Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, December 2nd, 2021
I finally have a reason to use this Jon Stewart image again.
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, December 2nd, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is in the middle of a press-tour-that-isn't-THE-press-tour event with ABC. As a result, the newsletter is running a bit late today, but I am able to squeeze in a couple of pieces of just released news from the network. So this newsletter is more news-heavy than normal.
Events with NBC and CBS are coming next week, with Fox hosting an event the following week.
A QUICK JOSHUA JOHNSON UPDATE
I heard from someone at NBC Digital Communications, who wanted to make sure that I passed along that Joshua Johnson's new show will be available on Peacock. NBC News NOW has a "channel" on Peacock and viewers will be able to find his show there. I reached out for clarification on whether the show will also be available separately on demand under the Peacock "news" tab and this is what I was told:
When you go to the News tab now on Peacock, you’ll see the first tile listed is the NBC News NOW live stream. Beginning at 8pm ET next week (when Joshua’s show launches), you’ll be able to watch his show, live, in the News tab. Various clips will be available as well from his show (and other shows within NBC News NOW) within the news tab (visible as you scroll down).
I continue to be confused by this approach, since the only way viewers will be able to watch the show in its entirety on Peacock is live with the NBC News NOW livestream. I think I understand the business motivation behind the move. But it seems to limit the number of people who will watch the show.
I'll have a review of the show once it premieres next week.
IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO PRODUCE GLOBAL SHOWS, YOU ALSO HAVE TO PROMOTE THEM GLOBALLY
Joe Adalian has a great interview with HBO and HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys in the latest edition of his "Buffering" newsletter. There is a lot I could pull out of this, but as someone who writes a lot about global production, I was struck by this part of the conversation:
Netflix has shown repeatedly how shows made outside the English-speaking world can become global hits, with Squid Game the most spectacular success so far. Does that inspire you to want to up your output of international content even more than you have already?
HBO has been producing shows internationally for 20 years. HBO Europe, HBO Nordic, HBO Spain, HBO Latin America, HBO Asia — all of those territories have been producing local content for, I want to say, 20 years. We’ve just not done a great job highlighting those shows. Part of that is because HBO historically was set up differently in different territories. In the U.K., it is distributed by Sky. In Canada, it’s Bell Media. In Spain, we had our own service. So it was really a patchwork around the world. We’re trying to be much better about that. I believe we will do a much better job of coordinating those programming efforts that my colleagues around the world have been doing for years. Each territory has a library and has been producing local content and will continue to do that. But now it will be for HBO Max as opposed to whatever HBO affiliate they were doing it for.
Might we see more international content green-lit, or will you just do a better job promoting that output?
I think it’s safe to say that as we expand HBO Max globally, you will see more content being produced.
Bloys seems to dodge the promotion part of the question and probably with good reason. HBO Max already includes a number of HBO international productions, but with several notable exceptions, they are just released onto the service with little or no promotion or notice. I'm not sure what the opposite of content discovery is, but that seems to be the HBO Max approach to a lot of these international shows. While they all have English subtitles, many of them don't have an English-language dub, which severely limits the audience. I know it costs a bit to get it done, but if you're serious about promoting your international programming, then getting the shows dubbed into English is a necessary evil.
JON STEWART'S UNLIKELY GUEST ROLE
As you may have heard, ABC is bringing back its Live In Front Of A Studio Audience special, in which modern-day actors reenact an episode of Facts Of Life and Diff'rent Strokes. ABC just announced that Jon Stewart will make an appearance on the Facts Of Life episode in a special "guest role." Acting is not Stewart's best skill, although I do remember seeing him make an appearance years ago on the under-rated kids program Jack's Big Music Show, where he played a reporter who worked for the "Groundhog Day News Network."
The episode of Facts of Life will feature Jennifer Aniston, playing the role of Blair; Gabrielle Union, taking on the role of Tootie; Allison Tolman, who will play Natalie; Kathryn Hahn, recreating the role of Jo; and Ann Dowd, who will tackle the role of Mrs. Garrett.
The episode of Diff'rent Strokes will feature John Lithgow, who will play Mr. Drummond; Kevin Hart, assuming the role of Arnold; and Damon Wayans, who will play Willis.
Live In Front Of A Studio Audience will air Tuesday, December 7th.
OVATION LAUNCHES FAST CHANNEL MYSTERY ALLEY
Ovation has had some success with its FAST (free, ad-supported streaming TV) travel channel Journy, so it's not surprising to see them launch a second channel. Mystery Alley features "acclaimed international series and films spanning multiple continents," and is launching on the Ovation Now app, along with Plex, DistroTV, and Freebie.tv. I expect to see additional outlets announced in coming weeks.
Here is a rundown of the programming you'll find on Mystery Alley:
The Blue Rose: a contemporary, smart investigative drama from New Zealand in which the lowly back-room office staff join forces to fight for justice in a corrupt corporate world.
The Code: a conspiracy thriller set in the Australian outback that kicks off with a truck accident that causes a political scandal.
Crossing Lines: a special crime unit investigates serialized crimes that cross over European borders to hunt down criminals and bring them to justice.
The Fall: the psychological thriller examines the lives of two hunters -- one is a serial killer who preys on victims in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the other is a female detective drafted from the London Metropolitan Police to catch him.
Hooten & The Lady: a British adventure drama series that follows the story of a British Museum curator who teams up with a charismatic, roguish American adventurer in a series of global treasure-hunting escapades.
The Hour: a behind-the-scenes drama and espionage thriller in Cold War-era England that centers on a journalist, a producer, and an anchorman for an investigative news program.
King: a Canadian police drama about a veteran police officer who gets promoted to head of the Major Crimes Task Force in Toronto after her predecessor has a breakdown on television.
McCallum: from deep within the morgue at St. Patrick's Hospital in London's East End, a team of brilliant pathologists and detectives help the dead tell their stories.
Midsomer Murders: based on a crime-novel series, the series follows the efforts to solve crimes that occur in the wealthy, isolated English county of Midsomer.
Murdoch Mysteries: in a series of stories taking place in Toronto during the 1890s and early 1900s, several challenging murder cases arise. Detective Murdoch uses up-and-coming forensics techniques and an unconventional approach.
Rebus: this series follows the exploits of Detective Inspector John Rebus, who solves grisly crimes on the streets of Edinburgh.
Remedy: goes beyond the OR and ER with "upstairs/downstairs" points of view behind the scenes of Toronto's Bethune General Hospital.
Republic of Doyle: follows a father and son pair of private investigators in the sleepy port city of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Secret State: an industrial accident kills several people and raises questions about the safety procedures of the US petrochemical company involved in the incident.
The Strange Calls: the new night duty desk officer in Coolum Beach finds himself investigating strange truths.
Sue Thomas F.B.Eye: this light-hearted police drama follows a sheltered deaf woman who is about to start her first real job with the FBI.
The Village: this epic drama charts the turbulent times experienced by one English village throughout the 20th century.
Hear from voices like Tom Llamas, Hallie Jackson, Lester Holt, Savannah Sellers and more.
Watch NBC News NOW for free, 24/7, wherever you stream.
TWEET OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* The new season of American Idol will premiere Tuesday, February 8th on ABC.
* ABC just announced that Jeopardy! National College Championship, hosted by Mayim Bialik, will premiere on Tuesday, February 8th.
* Eddie Mekka, best known for his role as Carmine "The Big Ragoo" Ragusa, died on Saturday at his home in Newhall, Calif. He was 69.
* If you're looking for some obscure television to stream, Crackle has added the 2005 Daphne Zuniga series Beautiful People.
* The reboot of Ghost Hunters will premiere January 1st on Discovery+.
* The HBO documentary series The Murders At Starved Rock premieres on Tuesday, December 14th.
SEE YOU FRIDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.