Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, September 3rd, 2021
I have a teenager....
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, September 3rd, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by an Australian meat & potato pie.
My apologies for the lateness of the newsletter tonight. But I have a teenager.
PAUL COLE SONG RETURNS TO DAWSON'S CREEK ON NETFLIX
When reruns of the long-running teen drama Dawson's Creek returned to Netflix last December, it returned without Paula Cole's song "I Don't Wanna Wait," which was used as the them song in the original broadcast versions of the episodes. But when the series was released on DVD, Sony Pictures Television opted not to spend the money to obtain a license for the song and instead used the Jann Arden track "Run Like Mad."
But today the official Netflix account tweeted out the news that "I Don't Wanna Wait" is now being used on the episode again and the story behind it shows just how innovative companies can be when they are motivated to get something done.
Music licensing issues are a huge impediment when it comes to preparing shows for streaming. Beginning in the mid-1990s, broadcast television shows increasingly relied on familiar pop tunes to set the mood for episodes and those music drops were generally licensed for less than five years. And often, the license restricted its use to television only, forcing a new license if a studio wanted to issue the episodes on DVD or for streaming purposes.
The use of well-known music is so widespread that it has prevented a number of well-known shows from being streamed - ranging from Northern Exposure to Ed. In some cases like Felicity or WKRP In Cincinnati, the original music was just stripped out and replaced by generic music tracks. And in a few rare cases, studios have opted to spend the money, which to be fair is not a small expenditure. For instance, the CBS drama Cold Case recently appeared on HBO Max and it is a series that built many of its episodes around familiar musical acts. But when the episodes hit streaming, they had most of the original music intact, including episodes built around the music of Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones. It's expensive and a complicated process, but it can be done.
And then there is the approach Sony took with "I Don't Wanna Wait," which is kinda genius.
After unsuccessful negotiations with Warner Music (which owns the master recording of the song), Sony TV cut a deal directly with Paula Cole, who re-recorded the song and then licensed that master to Sony for use on Dawson's Creek. It's a deal that works great for both sides. Sony TV gets a sound-alike version that is virtually identical to the original, but at what a source told me was "around 1/10th the cost" of licensing the original. And Cole gets all of the money from the deal, instead of much or all of it disappearing into the vast Borg-like corporate coffers of Warner Music. Even better for Cole, she continues to get exposure through the episodes and now has a new master recording that she can license for other uses.
It's an approach that makes a lot of sense, especially in a world where a number of big-name musicians are re-recording old hits so they can own the new masters (see: Taylor Swift).
AND THE NON-SPECIFIC VIEWING NUMBERS JUST KEEP ON COMING
On Wednesday, I had a bit of fun with Deadline, which appeared to swap the posting some incredibly vague viewer "numbers" for the Hulu movie Vacation Friends in exchange for an "exclusive" about an upcoming sequel film.
But at least Deadline got some exclusive news out of the deal. The Wrap got an exclusive today from Hulu PR, but the "exclusive" was just the chance to pass along some pretty meaningless viewer numbers about the new series Only Murders In The Building:
“Only Murders in the Building” just killed it on Hulu. The Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez-starring whodunnit just had the most-watched premiere day for any comedy series in Hulu’s history, a spokesperson for the streaming service told TheWrap.
Yes, that includes “Seinfeld” — and about 400+ additional comedies that have streamed to-date on Hulu.
Special props to the Hulu publicist who added the Seinfeld factoid, which is a subtle way to throw shade at Netflix, which is adding the entire series of episodes next month. Of course, there is one slight problem with this comparison, as the piece later notes:
Of course, Hulu had far fewer subscribers when reruns of “Seinfeld” premiered on the platform in 2015. When the streaming service announced it had acquired those rights, the platform had about 9 million subscribers. Today, Hulu has nearly 43 million subs.
So even the cute comparison is essentially meaningless. But that doesn't matter to Hulu, because it can count on a lot of reporters just using the factoid, even if it doesn't make much sense. And these types of stories also allow for tweets like this one from Steve Martin:
TUBI ADDS TWO MORE CHANNELS TO ITS SPORTS VERTICAL
Executives at Tubi believe sports will be an increasingly important part of that AVOD's future and late last month launched a "Sports on Tubi" vertical. Today, the service is adding two more channels to its sports vertical: beIN SPORTS EXTRA and beIN SPORTS XTRA en Español. Here is how the AVOD describes the channels:
The free channels offer a sampling of beIN SPORTS’ live football coverage, offering even more sports fans access to the network’s dedicated coverage of the world’s biggest soccer leagues and tournaments, including France’s Ligue 1, Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, SüperLig, and more as well as the women’s racing championship, W Series, among others.
While some of this stuff feels very niche, the advertiser-supported model for this programming means that every additional viewer-even if only 100 people watch at any one time-means additional ad revenue. It essentially costs beIN the same for the sports rights no matter how many people are watching. So providing Tubi with some non-core programming really only has an upside for both parties.
POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST SHUTS DOWN PRODUCTION OF PARAMOUNT+ SERIES
Production of the upcoming Paramount+ series The Offer has shut down after actor Miles Teller has tested positive for COVID-19. That's noteworthy enough, but it turns out that there is an infuriating backstory:
'Miles Teller is not vaccinated. He wouldn't even get the test,' the source told DailyMail.com. 'Now he's brought the virus to the set and the whole set had to shut down.'
The star's publicist, Lauren Hozempa, told DailyMail.com: 'Your facts are incorrect,' but declined to elaborate further.
If it's true that Teller had refused to even get tested before appearing on set, he has shown the absolute worst judgement and to be honest, studios should enforce their COVID-19 protocols even if it means recasting a part.
One fun factoid in the Daily Mirror story is that when the actor was vacationing on Hawaii a few months ago, he was punched out in a bar:
However the trip was not without a few hiccups. TMZ reported that while the four were at dinner at Monkeypod Kitchen on Maui on May 26, Teller was confronted in the restroom and punched in the face by an unidentified man. The actor reportedly 'screamed that he was going to press charges'. Police said they are investigating but have made no arrests.
TMZ reported that the alleged assailant's wife planned Teller and Sperry's glamorous 2019 wedding on Maui, but was still allegedly owed $60,000 by the couple.
ODDS AND SODS
* Fortnite is adding the Lars Pack tomorrow
* Erich Schwartzel and Joe Flint have a fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal about the Disney vs Scarlett Johansson battle over Black Widow.
* I will admit that I don't understand a lot of what this post discuss. But I still read every new article on the Netflix Tech Blog.
* A look back at the short-lived Fox series Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
SEE YOU MONDAY
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.