It was out-of-the-box day at TCA late Wed, with Style touting a vehicle for retro domestic diva (or so we thought) Brini Maxwell (Jan 23 premiere). In fact, the host(ess) of "The Brini Maxwell Show" is a guy in drag and no relation to our Paul. Still, Brini seems to be a font of useful household tips (to get rust off a knife, let it sit overnight in an onion, Brini says). Not quite as strange is Bravo’s "Significant Others" (spring) that features 4 couples in and out of marriage therapy. The twist: there’s no script as all the actors are improvising. The exec prod is Peter Tortorici of "The Cosby Show." Clearly the most "different" show yet appears to be "Mad, Mad House" (Sci Fi, Mar 4, 9pm), a reality show with the usual contests and final winner, but whose twist is that the judges are folks living alternative lifestyles, including a witch, a voodoo priestess, a modern primitive, a naturist (a nudist, really) and a vampire (honest). (Loved Sci Fi’s in-room marketing gimmick: it left a clove of garlic on critics’ bed to ward off vampires.) — A bit of controversy from Discovery’s "Animal Face-Off," (Mar 21, 8pm). Critics were skeptical that the show’s premise respects animals or is simply an excuse for bloodlust. The plot: each week animals will face-off in a battle of strength, ie, who would win if a croc fought a shark? The twist? The ‘animals’ are specially constructed robots, with input from animal experts. — In May ESPN will begin a series of stories across its platforms (TV, radio, Web and The Magazine) reviewing the last 25 years in sports, culminating with ESPN’s own 25th birthday in Sept. (Sainted times: no athlete made $1mln/yr 25 years ago.) — Proliferation of poker/gaming shows at TCA. Travel touted season 2 of its "World Poker Tour" (it says the re-runs draw even better than the originals), History plugged card-counting geniuses in "Breaking Vegas," Bravo pushed "Celebrity Poker Showdown’s" 2nd season (summer) and Game Show today will unveil its "World Series of Blackjack." — Bravo is taking "Queer Eye" (Feb 17 premiere) on the road, as the Fab 5 will film in TX in the new season. And "Inside the Actors Studio" will celebrate its 10th anniversary will a special highlights show (June). Reality show "Blow Out" (summer) films the hair-raising events at a Hollywood salon.

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Spot Spending Returning, Shifting to OTT

After a rapid decline in spend, agencies and broadcasters are seeing rebounds in many spot spending categories.

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