Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, March 31st, 2023.
It's the first of the month, so it's time for my monthly reminder that this newsletter also has a paid subscriber option. TooMuchTV will always remain free, but upgrading to a paid option helps fund everything and also serves was a way to show your support for my work. TooMuchTV is unlike anything else out there and I think there's a perspective that is a unique alternative to the familiar Hollywood trade point-of-view.
But regardless, I appreciate all of your support and sharing of the newsletter. And now on to the important stuff....
BAD NEWS FOR FOX NEWS IN ITS DOMINION LAWSUIT CASE
The judge has issued a ruling on the summary judgment motions in the Dominion v Fox News case. Fox Corp and Fox News' motions for summary judgment to dismiss the case have been denied. Dominion's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. Here are the highlights:
* In its partial ruling in favor of Dominion, the court did determine statements made by Fox were statements of fact and were not statements of opinion: ""The evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true. Therefore, the court will grant summary judgement in favor of Dominion on the element of falsity."
* The court ruled that Fox News is responsible for the claims made about Dominion. But, it left open the question for the jury as to whether Fox Corporation (Fox News' parent company) is responsible: "The Court finds there is no genuine issue of material fact and Dominion is entitled to judgement as a matter of law as to whether FNN published the statement. Accordingly, as to FNN, the Court will grant summary judgement to Dominion on the issue of publication."
* The court also ruled that Dominion is entitled to summary judgment on the element of defamation per se: "Because the evidence and analogous case law holds allegations such as the ones made in this civil proceeding are defamatory per se and Fox has not contended otherwise, the Court holds, as a matter of law, that Dominion is entitled to summary judgement on the element of defamation per se.
* But the ruling left open for the jury whether Fox acted with actual malice when defaming Dominion: "The Court does not weight the evidence to determine who may have been responsible for publication and if such people acted with actual malice - these are genuine issues of material fact and must be determined by a jury. Accordingly, the Court will deny summary judgement on the issue of actual malice, finding that genuine issues as to material fact exist and np party is entitled to judgement as a matter of law."
* The court also determined that Fox "cannot avail themselves of certain defenses like the neutral report and fair report privileges or the privilege for opinion."
UK UNION ASKS FOR BETTER CONDITIONS IN THE REALITY TV INDUSTRY
In an open letter to UK broadcasters Reality TV producers, members of Union Bectu are asking for a series of changes they argue need to be made to keep the industry viable for cast and crew:
- 10-hour rule: A set maximum 10 hour working day on shoots. Hours over this will be charged unless in exceptional circumstances a higher premium (buyout) rate has been agreed with the freelancer. ^Including freelancers prepping shoots.
- Prep & Wrap: Shoot days to start as soon as the freelancer starts to travel to location - All prep work done before the shoot, or after the shoot is wrapped to be included in shoot hours.
- Solo Working: No crew member to be required to be on location alone (unless under specifically agreed circumstances).
- Rest breaks: Schedules must allow for rest breaks. If the legal length of break is not given, and compensatory rest is not provided, then this will be an additionally charged period of work.
- Notice Periods & Cancellation Fee: If a contract is terminated before or after commencement through no fault of the freelancer, a pre-agreed payment will be required.
- Rate Protection: Broadcasters to ensure Production Companies protect freelancer rates and not reduce them to supplement the budget.
The letter follow ScreenSkills research that found widespread skills shortages and retention problems are largely driven by long hours and poor work/life balance plus The Film and TV Charity’s latest Looking Glass report, which found that 60% of workers are considering leaving the industry.
While these requests are specific to the UK, they mirror similar ongoing complaints I've heard from reality TV crew working in the U.S. After years of pay cuts and budget cuts that fall primarily on the crew and writer side of the ledger, I think we're entering a period where employees have decided they can no longer continue to survive without substantial changes to work conditions.
IN THE MOST PREDICTABLE MOVE OF THE WEEK...
A number of news organizations have already announced they have no intention to pay Twitter's new $1,000-per-month fee to verify their Twitter accounts:
The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, POLITICO, and Vox all scoffed at the notion on Thursday that they would pay Twitter for the feature, which has been free since it was introduced years ago but will soon be phased out.
CNN said it has no intention of paying for Twitter’s subscription service for its accounts but would make a few exceptions for some key staff.
Politico additionally said it will not pay for Twitter Blue.
“In the future, a checkmark will no longer mean you are a verified journalist,” Anita Kumar, senior editor of standards and ethics at POLITICO, told the newsroom in a memo. “Instead, it will simply mean you are paying for benefits such as longer tweets and fewer ads.”
I checked around the television networks and studios this week to determine if any of the companies planned on paying the new Twitter fee. The closest I received to a direct response was "I'm not sure I have an answer for that" from someone at Fox. And honestly, if the hard news organizations could discuss things publicly, why is it so hard for the TV networks and streamers? For instance, I've been told by several people that Netflix is planning on paying for verified accounts for at least some of their territory-specific Twitter accounts. But despite a couple of efforts, I haven't received a response from the company when I asked about the issue.
TWEET OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* Rachel Maddow is back on MSNBC tonight in her old timeslot at 9:00 p.m. ET.
* Showtime has struck an overall deal with Yellowjackets showrunner Jonathan Lisco.
* Buzzfeed is quietly publishing whole AI-generated articles, not just AI-written quizzes.
* Netflix is apparently working towards bringing games to your television, using you phone as the controller.
WHAT'S NEW FOR THIS WEEKEND:
FRIDAY, MARCH 31ST:
Black Clover: Sword of the Wizard King (Netflix)
Copycat Killer (Netflix)
Die Hart 2: Die Harter (Roku Channel)
Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. Second Season Premiere (Disney+)
Eva The Owlet Series Premiere (Apple TV+)
Kill Boksoon (Netflix)
Monumental: Ellie Goulding At Kew Gardens (Freevee)
Murder Mystery 2 (Netflix)
Party Down Season Finale (Starz)
Rye Lane (Hulu)
Tetris (Apple TV+)
The Great American Joke Off Series Premiere (The CW)
The Power Series Premiere (Amazon)
The Unheard (Shudder)
The UnXplained Season Premiere (History)
2023 Gershwin Prize (PBS)
Whose Line Is It Anyway? Season Premiere (The CW)
SATURDAY, APRIL 1ST:
Love In The Maldives (Hallmark)
Stalked By Her Past (Lifetime)
SUNDAY, APRIL 2ND:
Collector's Call Season Premiere (MEtv)
My Clueless First Friend (Crunchyroll)
My Home Hero (Crunchyroll)
Mysteries Decoded Season Premiere (The CW)
Royal Crackers Series Premiere (Adult Swim)
The Aristocrat's Otherworldly Adventure: Serving Gods Who Go Too Far (Crunchyroll)
The Hand That Robs The Cradle (Lifetime)
2023 CMT Music Awards (CMT)
Uncensored Season Premiere (TV One)
Vinyl Obsession Series Premiere (AXS)
Violent Minds: Killers On Tape Series Premiere (Oxygen)
War Sailor (Netflix)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU FRIDAY!