FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films today revealed the initial films that will be featured in Signals, the digital short series that is the latest project to come out of ESPN content unit Exit 31. Signals will debut on FiveThirtyEight.com on Wednesday, October 22 with “The Man Vs. The Machine,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and looks at a story Nate Silver explored in a chapter of his best-selling book, The Signal and the Noise – that of World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov and his historic matches with IBM’s “Deep Blue.” Filmmakers and producers in the series include: Colin Hanks, Gillian Jacobs, Steven Leckart, Frank Marshall, Mark Polish and Jamie Schultz.
“The films in the Signals series are developed to showcase stories where analytics and data meet compelling narratives, not necessarily sports, but across many spectrums,” said Dan Silver, Sr. Director of Development, ESPN Films, who oversees the series. “Similar in structure to our 30 for 30 Shorts, Signals is a diverse anthology with each piece being helmed by a different director, and it is a collaborative effort with the team at FiveThirtyEight to identify and develop these film ideas.”
Signals will be supported by ABC News, with the unit promoting each short through various digital and social outlets. When possible, related features and visualizations on FiveThirtyEight.com will accompany the films to provide greater context. New films from the Signals series will debut approximately every six weeks.
Signals Film Summaries (exact premiere dates to be announced):
The Man Vs. The Machine (Directed by Frank Marshall) – October 22
On May 3, 1997, Gary Kasparov sat down in New York City to do battle against his longtime nemesis, the IBM chess-playing machine “Deep Blue.” While the much hyped match of man versus machine consisted of six chess games over nine days, there are many who would claim the entire contest was decided in just one move: the 44th move of the second game when Deep Blue made an “error” in moving its king. Immediately following the game, Kasparov accused IBM of cheating, claiming there must have been a human influence to the move. The IBM computer scientists who’d built Deep Blue said the machine had been programmed to do just what it had done. And more recently, a third theory has been put forward that the move was actually the result of a computer bug.
The Cowboys and The Indian (Directed by Mark Polish) – December
In the early 1960’s the Dallas Cowboys wanted to develop a computer system that would evaluate draft eligible college players. It was this sophisticated player-draft system the Cowboys conceived that would propel them onto five Super Bowl appearances in the 1970’s thus winning two World Championships. This story of ingenuity is made more interesting because the key team member has since been forgotten.
A. Salam Qureishi, a brilliant Indian computer programmer and statistician, was a young man who grew up halfway across the world and knew nothing about American football. Up until this system, pro scouting was done on hunches rather than hard numbers. Qureishi’s programming changed all that. His computer model helped draft such legendary players as Mel Renfro, Bullet Bob Hayes, Roger Staubach, Craig Morton, Jethro Pugh, Walt Garrison, Rayfield Wright, Larry Cole, Calvin Hill and Duane Thomas.
The Queens of Code (Directed by Gillian Jacobs) – January
The Queens of Code revisits the early days of computing, when software development was helmed by the great Grace Hopper. She dedicated her life to bringing computers to the masses, when most of her colleagues supposed the technology would only be useful for scientists and the military. Through her genius, she taught software English, so that everyone could communicate with computers. This film aims to celebrate Grace’s quirky brilliance, and shine a light on the underrepresented history of computer science.
Zormelo (Directed by Jamie Schultz) - February
At the intersection of genius and athleticism lies the mind of Justin Zormelo. As a trained mathematician and basketball expert, Zormelo uses advanced analytics to propel players into perfection. In his most recent undertaking, Zormelo will be training seventeen-year-old 7′ 1” Sudan native, Thon Maker — who has already made a name for himself as an International Jr. All-Star. The teenager shows great promise, but will Zormelo be able to give him the perfect edge to become the next big name in basketball history?
Gold Hunters (Directed by Steven Leckart) – April
In 1857, off the Carolina coast, the SS Central America sank in a Category 2 hurricane and with it, thirty thousand pounds of gold valued today at roughly $548 million dollars. Over a century later and after many failed attempts to locate “The Ship of Gold,” a team of explorers led by Tommy Thompson skillfully implemented Bayesian Search theory, statistically limiting the possible locations where the ship went down. Only months later, they ultimately they struck gold. But when the financiers of his expedition came looking for their cut, Tommy Thompson disappeared. “Gold Hunters” investigates this dramatic modern day treasure hunt and the incredible roots of Bayesian Search.
FiveThirtyEight, which launched as an ESPN entity in 2014, is a data journalism organization delivering compelling stories across the verticals of politics, economy, science, life and sports. The site, founded by award-winning author and statistician Nate Silver, first gained national attention during the 2008 presidential election, when it correctly predicted the results of the presidential election in 49 of 50 states, along with all 35 U.S. Senate races. Since its debut at ESPN, FiveThirtyEight has built a team with a broad set of skills and experiences in order to apply statistical analysis, data visualization, and data-literate reporting to topics in the news and in everyday life.
Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports. In October 2009, ESPN Films launched its signature 30 for 30 film series, which has since won a Peabody Award, Producer’s Guild Award and an Emmy Award. Inspired by ESPN’s 30th Anniversary, the films that made up the series were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators. The strong reaction from both critics and fans led to the launch of 30 for 30 Volume II, which is currently underway. Additional projects from ESPN Films include the critically-acclaimed Nine for IX series, SEC Storied and the Webby Award- and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 Shorts.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. has secured the network television premiere windows for The Walt Disney Studios’ upcoming releases Cinderella and The Jungle Book. As part of a licensing agreement with The Walt Disney Studios, the highly anticipated movies will be available to networks across Turner Broadcasting’s portfolio, including TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network, a little over two years after each film’s theatrical release. The tentative network premiere windows are set to begin in mid-2017 for Cinderella and early 2018 for The Jungle Book. Both films are set to hit theatres in 2015.
“We are confident Disney’s new live-action versions of Cinderella and The Jungle Book will appeal to a wide range of demographics and will enjoy extremely successful runs across our various branded networks,” said Deborah K. Bradley, senior vice president, head of program acquisitions, content strategy and licensing for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “These movies are the kind of tent-pole releases that will fit perfectly with Turner’s ever-growing stable of blockbuster titles.”
Turner Broadcasting’s licensing agreement for Disney’s Cinderella and The Jungle Book comes on the heels of a high-profile deal for the network television premiere windows for the next five theatrical releases from Disney subsidiary Marvel, including Avengers: Age of Ultron and the third installment in the Captain America franchise.
A live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, Cinderella brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully realized characters in a visually dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation. Directed by Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh and starring Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden and Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter, Cinderella‘s theatrical release is slated for March 13, 2015.
Disney’s all-new live-action movie The Jungle Book, inspired by the animated classic, is directed by Jon Favreau. The all-star voice cast includes Academy Award nominee Bill Murray as Baloo, Academy Award winners Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Christopher Walken as King Louie and Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, plus Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito as Akela and newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli. The film arrives in theaters in 3D on Oct. 9, 2015.
Disney-ABC announced today that it has garnered clearances for its upcoming syndicated lifestyle show “THE F·A·B” (Fun and Beautiful) on the ABC Owned Stations for Fall 2015. In addition, social media buff and foodie Chrissy Teigen, fashion guru Joe Zee, interior design professional Lauren Makk, and do-it-yourself YouTuber Leah Ashley will join Tyra Banks as co-hosts when the show debuts in national syndication.
The ABC Owned Television Stations Group represents 23% of the nation’s TV households and 6 of the top 10 markets. The eight ABC Owned stations are New York (WABC-TV), Los Angeles (KABC-TV), Chicago (WLS-TV), Philadelphia (WPVI-TV), San Francisco (KGO-TV), Houston (KTRK-TV), Raleigh/Durham (WTVD-TV) and Fresno (KFSN-TV).
It was previously announced in May that Tyra — supermodel, businesswoman, producer and media mogul – will moderate the panel of diverse lifestyle experts. Tyra, Chrissy, Joe, Lauren and Leah will provide an entertaining hour of television, as well as daily takeaways important to viewers. “THE F·A·B” hosts will welcome celebrities, Internet influencers, experts and everyday people to share their knowledge and join in the party. From fashion and beauty to food and design to doing it yourself and even starting a business, the show will not only entertain, but also motivate the audience to make their lives more fun and beautiful.
“I am absolutely thrilled that we have sold our new Tyra Banks moderated lifestyle show to our stellar group of ABC Owned television stations,” said Janice Marinelli, president, Disney-ABC Domestic Television. “They are strong stations with outstanding leadership and are the ideal fit for our fresh lifestyle show with Tyra and her engaging panel of co-hosts.”
“Tyra and her panel of lifestyle experts share a chemistry that is energetic and extremely entertaining,” said Rebecca Campbell, president, ABC Owned Station Group. “We are excited to collaborate with our partners at Disney-ABC and air ‘THE F·A·B’ on our stations beginning next fall.”
“At 40, Tyra has never been more relevant than she is today and her massive and growing digital footprint exemplifies her connection with women of all ages,” said Lisa Hackner, executive vice president, Daytime & Syndicated Programming, ABC Entertainment Group. “Tyra has curated a fresh and authentic panel of co-hosts that is diverse in expertise, digitally connected and also share a magical chemistry. Having the support of these formidable stations is a testament to the show and the perfect timing of this program.”
Social media buff and foodie Chrissy Teigen originally planned to be a chef but discovered her passion for modeling at a young age. As a swimsuit model, Chrissy appeared on the 50th Anniversary cover of Sports Illustrated in 2014 alongside Lily Aldridge and Nina Agdal and was named SI’s Rookie of the Year in 2010. Throughout her career, she has appeared on the pages of Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Elle, GQ, Esquire, Italian Vogue and Martha Stewart Weddings. She currently serves as a host/contributor on “The Chew” and “The View” and she has made numerous appearances on “The Today Show,” “Rachael Ray,” “E! News,” “Extra,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “Watch What Happens Live” and various specials on the Cooking Channel. A social media enthusiast, Chrissy served as host of the VH1 reality competition show “Model Employee” and is currently a judge on MTV’s new food reality competition show “Snack-Off.” When not working in television or the world of high fashion modeling, Chrissy is a talented cook and the author of the blog SoDelushious.com.
Joe Zee began his career in fashion at age 22 when he moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. Joe is currently the Editor in Chief and Executive Creative Officer of Yahoo Fashion, where he is tasked with launching and running a digital fashion magazine for the tech giant. Previously, Joe was the Creative Director of Elle magazine and he also held posts at Allure, W Details, House and Garden and Vanity Fair magazines. For three seasons beginning in 2010, Joe starred in and executive produced the non-fiction series “All On the Line With Joe Zee” for the Sundance Channel. He is a frequent fashion and pop culture contributor, appearing often on “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” “Extra,” “E! News” and “Access Hollywood.” He can currently be seen on “Entertainment Tonight” as their resident Fashion Correspondent.
Lauren Makk is a popular television host, interior design professional, home expert and life stylist. She debuted her skills as one of the newest designers of TLC’s Emmy award-winning “Trading Spaces” and she tackled major construction problems on A&E’s “Drill Team.” Currently, Lauren can be found empowering homeowners to create the home of their dreams through savvy design advice and budget friendly tips on Honolulu’s KHON-TV. Her national design business, Lauren Makk Interiors, specializes in affordable luxury and creating incredible transformations — always under budget.
Leah Ashley is a do-it-yourself (DIY) YouTube sensation and lifestyle blogger who co-created the website and YouTube destination “A Fab Life!” Both the website and channel are lifestyle guides for the glam girl — a girl who delights in the good life and partakes in the finer things — regardless of her bank balance. Leah has been featured on CNN, HGTV, KTLA, Discovery and in Glamour magazine, to name a few. She offers her expertise to private clients in wardrobe, décor and events and has done trend forecasting for Fortune 500 companies such as Pepsi, Target and Sony, digital consulting as well as multi-platform brand integration through original video and editorial content.
The talk show will broadcast from Los Angeles and Tyra Banks will serve as executive producer. It will be produced by Disney-ABC’s Summerdale Productions and distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
Walt Disney Animation Studios revealed plans today for “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated comedy-adventure about a spirited teenager on an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors’ quest. In theaters in late 2016, the film is directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Aladdin”).
“John and I have partnered on so many films—from ‘The Little Mermaid’ to ‘Aladdin’ to ‘The Princess and the Frog,’” said Clements. “Creating ‘Moana’ is one of the great thrills of our career. It’s a big adventure set in this beautiful world of Oceania.”
In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.
“Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.”
The Disney Parks Blog has announced that new items, similar to the Glow With The Show ears, will be coming to Disney Parks. The line included a Mickey Glove, Minnie Headband, and Magic Wand. Each item interacts with select nighttime spectaculars at Disney Parks while the magic wand can change the color of other “Made With Magic” items. The expanded line is branded “Made With Magic.” Each item will retail for $25 and will be available this Fall.
On Tuesday, November 4 ABC News‘ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos will lead live, uninterrupted coverage online from 7:00 PM – 2:00 AM ET. At 10:00 PM ET and 10:00 PM PT it will be simulcast live for one-hour special reports on the ABC broadcast network with additional live updates at 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 11:00 PM and 12:00 AM ET as polls close in various states.
The network’s Election Night coverage kicks off with a special edition of “World News Tonight with David Muir” at 6:30 PM ET, with live updates throughout the night.
Starting at 7:00 PM ET Stephanopoulos will anchor live coverage from ABC News Election Headquarters in Times Square in New York bringing viewers the whole picture on election results. Stephanopoulos will also be joined by ABC’s Diane Sawyer, “World News Tonight” Anchor David Muir, Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz, “Nightline” Anchor Dan Harris and Fusion Anchor Alicia Menendez. ABC contributors Matthew Dowd, Donna Brazile, David Plouffe, William Kristol and Nicolle Wallace will provide analysis live from Election Headquarters. They will be joined on the air by ABC News veteran political journalist Cokie Roberts in Washington, DC.
In addition, ABC News will report live from our ABC stations, polling places and election headquarters across the country. ABC’s Ron Claiborne, Jeff Zeleny, Cecilia Vega, Tom Llamas and Linsey Davis will be on location, with results and reaction on the ground, traveling to key races.
The team from FiveThirtyEight, led by founder and Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver, will live blog and join Stephanopoulos and the ABC News team, adding context as the results come in. Additionally, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and veteran pollster Gary Langer and team will break down the polls throughout the night.
Special live editions of “Nightline” anchored by Dan Harris will air at 12:35 AM and 3:35 AM ET. “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” will preview Election Day races on Sunday, November 2. “Good Morning America” will report the latest on all the results on Wednesday, November 5.
The live stream anchored by Stephanopoulos from 7:00 PM – 2:00 AM ET will be available on ABCNews.com, ABC News mobile apps and Apple TV. ABC News Digital will introduce personalized alerts for Election Night, updating users with all the results from their local races.
ABC News Radio will cover key races with reporting from correspondents Aaron Katersky in New York andSteven Portnoy in Washington, D.C.
ABC NewsOne, the network’s affiliate news service, will provide reporting during the lead up to Election Day for ABC stations and clients. Correspondents Tahman Bradley and Karen Travers will cover important races and the balance of power in Congress.
Marc Burstein is the senior executive producer of ABC News Special Events.
Following Seekers of the Weird and Figment, the Disney Parks blog revealed that the next series in Marvel’s Disney Kingdoms line will be Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The five part series is written by Dennis Hopeless with art by Tigh Walker. The series will be available at comic book shops in Spring 2015.
The Disney Kingdoms line tells comic book stories inspired by tales from Walt Disney Imagineering.
THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR OF “PRANKSGIVING,”
A CORNUCOPIA OF FUN-FILLED PROGRAMMING FOR KIDS AGE 6-14,
SET FOR NOVEMBER ON DISNEY XD
For the third consecutive year, a cornucopia of prank-themed storylines so plentiful that they merit their own programming event, namely the popular “Pranksgiving,” will be presented NOVEMBER 1-30 on Disney XD. Geared towards kids age 6-14, the programming event includes the premiere of an interstitial series created by acclaimed animation producers The Brothers McLeod (“Pedro and Franksheep,” BAFTA winners for their work with BBC Learning) which introduce the comical adventures of one clever turkey outsmarting one unsuspecting pilgrim.
Pranksgiving highlights also include hoax-themed episodes of the series “Lab Rats,” “Kickin’ It,” “Mighty Med,” “Kirby Buckets,” “Wander over Yonder” and “Phineas and Ferb,” the premiere of the original movie “Pants on Fire” starring Bradley Steven Perry (“Mighty Med,” “Good Luck Charlie”), Joshua J. Ballard (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”) and Tyrel Jackson Williams (“Lab Rats”), and an all-new edition of the hit hidden camera series “Just Kidding” hosted by multi-talented actor Calum Worthy (“Austin & Ally”).
November 2012 was Disney XD’s #1 month ever in Primetime in Total Viewers, Kids 6-14, Kids and Boys 6-11 and Kids and Boys 2-11; while 2013 was its #2 month ever among Boys 6-14 and Boys 9-14, and #4 in Total Viewers and Kids 6-14.
Every day throughout the month is a premiere event on WATCHDisneyXD.com and the WATCH Disney XD app for smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. All shows in Disney XD’s Pranksgiving and all new episodes of “Star Wars Rebels” and “Gravity Falls,” among others, will be available to verified viewers on WATCH before airing on TV. Also, the newly updated WATCH Prank-A-Tron 5000 game invites kids to pick from a prank-filled library of over 500 sounds from their favorite Disney XD shows, including “Kirby Buckets,” “Star Wars Rebels” and “Phineas and Ferb.”
Disney XD’s “Pranksgiving” schedule is: (all times ET/PT)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1 (9:00 p.m.)
“Just Kidding” - the comedic prank show returns with a new host and executive producer, popular actor Calum Worthy (“Austin & Ally”), who will set the stage for kid and tween pranksters to play good-natured tricks on innocent bystanders. Disney XD stars from “Mighty Med” and “Kickin’ It” will also guest host with Calum in several shows. New episodes will roll-out Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout the month. TV-Y
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3 (8:30 p.m.)
“Kirby Buckets” - In the episode “The Legend of Prank Williams Jr.,” Kirby learns about the most outrageous prank that ever existed and is determined to find a way to replicate it. TV-Y7
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9 (7:00 p.m.)
“Pants on Fire” - Bradley Steven Perry (“Mighty Med,” “Good Luck Charlie”), Joshua J. Ballard (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”) and Tyrel Jackson Williams (“Lab Rats”) star in this Disney XD Original Movie. The comedic, fantastical story introduces 15-year-old Jack Parker as all the lies he’s ever told suddenly become real — including a possessive girlfriend, a roving duo of alien body-snatchers, and Mikey, the made-up friend that Jack claims to tutor. Now it’s up to Jack and his buddy Ryan to figure out who or what is behind this crazy situation, all while chasing down a plush purple hippo who may hold the key to unlocking this mind-boggler. TV-G
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10 (7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.)
“Mighty Med” - In an episode titled “The Claw Prank Redemption,” Gus and Jordan execute a prank war on each other while Skylar asks Oliver to attend a school dance with her. TV-Y7
“Lab Rats” - in an episode titled “Face Off,” Bree attempts to play a prank on Adam but it goes awry right before her big date for the school’s winter dance. TV-Y7
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17 (8:00 p.m.)
“Kickin’ It” - the episode titled “Kickin’ It In The Office” finds Milton finally taking a stand against Jerry’s recurring pranks by executing the ultimate prank himself. TV-Y7
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25 (8:30 p.m.)
“Wander Over Yonder” - in an episode titled “The Funk,” Lord Hater is taught a lesson after he turns to bullying the universe just to make himself feel better. In “The Enemies,” Lord Hater and Sir Brad Starlight team up to fight the one person they hate more than each other, Wander. James Marsden (“Enchanted”) reprises his role as Sir Brad Starlight. TV-Y7
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27 (8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.)
“Randy Cunningham Ninth Grade Ninja” - in the episode titled “Shoot first, Ask Questions Later” finds Randy and Howard using Ninja-ing to level the playing field during a game of laser tag. In “Ninjaception,” Randy is stuck in a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-
“Phineas and Ferb” - in “Doof 101,” Dr. Doofenshmirtz is sentenced to community service for being evil and much to his daughter Vanessa’s chagrin, he’s assigned to teach science at her high school. Guest starring are Gary Cole as Principal Lang, Josh Gad as Wendell, Danica McKellar as Becky and Jennifer Grey as Mrs. Pierpont. TV-G
Source: NTI, U.S. ratings, Primetime, November 2012 and November 2013.