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Many spring upfront presentations took place in April and May where networks provided a peek into their summer line-ups. There are lots of new shows on the horizon and other exciting network news. Here, we highlight the cable entertainment and programming updates of the past month that includes anything from insider information on TV ratings to show-runner updates. Also, for previews of new cable seasons and sneak peeks for shows, don’t forget to check out NCTA’s TV Trailer Page.
HOLLYWOOD’S BEST PRODUCING NEW SHOWS FOR CABLE
Showtime Network & TNT
Legendary directors Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay are two of Hollywood’s most desired A-listers, and lucky for us, they are again coming to a TV near you. Steven Spielberg’s latest project is transitioning the award-winning Halo gaming franchise into a live-action TV series, together with Xbox Studios, that has found a home at Showtime network. Michael Bay is producing The Last Ship, a new series about a crew on a naval destroyer in a post-global catastrophe world where they are some of the only survivors. The Last Ship will begin in June on TNT and has all the elements of a big Hollywood blockbuster, including the hotshot producer. Check out The Last Ship trailer.
DISCOVERY TRIES SOMETHING NEW WITH NEW FORM
Discovery Communications has launched New Form, a joint venture with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, the producing team being 24 and Arrested Development. New Form, led by former YouTube creative Kathleen Grace, will be a digital studio producing online scripted and unscripted content for the cable network’s digital platforms. New Form will be separate from Discovery’s already robust online presence like Animal Planet Live, Sci2, and the Discovery Digital Networks division, and will target a younger audience with very short episodic video series similar to Funny or Die. New Form is yet another example of cable’s response to the changing needs of its consumers, may of whom watch TV online.
WORKPLACE COMEDIES FIND HOME ON CABLE
TBS & HBO
TBS has recently green lit a multi-camera workplace comedy called Buzzy’s by the Emmy-winning creators of Will & Grace. Buzzy’s will feature an ensemble cast of old high school acquaintances somehow all working together in local Charleston, Massachusetts’s barbershop. Featuring a different workplace, HBO picked up 18 episodes of Vice Principals, starring creator and lead of the network’s recently ended Eastbound & Down, Danny McBride. The comedy will center around – you guessed it – a high school and the administration team that runs it, the vice principals.
ADULT SWIM IS SWIMMING WITH THE BIG FISH
Last month, Adult Swim ranked as the number one cable network for “total day delivery” for almost all age segments including: adults 18-24, 18-34, and 18-49 and men 18-24, 18-34, and 18-49. During this same time period, the season four premiere of The Boondocks marked the network’s highest-rated most-watched primetime telecast in five years. At their upfront meeting, Adult Swim released more revealing numbers. The composition of its audience is now surprisingly 43 percent female. In addition, they touted that on average a staggering 94 percent of its viewing is done live.
THE WATER IS GETTING CROWDED
Discovery Channel’s long-standing, almost 30-year run of its summer event, Shark Week is going to face some competition this summer. SyFy recently announced Sharknado Week, airing just a few weeks before Shark Week. Last summer, the made-for-television film Sharknado first aired on SyFy, went abuzz on Twitter, and upon additional re-airings of the film, became the most watched original film encore in SyFy history. And as fans are abuzz again as we approach this summer’s premiere of Sharknado 2, Sharknado Week was born. Special programming during SyFy’s week includes Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark, Sharkmania: The Top 15 Biggest Baddest Bloodiest Bites and Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda. These seem to contrast Discovery’s documentary and educational pieces. But either way, Discovery vs. SyFy: it’s officially Shark Wars 2014 this summer.