Monday 21st July 2014

YOU REALLY CAN BUY LOVE

Sky have announced today that they have acquired a majority stake in the UK’s Love Productions.  This is the (now former) indie that is behind such popular factual titles as The Great British Bake-Off and Great British Sewing Bee, as well as documentaries including the controversial Benefits Street.

Looking at the company’s contribution to viewing over the last few years, you can see what has attracted Sky.  In 2012, Love Productions provided programming that accounted for 1.27% of BBC2’s peaktime (1800-2230) output, but delivered 2.94% of its viewer hours (duration x audience 000s).  In 2013, this picture was even brighter, with 2.67% of peaktime output, but 5.76% of viewing. 

The Great British Bake-Off is back on our screens soon, and no doubt it will once again cook up some big ratings for the BBC.  What will be their recipe for success with Sky?

Thursday 17th July 2014

SUPER NANNIES?

ITV aired a documentary about the college that turns out some of the most highly sought after nannies, who gain employment with the super-rich – and even with royalty.  Britain’s Poshest Nannies, a Mentorn production, focused on some of the second year students at the exclusive Norlands College, who look like they have been caught in a time-warp, with their uniforms, gloves, and hair neatly in buns. However, the £14,000-per-annum course in childcare now also features more modern skills, like advanced driving, how to escape the paparazzi, and self-defence.

This insight into a world that few can afford to enter attracted an audience of 1.8m (9%) to ITV at 9pm, with a further 224,600 (1.3%) watching an hour later on ITV+1.

US SCREENWATCH WK 10TH-16TH JULY 2014

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Under The Dome (CBS) Up to a 1.9 in A18-49

24:Live Another Day (FOX) Season finale gets a 1.7 in A18-49

Unforgettable (CBS) Up two tenths in A18-49

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MasterChef (FOX) Down two tenths in A18-49

The Bachelorette (ABC) Down to a 1.7 in A18-49

Whose Line is it Anyway? (The CW) Falls to a 0.5 in A18-49

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On 13th July at 10pm, FX premiered their new drama The Strain. The thriller tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, head of a specialist team at the Center for Disease Control in New York. He and his team investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. The new show got off to a strong start for the network with 3m viewers tuning in. Compared to the channel’s other recent premieres, such as Tyrant (which started with 2.1m viewers, 12% higher in total viewers than Fargo’s premiere on April 15th), it’s an impressive beginning for the new show.

On 16th July at 9pm, USA Network launched their new drama, Rush. The show follows Dr. William Rush who is not your average on-call doctor. He’s not attached to any hospital, he’s highly discreet no matter what the ailment as long as the client can pay cash and the doctor parties with the best of them. He has no desire to change his life until an old flame and his conscience begin to start questioning things.

On 16th July at 11pm, MTV premiered their new show Virgin Territory. The docu-series follows multiple participants, who rotate in and out, as they carry out interviews with self-confessed virgins, to see who plans on keeping their virginity and who will lose it.  The show also features discussion of the issue featuring experts and other third-party source.

On 17th July, FX begin their new comedy, You’re the Worst, at 10pm. The show, from Weeds writer and producer Stephen Falk, centers around two people who have failed in past relationships, are both slightly obnoxious, buy may be perfect for each other.  Produced by FX Productions, the show has a 10-episode pickup.

On the 20th July at 10pm, Lifetime will be premiering their new show The Lottery. The drama is set in a world in which women have stopped having children and the human race is heading towards extinction. However, 100 embryos are successfully fertilized and a national lottery is held to pick the surrogates.

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Below is a quick roundup of some of the new comedies currently in development:

Comedy Central has Another Period, a spoof reality show set in 1902. It follows the misadventures of Newport’s first family, the Bellacourts, a family with heaps of money but not too much else to offer the world. The oldest Bellacourt sisters, Lillian and Beatrice, care only about how they look, what parties they are invited to and becoming famous – which is considerably harder in an era that had no internet. The show is produced by Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films.

Amazon is developing Cosmopolitan, about a group of young American expatriates in Paris who have a difficult time dealing with their loneliness as they search for love and friendship in a foreign city.

USA Network has a new comedy about two best friends in New York who are frustrated comedians but who hate everyone except each other, titled Difficult People. The show stars Billy Eichner and Julia Klausner.

BET have a new comedy in development called Twenties. The show focuses on the experiences of a group of twentysomething black women trying to find their voice and place in society. The new series is produced by Flavor Unit Entertainment.

Tuesday 15TH July 2014

CHANGING THE WORLD…

BBC  Three aired an unusual musical drama last night, based on the true story of a group of schoolgirls who challenged the government over the way failed asylum seekers were being targeted in dawn raids.

The girls were alerted to the problem when their friend faced deportation, so they began a petition to save her. These seven inspirational teenagers petitioned, protested and lobbied to have the policy changed, bringing their community together and achieving more than they had hoped for.

The story was turned into a musical play by David Greig, and produced by the National Theatre of Scotland.  Their production has been turned into a television production by Minnow Films.  The first transmission, at 10pm on BBC3, was watched by 622,200 viewers (3.9%).  A second chance to view, at 00.30am, drew a further 154.4k/5.1%.

Monday 14th July 2014

THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS?

Channel 4 have begun a new fixed-rig observational documentary series, from TwoFour, that has used “unprecedented access” to give an insight into the workings of the Royal Marine Commando training camp.

The programme is not just about the arduous physical training: it is also about the personalities of the trainees and their instructors, and how they cope with everything that is thrown at them.  There is the expected terrifying drill instructor, who goes by the fabulous name of Corporal “Froggy” Chauffour, but the insight offered into this training of the hardest of hard men is compelling.  The first episode, at 9pm on C4, lined up an above-benchmark 2.1m audience (9.7%), and a further 313,500 (1.9%) an hour later on C4+1.

Thursday 10th July 2014

AGE CANNOT WITHER …

With an ageing population, there is a growing number of pensioners out there seeking to fill their leisure time.  Channel 5 – via production company  Barcroft Media – managed to find three who are living it large in Tenerife.  In the warmer climate of the Canary Islands, the winter fuel allowance can go towards the party lifestyle in the bars and clubs, allowing the titular bad behaviour.

The subject matter clearly struck some kind of chord as, with an excellent overall audience of 1.9m (9.7%), the proportion of viewers over the age of 55 was considerably higher than the Channel  5 slot would normally attract: 20.2% of the audience  were in the age bracket 55-64 (slot average - 17.1%), and 32.6% were aged 65 or over (slot average – 26.5%).

US Screenwatch Week 3rd - 9th July 2014

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MasterChef (FOX) A season high in A18-49

Extreme Weight Loss (ABC) Up 11% in A18-49

American Ninja (NBC) Up 6% in A18-49

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Under The Dome (CBS) A series low of 1.7 in A18-49

Wipeout (ABC) Down 17% in A18-49

The Night Shift (NBC) Down 7% in A18-49

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On Tuesday 8th July, MTV had the premiere of their new scripted drama, Finding Carter. The series centers around a young girl who has a perfect life with her single mother, Lori, until a police bust at a party reveals that Lori had abducted her as a child. Now, Carter must return to her biological family and navigate through her new life whilst vowing to be reunited with Lori.

On Wednesday, 9th July at 9pm, CBS launched their new limited series, Extant. The much hyped show, which boasts Steven Spielberg as an executive producer, stars Oscar winner Halle Berry as an astronaut who returns from more than a year on a solo space mission and tries to reconnect with her family.

Also on Wednesday, 9th of July at 9pm, Discovery premiered their new sports docu-series American Muscle. The show features high profile athletes who work with Mike Barwis, one of the best strength training coaches, as he tries to get them in the best shape of their lives. The first season sees him train current and former NFL players, Olympic athletes, Wild West bull riders and even paraplegics who hope to walk again.

Another premiere on Wednesday, 9th is Reelz Channel’s new reality show, Mansion Hunters at 10pm. The show follows Paul Kim, who helps Hollywood celebrities, production companies and fashion photographers when they need exclusive access to a luxurious mansion for work or play.

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On August 1st, Animal Planet will be premiering their new reality show Redwood Kings.  The show centers around twin brothers Ron and John Daniels as they reveal the artistry that goes into turning ancient, reclaimed redwood trees into creative works of art. Each episode they create carvings of things like animated characters, movie and theme-park facades and treehouses.

On August 10th, Weather Channel will be premiering their new reality show Fat Guys in the Woods. The series follows survival expert Creek Stewart as he takes three couch potatoes and puts them in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee for one week, with barely any camping tools and in intense weather conditions.

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Some new comedies in development at the broadcast networks:

ABC has Manhattan Love Story, a show that illustrates the differences between men and women through the unfiltered thoughts and contradictory actions of a couple who have just begun dating. The series is produced by ABC Studios and Brillstein Entertainment Partners Television.

ABC also has, All Growed Up. This show centers on a 36-year-old woman/child who finally begins to grow up when she moves in with two 21-year-old girls.

CBS has a Warner Bros production in the works, The Mistake. The show is about a couple who had just “finished” raising their kids when they discover they are pregnant again.

FOX is developing Cabot College. Produced by Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment, the series takes place at a former all-girls college that has just opened its doors to men for the first time.

Tuesday 8th July 2014

HOME DISADVANTAGE

Last night saw extraordinary events on the pitch at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, as host team Brazil took on the Germans.  Brazil were missing two of their key stars, Neymar, out with injury, and captain Thiago Silva, following his booking in the match against Colombia.  However, it would probably have taken more than these two to stop the rampant German team, who notched up an astonishing five goals in the first half.  They toned it down in the second half, adding just two more goals, while Brazil at least scored once before the final whistle.

This first semi-final action was covered on BBC1 from 8.30pm, and averaged 11.5m (51%).  This compared well with coverage of the 2010’s first semi-final between Uruguay and the Netherlands, which drew 8.9m/29.3% to ITV.  The peak audience watching Germany progress to the final was 13.9m (59.5%).

Monday 7th July 2014

Waltzing Matilda…

Last night BBC1 launched a new travelogue featuring the popular comedian, John Bishop, as he recreates a journey he made in 1992, cycling from Sydney to Cairns.  Interest comes from the spectacular landscape, the people (and animals) he meets en route, as well as an unexpectedly educational visit to a koala hospital.

The first programme in what promises to be an engaging series, at 9pm on BBC1, made a strong start with a slot-winning audience of 4.2m (19.7%).

Week 30th June - 6th July 2014

SERVED UP?

The British tennis-viewing audience, recovering from Andy Murray’ exit from this year’s Wimbledon tournament, plonked itself on the sofa for what promised to be an excellent final between two of the older contestants – Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. 

After  a disappointing ladies’ final on Saturday, with Petra Kvitova’s flawless performance against Eugenue Bouchard, the men’s final looked like a much tastier treat, and it didn’t disappoint.  It looked like Djokovic was going to win in four sets, but Roger Federer managed a straight run of five games to level the score at two sets all, and take it into a fifth set for the first time since 2009.

The thrilling sport on display at Wimbledon receives great coverage from the BBC, and between 1.50pm and 6.45pm, an average of 5.9m (38.6%) watched.  The 5-minute peak audience was 10m (55.4%) at 6pm.  The one-minute peak was even higher, at 10.3m (55.9%).   However, this could not quite compare with the figures for last year’s match, when Andy Murray achieved his momentous win: that averaged 10.3m (67.9%), and peaked at a staggering 17.7m (81.5%).

Over the course of the two weeks of this year’s Wimbledon tournament, a huge total of 35.1m people - just under 60% of the UK’s TV-viewing population - watched at least 3 minutes of BBC1 or BBC2 coverage of Wimbledon. Everyone at the BBC will no doubt be hoping for another Murray final next year!