Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, July 28th, 2022
Hollywood can't dodge the culture wars & more sharks are coming...
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday July 28th, 2022.
Today's newsletter will be a bit shorter than normal and I'm not spending much time on the earnings reports from Comcast, Apple and Amazon. I am a bit under the weather today and I am trying to take it easy (somewhat). I should be back tomorrow at full strength.
PBS AT THE TCAS
Thursday was day two for PBS at the Television Critics Association (TCA) summer gathering and there were a couple of more announcements:
* Two original documentaries that shed new light on the lives of a pair of towering figures in the struggle to end slavery—Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass—premiere on PBS in October 2022. Harriet Tubman: Visions Of Freedom premieres on Tuesday, October 4th and Becoming Frederick Douglass premieres on Tuesday, October 11th.
* Season nine of Finding Your Roots With Henry Gates Jr. premieres January 3rd, 2023 on PBS. The ten episode season features actors Jamie Chung (Lovecraft Country), Brian Cox (Succession), Billy Crudup (The Morning Show), Claire Danes (Homeland), Jeff Daniels (American Rust), Viola Davis (The Woman King), David Duchovny (The X-Files), Richard Kind (Inside Out), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Tamera Mowry (The Real), Edward Norton (Fight Club), Julia Roberts (Ticket to Paradise) and Danny Trejo (Machete); pop star Cyndi Lauper; comedians Carol Burnett and Niecy Nash; athlete and sportscaster Tony Gonzalez; journalists Jim Acosta and Van Jones; activist Angela Davis; and statesman Jeh Johnson.
HOLLYWOOD CAN'T DODGE THE CULTURE WARS
Back in April, I wrote a piece about the Disney battle with Florida Ron DeSantis and I predicted that no matter how hard they tried, Hollywood was not going to be able to sit out the culture wars:
The problem with cowering to this mob is that recent American history has shown us that winning a battle isn't enough. Like hostage-takers everywhere, the cultural purists of the conservative movement see this as a literal do-or-die cultural war. And once you win one battle, you don't celebrate. You move on to your next target. Republican legislatures move to restrict abortions, then move on to birth control. And now there are Republican legislators arguing that frozen embryos should be considered people and should be "adopted" and brought to term, even if the donors disagree.
Moves against trans athletes in high school quickly evolved into anti-trans laws, then laws that targeted same-sex couples. It didn't take long for concerns that schools were teaching Critical Race Theory to evolve into complaints that teaching about Rosa Parks made white students "feel bad" and that any book for children that portrays same sex parents wasn't appropriate for school libraries.
Corporate executives might see "say no evil" as the economically prudent response to what the state of Florida has rained down on Disney. But media companies can't save themselves by hiding and declining to engage with critics.
And predictably, the efforts to ban abortion have led to efforts to force the hand of entertainment companies that would prefer to stay on the sidelines politically. On Thursday, a collective of more than 400 television creators and showrunners sent a letter to top-level executives at Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Apple and more, demanding specific protocols to protect pregnant employees in states where abortion is outlawed. They also demanded the companies stop "all political donations to anti-abortion candidates and political action committees immediately:"
Within ten business days of today we require review of your current abortion safety plan detailing Netflix’s policies and processes to ensure our safety, protect our health and defend our human rights. We expect that the specifics of your current plan address this emergency in full, including but not limited to:
● Published policies and procedures to provide an abortion travel subsidy for employees of your productions including specific information on how the employee’s medical privacy will be safeguarded.
● Protocols outlining the scope of medical care for employees of your productions, including ectopic pregnancies and other pregnancy complications that require medical treatment via abortion while working for Netflix.
● Policy regarding criminal and civil legal protection, including indemnification and defense against liability, for any member of a production who facilitates Netflix’s protocols or provides Netflix’s policy information and guidelines to an employee seeking an abortion.
TODAY'S DATAPOINT WHICH HAS ABSOLUTELY NO CONTEXT
This paragraph is from today's Amazon Q2 Earnings report and I defy anyone to explain what this means. Other than viewing numbers increased in some undefined way?:
The Boys continued to grow its audience with the debut of Season Three. Over its premiere weekend, the Emmy-nominated superhero drama increased its worldwide audience by 234% from Season One and 17% from Season Two.
NICE TO SEE THE AVOD'S TARGETING UNDER-SERVED NICHE MARKETS
The ad-supported free streaming services such as Tubi and Pluto are thriving in part because they provide programming that targets audiences that aren't being served by other media.
Which is why Tubi is devoting the entire month of August to programming featuring sharks. A subject matter that is completely being ignored by traditional media, if you ignore the Discovery's long-running Shark Week and NatGeo's rival 60-hour SharkFest.
Tubi's Shark Month: Bitefest will include more than 70 shark-related movies, including two titles that are premiering on the platform. Shark Bait premieres on August 1st and it "follows a group of friends whose weekend goes wrong when they are attacked by underwater predators." Shark Side of the Moon will premiere on August 12th and it's from The Asylum, who brought fans the cult-favorite Sharknado franchise.
In addition to the two new Tubi originals, there will be more than 70 films to streaming. Titles include the four installments from the Jaws’ franchise, Swim, Swamp Shark, Dark Waters, Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda and documentaries Gordon Ramsay: Shark Bait, Saving Jaws and Shark Land.
TWEET OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* Krysten Ritter will star in and executive produce the new series Orphan Black: Echoes, set in the Orphan Black universe from Boat Rocker for AMC Networks.
* How I Got Here is a fast-paced travel show in which young adults accompany their immigrant parents back to their country of origin on a 10-day trip of a lifetime. It premieres Sunday, October 2nd on BYUtv.
* The HBO comedy series Los Espookys returns for a second season on Friday, September 16th.
* Prime Video has canceled the teen survivalist drama The Wilds after two seasons.
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WHAT'S NEW FOR THURSDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
A Cut Above (Netflix)
Another Self (Netflix)
Comedy Central’s Hell Of A Week With Charlamagne Tha God (Comedy Central)
Harley Quinn Season Premiere (HBO Max)
House Party (HBO Max)
Keep Breathing Series Premiere (Netflix)
Love Monster (HBO Max)
Made From Scratch (Fuse)
Monster Mako Under The Rig (Discovery)
Oggy & The Cockroaches: The Next Generation (Netflix)
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin (HBO Max)
Shark House (Discovery)
The Family Business Season Premiere (BET+)
The Resort (Peacock)
Tiger Queen (Discovery)
Tracy Morgan Presents: Sharks! With Tracy Morgan (Discovery)
Wild West Chronicles Season Two Premiere (INSP)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU FRIDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.