Extra: VH1 sets “Drag Race” holiday special; Bell Media launches tiered OTT service

VH1 to premiere RuPaul’s Drag Race: Holi-slay Spectacular in December VH1 drag queen competition format RuPaul’s Drag Race will serve up a holiday-themed special episode on Dec. 7, featuring the return of franchise ...
November 2, 2018

VH1 to premiere RuPaul’s Drag Race: Holi-slay Spectacular in December

VH1 drag queen competition format RuPaul’s Drag Race will serve up a holiday-themed special episode on Dec. 7, featuring the return of franchise superstars.

Rupaul’s Drag Race: Holi-slay Spectacular will see the return of Eureka O’Hara, Jasmine Masters, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Mayhem Miller, Shangela, Sonique and Trixie Mattel, all competing for the title of America’s first “Drag Race Christmas Queen.”

The queens will dance and lip-sync to original holiday music from two of host and exec producer RuPaul Charles’ holiday albums, including the hit song “Slay Belles” and music from his new album Christmas Party. Michelle Visage, Ross Mathews and Todrick Hall will join RuPaul on the judging panel.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular is produced by World of Wonder Productions, with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe, Mandy Salangsang and RuPaul Charles serving as executive producers. Pamela Post and Tim Palazzola serve as EPs for VH1, and Jen Passovoy serves as producer.

The special will air on Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Bell Media rebrands TMN, launches tiered OTT service

Bell Media has announced a significant overhaul of its pay-TV and digital strategy that will see the company tweak and expand its Crave brand, axe the TMN brand and open online-only access to premium programming.

TMN’s linear channels will be renamed Crave 1, 2, 3 and 4 and HBO 1 and 2 and, as previously announced, TMN Encore will be rebranded as Starz in early 2019. TV subscribers will continue to have access to linear content via an “authenticated” app (that requires subscribers to sign in via their BDU) but what was TMN GO will now be renamed Crave, and offer live-streams of linear channels, as well all the content offered on the existing SVOD service, CraveTV (which has now dropped “TV” from its name).

Crave the SVOD, which is not tied to a linear subscription, will continue to be offered for CA$9.99 per month, but now internet-only subscribers are able to add a second tier that includes Bell Media’s current premium and pay-TV movie programming. Crave + Movies + HBO package, available as of Nov. 5 for an additional $9.99 per month, will offer the 11,000 hours of content currently offered on the existing Crave SVOD, plus current HBO programming and films in their first pay-TV window.

This marks the first time Bell Media will be offering its premium HBO and movie products as a separate online subscription, not tied to a linear package.

The announcement comes as Bell Media reported solid Q3 results on Thursday (Nov. 1). Revenues for the segment were up 1.1% year-over-year to $731 million in the quarter, as a result of higher advertising and subscriber revenues.

Advertising revenues were up slightly (0.6%) in what EVP and CFO Glen LeBlanc calls a seasonally low quarter for ad spend, while subscriber revenues were up 0.7% thanks to growth in CraveTV and sports streaming services TSN Direct and RDS Direct.

The company reported its specialty TV properties grew audiences by 14% among adults 25-54.

BCE’s total TV customer base hit 2.843 million subscribers, up 0.6% from 2.825 in Q3 2017. That includes 1.64 million IPTV subscribers, up 8% from the same time last year. Satellite TV subscribers declined by 31,490 customers.

From Playback Daily

Stacey Dooley hits the streets in new BBC doc

British presenter Stacey Dooley will spend time with homeless youth, presenting their stories in the new documentary Stacey Dooley: The Young And Homeless, produced for BBC1 in collaboration with the UK pubcaster’s charity BBC Children in Need.

Dooley will speak, on camera, with young people experiencing homelessness, and challenge many preconceived notions about homelessness.

The film tackles questions around why young people end up on the streets, and how homelessness can take many forms and isn’t always visible. It also looks at how organizations can make a difference in these young people’s lives.

Stacey Dooley: The Young and Homeless is produced by True Vision Productions.

The project will air on BBC1 during BBC Children in Need Appeal Week on Nov. 13 at 10:45 p.m.

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