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Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, March 7th, 2022
Today's theme seems to be bad and/or ineffective PR.
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, March 7th, 2022.
DISNEY CEO ARGUES FLORIDA'S 'DON'T SAY GAY' BILL IS BAD. BUT NOT BAD ENOUGH TO MAKE A PUBLIC STATEMENT
Disney CEO Bob Chapek defended the company’s stance on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill in an email to employees on Monday, saying the company's "diverse stories are our corporate statements." Among other things, Chapek says Disney doesn't need to lobby or speak out against the "Don't Say Gay" bill because the company produced Modern Family and that sitcom serves as Disney's statement.
Here is the email in full:
Before getting to the heart of my message, I want to acknowledge all those impacted by the invasion of Ukraine, especially our team in Europe and our employees around the world who have family in the region. This is an unimaginably difficult time, and my thoughts are with you. I also want to thank the ABC News team covering the horrific events there. Their courage and dedication to informing the world during this crisis is exemplary.
On Friday, I met with a small group of Disney LGBTQ+ leaders to discuss controversial legislation pending in Florida that would impact their communities. I want to thank them for a meaningful, illuminating, and at times deeply moving conversation. I told the group I would write to the entire company with my thoughts on the issues we discussed. I wish every one of our employees could have heard not just the passionate voices in the room, but the bravery, honesty, and pride those voices expressed. It is a conversation I will not forget.
One common theme was disappointment that the company has not issued a public statement condemning the legislation. That disappointment was compounded by the fact that, while not perfect, our company has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community-and in fact, has played an important role in the personal journeys of so many of our employees.
I want to be crystal clear: I and the entire leadership team unequivocally stand in support of our LGBTQ+ employees, their families, and their communities. And, we are committed to creating a more inclusive company-and world. I understand that the very need to reiterate that commitment means we still have more work to do.
I also believe you deserve an explanation for why we have not issued a statement. We are going to have a more fulsome conversation about this at the company- wide Reimagine Tomorrow Summit in April, but I will preview that discussion now as it is so timely.
As we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds. Instead, they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame. Simply put, they can be counterproductive and undermine more effective ways to achieve change.
I do not want anyone to mistake a lack of a statement for a lack of support. We all share the same goal of a more tolerant, respectful world. Where we may differ is in the tactics to get there. And because this struggle is much bigger than any one bill in any one state, I believe the best way for our company to bring about lasting change is through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create, and the diverse community organizations we support.
There’s a reason content is at the top of this list. For nearly a century, our company’s stories have opened minds, inspired dreams, shown the world both as it is and how we wish it could be, and now more than ever before, represent the incredible diversity of our society. We are telling important stories, raising voices, and I believe, changing hearts and minds.
Encanto, Black Panther, Pose, Reservation Dogs, Coco, Soul, Modern Family, Shang-Chi, Summer of Soul, Love, Victor. These and all of our diverse stories are our corporate statements and they are more powerful than any tweet or lobbying effort. I firmly believe that our ability to tell such stories-and have them received with open eyes, ears, and hearts -would be diminished if our company were to become a political football in any debate.
Powerful content that changes hearts and minds only springs from inclusive cultures, which not only attract and retain the best and most diverse talent, but also give those employees the freedom to bring forth ideas that reflect their lives and experiences. We must work together to ensure Disney always remains such a place.
In terms of our communities, we are and will continue to be a leader in supporting organizations that champion diversity. In 2021, we provided nearly $3 million to support the work of LGBTQ+ organizations. And, we have a long history of supporting important events like Pride parades, and for being there in times of need, just as we were following the Pulse shooting in Orlando. All this is why we have earned a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign for 16 years in a row.
Finally, I want to address concerns about our political contributions in Florida. While we have not given money to any politician based on this issue, we have contributed to both Republican and Democrat legislators who have subsequently taken positions on both sides of the legislation. I can also share that Geoff Morrell, our new Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, will be reassessing our advocacy strategies around the world -including political giving -as he begins to integrate the communications, public policy, government relations and SR teams.
Our company has been a force for inclusion for a long time- and that will not change on my watch. We all have a role to play in this effort-from the Cast Members who make magical memories for fans and families of all kinds, to storytellers who take audiences on journeys to new storyworlds that illuminate our own, to everyone in between who is responsible for ensuring our culture lives up to our values. I hope we will all continue rowing in the direction of a better tomorrow.
Bob Chapek, Disney CEO
Much of this is hypocritical - at best - since Disney is hardly seen as a liberal company and in fact routinely makes decisions based on political consequences. For instance, Disney actively decides not to include any non-straight, non-cis character of prominence in their films lest China ban their movies and they lose out on profits.
What this is about is Disney World and its importance to Disney's bottom line. It's easy to give a bit of money to LGBTQ+ organizations (which Disney is probably able to write-off). What's more difficult is making decisions which might not be popular with 100% of your customers.
What are Disney's LGBTQ+ customers supposed to think when the company isn't willing to even issue a statement in their defense at the same time it actively markets its products to them? Talk is cheap and Chapek is making it very clear that he isn't willing to make any move, other than reminding people that Disney has a few scattered LGBTQ+ characters in its movies and television shows. Which is the equivalent of being asked about Black History Month and replying, "well, c'mon, we released Soul and that Black Panther movie."
I don't know how effective outside pressure can be on Disney, given its deep pockets and diverse portfolio of businesses. But I suspect we're going to find out, because all this email did was to motivate the company's LGBTQ+ customers and their supporters to push Disney harder in the future.
TWEET OF THE DAY
PEACOCK IS READY TO TAKE 'BIG SWINGS'
Vulture's Joe Adalian has an interview with Peacock President Kelly Campbell, who not surprisingly argues that Peacock is poised to step up and dazzle the streaming universe:
Peacock has absolutely made a lot of progress, especially in its second year. But it does still seem to have a bit of a brand problem. There’s a sense that you don’t have enough breakout hits, or that you’re in a lower tier far behind some of the bigger streamers on the block. Some folks on Wall Street have even suggested Peacock is just part of a holding play while Comcast waits to combine with a bigger company. What’s your response to those critics?
We are definitely not treating this business like a holding play. We are investing. Hopefully, that’s clear. We shared our content investment quite publicly in our earnings. Do I think that we have a chance to continue to shape the understanding of Peacock? I do. But I think that we are on the right side of where the industry is going. When I look at the market and investor communities and how they’re evaluating the success of streamers, it’s no longer just, “Give me a paid subs number, and what does that look like relative to last quarter of last year?” They’re starting to ask the right questions around things like the quality of these subscribers, the engagement level of these subscribers, the average revenue per user for these subscriber bases.
And because it's an interest of Joe's (and mine, for that matter), he asks about the chances of Peacock adding more classic TV to its streaming portfolio. Campbell doesn't exactly answer the question, although she essentially suggests that for the most part, classic television doesn't expand the audience, which makes it a lesser priority:
NBCUniversal has such a deep library of classic TV shows and movies, and some of that is on Peacock. I personally watch a lot of Columbo and Rockford Files on Peacock. But it still seems like you’ve only scratched the surface of what you could be offering. Any plans to expand classic content on the service?
I will say some of your favorites — Columbo, Murder, She Wrote, Rockford Files — do perform very well, and so we are going to continue to explore where to add more. We have increased our catalog by more than 500 percent in just our first year and a half. So we are certainly taking big swings when it comes to those tentpoles and brand-worthy content launches, but we are also looking very much to build the right depth into the content experience for consumers. We need to invest in content that’s not only going to attract new consumers but that’s going to continue to engage the consumers that we have and satisfy them with not just the new, buzzy content but with some deep library favorites.
SUNDAY NIGHT ON NBC
NBC premiered some new shows on Sunday night and things did not go well. Even in today's environment of lessened expectations for broadcast television, these 18-49 ratings are horrific:
The Courtship 0.2
Bill Barr: In The Eye Of The Storm 0.2
So what happened? I suspect the flow of the evening didn't help: a new reality show to a news program to the second season of a Canadian scripted drama.
But another factor is the marketing efforts. Unless you watch a lot of NBC, you likely didn't hear much about these shows ahead of their premieres. That was especially the case with Transplant, which NBC barely promoted the first season of the show.
This is a tough time to launch any new series and the new broadcast shows that have found success this year - like Ghosts - have been the recipients of heavy marketing and nimble PR campaigns.
And let's be honest here. Getting a splashy feature in People looks good on the surface. Everyone associated with the show feels important and the PR people responsible are able to add it to the their list of deliverables during next year's performance reviews. But does that really move the bar for the show?
There is an audience for The Courtship, but it's not with the older demo you'll find in People. The core potential fanbase for the show are the same people who watch The Bachelor. And from what I can tell, there wasn't much of an outreach to that group. NBC would have been better served tasking an intern to interact with every Bachelor blogger and influencer they could find. Offer up the premiere to screen ahead of time, along with exclusive content. This is TV PR circa 2003, but the network doesn't seem to have bothered with that step.
And when you don't go where the audience is, your show ends up getting a 0.2 demo rating on a Sunday night.
ODDS AND SODS
* USA is premiering a four-episode adventure on April 4th entitled Mud, Sweat And Beards. In the show, world-class wilderness experts and real-life best friends Donny Dust and Ray Livingston "will tackle some of the earth's most remote locations to do what they love and do best: build primitive paradises."
* Disney+ has ordered The Muppets Mayhem, a new 10-episode series based on Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
* Meet the stylist who created Fran Drescher's Iconic '90s style for The Nanny.
* Redbox Entertainment, the original content division of Redbox, has announced that March 22nd will be the premiere date for the thriller film Assailant.
WHAT'S NEW FOR MONDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
The Chelsea Detective Series Premiere (Acorn TV)
2022 Academy Of Country Music Awards (Prime Video)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU TUESDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.