• 'Downton Abbey' Creator Will Develop NBC Period Drama, 'The Gilded Age'
    NBC has signed Julian Fellowes, creator of the hit British period drama "Downton Abbey," to develop a new drama, "The Gilded Age," set in late-19th-century New York. No word yet of when the show is expected to premiere, but the announcement "comes at the tail end of the traditional development period for the fall television season," writes Bill Carter.
  • WSJ Debuts Holiday Gift Guide As New E-Commerce Push
    The Wall Street Journal is making a solid attempt at "a real e-commerce business" with its launch this week of "a shoppable holiday gift guide in the WSJ Select section of its site, where it plans to center future commerce initiatives from the paper" such as for Valentine's and Mother's Day, writes Jason Del Rey. Previous e-commerce projects included a partnership with Gilt City, but the new program allows readers to purchase directly from the WSJ site. The paper's "heavy push into lifestyle content" like WSJ magazine the last few years should provide some shopping cred, and "there's a good chance …
  • Will 'Men' Return? God Has Little To Do With It
    "God Has Nothing To Do With 'Two and a Half Men''s Uncertain Future," is the head for Josef Adalian's post, which analyzes the "internal pros-and-cons debate likely to be going through the heads of [CBS] execs over the next few months" as they decide the fate of the series, now hit with another public relations debacle: star Angus T. Jones' religious rant against it. Among the biggest reasons for ending the show after its current season: It's a "a very, very expensive comedy," with "$1.5 million per episode in topline talent costs alone," writes Adalian. "Ironically, Jones's …
  • Brooke Runnette Named Prez, National Geographic Television
    Brooke Runnette has been named new president of National Geographic Television, taking on a job formerly held by Maryanne Culpepper, "whose exit was announced earlier this year," writes Tim Molloy. It's an in-house promotion for Runnette, previously National Geographic Channels' vice president of development and special projects. Before that she was an executive at Discovery, where her production of Shark Week in 2010 was the "the highest rated in the 23-year history of the annual event," writes Molloy.
  • SyFy Channel, Trion, To Spend $100M On TV Show/Video Game
    In April, Comcast's SyFy Channel and Trion Worlds will launch what SyFy's President Dave Howe calls "the holy grail of convergence”: "Defiance," a TV show and a multiplayer online video game. Comcast's "NBC Universal has wanted a piece of the videogame business for a long time," so it will wholly own the TV show, which combined with the game will generate costs of about  $100 million, writes Jeff Bercovici. "Defiance" will be a high-cost gamble that could pay off big, making profitable a network whose shows “are loss leaders, for the most part, or a break-even proposition,” says …
  • 'Houston Chronicle' First Hearst Newspaper To Put Up Paywall
    The Houston Chronicle's premium website, launched last week as a companion to the daily's existing free site, "marks the first Hearst Corp. newspaper to place content behind a paywall and could herald similar digital initiatives at other Hearst sites," according to News & Tech. The premium website strategy is "one of a number of options under evaluation by the publisher," which is  "contemplating different models for different markets.”
  • ABC's 'GMA' On Track To Win First November Sweeps In 17 Years
    ABC's "Good Morning America" is "now poised to win the November Sweep" -- its first such win in 17 years, and its first sweep win in viewers aged 25-54 in more than 18 years, writes Chris Ariens.
  • Can Old Media Stave Off Losses With New Tech Products?
    Old-media companies' hope of making serious money by developing technology products carries "tall odds," writes Charlie Warzel. Challenges include "the natural tension between startups and old media." Then there's the 1 in 50  "probability of anything you start succeeding," Warzel quotes a tech maven.  In this excellent article, Warzel takes readers inside the New York Times' R&D lab, which has "only two marketable products in the pilot-testing phase." Ricochet, which "appears to hold the greatest marketing potential.... could potentially revolutionize now-imprecise ad exchange audience targeting," writes Warzel. But the WaPo Labs' introduction of the Washington Post Social Reader, …
  • Another Broadcaster -- ABC -- Takes Legal Aim At Autohop
    ABC is seeking a federal injunction to shut down Dish Network' ad-skipping Autohop two weeks after a judge "denied a similar bid by a different broadcaster" -- Fox -- writes Don Jeffrey. This is just the latest salvo in the war against "Dish’s ad-skipping technology, which broadcasters warn threatens their very survival."
  • 'Newsweek,' 'Reader's Digest' Apps Rated 'Perfect' By iMonitor
    Four magazine apps got perfect scores in iMonitor's latest survey of almost 8,000 apps from global publishers, rated on "design, functionality, media, and advertising," according to Emma Bazilian. Those mags: Martha Stewart Living, Newsweek, Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine and Reader's Digest. A host of other mags, including Allure, Bloomberg Businessweek, Everyday Food, Men's Health and Wired got near-perfect scores. And "while apps are improving, in-app ads still have a ways to go, according to iMonitor."
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