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Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, October 23rd, 2020

Written by 23 October, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, October 23rd 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by iced coffee and waffles. 

This newsletter picked up quite a few new subscribers this week and thanks to all of you. If you ever have feedback, tips or just want to say hello, you can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I treat all my emails as off-the-record unless we both decide otherwise. And I can also be reached via WhatsApp at 612-207-2018.

One other programming note. Friday newsletters tend to be lighter on news and commentary due to the large number of new stuff that typically premiere today.

CHRISTMAS, ENGAGEMENT AND CONTENT CURATION
I write a lot about the challenges of surfacing relevant content on streaming services and how highlighting the new programming that engages subscribers can help keep down churn. But that's also the case with vMVPD's such as Hulu Live TV and Sling. There are a lot of channels available and more programming than any civilian could ever keep track of without help. These services tend to rely on content pushes from inside the interface. New programming sections or "things you might like" sidebars. 

I am somewhat surprised that no one is creating their own mini-shows they can drop into people's feeds to push viewers to programs they might like. One example of this would be for Christmas movies, which are spread across numerous channels. Viewers who enjoy these movies tend to watch a lot of them. And they would likely engage strongly with a five-minute show that highlighted the new Christmas movies of the week and where to find them. The potential internal challenge of this idea is that sales and marketing would see this as a place to wring money out of networks and studios by offering pay-for-play placement. But this idea only works if it's recommendations are organic and have credibility.


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

1) American Selfie: One Nation Shoots Itself (Showtime)
From celebrated filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi comes a visceral cross-country journey during one of the most tumultuous years in history

2) Bad Hair (Hulu)
In this horror satire set in 1989, the movie follows an ambitious young woman (Elle Lorraine) who gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career comes at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own.

3) Barbarians (Netflix)
Torn between the mighty empire that raised him and his own tribal people, a Roman officer's conflicted allegiances lead to an epic historical clash.

4) Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You (Apple TV+)
The feature-length vérité documentary features full performances from the E Street Band, in-studio footage, never-before-seen archival material, and a deeper look into “Letter To You” from Springsteen himself. Written by Springsteen and directed by his frequent collaborator Thom Zimny, the film is a tribute to the E Street Band, to rock music itself, and to the role it has played in Springsteen's life.

5) Christmas On Ice (Lifetime)
Courtney Bennett (Abigail Klein), a former US figure skating hopeful, runs the city’s public skating rink but when the Mayor (Will Lyman) announces its closing, Courtney is heartbroken but determined to save it. After Courtney’s attempts to warm the Mayor’s Scrooge-like heart fail, she enlists the help of Noah Tremblay (Ryan Cooper), a former professional hockey player and single dad, who owns the new indoor skating center, to help her, and together they find more than just the spirit of holidays on the ice.

6) Gold Rush Season Premiere (Discovery)
When a global pandemic shut down the world in March 2020, markets crashed and rocked the U.S. economy. However, with economic uncertainty comes great opportunity for those who can seize upon the moment. And in the goldfields across North America, the opportunity of a lifetime awaited as gold prices spiked to record highs and the price of fuel, a miner’s biggest expense, bottomed out.

7) How To With John Wilson (HBO)
In a uniquely hilarious odyssey of self-discovery and cultural observation, Wilson covertly and obsessively films the lives of his fellow New Yorkers while attempting to give everyday advice on relatable topics. The awkward contradictions of modern life are eased by Wilson’s candid, unpolished commentary, with season one’s episodes offering up his distinct take on a range of deceivingly simple topics. Building upon Wilson’s previously released “how to” short films, the episodes take wildly unexpected turns, but are grounded in John’s refreshing honesty.

8) Move (Netflix)
Discover the brilliant dancers and choreographers who are shaping the art of movement around the world in this documentary series.

9) Once Upon A Snowman (Disney+)
The previously untold origins of the innocent and insightful, summer-loving snowman who melted hearts in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 2013 Academy Award®-winning “Frozen,” and its acclaimed 2019 follow-up, “Frozen 2,” are revealed in the all-new animated short. The film follows Olaf’s first steps as he comes to life and searches for his identity in the snowy mountains outside Arendelle.

10) On The Rocks (Apple TV+)
A young New York mother faced with sudden doubts about her marriage teams up with her larger-than-life playboy father to tail her husband. What follows is a sparkling comic adventure across the city – drawing father and daughter closer together despite one detour after another. Acclaimed filmmaker Sofia Coppola brings a light touch to this blend of an exuberant love letter to New York, a generation-clash comedy about how we see relationships differently from our parents, and a funny celebration of the complications that bind modern families even as they tie us in crazy knots.

11) Over The Moon (Netflix)
Fueled with determination and a passion for science, a bright young girl builds a rocket ship to the moon to prove the existence of a legendary Moon Goddess. Directed by Oscar®-Winning Filmmaker & Animator, Glen Keane, and produced by Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou. Starring Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Robert G. Chiu, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Ruthie Ann Miles, Margaret Cho, Kimiko Glenn, Artt Butler and Sandra Oh.

12) Perdida (Netflix)
Antonio sets himself up to be arrested so he'll be sent to Colombia's worst prison, La Brecha. He's after the man who kidnapped his daughter years ago.

13) Puppy Dog Pals Season Four Premiere (Disney)
When an airline accidentally loses Dr. G’s robot dog, it’s up to Bingo and Rolly to find their robo-buddy.

14) Put A Ring On It Series Premiere (OWN)
Will Packer’s newest unscripted relationship series Put A Ring on It follows three longtime couples, with help from master relationship coach Dr. Nicole LaBeach, who embark on the ultimate relationship test. From week to week the couples are pushed outside their comfort zones to confront the question they’ve been too afraid to ask: is this their happily ever after? The couples will finally find out if they are truly meant to be together by dating other people, and in so doing they’ll discover if there’s a love connection they’ve been missing all along. Will they decide it’s time to go their separate ways, or is it finally time to put a ring on it?

15) Ready To Love Season Premiere (OWN)
Record breaking Hollywood producer Will Packer’s popular dating series “Ready toLove,” hosted by Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles, explores the real-life dating interactions of sexy, successful and grown Black men and women in their mid-30s to early 50s who are each looking for lasting love and an authentic relationship.

16) The Big Fib (Disney+)
Ever thought you could spot a fib better than a kid? Find out on this new game show, hosted by Yvette Nicole Brown and featuring Rhys Darby as her robot sidekick, C.L.I.V.E. In each episode, a kid starts by playing a warm-up round where a silly liar and an authentic expert share fabulous fibs and fun facts. Next our kid contestant plays the main round where they question an expert who’s paired with a really good liar on the same topic. It’s up to our kid to find the fibber. There are visual clues, fascinating props, a hot seat round of rapid-fire questions and various topics, including jellyfish, venom and killer plants. The show culminates with the expert and liar standing under the Fib Foam machine to await their fate. If our kid chooses correctly, the liar gets foamed.

17) The Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery Of Prodigious Bribe To American Regime For Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan (Amazon)
Hey, it's another Borat movie. This one with some images of Rudy Guiliani you probably don't want to see.

18) The Queen's Gambit Series Premiere (Netflix)
Abandoned and entrusted to a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s, a young Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) discovers an astonishing talent for chess while developing an addiction to tranquilizers provided by the state as a sedative for the children. Haunted by her personal demons and fueled by a cocktail of narcotics and obsession, Beth transforms into an impressively skilled and glamorous outcast while determined to conquer the traditional boundaries established in the male-dominated world of competitive chess.

19) The Rise & Fall Of The Spanish King (True Royalty TV)
This documentary is a new and powerful portrait of the young man who reclaimed the Spanish monarchy in 1975 and won the hearts of his people only to be forced to relinquish his throne in 2014. Juan Carlos I left his own country this year followed by allegations of money laundering, corruption and adultery.

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.

Last modified on Friday, 23 October 2020 15:18

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

Written by 22 October, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, October 21st, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by coffee that is way too strong.

THE TROUBLE WITH QUIBI
To absolutely no one's surprise, Quibi admitted late Wednesday that it sees no path forward and is shutting down. I'm sure you've read a number of hot takes on the subject by now and of course I posted one to the web site last night. So rather than rehashing my thoughts again, here is a link to the piece, entitled Five Things We Can All Learn From The Failure Of Quibi:

Everyone agrees that people like to watch mobile video. But I never got a sense that executives at Quibi knew why people watched it or how they typically consumed it. In an infamous piece in Vulture, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman admitted that she "wasn't much of an entertainment enthusiast." And Jeffrey Katzenberg has an assistant print off his emails so he can read them. On the upside, they bragged that they had hired "smart millennials" who viewed mobile video regularly and knew the marketplace.

That is one of the craziest things I've ever heard. The unspoken part of that statement is "yeah, I don't know this space. But I'm so smart I can figure it out without any problems." But the more obvious issue is that if you are essentially creating an entertainment niche from scratch, you should understand your customers and know what they are looking for in a mobile video product. Running Quibi and not being a regular consumer of mobile video is like running a broadcast TV network and saying "Yeah, I don't own a television. But I've hired some young couch potatoes who tell me those housewives on Bravo are very real."

MORE CHALLENGES FOR HBO MAX
AT&T released its Q3 2020 results
this morning and there is a lot to unpack. A lot is going to be made about the stat that HBO Max received 8.6 million activations in Q3. But it's worth noting that AT&T has yet to reach agreements with Amazon Fire and Roku, which would make HBO Max available on those platforms. And even with the impressive-sounding Q3 numbers, more than 2/3 of the existing HBO customers who could switch over the HBO Max have yet to do so. And there are another 10 million or so who can't switch to HBO Max because of carriage issues with AT&T's cable partners. So the service has a very steep hill to climb in 2021.

AND THEN THERE IS AT&T TV NOW
Another factoid that came of the Q3 AT&T earnings report is that its virtual cable service AT&T TV Now had a 37,000 net loss due to what the company described as "less promotional activity." While that claim sounds reasonable, the real challenge for AT&T TV Now is that they price their service in the same oppressive way you typically see only from traditional cable services. They have been running a promotional deal which offers a two-year contract, with the first year costing $59 a month. Which sounds like a great deal until you read the fine print and realize that year two will run you $100 a month for the same service. Gee, with those inflated prices, I am shocked that customers aren't willing to stick around and be massively overcharged every month.

ALSO AT ALLYOURSCREENS
Emily Powers Is New Head Of BritBox North America

Amazon Greenlights 'Lightyears'

'Ratched' Again Tops Nielsen's Streaming Top Ten List



Zemeckis' 'The Witches' heads to HBO Max for Halloween | Entertainment |  starherald.com

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

1) Alieu The Dreamer (BET)
Written, directed and composed by Quincy Ledbetter, "Alieu the Dreamer," starring Denzel Whitaker (Black Panther, The Great Debaters, Training Day) and Haley Webb (The Final Destination, Blonde), takes place in a world where mankind hasn't dreamed for three decades, until a driven government agent discovers a young man in the projects, who has suddenly started dreaming. Sought after by an alluring leader of a religious cult, Reverend Venus, played by Rick Hearst (The Vampire Diaries, Dynasty, General Hospital), Alieu struggles to understand his newfound ability while fighting to care for his family.

2) Cadaver (Netflix)
This is a Norwegian psychological horror film that takes us on a journey where humanity is being put to a test and stars among others Gitte Witt, Thorbjørn Harr, Thomas Gullestad) and Kingsford Siayor. In the starving aftermath of a nuclear disaster, Leonora (Gitte Witt), Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) and their daughter Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman) are on the edge of survival. One day, the local hotel invites survivors to attend a theatre play, with a meal included, as a charitable effort to help those in need. Left with no choice, the family of three decide to go to the hotel, where the director, Mathias (Thorbjørn Harr), introduces the entire hotel as the stage. Attendees are given masks to help separate them from actors, but the play takes an eerie turn when audience members start to disappear. The line between reality and theatre quickly gets blurred, until Alice disappears in front of Leo and Jacob, and there’s no longer room for doubt: Something is very wrong with Mathias’ hotel.

3) Chelsea Handler: Evolution (HBO Max)
During the hour-long special Handler will share hilarious experiences about her family, friendships, and her first foray into therapy—where she was able to unearth why everyone on this planet annoyed her so much.

4) Equal (HBO Max)
This four-part series will introduce viewers to a wide range of LGBTQ+ visionaries portrayed by the cast, many of whom identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. Each part offers a distinct and connected chapter within the historical timeline.

5) Presidential Debate (Various)
It's the last presidential debate for 2020. Which is probably a good thing for everyone.

6) The Witches (HBO Max)
Reimagining Roald Dahl’s beloved story for a modern audience, Robert Zemeckis’s visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks him away to a seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.



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.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 October 2020 14:40

5 Lessons To Be Learned From The Failure Of Quibi

Written by 21 October, 2020

In the years to come, entire chapters of business school textbooks will be devoted to the flaming wreckage of bad ideas that was the mobile-first video service Quibi.

According to an open letter released by the company on Wednesday, plans are currently underway to shut down the service, perhaps as soon as in a few weeks. And while dissecting the mistakes of a company before its body is even cold might seem premature, well, this is the Internet, which is built on misguided hot takes and "Here's what your favorite celebrity looks like now" clickbait. So in that tradition of setting the bar low, here are five things I think we should all have learned from the quick rise and fall of Quibi. A company that - along with Go90 - managed to burn through somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion without ever figuring out how to attract a viable customer base.

1) 'RUNNING YOUR MEDIA COMPANY LIKE A START-UP DOESN'T MEAN SPENDING MONEY LIKE YOU'RE LAUNDERING IT FOR THE RUSSIANS
To civilians, business start-ups are thought of as nimble organizations that can change direction on a dime and can get $1.24 worth of value out of every dollar its executives managed to wrestle out of the hands of investors. 

In reality, start-ups can also be companies that waste money on expensive swag and office space butter suited for a Wall Street law firm. There are lots of dumb ways to spend money and it seems as if Quibi managed to stumble across all the best of them.


Here is a photo of Quibi's headquarters at 959 N. Seward St. in Hollywood. The company signed a lease last October for 49,000 square feet of office space spread over two floors. The financial terms of the ten-year-lease weren't made public, but landlord J.H. Snyder Co. was asking about $4.50 per square foot for the space before Quibi grabbed it. 

Then there is the amount of money Quibi was paying for its celebrity-centric programming. In several interviews, Quibi Founder & Chairman of the Board Jeffrey Katzenberg bragged the company was paying content creators $100,000 per minute for their programs. That's $6,000,000 an hour or the same amount of money Netflix reportedly paid for an hour-long episode of Away. That show starred Hilary Swank and involved enough CGI to get a crew to Mars.

But let's break it down another way. Let's strip out marketing costs, employee overhead and that swanky office space with a central garden. Each Quibi subscriber was in theory paying $5 a month for the service. So Quibi needed 20,000 subscribers just to pay for one minute of programming costs. Just the programming costs. 

Everything about the cost structure for Quibi was just insane. And some of the fault lies with management, whose job it is to manage expenses and make strategic decisions on where to spend money. Instead of leasing a bunch of expensive office space because it makes you feel successful and as Meg Whitman said in an interview, the walk to nearby Hollywood reminded her of being in Berlin.

2) IF YOU ARE GOING TO INNOVATE A PRODUCT AND CHANGE BEHAVIOR, YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY KNOW HOW THE PRODUCT IS USED AND WHY
Everyone agrees that people like to watch mobile video. But I never got a sense that executives at Quibi knew why people watched it or how they typically consumed it. In an infamous piece in Vulture, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman admitted that she "wasn't much of an entertainment enthusiast." And Jeffrey Katzenberg has an assistant print off his emails so he can read them:

Image

On the upside, they bragged that they had hired "smart millennials" who viewed mobile video regularly and knew the marketplace.

That is one of the craziest things I've ever heard. The unspoken part of that statement is "yeah, I don't know this space. But I'm so smart I can figure it out without any problems." But the more obvious issue is that if you are essentially creating an entertainment niche from scratch, you should understand your customers and know what they are looking for in a mobile video product. Running Quibi and not being a regular consumer of mobile video is like running a broadcast TV network and saying "Yeah, I don't own a television. But I've hired some young couch potatoes who can tell me what the really good stuff is."

3) CELEBRITIES ARE LIKE YOU AND I....THEY CAN HAVE DUMB IDEAS
It's not surprising that executives who think their previous success means that they can be successful in any arena would think the same thing applies to celebrities. It's not just that Quibi spent a lot of money on projects with some celebrity connection. It's also that many of the celebrity-led projects weren't very good. Yes, celebrities have name recognition and that can bring in some eyeballs to sample a video. But it's a big ask of any celebrity to ask them to convince people to pay $5 a month for any service. As an example, lots of celebrities have YouTube shows and Facebook Watch series. They have almost all found its very difficult to get fans to watch their shows on a regular basis. And all of those shows are streaming for free.

4) IF YOU ARE GOING TO BUILD A NON-TRADITIONAL SUBSCRIBER BASE, THEN YOU HAVE TO DO NON-TRADITIONAL PR
I have been known to complain about lackluster PR efforts from networks and streamers. In part because in an era where competition for eyeballs is so intense, reaching out to any outlet who will talk to you should pretty much be a default approach to PR. And if Quibi spent money like they were a large veteran media company, then by all accounts they approached their PR efforts with the same focus on looks over results. After its initial launch, it was near-impossible to reach someone on Quibi's PR team and when you did, it was clear they felt as if they were being bothered by insects.

They seem to have spent endless amounts of effort placing "exclusive" stories in high-profile titles such as "Entertainment Weekly." Placements that look good to the boss, but don't do much to actually attract the audience Quibi claimed to be targeting. I find it unlikely that any mobile video-comfortable 22-year-old will ever say "Hey, did you read that piece in Entertainment Weekly! I've got to check out this Quibi!" 

I wrote a lot about Quibi programs over its six-month run, including interviews with writers and producers of various shows. And all of those interviews were the result of outside PR firms reaching out to me. From my perspective, Quibi PR was useless. And based on conversations with fellow TV critics, my experience was pretty typical. Quibi PR seemed to only be interested in dealing with top outlets that made them look good and I presume also made Quibi executives happy. 

And that was a self-defeating approach, since the people who are reading "Rolling Stone" or "Time Magazine" were not Quibi's most likely subscribers. And while the service did several high-profile promotional stunts (including a screening of one of their shows in Fortnite), they never followed up those stunts with the ground-level coverage you need to make any new subscriber-based service feel like a "must-have."

5) RAISE MONEY TO MATCH THE PROJECT, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND
A common thing you see happen in the start-up world is that someone has a good idea and when they go out to raise one million dollars, they suddenly find themselves being offered ten million. And instead of sticking with their million-dollar idea, they try and manipulate their vision to fit the larger budget. And that's what Quibi always felt like to me: money chasing an idea. If Katzenberg and Whitman had wanted to be in the mobile video business, they would have been better off raising a $100 million round and giving $10 million each to 5-6 interesting ideas. Then standing back and seeing which one works. But that more reasonable approach doesn't fit the DNA of an executive like Katzenberg, who has this reputation in Hollywood for "making things happen." He would never put himself in a situation where someone could say "4 of his seed mobile video companies failed," instead of framing as "he found a successful idea and built it out."

If there is one over-arching story about Quibi it is that nearly everyone who heard about the idea thought it was a mis-guided mess. But no one wanted to be the person to bet against the track record of Katzenberg and Whitman. Which might tell you as much about the vision of media industry bankers as it does about the state of the mobile video business.






Last modified on Thursday, 22 October 2020 13:50

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Written by 20 October, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, October 21st, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by Gatorade and random snacks.

ABOUT THOSE NETFLIX SUBSCRIBER NUMBERS
Netflix held its 3Q call for investors and the press Tuesday after the close of the markets and I'm sure you have read plenty of coverage about the slightly disappointing subscriber numbers for the quarter. And to be honest, after arguing about Netflix on social media all Tuesday evening, just the thought of discussing them anymore makes me ill.

Instead, let me throw out an idea I've been trying to work into a much longer piece for the web site. Much is being made about Netflix's increased willingness to cancel shows or decline to pick them up after a couple of seasons. The general consensus in the industry - both from the creative community and the press - is that this is a bad trend. The creative folks argue that cancelling a show after a couple of 6-10 episode seasons cheats the audience out of the additional potentially great seasons the show would have if it was on a traditional TV network. And the press frame the trend as a combination of cowardice and an indication of a maturing company that is becoming more financially conservative.

I would like to make a counter argument. That shows with only 2-3 seasons of limited episodes isn't a failing of Netflix. Instead, it's an indication that television is undergoing a massive financial and creative restructuring that many people in the industry either don't understand or hope is just a passing phase.

Think of the television industry in 2020 as the music industry in 1970. Back then, the industry had fully shifted to a model in which bands recorded an album every year or two. They toured non-stop and everything was structured towards album sales. And hopefully some hit singles to drive album sales. The price of albums was artificially high and the music industry was a cash cow that threw off more money than most bands could spend. 

The music industry looks very different in 2020 and it's not an exaggeration to say that there were moments in that transition when it wasn't clear that the industry would survive in any recognizable form. The industry has consolidated into three major labels that generate most of the revenue. And the revenue they do generate is driven by streaming and publishing money. Albums are a part of the picture, but an increasingly small part of the overall revenue stream.

I would argue that Netflix offers up a glimpse of the future of the television industry. Shorter seasons and limited runs, with companies buying out the back-end profit participants as a way to maximize their revenue during the project's early, most profitable years. Rather than focusing on potential blockbuster IPs that are the unicorns of the entertainment industry, grind out a bunch of singles and doubles. Projects that are designed to promote engagement for the platforms that carry them. This is a world where a show that keeps current subscriber happy and lessens subscriber churn is as important (if not more so) than the big ticket project that might bring in some new subscribers. Those one-hit projects will become even more integral as streaming services begin to bang up against the maximum number of people who are going to subscribe to their service.

The industry will also spend more time focusing on the "Moneyball" aspects of programming. Identifying niches that can be exploited at a cost that encourages innovation and experimentation. A $100 million movie starring Dwayne Johnson might be an almost sure-thing. But it's also expensive and a streaming service only needs a limited number of those high-value projects per quarter to spark new subscriber efforts. The war will be won and lost with the limited-run TV shows, the relatively cost-efficient genre movies and cheap programming like true crime documentaries that have the potential of breaking big. 

It's easy to get caught up in crunching numbers trying to determine which original streaming movie was most successful. My premise is that the real battle is in the trenches. What will makes and break every streaming service is how they balance their content portfolio. Is Netflix executing that strategy successfully? I suspect every industry analyst has a different take on that question.

I think it's a work in progress. I look at what they've done with a marginal title like Cocomelon & find reasons to be optimistic. I think pivoting the company's content to a more global approach could be as important as the company's initial pivot from DVDs to streaming. But there are still plenty of content issues to sort out & the resolution of some of that isn't knowable from outside of the company.

ADVENTURES IN INTERFACES
One of the many interesting things that came out of the Netflix investor call was a comment about how much viewing is driven by the Netflix interface recommending content to users. Given that, it's interesting to note that Netflix has slightly tweaked its interface again. For a few months they have had a sidebar link to "upcoming shows." Typically, there have been a couple of horizontal rows of suggestions. One row was stuff hitting the service in the upcoming week and a second row touted stuff coming in the next couple of weeks. Users can also click a button to be "reminded" of the titles. Which means the titles will be highlighted in the interface the user sees on Netflix. And they'll also receive an email reminder about the program. After a few weeks, Netflix added a third horizontal column of titles that had just been released on Netflix.

Netflix has now renamed that page as "New & Popular" and has made some additions to the horizontal columns. The top horizontal column is now the "Top Ten in the U.S. Today" list. Second is the "New On Netflix" list. The stuff coming in the next few weeks is now listed as "Worth The Wait," followed by horizontal columns named "Coming This Week" and "Coming Next Week." My guess is that this upcoming content tab is proving to be a reliable way to cut through the clutter and providing reminders to users is a successful content strategy.

SPEAKING OF INTERFACES
I have Hulu Live TV at home & was surprised to see that I could watch the evening news broadcasts from a number of stations around the country last night. They showed up under the "live TV" tab and I'm not sure whether it was a technical glitch or some new content effort.

FWIW, here is what it looked like on my home TV:




ODDS AND SODS
Bob Iger’s first board seat since stepping back at Disney and leaving Apple is at the vegan dairy start-up Perfect Day.

UK's Sky History pulls reality show following complaints over contestant's possible racist tattoos. This story has a pretty funny kicker.

Rebecca review: 'A pallid adaptation' - BBC Culture
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) Bitchin' Rides Season Premiere (Motor Trend)
Dave Kindig, owner and operator of Kindig-It Design in Salt Lake City, Utah turns out one-of-a-kind vehicles for his demanding (and sometimes famous) clientele. From rendering and design to building and restoring, viewers see vehicles being made from the ground up before being revealed to the car's owner.

2) Black-ish Season Premiere (ABC)
The season premiere takes us to the beginning of the global pandemic for the Johnsons. As a first responder, Bow receives her family’s praise for her work, with Junior being her biggest fan. But over time, the family loses their enthusiasm, and Bow discovers someone in her house is breaking the quarantine lockdown rules. Meanwhile, Dre tries to convince everyone that he too is an essential worker.

3) My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman Season Premiere (Netflix)
TV legend David Letterman teams up with Dave Chappelle, Robert Downey Jr. and more for another season of in-depth interviews and curiosity-fueled excursions.

4) Nova: Touching The Asteroid (PBS)
On October 20, 2020, a NASA spacecraft called OSIRIS-REx will attempt to reach out and retrieve samples from an asteroid named Bennu to bring them back to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx team, operating the spacecraft remotely from Colorado, has just three chances to extend its spacecraft’s specialized arm, touch down for a mere five seconds, and collect material from the surface of Bennu. If they can pull it off, scientists could gain great insight into Earth’s own origins — and even learn to defend against rogue asteroids that may one day threaten our planet. NOVA takes viewers inside the mission as the team embarks on a daunting quest that pushes the boundaries of what robotic spacecrafts like OSIRIS-REx are capable of. The film offers a clear-eyed look into the painstaking work that goes into answering, piece by piece, big questions about how our solar system was made and how life on Earth began.

5) Rebecca (Netflix)
After a whirlwind romance in Monte Carlo with handsome widower Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), a newly married young woman (Lily James) arrives at Manderley, her new husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast. Naive and inexperienced, she begins to settle into the trappings of her new life, but finds herself battling the shadow of Maxim’s first wife, the elegant and urbane Rebecca, whose haunting legacy is kept alive by Manderley’s sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas).

6) The Conners Season Premiere (ABC)
The Conners are back and dealing with the pandemic, and life’s financial troubles loom over the family. Dan is still trying to catch up on back-mortgage payments and avoid a potential eviction, while the Lunch Box is closed for everything but takeout and delivery. Becky and Darlene are both forced to search for additional income at the newly reopened Wellman Plastics plant.

7) The Goldbergs Season Premere (ABC)
Adam, now a senior, returns to William Penn Academy as he wrestles with the fact that he is a cool kid and no longer a nerd while his original friend group isn’t as lucky. Meanwhile, Beverly attempts to have a more grown-up relationship with Erica and Barry before they head back to college.

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.

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 October 2020 11:43

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, October 19th, 2020

Written by 18 October, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, October 19th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by McDonald's coffee and a serious lack of sleep.

ITV LATEST MEDIA COMPANY TO UNDERGO RESTRUCTURING
The global pandemic has had a substantial impact on the media industry, most notably forcing large entertainment companies to accelerate consolidations and reorganizations of their business. The latest company to announce a reorganization is ITV, which has just announced plans to restructure its broadcast business into a new entertainment and new media division. ITV is a free-to-air British network and it is the oldest commercial broadcaster in the U.K.

Under the restructuring plan, the ITV channel itself will be part of the broadcasting part of the division, with an on-demand division that will include Hub, Hub+ and BritBox. Kevin Lygo is currently the Director of Television at ITV,  and will head up the broadcast arm of the division. Rufus Radcliffe (currently ITV’s CMO) will head up the on-demand portion. ITV says the restructuring has already begun and will be completed by March, 2021. There is expected to be some number of jobs lost and ITV says it expects to reduce the amount of office space it leases for its main headquarters in London.

APPLE'S SOMEWHAT PERPLEXING NEW APPLE MUSIC TV
Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos that sounds suspiciously similar to an early MTV channel. According to Variety, Apple Music TV will be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music app and the Apple TV app. It can be found at apple.co/AppleMusicTV and in the browse tab in the Apple Music and Apple TV app:

The service premiered Monday morning (Oct. 19) with a countdown of the top 100 all-time most-streamed songs in the U.S. on Apple Music. On Thursday (October 22), it will celebrate the upcoming release of Bruce Springsteen’s "Letter to You" album with an "all day Bruce takeover" featuring music-video blocks of his most popular videos, an interview with Zane Lowe, anchor of Apple Music’s radio station, and a special livestream fan event. It will also have two exclusive video premieres on Friday at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT, Joji’s “777” and Saint Jhn’s “Gorgeous”; the channel will premiere new videos every Friday at that time.

This is the type of idea that is only possible when you are a media company with tens of billions of dollars sitting in the bank. Based on what I've seen so far, Apple Music TV  isn't really an effort to recreate some sort of MTV experience or even cut into YouTube's domination in the music video discovery business. Instead, it's an incremental add-on to Apple Media library. It's not ambitious enough at this point to be a gamechanger or even enough to get Apple into the music video viewing business. It's just "a nice thing to have," a lackluster goal that is only possible when you don't have to care about turning a profit anytime soon.

New Danish crime drama on ITV3: Those Who Kill | Mrs. Peabody Investigates
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) Darkness: Those Who Kill Series Premiere (Acorn TV)
This chilling psychological thriller follows the gruesome trail of a kidnapping serial killer and the two investigators trying to find his most recent victims before it’s too late. After the disappearances and deaths of numerous young women in the suburbs of Copenhagen, Investigator Jan Michelsen (Kenneth M. Christensen, Warrior) and Profiler Louise Bergstein (Natalie Madueño, Follow the Money) must come together and apply their own specialized skill sets to solve the grisly case and hopefully save lives.

2) Independent Lens: Feels Good Man (PBS)
This documentary recounts the harrowing journey of Pepe the Frog, the creation of artist Matt Furie, and his transformation from light-hearted comic book character to registered hate symbol during the course of the 2016 election cycle.

3) Street Outlaws: Fastest In America Season Premiere (Discovery)
Twelve of the fastest racing teams in America descend upon a secret concrete road in Wyoming, 5,118 feet above sea level for their chance to fight for the prestigious title of the Fastest Street Racer in America. With $300,000 on the line and 12 teams fighting to win, drivers will do anything to be the last team standing and have the opportunity to race the defending champions, JJ da Boss and his MSO TEAM

4) The Voice Season Premiere (NBC)
The four-time Emmy Award-winning musical competition series “The Voice” returns with the strongest vocalists from across the country invited to compete in the show’s newest season. Rock icon and pop culture phenomenon Gwen Stefani reclaims her red chair alongside superstar coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Blake Shelton as they return for Season 19. Carson Daly returns as host.

5) Unsolved Mysteries Volume 2 Premiere (Netflix)
Suspicious deaths, missing children, encounters with spirits and other true-life tales unfold in a new collection of unsolved mysteries.

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.

Last modified on Monday, 19 October 2020 13:20

Everyday Art: Vintage Slot Machines

Written by 16 October, 2020

The term "slot machine" dates back to the late 1880s, when became common to find vending machines that involved some game of chance in every little corner store. There were a multitude of styles and functions, but what nearly all of them had in common was that they had a slot on the front or side to insert a coin. But those earliest machines don't resemble what we think of today as slot machines. They often involved featured things like toy horses racing around a small track. Bar patrons would bet on the races using nickels or tokens provided by the bar. Winnings could then be used to purchase beer or other bar items.

The first slot machine that is recognized as being closer to the modern slot machine design was developed in a Brooklyn bar in 1891. It had five spinning drums with ten cards on each drum. It was essentially a mechanized poker machine, but it was near impossible for the machine to make automatic payouts due to the number of possible combinations. A more familiar design came five years later when a Bavarian-born San Franciscan named Charles Fey created the "Liberty Bell." That machine used three spinning drums with the now familiar bells, hearts, spades, diamonds, and horseshoe symbols. The simplicity made gameplay much easier and the machine itself is considered one of the holy grails for collectors. But of the hundreds of machines that he sold, only four are known to have survived the San Francisco Earthquake.

A number of competitors began knocking off versions of Fey's design and the machines became extremely popular, leading a number of cities to impose gambling bans. But machine operators got around most of those laws by shifting the reels to ones that featured fruit. Generally, bar patrons were then able to "win" fruit gum that matched the symbols on the wheel. In 1916, the Mills Novelty Company developed a way for slot machines to automatically return winnings, which made the gameplay much easier. But by 1920, many cities had made the machines illegal. In 1931, Nevada made slot machines completely legal, leading to an explosion of new designs and gameplay.

While many of the older models are wildly collectable, the value of a machine in good shape with original parts can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. For collectors, the pre-1930 machines are considered antique, while those that are post-1930 are considered contemporary. One reason for that distinction is that the pre-1930 machines are much less likely to have replacement parts, since they generally weren't available for the older machines.

Here are examples of some of our favorites.



One Cent Mills Jockey Trade Simulator


Twenty Cent Mills Black Beauty Slot Machine



Twenty Five Cent Mills Poinsettia Slot Machine



Twenty Five Cent Tic Tac Toe Slot Machine



Twenty Five Cent Watling Blue Seal Jackpot Vendor Slot Machine




Five Cent Callie Little Wonder Coin Flip Cigar Trade



Five Cent Coin Front Roll A Top Slot Machine



Five Cent OD Jennings Chief Slot Machine



Five Cent OD Jennings Standard Chief Slot Machine



Five Cent Paupa & Hochreim Five-Way Poker Trade Simulator

Last modified on Friday, 16 October 2020 19:12

The Best Fictional 'Kolchak: The Night Stalker' Comics You'll Ever See

Written by 16 October, 2020

Etsy is the home for all sorts of knock-off and bootleg pop culture products. But I've never wanted any of them more than I want these incredibly perfect (yet still imaginary) Kolchak: The Night Stalker comic book covers.

The four covers have the exact look and feel of a classic Gold Key TV adaptation comic and the stories are just goofy enough to seem real to fans of the show.

Seriously, these covers are super clever.

Now if I could just get this person to do some for the classic TV series Cannon.














Last modified on Friday, 16 October 2020 14:42

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, October 16th, 2020

Written by 12 October, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, October 16th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by McDonald's coffee.

I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT THE AMAZON PRIME VIDEO UI IS THE WORST
No matter what you think of Amazon Prime Video's catalog or programming philosophy, it's clear to just about everyone that being part of the larger Amazon Prime universe has some serious downsides. That's most apparent in the user interface for Prime Video, which appears to have been crafted by a group of Amazon sales division heads. All of whom have different priorities and "must have" requirements. The end result is an interface that is as close to useless as it is possible to get in a mass market streamer. 

The interface is this weird amalgamation of free Prime content, rentals, titles for purchase, future sports programming, pitches for Amazon Channels (which is where you can subscribe to a number of outside services) as well as random columns of links that show you what you could watch if you subscribed to those outside services. It is an awkward and confusing mess and I would argue that it costs Amazon customers. Or at the very least, regular engagement. 

I HATE the interface. You can't find anything easily, you can't just see things that are available for free with your Amazon Prime subscription. The interface is clunky, you can't see what is new and the genre groupings they have seem to have been populated by drunk chimps. But other than that....

Earlier this week, Amazon offered a discounted subscription deal for Amazon Prime Days. You could subscribe to a number of streaming services for 99 cents per month for two months through Amazon Channels. The billing goes through Amazon and you can only watch the services through the Amazon Prime Video interface. I subscribed to two services I currently don't have: Showtime and Epix. And after playing around with them for a couple of days, I can tell you that once the trial period is over, I am gone.

The Amazon Channels interface is as awkward and non-intuitive as the main Amazon Prime Video interface. You can't search the library, there is no link to a list of every title on the service. Instead, you get a few horizontal collections of titles. Which is fine unless you are looking for a title that isn't one of the selected ones highlighted in the interface. 

I just don't get it. Amazon has a lot of bright people working for them. I can't imagine that they haven't figured out that this interface is terrible and made moves to change it. And no, the recent addition of profiles doesn't count. That feature is one of the bare minimum features any streaming service should have in 2020.

NETFLIX'S GLOBAL AMBITIONS
I've talked a lot in the past about Netflix's ambitions to be a true global service. The company's executives have made a point of stressing that ambition in their recent interviews and a number of the recent executive changes have been the result of the company moving its entire content creation and acquisition efforts in a less Hollywood-centric direction. 

It makes sense on a number of levels, particularly since some of Netflix's newer competitors like HBO Max and Peacock are struggling to implement their global plans. But the real question is whether Netflix can take content created outside of Hollywood and make them true global hits. I don't think anyone knows the answer to that question but as a fan of global television, I hope it works.

One example of that global strategy is the new series La Revolution, a French Netflix original series that premieres globally today. It's an impressive and well-made series that in every way is as well constructed as any of Netflix's well-known in-house English-language successes. The show is alternative history of the early days of the French Revolution, complete with a bit of witchcraft and a disease that literally puts the blue in "blue bloods." I was blown away by the series and it has the potential of being a buzzworthy hit. It's going to be interesting to see how it's received in the U.S. and across the rest of the globe.

SPEAKING OF SIGNS OF SUCCESS OR FAILURE

I don't want to read too much into any one move, but it is worth noting that Apple seems to be extending the free Apple TV+ trial for all of the subscribers who signed up for it a year ago. That would suggest that they are concerned a number of those subscribers won't stay around if they are forced to actually pay for the service.


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

1) Bad Hombres (Showtime)
The feature-length film chronicles the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos, the world’s only binational professional baseball team. Amid the United States government’s proposal for a border wall, and with U.S.-Mexico relations at a low point, the team’s cross-border heritage provides a powerful symbol of unity, joining countries, cities and families.

2) Big Mouth Season Four Premiere (Netflix)
Teenage friends find their lives upended by the wonders and horrors of puberty in this edgy comedy from real-life pals Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg.

3) Clouds (Disney+)
Inspired by an incredible true story, Clouds is a vibrant ode to the life of singer/songwriter Zach Sobiech (Fin Argus). Zach is a seventeen-year-old, fun-loving student with raw musical talent living with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. At the start of his senior year, he is ready to take on the world, however when he receives the news that the disease has spread, he and his best friend and songwriting partner, Sammy (Sabrina Carpenter), decide to spend Zach’s limited time following their dreams. With the help of Zach’s mentor and teacher, Mr. Weaver (Lil Rel Howery), Zach and Sammy are given the chance of a lifetime and are offered a record deal. Along with the support of the love of his life, Amy (Madison Iseman) and his parents, Rob and Laura (Tom Everett Scott and Neve Campbell); Zach embarks on an unforgettable journey about friendship, love and the power of music.

4) Disney Channel Halloween House Party (Disney)
Disney Channel fan-favorite stars take on a variety of zany characters and spooktacular spoofs in this sketch comedy show. Filmed remotely, and hosted by Tobie Windham (“Just Roll With It”), the cast transforms themselves and their homes for a hilarious party filled with wacky sketches, including a befuddled monster, a pet goldfish’s virtual celebration, and other ghostly surprises and treats for kids and families.

5) Dream Home Makeover Series Premiere (Netflix)
Shea and Syd McGee of Studio McGee help dreams come true for real families looking to update their home tailored to their own unique style.

6) Generation Nation: A PBS American Portrait Special (PBS)
The half-hour specil explores how people in different age groups, from adolescents to seniors, see themselves and their place in America. It reveals the common experiences that bind people together within and across age groups and the generational differences that can put us at odds with one another.

7) Grand Army Series Premiere (Netflix)
Five students at the largest public high school in Brooklyn take on a chaotic world as they fight to succeed, survive, break free and seize the future.

8) Great Performances: Grammy! Salute To Music Legends (PBS)
The awards ceremony and tribute concert is hosted by five-time Grammy Award winner Jimmy Jam. Laurie Anderson, Philip Bailey, Brandi Carlile, Cynthia Erivo, Chris Isaak, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Cyndi Lauper, Sam Moore, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Yola. Presenters include Rhiannon Giddens, Joe Mantegna, John Legend, LL COOL J, Greg Phillinganes, Henry Rollins, and Don Was.

9) Helpsters Season Two Premiere (Apple TV+)
Cody and the Helpsters are a team of vibrant monsters who love to solve problems. Whether it’s planning a party, climbing a mountain or mastering a magic trick, the Helpsters can figure anything out — because everything starts with a plan.

10) Helstrom (Hulu)
As the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer, Helstrom follows Daimon (Tom Austen) and Ana Helstrom (Sydney Lemmon), and their complicated dynamic, as they track down the worst of humanity — each with their own attitude and skills.

11) Is There A Killer On My Street? (LMN)
After Lindsay (Julie McNiven, Black Hearted Killer) falls for her new neighbor Stephen (Trevor Donovan, The Au Pair Nightmare), dead bodies start to accumulate, and she begins to fear her life may be in grave danger.

12) La Revolution Series Premiere (Netflix)
1787, France. While investigating a series of mysterious murders, Joseph Guillotin - the future inventor of the world famous ‘Guillotine’ - uncovers an unknown virus: the Blue Blood. The disease, quickly spreads amongst the French aristocracy, driving them to murder ordinary people and soon leads to a rebellion… What if the French Revolution didn’t happen the way we were told?

13) Meet The Chimps Series Premiere (Disney+)
This six-part series tracks the ups and downs of this extraordinary group of chimps that are given a second chance at life by a staff whose dedication, compassion and commitment knows no bounds. Through a seamless blend of natural history and observational-documentary filmmaking, the chimps are at front and center of the series. A real-life drama with a full emotional range, the series gives unparalleled access to everything happening at Chimp Haven, including food squabbles, alliances, romances, 'bromances,' tears, tantrums, high jinxes and heartbreaks.

14) Shark Tank Season Premiere (ABC)
A father and his 15-year-old son from Cincinnati, Ohio, help the Sharks get creative while sharing their solution for storing paint efficiently. Two tech-savvy entrepreneurs from Somerville, Massachusetts, put the pedal to the metal when they show off their portable electric vehicle charger. A husband and wife from Milltown, New Jersey, think they can smell success as they pitch their product designed to keep garments safe from bacteria and odor.

15) Someone Has To Die aka Alguien tiene que morir (Netflix)
In 1950s Spain, a couple summon their son home from Mexico to introduce him to his fiancée, but are shocked when he returns with a ballerino.

16) The Last Kids On Earth Book Three Premiere (Netflix)
As the four pals continue to live it up with their monster allies, Jack worries a newly discovered radio transmitter may put an end to the fun.

17) The Perfect Weapon (HBO)
Directed by John Maggio, the film explores the rise of cyber conflict as a primary way in which nations now compete with and sabotage one another. Cheap, invisible and devastatingly effective, cyber weapons are the present and future of geopolitical conflict – a short-of-war pathway to exercising power. THE PERFECT WEAPON draws on interviews with top military, intelligence and political officials for a comprehensive view of a world of new vulnerabilities, particularly as fear mounts over how cyberattacks and influence operations may affect the 2020 U.S. election, vulnerable power grids, America’s nuclear weapons arsenal, and the global networks that are the backbone of private enterprise. The film also explores how the U.S. government is struggling to defend itself from cyberattacks while simultaneously stockpiling and using the world's most powerful offensive cyber arsenal.

18) The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (Netflix)
What was intended to be a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organizers of the protest—including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale—were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history.

19) What The Constitution Means To Me (Amazon)
Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human show, Heidi resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives.

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.

Last modified on Friday, 16 October 2020 11:00

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, October 9th, 2020

Written by 09 October, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, October 8th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by McDonald's coffee & banana bread.

TOLDJA!
Back in the dinosaur days, entertainment journalist Nikki Finke was well-known for her triumphant use of the word TOLDJA when some story she published turned out to be later verified by other outlets. It's tempting to do that when you're a journalist ad/or analyst. It feels good to put something out there and have the world decide you're right.

I did have a bit of my own TOLDJA! moment this morning when I saw this piece in the Hollywood Reporter that featured a report from MoffettNathanson's Robert Fishman, in which he argues that cinemas struggling to find new films should strike deals with the various streaming services:

"Theater owners should consider finally striking a deal with Netflix, Amazon and other SVOD services as a lifeline to get more product on movie screens," MoffettNathanson's Robert Fishman wrote in a report.

"To no one’s surprise," he decided to cut his box office projections "given a high level of uncertainty around the future of the domestic box office and when we should expect to see a return to a new normal level of attendance," he explained. "2020 unfortunately now looks like a year where the domestic box office is set to plummet 81 percent from 2019 down to $2.1 billion."

I've written about this idea several times in recent months, both in this newsletter and on the web site. I still think it's a great idea and I think there is an audience for people who would like to see Extraction or Rim Of The World on the big screen. But having looked into the idea, it is a bit more complicated an issue that you might expect. There seem to be all sorts of variations of deals when a motion picture is acquired and/or produced for a streamer. Some of the deals have carve-outs for a limited theatrical run. But in many cases, contracts would have to be renegotiated before a film could have a wide-release theatrical run. For instance, my understanding is that Sandra Bullock took less money for Bird Box than she would normally make on a theatrical film because she knew it would be going to Netflix and she saw it as a good opportunity to reach a different audience. Much of that reduced amount was due to her forgoing payments based on box office performance, etc. Netflix would have to go back an renegotiate that in order to release the movie theatrically and while I'm sure it could be done, it's not clear to me that it would be worth their time to do so.

That being said, there are maybe a dozen Netflix films that could easily be rolled into a theatrical release schedule and it would be interesting to see that happen. I'm sure there are similar Amazon films that could be released the same way, although I am less familiar with those contracts.

ADVENTURES IN CHASING AN AUDIENCE
Last night the entertainment industry trade publication Deadline accidentally posted a draft article that claimed Vice President Mike Pence had tested positive for COVID-19. I'm not going to dunk on a site for making a big, embarrassing mistake. I've had my share of boneheaded mistakes and they can happen no matter how hard you try. But why is a site that is supposed to be laser-focused on the entertainment industry cranking out political stories?

I wrote a piece about the issue last night and the private reaction I've gotten from some of my fellow TV journalist colleagues has been...well, let's just say heated:

My problem isn't with the mistake, it's with the story itself and the reasons why Deadline was doing an early draft of such an important political story. No matter what you think about their coverage, Deadline is one of the leading trade publications in the entertainment industry. But they don't have any particular expertise in political coverage. They don't have sources in the inner circles of politics, they don't have any real reporting experience covering complex political issues.

And that's clear when you read the body of the now-deleted post. Written by Deadline Deputy Managing Editor Tom Tapp, the piece is a solid mix of aggregated info and familiar backstory. It's well-written, but there isn't one word in the story that you couldn't find in a hundred other publications. There is absolutely no journalistic reason for this piece to exist, or for a draft piece waiting patiently to be posted if Pence does turn out to test positive for COVID-19. The only reason to have a piece about Pence's test status ready to post with the addition of a few links and quotes is that Deadline hoped to get their piece out quick enough to brag a healthy percentage of readers looking for some breaking news. Even if the site doesn't have anything original to contribute to the conversation.

ROKU CHANNEL LAUNCHES ON AMAZON DEVICES
The Roku Channel has launched on Amazon Fire TV devices. The app won't require an account login and like the Roku App that recently launched on Android devices, it includes more than 100,000 free, ad-supported movies and TV episodes as well as 115 live/linear channels. 


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

1) Betrayed By My Husband (LMN)
Gabrielle is devastated by the loss of her husband Parker when he dies on a kayaking trip. She tries to move on with her life and support her young daughter, but on a business trip she believes she sees her husband alive and well. Her brother-in-law, Carson, is later found murdered and she is accused of killing him. Gabrielle decides to launch her own investigation and soon learns that her husband is certainly alive and is conspiring with his brother’s widow to fake his own death and disappear with the life insurance money. She must now race to prove her own innocence and unravel the plot before it claims her as another victim.

2) Chasing the Crown: Dreamers To Streamers (Amazon)
Three Twitch streamers have their sights set on becoming the next big name in gaming. They'll compete in a series of challenges to secure a spot in Prime Gaming's Twitch tournament: the Crown Cup.

3) Deaf U Series Premiere (Netflix)
In this docuseries, a tight-knit group of deaf students share their stories and explore the perks and pitfalls of life at Gallaudet University.

4) Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Series Premiere (Netflix)
When one of their own goes missing, the Spy Racers must leave LA and head to Brazil to take down a crime organization in Rio.

5) Ginny Weds Sunny (Netflix)
Eager to marry but constantly rejected by women, a bachelor hopes to win over a former crush by accepting help from an unlikely source: his mother.

6) Love After Lockup Mid-Season Premiere (WEtv)
Scott’s accusations throw Lindsey into a tailspin. Shawn impatiently waits for Destinie, and Jessica’s dad puts Maurice to the test. Dylan faces the music with his parole officer. John receives a troubling phone call that changes everything. 

7) PBS Kids Talk About: Race And Racism (PBS)
Hosted by Amanda Gorman, the writer, activist and first-ever Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S., features candid and authentic conversations between kids and their parents about race and racial justice-related topics in an age-appropriate way and offers viewers ideas to build on as they continue these important conversations at home.

8) Raven's Home Mid-Season Premiere (Disney)
Now that they are high school students, Booker and Nia feel they are too old for trick-or-treating. They instead convince Levi, Tess and Ramon to join them for a night of real scares and fun in 4B, the apartment that is suspected to be haunted. Meanwhile, Raven and Chelsea stir up their own batch of holiday antics when they throw a Halloween party for the younger neighborhood kids.

9) Shayla Rivera: Its Not Rocket Science (HBO Max)
A featured comedian in HBO Latino’s “Entre Nos, Part 2,” the hilarious Shayla Rivera hits the stage once more – this time for a comedy special of her own. A former rocket scientist, Rivera talks about being Puerto Rican in Texas, the challenges of motherhood, dating non-Latinos, and much more in this uninhibited half hour of comedy.

10) Super Monsters: Dia de los Monsters (Netflix)
Super Monsters visit Vida's home town for a Dia De Los Muertos parade where they meet some new Super Monsters.

11) The Forty-Year-Old Version (Netflix)
Desperate for a breakthrough as she turns 40, down-on-her-luck New York playwright Radha reinvents herself as a rapper and searches for her true voice.

12) The Haunting Of Bly Manor Series Premiere (Netflix)
After an au pair’s tragic death, Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas) hires a young American nanny (Victoria Pedretti) to care for his orphaned niece and nephew (Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) who reside at Bly Manor with the estate’s chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve) and housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller). But all is not as it seems at the manor, and centuries of dark secrets of love and loss are waiting to be unearthed in this chilling gothic romance. At Bly Manor, dead doesn’t mean gone.

13) The Hispanic Heritage Awards (PBS)
The Hispanic Heritage Awards will honor individuals or organizations doing outstanding work in a variety of fields to benefit the Hispanic and Latinx community in the United States and abroad. The evening will focus on biographical documentary shorts on each honoree to hear about their achievements and work in their own words, as well as include musical performances from prominent Hispanic and Latinx artists.

14) The Right Stuff Series Premiere (Disney+)
The eight-episode, scripted series takes a clear-eyed look at what would become America’s first "reality show," as ambitious astronauts and their families become instant celebrities in a competition that could kill them or make them immortal. The two men at the center of the story are Major John Glenn, a revered test pilot and committed family man with unwavering principles, portrayed by Patrick J. Adams, and Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard, one of the best test pilots in Navy history, portrayed by Jake McDorman. 

15) To Live Or Die On Everest (Discovery)
A documentary about the 2019 climbing season on Everest, which led to 11 deaths.

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.

Last modified on Friday, 09 October 2020 13:55

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, October 8th, 2020

Written by 08 October, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, October 8th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by McDonald's coffee & banana bread.

TUBI ADDS LIVE STREAMING OF LIVE NEWS FEEDS FROM 17 FOX STATIONS
Since Fox acquired the free, advertising-supported streaming service Tubi in February, it has slowly been expanding the programming mix of the service. Today Tubi is making a more substantial change, adding a "News On Tubi" section, which will include news feeds from 17 local Fox stations, as well as offerings from a number of other news services. 

Channels include New York (WNYW-TV); Los Angeles (KTTV-TV); Chicago (WFLD-TV); Philadelphia (WTXF-TV); Dallas (KDFW-TV); San Francisco (KTVU-TV); Washington DC (WTTG-TV); Houston (KRIV-TV); Atlanta (WAGA-TV); Phoenix (KSAZ-TV); Tampa (WTVT-TV); Seattle (KCPQ-TV); Detroit (WJBK-TV); Minneapolis (KMSP-TV); Orlando (WOFL-TV); Milwaukee (WITI-TV); and Austin (KTBC-TV).

"News On Tubi" also includes feeds from NBC News Now, Bloomberg TV, Altice USA’s News 12 New York, WeatherNation, Cheddar, NewsNOW from FOX, FOX SOUL, People TV, fubo Sports Network, Black News Channel and CBC. 

Upcoming additions to Tubi's news tab are Hearst TV stations in Pittsburgh and Manchester NH , Euro News, USA Today News and the 24/7 Spanish-language news channel Estrella News.

Rival AVOD Pluto TV (owned by Viacom) also announced expansions on Thursday, saying it will be rolling out into Spain at the end of October, and into France and Italy in Q1 of 2021.

PROGRAMMING NOTE
Minnebar is a Twin Cities-based tech gathering that in previous years was a day-long conference featuring as many as a dozen simultaneous sessions covering everything from obscure programming languages to how to sell off your media business. Minnebar 2020 is virtual and this Saturday I'll be doing a session entitled "Building A Successful News Site." It runs from 11:30-11:55 am CT. Registration is free. https://sessions.minnestar.org. The is the second virtual session I've done in the last month and while I like to talk as much as the next person, I do miss the interaction of a live audience. 

ODDS AND SODS
Apple TV+ has renewed Dickinson for season 3 and announced season two will premiere on January 8th, 2021.

The Outpost' Renewed For Season 4 At The CW – Deadline
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) Charm City Kings (HBO Max)
Mouse (Di'Allo Winston) desperately wants to join The Midnight Clique, an infamous group of Baltimore dirt bike riders who rule the summertime streets. When Midnight’s leader, Blax (Meek Mill), takes 14-year-old Mouse under his wing, Mouse soon finds himself torn between the straight-and-narrow and a road filled with fast money and violence.

2) Closer Look Thursday (NBC)
As the monumental election gets down to the wire, Meyers and “Closer Look Thursday” will dissect the events of the day, up-to-the-minute breaking news and other important facts as America begins to cast its vote.

3) Connecting...Series Premiere (NBC)
This new ensemble comedy about a group of friends trying to stay close (and sane) through video chats as they share the highs and lows of these extraordinary times.

4) Good Eats: The House That Dripped Chocolate (Food)
Shot in black and white, the story begins when a cook, played by Brown, buys an old candy cookbook that turns out to be cursed. Every time he makes a treat, the tricks get weirder...not to mention more painful.

5) Injustice With Nancy Grace Season Two Premiere (Oxygen)
Grace continues to shine a light on the investigative and legal injustices in the cases of Lori Vallow's children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, Jennifer Dulos, Chase Massner, and others along with a special episode on the unfolding story of murdered US Army soldier Vanessa Guillén. Grace lends her expertise in each episode and examines circumstances that illustrate the varied failures, biases, and inconsistences in the legal system. She also focuses on the ways law enforcement, communities, and victims’ families forge a path forward in seeking justice. As Grace explores these twisted stories of injustice, she helps everyone come out on the other side with a new understanding while also helping solve one of the cases herself.

6) Phantom Signals Series Premiere (Science)
We are surrounded by an endless stream of infinite data, with information bombarding us from seemingly every direction. These signals, which are part of our everyday operations, help define our understanding of the Universe, and largely go unnoticed. That is until a glitch occurs. A blip on a screen, a faulty frequency, or a mysterious interference – what are these unknown signals? Where are they coming from? And what do they really mean?

7) Supernatural Season Premiere (The CW)
Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) discover a wood nymph (guest star Meagen Fey) living in the bunker who is determined to protect her family, at any cost.

8) Suspicious Minds Series Premiere (Investigation Discovery)
It's human nature to question things - especially when your safety may be at risk - but when a grim suspicion turns into a horrid reality, it may be time to take things into your own hands. This series reveals the terrifying journeys of real people who suspected imminent danger and became fixated on finding the truth. From stalkers to criminal cover-ups and killers on the loose, emotional first-person interviews detail the endless twists and turns that come with following a dangerous hunch, leaving viewers anxious to learn who the culprit is until the very end. Did I really just see that? Will anyone believe me? Am I imagining things? Can I trust anyone? Nothing is as it seems and everyone is a suspect.

9) The Cleansing Hour (Shudder)
Two entrepreneurs live stream elaborate fake exorcisms until one of the possessions becomes a little too real.

10) The Outpost Season Premiere (The CW)
Zed (Reece Ritchie) forces humans to work a mining camp as Talon (Jessica Green) struggles to keep peace. A sassy genius invades Janzo’s (Anand Desai-Barochia) lab. A dark Priestess unites the Blackbloods.

TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
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.

Last modified on Thursday, 08 October 2020 13:11
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