Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, September 28th 2022
Why hasn't Disney+ launched a 'Lost' spin-off? Plus, why Netflix should acquire Lionsgate.
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, September 28th, 2022.
SO WHO IS GOING TO ACQUIRE LIONSGATE?
In a day full of pluses, Lionsgate announced that it is rebranding its Starz linear channel/streaming service Lionsgate+ in markets outside the United States. This seems to be another step in the company's move to separate its studio and cable/streaming divisions into two different businesses, in hopes of selling one of them.
For months, company executives had been privately floating the idea of selling off the streaming side of the business. But apparently those plans have now changed and Lionsgate hopes to now sell off it studio arm and retain the streaming business. Although let's say they have a very optimistic take of the company's worth on the open market:
Amazon acquired MGM for $8.4 billion last spring after all. Lionsgate executives would argue that their library is newer, and as good or better. Lionsgate’s market cap today is about $1.8 billion.
The studios business produces films and TV series and includes a large library of more than 17,000 titles. The company indicated that it is currently in discussions with multiple potential strategic and financial buyers.
Potential partners are said to include Vivendi’s Canal+ and private equity, among others.
I don't think that anyone outside of the executive ranks at Amazon think that $8.4 billion was a rational price for MGM. And if Lionsgate executives believe that their studio is worth maybe $10 billion based on that transaction? Well....good luck to them.
That being said, Lionsgate has some really great assets. If you're just looking at just the successful film franchises, the titles include The Hunger Games, Rambo, Divergent, The Punisher, John Wick, Saw, Madea, Blair Witch, Now You See Me, Hostel, The Expendables, Sinister, The Twilight Saga and Step Up. It owns Lionsgate Films, Summit Entertainment and a large number of studio assets outside North America. It also owns minority holdings in Spyglass Media Group and Roadhouse Entertainment.
On the TV side, it owns Lionsgate Television, Debmar-Mercury and the reality TV production company Pilgrim Studios. It also majority interests in Sky To Sky Entertainment and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Separating the studios and their holdings from the linear channels and streaming services makes the studios much more attractive to the most likely candidates for a merger & acquisition move. Either a private equity firm (which no one in Hollywood really wants) or a large media company that has a need for a lot of established IP.
That likely means Vivendi's Canal+ in Europe or as more of a longshot, Netflix. Comcast already owns a lot of familiar IP it can't figure out how to monetize and Apple has been pretty consistent in its desire not to purchase a big outside library.
But Lionsgate's studios would be a solid fit for Netflix. It has established global studio assets and existing partnerships. It would allow Netflix to eventually acquire the company's Pay1 movie rights and the Lionsgate catalog is substantial. As was the case with MGM, much of Lionsgate's most familiar catalog is already being licensed out. Although my understanding is that Lionsgate has been licensing out much of its most-familiar content in shorter terms, in hopes of making the company a more attractive acquisition target.
It's not clear what Lionsgate would go for on the open market and Canal+ has relatively deep pockets. But for all of the public turmoil over its current position in the market, Netflix could manage a $6-8 billion price without too much trouble. And it could continue to license out Lionsgate assets in the short-term to help pay off the acquisition costs.
Another upside of the acquisition would be that it would change the public narrative of Netflix. "See! Look at all of the IP they now own!"
Every so often I hear a rumbling about this idea when I speak with Netflix executives, but I've never heard anyone claim the idea was really being considered seriously inside the company.
But that doesn't mean that it's not a really smart play for the streamer.
SPEAKING OF FAMILIAR IP, MAYBE IT'S TIME FOR THAT 'LOST' REBOOT
About two year ago, I wrote a piece arguing that Disney+ should order a reboot of Lost or at least some variation of a spin-off series:
So what would a Lost spin-off series look like? Well, one possibility would be the storyline that the Lost co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse laid out in the 12-minute long epilogue "The New Man in Charge," which was released on the season six DVD collection. The short contained two storylines and both of them build on the backstory of the original series. In segment one, Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) visits two Dharma Initiative workers in a warehouse in Guam. He shuts down their operation, which had been shipping packages and food to the Island. He tells them the Dharma Initiative has not been in existence for over twenty years. And before he shuts down the warehouse for good, he shows them a DVD presentation from the Dharma Initiative that explains some of the events that took place on the Island (including the reason for the polar bears).
Segment two has Ben visiting the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, where he convinces an institutionalized Walt to leave with him. Once they reach Ben's van, they find Hurley and he tells Walt it's time for them to return to the island. As the three men drive off, Hurley also Walt he might have a job for him.
Some of the footage was apparently originally set to air as part of the television series, but regardless of why it never aired, it's clear Lindelof and Cuse had at least considered what Lost might have looked like had it continued past "The End." And Disney+ could certainly try and lure back some of the original cast, in an effort to cobble together some faux Lost sequel series.
As it turns out, I am not the only person who wishes someone would greenlight a Lost spin-off. In a new interview with The Independent, actor Ken Leung says he'd love the opportunity to revisit that world:
One credit that stands out for Leung is the aforementioned Miles in Lost; the role was specifically created for him after showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse saw his memorable guest role in The Sopranos. (Leung appeared in the season six episode “Remember When” as Carter Chong, a patient with anger issues who Junior, played by Dominic Chianese, befriends at a psychiatric centre.) They immediately dreamt up the role of Miles and contacted Leung’s agent. A year later in 2008, he made his debut in the show’s fourth season, and remained a part of the series right up until its finale in 2010. Rumours of a Lost reboot surface periodically and, considering – spoiler alert – Miles makes it out alive, Leung would probably get the call should that ever happen. It would be a welcome call.
“I would love to go back to Hawaii,” he says, visibly excited by the prospect. “When I think of Lost, I don’t think of the show as much as I think of Hawaii. But I guess it depends on where they wanted to take it and who was coming back. I know there was an idea being kicked around where Miles and Sawyer [the character played by Josh Holloway] would have a True Detective-style spin-off, but that would be so much its own thing that it wouldn’t feel like continuing Lost. But on the face of it, sure. There’s nothing about Lost where it’s like, ‘I never wanna do that again.’ So yeah, maybe.”
Honestly, this seems like such a slam-dunk idea. Sure, some Lost fans might not react favorably. But Disney+ has proven that it can satisfy (at least somewhat) the two most fickle fan groups in entertainment: Star Wars and Marvel. So let's make it happen.
TWEET (S) OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* In a townhall meeting with Warner Bros. Discovery employees, CEO David Zaslav stressed that the company is not for sale. And also, that he prefers to be referred to as "The Big Z."
* As part of the company's controversial "no 1980s actor left behind" initiative, the cast for the upcoming Netflix film Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley now includes Kevin Bacon.
* Lisa Kudrow has joined the Taika Waititi TV series adaptation of Time Bandits for Apple TV+.
WHAT'S NEW FOR WEDNESDAY:
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Eat The Rich: The GameStop Saga (Netflix)
Inside The World's Toughest Prisons (Netflix)
Resident Alien Season Finale (Syfy)
Sex, Lies & The College Cult (Peacock)
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season Premiere (Disney+)
The D'Amelio Show Season Premiere (Hulu)
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers Season Two Premiere (Disney+)
The Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City Season Premiere (Bravo)
Too Hot To Handle: Brazil Season Premiere (Netflix)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU THURSDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.