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Can UFC Still Land A Knockout TV Deal Despite Ratings Slide And Talent Drain?

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship, acquired in 2016 by Endeavor (then WME-IMG) for the hefty sum of $4B, is approaching the end of its seven-year TV deal with Fox, which expires in December. As Endeavor looks for a new package for the once-high-flying circuit, the process goes to the heart of one of the thorniest and most complex parts of the media business: sports rights. As with many other televised sports, ratings for the mixed-martial-arts circuit on the Fox… Read

TV

‘The Good Fight’ To Start Donald Trump Holding-America-Hostage Clock In Season 2

Each episode of CBS All Access series The Good Fight‘s Season 2 will be named for how many days Donald Trump has been President of the United States. Like a hostage crisis, Robert King explained to Deadline. Which, he said, speaks very much to the state of mind of Christine Baranski's character  Diane, who will continue, in the second batch of episodes, to grapple with the insanity of a world in which Trump is POTUS. The first episode, for instance, available March 4, is… Read

Business

CBS Touts 5M Total OTT Subscribers, Sets Launches For ‘Entertainment Tonight’ And CBS Sports Apps

Jordan Peele

While there was a surprising amount of old-fashioned good news in the fourth-quarter earnings report delivered by CBS — retrans revenue, licensing and distribution all way up — the focus of today’s conference call with Wall Street analysts was squarely on digital. Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves said that CBS and Showtime together have 5 million subscribers to their respective OTT services. That puts the company ahead of schedule in its progress toward a projection of… Read

Business

Warner Bros.’ Machinima Rebrands And Revamps Distribution And Talent Plan

Now that it is fully integrated into Warner Bros.’ digital networks division, Machinima today announced a rebranding — with its longtime red-and-black logo turning green — as well as refinements to its distribution and talent strategy. The gamer brand, whose properties attract more than 140 million monthly views, is signaling its evolution from a traditional multi-channel network (MCN) to a content provider focused on the intersection of gamer culture and entertainment… Read

Business

Overtime Scores Funding In Bid To Build Out Streaming Sports Network

Sports startup Overtime has raised $9.5 million from investors including VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, NBA star Kevin Durant and former NBA commissioner David Stern, solidifying its bid to create a youth-oriented sports media brand. The teen audience is the core target for the Brooklyn-based venture, which sees opportunity to engage viewers who are increasingly disenchanted with coverage on traditional networks like ESPN. Disney’s longtime cable powerhouse, which is… Read

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Disney Unveils Inaugural Streaming Service Launch Slate To Town; No R-Rated Fare

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EXCLUSIVE: The Disney streaming service is beginning to crystallize, and Deadline can provide some details of the initial slate. The studio has been conducting meetings within the creative community to give a sense of its new OTT service that will launch in fall 2019. Perhaps not surprisingly at this point, there was no mention of how the assets of 21st Century Fox will fit into the new service. A team of Disney creative executives are doing the barnstorming, headed by… Read

Business

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish On ‘Cloverfield Paradox’ Sale, OTT Plans And Nickelodeon Leadership

Bob Bakish

In a newsy earnings call, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish addressed the decision to sell Paramount’s The Cloverfield Paradox to Netflix, where it launched on Super Bowl Sunday, calling it “a bit of a one-off.” Even so, the studio will “continue to look broadly at opportunities” for “creative thinking and ways to create more value,” he said. Bakish, who has had the top job for a bit more than a year, covered several other hot topics, though a disclaimer at the top of the call said… Read

TV

Kevin Hart Is First Guest On Netflix’s ‘The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale’

Kevin Hart will guest on the premiere episode of The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale; the Sunday, February 18 premiere also will feature appearances by Alison Brie, Mike Colter, Paul Reiser, Jodie Sweetin and Jim Rash. Netflix made that announcement Wednesday morning, also unveiling key art (see it below) and a new trailer, which you can watch above. “When the news goes from bad to worse, when anger and hatred are on the rise, the world needs a hero,” the Netflix show… Read

Business

Iger Says Disney’s OTT Service “Will Spend Less On Volume” Than Netflix Due To Strong Brands

Bob Iger Mickey Mouse

Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company’s direct-to-consumer service, slated to launch in 2019 after the company adds Fox assets to its stable, will be able to compete with Netflix but will “spend less on volume” than the streaming incumbent. Speaking to Wall Street analysts during the company’s fiscal first quarter earnings call, Iger did not specify a specific budget for content. Compared with Netflix’s increasingly hefty outlays ($8 billion this year and headed upward)… Read

Business

Disney Prices ESPN OTT Service At $4.99 A Month Ahead Of Spring Launch

At the top of Disney’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Bob Iger said the long-awaited stand-alone ESPN OTT service will be priced at $4.99 a month. It will be available at launch this spring via Apple iOS, Android and ChromeCast as the initial platforms, with “more to follow,” Iger said. He said BAMTech, the OTT specialist that Disney acquired last year, enabled the company to scale the app quickly. He stressed that the app “will be a completely new app,” with three main… Read

Business

Jeff Hughes Promoted To President Of Fox Networks’ Digital Consumer Group

In the latest ripple effect from the CEO switch at Hulu, Fox Networks Group today has promoted Jeff Hughes to president of its Digital Consumer Group. The move was announced by FNG president and COO Brian Sullivan, who previously ran DCG and to whom Hughes will continue to report. Sullivan was upped to his new post in December after Randy Freer left Fox’s exec ranks last fall to become the head of Hulu. Hughes leads digital strategy and execution for all entertainment and… Read

Uber Riders To Get Exclusive NBC Olympics Video Content Under Partnership

Taking an Uber will come with some extra luge content over the next two and a half weeks under a novel partnership between the ride-share giant and NBC. During the PyeongChang Games, which start Thursday, Uber riders across the country will be able to access Olympic athlete interviews and highlights curated daily by NBC Olympics. Once riders begin their trips, they can access – through the Uber app and a link to an NBC Olympics site – interviews, highlights, and content… Read