Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, May 5th, 2022
Thank God it's Fri....err, it's Thursday? Never mind.
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, May 5th, 2022.
And in what is the textbook explanation of what it's like to live in Minnesota, today weather is bright, sunny and it's the warmest day of the year so far. And the power at my house was out for three hours. Apparently due to excessive sunlight?!?
DAY FOUR OF THE NEWFRONTS
The fourth of final day of the NewFronts took place on Thursday and here are some of the highlights:
* Crackle Plus announced it is launching five new FAST channels to its portfolio: Echo Boom Sports, Surf Now, BlackPix, Truli and Unidentified, an extensive collection of UFO and paranormal documentaries.
* Crackle Plus also announced a new slate of more than 100 new originals and exclusives, including Going From Broke season three, Inside the Black Box season two and new shows from Tia Mowry and Michael Rapaport.
* The company also plans to roll out the Crackle Reward Program, which rewards viewers for watching, allowing them to earn points to redeem for in-app rewards or services and products from its partners.
* And in what is good news for anyone who watches the Crackle AVOD, the service is rolling out a new version of its app across all of its supported platforms. The updated UX is already available on Vizio and Samsung smart televisions and the company says the changes have lessened exits during ads as well as boosted viewing time by about 200%.
* A&E Networks are launching a new FAST channel this fall called 4UV. According to the company, the channel "takes an intersectional approach to DEI to create stories that go across the spectra of race, gender, sexuality and neurodiversity."
* And answering the question "why was a new Rachael Ray series dumped without any notice onto the little-watched fyi linear network?", the company announced Home.Made.Nation will grow from a programming block to a multi-platform lifestyle brand, with Rachael Ray becoming the face of two Home.Made.Nation shows.
* There were also a number of smaller announcements, including the introduction of a cross-platform programming block for History focusing on innovation, and a podcast featuring Grandmaster Caz tied to the upcoming A&E series Origins Of Hip Hop.
TELEVISION IS IN A SHOWRUNNING CRISIS
We live in peak time for the "showrunner as auteur" theory of television. But as this exceptional piece from Katharine Trendacosta in Vice explains, fewer people are getting the apprenticeship and experience necessary to become the next generation of showrunners:
The term “showrunner” appears nowhere in the credits of your favorite show—people who have this job are listed as writers and executive producers. Until fairly recently, it was a bit of industry jargon that denoted a combination of head writer and executive producer keeping the whole machine moving as it should; it was a flexible title that worked for whatever a particular show needed.
And, when there were only a few networks and then a few cable channels, there was a path to becoming a showrunner that made up for the lack of training a writer would have in logistics. Basically, the training came through mentoring and experience. When television consisted of 20-22 episodes a year, most being written around the same time other episodes were being filmed, even junior writers could watch their script go from their hands to the screen, and all the parts in between. Good showrunners would make sure writers were on set for their specific scripts. (They were under contract for that same period, anyway.) Writers moved up the writer ranks, and by the time they were pitching their own shows, they would have seen at least 50 episodes of television be made.
The shorter seasons in television overall (particularly with the streamers) means that those opportunities to learn on the job. Which is leading to people become showrunners who have some writing experience, but little knowledge in the production aspects of the job:
But with whole seasons being written well in advance of filming, and writers needing to move to other jobs once the writing is over, that on-the-ground training is disappearing. Some showrunners fight for the budget to keep writers on set, but often it’s only one or two they can get. “I know showrunners who have taken pains to invite their writers into the process, but it's usually on their own time and on their own dime,” said Melvoin. Stacy Rukeyser, showrunner of Netflix’s Sex/Life, backed that up, saying, “I don't know if I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, but I definitely let my writers see the director's cuts on their episodes. I let them see the notes that I gave the editors. I let them see revised cuts. Like I'm trying to still do the training. However, they're not being paid for that time right now.” While the old system was rife with nepotism and privilege, this kind of thing restricts learning opportunities to those who can afford to take time away from being paid or can pay to be on set to learn.
There is a lot to unpack in the piece and Vice probably could have broken out the second half (which focuses a lot on diversity) as a separate piece. But I did want to also highlight this paragraph:
One thing that can be done is to pair new showrunners with experienced producers, to once again split the job of “head writer” and “executive producer.” Melvoin pointed to the example set by Marvel, saying that they have someone overseeing the whole vision in Kevin Feige, and they’re hiring people to just get that done. “That is a very different template from what we've been familiar with for half a century, and particularly the last 30 years. It’s more chilling for those people who think about how the showrunner emerged and what the value of the showrunner is, but overall, I'm not an alarmist, I'm not concerned that the job is going to go away. What I think is happening is that we're becoming more of a ‘both and’ universe instead of just one or the other.” In other words, more jobs are supporting the old role of showrunner, rather than just relying on one person who may or may not be both a creative genius and a masterful administrator.
While the piece just mentions that Marvel is "hiring people to get the job done," the reality is that Marvel is hiring a director to direct the entire series and also giving them many of the traditional production responsibilities of an old-school showrunner. These shows now have a "head writer" instead of writer/showrunner, which is a big shift in the way television shows are produced.
There is also a separate article that could be made about the impact new shortened seasons have had on pay. Writers are making less money and that impacts their ability to stick around to learn the production aspects of the business.
TWEET OF THE DAY
This is all kinds of crazy...
ODDS AND SODS
* Season four of the David Letterman talker My Next Guest Needs No Introduction premieres Friday, May 20th on Netflix. The six episode season includes interviews with Will Smith (pre-"The Slap"), Cardi B, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ryan Renolds, Billie Eilish and Kevin Durant.
* Guy Fieri hits the road for an RV Adventure through the Pacific Northwest on the new Food Network series Guy's All-American Road Trip, which premieres on Friday, June 3rd. Is it rude for me to suggest that I've already seen as much as I care to of Hunter Fieri?
* The second season of Chad is premiering Monday, July 11th on TBS. It was originally set to premiere on April 11th.
* The second season of Titans will launch on Tuesday, July 5th on TNT.
* truTV’s new buddy-travel series 101 Places To Party Before You Die is premiering Thursday, July 14th.
WHAT'S NEW FOR THURSDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Blood Sisters (Netflix)
Dragons: The Nine Realms Season Two Premiere (Hulu)
Girls5Eva Season Two Premiere (Peacock)
Las Bravas FC (HBO Max)
Queen Stars Brazil Series Premiere (HBO Max)
Selling Sunset Reunion Special (Netflix)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Series Premiere (Paramount+)
Taste Of The Border Series Premiere (Discovery+)
The Dry Series Premiere (Britbox)
The Pentaverate (Netflix)
The Porter (BET+)
The Staircase Series Premiere (HBO Max)
Wild Babies (Netflix)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU FRIDAY!
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