and then turn around and auction it to wireless broadband carriers. The FCC is working on the implementing rules for the incentive auction — so-called because broadcasters have a cash incentive to give up their spectrum . They have hopes that the auction could begin as early as 2014, but have until September 2022 to conduct the sale and license the airwaves to wireless companies .
For the most part, full-service broadcasters with major network affiliations and newsrooms have said they have no interest in the incentive auction, preferring to hang on to their entire spectrum so they can offer new services. However, other broadcasters that are struggling see the incentive auction as a way to recoup some or all of their investments. Speculators have also entered the market, buying up marginal stations with the intention of selling their spectrum at a profit in the FCC auction .
Fall FCC Spectrum Auction News
- September 07, 2012: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski set to release the FCC’s framework for the spectrum auction with target of having a report and order voted by mid-2013 and the auctions completed by the end of 2014 . Full article.
- October 04, 2012: Chairman Genachowski said that the FCC will exceed its 300 MHz target for freeing up spectrum, a target the commission set in the National Broadban Plan . Full article.
- November 13, 2012: An anonymous group of broadcasters interested in selling their TV spectrum in the incentive auction created the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition and tapped former Fox and Disney lobbyist Preston Padden to lead their efforts before the FCC as the commission writes rules for the auction . Full article.
- December 03, 2012: FCC officials spelled out some financial options in a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP webcast, urging listeners to file comments as the commission works to write rules for the auction. The deadline for comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was extended to Jan. 25, with reply comments due March 26 . Full article.
With the auction yet to occur, there is more news to come. To stay updated, check out the FCC’s official website.
 http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/25/entertainment/la-et-ct-broadcast-networks-fight-with-dish-over-adskipping-has-enormous-implications-20120525; http://www.deadline.com/2012/11/fox-appeals-denied-dish-autohop-injunction/