Showtime Legal Drama ‘Your Honor’ Due on DVD June 15

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment will release the Showtime legal drama Your Honor on DVD June 15.

The 10-part limited series stars Bryan Cranston as respected New Orleans Judge Michael Desiato. After his teenage son, Adam (Hunter Doohan), is involved in a hit-and-run accident, the judge must tread carefully through a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices. Unbeknownst to Adam, the victim is the son of dangerous crime boss Jimmy Baxter (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his wife, Gina (Hope Davis), who are both out for vengeance and will not stop until justice is served on their own terms.

The cast also includes Carmen Ejogo, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Sofia Black-D’Elia, Maura Tierney, Amy Landecker, Margo Martindale, Lorraine Toussaint, Chet Hanks, Lamar Johnson and Lilli Kay.

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Meghan Markle, Prince Harry TV Interview Draws Big Ratings, But There Have Been Bigger

NEWS ANALYSIS — In today’s fractured media landscape, generating more than a pulse among viewers is considered a win for programmers. Oprah Winfrey’s highly-publicized two-hour sit-down CBS interview with Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle,  Duchess of Sussex, featuring allegations of racism and suicidal thoughts during the couple’s brief existence within the British Royal Family, drew an impressive 17.1 million average viewers, according to the network.

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The March 8 airing in the U.K. on ITV drew 11.1 million average viewers, peaking at more than 12.3 million. Another 2.2 million people streamed the Q&A. Media reports say online sales of the outdoor furniture Harry, Meghan and Oprah sat on sold out online. Heady stuff even in today’s influencer-dominated social media world.

But then CBS rookie cop TV series reboot “The Equalizer,” starring Queen Latifah, scored 11.1 million viewers through March 8. In fact, CBS’s venerable news magazine “60 Minutes” has scored some big celebrity interviews in recent years.

Porn star Stormy Daniels’ 2018 interview about her affair with married Donald Trump before he became president generated 22.1 million viewers. The show’s 2020 interview with Trump attracted 17.4 million viewers, despite being leaked online ahead of time by the president.

The show’s biggest Q&A: The Jan. 26, 1992, sit-down with presidential candidate Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, which attracted 34 million viewers in the pre-Internet days.  CBS’s biggest-ever ratings — 45 million viewers — was for the 1977 David Frost interview with former President Nixon, who had resigned years earlier to avoid being impeached for the Watergate scandal.

When it comes to all-time Q&A ratings winners: The  March 3, 1999, “20/20” interview on ABC with Monica Lewinsky drew 48.5 million viewers. But Oprah Winfrey’s Feb. 10, 1993, talk with Michael Jackson topped all with a massive 62.3 million viewers.

 

‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Season 1 on Disc May 18

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment May 18 will release Star Trek: Lower Decks — Season One on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, as well as a limited-edition Blu-ray Steelbook.

The animated comedy series, which debuted on CBS All Access last year and will continue on Paramount+, chronicles the adventures of the U.S.S. Cerritos in the year 2380, with a focus on the crew members who usually do the dirty work.

Created by two-time Emmy Award winner Mike McMahan (“Rick and Morty,” “Solar  Opposites”), “Lower Decks” features the voices of Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Samanthan Rutherford, Noël Wells as Ensign D’Vana Tendi, Dawnn Lewis as Capt. Carol Freeman, Jerry O’Connell as Cmdr. Jack Random, Fred Tatasciore as Lt. Shaxs, and Gillian Vigman as Dr. T’Ana.

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The Blu-ray and DVD offer all 10 half-hour episodes, plus nearly two hours of exclusive special features, including:

  • “Faces of the Fleet” featurette, a deep dive into the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos , alongside producers, writers and the cast of “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” highlighting character backstories and their behind-the-scenes development;
  • “Hiding in Plain Sight” featurette, a look at canon and hidden Easter eggs throughout the series, including freeze frame images and insightful commentary from producers, creatives and cast;
  • Trailer for Crisis Point: The Rise of Vindicta, the holodeck movie from the episode “Crisis Point”;
  • A Full-Length Animatic;
  • Deleted and extended animatics;
  • “Lower Decktionary,” a series of featurettes covering each episode, such as:

○ “Joining Starfleet” (episode 1) — Producers and crew discuss the development of season one from storyline to visual artistry;
○ “Aliens Among Us” (episode 2) — Dives into the different aliens encountered on the journey to the Tulgana 4 planet;
○ “The Animation Process” (episode 3) — A look at the efficiency and creativity needed to put together an episode of “Lower Decks”;
○ “The Main Titles” (episode 4) — A look at the graphic design and thematic music developed for the show through the lens of creating title sequence;
○ “Art Design” (episode 5) — A look at characters’ style and the sets that elevate the animated on-screen adventures of the U.S.S. Cerritos;
○ “The Holodeck” (episode 6) — The cast and creative team discuss uses for the holodeck, which can simulate nearly any environment or situation;
○ “Division 14” (episode 7) — A look at the Starfleet branch tasked with dealing with the unexpected mishaps that plague starship crews.
○ “Deck Dynamics” (episode 8) — A dive into how the relationship between the upper and lower decks an their comedic interactions contribute to the storyline  throughout season one;
○ “The Music of Lower Decks” (episode 9) — An exploration about how traditional themes have been integrated into the show and the episode’s in-story “Crisis Point” movie;
○ “All in the Family” (episode 10) —  A look at evolution of the crew and their relationships over the show’s first year, and how “Lower Decks” fits into the “Star Trek” family as a few legacy characters appear.

 

‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ season one Steelbook

CW’s ‘Superman & Lois’ Top Anticipated New Show on February TV Time Chart

The CW’s “Superman & Lois” was the top anticipated new show, and the CBC’s “Workin’ Moms” the top anticipated returning show, on the TV Time Charts for February.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

“Superman & Lois,” debuting on the CW Feb. 23, follows the famous superhero and journalist, who after years of facing supervillains, monsters, and aliens, try to deal with the stress and complexities that come with raising two boys as working parents.

Season five of the comedy “Workin’ Moms” debuts Feb. 16 on Canada’s CBC.

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Netflix took two of the top five spots on the new show chart. At No. 4 was “Firefly Lane,” debuting Feb. 3. It follows Tully and Kate, who meet as young girls on Firefly Lane and become inseparable friends throughout 30 years of ups and downs. At No. 5 was “Tribes of Europa,” hitting screens Feb. 19. Set in 2070, it follows three siblings trying to change the fate of Europe after a global catastrophe fractures it into countless micro-states fighting for dominance.

Among other streamers, Apple TV+’s “For All Mankind” came in at No. 3 and Amazon’s “The Family Man” at No. 4 on the returning shows chart. Both debut their sophomore seasons in February. The alt-history series “For All Mankind” moves to 1983 in the midst of the Cold War, where tensions between the U.S. and the USSR are at their peak. “The Family Man” is an Indian spy series.

 

Most Anticipated New Shows for February:

  1. “Superman & Lois” (CW) — Feb. 23
  2. “Clarice” (CBS) — Feb. 11
  3. “The Equalizer” (CBS) — Feb. 7
  4. “Firefly Lane” (Netflix) — Feb. 3
  5. “Tribes of Europa” (Netflix) — Feb. 19

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for February:

  1. “Workin’ Moms” (CBC) — Feb. 16
  2. “Black Lightning” (CW) — Feb. 8
  3. “For All Mankind” (Apple TV+) — Feb. 19
  4. “The Family Man” (Amazon Prime Video) — Feb. 12
  5. “Harrow” (ABC) — Feb. 7

CBS Unveils New Brand Identity Across All Divisions and Platforms

With ViacomCBS readying the reboot of SVOD platform CBS All Access to Paramount+ in 2021, CBS Oct. 8 unveiled a new brand identity aimed at simplifying the look and feel of all its divisions across platforms.

In an announcement by chief marketing officer Mike Benson, the updated brand identity for entertainment programming debuted on the CBS Network this week in advance of the upcoming fall TV show season. Viewers can expect to see it rolled out across CBS News leading up to the 2020 election and for CBS Sports for Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021.

Similar iterations are being developed for CBS Television Stations and CBS Television Distribution. For example, CBS Television Studios has been renamed CBS Studios.

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The branding is designed to create stronger “continuity and clarity” from the core CBS brand to subsidiaries, while driving attribution for CBS’s content, whether on the brand’s traditional platforms or others such as live, on-demand or streaming video.

“CBS has long been one of the most unifying brands in media,” Benson said. “We needed to make that clearer and more consistent at every consumer touchpoint.”

Benson, who worked with ad agency Gretel on the rebranding, said the improvements draw upon CBS’s 91-year history, with key visual and audio elements from the past integrated into the new aesthetic. The ubiquitous CBS Eye logo remains central to the new identity in a unique animated way. The voiceover “This is CBS,” which was used for decades on the company’s radio and television broadcasts beginning nearly a century ago, is another example of legacy elements playing a strong role moving forward.

New elements of the CBS brand strategy include:

  • The iconic CBS Eye will be used across the brand identity in a flexible style that elevates it as a standalone logo and leans into the shapes and elements that make it up.
  • Brand attribution will be applied to programming and promotion that drives better connection between the CBS core brand, its sub-brands and our premium content available across CBS-owned and third-party platforms.
  • Content on CBS and CBS-owned platforms will be tagged with “CBS Original,” “CBS News,” “CBS Sports” or “CBS Presents” to reinforce its role as a leading creator and content provider for its platforms and many others. For example: “CBS Presents The 56th Academy of Country Music Awards.”
  • Content produced by CBS Studios will also include “A CBS Studios Production” and CBS Studios branded marks.
  • An audio expression of the updated brand identity comes to life in a five-note mnemonic written by assigning musical notes to the historic “This is CBS” voiceover slogan, creating a new melody and animation that will appear at the top of the hour during primetime programming on CBS.
  • Unified logos and graphics that simplify and closely identify CBS as the core brand across divisions.
  • Updated avatars and watermarks to be used across all CBS social media handles.

‘Irresistible,’ ‘Rogue’ Top Slate of New Disc Releases, While ‘Beetlejuice,’ ‘Goonies’ Bow on 4K Ultra HD

The political satire Irresistible, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and Lionsgate’s action thriller Rogue, with Megan Fox as a battle-hardened mercenary, top the slate of new disc releases available Sept. 1.

Written and directed by Jon Stewart, Irresistible features a cast headed by Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis and Topher Grace. Carell portrays a campaign strategist who runs a Democratic mayoral candidate (Cooper) in a small right-wing town.

The film, from Focus Features, was rerouted from a May 2020 theatrical release by the coronavirus pandemic and instead debuted in June on premium VOD. It became available through regular digital channels on Aug. 18.

Read John Latchem’s review of the Irresistible Blu-ray Disc here

Rogue finds Samantha O’Hara (Fox) leading a team of soldiers-for-hire on a daring mission to rescue hostages from their captors in rural Africa.  They wind up stranded and have to battle not only brutal rebels but also a horde of enraged lions.

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Also out Sept. 1 are 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray editions of the Tim Burton ghost movie Beetlejuice and the 1980s cult favorite adventure The Goonies, both from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Beetlejuice (1988) stars Michael Keaton as a ghost who helps a recently deceased couple played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis haunt their former home. The Goonies (1985),  based on a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg, follows a band of kids from the blue-collar “Goon Docks” neighborhood who set out to save their homes from foreclosure by following an old treasure map.

On the TV front, consumers as of Sept. 1 can buy, on disc, the complete third season of “Young Sheldon” (from Warner Bros.), the second season of “Magnum P.I.” (from Paramount/CBS), and the first season of “Blood & Treasure” (also from Paramount/CBS).

New digital releases include Guest House, from Lionsgate, and Breaking the Chain, from Virgil Films, the company headed by industry veteran Joe Amodei. Guest House is a comedy about an engaged couple whose new dream home comes with a slight drawback: a party animal who lives in the guest house. Breaking the Chain is an animal-rescue documentary that follows fieldworkers with PETA’s Community Animal Project as they visit impoverished areas of Virginia and North Carolina to give care to mistreated animals.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Ex-CEO Joe Ianniello Exited CBS With $125 Million Golden Parachute

Who said losing your job has to hurt financially? Joseph Ianniello, the acting CEO of CBS in 2019, was paid $125.4 million in total compensation on Dec. 4, 2019, after being shown the door following the Viacom re-merger, according to a regulatory filing.

To put Ianniello’s golden parachute into perspective, it is more than the $100 million Netflix and WarnerMedia Entertainment each set aside for employees and production personnel fiscally affected by the industry shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Joe Ianniello

It’s also just $25 million less than the $150 million fund Comcast established for employees and related personnel financially impacted by the virus.

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Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, who also assumed Ianniello’s title following the re-merger, earned $8.4 million in total compensation, which included a $230,769 base salary, $5 million in stock options and $3.1 million bonus. He is set to earn $31 million in the current fiscal year.

ViacomCBS CFO Christina Spade was paid $9.4 million, which included $2 million base salary, $4.9 million in stock options and a $2.5 million bonus.

Ianniello, who was CFO of CBS prior to becoming interim CEO following the ouster of Les Moonves for inappropriate workplace behavior, was paid 2.85 million in base salary, $37.4 million in stock options and another $84.7 million in “other compensation” largely due to severance.

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Ex-CBS General Counsel Laura Franco was paid $5.7 in compensation, while in pay, former CBS Chief Legal Officer Lawrence Tu earned $7.2 million.

George Cheeks Named New CBS Chief Executive, Replacing Joe Ianniello

As expected, ViacomCBS Jan. 31 announced that George Cheeks has been appointed president and CEO of CBS Entertainment Group, effective March 23, 2020. He succeeds Joe Ianniello, chairman and CEO of CBS, who will be leaving the company. Ianniello will work with the company to ensure a smooth transition.

George Cheeks

Cheeks joins ViacomCBS from NBCUniversal, where he most recently served as vice chairman, NBCUniversal Content Studios. In his new role, Cheeks will lead CBS-branded assets, including CBS Television Network, which encompasses CBS Entertainment, CBS News and CBS Sports, CBS Television Studios and CBS Television Stations and CBS’ first-run syndication business. He will also partner with the ViacomCBS digital organization on the CBS-branded digital assets, including CBS All Access. Cheeks will report to Bob Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS.

“Throughout his career, George has built broad experience in broadcast and studio operations and brings a unique mix of skills – combining deep commercial expertise and industry relationships with strong creative and programming capabilities,” Bakish said in a statement. “With his finger on the pulse of culture and change and his strong grasp of strategy, brands, audiences and content monetization, George will help CBS build on its position as the most-watched broadcast network and drive results across the entire CBS portfolio.”

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Bakish praised Ianniello for his 22 years at CBS, which included stints as COO and negotiating the minefield following the ouster of previous CEO Les Moonves for inappropriate workplace behavior.

Joe Ianniello

“Thanks in no small part to his efforts, the CBS brand has a strong and loyal following across a variety of platforms – positioning it well for this important next chapter. The board and I wish Joe every success in his future endeavors,” Bakish said.

Ianniello doesn’t leave empty handed. The executive reportedly got a $100 million severance following the merger between CBS and Viacom. He got millions more as acting CEO of CBS Entertainment Group.

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“Throughout my 22-year tenure I have always said that the quality and integrity of the people of CBS are what make it great,” said Ianniello. “We have extraordinary employees at all levels of this organization, and I couldn’t be prouder of how they do their jobs day in and day out. Working with Bob, I now look forward to ensuring a smooth transition to the next phase of leadership of CBS, so that the Eye can continue to thrive, just as it has for so long.”

During his time as acting CEO, Ianniello successfully grew CBS into a global multiplatform premium content company. Prior to that as COO since 2013, he was responsible for establishing and executing company strategy across all businesses. In addition, Ianniello developed and spearheaded the company’s monetization strategy across platforms, including retransmission consent fees and reverse compensation from local television station affiliates, as well as the licensing of the CBS Corporation content around the world for digital streaming and broadband services.

He also oversaw the launch of CBS All Access, CBS’ digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service, as well as Showtime’s “over-the-top” streaming service. He led CBS’  acquisition of Network 10 in Australia and the split-off of CBS Radio through a merger with Entercom. In addition, he led the conversion of CBS Outdoor into a real-estate investment trust, marking a first for an outdoor advertising business.

As Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal Content Studios, Cheeks helped run NBCUniversal’s television studios. Previously, he served as Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment, where he was jointly responsible for the network’s primetime, late night and scripted daytime programming – including business affairs, marketing, communications, scheduling, West Coast research and digital operations and first-run syndication.

Prior to joining NBC in 2012, Cheeks served as EVP, Business Affairs and General Counsel for Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, while also serving as Head of Standards and Practices for Viacom Media. Before that, he served in legal roles at Nickelodeon, MTV, CMT and LOGO.

 

Pluto TV: CBS, Viacom Merger Puts AVOD ‘Light Years’ Ahead of Schedule

The re-merger of Viacom and former subsidiary CBS Corp. should help accelerate worldwide distribution of Pluto TV, according to the ad-supported video unit. Viacom acquired Pluto earlier this year for $340 million.

“Today, we are excited to celebrate the union of two major media powerhouses — Viacom and CBS. As a part of the newly established @ViacomCBS media empire, Pluto TV has now jumped light years ahead, accelerating our mission to entertain the planet.” Pluto TV (@PlutoTV) tweeted Dec. 5.

The union presents the combined companies with three branded over-the-top video services in CBS All Access, Showtime OTT and Pluto — the latter ad-supported.

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When CBS launched All Access ($5.99) and Showtime OTT ($10.99), it projected 16 million standalone subscribers by 2022. That tally was reached through the third quarter of the current fiscal year, ended Sept. 30.

Pluto TV in July claimed more than 18 million monthly viewers across more than 28 content channels.

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“As the video marketplace continues to segment, we see an opportunity to support the ecosystem in creating products at a broad range of price points, including free,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said in the statement earlier this year.

Last month, Pluto began incorporating new channels from CBS Interactive, including ET Live and CBSN.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing more of our ad-supported streaming channels to the platform with today’s launch of our entertainment news channel, ET Live, and CBSN’s local news channels for New York and Los Angeles,” said Sarah Jeon, EVP of business development at CBS Interactive.

Pluto is also launching curated video channels for third-party clients and events. In September at the Advertising Week confab in New York, Pluto delivered a custom channel that targeted the event’s 100,000 attendees.

The Advertising Week pop-up channel showcased Pluto TV’s ability to create custom channels, a feature that’s appealing to advertisers and publishers seeking to reach fragmented and niche audiences.

The channel underscored the versatility of streaming TV, which Pluto CEO Tom Ryan claims can be programmed for optimal utility without the restrictions of traditional linear networks.

“In many ways, [Pluto] drew inspiration from the things cable TV had done right in terms of creating these interest-based channels that take the work out of entertainment for customers,” Ryan told a separate media confab.

 

Viacom, CBS Close Corporate Re-Merger

ViacomCBS Dec. 4 formally announced the completion of the merger between CBS Corp. and former corporate parent Viacom — the latter also owning Paramount Pictures, MTV, BET, Nickelodeon, Pluto TV and Comedy Central.

On Jan. 1, 2006, Viacom spun off subsidiary CBS into a freestanding television company led by CEO Les Moonves, who was forced out in 2018 following allegations by several women of inappropriate workplace behavior.

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“This is a historic moment that brings together two iconic companies to form one of the world’s most important content producers and providers,” CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement. “Through the combination of CBS’s and Viacom’s complementary assets, capabilities and talented teams, ViacomCBS will create and deliver premium content for its own platforms and for others, while providing innovative solutions for advertisers and distributors globally.”

Building on a collection of franchises and partnerships, ViacomCBS will be home to more than 140,000 premium TV episodes and 3,600 film titles, with global production capabilities and more than $13 billion in annual content investment.

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The company will account for 22% of TV viewership in the U.S. and hold the highest share of broadcast and cable viewing across key audience demographics, with strength in all categories, including News, Sports, General Entertainment, Pop Culture, Comedy, Music and Kids.

Through the strength and scale of these assets, ViacomCBS claims it will be well-equipped to maximize the value of its content for its own platforms and for others, as it meets the growing global demand for third-party premium content. The company’s content scale will support a robust streaming strategy, including ViacomCBS’s own suite of advertising and subscription-based offerings.

In addition, the company’s broad reach, extensive intellectual property portfolio and expertise in advanced marketing solutions will enable it to strengthen its partnerships with distributors and advertisers globally.