Are U.S. Broadcast Networks Deliberately Self-Destructing?

Broadcast ratings are worse than ever, and the handwriting that spells “T-H-E-E-N-D is on the wall? Why don’t the networks start reading it?

by Roger Friedman

Prime time ratings for [last] Thursday night were a little shocking, especially for NBC.

Prime time TV ratings last night on all of NBC and some of ABC were equal to or not much better than the total numbers for daytime soap opera.

Indeed, NBC’s entire slate of new shows last night looked like a scorecard for daytime.

Between 8 and 10pm, NBC shows averaged just 3 million viewers. They were all first run, not repeat. By comparison, “The Young and the Restless” has 4 million viewers, “General Hospital” around 2.6 million. And those are shown during the day, when people are working….

Read it all at Showbiz 411

Have You Heard the Good News About ‘Duck Tales?’

Duck Tales, one of the most well-written animated kids’ shows in all of TV, has been renewed for Season 3. We know because Disney said so, right here:

What makes the announcement video above particularly notable to us here at TVWriter™ is that the voice actors who play Huey, Dewey, and Louie actually recorded together for the very first time. Animation voiceovers usually are done one lonely actor at a time in a teeny booth with a screaming director on the other side of the glass partition.

Well, okay, we made up the “screaming director” thing. But, you know, it sounds kinda neat that way, yeah?

More about the series and its latest pick-up is HERE

South Africa’s OUTtv is Fighting the LBGT Fight

“Everything’s a battle” is a truism of the television industry, worldwide. Take this one, for example:

Why the gay-focused channel OUTtv on DStv will only be made available in South Africa and not the rest of Africa
by Thinus Ferreira

The gay-focused OUTtv channel will only be available in South Africa and nowhere else in Africa where organised opposition and resistance to the broadcast of “pro-gay” television content the past few years have landed Naspers’ MultiChoice pay-TV arm and channel distributors in hot water with the rest of the continent’s censorship board and regulators.

MultiChoice told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry asking why OUTtv will only be available to DStv Premium and DStv Compact Plus in South Africa specifically, that MultiChoice only cleared the content rights of the gay programming for this specific market.

OUTtv will run from 4 October to 4 November in South Africa as a month-long pop-up channel on channel 198 on DStv with content deemed too risque for the rest of Africa’s conservative audiences, especially Nigeria and Kenya as the continent’s second and third largest pay-TV markets after South Africa.

OUTtv will broadcast programming ranging from movies, drama, lifestyle, comedy, reality, music and travel shows that appeal to the LGBTQI+ community.

Titles on OUTtv will range from RuPaul’s Drag Race All StarsBig Freedia Queen of Bounce, Australian series like Deep Water and WentworthDegrassi: Next Generationand Hey Qween!, as well as OUTtv original series Knock Knock GhostSex &ampViolenceShadowlandsThe Boulet Brothers’ Dragula and Don’t Quit Your Gay Job.

MultiChoice was asked whether OUTtv will come with a general age restriction, like for instance 13PG, but the pay-TV operator says OUTtv is structured and programmed as a lifestyle channel and that the channel’s gay content won’t carry any overall age blocking in South Africa.

“There will be no channel age restriction. Any age restrictions will be programme specific,” on OUTtv says MultiChoice….

Read it all at teeveetee blog

What’s In Store for Fox TV Execs Now That They’re Moving to Disney?

Insider info! We love it. Especially when we’re talking about what’s going on at what formerly were two true television behemoths. (But are soon to become one that’s even – erm – behemothier.)

Walden, Rice & Landegraf

by Michael Schneider

When the Walt Disney Company unveiled much of its new TV networks organizational structure Monday, it didn’t come with many surprises: As expected, Peter Rice will assume oversight as chairman of Walt Disney Television and co-chair of Disney Media Networks once the company closes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

Under Rice, as previously reported, Dana Walden has been named chairman of Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment, while John Landgraf will continue to oversee FX Networks and FX Productions as chairman. National Geographic Partners chairman Gary Knell, Disney Channels Worldwide president/COO Gary Marsh and ABC News president James Goldston will also answer to Rice.

With long-time 21st Century Fox execs taking over key Disney TV oversight, Burbank’s about to feel a lot more like Century City. And that’s clearly Disney CEO Bob Iger’s goal: “The strength of 21st Century Fox’s first-class management talent has always been a compelling part of this opportunity for us,” he said in a statement.

But Monday’s announcement still leaves plenty of burning questions when it comes to how things will eventually shake out once the deal is finalized and Rice, Walden, Landgraf, and Knell officially put on their Mouse ears. Here’s what to keep an eye on in the coming months:

What changes will Walden make to ABC Entertainment, and how does that impact Channing Dungey?

Walden will have oversight over several divisions, including studios, the Freeform network and the ABC-owned TV stations group. But ABC Entertainment will be by far the most high profile. Walden and Dungey worked together in the past, but with Walden as the seller (as head of 20th Century Fox TV) and Dungey as the buyer (ABC runs 20th shows including “Modern Family” and “Fresh Off the Boat”), in addition to being competitors. That’s made for an adversarial situation, but now they’re on the same team. What does Walden want out of Dungey? Or does she want her own person running ABC? The Alphabet network is off to a tepid fall, landing in fourth place among adults 18-49 during premiere week.

Will ABC Studios and 20th Century Fox TV be merged, and when?

For now, both studios will continue to operate separately under ABC Studios president Patrick Moran and 20th Century Fox TV presidents Jonathan Davis and Howard Kurtzman, with all three executives reporting to Walden. But in the long term, it doesn’t really make sense to keep two different infrastructures — the whole point of mergers like this one are the financial savings once operations are merged….

Read it all at Indiewire.Com

Broadcast TV Faces Another Fall Ratings Decline, But They’re Not Giving Up Yet

We’ll say one thing for the out-of-touch and even more out-of-tune executives of broadcast TV. At least they aren’t giving up.

Now if they could only translate their eagerness to please into something more tangible like, oh, how about some better goddamn WRITING!?

by Michael Schneider

The sky is falling for network TV. Then again, the sky has been falling for decades — and yet, the broadcast networks are still here, despite all the gloom-and-doom prognosticators. But the first night of the new fall TV season was met mostly by a yawn from viewers, and will feed another cycle of the-networks-are-dying narratives.

Of course, there’s some truth to that. Just five years ago, NBC led the first night of premiere week (Sept. 23, 2013) with a 4.6 rating among adults 18-49, while ABC was in fourth with a 2.3 rating. This year, NBC led all networks on Monday night — with a 2.1, while fourth-place ABC landed with just a 1.2.

But on the positive front, the four major networks’ total viewer averages combined to 32.3 million on Monday night, up from 31.2 million on the first night of premiere week a year ago. And NBC launched new drama “Manifest” to a solid — hell, for 2018, a tremendous — 2.2 rating and 10.4 million viewers, making it the network’s most-watched drama series premiere in three years. And as has been pointed out, the night’s lowest-rated program, CBS’ “Bull,” still rated higher in the adults 18-49 demo than anything on cable that night (save, of course, ESPN’s Monday Night Football, which trumped all).

Most of the networks’ year-to-year viewership gains on Monday came from Fox’s decision to air the return of two scripted series on night one, “The Resident” and “9-1-1,” instead of last year’s much lower-rated “So You Think You Can Dance” finale. That boosted Fox’s viewership by nearly 4 million viewers vs. the same night last year.

Otherwise, Monday was a story of declines. (Well, except for the networks’ median age — that keeps rising, to over 60 years old). Returning hits like “The Big Bang Theory” (down 39 percent), “The Good Doctor” (down 41 percent), “Young Sheldon” (down 55 percent), “Dancing with the Stars” (down 29 percent), “The Voice” (down 23 percent) and “Bull” (down 31 percent) all slid double-digits vs. last year’s premieres.

Cause for concern? Yes. The steady reality of a business that is already changing its business model? Also, yes….

Read it all at Indie Wire