Just days before its upfront presentation to Madison Avenue on Tuesday, May 14, the Disney/ABC Television Group has announced that viewers of ABC programming in New York City and Philadelphia (via their WABC and WPVI affiliates) will be able to watch ABC‘s Live 24/7 linear broadcast network programming online for the first time ever through the new WATCH ABC application. Viewers can access WATCH ABC online at ABC.com or by downloading the WATCH ABC app on their iOS or Kindle Fire devices. The WATCH ABC app will be available on Samsung Galaxy devices this summer.
“WATCH ABC is a game-changing innovation for the broadcast television industry. We’re extremely excited to offer this open access preview to our WABC and WPVI viewers in New York and Philadelphia. This announcement represents a defining moment in technology and distribution, as well as for our advertising and affiliate partners, as we ensure that our high-quality content is available to viewers on a variety of devices,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group. “Our mission with this special preview is to gather key learnings about the service and the consumers who utilize it in order for our WATCH products to be the gold standard experience of authenticated multiplatform viewing.”
WATCH ABC allows viewers of such programs as “General Hospital” to view their shows in real-time, in sync with the WABC/WPVI broadcast airings of ABC programming.
While CBS has the most nominations amongst all television networks, the Disney/ABC Television Group is the most honored programming group with nominations for the ABC Television Network, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Syndicated programming, and more. The television arm of The Walt Disney Company highlights their nominations below:
May sweeps are a month away, but it looks like the upcoming onscreen drama won’t be able to hold a candle to the real-life drama brewing between Prospect Park‘s “One Life to Live” and ABC’s “General Hospital.”
After Prospect Park’s plans to reboot both “OLTL” and “All My Children” for the web fell through in November 2011, the company was approached by ABC who was interested in transplanting the characters of Todd Manning, Starr Manning and John McBain to Port Charles as portrayed by their originators Roger Howarth, Kristen Alderson and Michael Easton. The understanding at the time between ABC and Prospect Park was that the characters would be utilized on “GH” until plans to reboot “OLTL” came back into play as Prospect Park didn’t want to hold the Llanview 3 from working. Since their debuts in Port Charles in early 2012, the characters have tested very high with both viewers and focus groups and have played a large role in the overall audience growth for “GH” compared to its 2011 performance in the Nielsen ratings. Unfortunately, things behind the scenes weren’t looking as good.
Despite Michael Easton‘s announcement early this morning, where he stated that after February 8th he would be exiting “General Hospital,” along with Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson, due to “some ongoing legal this and that,” an ABC spokesperson tells Soap Opera Network that all three will remain an essential part of the “GH” canvas for the foreseeable future as the three are under contract with the network and not Prospect Park.
“‘General Hospital’ is excited about Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth staying on the show and we are exploring ways to allow that to happen,” read a statement from ABC, which did not provide further input on how the series would accomplish just that. Previously, the network stated, “There are on-going collaborative conversations,” in response to word that Prospect Park wanted to return the characters of Starr Manning (Alderson), Todd Manning (Howarth) and John McBain (Easton) to Llanview after formerly announcing it’s decision to re-launch “One Life to Live” later this spring. The production company licensed the rights to “OLTL’s” characters in July 2011 in a long-term distribution agreement between it and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Television Group.
UPDATE 8:09 AM ET: In an update to his original Facebook message, Easton says that he wasn’t trying to “upset anybody” with his previously mentioned words, which had sparked outrage across social media networks from fans of the actor and character, who were upset to hear of his pending exit from “General Hospital.” The actor also says that the matter between Prospect Park and ABC may “take some time and some very bright people to resolve.”
Michael Easton Facebook Message Update
THANK YOU (PART TWO)
Didn’t mean to upset anybody, was just trying to address the birthday stuff. Honestly not sure what the future holds but I think it’s going to take some time and some very bright people to resolve it. Thank you again for all your kindness and support…
PREVIOUS: 2:19 AM ET: As previously reported, Michael Easton along with Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth are currently at the center of a legal dispute between Prospect Park and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Telvision Group, over who has the right to use the characters of John McBain (Easton), Starr Manning (Alderson) and Todd Manning (Howarth)). In one corner you have Prospect Park and “One Life to Live” and in the other you have ABC and “General Hospital.” Unfortunately for the fans, no one is “winning.” According to one of the affected actors, after Friday, February 8, they “cannot be at ‘General Hospital’” any longer.
via Press Release
ABC FAMILY CONTINUES ITS ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING MOMENTUM
WITH NEW PILOT PRODUCTION
BURBANK, CA (August 23, 2012) – ABC Family, the millennial-skewing network, has greenlit two new drama pilots, “The Fosters” (working title), from executive producer Jennifer Lopez, and “Socio,” from executive producer Gavin Polone. Summer to date, ABC Family’s current crop of original series have made ABC Family cable TV’s #1 network in Prime in Women 18-34, and the #2 cable TV network in Females 12-34 and Female Teens.
“ABC Family continues to find and develop original programming that adds new dimension and depth to the storytelling we offer,” said Kate Juergens, executive vice president, Original Programming and Development, ABC Family. “Both these shows are headed by wonderful executive producers who know the millennial space well and know how to connect with audiences.”
From executive producer Jennifer Lopez (“American Idol,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “The Back-Up Plan”) and created by Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige, who will also serve as writers and executive producers, “The Fosters” is a one-hour drama about a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids being raised by two moms. Simon Fields and Greg Gugliotta will also serve as executive producers. The series is produced by Nuyorican Productions, Inc., and Prodco, Inc.
“Socio” is a one-hour drama centered on a charismatic 16-year-old alleged sociopath who recently reconnected with his two female best friends from childhood, and who becomes the prime suspect when a fellow student is murdered. The series will be executive-produced by Gavin Polone (“Gilmore Girls,” “Zombieland,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “My Boys,” “Jane by Design). Adam Milch (Greek), who wrote the pilot, will also serve as co-executive producer. The series is produced by Prodco, Inc.
Part of the Disney/ABC Television Group, ABC Family is distributed in over 97 million homes. ABC Family features programming reflecting today’s families, entertaining and connecting with adults through relatable programming about today’s relationships – told with a mix of diversity, passion, humor and heart. ABC Family’s programming is a combination of network-defining original series and original movies, quality acquired series and blockbuster theatricals. Emmy® Award-winning ABCFamily.com provides a variety of interactive entertainment and community features, from rich, fan-centric programming – including blogs, viewing parties, webisodes, full episodes of the network’s hit programming, along with sneak peek exclusive previews and behind-the-scenes clips. ABC Family is also the destination for annual Holiday events with “13 Nights of Halloween” and “25 Days of Christmas.” ABC Family. A New Kind of Family.
via Press Release
ABC MAKES STRATEGIC SHIFT IN LATE-NIGHT STRATEGY
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” Moves to 11:35 p.m. on January 8 to Capitalize on
Ratings Momentum, Higher Ad Demand and Greater Revenue Upside
January 9 and Adds a Primetime Hour Every Friday Night at 9:00 p.m., Beginning March 1
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 . . . Capitalizing on ratings momentum, advertising demand and increased revenue potential for entertainment programming in the 11:35 p.m. time slot, ABC today announced a strategic shift in its late-night strategy to better position the network for increased ratings and financial performance over the long term. On Tuesday, January 8, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the only late-night broadcast talk show to increase in Total Viewers this past season, will move to 11:35 p.m., putting the show in head-to-head competition with “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Show with David Letterman.” Proven late-night performer “Nightline” will shift to 12:35 a.m., allowing viewers to begin and end their broadcast day with news. The moves are timed to take advantage of the built-in promotional platforms provided by ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” and ESPN’s Bowl Championship Series, which culminates with the National Championship Game on Monday, January 7. In addition, “Nightline” will expand its programming commitments with a move into primetime, Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. beginning March 1. Given its success and growth, the ABC News series “What Would You Do?” will also find a new home on the schedule.
In making the announcement, Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, said: “Given the passionate fan base ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ has built over the past decade and the show’s ratings and creative momentum this season, the time is right to make this move. There is the potential for far greater upside over the long term with this shift, given increased advertiser demand for competitive entertainment programming in the time slot.” She continued: “This shift also allows us to bookend our programming day with compelling news content. And the addition of a new primetime hour of ‘Nightline’ on Friday nights will ensure that the program has even more opportunities to continue its incredible, award-winning reporting.”
For the complete 2011-12 Broadcast TV Season, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” grew its overall audience over the prior season by 3% in Total Viewers to generate its most-watched season in 5 years. In addition, “JKL” was the only late-night broadcast talk show to grow year over year in Total Viewers.
And the show’s ratings momentum has continued. During the recent July sweep, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” surged year to year by 15% in Total Viewers to deliver its most-watched July sweep ever. Notably, “JKL” grew its overall audience year over year in all 4 sweeps of the 2011-12 Season. The program was also up over the year-ago sweep by 5% in Adults 18-49 to score its best July in 4 years – since 2008. In addition, “JKL” stood as the only broadcast talk show in late-night to achieve yearly growth in either Total Viewers or Adults 18-49. And on Sunday, September 23, Jimmy Kimmel will take another turn in the spotlight when he hosts the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
The shift for “Nightline” in late-night and the addition of a new “Nightline” broadcast hour in primetime, timed to utilize the Academy Awards as a promotional platform, continues the momentum of ABC News, which has enjoyed a banner year of success and growth. From a resurgent “Good Morning America,” to the groundbreaking, innovative digital deal with Yahoo that immediately catapulted ABC News to the top of digital news delivery, to the recently completed joint venture with Univision for a 24-hour culturally relevant lifestyle and news channel for U.S. Hispanics — the fastest growing demographic in the nation — ABC News has gone from strength to strength and success to success.
In commenting on the announcement, Ben Sherwood, president, ABC News, said: “‘Nightline’ has proven its ability to grow over three decades on the air, with the show currently enjoying some of its highest ratings and best editorial work ever. The ‘Nightline’ team will now bring its excellent journalism to new time periods, and we especially welcome the chance to produce an hour every Friday in primetime, where new audiences will be introduced to the program’s signature storytelling, interviewing and investigations. I’m confident ‘Nightline’ and its dynamic anchors, correspondents and staff will enjoy many successes for years to come.”
Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group, added: “The time is right for Kimmel to make this move…he’s ready, and so is his audience. For the past 10 years we’ve built the foundation for this shift, and we’ll be celebrating the New Year as only Jimmy Kimmel can… with that unique brand of humor and universal wit that has endeared him to fans of all ages.”
The Disney/ABC Television Group is composed of The Walt Disney Company’s (NYSE: DIS) global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations, and radio and publishing businesses. This includes ABC Entertainment Group, ABC News, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, Disney Channels Worldwide, Radio Disney, ABC Family and SOAPnet, as well as Disney-ABC Domestic Television and Disney Media Distribution. Hyperion Publishing and the Company’s equity interest in A&E Networks round out the Group’s portfolio of media businesses.
On Saturday, July 23, 2011, “General Hospital” held its annual fan club weekend event at the Sportmen’s Lodge Event Center. Incidentally, in the year that followed many were left wondering if the 2012 event would ever come to be amidst all the drama and rumors surrounding the cancellation, reincarnation (through the Disney/ABC Television Group/Prospect Park Productions deal that wasn’t) and ultimate demise of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” and the possible effect it would have on “GH” itself. On July 21, 2012, “GH” did indeed holds its annual fan event – again at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Event Center – with a renewed focus and much hope for the future.
“General Hospital” cast members Steve Burton (Jason Morgan), Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber), Kelly Sullivan (Kate Howard/Connie Falconeri), Scott Reeves (Steve Webber), Lisa LoCicero (Olivia Falconeri), Jason Thompson (Patrick Drake), Dominic Zamprogna (Dominic Falconeri), Chad Duell (Michael Corinthos), Jen Lilley (soon-to-be ex-Maxie Jones), Drew Cheetwood (Milo Giambetti), Rebekah Montoya (Delores Padilla), Brandon Barash (Johnny Zacchara), Bradford Anderson (Damien Spinelli), Sean Blakemore (Shawn Butler), Laura Wright (Carly Jacks), Julie Marie Berman (Lulu Spencer-Falconeri), Haley Pulos (Molly Lansing), Erik Valedez (Trey Mitchell), Robin Mattson (Heather Webber), Nathin Butler (Ewen Keenan), Lindsey Morgan (Kristina Corinthos) and Richard Steinmetz (Joe Skully Jr.), were joined by “One Life to Live” turned “GH” stars Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning) and Michael Easton (John McBain), along with the soaps new executive producer Frank Valentini, on the stage as they greeted some of the soaps biggest fans.
For more than half an hour they all took fan questions, while Erik Valdez created a running joke within their answers alluding to shirts coming off. Of course, it couldn’t be helped as Valentini revealed a new boxing set had been built similar to the steam room set seen frequently on “OLTL.” Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) arrived late and was only on hand for the fan autograph signing sessions that took place immediately afterward.
Before Bradford Anderson took the reigns from “GH” Fan Club President Debbie Morris, Valentini was asked if he wanted to say a few words to the audience gathered. While he kept his responses short and sweet, he did reveal that he had arrived late to the party due to an important commitment. “I was at the Director’s Guild meeting this morning with some of the directors from daytime,” he said referring to the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), which is the union that represents directors in movie and television productions – despite being an executive producer, Valentini frequently directs episodes of his soap operas. “This is my first fan club event. I’m really excited about the show and I’m excited about this cast and I think it’ a great day for celebration, so don’t let me get in the middle. Let me share it with you,” Valentini concluded.
Despite receiving pre-prepared questions, Anderson decided to take the unusual approach of giving the fans the chance to ask their own. He walked around the room and had each person he chose say their name and ask their question of a “GH” cast member. The first question asked was how much time the cast have off each year. While the question was directed at the entire cast it was agreed, in particular by Burton and Zamprogna, that Bradford should be the one to answer it for them. “As you guys know, we have a new episode practically everyday. So that means we have to make a new episode practically everyday, and what we’re doing now is we’re trying to do more in less time so that we can save money to keep our fare show on the air for all of you,” the actor answered.
Thanks to the presence of Valentini some of the questions directed at the cast ended up being directed at him instead – in part due to Burton’s insistence on Valentini answering one particular question that referenced the timeslot change for the soap. The exact question was “Do you think the change in the timeslot for ‘GH’ is gonna screw up the ratings?” Burton, deciding it wasn’t something he could answer, immediately jumped up and over the legs of his co-stars to hand the microphone over to his boss who was all the way across the other side of the stage. As fans and cast members laughed over Burton’s gesture, Anderson joked “Aren’t you glad you showed up Frank?” Always the trooper, Valentini said “I think there is always risks in having a timeslot change, but I believe that our audience is loyal enough, but more importantly smart enough, to say ‘okay, now we have to watch GH at 2 so we’ll take our naps at 2, we’ll take our lunch at 2, we’ll take our breaks at 2.’ Here on the west coast it’s at 1 o’clock and I think that’ll be better. I actually think on the west coast it’ll be better for us than on the east coast, where it’ll be more of a challenge.”
While not giving anything away, Valentini did reveal that “we have a really great story that’s gearing up for the fall and we’re going to get a lot of promotion from the the network,” which according to the producer includes the recent blurbs popping up that reminds viewers of the change just before the end of each episode of the soap.
On a posting on the Official “General Hospital” fan club web site, Debbie Morris revealed that “Yes, we are already working on plans for a fabulous 50th Anniversary Fan Club Weekend, like no other….so stay tuned!” If you were unable to attend this year’s festivities, make sure to keep one weekend in July 2013 (TBD) on your radar so you can go next time.
On Wednesday, March 28, the Disney/ABC Television Group and Nielsen Media Research announced they would begin measuring behavior in consumers using proprietary metering technology.
The two companies stated the measure would be a “new and significant initiative that will substantially improve understanding of how people use iPads for video consumption and other activities.” According to data released by Apple, Inc., makers of the popular iPad product, there have been more than 55 million iPads sold to date and another 3 million sold since March 16, 2012 (launch date of “the new iPad” aka: iPad 3).
The study was commissioned by the Disney/ABC Television Group’s ABC Research department, in which they asked Nielsen to create a proprietary, opt-in metered iPad panel that would “aggregate and measure video consumption, app usage and other activity over the course of a year.” Nielsen will seek approximately 200 individuals/households to download their new metering application on their iPad in order for the companies to measure the reach, duration, frequency and page views of their overall iPad apps and web browsing.
“We have been actively studying consumer tablet usage through our own data for two years, and believe Nielsen’s proprietary technology has the potential to deliver unprecedented additional details about consumer viewing patterns,” said Peter Seymour, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Research for Disney Media Networks. “This study will help us — and ultimately the entire industry — to better understand our consumers, the complete tablet environment and the role our content plays on this fast growing and popular device.”
“With our unique metering capabilities, this work with ABC represents a significant step forward in understanding how consumers are using and bringing the iPad into their day-to-day [lives],” said Cheryl Idell, Executive Vice President, Nielsen Media Research. “The insight gleaned from this study, using these metering capabilities, is an example of how we meet our commitment to deliver cross platform understanding to the industry and provide broader understanding of consumers.”
Preliminary results of the study was provided by Charles Kennedy, ABC’s Senior Vice President, Research, at the Advertising Research Foundations re:Think conference held at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City.
According to sources, as indicated by Seymour above, ABC has been actively following the usage of its viewers who watch their ABC programming on their iPad’s via the popular ABC Player application. Soap Opera Network has also learned that viewing of ABC programs on the iPad, and in particular on ABC.com, will play more of a role in the networks decision making when it comes to the renewal chances of its programming. For instance, “Happy Endings,” a popular comedy series airing after “Modern Family” on Wednesday nights, recently ended its second season with low viewership levels in total audience and key sales demographics. Although not confirmed by ABC at this time, TVLine.com reported that “Endings” is likely to be renewed for a third season. This would solely be based on its performance in online viewership as the series plays relatively strong on Hulu.com, ABC.com and the ABC Player on the iPad.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Thursday, March 15, 2012, the Disney/ABC Television Stations Group released a press release (see below) informing stations across the country of its plans to launch the long anticipated talk show “Katie,” hosted by news personality Katie Couric, on Monday, September 10. What wasn’t stated was “General Hospital,” which currently occupies the planned 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PT/CT timeslot for Couric’s talk show, is likely to air its final episode in that timeslot on Friday, September 7. As we all know ABC is scheduled to turn over the timeslot to its affiliates, which will allow them to air various programming across their stations, including the option of airing “Katie.”
via Press Release
PREMIERE DATE ANNOUNCED FOR NATIONALLY SYNDICATED TALK SHOW “KATIE”
“KATIE” TO PREMIERE MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012
Executive Producer Jeff Zucker Announces Key Updates,
Hires for Katie Couric’s Upcoming Syndicated Daytime Show
Executive Producer Jeff Zucker today announced key production updates for Katie Couric’s highly anticipated nationally syndicated talk show, “Katie.” The live, weekday show has already been cleared in 94% of the country, and will premiere on Monday, September 10, 2012. The show is distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
In an internal webcast to television stations that will air “Katie,” Zucker unveiled the show’s logo, and announced additions to the senior production staff including Director Joe Terry, who has spent the last 14 years as Director for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and Co-Executive Producer Kathy Samuels. Samuels is a producer with nearly 20 years of television experience, including live television and daytime talk show programming at NBC, Paramount Domestic, and CBS, and has been a part of several successful launch teams, including “Rachael Ray” and “Access Hollywood.” Zucker will serve as the day-to-day showrunner.
The webcast was conducted from TV One at ABC’s Manhattan headquarters, which will serve as home to the “Katie” set. The studio itself has a rich history, having served as the backdrop to the Kennedy/Nixon Presidential debates, and has housed broadcast programming including “Good Morning America” and election night coverage. “Katie” will broadcast live, weekdays in front of a studio audience.
“Katie and I are thrilled to share these updates with our partners and Katie’s fans,” said Zucker. “We now have our studio, a great-looking logo that exudes all of the qualities that we want the show to convey, and a terrific team with a diverse background of experience. We couldn’t be more excited about September 10. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist, best-selling author and popular TV personality. In addition to hosting the new nationally syndicated program “Katie,” Couric is also a member of the ABC News team. “Katie” will be executive produced by Katie Couric and Jeff Zucker and is distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
For the latest news about the show, subscribe to Facebook updates from Katie, and follow her on Twitter.