Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, September 11th, 2019. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is running on lots and lots of coffee. Although obviously not enough coffee, since the newsletter is a few hours late today.
As I'm sure you know, today is 9/11, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on NYC's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a commercial plane that crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to retake the plane from the hijackers. Every year, I repost this piece which I originally wrote in 2002. It's my remembrance of Cantor Fitzgerald Chief Market Strategist Bill Meehan, who died on 9/11.
Our "Today's Song You Should Know" highlights the one great song to be inspired by 9/11: the heartbreaking Alan Jackson song "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)." As I mention in the piece, Jackson premiered the song to the world live on the November 2001 CMA Awards & it became one of those television moments everyone was discussing the next day.
APPLE TV'S BIG DAY
On Tuesday, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook announced that the new streaming service Apple TV+ would debut November 1st for $4.99 a month. That lower-than-expected price point prompted some industry analysts who should know better to make some fairly insane predictions,such as the ones in this L.A. Times piece:
"The pricing of Apple’s streaming TV service at $4.99 per month is a showstopper and a major shot across the bow at the likes of Netflix and Disney, among others," said Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities.
But Apple’s streaming platform undercuts the price of its rivals. It’s less expensive than Disney’s upcoming streaming offering, Disney+, which will cost $6.99 monthly or $70 a year, and Netflix’s basic plan, which costs $8.99 a month.
"Life just got tougher for Netflix," said Gene Munster, a managing partner with venture capital firm Loup Ventures. He said he initially expected Apple TV+ to charge $9.99 a month.
Sure, if you focus on nothing but the price, Apple TV+ for $4.99 is a great deal compared to some of the existing streaming services. But as far as anyone knows, when Apple TV+ premieres, it will include 9-10 original shows and not much else. Compared to the hundreds or thousands of episodes available for only a few dollars more on the rival services.
The most important fact to come out of the announcement is that consumers will receive a year of Apple TV+ included when they buy Apple products, such as an iPhone or iPad. That incentive makes Apple TV+ more like Amazon's streaming service than Netflix or Hulu. It's a loss leader that most subscribers will get for free.
It's also worth noting that if you are frustrated by the lack of transparency by Netflix or Amazon, dealing with Apple will make your head explode. Even in the press-phobic tech world, Apple is notorious for trying to control every aspect of its story. So while I guarantee there will be stories touting the "millions of subscribers" Apple TV+ will have by the end of 2019, we won't have any sense of how many of those subscriptions are essentially free. Or even more importantly, the churn rate for paid subscribers.
One last thought. While there is a lot of talk about the impact Apple TV+ will have on Netflix, there isn't much attention being paid to its impact on CBS All-Access. Which has a higher price point, less original programming and advertising (unless you pay extra for the ad-free version). How many Apple device owners are going to swap out their CBS AA subscription for what will essentially be a free service from Apple?
WHAT'S NEW ON TV TONIGHT:
Here's a rundown of the modest number of television shows and specials premiering today:
1) In The Shadow Of The Towers: Stuyvesant High On 9/11 (HBO)
When the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11, 2001, students had just started their day at Stuyvesant High School, blocks away. Drawing on intimate access to eight student eyewitnesses, this special offers a unique perspective on this tragic day. Directed and produced by Emmy-winner Amy Schatz, the documentary weaves footage of the attack with compelling interviews with the students, who, as young teenagers, found themselves fleeing debris in the heart of the danger zone and faced with a harrowing journey home. Now adults, many from immigrant families, they speak with feeling about the backlash against minority communities that followed the attack and the deep friendships with classmates that got them through. A story about how it felt to be a young person at ground zero, the film explores the ways in which September 11th shaped these students’ lives and continues to shape our world today.
2) Making Good Season Premiere (BYUtv)
"Making Good" is a 30-minute unscripted series chronicling one man's quest to serve. Host Kirby Heyborne ("The Three Stooges") loves helping people and eagerly volunteers for organizations regardless of the circumstances and his background or experience. He channels enthusiasm to learn about new ways to make a difference, getting his hands dirty working side-by-side with founders of charities and non-profits who are touching lives all across the United States. Along the way he shares laughs, tears and songs with his newfound friends and learns exactly what it takes to make good.
3) NFL: The Grind Series Premiere (Epix)
"NFL: The Grind" hosted by Rich Eisen gives the final word of the week with game highlights, unique access, and in-depth field reports from former NFL stars.
4) 9/11: Inside Air Force One (History)
This two-hour feature documentary tells the story of 9/11 from a unique vantage point: inside Air Force One on its nine-hour journey from Florida, across the country, and finally home to Washington D.C. Featuring interviews with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Chief of Staff Andy Card, the pilot of Air Force One, Secret Service agents, as well as intelligence and military aides on board.
5) The Fixers Series Premiere (BYUtv)
"The Fixers" is a one-hour high-stakes reality series in which an "A-team" of experienced builders travels around the world to remote locations in significant need. By leveraging their own amazing abilities and the combined strength of the local community, they work tirelessly to complete a life-changing project and bring about radical change. From bringing electricity to an impoverished orphanage to providing a reliable source of fresh water for a community, these four "fixers" make astonishing transformations and lasting change to the places they visit.
6) What Happened On 9/11 (HBO)
This short film revisits the events of September 11, 2001 to help a younger generation learn about this historical event. The documentary short features personal stories from survivors and family members, classroom scenes exploring 9/11 through artwork, poetry and interviews with educators, along with archival news footage and powerful photos. The film also provides background on the construction of the World Trade Center towers, the history of lower Manhattan, the rise of Al Qaeda and the harrowing experiences of New York residents who found themselves caught up in the unexpected and tragic day. Both thoughtful and informational, the film puts this historical event into context so that children can better understand what happened that day and its continued effects on the world around us.
For a rundown of all the new episodes of television premiering tonight, click here.
TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.
And if you're a glutton for punishment (or just want to know what you've missed), check out this list of all the shows that have premiered so far in 2019.
If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here.
I'll be back with another one tomorrow. If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.