The nation’s big media companies are trying to avoid great pressure from advertisers and media buyers to take severe cutbacks in ad rates in early talks as part of the industry’s annual upfront ad market, according to three executives familiar with discussions. Their pushback suggests owners of networks like CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox are betting that a return of favorite TV elements like sports will draw new interest from sponsors and generate more demand for TV commercials — and potentially help them avoid capitulating to the most onerous demands.
AT&T has reached a multi-year deal with Fox to allow DirecTV to offer the network’s programming in approximately 12 rural markets where the satcaster does not provide local channels.
AT&T has struck a multi-year deal with Fox to continue to deliver its TV stations via DirecTV after the sunset of the blanket license. AT&T said it has been negotiating with all the networks to continue to deliver signals to truckers, RVs and others after Congress passed a bill, the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization, that ended the blanket license June 1, requiring AT&T to negotiate individual deals if it wanted to continue to import distant network TV signals to markets and subs who lacked a local version.
Across its 20-episode freshman run, Prodigal Son averaged a 0.75 demo rating and 3.4 million total viewers (in Live+Same Day numbers). Out of the seven dramas Fox aired this TV season — three of which have ended or already been canceled — it ranked third in the demo (trailing the two 9-1-1s) and fourth in audience. It also enjoys the largest increases via DVR playback of any Fox series.
Fox has canceled the multi-camera comedy Outmatched after one season. It was one of a handful of shows absent from Fox’s schedule for the 2020-21 season when the network announced it last week.
Sherri Shepherd, longtime former co-host of The View, is set to join Fox syndicated series Dish Nation as co-host in August. She had served guest stints on the entertainment show in November and December of 2019
Fox has officially renewed two more series for next season, flagship comedy Last Man Standing, headlined by Tim Allen, and medical drama The Resident, starring Matt Czuchry and Emily VanCamp. Both come from 20th Century Fox TV and both had been a lock to come back.
L.A.’s Finest, Tell Me a Story and Swamp Thing are cornerstones of Fox and The CW’s fall schedules, but all three shows aired on other platforms more than a year ago.
Amid a coronavirus pandemic, which ground filming to a halt, decimated broadcast pilot season and canceled the traditional May upfronts, Fox unveiled its fall 2020 schedule at the exact time it would’ve done it without the pandemic. It includes the network TV debut of Spectrum Originals’ L.A.’s Finest starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba, which the network has acquired from Sony Pictures TV.
“I can’t think of a single player move ever that adjusted requests and turned the process upside down as much as this,” said Fox Sports SVP Michael Mulvihill about Brady signing with Tampa Bay. “I think the league treated everyone well with Tampa Bay because they knew how great everyone’s interest was. It was a significant curveball.”
Expect more celebrities in crazy costumes as Fox is bringing back The Masked Singer for Season 4. The renewal was unveiled Wednesday during Fox’s investors earnings call. It comes as the third season of the quirky entertainment show, which features celebrities donning outlandish outfits to sing famous cover versions, is heading to its finale May 20.
Fox said revenue for its fiscal third quarter ending March 31 jumped 25% to $3.44 billion, beating estimates, as ad revenues swelled 44% on SuperBowl LIV. The company announced numbers after the closing bell Wednesday. Shares ended up more than 3% ahead of earnings.
The unscripted series, based on a British format, will feature famous people at home discussing the best TV of the week. It’s set to premiere May 7 with the debut episode featuring Rob Lowe, Meghan Trainor, Joe Buck, Raven-Symoné, Master P and Romeo, JoJo Siwa, Steve Wozniak, Curtis Stone, and Robert and Kym Herjavec.
With the Class of 2020 unable to throw their caps in the air this year due to the coronavirus, LeBron James is putting on a special graduation celebration. The NBA superstar will host the virtual ceremony for the more than 3 million high school seniors. The one-hour special, Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, will air simultaneously across all broadcast platforms — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — and on a host of leading entertainment, social media and streaming platforms
It’s official: next week’s 18th episode of Empire’s sixth season, airing on April 21, will be the hip-hop family drama’s finale for the foreseeable feature, and quite possibly a series finale. In separate statements, Empire creators/executive producers Lee Daniels and Danny Strong addressed the abrupt ending of their show due to the coronavirus pandemic while holding out hope that they could film a proper finale one day.
Fox Entertainment continues with its early renewals, picking up flagship drama series 9-1-1 for a fourth season and its breakout spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star for a second. The network already has renewed its freshman animated series Bless the Harts and Duncanville for next season and also has The Simpsons and Family Guy set to return next fall.
Fox is jumping on the Tiger King bandwagon with a quickie special from TMZ delving into the subjects of the Netflix docuseries. The hourlong special, titled TMZ Investigates: Tiger King — What Really Went Down?, will feature TMZ head Harvey Levin, interviews with people connected to the case of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, and “never-before-seen footage.” It is set to air Monday.
Fox is booking a return trip to Duncanville. The animated comedy, co-created by and starring Amy Poehler, has been picked up for Season 2, TVLine has learned. Duncanville marks the second freshman comedy to be renewed at the broadcast network, following fellow animated rookie Bless the Harts, which secured a Season 2 order back in October.
The rookie drama starred Stephen Dorff, who had one of last season’s biggest talent deals for the series from Entertainment One. The series launched in January to lackluster reviews and, after completing its 13-episode run, has a 40% and 57% rating among critics and viewers on aggregation site RottenTomatoes.com.
The coronavirus pandemic has amped up the transition to cloud-based workflows as broadcasters have employed as many remote operations as possible. The next frontier: an acceleration of live production applications in the cloud. Above, an Amazon Web Services Outpost cloud server.
Fox and Comcast Wednesday announced a long-term renewal of their distribution agreement for Fox’s full portfolio of channels, including retransmission consent for the Fox Television Stations to Xfinity customers.
Empire‘s sixth and final season will end sooner than originally planned due to the coronavirus pandemic. As revealed at the very end of Tuesday’s betrayal and crashed wedding filled “Love Me Still” broadcast, the 18th episode of Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard-led hip hop drama’s final season will now serve as the finale. “Get ready for the shocking final three episodes of Empire,” a voiceover declared over a promo for next week’s 16th episode of the Fox series’ current sixth season.
ESPN’s newsmagazine E: 60 led all nominations (with 10) for the 41st Annual Sports Emmy Awards, as announced on Thursday by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The Sports Emmys, originally scheduled for April 28 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no replacement date yet announced. Nonetheless, NATAS has moved ahead with revealing this year’s nominees.
The first major benefit concert to provide relief and support for Americans impacted by COVID-19 is happening. Elton John will host an all-star benefit concert airing Sunday night titled Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America. The event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw and others yet to be announced. The commercial-free event will take the place of the previously announced iHeartRadio Music Awards at 9 p.m. ET Sunday.
Fox has acquired the ad-supporting streaming service Tubi in a $440 million cash deal. Tubi Founder and CEO Farhad Massoudi will continue to head the company.
The 2020 IHeartRadio Music Awards have been postponed as people continue to hunker down amid the coronavirus outbreak. The annual trophy show, which was set to air live on Fox, had been set for March 29 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The venue is closed for all events until at least the end of the month. IHeartMedia and Fox said they “plan to reschedule at the appropriate time.”
The series, which wrapped its 13-episode run on Feb. 22 — the final two episodes were shunted off to a Saturday night well after the bulk of episodes had aired — was among the lowest-rated shows on the Big Four networks this season.
Charles Hobson, an Emmy Award-winning producer who helped shatter racial stereotypes by delivering a black perspective that had been missing from early television programming, died on Feb. 13. He was 83.
So You Think You Can Dance has been renewed for a 17th season at Fox. Bailey Munoz was named the winner of the most recent season of the dance competition series. Auditions for the new season will begin next month.
Fox Corp. and Cox Media Group have renewed the affiliation agreements for four of Cox’s TV stations. The deal will see WFXT Boston; WHBQ Memphis; WFOX Jacksonville, Fla.; and KOKI Tulsa, Okla., remain affiliates of the Fox broadcast network.
Now more than ever, the broadcast networks are feeling the need to change up their typical pilot season strategy. With existing streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and Amazon and new competitors like HBO Max and Peacock developing shows year-round, the broadcasters are slowly but surely shifting their plans to include more off-cycle pickups.
Following on the success of The Masked Singer, Fox is doubling down with another South Korean game show import, the musical series I Can See Your Voice. Based on the South Korean format from CJ ENM, the show will offer contestants a cash prize if they can tell the difference between the good and bad singers, without ever hearing them sing a note. Masked Singer judge Ken Jeong will serve as host and executive producer.
Advertisers have been slow to the table to support the newly-revived XFL league, which kicks off this weekend. Interest is finally stirring, according to ESPN and ABC, but uncertain audience engagement and the memory of past alternative pro-football league failures cast a shadow over its prospects.