Venue: Helen Mills Event Space on W. 26th St. between 6th and 7th Aves. A tough facility for any organization to work with, thanks to a long patch with a bar on one side and columns in the middle which (depending on where you sit) can block views. Whoever designed the setting for this press lunch did an outstanding job, from a black-and-white gallery of African-American leaders to another featuring TV One's personalities in color on the wall across from the bar (separated by a classy tall bookcase) to the sofas near the front. Superb atmosphere, taken down two big pegs by a bland-tasting lunch and the fact that lunch was served while Senior Vice President of Original Programming D'Angela Proctor was at a crucial point in the presentation. Grade: 4 Jacks for the setting/1.5 Jacks for lunch and the timing of it.
Presentation: For its first such public event since 2012, new TV One president Brad Siegel declared off the bat that a new era of plenty is underway – “plenty” referring to original series, made-for movies and specials offered year-round. To viewers, that initiative will be showcased under four theme nights: Sundays and Wednesdays for unscripted work, Thursdays for comedy and Saturdays for original movies, music and award specials. "This network will soar to new heights this year and next year," Siegel declared. Under this area, advertisers will be invited to develop multimedia combo deals with other properties from parent Radio One, involving radio programming and Web arrangements with unit Interactive One. University Of Phoenix is an early client, highlighted via a vignette played during the NAACP Image Awards. Grade: 3.5 Jacks
News: Four comedy series will launch on Thursday nights in the months ahead, the most offered at any time in TV One's 11-year existence. Three are sitcoms: “Born Again Virgin” (a pro vlogger turns celibate), “Mitch N' Max” (an odd couple airing with a stockbroker and a hip-hop artist) and “The Family Plot” (beauty queen operates funeral home – “Six Feet Under” this isn't). The fourth is local newscast parody “The Weekly Show,” featuring former members of The Groundlings improv squad. Three upcoming original movies will double as scripted series pilots – “Brooklyn Faith” (moral conflicts among community members), “Ringside” (boxing drama from popular Radio One host Russ Parr) and “Fear Files,” a second sequel to the horror anthology featuring African-American women created last fall (as “Fright Night Files”). New unscripted series include “For My Man,” “The Next 15” and “Unstoppable.” “For the Love of Ruth,” “Runaway Island” and “Ebeneza” are among the original movies ahead. A special edition of PBS' “In Performance at the White House” with gospel talent will debut June 26 and “News One Now,” the daily late-morning program, will expand to quarterly specials. Grade: 4 Jacks
Host: Siegal and Proctor were impressive. It was odd that at least one network personality did not speak in person. Grade: 3 Jacks
Overall Grade: 3.5 Jacks Nice to have TV One back in public via an upfront event, nicer to make it happen inside the best use of the Mills space in a long while. With a tastier lunch and appropriate serving and this would have been a 4 Jacks event at the least.
A quick reminder of our Jacks grading system:
5 Jacks = Excellent
4 Jacks = Very Good
3 Jacks = Good
2 Jacks = Fair
1 Jack = Poor
0 Jacks = Worse than that
Next up: ABC Family
New observations from the passing parade:
Did you know DirecTV has been presenting some new original series through its Audience Network channel lately? “Full Circle” and “Billie & Billie” to name two, with season three of Thandie Newton’s “Rogue” ahead. A big reason why you don't is that DirecTV has not issued press releases on these series anywhere, not even on its Web site. What gives?
From the "announced today, forgotten tomorrow" file: Adobe and Nielsen missed a big opportunity at last week's Simulmedia PeopleFront to highlight their respective new relationships with Crackle, Sony's programming service distributed through smart TV sets and smart TV-able devices like Roku. The day before, Crackle announced a new "Always On" interface with an Adobe Primetime core and audience-tracking efforts with Adobe and Nielsen. (See our Crackle upfront column for more detail on both situations.) At Simulmedia's Paley Center event, Nielsen global president Steve Hasker and Adobe vice president Suresh Vittal didn't bring up the Crackle relationships. Neither did moderator Bruce Rogers from Forbes. Go figure.
One wall of the room housing Simulmedia’s overflow crowd was lined with an assortment of statistical tidbits. Here are a few eye-catchers. People watching via smart TVs watch 96 percent more Golf Channel than the average person. Female foodies are 24 percent more likely to watch Comedy Central than the average female. (I’ll bet “Broad City” and Peabody-winning “Inside Amy Schumer” were partly responsible.) Fashionistas are 42 percent more into ESPN than the average female, while bookworms are 44 percent more likely to turn on USA Network than the average male or female. The more you know...
More on Simulmedia's event in a future column. Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!
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