Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, November 9th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by unsweetened ice tea and leftovers.
ABOUT THAT FRIDAY NEWSLETTER
You might have noticed that you didn't receive a newsletter on Friday. I had one all ready to go, but I forgot to follow one of the cardinal rules of writing a newsletter: it's not a newsletter until you actually click "send."
MORE DATA ONLY HELPS IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT
If I was going to put together a list of the "Rick's Rules For The Media Industry," this would be in the Top 10. Everyone wants as much data as possible in order as they work towards what they hope is the best, data-driven decision. But more data only makes the situation clearer if you understand the context behind the raw numbers.
The Entertainment Strategy Guy posted this piece on his web site and it talks about Nate Silver, election polls and how more data is only helpful if you understand the context in which it's been collected:
Let me provide just one example from my experience. In my previous role at a streamer, I gathered all the data to help the key decision-makers decide what shows to order and renew. Yet, the data wasn’t mine alone. Often, executives wanted the data immediately. Meaning a streaming show premieres on a Friday morning, and the executives wanted email updates for how the show was performing. Sometimes hourly! Several times, a show would start slow, for whatever reason, and finish strong. Or vice versa. But executives checking every hour would often use their first impression as the takeaway for how the show did.
In other words, I routinely saw the mistakes being made for this election at a big company in America.
This is one of the reasons I am less concerned with raw viewing numbers than most TV critics. Yes, it would great to have more specific viewing numbers from the various streamers. But I can completely understand why they wouldn't want to provide them. Given the lack of understanding you see from media reporters when it comes to even basic trends in the industry, there is almost zero chance they could properly frame viewing numbers that may or may not reflect global viewing and may be gathered over different time frames and various platforms.
What I do find helpful is seeing comparative tracking of how shows are doing compared to each other. Whether that comes from Netflix's Top Ten lists or Nielsen's fledgling streaming Top Ten. The raw viewing numbers are less interesting to me than getting a sense of how viewership compared to other projects. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to get more data. It's just that without having the correct context, the data can be deceiving at best.
EPIC GAMES, DISNEY+ EXPAND THEIR RELATIONSHIP
Epic Games runs Fortnite, one of the most popular games of 2020 and it's current season features players skins and weapons of a number of Marvel characters. It's been a monumental success with players and it's also been one of the best uses I've seen of the Marvel Cinematic Universe outside of the feature films.
Epic announced early Monday that it is expanding its relationship with Disney and will offer players the chance to earn a discount on the streaming service Disney+. According to Epic, beginning on Wednesday, Fortnite players in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and who are new subscribers to Disney+ can receive up to two months of service when they make a real-money purchase in-game.
"After years of a strong relationship between Disney and Epic, we’re excited to expand on our collaboration with the new Disney+ Fortnite offer,” said Michael Paull, president of Disney+, in a statement. "We’re coming up on the 1-year anniversary of Disney+ and delighted to mark the occasion by extending the Disney+ experience and incredible content to Fortnite’s passionate fans."
WHAT IT'S LIKE TO WORK WITH NETFLIX ON A SHOW
Forbes has a fascinating interview with Michael Price, who is the co-creator, Executive Producer and Showrunner of the Netflix animated series F Is For Family. He has some interesting perspective on the creative process and interaction between him and Netflix executives:
It's definitely a different form of storytelling. When we first pitched it to Netflix, we had in mind more of a standard, Simpsons style of storytelling, where each episode was self-contained. But then when Netflix ordered it, they urged us to embrace serialization.
It was challenging at first, but when we started really thinking about it, it became very stimulating. Now I can't imagine the show that other way, I can't picture it at all.
Over these first four seasons, we move from September of 1973, to Halloween in 1974, so we see these characters grow and expand in this world, move forward in time. They’re still carrying grudges from what happened in season 1.
This is a really great interview. Lots of stuff about The Simpsons, which Price has worked on for a number of years.
WHAT'S THE FUTURE OF NOGGIN?
One of the things that got somewhat buried in last week's CBS/Viacom investor's call is that the company is apparently planning on shutting down the majority of its smaller niche streamers, including the kids-oriented Noggin. That streamer is an interesting case, because it requires almost no new content. Nearly everything currently available on Noggin is either shows that were airing on the linear channel Noggin before it was rebranded or acquired programs from smaller distributors and overseas markets such as the U.K. and Australia. Noggin has even continued to use the old linear channel characters Moose and Zee.
Buried in the announcement of the likely closings was the factoid that Noggin apparently has around 2.5 million subscribers currently. Which I believe is in the ballpark of what the subscriber numbers are for BET+. So given those numbers and overall lack of effort needed to keep it going, does it makes sense to close Noggin? Or if you are going to close it, can you roll it into the upcoming Paramount+? That latter move only makes sense if Paramount+ will offer a dedicated kids interface, so parents could limit what their kids are watching when they aren't supervised.
ODDS AND SODS
Voters in both Denver and Chicago have overwhelmingly thrown their support behind local community broadband projects.
WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:
1) Bargain Mansions Season Premiere (HGTV)
A busy mother of four, expert designer and restoration enthusiast buys dilapidated manors surprisingly cheap and uses budget-conscious design to turn them into forever homes for families. Working alongside her father and mentor, Ward Schraeder, Tamara takes care to keep the homes' historic features and unique architectural charm intact, while she modernizes layouts and adds luxe amenities to attract top dollar from buyers. The fresh renos include a dark and dated 1960s Colonial whose untouched façade gets a bright transformation and the complete rebuild of a 1940s brick ranch-style house to add a second story and a finished basement with a media room. In addition, the episodes spotlight Tamara taking on personal projects in her own Kansas home, including updates to the main bathroom and backyard deck.
2) Christmas Cookie Challenge (Food)
Eddie Jackson and Ree Drummond challenge five daring cookie makers to prove their holiday skills through two rounds, as Eddie and Ree are joined each episode by judges Gesine Prado and Jason Smith to determine which bakers will have the best Christmas of all, walking away with a $10,000 prize.
3) Industry Series Premiere (HBO)
This new series gives an insider's view of the blackbox of "high finance through the eyes of an outsider, Harper Stern (Myha'la Herrold), a talented young woman from upstate New York. Through the eyes of these young grads fueled by ambition, romance and drugs, Industry examines issues of gender, race and class in the workplace as the impressionable new employees begin to forge an identity within the pressure cooker environment of Pierpoint & Co.'s trading floor. They were promised meritocracy, but hierarchy is king.
4) The Big Bake: Holiday (Food)
Host Brad Smith conjures up images of freshly fallen snow, glistening ice crystals and the prettiest snowflakes to inspire the baking teams to craft winter wonderland cakes for judges Harry Eastwood, Nancy Fuller and Eddie Jackson. Host Brad Smith conjures up images of freshly fallen snow, glistening ice crystals and the prettiest snowflakes to inspire the baking teams to craft winter wonderland cakes for judges Harry Eastwood, Nancy Fuller and Eddie Jackson.
5) The Mighty Ones Series Premiere (Hulu)
In every backyard, a secret world exists filled with tiny creatures. The Mighty Ones follows the hilarious adventures of a group of creatures: a twig, a pebble, a leaf and a strawberry. These best friends, self-named "The Mighty Ones," live in an unkempt backyard belonging to a trio of equally unkempt humans whom they mistake for gods. Despite their diminutive stature, The Mighty Ones are determined to live life large and always have fun in their wild world.
6) The South Westerlies Series Premiere (Acorn TV)
Orla Brady stars as a single working Dublin mom and environmental consultant on the verge of a lucrative promotion, except for one final major assignment: to go undercover in a small town to quash fierce opposition to a wind farm. Incidentally, she has a complicated history in Carrigeen, where there are secrets she’d prefer to leave buried. Soon after arriving with her 18-year-old son, she runs into an ex-friend and an old flame and realizes her task won't be a breeze.
7) Undercover Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
The line between justice and revenge begins to blur when Kim's hunt for illegal arms dealers plunges Bob into a dangerous new undercover operation.
This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.
If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.