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Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
$200 million payday for Game of Thrones creators. ALSO: 90210 ratings. AND: The truth about Ted Danson's sitcom.
Always Be Watching is written each day by Dan Barrett who is willing to sign on with Netflix for less.
Game of Thronescreators David Benioff and Dan Weiss have signed a new production deal. Ted Sarandos backed up the Netflix money truck and poured out a deal worth approximately $200 million to the duo. Under the deal, Benioff and Weiss will create and produce new projects for Netflix. This does not impact on the Star Wars films that the two are currently working on for Disney.
Are the two worth $200 million? In Hollywood terms, most certainly.
They presided over the most popular show in the world, producing a series that from a logistics standpoint, was more complicated and bigger in scale than anything that had been achieved before.
Their work on Game of Thrones will net HBO a record number of Emmy Awards in a few months.
This allows Netflix to boast that it has two of the biggest creators in TV history working for the service. Not only does that pay off in industry d**k swinging terms, but it also makes it way easier to attract other talent to the service. Let’s say Netflix wants Jennifer Lawrence to appear in a Netflix show - it’s easier to get her to take a meeting with the former creators of Game of Thrones than it is to entice her with that Story Editor from 13 Reasons Why who has an interesting idea.
Who in Hollywood wants to say that they passed up the chance to have Benioff & Weiss work for them if they then go on to produce another series that becomes as popular as Game of Thrones was?
How does the deal stack up in terms of recent deals? It’s competitive.
Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story, Pose) signed with Netflix. Value: $300 million.
Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal) signed with Netflix. Value: $150 million.
Kenya Barris (Black-ish) signed with Netflix. Value: $100 million.
JJ Abrams (Felicity) signed with WarnerMedia. Value $500 million.
Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan (Persons of Interest, Westworld) signed with Amazon. Value: $150 million.
Consider with the value of these deals as well that a good chunk of change goes towards paying for the staff that these creators have working for them and general business expenses (renting fancy offices and sparkling water isn’t cheap).
Did you know that the baseball field built for the movie Field of Dreams is still standing? Located in Dubuque County, Iowa, it remains a tourist attraction and in August next year it will also host its first actual Major League Baseball game.
3.84 million viewers tuned in to watch the 90210 revival. The show was the highest rating show of the night in the 18-49 demo, which will have the execs at Fox pretty happy. Whether it is able to hold that viewership on account of the show being terrible remains to be seen over the coming weeks.
That Ted Danson sitcom that is being run by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock? Apparently it was originally created as a 30 Rock spin-off that would have starred Alec Baldwin reprising his role as Jack Donaghy as the new Mayor of New York. Baldwin was negotiating for close to a year before negotiations fell through. The decision was made to shift the setting to Los Angeles when the show hired Ted Danson, who wasn’t interested in moving to New York to film it.
Curious about the future of movies? Well, this week’s earnings call with Disney chief Bob Iger gave some indication of what we can expect: Big budget special effects films will be made for the big screen, prestige lower budget films will also get a cinema release, but everything else is going straight to streaming.
The new Lord of The Rings TV show from Amazon will reportedly have 20 episodes in its first season, expected to debut in 2021. This is double the episode count of the standard Amazon series. I wouldn’t expect to see 20 episodes drop on Amazon all at once, however. More likely would be a split season, with 10 episodes each year giving them time to launch a second season without much of a release gap.
That is if Amazon choose to stick to the usual same day release strategy. Could this be the sort of show that might encourage Amazon to trial a weekly release schedule?