Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by watermelon and corn chips.
SCRIPPS TO LAUNCH NATIONAL LIFESTYLE NETWORKS
When E.W. Scripps Co. sold off their cable lifestyle networks (Food, HGTV, Travel, etc) to Discovery Inc. several years back, company executives said at the time that they like the television business, but felt it was the right time to sell those assets at their peak value. As Axios reports today, Scripps is now moving towards its next television goal: creating a group of free national lifestyle networks which will be available over the air and on the various cable/satellite TV services.
Scripps recently closed their $2.65 billion acquisition of national broadcast company ION, which owns 124 stations, making it the country's largest broadcast station group.
Scripps plans to package Ion with a set of over-the-air diginets they acquired through the purchase of Katz Networks in 2017. Those nets include Bounce, Court TV, Court TV Mystery, Grit and Laff. Since current FCC rules require cable and satellite systems to include Ion in their packages, Scripps is in the process of moving over their diginets to the ION stations and then selling those stations as a package to national advertisers.
The Axios piece doesn't discuss the biggest question about this plan: is the format of the ION stations going to change? Currently, the stations run a mix of various syndicated crime dramas, such as Law & Order. There has been talk from Scripps executives that this mix might change eventually into some sort of lifestyle programming, but no details have been discussed publicly at this point.
MAYBE THEY COULD HAVE FOUND A MORE AVERAGE AVERAGE PERSON TO SPEAK WITH
MediaPlayNews posted a piece yesterday on Premium PVOD and the premise was that more people are using PVOD as an at-home replacement for the movie theater experience. Which makes sense, but the only "average PVOD consumer" source for the post was a woman named Cathy Valenzuela, who doesn't sound like all that average of a consumer:
Before relocating to Pueblo, Colo., where she runs a promotional products company, she worked in Hollywood as a production assistant and then associate producer at Norman Lear’s Tandem Productions.
She grew accustomed to watching new movies at the DGA screening room, and after moving to Colorado continued to regularly frequent movie theaters, as often as three times a week, generally with her husband. “The experience has gotten so much better, with the addition of reclining chairs, cocktails, even food services,” she says.
I'm sure she's a lovely woman, but I don't know that I would have chosen her to represent what is supposed to be an average consumer trend.
A REALLY GOOD CASE FOR NETFLIX
For the most part, I am not interested in litigating another round of the "Is Disney+ a Netflix killer?" argument. The bottom line is that of course there is room for both, although they are rapidly becoming the global Alpha males of streaming. But one point I do hear regularly from Disney+ proponents is that Disney's massive amount of pop-culture IP gives them an advantage over the rivals. Which is true to a point, but it's also not always the deciding factor for subscribers.
The clearest case I've heard for Netflix comes from Julia Alexander, who writes the really intelligent "Musings On Mouse" newsletter:
What Netflix has that Disney does not, however, beyond an additional 110 million subscribers or so, is a library of TV shows and films that keep people watching even after they marathon a new original series or film. For example, this past weekend I made my way through Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel and I Care A Lot before winding up watching what I watch every night: New Girl and Arrested Development.
I don’t have kids, and I’m not always in the mood to watch a Disney Channel original, a Pixar, or a Marvel movie. Netflix doesn’t have to try and serve me something to keep me watching (although the streaming platform absolutely does this via its recommendation algorithm). There’s something I’m going to throw on because Netflix had more than 47,000 episodes of television and 4,500 films in 2019. Disney+ didn’t have a third of that, and of the available offerings, I’m not interested in a decent amount.
You should be reading her newsletter, so go here and subscribe for free.
ODDS AND SODS
The Information (sub required) reports that 40% of Disney+ subscribers are in the U.S. Along with this jaw-dropping number: "Mulan brought in around $90 million in the first two weeks through Disney+ from subscribers who paid to access the movie early." Okay, one more great factoid: the most-watched show on Disney+ is The Simpsons.
A review of the Tim Allen/Richard Karn competitive building series Assembly Required, which premieres tonight on History.
Netflix Adds A New Director Of Business Development In ANZ. It's the only international streamer that has boots on the ground in Australia & New Zealand.
1) Assembly Required Series Premiere (History)
Tim Allen and Richard Karn spotlight the best and brightest makers from across the country, as they compete head-to-head, to create mind-blowing builds-- everything from a dual all-season ice melter/leaf blower and all-in-one riding comfort mower to a do-it-yourself jacuzzi and BBQ bicycle -- which not only pushes each builder beyond their limits but challenges their inner fixer and inventor to build it bigger, better and more powerful. Additionally, the duo will be joined by woodworking do-it-yourself YouTube star April Wilkerson who will act as the series’ own resident expert.
2) Brian Regan: On The Rocks (Netflix)
Comedian Brian Regan is trying to understand absurdities around him. In his second Netflix comedy special, the legendary comedian confronts his befuddlement with animals, people, dinner parties, Reiki healers, and his recent realization that he has O.C.D.
3) Goodbye & See You Soon (MHz Choice)
Sixty-something Henri meets fifty-something Lila, and sparks fly - until they both must reconcile their very different lives and backgrounds.
4) Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art (Netflix)
A woman walks into a New York gallery with a cache of unknown masterworks. Thus begins a story of art world greed, willfulness and a high-stakes con.
5) Murder In....Season Seven Premiere (MHz Choice)
A gorgeous collection of mysteries, each one set in a different, picturesque region of France. Enjoy French towns and areas you may never have seen before!
6) Outdaughtered Season 5B Premiere (TLC)
Viewers pick up with the Busby family and America’s first all-female quintuplets months after the family, and the country, went into quarantine. Now, the family is emerging with five-year-old Ava, Olivia, Parker, Hazel and Riley and their nine-year-old big sister Blayke to a new normal with plenty of new experiences in store, including a crash course in riding bikes, taking an RV trip to the wilderness and the quints starting kindergarten.
7) Pele (Netflix)
This documentary tells the story of world-renowned footballer Pelé, his quest for perfection and the mythical status he has since attained.
8) Superman & Lois Series Premiere (The CW)
After years of facing megalomaniacal supervillains, monsters wreaking havoc on Metropolis, and alien invaders intent on wiping out the human race, the world’s most famous superhero, The Man of Steel aka Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and comic books’ most famous journalist, Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch), come face to face with one of their greatest challenges ever - dealing with all the stress, pressures and complexities that come with being working parents in today’s society. Complicating the already daunting job of raising two boys, Clark and Lois must also concern themselves with whether or not their sons Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin) could inherit their father’s Kryptonian superpowers as they grow older.
9) The List Of Ten (Discovery+)
In 2010, a probation officer conducts a routine check on 76-year-old Joseph Naso, in Reno, Nevada. During a search of Naso’s home for probation violations, the officer finds a shocking cache of materials: thousands of pictures of women in hosiery, mannequins dressed in lingerie, and a journal recounting dozens of sexual assaults. But the most important piece of evidence found is Naso’s “List of Ten,” a handwritten list with ten cryptic entries of vague locations, but no names or dates. Investigators fear that they have stumbled upon a hidden serial killer and his list of victims completely by chance. Working against time, investigators have one year to decode the list before Naso goes free.
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