3 Entertainment News Stories You Missed: David O. Russell's New Show, 'Grey's Anatomy' Contracts, and the NPD Report

With news breaking every day in Hollywood, a number of stories get overlooked that really should be a bigger deal than reported. This is a look at the top three from last week.

Jan 27, 2014 at 2:23PM


David O. Russell at premiere of American Hustle. (Credit: AP)

In the entertainment industry news comes out fast and furious and sometimes the importance and impact of some of those developments gets lost in the shuffle. Here's a look at three of the top entertainment industry stories from the past week that you may have missed and why they are worth a second look.

NPD issues new study; networks refute

Companies affected the most: Showtime (a subsidiary of CBS (NYSE:CBS)Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN))

The NPD group (formally National Purchase Diary) this week released a new study indicating that over the past two years, the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime video may have had an impact on the subscription rates of customers to premium channels such as Showtime, HBO, and Starz. If true, that would make "cord-cutting" an even larger threat to traditional media and show that the streaming services have begun to eat away at the premium market.

Of course, that's only IF it was true.

Shortly after the NPD released the report, Showtime was the first to challenge the findings with ones of its own showing the REVERSE was true. Instead of the main premium channels losing subscribers, they actually saw gains. In response the NPD quickly issued a statement saying that after further review, "there is data supporting the conclusion that individual subscribers are either subscribing to more channels, or adding channels over time."

Impact on business:

This is a big deal for two reasons. One the NPD is a highly respected group and a number of marketing and PR campaigns are crafted around their numbers. It's not like them to be wrong and gives the organization a bit of a black eye. Second, the study actually pokes a hole in the "cord-cutting" theory that many Americans are now more likely to ditch traditional TV for streaming online options.

Most of the counter arguments to this point have really relied on the small sampling of the population that actually has made the switch, but for Showtime and the other premium channels to come forward and have proof they are not affected gives traditional media a huge boost. Premium content obviously costs more than basic cable, so if people are still willing to add both to their monthly spending, there's reason to believe people are interested in paying for additional options and not choosing one over the other. The battle for your money just got a lot more interesting.

ABC orders drama from American Hustle director David O. Russell

Company affected the most: ABC (a subsidiary of Disney (NYSE:DIS))

While it may not be taking a hatchet to pilot season like Fox, ABC this week did bypass the pilot process and give a straight-to-series order to a new drama from Academy Award-nominated director David O. Russell and screenwriter Susannah Grant. As first reported by Deadline.com, the untitled drama would focus on the upstairs/downstairs (i.e., members and staff) of an elite country club. Russell will helm the pilot off a script he co-wrote with Grant.

Impact on business:

Russell has been nominated three times for Best Director at the Oscars, including back-to-back nominations last year and this year. Furthermore, his cast for each of those films (Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) has had a presence in the four main acting categories, an extremely rare feat. Now take that resume and transfer it to network TV and you can see why this is a big deal for any network, let alone ABC, which could really use a shiny new drama.

Remember, this isn't a pilot; it's a straight-to-series order meaning you will see this show on ABC's 2014-2015 lineup, and that gives the company a huge advantage with advertisers. Russell's partner is also a big get as Grant wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Erin Brockovich and previously served as an executive producer on Party of Five and A Gifted Man.

Ellen Pompeo & Patrick Dempsey re-sign with 'Grey's Anatomy'

Company affected the most: ABC 

ABC announced on Thursday "Grey's Anatomy" stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey have each signed a new two-year deal to continue with the hospital drama. The pair, who play a husband and wife on the show, are arguably its two biggest stars, with Pompeo also being the title character.

Impact on business:

On paper this is nothing more than a deal between a TV series and its two leads, but it's actually so much more than that as it creates a ripple effect throughout the network. The signing allows ABC to confidently renew the drama and not worry about audience erosion should the popular pair decide to move on. "Grey's" remains a network staple and still draws a healthy audience that helps anchor the network's Thursday night lineup. However it has seen a number of its original cast members depart over the years and is gearing up for Sandra Oh's departure at season end.

The network had feared Pompeo and Dempsey might follow her lead, especially after Dempsey made a few intriguing comments last summer that indicated he may be ready to walk away from the show that helped make him a household name. The loss of all three actors would have forced ABC to decide if it was really comfortable going the ER route and relying on new characters to carry the show.

Series creator Shondra Rhimes had already planted the seeds for that scenario last year by introducing a new group of faces to the ensemble, the majority of whom were promoted this season to series regulars. ABC will now look to secure Justin Chambers, James Pickens Jr., and Chandra Wilson who have also been on the show since episode one.

The next step

Want to figure out how to profit on business analysis like this? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal-finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even gives you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Fool contributor Brett Gold owns shares of CBS. The Motley Fool recommends Netflix and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers