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Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, September 18th, 2020

Written by 18 September, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, September 18h, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by hot tea and strawberries.

It sounds as if some of you might not have received a newsletter yesterday. My apologies, I'm not sure what the problem was but I'm trying to track down the issue today. If you're interested, here's a link to the Thursday newsletter. And speaking of the newsletter, thanks to all of you for your support. I just passed the 24,000 subscriber number, which is really flattering. I'm glad to see that people are finding it useful.

Even though I have more television to watch and review than any one human would have time to consume, there are times when I just want to turn my brain off and zone out with something a bit mindless. My go-to choices recently have been the long-running NatGeo reality shows Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks and Life Below Zero. We have Hulu LIve as our default live TV service (along with Philo) and a few weeks back I set both shows so that only new episodes would be recorded. That was a big mistake.

You might remember a recent newsletter in which I complained some networks were engaging in what I called "DVR creep." Labeling episodes of clip shows and other extra programming as "new," so they would be picked up and recorded by people's DVRs. I guess enough viewers watch the unexpectedly saved programs to make it worthwhile for the networks. But it's not just annoying to everyone else, but in an era where a lot of the virtual MVPD's have a limit on their DVR storage, having a bunch of unexpected programming showing up in your DVR can lead to shows you care about being deleted.

NatGeo has taken DVR creep to Defcon Ten by throwing a staggering number of extra episodes onto the DVR's of people stupid enough to try and watch several of their popular shows. I just checked this morning and there have been seven random "new" episodes of Wicked Tuna added to my DVR since the last new episode aired as scheduled last Sunday. And there have been *11* new episodes of Life Below Zero added in the past few days. There are clip shows, shows of what appear to be outtakes assembled Frankenstein-like into extra episodes and a particularly annoying 13-minute "first look" episode. That episode is the least useful idea to me, since it's just the first portion of the upcoming episode. And given that I'm recording the new episode anyway, why would I watch the sneak and then rewatch the beginning of the episode again in a few days?

I understand the need to suggest content and try to reach the viewers most interested in episodes. But cluttering up fan's DVRs with multiple clip shows and random footage just doesn't seem like an effective long-term plan to increase engagement. I ultimately decided just to stop recording the shows and will just catch up in episodes as I remember to search for them. Which is pretty much the opposite of engaging with a TV show.

Speaking of customer-unfriendly ideas, Variety is reporting that Comcast is threatening to pull its NBCU TV Everywhere apps from Roku if that company doesn't agree to begin carrying the app for Comcast's new-ish streaming service Peacock:

With respect to Peacock on Roku, the impasse in talks relates to access to advertising inventory on the ad-supported versions of the NBCU streamer.

According to Roku, Peacock has refused to grant any ad inventory to Roku, arguing that it is offering the app at no cost to Roku customers and is delivering 5 minutes or less of ads per hour of programming, which it sells to a hand-picked set of marketers. Roku’s standard distribution terms ask for 30% of advertising inventory, and the company has offered to take an even lower split from Peacock, but NBCU has declined to share any portion of the ad avails.

A source familiar with NBCU’s position said Roku has kept adding new provisions as stipulations for carrying Peacock and added the media conglomerate has been willing to make concessions on the ad-revenue front.

Given that anyone who has a cable or virtual cable package will still be able to access the various NBCU network video-on-demand offerings, this move will mostly impact viewers without a pay TV package. I haven't been able to find any numbers for how many people that would impact on Roku. But given that those people are presumably the least-engaged viewers of the networks, making it harder for them to see new programs doesn't appear to me to be a winning combination.

That being said, it's hard to know where the problem lies in the negotiations between Comcast and Roku. The details of these negotiations are always secret with only the vaguest and most self-serving details leaked by each side.

To the surprise of pretty much no one, DC Universe is shifting all of its original scripted programming to HBO Max and will focus on being a home for comic books and related materials. The streamer had successfully produced several really solid scripted series based on DC characters, including Harley Quinn, Titans and Doom Patrol. But DC Universe was never able to grow its subscription base enough to make the efforts financially viable:

Harley Quinn will join Doom Patrol and the previously announced third season of Titans as an HBO Max originals. Previous seasons of all three shows will also now migrate to HBO Max. The trio of Greg Berlanti-produced dramas from Warner Bros. TV will join other originals Young Justice and Stargirl.

Harley Quinn, from showrunners Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, has picked up steam since its first two seasons arrived on HBO Max. Sources say the renewal, which came early Thursday, followed a round of negotiations that hinged on a new budget for the series. That process had been stalled by the major executive shake-up at the streamer that saw senior leaders Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly pushed out and oversight of the platform given to HBO's Casey Bloys.  That all of the original scripted and library offerings on DC Universe would move to HBO Max comes as little surprise. The platform stopped buying months ago and originals had been slowly moved elsewhere. (Stargirl, for example, was renewed for a second season on The CW, while Doom Patrol's sophomore run was shared on both DCU and Max.

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

1) American Barbecue Showdown Series Premiere (Netflix)
It's an eight episode food competition series that follows the country’s best backyard smokers and competitive barbecuers as they compete for the title of American Barbecue Champion. The series is hosted by Rutledge Wood and Lyric Lewis, with judging duties falling on barbecue legends Kevin Bludso and Melissa Cookston. Each episode, Kevin and Melissa will task the cookers with a challenge that will test their barbecue skills in ways they couldn’t possibly imagine. From unique meats to old school techniques, they will have to prove they have the skills to smoke another day.

2) Becoming Series Premiere (Disney+)
From Executive Producers LeBron James & Maverick Carter, Becoming chronicles the inspirational life stories of world-class entertainers, musicians and athletes. Each episode follows a different celebrity back to their hometown as they revisit memorable locations that were central to their upbringing. Family members, coaches, teachers, mentors, and close friends share significant, personal memories of the subjects before they hit it big. These rarely heard stories provide an intimate look into the central moments in each star’s journey towards becoming who they are today.

3) Great Performances: Now Hear This, Series 2 (PBS)
The critically-acclaimed documentary miniseries hosted by renowned violinist and conductor Scott Yoo returns for another season. Now Hear This will merge music, storytelling, travel and culture returns with four new episodes raising the curtain on signature works by composers Haydn, Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven

4) Habla Now (HBO)
The one-hour documentary special features testimonials from U.S. Latinos sharing their personal experiences directly to the camera for a national audience, in both English and Spanish. The special features chef and humanitarian José Andrés, Olympian Laurie Hernandez, actress Diane Guerrero, and many more.

5) Jurassic Park: Camp Cretaceous Series Premiere (Netflix)
Six teens attending an adventure camp on the opposite side of Isla Nublar must band together to survive when dinosaurs wreak havoc on the island.

6) Masters Of Illusion Season Premiere (The CW)
Hosted by actor Dean Cain, the series features amazing magic performed by cutting-edge illusionists and escape artists, and performers in each episode displaying skills ranging from perplexing interactive mind magic to hilarious comedy routines.  Live audience members and viewers at home will be baffled by the astounding skills of these modern illusionists. Some of the magicians featured this cycle specialize in categories including Comedy Magic, Sleight of Hand, Escape Artists, Fire Eating, Mentalists, Floating Objects, Quick Change Artists, and Grand Illusions.

7) Mighty Little Bheem Season Three Premiere (Netflix)
An innocent toddler's boundless curiosity-and extraordinary might-lead to mischief and adventure in his small Indian town.

8) PEN15 Season Two Premiere (Hulu)
From the producing minds of The Lonely Island, and the brain child of real life best friends and comics, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, PEN15 is middle school as it really happened. Maya and Anna star in this adult comedy, playing versions of themselves as thirteen-year-old outcasts in the year 2000, surrounded by actual thirteen-year-olds, where the best day of your life can turn into your worst with the stroke of a gel pen.

10) Ratched Series Premiere (Netflix)
This dramatic prequel to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" follows the character Nurse Ratched.

11) The Au Pair Nightmare (LMN)
Trying to leave behind the memories of her fiancé, Taylor becomes an au pair for an out-of-state couple and their 8-year old daughter - but there's a dark secret behind every perfect family.

12) Whipped (Netflix)
Four buddies attend a class taught by a love guru who leads them to question their romantic attachments-until her hidden agenda comed to light.

13) World's Funniest Animals Series Premiere (The CW)
Hosted by Elizabeth Stanton ("Popstar This Week") who, along with her celebrity guest stars and panel, looks at animals doing the funniest things ever caught on video. The series includes viral internet clips of funny animal moments, hilarious animal clips from major motion pictures and your favorite TV series, animal outtakes that surprise the whole cast and crew, as well as videos of celebrities and their pets.

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.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Written by 17 September, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, September 17th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is fasting until I get blood work done later today. And my apologies for the lateness of today's newsletter. I did a session this morning for the Twin Cities Start-up Week about what it takes to monetize a smaller news site & while it was fun, it threw off the rest of my day.

Discovery, Inc. chief David Zaslav spoke Thursday morning at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and looking over his comments, the thing that jumped out at me is that he doubled down on the idea of Discovery launching a pay streaming service. On one hand, it makes a lot of sense. Discovery owns thousands of hours of original content, including a ton of catalog stuff. They have spent the past couple of years signing key talent to new comprehensive deals that include everything from traditional linear television to web video and original streaming service.

Zaslav says the new service will have a lot of new, original content. But there are still a lot of open questions. In the Communacopia interview, he admitted the new service still hadn't negotiated deals with several key platforms (I'm guessing Roku and/or Amazon). And there's no price point or estimated launch date. And he was a bit vague on whether or not Discovery was still planning on launching the stand-alone Magnolia streaming service that is supposed to be part of the new Chip and Joanna Gaines Magnolia cable channel.

It's worth noting that Discovery currently does a similar multi-tier approach with its Motor Trend channel. It exists as a traditional linear channel. But the channel also pushes people to a subscription-based Motor Trend streaming service, which includes extensive VOD offerings as well as original programming.

In the end, one advantage Discovery has over some of its larger competitors is that it will have a much easier time rolling out the service internationally. The company already has extensive global production units and it has locally-produced content already in place in a number of major territories.

NScreenMedia has a good look
at why Comcast & AT&T are ambivalent about their pay TV business, even though between them they currently have 35 million subscribers:

Why are both companies so indifferent to their still large MVPD services? Simply put, they make them no money. Margins have eroded dramatically, thanks to the ceaseless demands for higher license fees from TV programmers. For example, at Comcast, the amount of video ARPU going to pay for programmer fees has increased from 52.4% to 61.8% in just five years.

Comcast video ARPU 2016 vs 2020

FrontOfficeSports.com has a recap of the ratings for the first week of the NFL season and while it's too early to declare any trends for the year, the numbers are lower year-to-year:

The carnage was worse for ESPN’s "Monday Night Football" cable TV doubleheader, featuring the Steelers-New York Giants and Denver Broncos-Tennessee Titans games.

Despite the popular college football announcing duo of Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler calling their first NFL game in 25 years, ESPN’s Steelers-Giants telecast averaged 10.8 million viewers, down 18% from last year’s comparable early game. 

The later Broncos-Titans game fared even worse, with average viewership plunging 27% to 7.7 million viewers. That telecast also had the curiosity factor of introducing ESPN’s latest “Monday Night Football” booth team of Steve Levy, Louis Riddick, and Brian Griese.

Still, Steelers-Giants was cable TV’s most-watched sporting event since January. The annual doubleheader helped ESPN win the night. The Disney-owned network was the most-watched network in primetime Monday night across broadcast and cable TV.

HBO Max has ordered a second season of the Ridley Scott sci-fi drama Raised By Wolves. In the press release announcing the deal, HBO Max notes that the audience for the show has increased by 50% week-over-week. Of course, there's no way of knowing what that means in actual viewers. But it does at least imply that people are discovering the show. New episodes of the series premiere each Thursday on HBO Max and the season one finale is on October 1st.

Everything You Need to Know about The Bradshaw Bunch Cast | Feeling the  Vibe Magazine
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) Bradshaw Bunch Series Premiere (E!)
Legendary quarterback and television-broadcast icon Terry Bradshaw gives us an intimate look at life in the off-season. He's been called "The Greatest of All Time," but now this touchdown titan spends his days surrounded by women in his most coveted position: World's Greatest Dad. As husband, father and "Papi" to the Bradshaw Bunch, Terry hilariously helps his family navigate the pitfalls of their extraordinary lives and lets you in on a side of Terry Bradshaw you've never seen before!

2) Departure Series Premiere (Peacock)
Passenger plane Flight 716 shockingly vanishes, and brilliant investigator Kendra Malley (Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife), alongside her mentor Howard Lawson (Christopher Plummer, Knives Out) are brought on to lead the investigation. When battling forces threaten to undermine their work, Kendra must find the truth and stop it from happening again. The series also stars Kris Holden-Reid (Umbrella Academy), Rebecca Liddiard (Run This Town), Tamara Duarte (Longmire), Mark Rendall (Versailles), Peter Mensah (Midnight, Texas) and Sasha Roiz (Suits).

3) Dragon's Dogma Series Premiere (Netflix)
Resurrected as an Arisen, Ethan sets out to vanquish the Dragon that took his heart, but with every demon he battles, the more he loses his humanity.

4) Flipping 101 With Tarek el Moussa Season Premiere (HGTV)
The season kicks off with a young couple who bought a century-old Craftsman-style house sight unseen. To help them attract buyers and make top dollar on the sale, Tarek must convince the couple to install a proper garage instead of a party room. He also recommends they do whatever they can to keep the property’s historic charm in lieu of a too-modern layout. Despite dramatic ups and downs and twists and turns, Tarek’s expertise could lead to smart design decisions and a favorable realtor commission rate that keeps them from losing out on their investment. Throughout the season, Tarek helps more rookie flippers navigate challenging home renovations, including a property that catches fire mid-reno, a high-dollar home where reno costs blow the budget and a house previously inhabited by animal hoarders.

5) Gims On The Record (Netflix)
Go backstage with the beloved rap superstar Gims in the year leading up to his major 2019 Stade de France peformance in this up-close documentary.

6) Mo Willems And The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don't Let The Pigeon Do Storytime! (HBO Max)
This first Storytime special, shot at the Kennedy Center, includes live readings and sketch comedy by celebrities including Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live), Cameron Esposito (Take My Wife), Tony Hale (Veep), Greta Lee (Russian Doll), Tom Lennon (The Odd Couple), Natalie Morales (Abby's) and Oscar Nunez (The Office).

7) One Lane Bridge Series Premiere (Sundance Now)
This New Zealand crime thriller follows ambitious young Māori detective, Ariki Davis (Dominic Ona-Ariki, The Commons), who arrives in Queenstown with high hopes for his future. When local legend Grub Ryder is found dead at the bottom of the infamous One Lane Bridge, Ariki joins the investigation led by his boss, respected stalwart, Detective Senior Sergeant Stephen Tremaine (Joel Tobeck, The Luminaries). During the investigation, Ariki inadvertently unlocks his Matakite – a supernatural ability akin to second sight that he hasn’t experienced since his youth. As ONE LANE BRIDGE twists and turns and the pressure to solve the crime heats up, Māori metaphysics collides with Southern Man scepticism and Ariki’s spiritual gift threatens to endanger the case, his career and his life. And at the centre of it all sits the mysterious One Lane Bridge, a historic Queenstown landmark synonymous with murder, suicide and fatal accidents. Grub’s death wasn’t the first. And it won’t be the last.

8) Residue (Netflix)
A young screenwriter returns to his hometown to write a script base on his childhood and discovers his neighborhood has been gentrified.

10) The Great Pottery Throw Down Series Premiere (HBO Max)
Seeking to unearth Britain’s best home potter, each season of the series follows ten potters as they forge fantastic creations in a competition-style format. At the conclusion of each episode, one potter faces elimination after the judge’s scrutiny and review for the chance to become Potter of the Week.

11) The Last Word Series Premiere (Netflix)
In the aftermath of her husband’s death, a woman unexpectedly finds a new source of energy and a lust for life – as she becomes a professional eulogist to the surprise of her family and friends.

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, 17 September 2020 15:01

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Written by 16 September, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, September 16th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by rotisserie chicken and lots of ice water.

The Hollywood Reporter has an interview with Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith, who says the company is relaunching its QuickTake video service on Nov. 9 with 100 dedicated staffers as a global, 24-hour streaming service in an effort to reach the audience that, internally, the company refers to as "modern, rising leaders." QuickTake originally launched as a partnership with Twitter in 2017, but now it's available on a number of other platforms, gathering an audience the company says is around 150 million monthly viewers.

The new QuickTake will be structured more like a traditional streaming service:

Version 2 of QuickTake will launch with about 10.5 hours of original content per day, with the intention of getting to 24 hours of original content within a year or so of launch. It will be a true global streaming service, available in every country that Bloomberg’s apps are accessible, on mobile phones, social platforms, and connected TV platforms like Roku.

At launch, it will be ad-supported, relying on both direct sales and programmatic opportunities, which are abundant on OTT devices.

However, the company also plans to explore other opportunities to try and monetize QuickTake’s content through licensing deals, and QuickTake-branded shows on subscription streaming services (think Netflix or Hulu).

The company is betting that the traditional linear television market will continue to fade away, opening up the market for ad-supported news services that are available on a wide-range of platforms:

“The days of getting paid for carriage are starting to end, unless you are ESPN, and even those guys are under pressure from carriers,” Havens says.

Chief Executive John Stankey said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that AT&T is exploring the idea of an ad-supported cell service tier, although he was a bit vague on the details, other than to say the service could be rolled out "in a year or two":

"I believe there’s a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction in their mobile bill," Stankey said.

Various companies including Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O, Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint's Boost Mobile have tested advertising supported phone services since the early 2000s but they have not caught on. AT&T is hoping that better advertising targeting could revive the idea.

The planned launch of an ad-supported version of AT&T’s video-streaming service HBO Max next year will serve as a "foundational element" that will provide new advertising inventory, and would be key to new phone plans supported by ads, Stankey said without offering details.

On Tuesday, Stankey at the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference and said that he was happy with the initial reaction to the roll-out of HBO Max. Strangely, he said the biggest challenge was the problem of stagnant growth for the legacy HBO brand, which was stuck at around 43 million domestic subscribers:

"HBO had been stagnated at a customer count," Stankey said. "The only time it went up a little bit was when a new season of Game of Thrones would come out and then it would kind of work back down the back side."

He added, "We’re not doing this for a year. We’re doing this to build a platform that can sustain for the next decade."

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

1) Academy Of Country Music Awards (CBS)
For the first time in the show’s history, the awards will take place in Nashville, broadcasting from three iconic country music venues: Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe. The show will also feature performances by Jimmie Allen, Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Riley Green, Mickey Guyton, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Blake Shelton featuring Gwen Stefani, Taylor Swift, Tenille Townes, Keith Urban and P!NK, Morgan Wallen and Trisha Yearwood. Joining the all-star lineup are presenters Lauren Alaina, Lily Aldridge, Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black, Bobby Bones, Cam, Darius Rucker and Runaway June.

2) Archer Season Eleven Premiere (FXX)
Follow Sterling Archer and his return to the spy world after a three-year coma. While many things changed during his absence, Archer is confident it will take just a little time for him to reset things back to the old ways. The problem: does the rest of the team want that? Everyone else has been doing pretty well and may not be ready for his return to throw a wrench in their well-oiled machine.

3) Baby Season Premiere (Netflix)
Chiara and Ludovica form an unlikely friendship as they struggle to find their place and search for love at a high school in an exclusive Rome neighborhood.

4) Challenger: The Final Flight (Netflix)
Four-part docuseries on the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster, unpacking an indelible moment for a generation of Americans. 

5) Criminal United Kingdom Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
Following a hugely successful first series and great critical acclaim, Criminal returns with four new cases, four new suspects and one room that changes everything. Prepare for bold stories, some surprises, and a completely innovative take on the police procedural.

6) Islands Of Wonder Series Premiere (PBS)
Journey to three of the most exotic, mysterious and remote islands on the planet: Madagascar, Borneo and Hawaii. Isolated from the rest of the world, they harbor remarkable wildlife and pioneering human communities found nowhere else on Earth.

7) Notre-Dame: Our Lady Of Paris (ABC)
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, and is also the keeper of some of Christianity’s most priceless and revered relics. On April 15, 2019, the unimaginable was broadcast live throughout the world: 500 Parisian firefighters were losing the battle against a raging fire that was destroying it all. The world cried and prayed, powerless as the flames threatened to wipe out nearly 900 years of history. Ultimately the president of France and the general in charge of the Paris Fire Brigade made the significant decision of sending a commando of elite firefighters to an extremely perilous, even suicidal mission to save the cathedral.

8) Sing On! Series Premiere (Netflix)
Hosted by the hilarious and talented Tituss Burgess, this eight-episode series is a karaoke-lover’s dream. In each themed episode, six contestants belt out the biggest hits from that genre while being judged by a vocal analyzer comparing their vocal performance to the original artist’s. The more they sing in tune, the more cash they add to a collective jackpot worth up to $60,000. The first round is worth $10,000 and lyrics are randomly assigned so contestants must be ready for anything - the highest scoring contestant moves on, while the remaining singers vote one fellow contestant out. For five more rounds, the stakes get higher and the jackpot gets bigger, and the final two contestants face off in a head-to-head battle to win the grand prize. Perfect for an at-home sing-a-long, viewers of all ages will find themselves off the couch, belting their favorite tunes and having a sing-off of their own. 

10) The Devil All The Time (Netflix)
In an explosive Midwestern Gothic tale spanning two decades, sinister characters converge around young Arvin Russell as he fights the evil forces that threaten him and everything he loves. Based on Donald Ray Pollock’s award-winning novel.

11) The Paramedic (Netflix)
After an accident puts him in a wheelchair, Ángel decides to get even with those who betrayed him, particularly the woman who left when he needed her.

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, 16 September 2020 13:45

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, September 14th, 2020

Written by 14 September, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, September 14th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by lukewatm coffee and pineapple chunks.

One of the biggest challenges about covering the streaming world is that the various media companies have a very different idea than I do about the meaning of the word "transparency." For them, it means, "we'll provide some general data points that are so vague as to be essentially useless." On the other hand, I think of transparency as meaning "numbers and metrics that allow me to compare apples to apples." 

CBS All-Access is a primary example of this issue. You would think that revealing a metric as simple as "number of subscribers" would be the lowest possible threshold of transparency. And yet ViacomCBS is continuing the practice of rolling the subscriber numbers for CBS All-Access and Showtime together, making it impossible to determine things such as the rate of subscriber growth.  ViacomCBS CEO Robert Bakish was at the Bank of America Virtual Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference last week and this answer he gave about transparency perfectly illustrates the company's definition of transparency:

Jessica Reif Ehrlich: So while these metrics are really impressive, you still don't break it out as a separate item, is DTC comfortable on it. What point will you breakout revenue and EBITDA potentially allowing ViacomCBS to get more credit for these growing assets?

Robert Bakish: Yes Jessica when we combine ViacomCBS, one of the commitments we made was to enhance the disclosure. And as part of that, we now report key streaming related metrics on a quarterly basis. These metrics include Pluto MAUs, pay subscribers, as well as domestic streaming and digital video. And to your comment that disclosure shows that as Q2 we had over 16 million domestic subscribers in pay and 33 million global MAUs in free and again, strong growth rate.

It also showed we had close to $2 billion in domestic streaming revenue on an annual run rate basis that's up - it was up 60% in 2019, it's up 37% year-to-date in the second quarter. And that includes the impact of COVID on digital advertising in Q2. So, we believe this disclosure is helping investors begin to understand the very real value we're creating, particularly in the streaming space and this disclosure does mirror how we run the business because for us streaming is embedded in across multiple business units.

So we don't report it as a consolidated segment. Instead, we're using these additional metrics to provide investors the visibility they need to measure our growth. But that said, as our streaming efforts evolve, we're going to continue to assess whether changes in reporting are warranted.

It's always interesting to get some sort of audience numbers for Netflix, although the out-of-context nature of them can make them only slightly useful. Overnights.tv provides ratings for the UK market and it has been able to track the numbers for several shows now on Netflix because they had previously aired on linear TV in the UK. The numbers are worth noting, although I don't know that they provide any sort of clarity overall. The service reports that the 2013 Gillian Anderson series The Fall generated about 500,000 views on just one day last week. Which sounds impressive...I think.

The Overnights.tv Top On-Demand Viewing list is assembled by collating smart-TV viewing and viewing on PCs, laptops, tablets and phones. 

While at first glance this might seem like a local news story, it's also example of how even local news organizations can balk at publishing stories alleging sexual misconduct. Reporter Marianne Combs, who worked at Minnesota Pubic Radio for 23 years, resigned on Monday and said she was doing so because management at the organization had been reluctant to publish a story that alleged a DJ at the company's sister station The Current was guilty of multiple examples of sexual misconduct:

I have spent the past two and a half months investigating allegations made about the conduct of a DJ at our sister station,
@TheCurrentIn that time, I gathered testimony from eight women who say that he sexually manipulated and psychologically abused them.....I also interviewed the directors of a summer church camp who told this DJ he was no longer welcome to volunteer there because of his inappropriate behavior with teenage girls. I found out that in June he was fired from another job where he worked with children; that organization is now conducting an investigation into his time there.

Combs goes on to say that while management at MPR hadn't technically refused to publish the story, they hadn't moved forward with it, either:

Despite this, my editors have failed to move forward on the story. They have countered that the DJ’s actions were, for the most part, legal, and therefore don’t rise to the level of warranting news coverage. They described him as “a real creep,” but worried that airing a story about his behavior would invite a lawsuit.

Losing Combs would be a massive launch for any news organization. But as she notes in her resignation tweets, this isn't the first time that MPR has been reluctant to publish stories about alleged sexual misconduct.

The Recording Industry Association of America released its 2020 midyear report and it's pretty much what you would expect. While a lot of attention has been focused on the fact that records provided more revenue than CDs for the first time in more than 30 years, physical purchases only provided 7 percent of the industry's revenue. Although the RIAA notes that percentage was likely impacted by the prolonged shutdown of record stores due to the pandemic.

The full-length movie Thomas And The Magic Railroad is coming to movie theaters for one day only in October.

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

1) Dancing With The Stars Season Premiere (ABC)
The show has a new host in Tyra Banks and the network promises all sorts of changes to the format. We'll see how that looks tonight.

2) Doomsday: Caught On Tape Series Premiere (Travel)
Jaw-dropping footage of extreme weather and natural disasters reveals the powerful wrath of Mother Nature. Survivors, along with geologists, meteorologists, theologians and recovery specialists, provide riveting commentary on these life-altering events.

3) Enslaved (Epix)
Featuring Samuel L. Jackson, this six-episode docuseries explores 400 years of human trafficking from Africa to the New World by following the efforts of Diving with a Purpose, as they search for and locate six slave ships that went down with their human cargo.

4) Halloween Baking Championship Season Premiere (Food)
Hosted by Carla Hall, the competitors nerves and skills are tested like never before as they bake their way through a haunted house brimming with challenges through seven episodes. Judges Stephanie Boswell and Zac Young join Carla to determine whose devilishly delicious desserts earn $25,000 and the title of Halloween Baking Champion.

5) Inside Monaco: Playground Of The Rich (True Royalty TV)
This three-part series gives viewers and unprecedented and intimate view into Monaco’s Royal Family — which is currently led by Albert II.  Prince Albert, who is the son of the late Prince Rainer III and Princess Grace (formerly the legendary American actress Grace Kelly), oversees virtually every aspect of the Monaco’s daily business; a country with the highest concentration of millionaires in the world. The series goes behind the scenes at the Royal palace and follows the life of Prince Albert II and his wife Princess Charlene. Viewers will also hear from Prince Albert’s famous sisters, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie, as well as royal grandchildren, royal chefs and sommeliers, and the Princely guard - known as the Carabiniers - who protect the Royal Family.

6) Lara And The Beat (Netflix)
When their glamorous, fast-paced lifestyle comes to a screeching halt, two sisters try to rebuild their fortunes through music and enterprise. 

7) POV: Love Child (PBS)
On a cold winter's day a plane arrives in Istanbul with four-year-old Mani, and his parents on board. Though they seem like any other family on a trip, the little boy doesn’t know that the journey is an escape, that the three of them can never return to Iran and that the 'uncle' he is travelling with is really his biological father. With adultery punishable by death, this family could never live together in Iran, so they flee their country in search of a safe place in the West where they can build a life together.

8) The Third Day Series Premiere (HBO)
Told over the first three episodes, "Summer" stars Jude Law (HBO’s "The New Pope") as Sam, a man who is drawn to a mysterious island off the British coast where he encounters a group of islanders set on preserving their traditions at any cost. Isolated from the mainland, Sam is unable to leave the idyllic and dangerously enchanting world he has discovered, where the secretive rituals of its inhabitants bring him to grapple with experiences of loss and trauma hidden in his past through the distorted lens of the present. As boundaries between fantasy and reality fragment, his quest to unlock the truth leads the islanders to reveal a shocking secret.

10) We Are Who We Are Series Premiere (HBO)
A story about two American kids who live on a U.S. military base in Italy, the series explores friendship, first-love, identity, and immerses the audience in all the messy exhilaration and anguish of being a teenager – a story which could happen anywhere in the world, but in this case, happens in this little slice of America in Italy.

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, 14 September 2020 12:25

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, September 11th, 2020

Written by 11 September, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, September 11th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by hot tea and a bagel with butter.

I held a lot of jobs before I began writing about television and the media full-time. In the 1999/2000 era, I was working at an online financial news startup that only did audio and video. Think Cheddar, but a generation older. One of my jobs was doing a regular Friday morning audio roundtable with three stock market insiders. One regular was Cantor Fitzgerald Chief Market Strategist Bill Meehan and after he lost his life on 9/11, I wrote some remembrances of him that I have reposted every year since. A few years back, I heard from Bill's son, who told me that he and the family had appreciated hearing how this story. And if you're interested, here it is.

Streaming media - like any other form of entertainment - is financially driven by the mass market hits. That's where the most eyeballs are at and for all of the costs associated with the rights to The Office or The Big Bang Theory, you can almost guarantee that having those big hits on a service will make the customers happy.

The other less appreciated consequence of a mass market audience is that the audience is large enough that you a streamer can be revenue positive by just serving a small, specific sliver of that larger audience. There are at least a couple dozen smaller niche streamers and while not all of them are thriving, most of them have carved out a space where they can do well.

One niche I had expected to be served by its own streamer at this point was the classic television fan. Sure, watching episodes of barely remembered television isn't for everyone. But there are enough potential subscribers out there that a streamer could make money with a classic TV content mix and a price point of $4.99 or slightly less.

So why hasn't that happened? Liker most things in the streaming universe, it's complicated. The biggest hindrance is financial. For a classic television streamer to be financially viable, it would need to have access to a large amount of programming and that means being part of one of two or three media companies who have both a streaming video business as well as a large catalog of old shows. And for those large media companies, spending large amounts of time and effort to create a business that can maybe only throw off $30-40 million worth of revenue per year just isn't worth it.

But the larger challenge is the programming itself and that has to do with something called the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules (commonly known in the industry as "fin-syn"). Imposed on the broadcasters in 1970, the rules prohibited the Big Three networks from airing any programming in primetime that they had a financial interest in. It also prohibited them from airing any syndicated programming they had a financial interest in. While those rules were relaxed in the 1980s before being phased out in 1993, the primary consequence in 2020 is that the programming in the timeframe that would be the best fit for a classic TV streamer is owned by a grab bag of independent producers and production companies. While a few large production companies have large catalogs available, a surprising number of production companies only existed long enough to crank out one or two TV shows. 

And in a number of those cases, it's not even clear who owns the rights or who is legally able to represent the owners. Some companies just shut down and at this point the principals are dead or unable to be located. Most of these older shows didn't have contracts in place for music rights or even DVD distribution. Much less streaming on a new classic TV platform. And while a streamer can do well financially with shows that are individually not wildly popular, that's impossible if getting them on the service requires extensive legal wranglings.

There are three larger media conglomerates who already own or control enough old television to make one of these streamers relatively less complicated. Both Disney and WarnerMedia own extensive classics television assets. Of those two, WarnerMedia seems to have the best case for launching a service, especially if they decided to launch it as an ad-supported business. One advantage of that approach is that it would give them more ad inventory, esp if they are integrating the backend with their upcoming AVOD version of HBO Max.

ViacomCBS is another story. They own a surprisingly large amount of older television programming. Not just the expected Paramount stuff, but King World, Spelling Television, Miramax Television, Desliu Produtions and much more. They certainly have enough of a catalog of classic television to make a service viable. But the company is also very focused on the licensing side of the business and launching a new streamer would require forgoing some of that revenue in the short term. And that is a move that seems unlikely right now.

There certainly COULD be a classic television streamer in our future, but making it happen is more complicated than you might suspect. That having been said, it you're thinking about launching one and are looking for some programming help, give me a call. I have some thoughts.

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

1) Dad Wanted (Se busca papá) (Netflix)
What does a thrill-seeker tween girl do when her mom forbids her to enter a BMX race? Cast a struggling actor with nothing to lose to play her dad.

2) Family Business Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
Forced to choose between growing weed and raising his kids, Joe tries to convince his family to quit the business, setting off a wild chain of events.

3) Great Performances: Romeo & Juliet (PBS)
Starring the current generation of The Royal Ballet dancers with William Bracewell as Romeo, Francesca Hayward as Juliet ("Cats"), this film adaptation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece by the BalletBoyz, the award-winning team of Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, takes legendary Royal Ballet choreographer Kenneth MacMillan’s 1965 ballet out of the theater and into the streets of a cinematic Verona, offering a passionate reimagining of this timeless love story.

4) Life After Lockup Season Premiere (WEtv)
The highly-addicting series follows lovebirds hoping to make their way down the aisle with the jailbirds who may or may not be conning them. Whether it's dodging a parole officer, negotiating with a halfway house, or being stuck under house arrest with someone they hardly know, the realities of being on the outside are starting to hit these newly released prisoners. Will they break the law and go back to jail, or save themselves and leave their lovers broken hearted?

5) 9/11 Remembered: The Day We Came Together (ABC)
The hour-long special filmed on May 15, 2014,  marked President Barack Obama’s opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum and reflects the unwavering courage, compassion and sacrifice born out of that tragic morning. The special includes moving and inspiring stories about those who died and those who survived, their families, and the swell of first responders who rushed to help them.  It was a time of fear and uncertainty as we lost people we loved and the future felt unclear. But it was also a time when we came together – as neighbors, as friends, as fellow Americans – to support each other and rediscover the best within ourselves. From that, hope was reborn.

6) 9/11: The Final Moments Of Flight 93 (History)
On September 11, 2001, one hijacked plane never reached its target when United 93 crashed in rural Pennsylvania. In “9/11: The Final Minutes of Flight 93” previously classified streams of evidence are combined to piece together what really happened in a gripping minute-by-minute account. Evidence includes secret service documents, air traffic control transmissions, phone records, voicemails, first person testimony and a top-secret audio recording that helps reveal details of Flight 93’s crucial final moments. It’s a story of heroism in the face of tragedy and sheds light on some of the biggest mysteries of that fateful flight.

7) 9/11: The Pentagon (History)
On September 11, 1941, the U.S. War Department broke ground on a massive new five-sided headquarters that would rise to become the ultimate symbol of the American military. 60 years to the day after construction began, a hijacked airliner crashed into the building as part of the largest coordinated terror attack ever on American soil. Told by the men and women who lived it, “9/11: The Pentagon” is the dramatic story of what happened inside the building in the harrowing minutes after impact; a raw eyewitness account of tragedy, heroism and survival on the day that forever transformed a nation.

8) Pets United (Netflix)
A group of selfish pets are stranded in their luxury hangout when the machines that run Robo City go wild and take over, forcing all humans to flee for their lives. The pets must team up with strays to survive and save their homes, their city and maybe even the world.

10) Selling The Big Easy Series Premiere (HGTV)
The series follows Brittany and her full-service agency as they help families find the house of their dreams by showing them high-end homes with the right amount of history and charm. She also helps clients stage and sell their homes for top dollar in the city’s vibrant real estate market. With an approachable and effervescent style, Brittany effortlessly guides clients through the buying and selling process while touting the enticing amenities that the Crescent City has to offer.

11) The Duchess Series Premiere (Netflix)
Katherine Ryan stars as a single mom who's weighing whether to have a child with her nemesis: her daughter's dad. Can two wrongs make another right?

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.

Remembering 9/11 And Bill Meehan

Written by 11 September, 2023

NOTE: I first published this piece in 2002 and have reposted it ever year as a way of remembering 9/11 and Bill Meehan

If you're watching television in the US this morning, you've probably caught at least some of the coverage of events remembering the people who died on 9/11.

While this isn't a typical television story, this seems like the right time for me to talk about the experience, and the impact it's had on my life. Forgive me my brief indulgence when it comes to this.

I am someone who has gone out of his way not to be overly emotional about the events of September 11th, 2001. I've watched all the specials, fascinated by the minutia of why the towers fell. And I have been saddened by the loss--all those families who will never be the same. But living in the Midwest, not experiencing the loss of a loved one, it's been easy to distance myself from the event.

But when you least expect it, these things pop up to slap some sense into you. And in my case, my thoughts today are primarily centered on one victim of 9/11, Cantor Fitzgerald Chief Market Strategist Bill Meehan. I can't say that Bill and I were friends, exactly, although we talked at least a couple of times a week for 18 months. I was a financial reporter in San Francisco, working at an online news company that was so new it might as well have been wearing diapers. Bill was a true pillar of Wall Street investing, respected as a straight-shooter, as someone who wasn't afraid to speak his opinion and defend it to anyone who asked. Unlike a lot of the horror stories you hear about Wall Street analysts, Bill was a guy you could trust.

But he was also someone who was generous with his time and expertise. I was doing a weekly market wrap-up audio program every Friday morning, and he quickly signed on as a regular guest--even though he was quite frankly too important to really have any reason to do it for career purposes. He was available nearly every Friday for 18 months, sparring with my other regular guests, and speaking out in a way that was often breathtakingly honest.

When the company I worked for had a round of layoffs, and I was let go, Bill sent me a wonderfully supportive and kind note. He told me how much he had enjoyed talking with me every week, and offered to give me a job reference or any other help he could to get me settled in somewhere else. It was a thoughtful gesture, and coming from someone with his stature, an offer that had real weight.

But I think my strongest memory of Bill Meehan was a conversation I had with him the Friday before I was leaving to get married. He usually talked to me from his home first thing in the morning, and as you can imagine, the conversation sometimes strayed far from the topic of Wall Street.

I was taking ten days off work, and I joked that being gone that long was going to "make my boss crazy." Bill paused, and told me that I had to remember that everything we talked about was just numbers. What really mattered, he told me, was friends and family. "Getting married was the best decision I ever made," he said. "And having some good friends and family you love....don't ever let work distract you from what's important."

I think about that conversation a lot. It rewinds in my mind nearly every day, when I'm tempted to spend "just one more hour" at work, or leave my wife to her own devices while I devote time on the needs of my start-up business. I'm hungry for success, and have no problem working long hours when needed. But Bill helped to give me perspective, and that lesson lives on in me.

Now I'm going back to thinking about television. But only until it's time to spend some quality time with my family.

Last modified on Monday, 11 September 2023 08:43

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Written by 10 September, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, September 10th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by McDonald's coffee and a gluten-free cinnamon/banana muffin.

It's good to be back after a few days off for Labor Day. I also have been getting my 15-year-old ready for his sophomore year of high school, which is just as confusing as you might expect in the middle of a pandemic. 

ON Wednesday, TikTok gave some reporters a behind-the-scenes look at how it uses data to serve up videos it believes users are most interested in seeing.

Basically, when users first sign into TikTok, they're presented with eight videos that cover some general topics such as news, movies, music, etc. TikTok then uses the information it gathers about the user's preferences to further narrow the eight videos shown in the future. As you might expect, TikTok tries to anticipate a user's preferences by tracking a variety of metrics: subject matter, hashtags, favorite creators, language, country setting, captions and device type.

Once their machines have learned enough about a user's preferences, they group users into a "cluster," which includes other users who have similar preferences. It also groups videos into "clusters" of similar topics and languages. It then uses data to exclude videos from the preferred feed based on global location, language and to prevent users from seeing a stream of videos from the same creators.

TikTok execs did admit that like other services such as Facebook that use machine learning to help craft feeds, it struggles with the side effects inherent with any data-driven algorithm: creating filter bubbles that end up only delivering exactly the data the user is most likely to find engaging. That bubble tends to magnify problems with the spread of conspiracies and false information. TikTok is taking several steps to try and solve the problem, which includes using human content reviewers to filter videos from controversial users, along with experiments to see how much the filter can be expanded without adversely affecting engagement.

TikTok's chief security officer, Roland Cloutier, said the company is also building a monitoring, response and investigative response center in Washington D.C. to actively detect and respond to critical incidents in real time.

I don't know that I was surprised by anything I learned, but I appreciated the company's efforts at transparency. I wish some of the streaming services that use machine learning for content surfacing (cough, Netflix) would be as willing to discuss their methodology with the press.

It's no secret that HBO Max hopes to have a free, ad-supported version of its service launched sometime in the first half of 2021. This piece in Digiday provides a bit more information, reporting that ad buyers have been told the AVOD HBO Max will launch in the second quarter of 2021:

WarnerMedia has told ad buyers that it plans to roll out HBO Max’ ad-supported tier in the second quarter of 2021, according to agency executives who have been briefed on the matter. One of the agency executives said that WarnerMedia has left the door open to debut the ad-supported tier in the late first quarter in time of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, which partially airs on WarnerMedia’s TV networks. A WarnerMedia spokesperson declined to comment.

Most interesting to me is the way WarnerMedia is approaching ad sales. While it's keeping the ad load pretty low, it is also apparently asking a relatively high CPM for its ads:

The company is asking that advertisers spend at least $250,000 per quarter, according to the agency executives. “The cost of entry is really low,” said a second agency executive. However, WarnerMedia is setting high CPMs for its ads, so that $250,000 may not go so far. The company is setting the CPMs at the agency level, so the executives declined to discuss specifics but said the CPMs are in the range of CPMs for primetime broadcast TV shows, which can hover around $80. As a result, the lower commitment may make it easier for HBO Max to attract a large number of advertisers, but the high CPM is likely to lead some advertisers to wait until they have a better sense of what they would be getting in return for that money, said a third agency executive.

WarnerMedia is taking a different tact in pitching its streaming service than NBCUniversal did when lining up advertisers for its Peacock streamer. Instead of seeking out a small number of exclusive launch sponsors that would pay tens of millions of dollars, WarnerMedia is looking for a broad array of advertisers to run ads across HBO Max. To that end, the company is aiming its pitch at agencies that will then identify particular clients to advertise on the service. 

I am generally skeptical of social media campaigns arguing for a boycott of some company. But it's worth noting that one of the hottest topics on social media today comes from people who claim they are cancelling their Netflix account because of what they consider as inappropriate sexuality in the movie Cuties. The film won the Directing Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival and its screening there garnered almost universal positive reviews. Netflix had previously apologized for the marketing materials released for the film, which were criticized for sexualizing underage girls, but now that the movie is available to users, a campaign has sprung up which claims Netflix is distributing what amounts to child pornography.  The film tells the story an 11-year-old Senegalese Muslim girl who joins a dance group and "rapidly grows aware of her burgeoning femininity — upsetting her mother and her values in the process."

While I don't agree with some of the criticisms, I'm all for having a discussion about it. But it didn't take long for social media complaints about the film to get lumped into these QAnon-related conspiracy theories about Hollywood being the center of a worldwide pedophilia ring. And those type of nutty claims make it very difficult to have a rational discussion about content.

If your TV jam is watching a divorced couple combine flipping houses with passive-aggressive hatred, then you'll be happy to know that HGTV's Flip Or Flop  with Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead is returning for a new season on Thursday, October 15th.

Horror-centric streamer Shudder has started production on season two of the anthology series Creepshow. This season's guest stars include Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), Keith David (The Thing), Ashley Laurence (Hellraiser), Josh McDermitt (The Walking Dead) and Adam Pally (The Mindy Project). According to Shudder, the first season of Creepshow  set "records for Shudder in number of viewers, new subscriber sign-ups and total minutes streamed to become the most watched program in Shudder history."

Starz has greenlit a series spinoff of the provocative and critically-acclaimed Lionsgate film Blindspotting. Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, who also starred in the film in addition to writing and producing it, will write and executive produce the half-hour dramedy. Casal will serve as the series showrunner in addition to having a recurring role.

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

1) Bin Laden's Hard Drive (NatGeo)
Nearly 470,000 digital files; 250 gigabytes of data; more than 100 USB drives, DVDs and CDs; five computers; and multiple cell phones… Piecing together every shred of evidence from these items taken from the Abbottabad Compound where Osama bin Laden was killed, this special scrutinizes the al-Qa’ida founders’ layered personal psychology; his relationship with his family; the lens through which he viewed faith and religion; and his nihilistic legacy of violence and destruction. Premiering Thursday, September 10, at 9/8c, the special offers a roadmap into the mind of a mass murderer that offers increasing twists and contradictions the deeper it goes.

2) Impact Of Murder Season Two Premiere (Investigation Discovery)
Using the gripping victim impact statements delivered in court as the driving storytelling technique, this series showcases how victims can be empowered against their perpetrator to stand up in court and confront them – and in some cases, unexpectedly find forgiveness. Through a victim’s own words, viewers understand the horror they endured or the significance of the life that was taken, providing an acute and emotional understanding of the collateral damage of murder. 

3) Julie And The Phantoms Series Premiere (Netflix)
Teenage Julie finds her passion for music and life while helping the Phantoms -- a trio of ghostly guys -- become the band they were never able to be.

4) Tamar Braxton: Get Ya Life! Series Premiere (WEtv)
To save her small law firm, earnest lawyer Susan (Rachael Leigh Cook) takes a high-paying case from Nick (Damon Wayans Jr.), a charming new client who wants to sue a dating website that guarantees love. But as the case heats up, so do Susan and Nick's feelings for each other. 

5) The Babysitter: Killer Queen (Netflix)
Two years after defeating a satanic cult led by his babysitter Bee, Cole's trying to forget his past and focus on surviving high school. But when old enemies unexpectedly return, Cole will once again have to outsmart the forces of evil. 

6) The Gift Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
Reckoning with a different world, Atiye races against time to realize her destiny as the mysterious syndicate behind Serdar threatens the future.

7) The Idhun Chronicles (Netflix)
After a necromancer takes over the magical world of Idhun, two adolescent earthlings help fight an assassin sent to kill all Idhunese refugees on Earth.

8) Unpregnant (HBO Max)
Seventeen-year-old Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson) never thought she’d want to fail a test—that is, until she finds herself staring at a piece of plastic with a blue plus. With a promising college-bound future now disappearing before her eyes, Veronica considers a decision she never imagined she’d have to make. This never-taken-lightly decision leads her on a 1000 mile hilarious road trip to New Mexico over three days with her ex-best friend, Bailey (Barbie Ferreira) where they discover sometimes the most important choice you’ll make in life is who your friends are.

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, 10 September 2020 14:48

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Written by 01 September, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, September 1st, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by lukewarm coffee and Skittles.

Live events are an integral part of the entertainment industry. From fan-centric events like Comic-Con and the Austin Television Festival to industry gatherings to set visits, live events are woven into the fabric of how we do business. All of the larger media web sites use special events and festivals as a prime revenue stream. And according to Skift CEO and founder Rafat Ali, the event industry is undergoing what he describes as its "Napster moment":

Zoom is the Napster of the event industry, the ease with which you can put on good-enough virtual events with a global audience, almost for free, much to the undercutting of the underlying economics of the physical events world. All types of business event — conferences, trade shows, conventions — are in danger of their revenues streams of tickets, sponsorships, memberships, and other types of fees being eroded as the world gets used to digital formats and alternatives emerge to physical networking, matchmaking and other tasks we get out of these events.

The problem, according to Ali, is that virtual events bring in only a small percentage of the revenue generated by live events. While also making some things such as casual business travel a luxury of the past:

We estimate for our Skift events, in the best case scenario, virtual one-day events bring in only about a quarter to a third of what a physical conference revenues used to pre-pandemic, and while that is one example and mileage will vary from industry to industry, company to company, and event to event, very likely revenues from digital events will never get close to offline events. We are habituating the business world to free or almost free events where we used to charge thousands of dollars for conferences and other business events. We are habituating sponsors to pay up fraction of what they used to pay, with more precise targeting that online tech and tracking allows. We are habituating a world to less business travel, a world that is arguably better and happier without so much weight of people criss crossing the planet and countries. We at Skift are estimating that about 10 to 15 percent of business travel demand may leave the market permanently, and it may also lead to the death of single-meeting business trip, all of which will have direct and indirect implications for the events industry.

It's a really thought-provoking piece on an issue that is going to permanently alter the way the entertainment industry functions on a daily basis. As a journalist working in the Twin Cities, the growth in virtual events has been a net positive. Virtual press tours and live events has given me access to people I wouldn't normally be able to speak with because I'm not located in Southern California. I won't lie. I love the physical set visit and would be sad if those went away permanently. But I can already see some changes becoming permanent, no matter what the outcome of the pandemic.

It's also a reminder of how quickly an idea can change the landscape of an industry. Benchmark's Chetan Puttagunta shared this tidbit today about the virtual networking software company Zoom:

Zoom's market cap today ($133B) is higher than Cisco's market cap in 2011 when Eric Yuan left Cisco to start Zoom. This is after Cisco rejected his idea of a new video conferencing app.

I'll be doing a 15-minute virtual session for this year's Twin Cities Start-Up Week on Thursday, September 17th at 12:30 pm CT. I'll be talking about the economics of running a web site that creates original reporting and content and walking everyone through some of what I've learned running AllYourScreens.com. A lot of attention is paid to the revenue streams for sites such as Buzzfedd or Vox. But there isn't a lot of discussion about smaller operations and I think the talk will be very informative. And hopefully, entertaining.

Bloomberg's Lucas Shaw has a good look at what promises to be the next battleground in the streaming wars. Two big movie output deals that will be coming up for renewal at the end of next year:

The deals could generate as much as $250 million per studio annually — and, in some cases, more — according to people familiar with the matter. Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc. and Hulu have all expressed interest in the rights, as have HBO and Starz, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are in preliminary stages.

As many as a half-dozen services are bidding for the rights, which would let streaming companies show the movies about nine months after the films have appeared in theaters. The winning platforms may have the exclusive rights for 18 months and then regain them for a second window of time, several years later. But the companies are discussing many options, especially since the biggest media giants now have their own streaming services to feed.

This is an especially big deal for HBO and Starz:

Currently, AT&T Inc.’s HBO has the exclusive rights to new movies from Universal, a collection that includes the latest installments in the “Jurassic World” and “Fast & Furious” franchises. Starz, which is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., holds the exclusive rights to movies from Sony, including the latest “Jumanji” and “Spider-Man” sequels.

Both HBO and Starz are trying to renew their current deals, which are set to expire at the end of next year. But they’re facing competition from deep-pocketed streaming services — Netflix, Amazon and Hulu — and find themselves negotiating with studios owned by companies that also have streaming services.

Piégés* - Premiere Date

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

1) Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices (Netflix)
This is a live-action collection of twelve five minute episodes featuring prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children's books from Black authors that highlight the Black experience. Hosted by Marley Dias (author and founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign), the collection of books and conversations center around themes of identity, respect, justice, and action -- providing families a toolset to start meaningful conversations with kids about difficult topics through short-form book-based content.

2) Felipe Esparza: Bad Decisions and Felipe Esparza: Malas Decisiones (Netflix)
Stand-up comedian, actor and “Last Comic Standing” winner Felipe Esparza digs deeper into his past in his first Netflix Original comedy specials, Felipe Esparza: Bad Decisions and Felipe Esparza: Malas Decisiones. Filmed in Santa Ana, California as two separate performances – one in English and one in Spanish – the specials showcase Esparza’s edgy style of humor as the perfect vehicle to weave through difficult anecdotes of his childhood and mistakes in his adult life with ease.

3) Ghosted: Love Gone Missing Season Premiere (MTV)
Hosts Rachel Lindsay and Travis Mills help distraught people track down former friends or lovers who suddenly cut off all contact with them, and the truth about the ghosting is revealed.

4) Pieges Series Premiere (MHz Choice)
An ordinary woman discovers she’s the lucky beneficiary of one million euros gifted to her by a stranger. But before she can touch it, she must complete one macabre task: "To kill a man who deserves to die."

5) 16 And Recovering (MTV)
The four-part documentary series follows the triumphs and tragedies of students working toward graduation while living with substance use and mental health issues at a recovery high school in Boston.

6) Supernany Season Premiere (Lifetime)
With new the social and behavioral challenges parents face today, Jo Frost will bring hope and uplift families with her advice, techniques, and tips to iron out the chaos in their homes. 

7) The Boss Baby: Get That Baby! (Netflix)
In this interactive special, you'll find your calling at Baby Corp by making choices and carrying out missions as part of a virtual aptitude test.

8) The Match (La Partita) (Netflix)
A single football match played on a dirt pitch in suburban Rome centers this story of a poor community struggling with ethical and moral dilemmas.

9) Transplant Series Premiere (NBC)
When Dr. Bashir Hamed, a charismatic Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine, flees his war-torn homeland, he and younger sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus) become refugees, struggling to forge a new life in Canada. But if Bash ever wants to be a doctor again, he must redo his medical training from the ground up and obtaining a coveted residency position is nearly impossible. 

10) True: Friendship Day (Netflix)
When a giant Grippity-Grab snags Grizelda’s friendship bracelet and turns her into a mermaid, True heads under the sea with magic wishes to save the day.

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 Tuesday, 01 September 2020 11:32

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, August 31st, 2020

Written by 31 August, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, August 31st, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by hot tea and cinnamon/raisin bagels.

Offering some subscriber-only content for free is an increasingly common way to encourage people to sample before hopefully subscribing. Netflix is trying its own version of the idea, by offering up a few movies and the first episodes of several of its higher-profile TV shows for free. Here is the link for the offer on the Netflix site and while I think it's a good idea in the abstract, it's not any potential big driver of new subscribers. That being said, the costs to Netflix for doing this is close to zero and at a time when domestic subscriber growth is slowing, there is a lot of motivation for the service to become increasingly more inventive with their promotional efforts. No one outside Netflix has any idea what the current customer acquisition costs are for Netflix. But given what I know about other streamers, I would be surprised if it was under $50. So offering a few movies and TV episodes for free is a cheap way to do some marketing.

Speaking of marketing ideas, one of the advantages Netlfix has is that it owns n increasing amount of its original content. And owning things give you some flexibility in how you can that content in marketing efforts. For instance, owning content means you can offer up free samples, as in the case of the previous story. But it also opens up some other possibilities. 

It's not easy owning a drive-in or independent movie theater. It's a battle to get popular titles and even when you can, they are extremely expensive. And then there are all of the weird contractual quirks, like the one that prohibits drive-ins from screening "Tenet" unless they are located in an area where the movie will also run in traditional movie theaters. The consolidation of Disney and Fox also led to a number of Fox movie titles being pulled from future bookings in indie movie theaters. These theaters are eager to get movies that are somewhat pre-sold and can acquired at a reasonable cost.

I'd like to see Netflix begin packaging some of their older titles for limited theatrical runs. These are titles that are likely on the long tail of their streaming viewership, but still would be interesting to see on a big screen. I certainly would pay to see "Extraction" or "Rim Of The World" on a big screen. And it would be a prime chance for some customer acquisition. Offer moviegoers a special code for a 3-month discount or some similar subscription-driving offer. Odds are that people watching a Netflix movie at a drive-in are less likely to be a current subscriber than the normal random American.

There are some costs to Netflix for this idea. While the company doesn't discuss the contractual outlines of their productions, I spoke to a few people on background who have done projects for the streamer. In some cases, Netflix apparently has deals which would allow it to screen a film in theaters without any additional costs. But in some cases, a theatrical run would trigger some additional payouts or require an update to the original production deal. Either way, the costs are relatively modest and there is a decent upside to the idea. Especially given the press coverage that Netflix would get for the idea.

This is an idea I'm going to be fleshing out in a future piece, but I think it's worth talking about a bit now. I just read a long post from an industry analyst who was writing about a long-time Hollywood executive's moves in the digital space. And essentially his point was "I'm not sure why he's doing the things he's doing, but you have to consider his track record."

While there are a few obvious exceptions, the past decade has shown us that being a successful television or music industry executive doesn't necessarily give you any special insight into what it takes to make a digital or new media business successful. Quibi only exists because it was able to raise billions of dollars of funding due to the track record of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman. But it's also clear that their blind spots have made it much more difficult for Quibi to succeed. Susanne Daniels had an impressive career in television. But I think it's fair to argue her run as head of YouTube Originals has brought some mixed results. Her television experience helped her develop programs for YouTube (like Cobra Kai). But she has the least amount of experience and knowledge with the part of the job that is the most challenging: getting people to pay for YouTube Originals.

So qualities does a traditional media executive need to thrive in the digital media space? Do you have to be intimately familiar with the products to be successful?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Feel free to reach out on Twitter at @aysrick or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur release date | Amazon Prime Video - Radio  Times
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) All Or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur (Amazon)
Go behind-the-scene of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club during one of the most defining seasons in their history. Chairman Daniel Levy makes the mid-season decision to sack manager Mauricio Pochettino and hire Jose Maurinho. PLayers including Dele Alli, Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane fught to put the club amongst Europe's elite against the backdrop of the global cornoravirus outbreak.

2) Being The Queen (NatGeo)
The film focuses on important moments when the hidden side of the House of Windsor collides with the public life of the monarchy. The one-hour special is told through an incredible array of archival material, rare photographs and hundreds of hours of footage to showcase a treasure trove of intimate, rare and never-before-seen or heard accounts of Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.

3) Planet Earth: A Celebration (BBC America)
Featuring new narration from David Attenborough and a newly-arranged instrumental track from Hans Zimmer (in partnership with Jacob Shea and the team at Bleeding Fingers), this exciting, adrenaline-packed journey to some of the most extreme environments around the world is breathtakingly beautiful – the celebratory trek inspires as all manners of species, sometimes endangered, continue to survive and thrive despite all odds. Within the score’s string section performed by the renowned BBC Concert Orchestra, and accompaniment on the grand piano by Brit and Mercury Award-winning UK rapper, Dave, the special is meant to elicit calm amidst the chaos as our global collective works to create community and heal itself from a devastating pandemic.

4) The 93 Victims Of Samuel Little (ID)
Samuel Little may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of serial killers, but he is one of the most prolific and elusive of all time. He was convicted of murdering four women but is thought to have killed as many as 93 women over four decades. For the first time ever, viewers will have exclusive access to investigators, stories from families and chillingly detailed descriptions from Samuel Little himself. 

5) This Joka With Will Smith Series Premiere (Quibi)
In the show, Smith plays host to a diverse guest list of comedians, ranging from up-and-comers to legendary performers. This Joka showcases their stand-up sets and will feature one-on-one conversations between Smith and the comedians plus docu-style moments shot backstage and around Vegas.

6) Wireless Series Premiere (Quibi)
A 20-year-old finds himself stranded off a snow covered Colorado road on New Years Eve armed with his quickly dying phone.

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.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, August 27th, 2020

Written by 27 August, 2020

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, August 27th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by coffee and the aftermath of a fairly awkward Zoom interview, which included my teen son coming into the room to tell me the toilet was overflowing.

Broadcast has an interview with YouTube Originals head Suzanne Daniels, in which she explains a bit about the service's current approach to original programming and whether or not to put it behind a paywall

“After three years, it didn’t feel like the right strategy to put all the original programming behind a paywall,” she said. 

“So we came up with a dual strategy. The original programmes are available to everyone for free with ads on YouTube, but in addition they’re behind a paywall, ad-free and ready to binge at any time, and often with ancillary content.”

She added that that the “pressure point of the tremendous advertising interest” was another precipitating factor for the strategy shift, with advertisers demanding at its ‘Brandcast’ upfront event, “why can’t we have access” to YouTube’s slate of originals.

Speaking to Broadcast ahead of her keynote conversation at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Daniels said YouTube’s unscripted slate revolves around “kid’s and family, learning and education, music and ‘personalities’.

No matter what you think of the underlying sentiment, this image from the NBA Player's Association is some impressive branding.

I spent a bit of time yesterday discussing the ways in which networks should be using TikTok. Someone who is using it in interesting ways is Dan Povenmire, the co-creator of Phineas and Ferb. There is a new P&F special premiering tomorrow on Disney+ and he's been promoting it in all sorts of ways. Including this idea, in which he asked fans for things they would like one of the show's characters to say and he then posted a video a day using their ideas. The character is the show's awesomely dense evil scientist "Dr. Doofenschmirtz," which Povenmire also voices in the show.


I don't usually report meme-ish type things, but this is an example of the difference between re-aggregating a story and actually doing the job of a journalist and reporting out the story. A lot of big media outlets reposted the image below of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a "welcome back to school" talk at a school library. Of course, it wasn't long before people noticed that the titles of the books behind him seemed to have been chosen to troll Johnson. Leading a bunch of web sites that should have known better to dash off quick "See One Librarian's Massive Troll Of Boris Johnson" pieces. 

But a reporter for the Huffington UK spent the time speaking to librarians at the school and the truth is even more bizarre:

In fact, the display has been in place – apparently unnoticed – for more than six months, and was left by the outgoing librarian as a message to the school’s senior leadership team.

“It’s so bizarre, I actually feel a little bit sorry for the prime minister because it wasn’t ever intended for him – I did it as a message for the school management before I left in February,” the 48-year-old former librarian, who asked not to be named, told HuffPost UK.

“It just became untenable to carry on working there because of the lack of support I had and I was left with no choice but to resign. 

“That’s why I decided to leave them a big message during my last week. They obviously never actually noticed, and it went untouched for six months.” 

The wildly popular game Fortnite kicked off its new season today and as I write this, my 15-year-old son is working his way through all the new features. It's a massive Marvel Universe tie-in, with the ability to play and earn popular Marvel characters and items. More tomorrow (including a link to a short piece my son is writing about the new season). But just from a branding standpoint, there are few media or gaming companies do updates and branding as well as Epic Games, the owner of Fortnite.
Ravi Patel's Pursuit of Happiness Trailer Explores Culture, Connections |  Collider
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:

1) Aggretsuko Season Premiere (Netflix)
Lovely pianist Gurara hits rock bottom when she meets the rough and mysterious Fritta Sunwoojun. Can Fritta bring Gurara back to life?

2) Celebrity Game Face Season Premiere (E!)
Each week, Kevin Hart invites you for a night of outrageous and unpredictable fun and games with his celebrity friends, all playing from their own homes. Watch as these couples compete to outdo each other in wacky challenges that will test their skills and their relationships. It's a classic game night that only Kevin Hart could host.

3) Pure Series Premiere (HBO Max)
Twenty-four year old Marnie has bad thoughts all the time and she can’t tell anyone. Her mind is XXX-rated and intrusive thoughts are piling up inside her head. She is caught in the grip of an excruciating form of obsessive compulsive disorder – nicknamed ‘pure O’ – where her obsessions take the form of intrusive sexual thoughts, and the compulsions are unseen mental rituals that deeply affect her daily life. After imagining her parents engrossed in an orgy at their 25th wedding anniversary party, Marnie is at breaking point. Something. Has. Got. To. Give. She packs a bag and, with no plan, jumps on a coach to London. In the capital, Marnie soon discovers she’s not the only one who’s lost. 

4) Ravi Patel's Pursuit of Happiness Series Premiere (HBO Max)
A four-part buddy comedy docuseries that follows actor / documentarian / philanthropist Ravi Patel (Meet the Patels) as he travels the world seeking answers surrounding life’s universal questions.  At each stop throughout this comedically heartfelt journey, Patel is joined by a friend or family member, with whom he shares a big conflict or question about life. His travels take him to Mexico, Japan, South Korea and Denmark to explore the traditional customs of the people they meet and experience their unique approaches to life’s most pressing matters.

5) Through Greenland With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Series Premiere (Topic)
The series is a visually spectacular program series with Danish Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on an adventurous expedition through Greenland.

6) Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Farewell Play (BET+) 
Madea, the gun-toting matriarch drives a couple of hours to a rural town in Georgia to be with her loving family. Madea’s great-grandson is graduating from law school, and the entire family is gathering to celebrate the occasion. The family is in need of a happy time after Darlene has gone through a bitter divorce, leaving her financially and emotionally drained. The entire family has pitched in to help Darlene, and her son, Malik as he has barely paid his tuition bills. The graduation party is off to a joyous start until Darlene’s ex-husband shows up uninvited. Sparks immediately begin to fly, as Madea in the fashion of life coach, Iyanla, begins to fix everyone’s life.

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, 27 August 2020 12:40