NFL Wildcard Weekend Broke Broadcast/Streaming Molds

The NFL’s just-concluded busy wildcard playoff weekend saw 12 teams reduced to eight advancing to the divisional round, beginning Jan. 16. Notably, for the first time playoff games were live-streamed (ESPN+, Peacock) and broadcast on a children’s network (Nickelodeon), in addition to the usual TV networks.

During the New Orleans Saints’ win over the Chicago Bears, Nickelodeon viewers got see trademark green slime sprayed virtually into the end zone and across the screen after Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas scored a touchdown. The game drew Nickelodeon’s largest audience in four years with 2 million viewers.

While the simulcast with CBS Sports underscored ViacomCBS’s desire to involve its brands (Nickelodeon) across new markets, for the NFL, the game represented an opportunity to reach a new demo early.

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“Our entire model is based on reach,” Hans Schroeder, EVP and COO of NFL Media, said in an interview Sunday night. “The positive responses have been overwhelming [for the Nickelodeon game], but what we did with CBS was a continuation of what we did across Sunday.”

On Disney-owned ESPN+, streamers saw analytics on steroids with an individual play’s likelihood of succeeding put on display. Indeed, an interception thrown by Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson only had only a 28% chance of being caught by the receiver initially.

Amazon Prime Video and sister company Twitch were the first streaming platforms to offer live NFL coverage through “Thursday Night Football,” featuring the sport’s first female broadcast team.

“When you have as broad appeal as we’re fortunate to have, we want to make sure we’re putting out a broad set of experiences on as many screens as we can, and increase the way our fans engage and enjoy the games,” Schroeder said.

Indeed, ESPN will feature tonight NCAA College Football National Championship Game between The Ohio State Buckeyes and University of Alabama Crimson Tide across 14 separate broadcasts, including streaming.

‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Season 12 on DVD Jan. 12

Paramount Home Entertainment will release Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Twelfth Season on DVD Jan. 12, 2021.

In the 12th season, Gary tries out a new pair of legs to keep up with SpongeBob and Plankton and practice ruling the world in SpongeBob’s aquarium. Plankton as he creates clones of himself and Mr. Krabs, while Squidward tries out another line of work before SpongeBob and Patrick come to ruin it. The newly reformed “Clean Bubble” takes a job at the Krusty Krab, and Mrs. Puff, Karen, and Sandy take Pearl to a cabin in the kelp for a fun weekend.

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The three-DVD set includes the following episodes:

Disc 1:
FarmerBob / Gary & Spot
The Nitwitting / The Ballad of Filthy Muck
The Krusty Slammer / Pineapple RV
Gary’s Got Legs / King Plankton
Plankton’s Old Chum / Stormy Weather
Swamp Mates / One Trick Sponge
The Krusty Bucket / Squid’s on a Bus
Sandy’s Nutty Nieces / Insecurity Guards
Broken Alarm / Karen’s Baby

Disc 2:
Shell Games / Senior Discount
Mind the Gap / Dirty Bubble Returns
Jolly Lodgers / Biddy Sitting
SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout
SpongeBob in RandomLand / SpongeBob’s Bad Habit
Handemonium / Breakin’
Boss for a Day / The Goofy Newbie
The Ghost of Plankton / My Two Krabses

Disc 3:
Knock, Knock Who’s There? / Pat Hearts Squid
Lighthouse Louie / Hiccup Plague
A Cabin in the Kelp / The Hankering
Who R Zoo?
Plankton’s Intern / Patrick’s Tantrum
BubbleBass’s Tab / Kooky Cooks
Escape From Beneath Glove World
Krusty Koncessionaires / Dream Hoppers

CBS All Access Expands Kids Programming

SVOD platform CBS All Access Dec. 9 announced new product features for families and the addition of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. library programming, of its upcoming rebrand to Paramount+ in 2021.

The new family-friendly features include the ability to create up to six profiles per account and manage each profile using “Kids Mode,” which allows parents to create profiles that limit content to older children or younger children based on content ratings. The service’s existing parental PIN controls’ option for mature content, which locks access to certain content based on its content rating, will also still be available to use across profiles.

“With today’s new product enhancements, like ‘Kids Mode’ and multiple profiles, we can create customized experiences for each member of the household, while giving our subscribers even more opportunities to discover and watch family programming together, and allowing parents additional peace of mind with the ability to further customize what programming is available to their kids,” Rob Gelick, EVP and GM, streaming services and chief product officer, ViacomCBS Streaming, said in a statement.

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In addition, CBS All Access introduced nearly 800 more episodes of children’s programming to the service, including select past seasons of Nick Jr. favorites “Paw Patrol,” “Blaze and the Monster Machines,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Bubble Guppies,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Shimmer and Shine,” among others.

All Access children’s programming is available commercial-free. The new library content being added to the service joins an already robust roster of more than 1,000 episodes of library and original children’s programming, including the service’s previously launched original children’s series, WildBrain’s “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” Boat Rocker’s new “Danger Mouse” and new editions of “Lassie,” “George of the Jungle” and “Mr. Magoo” from DreamWorks Animation’s Classic Media.

Original children’s programming on the service will continue to expand with the first spinoff from one of ViacomCBS’s biggest global franchises, Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants,” when new series “Kamp Koral” premieres in early 2021. The service will also be the exclusive home to The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, the upcoming feature film that follows “SpongeBob,” his best friend Patrick Star, and the rest of the gang from Bikini Bottom in the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event.

‘Antebellum’ Arrives on Disc; Complete ‘Game of Thrones’ Series Now Out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Lionsgate’s  Antebellum, Paramount’s SpongeBob SquarePants: The SpongeBob Musical — Live on Stage! and the third season of “The Crown,” the Netflix historical series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, top the slate of new releases available for home viewers beginning Nov. 3.

Also newly available for purchase are 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray editions of V for Vendetta and the complete HBO series “Game of Thrones,” both from Warner Bros., and Lionsgate’s Kick-Ass.

The time-shifting horror drama Antebellum is now available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. It was initially released by Lionsgate on premium VOD at $20 on Sept. 18. The film stars Janelle Monáe as a successful modern-day writer trapped during America’s slavery era.

Read an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Janelle Monáe here!

SpongeBob SquarePants: The SpongeBob Musical — Live on Stage!, from Nickelodeon, is making its DVD debut on Nov. 3 at $9.99. The disc edition includes an exclusive, extended sing-along version.

The Crown: The Complete Third Season is now out as a four-disc Blu-ray and DVD set from Sony Pictures.  The series is produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix. Season 3 takes place between 1964 and 1977 and introduces Camilla Parker Bowles, who would later marry Prince Charles, heir to the British throne.

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V for Vendetta and Kick-Ass are the latest high-profile films to be released on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format, which is getting a renewed push by the big Hollywood movie studios as they continue to grapple with a lack of fresh theatrical product.

Also newly available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on Nov. 3 is Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection. The set, listed at $254.99, includes all 73 episodes, plus more than 15 hours of bonus content, and a digital copy of the episodes.

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Extras include material previously released in the “Game of Thrones” complete season sets and the 2019 complete series on standard Blu-ray, including a two-part reunion special hosted by Conan O’Brien; the documentary Game of Thrones: The Last Watch chronicling the making of the final season; Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of Seven Kingdoms; and audio commentaries, deleted and extended scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more.

A 4K “Game of Thrones” complete-series set also is available in an exclusive limited-edition version at Best Buy at $285.43, with all eight seasons featured in individual Steelbooks and housed in individually numbered metal cases.

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

New ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Animated Series Announced for Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios July 23 announced a new animated series called “Star Trek: Prodigy” to debut in 2021. The title and logo were revealed during an online Comic-Con@Home panel.

The CG-animated series will air exclusively on Nickelodeon and follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning and salvation.

The series is being developed by Emmy winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”) and overseen for Nickelodeon by Ramsey Naito, EVP of animation production and development at Nickelodeon.

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The series will be from CBS’s Eye Animation Productions, CBS Television Studios’ new animation arm; production company Secret Hideout, which oversees the “Trek” franchise; and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will serve as executive producers alongside Kevin and Dan Hageman. Aaron Baiers will serve as a co-executive producer.

“Star Trek: Prodigy” is being billed as the first “Trek” series aimed at younger audiences for Nickelodeon. It will be the third animated “Star Trek” series, following the 1973-74 FIlmation series featuring the cast of the original series, and “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” which arrives on the CBS All Access Streaming Service Aug. 6.

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Current CBS All Access live-action series include “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard.” Series in development for the streaming service include the Capt. Pike spinoff “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” as well as a series based on Section 31, the enigmatic Starfleet intelligence service.

ViacomCBS, Sky Ink Content Distribution Deal for Germany, Switzerland, Austria

ViacomCBS Networks International and Comcast-owned Sky have signed a distribution deal for select content offered in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Under terms of the deal, Sky’s satellite customers in the countries now have access to Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Nick Toons.

“With robust collaborations already in place in the UK and Italy, we truly value our partnership with Sky and are excited to be able to deliver premium kids’ content, both linear and on-demand, to more families in these regions,” Raffaele Annecchino, president, ViacomCBS Networks EMEA and Asia, said in a statement.

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Manuel Kindervater, VP Partner Channels/Strategy at Sky Germany, said the Nickelodeon brand, “perfectly expand” the Sky family portfolio.

“We are pleased that families will be able to enjoy the diverse programs of Nick Jr and Nick Toons with Sky and Sky Ticket from April; anytime linear or on-demand,” Kindervater said.

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Season 11 of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Swimming to DVD March 31

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Eleventh Season will arrive on DVD March 31 from Paramount Home Entertainment and Nickelodeon Home Entertainment.

In the season, viewers enter DoodleBob’s alternate dimension, take a trip to Bubble Buddy’s hometown, take a trip to the moon, solve the curious case of the missing clarinet and hear Gary speak for the very first time. Also, they see SpongeBob keep Fred’s leg out of harm’s way, move Bubble Bass out of his mom’s basement, and stop SpongeGar from wreaking havoc all over town. The season includes new characters, such as an imaginary hamster, a sea bunny, the Krusty Krab’s peculiar night crew and Sandy’s nutty nieces.

The 3-DVD set features every episode from Season 11, plus Plankton’s Color Nullifier.

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‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Outpaces ‘Dora’ to Stay No. 1 on the Home Video Sales Charts

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw held onto the No. 1 spot on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Nov. 23.

The week’s top newcomer on both charts was Paramount’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold, which sold 81.8% as many copies in its first week as Hobbs & Shaw did in its third. The live-action adaptation of Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer” cartoon earned $60.5 million at the domestic box office.

Disney’s photorealistic remake of The Lion King slid to No. 3 on both charts in its fifth week on disc.

Another Disney release, Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story 4, rose a spot to No. 4 on both charts in its seventh week on disc.

The ‘R’-rated Universal Pictures comedy Good Boys slid to No. 5 on both charts in its second week.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 56% of first-week sales for Dora, which sold 91% as many Blu-ray copies as the top title.

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The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 24 had Dora in the top spot, with Good Boys sliding to No. 2. Hobbs & Shaw was down a spot to No. 3.

Warner’s The Kitchen rose two spots on the rental chart to No. 4, while Sony Pictures’ The Angry Birds Movie 2 dropped two slots to land at No. 5 in its second week.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-23-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-24-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-23-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-23-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 11-23-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 11-25-19

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Paramount;
Family Adventure;
Box Office $60.48 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG’ for action and some impolite humor.
Stars Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, Jeff Wahlberg, Nicholas Coombe, Madeleine Madden, Temuera Morrison, Adriana Barraza, Benicio del Toro, Danny Trejo.

It would be easy to assume that a movie based on Nickelodeon’s long-running animated “Dora the Explorer” TV series might be just another sappy, dumbed-down diversion aimed at kids. But in the hands of director James Bobin, Dora and the Lost City of Gold turns out to be a charming, fun adventure that all ages can enjoy, not just fans of the TV series.

Bobin, who has already demonstrated his deft touch with similar material as director of the two most recent “Muppets” movies, and screenwriters Nicholas Stoller and Matthew Robinson bring a slightly subversive sensibility that honors the concept while poking fun at it at the same time.

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The cartoon, of course, dealt with the adventures of 7-year-old Dora, her monkey sidekick, Boots, and her cousin, Diego, as they talk and sing to the audience to solve puzzles and learn new facts about the world. And the movie jumps right in with a live-action version of the “Dora” theme that sets up the movie as providing more of the same. But it turns out Dora and Diego are just imaginative youngsters who live in the South American jungle with Dora’s parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria), a pair of professors researching ancient civilizations.

After Diego moves away to Los Angeles with his parents, Dora is left to explore on her own, and the movie cuts to 10 years later, with the 16-year-old Dora (Isabela Moner) running through the jungle as if nothing has changed (though, in a bit of meta-humor, she now live-streams her adventures as a means of talking to her audience). As her parents prepare to embark on a search for a lost city, Dora is sent to live with Diego in L.A., much to her chagrin.

Having spent 10 years in the city, Diego is now a more-or-less normal kid trying to survive high school, while Dora continues to be Dora.

The movie mines Dora’s fish-out-of-water adjustments to high school for some good laughs, as she is basically the cartoon character dropped into the real world. The tone brings to mind The Brady Bunch Movie in the way the humor stems from the juxtaposition of the central characters living in their own little world for regular reality to react to.

Things take a turn, however, as Dora, Diego and some of their fellow high schoolers are kidnapped by mercenaries who want to find the same city of gold that Dora’s parents are seeking, putting Dora back in her element and turning the tables on the students who were making fun of her for survivalist skills.

The kids quickly escape into the jungle and set off to find the legendary city and Dora’s parents on their own, pursued by the bad guys, who are aided by Swiper the Fox, lest any of his fans worry he would be left out of the action.

From here the film takes on the vibe of a junior “Indiana Jones” adventure, while also taking some cues from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, in terms of putting the ensemble into unusual situations.

In addition to the opening sequence, the film’s most direct nod to the cartoon version comes in the form of a clever sequence in which the characters are exposed to jungle spores that make them hallucinate an animated world. The making of this playful scene is the subject of a four-minute featurette on the Blu-ray.

The behind-the-scenes material is pretty standard as far as these things go, with plenty of interviews from the cast and filmmakers. The nine-minute “All About Dora” features the talented Moner offering her insights on playing the character as a teenager. “Can You Say Pelicula?” is a four-and-a-half-minute examination of some of the stunts as well as the comedic sensibilities of Eugenio Derbez. A four-minute “Dora’s Jungle House” video offers a lot of details about Dora’s parents’ house that aren’t readily apparent from the movie.

The latter should please fans looking to live in this world a bit more, as will more than 13 minutes of deleted scenes, extended sequences and alternate takes.

The Blu-ray also includes an amusing two-minute blooper reel.

Netflix Inks New Deal With Nickelodeon

Netflix and Nickelodeon have formed a multiyear output deal to produce original animated feature films and television series for kids and families based both on the Nickelodeon library of characters as well as new IP.

The deal is an expansion of the existing relationship between the companies, which has already brought several titles to Netflix, including animated specials Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling and Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus. Also forthcoming are specials based on “The Loud House” and “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

“Nickelodeon has generated scores of characters that kids love, and we look forward to telling wholly original stories that re-imagine and expand on the worlds they inhabit,” Netflix VP of original animation Melissa Cobb said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to continue collaborating with Brian Robbins, Ramsey Naito, and the creative team at Nickelodeon in new ways as we look to find fresh voices and bring bold stories to our global audience on Netflix.”

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“Nickelodeon’s next step forward is to keep expanding beyond linear platforms, and our broader content partnership with Netflix is a key path toward that goal,” Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins said in a statement. “The Nickelodeon Animation Studio is home to the world-class artists and storytellers behind some of the most iconic characters and shows ever made, and our head of animation, Ramsey Naito, has been building on that legacy over the past year by ramping up development and production exponentially. The ideas and work at our Studio are flowing, and we can’t wait to work with Melissa and the Netflix team on a premium slate of original animated content for kids and families around the world.”