Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, May 26th, 2023.
A COUPLE OF QUICK PROGRAMMING NOTES
There won't be a newsletter on Monday due to the Memorial Day Weekend news desert.
Also, I have received feedback from a few of you about the "What's New" daily listings that appear at the bottom of the newsletter. Readers have noted that since the newsletter comes out later in the day, the listings for that day aren't useful for people on the East Coast, since many of the shows have already begun.
That's a very good point, so I am changing that up beginning on Tuesday. The listings will be for the following day and hopefully that will make them more useful for everyone. As a reminder, paid subscribers can sign up for the weekly "This Week On TV & Streaming" newsletter, which goes out on Sunday and includes listings for the entire upcoming week. But along with the long weekend, that will make for an extra-long listings section today.
NOT EVERY PLATFORM NEEDS FAST CHANNELS
There is an old saying that notes when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In other words, you can get so focused on one thing that you filter everything you see through that lens.
Today's example of that tendency comes from TV Rev's Alan Wolk, who argues that the one thing the new streaming service Max needs are some FAST linear channels:
Linear channels would be a huge win for Max for many reasons:
People like linear channels, especially for library content. This is a lesson learned from the FASTs. It’s comfort food, it’s background noise. But mostly it’s about not having to constantly make a choice every time you turn on the TV.
Shows on HGTV and other Discovery empire networks are fairly evergreen and so easy to turn into linear channels. Many have hundreds, if not thousands of episodes as well, and they’re easy to binge.
It's an easy way to get former HBO subscribers to sample things other than HBO. Or at least make them aware of the myriad of options available on Max.
On the ad-supported tier, it increases time spent on platform and thus the number of ad views. Possibly the single most important argument for introducing linear channels, especially as WBD is trying to get the ad-supported version going.
It is an easy way to surface the massive library Max has. And maybe convince people to stay subscribed once Succession is over.
Aside from the fact that the last thing Max needs is more clutter, there are a couple of very valid reasons not to include linear channels (although they certainly left room for them in the navigation bar). While FAST proponents believe they are effective in nearly any situation, WBD's experience with linear channels on Discovery+ seem to suggest it's more of a distraction than a plus. Yes, there will be a subset of subscribers more than happy to just lean back and watch the "90 Days" franchise channel. But that doesn't build brand loyalty, that builds loyalty to the linear channel. In a way, it's false engagement. You want subscribers to develop a connection with the wider catalog. Because the more titles they watch on a regular basis, the harder it is to unsubscribe.
The other problem with the integration of FAST channels and a traditional demand-driven streaming service is a bit more nuanced, but worth thinking about. Peacock has leaned into its wide array of linear channels and overall, they have apparently been popular with subscribers. But I was told a couple of months ago that some internal user studies showed that the subscribers who used the linear channels the most tended to think of Peacock not as a premium streaming service, but as Pluto with some other stuff. The linear channels did build engagement, but it also created an image of the service that made it harder to move those subscribers into one of the more expensive tiers.
That perception problem could be problematical for Max, given the price point for the service. Subscribers are paying a premium price for the service (despite what some WBD executives say) and Max needs to have the perception that it is a premium offering.
None of this rules out the possibility that Max would add linear channels. But if they do, that should give you a sense of how executives perceive the service and the progress in building subscribers.
TWEET OF THE DAY
A MEMORIAL DAY SAVINGS FOR X-FILE FANS
I don't promote a lot of items or packages in this newsletter. But when I do, I am not getting paid for it. It's a product or an idea that I believe in and want to make sure is on your radar.
Last week I interviewed two of the people organizing PhileFest, an impressive convention for X-Files fans timed to take place during the 30th anniversary of the show's premiere on Fox this September. There will be a staggering number of guests, ranging from series creator Chris Carter to some of the show's best-known writer/producers and a healthy number of fan favorite cast members.
As a fan of the show, I'm excited to see this happening here in my home state of Minnesota at the famed Mall Of America. And I am even happier that despite the location, it will be a much more intimate gathering than the typical thousands-of-people-crammed-into-a-warehouse Con that is the norm for these events.
If you're interested in going but still haven't bought your tickets (or your favorite add-ons), this is the weekend to do so. Saturday through Monday, you can use the discount code Truth15 to get 15% off of all tickets, packages, add-ons, and autograph passes. The only thing that isn't discounted are the photos, which are run by an outside company.
Click here to check out the details on the event and snag yourself a discount or two.
WHAT'S NEW FOR THE WEEKEND:
FRIDAY, MAY 26TH:
* Barbecue Showdown Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
* Being Mary Tyler Moore (Max)
* Blood & Gold (Netflix)
* Citadel Season One Finale (Prime Video)
* In The Dusk (Film Movement)
* Influencer (Shudder)
* Kendra Sells Hollywood Season Premiere (Max)
* Maschle: Magic And Muscles (Crunchyroll)
* Nightmare Pageant Moms (LMN)
* 100 Day Dream Home Season Premiere (HGTV)
* Power Book II: Ghost Season Three Finale (Starz)
* Run The World Series Premiere (Starz)
* Soul Of A Nation Presents: The New Face Of Hollywood (ABC)
* The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Series Finale (Prime Video)
* The Portrait (Netflix)
* Tin & Tina (Netflix)
* Turn The Tide (Netflix)
* Unclenching The Fists (Mubi)
* Where The Tracks End (Netflix)
* Wild Life (Hulu)
SATURDAY, MAY 27TH:
* Sarah Silverman: Someone You Love (Max)
* The Love Club: Sydney's Journey (Hallmark)
* World Electronic Music Awards (The CW)
SUNDAY, MAY 28TH:
* American Monster Season Premiere (Investigation Discovery)
* Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Swordsmith Village Arc (Crunchyroll)
* Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins Series Premiere (Oxygen)
* Lucky Hearts (UP tv)
* Married To Evil Series Premiere (Investigation Discovery)
* Silos Baking Championship Series Premiere (Magnolia)
* 2023 National Memorial Day Concert (PBS)
MONDAY, MAY 29TH:
* America's Hidden Stories Season Premiere (Smithsonian)
* Barons Series Premiere (The CW)
* FDR (History)
* Hoarders Season Premiere (A&E)
* Motel Rescue Series Premiere (Magnolia)
* Reality (HBO)
* The Curious Case of Natalia Grace (Investigation Discovery)
* The Love Club: Tara's Tune (Hallmark)
* The Rising Series Premiere (The CW)
TUESDAY, MAY 30TH:
* America's Got Talent Season Premiere (NBC)
* Bargain Mansions Season Premiere (Magnolia)
* Dark Side Of The Ring Season Premiere (Vice)
* Doubling Down With The Derricos Season Premiere (TLC)
* Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge Series Premiere (NBC)
* I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson Season Three Premiere (Netflix)
* Jelly Roll: Save Me (Hulu)
* Lidia Celebrates America: Flavors That Define Us (PBS)
* Real Murders Of Orange County Season Premiere (Oxygen)
* Siren: Survive The Island (Netflix)
* The Ride Series Premiere (Prime Video)
* 30 for 30: The American Gladiators Documentary (ESPN)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU TUESDAY!