Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, March 23rd, 2023
The latest addition to the Zombie channel watch
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, March 23rd, 2023.
THE LATEST ADDITION TO THE ZOMBIE CHANNEL WATCH
There are an increasing number of what I like to refer to as "zombie TV channels." These are channels that live on only because it's still possible to squeeze a little money out of their existence. They don't have any original programming and often their audiences are so small as to be almost impossible for Nielsen to measure. But even though they are dead they live on in the mother company’s bottom line. Sure the ad revenue on zombie programming isn't huge, but between that and whatever pennies they collect per subscriber in carriage fees, it's almost like printing a small pile of free money every month for the big media companies that own them.
Warner Bros. Discovery has an increasing number of these networks, especially as the programming spend for networks previously owned by Discovery or Scripps continues to decline. There is AHC (American Heroes Channel), which airs primarily decades-old shows about Nazis and The Civil War. Destination America is also long out of the original content game and now re-airs shows such as Flea Market Flip and You Live In What? Discovery Family is the home for old episodes of Cake Boss and Kitchen Crashers. Discovery Life airs 15-year-old episodes of Mystery Diagnosis and A Baby Story.
The newest WBD network to inch towards the zombie category is the Food Network adjacent Cooking Channel. The network began its life as Fine Living in 2001 and the channel primarily aired lifestyle shows targeting an upscale market. But following the 2008 financial collapse, then-owner Scripps pivoted and turned it into a companion network to the Food Network. The switch happened in 2010 with a name change to the Cooking Channel and a healthy dose of original programming. There were new programs from Food Network stalwarts such as Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray. As well as flurry of new shows that included the Mo Rocca-hosted food education program Food(ography) and the combination reality TV series and cooking show Extra Virgin, featuring slice-of-life footage of actress Debi Mazar, her Italian chef husband Gabriele Cocoros, their two children, and assorted friends and family members.
For years it was the hipper, more quirky alternative for viewers to the Food Network and it seemed on its face to be doing well. But the original productions have mostly disappeared over the past several years as the network's original content budget was cut to nothing but fumes.
The network just released its April schedule and there are a total of *four* new episodes of programming for the entire month. All of them episodes of the short-lived series Best Food Ever, which originally aired on TLC in 2010. So in reality, the only "new" episodes airing on the Cooking Channel next month are four episodes of a show that is actually 13 years old.
Welcome to the land of the dead, Cooking Channel.
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THE BASICS OF STREAMING TV
If you're reading this newsletter, than odds are good you spend more time than the average person thinking about streaming TV. Either you work in the business, write about in some fashion or are just spending way too much time watching streaming television.
But it's easy to forget that most people are not that engaged with the industry and their knowledge of the basic building blocks of our industry is limited.
That's why today I posted the first of what I hope will be a long series of pieces that read as "An Idiot's Guide To Streaming TV." The premiere story is about bingeing and I just lay out the positives and negatives about binge releasing television with a few simple points:
Convenience: Releasing all episodes at once allows viewers to watch the show on their own schedule, which is particularly appealing to those with busy schedules or who live in different time zones. This can make the show more accessible and convenient for a wider range of viewers.
Avoiding spoilers: By releasing all episodes at once, viewers can watch the show without fear of spoilers or having the plot ruined by others who may have seen the next episode. This can create a more immersive viewing experience and keep viewers engaged without having to worry about avoiding spoilers.
So far, the reaction from readers has been very strong. And it's a reminder that even though we get obsessed with the smallest details of the industry, most subscribers don't care. They just want to watch something good.
TWEET OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* The third and final season of Happy Valley premieres on Monday, May 22nd on AMC+, Acorn TV and BBC America.
* Patrizio Spagnoletto, Warner Bros. Discovery’s global chief marketing officer for streaming talks about the renaming process for HBO Max.
WHAT'S NEW FOR THURSDAY:
Bite Of A Mango (ALLBLK)
City Confidential Season Premiere (A&E)
Only You: An Animated Shorts Collection (HBO Max)
The Lesson Is Murder (Hulu)
The Night Agent Series Premiere (Netflix) - [photo gallery]
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip (Peacock)
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.