Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, August 30th, 2021

Post by: Rick Ellis 30 August, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, August 30th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by watermelon and room temperature coffee.

This pieces from CNBC is getting a lot of attention today, often from Netflix detractors who are arguing this is a big strategy shift for Netflix:

Netflix is eyeing a more traditional theatrical release for some of its future films, according to a report from JPMorgan out of CinemaCon.

Analysts from the firm, who attended the movie theater industry’s largest conference last week in Las Vegas, said they met with management teams from several exhibition companies who said there is a “real interest” from the streaming service to play some of its movies in cinemas for an extended period.

“Netflix desires its movies to have a bigger cultural impact,” wrote JPMorgan analyst Alexia Quadrani in a research note published Monday.

There is a lot that this story doesn't address and I think it's helpful to keep that in mind. Netflix has not been shy about saying that they see a role for theatrical runs with some of their high-profile films. But what they did resist was releasing films to theatricals with the 90-day (or increasingly, 45-day) window intact. And that's an important fact, since while this story says Netflix is exploring a theatrical run, there is no word on what that would look like. The streamer has experimented several times with short one or two week theatrical windows, primarily so films can qualify for awards. 

So that's one of the big questions coming out of this piece. Are these conversations between Netflix and the theatrical chains along the lines of "Hey, would you screen our movies for just one or two weeks?" Or is Netflix considering premiering some of its films and agreeing to a 45-day window before it hits streaming? The third possibility is that it is proposing a same day-and-date release, arguing that there are some films that audiences would prefer to see in a theatre.

One idea I think Netflix should consider is offering some of its films to art house theaters and other smaller independents who have been hurt by Disney's decision to pull older Fox films from theatrical re-releases. I suspect there are people who would be interested in seeing some of Netflix's older action films in a theater and while that audience might not be not be enough to support a wide release, I suspect they would do just fine in a smaller setting.

I try not to recommend very many videos in this newsletter, primarily because most of us don't have the to wade through 20, 40 or 60 minutes of conversation just to hear the 10% that is on-topic and relevant. 

But this conversation from Fierce Video entitled "Monetizing The News Sports Industry" is pretty fascinating, especially if you are struggling to make sense of this very complex topic.

I've said before that my dream job would be helping to program a classic TV streaming service. And because that is the case, I tend to be especially interested in what shows aren't available for streaming and why. Sometimes I can determine the hang-up: musical rights, underlying intellectual property disputes or the lack of decent prints suitable for streaming. But there are plenty of times when I find myself just stumped by the question.

Which brings us to the Ed Asner drama Lou Grant, which ran on CBS for five seasons following the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Granted, a show about hard-working journalists at a big city newspaper with lots of resources feels a bit unrealistic in the world of 2021 journalism. But it's a wonderful show and I've never been able to determine why it's not more widely available.

Most of the other shows produced by MTM Productions are available for streaming and/or on one of the over-the-air diginets. But from what I can tell, Lou Grant hasn't been available on linear television since the long-shuttered  American Life Network briefly aired the show about a dozen years ago.

This is extra frustrating because while the show can't be streamed legally, it is available via the quasi-legal YouTube method. As Zach Wilson mentioned to me on Twitter last night, the entire series has been available on this YouTube Channel since 2014. While I'm glad that the episodes are available to watch somewhere, I would much rather them be available in a way that would make the people who worked on the show a bit of money. 

One of the things that you learn from covering Hollywood is that no matter how beloved the actor, they almost certainly had beliefs that you will find troubling. 

And that is certainly the case with Ed Asner, who by all accounts was a wonderful person. But he was also apparently was one of the people who believed the government was covering up the "truth" about 9/11. He narrated two films for the group Architects & Engineers For 9/11 Truth: 2011's Solving The Mystery Of Building 7 and 2020's Seven. The latter movie was described this was by the producers:

Directed by Dylan Avery and narrated by Ed Asner, Seven tells the story of World Trade Center Building 7 — from its jaw-dropping "collapse" on 9/11 to the government's blatant cover-up to the intrepid study by Dr. Leroy Hulsey and his Ph.D. students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

And then there was this 2007 statement he provided to the International 9-11 Citizens Inquiry in Toronto.

Now, does this change how I feel about Ed Asner? No. But it is an interesting piece of his story.

* Disney held unsuccessful mediation talks with alleged sexual-assault victims. And I'm guessing that if they had been successful, NDAs would have kept the allegations out of the public eye.

* FuboTV will be launching free games on its platform.

* Kentucky-produced court show Relative Justice premieres in syndication this fall.


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Last modified on Monday, 30 August 2021 17:58