Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, December 8th, 2021
There is definitely too much TV news today
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, December 9th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is working on the editorial calendar for February and March. While at the same time, constantly forgetting what day of the week it is today.
PARAMOUNT+ LAUNCHES LIVE CHANNELS
Viacom/CBS-owned streamer Paramount+ has added a number of curated live channels, some of which are currently available on the AVOD Pluto TV.
Here is a rundown of the channels available beginning today:
24/7 Laughs — A destination for feel-good, laugh-out-loud content from popular series such as HOT IN CLEVELAND, RENO 911 and TOSH.O
Adult Animation — Genre-defining series such as BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD, CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH and DARIA
All Day Drama — The best in drama, including everything from EVIL and THE TWILIGHT ZONE to TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL and THE GUARDIAN
Animation Favorites — Beloved kids’ animated series, such as AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER, RUGRATS, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS and THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS
Black Voices — A celebration of Black voices and stories with a collection of popular series such as CHAPPELLE’S SHOW, KEY & PEELE, THE GAME and THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Crime & Justice — Primetime procedurals such as BULL, BLUE BLOODS, CSI: MIAMI, MACGYVER, SEAL TEAM and THE GOOD WIFE
History & Undiscovered — A curated selection for historians from the Smithsonian Channel, including SACRED SITES, SECRETS, AMERICA’S HIDDEN STORIES and SECRETS UNLOCKED
Kids & Family Fun — A destination for the whole family to enjoy favorites such as HENRY DANGER, iCARLY, THE THUNDERMANS and ZOEY 101
Nostalgic Hits — A playlist featuring episodes from iconic series, including BEVERLY HILLS 90210, CHEERS, FRASIER, SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH and WINGS
PAW Patrol — Home to all things PAW PATROL, including PAW PATROL: LIVE AT HOME!, PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE and, of course, the original series that started it all
Preschool Corner — Parent-approved programming for pint-sized viewers such as BLUE’S CLUES, BUBBLE GUPPIES, DORA THE EXPLORER, PAW PATROL and PEPPA PIG
Reality TV: Competition — A collection of reality TV’s most popular series, including INK MASTER, RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE and SURVIVOR
Reality TV: Shores — Hours of content from the fist-pumping franchise, including episodes from JERSEY SHORE, JERSEY SHORE FAMILY VACATION and FLORIBAMA SHORE
SpongeBob Universe — Home to all things Bikini Bottom, the channel will feature episodes from SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS and KAMP KORAL: SPONGEBOB’S UNDER YEARS, as well as popular SPONGEBOB movies
Star Trek — A destination for STAR TREK fans, featuring popular originals such as STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and STAR TREK: PICARD, plus iconic series such as STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.
Survivor — Featuring 40 seasons of the long-running reality series
The Challenge — The best moments from the hit-reality series, including THE CHALLENGE and THE CHALLENGE: ALL-STARS
TV Classics — A curated selection of timeless series such as I LOVE LUCY, THE LOVE BOAT and THE TWILIGHT ZONE
The live channels will premiere without ads, which Tom Ryan, ViacomCBS’s president and CEO of streaming, discussed today in Joe Adalian's Buffering newsletter:
There will be no ads on these live channels. Will that always be the case?
So the feature’s going to be launched ad-free at launch across all subscription tiers. But we’re going to monitor engagement and activity, and we may be introducing ads into the essential tier, which is an ad-supported tier, in the future. But there’s no immediate plan to do so.
Will subscribers who pay for your premium ad-free product eventually have ads on the live linear channels if you end up adding them?
If you’re a premium subscriber who’s paying for that tier, where it’s ad-free, you will have an ad-free live channel experience for these channels. With the live linear CBS feeds right now, there are some ads in there that can’t be removed, but otherwise it’s an ad free experience across the entirety of the service and the same will be true for these channels for premium tier subscribers, even if we do introduce ads on the essential tier in the future.
Gotcha. I didn’t know if that was technologically possible, but I guess it is.
It requires some additional work, but yes it is.
THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT WHAT YOU WANT CABLE TV NEWS TO BE AND WHAT PEOPLE WILL WATCH
One of the biggest dangers for any journalism is familiarity.
Dylan Byers is a very smart reporter who is well connected and has a long track record of having strong sense of the media industry and where it's headed. But that doesn't mean that he's any more immune from the groupthink of familiarity and conventional wisdom than anyone else.
In the latest edition of his newsletter for Puck, Byers discusses the future of CNN and he seems to confuse the type of programming he'd like to watch with what the audience is really interested in seeing:
In the streaming landscape, however, the calculus changes. The carriage fees go away, and CNN’s value is measured almost entirely by its ability to help drive subscriptions to whatever streaming bundle David Zaslav decides to put on offer at Warner Bros. Discovery. The value-add for consumers will be especially significant given that Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ don’t, and almost certainly won’t, have a live news offering. This is why, when thinking about the future of CNN, I keep coming back to what John Malone said about wanting CNN to abandon its heavily opinionated programming and “evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with.” If you’re selling CNN as part of a streaming package, what’s more valuable: the opinions of primetime hosts and pundit-contributors that only a few million people care to watch, or the world-class international news-gathering and storytelling services for which CNN was initially known?
Lastly, it’s indeed possible that CNN and MSNBC will cater to their base’s instincts for opinionated hosts at 9 p.m. But that will likely be a short term play. When the new world order begins—when the streaming content on CNN+ and Peacock becomes more important than the prime time lineups on the parent networks—you can prepare for a steady diet of trusted, nothing-but-the-facts anchors. Subsequently it will be fascinating to see the second order effects, such as where the more opinionated talents eventually hang their shingles. They will have options, too, of course.
This is a perplexing take on the situation for a couple of reasons. First, cable news networks didn't move away from straight news in primetime to more opinionated programming because they had somehow lost their editorial way. They did so because that's what viewers would watch. The problem with straight headline news is that viewers only tune in when there is some sort of breaking news. Otherwise, the day-to-day normal news coverage is a very niche product. It's the primary reason why CNN's Headline News only devotes part of its programming day to headline news.
Which makes Byers' argument that the inevitable superiority a straight news presentation on the various is a given. First, there's absolutely no indication that's the case. Secondly, plenty of streaming outlets are already providing a straight news product, including ones from ABC, CBS and NBC.
Much is being made about the relative size and age of the cable TV news audience and that's certainly worth noting. But the size of the audience matters less as long as the networks are still profitable and they all throw off an enormous amount of revenue.
As I've mentioned in previous newsletters, I think John Malone is wrong. Given the state of politics in America, the audience for a straight news product is on the wane. In part because a growing percentage of the audience doesn't believe the news product is "straight news," despite all evidence to the contrary. And in fact, the success of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC shows that there is an audience for her mix of opinionated but fact-based news programming. CNN and MSNBC should be leaning into that, instead of following Malone's guidance to recreate the CNN of 1999.
That especially seems to be the case with younger news consumers, who continue to gravitate to more strident, partisan news outlets.
AMAZON EXPLORES DAILY SPORTS SHOWS
The New York Post's Andrew Marchand is reporting that Amazon is in the beginning stages of developing studio sports programs in hopes of potentially having a full daily lineup:
Amazon Prime Video, according to sources, has held substantive discussions with Embassy Row, the Sony television and digital production company that has created hits such as the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” and NBC Sports’ “Men in Blazers.”
There is no formal signed agreement between Amazon and Embassy Row, though, all indications are the arrangement will be green-lit, as the companies are already recruiting personalities for shows, according to sources. Amazon also is talking with other potential partners, though those are not known yet.
This is obviously very preliminary, but it's an idea that makes a lot of sense. Amazon is moving aggressively into the live sports market. In large part because - unlike scripted programming - if you spend enough money on content, an audience will follow.
NEW INTERNATIONAL STREAMER LAUNCHES TODAY
International programming is a hot genre in the streaming world, but the existing players are for the most part subscription-supported. A new ad-supported service called Globi is launching today with 500+ hours of mostly exclusive programming from around the world.
Here is a rundown of some of the programming:
Contact (France) – In this procedural drama, a detective named Thomas Adam helps solve dangerous crimes while using his unique gift. When he touches items, he knows their story.
Over Water (Belgium) – A man has an opportunity to start fresh after running into trouble. He attempts to fix things with his family while overcoming his past battles and taking on new challenges.
Soul Mates (Australia) – In this comedy, a pair of friends gradually grows closer to each other as they bond over the cycle of death and rebirth. As the cycle continues, they fall in love and realize they truly are soul mates.
Wolf Trap (Russia) – 20 years after faking his own death and moving overseas, a gangster heads back home on an important mission. He hopes to avenge his parents’ tragic death.
Lost in Paris (France) – Fiona, a Canadian librarian, travels to Paris and is immediately tasked with finding her 88-year-old aunt who has gone missing. While searching for her aunt, she bumps into a man named Dom who won’t leave her alone.
ODDS AND SODS
* Season two of Resident Alien will premiere on Syfy on January 26th. The midseason finale is March 16th and the second half of the season premieres in the summer.
* Syfy's Astrid & Lilly Save The World also premieres on January 26th.
* The adventure thriller La Fortuna, starring Stanley Tucci and acclaimed actor Clarke Peters, will premiere January 20th on AMC+.
* The four-part series Ken & Barbie Killers: The Lost Murder Tapes premieres Sunday, December 12th on Investigation Discovery & Discovery+.
WHAT'S NEW FOR THURSDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
A Fiancée For Christmas (Lifetime)
And Just Like That...Series Premiere (HBO Max)
Anne Boleyn Series Premiere (AMC+)
Asakusa Kid (Netflix)
Bloods Series Premiere (Hulu)
Creamerie Series Premiere (Hulu)
Bonus Family Season Four Premiere (Netflix)
Death Valley (Shudder)
Flip Or Flop Season Premiere (HGTV)
Hollington Drive Season Finale (Sundance Now)
Merry Switchmas (BET+)
The Family That Sings Together: The Carmargos Series Premiere (Netflix)
The Ferragnez Series Premiere (Amazon)
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.