Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, October 15th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is definitely working for the weekend this week.
HOLLYWOOD HOLDS IT BREATH
The biggest entertainment story going into the week is the industry shutdown that would occur if the 13 IATSE local chapters that have authorized a strike end up walking off the jobs on Monday. I'm reading a lot of think pieces in the trade publications arguing that no one wants a strike - especially just coming off of a long pandemic shutdown. I hope there isn't a strike, but I would better about the prospects for a settlement if I wasn't hearing from so many people that the studios have been pushing for extra production days and even more overtime in an effort to bank as many completed productions as possible.
Now insisting that crews work even longer hours in preparation for a possible strike over long hours and difficult working conditions might sound a bit insane. But that is Hollywood in 2021.
So now all the rest of us can do is hold out breaths.
THERE ARE BRAND EXTENSIONS AND THEN THERE ARE BRAND EXTENSIONS
I don't think it's any secret that Chip and Joanna Gaines are laser-focused when it comes to brand extension of their core Magnolia business. And if you've wondered whether they'll run out of Magnolia-branded items to hawk, then let me introduce to the Magnolia-branded vacations rentals in Waco, Texas.
DISNEY+ ROLLS OUT AN IMPRESSIVE APAC ORIGINAL SLATE
At a presentation for regional press on Thursday, Disney+ announced over 20 new APAC content titles including 18 Originals. The move is taking place as the streaming service rolls out into new countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Disney+ is currently available in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. It will launch in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in November 2021.
During the presentation, which was live in Japan and streamed to other parts of the globe, Luke Kang, Walt Disney’s Asia-Pacific president told the audience the streamer plans to launch at least 50 original shows and series in the region by 2023. "OTT is quickly going mainstream and Disney Plus is well positioned to take part in that."
I'm excited by this, even though I don't think I have time to watch anything else. But seriously, the biggest challenge in covering television created in other regions is that it's tough to get access to screeners, interviews, even basic press info until the shows premiere in the U.S. And even then, the info that is available is spotty. That was one of the reasons why Netflix's Squid Games took so long to break globally. While Netflix has distributed some screeners through its APAC PR group, it wasn't a show that was pushed outside of the region. It wasn't until it began to draw widespread attention with viewers that most U.S. critics even noticed it.
That's an issue with a lot of original content created outside the U.S. While the television business is increasingly a global game, TV publicity is still primarily a local endeavor.
CHART OF THE WEEK
THE BEST CONTEXT I'VE READ ON THE NETFLIX/CHAPPELLE STORY
It's a well-worn trope of the TV industry that it is a business built on relationships. While there is some truth to that, it's overblown overall. You can have the best relationships in the world. But if your projects don't make money, you'll have trouble finding work.
But there are exceptions and in his latest newsletter for Puck, Matthew Belloni has an interesting perspective on Netflix's Ted Sarandos and his unwillingness to admit that releasing Dave Chappelle's most recent comedy special as is might not have been the wisest move:
“Ted is a huge comedy fan,” Jimmy Kimmel told me for the profile. That was an understatement. Sarandos is a student of comedy; he knows the history and worships the gods. It took Netflix only a couple years to corner the market on A-list stand-up specials, doling out eight-figure deals to stars like Amy Schumer and Kevin Hart, destroying the dominance that HBO and Comedy Central had built over decades. Sarandos considers guys like Will Arnett and Ricky Gervais his personal friends. When I asked him to name a mentor type that he admires, he cited Lorne Michaels alongside Norman Lear. A dinner party at the Sarandos house might include past guests Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Jeff Garlin, or Tiffany Haddish—or perhaps even one of Ted’s favorites, Dave Chappelle.
So of course Sarandos is standing by Chappelle, despite the furor over the new special, The Closer, which is basically 72 minutes of ad hominem attacks on the transgender community, in particular, and L.G.B.T.Q.+ people, in general. For Sarandos, this is personal. He believes in the stand-up mantra, that good comedy often—and perhaps even necessarily—pushes boundaries, makes people uncomfortable, and sometimes stokes anger. The alternative scenario—a world of comedy by committee, or censorship for hurt feelings—would have neutered some of the greats he loves, like George Carlin or Eddie Murphy or Joan Rivers.
ODDS AND SODS
* Starz has renewed Blindspotting for a second season.
* Diane Weyermann, Participant chief content officer and a longtime champion of documentaries and who was a driving force behind An Inconvenient Truth and American Factory, has died. She was 66.
* Natalie Jarvey and Elaine Low at Insider researched the top places to sell a TV show: HBO was #1, with Apple TV+ battling Netflix for #2.
* Amazon has picked up Jack Ryan for a fourth season.
SEE YOU MONDAY!