Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, December 17th, 2021
I was told that Fridays are a slow news day...
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, December 15th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ still has a lot (okay, maybe all) of my Christmas presents to wrap.
SOME PROGRAMMING NOTES
A lot of the industry newsletters are taking off the rest of the month and coming back on Monday, January 3rd. I'm not quite being that aggressive with my vacation time, but given that news will dry up over the next couple of weeks, I am adjusting the publication schedule a bit.
Next week I'll send out newsletters on Monday and Tuesday. If there is enough news to justify sending one out later in the week, I will. The following week will be a limited schedule - short newsletters on Tuesday and Thursday highlighting some new feature pieces and interviews from the web site as well as info on the still impressive amount of new programming premiering during the week. There generally isn't a lot of breaking news during that between-the-holiday week, but if there is, I'll let you know.
SO, WHAT'S THE STREAMING STRATEGY AT WARNERMEDIA?
Bloomberg is reporting that CNN will be pulling its news special from HBO Max and moving them over to its news streamer CNN+, when it launches in 2022:
The programs that will likely move include popular food shows starring Anthony Bourdain and Stanley Tucci and other CNN original series and documentaries, according to a person familiar with the matter. CNN no longer plans to produce shows for HBO Max, which is owned by the same parent company, AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia.
I admit that I am perplexed by the entire premise of CNN+. WarnerMedia management seems convinced there is a substantial market for people willing to pay $6.99 a month for CNN programming. Yes, there will be some new shows on the proposed streamer, but I find it difficult to believe there are enough people yearning for a Van Jones roundtable show to make the service a success.
Even the hyper partisan Fox Nation has struggled to build a viable subscriber base. And to be kind, I don't believe there are millions (or even hundreds of thousands) of CNN "super fans" willing to pay about the same fee per month as they'd spend to subscribe to Disney+.
THE MOST-READ STORIES OF 2021
I've posted a rundown of the ten most-read stories this year on AllYourScreens.com and even though I pay entirely too much attention to pageviews and other metrics on a day-to-day basis, the list ended up having some real surprises to me. It included reviews of a couple of CBS procedurals, a Discovery series, some cable news pieces and my argument that the worst thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party was the success of The West Wing.
Given the fast pace of my work week, I don't usually go back and read pieces after I've posted them. So seeing some of this stuff months after I've written them was a strange experience.
Here is the link to the entire list.
MORE INSIDE BASEBALL, BUT WHAT A WEIRD STORY
As I mentioned in Wednesday's newsletter, longtime entertainment media executive Janice Min is joining forces with Richard Rushfield, a show-business columnist, to start a new media business that will be spun off from his popular subscription newsletter, The Ankler. In the NY Times piece highlighting the deal, Min revealed that her first hire would be Tatiana Siegel, the executive film editor of The Hollywood Reporter, who would join in January to report on the worlds of Hollywood and entertainment.
But late Thursday evening, Variety's Elizabeth Wagmeister posted an "exclusive" story reporting that Siegel won't be heading to The Ankler after all, instead she's joining Rolling Stone:
Min told the New York Times and said in a tweet that Tatiana Siegel, executive film editor of the Hollywood Reporter, would be joining Ankler. But Variety has confirmed that Siegel instead has plans to join Rolling Stone as a Senior Reporter. (Both Rolling Stone and THR are also owned by Variety parent company PMC.)
Min responded to the piece by complaining on Twitter that she wasn't given the time to respond to Wagmeister's request for a comment before the story posted:
This is insanity. I am on the phone with @TatianaSiegel27 now. We were typing our response to the reporter together when they posted this telling her this is not true. Jay Penske has been trying to keep Tatiana since she accepted a job with us.
My response to the reporter, if she had waited for it, was, "Tatiana has accepted an offer to work for The Ankler. We understand Jay Penske is working really hard to try to keep her." Didn't realize one of the ways was to put out a false story
After her complaint, the Variety was updated with her comments, along with this somewhat odd sentence:
Rushfield and Siegel did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.
It's weird that Variety couldn't get a comment from Siegel, given that according to the story she is supposedly headed to Variety's sister publication. And despite Min's comments about the story, she never actually says whether Siegel might have changed her mind about joining The Ankler (although that is the implication).
The odd thing about all of this is that there hasn't been an update since the original Variety piece posted last night. So it's not clear whether Siegel is still joining The Ankler or decided to stay with PMC. At the very least, this would seem like a good topic for a special edition of The Ankler newsletter.
And btw, special props to Variety for this passive-aggressive slam at Min in its piece:
Since leaving THR in 2017, Min has moved through a series of short-lived positions. She spent seven months as a consultant for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, one year as a news executive at the now-defunct Quibi and 11 months as a contributing editor at Time, where she penned three stories for the weekly newsmagazine.
SPEAKING OF PENSKE MEDIA
As you probably have heard, news broke yesterday that Bruce Springsteen has decided to sell the rights to his master recordings as well as his publishing to Sony for a reported $500 million or so.
The interesting thing about this story is that while Sony Music/Columbia is buying Springsteen's music catalog, Sony's publishing company (Sony Music Publishing) partnered with Eldridge Industries to help fund its acquisition of Springsteen's publishing portfolio.
Eldridge Industries is a Connecticut-based private investment firm which was co-founded by its CEO and Chairman, Todd Boehly.
Boehly has stakes in the L.A Dodgers and L.A Lakers. But he is also chairman of MRC, parent of Dick Clark Productions; MRC additionally owns a stake in PMRC, the parent of Billboard, Variety and Rolling Stone.
So we now live in a world where Billboard shares the same management as the firm who will co-own Bruce Springsteen's publishing catalog.
ODDS AND SODS
* BBC shoots pilot for British version of That's My Jam.
* The fifth and final season of Better Things will premiere Monday, February 28th on FX.
* BET+ is bringing back the BET reality series Real Husbands Of Hollywood for what it describes as a "six-episode special event." Original cast members Kevin Hart, Boris Kodjoe, Duane Martin, JB Smoove, Nelly, Nick Cannon, Robin Thicke, Cynthia McWilliams, and Jackie Long return for the "event," which premieres on February 10th.
* Oxygen is premiering the new true crime series Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkin on Sunday, January 16th.
* The Food Network is premiering the limited-run series Chopped: Casino Royale on Tuesday, January 4th. In this version of the long-running Chopped series, chefs roll the dice for the chance to switch a basket ingredient.
* The life shown in The Simpsons is no longer attainable for most Americans.
THIS IS THE OBITUARY I'D WANT:
This has absolutely no connection to the media or the world of television. Although the life of the woman who is the subject of this obituary would probably have made a great made-for-TV movie:
Of itself hardly news, or good news if you're the type that subscribes to the notion that anybody not named you dying in El Paso, Texas is good news. In which case have I got news for you: the bawdy, fertile, redheaded matriarch of a sprawling Jewish-Mexican-Redneck American family has kicked it. This was not good news to Renay Mandel Corren's many surviving children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom she even knew and, in her own way, loved. There will be much mourning in the many glamorous locales she went bankrupt in: McKeesport, PA, Renay's birthplace and where she first fell in love with ham, and atheism; Fayetteville and Kill Devil Hills, NC, where Renay's dreams, credit rating and marriage are all buried; and of course Miami, FL, where Renay's parents, uncles, aunts, and eternal hopes of all Miami Dolphins fans everywhere, are all buried pretty deep. Renay was preceded in death by Don Shula.
The obituary is hilarious and loving in a way. But it's clear that Renay Mandel Corren was not an easy woman to love:
We thought Renay could not be killed. God knows, people tried. A lot. Renay has been toying with death for a decades, but always beating it and running off in her silver Chevy Nova. Covid couldn't kill Renay. Neither could pneumonia twice, infections, blood clots, bad feet, breast cancer twice, two mastectomies, two recessions, multiple bankruptcies, marriage to a philandering Sergeant Major, divorce in the 70's, six kids, one cesarean, a few abortions from the Quietly Famous Abortionist of Spring Lake, NC or an affair with Larry King in the 60's. Renay was preceded in death by her ex-boyfriend, Larry King. Renay was also sadly preceded in death by her beloved daughter, Cathy Sue Corren Lester Trammel Webster, of Kill Devil Hills, NC, who herself was preceded in death by two marriages, a fudge shop and one eyeball lost in a near-fatal Pepsi bottle incident that will absolutely be explored in future obituaries.
WHAT'S NEW FOR FRIDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
A Forbidden Orange (HBO Max)
BYUradio Family Christmas (BYUtv)
Chillin' Island (HBO)
89th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade (The CW)
Fast & Furious Spy Racers Season Six Premiere (Netflix)
Joe Bob Ruins Christmas (Shudder)
Mistletoe In Montana (Lifetime)
Rolling Like Thunder (Showtime)
Swan Song (Apple TV+)
The Witcher Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
Twisted Little Lies (LMN)
Uninterrupted's Top Class: The Life And Times Of The Sierra Canyon Trailblazers (IMDb TV)
With Love (Amazon)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU MONDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.