Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, November 9th, 2022
A bad night for CNN and a leading Nordic streamer is launching in the U.S.
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, November 9th, 2022.
CNN'S BAD ELECTION NIGHT
CNN executives are dealing with a lot of issues right now: a disheartened staff, a lackluster editorial focus and new owners whose only real direction seems to be "quit criticizing people, that's partisan."
The latest piece of bad news for cable news network came today, when the initial ratings were released for last night's election coverage. And the news - no pun intended - was not good:
And this year, for the first time in cable history, CNN came in third place behind MSNBC in the overall ratings for midterm election coverage, with less than 2.5 million total viewers. CNN narrowly beat MSNBC in the 25-to-54 year-old demo, albeit with an audience that was less than one million viewers. Fox News was the indisputable winner with 7.4 million total viewers, more than doubling the second-place ABC News, where George Stephanopoulos, who had been sidelined by David Muir, decided to skip election night altogether for the first time in 25 years.
Jake Tapper seemed strangely ill-at-ease all evening and the entire CNN on-air crew just felt as if they were created by some computer tasked with selecting the blandest possible personalities. I expected to see some sort of on-air experiments as CNN head Chris Licht continues to retool the network. But it felt as if it was the kind of presentation I could have watched in 2012. Albeit without Wolf Blitzer, whose very specific vibe was sorely missed last night.
But as Puck's Dylan Byers notes, election coverage is not the only place where CNN is struggling:
CNN’s struggles on Tuesday are, of course, indicative of a far larger problem. Last week, despite the barn-burning heat of the final throes of an historic midterm election cycle, the network drew its smallest audience in seven years. CNN This Morning, one of Licht’s two big programming moves, is averaging 380,000 total viewers—less than half the number watching MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Licht’s old home and the industry icon—and just 81,000 in the demo. (Ryan Kadro, CNN’s chief content officer and a longtime Licht deputy, has asked people to give the show some time to find its footing. Fair enough.) And, with Tapper failing in primetime and returning to afternoons, the important primetime lineup is once again a blank slate.
There is a network-wide meeting coming in a few days and Licht apparently hopes to ease some employee's concerns about the future. But it's difficult to see what he can say at this point. It's clear the network is going to continue to have to endure severe budgetary cutbacks. And so far, I haven't heard any specific ideas about how to differentiate CNN's on-air presentation from its competitors. So far, the underlying programming philosophy seems to be "not as partisan as the other guys, and a bit more boring." Which doesn't sound like a winning formula, to be honest.
TWEET OF THE DAY
NORDIC STREAMER TO LAUNCH IN THE U.S. IN FEBRUARY
Viaplay is one of the bigger regional streamers in the Nordics and parts of Europe, with 7.3 million subscribers in 11 countries. The streamer has announced it is launching a standalone app in the U.S. in February 2023 and Canada in March.
It's not clear just how wide the rollout is going to be in the U.S. I've reached out to the company for more details, because the press release announcing the move says Viaplay will be available on Comcast’s Xfinity platforms for $4.99 per month. But is it going to have a wider U.S. rollout?
One thing to keep in mind about Viaplay is that while it will strictly be a home for Nordic scripted and unscripted television in the U.S. market, in the Nordic countries and Europe it offers a much wider selection of content, including live sports coverage.
As a bit of context, here is an interview I did with Viaplay EVP And Chief Content Officer Filippa Wallestam in January:
From the outside, it would seem like one of the challenges is that for most U.S. TV viewers, while they've seen a lot of Nordic content, it's tended to be just a couple of genres. The broody noir detective shows are very popular here. But they aren't necessarily familiar with Nordic content outside of that genre. What kind of a challenge is that for you to just let people know, "look, we're more than just moody detective shows where the detective is trying to get over some sort of a traumatic thing. While he's solving murders."
But I think you're kind of hitting the main opportunity for us. The Nordics are known for creating great content already. So those people that are interested in Nordic crime shows, detective shows - they not going to be disappointed. And we have a lot of fantastic, strong crime shows, classic crime shows, but also programs that approach it in more innovative ways. We don't necessarily always need to have familiar shows with female victims and misunderstood agents. We are trying to be a little bit more innovative within that very well-known and established genre. But then outside of that genre, we have also produced dramas and comedies that aren't focused on crime, that are just people hanging out. That's an area that I have really high hopes for.
I also think that the younger audience, they are much more used to foreign language programming, they are sharing the same kind of dilemmas thanks to the Internet, Tik Tok. All these kinds of topics are the same regardless of if you're young in the Nordics or if you're young in the U.S. That's an area where we have produced a lot in the last few years and that we've kind of deliberately saved for our own U.S. launch. That's an area that I think maybe people are not expecting to see from us. But that is exciting. We also have some very strong dramas, ones that we have produced very successfully, most of them female-driven crew, female creators, and these shows are more about everyday life challenges, etc.
So I think what the viewers should expect is that it won't just be Nordic noir crime shows. We have plenty of those and have really secured the bulk of the best of those shows from both our own productions and from other Nordic players. But along with that, we also have channels or categories such as other dramas, programming for young adults, and documentaries. That's kind of the starting point. And of course, the cornerstone will be our own Viaplay originals. We are producing a lot of our own shows, we have an ambition of having at least 60 regional productions this year. And then we also have the best of the other Nordic players. So we'll have a lot of our own productions, but also the best from the region in general
WHAT'S NEW FOR WEDNESDAY:
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
56th Annual CMA Awards (ABC)
Breathe Into The Shadows (Prime Video)
Diesel Brothers (Discovery)
FIFA Uncovered (Netflix)
Hard Knocks: In Season: The Arizona Cardinals (HBO)
Master Distiller Season Premiere (Discovery)
Moonshiners Season Premiere (History)
Pawn Stars Do America (History)
Rooted: America's Tree of Life Series Premiere (Smithsonian)
Save Our Squad With David Beckham Series Premiere (Disney+)
Secret Restoration (History)
The Crown Season Five Premiere (Netflix)
The Montaners Series Premiere (Disney+)
The Soccer Football Movie (Netflix)
The Tatami Time Machine Blues (Disney+)
Zootopia+ Series Premiere (Disney+)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU THURSDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.