Displaying items by tag: Too Much TV

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, March 22nd, 2021

22 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, March 22nd, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by Diet Rite and shrimp cocktail.

My apologies for the lateness of this newsletter. When you want your newsletter to be sent to subscribers, it's helpful to actually hit the send button when you're ready. Luckily, it only took me two hours to realize my mistake.

I MAY HAVE FOUND MY NICHE
Long-time readers of this newsletter know that I spend a lot of time discussing the user interfaces of various streaming services. To be honest, more often than not I'm complaining about them in some way.

Apparently a few people have noticed, because someone from HBO Max reached out to me earlier today to make sure I knew that they had just announced they are adding a customizable profile image feature. I noted in a recent newsletter that while services such as Netflix and Disney+ allowed users to customize their profiles with a picture from one of the service's more popular titles, HOB Max limited the customization to a name and a choice of which color ring that wrapped around the profile. But that is changing and HBO Max is upping every other service's efforts by also allowing user to upload a picture of themselves for their profile:

HBO Max today announced the launch of a new feature that allows users to customize their profile images, either by uploading a photo of their own -- a first of its kind feature among streaming platforms -- or by choosing an avatar from a selection of more than 120 iconic characters. HBO Max is committed to providing a personalized experience, and this new feature, which launches today and rolls out across all supported partners by March 26, allows users to express their identity through a creative lens and further connect with the stories and characters they love on the platform. 

Users can choose their favorite characters from classics like “Game of Thrones,” “The Sopranos,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and new favorites such as “Insecure,” “The Flight Attendant,” “Lovecraft Country,” “I May Destroy You,” “Watchmen,” “Westworld,” “Succession,” “Raised By Wolves,” and more. Avatars from these titles were specifically curated with content partners to identify the most popular characters across several demographics.

One interesting option (and it is a really smart one) is that not only will HBO Max offer a number of kid-safe profile image choices, the child will only see age-appropriate avatar options based on their parental control settings.

On the other end of the profile arms race is the entertainment-centric streaming service Philo, a service that I am constantly recommending to people as a low-cost alternative to traditional cable. But as much as I like Philo (which runs $20 a month), it doesn't include any profile capability at all. Which seems a bit insane for any streaming service in 2021.

BOB IGER ON HIS PLANS TO LEAVE DISNEY AND THE LAUNCH OF DISNEY+
Disney Executive Chairman, Bob Iger joined SiriusXM Business Radio host Alan Fleischmann of ‘Leadership Matters’ on Monday and the interview offered up some good insight about the impact that timing had on the successful launch of the Disney+ streaming service:

Well, timing is everything. We were, as you know, intent on launching a direct to consumer television movie service, which became Disney Plus, and we bought control of Hulu as part of the Fox acquisition and infusing on the Disney Plus side with all of our great content, which was a tremendous pivot strategically from licensing to third parties and putting the content on traditional platforms to taking it completely off third parties and traditional platforms and putting on this new shiny direct to consumer platform. And thank goodness we did that when we did it. We launched it in November of 19. And so in March of 20, when we shut everything down, we at least had that. And I think the struggle for the year, aside from closing all the traditional businesses, including our theme park business and ESPN losing its live sports, et cetera. But the struggle was how do we get production going again so that we can fuel the platform? Which we just had so much in the can, so much shot. And I must say at the company, if anyone deserves credit for getting us through this, it's everybody that worked on the creative side to keep some television and movie production going, or finishing some and their entire movies were finished. "Soul" was one, that Pete Docter who runs Pixar and directed it, finished completely during COVID. I mean, that's incredible to think about that. All the animators are working from home. No one was going to work but, we're very, very fortunate that we won, had the foresight and had the guts and had the support at the board level to go into this new business. And so that when COVID hit, we at least had something to turn to, and I think it kept the company. It kept the company vibrant because there was a beacon of hope.

Iger also spoke about his decision to serve as the company's "executive chairman" prior to his departure from Disney:|

I am excited about life after Disney. After, as I said, 47 years at ABC Disney, I felt very strongly in moving on, and just seeing what was on the other side. It had nothing to do with being tired. It had nothing to do with frustration. I come to work every day and now of course I'm working from home, but with just as much excitement and energy and engagement and commitment that I had throughout. And that makes me feel great, but I did not want to overstay my welcome. I really wanted to leave at a time that felt good, that I had accomplished a lot, that I had not hit too many speed bumps, or suddenly that my luck rent would run out or all of those things. I wanted the timing to be right, and 15 years felt like enough. And so what I proposed to the board, I know it felt abrupt because we kept this very quiet, but some months before the announcement I proposed to the board that I would stay on through the end of my tenure, which is the end of 21, but in a different role. And that would accomplish a few things. One, it would immediately name my successor, meaning put someone new in the job at a time that I was still around so that I could spend time helping the person who succeeded me be successful, which is in my own best interest, but in the best interest of so many people. And also focus in that period of time, since I would no longer be running the company day-to-day, on our creative endeavors, which at Disney really the entire value proposition of the company, no matter what business we're in, starts with creativity and emanates from creativity. So I thought the best thing I could possibly do for the company would be one, make sure that we succeed at succession, and that my successor is successful. And then second, leave the company and my successor with the greatest possible hand created creatively. A pipeline of movies, and television shows, and theme park attractions, and lands, and you name it that would power the company for many years to come. And I can only do that, spend all of my time on it, if I could spend all my time on it.


Return to Amish': Where Is Kate Stoltz Now? | Soap Dirt
TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) Breeders Season Premiere (FX)
The kids are growing up fast - Ava is now 10 and Luke is about to turn 13. With their burgeoning independence comes the question of whether Paul and Ally's parenting style still works. Clue: no.

2) Hoarders Season Premiere (A&E)
Eric is forced to deal with his emotional grief as the cleanup process uncovers the beautiful interior design left by his late wife.

3) Navillera (Netflix)
A 70-year-old with a dream and a 23-year-old with a gift lift each other out of harsh realities and rise to the challenge of becoming ballerinos.

4) People Magazine Investigates Season Premiere (ID)
In 1992, a college student disappears after her car breaks down on the highway. Family and friends join the police in a frantic search that hits one setback after another. It may take new advances in DNA technology to finally crack the stubborn case.

5) Return To Amish Season Premiere (TLC)
The pandemic has forced Jeremiah, Carmela, Ada and Sabrina to come together in Florida. Sabrina prepares for the arrival of her second child while Jeremiah and Jethro must make peace. Rosanna and Maureen decide to leave their Amish communities.

6) Seeking Sister Wife Season Premiere (TLC)
The Snowdens have a new girlfriend; the Merrifields take drastic measures to bring their Brazilian bombshell into their family; after their first wife left, the Joneses are ready to seek again and the Clarks have turmoil in their plural kingdom

7) The Attache (Acorn)
This ten-part contemporary series charts the turbulent impact of a family’s move from Tel Aviv to Paris, starring the series creator, director and writer Eli Ben David (Buba Shel-Medina).  Avshalom, an Israeli-Moroccan Jew, and Annabelle, his Parisian wife, navigate the dramatic changes in their lives, and their relationship, as their individual paths diverge in their new home.

This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, March 19th, 2021

19 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, March 19th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by coffee made by my 15-year-old son & a BLT.

FIRST, SOME HOUSEKEEPING
Thanks to a mention of one of my pieces by Brian Stelter in last night's "Reliable Sources" email, I have quite a few new subscribers. So welcome and as an FYI, this newsletter goes out M-F and in theory it should hit your inbox in early afternoon U.S. time (for those of you somewhere else in the world, adjust accordingly). Each newsletter generally has two components: part one is some commentary, along with links to stories and opinion pieces I think are important. Part two is a rundown of all the new shows premiering that day on linear TV as well as the various streaming services. And Friday newsletters tend to be lighter on the news/commentary part due to the larger number of new shows premiering at the end of the week.

As far as the editorial philosophy, this newsletter - like the AllYourScreens web site - isn't trying to cover everything. Instead, I try and cover stories and shows I think you should know more about.

BTW, this is the piece Brian linked to: TV Criticism In The Age Of COVID-19.

THE CASE FOR BINGEING: 'DEBRIS' EDITION
I've written several times in this newsletter about the new NBC sci-fi drama Debris in recent weeks and the fact that I've given the show more attention here than anyone else has in their news coverage gives you a sense of how things are going for the series. I like the cast and the premise a lot, but I've been frustrated by NBC's lackluster support of the show. 

But seeing the coverage of the new Disney+ series The Falcon And The Winter Soldier (which premiered today), it reminds me that while some shows like "Falcon" work well on a "one episode a week" release schedule, Debris is an example of a series that would have fared better on Peacock, with the entire season being dropped at once.

Part of the reason comes down to content. A mystery/mythology-based series such as Debris works better in a binge setting. It's easy to keep up the momentum of the story arc and hold the viewer's attention over multiple episode viewing so they get sucked into the show.

But there are practical reasons as well. Shows such as Debris have a pretty horrific survival rate on broadcast television. Two or three similar shows premiere each year and other than NBC's Manifest, I don't think any of them have survived past one season. Not only does that high failure rate make audiences skittish about committing time to a show that likely won't survive, it makes it tough to build social media buzz each week in such a crowded media environment. Releasing an entire season at once provides a better chance to break through the clutter, even if it is for just a week or two.

'FRIENDS' WAS THE MOST-WATCHED COMEDY ON BROADCAST OR CABLE TV IN 2020
USA Today has an exclusive look at 2020 viewing data from Nielsen, which shows that the pandemic sparked a new interest in older TV comedies last year:

Last year, NBC's "Friends" – which ended its 10-year run in 2004 – was the most-watched comedy on broadcast or cable TV, with 96.7 billion minutes viewed, a 30% jump from 2019. "Andy Griffith" grew 29%, to 58.3 billion viewing minutes, while ABC's "Roseanne" saw a 70% viewing surge to 20.1 billion minutes.

Behind "Friends" is CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" (2007-19) and "Two and a Half Men" (2003-15), according to Nielsen, which did not include streaming in its ranking. But that's one reason why "Friends" (along with "Big Bang") is a cornerstone of new streaming service HBO Max, which still plans to air a cast reunion after nearly a year's delay due to pandemic restrictions.

One interesting tidbit is that some of the biggest viewing increases came from shows that have a more diverse cast:

Year-to-year viewing of ABC's "Family Matters" (1989-1998), which focuses on a Black family, skyrocketed, recording 11.4 billion viewing minutes for a 392% increase from 2019. So, yes, Urkel, you did do that. "George Lopez" (2002-07), built around a popular comedian of Mexican-American heritage, recorded nearly 11 billion viewing minutes, a 113% jump, while "The Bernie Mac Show" (2001-06) was up 71% to 3.3 billion minutes.

Audiences increased for a selection of other older sitcoms, too: "I Love Lucy" (9.3 billion minutes, up 8%); "Full House" (7.2 billion minutes, up 35%); "Good Times" (6.9 billion minutes, up 24%); and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (6.7 billion minutes, up 13%).

I know the business reasons why the various streamers haven't leaned more into classic television - especially lesser-known titles. But I think it's a mistake to ignore those shows. Because there is obviously an audience for pre-1990 TV programs and even factoring in the costs of music clearances and other technical issues, classic TV has the financial advantage of already having been produced. 

ODDS AND SODS
Netflix's Paris Theater in NYC reopens today, showing The Trial Of The Chicago 7 and Monk. And there's free popcorn!

Four studio executives speak with The Hollywood Reporter about the shattering of the theatrical window and the streaming tsunami that has changed the industry forever.

A Tiny Audience (HBO)
TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) Alien TV (Netflix)
Alien reporters Ixbee, Pixbee and Squee return to Earth, where they learn about more odd human customs and inventions like trains and fashion.

2) A Tiny Audience (HBO Max)
In this series of intimate music specials, Latin musicians reveal a personal secret to the "tiny" audience before them and perform a pair of songs that are meaningful to them.

3) Calls Series Premiere (Apple TV+)
Told through a series of interconnected phone calls, this series chronicles the mysterious story of a group of strangers whose lives are thrown into disarray in the lead-up to an apocalyptic event.

4) Country Comfort Series Premiere (Netflix)
An aspiring young country singer finds the band she's been missing when she takes a job as a nanny for a musically talented family

5) Deadly Excursion: Kidnapped From the Beach (LMN)
Foiled kidnappers return to finish the job as an unsuspecting woman and her daughter vacation in Florida.

6) Double Cross With Blake Griffin (truTV)
A guy is caught with his pants down when his girlfriend raids his prank; a prankster becomes a dead man walking when the tables are turned and a boyfriend's prank falls two stories short.

7) Everything But The House Series Premiere (HGTV)
A woman wants to retire in Aruba, so she, her son and his girlfriend try to auction off as many possessions as possible to make money for the move.

8) Formula 1: Drive To Survive Season Premiere (Netflix)
During a shortened 2020 season, Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and other top drivers pursue checkered flags as COVID-19 turns the world upside down

9) Gold Rush: Dave Turin's Lost Mine Season Three Premiere (Discovery+)
Miner Dave Turin is on a mission to find gold in a long abandoned mine.

10) Mama June: Road To Redemption Season Premiere (WE tv)
Mama June's quest for self-discovery will redefine who she is as a woman, mother and lover.

11) Sky Rojo Series Premiere (Netflix)
On the run from their pimp and his henchmen, three women embark on a wild and crazy journey in search of freedom. From the creators of "Money Heist."

12) The Falcon & The Winter Soldier Series Premiere (Disney+)
The series stars Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. The pair, who came together in the final moments of “Avengers: Endgame,” team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience.



This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

17 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, March 16th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by donut shop coffee and leftover hot and sour soup.

WILL NETFLIX EVER INCLUDE ADVERTISING?
Of all the topics I end up being asked about in interviews and on social media, the #1 question is whether or not Netflix will ever add advertising to its service.

Stock analysts in particular love this question, because they see advertising as free money laying on the ground ready to be picked up. Netflix is still losing money and plenty of streamers have an advertising-supported version of their service. So why not Netflix?

The simple answer is that at least for now, Netflix executives have repeatedly said that the idea of advertising is just not going to happen right now. And while they certainly could change their minds, I haven't seen (or heard) even the slightest indication that they are reconsidering their stance. But aside from that caveat, people arguing Netflix should include advertising are generally people who don't have a firm grasp on the challenges that would face Netflix if they moved in that direction.

One advantage Netflix has in this increasingly crowded streaming business is that its considered a "premium" service by many of its subscribers. Netflix isn't a streaming version of a broadcast network or an AVOD that you watch when you just want background noise. In the same way that HBO had a unique status in the pay-network business, Netflix is able to charge top dollar because of their perceived value and that includes no advertising. It seems impossible to imagine Netflix including advertising in their core service without destroying the DNA of what had made it a success.

So the next possibility would be to take the route of HBO Max or Peacock and develop a lower-cost, advertising-supported version of Netflix. Maybe it doesn't include the hottest new programs, but it does include advertising and a lower monthly subscription rate - say $6 a month. Great idea, huh?

Aside from some potential incremental revenue, what is the upside for Netflix? Netflix customers in the U.S. and other established territories have proven to be willing to accept higher monthly rates, even in the midst of economic hard times. So why give those customers an easy way to trade down to a cheaper version of the service? Netflix is already pushing up against the limits of how many potential new subscribers are left in its established territories, so it doesn't need an entry level option to lure new subscribers.

And it has the opposite problem in newer, growing territories. In some of the its emerging markets, Netflix is already facing pricing challenges and is offering subscriptions - some of them mobile only - for the U.S. equivalent of a few dollars per month. In that environment, there's no place for an even cheaper version of its service.

But I do think this is why you are seeing some talk about Netflix licensing some of it content to other streamers or traditional linear networks. It's a back door way of monetizing older content. But rather than doing it via a Netflix-branded AVOD, they can do it by syndicating their content to other services and letting them do the hard and dirty work of selling advertising against it.

I am not foolish enough to say that Netflix will never add advertising to is service. I am saying that it is about as unlikely as any move you can consider in the streaming world.

A MUST-READ INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN MAYER
CNBC's Alex Sherman has a fabulous interview with ex-Disney/Tik Tok executive Kevin Mayer. He's now at the sports streamer DAZN and his comments on that service are well worth reading. But Sherman does an excellent job of getting Mayer to answer some hard questions with candor and insight:

Why? Why did he leave earlier than he expected to?

That’s a question for Bob Iger, not for me.


That whole announcement seemed really rushed. Suddenly, he’s announcing ‘I’m going to step down effective immediately.’ He’d previously said he was expecting to step down this year, in 2021. I don’t know if it caught you off guard, but it sounds like it did.

I didn’t know that was coming at all. Look, my interpretation of it is that Bob Iger wanted to focus more on the creative side of things. He has a lot of affinity for that. And it just sort of escalated quickly. And he and the board of directors needed to make a call about who would be the next CEO.


What I’ve heard is I needed a little bit more seasoning. I’d only been in that role for a couple of years, in an operating role. Before that I was chief strategy officer and a staff role, even though I had a lot of people working for me around the world and all that stuff. And I think that the timing of his ascension to being executive chairman, coupled with the fact that Bob Chapek had a lot of experience....Bob Chapek is a good guy, by the way. He’d worked throughout all of the different areas of Disney. He was in the studio, he was running consumer products, had been running the theme parks. It’s not a bad choice. So I can’t....someone wins and someone loses in that situation. And given the timing of it and in the immediacy of it, I think that people felt that he was the safer pair of hands at the moment.

So that was the answer you were given? Simply that you needed a little more seasoning? Because people can go back and read it. I was public about it. I wrote at the time you should have gotten the CEO job because it only made sense to put the person who led the development of Disney+ in charge of the company. That was going to be the narrative to Wall Street, and it has been. And, that’s no knock on Bob Chapek.

Yeah, look, I don’t feel like I should be in the place of explaining this. You really should ask Bob Iger or others who made the a decision, not me. Did I want to be CEO? Of course I did. Who wouldn’t want to be CEO of the Walt Disney Company? It’s a great job.


It's just a great interview and Sherman's questions are a textbook example of how to frame issues in a way that extracts the most information from media-savvy executives.

Netflix Doc 'Operation Varsity Blues' Details College Bribery Scandal -  Variety
TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) A Grammy Salute to the Sounds of Change (CBS)
The special will feature top contemporary artists, including Yolanda Adams, Leon Bridges with Terrace Martin, Eric Church, Andra Day, Cynthia Erivo, John Fogerty, Gayle King, Patti Labelle, Brad Paisley, Billy Porter, Leann Rimes, Chris Stapleton and more, performing songs that have seen us through the darkest hours and greatest triumphs of the 20th and 21st centuries. Notable performances include Gladys Knight singing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” alongside Adam Blackstone, Shelia E., Israel Houghton and D Smoke, Erivo’s interpretation of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Fogerty bringing his “Weeping in the Promised Land” and “Fortunate Son” to the stage.

2) Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (Netflix)
An examination that goes beyond the celebrity-driven headlines and dives into the methods used by Rick Singer, the man at the center of the shocking 2019 college admissions scandal, to persuade his wealthy clients to cheat an educational system already designed to benefit the privileged. Using an innovative combination of interviews and narrative recreations of the FBI’s wiretapped conversations between Singer and his clients, Operation Varsity Blues offers a rare glimpse into the enigmatic figure behind a scheme that exposed the lengths wealthy families would go to for admission into elite colleges, and angered a nation already grappling with the effects of widespread inequality.

3) The Pole/The Summoner Series Premiere (Syfy)
After a scandal involving “Saint” Nick (Bobby Moynihan) rocks the holly jolly foundations of the North Pole, all hell breaks loose as the future of Christmas turns into a twisted power struggle for the Red Suit. As Nick, the 20th to wear the Suit, struggles with the age-old question of naughty vs. nice, his wife Mrs. Claus, aka Gretchen (Jillian Bell), works to keep the political machine (toy production) afloat. It isn’t easy as they juggle the factory elves, including Nick’s head elf Matilda (Nicole Byer) and political activist Helenor (Sasheer Zamata), as well as parenting two sons – Nick’s mini-me Harry (Sungwon Cho) and the crown prince, Jack (Timothy Simons), who’s not only next in line for the Suit, but also looking to rebrand it. Reporting on all the drama at the Pole? Cocoa (Colin Jost), host of “Morning Cocoa,” the North Pole news program.

4) Under Suspicion: Uncovering The Wesphael Case (Netflix)
This docuseries follows the high-profile case of Belgian politician Bernard Wesphael, who was accused of murdering his wife in 2013.

This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

16 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, March 16th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by lots of Tums.

WILL THE CBS DAYTIME SHOW 'THE TALK' EVER RETURN TO THE AIR?
The Talk has been a relative ratings success for CBS, despite a revolving door of co-hosts and a lot of rumors of turmoil behind the scenes. 

The most recent public problems came last week after co-host Sharon Osbourne came in support of Piers Morgan, who had just walked off of his ITV morning show after being criticized for comments he made about the Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry & Meghan Markle:

"The next day on “The Talk,” Osbourne got into a heated debate with co-host Sheryl Underwood after Underwood calmly questioned why Osbourne would support someone who was “racist in his stance against Meghan Markle.” 

“Tell me: What has he uttered that’s racist?” Osbourne replied. “I feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist. … How can I be racist about anybody? How can I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?”

Osbourne became visibly angry during the segment and at one point ordered Underwood, who is Black, to not cry, saying, “And don’t try and cry, because if anyone should be crying, it should be me.” 

On Friday, Osbourne gave an interview with Variety in which she criticized the show's producers of blindsiding her with the segment, although she did admit later that she had been warned that the topic would be raised by her co-hosts:

Osbourne says about eight minutes before the show began on Wednesday, a showrunners called and ask her if it was OK if they asked about Morgan. “I said, ‘Sure, they can ask me whatever.’ But then I get on there, I say my piece and Sheryl [Underwood] turns around straight-faced, looks at me and is reading from a card with questions. I was just so hurt, caught off guard and stunned by what I was being asked and not prepared. I was honestly in shock. I felt like I was in front of a firing squad. I felt like a lamb held out for slaughter. … They had me there for 20 minutes.”

The segment prompted public comments from several of Osbourne's former co-hosts, who accused her of forcing them off the show as well as making derogatory and racists comments about them. Holly Robinson Peete tweeted that Osbourne pushed her out of the show in part because she thought Peete speaking style was "too ghetto."

In just the last few minutes, Yashar Ali's newsletter has posted a deep dive into the backstage turmoil, including an exclusive interview with former co-host Leah Remini, who exited the show along with Holly Robinson Peete at the end of the show's first season:

Osbourne’s attempts to oust Robinson Peete before the show premiered were unsuccessful, but the lunch foreshadowed what would be a deeply toxic work environment. By the end of the first season, Robinson Peete and Remini were both fired—at the direction, according to multiple sources, of Osbourne. 

In a December 2011 interview with Howard Stern, Osbourne told the radio host that she had told Chen she didn’t think Remini and Robinson Peete were working out.

From the beginning, Osbourne also objected to Chen having any leadership role on the show and repeatedly tried to rally Remini and Robinson Peete in an effort to marginalize Chen, Remini said. According to Remini, in one exchange during the first season, Osbourne said of Chen: “I mean, who the fuck does slanty eyes think she is? She shouldn’t be pillow-talking with our boss."

There is a lot more in Ali's piece, which can be read here.

WHEN YOUR ICONIC CABLE NETWORK LOOKS MORE LIKE A NICHE PLUTO CHANNEL
Image

Viacom/CBS executives spend a lot of time talking up the company's well-known IP. But what they gloss over is that nearly all of the IP that matters comes from 20 or more years ago. While Nickelodeon and VH1 are still creating some potentially memorable content, networks such as MTV have devolved into little more than 90% percent reruns and the random new series built around some familiar personality or older piece of IP.

CHART OF THE DAY

Image

ODDS AND SODS
Sling TV is the latest streaming service to stop offering a free trial.

The Canadian Energy Centre has sent an angry note to Netflix Canada, arguing that the animated movie Bigfoot Family of "peddling lies" about the Canadian oil and gas industry.



TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) Holmes Family Effect Series Premiere (Fox)
Mike, Sherry and Michael Holmes help to save a school's skilled trades program. The family also works to overhaul an entrepreneurial co-op.

2) Mayans M.C. Season Three Premiere (FX)
A border shutdown squeezes the Mayan's heroin trade setting off an internal clash over the future of the club.

3) RebellComedy: Straight Outta the Zoo (Netflix)
The comics of RebellComedy take the stage and tackle topics including mistaken identities, being the "funny" kid and anatomically interesting starfish.

4) Staged Season Two Premiere (Hulu)
David Tennant and Michael Sheen star as two actors whose West End play has been put on hold due to COVID-19, but whose director has persuaded them to continue rehearsing online.

5) The Beatrice Six: Keith Morrison Investigates (Discovery+)
Three confessions, six murder confessions, a man's fight for freedom.

6) The Blended Bunch Series Premiere (TLC)
In a small town in Utah, widow Erica, widower Spencer and their 11 children have formed the modern-day Brady Bunch. Blending two families can be rough and a surprise announcement sends Erica's brother reeling.

7) Waffles + Mochi Series Premiere (Netflix)
Curious puppet pals Waffles and Mochi travel the world exploring the wonders of food and culture while learning how to cook with fresh ingredients.

This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, March 15th, 2021

15 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, March 15th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by what is likely an unhealthy amount of coffee.

This is a shorter than normal newsletter. Mondays are generally jam-packed with news, but this is a bit of a lightweight day.

WALMART CONSIDERING ITS OWN ANDROID TV-BASED STREAMING DEVICE
Walmart could be coming to market with its own Android TV-based streaming device carrying its onn. branding. This is according to Protocol’s Janko Roettgers, who spotted an FCC filing for a potential product named onn. 2K Streaming Stick. It includes a remote that supports Google Assistant voice control and has branded buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max.

THIS COULD BE A REAL BOON FOR INDEPENDENT COMICS
GamesRadar is reporting that the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter partnered with the online bookstore Bookshop.org for it to be a marketplace for successfully crowdfunded book projects - especially comic books and graphic novels. With the partnership, Bookshop.org will market and sell these Kickstarter-funded books (from various publishers) direct to its online customers - and sell them on behalf of independent bookstores as well:

"With this partnership, we want to celebrate the long literary lives books can live after being brought to life on Kickstarter," says Kickstarter's director of publishing & comics outreach Oriana Leckert. "By spotlighting these shining examples on Bookshop, we can help extend those lives, showcase the brilliant work that’s being done on Kickstarter, give backers a renewed sense of pride for their contributions, and support the inspiring efforts of Books Through Bars - all at once.”

NOT THAT YOU HAVE TO BE TOLD THAT IT'S A STRANGE YEAR FOR THE MOVIE BUSINESS.
As expected, the streamers did very well at this this Academy Award nominations announcement. But here is a statistic that is jarring: half the Best Picture nominees have $0 reported domestic box office, and the top grossing nominee (Promising Young Woman) has $5.4 million.

I AM *SHOCKED* THAT NFT'S CAN BE HACKED

Image

This is a complex and fairly insane story. So read the thread here for a bit more context. Although it doesn't explain why someone would invest in NFT's in the first place.

Ashley Walters and Noel Clarke return in Bulletproof series 2 trailer -  Radio Times
TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) Abla Fahita: Drama Queen Series Premiere (Netflix)
Falsely incriminated, Abla Fahita is separated from her kids, but the self-indulgent diva will stop at nothing to redeem herself and reunite her family.

2) America's Most Wanted Reboot Series Premiere (Fox) 
Elizabeth Vargas hosts this reboot of the familiar Fox series from the 1990s.

3) Black Ink Crew: Secrets Unlocked (VH1)
The cast members go back to where it all began to give their unfiltered opinions on the early days at the shops. They discuss the moments that sparked the most talked about relationships, feuds and more.

4) Bloodlands (Acorn TV)
The four-part drama stars award-winning Irish actor James Nesbitt (The Missing, Cold Feet) as Tom Brannick, a veteran detective who delves into his own dark past to try and solve an infamous cold case.

5) Bulletproof (The CW)
Bishop (Noel Clarke), along with Pike (Ashley Walters) and his family head to South Africa for a much-needed vacation but all hell breaks loose when a new acquaintance of Pike’s daughter goes missing and the boys land right in the middle of a case, a shoot-out and a very sticky situation.

6) Intervention Season Premiere (A&E)
After suffering a back injury, Susan was prescribed OxyContin and she became addicted to them. When the doctor quit prescribing them to her, she turned to heroin. After losing custody of her son, Susan's addiction escalated.

7) Struggle Alley (Kağıttan Hayatlar) (Netflix)
An abandoned child, left to the streets. Faced with an eerily familiar image, can he heal before it's too late?

8) The Last Blockbuster (Netflix)
This nostalgic documentary reveals the real story of Blockbuster's demise, and how one last location in Oregon keeps the spirit of a bygone era alive.

9) The Lost Pirate Kingdom Series Premiere (Netflix)
The real-life pirates of the Caribbean violently plunder the world's riches and form a surprisingly egalitarian republic in this documentary series.

10) Zero Chill Series Premiere (Netflix)
Talented teen figure skater Kayla is forced to leave everything behind when her family follows her twin brother, Mac, to a prestigious hockey academy.

This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, March 11th, 2021

11 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, March 11th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by caramel-flavored coffee and a cherry-flavored granola bar.

DISCOVERY+ ADDS SIX PROGRAMS FROM VICE
One of the under-appreciated parts of Discovery+'s long-term goals is the streamer's desire to be the go-to home as much reality, lifestyle, true crime, documentary and unscripted programming as possible. A deal with A+E Networks prior to launch gave it a catalog of mostly older programs from A&E, History and Lifetime. And now a deal with Vice is giving it six older shows from Viceland, encompassing 90 hours of programming:

The streamer has acquired six series — Hamilton's Pharmacopeia, pro wrestling docuseries Dark Side of the Ring and its companion show After Dark, F*ck That's Delicious, Hate Thy Neighbor and Weediquette — that originally aired on the Vice TV cable channel (formerly Viceland) in a deal with Vice Distribution, which launched last year. They'll begin streaming on Discovery+ in April, with specific dates still to be determined.

Another compatible potential partner for Discovery+ is Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns the niche cable channel Reelz. While the channel and its accompanying streaming app don't grab a huge audience, its programming is heavy on celebrity crime stories and documentaries, which meshes well with Discovery+'s programming plan. It is also a type of non-fiction programming that Discovery+ currently doesn't have.

THE DISCOVERY+ LAUNCH GOT SOME HELP FROM TWO NBC VETERANS
I think it's fair to say that the Discovery+ launch went pretty well overall. It seems to be reaching its intended audience and the messaging has been pretty consistent. And as this piece in Variety notes, part of the success might be due to the presence of two veterans from NBC's "Must See TV" years:

Manze and Beckman worked with the Discovery Plus team to produce promos and find other ways to push out the message. This was their first experience launching a streamer, but Beckman and Manze say that while some of the tools are different, the basic idea isn’t: You’ve gotta make noise to get attention in a forever crowded landscape.

“There’s so much of what we did during the Must-See TV years that still applies,” Beckman says. “I’ve always felt the best philosophy you can have in this business is showmanship. And how do you make more out of what you have. What hasn’t changed is how you get people to think that there’s something going on here that they have to be a part of.”

Beckman says the team zeroed in on three goals: educating consumers that the Discovery Plus umbrella includes multiple brands, such as TLC, Food Network, HGTV and ID in addition to the namesake channel; framing Discovery Plus’ monthly $5 price tag as a bargain; and touting the streamer’s library of 55,000 episodes.

The campaign highlighted those messages in spots that featured the song “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman” and used the tagline “Stream What You Love.”

One thing Discovery+'s marketing can't focus on is the underlying premise of the service. For hardcore fans of the various Discovery networks, the streaming service can easily replace their traditional cable or satellite TV service, especially when combined with free or premium versions of Peacock, Disney+ and Paramount+.

TOP SVOD PROGRAMS FROM A MONTH AGO
Nielsen just released its most-viewed SVOD programs list for the week, which runs about a month behind:



As always, we have to keep in mind the various caveats about the limits of the Nielsen data, but it's interesting to compare the list against the social media buzz.  There was a slight bump in social media chatter when Firefly Lane when it premiered (which was the week this top ten covers). But even a month ago, social media was obsessed with Wandavision. 

alt_text
TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) Battlebots: Bounty Hunters (Discovery+) Season Premiere (Discovery+)
Next-gen robots trade blows to disable their opponents and reign supreme.

2) Cake Season Premiere (FXX)
Cake is a handcrafted assortment of bite-sized content served up to viewers as a tasty treat for the mind. Featuring a diverse array of narratives from storytellers both new and established, this carefully curated half-hour weekly showcase on FXX features both live-action and animated comedy programs of varied length that are equal parts thought-provoking, laugh-inducing, artistic, authentic and raw. (Not to mention, totally gif-able!)

3) Cold Courage Series Premiere (AMC+)
Based on the award-winning and best-selling novels from Finnish journalist Pekka Hiltunen, Cold Courage follows two Nordic women – Mari (Pihla Viitala, Deadwind, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), a fierce psychologist fighting for the underdog by any means necessary, and Lia (Sofia Pekkari, The Sandhamn MurdersWallander), a shy graphic artist on the run from an abusive stalker – as they collide during a series of murders in present-day London. As they are drawn together through a clandestine group called the “Studio,” they seek to right the wrongs of the powerful, influential and corrupt – starting with the dangerous, charismatic politician Arthur Fried (John Simm, Doctor WhoLife on Mars), looking to put the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain.

4) Coven Of Sisters (Netflix)
Basque Country, 1609. To postpone their execution, a group of women accused of witchcraft lure their inquisitor into witnessing the witches' Sabbath.

5) Dinner Impossible Season Premiere (Food)
Robert Irvine takes on epic culinary tests with unbelievable obstacles.

6) Generation Series Premiere (HBO Max)
Generation is a dark yet playful half-hour following a 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) My Beautiful Stutter (Discovery+)
This documentary follows five kids who stutter, ages 9 to 18, from all over the United States and all walks of life, who, after experiencing a lifetime of bullying and stigmatization, meet other children who stutter at an interactive arts-based program, The Stuttering Association for the Young, based in New York City. Their journey to SAY find some close to suicide, others withdrawn and fearful, exhausted and defeated from failed fluency training, societal pressures to not stutter or the decision to remain silent. Over the course of a year we witness first hand the incredible transformation that happens when these young people of wildly different backgrounds experience for the first time the revolutionary idea at the heart of SAY: that it's okay to stutter.

8) Stay Out Of The Fucking Attic (Shudder)
A diverse group of ex-cons-turned-movers—played by Morgan Alexandria (Forever My Girl), Ryan Francis (Sisters) and Bryce Fernelius (Ruling of the Heart)—are convinced by their creepy client, Vern Muller (Michael Flynn, The Outpost), to pull an all-nighter for a generous pay bump. As the night progresses and rooms are cleared, they slowly uncover the horrors that exist inside his old Victorian mansion, including boobytraps, human experimentation, Nazi monsters and more. Will they survive the night?

9) The Block Island Sound (Netflix)
On an island, a fisherman's family faces horrors and dark truths when an ominous force begins killing the wildlife and puts their own lives in danger.

10) Tig N Seek (HBO Max)
From Myke Chilian and Cartoon Network Studios, Tig n’ Seek follows an upbeat and eccentric 8-year-old boy named Tiggy and his cat, Gweeseek. Tiggy not only works at the Department of Lost and Found, finding lost items all throughout Wee-Gee City, he lives there too! 

This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

10 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, March 10th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by iced tea and trail mix.

My apologies for the lateness of the newsletter today. It's virtual finals week for my high schooler, so there is much to distract me from work. On the upside, he is doing very well, so I have no complaints.

AMAZON (FINALLY) IMPROVES IT UI
I have been railing about the horrors that are part of the Amazon Prime Video user interface. It's clunky, it's confusing and it's nearly impossible to find what you're looking for.

Someone from Amazon kindly walked me through some prototypes a few weeks ago and talked on background about a number of the issues the UI designers have been dealing with - everything from marketing plans to conflicting sales priorities.

While the biggest problems haven't gone away, Amazon has slightly tweaked their Prime Video app. And while the change might seem to be trivial, it has vastly improved the user experience.

Amazon had added a new section in the top navigation bar entitled "Free To Me." And if you click it, you're brought to a page that only includes content that is free: basically, just the movies and TV shows available for free through an Amazon Prime Video account and through the free AVOD service IMDb TV. No Amazon Channels, no link to movie rentals or TV that needs to be purchased. If you're someone who wants to just watch the content that is free, then this is the perfect solution.

You can't set the "Free To Me" option to be your automatic front page, but clicking once to get to it isn't an imposition. And one advantage for Amazon with this change is that it further highlights IMDb TV content, which is a priority for the streamer.

SPEAKING OF USER INTERFACES
There a lot of things to complain about when it comes to Paramount TV+. But the biggest one is that it launched without wish lists or a way to "save" shows to watch later. It's one of those features that should be a baseline feature for any streaming service in 2021.

I asked all of you in Monday's newsletter to send along your streaming UI pet peeves as well as features you think should be baseline must-haves for any streaming service. I received more than 100 emails with your thoughts and thanks to all of you.

So what are some of the must-have features any streaming service should offer? Here's the list (in no particular order)

PROFILES
You should be able to create multiple profiles, including profiles that limit viewing to kid-friendly content. Amazon has just recently rolled out their profile option and most streamers have some version of profiles available. The biggest offender right now is the otherwise excellent Philo, which still doesn't offer customers the ability to create profiles. Which is a capital crime for any Live TV streaming service. And speaking of creating profiles, any streamer gets bonus points for including the ability to customize your profile. Netflix offers hundreds of icons from individual shows (mine is from "The Umbrella Academy). HBO Max allows you to customize your profile, but only to change the color of the generic circle around your profile name. Which is the definition of "the least effort required to complete a job."

WATCH LIST
It should be easy to create a watch list for your favorite programs. And even more importantly, that watch list should be easy to find. As I mentioned at the beginning. Paramount+ doesn't have one at all and Amazon predictably makes everything more confusing by combining items on your watch list along with items you stopped watching midway through the program. 

CONTINUE WATCHING
It should be easy to find programs you halted part of the way through. But even more importantly, you should be able to remove items from that list since sometimes you stopped watching because you were no longer interested. Netflix's UI is typically pretty decent, but there still is no way for users to remove items for their "continue watching" que. Hulu has a weirdly clunky way of offering the option. Users need to click into the title to find the main menu, then go under "manage series," which only offers the option to remove the show from your watch history.

NEW EPISODES OF YOUR FAVORITE PROGRAMS
One of the more challenging things for any TV fan is trying to determine when new episodes of your favorite TV shows have been added to your streaming service. Most services have a tendency to dump the episodes into your overall watch list, which is incredibly confusing. I haven't see any service that does it well, which is weird given that both Peacock and Disney+ are owned by media companies which also own multiple TV networks.

I received more suggestions, but to keep today's newsletter from reaching a novella length, I'm pushing the rest of this list until next Wednesday's newsletter.

HULU IS RUNNING AN ESPN+ BUNDLE DEAL
Customers have long been able to bundle a basic Hulu subscription with ESPN+ & Disney+ for $13 a month. But there was no way to bundle a Hulu Live TV account with ESPN+.

Hulu is now trying to do that, with a splashy promo for "unlocking" ESPN+ popping up on the home page of Hulu Live TV subscribers:



The downside is that while Hulu is encouraging Live TV subscribers to add ESPN+, they aren't offering a discount to do so. Even shaving a dollar a month off of the normal subscription price would be a motivator and given that the ESPN+ discount is tied to existing Hulu Live TV subscribers, it should reduce the churn rate for both services.


TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) Beyond The Unknown Season Premiere (Travel)
Don Wildman combs through the vaults of the world's most prestigious institutions to unearth extraordinary artifacts with captivating, revealing and shocking mysteries that challenge our beliefs and defy expectations. Through compelling interviews, rich archival footage and dramatic reenactments, Don seeks to answer history's biggest questions and explore the most astonishing and explainable events of our time.

2) Dealer Series Premiere (Netflix)
Tensions erupt when two filmmakers infiltrate an area ruled by gangs to shoot a music video for a rapper in this gritty found-footage series.

3) Game Of Talents Series Premiere (Fox)
The series pits two teams of contestants against each other as they attempt to figure out the surprising, mesmerizing – and sometimes bizarre – hidden talents of the mystery performers. With more than $200,000 on the line, can the contestants spot the fire dancer from the spider wrangler or the gospel singer from the contortionist?

4) Last Chance U: Basketball Season Premiere (Netflix)
From Greg Whiteley (Cheer) and the team behind Emmy-winning Last Chance U , this series is an honest, gritty look inside the world of community college basketball. Over the course of eight episodes, viewers will follow the East Los Angeles College Huskies (ELAC) in their high stakes chase to an unprecedented California state basketball championship. Led by passionate head coach John Mosley, the ELAC team is made up of former D1 recruits and powerhouse athletes hustling to prove themselves for a last chance to fulfill their dreams of playing at the next level. But the team is tested as the players battle adversity, inner demons, and emotions on and off the court.

5) Marriage Or Mortgage Series Premiere (Netflix)
A wedding planner and a real estate agent compete to win the hearts and budgets of spouses-to-be. Will they pick fairy-tale nuptials or a dream home?

6) Operation Awesome Series Premiere (BYUtv)
Five incredible young people with the biggest, boldest, most amazing ideas for change will get the chance to make their inspired, out-of-the box dreams come true. They will travel to 10 cities across America and work together with local volunteers to help others launch new initiatives, making a lasting and impactful change in every community they visit. Along the way, they'll see the sights and meet some incredible people. On this epic road trip, there's only one rule: leave each place you go better than when you got there. 

7) South ParQ: The Vaccination Special (Paramount+)
The citizens of South ParQ are clamoring for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

6) The Masked Singer Season Premiere (Fox)
In the season premiere episode, “Group A” performs as guest host Niecy Nash takes the stage, along with panelists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke

This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, March 8th, 2021

08 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, March 8th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by iced tea and a hard-to-find Zero candy bar.

WHY ISN'T THAT OPRAH SPECIAL ON PARAMOUNT+ TODAY?
The biggest show on broadcast television Sunday night (and arguably on all of television) was the two-hour interview between Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry/Meghan. Conversation is all over social media today and if you missed out on the initial broadcast, you might think it would be easy to find the special on-demand the morning after an airing. It's a huge event, it's the type of broadcast that is made for next-day viewing. It HAS to be easily available, right?

Um....no.

The obvious place to find it would be on the new Viacom/CBS streaming platform Paramount+. It's the official home of all things CBS and given that the special aired on that network, it's the most likely place to find it.

But as far as I can tell, it's not available at all right now (11:00 a.m. CT). And if you search for Harry and Meghan, all that come up are a couple of Smithsonian Channel specials. But hey, Paramount+ has plenty of episodes of Criminal Minds and iCarly! (and just as a side note: what the hell does the category "Peak Originals" mean?")

I'm assuming that it isn't available on Paramount+ for some sort of licensing reasons, since CBS didn't produce the special, they just licensed it from Oprah's production company. Which leads me to believe Oprah's Harpo Productions has put some restriction on streaming in the U.S. Still, not having it the next day on Paramount+ is just a massive mistake. Especially for a service that is barely a week old and is still trying to prove its a must-have streaming service.

One strange quirk about all of this is that while the special is not available on Paramount+, it is available for streaming at CBS.com and on the CBS app. While seems....strange.

One of the services I have is Hulu Live TV and the special showed up at as the top highlight on my main page. My assumption is that it's available because I have a live TV package and the same factors that make the special available on the CBS app also keep it available for live TV subscribers.

I've reached out to both CBS and Paramount+ to try and get some clarity, but I haven't heard back yet.

SPEAKING OF PARAMOUNT+
There a lot of things to complain about when it comes to Paramount TV+. But the biggest one is that it launched without wish lists or a way to "save" shows to watch later. It's one of those features that should be a baseline feature for any streaming service in 2021.

What other features should be included in any streaming service & what is your biggest pet peeve about a streaming service? I'll be writing about this in Wednesday's newsletter and I'd like to hear from you. Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or let me know on Twitter at @aysrick.

PEACOCK IS RUNNING A WWE NETWORK PROMO DEAL
The WWE Network is coming to Peacock Premium and they're offering a deal if you subscribe now. You can can prepay for four months at the discounted rate of $2.50 per month. After that, it will cost you $5 per month.

Image

'WANDAVISION' ENDING WAS APPARENTLY CHANGED DUE TO FAN THEORIES
Most of the time, post-season finale interviews with a showrunner or director doesn't provide many surprises. Everything that was supposed to be in the season was there, even though sometimes the viewing audience doesn't quite understand it.

But a recent interview of Wandavision director Matt Shakman by Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin’s for their Fatman Beyond podcast provided a LOT of details about the season that might have been (spoilers here, so feel free to skip over):







<<SPOILER SPACE>>







For one thing, the pandemic industry shutdown led to big changes in the season arc and how the series was released:

...he revealed that the ongoing pandemic meant the crew couldn’t finish the show as originally planned. For starters, the series would’ve debuted the first three episodes at the same time (which might’ve helped some audiences get onboard easier) but the team would’ve had to delay the finale if they stuck to this plan. The crew only finished the last episode two weeks before the official release, which is why some of the CGI didn’t quite look right because it was edited after the shutdown.

Matt Shakman explained to Smith and Bernardin that originally, a sub-plot was filmed involving the twins, Monica, Darcy and Ralph Bohner as they attempted to steal the Darkhold from Agatha Harkness’ basement. It sounds like it would’ve teased more monstrous things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the director confirmed that Agatha’s rabbit, Scratchy, would’ve been revealed as a demon. Shakman also confirmed that the earlier tease about the aerospace engineer was purposefully included – but a scene paying off the reference was seemingly taken out when audiences began speculating about Reed Richards arriving on the show.

But the most fascinating revelation to me is that Marvel Studios was apparently tweaking the final episodes of the season based on the social media chatter from fans:



Editing a show in reaction to fan theories seems like an example of fan service taken to a dark place. On the other hand, maybe it's also an example of the upsides of dropping an entire season at one time.



TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) Bombay Begums Series Premiere (Netflix)
From boardrooms to society's margins, five ambitious women from various walks of life navigate dreams, desires and disappointments in modern Mumbai.

2) Bombay Rose (Netflic)
Escaping from child marriage, a young club dancer living in the streets of Bombay, must choose between fending for her family and finding love with a boy orphaned by the militancy. Painted frame by frame and woven delicately through music, a red rose brings together three tales of impossible loves. Love between two dreamers tested by duty and religious divides. Love between two women. Love of an entire city for its Bollywood stars. Based on true events, the film, in documentary fashion, explores the ruthlessness of a society where the love and life that reigns on the big screen can crush you in its mean streets. Bombay Rose is directed by Gitanjali Rao and produced by Cinestaan Film Company/Les Films d'ici. An award-winning festival favorite, it was the first Indian animated film ever selected to open Venice Critics Week; it was also selected by the Toronto International Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival, and an award winner at the Chicago and Mumbai Film Festivals.

3) Rock The Block Season Premiere (HGTV)
Host Ty Pennington will referee the action as the experts battle to maximize the value of identical suburban properties with $225,000 and only six weeks to complete their projects. In the end, just one pair will score bragging rights and a street named in their honor. In addition to a rotating panel of guest judges, the new season’s star roster of dueling duos includes legendary home renovator and contractor Mike Holmes (Holmes On Homes) paired with Chicago’s fearless home reno and design expert Alison Victoria (Windy City Rehab); designing dads Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent (Nate and Jeremiah: Save My House); two HGTV Design Star winners, David Bromstad (My Lottery Dream Home) and Tiffany Brooks ($50K Three Ways), who join forces; and the couple who can build and design an entire home in 100 days, Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt (100 Day Dream Home.)

4) Web Of Lies (Discovery+)

The dark web is home to the most insidious crimes of the modern era. 

This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, March 5th, 2021

05 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, March 5th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by Dr. Pepper and Chex Mix.

WANDAVISION AND THE ART OF BINGEING
The season finale of Disney+'s Wandavision was released early this morning and the anticipation around that event not only knocked the service offline for some subscribers, it prompted a flurry of hot takes arguing (of course), that the success of Wandavision means that Netflix's "drop an entire season at once" approach is flawed. And as if usually the case, much is made about the "communal nature" that comes when you release one new episode a week.

But as I argued in this piece a couple of weeks ago, there is room for all variations of release schedules. It depends on the show and the likelihood that conversation about the series can be sustained over an eight or ten week period:

And that is my response to people who use the success of The Mandalorian or Wandavision as a rationale why all scripted television should be released on a "one-episode-per-week" basis. Those shows are the exception, not the rule. Releasing episodes once a week doesn't guarantee people who spend more time talking about the show. Otherwise, my social media feeds would be filled with conversations about the second season of Snowpiercer. 

The pop culture zeitgeist only has the attention bandwidth to deal with so much bandwidth at one time. And in an industry where there are maybe a dozen potential buzzworthy shows being released each month, dropping an entire season of most of them at once gives more of them a chance to shine-even if it's for a shorter amount of time.

Releasing an entire season at once also plays to the reality of streaming television in 2021. We live in a world with a lot of media distractions. We're discovering things at different times and on a variety of unexpected platforms. Our viewing habits are defined by our friends and social media feeds as anything else. For the most part, we don't live in a pop culture world of entertainment. It's a pod culture world. More and more often, we discover a show because someone we know or follow on social media talk about. I am sure nearly all of us have suddenly had a discussion of an older show dominate our cultural pod because one person discovers it and encourages everyone else to give it a try. 

The biggest issue for TV industry professionals - especially writers - isn't bingeing. It's the short seasons that have become the norm in this streaming television era. Having an 8 or 10 episode season instead of the now traditional 22-episode broadcast order means less money for the crew and writing staff. And as Jose Molina (Agent Carter, Firefly) noted on Twitter several days ago, short seasons don't just impact incomes. They also have the effect of lessening opportunities for younger writers and staff:

Also: normalize 22-episode seasons. Short seasons are destroying writers' and assistants' livelihoods. (This isn't an invitation to discuss the merits of short seasons.) In a season of 22, a show must farm out a freelance or pay a fine. That doesn't apply in a short season.

I would recommend reading the comments on the thread. There are a lot of complex challenges related to short seasons and at this point I don't think anyone has any great answers.

IN THE WORLD OF MARKETING, NO IDEA TRULY GOES AWAY
To celebrate Halfway to Halloween Month in April, Shudder is bringing back its Halfway to Halloween Hotline:

Every Friday in April from 3pm-4pm ET, members are invited to call Samuel Zimmerman, Shudder’s director of programming, to discuss all things horror: from their favorite genre films of all time to the most highly anticipated horror releases of the year. From those conversations, Sam will then use his horror expertise to offer customized viewing recommendations from Shudder’s expansive film collection.

It's a fun idea, but as Jim Maiella pointed out this morning on Twitter, it's not a new idea. ESPN was doing something similar 40 years ago:

Image

WHY I'M NOT REVIEWING 'COMING 2 AMERICA'
As a critic, you need to be aware of your prejudices and respect them. In the case of Arsenio Hall, I know just enough about the guy that I am incapable of fairly judging anything he's in. So I'm not reviewing Coming 2 America, which premieres today on Amazon Prime.

I did standup for more than a decade and early on, I frequently performed at a showcase club in the Chicago suburbs called the Comedy Cottage. At the time, Arsenio Hall was kind of the big fish in that small pond and he was relentless in his efforts to get out of Chicago and into the bigger leagues. He also had a reputation for being fairly cutthroat, which given his later success, I guess was a smart career move. His first big TV break was doing a segment on the TV dance/music/variety series Solid Gold. The set went very well, but it was a bit shocking for the other local comics because as part of his set, Arsenio did a substantial bit belonging to another Chicago comic. A guy named John Tambourino, who spent his days working as a municipal garbageman.

To be clear, Arsenio didn't just do a line or two of John's material. It was an entire bit & it was by far the best material John had at the time. So watching someone else do it on national TV didn't go down very well. When Arsenio returned to the club, there was a huge meeting of that included pretty much every comic working in the area. There was a lot of yelling back-and-forth and it ended when Arsenio left the club, never to return. But his parting words were to scream at John, "I'm going to be somebody. You're a garbage collector and you'll always be a garbage collector. Five years from now I'm going to be a star and you're still going to be driving a garbage truck."

Arsenio was right about his future and maybe he's a much better man in 2021. But it's hard for me to watch his work without thinking of that meeting and so I'll pass on the review of his new movie.

To be fair to Arsenio, this was not the first time this type of thing happened in the world of stand-up. For instance, when Mork & Mindy first became a hit, Robin Williams was notorious for "accidentally" using other comic's material on the show. He ended up paying some of the comics for the jokes, but at one point the problem was so contentious that the Comedy Store in Hollywood wouldn't allow Williams to watch other comics perform when he visited. His attribution problem was also how David Letterman ended up making some guest appearances on Mork & Mindy. After Williams used some of Letterman's material on the show, Letterman apparently confronted Williams backstage at the Comedy Store and threatened to punch him unless Williams made it right, The result was a couple of guest slots, which might have helped Letterman more if he hadn't turned out to be a terrible actor. 

Image
TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) Boss Level (Hulu)
Trapped in a time loop that constantly repeats the day of his murder, former special forces agent Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo) uncovers clues about a secret government project that could unlock the mystery behind his untimely death. In a race against the clock, Pulver must hunt down Colonel Ventor (Mel Gibson), the powerful head of the government program, while outrunning skilled ruthless assassins determined to keep him from the truth in order to break out of the loop, save his ex-wife (Naomi Watts) and live once again for tomorrow.

2) City Of Ghosts Series Premiere (Netflix)
Meet the Ghost Club! Their adventures take them all around Los Angeles as they interview ghosts, solve problems and learn about their city's history.

3) Coming 2 America (Amazon)
Akeem and Semmi are back. Set in the lush and royal country of Zamunda, newly-crowned King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) embark on an adventure that has them traversing the globe from their great African nation to the borough of Queens, New York - where it all began.

4) Dangerous Medicine (LMN)
When Tony's new physical therapist falls in love with him, he unsuccessfully tries to let her down gently. Will her obsession turn deadly?

5) Dogwashers (Netflix)
When a narco past his prime refuses to pay a debt to an upstart, only a secret stash of money can save his men. But guess what the gardener just found?

6) Nevenka: Breaking The Silence (Netflix)
This docuseries examines Spain's historic 2001 lawsuit, in which city councilor Nevenka Fernández accused Mayor Ismael Álvarez of sexual harassment.

7) Pokemon Journeys: The Series (Netflix)
More episodes of this classic, which apparently follows a character named Ash as he travels across Japan, continuously just failing to win Pokemon tournaments.

8) Raya & The Last Dragon (Disney+ Premium)
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it's up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good.

9) Sentinelle (Netflix)
Transferred home after a traumatizing combat mission, a highly trained French soldier uses her lethal skills to hunt down the man who hurt her sister.

10) Warren Jeffs: Cult of Personality (Reelz)
At the border of Utah and Arizona, a remote theocratic community has been thriving for decades. They live in full obedience to a spiritual leader, whom they believe to be ordained by God. His name is Warren Jeffs, the Prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ and the latter day Saints. On a quiet summer night, Flora Jessup is on a dangerous mission: to rescue two teenage girls who are trying to flee the same religious community that she escaped years before – the FLDS. 

11) Wynonna Earp Season 4b Premiere (Syfy)
This underrated series returns for the final few episodes of its run.

This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one Monday. 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, March 4th, 2021

04 March, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, March 4th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by room temperature coffee and Beefy Mac.

PARAMOUNT+ LAUNCHES
The Viacom/CBS streamer Paramount+ launched today and it is likely the last major streaming service to launch for quite awhile. I posted a long look at the service this morning, but after playing around with it for several hours, what I'm left with a feeling of "meh." I know that's not the most helpful comment, but I don't know quite how else to describe my reaction. Paramount+ was built on the CBS All-Access platform, so Paramount+ will feel familiar to anyone who subscribed to that service. And they have a lot of the content they promised to have at launch. And yet....

As expected, there is a wealth of Viacom cable properties, although weirdly, not so much of the most recent stuff. But if you enjoy watching old episodes of Nick programming, this is going to be heaven for you. Although - as I noted in my review - the archive of past seasons of a number of old MTV and VH1 shows is weirdly spotty. And while licensing is likely the reason why you won't see much of the MTV music video programming, it's strange to me that Viacom/CBS has opted to create branded music channels for Pluto, but not for Paramount+.

All of that programming was what I had expected to see and in fact, a lot of it had already been added to CBS All-Access. There are a couple of big disappointments for me, and they are both connected with Viacom's Paramount library. If you are renaming your streaming efforts with the Paramount name - a name you are going to use globally for streaming - why would you not lean deeply into the Paramount legacy? Despite Paramount having hundreds of TV shows in its library, there isn't one series in the Paramount+ "classic TV" section that you haven't seen before. It's inexplicable, given the history of that brand. Company executives promise that will change, but given the amount of time they had to plan for the launch, why not have at least some of it ready to stream?

Things are even more disappointing in the movie section. At first glance, the movie section of Paramount+ seems impressive. There are nearly 700 titles in the section, which sounds like a lot of options. Until you begin to look through the section and notice that probably 2/3 of those titles are science specials from the Smithsonian Channel, celebrity roasts and other specials from Comedy Central as well as all sorts of random one-off titles. The actual number of movie titles available on Paramount+ right now is likely in the 250-300 range. And while there are some great movies in the section, thanks to Viacom's "we'll license our stuff anywhere to make some money" approach to their catalog, most of the best titles have been widely available for years. You would be hard pressed to name a streaming service which hasn't had the rights to movies such as the Indy Jones titles at some point or another. 

So that is what makes the decision not to launch with a deeper dive into the Paramount catalog even more inexplicable. Paramount has been producing movies for a hundred years. And while there are valid reasons why some titles can't be part of the streaming world right now, sticking with the same roster of familiar oldies just feels disappointing. Yes, I know executives point to a deal with Epix to provide more recent titles and there are reboots of a number of TV titles on the way. But why launch with such a predictable collection of titles. Why not take advantage of the older titles you have in-house to bridge the gap until the newer titles arrive? And why not use that catalog to remind subscribers why the Paramount brand matters to them?

And that seems like the big challenge for Paramount+. How to live up to the promise of the name. Like Warner Brothers, Paramount does have a long history in Hollywood. But why use that name as branding if you're not going to lean into it?

ODDS AND SODS
Starz announced today it is in the planning stages of bringing back Party Down as a limited run series featuring the original cast.

Universal is changing the premiere date of the Fast And Furious movie F9. This is the third time the release date has changed and this time the studio is moving it from the Memorial Day weekend to June 25th. Universal also announced that Minions: The Rise of Gru, the fifth installment in the Despicable Me franchise, has been postponed an entire year. The animated family film was set to open on July 2nd, 2021, and will now release theatrically on July 1st, 2022.


TODAY'S PREMIERES
1) Baron Noir Season Three Premiere (Topic)
The third season of this French drama tells the story of French politician Philippe Rickwaert (Kad Merad), who thirsts for revenge against his political enemies. Philippe’s political career is in shambles after he is sacrificed by presidential candidate Francis Laugier (Niels Arestrup) during the election. As Philippe plots against him, forging alliances and cultivating friendships across social stratas, his life becomes a fascinating, organized chaos, and a constant battle against his enemies and his own demons.

2) For Heaven's Sake (Paramount+)
This new series blends comedy and crime documentary formats for a unique take on uncovering the truth. The series will follow the search for Harold Heaven, who mysteriously disappeared from his remote cabin in Ontario, Canada, in the winter of 1934. Local police searched the nearby woods and dredged the adjacent lake, but Harold was never found nor heard from again. The case was unceremoniously closed as a likely suicide. 85 years later, his great-great-nephew, Mike, attempts to solve this coldest of cold cases, with the help of his extended family and true-crime-obsessed best friend, Jackson.

3) Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years Series Premiere (Paramount+)
Kamp Koral, the first-ever SpongeBob SquarePants spinoff, follows 10-year-old SpongeBob SquarePants and his pals as they spend their summer building underwater campfires, catching wild jellyfish, and swimming in Lake Yuckymuck at the craziest camp in the kelp forest.

4) Lucky (Shudder)
Life takes a sudden turn for May (Brea Grant, After Midnight), a popular self-help book author, when she finds herself the target of a mysterious man with murderous intentions. Every night, without fail he comes after her, and every day the people around her barely seem to notice. With no one to turn to, May is pushed to her limits and must take matters into her own hands to survive and to regain control of her life. Written by Brea Grant, directed by Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl).

5) My Mane Problem (ALLBLAK)
This new reality series features celebrity hairstylist Dr. Boogie - an industry veteran whose clients include Taraji P. Henson, Eve, and Vivica Fox – rescuing clients struggling with deeply affecting hair trauma. 

6) Pacific Rim: The Black Series Premiere (Netflix)
After Kaiju ravages Australia, two siblings pilot a Jaeger to search for their parents, encountering new creatures, seedy characters and chance allies.

7) Persona: The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests (HBO Max)
Taking a personality test can provide useful insights into our sense of self, but many may not realize how deeply embedded personality assessments are in everything we do. Persona explores the unexpected origin story of America’s great obsession with personality testing, uncovering the intriguing history behind the world-famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, while raising a slew of ethical questions and demonstrating how some personality tests may do more harm than good – like impacting online dating matches or job prospects. This eye-opening documentary reveals the profound ways that ideas about personality have shaped our society. 

8) Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News (Paramount+)
Tooning Out the News will feature a cast of animated characters, led by anchor James Smartwood, parodying top news stories and interviewing real-world guests, newsmakers, and analysts. New five- to seven-minute segments will be available Tuesday through Friday, culminating in a weekly full episode. 

9) Strange Evidence Season Premiere (Science)
This series investigates mysteries caught on tape and uncovers the science behind some of the most bizarre occurrences ever recorded.

10) The Deadly Type With Candice Delong Series Premiere (Discovery+)
Candice DeLong reveals the traits that can mold a killer.

11) The Real World Homecoming: New York Series Premiere (Paramount+)
Almost 30 years later, the original “seven strangers” that paved the way for modern reality TV are moving back into the New York loft where it all began . Viewers will be reunited with the cast from the very first season of The Real World in a brand new multi-episode docu-series to find out, once again, what happens when they stop being polite… and start getting real.

12) The TS Madison Experience Series Premiere (WE tv)
TS Madison is setting out on a bold, unfiltered, and authentic journey to be the first Black trans woman to host a mainstream talk show. With her team and her BFF Tiffany "New York" Pollard, she's on a daring quest to accomplish her dreams.

13) The Walrus & The Whistleblower (Discovery+)
A popular animal trainer wages war to rescue a beloved walrus.

14) What On Earth? Season Premiere (Science)
Viewers will embark on an extraordinary journey as they travel around the globe, discovering the truth behind these mysteries thanks to state-of-the-art aerial imaging and analysis from the world’s leading investigators and scientists

This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.

If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.

I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.