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Key Points in Media Worth Noting in the First Half of January

With midseason officially here, the following is a timeline of notable events during the first 15 days in January. Listed in order of date (and incorporating network, digital, cable and syndication), included are new program announcements, series renewals, rating highlights, scheduling announcements, awards show winners, historical highlights, industry provider updates, celebrity news, executive news, casting announcements – any and all media-themed related items. Keeping you in the know!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019
ABC opened the New Year, once again, as the top-rated broadcast network for New Year’s Eve. But before anyone at the alphabet net pops open the bottle of bubbly, the three-hour telecast of annual “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (on December 31st) dipped year to year by 19% in total viewers (11.21 to 9.1 million) and 30% in adults 18-49 (3.7 to 2.6 rating), according to Nielsen.

Wednesday, January 2
Original movie “Bird Box” set records for Netflix in its first week, with over 45 million accounts streaming the Sandra Bullock thriller within the first seven days according to the digital giant. Of course, that figure is ambiguous because we don’t know how many viewers that actually translate to. Netflix also said that someone watching at least 70 percent of a movie counted as a “view” (but it gave no other specifics).

Competition series “The Masked Singer” on Fox opened with 9.4 million viewers and a 3.0 rating in adults 18-49 in the Wednesday 9 p.m. ET hour (based on the Live+Same day data from Nielsen). Excluding post-NFL, this was the highest rated unscripted debut on any network in seven years (since “The X Factor” launch in September 2011).

The latest reboot: Travel Channel has ordered a new version of “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” this time hosted by actor Bruce Campbell (“Evil Dead,” “Burn Notice”), with 10 all-new, one-hour episodes to begin next summer.

Daryl Dragon, one half of the 1970s musical duo The Captain & Tennille, died of renal failure in Prescott, Arizona. He was 76.

Thursday, January 3
NBC has put in development a proposed new comedy from Universal TV and K&L Productions called “Secret Society” from “Barry” producer Emily Heller and “Girlboss” creator Kay Cannon and Kay McKinnon. Written by Heller, “Secret Society” centers on Beth, a struggling reporter who is tired of feeling invisible in her small town and recruits other women to help take over a dying branch of an all-male secret society.

Friday, January 4
The CW has given a pilot order to “Batwoman,” starring Ruby Rose (“Orange is the New Black”), who first appeared as the character in the network’s three-way DC crossover event last month. The potential series comes from executive producer Greg Berlanti, and David Nutter (“Game of Thrones”), who previously helmed pilots for The CW’s “The Flash” and “Arrow,” will serve in the same capacity on Batwoman.

Veteran CBS daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful” hit the 8,000-episode mark. It premiered on March 23, 1987.

Sunday, January 6
“The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards”: And the Winners Were…“Green Book” won three trophies at the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture and Best Supporting Actor in a Musical or Comedy. The Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” was the other big winner, with awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor. The biggest upset was Glenn Close winning for Best Actress in a Drama in “The Wife” over favorite Lady Gaga for “A Star is Born.” Tops in television was the final season of “The Americans” on FX, Netflix sitcom “The Kaminisky Method” and FX miniseries “The Assassination of Gianna Versace: American Crime Story.”

“The Golden Globes” averaged 18.6 million viewers and a 5.2 rating in adults 18-49, making it the most-watched primetime telecast, excluding news and sports, in 10 months, (since “The Academy Awards” on ABC, 26.6 million on March 4).

Monday, January 7

History has announced that its scripted drama “Vikings” will conclude after the upcoming 20-episode sixth season. But the cable net is in talks with MGM and creator Michael Hirst about a new series that could continue the story. “Vikings” will conclude its current fifth season on January 30th.

Discovery has pulled the plug on six-episode limited series “Border Live” midway through its run. Hosted in a New York studio by Bill Weir, the show featured live reports from the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as stories from investigative journalist Lilla Luciano from the field. The now final episode, which attracted just 430,000 viewers, aired on December 19.

David Rhodes announced his is stepping down from his role as CBS News President. He will remain through March 1, when he will become a senior advisor to CBS Corp. Rhodes will be replaced senior executive producer Susan Zirinsky.

Tuesday, January 8
Al Roker will be moving back to the 9 a.m. time slot, nearly three months after NBC canceled “Megyn Kelly Today.” He will be joined MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin, NBC News meteorologist Dylan Dreyer and NBC News correspondent Sheinelle Jones. Roker used to host the third hour with Tamron Hall before Kelly joined NBC. Kelly, of course, was ousted from the time slot after her controversial comments defending blackface in Halloween costumes during a panel on her show last fall.

Netflix has greenlit “Love, Death & Robots,” an animated anthology series presented by Tim Miller (“Deadpool”) and David Fincher (“Gone Girl,” “House of Cards”). The series is a collection of animated short stories that span the science fiction, fantasy, horror and comedy genres, and draw their inspiration from the eclectic and provocative genre material that influenced both Miller’s and Fincher’s formative interests in storytelling. Eighteen stories in total will be told.

Nielsen has reached an agreement with Google that will allow Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings to report OTT audiences and expand the measurement of mobile audience, including YouTube’s. Google had been relying on its own measurements to sell YouTube.

Offline location intelligence and consumer insights company Cuebiq announced the launch of its TV attribution solution, offering a cross-channel view of how the media mix, including both linear and advanced television, impacts the customer journey to brick-and-mortar locations. Cuebiq’s TV attribution offering integrates opt-in TV viewing data from multiple partners into its AI-driven location intelligence platform, Clara.

Nielsen released United States viewership data for the Sandra Bullock thriller “Bird Box” for Netflix. On its premiere date of Friday, Dec. 21, “Bird Box” averaged 2.92 million viewers (based on per-minute data) and reached 3.49 million unique viewers (unduplicated audience). Its premiere reach tallied well behind Will Smith’s “Bright” Netflix premiere from Dec. 22, 2017 (5.35 million). However, “Bird Box” would exceed “Bright” in the comparable days that followed. By the final Sunday of the calendar year (ten days of Netflix release), “Bird Box” reached 36.65 million unduplicated viewers, versus the 23.48 million for “Bright”.

Wednesday, January 9
Commercial cutbacks continue at NBCUniversal. After selling ad schedules that cut commercial inventory in original primetime programming by 10 percent for the current TV season, the media firm is targeting a reduction in video ad load and ad clutter by more than 20 percent in primetime. NBCU also indicated that it will look to cut commercial inventory in other parts of its schedule, like daytime.

“Paradise Hotel,” which aired on Fox for one season in 2003 (and four years later on MyNetwork TV and former Fox Reality Channel) and is described as “Big Brother” in a tropical setting, is being revived by the network. In these series a group of singles check into a tropical resort but must fight to stay. Viewers also can play along by using social media to helping to decide who goes. The new version will be executive produced by SallyAnn Salsano (“Jersey Shore”), Becca Walker (“Love Island”), and Celia Taylor (“50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy”).

Thursday, January 10
“The Sopranos” turns 20: The HBO mob drama, which was the first regularly scheduled series on cable to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, debuted in 1999.

No Hosts for “The Oscars”: After scrambling to find a replacement for actor and comedian Kevin Hart, the “91st Annual Academy Awards” on ABC in March will not feature a host for the first time since 1989. Hart stepped down as host of the upcoming Feb. 24 live telecast after being criticized from past tweets and jokes homophobic in nature. The broadcast will also fill the void left by Hart with skits while relying heavily on music.

Disney Channel has ordered a second season of animated series “Star Wars Resistance” for a fall 2019 premiere. The series follows Kazuda Xiono (“Kaz”), a young pilot recruited by the Resistance for a top-secret mission to spy on the growing threat of the First Order. Season one continues this Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.

Friday, January 11
CBS and Nielsen have come to terms on a new contract to use the media-measurement company’s services to count CBS audiences, ending a pricing showdown that had been in effect since the start of the year. The contract between the companies had expired December 31, leaving CBS without Nielsen viewer data used to set advertising rates. The new agreement means CBS Television Network, CBS Television Distribution, Showtime Networks, Smithsonian, Pop, CBS Sports Network and CBS’ 27 owned-and-operated local television stations will continue to use Nielsen’s services.

CBS has issued renewed crime solver “Criminal Minds” for a final 10-episode 15th season in 2019-20. Comparably, that will make “Criminal Minds” the sixth longest one-hour scripted drama historically (tied with “CSI” and “ER” and behind “Gunsmoke” and “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “NCIS,” and “Grey Anatomy”). The current season finale of “Criminal Minds” airs on February 6th.

Netflix has ordered eight episodes of “Shadow and Bone,” which is based on Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling “Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows” Grishaverse fantasy novels. The series will unite the two overlapping book series, and it will follow the heroine of “Shadow and Bone,” a young soldier named Alina. When Alina discovers a hidden power that propels her straight into the Grisha, the elite world of those who practice magic, her whole world is turned upside down. As she learns to control her abilities, she’ll also have to navigate through a brewing war to save the once-great nation of Ravka.

TBS will remake German comedy “Arthur’s Law,” which is the first original comedy from Turner’s German network TNT Comedy. Known in German as “Arthurs Gesetz,” the series follows unemployed Arthur Ahnepol, played by Jan Josef Liefers, who ekes out a bleak existence. Drawn from the strains of his unhappy marriage and bored to death, he makes a morbid plan: he wants his obnoxious wife to die. With the money from the life insurance there’s no obstacle for a restart with his beloved mistress. But an unwritten law dominates the life of the unlucky fellow: every problem solved by Arthur has a far worse effect. And so, he sets off an avalanche of disastrous events.

HBO has put in development “Counterfeit,” a half-hour comedy from husband-and-wife writing duo Andrew Gettens and Lauren Mackenzie (“Hit & Run”) and Jessica Rhoades’ (“Sharp Objects”) Pacesetter Productions. Written by Gettens and Mackenzie, “Counterfeit” enters on a couple, desperate to have a child, who learn there’s no way for them to conceive the old-fashioned way. And with no resources (and a loudly ticking biological clock) they start counterfeiting money to pay for IVF.

The CW in midseason will feature new drama “Into The Dark,” the returns of “Jane the Virgin,” “The 100” and “iZombie;” and new time periods for “D.C.’s Legends of Tomorrow” and “Arrow.

The final season of “Jane the Virgin” begins Wednesday, March 27 at 9 p.m. ET in place of “All American,” which will have concluded its freshman season one week earlier. “Into the Dark,” which follows a blind woman (Perry Mattfeld), who witnesses a murder, opens on Thursday, April 4 at 9 p.m. “iZombie” returns for its fifth — and final — season on Thursday at 8 p.m. “The 100” will launch season six on Tuesday, April 30 at 9 p.m. ET. And “D.C.’s Legends of Tomorrow” and “Arrow” will inherit the Monday 8-10 p.m. block beginning on April 15.

Oscar winner Al Pacino will headline upcoming Amazon drama “The Hunt,” which is described as a vengeance-driven Nazi hunting series executive produced by Oscar-winning “Get Out” writer-director Jordan Peele. “The Hunt” follows a diverse band of Nazi Hunters living in 1977 New York City. The Hunters, as they’re known, have discovered that hundreds of high ranking Nazi officials are living among us and conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the U.S. The eclectic team of Hunters will set out on a bloody quest to bring the Nazis to justice and thwart their new genocidal plans.

Sunday, January 13
The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) announced the winners of the 24th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, live from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. In the film categories, “Roma” took home four awards, the most of the night, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography for Alfonso Cuarón, and Best Foreign Language Film. “Black Panther” and “Vice” followed close behind, each winning in three categories.

The top film acting awards resulted in a tie for Best Actress between Glenn Close for “The Wife” and Lady Gaga for “A Star Is Born,” while Best Actor was bestowed upon Christian Bale in “Vice.” Best Supporting Actor went to Mahershala Ali for “Green Book” and Regina King took home the Best Supporting Actress award for her work in “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

In television, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” took home three awards, including Best Comedy Series for the second consecutive year. Its leading lady, Rachel Brosnahan, was also a repeat winner for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series went to Alex Borstein. “The Americans” earned three trophies as well including Best Drama Series, Best Actor in A Drama Series for Matthew Rhys, and Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Noah Emmerich. Sandra Oh received Best Actress in a Drama Series honors for “Killing Eve,” with Best Actor in a Comedy Series going to Bill Hader for “Barry.”

Monday, January 14
The eighth — and final season — of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” will begin on Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET. Six final episodes will conclude the series.

Circle of Confusion Television Studios, a joint venture between Circle of Confusion and ITV Studios America, will co-develop, as lead studio, “Thirteen” – a one-hour drama with Amazon Studios, based on the graphic novel “Six,” published by Image Comics. “Thirteen” is a sci-fi thriller about a cold-blooded alien agent who comes to Earth to track down and bring back twelve alien defectors. As a result of her actions, she starts to experience the same thing that infected the others – human emotion. Feeling joy, anger, love and hate for the first time in her life, she decides to stay on Earth to find the truth the twelve were seeking, before her own emotional awakening transforms and ultimately destroys her.

Tuesday, January 15
Carol Channing, the legendary Broadway actress who portrayed Dolly Levi in “Hello, Dolly!” died in her home in Racho Mirage, California, her publicist said in a statement. She would have turned 98 on January 31.

CBS All Access, which opens season two of “Star Trek: Discovery” this Thursday, has a spin-off series in the works starring Michelle Yeoh. Yeoh plays Federation Captain Philippa Georgiou on the series. The proposed series will be co-produced by Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt and will focus on Capt. Georgiou’s work with Starfleet’s secretive Section 31 (long part of the Star Trek canon since it was first introduced on “Deep Space Nine” in the 1990s).

Perennial summer competition “So You Think You Can Dance” has been greenlit by Fox for a 16th season. From Industrial Media’s 19 Entertainment and dick clark productions, it will return this summer.

HGTV has picked up six half-hour episodes of “Unspouse My House” with designer and self-proclaimed breakup expert Orlando Soria. Known for his celebrity clients and his passionate fan base on Instagram, Orlando works with newly single clients to overhaul their homes and heal their lonely hearts with laughter, support and beautiful design. The series is slated to premiere in late 2019.