Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, May 16th, 2022
Announcements, we have announcements...
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, May 16th, 2022.
LOTS OF NEW PROGRAM AND FALL SCHEDULE ANNOUNCEMENTS
Between NBC and Fox doing their upfronts today and other networks announcing various pickups and renewals, it's been a big day on the news front. Rather than burying you in details you might have already heard, here are links to the coverage on AllYourScreens.com:
* Fox releases its 2022-2023 primetime programming.
* NBC releases its 2022-2023 primetime programming and schedule.
* TLC announces its summer schedule and renews three rookie shows.
* USA Network adds seven news unscripted shows.
* And a reminder that if you are looking for the latest updates on which broadcast network shows have been canceled/renewed, you can check out this regularly updated list.
DAVID ZASLAV'S NEW MEMO PROMISES WARNER BROS DISCOVERY WILL BE 'GUIDED BY DATA'
Variety's Selome Hailu has a look at a memo recently sent out to employees by new Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zazlav and this passage sounds a lot like the data-driven decision-making utilized by Netflix that so many people in the entertainment industry criticize:
As we build this new company, we need to be guided by data and insights to understand what’s working and what’s not,” the memo reads. “It’s also important that we work more collaboratively across businesses so that we’re able to be strategic in our decision-making and best serve consumers across all platforms. This will enable us to achieve a more efficient and impactful organization and a stronger business overall.
Zaslav also reiterated that HBO Max and Discovery+ will eventually become one platform. And he said the company would work towards a focus on financial opportunities:
As we build this new company, we need to be guided by data and insights to understand what’s working and what’s not. It’s also important that we work more collaboratively across businesses so that we’re able to be strategic in our decision-making and best serve consumers across all platforms. This will enable us to achieve a more efficient and impactful organization and a stronger business overall. To support our pursuit of these ambitions, we have hand-selected a broad group of your peers who are leading and contributing to a range of workstreams underway. This group is being led by Simon Robinson, our Chief Transformation Officer. Simon is a proven leader and a fantastic colleague and we are very lucky to have him shepherding the process. Look out for regular updates from him on the team’s progress.
I was also struck by this paragraph, which sounds like the same rah-rah marketing speak you might hear at any streamer:
Our goal is to reach an even bigger global audience with the broadest and most compelling offering of content across all platforms. To accomplish this, we will invest boldly, but also smartly in what we put on screens, big and small, and always with the intent to drive our business forward.
I mean, is there another option here? "We hope to reach as small an audience as possible, and make as many stupid decisions as possible."
The Warner Bros. Discovery upfront event takes place on Wednesday and I'll be attending (virtually) in order to update you in Wednesday's newsletter.
NETFLIX AND MOVIE THEATER CHAINS CONTINUE TO DANCE
Bloomberg's Lucas Shaw has a really good overview of the discussions between Netflix and the large theater chains over the possibility that at least some Netflix titles would receive a theatrical release before heading to streaming:
The biggest obstacle to a deal now resides inside Netflix. The company’s co-chief executive officers Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings must bless any deal that would give theaters the exclusive rights to its movies for an extended period. More importantly, they would need to agree to spend money to market the titles.
Theaters will only do a deal with Netflix if the company promises to spend a considerable amount of money telling people to watch the movie in theaters. Netflix has seldom spent much money marketing individual titles ahead of their release, and it has never been in the business of telling people to watch a movie anywhere but its service.
And indeed, that has always been the reason why I have been unconvinced Netflix will do any version of regular releases into theaters (Shaw's piece mentions a high of perhaps a dozen films per year). Marketing theatrical films is expensive and when you add in the other associated costs such as prints, etc., as a rule run about half the production costs of a film. So it can easily run 50 million dollars or more to launch a high-profile film. And while there is a big upside if the movie does well, it's a very expensive gamble.
What makes the most sense would be a targeted release. A theatrical release in North America and perhaps some parts of the U.K. and Europe. Which would provide the best chance for a reasonable box office, while limiting the financial exposure. It would also provide extra marketing for the film when it hits Netflix in other markets after the theatrical window.
Of course, it's not clear whether that would be seen by AMC and Cineworld Group Plc (the world's two largest theater chains) as a wide enough release to be considered "global." And in the end, it's still not clear that Netflix is willing to spend the billion or so that would be required to provide a proper theatrical launch for a dozen films.
It's also worth noting that this possibility has been floating around for a long time. In fact, a note from an analyst at JP Morgan last August discussed how the streamer was considering a theatrical release for some of its films. Which makes all of this feel less like a plan and more like something Netflix executives float in order to placate unhappy investors.
The worst part of this discussion is how quickly other sites were posting "Netflix movies are coming to a theater near you." Which is at best, an exaggeration of the reality laid out by Shaw.
WHAT CAN REVERSE LATE NIGHT TV'S DECLINE?
Jon Rineman spent nine years writing for Jimmy Fallon's Late Show and The Tonight Show and he has some thoughts about what is wrong with late night television:
In class, it was described as “tone-deaf” – two wealthy people comparing costly purchases of digital cartoons when aspiring writers can barely afford laptops. Some students spoke of feeling alienated by what has come to be known as “celebrity culture.”
I was tempted to push back on this. Big-name guests are draws. But then I thought about Myrtle Young.
Myrtle was a one-time guest of Johnny Carson – an elderly woman from Indiana who collected potato chips that resembled objects and people.
It was awkward and bizarre, but heartwarming and real. Myrtle wasn’t trying to hawk her wares to people who couldn’t afford them; she was simply sharing a funny but entertaining passion.
One factor Rineman doesn't mention is that celebrities - even minor ones - have a great deal of control over their late night TV segments. Late night television always relied on pre-interviews and a lot of planning. But most segments are now so over-produced and vetted that they feel as lightweight as cotton candy. Late night television doesn't have to be hard-hitting. But it shouldn't feel like a rejected segment for an E! show, either.
TWEET OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* A first look at video from season three of Apple TV+'s For All Mankind, which premieres on June 10th.
* What's new on the streamer Shout Factory TV in June.
* Season eight of Southern Charm premieres Thursday, January 23rd on Bravo.
* After Mario Batali's acquittal, where do we go from here?
* A short video tease for the upcoming Hulu Original movie Prey, which is the newest iteration of the Predator story
* Yasmin Finney Joins BBC’s Doctor Who as Rose
WHAT'S NEW FOR MONDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Basketball Wives Season Premiere (VH1)
Signora Volpe Season One Finale (Acorn TV)
The Good Doctor Season Finale (ABC)
Unfaithful Wives: Caught In The Act Series Premiere (VH1)
Vampire In The Garden (Netflix)
VH1 Couples Retreat Season Premiere (VH1)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU TUESDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.