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Adweek : Television


Will Millennials Care About The CW's 'Archie' Spinoff?

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:25:48 +0000

As they try to break through the Peak TV glut and grab viewers, broadcast networks have been relying heavily on new shows based on popular intellectual property (IP), like Lethal Weapon, MacGyver and the upcoming Training Day and Taken. But The CW's new drama Riverdale—based on the Archie Comics characters—offers the season's most intriguing test as to whether IP can truly help launch a show, even if its intended audience will likely have very little knowledge of the source material. Riverdale, which premieres Jan. 26, finds Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead entangled in racy storylines miles from the world of the squeaky-clean comics book, which launched in the '40s. The premiere episode alone features a murder, a hush-hush student/teacher affair and dark secrets galore. "It's an interesting conundrum: the IP builds awareness, but if you're then changing too much of the DNA, are you risking pushing the audience away?" said executive producer Greg Berlanti, who was intrigued by the opportunity to mine the originality of the characters, which had made the Archie comics so successful. "What was interesting to us was how much can we bring it into a new generation." While The CW's marketing campaigns for its other series based on comic books characters, including Berlanti's shows Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, relied heavily on consumers' awareness of those characters, its Riverdale campaign doesn't reference Archie at all, aside from a few subtle Easter eggs. "We assumed that everyone we're reaching doesn't know who Archie is," said Rick Haskins, evp, marketing and digital programs. "Thank goodness we have the experience of [former CW hit] Gossip Girl; we know how to do these sexy, gossipy, pop-y things. That's really the playbook we're pulling from: more Gossip Girl than DC Comics." To that end, as he looked to reach women 18-34, Haskins created five major spots, all featuring popular music. The campaign includes buys on (the popular music video social network for tweens and teens), and for the first time ever for a CW show, VOD, to target the millennial audience on their preferred viewing platforms. Despite the marketing campaign's millennial focus, The CW president Mark Pedowitz argued that the Archie brand does have some value to viewers. "The importance of the IP was it gives you a hook and something to tag it with; it started a dialogue that Archie was coming back," said Pedowitz, adding that The CW's audience isn't as young as one would guess: its linear median age is around 43 (though its digital median age is 20 years younger than that). He expects at least some old-school Archie fans will be intrigued enough to give Riverdale a try. "If those people tune in and don't like it, at least they checked it out," said Pedowitz. "And if they tune in and like it, it gives this a different flavor." And given that Archie Comics has been given an edgy revamp in recent years, "the current readership will connect what they're reading to the show," said executive producer Sarah Schechter. Buyers, meanwhile, are less interested in the value of Riverdale's IP than its potential to reach millennial woman (in the vein of Dawson's Creek and Gossip Girl, which defined The CW and its predecessor, The WB), given that the other programs targeting that demo, like Pretty Little Liars, are ending their runs, causing some of those viewers to seek out programming on other platforms. "Much of what they are offering on those other platforms isn't ad-supported, so this is a good contender in that space to speak to people," said Jill Isherwood, vp, associate director of broadcast research at GSD&M. Ultimately, however, neither the network nor the show's producers are certain whether their Riverdale gamble will pay off. Said Berlanti, "We'll never really know if there's an audience base until we air it."[...]

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How Joanna Coles Sent E!’s Cosmo Reality Series Into a ‘Tailspin’ on the First Day of Filming

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:04:32 +0000

Joanna Coles hoped that her E! reality series about Cosmopolitan magazine, So Cosmo, would have enough on-screen drama to carry through an eight-episode debut season. But she didn't know that she would be the one providing the show—which looks at the lives of the editors behind the fashion magazine—with its most jaw-dropping twist. Last September, on the first day of filming, Coles announced that she was stepping down as Cosmopolitan editor in chief to become chief content office of Hearst Magazines. ("I'm still trying to figure out what the hell it means," she said of her new title.) When they were setting up So Comso, which premieres Feb. 8, "I didn't know that I was going to be promoted within the ranks of Hearst," Coles said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif.  Coles' news, which came on the first day of an eight-week shoot, "really sent everybody into quite a tailspin," said Rob Bagshaw, the show's executive producer. "We follow that story through." And Coles will still be "omnipresent" on the series. Coles, a two-time Adweek Editor of the Year, called the show "an office family drama," with a bit of a twist: "Because we constantly feature models, male models and female models, there's a lot of semi-nudity." Asked about the early So Cosmo footage, which features plenty of editors who are partying and socializing, Coles explained, "We need the alcohol to get through!" She said that the editors have similar lifestyles to Cosmo readers themselves. Beyond that, "the drinks are literally a coping mechanism, because it's so busy and the industry is so disruptive." As the season progresses, however, viewers see the magazine editors actually doing their jobs. "You will start to see how every cast member touches every page of the magazine," said Leah Wyar, executive beauty director, Cosmopolitan. On the series, "my real concern was [that] what I wanted was for people to be shown fairly. I didn't want it to fall into the clichéd tropes of our business, because that's not how it works," said Coles. And because the show was shot last fall, all of the magazine issues being prepared during filming will have been published by the time the So Cosmo episodes air. "In theory, if we do it right, you should be able to see everything we've been working on in print," said Coles. The eight episodes were edited together from eight weeks of filming. "We film almost 24/7," said Bagshaw. "Even Joanna's life is not amazing 24 hours a day." Quipped Coles, "Actually, it is!" Was there anything that Coles, who is also an executive producer, decreed was off-limits to include in the show? "My sex life," she said. Bagshaw added that there were only "very few times" he was not allowed to film. With So Cosmo, "I'm thrilled to have another window through which to see the Cosmo woman's issues," said Coles, who is happy that the show will be broadcast to E!'s global audience. "We didn't know that when we signed up." Coles hopes the show will provide a boost to Cosmopolitan's 65 international editions: "We're planning on full world domination, if Vladimir Putin will help us." Coles reflected on her four years as Cosmopolitan's editor in chief, and how she broadened the magazine's subject matter, "so it went beyond the bedroom and into the boardroom." Now, "Cosmo has become a much more contemporary magazine … it's a very modern voice." While many So Cosmo viewers' public perception of a fashion magazine editor in chief is likely to be The Devil Wears Prada's ice queen Miranda Priestly, Coles said the show had a different inspiration: "Our role model more would be Ab Fab," she said, referring to the BBC comedy sta[...]

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Gus Fring Was Behind That Clever Los Pollos Hermanos Ad for Better Call Saul

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 15:15:29 +0000

When AMC's Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul returns for Season 3 on April 10, the show will feature another familiar face from Breaking Bad: ruthless drug lord Gus Fring, played by Giancarlo Esposito. AMC teased Esposito's appearance last week by releasing a clever ad for Los Pollos Hermanos—the fictional fast-food fried chicken chain that Fring operates as a drug front—featuring Fring himself, which caused Breaking Bad fans to lose their minds. Esposito confirmed his return at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., when he appeared in character as Fring during AMC's panel for Better Call Saul, and handed out boxes of Los Pollos Hermanos chicken to reporters. The actor told Adweek that he came up with the idea for last week's pitch-perfect Los Pollos Hermanos spot himself. It's been gestating for years, Esposito said, since he first appeared on Breaking Bad in 2009. "I always say it was divinely guided, because it came out of a meditation. I always knew from the time I first started working at Pollos Hermanos that there might be some juice in doing something that was centered in the restaurant, that was commercial-like," said Esposito. "But when I thought of it earlier on, with Breaking Bad, it just didn't fit" with that show's dramatic tone. The idea resurfaced again as he began filming Better Call Saul. "It came back to me two or three weeks ago, and I thought, this is the perfect way to tease a Gus Fring return. Because this show has some comedy in it. It's a little funnier than Breaking Bad was," said Esposito. But still, the actor hesitated to share his vision with the show's co-creators Vince Gilligan (who also created Breaking Bad) and Peter Gould. "We're dealing with Sony [which produces Saul] and Vince Gilligan, who's a genius, and AMC, and I thought, 'Will they ever accept that idea? And then I thought, it doesn't matter whether they do or not, it came to you; put it out there!' So I did, and I even guided them as to what it might look like." Gilligan and Gould were on board. "We loved it, and fortunately, AMC decided to make it," said Gould. "We just sat back and enjoyed it." Added Gilligan, "I thought that was brilliant. … I love this thing." After getting the green light, "The writers took it and ran with it, and they said yes and made it. For me, it was a dream come true, because it allowed me to exercise a different part of my creativity," said Esposito. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="367" src="" width="652"> The spot did actually run on late-night TV in Albuquerque, N.M., where Better Call Saul (and Breaking Bad before it) is set and filmed. "Can you imagine being up at 2 a.m. and that thing comes on?" said Bob Odenkirk, who stars as Jimmy McGill, the man who will eventually become Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad. "That was the point: Did I just see that, or did I dream it?" said Gilligan. Esposito himself stayed up to watch the spot when it aired, as he hadn't seen it in advance. However, it was harder to track the ad down than he had expected. "I'm up and I realized there are like five local Albuquerque channels, and I'm scrolling through all of them, trying to find the commercial," Esposito said. Since the spot went viral last week, Esposito said his manager has been fielding phone calls "from Burger King and other people, wanting to know if I would advertise their product as Gus." Gus Again When Gus Fring appears on Better Call Saul this season, he won't be exactly like the character audiences remember from Breaking Bad. "We are at a time where he's a little more immature than where we left off. So I'm reminding myself that he's still finding his way as the businessman that he is … and where [...]

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Why Moving Full Frontal to Wednesdays Allows Samantha Bee to Better Cover Trump

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 23:36:08 +0000

Something was different about Full Frontal with Samantha Bee's return to TBS last week, after its holiday hiatus. The program aired on Wednesday, its new weekly time slot, instead of Monday. What prompted to move to Wednesdays this year? "Kidney failure," executive producer Jo Miller said at the Television Critics Assocation's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif. Producing a show to air every Monday was overwhelming, but shifting the show to Wednesday helped alleviate that problem. "We wanted to move to Wednesday for a very, very long time," said Bee, Adweek's TV Creator of the Year. "It was just a better place for us to be," and allows her and her staff to have a better work-life balance. "We love it so much. It's a better schedule for us." Miller noted that because Full Frontal didn't air until Wednesday, it allowed them to incorporate "pissgate"—i.e., BuzzFeed's Tuesday night report that Donald Trump had allegedly paid Russian prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed—into Wednesday's episode. Added Bee, "it was a golden shower of opportunity." Bee was asked how she manages to maintain her level of outrage on each episode of Full Frontal. "I'm very glad I only have to do it once a week," she said. "It's a very cleansing and cathartic experience for me" and allows her to live her "normal" life outside the show for the rest of the week. That's yet another reason why, as Bee told Adweek last spring, she has no interest in during Full Frontal more than once a week. Plus, dealing with Trump is hard enough with a once-a-week show, given how he resets the news cycle several times a day. "It's a trying experience to wake up and have a fresh new world presented to you every day," said Bee. Bee said the vitriol she and her staff receive from Trump supporters as a result of Full Frontal "doesn't weigh us down," but noted, "we're thinking more carefully about our presence in the world." Quipped Miller, "No one has sent us fake anthrax yet, so I feel like we haven't arrived." Miller dismissed a reporter's observation that a Trump presidency will be a comedic goldmine for Full Frontal. "It's not fun," she said of writing jokes about Trump. "We had a blast covering Ted Cruz. That was fun." Bee and Miller downplayed the effect that shows like Full Frontal and their previous home, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, had in keeping cable news honest and taking them to task for erroneous/ridiculous on-air moments. "Tucker Carlson just got Megyn [Kelly's 9 p.m.] spot, so you can see how much people like Jon and us have impacted things," said Miller. [...]

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Without Game of Thrones, HBO Will Rely on The Young Pope and Murderous Moms

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 20:46:11 +0000

Every spring since 2011, HBO has been able to rely on the new season of Game of Thrones and the audience surge that show provides. Last year, Season 6 helped the series become the network's most-watched series ever, with an average of 25 million viewers on all platforms. But the streak ends this spring, as the production rigors of Season 7 have required HBO to delay the show's return until summer. Instead, HBO is hoping to fill the dragon-sized gap in its spring schedule with programming from a slew of A-listers, including Reese Witherspoon, Robert De Niro, Jude Law and music industry icons Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Actors and producers from those shows met with reporters today at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif. Up first is the limited series The Young Pope, starring Law as the first American Pope—and yes, the youngest one—in history. The show, which premieres Jan. 15 is "more than a meme on Twitter," said HBO miniseries and Cinemax programming president Kary Antholis, referring to social media's recent obsession with the title. Law said that until he began doing press for The Young Pope a week ago, he was "completely unaware of what a meme was." Now that he has seen a sampling of the Young Pope memes, "I love them. They're very funny, very imaginative." The actor isn't worried that the humor will detract from the program and its message. "I hope not. I hope this will provoke and prompt interest and intrigue." The actor said that like much of the internet, he also can't believe he's playing the pope. "If you'd asked me two years ago, I would have laughed at the idea," he said, but was keen to work with the project's director, Paolo Sorrentino. A month later, on Feb. 19, HBO will air Big Little Lies, a limited drama series starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley based on Liane Moriarty's bestseller about three well-to-do first grade moms and a mysterious murder. Witherspoon and Kidman are also executive producers on the show, one of 2017's best new programs. "What was great about reading the novel, I saw myself at different stages of motherhood all through my life," said Witherspoon, who had kids at 22, 27 and 37.  "It was such a unique opportunity to have women of every age, every color, talking about motherhood. Parenthood is the great equalizer." Added Kidman, "It's very, very rare to find five roles [for women] that we'd all jump at the chance to play." In May, the network will air The Wizard of Lies, a movie based on Diana B. Henriques' 2011 bestseller about Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme. De Niro plays Madoff, with Michelle Pfeiffer costarring as his wife, Ruth. "What he did is beyond my comprehension. There's a disconnect somehow in him. … I still don't understand," said De Niro, noting that Madoff engaged in a "classic con situation" by making people feel that it was an honor for them to give Madoff their money. Executive producer Jane Rosenthal said that no movie studio was interested in making this film, other than independent ones. "Ultimately you'd have a much smaller audience, seeing it as a theatrical," than the one HBO will provide, she said. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="367" src="" width="652"> New comedy Crashing, premiering Feb. 19, stars Pete Holmes as a struggle stand-up comedian trying to make it. In April, the network will air The Defiant Ones, a four-part documentary from Allen Hughes about Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre and how they transformed the music business. "The day I met Dre and saw and heard what he does, he couldn't shake me with a stick," said Iovine, who talked about how much the industry has changed since [...]

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Fox’s New 24: Legacy Hero Is on the Run in the World Trade Center Oculus

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:12:10 +0000


24: Legacy's World Trade Center installation features the franchise's new hero, played by Corey Hawkins.Fox

Fox's upcoming 24 reboot, 24: Legacy, doesn't take place in New York, but the series' new star, Corey Hawkins, is setting up residency in 100 yards of digital screens—19 digital screens in all—in the new World Trade Center Oculus. It's part of Fox's massive campaign for the upcoming series, which launches on Monday.

Last September, NBC was the first entertainment company to advertise in the space, with a GIF installation for its sophomore sitcom Superstore.

The display is part of Fox's robust campaign for 24: Legacy, which will debut after Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5. It introduces audiences to the show's new lead, Hawkins, who plays character Eric Carter. In the premiere episode, Carter receives a phone call that sets the plot in motion.

"We start to see him in action, and it's literally the moment that he picks up that call and what happens after. So there's momentum to it, there is the physicality of it," said Angela Courtin, Fox Broadcasting evp and CMO.


The World Trade Center campaign echoes a similar installation in Terminal 8 of New York's JFK airport, which was activated on Dec. 27. While the JFK installation includes audio of 24's famous ticking clock, the World Trade Center transportation hub doesn't have audio capability.

"So we tried to use all of the screens to create a holistic view of Eric, in key art as well as motion video. It's just larger than life," said Courtin. "The way we've created the video feels like there is a countdown. And that's why video in out-of-home is so incredible: You can create energy and emotion through something that has no audio."

The installation shows that 24: Legacy "is our biggest priority and we want to put it in the biggest environments possible. And we wanted to take advantage of where technology was taking us. The World Trade Center, as an environment for digital out-of-home, is the perfect place to be in terms of launching this," said Courtin.

The 24: Legacy activation will run through Feb. 12.


Why CBS Is Airing Its First Saturday Drama Series in 13 Years

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 13:21:21 +0000

For decades, Saturday was an essential component of each broadcast network's prime-time schedule, but in recent years the networks have thrown in the towel on the night, which has the week's lowest HUT (homes using television) levels. That includes CBS, which for years has programmed two hours of drama repeats—called Crimetime Saturday—and newsmagazine 48 Hours to fill the evening. But this winter, CBS is doing something it hasn't attempted in 13 years: airing an original drama, Ransom, on Saturdays. The series, about a crisis and hostage negotiator who tackles kidnappings and ransom cases, is a Canada-France co-production, from independent studio eOne, and cost CBS a fraction of what the network usually spends on its dramas. "We're always looking for opportunities to improve the numbers on the schedule," said CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller. "Crimetime does just fine, but we had a unique opportunity with Ransom, because it was an international production, and we said, let's see what we can do on Saturday nights." Traditionally, "The night is the last priority for most networks as you're setting your schedule," said Kelly Kahl, senior evp of CBS Primetime. While CBS has used Saturdays to burn off remaining episodes of canceled shows like Made in Jersey and Three Rivers, the network hasn't scheduled dramas on Saturday since the 2003-04 season, when Hack (starring David Morse and Andre Braugher) and The District (with Craig T. Nelson) aired on the night. More recently, CBS tried airing a comedy on Saturday, programming the David Spade sitcom Rules of Engagement there in 2011. But the network abandoned the experiment after just a few weeks, shifting Rules to Thursday to replace the DOA sitcom How to Be a Gentleman (which was burned off on, yes, Saturdays). Because CBS audiences responded to freshman fall series Bull, Kevin Can Wait, Man With a Plan and The Great Indoors, "we're sitting pretty good the other nights of the week," said Kahl. "Every night of the week counts, and as you look at your weekly numbers, an hour on Saturday counts exactly the same as an hour on Monday. So we saw an opportunity there for us." CBS gave Ransom a Sunday launch on Jan. 1, where it drew 6.7 million viewers, and a 0.8 rating in the adults 18-49 demo. Last week, in its first regular airing on Saturday at 8 p.m. (opposite an NFL wildcard game on NBC), it was watched by 3.3 million viewers, and earned a 0.4 rating. The demo rating was equal to the Criminal Minds repeat that aired after it, though that program didn't get as many total viewers (2.95 million). "It did as well as, or a little better than, some of the repeats we had on Saturday," said Kahl. "And that was against football, so once we get out of the football business and we can let this thing run for a few weeks in a row, I'm confident we can put some solid numbers up." Best case scenario: If Ransom gets some ratings traction on Saturdays, Kahl could consider using Saturdays as a more regular part of the schedule next season. "I think that's a bigger discussion, obviously, but if there are any positive signs, we would love to tackle Saturday," he said. [...]

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FX Hit Shows American Crime Story and Atlanta Won’t Return Until 2018

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 20:14:27 +0000

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said today that "2016 was the best year in our 22-year history." But two of the biggest reasons for FX's commercial and critical success last year, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and breakout comedy Atlanta, won't return to the network's schedule until 2018. Landgraf made the announcement during the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif. The next installment of Ryan Murphy's American Crime Story anthology series, which will focus on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, took longer to develop and therefore won't be ready to air until 2018, two years after The People v. O.J. Simpson debuted. "We just have really high ambitions for this franchise," Landgraf said. "It's just taken time to get material that we're happy with." Also, the production will shoot in New Orleans, and certain times of the year are off-limits for filming because of, yes, hurricane season. But when American Crime Story does return, it will make up for the long hiatus with two separate installments that will air within "six to seven months" of one another, according to Landgraf. The third season will focus on the 1997 murder of Gianni Versace. Atlanta fans will also have a year-plus wait for Season 2. FX agreed to delay production so creator-star-everything Donald Glover could play Lando Calrassian in the upcoming Star Wars movie coming out in 2018 and focused on a young Han Solo. At the same time, FX Productions has signed Glover to an overall production deal, under which he'll develop TV series for FX and other networks and continue with Atlanta. Atlanta was basic cable's most-watched new comedy in three years in the 18-49 demo and FX's highest-rated comedy ever with 4.8 million viewers across all platforms. "We look at it on a show-by-show basis and try to be as accommodating to the talent as we can," said Eric Schrier, president, original programming, of allowing such long hiatuses. Added Landgraf, "Do you want it now, or do you want it good? … We'll take it later, and we'll take it good." Nick Grad, who serves with Schrier as president of original programming, noted that because FX isn't beholden to a set schedule like broadcast networks are, it had the flexibility to accommodate Murphy and Glover. Even without those shows in 2017, FX will have plenty to fill the gap, including two of 2017's most eagerly awaited (and, judging by their initial episodes, best) shows: Feud: Betty and Joan (premiering March 5) and Legion (premiering Feb. 8). There will also be a third season of Fargo, which Landgraf said should be ready by late April. The Americans, Adweek's best show of 2016, returns for Season 5 on March 7. Feud: Bette and Joan is Murphy's third anthology series for FX and will look at epic battles, starting with the making of the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and the legendary behind-the-scenes clashes between Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon). Legion, from Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley, is set in the X-Men Universe and based on the Marvel Comic about David Haller (Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens), who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child but realizes he might have special abilities. Archer is also returning this spring but will move from FX to FXX for Season 8—it debuts on April 5—and helps Landgraf's continued efforts to shore up FXX's identity. "We're really happy with FXX," he said, admitting that when he was first asked to take over what used to be the Fox Soccer Network, he thought the request was akin to "a suicide mission." But he embraced it as a way to expand the FX brand, and "it has exceeded all [...]

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The Week's 10 Most Digitally Engaging Ads

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 18:49:18 +0000

Electronic communication is the name of the game in the latest weekly chart of the most digitally engaging commercials, according to TV ad-attention analytics company Five of the top 10 ads are smartphone-related, with each company taking a different approach to showcasing its products. Apple claims two spots, including first place with an ad that shows off the photography capabilities of the iPhone 7. T-Mobile has a squirm-inducing spot at No. 4 that touts the end of surprise fees and taxes with a plan that includes everything (in the ad, parents find the hidden "fees" in their children's hair—playing off the idea of fleas or lice). AT&T cleverly shows off its streaming capabilities with a man on the go who is continually immersed in the different worlds of popular TV shows. And Verizon's eighth place commercial lets customers know that even though the holidays are over, there's still time to get good deals on phones and plans. Once again, humor helps commercials jump into the chart: Geico's second-place ad features a man run amuck with a razor in a barber shop. The brand also takes No. 6 with a playful spot where a sumo wrestler impresses the judges with his figure skating routine.  Top 10 Ads by Digital Share of Voice powered by 1. Apple iPhone 7 Plus TV Spot, "Take Mine" Song by Bezos' Hawaiian Orchestra 34.18 percent digital SOV;  2,114,869 online views; 48,408 social actions allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute;top:0;right:0;left:0;bottom:0;width:100%;height:100%;"> 2. Geico TV Spot, "Tiki's Barber Shop: It's Not Surprising" Featuring Tiki Barber 26.80 percent digital SOV; 3,857,561 online views; 9,563 social actions allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute;top:0;right:0;left:0;bottom:0;width:100%;height:100%;"> 3. Amazon Prime TV Spot, "Old Friends" Song by Ludovico Einaudi 7.12 percent digital SOV; 33,322 online views; 15,276 social actions allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute;top:0;right:0;left:0;bottom:0;width:100%;height:100%;"> 4. T-Mobile One TV Spot, "Daughter" 5.12 percent digital SOV; 7,097 online views; 11,061 social actions allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute;top:0;right:0;left:0;bottom:0;width:100%;height:100%;"> 5. Madden NFL 17 TV Spot, "Karaoke" Featuring Antonio Brown 3.65 percent digital SOV; 52,091 online views; 7,366 social actions allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute;top:0;right:0;left:0;bottom:0;width:100%;height:100%;"> 6. Geico TV Spot, "Sumo Wrestler Figure Skating" 1.31 percent digital SOV; 37,187 online views; 2,013 social actions allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute;top:0;right:0;left:0;bottom:0;width:100%;height:100%;"> 7. AT&T TV Spot, "Everywhere" 1.28 percent digital SOV; 62,119 online views; 1,842 social actions allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute;top:0;right:0;left:0;bottom:0;width:100%;height:100%;"> 8. Verizon TV Spot, "Get Verizon's Best Smartphones for $10 Per Month" 1.17 percent digital SOV; 58,943 online views; 1,829 social actions allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="" style="position:absolute;top:0;right:0;left:0;bottom:0;width:100%;height:100%;"> 9. Apple iPhone 7 TV Spot, &q[...]

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As a Producer, Bryan Cranston Knew the Best Way to Save His Pilot Sneaky Pete Was to Act in It Himself

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 13:32:27 +0000

When his iconic TV series Breaking Bad went off the air in 2013, Bryan Cranston wasn't looking to dive back into another series role. But in May 2015, when CBS passed on Sneaky Pete, the drama pilot he had co-created, co-written and executive produced, Cranston knew there was one surefire way to help the show find a second life: hire himself as an actor on the show. His instinct paid off: Amazon (and its viewers) loved the retooled pilot—significantly improved by the addition of a riveting scene with Cranston in the closing moments—and gave the show a series order. The full season, one of this year's most anticipated shows, debuts on the streaming service Friday, with Cranston appearing in all 10 episodes (he also directs an episode). Sneaky Pete stars Giovanni Ribisi as Marius, a con man who has just been released after three years in prison, where his cell mate, Pete, talked incessantly about his idyllic childhood. On the run from Cranston's Vince, Marius decides to assume Pete's identity and hide out with his family (including Margo Martindale as his grandmother), who run a struggling bail bonds business, and haven't seen Pete in 20 years. The tension escalates after Vince tracks down Marius, and threatens to remove one of his brother's fingers each week until Marius repays his debt. Cranston told Adweek that Sneaky Pete refers to his family nickname growing up. "I was raised in a lower income household, with a fractured family: I didn't have a father in my life when I was 11 to when I was an adult, and my mother become an alcoholic," he said. "What happens is you start to self-parent, and you're making mistake after mistake and just weaving your way through, looking for shortcuts," Cranston said. "So my family was even calling me Sneaky Pete: a guy who was looking for shortcuts. A guy who was circumventing responsibility and striving for mediocrity. That's fine when you're in that condition, but at some point, something has to break." It did for Cranston in his early 20s, when he embarked on a two-year motorcycle trip and realized he wanted to be an actor. When he accepted his fourth and final acting Emmy for Breaking Bad in 2014, Cranston dedicated his award to "all the Sneaky Petes out there." The day after the Emmys, Cranston received a congratulatory phone call from Sony Pictures Television co-president Zack Van Amburg: "He says, 'I think there's a series there: Sneaky Pete.' I said, 'What's the series?" And he goes, 'I don't know! But I do know this'—and he left me with this little nugget—'What happens if you didn't mature and change when you were 20 years old? What happens if you're 37 and you continued that path, what would you be?' And I thought, 'Hmm, that is interesting. You'd probably be a criminal.'" Cranston worked with House creator David Shore to flesh out the idea for a show, and sold the pilot to CBS, which envisioned it as a skip-tracer procedural. When that network passed on the pilot in May 2015, Sony desperately searched for a new home, and found a potential buyer in Amazon. However, the streaming service wanted a serialized drama, not a procedural. When CBS owned the rights to the pilot, there had been no discussions about Cranston appearing in the show. But Cranston knew that hiring himself as an actor might help entice Amazon—and the Amazon consumers who would be voting on whether the pilot should get a full season—to pick up the project. "If I'm honest, there's some of that," Cranston said. "We were on the brink of having this go down the drain, and nobody wanted that to happen." Amazon gave him money to shoot addit[...]

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