Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, December 18th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by tomato soup and Tylenol.
THE BEST USE OF YOUTUBE BY A STREAMER THIS YEAR
While both linear networks and streamers make extensive use of YouTube to promote their programs, most of the video that is posted tends to be along the lines of trailers and behind-the-scenes pieces. Netflix ups their YouTube game today with the release of a truly smart idea. A two-hour video which has Stranger Things stars David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, and Natalia Dyer playing the "ultimate game of Dungeons & Dragons." It's a very clever way to give fans of the show another way to interact with the cast while they wait for a new season of the show.
I have long thought that networks should be using untraditional marketing more aggressively, particularly during the pandemic. Given the number of TV actors, writers and crew that play video games, I'm shocked that no network has thought to do a regular segment on a Twitch channel which features their stars playing video games, trash talking and maybe even mentioning their shows along the way.
HOLLYWOOD'S BIG STREAMING PIVOT WILL BE COSTLY FOR INDIE FILMS
The streaming industry has all sorts of complex issues that can tend to be overlooked when journalists focus on the horserace of which service is growing faster or which title is grabbing more viewers. One issue that hasn't gotten enough attention in the past few weeks is the impact that the shortening of theatrical windows will have on smaller, independent films. Ted Mundorff is the president and COO of ArcLight Cinemas/Pacific Theatres has a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter in which he discusses why independent films need a longer theatrical run to find their audience:
The opposite is true in “independent” distribution. When an indie title is released, the expectation is that the opening weekend will be the smallest weekend financially. If the screen average is high enough on a limited number of screens, the film will receive attention not only from reviews, but also from potential moviegoers and other theater operators. The film, after an initial successful weekend, will then expand by adding more screens in more cities as the word-of-mouth continues. Word-of-mouth is a critical piece of the equation, because these films do not have the large marketing budgets that wide releases have.
How does all this tie together with the streaming announcements? Films such as Moonlight and Parasite played for 20-plus weeks in many key theaters. Their box office grew each week, keeping these films onscreen in cinemas. This may not be the case if studios keep pushing to accelerate to streaming. I believe the ability of an independent film to grow attendance at a theater when it is competing with the streaming outlets is simply not sustainable.
ODDS AND SODS
HBO Max orders a Second Season Of The Flight Attendant
Netflix orders an early season three renewal for Locke & Key.
Steep Ratings Declines Create Potential Prime-Time Cash-Back Scenarios (MediaPost)
New AVODs (ad-supported streamers) may offer a new place for networks to make up the fall deficits in viewership.
WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:
1) A Creepshow Holiday Special (Shudder)
In the holiday themed, hour-long episode, fearing he is a murderer, an anxious man searches for answers for his "unique condition" from an unusual support group.
2) Christmas On The Menu (Lifetime)
Josie Jennings (Kim Shaw) a celebrated, romantic, 35-year old chef in the city heads home to spend the holidays at the quaint, magical bed and breakfast where she grew up, and where her mother Shannon (Cynthia Gibb) has just opened a new restaurant. Famous food critic Tanner Rhodes (Clayton James), who has given Josie harsh reviews in the past, comes to town to review the new restaurant and Josie’s Christmas Cuisine. As the holidays unfold, Josie and Tanner get to know each other better, and a romance soon begins to blossom but will Tanner find a way to right his wrongs, write a rave review for the bistro’s delicious cuisine, and win Josie’s heart by Christmas Eve?
3) El Cid (Amazon)
Ruy Diaz de Vivar is a young page who loyally serves his master, Sancho, the future king of Leon and Castile. While he fights to come out on top in the Court thanks to his natural talent with a sword, he gets caught up in a conspiracy to overthrow the King, which would cause as much bloodshed, pain, and death in the Christian Kingdoms as it would in the Muslim taifas.
4) Home For Christmas Season Two (Netflix)
When love rings your doorbell, are you ready? Follow Johanne through another December as she continues her pursuit for eternal, warm and real love. When her family and the world around her fall apart, how can she still believe in real and bottomless love? Does it even exist and will she find the one true love for Christmas this year?
5) Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Netflix)
Tensions rise when the trailblazing Mother of the Blues and her band gather at a Chicago recording studio in 1927. Adapted from August Wilson's play.
6) On Pointe (Disney+)
A six-part docu-series that captures a season in the School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City. Featuring unprecedented access to the famous ballet institution, the series follows the lives of the students ages 8 to 18 pursuing their dreams to become ballet dancers.While older students from all over the country rigorously train for professional careers, younger students from New York City are put through their paces as they rehearse and perform in New York City Ballet's holiday classic "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker" onstage at Lincoln Center.
7) Sweet Home (Netflix)
As savage monsters inflict terror and threaten humanity, a troubled teen with inner demons emerges as his neighbors' best bet for survival.
8) The Grand Tour Presents: A Massive Hunt (Amazon)
The intrepid trio find themselves back on four wheels for their latest adventure. Armed with sports cars, Richard, James and Jeremy think they are in for a cushy road trip as they arrive on the exotic island of Reunion and race on the world's most expensive piece of tarmac. But a bizarre challenge propels them to Madagascar where they must tackle the world's toughest road.
9) You'll Be Home For Christmas (HGTV)
As the countdown to Christmas ticks on, Albie Mushaney, world-famous strongman and Salem, Oregon-based real estate agent who moonlights as a Santa impersonator, will help first-time homebuyers find their forever home in time for the holidays. Alongside his festive family, Albie will make the houses extra “ho-ho-home-y” by adding special seasonal touches like a fully decorated tree with gifts underneath, stockings hung on the chimney and freshly baked cookies and hot cocoa welcoming them at the door.
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.
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