CNBC Installs Discovery Vet Denise Contis As Primetime Boss, Replacing Christian Barcellos

Before Discovery, Contis was SVP Programming for A. Smith and Company, launched her own company, TUK Media, and consulted on programming for Lifetime. From 2008-2017, she held a range of positions at Discovery, exiting as Senior EVP Development & Production, overseeing delivery of more than 500 hours of shows including Gold Rush, Deadliest Catch and Naked and Afraid. Contis brings significant experience handling unscripted franchises.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University. Denise will currently divide her time between New York and Los Angeles where she resides. Denise is a four-time Emmy nominee, a recipient of a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media and recognized by Cablefax as one of the most powerful women in cable.
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Contis will report to CNBC chairman Mark Hoffman and report to the New York office on Tuesday. As EVP and Head of Content for Primetime, Contis replaces Christian Barcellos, who held the same post for just a few months.
Since leaving Discovery, she has been a consultant and adviser to a range of clients including venture capital and private equity firms.
Here is the full text of Hoffman's internal memo:
Prior to Discovery Communications, Denise served as Senior Vice President, Programming for A. Smith and Company, launched her own media company TUK Media, and was a programming consultant for Lifetime.
Denise will be in the New York office tomorrow and will start immediately.
In this role, Denise will be responsible for CNBC’s primetime content, production and development. I am very pleased to announce that Denise Contis will join CNBC as Executive Vice President and Head of Content for Primetime, reporting to me.
CNBC has a new head of primetime programming: Denise Contis, who spent nearly a decade at Discovery.
She spent many years at Discovery Communications holding a number of leadership positions from 2008 to 2017. Denise first joined Discovery Communications in 2008 as Vice President, Production and Development, West Coast for TLC where she developed and oversaw Sarah Palin’s Alaska, which was the most-watched show in the network’s history. Denise has a demonstrated track record of building global brands and franchise hits. Most recently, Denise served as Senior Executive Vice President of Development & Production for the US & UK managing the delivery of 500+ hours of original programming annually including such hits as Gold Rush, Deadliest Catch, Fast N’ Loud, Alaskan Bush People, Street Outlaws, Diesel Brothers, and the Emmy-nominated Naked and Afraid franchise which broke network records.
Since leaving Discovery in 2017, Denise has been advising and consulting broadcast and digital media companies on all aspects of content/branding including business strategy and marketing. She also provided market insights and recommendations to private equity and venture capital firms as they considered various investment and M&A opportunities.
Please join me in welcoming Denise to CNBC.
Hoffman informed the staff of the change in a memo on Monday (read it below).
A sincere thank you to Christian Barcellos for his leadership and support throughout these past few months.
CNBC, whose daytime mission is to capture financial market movement as it happens, shifts gears in primetime. It has developed a small portfolio of unscripted shows connected with its overall business focus, both acquired staples like Shark Tank and originals like The Profit and the recently premiered Cash Pad.

Tech Giants Could Face Antitrust Probes In “A Dozen” States, DOJ Official Says

Already under investigation and review by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet could soon face similar probes in more than a dozen states.
As Sullivan noted, the "N" in FAANG — Netflix — has largely stayed out of the regulatory spotlight. In Delrahim's view, the increasingly competitive marketplace in streaming has minimized the risk of the company wielding monopoly power.
these are offerings that could have been offered by any programming provider, but they weren't," Delrahim said. "Netflix and to some extent Amazon Prime did disrupt that system and now you're seeing more and more movement into [streaming], which is generally, I think, a benefit for consumers."” /> "The usability of it, portability of it …
As the DOJ was preparing to sue AT&T in an effort to block its acquisition of Time Warner (an effort eventually rejected by a federal judge and again on appeal), one state (which Delrahim did not identify) made a request. State and federal regulators are not always aligned in their interests, however, Delrahim cautioned during the 45-minute discussion with CNBC anchor Brian Sullivan.
We've had great efficiencies that have been brought to consumers through some of the innovations," Delrahim said. "But it's also undeniable that people are asking questions about the market power of a certain number of companies in particular marketplaces. I don't think it's useful or productive to lump all technology companies together. That's part of what an investigation may reveal, what marketplace they're in." You know, does Google compete with Facebook? … "We're living in a time of incredible innovation and prosperity.
In the event of a settlement and divestiture of AT&T assets, he said, the state demanded, "Rupert Murdoch cannot purchase it. Now, if anybody cares about the First Amendment, that should shake you to the core." Delrahim said he invoked those freedom of speech concerns in rejecting the state's request, and the state did not join the suit. While he didn't specify the asset, CNN has often been cited as the irritant in the merger, given Trump's long history of battling with the network.
"A couple of dozen state attorneys general have expressed an interest in the subject matter.” Appearing Tuesday at the the Technology Policy Institute’s Aspen Forum (see full video above), DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim confirmed recent discussions between federal regulators and state attorneys general. While he didn't name any states or reveal details, Delrahim said, “I think it’s probably safe to say more than a dozen" are looking at opening investigations.
The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported the interest at the state level. On the left, presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have made breaking up Big Tech a key plank in their platforms. President Donald Trump has also amplified charges of bias against right-wing information disseminated by major tech platforms. Tech companies have found themselves under the microscope for, among other things, their use of data and their dominance of digital advertising.
Their influence has grown to the point that even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook, among other tech titans, have publicly conceded that regulatory sanctions would be appropriate. Addressing the tech landscape more broadly, Delrahim said regulatory examination is a natural development.

CBS Considers Ditching Nielsen As TV Ratings Angst Intensifies

Dominic Patten contributed to this report.” />
Subramanyam is a former executive at Nielsen. Radha Subramanyam, Executive Vice President, Chief Research and Analytics Officer, is overseeing research as Poltrack makes his transition.
Sources familiar with the CBS perspective said the most-watched network is chafing at the steadily increasing rates Nielsen is charging given the difficulty of accurately capturing viewing across linear TV and digital platforms. CBS has generally taken a more low-key approach than that of companies like NBCUniversal, Fox, Turner and Viacom, which have openly criticized Nielsen and rolled out self-generated data offerings as a replacement.
With the task of measuring TV viewing growing ever more complex, CBS is actively considering cutting ties with Nielsen as the companies negotiate a renewal of their long-term contract.
The current deal, worth about $100 million, is set to expire on December 31.
Grousing about Nielsen is akin to shooting fish in a barrel, though a major network threatening to outright drop the service is not exactly par for the course. NBC took a firm line with Nielsen a couple of years ago, publicly admonishing it for its multi-platform ratings tools and then shedding the service for non-prime hours on its business network CNBC, which is widely viewed outside the home.
In a statement, a Nielsen spokesperson said, "We expect to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement well in advance of December 31."
"They're just not able to deliver a picture of this new world." "We're paying more and getting less," the source said. Despite getting the most eyeballs overall regularly among the Big 4, CBS execs have long expressed frustration with Nielsen and its emphasis on the 18-49 demo and overnight results. A source inside the network said on both a local and national level, the company feels it is being compromised by "monopolistic behavior" by Nielsen.
Even so, as the business has evolved from three broadcast networks to cable, digital and social, with most viewing now time-shifted, the game of chess has become multi-dimensional. The very existence of Nielsen, though, is due to the perception among advertisers of networks "grading their own homework," so a third-party solution has always been accepted as a necessary part of the TV landscape. Other options would include signing a deal with comScore, a much smaller rival, or providing clients with data from whatever CBS can collect.
The snag is also occurring as David Poltrack, the Chief Research Officer at CBS and the longtime dean of network researchers and ratings experts, plans to retire in June 2019. The spilling over of tensions into public view is an unusual turn of events for two companies who are among the most venerable and deep-rooted in all of broadcasting.
CBS declined to comment on the situation, which first surfaced in a report by Variety.

Fox And Disney Stocks Gain After Chinese Regulators Approve Merger – Update

and China hit the rocks. Some observers thought the $71.3 billion sale of studio, network and digital assets to Disney — a deal personally blessed by President Donald Trump — could be stymied by the Chinese as a form of payback. The regulatory OK comes after a touch-and-go period over the past few months during which overall trade relations between the U.S.
On an otherwise down day for stocks, 21st Century Fox and Disney shares both posted gains in the early going today after Chinese regulators approved the companies' landmark merger without conditions. UPDATED with closing stock prices.
The classic M&A dynamic of the seller's stock rising while the buyer declines also reasserted itself. Disney's popped about 1% in the early going, but ended up shedding a fraction to close at $115.42. Broader indices including the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P all slumped badly, putting Fox on a very short list of gainers. Fox shares at one point were up more than 3%, though they gave ground to close at $48.91, up 1.6%.
A Disney spokesman confirmed the approval in China to Deadline after it was initially reported by CNBC.
Department of Justice — have insisted that Disney shed major assets in order to win approval. The company is in the process of divesting of the 22 regional sports networks owned by Fox and its own stake in five unscripted cable networks that are part of A+E, a joint venture with Hearst.” /> Two of the major global regulatory agencies weighing in on the deal — the EC and also the U.S.
The prevailing sentiment, though, especially with the European Commission granting its approval this month with certain conditions attached, is that the historic merger is just weeks away from closing.
After the deal, it will be called simply "Fox" and consist of the broadcast network, cable networks Fox News, Fox Business, FS1 and FS2, and a portfolio of local TV stations. Last week, Fox held what it said would likely be its last annual shareholder meeting in its current form. In reporting quarterly earnings this month, Disney said it expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.