Showbiz Sandbox 323: Trends From the 2016 TV Upfronts

Each May all the U.S. television networks invite major advertisers and the media to New York so they can pitch all of the new and returning shows on their fall schedules. Known as the upfronts, a good chunk of the prime time advertising inventory is sold during these meetings as promotional buzz about each series commences in earnest. We’ll take a closer look at some of the big trends coming out of this year’s upfronts.

Meanwhile, a much beloved series might be starting a trend of its own by increasing viewership in its 12th season. Usually long-running shows lose audience in their latter years, however “Grey’s Anatomy” is the perfect example of how new technology can boost viewership.

Viacom and CBS are likely to have kept a close eye on the recently completed upfronts, given their dominance in television. CBS was originally a Viacom property, but was spun-off more than a decade ago. Now, amidst leadership turmoil at Viacom, there is speculation the two companies may merge, once more becoming a single entity.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including why U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is criticizing Disney, Spotify’s big success in helping subscribers find new music and why the next James Bond film is in search of a director.

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Showbiz Sandbox 279: “Carol”, “Amy” and “Saul” Stand Tall At Cannes

It is impossible to see all the films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but halfway through the 68th edition at least three films have scored some positive buzz, all of them about tortured souls. Director Todd Haynes is leading the pack with “Carol” a film about repressed sexuality set in the 1950s, the Hungarian entry “Son of Saul” set in a Nazi concentration camp and “Amy” a powerful and moving documentary about the life of singer “Amy Winehouse”.

From the official screenings to the behind-the-scenes press conferences, we give you all the ins and outs of this year’s Cannes, including the world premiere of Pixar’s “Inside Out” which wowed attendees. Join us for our annual trip to the south of France.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, television networks have been busy selling advertising for next season’s lineup at the upfronts. We’ll tell you which shows got canceled, which new series got picked up and whether the television season has become year round.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the BAFTA TV Awards, David Lynch heads back to “Twin Peaks” again and “American Idol” sings its final note.

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Showbiz Sandbox 236: Getting Sleep At This Year’s Cannes Film Festival

It’s the middle of May so that must mean it is once again time for the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most anticipated and prestigious annual events of the international film industry. This year’s Festival du Film is stocked with titles by auteurs considered to be the world’s crème de la crème. Whether it’s a selection from festival favorite Ken Loach or a timely political movie from Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako, we’ll tell you all about the films that have been hits with the critics and attendees.

Meanwhile, cable and broadcast networks held their annual upfronts in New York last week to announce which series we’ll be watching next season (and which ones they’ve cancelled). The question is with most of the networks moving toward year round programming, are upfronts still an effective method to sell advertising.

The Federal Communications Commission finally published their open internet notice last week managing to please just about nobody. This comes as media companies continue to consolidate with AT&T announcing their plans to purchase satellite TV provider DirecTV.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including this year’s Eurovision Song Contest winner, labor disputes at the Metropolitan Opera and Conan O’Brien’s contract gets renewed.

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Showbiz Sandbox 5: A Travesty Of American Idol Justice

Kris Allen and Adam Lambert On American Idol The week leading up to Memorial Day was chock full of juicy entertainment news.

The Cannes Film Festival wrapped up in France awarding Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke it’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. Karen Woodward and J. Sperling Reich recap all the festival winners. In North America the Ben Stiller starrer “Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” opened with $70 million against “Terminator: Salvation”. McG’s attempt to reboot the “Terminator” franchise came in second at the box office with $53.8 million. “Star Trek” continued to rake in the dough with an additional $29.4 million and a cumulative $191 million in North America.

Television ratings were also bolstered by the star studded finale of the Fox network’s musical reality show “American Idol”. Kris Allen beat out Adam Lambert during a telecast that an estimated 28.84 million Americans tuned into. That ties the record for least-watched finale in recent “American Idol” memory, though nmore than 100 million votes were cast, a new record for the show. While Karen believes the results were a travesty of justice, Lambert may not be walking away empty handed after all; Billboard reports the rock group Queen may be interested in the young singer to front the band. Musical pop star Pink wasn’t happy with “American Idol” either, though more because she says they butchered one of her songs.

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Showbiz Sandbox 2: Disney Hearts Hulu, Endeavor Hearts William Morris

Disney Hulu“Wolverine” opens big with $87 million in North American box office, Disney joins online video site, meanwhile Sony streams movies on  An advance look at NBC’s uprfront announcement about which of their television shows are being picked up and which are dumped.  Scrubs may be back on ABC next season after all.  Hasbro and Discovery are putting together a cable network. Obama’s ratings drop and McCain hosts a movie marathon.  Oliver Stone will make “Wall Street 2” with Shia LeBeouf, Chris Noth signs on to “Sex and the City 2”, Universal remakes “Drop Dead Fred” and Don Johnson will play a porn director.  Theatre chain National Amusements is up for sale and studios stop paying for 3D glasses.  Finally, it’s official – talent agencies Endeavor and William Morris will be merging.

“Wolverine” A Hero At The Box Office

Disney’s Anne Sweeney Talks Hulu: It’s All About Casual Viewers

Disney’s Hulu Deal Raises Question About YouTube Model

Denis Leary goes Hulu, mocks your ‘Tweety-pages’ and your ‘Faceyspaces’

“TV Everywhere”: Pay your cable bill, watch Entorage online

Sony Offers Free Films On Crackle

NBC Gets Rolling Before Its Upfronts

NBC Exec Dies On “Parenthood” Set

Chuck Decision Delayed For A Week Or More

Talks Continue For “Scrubs” Return

Hasbro and Discovery Plan Channel Based On Toy Brands

Full Orchestra Puts “Lost” Audience On Edge

Obama Presser Audience Slides But Still Beats Idol

McCain To Host AMC Movie Marathon

Stone To Walk “Wall Street” Again

Mr. Big To Return In “Sex and the City 2”

Universal remaking “Drop Dead Fred”

Don Johnson set to play porn director

Bruce Willis Is Living Hard

Relativity reaches deal with Lionsgate

Viacom Profit Veers Down

National Amusements Ups Ante On Auction

Biz Balks At Cost Of 3D Glasses

Battle Brews Over 3D Glasses In Europe

WMA, Endeavor Approve Merger

As Willliam Morris and Endeavor Near a Merger, a New Book May Cause Discomfort

Paradigm Makes a Move of Its Own