Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Tuesday, June 15th, 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 rick@allyourscreens.com 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......


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 LongmireManifest would seem like a good for for Netflix, assuming a deal can be made. 

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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.

I'll be back with another one Thursday. If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.


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