CNN has high hopes for a new series from an Austin-based production company.
In “High Profits,” crews from Bat Bridge Entertainment follow the founders of the Breckenridge, Colo., Cannabis Club as they build a chain of retail stores selling marijuana.
Eight hour-long episodes were filmed, with the debut set to air at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Virtually everyone who worked on the show – from producers to camera operators – is Austin-based, Bat Bridge Entertainment executives said.
Even the music has a local flavor, with a title track from the Black Angels.
“We want Austin to be really proud we put a show on the air that can hang with the big dogs,” Bat Bridge Entertainment co-founder Stephen Germer said.
Five networks expressed interest in the show, Germer said, with CNN ultimately winning the bidding war.
Work on “High Profits” started more than a year ago, with camera crews on the ground in Colorado on Jan. 1, 2014, when new legislation took effect that loosened restrictions on selling pot.
“This is history,” Bat Bridge Entertainment co-founder Jeff Keels said. “It’s like the Wild West – the American Dream with a ‘Breaking Bad’ element to it. It’s an epic story.”
A New York premiere party earlier this week for “High Profits” – complete with lots of snacks to help cure the munchies – will be followed by one this weekend in Austin. After that, it’s on to seven more projects Bat Bridge Entertainment executives say they have in the works.
Fox Sports says it hopes to use drones made by an Austin company to help it cover a variety of sporting events in the months and years to come.
During a recent test at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, three remote-controlled, camera-equipped drones from HeliVideo Productions recorded Monster Energy Supercross riders in action. The test went well, Fox Sports executives said, with some of the footage being used in a special the network aired.
“There is no question we are looking into ways to incorporate this next-level technology into a wide variety of our sports properties,” said Eric Shanks, the president, chief operating officer and executive producer of Fox Sports. “We chose to run this live-event simulation … because both companies share a passion for being on the cutting edge, always looking for what’s next.”
Fox Sports has rights to air everything from the NFL to pro golf to NASCAR, so the possibilities are endless, Shanks said.
“While certainly not limited to use in motor sports, capturing the speed and on-track aggressive competition of Monster Energy Supercross from new and unique angles with multiple drones in operation at the same time was a great place to start,” he said. “We’re thrilled with what we learned from this live-event simulation, and we are excited to see where it takes us next.”
In addition to the recent Fox Sports test, HeliVideo Productions has done work for ABC, CBS, NBC, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and HBO Sports.
A last-minute deal has kept three Austin TV stations on the Suddenlink Communications lineup.
Without the newly signed retransmission agreement, the cable provider, which serves the Georgetown, Leander and Pflugerville areas, would have been forced to drop NBC affiliate KXAN, CW affiliate KNVA and MyNetworkTV affiliate KBVO on Tuesday afternoon.
The three stations are operated by Richmond, Va.-based Media General.
Retransmission agreements require cable and satellite providers to get broadcasters’ permission to carry their signals. Typically, as part of the deal, the stations are paid a monthly per-subscriber fee.
Terms of the deal weren’t released, although Suddenlink indicated on its website Tuesday afternoon that it had offered Media General more cash than it was receiving under the terms of the expiring agreement.
“Thanks to our customers for their patience as we worked through this negotiation,” Suddenlink said in a message to subscribers. “Media General now joins dozens of other broadcasters with which we have successfully concluded agreements since last November.”
In addition to KXAN, KNVA and KBVO, Media General stations in several other cities were at risk of being removed from Suddenlink lineups.
“This fair resolution ensures that we can continue to provide top quality news, sports, entertainment and other local programming that is most important to you,” KXAN said on its website. “Thank you for supporting local television.”
Cable and satellite companies have sparred with TV stations in Austin and elsewhere many times in recent years over rising retransmission fees. Some companies have even added broadcast TV surcharges to customers’ bills to help recoup costs associated with carrying local stations.
Suddenlink and KXAN have clashed before, for instance, with the NBC affiliate disappearing from channel lineups for a couple months in early 2008. During much of the unusually long feud, Suddenlink replaced KXAN with Waco TV station KCEN.
The ATX Television Festival is just around the corner, and the announcements keep on coming.
A farewell to FX’s “Justified” has been added, as well as a panel with producers and cast from “Boy Meets World” and “Girl Meets World” and one with Marta Kauffman, the creator of “Friends.”
Other panels will focus on Fox’s “Wayward Pines,” USA’s “Playing House,” ABC Family’s “The Fosters” and Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.”
“Boomtown” will be among the shows saluted during a special “canceled too soon” panel. The show aired for two seasons on NBC about a decade ago.
“I had such a great time at ATX last year for the ‘Hey Dude’ 25th anniversary reunion that I was eager to get back,” said Graham Yost, the creator of “Justified” and “Boomtown.” “This June, the whole cast of ‘Justified’ will be there to mark the end of the series, and I’m excited to reunite with cast and producers from ‘Boomtown,’ a show that will always be very near to the hearts of those of us lucky enough to have worked on it.”
Tickets for the ATX Television Festival, which runs June 4-7 at various downtown Austin venues, are available at atxfestival.com.
Brindis’ radio show does well in the ratings across much of the state, according to UniMás executives. In Houston and the Rio Grande Valley, for instance, it ranks No. 1, regardless of language.
“Raul Brindis is a household name within the Hispanic community in Texas, and we are pleased to expand the show’s reach to give UniMás viewers the chance to experience one of their favorite radio personalities right on their TV screens,” said Univision Local Media president Kevin Cuddihy. “This is part of our commitment to offer the best content from across our platforms that we know is culturally relevant and will resonate with our audiences.”