Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022
The Roku Channel moves into original food programming
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022.
THE CHANGING FACE OF THE NETWORK UPFRONTS
Since the earliest days of television, the broadcast networks have officially presented their new fall schedules during the annual Upfront presentations to advertisers. But as this piece in Deadline nicely lays out, many things have changed in the past few years. And this year, one of the networks may not present their fall schedule at all during its upfront presentation:
We might have the first broadcast upfront where a network does not present a fall schedule this year. I hear Fox is considering not unveiling a grid at its May 16 event on the first day of the traditional upfront week. In the untraditional approach the network is mulling, it would have a unified linear and streaming presentation, in which Fox’s new and returning series will be highlighted but the actual fall schedule may be released a few days later. For now, ABC, CBS, NBC and the CW all plan to unveil fall schedules at the upfronts, even as ABC and NBC will only have a fraction of their pilots delivered and screened for consideration by then, so some fall 2022 grids may feel like deja vu, staying close to the fall 2021 ones.
This year the Upfronts take place the week of May 12th and of course, I'll be covering them in depth as they occur.
PARAMOUNT REPORTS SOLID STREAMING SUCCESS, BUT HIGHER COSTS
Paramount unveiled its Q1 earnings Tuesday morning, and one of the highlights was the company reported it added 6.8 million subscribers last quarter, with the company ending the period with 62 million global streaming subscribers. As always, Paramount was a bit vague on some of the specific metrics, revealing that Paramount+ total subscribers reached almost 40 million. Other direct-to-consumer services subscribers declined, primarily due to timing of new programming, according to the company. Paramount ad-supported service Pluto TV grew global monthly active users (MAUs) to nearly 68 million, in part due to launching in a number of new territories.
The revenue side of the business offered up a more mixed set of results.
Paramount’s total revenue was flat to down at $7.3 billion, from $7.4 billion. Earnings dropped to $433 million from $911 million — $0.65 per share vs $1.46. The streaming side of the business grew subscription revenue 95% year-over-year, primarily due to the paid subscriber growth on Paramount+.
On the broadcast TV side, revenue dipped 6% year-over-year to $5.6 billion, but that was primarily due to the fact CBS had the Super Bowl in this quarter in 2021. The licensing business took the biggest hit, dropping 42% year-over-year due in large part to the comparison to last year's pandemic-motivated licensing of Coming 2 America and Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse. And the theatrical business continues to wake back up, with Paramount reporting revenue of $131 million in the quarter, compared to around $1 million during Q1 2021.
During the Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) Q1 earnings call on Tuesday, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish made a number of announcements worth noting:
* Paramount+ will launch in the U.K. on June 22nd and it will also launch late in the month in South Korea. Launches in Italy, Germany, France and Austria will take place in the second half of this year.
* In India, TV18 and Paramount Global operate a number of Paramount channels under a joint venture called Viacom18. That venture will launch Paramount+ in 2023.
* Speaking of joint ventures, SkyShowtime, is a JV between Paramount and Sky owner Comcast and that service is also rolling out to a household base of around 90 million people in the territories that Paramount+ isn’t launching in, mainly in Eastern Europe.
* Bakish announced mentioned that a new Jackass series was in development at Paramount+, due in part to the success of the film Jackass Forever.
ACTOR DAVID BIRNEY DIES
Actor David Birney died of Alzheimer’s disease in his home in Santa Monica on Friday. He was 83.
Birney made his Broadway debut in 1969 and appeared in a few minor television roles before starring in the short-lived Bridget Loves Bernie, a CBS situation comedy about the marriage of Jewish cab driver and writer Bernie Steinberg, played by Birney, and Catholic schoolteacher Bridget Fitzgerald, played by Meredith Baxter. Birney and Baxter married after the show ended.
Bridget Loves Bernie was given a prime timeslot on Saturday night, nestled between All In The Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And the series was a success, ranking as the highest-rated series of all the other new shows of the 1972-73 TV season. But the show wasn't picked up for a second season and reporting at the time suggests that strong pushback about the show's subject matter from some Jewish groups might have led to its cancellation. Those groups had criticized both what they saw as Jewish stereotypes and the show’s condoning of interfaith marriage.
After the show's cancellation, Birney split his time between Broadway and television, where he played a wide variety of roles ranging from John Quincy Adams in the 1976 series The Adams Chronicles to a one-year stint on the medical drama St. Elsewhere.
Birney and Baxter divorced in the 1980s, and the Family Ties star later wrote a memoir in which she accused Birney of being abusive during their marriage, an accusation he denied in a lengthy public statement, in which he described Baxter’s claims "a fairy tale."
If you are interested in watching episodes of Bridget Loves Birney, it's currently available on the ad-supported streaming service Crackle.
DAY TWO OF THE NEWFRONTS
The NewFronts (think of it as the streaming world's answer to the UpFronts) kicked off its second day today and Roku had plenty of news to announce:
* Roku is making a big move into original food programming and during its presentation, the company announced that it had signed co-production deals with Marquee Brands and Milk Street Studios for seven new original series with Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse and Christopher Kimball for The Roku Channel. The deals will bring complete past seasons of the stars' series to The Roku Channel.
Stewart appeared during the presentation to announce her three new shows: Martha Cooks, Martha’s Garden and Martha’s Holidays. Lagasse and Kimball later joined Stewart on stage to announce their series: Emeril Cooks, Emeril Tailgates, Milk Street’s Cooking School and Milk Street’s My Family Recipes.
In case you're not familiar with Chris Kimball, he co-founded America's Test Kitchen, which produced two PBS shows: America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country. He left the company in 2015 after a contract dispute and founded Milk Street Kitchen. He was sued a year later by America's Test Kitchen, which claimed he had "literally and conceptually ripped off" its business model. That lawsuit was settled three years in a deal which included Kimball returning his shares of America's Test Kitchen to the company, while being allowed to continue his projects.
* The Roku Channel will also become the exclusive home of The Great American Baking Show, which will produce a special holiday episode for the platform.
* Robert Rodriguez will be producing the first The Roku Channel's first Spanish-language original, a cooking show entitled Delicisio.
* The Roku Channel has picked up former Quibi shows Die Harter, Most Dangerous Game: New York, Children Ruin Everything and Chrissy’s Court for additional seasons.
* The audience also got a first look at new Roku original shows Slip starring Zoe Lister-Jones and Honest Renovations, starring Jessica Alba and Lizzy Mathis. The platform also previewed the This Old House spin-off series Idea House, which it has already picked up for a second season.
TWEET OF THE DAY
I don't generally post a thread, but these three tweets from kids television producer Chris Nee is worth reading in full:
WHAT'S NEW FOR TUESDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive (Netflix)
Holey Moley Season Premiere (ABC)
Showtime 1958 (Netflix)
Spring Awakening: Those You've Known (HBO)
The Chase Season Premiere (ABC)
The Girl From Plainville Series Finale (Hulu)
The Secret Of Skinwalker Ranch Season Premiere (History)
Who Do You Believe? Series Premiere (ABC)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU WEDNESDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.