Ready Set Summer

Cynopsis Media

Ready, Set…Summer!

By: Lynn Leahey

With the season 8 premiere of American Ninja Warrior arriving June 1 on NBC, executive producer Arthur Smith of A Smith & Co. talked to Cynopsis about the keys to a successful summer series.

Cynopsis: Do the elements of a successful summer series different from what makes a regular season series work?

Arthur Smith: All successful series must carry the same key ingredients — regardless of season. The three “must haves” for success are: casting, format, and execution. If those three things are in place and firing on all cylinders, then the show is in position to do well. Of course, there are a number of other factors for success including marketing and scheduling but those are the 3 keys for producers. There are certain programs that feel just “right” for summer, and American Ninja Warrior is one of them.

What can be tricky about summer programming is that the holidays can be really disruptive to building and maintaining momentum. You have Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, so you have to keep those in mind so you can navigate a plan around those holidays and adjust accordingly. In addition, summer travel by millions of Americans during the summer can make it more challenging to maintain audiences. The advantage that American Ninja Warrior has, is that it has great “accessibility,” as viewers can drop in on the show at any point and feel satisfied. The show rewards the long-time viewer, as well as the viewer who likes their shows in bite-sized chunks. Although there is a continuing arc, each show and for that matter, each “run” stands on its own.

Cynopsis: What changes are in store for the new season?

Smith: Coming off of our biggest season yet where history was made with two finishers and one winner at Mount Mydoriyama, this off season was our busiest and unlike anything we have experienced so far. Our research and development was taken to a whole new level. We’re debuting 28 new obstacles this year. We raised the iconic Warped Wall six inches higher to increase the difficulty. Every location is new this year and we’re filming the show in four new cities: Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia. We’re going to be showing more new faces, too – submissions are up way up from last year. We had over 70,000 applicants – by far the most ever.

Cynopsis: How do you explain the rise of female competitors? What impact has “Mighty Kacy” had on the show and its audience?

Smith: Without question the “Kacy effect” has been huge. Her accomplishments have created a ton of attention. But very quickly on the heels of Kacy, we also saw amazing performances from Megan Martin, and Jessi Graff, and Michell Warnky, to name a few. This group of women have created such wonderful positive momentum for the last few years and it is not surprising to see the rise of female competitors. Every year the numbers go up for woman competitors but the biggest increase was this off season as we had 40 per cent more woman applying this year than last year!


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TNT’s The Dunk King Reaches Nearly 11 Million Total Viewers for Inaugural Four-Part Series

Multi Channel News

TNT’s premiere of The Dunk King, a four-part series set to crown the best amateur dunker from around the globe, reached 10.9 million total viewers.  The show, in association with A. Smith & Co. Productions, delivered an average of 2.1 million total viewers for Tuesday night’s finale.  Viewership grew 19% from the debut episode through the final round.

Additionally, The Dunk King delivered the most-viewed program of the night – based on total viewership and all key demos – across cable television in its telecast window each of the four nights.  The Dunk King also generated a 36% increase among total viewers, a 68% in Men 18-34 and a 59% in People 18-34 when compared with the network’s average viewership in each of the respective telecast windows.

Porter Maberry, standing 5’5” and hailing from Grand Rapids, Mich., soared past the other 32 competitors to earn the title of “Dunk King” and a $100,000 prize.  His final round dunk had him leap over 7’2” Shaquille O’Neal – TNT NBA analyst and one of the show’s judges – to seal the victory.

The program’s finalists also featured top dunkers including Kenny Dobbs, Jordan Kilganon, Guy Dupuy and Haneef Munir to collectively showcase some of their best aerial displays. Throughout the show’s four episodes, contestants jumped over motorcycles, leapt over cars, and even dunked over a man on fire in pursuit of the title of “Dunk King.”

Hosted by Terrence J and Kenny Smith, with judges including NBA on TNT analysts Charles Barkley, O’Neal and Brent Barry, each of the four premiere episodes aired immediately following TNT’s Inside the NBA post-game show during the 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals.

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FYI walks down the aisle with “Teenage Newlyweds”



Written by: Manori Ravindran


FYI is walking down the aisle with a new docuseries.

Teenage Newlyweds follows three couples graduating from young sweethearts into husband and wife. The A. Smith & Co.-produced series documents the wedding and the early days of married life as the couples navigate careers, finances and mortgages while still working through their teenage years.

The couples include Halie and George, members of the Mormon Church who got engaged after a few months of dating; Brenda and Travis, who got together in college despite “clashing beliefs and values”; and small-town high-school partners Emma and Joey, who have different career aspirations.

The series – which has received an 8 x 60-minute order – will premiere on May 31 at 10 p.m. EST/PST.

“FYI continues to create unique and entertaining content that spotlights the many faces of American marriage,” said Gena McCarthy, senior VP of programming and development for FYI, in a statement. “Teenage Newlyweds joins Married at First Sight, Arranged and The Seven Year Switch as one of our latest relationship franchises that shares alternative paths to finding love.”

Arthur Smith, Kent Weed, Frank Sinton, Christmas Rini, and Elise Duran are executive producers for A. Smith & Co. Productions. Gena McCarthy and James Bolosh are exec producing for FYI.

Read more:

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The 15th season of HELL’S KITCHEN came to an exciting end as host and Head Chef Gordon Ramsay announced Ariel Malone the winner during tonight’s season finale on FOX. Malone, 27, a country club chef from Hackensack, NJ, earned herself a Head Chef position at BLT Steak at Bally’s Las Vegas, a total prize value of $250,000.

“I’m living proof that hard work and believing in yourself can make dreams come true” said Malone. “Winning HELL’S KITCHEN is an unbelievable honor and I’m happy that I get to make a living doing what I love. With this opportunity, I’m excited to create a better life for my present and future family.”

“Throughout the competition, Ariel demonstrated that she was both a leader and a true powerhouse in the kitchen,” said Ramsay. “She exemplified impressive culinary skills, and proved to be creative, ambitious and quick on her feet no matter what was thrown her way. I am thrilled to see her joining the team at BLT Steak at Bally’s Las Vegas.”

In one of the most dramatic seasons to date, Malone proved to be a consistent leader during dinner services. Her strong attention to detail and determined spirit earned her a spot in the finale, during which she went head-to-head with Kristin Barone, a line cook from Chicago. For the final challenge, both skillful contestants created their own menus, and lead a team of their past competitors through the most important dinner service of their lives. Although both contestants executed outstanding dinner services, in the end, it was Malone who was victorious. Her menu items included:


· Charred Octopus with Manchego Croquettes, Radish, Red Onion Salad, Chorizo Aioli and Tomato Jam

· Red Romaine Salad with Candied Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, Picked Herbs, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Grilled Asparagus, Wild Mushrooms, Basil and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

· Savory Cheese Cake with Wild Mushrooms Frisée, Truffle Soy Vinaigrette, Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Pickled Radishes

· Maine Lobster with White and Green Asparagus, Poached Crones, Roasted Romanesco and Lemon Vinaigrette


· Grilled Hanger Steak with Garlic, Rosemary, Roasted Cipollini Onions, Fingerling Potatoes and Red Wine Sauce

· Herb Garden Chicken with Carrot Purée, English Peas, Mint and Chicken Jus

· Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Bacon-Braised Beet Greens, Roasted Red Beets, Shaved Fennel and Beet Salad and Tabasco Lemon Vinaigrette

· Pan-Roasted Pork Chop with Potato Caramelized Onion Gratin, Roasted Apples, Black Pepper and Coriander Glaze


· Espresso Panna Cotta with Lemon Zest, Micro Mint and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

· Pistachio Sponge Cake with Currant Rum Caramel and Rum Raisin Ice Cream

HELL’S KITCHEN is produced by ITV Entertainment in association with A. Smith & Co. Productions. Arthur Smith, Kent Weed and Gordon Ramsay serve as executive producers. “Like” HELL’S KITCHEN on Facebook at and follow the series on Twitter at @hellskitchenfox and Gordon Ramsay at @GordonRamsay. Join the discussion using #hellskitchen.

About ITV Entertainment

ITV Entertainment is a major producer of cable and broadcast programming for the US and international markets. Current series include FOX’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” A&E’s “The First 48” and E!’s “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills,” as well as upcoming spinoff “EJ and the City” (working title). ITV Entertainment is part of the ITV America group.

About A. Smith & Co. Productions

A. Smith & Co. Productions creates some of the most innovative, highly rated, and high-quality programming for the domestic and international television marketplace. The company has produced more than 3,000 hours of award-winning programming - with budgets totaling over one billion dollars across more than 45 broadcast and cable networks. Current productions include HELL’S KITCHEN, “American Ninja Warrior,” “Spartan Race,” “Ellen’s Design Challenge,” “Unsung,” “Inside the Label,” “Acting Out,” “Full Throttle Saloon,” “Team Ninja Warrior,” “Container Homes,” and “The Dunk King.” Past hits include "Kitchen Nightmares," "Wizard Wars," "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura," "UFC Countdown," "Joe RoganQuestions Everything," "Paradise Hotel," "I Survived a Japanese Game Show," "The Swan," "Trading Spaces," "Pros vs. Joes," "Skating with Celebrities," and many others. For more information, visit

About BLT Steak Las Vegas

Located in Bally’s Las Vegas, BLT Steak is an interpretation of the American Steakhouse with traditional fare and a bistro ambiance. BLT Steak infuses a trendy, contemporary energy into the center-Strip action at Bally’s. Located steps away from Victor Drai’s Indigo Lounge and Drai’s After Hours, the restaurant stays open late so partiers can have a late-night bite after clubbing or indulge in the award-winning Sterling Brunch on the weekends.

A curving bar and lounge greets guests as they enter the main dining room. The 9,300 square foot space is splashed with rich woods and a backdrop of warm neutral tones accented with polished stainless steel, amber and tangerine. A fireplace serves as the centerpiece of the dining room and evokes an aura of relaxed but contemporary elegance.

Indulge in BLT Steak classics, including its renowned Popovers – airy, warm Gruyère-laced puffs of dough – along with Tuna Tartare, Chopped Vegetable Salad and special-selected Steaks. Enjoy more than 500 wines with Old World selections from the regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Piedmont, Tuscany, Riojo and many others.

About ESquared Hospitality

ESquared Hospitality is an international restaurant and hospitality group. Built on a commitment to “Exceeding Expectations” with extraordinary food and excellent customer service, ESquared Hospitality has grown into a diversified group of restaurant concepts, from the flagship BLT Steak New York, which opened in 2004 to more than 20 restaurants on two continents. ESquared Hospitality properties include the BLT restaurants, comprised of BLT Steak in New York, NY (2004), Washington, DC (2006), San Juan, PR (2006), White Plains, NY (2007), Scottsdale, AZ (2008), Atlanta, GA (2009), Miami, FL (2009), Hong Kong (2009), Charlotte, NC (2009), Waikiki, HI (2009), Seoul, South Korea (2014), Roppongi, Tokyo (2014), Las Vegas, NV (2014), Ginza, Tokyo (2015), and Aruba (2015); BLT Burger in Hong Kong (2009); BLT Prime in New York, NY (2005) and at the Trump National Doral Miami, FL (2014). ESquared Hospitality also operates two Italian concepts: Casa Nonna in New York, NY (2011), which became the official pizza vendor of Madison Square Garden (2013) and Radio City Music Hall (2015), and The Florentine in Chicago, IL (2010); as well as Horchata De Nueva York (2014); The Wayfarer (2014); and vegan fast-casual concept by CHLOE. (2015) in New York, NY.  In September 2015, acclaimed Chef David Burke joined E2 Hospitality as a culinary partner, working on current E2 properties and developing new concepts to debut in 2016. 

For more information, visit ESquared Hospitality online at,, Twitter @ESqHospitality or Instagram @ESquaredHospitality.

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These Are The Brand-New Shows Coming To MTV

MTV Brings Music Back With ‘Unplugged’ Reboot, Mark Burnett Reality Series, More

Deadline Hollywood 2014


MTV, which is in a search of a ratings turnaround and clear identity after a rough couple of years, is pumping up the volume of original programming. At today’s upfront, MTV is announcing greenlights for 14 new series and specials, along with a slew of projects in development.


“Acting Out”

An outrageous comedy series in which the most irreverent established and up-and-coming comedians of today have their best stand-up routines acted out. We’ll see hilarious reenactments of the best bits, bringing new life to your favorite moments from stand up history. Produced by A Smith & Co. Productions (“Hell’s Kitchen,” “American Ninja Warrior”). 

See the full press release here:

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BET Slates 'Inside the Label' Premiere: Exclusive


Written by Gail Mitchell


Unfolding the true stories behind hip-hop’s iconic labels. That’s the intriguing premise of BET’s latest docu-series, Inside the Label.  The eight-week series will premiere with an in-depth look at Uptown Records on May 17 (9 p.m. ET/PT).

Founder Andre Harrell will be among the industry insiders providing first-hand accounts of Uptown’s evolution, impact and legacy. Among others sharing their perspective:Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jay Z, Mary J. Blige, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Guy’s Teddy Riley and Damion Hall. Subsequent one-hour episodes will focus on the labels Grand Hustle, Loud Records, Slip-N-Slide, Terror Squad, Ruff Ryders, Disturbing Tha Peace (DTP) and Murder Inc.

Rounding out the first-person narratives in the hour-long episodes will be never-before-seen footage. Announced at last year’s upfront presentations, Inside the Label (formerly The Label) is executive produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions and DTP co-founders Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Bridges’ manager Chaka Zulu and Jeff Dixon.

“The dreams and visions; the successes and failures … we want young aspiring entrepreneurs to have a blueprint as to what really goes on in this business and understand how much work it takes,” says DTP’s Dixon of the inspiration behind the series. “We [as African-Americans] also want to document our own history, especially in this industry. This is like our natural resource. No one can tell these stories like us.”


Among the power players featured in each episode of Inside the Label are:

Uptown Records: Andre Harrell, Diddy, Jay Z, Mary J. Blige, Babyface, Teddy Riley, Damion Hall, Brett Ratner, Laurieann Gibson, Robin Thicke, Sanaa Lathan, Doug E. Fresh, Al B. Sure, Eddie F, Kim Porter, Father MC, Jeff Redd and Monifah.

Grand Hustle: T.I., Jason Geter, Young Dro, Kevin Liles, Lil Duval, Killer Mike, DJ Toomp and B.O.B.

Loud Records: Steve Rifkind, RZA, Xzibit and E-Swift.

Slip-N-Slide Records: Ted Lucas, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Trina and DJ Khaled.

Terror Squad: Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, Noreaga, Cool & Dre and Jesse Terrero.

Ruff Ryders: Joaquin Dean, Darren Dean, Chivon Dean, Swizz Beatz, Eve, The Lox, Irv Gotti, Drag On, DJ Clue, Kool Herc, Lyor Cohen and Jimmy Iovine.

Disturbing Tha Peace: Ludacris, Chaka Zulu, Jeff Dixon, Chingy, Bobby Valentino, Shareefa, Lil Scrappy, Bangladesh, Lil Fate, I-20 and Poon Daddy.

Murder Inc.: Irv Gotti, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Jay-Z, Charlie Baltimore, Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen.



Read More at:

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Realscreen Awards 2016 Unveils Shortlist



By Realscreen Staff

The first round of judging has concluded for the upcoming 2016 Realscreen Awards, and realscreen is happy to announce the nominees advancing to the second, final round of judging.

The awards, which recognize the best in unscripted and non-fiction programming from around the world, will be presented during a ceremony held at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica, California, on June 9, in conjunction with the upcoming Realscreen West conference, which takes place June 8-10.

In addition to the categories listed below, three individuals will also be inducted into the Realscreen Awards Hall of Fame: NBC’s Paul Telegdy as Television Trailblazer, ITV America’s Brent Montgomery as Producer Extraordinaire, and I Am Cait‘s Caitlyn Jenner as Personality of the Year.

Competition – Reality Game

American Ninja Warrior
Produced by: A. Smith & Co. Productions
Broadcaster/Network: NBC & Esquire Network
Executive Producer (Production Company): Arthur Smith, Kent Weed, Anthony Storm, Brian Richardson, Kristen Stabile
Original Broadcast Country: USA

Big Brother
Produced by: Fly on the Wall Entertainment, Endemol Shine USA
Broadcaster/Network: CBS
Executive Producer (Production Company): Allison Grodner, Rich Meehan, Don Wollman, Chris Roach
Executive Producer (Broadcaster): Chris Castallo, Mitch Graham
Original Broadcast Country: USA

Face Off
Produced by: Mission Control Media
Broadcaster/Network: Syfy
Executive Producer (Production Company): Dwight D. Smith, Michael Agbabian, Derek Atherton, Mary Celenza
Original Broadcast Country: USA

The Amazing Race
Produced by: WorldRace Productions, Inc.
Broadcaster/Network: CBS
Executive Producer (Production Company): Jerry Bruckheimer, Bertram van Munster, Jonathan Littman, Elise Doganieri, Mark Vertullo
Original Broadcast Country: USA



For the full list of nominees go here:

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NBC’s ‘The Night Shift’ & Competition Series ‘Spartan’ Debuts Set

Deadline Hollywood 2014

By Patrick Hipes

The Season 3 premiere of NBC’s summer medical drama The Night Shift is set for Wednesday, June 1 at 10 PM, the network said today amid NBCUniversal’s Summer Press Day event in Westlake Village. The network also revealed it will preview its competition series Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge at 10 PM Monday, June 13 after its hit American Ninja Warrior. It will preview again after ANW on June 20 before shifting to its regular 9 PM time slot on Thursday, June 23.

Night Shift focuses on an extraordinary team of doctors and nurses at San Antonio Memorial’s emergency room. The risks they take to save lives straddle the line between heroic and impulsive, but are always worthwhile. The second season of the Sony TV-produced series aired during spring 2015 and averaged a 1.8/6 in adults 18-49 and 7.0 million viewers. Eoin Macken, Jill Flint, Ken Leung, Brendan Fehr, Robert Bailey Jr., JR Lemon, Tanaya Beatty and Scott Wolf star.

Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge is inspired by Spartan Race — creators of the world’s most demanding obstacle course races. Teams of five will compete on one the toughest courses ever devised and will have to push through the pain to win $250,000. A. Smith & Co. Productions’ founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed produce with Anthony Storm.

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Exclusive: NFL, MLS vets to host NBC 'Spartan' challenge


by Bill Keveney

The hosts and reporters of NBC's Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge know a thing or two about physical competition.

Dhani Jones, a former NFL linebacker, and Kyle Martino, who played for Major League Soccer (MLS) teams and the U.S. national team, will host the series, NBC announced Thursday. Evan Dollard, known to fans of American Gladiators and American Ninja Warrior, and MJ Acosta, a TV sports anchor and boxing announcer, will serve as course reporters.

Spartan is inspired by Spartan Race (, a leading creator of obstacle races, and is produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions, the company behind NBC's American Ninja Warrior. Spartan Race, which oversees events in more than 25 countries, features competitions for all fitness levels, including competitive and elite heats.

In each episode, six teams of five players – a Spartan elite along with two men and two women – will take on difficult obstacle courses that feature "mud, frigid water and razor-sharp barbed wire." The overall competition will include 36 teams, which can be made up of friends, family members or co-workers, with the triumphant quintet receiving $250,000.

Jones, who played for the New York Giants. Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals, is an author and the host of Playbook 360 on Spike and Be A Champion on In his post-football career, he became a partner in two advertising agencies and launched a philanthropic effort, BowTie Cause.

Martino, who played for the LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew, is a studio analyst for NBC Sports' coverage of the English Premiere League and co-host of 36 Hours on Travel Channel.

Dollard, a host of TV and web competitions, won a Gladiators championship and has been a favorite on American Ninja Warrior and the Esquire Network spinoff, Team Ninja Warrior.

Acosta, a sports anchor for KNSD, the NBC station in San Diego, has announced dozens of boxing and MMA matches in English and Spanish.

Spartan is expected to premiere in the summer, but no specific date has been announced.


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A. Smith & Co., Global Force to create wrestling format


by Daniele Alcinii

American Ninja Warrior producer A. Smith & Co. Productions has partnered with Nashville-based Global Force Wrestling (GFW) to produce a revamped wrestling format.

Under the deal, the two companies will create a new wrestling format within the sport while providing viewers with dramatic storylines and exclusive access to their favorite athletes.

The as-yet-untitled series will unite international wrestlers from across GFW’s roster with the event production style of A. Smith & Co. programs, such as Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen and NBC’s forthcoming Spartan.

Founded in 2014 by former WWF and WCW wrestler Jeff Jarrett, the professional wrestling company is attempting to expand the wrestling industry by reinventing fan interactivity, storytelling and entertainment to engage audiences across multiple platforms.

Jarrett previously served as co-founder and president of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).

“Global Force Wrestling is a complete reinvention of the sport that will really resonate with viewers – we’re taking what fans are traditionally used to seeing and flipping it on its head,” said Arthur Smith, CEO of A. Smith & Co. Productions, in a statement.

“All sports go through transitions, and wrestling is primed for its next evolution. We’re going to be adding a number of new features and elements that are going to completely change the entertainment level of the sport,” he continued.

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