Displaying items by tag: Too Much TV

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, December 14th, 2020

14 December, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, December 14th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by hot tea and a lot of antacids.

2021 MIGHT BE A TOUGH YEAR FOR SVOD 
Maria Rua Aguete, Research Director for OMDIA, has a report out today that forecasts a challenging 2021 for most SVODs. In the report, she argues that while 2020 was a great year for streamers, they have now exhausted the pool of new subscribers who are the low-hanging fruit of subscriber acquisition. So 2021 will likely be more difficult, particularly for Apple TV+:

The four fastest-growing services of 2020 were Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. All saw significant net adds stemming from COVID-19-affected markets. In 2021, all these services are expected to see significant declines in net additions. For Netflix and Amazon, 2021 will be their smallest year of growth in absolute terms since 2015.

For Apple TV+, the future is even more stark. After seeing a bumper year of growth, it is expected that the service will churn subscribers throughout the year, losing almost 8 million by year-end. This will partially be due to the end of generous free trials, but also due to the small library of content available on Apple’s subscription platform.

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'THE OFFICE' HEADS TO PEACOCK NEXT MONTH, WITH FIRST TWO SEASONS AVAILABLE ON PEACOCK AVOD
At this point, it's not news that the long-running NBC comedy The Office is headed to the NBCU streamer Peacock in January. What is new today is that Peacock announced the first two seasons of the show will be available for free on the free, ad-supported version of Peacock. 

I have complicated feelings about the importance of moves like this one. Peacock was able to outbid Netflix last year and secured the show for five years, at a reported cost of about $100 million per year. That's not Big Bang Theory money, but it's a hefty investment. Given the optics of the show not being available on Peacock, the company had no choice but to nab the rights, whatever the costs. But despite all of the hype, I'm not convinced Peacock having The Office is any sort of gamechanger. Yes, it's nice to have an I am sure plenty of subscribers will be happy. But will having the entire run of The Office available on Peacock encourage anyone to subscribe?

Based on what I heard a few weeks back from an executive at Netflix, the answer is probably "No." Last month I spoke to someone at Netflix on background and was told that while The Office was an extremely popular series on the service, subscribers who watched the most of the series tended to be long-time subscribers to the service. There also appeared to be a subset of those subscribers who watched the show in intermittent long stretches. Which led company engineers to suspect these subscribers would turn on the show and leave it on as background while they were doing other things. Especially since many of these viewers seemed to be randomly watching multiple episodes.

But while their data is by no means perfect, having The Office available didn't encourage people to subscribe to Netflix. But it was another reason for them to stay.

I have no doubt having The Office available on Peacock will be good for the streaming service. But I suspect their experience will match what was seen by Netflix engineers. It's a good show to have on your service. But it's not going to lower subscriber acquisition costs to any great degree. Of course, that fact won't stop the flurry of hot takes next month when the show hits Peacock.

ODDS AND SODS
Sky is adding Amazon Prime Video to its pay TV services in Europe. The app launches today on Sky Q, Sky Ticket and Now TV in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Sky's Now TV and Sky Ticket platforms will also launch on Amazon's Fire TV devices as part of the deal.

Tubi arrives today on the Roku platform in Mexico. It includes some curated channels from Mexico's media giant TV Azteca.

RECOMENDED READING
How A Tiny Startup Fixed The Future Of TV (Protocol)
Reelgood doesn't make shows, and it doesn't make TVs. What it does is try to make sense of the future of TV and movies. And it's doing it really well.

Dish And Cox End Long Retrans Dispute, Restore 14 Stations in 10 Markets (NextTV)
Dish Network has announced a multi-year agreement with Cox Media Group to restore 14 stations in 10 markets that had been blacked out on the satellite TV operator’s platforms since July. 

Disney Analyst Downgrades Stock: 'Now The Hard Part Begins (Hollywood Reporter)
BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon downgraded his rating on Disney's stock today, citing recent gains. In a report entitled "Now the Hard Part Begins," he made Netflix his top pick.

Roblox Acquires Loom.ai, Accelerating Development Of Avatar Realism And Emotions (Roblox)
Roblox announced today the acquisition of Loom.ai, a privately-held company specializing in real-time facial animation technology for 3D avatars, using deep learning, computer vision, and VFX.

How 'Slings & Arrows' on Acorn TV made a Shakespeare fest a cult hit - Los  Angeles Times

WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) A California Christmas (Netflix)
With his carefree lifestyle on the line, a wealthy charmer poses as a ranch hand to get a hardworking farmer to sell her family’s land before Christmas.

2) Celebrity IOU Season Premiere (HGTV)
Drew and Jonathan Scott offer renovations from Hollywood A-listers to individuals who've made a lasting impact on their lives. The celebrities this season include Zooey Deschanel, Allison Janney, Rainn Wilson and Justin Hartley.

3) Christmas With The Tabernacle Choir (PBS)
Kelli O'Hara and Richard Thomas join Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir.

4) Deliciousness Series Premiere (MTV)
Host Tiffani Thiessen and panelists Angela Kinsey, Kel Mitchell and Tim Chantarangsu celebrate the funniest food moments on the internet from home cooking disasters to barbecue fails.

5) Haul This House Series (fyi)
Haul This House follows the larger than life exploits of the Nickel Brothers –a Vancouver-based multigenerational family business who specialize in buying houses set for demolition, re-selling them to homeowners who want a home on the waterfront at a reasonable price, and then hauling these massive structures via truck and barge to their hard-to-reach-destinations. As picturesque as the Pacific Northwest is, these roads are also loaded with obstacles – pitch black nights, hanging power lines, massive hills, tight roads and even sinking landscapes present only a few of the challenges they’ll face.

6) Hilda Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
As Hilda explores new places and hidden spaces around Trolberg, her love of adventure and a growing streak of independence could lead her into trouble.

7) Lonestar Christmas (Lifetime)
When a single mom Erin (Stephanie Bennett) takes her daughters to spend Christmas with her estranged dad on his Texas ranch, she unexpectedly falls in love with local restaurateur Mateo (Marco Grazzini) while learning to forgive her father for the past.

8) Reunions (Acorn TV)
In this heartwarming, contemporary French drama, two half-brothers who learn about each other’s existence after the death of their father inherit a hotel on the paradise island of Réunion. Since the hotel is on the verge of bankruptcy, Jérémy (Loup-Denis Elion) and Antoine (Nicolas Bridet) and their respective families make huge sacrifices in working together to turn things around. Chloe (Laëtitia Milot), Jérémy’s companion, is immensely excited by the prospect of moving to the island with its stunning white sandy beaches and sees it as the ideal opportunity to start a new life, where the couple can leave behind their massive debts. She plunges herself enthusiastically into management with Jérémy and Antoine, who are from different races and economic classes. But things are not as rosy as they seem. This series explores the importance of family, parenthood and the class divide.

9) Slings & Arrows Virtual Reunion (Acorn TV)
Celebrate the critically-acclaimed, cult Canadian comedy Slings & Arrows series with a virtual reunion taped in October 2020, by ATX TV. The participants include cast and creators Bob Martin, Susan Coyne, Mark McKinney, Martha Burns, Luke Kirby and Paul Gross.

10) Tiny Pretty Things Series Premiere (Netflix)
When an attack brings down the star student at an elite ballet school, her replacement enters a world of lies, betrayal — and cutthroat competition.

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, December 11th, 2020

11 December, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, December 11th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by the thought of an upcoming weekend...It's a short one today. It's been a long week.

DISNEY INVESTOR DAY 2020
You already know what was announced yesterday, so let me just pass along a few semi-unrelated thoughts, inspired by a number of hot takes I've read in recent hours.

* It's certainly an impressive lineup of titles. Yet I have to admit to feeling slightly underwhelmed. A number of analysts this morning were touting how close they were to predicting everything Disney announced. But to me, that is less about their predictive expertise and more about Disney's predictable slate of new programs.

* And "new programs" is a mushy term in this context. A lot of the stuff that was highlighted had been previously announced and some of the other projects are pushed out so far into the distance that there is a decent chance they won't actually go into production. Perhaps I'm cynical, but it's difficult for me to count on any live-action TV series going in front of a camera when it's being announced for a 2023 premiere date.

* I was somewhat surprised only one Disney film is headed for its extra-cost "premium" Disney+ tier. But to be honest, I'm not convinced there are enough people willing to pay $20 or $30 for a mid-level film to make it financially worthwhile.

* If movie theater chains should be mad at anyone, they should be mad at Disney. Disney has announced ten Star Wars projects and nine Marvel projects will premiere exclusively on Disney+ over the next four years. And some of those projects could have easily had a theatrical premiere.

* There was a lot announced yesterday. But nothing from 20th Century Studios, Fox Animation or Searchlight Pictures.

* One of the less well-known side stories from yesterday was that a number of established writers are unhappy with Disney's push to make directors the showrunners on many of the Marvel-produced TV shows. I'll have a longer piece about this next week, but I did post a fairly snarky piece this morning which lays out the general complaints.


The Prom' on Netflix: What to know and how to watch
WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) A Trash Truck Christmas (Netflix)
When Santa crash-lands in the junkyard on Christmas Eve, Hank, Trash Truck and their animal friends all have a hand in rescuing the holiday for everyone.

2) Canvas (Netflix)
A grieving grandfather struggling to reclaim his passion for painting after suffering a loss finds the inspiration to create again.

3) Clifford The Big Red Dog Season Premiere (Amazon)
Join Emily Elizabeth and her big red dog, Clifford, as they explore their island home and go on new adventures! With a fun and furry new cast of characters and brand-new songs, Clifford's world, and heart, just keep on growing!

4) Curious George Season Premiere (Peacock)
First introduced to the world of children’s literacy over 75 years ago, Curious George was created by Margret and H.A. Rey in 1941 and remains one of the most beloved children’s classics of all-time. The animated series targets preschool viewers and follows the adventures of everyone’s favorite monkey and his insatiable curiosity to bring delightful antics, gentle humor and heartfelt emotion to each fun-filled episode. With a focus on education, the Emmy award-winning program incorporates early concepts in math, science, technology and engineering and encourages children to use their imagination and expand their own investigations of the world.

5) Crafts In America Season Premiere (PBS)
For more than a decade, Craft in America has taken viewers on cultural journeys across this nation, honoring craft artists and documenting the dynamic evolution of contemporary craft. 

6) Disney Channel Holiday House Party (Disney)
Hosted by Miranda May (Bunk'd), the ensemble of comedic actors will deck the halls with a variety of wacky characters and hilarious sketches, including a Gen Z influencer take on a Charles Dickens classic, a Disney Wand ID fail and a “High School Musical” throwback. Starring are Raphael Alejandro, Suzi Barrett, Issac Ryan Brown, Kylie Cantrall, Scarlett Estevez, Kaylin Hayman, Ramon Reed, Trevor Tordjman, Ruby Rose Turner and Tobie Windham.

7) Giving Voice (Netflix)
Students from across the US audition for a spot in the August Wilson Monologue Competition, culminating in a riveting final round on a Broadway stage.

8) I'm Your Woman (Amazon)
In this 1970s set crime drama, a woman is forced to go on the run after her husband betrays his partners, sending her and her baby on a dangerous journey.

9) Inn Love By Christmas (Lifetime)
Mandy Leeds (Jonna Walsh), a successful young woman living in Miami, is climbing her way up the corporate ladder in the hotel industry. Though she doesn’t get back to her small northern hometown much, this year her Gram (Jayne Eastwood) is able to finally convince her to come home for Christmas. Mandy has another reason too - the quaint local inn is for sale, and she wants to acquire it for her company. With her eyes on the prize, Mandy travels back home but on her way there, she runs into Lucas Menzino (Jesse Hutch) — her high school rival — who also has his eye on the inn as well.

10) Michael Kosta: Detroit. NY. LA (Comedy Central)
The special was filmed at The Gem Theatre in Detroit, New York Comedy Club in New York City, and The Improv in Los Angeles over three separate nights. This one-of-a-kind, three-city special, highlights the silly yet thought-provoking observations of a self-aware mid-westerner. The result is a nostalgic and hilarious reminder of what life was like pre-pandemic, when people could be in rooms together and laugh, carefree. Topics include: side boob, Leonardo DiCaprio, and even the 2nd Amendment.

11) My Lottery Dream Home: Holiday Extravaganza (HGTV)
David Bromstad will show fans how to deck the halls like a lottery winner—but on a realistic budget—in My Lottery Dream Home: Holiday Extravaganza. The popular HGTV designer will transform a living room into a lush Christmas tree forest, set a spectacular tablescape for a festive dinner party and adorn a home’s exterior with so much holiday razzle dazzle that the whole neighborhood will cheer.

12) Safety (Disney+)
Safety is a drama inspired by the empowering story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves), a young man facing a series of challenging circumstances, whose dedication and persistence help him to triumph over repeated adversities. Aided by his teammates and the Clemson community, he succeeds on the field while simultaneously raising and caring for his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson).

13) Small Axe: Alex Wheatle (Amazon)
This episode follows the true story of Alex Wheatle, award-winning writer for your people, and his own remarkable and often hilarious journey through the care system, and then to prison following the Brixton uprising of 1981.

14) The Mess You Leave Behind (Netfix)
A teacher starts her job at a high school but is haunted by a suspicious death that occurred there weeks before... and begins fearing for her own life.

15) The Prom (Netflix)
A group of down-on-their-luck Broadway stars shake up life in small-town Indiana as they rally behind a teen fighting to bring her girlfriend to prom.

16) The Wilds (Amazon)
A group of teen girls from different backgrounds must fight for survival after a plane crash strands them on a deserted island. The castaways both clash and bond as they learn more about each other, the secrets they keep, and the traumas they've all endured. There's just one twist to this thrilling drama..these girls did not end up on this island by accident.

17) Where's Waldo? Season Premiere (Peacock)
Twelve-year-old Waldo (Joshua Rush) and his best friend Wenda (Haley Tju) are members of the Worldwide Wanderer Society—the international order of curious travelers who circle the globe celebrating cultures and solving problems through observation. Their mentor—Wizard Whitebeard (Thomas Lennon), a seasoned wanderer—sends these inquisitive young adventurers on international travel missions so they can earn their stripes and someday become wizard-level wanderers too. But standing in Waldo and Wenda’s way is their rival Odlulu (Eva Carlton), who can’t help but cause trouble wherever she goes.

18) Wolfwalkers (Apple TV+)
In a time of superstition and magic, a young apprentice hunter, Robyn Goodfellowe, journeys to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last wolf pack. While exploring the forbidden lands outside the city walls, Robyn befriends a free-spirited girl, Mebh, a member of a mysterious tribe rumored to have the ability to transform into wolves by night. As they search for Mebh’s missing mother, Robyn uncovers a secret that draws her further into the enchanted world of the “Wolfwalkers” and risks turning into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, December 10th, 2020

10 December, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, December 10th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by Ginger Ale and some Manwich.

THE TICKING TIME BOMB THAT IS DAN SCHNEIDER
News broke later yesterday that Paramount+ is working on a reboot of the Nick teen series iCarly, starring three stars from the original series. It's not surprising news, given how all of the streamers are mining whatever old IP they have available. But it's a reminder of the the mysterious disappearance of Dan Schneider, who co-created and produced a number of successful series for Nickelodeon in the 1990s and early 2000s.

After writing and producing on the variety series All That and Keenan & Kel, Schneider created and produced The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, iCarly, Sam & Cat and Henry Danger. At the time, he was described as the "Norman Lear of kids television" and while that's a bit much, he was the most influential teen show producer of the era. But by all reports, he was also a difficult person to work with and work for. He was well-known in the industry for his tirades towards cast, crew and any network executives that were unlucky enough to get in his way. And in early 2018, it all came to an end when Nickelodeon suddenly severed ties with Schneider and his production company Schneider's Bakery. The network paid him some undisclosed amount of money to essentially go away (reportedly in the range of $7-10 million). But he appears to still retain his ownership interest in the series he created and produced. Including iCarly.

Now you wouldn't know that from the coverage of the iCarly news, which seems to all be designed to pretend this problem doesn't exist. Schneider hasn't given an interview since he split with Nickelodeon and I have spent a depressing amount of time over the past two years trying to piece together an in-depth story. No one at Viacom is willing to discuss the matter publicly & despite having spoken with close to 40 people who worked on one or more of his shows, I was never able to nail down some of the primary details enough to publish some of the more troubling allegations.

All of this is made more complicated by some of the crazy stories that surround Schneider. This April 2018 piece of mine discusses some of them, which will send you deep into the Hollywood Pedophilia conspiracy rabbit hole. For the record, while I have heard some allegations of fairly horrific behavior by Schneider, pedophilia isn't one of them. But it's a believable allegation to many people, given some of Schneider's unsettling social media posts, which had a strange fascination with the feet of various cast members of his shows.

The real problem for Viacom is that they apparently received several HR complaints about Schneider, which were ignored and/or settled privately. There were complaints about his behavior from network executives, with one former exec telling me they ultimately refused to deal with him directly. None of this issues were dealt with at the time and all of these allegations are out there just waiting to explode. And if that is going to happen, it's likely to be brought on by former co-workers and employees who haven't forgotten how they were treated. And who see the return of some of his shows as a slap in the face. 

If you are in corporate communications at ViacomCBS, the temptation is to just ignore the issue and hope it doesn't explode. But while it can take much too long, these stories almost always surface. Usually at the worst possible time. Like when you're trying to rebrand and relaunch a streaming service that is the core part of your business moving forward.

FYI, here is some of the pieces I've written about Schneider over the past couple of years. They are not nearly as specific as I would like. But that's the challenge when you are trying to report out a story where so many people are still afraid of the consequences of talking publicly.

03/28/2018: Dan Schneider's Exit From Nickelodeon Leaves Many Answered Questions

04/02/2018: Former Viacom Exec: 'I Never Saw Any Evidence' Of Sexual Misconduct With Dan Schneider

04/04/2018: #Pizzagate, Hollywood And The Great #Pedogate Conspiracy

09/22/2018: Guest Column: 'This Is Me Screaming'

05/20/2020: Whatever Happened To Dan Schneider?

DISNEY INVESTOR DAY 2020
Disney's investor day takes place late this afternoon after I send this out but likely before you read this. So rather than making a bunch of predictions, I'll just note that WarnerMedia's dual release announcement last week gave Disney execs a lot of cover today. They'll likely announce a multi-approach release schedule and the advantage the company has now is that any moves they make will likely seem tame compared to WarnerMedia's move.

NETFLIX'S TOP FOREIGN MOVIES AND TV SHOWS
It's such a crazy day that I don't have much time to spend on this piece in the Wall Street Journal, which touts typically vague numbers provided by Netflix that claim a "50% increase" in the amount of foreign programming being viewed by U.S. subscribers. Now if you've been reading this newsletter for awhile, you know I think international content is an area where Netflix leads its competition and I believe Netflix's increased investment in local production internationally is an extremely wise move. Still, this piece doesn't include a single piece of actual data and while I expect more from WSJ reporting, I know that it's difficult for reporters to say no when offered up some exclusive non-specific data they can use to build a viral story around.

Film-Forward – Let Them All Talk
WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) Alice In Borderland (Netflix)
A video-game-obsessed young man finds himself in a strange version of Tokyo where he and other visitors must compete in deadly games to survive.

2) Funny Boy (Netflix)
A satudent must navigate issues of sexuality, identity and family amid Sri Lanka's social turmoil of the 1970s and 1980s.

3) Haute Dog Holiday Special (HBO Max)
It’s a Winter Wonderland – but the competition isn’t heating up, it’s cooling down! Join our groomers as they get in the howl-iday spirit, unleashing festive creations on their furry friends for a shot at a holly jolly gift of $10,000.

4) House Of Ho Series Premiere (HBO Max)
The multi- generational family docusoap House of Ho chronicles the daily lives of patriarch Binh Ho, matriarch Hue Ho, their daughter Judy Ho, their son Washington Ho and his wife Lesley Ho, Aunt Tina, and Cousin Sammy.

5) Let Them All Talk (HBO Max)
Let Them All Talk tells the story of a celebrated author (Meryl Streep) who takes a journey with some old friends (Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest) to have some fun and heal old wounds. Her nephew (Lucas Hedges) comes along to wrangle the ladies and her literary agent (Gemma Chan) also books herself on the trip.

6) One Night Only: The Best Of Broadway (NBC)
Several of Broadway’s best shows will take over the streets of New York City with special performances from the casts of “Ain’t Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations,” “Chicago,” “Jagged Little Pill,” “Diana: The Musical,” “Jersey Boys,” “Mean Girls,” “Rent” and an appearance by the cast of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”The night will also showcase special sneak peaks at Broadway shows coming in 2021.

7) Summer Camp Island Season Three Premiere (HBO Max)
Let Them All Talk tells the story of a celebrated author (Meryl Streep) who takes a journey with some old friends (Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest) to have some fun and heal old wounds. Her nephew (Lucas Hedges) comes along to wrangle the ladies and her literary agent (Gemma Chan) also books herself on the trip.

8) Time Person Of The Year (NBC)
In addition to the 2020 Person of the Year, the special will spotlight TIME editors’ selections for the categories that recognize the influence of individuals in specific sectors: Businessperson of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Athlete of the Year and Guardians of the Year. 

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

09 December, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, December 9th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by Ginger Ale and some Manwich.

THE FINE LINE BETWEEN GENIUS AND MADNESS
I was a financial reporter for a SF Bay-area start-up during the tech boom and I can tell you that it is often difficult to tell the difference between someone making a decision that will leapfrog the competition and one that will destroy a company. At the time, most industry folks thought the Time Warner/AOL merger was forward-thinking. Although it was clear to any of us in the tech sector that the deal was a shotgun marriage with no real plan of what to do after the wedding. 

But I also remember interviewing Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings in maybe 1999. At the time, Netflix was the equivalent of an online Blockbuster and the company seemed like a great idea that was likely to be scooped up some large video chain. What amazed me about the interview was that Hastings talked more about the future than what the company was up to at the moment. And he spun this future where movies would be delivered online directly to consumers. He didn't have all of the details worked out and this discussion was taking place at a time when maybe 80% of Netflix's customers still connected with the Internet via a dial-up connection. But he and the other Netflix executives were willing to bet their company on a future that they knew was out there, even if they couldn't clearly see the details.

Like most media reporters, I've been covering the fallout from WarnerMedia's decision last week to move its entire 2021 movie slate to a simultaneous release schedule in movie theaters and on its streaming service HBO Max. As you might expect, it hasn't been a popular move in the movie industry, even though the decision only applies to the U.S. market. Theater chains already struggling stay afloat are worried this will lead other studios to make similar decisions and the stars, profit participants and other people connected to the various movies involved in the decision have been screaming about the impact it will have on the industry. There are threats of lawsuits and arguments that this move will poison the studio's relationship with the creative community.

I think the general consensus in Hollywood is that this is an insanely destructive decision that will likely also be costly to both WarnerMedia and the various participating parties. But what if it's also the best decision for the long-term success of the company?

Owning a studio is a financial high-wire act in the best of times. The history of the industry is littered with once-thriving studios that collapsed after one or two very bad decisions. Everyone loves to talk about the movies that can bring a billion-dollar global box office. But those unicorns are extremely difficult to create and at a time when there are fewer mainstream movies being made and they're increasingly expensive...well, even the most theatrical-loving movie executive might be looking a long-term lifeline.

It's clear that streaming is an increasingly large component of the American movie industry. And while it's true that streaming can't generate the same revenue as a traditional box-office hit, in an era when any studio just has a handful of those each year, is there a way to thread the needle between large box offices and massive write-offs?

Putting myself into the mind of WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, this would seem like the perfect moment to roll the dice a bit. To take a leap and force the move towards streaming that is coming whether studios want it to or not. By announcing this move now, it does a couple of things. It forces other studios to respond and also gives warning to the creative community that change is coming. The company will take a beating in the short-term and it will be an expensive process. But if things work out just right, WarnerMedia will end up with a simultaneous release for its mid-range titles and can have a flexible theatrical window for its biggest releases. 

The move will also give a boost to HBO Max while also giving WarnerMedia an out for later in 2021. For instance, ultimately deciding to retain the traditional theatrical release for late 2021's "Matrix" and "Dune" will allow the company to reap the increased revenue from a holiday theatrical release after using the possibility of a simultaneous release to build momentum for its streaming business. 

There are certainly a lot of downsides. It's likely to poison its relationship with some big name talent and it might miss out on some potential unicorn projects. But if it ends up with a successful streaming service, a more reliable pipeline for small and mid-level films and a less unpredictable revenue stream, then it's worth it. And if the simultaneous release window works in the U.S., WarnerMedia can roll it out in other territories as HBO Max continues its global rollout.

Kilar isn't going to share his thoughts with me about any of this. But assuming that he is committed to the wholesale restructuring of his business, then this might be the start of a generational change that be painful but ultimately will leave WarnerMedia in a better position for the inevitable hybrid theatrical/streaming future that the industry is painfully headed towards.

HULU'S HOLIDAY PLAYLIST
One of the most popular features in both Spotify and Apple Music are the curated playlists. It's now a large number of subscribers are pointed to new music and the collection of genre and time-themed playlists offer an easy entry for subscribers who want to listen to a certain type of music, but don't feel like spending the time assembling their own playlist.

I have been surprised that this feature hasn't been more aggressively utilized by SVODs. Sure there are some automated lists of new titles or content arranged by themes. But there is no real thought behind the curation, it's more driven by data that suggests which titles should be included. In this case, data is fine, but most people like some sense of curation with playlists. They don't mind the decisions being data-driven, but they don't want it to be obvious or clumsy.

Hulu is doing a nice job with their holiday section, which includes holiday-themed movies and television shows arranged in various themes. But what really makes the section fun are the quirky original videos that are included alongside the more traditional choices. There is video of a roast cooking in the oven, a Kitten-themed holiday party and my personal favorite, a 45-minute "Thermostat Wars" video that is nothing but video of an old-school home thermostat on a wall. And every few minutes, a hand comes in to adjust the temperature up or down.

Maybe they'll create a video for New Year's Eve, which is just an hour-long countdown video that just shows a table full of snacks that is slowly consumed as the timer ticks down to midnight.

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical - Trailer - YouTube

WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) Alabama Snake (HBO)
This documentary explores the story of October 4, 1991, when a violent crime was reported in the sleepy town of Scottsboro, Alabama.

2) Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love Christmas Special (Netflix)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… until Ashley has visions of a not-so-festive future dancing in her head on Christmas Eve.

3) Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical (NBC)
Matthew Morrison (“Glee”) stars as the curmudgeonly Grinch. He is joined by Denis O’Hare (“Big Little Lies”) as old Max, Booboo Stewart (“Descendants 3”) as young Max and talented young newcomer Amelia Minto (“The Lost Girls”) as Cindy-Lou Who. Producers have also assembled an ensemble of top musical theater actors from London’s West End to complete the cast.

4) Rose Island (L'Incredibile storia dell'Isola Delle Rose) (Netflix)
An idealistic engineer builds his own island off the coast of Italy and declares it a nation, drawing the attention of the world — and the government.

5) The Big Show Show Christmas Special (Netflix)
Ho, ho, nooo! After an injury forces the Big Show to cease all Santa duties, Cassy steps up as Mrs. Claus to keep the Christmas spirit alive.

6) The Challenge: Double Agents Season Premiere (MTV)
This is the thirty-sixth season of the series The Challenge and it features contestants from The Real World, Road Rules, The Challenge, Are You the One?, Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother UK, The Amazing Race, Survivor, Geordie Shore, Ex on the Beach (U.S.), Shipwrecked, America's Got Talent, WWE NXT, and Ultimate Beastmaster competing for a $1 million prize.

7) The Great Christmas Light Fight Season Premiere (ABC)
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as season eight of the holiday classic begins. Four festive families face off in the season premiere with the Reynolds family showcasing their vibrant and whimsical handcrafted garden display in La Verkin, Utah; the Fiore family building a stunning Christmas town surrounding their home with facades completely encased in brilliant lights in Wilmington, Massachusetts; the Trevisano family building a cozy Teddy Bear Christmas Land with twinkling lights filled with over 100 stuffed teddy bears in St. Louis, Missouri; and the Barbieri family, putting on the Lights on Liberty display, featuring pyrotechnics, hand-built animatronics and a giant storybook, for its 40th year in Deer Park, New York. Tune in to watch judge Taniya Nayak choose the winner of the $50,000 and the coveted Light Fight Trophy.

8) The Surgeon's Cut Series Premiere (Netflix)
The Surgeon’s Cut profiles four ground-breaking surgeons from around the world, each with a visionary approach to their craft. Viewers will follow along as they perform innovative operations and procedures, and reveal personal insight into their journey into medicine, providing a unique window into the world of surgery. Through the individual stories of these experts, the series explores how our understanding of the human body is constantly being reinvented by new discoveries and techniques. Specialty areas featured include fetal medicine, neurosurgery, transplant surgery and cardiology.

9) The Trial Of Christine Keller (HBO Max)
This BBC series retells the story of the Profumo affair, a '60s controversy that helped end the Conservative Party government of U.K. prime minister Harold Macmillan.

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

08 December, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, December 8th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by apple juice and a Philly Steak sandwich.

Today's newsletter is a short one, thanks to some virtual press events. Be back to full strength tomorrow.

THE YEAR IN YOUTUBE GAMING
YouTube Gaming posted some 2020 stats for the service and globally it has streamed about 100 billion hours of gaming content so far this year.

The most streamed games this year were:

Minecraft: 201 billion views
Roblox: 75 billion
Garena Free Fire: 72 billion
Grand Theft Auto V: 70 billion
Fortnite: 67 billion

If you're not familiar with Free Fire, it's probably the most popular game most Americans have never heard of. It's a mobile Battle Royale-style game that is exceptionally popular in South America and Asia.

CBS ALL-ACCESS ROLLS OUT MORE VIACOM SHOWS
The streaming service soon to be known as Paramount Plus added a number of Nickelodeon and Teen Nick titles to its catalog today, including Drake & Josh, Jimmy NeutronThe Dude Perfect Show, I Am Frankie, Knight Squad, The Mighty B! and T.U.F.F. Puppy.

REDBOX LAUNCHES AVOD
The news that Redbox is launching an AVOD isn't especially big news. Especially when the offering is not just lightweight but also has an interface that makes it nearly impossible to determine when a movie is ad-supported or just available for rent. No, what fascinates me is the PR effort behind the announcement. 

You would presume that this announcement would be a high PR priority for Redbox, but you wouldn't know that at the company's media center, which appears to have last been updated in August. No mention of the new AVOD, not even the press release. Hmm...so maybe we'll reach out to someone in the corporate communications department on the "media contact" page. Which turns out to be a generic contact form that encourages "National and Local Media and Bloggers: For media inquiries regarding Redbox, please submit the contact form below."

Which is certainly a great approach if this was 2003 and my deadline was sometime tomorrow. In a media world where so many companies are vying for attention, I am always fascinated to see how many media-ish companies make it so difficult to reach someone directly.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Here are some of the stories that have been posted on AllYourScreens.com in the past 24 hours:

Apple TV+ Announces Early Season Three Renewal For 'For All Mankind'

Redbox Launches AVOD Platform Redbox Free On Demand

Nigella Lawson’s Bizarre Pronunciation Of 'Microwave’ Lights Up British Social Media

BBC Announces Streaming-Centric Restructuring

HBO's MOVE documentary "40 Years a Prisoner" being promoted with a  drive-through exhibit

WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) A Christmas For Mary (OWN)
Vivica A. Fox stars with Jackée Harry and Morgan Dixon ("Being Mary Jane") in a holiday tale of rediscovery and renewal when up-and-coming journalist Lena Jones (Dixon) is tasked with delivering a story by Christmas that will wow her boss, magazine editor Vivian Vaye (Fox), who is dangling a promotion to head writer over Lena's head. Intrigued by a portrait of a mysterious woman painted by her late grandfather, Lena journeys to the small town of Pineville, where with her mother, Deborah's (Harry) blessing and support, Lena uncovers a long-ago forgotten tale of young love that not only uncovers cherished memories of the past, but also inspires Lena to follow her heart and find her own true love ... and her perfect Christmas story.

2) Emicida: AmarElo: It's All for Yesterday (É Tudo Para Ontem) (Netflix)
Between scenes from his concert in São Paulo's Theatro Municipal, rapper and activist Emicida celebrates the rich legacy of Black Brazilian culture.

3) 40 Years A Prisoner (HBO)
The documentary chronicles one of the most controversial shootouts in American history: the 1978 police raid on the radical, back-to-nature group MOVE by the Philadelphia Police Department. Using eyewitness accounts and archival footage of the not widely known confrontation, the film illuminates the story of a city grappling with racial tension and police brutality with alarming topicality and modern-day relevance. Mike Africa Jr., the son of two MOVE members imprisoned for the death of a police officer that day, has committed his life to finding out the truth about what really happened and fighting for the release of the parents that he has only ever known through prison walls.

4) Lovestruck In The City (Netflix)
Heart stolen by a free-spirited woman after a beachside romance, a passionate architect sets out to reunite with her on the streets of Seoul.

5) Mr. Iglesias: Part 3 (Netflix)
As he begins a new relationship, Gabe pushes his students to face their fears, dream big and believe in themselves — lessons he tries to take to heart.

6) Spirit Riding Free: Ride Along Adventure (Netflix)
Join Lucky and her friends on a mission to save Maricela’s beloved mare, Mystery, from greedy horse thieves who've taken her captive with a wild herd.

7) Super Monsters: Santa's Super Monster Helpers (Netflix)
When Santa needs serious help prepping all of his presents, the Super Monsters lend a hand — and some monster magic — to get every gift out on time!

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, December 7th, 2020

07 December, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, December 7th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by industrial levels of caffeine.

WILL HULU BE FOLDED INTO DISNEY+ BECAUSE THERE'S STRENGTH IN NUMBERS?
I don't enjoy pointing out bad media journalism, but Collider has been on a streak of cranking out these vague "what if?" stories that get a lot of social media play but aren't especially reality-based. This piece is from Friday, but it's worth pointing out because the premise of the piece is along the lines of "well, *some people* think this makes sense":

Questions remain as to what Disney+ would look like in that scenario, but it wouldn't be too difficult to put parental controls on mature content, or require some kind of passcode to access certain films and TV shows. While some naysayers suggest Disney would never do anything to jeopardize its family-friendly brand, others argue that consumers have become savvy enough to navigate those choppy waters.

Questions remain because combining the two services would be a programming and engineering nightmare. And then there are contractual problems. Plus that one nagging issue that finally gets addressed in the last paragraph of the piece:

Of course, complicating matters is the fact that Hulu offers a Live component that allows ad-ons, so not only are people watching the three major networks via Hulu, but they're also accessing HBO, Showtime and Starz through the streaming service. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this in the weeks and months to come -- and possibly at Disney's upcoming Investor Day on Dec. 10. Until then, click here to read about WB's decision to release its entire 2021 slate simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters.

Ah, the tease to other content, the true indicator that this is basically just clickbait. Which, as the owner of a website, I have no problem with the concept. But as a reader - and as a media journalist - this type of article is just useless.

YEAH, SMART GUY. BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE OF HULU?
This might sound like an excuse, but I don't think anyone outside of the Disney executive suites knows the answer to that question. We might find out more later this week at Disney's upcoming Investor Day. We do know that outside the U.S.,  Disney will be focusing on Star, a streaming service that can best be described as Hulu for the rest of the world. Disney execs have made a point of saying they don't see Hulu expanding its reach, and then there is that pesky payout to Comcast in a couple of years. So where does that leave it? 

A lot of people have speculated about whether that "Disney 18+" video that was recently circulating on Twitter was real and if it is, what does it mean? 

So when it comes to Hulu, there seem to be three scenarios. One, it stays more of less than same as now, maybe with a rebranding. Some originals, a focus on next-day viewing and on-demand content. The downside is that this limits the growth of Hulu in the long-term and then there are real questions about how much access Hulu will have to Comcast programming beginning in 2024. 

The second scenario is one in which Hulu undergoes a "Disney 18+" type reboot. It becomes the home for Disney's more adult fare, including some of the more adult films that seem likely to slip theaters in the U.S. and go directly to streaming. There is also a place for more of Fox's impressive collection of classic movie titles, most of which aren't streaming anywhere. 

The third option is the extinction-level event for Hulu. Everything is rolled into some version of Disney+, albeit with different subscription tiers. There's the current Disney+, a more adult tier and the Disney+ Premium, which is home for one-off premium events such as "Mulan." This seems to be the option industry pundits are predicting, but it just seems needlessly complex and confusing. 

My guess is that we'll see some version of scenario two at some point, but that's just a guess. It's the option that makes the most sense to me as an outsider, but outsiders aren't the ones that make these kind of decisions. 

2020 PREDICTIONS
I don't usually do "Best of the Year" lists, because they tend to be pretty predictable. Most critics end up selecting a lot of the same shows and there aren't many lists I read where I find myself being surprised at the selections. But I am doing a list of predictions for 2020 and it's in the form of a wish list. I'll outline some things in the media world I'd like to see happen in 2020. Even if some of them are a bit unlikely.

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear from you. Send your media world 2020 wish to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I'll include them in the piece, which posts next Monday. I'll identify you by the first letter of your first and last name unless you tell me otherwise.

Christmas & Holiday Movies: Watch Online | Lifetime

WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) Bizarre Foods, Delicious Destinations Season Premiere (Cooking)
Andrew Zimmern explores the driving forces behind the cutting-edge food scene in Chicago. With exotic ingredients and innovative techniques, food suppliers in the Windy City are pushing the limits. Whether it's a fish dish made with ambergris or a world-class charcuterie, Andrew finds that Chicago can feed his appetite for new food experiences!

2) Nurses Series Premiere (NBC)
Filmed and set in Toronto, follows five young nurses working on the frontlines of a busy downtown hospital, dedicating their lives to helping others, while struggling to help themselves.

3) Pickwick Pack Series Premiere (Disney Jr)
Four animal friends work together to deliver magical surprises to the kind citizens of their bustling town.

4) The Santa Squad (Lifetime)
Allie (Rebecca Dalton), an out of work art teacher, has to accept a job with the Santa Squad to help wealthy widower Gordon (Aaron Ashmore) and his two precious daughters rediscover the magic of Christmas. As Allie is lifting the holiday spirits of the family with Christmas decorations, cookies and shopping, her kindness is rewarded with the most unexpected of gifts: love!

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

03 December, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, December 3rd, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by sweet tea and leftover enchiladas

WARNERMEDIA DEMOLISHES THE THEATRICAL WINDOW FOR 2021
There aren't many decisions in the entertainment industry that can legitimately be described as being "groundbreaking." But WarnerMedia's announcement today that it is is disregarding the traditional 90-day theatrical window in its entirety for at least 17 major titles launching next year. The studio plans to release the films to theaters and HBO Max on the same day in the U.S., a decision that I don't think any analysts saw coming. WarnerMedia still plans to stick to a traditional release plan in other parts of the world, which I suspect is as much a reflection of the limited global reach of HBO Max as it is any vote of confidence in the strength of the world's theatrical market.

"We are living in unprecedented times, which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for Warner Bros. Pictures Group," Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of the WarnerMedia Studios said in a statement. "No one wants films back on the screen more than we do. We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021."

The films being released in this two-track way include Wonder Woman 1984, Dune, The Suicide Squad, The Matrix 4The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard and Cry Macho

There are a lot of implications to this decision and it's going to take weeks before we see how it all shakes out. How will this decision impact the planning for other studios? Will this encourage Universal to change its current approach, which offers a shortened theatrical window? There had already been rumors that Disney was considering shifting some of their mid-level films directly to Disney+. Will this force them to accelerate that decision?

And what impact does this move have on HBO Max's competitors? And it's not just from the standpoint of having movie releases that can compete with the WarnerMedia lineup. How is any service going to cut through the promotional clutter this summer when major movies are hitting HBO just about once a week? 

This move also makes me suspect that WarnerMedia has come to some sort of carriage agreement with Roku, even if it hasn't been announced. This decision is going to cost WarnerMedia a lot of money. But it will be a bloodbath if subscribers can't access the service on Roku devices.

And the most important question is the one we probably won't have an answer to until 2022. What will the theatrical window look like in the U.S. after the pandemic is under control? 
Sundance Now Takes 'The Commons,' Starring Joanne Froggatt - Variety
WHAT'S ON TODAY:

Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) Anything For Jackson (Shudder)
After losing their only grandson in a car accident, grief stricken Audrey and Henry, a doctor, kidnaps his pregnant patient with the intentions of performing a “Reverse Exorcism”, putting Jackson inside her unborn child.

2) Battlebots Season Premiere (Discovery)
Sixty teams from across the globe have converged for the hardest hitting, unremitting, steel splitting tournament in combat robotics. Unproven rookies, up-and-coming stars and legends in the game will throw their fearsome fighting machines into the BattleBox for a chance to walk away with the preeminent prize in robotic sport:

3) Break (Netflix)
After a serious accident, Lucie tries to rediscover herself as a dancer and meets Vincent, a talented b-boy battling his own insecurities.

4) Bugs Bunny's 24 Carrot Holiday Special (HBO Max)
The Looney Tunes are here to get you in the holiday spirit with Bugs Bunny's 24-Carrot Holiday Special. Duck the halls with Porky and Daffy as they travel to the North Pole on a mission to save Christmas.

5) Chico Bon Bon And The Very Berry Holiday (Netflix)
The Fix-It Force makes a plan to hit every home as fast as they can, delivering Blunderberry Cakes before the town awakes to avoid a holiday disaster.

6) Conspiracies Decoded Series Premiere (Science)
Was the Titanic doomed before it set sail? Does the Turin Shroud really show Jesus Christ? Has Amelia Earhart’s body finally been found? Today, cutting edge forensic science may hold the key to solving these questions and more.

7) Flipping Across America (HGTV)
HGTV follows two sets of well-known stars and flipping masters with similar house purchase prices and reno budgets. Designer and real estate developer Alison Victoria guides viewers across the country to find out which of these experts best economize their flips.

8) Heaven's Gate: The Cult Of Cults (HBO Max)
An intimate, four-part series that explores the infamous religious movement and the stranger-than-fiction circumstances that culminated in the biggest mass suicide to ever take place in the U.S.

9) Just Another Christmas (Netflix)
Stuck in a time loop where it's forever Christmas, a family man who hates the holiday starts to learn valuable lessons about what's important in life.

10) Killer Cases Series Premiere (A&E)
Viewers get a first-hand look as they hear from police officers, forensic experts, witnesses, and sometimes even the defendants themselves. Then—with cameras inside the courtroom capturing every twist—the legal drama unfolds as the evidence stacks up and the final verdict is revealed. It’s a journey through the criminal justice process that gives viewers an inside look at real cases like never before.

11) My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood (HBO Max)
Underwood will appear with a live orchestra and choir, performing a combination of beloved traditional favorites celebrating her faith and the spiritual nature of the holiday, as well as new original material from the highly anticipated album which was released on vinyl October 30th.

12) Mysteries Of The Abandoned Season Premiere (Science)
An abandoned North Carolina ghost town which briefly served as the backdrop for the dystopian blockbuster film The Hunger Games. A world-renowned yoga center nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas that once recruited the likes of The Beatles and Mia Farrow in search for Nirvana, now untouched and left alone for decades. A vast labyrinth of subterranean tunnels lying beneath the busy streets of Ukraine with ties to KGB spies, Nazis and criminals who once called the catacombs home.

13) Rocket Around The Christmas Tree (Discovery)
In an epic and explosive holiday themed rocket competition, teams of deck-the-hall daredevils put their rocketry skills to the test each week as they compete in a series of explosive contests to determine who can take their holiday cheer to new heights and walk away with the coveted ‘Golden Rocket-Tree Topper’ trophy.

14) Stylish With Jenna Lyons Series Premiere (HBO Max)
Join Jenna Lyons in her new business aimed at helping people find their own style.

16) Swamp People: Serpent Invasion (History)
The Cajun Navy returns to Florida to help battle the incredibly dangerous and invasive species of Burmese pythons destroying the Everglades. Last year was just the start of a very successful hunt and capture of these aggressive creatures, but now, the pythons are breeding at unprecedented rates.

18) The Commons (Sundance Now)
Eadie (Joanne Froggatt) just wants a normal life, but the world around her won’t let her have it. A brilliant, 38-year-old neuropsychologist, Eadie longs to have a child with her vector biologist husband, Lloyd (David Lyons, ER, Eat Pray Love, Revolution), but multiple unsuccessful IVF treatments have put her dreams of motherhood on hold. Meanwhile, the world around her is in chaos, as global warming and parasitic diseases have made the divide between rich and poor even greater. The Commons is a compelling drama about how interpersonal relationships, and the needs, hopes and desires that everyone has, still exist in a rapidly changing world.

19) Tripping with Nils Frahm (Mubi)
A legendary artist at a legendary location: Tripping with Nils Frahm captures one of the world’s most sought-after live acts performing at one of Berlin’s most iconic buildings.

20) The Voice Holiday Celebration (NBC)
An array of “Voice” coaches past and present, some music superstars and many beloved artists from the “Voice” family perform holiday classics and popular modern favorites. Plus, Season 19 coaches, Blake, Kelly, John and Gwen share some of their favorite holiday traditions and memories.

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

02 December, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by watered-down coffee and mini-pretzels.

THE SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SVODs
Maybe three years ago an engineer at Philo gave me a rundown of an integrated social sharing tool they were experimenting with in-house. You could share programming suggestions with friends, connect with people who shared your love of a show and create viewing lists you could share publicly or privately. The plan was eventually to offer networks the opportunity to send direct messages about shows to viewers who opted in. According to the engineer, the features had been very popular internally. But it hadn't been rolled out to the public, because it required a large subscriber base in order to scale correctly.

"Social" is a very mushy term, but in the content of SVODs, it really is about sharing your viewing experiences. Sometimes the sharing is direct - think the various experimentations with watch parties. But the very nature of the way a SVOD works (and various content restrictions) makes those types of sharing difficult to bring to scale. But there are ways of creating a social experience that don't require actual direct social interaction.

Spotify announced yesterday that it is introducing new features for their annual "unwrapped" lists. At the end of the year, Spotify typically creates individual lists that show the songs you listened to most throughout the year and the most popular artists for that specific subscriber. The lists are fun to share and they pop up a lot on social media in December. But they are also thought-provoking. I guarantee that when you see your lists, you'll be surprised at some of the songs on it.

The new features Spotify is rolling out this year expand the social aspects of the lists by allowing subscribers to earn badges for things such as creating popular playlists or be a very early listener to a song that later becomes very popular. There are also new personalized playlists, including one called "Missed Hits," which includes song similar to ones you listened to that you missed throughout the year.

All of this is lightweight fun and while it isn't for everyone, it does create a faux-social experience that is different from what users will find on Amazon or Apple Music. And it got me to thinking that this is type of feature I'd love to see Hulu or Netflix roll out in the future. 

While it's not a minor engineering project, it would be fun for Hulu or Netflix to create lists such as "Your Most Watched Shows." These features also could provide a way to glean more specific demographic details from the subset of subscribers willing to provide it in exchange for increasingly helpful content filtering. Asking users to volunteer their sex, ten-year wide age range and state where they are located wouldn't sound too obtrusive to many subscribers. But it would allow services to create content recommendation lists based on what other subscribers in those categories were watching. And from a business standpoint, it would build better demographic info for advertisers, even if only a subset of subscribers agreed to participate.

I think eventually an SVOD like Hulu or Netflix is going to offer features closer to what I saw in that Philo presentation. But in the meantime, even baby steps in the creation of social sharing features would be worthwhile to see.

r/StarWarsLeaks - The Mandalorian in Fortnite Official Loading Screen Art Leaked
A NEW CHAPTER FOR FORTNITE
Fortnite introduced a new chapter to its current season last night and for people who don't play the game, that means an update to the game map, new characters and changes in every other aspect of the game. The chapter was kicked off with a special one-time only event that allowed players to join together to defeat Galactus. After the ten-minute event ended, there was a short tease for the new chapter, the second part of season five. This season has allowed players to fight and play as a number of familiar Marvel characters, as well as purchase Marvel-related skins and items. It was really an impressive integration and I'd argue it might be the best use ever of the MCU in a gaming environment. Fortnite execs report the special event had 15.3 million concurrent players, with another 3.4 million people watching live on YouTube Games and Twitch.

Fortnite was dark for seven hours, then returned with an altered world map and another round of new Disney-owned characters and new quests to complete. The game has added Disney+ characters The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda (or Grogu), as well as several Star Wars-related weapons. There are new map locations and the addition of gold bars, a new in-game currency that allows users to do everything from weapons upgrades to even hiring a bodyguard to help out during missions.

Whether or not you're into Fortnite or gaming in general, you should be paying attention to how Epic Games (creator of Fortnite) continues to use change and surprise as a way to retain users. 

HBO MAX HAS A PLAN
Alison Herman at The Ringer has a look at HBO Max and she argues that new shows such as The Flight Attendant and I Hate Suzie point to the streaming service working towards targeting a specific audience: young, professional women on the market for distraction:

In practice, the two shows have wildly different tones: The Flight Attendant is a zippy, espionage-adjacent farce packed with scenery porn; I Hate Suzie is a harrowing, chaotic rabbit hole its cocreator and star has readily compared to a panic attack. But on paper, they clearly share some DNA. Both are limited series built around a central performance by an underappreciated actress. Both combine elements of drama and comedy. And both follow their antiheroines as their lives spiral out of control from a single traumatic event. Paired so close together, they’re ideally positioned for a back-to-back binge, a weekend’s worth of entertainment conveniently packaged by a single provider.

Now, I am not convinced at all that this is intent of HBO Max executives. This Ringer piece is more of a speculative theory and it fall apart pretty quickly once you give it some serious examination. And I would more willing to consider her theory if she hadn't begun the piece by completely misrepresenting a recent New Yorker piece on "ambient TV."

Still, it's an interesting take & it's a reminder of how users can see a service in ways that are very different than executives might have planned.

AMAZON EXCLUSIVE NFL GAME LIKELY DRY RUN FOR DIGITAL ONLY PACKAGE
The Athletic's Daniel Kaplan writes about the 49ers-Cardinals game that is exclusive to Amazon and Twitch (subscription required). It's the first digital-exclusive NFL game since 2017 and it points towards the increasing likelihood that the NFL will carve out a digital-only game package in the next round of negotiations. 

SEAL Team Showrunner Steps Down After CBS Investigation Ahead Of Season 3 -  CINEMABLEND
WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the paltry number of new television programs premiering today:

1) Alien Worlds (Netflix)
Applying the laws of life on Earth to the rest of the galaxy, this series blends science fact and fiction to imagine alien life on other planets.

2) Ari Eldjárn: Pardon My Icelandic (Netflix)
Applying the laws of life on Earth to the rest of the galaxy, this series blends science fact and fiction to imagine alien life on other planets.

3) Baby God (HBO Max)
When retired detective Wendi Babst decides to explore her ancestry through home DNA testing, she makes a stunning discovery. The quest to find the truth about her biological father takes her down a rabbit-hole of furtive medical procedures and unsuspecting women… leading to one man: Dr. Quincy Fortier.

4) Court Cam Season Premiere (A&E)
Join host, Dan Abrams, to find out what really happens inside courtrooms, and to hear the full story from those who were there.

5) Fierce (Netflix)
A gifted young singer becomes an instant sensation on a popular talent show. But her real goal is earning the love of her father, a member of the jury.

6) Hazel Brugger: Tropical (Netflix)
In this stand-up special, comedian Hazel Brugger offers her breezy takes on unruly geese, chatty gynecologists, German bank loans and more.

7) Rescue Cam Season Premiere (A&E)
Hosted by Matt Iseman, Rescue Cam is an incredible, no holds barred look at some of the most shocking and intense, life-or-death rescues, standoffs, animal saves and close calls from across the country and beyond.

8) SEAL Team Season Premiere (CBS)
Bravo Team enters enemy territory in the snowy Spin Ghar Mountain Range to capture Al-Hazred, the leader of a terrorist group and son of the terrorist leader that Jason took down early in his career and made him Bravo One. When they are attacked, Jason and Cerberus, Bravo’s canine member, are separated from the team.

9) Trafficked With Mariana van Zeller Series Premiere (NatGeo)
This new series takes viewers on a journey inside the most dangerous black markets on the planet. Each investigation in the eight-part series embeds with Peabody and duPont Award-winning journalist Mariana van Zeller as she explores the complex and often violent inner workings of a smuggling network. While she dives deeper and deeper into these underworlds, Mariana reveals — with characteristic boldness and empathy — that the people operating these trafficking rings are often a lot more like us than we realize.

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

01 December, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, December 1st, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by iced tea and Nerds Gummy Clusters.

WHY AMAZON'S UI SUCKS: A PARTIAL ANSWER
I have spent a lot of time in this newsletter pointing out just how terrible a user experience it is to try and use Amazon Prime Video's app. Free video available with your Prime membership are intertwined with stuff you can rent or buy. The search function spits out erratic results, the attempts to curate content are laughable and the integration of outside content through  Amazon Channels can be more frustrating than entertaining.

Now, it's not as if the folks at Amazon don't realize their app is a disaster. There have been number of efforts internally to update it and back in 2018, there were reports that one might be close to being released to the public. Although the only meaningful change in the past two years has been the addition of the ability to create profiles.

Apparently my non-stop complaints about the UI have been noticed, because I have recently heard from two people at Amazon who offered to walk me through the reasons why the interface functions as it does. I was told upfront they couldn't discuss whether or not there were any current plans underway to change the UI and they declined to answer a bunch of other questions I had during the discussions. But it was still an interesting conversation. Even if it reinforced my speculations that sales and marketing efforts were the cause of many of the UI's worst problems.

One of the first things that was brought up was that anytime you try and juggle free and paid content, there are going to be conflicts. And it's true that most of the problems I have with Apple TV relate to their similar integration challenges. That's a valid point, although I'd argue that Apple does a much better job of delineating the two barrels of content.

At one point. Amazon apparently tested a stripped-down Prime video app that only included free content, but the feedback was that users felt there wasn't enough depth in the content offerings. And a small team put together a version of the UI that allowed users to switch various categories of content on and off. For instance, you could make all paid content or sports teases invisible. But the fear was that enough people would take advantage of the option to significantly impact revenue.

One of my biggest frustrations is that the current makes it so difficult to find less popular content in IMDB TV or in networks you subscribe to through Amazon Channels. In both cases, users are limited to a few rows of content collected under general categories such as "new" or "popular. But it's difficult to search IMDB TV for every TV show currently available. Or Showtime for movies that are older or less popular.

I never received a reasonable explanation for why the UI functions in that matter. There was some talk that most users were happy with "curation" and that you could still find the content if you searched by title. But if you don't know what's available, how do you know what to search for?

There was a lot of discussion about IMDB TV and an awareness that it would make more sense in the abstract to have it exist as a standalone AVOD rather than this service awkwardly integrated into the main Amazon Video UI. This is one of those decisions that has a lot of complex reasons behind it, some of which I can't talk about here. But the feeling is that having IMDB TV exist by itself would require Amazon having to give up some things to get it placed on Roku and Apple devices. And the feeling is that the trade-off isn't worth it right now.

I have a lot of sympathy for the plight of engineers trying to design a product while still serving the needs of several masters with very different needs. That being said, even after these discussions, I still think the company could do a better job with the UI without giving up too much on the sales and marketing side of the business.

SOME RECENT STUFF FROM THE WEB SITE:
I'm still getting up to speed, but here are links to some of the pieces that been posted at AllYourScreens in the past 24 hours or so:

Halsey Accuses Grammy Officials Of Taking 'Bribes' For Nominations

HBO Max Acquires Exclusive SVOD Streaming Rights To 'The Middle'

New On IMDB TV: December 2020

Pluto Adds New Showtime Selects, The Price Is Right: The Barker Era, QVC, HSN Channels

Three Celebrity Couples Announced For BBC One's 'Miranda’s Games With Showbiz Names'


Catfish: The TV Show
WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the paltry number of new television programs premiering today:

1) Angela's Christmas Wish (Netflix)
A determined Angela makes a wish to reunite her family in time for Christmas, then launches a plan to find her way from Ireland to Australia.

2) Atlas Of Cursed Places Series Premiere (NatGeo)
Author and adventurer Sam Sheridan travels the globe in search of the most cursed places on Earth. Entrenching himself in macabre modern day culture, Sheridan explores regional history and folklore, employs cutting-edge science to illuminate the dangers of the curse, and paints a new and revealing portrait of a doomed place and the people who live there in the process.

3) Catfish: The TV Show Season Premiere (MTV)
Why is that person lying to you on the Internet?

4) Mighty Cruise Ships Season Premiere (Smithsonian)
A 180-pasenger Viking longship built to "duck" under low bridges and a 5,550-passenger mega-ship delivering over-the-top adventures. A liner that offers rugged hiking trails and another that offers opulence and the finest tastes. This season, we travel the globe aboard the most dynamic passenger ships in the world and meet the dedicated teams that keep their vessels running and their passengers entertained. From Norwegian fjords to Bavarian castles to an up-close look at Stonehenge, it's a wild and breathtaking six-part voyage.

5) Natalie Palamides: Nate - A One Man Show (Netflix)
Meet Nate - Your stereotypical masculine man just trying to be better. Executive produced by Amy Poehler and directed by Philip Burgers, Natalie Palamides: Nate - One Man Show follows an alpha male, portrayed by Natalie Palamides, learning to express emotion and understand the rules of consent.

6) Our Own Christmas (OWN)
The one-hour special will feature uplifting holiday moments, surprise acts of giving as well as festive performances by iconic Grammy Award-winning gospel singers Kierra Sheard, Erica Campbell, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard and Le'Andria Johnson, legendary award-winning gospel group The Clark Sisters, and many more.

7) The Holiday Movies That Made Us (Netflix)
Unwrap the real stories behind these iconic Christmas blockbusters, thanks to insider interviews and behind-the-scenes peeks.

8) The Witmans (Investigation Discovery)
In 1998, 13-year-old Greg Witman stepped off the school bus and 11 minutes later, Greg’s older brother Zach frantically called 911 to report that he had found Greg lying in a pool of blood. 15-year-old Zach went into shock – and then was taken into custody as the police’s only lead. What followed Greg’s murder is a harrowing decades-long journey of one family trapped in a double tragedy - a cruel intersection of small-town panic, media frenzy, and a fractured criminal justice system.

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

25 November, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, November 25th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by almonds and a strawberry soda.

Just a reminder that I am taking a long weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving and recharge my batteries. I'll be back with a new daily newsletter on Monday, November 30th.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, a sincere thank you to all of you who have subscribed to this newsletter and/or visited the web site. I appreciate the support.

NETFLIX TESTING TOP 50 LIST
Saqib Shah from S&P Global Market Intelligence has spotted a Netflix test of a Top 50 list. He spotted it on a PS4 in the UK, but didn't see it on the web. A Netlflix spokesperson confirmed the test, telling him that "As we have seen with the Top 10, members like to know what’s popular when picking what to watch. We’re testing if showing an expanded list of popular titles around the globe will be helpful. As with all our tests, we will only roll [it] out if members find it useful."

Shah said there was an overall Top 50 list on the front page, as well as Top 50 TV and Movie lists in those individual sections.

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NETFLIX ORIGINAL MOVIE RATINGS:  THE DIVIDE BETWEEN THE NUMBERS AND ACTUAL VALUE.
Brandon Katz from The Observer has an interesting look at Netflix original movies and whether they're cost is really worth it once you figure out some probable viewership and impact in the market:

In 2018, Netflix original movie head Scott Stuber teased a “cinematic onslaught” from the company complete with 90 original films per year ranging from $20 million indies to $200 million blockbusters. Last year, the company released 72 original features; 2020 will see more than 120 original films released when all is said and done. Clearly, the streamer has made original movies a top priority, which coincides with an explosion in the company’s annual content budget. (A January forecast from BMO Capital Markets projected that Netflix will spend $26 billion per year on content by 2028, or more than the annual GDPs of countries like Iceland, El Salvador, Senegal and many more.)

Yet original films that premiere on Netflix generate the majority of viewership within the first week or weekend. In fact, Netflix original films rarely maintain a tangible top-tier grip on consumers beyond two weeks, which refutes Sarandos’s claim that they have the same cultural impact as a $1 billion blockbuster. The Entertainment Strategy Guy, using Nielsen data from March 30th to October 18th that measures viewing time, revealed a significant decay rate for Netflix original films. As seen below, there are steep drop offs in hours watched from Week 1 to Week3.

The piece sparked a long Twitter thread of back-and-forth that touched on everything from the future of Bright 2 to whether "cultural impact" is a metric we should worry about. Check out the entire thread here.

PEACOCK'S BLACK FRIDAY DEAL
I mentioned Hulu Basic's Black Friday deal yesterday and today I wanted to pass along one from Peacock. For a limited time, you can get a full year of Peacock Premium for just $39.99 (normally $50) or Peacock Premium Plus (ad-free) for just $89.99 (normally $100). Visit this page to get the special 20% off discount deal.

Cast | Good Morning Christmas!

WHAT'S ON TODAY:
Here is a rundown of the paltry number of new television programs premiering today:

1) Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (Disney+)
Taylor Swift and a few friends sing every track from her new album and talk about how the songs came together.

2) Good Morning Christmas (Hallmark)
Two competing TV hosts are sent to a festive small town over Christmas. While pretending to get along for the sake of appearances, they discover that there’s more to each other than they thought.

3) Great Pretender Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
After their string of successful cons, Makoto leaves Laurent's team. But the web of deceit binding them together goes farther back than he knows.

4) Happiest Season (Hulu)
This new holiday movie is a holiday romantic comedy that hilariously captures the range of emotions tied to wanting your family's acceptance, being true to yourself, and trying not to ruin Christmas.

5) Nature: Santa's Wild Home (PBS)
In this new documentary, get an intimate look at the wildlife of Lapland, a region in northern Finland. It's the fabled home of Santa Claus and actual home of reindeer, great gray owls, wolverines, eagles, wolves, musk oxen, brown bears and more.

6) Nova: Saving Notre Dame (PBS)
The film explores the intricacies of Notre Dame’s architecture and the medieval craftsmanship that created the iconic structure. One year after a powerful fire ravaged its timber and lead roof, the structure is still perilously close to a collapse. The special gives viewers an inside look at the fire itself and the incredible effort to stabilize the teetering walls. Once they’re secured, a restoration project begins: Teams prepare to rebuild the oak roof and fallen spire and save the centuries-old stained glass, all while preventing rain from pouring in through gaping holes in the limestone vaulting—and working amid the toxic lead contaminating the site and 550 tons of melted scaffolding threatening to collapse at any moment. NOVA joins scientists as they determine their reconstruction plans and whether the key to a successful restoration lies within the structure of the cathedral itself.

7) Saved By The Bell Revival Series Premiere (Peacock)
When California governor Zack Morris gets into hot water for closing too many underfunded high schools, he proposes they send the affected students to the most well-funded schools in the state – including Bayside High. The influx of new students gives the privileged Bayside kids (who never have a problem that can't be solved in twenty-two minutes) a much-needed dose of reality.

8) The Mystery Of D.B. Cooper (HBO)
Directed by John Dower, this documentary brings to life the stories of four people believed by their family and friends to be “DB Cooper” a man who hijacked a 727 flying out of Seattle and jumped from the plane over the wilds of Washington State with a parachute and $200,000, never to be heard from again.

9) The Christmas Chronicles 2 (Netflix)
It’s been two years since siblings Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy Pierce (Judah Lewis) saved Christmas, and a lot has changed. Kate, now a cynical teenager, is reluctantly spending Christmas in Cancun with her mom’s new boyfriend and his son Jack (Jahzir Bruno). Unwilling to accept this new version of her family, Kate decides to run away. But when a mysterious, magical troublemaker named Belsnickel threatens to destroy the North Pole and end Christmas for good, Kate and Jack are unexpectedly pulled into a new adventure with Santa Claus (Kurt Russell).

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.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.