HBO Asia Sets Slate of Original Shows – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


HBO Asia, the pan-regional unit of pay-TV giant HBO, has unveiled three new original shows that will go to air in 2018. It also announced continuations of its “Teenage Psychic” series, and further two instalments in its collection of Chinese-language martial arts TV movies.

The announcements were made on Thursday, at Singapore’s Fullerton Hotel, just across the bay from the ongoing Asia TV Forum and Singapore Media Festival events.

The new shows are “Folklore,” a 6-part horror anthology that takes place across multiple Asian territories; “Grisse,” an 8-hour drama series set in 18th century Dutch East Indies; and “Miss Sherlock,” 8-part Japanese-language drama series, made as a joint venture with Hulu Japan.

“Miss Sherlock,” now in post-production, stars Yuko Takeguchi in the title role and is a modern interpretation of the classic Sherlock Holmes tales, solving bizarre and extraordinary cases. Shihori Kanjiya plays Dr Wato Tachibana, a reinterpretation of Holmes sidekick, Doctor Watson.

The series will air from April 2018, simultaneously on Hulu in Japan, and HBO’s streaming platform, HBO GO, and HBO on Demand.

“HBO has based much of its success on original shows, so it is great that we are doing something in our little way in Asia,” said Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia.

The expanded slate are the first new products unveiled since the appointment of Jessica Kam as head of original production. A former film and TV producer, Kam joined HBO some eight months ago.

“Our strategy is to expand into new genres and new countries of production, we don’t believe just in having writers sitting in Singapore. Instead, we can become more local and more authentic,” said Kam.

“We believe that different genres are better told if different places. For example, horror is very well told in South East Asia, China is very good at martial arts, Taiwan specializes in coming-of-age stories. Japan is pretty good at most things, especially suspense.”

Showrunner on “Grisse” is Singapore- and Indonesia-based producer Mile Wiluan, who has previously been ionvolved in HBO Asia’s “Dead Mine” and “Serangoon Road.” “I’ve always admired the Western genre, especially Serio Leone, who changed around all the tropes and made it much more exciting,” said Wiluan.”Indonesia has such a rich history, including a colonial period, which has not fully been exploited on screen.”



Source link

Madison Avenue to Stick to TV’s A.M. News Shows Despite Unsavory Anchors – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


There’s less sunshine emanating from TV’s biggest morning programs, but Madison Avenue expects to continue to shower dollars on them.

Abrupt departures of two of TV’s most familiar news anchors from two of the medium’s biggest A.M. franchises have provided surreal moments at NBC’s “Today” and CBS’ “CBS This Morning.” Having Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announce Matt Lauer’s firing to the world due to allegations of harassment or watching Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King excoriate the behavior of their former colleague Charlie Rose isn’t what Madison Avenue hopes for when it dumps hundreds of millions of dollars on TV’s biggest sunrise franchises.

The networks have little choice but to act when substantial allegations surface, no matter how powerful or recognizable the person in the spotlight. Consider that in 2016, the first two hours of NBC’s “Today” took in nearly $508.8 million in ad revenue, according to Kantar. ABC’s “Good Morning America” secured approximately $401.9 million in the same year, while “CBS This Morning” captured a little more than $177 million.

Add the next two hours of “Today” to the mix, and the three morning franchises captured about $1.25 billion in 2016, according to Kantar.

“When situations like this come up a lot depends on how a show or network handles them. NBC seemed to act decisively and swiftly,” said David Campanelli, senior vice president and director of national TV at ad buyer Horizon Media. “There likely won’t be much advertiser backlash, assuming this is the end of the story.”

By terminating Rose and Lauer as the allegations swirl, the two networks no doubt hope to avoid the situation that confronted Fox News Channel earlier this year. Once a New York Times report revealed new allegations against anchor Bill O’Reilly, many of the show’s sponsors requested that their ads not appear in the program. In some of its last days, the anchor’s “O’Reilly Factor” ran with longer segments of content and just a handful of ads.

“Advertisers don’t need to feel like they are part of a program that is supporting, through some indirect way, that sort of behavior,” said one media buyer, referring to allegations leveled at Lauer and Rose.

Movie studios, makers of consumer products ranging from cold medicine to breakfast cereal, retailers, and automakers flock to the morning programs. They are typically guaranteed a live audience that isn’t skipping past the ads, said one media-buying executive, and the sunrise shows usually attract some of the younger audiences for news programming, which often lures an older crowd.

Despite the high profiles of Lauer and Rose, several ad buyers said they expected other anchors at NBC or CBS to step up and fill their seats. “These shows are franchises and based upon format and cast or family,” said one buying executive. “They all have enough of that left despite the departures of Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer to keep moving ahead.”

Advertisers have struck unique deals with each program. Toyota sponsors the “eye opener,” a 90-second video montage that has become one of the signature elements of “CBS This Morning.” A staff works overnight to cull the latest newsy moments as well as highlights from late-night monologues to help early-morning viewers get caught up on the news. At NBC, Citigroup has since 2015 sponsored a “concert series” that brings hot music acts to “Today,” some outside the show’s base at 30 Rockefeller Center in the summer. Some of those Citi-sponsored songs have been spotted on Megyn Kelly’s new “Today” hour at 9 a.m.

Madison Avenue will have to wait to see who joins the shows’ current lineups, which may provoke some hand wringing. But it can also create a new opportunity, said Ben Bogardus, an assistant professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University, who ran local news programming at several U.S. TV stations. “They are starting with a clean slate,” he said. “It’s a new beginning.”

The true test will be found in the ratings once anchor transtions are made. At present, ABC’s “Good Morning America” is the nation’s most-watched morning-news program, while NBC’s “Today” captures the most viewers between 25 and 54, the audience most coveted by sponsors for news programs. Each said can claim victory of a sort, but it’s NBC that can command the highest unit prices.

“GMA” lured an average of 4.33 million viewers last week, according to Nielsen, compared with 4.23 million for “Today and 3.69 million for “CBS This Morning.” Among the 25-to-54 demo, “Today” won an average of 1.46 million viewers, compared with nearly 1.36 million for “GMA” and a little more than 1.01 million for “CBS This Morning.”

Advetisers don’t think the daypart is flawed, said Ira Berger, who oversees media buying for Richards  Group, a Dallas ad agency. It’s the people who anchor the shows. “Personalites from all dayparts are being outed” in a new focus on sexual harassment, he said.



Source link

‘Today’ Removes Matt Lauer’s Photos Off All Social Channels Following Firing – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


NBC was quick to remove all photos of Matt Lauer off the “Today” show’s social channels following news that the longtime co-host has been fired amid a sexual harassment allegation.

As of Wednesday morning, “Today’s” website, Facebook page, and Twitter account have been scrubbed of Lauer’s name and picture.

Banners on Facebook and Twitter now adorn a collage of photos featuring prominent NBC fixtures Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Kathy Lee Gifford, Carson Daly, and Megyn Kelly, while Today.com’s header removed cutouts of co-hosts Guthrie and Lauer, leaving only a blurred shot of the studio.

Guthrie tearfully announced Lauer’s ouster live on air Wednesday morning.

“As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated, and we are still processing all of this. And I will tell you right now, we do not know more than what I just shared with you,” Guthrie told viewers.

In a memo to staffers, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said executives received a detailed complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Lauer that were a “clear violation” of company standards. “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” Lack wrote.

Lauer has been on “Today” for over two decades, working alongside anchors including Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry, and Guthrie.



Source link

Hugh Jackman and Willem Dafoe on Acting Alongside ‘Incredible Kids’ – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Hugh Jackman (“Logan”) and Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”) sat down for a chat for Variety’s Actors on Actors” presented by Google Home, which will air from Jan. 2 to Jan. 4 on PBS SoCal KOCE.

Hugh Jackman: We have something in common — incredible kids in our films. You have a number of incredible kids.

Willem Dafoe: And the girl in yours —

Jackman: Dafne Keen. Both her parents in the business. They are amazing. They’re theater folk, so there’s no sense of having an on-set kid with stage parents; they really understand the process. [James Mangold] came up with the idea of making a movie about family. That’s the thing that terrifies Logan the most — love and intimacy and the ramifications of what that is, the pain it can bring. So having this unwanted daughter … I said, “Jim, I love the idea of it. I don’t think we’re going to find someone. I think you’re backing yourself into a corner here, because you have to believe that this 11-year-old girl has the ferocity and DNA of violence within.”

Dafoe: And you found her. She’s scarier than you are!

Jackman: Unbelievable. The stillness, the ferocity — honestly when we did the [fights], I had bruises on my arm after the rehearsal. But she’s an amazing young girl, and her performance is astonishing to me. As when I watched yours: It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie with that sense of freedom amongst the kids, that sense of play. The range emotionally is incredible. How did [director] Sean [Baker] find them?

Dafoe: Sean is fantastic with making those kids feel comfortable. Brooklynn [Prince] in particular has real skills; she has really strong instincts. She’s smart; she’s clever; she can invent things. The other kids, it was very key for Sean to make them feel like they were playing, give them things that they like to do. He worked with nontraditional casting, there were a lot of people — the majority had never made a movie before. Which was fantastic for me, because it was like they didn’t have anything to compare it to, and they were all turned on. It was like the beauty of beginners, without any anxiety. And Sean set them up so beautifully that these kids played, so they were children and they were inventive like children are. They could be chaotic like children are.

Jackman: The cast was amazing.

Dafoe: It’s been a long run for this Wolverine character.

Jackman: Seventeen years. Crazy, right? I had no idea. I remember finishing the first movie, and a friend of mine, a player in Hollywood, he goes, “Dude, I’ve heard not very good things about the movie; you really should book something else before it comes out.” There was about a four-month gap. He goes, “Just make sure you’ve got something else because when it comes out, you’re back down at the bottom of the pile again.”

Dafoe: Is this guy still a friend?

Jackman: Still a friend. Happily, he was wrong. No one really knew. There was no comic-book genre; comic-book movies were really not around at the time. This was 2000.

Dafoe: That’s very close to “Spider-Man.”

Jackman: “Spider-Man” came out two years later.

Dafoe: One thing I remember, when “Spider-Man” was proposed to me, it was like, “Really, you’re gonna make a movie from a comic book?” It was like I was slumming it. I didn’t see it that way, but some people were like, “Really?”

Jackman: It was a great movie, “Spider-Man.” I think “X-Men” did a lot, particularly when it opened up in a concentration camp, and the idea that we were taking it seriously in terms of more humanistic rather than just superhuman. Then I think [Christopher] Nolan raised the bar … and made people see beyond genre. It’s not just a genre film. They’ve continued to really surprise and entertain and be very different. You have something like “Deadpool” last year, “Logan” … I think studios are taking risks and doing different things. I have no idea how long it will last. You’re about to do another one, right?

Dafoe: I did “Aquaman.” In Australia, by the way.

Jackman: We’ve got a lot of water down there.

Dafoe: It was James Wan, a very strong director, and great fun, because I still like to do all the action stuff.

Jackman: I do too. I see it as dance.

Dafoe: Me too.

Jackman: We’re doing a musical, man, come on. What do you think? You can play Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly.

Dafoe: I’m more Gene Kelly.

Jackman: OK, I’ll try and do Fred.

Dafoe: I could do Ginger too.



Source link

‘Big Bang Theory’ Leads Slow Monday – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


“The Big Bang Theory” was easily the top-rated and most-watched show on a steady Monday night, according to Nielsen data.

Airing at 8 p.m. on CBS, “Big Bang Theory” drew a 2.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 12.8 million total viewers, approximately even with its performance last week. The next highest-rated program of the night was “The Voice” on NBC, which drew a 2.2 and 9.9 million viewers, down slightly in the demo from its Monday airing last week.

Later on CBS, “9JKL” (1.4, 7.3 million) was up slightly in both measures. “Kevin Can Wait” (1.2, 6.3 million) saw a small lift in the demo, while “Me, Myself, and I” (0.9, 4.7 million) was up slightly in total viewers. “Scorpion” (0.8, 5.1 million) was even.

After “The Voice,” “The Brave” (1.0, 5.3 million) posted its most-watched episode since the series premiere.

On ABC, “Dancing with the Stars” (1.3, 9.3 million) was even, as was “The Good Doctor” (1.9, 10.7 million).

For Fox, “Lucifer” (0.8, 3.2 million) dipped in the demo, while “The Gifted” (1.0, 3.3 million) was even.

On The CW, “Supergirl” (0.5, 1.8 million) was even, as was “Valor” (0.2, 0.94 million).

NBC won the night in the demo with a 1.8 but was second in total viewers with 8.4 million. ABC was second in the demo with a 1.5 but first in total viewers with 9.8 million. CBS was third overall with a 1.3 and 6.9 million viewers. Fox was fourth  with a 0.9 and 3.2 million viewers. The CW averaged a 0.4 and 1.4 million viewers.



Source link

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

ESPN to Drop 150 Employees in Latest Round of Layoffs – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


ESPN to Drop 150 Employees in Latest Round of Layoffs – Variety



Source link

Rai Fiction Looks to Conquer International Audiences – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Italy’s leading broadcaster Rai, which invests nearly 200 million euros in roughly 400 hours of content every year, is aiming to become a key player on the international drama scene.

The Frank Spotnitz and Nicholas Meyer-created “Medici: Masters of Florence,” whose second season stars Daniel Sharman as young Lorenzo, known as the Magnificent, in 15th century Florence, underscores Rai’s ambition to push the Italian drama industry beyond local borders.

“As a public broadcaster we think that being an important player at a national level is not enough, Rai has decided to play a fundamental role in the development of Italy’s audiovisual industry overseas,” said Eleonora Andreatta, the head of Rai Fiction, who is attending this week’s Content London conference.

Producing “Medici: Masters of Florence,” a show about Italian history, in English presented a risk because it could have alienated local audiences; but it turned to be a big ratings hit for Rai. The series also traveled in all major markets. Medici: Masters of Florence. The Magnificent” is being sold by Jan Mojto’s Beta Film.

“TV series can build the imaginary identity of our country even better than films, and bring it to an international dimension,” said the exec, adding that the 24 million euros series “Medici” was mainly produced by Lux Vide and lensed with an Italian crew across 30 locations in Italy between Tuscany, Lazio and Lombardy.

Besides “Medici,” Rai has a flurry of internationally-driven drama series in the pipeline, notably “L’amica Geniale” (“My Brilliant friend”) an Italian language series commissioned by HBO and Rai which is being directed by Saverio Costanzo and started shooting in October.

Based on the first of the four bestselling “Neapolitan Novels” by Elena Ferrante, “Brilliant Friend,” is being directed by Italian auteur Saverio Costanzo. The entire neighbourhood of Gianturco, where Ferrante’s novel is set, has been meticulously rebuilt for the series, which is being produced for HBO and Rai by Fremantle Italy.

Andreatta has called Ferrante’s work “one of the most powerful and universal stories of female friendship,” and underlined that Rai feels “very strongly” that it “belongs to the realm of what European public service television should be doing.”

Also on Rai’s slate: Giacomo Battiato’s “The Name of the Rose” with John Turturro and Rupert Everett which will start shooting in January at Cinecittà, where a library and an abbey are being built for the series.

The ambitious “Name of the Rose” skein marks the first TV adaptation of Eco’s groundbreaking historical murder mystery which in 1986 was made into a movie by Jean-Jacques Annaud after selling millions of copies.

This eight-episode English-language show with a reported Euros 23 million ($27 million) budget is being sold internationally by Germany’s Tele München Group

Rolling off the crime series “Suburra,” a Netflix original which Rai co-produced, the broadcaster is also co-producing Davide Marengo’s fantasy romance “Mermaids” and “The Hunter,” an organized crime series set in Sicily in the 1990’s. Both are Italian-language series set in Italy which have the potential to lure younger audiences and the international market thanks to their visual language, writing and acting, said Andreatta.

“Mermaids” is a contemporary show in that it addresses gender, diversity and feminism; while “The Hunter” tells a true story about a young and ambitious prosecutor who brought down more than 300 Mafiosi, according to Andreatta.

The daring “Mermaids,” in which four sirens surface in the port of contemporary Naples seeking a mythological male sea creature who has disappeared, debuted in October on Rai’s flagship Rai 1 channel where the show has been scoring solid double digit ratings in prime time. The show, which is Italy’s first fantasy skein, is being co-produced by Rai with Cross Productions and Germany’s Beta Film, which is selling internationally.

“The Hunter,” which is about Italy’s real Mafia wars of the 1990’s and the battle between Cosa Nostra and the Italian state, debuted on Rai 2 in October. This innovative mob show, in which crimes are reconstructed through the eyes of a Palermo prosecutor who thanks to brilliant hunches, spectacular raids and front-page arrests, manages to put hundreds of Mafiosi behind bars, has the same trio of companies co-producing as “Sirens” and is also being sold internationally by Beta.

The exec pointed out that the arrival of streaming services which deliver content for global audiences has pushed “Rai, like all other European public service broadcasters, to rethink its role and its identity — one that’s defined by Italian creativity, Italian culture, history and tradition.”

“Medici,” for instance, speaks about the Renaissance which Andreatta defines as the “DNA of the West, the social and cultural revolution that belongs to all of us, to Italian and the Western world.”



Source link

Singapore Video Platform Viddsee Makes Original Production Move – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Singapore-based video platform Viddsee has hired local filmmaker Kenny Tan (“Terrorville”) to head its original content venture Viddsee Studios. The company is also partnering with the Info-communications Media Development Authority to create local content.

The IMDA deal was unveiled on Wednesday, the first day of the Asia TV Forum, by Chee Hong Tat, senior minister of state for communications & information & health. He said the first five series would be based on Viddsee’s most popular content categories: short film anthologies, documentary, romantic drama, thriller and family drama. The five series will be distributed on Viddsee’s platform from 2018.

“This will empower them to create even more impactful stories that will resonate with audiences. We look forward to a strong line-up of local content for Singapore viewers through this partnership,” Dorothy Lai, director, public service media & assessment, IMDA.

“Viddsee has generated 1 billion views globally by utilizing data and insights to grow its viewership and to optimize content discovery,” said Chee.

“As we move from curation to creation, for both our company and community of content creators there will be greater collaboration and opportunity for content creators to tell more stories,” said Viddsee co-founder and CEO Ho Jia Jian.

Tan served as a senior producer at Mediacorp Studios, focusing on developing transmedia online content.



Source link

‘Sexy Durga’ Release Certification Rescinded by Indian Censors – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


The on-off saga of releasing “Sexy Durga” in India has come to a sorry conclusion, for now. The film did not play at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, despite a court order requiring that it should be. Instead, it must now be re-certified by India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s film won the Hivos Tiger award at Rotterdam earlier this year and played at the Singapore International Film Festival last week. But it is proving too controversial to play in its country of origin.

Along with “Nude,” the film was dropped from the Goa festival line-up on technical grounds. The head of the Panorama section’s selection committee and two others resigned, while several other jury members signed a letter of protest.

Sasidharan moved the Kerala High Court, who ordered the festival to screen the film. The version to be screened was a censored version certified by the CBFC where the title was changed to ‘S Durga’ (Durga is the name of an Indian goddess and a popular female name) to avoid offending Hindu religious sentiments. Swear words were also muted. India’s information and broadcasting ministry appealed against the court decision, but it was quashed.

The Panorama selectors, with three new members replacing the ones who resigned, viewed the film again on Nov. 27, the penultimate day of IFFI, and put it to a vote. The jury voted 7-4 in favor of screening the film.

On Nov. 28, the last day of IFFI, the CBFC issued a letter to the film’s producer Shaji Mathew stating: “We have received complaints from the IFFI (selectors) at Goa that the title of the film on the title card is shown by the film maker as “S### Durga” (where the # means rectangular white boxes) which has totally different implications and are effectively undermining and attempting to defeat the very basis of the title registration and changes effected thereby.”

The CBFC said that the filmmakers are in violation of the Cinematograph Act and the film will be re-examined. Until then, the film cannot be exhibited. IFFI concluded without screening the film. The CBFC letter provided an excuse to the festival and the ministry who would have been in contempt of court if they had not screened the film.

The censored “S Durga” played at the Mumbai Film Festival and at a commercial screening in Thiruvananthapuram without a hitch. It will now have to go through another battle before the rest of India can watch it.



Source link