Displaying items by tag: Too Much TV

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, June 17th, 2021

17 June, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, June 17th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by coffee, coffee and coffee.

ANOTHER WAY TO MEASURE (SOMEWHAT) STREAMING VIEWERSHIP
Nielsen is rolling out a new viewing metric called "The Gauge." This infographic provides a snapshot of total television and streaming viewing. You can read more about the info here.

Image

The NY Times also has a write-up about "The Gauge," including providing a bit more context on how the information collected and why:

On Thursday, the firm reported that 64 percent of the time American viewers used their television sets in May 2021 was spent watching network and cable TV, while they watched streaming services about 26 percent of the time. Another 9 percent of the time, they were using their TV screens for things like video games or watching programs or films they had saved on DVR.

The streaming share is increasing rapidly. It stood at about 20 percent last year, Nielsen said; in 2019, it was about 14 percent. A Nielsen spokesman said that the firm anticipates the streaming share could go up to about 33 percent by the end of the year.

And as it turns out, even Netflix is now on board with these measurements:

Nielsen calls its new metric The Gauge. It comes in addition to its previous method of measuring how many people are watching streaming platforms, which relies on audio-recognition software included in Nielsen devices that are now in 38,000 households across the country. Both metrics measure only what is viewed on television screens and do not count what is watched on phones or laptops.

When Nielsen started releasing ratings numbers based on its audio-recognition software in 2017, Netflix was not impressed. Netflix called the data “not accurate, not even close” when Nielsen put out ratings four years ago for the platform’s hit series “Stranger Things.”

Now that The Gauge is here, Netflix is changing its view of Nielsen.

“They’re in a good place to referee or score-keep how streaming is changing the U.S. television landscape,” Reed Hastings, the co-chief executive of Netflix, said in an interview.

And speaking of Hastings, he took to Twitter on Thursday to ask WarnerMedia's exiting-at-some-point CEO Jason Kilar why his company won't allow HBO Max's numbers to be included in the Nielsen data:



THE DANGERS OF RELYING ON SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN YOU WRITE A STORY
A very common (and frankly, very lazy) way to put together a "reaction" story about an upcoming movie is to just troll through social media such as Twitter, some some quick reactions from critics and other insiders and then embed them into a story. The problem with that approach is that it's more a Frankenstein approach to journalism than actual reporting. Even worse, you're putting your name on a story that includes reactions from people who may or may not be telling the truth.

Over the past few years, writer/producer Ben Meckler has amused himself by posting tweets that include made-up - and often ludicrous - reactions to hot new releases. He then delightfully posts screenshots of stories that include his tweets and just about every publication from The Hollywood Reporter on down has fell for the ruse at some point. And now a few other publications have included his latest attempt, which claims the upcoming Black Widow movie includes a scene that takes place in a Russian J.C. Penny's:




IS APPLE TV+ WORTH $5 A MONTH?
That's what millions of people are going to have to decide beginning next month, as the current round of freebie subscriptions ends. In his Buffering newsletter, Vulture's Joe Adalian takes a look at some of the challenges faced by Apple as it tries to convince subscribers that Apple TV+ is worth $5 a month:

Earlier this week, Apple quietly confirmed it was changing the terms of its free trial. On its website, the company is now telling consumers that as of July 1, buying a new Apple device will only entitle them to three months of TV+ gratis, rather than a whole year. What’s more, the millions of TV+ users who’ve been freeloading off of Tim Cook’s benevolence for so long — like me — will apparently not get another reprieve when those original 2019 free trials run out next month. Apple hasn’t officially said anything, but given how much advance notice the company gave before those previous extensions, it is looking like they won’t be doing so again. If that happens, consumers will finally be forced to decide whether TV+ merits its sticker price of $5 per month.

But with its two-year anniversary just around the corner, TV+ now has multiple known quantities, and they’re shows many people really like. Ted Lasso is a social-media sensation that could soon turn in a strong Emmy performance, while space drama For All Mankind has a similarly passionate chorus of online enthusiasts and TV critics behind it. The Morning Show, which Apple execs have groomed to be the platform’s signature drama, got a mixed reaction early on — but had many critics singing its praises by the time its first season ended. Comedies Dickinson, Central Park, and Mythic Quest also have passionate fan bases, while industry sources who’ve talked to Apple execs say insiders there insist Jason Mamoa’s See is actually a global hit. Sure, there are still no old movies, and just one old TV series (Fraggle Rock). But the service does now have a decent, if small, content library — of its own originals.

Will this be enough to get people to pay just two dollars less per month than what Disney charges for the ad-supported level of Hulu, a service stuffed with tens of thousands of hours of viewable content? I’ll be honest: I don’t know. And given Apple’s historic insistence on saying virtually nothing about how TV+ is performing, unless or until the company suddenly decides to close the service down — or fire its top execs — we may never fully understand how things are going at the streamer.

Joe's free weekly newsletter is one of the must-read ones for me, and in the most current one, he also explains why Seinfeld will disappear from streaming until the fall once it exits Hulu next month. You can subscribe here.

AND MORE NETFLIX DATA
Scott Mendelson at Forbes takes a look at the opening weekend data for its high-profile Army Of The Dead movie and wonders if the 6.5 million number represents a ceiling of sorts for Netflix viewership. Which is a problem if you're doing $90 million movies:

It nabbed about the same number of initial viewers as Amazon’s Without Remorse (around 6.8 million views) but was well below Amazon’s Coming 2 America (around 12.8 million complete viewings) and Disney+’s Soul (around 18.5 million viewers over Christmas weekend). However, we have a big-budget original action movie that barely earned more viewers in its opening weekend than, say,  Jason Statham’s Homefront which debuted on January 18 with around 4.7 million viewers. That was almost tied with Netflix’s original Anthony Mackie’s Outside the Wire (around 4.8 million initial viewings of the 115-minute actioner) and Jennifer Garner’s Yes Day (around 4.7 million views of the 89-minute family comedy on its opening weekend).

If the Netflix originals don’t vastly outperform older “missed it in theaters” studio flicks, then that heightens the potential peril for when Netflix’s third-party content mostly migrates elsewhere. They are aware of this and that’s probably why they signed a first pay-tv window with Sony starting next year. I’m not shocked that Army of the Dead (which I’d argue is one of Netflix’s best “blockbuster approximation movies” and which I rather enjoyed watching in its brief theatrical engagement), earned strong but not (by top-tier streaming standards) superlative initial viewership.

One thing Mendelson doesn't mention is that for all of the hype of it being a Zack Snyder film, there are plenty of people who are not going to watch a Zombie movie, not matter how slickly it's put together.

But what movies like that do is help round out Netflix's catalog. It doesn't want to be just the place that cranks out solid rom-coms or YA films. It literally wants there to be something for everyone. And in a world where there are just fewer high-profile action movies being produced overall, if Netflix wants a steady supply, it's going to have to produce its own.

ODDS AND SODS
* Disney+ has tapped top creators from Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt for a 10-part sci-fi animated anthology that will transport viewers to Africa’s future. Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire will premiere in late 2022.

* WKRP In Cincinnati star Frank Bonner is dead at age 79.


TODAY'S PREMIERES 

The series follows five young women on journeys of self-discovery against the backdrop of New York City’s male-dominated skateboarding scene.

1) Ali & Ratu Ratu Queens (Netflix)
After his father's passing, a teenager sets out for New York in search of his estranged mother and soon finds love and connection in unexpected places.

2) Battle Of The Brothers Series Premiere (Discovery+)
The Voltaggio Brothers put promising young chefs to the ultimate test.

3) Black Summer Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
Winter comes with cold-blooded new challenges during the zombie apocalypse as frantic scavengers and violent militias battle the dead and desperate.

4) Civil War (Or, Who DO We Think We Are) (Peacock)
A look at how Americans portray the story of their Civil War, revealing a nation haunted by an embittered past and the stories it refuses to tell.

5) Deadly Women Season Premiere (ID)
Ciera Harp snaps after realizing aspiring rapper Rahim Grant will never be hers.

6) Generation (HBO Max)
A dark yet playful half-hour series following a diverse group of high school students whose exploration of modern sexuality (devices and all) tests deeply entrenched beliefs about life, love and the nature of family in their conservative community.

7) Holey Moley Season Premiere (ABC)
Take a look at what's coming down the fairway on tonight's two-hour season premiere of Holey Moley 3D in 2D! Rob Riggle, Joe Tessitore, and Jeanne Mai are back to watch the action unfold in a series of brand-new challenges including "Corn Hole," "Agony of Defeat," and the festive "Ho Ho Hole."

8) Homestead Rescue Season Premiere (Discovery)
The Raneys face an emotional rescue of young, inexperienced homesteaders in Alabama.

9) Hospital Playlist Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
It’s another season of extraordinary days for the doctors and patients inside a hospital, where birth, death and everything in between coexist.

10) Hot Mess House Season Premiere (HGTV)
Cas & Wendell finds a way to turn a family of six's basement into a space that works as a play area, a gym, an entertainment space and an office.

11) Intelligence (Peacock)
At the U.K.'s geeky, sprawling Government Communications Headquarters, a maverick American NAS officer enlists the help of a junior systems analyst in a workplace power grab that threatens to disrupt the team's cybersecurity directives.

12) Katia (Netflix)
In Iceland, after the subglacial volcano Katla has been erupting constantly for a whole year, Gríma is still looking for her missing sister who disappeared the day the eruption started. As her hope of ever finding her body is fading, the residents of the surrounding area start to have visits from unexpected guests. There might be something hidden under the glacier no one could ever have foreseen.

13) My Name Is Bulger (Discovery+)
Bill Bulger, now 85, was State Senate President for almost 20 years in Massachusetts. His older brother James 'Whitey' Bulger was a Boston gangster who was murdered in prison on October 30th 2018, aged 89. This documentary weaves its way through the stories of both brothers and their respective rises and falls. Featuring intimate interviews with family and an exclusive conversation with James Bulger’s girlfriend and partner, Catherine Greig, the film strips away the hysteria of daily print headlines and nightly news bulletins to unfold the story of a unique American family who crave to be judged for who they are and what they’ve done, not what their infamous relative did.

14) Record of Ragnarok (Netflix)
Before eradicating humankind from the world, the Gods give them one last chance to prove themselves worthy of battle. Let the Ragnarok games begin.

15) Superdeep (Shudder)
The Kola Superdeep borehole is the largest Russian secret facility. In 1984, at the depth of more than 7 miles below the surface, unexplained sounds were recorded, resembling the screams and moans of numerous people. Since these events, the object has been closed. A small research team of scientists and military personnel go down below the surface to find the secret hidden these many decades. What they discover will pose the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.

16) The Gift Season Three Premiere (Netflix)
Seeking to reach her daughter Aden, Atiye faces a wrenching dilemma as dark forces attempt to harness Aden's cosmic powers to bring about destruction.

17) The Hustler Season Premiere (ABC)
Craig Ferguson hosts the return of television's sneakiest, scheming-est, most diabolically fun and twisty game show.

18) The Killer In My Backyard (LMN)
Hoping to ease their expenses, a woman and her fiance unwittingly rent out their guest house to a tenant with sinister intentions.

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 Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

15 June, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, June 15th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by ices tea and a salami sandwich.

IS NETFLIX A FRIENDLY HOME FOR TALENT? IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU SPEAK WITH
Early in its move into original content, one of the qualities of the company most mentioned by executives was that people wanted to work at Netflix because it was "talent friendly." And that is certainly the case for upper-level writers/showrunners such as Ryan Murphy, Shawn Levy, Shonda Rimes and Kenya Barris, who have signed lucrative deals that have provided an enormous amount of creative freedom. But the joy with Netflix does not extend into the lower level showrunners and writing staff.

Low pay is generally a problem across the board with streaming services. The short seasons and smaller budgets of the show allow the streamers to work around the WGA minimums that bind traditional broadcasters. So not only do writers and other staff make much less on a shortened 8 or 10-episode season than they would working on a series that runs at least 13 episodes, the money they make per episode is substantially less on a streaming service. And by substantially, it can be as much as 50% less. Things aren't any better for showrunners, some of whom have complained to me privately that they are offered a season rate that is less than they would make as a staff writer on a broadcast network series. Combine the low pay with no residuals and you end up with a creative workforce that is not very happy.

To be fair, while I highlight Netflix, this is a problem across the industry. Tensions are especially high now, as writers report that streamers aren't greenlighting a lot of new projects, and some (like HBO Max) have put a pause on new deals. So things are tight right now for writers, which is ironic turn of events given the general growth of the industry.

I'll have some more reporting on this in the coming days. But this issue is one that is going to dominate the next round of negotiations between the WGA and the studios.

And if you have some comments on this story, you can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact me via Signal or WhatsApp at 612-207-2108. All conversations are anonymous unless otherwise agreed to.

I'M NOT SAYING THAT CABLE NEWS TREATS POLITICS LIKE A SPORT. BUT......
Image

NBC CANCELS 'MANIFEST'
NBC announced today that it is canceling its drama Manifest after three seasons. As always, producers are hoping to place the show with a streamer. And while those hopes are generally pointless ones, if's worth noting that the first two seasons of the show just became available on Netflix and it has been the most-watched title on the service in the U.S. for the last three days. Given the success Netflix has had extending the life of shows such as Lucifer and Longmire, Manifest would seem like a good for for Netflix, assuming a deal can be made. 

SPONSOR
Animating Discover Card. Refer a friend and you could get a $50 statement credit. See details.
Become a Discover Cardmember and get a $50 Statement Credit when you make your first purchase within three months. Then, earn rewards with every purchase after that. Sign up here.

IS THE INDUSTRY REALLY MOVING AWAY FROM BINGEING?
Axios has a piece today arguing that the streaming industry is moving away from the bingeing model towards the old school one-episode-per-week approach. And this chart is the perfect example of why data without context can be dangerous:


It's tempting to look at that chart and think "wow, a lot more stuff is being released weekly now." But for the most part, what has changed is that there are new streamers and those tend to favor weekly releases. Partly because of the "it extends the conversation" argument. But primarily because when you only have a couple of new high-profile shows to premiere each quarter, the best way to extend their value is with a weekly release. 

To be honest, the binge vs weekly release discussion is a bit tiresome at this point. But it always gets attention and that's what pays everyone's bills.

ODDS AND SODS
* Sky Deutschland will remain the exclusive home of the English Premier League in Germany after striking a new deal for the 2022/23 to 2024/25 seasons. 

* There is a Beauty & The Beast prequel in the works at Disney+, starring Josh Gad, Luke Evans and Brian Middleton.

* Freeform has ordered a second season of Cruel Summer, ahead of tonight's season one finale.

* Megan Boone is leaving the NBC series The Blacklist at the end of this season. NBC has already picked the show up for another season.

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 Friday, June 11th, 2021

11 June, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, June 11th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by pasta and ginger ale over ice.

It's a typically shorter newsletter due to all of the Friday premieres. Enjoy the weekend and I'll see you Monday!

SINCLAIR RAISING MONEY FOR STREAMING SERVICE
The NY Post is reporting that the Sinclair Broadcast Group is quietly been raising $250 million for a streaming service that would stream games by the St. Louis Cardinals, the Dallas Mavericks and scores of other popular sports teams to fans over the Internet. And while there aren't a lot of details about the service, this paragraph jumped out at me:

Sinclair has been telling hedge funds and other potential investors that it aims to charge $23 a month to fans who want to stream games in markets where it owns sports broadcasting rights, sources said.

Fans who live outside of Sinclair’s 21 territories, where it owns broadcasting rights tied to 42 teams, would likely be out of luck.

Now if Sinclair can successfully launch this service, it would be a very big game changer for the industry. But $23 a month? I suppose if you're a superfan of one of the teams, maybe that works. But that price point just seems extremely optimistic.

FACTOID OF THE DAY
The web site World Soccer Talk recently conducted a poll and the results are kinda interesting:

Image

NETFLIX ANNOUNCES WITCHER CON
Netflix announced earlier today that it is launching a virtual fan event called WitcherCon, which will take place on July 9th.

The event is being planned in collaboration with CD PROJEKT RED and it will be the first-ever multi-format event dedicated to The Witcher universe. Details are still a bit light, but the press release from Netflix promises that WitcherCon will feature interactive panels, never-before-scenes from the upcoming new season and overall it will be "an epic event for Witcher fans old and new, bringing together the worlds of The Witcher video games and the TV series."

And given that know that production on season two of the show wrapped in April, it's likely fans will also get a premiere date announcement at some point during the event.

HOW THE POLITICS OF 'THE WEST WING' RUINED AMERICA
I don't do the best job of promoting pieces I've posted at AllYourScreens in the newsletter. But I wanted to highlight this piece from a couple of days ago that have been receiving a ton of attention. In it, I argue that the Aaron Sorkin TV series The West Wing set a number of expectations in the minds of liberals that don't match up with the way that national politics work in real life. Too many people see the show as a blueprint, instead of a well-written aspirational tale:

In many ways, Barack Obama was The West Wing president. A smart, charismatic outsider who could articulately dissect an obscure economics theory while also talking confidently about each and every tune on his Spotify playlist. He saw himself as being the bridge to people on the other side of the political spectrum and his ability to reach voters who saw his vision led them to believe that even his opponents would have to acknowledge the sincerity and intellectual correctness of his beliefs.

But as it turned out, Obama's opponents did not see The West Wing as a blueprint for the way political discourse should take place. Conservatives were soon arguing that America's first African-American president was "the most decisive president in history" and that he "made everything about race." There were claims that he hated America, was a secret Socialist, an acolyte of radicals, a fraud who wanted to destroy the American way of life. Obama accomplished some important things over his eight years, but it's worth noting that he did it without any help from conservatives or anyone who self-described as Republican. 

Yet it's notable that in recent interviews Obama still seems to be wedded to this Jeb Bartlett view of politics. He will concede that Republicans weren't cooperative and were often actively working against him to block policies he still believes are good for Americans. He has recently admitted that these beliefs might even threaten democracy. But he also still believes that it is possible to change minds, to reach out to opponents, and open their minds in the same way that Richard Schiff's Toby Ziegler changed the conversation by crafting just the perfect turn of a phrase.


TODAY'S PREMIERES 

1) Betty Season Premiere (HBO)
The series follows five young women on journeys of self-discovery against the backdrop of New York City’s male-dominated skateboarding scene.

2) Clarkson's Farm Series Premiere (Amazon)
An intense, arduous and frequently hilarious year in the life of Britain's most unlikely farmer, Jeremy Clarkson. Join Jeremy and hios rag-tag band of agricultural associates as they face-up to a backdrop of unhelpful weather, disobedient animals, unresponsive crops and an unexpected pandemic.

3) Flack Season Two Premiere (Amazon)
Season two picks up from the events of the season one finale which saw Robyn's work and home lives collide catastrophically when she could no longer resist the temptations of her addictions. She's sacked PR intern Melody - for her own good - but closer relationships could be damaged beyond repair. Will Eve forgive Robyn, and with Melody frowzen out, with Mills Paulson PR ever be the same again?

4) Home Before Dark Season Two Premiere (Apple TV+)
Young investigative journalist Hilde Lisko moves with her family to the small town her father left behind, only to unearth shocking secrets in her persuit of the truth.

5) Human: The World Within Series Premiere (Netflix)
Cutting-edge science and captivating personal stories collide in this illuminating docuseries about the incredible workings of the human body.

6) In The Heights (HBO Max)
The movie fuses Lin-Manuel Miranda’s kinetic music and lyrics with director Jon M. Chu’s lively and authentic eye for storytelling to capture a world very much of its place, but universal in its experience, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big. 

7) Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) (Netflix)
It’s another season of twists, turns and troubles plaguing the seemingly happy marriages of three women who work on a radio show.

8) Love, Victor Season Two Premiere (Hulu)
Season two finds a newly out-of-the-closet Victor entering his junior year at Creekwood High. But being out brings with it new challenges as Victor faces a family struggling with his revelation, a heartbroken ex-girlfriend in Mia, and the difficulties of being an openly gay athlete - all while navigating the excitement of his relationshi with Benji.

9) Lupin Season One Part Two (Netflix)
Pursued by Hubert and his henchmen, Assane scrambles to find Raoul and wins an unlikely new ally as he draws up a grand plan to reveal Hubert's crimes.

10) Shock Docs: The Devil Made Me Do It (Discovery+)
Charged with a brutal murder, a Connecticut man claims his innocence, insisting "the devil made me do it." For the first time in U.S. history, the existence of demonic forces is used as a defense at trial. Shock Docs: The Devil Made Me Do It examines the harrowing events leading up to the murder and the astonishing court case that followed. Based on the real-life inspiration for New Line Cinema’s upcoming horror film The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, this terrifying documentary dives into the true story, with never-before-seen interviews with the family, renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, the defendant's lawyer and local police

11) Skater Girl (Netflix)
In the inspiring feature film Skater Girl, a teen in rural India must fight against all odds to follow her dreams of becoming a skater and competing in the national championship.

12) Sweet & Sour (Netflix)
Faced with real-world opportunities and challenges, a couple endures the highs and lows of trying to make a long-distance relationship survive.

13) Timewasters Series Premiere (IMDb TV)
A comedy about a struggling four-piece South London jazz band who find themselves transported back to 1920s London. 

14) Trese (Netflix)
Set in a Manila where mythical creatures of Philippine folklore hide amongst humans, Alexandra Trese goes head-to-head with a criminal underworld.

15) Trippin' With The Kandasamys (Netflix)
To rekindle their marriages, best friends-turned-in-laws Shanthi and Jennifer plan a couples' getaway. But it comes with all kinds of surprises. 

16) Wish Dragon (Netflix)
Longing to reconnect with his childhood best friend, resourceful teen Din meets a charming wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities.

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, June 10th, 2021

10 June, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, June 10th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by root beer and Hershey's kisses.

One note about yesterday's newsletter. Yes, I did realize after the fact that I had written Chicago Subs instead of Cubs. Sadly, spellcheck does not help with my natural inclination to make spelling errors that are still somehow a word.

NETFLIX: THE STORE
The NY Times is reporting that Netflix is set to open up an online store featuring merchandise from some of its high-profile original series:

Lupin, the buzzy French crime show about an expert thief, will be front and center at Netflix.shop later this month. In addition to baseball caps, T-shirts, hoodies and sweaters, the Lupin-related merchandise will include throw pillows ($60 apiece) and a side table ($150), all of it designed and produced in collaboration with the Louvre museum.

Two Netflix anime series, Eden and Yasuke, will be featured in the store on its first day. A clock based on the Yasuke character Haruto, created in collaboration with the artist and designer Nathalie Nguyen, is priced at $135.

There is also a Yasuke clothing line, which came about through a collaboration with the streetwear label Hypland and its founder, Jordan Bentley. "He’s part of that drop culture, where kids are lining up on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles to buy his products," Mr. Simon said.

I don't think even Netflix expects this effort to be a massive future revenue stream. But it's part of the effort by the streamer to build a consumer brand that expands the definition of what it means to be a Netflix subscriber.

FACTOID OF THE DAY
I've been watching some of the Connected TV Advertising Summit today and this data point from Roku stood out from Alison Levin, who is Roku's VP of Global Ad Revenue and Marketing Solutions: “85% of adults 18 to 49 who watched the Roku Channel were completely unduplicated from linear TV. So this is an audience that skews very high to cord cutters”

DAVID SPADE AND THE 'CANCEL CULTURE'
I read a lot of dumb cultural takes from both sides of the political spectrum. And I rarely mention any of them in this newsletter because they aren't the focus of this thing. But this National Review piece is next-level stupid when it attempts to make the painfully bad 1994 movie PCU seem like some bastion of free speech instead of the cringy, unfunny movie that it is:

ATTENTION TWITTER QUALITY CONTROL
It is amazing to me that Twitter is continuing to promote an obviously photoshopped tweet of a non-existent contest from a non-existent truck stop that was put together to virally promote a t-shirt.

Image

SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE SPORTS WORLD
It's been clear for a long time that sexual harassment is rampant in the sports world. From athletes to coaches to sports journalists, if you've ever had a meaningful discussion with a woman who is part of the sports world, the issue inevitably comes up in this "oh, I guess this is the price you have to pay" way. 

ESPNW's Sarah Spain has a powerful new piece about the issue and she argues that too often the institutions of sports only deal with the consequences of harassment once it becomes public. For her and nearly every woman in the industry, it's a relentless problem that hasn't improved and is an indication that the sports world is broken in a very substantive way:

For me, it was an attempt to kiss me during a job interview. Inappropriate questions about my personal grooming and spoken-aloud fantasies about how great the sex we'd have together would be. A comment to a colleague: "If you're not going to try to f*** her, I am." A comment to a prospective boss during a job interview: "I've got an idea for a show. It's a half-hour of Sarah sitting in a chair, me standing over her shoulder staring down at her tits."

A reporter at another outlet complained to a team's PR staff that I must be sleeping with players because they were "giving me better answers." A team PR staffer telling a room full of employees I was a problem because my "boobs are distracting."

I used to say that things seemed to be getting better, but now I know they're only getting better for me. The power and agency I've acquired in the industry over the last decade-plus have made me a pretty dangerous target. But the women just starting out, the ones without a voice, they know the truth. They're going through it, just like I went through it, and the women before me, and the women before them.

It's a really exceptional piece and it's one of the rare occasions when I read something and think "this is someone whose story I want to hear in more depth." Maybe I'm just a dope, but I can't imagine doing these things to a woman I worked with. And because of that, it took me longer than it should have to appreciate the depth of the problem. That's on me and I think in the end the best that any of us can do is to try and be better.

ODDS AND SODS

*
EA was hacked. Hackers stole a ton of data, including data from FIFA and Frostbite, the engine that runs other big games like Battlefield. But no player data was stolen, the company says.

* Paramount+ is adding the entire run of the 1990s ABC series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles tomorrow. Sadly, the episodes probably won't the original "Old Man Indy" wraparounds.

New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Animation are creating a new Lord of the Rings movie. The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim will be an anime film that tells the "untold story behind the fortress of Helm’s Deep”


TODAY'S PREMIERES 
1) Alan Saldana: Locked Up (Netflix)
Mexican comedian Alan Saldana is back, poking gentle fun at himself and parceling advice, especially about how to stay married and how to be parents.

2) Fatal Fiance (LMN)
Bride-to-be Leah is kidnapped on her own wedding day. But the kidnapper says she's only trying to save Leah from making a huge mistake.

3) Lethal Love Letter (LMN)
A surprising letter leads Amelia to rekindle a relationship with a handsome ex-boyfriend. But did the letter writer have secret, sinister motives?

4) Locombianos (Netflix)
Four of Colombia's funniest and bawdiest comedians perform before a post-quarantine audience hungry for their stories.

5) Moloch (Sundance Now)
In an industrial, labyrinthine seaside town, strangers burst into flames for no reason. Suicides? Murders? Supernatural phenomena? To find out, Louise (Marine Vacth), an ambitious and unstable young journalist, and Gabriel (Olivier Gourmet), a brilliant psychiatrist mourning his son, will lead the investigation.

6) Myriam Fares: The Journey (Netflix)
From pregnancy to album preparations, Lebanese singer and "Queen Of The Stage" Myriam Fares documents her experiences with her family while in lockdown.

7) Reunion Road Trip Series Premiere (E!)
The four-part special event series catches up with the beloved cast members as they reconnect with old friends, reflect on their trailblazing shows that helped shape the television landscape, and share surprising revelations and behind-the-scenes scoop. With exclusive, candid conversations with the stars as viewers have never seen them before, each episode delves into their earliest days from auditions to first impressions, their continuing legacy and everything in between.

8) Summertime Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
Two young adults from very different backgrounds fall in love during a summer on Italy's Adriatic Coast. Inspired by Federico Moccia's book series.

9) Trese Series Premiere (Netflix)
In Manila, where dark supernatural forces prevade the criminal underworld, it's up to Alexandra Trese to keep the eace-but there's a storm brewing.

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 Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

09 June, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, June 9th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by caramel-flavored tea and coconut-cream crackers.

THE BATTLE FOR BATTLE ROYALE
The battle royale gaming genre is extremely popular, led by Fortnite. While other competitors have sprung up in recent years and nabbed substantial audiences - the Call Of Duty: Warzone has nearly 100 million players - Fortnite continues to dominate the conversation with its willingness to embrace and integrate pop culture characters from nearly every media company and IP holder. The game is organized into chapters, with each season inside the chapter running about ten weeks. At the beginning of each season, the game is taken offline overnight and when it returns, the island the game is set on looks different. Weapons and accessories have been added and removed, with new storylines being rolled out that include familiar pop culture characters. Previous seasons have included an array of DC and Marvel superheroes, characters from Star Wars and The Mandalorian. The net result is the regular changes create an enormous amount of in-game excitement as well as untold tens of millions of dollars worth of free publicity. To say nothing of the chance to sell players another $10 season battle pass. 

Season seven of chapter two premiered yesterday and it has an alien invader theme. Players can capture and control small alien craft and use alien weapons. And the trailer from the season premiere promises appearances by everyone from Superman to Rick Sanchez from Adult Swim's Rick & Morty.

Check out this story trailer for the season, which provides a pretty good example of why you should be paying close attention to Fortnite. 

SPEAKING OF TEEN-RELATED ACTIVITIES
My nearly 16-year-old son is a huge sports fan. He seems to know every obscure detail of players from the MLB to college rugby. He follows his favorite teams - the Chicago Subs, the Green Bay Packers and Cardiff - religiously and can recount the highlights of every recent game. Yet he almost never watches linear sports nets and while he will watch snippets of live games, I don't know that he's ever watched an entire episode of Sportscenter. What he does watch is a ton of YouTube. In between the Fortnite walkthroughs and watching other people play Madden Football, he follows all sorts of sports-related YouTube channels. He watches the official game recaps, listens to other people talking about the games and shares whacky moments from the games. He uses YouTube as part sports net, part sports radio and a lot of times I'll find him listening to some YouTube channel while he's reading or doing something else.|

I won't say that the traditional sports nets don't exist for him. But they play a very different role in his life than I would have predicted. And it makes me wonder what the future holds for these traditional sports networks. Their ability to pay the ever-increasing rights fees is dependent on having a steady, engaged audience. And from what I can tell from watching the behavior of my son, that is going to be a challenge.

HBO MAX'S APPLE TV PROBLEM
HBO Max recently updated its Apple TV app and things have not went well. Social media is filled with complaints about the changes, which include making it nearly impossible to perform simple functions like rewinding a stream a few seconds.

To give you a sense of the scope of the problem, check out this Twitter thread from film and TV producer Keith Calder (Blindspotting, One Night In Miami..:). His comments echo something I've said a lot in the past - that one of Netflix's biggest strengths is its focus on tech issues:



It's also kinda funny to read the tweets from HBO Max's social media team, as they attempt to respond to all of the people who jump into the thread to complain about their problems with the app.

HBO Max rolled out a new version of the Apple TV app this morning, which appears to be a reversion back to previous app. And as a journalist who hears a lot of mealy-mouth non-apologies when media companies make a mistake, I appreciate the clarity of this explanation from HBO Max's Andy Forsell:



ODDS AND SODS

You Make My Dreams (Come True) was never released as a single in the UK. 40 years later it's Hall & Oates  biggest hit, with more than 1 billion streams.

* Discovery+ has ordered a five-part international culinary competition series called The Globe, hosted by Robert Irvine. The first two episodes premiere on Saturday, July 17th, with the remaining episodes available every Saturday over the following three weeks.

Production has started on The Penterverate, a limited comedy stars starring Michael Myers. The show also stars Ken Jeong, Jennifer Saunders, Debi Mazar, Richard McCabe and Keegan-Michael Key.


Image
TODAY'S PREMIERES 

1) Awake (Netflix)
After a global event wipes out humanity's ability to sleep, a troubled ex-soldier fights to save her family as society and her mind spiral into chaos.

2) BET Presents The Encore Series Premiere (BET)
Nine female R&B stars are brought together in hopes of assembling the ultimate super group; one member declares she has other ambitions. 

3) Card Sharks Season Premiere (ABC)
Joel McHale returns as host for the second season of Card Sharks, a suspenseful game where a fortune can be won on the turn of a single playing card! The road to glory and riches begins with two players who face off in a head-to-head elimination game with the goal of one player making it to the life-changing money card round. In the money card round, the winning player has to make gut-wrenching decisions and risk it all to win it all. Ultimately, players can either take their earned cash and quit or continue wagering for a chance to take home a major cash prize.

4) Engineering Catastrophes Season Premiere (Discovery)
Experts investigate the most extraordinary – sometimes deadly – engineering disasters around the globe, spanning five continents and ranging from bridge collapses to sinkholes and dam failures. In Minneapolis, what caused a major freeway bridge to suddenly collapse in the middle of rush hour? Why did a routine demolition in Dallas stun the crowds? How did an explosive derailment narrowly miss taking out a town in North Dakota? And in Kentucky, why did the Earth swallow eight priceless Corvettes?

5) Fresh, Fried & Crispy Series Premiere (Netflix)
Passionate about food and ready for fun, critic Daym Drops drops in on America's smokin' hot spots for the best, freshest takes on fried food.

6) Holmes & Holmes Season Premiere (DIY)
Firefighter Rod and his wife Patricia bought an older house that came with its' share of ugly decor structural issues. They had a renovation timeline before their son Jake was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

7) Impossible Engineering Season Premiere (Science)
Experts look to the most impressive and record-breaking builds around the world that push the limits of what’s possible. Revealing how these mega-structures and massive machines were ideated and built, as well as spotlighting the trailblazers who are responsible for pioneering new techniques and taking risks that push the boundaries of innovation.

8) Loki Series Premiere (Disney+)
The mercurial villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a new series that takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame.

9) Married At First Sight: Where Are They Now? Season Premiere (Lifetime)
Four months after decision day, the couples from Atlanta are back as both the newlyweds and newly single give updates on how their lives have changed since the cameras went away. 

10) Press Your Luck Season Premiere (ABC)
The stakes have never been higher as contestants try to avoid the iconic and devilish WHAMMY for a chance at life-changing cash and prizes. During each game of “Press Your Luck,” three contestants compete against each other answering questions to earn spins on the Big Board. Contestants then use their spins to win cash and prizes while trying to avoid the WHAMMY, who could take all of their winnings and leave them with nothing. The winning contestant moves on to the all-new bonus game to face the WHAMMY in a final battle for the opportunity to win $1 million.

11) Sistas Season Premiere (BET)
A one-hour drama series that follows a group of single black females -- Andi, Karen, Danni & -- as they navigate their complicated love lives, careers and friendships through the ups-and-downs of living in a modern world of social media and unrealistic relationship goals. It's a roller coaster ride of emotions and hilarious moments that are the epitome of #squadgoals. The series opens with Andi braving the highs and lows of her special day, Karen making a difficult decision, and Sabrina entertaining the prospect of new love. 

12) The Croods: A New Age (Hulu)
In search of a new home, the Croods encounter the more sophisticated Betterman family. A  new threat forces the two families to set aside their differences to avoid extinction.

13) The $100,000 Pyramid Season Premiere (ABC)
The $100,000 Pyramid is a timeless word-association game in which two celebrities partner with contestants from across the country in a race against the clock, all hoping to make it to the winner’s circle and take home the ultimate prize of $100,000. Good Morning America's Michael Strahan hosts.

14) Tragic Jungle (Netflix)
To escape an arranged marriage, a woman flees into the depths of the Mayan jungle, where untamed nature merges the human and the supernatural.

15) 2021 CMT Music Awards (CMT)
Live from Nashville, Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown host country music's biggest nght. There will be live performances by Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Needtobreathe, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton, H.E.R, Luke Bryan, Lady A and Chris Young.

16) Vanderpump Dogs Series Premiere (Peacock)
Lisa Vanderpump matches adorable rescues with her colorful clientele at the Vanderpump Dogs Rescue Center - the place where doggie dreams come true.



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 Monday, June 7th, 2021

07 June, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, June 7th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by green chile tamales.

PARAMOUNT+ ROLLS OUT LOW-COST TIER
As had been expected, streaming service Paramount+ rolled out its new $4.99 a month subscription tier, which includes advertising.

At the same time, the service released a number of the 1,000 movie titles it plans to add to the service on Thursday. And according to a press release, it expects to add an additional 1,500 titles this summer.

The titles come from two different places. Some of the titles come to Paramount+ as the result of a reworked output deal it negotiated with the movie channel Epix. But the majority of the titles are ones that Paramount has been licensing to other streaming services, generally rolling them from one service to the next every few months. 

So in a lot of cases, these "new" titles are going to be familiar to most streaming subscribers, who have seen them show up everywhere from Netflix to the AVOD Filmrise service. So while having these new titles isn't a negative, I'm interested to see how much it helps Paramount+ with subscriber churn and engagement. It certainly will help beef up the service's movie sections, which often seem paltry for a service that is supposed to include the catalog of one of Hollywood's iconic studios.

To be honest, I would be more impressed if there was a major overhaul of the Paramount+ UX, which is built in large part on top of the old CBS All-Access framework. So it is clunky and non-intuitive and lacks some of the basic features you would expect to find on a major streaming service.

'THE NEIGHBORHOOD' GETS NEW SHOWRUNNER, WRITING STAFF
The CBS comedy The Neighborhood is going into its fourth season and it's been doing well in the ratings - at least by current broadcast TV standards. But like a number of CBS shows, it has had a lot of behind-the-scenes turmoil, with showrunner and series creator Jim Reynolds leaving at the end of last season due to non-specified comments and other "race-related issues." Upon his exit, Reynolds put out a statement, which read in part, "At this moment, in light of everything going on in the world, I had concluded that I am not the right person to continue to tell these stories. I am excited to see the show thrive and wish everyone involved the very best."

Meg DeLoatch has been named the new showrunner for The Neighborhood and she is replacing all but one of the writing staff from last season.  She was most recently the creator and showrunner of Netflix’s Family Reunion, which returned with the first half of its second season on April 5th. If Netflix picks up that series for another season, DeLoatch will step back from those showrunner duties but will remain as an executive producer. 

ODDS AND SODS

* Peacock is coming to Samsung Smart TVs on June 8th.

Discovery+ has ordered three more Luda Can't Cook specials, starring rapper and and successful restaurateur Chris "Ludacris" Bridges.



TODAY'S PREMIERES 

1) American Greed Season Premiere (CNBC)
Everyone knows “El Chapo” – a.k.a. Joaquin Guzmán Loera, billionaire drug lord and for years the world’s most wanted man. But few are familiar with the betrayal that helped land him in American custody. Meet the Flores twins, Chicago-born drug dealers who earned the trust of the boss of the Sinaloa cartel – then helped the Feds put him away for life. Today, the twins are in hiding, but for the first time on television their wives sit down to share what life was like at the heights of the drug trade.

2) Cartel Crew Season Premiere (VH1)
Set in Miami, Fla., “Cartel Crew” takes a deep look into the lives of eight descendants of the Cartel life as they navigate adulthood and the effects the legacy has had on their upbringing. Now disconnected from their past, they want to make a name for themselves outside of the drug world, but find that escaping the shadows of their ancestors will come with a price. Money, friendships and love are on the line in this redemption story about life after narcos.

3) Infamy: When Fame Turns Deadly (VH1)
Hosted by R&B singer Monica, the series explores celebrity cases where notoriety and fame turn fatal.

4) Ms. Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries (Acorn TV)
A spinoff of the Australian sensation Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, the swinging 1960's crime series MsFisher's Modern Murder Mysteries follows the fearless and spirited Peregrine Fisher (Logie Award-nominated Geraldine Hakewill, Wanted), the niece of world-class adventuress and private detective Phryne Fisher, as she inherits a windfall from her famous aunt and sets out to become an exceptional sleuth in her own right.

5)  The Bachelorette Season Premiere (ABC)
Katie Thurston sets off on her journey to find love with her charm, wit and take-no-nonsense attitude that fans fell in love with during her time on “The Bachelor.” With the help of former Bachelorettes and mentors Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams by her side, Katie is ready to meet her men; with 30 lucky potential suitors pulling out all the stops, props and moves in hopes of catching her eye before the first rose ceremony. 

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 Friday, June 4th, 2021

04 June, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, June 4th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by cheese, crackers and a lot of caffeine.

PROGRAMMING NOTE
My apologies for missing two days worth of the newsletter. Some family stuff came up unexpectedly that kept me mostly offline. But I'm back and I now have a backlog of things to say.

TWO COX TV STATIONS APPARENT VICTIMS OF CYBERATTACK
NBC News is reporting that at two TV stations owned by Cox Media Group have come under what is being described as a "cyber attack":

ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando, Florida, and NBC affiliate WPXI in Pittsburgh, which are both owned by the Cox Media Group, were told Thursday by managers to shut down company computers and phones.

"We are only able to communicate with each other over personal phones and text messages," said a WFTV employee who wasn't authorized to speak for the company and requested not to be named.

So far both stations were able to still put together local broadcasts, but have been limited in what they can do. Cox didn't reply to requests for comment. But the event appeared to be the latest U.S. incident of ransomware, where hackers will infect a network and hold its files hostage while demanding payment, said Allan Liska, an analyst at the cybersecurity company Recorded Future.

DISNEY'S DISAPPOINTMENTS
I've mentioned Julia Alexander's wonderful "Musings On The Mouse" newsletter and the newest one takes a look at the impact two very high-profile disappointments had on Disney:

The Rescuers Down Under didn’t work as a theatrical release, but it may have had more luck going straight to VHS, a strategy that executives employed just a few years later. I think of it as the perfect example of knowing the value of a single product within a shifting marketplace. The Rescuers Down Under wasn’t exciting enough to get people in theaters, not well known enough to generate lines at cinemas, but during the holiday season when families want something to watch at home, a new Disney VHS becomes the perfect option.

She also weighs in on Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy and while I don't agree with this framing, I also have to admit that it's become the conventional wisdom about the series and why it didn't work:

As I tweeted yesterday after it was revealed that Netflix spent $200 million on Jupiter’s Legacy only to cancel it after one season, spending that kind of money on a “show that might work because it kind-of-sort-of looks like a show that should work is wild. Lord of the Rings it is not."

“Not to bring up John Carter again, but it's like dropping $300M on a film that might work because it kind-of-sort-of looks like one that should work.”

Julia's piece is long and really does a nice job of framing Disney's struggles over the decades to build so-called "franchises." As for my take on Jupiter's Legacy, just keep reading...

THE COMPLICATED LEGACY OF 'JUPITER'S LEGACY'
I was offline when word came that Netflix had decided to publicly rule out a second season of its high-profile series Jupiter's Legacy. The cancellation was notable for a couple of reasons, including the fact that it came less than a month after the series premiered. The show was also the first project to come out of a partnership between Netflix and Mark Millar/Frank Quitely, who created the graphic novels on which the series was based. There was also a lot of discussion among media industry watchers about the reported costs of the series (reportedly nearly $200 million) and Netflix's statement that it intended to move forward with the characters and the related Millar/Quitely universe in some still undefined way.

There has been a lot of snark about the series' cost and a lot of speculation that this was essentially proof of Netflix's hubris about its ability to create a franchise. After speaking with a number of people connected with the series and its development over the past couple of days, I'd argue that it's really an example of just how hard it is correct mistakes on the fly, no matter how much talent is thrown at the problem.

It's fair to say that a TV series based on Jupiter's Legacy was always going to be a challenge to get right. Graphic novels are notoriously difficult to capture in other mediums and I'm sure you can name a dozen similar efforts that have failed over the past decade. Netflix executives overseeing the project seemed to be aware of the dangers going into it. Veteran writer/producer Steven S. DeKnight was hired to develop the series and serve as showrunner. His experience with successful shows such as Smallville, Spartacus and Netflix's Daredevil made him a good creative fit for the project. And thanks to his work on Daredevil, he was already familiar to the streamer's executives. The initial approved budget for the show was described to me as being on the "very high end" for a Netflix series and the decision to cast more expensive "name" actors such as Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb was described to me as an effort to give creative weight to the project.

Still, the show struggled creatively early on and the causes of the problems depend a great deal on who you speak to about the series. It seems clear that very early on it was apparent the show was missing the mark, but in a process that is sadly familiar to anyone who has worked on a struggling TV series, everyone had a different explanation for the problem. In hindsight, some of the casting - especially one of the leads - was a problem. Not because of their talent, but they just weren't a great fit for the tone the material required. But even if that had been more apparent at the time, recasting a major role several episodes into the production was considered to be a non-starter. "At some point, you either shut down completely and walk away. Or you make other changes and hope for the best," one of the show's executives told me.

In the case of Jupiter's Legacy, the big change was to replace DeKnight and rework the show in hopes of solving the perceived creative problems. That delay - along with COVID-related issues - had a negative impact on the budget. It also ultimately didn't solve the problems with the show.

So Netflix executives were left with several conflicting facts. They still liked the characters, they believed there was a vision out there that could make things work. They also have acquired comic book publisher MillarWorld, in hopes of being able to build out more of those stories. But after seeing the completed first season of Jupiter's Legacy, it was also clear that no one thought the core problems with the show could be fixed for a season two. "At some point soon, we had to make decisions on the cast and at some point, just letting everyone go and moving on made the best sense," one executive told me. "It wasn't anyone's fault, exactly. It was just a bad fit all around."

Work is already beginning on a future project, although from what I've been told, it's a script-contingent deal which would also face a lot of scrutiny with the casting. "We missed the mark," one producer told me. "Now the question is whether the fault was human error or is it because the source material just doesn't lend itself to a television series?" According to recent comments from Millar, the project is focused on the villains of that creative universe. There will be a related comic book series and hopefully this related Netflix series that is tangentially connected to Jupiter's Legacy.

The big takeaway for me after these discussions is that for all of the talk about the differences of the streaming world, the creative problems with Jupiter's Legacy are no different than the ones faced by scores of other shows that have production issues. Television is a collaborative medium and it's much easier to get things wrong than successfully balance the competing interests necessary for a successful series.

This also circles back to the Julia Alexander piece about Disney's failures. There is this tendency to look back at recent history and think of Disney as being close to failure-proof when it comes to building franchises. But it's important to remember that much of the reason why Disney acquired Marvel and the Star Wars universe is that it had struggled to build out big IP success. The temptation is to judge Netflix against this mythical creative juggernaut. Instead, I think it's more accurate to judge Netflix by how it pivots when the inevitable failures happen. No matter the media company, no matter the talent, successful universe-building IP's come once or twice in a generation. The important thing is to figure out the balance between making enough revenue with a bunch of singles and doubles until the time when one of those projects becomes your iconic title.

ROKU'S RECOMMENDATION SHOW
Roku announced earlier this week that is launching a new weekly series called Roku Recommends, which will be hosted by Maria Menounos and Andrew Hawkins, who will "present streaming recommendations for the week, from trending originals and premieres to series debuts and not-to-be-missed classics." I suppose it would be considered snarky to mention that Roku might not need a show like this is the content discovery and search on their Roku Channel app wasn't so terrible.  This idea sounds a bit different than the "Roku Recommends" ad unit I reported on in early April.

But if you've been reading this newsletter for awhile, you might remember that I suggested a similar idea for Hulu a few months ago, but in that case I was proposing more genre-specific mini-shows:

One example of this would be for Christmas movies, which are spread across numerous channels. Viewers who enjoy these movies tend to watch a lot of them. And they would likely engage strongly with a five-minute show that highlighted the new Christmas movies of the week and where to find them. The potential internal challenge of this idea is that sales and marketing would see this as a place to wring money out of networks and studios by offering pay-for-play placement. But this idea only works if it's recommendations are organic and have credibility.

And that internal pressure from sales and marketing is why I am skeptical of the effectiveness of this Roku idea. I'm sure the show will push some viewers, but it sounds at first glance like this is more of a feature to sell to advertisers and content partners. And those partners likely have interests that aren't aligned with viewers.

The first episode is live now and it runs 16 minutes. There is a 60-second interview with Patton Oswalt and a "Top Five" things to stream this week. Which for the record, are these titles:

5) Girls5Eva (Peacock)

4) Alias (Roku Channel)

3) Cruella (Disney+ Premiere)

2) Mare Of Eastown (HBO Max)

1) Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. (Hulu)

And then there is the "Child Proof Lock" feature (sponsored by Walmart!), which is the suggestion of a TV show or movie that can be watched by the entire family. Hawkins' suggestion is Paddington 2, which can be rented at Walmart-owned Vudu (hmmmm). They also do a "Trending On Roku" feature, where the hosts pick a series that is "trending on the Roku app." Amazingly, Menounos picks the Roku Original reboot of Punk'd, which is one of the Quibi shows Roku picked up after that service shut down late last year.

There's nothing WRONG with Roku Recommends. But there aren't any surprises and you can see the sales department fingerprints all over the choices. And it's an interesting decision to only highlight things that have already premiered as opposed to promoting content premiering in the coming week.

ODDS AND SODS

* Netflix taps Peter Friedlander to head U.S. Originals; Brian Wright to Exit.

Business Insider reports that some advertisers say the rates from the ad-supported version of HBO Max are too expensive and  they are skeptical of the value.



TODAY'S PREMIERES 

1) Breaking Boundaries: The Silence Of Our Planet (Netflix)
Breaking Boundaries follows the scientific journey of world-renowned scientist Professor Johan Rockström. It tells the story of the most important scientific discovery of our time - that humanity has pushed Earth beyond the boundaries that have kept our planet stable for 10,000 years, since the dawn of civilization.

2) Cellmate Secrets (Lifetime)
Angie Harmon (Rizzoli and Isles) will narrate the series, which reveals new insights and information as former friends, guards, cellmates and lovers give first-hand accounts of their time with the famed felons and defendants.

3) Dom (Amazon)
Inspired by the true story of a father and son on opposite sides of the war on drugs in Rio de Janeiro, Dom is a one-hour crime drama series that follows Victor, a young diver who, by a twist of fate, becomes a military intelligence agent and embraces the war on drugs as his life mission. Over the years, he comes to face the disillusionment of an endless war, and watches his own son, Pedro, succumb to the enemy he tirelessly fought against: cocaine. Pedro turns into an addict as well as one of the most wanted criminals in Rio de Janeiro: Pedro Dom.

4) Emergency Call Season Premiere (ABC)
Teenage girls narrowly escape a possible kidnapper; a mother and her children get stuck on the roof while attempting to rescue their parrot.

5) Feel Good Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
As Mae tries to reconnect with George — and herself — after her relapse, she begins to realize she'll have to face her past in order to move forward.

6) Gabby Duran & The Unsittables Season Two Premiere (Disney)
Dina forbids Gabby from babysitting aliens.

7) Lisey's Story Series Premiere (Apple TV+)
Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, and adapted by the author himself, “Lisey’s Story” is a deeply personal thriller that follows Lisey Landon (Academy Award winner Julianne Moore) two years after the death of her husband, famous novelist Scott Landon (Academy Award nominee Clive Owen). A series of unsettling events causes Lisey to face memories of her marriage to Scott that she has deliberately blocked out of her mind.

8) Sweet & Sour (Netflix)
Faced with real-world opportunities and challenges, a couple endures the highs and lows of trying to make a long-distance relationship work.

9) Sweet Tooth Series Premiere (Netflix)
On a perilous adventure across a post-apocalyptic world, a lovable boy who's half-human and half-deer searches for a new beginning with a gruff protector.

10) The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (HBO Max)

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as real-life investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in a chilling story of terror, murder and evil based on one of the most sensational cases from their files.

11) The Family Man (Amazon)
Srikent Tiwari has quit TASC and works in the private sector to spend more time with his family. But a powerful new enemy forces him to return.

12) Trippin' With The Kandasamys (Netflix)
To rekindle their marriages, best friends-turned-in-laws Shanthi and Jennifer plan a couples' getaway. But it comes with all kinds of surprises.

13) Xtreme (Netflix)
In this fast-paced and action-packed thriller, a retired hitman — along with his sister and a troubled teen — takes revenge on his lethal stepbrother.


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 Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

01 June, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, June 1st, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by the aftermath of a three-day weekend.

WHAT WILL BE THE BIGGEST PERMANENT CHANGES COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC?
Today is an inflection point for a lot of people when it comes to the pandemic. A number of Fortune 500 companies had set June 1st as the day when they planned to start returning employees to the office and a number of cities (including nearby Minneapolis) made announcements today that they are dropping the mask mandate because at least 70% of residents have received at least one vaccine shot. The U.S. is slowly returning to what passes for normal this summer. And it will be interesting to see what long-term changes come out of the past 15 months.

When it comes to the theatrical business, the industry consensus seems to be that audiences will return, although perhaps not quite at their pre=pandemic levels. But honestly, that's just a guess on the part of most people.

What is clear is that the traditional theatrical window has been changed for good. Same day theatrical/streaming releases are going to be the norm for smaller titles, as well as movies in which the studio loses faith about its theatrical viability. Disney's experiment with the same day "premium" streaming release also seems to be a success. And even the most publicly bullish proponents of the theatrical release are hedging their bets, while at the same time proclaiming their belief in the theatrical business. For instance, the comments that came at the end of last week from executives at Lionsgate:

In the fiscal year, Lionsgate released 10 movies, four straight to PVOD (The Secret: Dare to Dream, Antebellum, Fatale, Barb and Star Go Vista Del Mar), one to Netflix (Desperados), and five in theaters and PVOD (Words on Bathroom Walls, Fatale, Pinocchio, Chaos Walking and The Courier).

“We certainly have a lot happening in windows, and we have really taken the approach … to look at each film as its own piece of business and how that is best served,” Drake said.

“I think what you’re going to see, and certainly what we’ve experienced, is that we love the theatrical business, we’re working very close with exhibitors, which have been great partners working with us,” Drake said, adding that Lionsgate is working on finding the right way to collaborate with exhibitors, help support the theatrical market, while maximizing the value of its titles.

As for the streaming business....the pandemic certainly gave an unnatural boost to subscription growth and we're already seeing that return to more normal rates. I'm not expecting to see a massive increase in churn, although it's going to be interesting to see if consumers cut back on the number of subs over the summer. If that happens, I suspect Paramount+ and Peacock are the most vulnerable.

There's also the harder-to-define question of whether the pandemic has changed the audience's tastes for certain types of programming. Fox's Hells Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay returned with a new season last night and at least for me, the last thing I want to see right now is a bunch of people screaming at each other. Especially in a year that has brought so much chaos to the restaurant industry. I'm not arguing that viewers only want to watch "feel-good" television. But I am hearing from more and more people that they don't have any interest in the hyped-up conflict inherent in shows such as Hell's Kitchen.

What do you think? Pass along your thoughts, comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

HOW 'SPONGEBOB' AND 'TRANSFORMERS' COST U.S. TAXPAYERS MORE THAN $4 BILLION
Large media companies are never more creative than when they are figuring out ways to lower their taxable income. The NY Times has a piece outlining how ViacomCBS used a labyrinthine tax shelter to sell rights to its shows and films overseas:

ViacomCBS — and its predecessor companies — created several subsidiaries in the Netherlands to hold the foreign licensing rights to their TV programs and films, content largely created in the United States. The companies then used the subsidiaries as a springboard to sub-license those rights to other markets. The money from those deals all come back to the Dutch entities, where most of it is not subject to corporate tax.

The study noted that Viacom transferred its intellectual property rights to a subsidiary in Britain in 2015 while keeping the Dutch entities (operating as a subbranch of the British unit) as the jumping-off point for selling foreign rights.

The transfer — essentially a sale from one Viacom subsidiary to another — created a tax benefit, the study said. The transaction was worth $1.8 billion, according to company records cited by the study, a sum it can amortize over many years.

From 2015 to 2019, Viacom’s British unit collected $4.5 billion in revenue and gross profits of $1.25 billion, but “the U.K. corporate income tax on their profits during this period was only about $18 million,” according to the report. Since the amortization is considered an expense, the company was able to reduce the amount of profit it recorded.

ODDS AND SODS

* Former FOX Sports National Networks President, ESPN Vice President of Original Programming and Production, and Executive Vice President of DAZN, Jamie Horowitz joins World Wrestling Entertainment as its Executive Vice President, Development & Digital

*
Sophie Turner to star in Michael Peterson drama The Staircase for HBO Max.



TODAY'S PREMIERES 
1) America's Got Talent Season Premiere (NBC)
Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and host Terry Crews return. Variety acts and contestants of all ages audition for the chance to win $1 million.

2) Changing The Game (Hulu)
A look into the lives of three high school athletes--all at different stages of their athletic seasons, personal lives and unique paths as transgender teens.

3) Chopped Season Premiere (Food)
The competing chefs have to cook with foods that were popular in the 1960s; a certain soda and sweet meat are part of the appetizer basket, but the clock seems to be the most difficult aspect of the challenge.

4) Doubling Down With The Derricos Season Premiere (TLC)
Even though the virus has affected Halloween this year, it doesn't stop the Derricos from celebrating with a sizzling dance-off.

5) Lego Masters Season Premiere (Fox)
The teams are tasked with building an eye-catching float in the first-ever LEGO Day Parade.

6) Raining Cats & Dogs (MHz Choice)
Two down-on-their-luck strangers become improbable companions in misfortune.

7) Super Monsters: Once Upon A Rhyme (Netflix)
From Goldilocks to Hansel and Gretel, the Super Monsters reimagine classic fairy tales and favorite nursery rhymes with a musical, magical spin!

8) The Art Of Crime Season Three (MHz Choice)
He’s clueless about art and she’s phobic without him. But together, Captain Verlay and Florence manage to solve high-profile art crimes in the heart of Paris.

9) The Haves And Have Nots Season Premiere (OWN)
The lives and friends of the wealthy Cryer family and the people who serve them.

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, May 27th, 2021

27 May, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, May 27th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by stale coffee and crab spelled with a "K"

TWO COMEDY CENTRAL UK HOSTS QUIT OVER CENSORSHIP BATTLE
Comedians Sophie Duker and Kemah Bob have announced that they will not return to female-led topical panel show Yesterday, Today & The Day Before, following allegations the network censored comments that were made about the unrest on Israel and Palestine.

Last Thursday, an opening monologue from Duker was cut from the show at the last minute, leading show producer Saima Ferdows to announce on Twitter that she "had made the difficult decision to quit the show on moral grounds."

In an Instagram post, Duker outlined her thoughts about the segment:

“[It was] an attempt to highlight oppressive governments across the globe clamping down on civilians’ right to protest…called out well-meaning liberals and lefties who claim to be anti-racist yet share anti-Semitic material…and took some (fairly tame) swipes at our…prime minister…home secretary and…cis woman JK Rowling. “I hope incidents like these prompt gatekeepers to reflect upon which power structures they are serving and reinforcing and what kind of talent they are failing to retain,” she went on to say.

Bob said in a statement that she was quitting the show in solidarity:

"While I feel production has learned from the mistakes made…and I have been assured the team will do better in future, it is in protest that they will have to do better without me...It is because this issue appears to be so difficult to discuss that we as a news show with resources such as researchers and fact-checkers demystify it…I trust [Sophie’s] ability to shed light on this issue while denouncing anti-Semitism."

Comedy Central has not responded to a request for comment and it's not clear what will happen to the show, which was only set to air for six weekly episodes.

VIACOM/CBS LOOKING TO SPEND $5 A YEAR ON ORIGINAL CONTENT BY 2024
CEO Bob Bakish told shareholders during a virtual meeting on Tuesday that the company planned to increase its spending on original content for streaming to at least $5 billion a year by 2024. The company currently spends about $15 billion a year for content across all of its channels and platforms. 

Paramount+ is planning to add 1,000 new movie titles to the service in June, and another 1,500 in July:

“That number includes content exclusively for our streaming services and some allocation of highly valuable content that we’ll use across both streaming and traditional [television and theatrical distribution]"

One of the bigger issues with Paramount+ right now is that the app is a mess. It was built on top of the CBS All-Access UX which was not designed to deal with such a flood of content. It's often difficult to find what you're looking for and content discovery is challenging.

DID AMAZON JUST BUY 'SURVIVOR,' 'SHARK TANK' AND 'RHOBH?' NOT EXACTLY
Since none of us have seen the final details of Amazon's proposed acquisition of MGM, we are all somewhat speculating about what is included in the deal. But I've been attempting to reign in some of the dumbest speculation, in which reporters just list movies and TV shows that have some tangential connection to MGM. Sometimes MGM owns the production company that produces the show, but not the actual format. Sometimes it owns the movie, but not the underlying intellectual property. 

Andy Dehnart's Reality Blurred has a great piece that tries to determine just what reality TV programs might be part of the Amazon/MGM deal and it's not as easy to figure out as you might think:

So, it either has the “rights to or income from” those reality shows. Later in the document, MGM says “We have numerous successful and enduring unscripted television shows that we are currently producing,” and lists Survivor and Shark Tank among them.

Thus, we can conclude that Amazon has acquired the producer or co-producer of shows such as Survivor, Shark Tank, and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but it’s hard to know more beyond that.

The entire piece is worth reading, including some speculation on whether Amazon could decide to release outtakes from The Apprentice, which was produced by Mark Burnett. There are allegations that Donald Trump used the "N" word and other problematic language during the production and producer Burnett has long claimed he was legally prohibited from releasing any footage that still exists:

So what would they have discussed if they weren't facing the prospects of a court battle? Sources claim that each of the six contestants had personally heard Donald Trump use "troubling" sexual banter with female contestants and one source claims to have heard the billionaire off-handily describe a female contestant as having a "nice big black ass." Another source claims to have heard Donald Trump refer to season one runner-up Kwame Jackson as "a very professional person, not a Ni**er."

I also spoke with two people who worked on the production of later seasons of The Apprentice and in both cases they reported hearing Donald Trump discuss the breasts of contestants during and before "board meetings" on the show. One former crew member recounted a discussion in which Donald Trump was overheard having a discussion with a show's producer about whether one male contestant had come across as "manly enough" in a previous scene. This crew member also recounted Trump telling a camera person who had trouble getting a shot that "I could be fu**ing X right now."

AMAZON, MGM AND THE REBOOTING OF IP
Much of the conversation around the proposed acquisition of MGM by Amazon centers around MGM's intellectual property and what Amazon might be able to do with some familiar properties. And while Amazon's reach does give the company some advantage over a stand-alone MGM, it's not as if MGM hadn't already been trying to monetize its IP. Recent deals include a mobile game based on the Legally Blonde franchise, a fashion collection inspired by the movie Blue Velvet and Wednesday, a TV series based on The Addams Family franchise which will be airing on...ooops....Netflix.

As I have mentioned before, while much of the press attention has been focused on the IP, it's likely that Amazon will make as much money from licensing, AVOD revenue and direct digital and physical media sales as it will from Creed: The Animated Series

ODDS AND SODS

* If I ran Discovery+, I would greenlight a series based on this GQ profile of a group of elite runners from Ethiopia living in NYC who can’t go home:

Staab, 80, who’s never married or had children, lives alone on West 79th Street in a two-bedroom apartment he bought 42 years ago. Books line one wall of the living room; oil paintings and photographs of him with the WSX runners fill the others. Ethiopian tapestries made by one runner’s wife are draped over a row of dining room chairs. Trophies are everywhere.

Staab’s introduction to Africa came during a stint with the Peace Corps in Liberia. The experience solidified a value he’d been raised to honor: Help those less fortunate. Over the years, the Ethiopians on WSX have lived with him for periods of weeks or months at a time; some for more than a year. Even after they’ve moved into their own places, Staab gives them keys so they can come and go as they like. They say he never charges rent, takes a cut from their winnings, or asks for anything in return. The runners offer anyway.

One night before a race in Central Park, Staab says he had 14 runners packed into his three small rooms. He slept on the linoleum floor in the kitchen without any sheets. There weren’t enough to go around, he says, and it was “more important that they have them.” After all, they had a race to run.

*
Paramount+ Head of Originals Julia McNamara is leaving the company. While it may be notable that she is exiting just months after the launch of the new streaming service, it's worth mentioning that she has also been at Viacom for 15 years.



TODAY'S PREMIERES 
1) Apocalypse '45 (Discovery+)
After the success of Erik Nelson’s previous archival feature The Cold Blue, the National Archives opened their vaults and allowed access they had previously denied to over 700 reels of this footage, covering the harrowing expanse of the final months of the War in the Pacific. Very little of this material has ever been screened, and none of it has ever been digitally restored, frame by frame, to 4K. In addition, another treasure was uncovered and restored -- astonishing new footage captured by legendary director John Ford. In essence, a "lost film" by Ford, it depicts the ruins of the Pacific Fleet, and the terrible aftermath of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

2) Black Space (Netflix)
A rogue detective with unorthodox means leads an investigation into a massacre committed by unicorn mask-wearing assassins at an Israeli high school.

3) Blue Miracle (Netflix)
The incredible true story of Casa Hogar, the Mexican boys home that entered the world's biggest fishing tournament to save their orphanage.

4) Eden (Netflix)
Created by Justin Leach ("Ghost in the Shell 2"), Yasuhiro Irie ("Fullmetal Alchemist") directs the story of robots raising the last human child.

5) Fanatics: The Deep End (Vice)
Alice investigates what caused people to storm into the U.S. Capital.

6) Friends: The Reunion (HBO Max)
Stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer return to the iconic comedy’s original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank for a real-life unscripted celebration of the beloved show.

7) Justice Now: The Way Forward (BET)
Solutions that can bring about true racial and economic justice in a post-George Floyd America.

8) Just What The Doctor Ordered (LMN)
A recently widowed mother and her 18-year-old daughter unwittingly move into a house where an escaped psychiatric prisoner is hiding out.

9) Ragnarok Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
You've got the strength, speed and senses of the Gods. But that doesn't help when you're the new kid in town.

10) Skull: The Mask (Shudder)
In this splatter-filled supernatural slasher, a Pre-Columbian artifact contains the spirit of Anhangá, the executioner of the god Tahawantinsupay. Whoever wears the masked is possessed by Anhangá and compelled to commit sacrifices to resurrect his god. It’s up to a museum assistant and a policewoman to stop the slaughter before the ritual is completed. A throwback treat for fans of ‘80s slashers and gory practical effects.

11) Soy Rada: Serendipity (Netflix)
The delightful Argentine comic Agustín Aristarán (aka Soy Rada) is back, this time putting the spotlight on family and parenting, magic and music.

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 Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

26 May, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, May 26th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by morning blend coffee and a granola bar.

AMAZON TO BUY MGM
As expected, Amazon and MGM announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire MGM for a purchase price of $8.45 billion. Here is the relevant comment from the Amazon press release formally announcing the deal:

"MGM has a vast catalog with more than 4,000 films—12 Angry Men, Basic Instinct, Creed, James Bond, Legally Blonde, Moonstruck, Poltergeist, Raging Bull, Robocop, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs, Stargate, Thelma & Louise, Tomb Raider, The Magnificent Seven, The Pink Panther, The Thomas Crown Affair, and many other icons—as well as 17,000 TV shows—including Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Vikings—that have collectively won more than 180 Academy Awards and 100 Emmys,” said Mike Hopkins, Senior Vice President of Prime Video and Amazon Studios. “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team. It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling."

While it's clear the IP is important, there are also a lot of titles that are beloved but not likely to work as a reboot. For instance, it's unlikely we'll see a Basic Instinct cinematic universe or a TV series based on Raging Bull. And while details on the deal are still not public, it appears that the Broccoli family's hold onto the James Bond franchise remains intact. Which is a bit of a problem, given that the family has been adamant in their belief that James Bond movies belong in a theater and that doing any sort of Bond-related TV series is a bad idea. 

As for other points, while I don't usually reference older newsletters, this excerpt from apiece I wrote last week bears repeating:

Obviously, the crown jewel of the MGM library are the James Bond movies. And at one point, the most recent installment of the franchise almost premiered on streaming because of the pandemic. But thanks to a unique deal MGM has with the Broccoli family, Barbara Broccoli and her half-brother Michael G. Wilson retain an enormous amount of control over the franchise. They currently serve as the final arbiter on everything from the scripts to the casting to the promotional materials. A situation one of my sources described as "not a deal breaker, but worrying." I was told Amazon executives have had at least one meeting with the duo in an effort to wrestle creative control away while allowing them to retain their current split of the profits. It's not clear whether that effort was successful, but I'm told that Amazon executives have already explored the idea of a young James Bond TV series, along with a vague plan to roll out some made-for-Amazon movies set in the Bond cinematic universe.

The older James Bond movies have been available for streaming on just about every major streaming service, but the prize for Amazon would be the exclusive rights to upcoming Bind films, with the expectation that the movies would shift to a same day-and-date release or an Amazon exclusive some point down the road.

For all of the talk about Amazon over-paying, I think this has the potential of being a good deal. Depending in large part on how much effort the company expends on monetizing the massive MGM catalog.

One example of how that can happen is with digital and physical copies of titles. One estimate shows that around 44% of all Amazon Prime users make one digital or physical media purchase per month of a title they want to watch but that isn't available on Prime Video. It's pretty easy to imagine offering the entire MGM catalog available either digitally or with an on-demand DVD/Blu-Ray could be an immensely popular (and profitable) revenue stream. 

WILL AMAZON/MGM DEAL FACE GOVERNMENT SCRUTINY?
There have been some reports that one of the reasons why Netflix didn't get into the bidding war for MGM was that they anticipated a high level of government scrutiny over the deal, which they didn't want to deal with.  While it's still early in the process, some legislators are already weighing in with reservations about the deal. For instance Sen. Amy Klobuchar released this comment:

"This is a major acquisition that has the potential to impact millions of consumers. The Department of Justice must conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that this deal won’t risk harming competition."

The irony is that if you're looking at the possibility of negative impacts on the consumer, the proposed WarnerMedia/Discovery deal is likely to have much more impact and so far I haven't seen a lot of pushback about that proposal.

VIACOM/CBS LOOKING TO SPEND $5 A YEAR ON ORIGINAL CONTENT BY 2024
CEO Bob Bakish told shareholders during a virtual meeting on Tuesday that the company planned to increase its spending on original content for streaming to at least $5 billion a year by 2024. The company currently spends about $15 billion a year for content across all of its channels and platforms. 

Paramount+ is planning to add 1,000 new movie titles to the service in June, and another 1,500 in July:

“That number includes content exclusively for our streaming services and some allocation of highly valuable content that we’ll use across both streaming and traditional [television and theatrical distribution]"

One of the bigger issues with Paramount+ right now is that the app is a mess. It was built on top of the CBS All-Access UX which was not designed to deal with such a flood of content. It's often difficult to find what you're looking for and content discovery is challenging.

BUILDING UX THAT KEEPS VIEWERS COMING BACK
I love UX discussions and spend a fair amount of time in this newsletter talking about UX changes and issues. So this one-hour roundtable that focuses on UX issues is right on target for me. It's a really fascinating discussion that includes CJ Harvey, VP Product Management, HBO Max Greg Riker, Head of Sales and Business Development for the Americas, Metrological Sharana Math, Director of Partner Management, Roku Tom Hurlbutt, Senior Director of Product Management, Crunchyroll.

Here is the official description to the panel, which can be found here on YouTube:

Content is king, but the queen is user experience, and OTT services need to take a holistic approach to making sure their content offerings aren't overshadowed by clunky viewer interfaces, poor recommendations, and hard-to-use search and discovery functions. Finding and watching content should be easy and fun, not a chore. Find out the latest best practices and new approaches to creating user experiences that delight, not deter.

ODDS AND SODS

* Chris Noth will reprise the role of "Mr. Big" in the HBO Max original series And Just Like That...

alt_text
TODAY'S PREMIERES 
1) Baggio: The Divine Ponytail (Netflix)
A chronicle of the 22-year career of soccer star Roberto Baggio, including his difficult debut as a player and his deep rifts with some of his coaches.

2) Crime Scene Kitchen Series Premiere (Fox)
Can you walk into a kitchen and figure out what’s been baked solely by the ingredients and clues left behind? Each episode begins at the scene of the crime – a kitchen that was just used to make an amazing mouth-watering dessert that has since disappeared. The chef teams of two are challenged to scour the kitchen for clues and ingredients to figure out what was baked. Next, each team must duplicate the recipe based on their guess. To take the $100,000 prize, the competing dessert makers will need to prove they have the technical know-how, imagination and problem-solving skills needed to decode and re-create incredible desserts and cakes from across the world

3) Curse Of Akakor Series Premiere (Discovery)
A team of investigators travels to the Amazon to search does three missing explorers who disappeared while looking for the lost city of Akakor. Their search uncovers disturbing rumors of murder.

4) 40-Year-Old Property Virgin Series Premiere (Discovery+)
the series follows an array of first-time buyers as they try to find their first place all while navigating the opinions of family, friends and nosy neighbors.

5) Ghost Lab (Netflix)
They believe that ghosts are real, but trying to prove it might end up costing them more than their lives.

6) High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America (Netflix)
Food writer Stephen Satterfield embarks on a vibrant and powerful culinary journey that celebrates the courage, artistry, and resourcefulness of the African American people.

7) Justice Now: Race & Reckoning (BET)
Soledad O'Brien and guests address America's racial reckoning and speak truth to those in power.

8) Nail Bomber: Manhunt (Netflix)
This documentary tells the story of the 1999 London bombings that targeted minorities, and the race to find the far-right extremist behind them.

9) Property Brothers: Forever Home Season Premiere (HGTV)
Home renovation superstars Drew and Jonathan Scott will rework humdrum houses into enduring family dream homes. The episodes will follow the Brothers as they unlock a home’s full potential through renovation and redesign to create the perfect place that families won’t want to leave. With reimagined floorplans, creative storage solutions, stunning kitchen and main bedroom suite reveals, the Brothers will reignite homeowners’ passion for their forever home.

10) The Bold Type Season Three Premiere (Freeform)
All eyes are on Jane as she and Jacqueline combat a public inconsistency in her latest story. Kat runs into an old friend, sparking a new idea. Alex uses his podcast to make a statement. Sutton gets a career win, but a personal blow.

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.