Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, November 11th, 2019. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is running on coffee and leftover Halloween candy.
THE ART OF AUDIENCE MANAGEMENT
If you don't have a teenager in the house or if you're under the age of 22, you might not be familiar with the new Netflix series "Daybreak," which premiered last Thursday. It's an exceptionally entertaining series - think "Ferris Bueller meets some Zombies" - and while most of the industry press attention was focused on Friday's launch of Apple TV+, every teen I saw online was obsessed with "Daybreak."
The Entertainment Strategy Guy has an interesting column on franchise management and with Disney+ launching tomorrow, the importance of intellectual property can't be underestimated in the increasingly competitive streaming video market. But I am also fascinated with Netflix's attempts to manage their audience. They don't own any big IPs, so they've developed this mix of picking up lesser IP that has been ignored, developing some possible franchises in-house and targeting under-served audiences.
Netflix released "Daybreak" on Thursday and the teen-oriented Christmas film "Let It Snow" on Friday. Both of the projects are original and target a fickle teen audience that often gets ignored in the marketplace. If John Hughes was a young filmmaker in 2019, he would be doing films like "Let It Snow." It's a funny, contemporary movie that features a quirky soundtrack and a cast of actors that are already well-known to teens. That back-to-back release seemed to dominate teen audiences attention over the weekend. And it served as reminder to teens that even though Disney+ is coming, it's not the only place they can find shows made for them.
Cynics will joke that the teen audience doesn't matter, since they're likely using their parent's logins to watch Netflix. But these passionate freeloaders will grow into paying customers and with a maturing Netflix facing a higher subscriber acquisition cost in the U.S., reminding future subscribers they matter is a good investment. Netflix is managing their audience's expectations and timing premiere dates and promotions in a way that typically you usually only see on the broadcast television side of the business.
DISNEY+ DEBUTS TOMORROW
I'll have a rundown in tomorrow's newsletter about all the new shows premiering at launch. But one thing we know for sure is that unlike the tepid reaction to Apple TV+, Disney has wrung every bit of pre-launch promotion they can out of the many parts of the Disney empire. Given the amount of content available at launch, there is going to be a lot of talk from viewers this week about the service. And as for the long-term outlook, if anyone claims to know that they're probably trying to sell you their "exclusive" streaming research.
Here's a rundown of the modest amount of television and streaming stuff premiering today:
1) Battle Of Midway: The True Story (Smithsonian)
It's June 1942 and the world's fate is about to be decided by a handful of pilots and their untested aircraft. Experience an inside look at the Battle of Midway, captured through rarely seen battle footage and firsthand accounts from its hero dive-bombing pilot, "Dusty" Kleiss. This is an hour-by-hour recount of one of the most pivotal conflicts of the 20th century. Take a closer look at how this desperately needed victory came about through the design of U.S. airplanes, the skill of the pilots, the element of surprise, and a stroke of luck.
2) Chief Of Staff (Netflix)
Starring veteran actors Lee Jung-jae and Shin Min-ah, the series centers on the behind-the-scenes politicking of South Korea’s National Assembly. The drama feels reminiscent of the renowned series "The West Wing," but in ways that highlight deficiencies rather than strengths.
3) Thanksgiving Grubdown (Cooking)
Carla Hall discovers outrageous Turkey Day treats in this one-hour primetime special. She gobbles 'til she wobbles on pumpkin pancakes piled high with a slice of cheesecake, reimagines Thanksgiving dinner as a giant sandwich and devours a 23-pound cake made with layers of holiday pies.
4) The Gift: The Journey Of Johnny Cash (YouTube Originals)
Created with the full cooperation of the Cash estate and rich in recently discovered archival materials, the documentary brings Cash the man out from behind the legend. Taking the remarkable Folsom Prison recording as a central motif and featuring interviews with family and celebrated collaborators, the 90-minute documentary from Emmy Award-winning director Thom Zimny (“Elvis Presley: The Searcher,” “Springsteen on Broadway”) explores the artistic victories, the personal tragedies, the struggles with addiction, and the spiritual pursuits that colored Johnny Cash's life. The documentary was nominated for a 2019 IDA Documentary Award.
5) The Good Karma Hospital (Acorn)
Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones) stars as junior doctor Ruby Walker, who had arrived in India in the very first episode looking for a job and a distraction from her heartbreak, but instead found the realities of work, life, and even love at an under-resourced and over-worked cottage hospital. Season three finds our tropical Indian hospital busy as ever, with several big new arrivals causing a stir. The team faces their most shocking case yet when one of their own nursing team – young, idealistic Jyoti Gill (Sayani Gupta)– survives a violent attack. Dr. Lydia Fonseca (Redman) and Nurse Mari Rodriguez (Nimmi Harasgama, Doctors) are particularly affected and struggle to provide the care she needs -- Mari has to set aside her prejudices to support her friend, while Lydia must revisit some emotional places in her own past to show Jyoti the way forward.
6) Xavier Riddle And The Secret Museum Series Premiere (PBS Kids)
Young adventurers will get to go back in time to meet some of the world’s most inspiring historical figures – when they were kids – and learn about the character skills that helped shape their vision and lead to their success. This adventure comedy, based on the New York Times bestselling children’s book series, “Ordinary People Change the World,” debuted with thirteen episodes on Amazon Prime last week and the first episode for broadcast premieres today. In each episode, the adventurous Xavier Riddle, his unyielding little sister Yadina and their reluctantly determined friend Brad must turn to influential figures who assist the trio in solving modern and relatable problems, from learning to read and ride a bike to taking care of the planet.
For a rundown of all the new episodes of television premiering tonight, click here.
TODAY'S TV FLASHBACK
Before he created "White Collar" and "Graceland, Jeff Eastin co-created the 1999-2000 UPN comedy "Shasta McNasty" with film producer and future Sony executive Neal H. Boritz. The series starred Jake Busey, Carmine Giovinazzo & Dale Godboldo as three friends who are part of the rap rock band Shasta McNasty. After signing to Da Funk Records, they relocate from Chicago to LA where they find out that the label has gone bust. And then the comedy begins...
It only lasted one season but the final episode is notable for providing the series an actual ending. The last episode was set ten years in the future, in a spoof of the "Behind The Band" MTV series.
TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
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.
And if you're a glutton for punishment (or just want to know what you've missed), check out this list of all the shows that have premiered so far in 2019.
I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.