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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.
A new Batman TV show
ALSO: Will Smith's not-really high ratings. AND: Hugh Jackman's butt controversy.
With Disney and Warner Bros both controlling large-scale streaming services, expect to hear a lot more universe-building with cross-platform movies and TV shows launching while set in the same creative universes. Over the weekend we heard the promising news that Warner Bros are planning an HBO Max show that will complement the new film The Batman.
This new show will star Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon (a role he plays in the movie) and will focus on the Gotham City police department. Terrance Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) will be the showrunner.
It is assumed that the template for the new show will be the beloved comic series Gotham Central which explored the day to day police work of police detectives working in a world where costumed villains wreak havoc. The first season of the show will be a prequel to the movie:
Australia’s Network 10 will launch a fourth free-to-air TV channel in September. 10 Shake will be powered largely bu ViacomCBS content from the US with kids content before 6pm and “edgy” grown-up shows after 6pm.
Kids shows will include: Aussie series Totally Wild, Crocamole, and Scopeand international series PAW Patrol, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and Bubble Guppies.
Edgy shows: The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, Lip Sync Battle, Inside Amy Schumer, Drunk History, and Comedy Central Roasts.
The channel is being launched to give the network a stronger audience share. It has struggled against its competitors which are all running four channels.
Rod Prosser, Chief Sales Officer:
The fourth channel allows us to strengthen our under-50s programming proposition and capture advertising dollars from brands that target the younger demographics. We’re particularly excited about the prospect of welcoming back advertisers who have been shifting their marketing spend to tech and social video platforms."
Something interesting… the new channel will be run primarily from cloud computers. Instead of files or tapes being received locally, playout will be controlled through the cloud and delivered to Ten’s transmission towers
This will remove manual labour costs, eliminate local storage requirements, and simplify the delivery process.
Translation: The new channel is being run from the US without the need for a local presence on the ground. I’d be very surprised if Ten’s US owners ViacomCBS don’t do something similar with broadcast channels 10 Peach and 10 Bold.
Expect a butt-related controversy to stir with Disney+ in the coming days. The recent release on platform of X-Men: Days Of Future Past has delivered Hugh Jackman’s butt on Disney+ subscribers screens.
I’ll spare you the gif of it that I had planned to add. Heaven forbid you get scandalised while reading ABW and eating your cornflakes in the morning.
But why is it that we get Jackman’s butt unedited on screen while Daryl Hannah’s rear end was covered up by her long hair in the Disney+ edit of the comedy Splash?
The prime-time 30 Rock reunion special airs in the US on July 16. The special is covertly a corporate messaging tool for NBC to pitch its value to media buyers in place of holding an upfronts presentation. Yeah, it’s weird and perfect for 30 Rock.
Because of the nature of it, I’m not sure if this will get a release anywhere outside of the US.
Star Trek: Lower Decks debuts on August 6. It is definitely a lot more kid-orientated than I had expected. Which is fine and, frankly, needed for the franchise.
On Friday Will Smith appeared on his wife’s Facebook Watch show where Jada Pinkett Smith confessed to him the details about the relationship she had with another man while they were on a break.
Within 24 hours the 12-minute video received 15.4 million views. Keep in mind that Facebook report on a view of being anyone watching for just 3 seconds. I’m sure viewership on this was higher than most Facebook Watch videos, but Facebook video views are highly inflated compared to actual viewership.
Quibi’s The Princess Bride remake with celebrities each shooting lockdown videos of themselves in scenes from the film also features the final appearance by Carl Reiner. It’s a fun clip with Reiner appearing opposite his son Rob Reiner (who also directed the original movie).
Over the weekend I watched The Old Guard on Netflix. The movie was a fun (though very self-serious) watch, but it was interesting how much it felt like a TV pilot rather than a feature film. If viewership for it is strong, this could very well be one of the first big franchises launched on Netflix (something they haven’t really had a lot of success with outside of Stranger Things).
If you’re interested in exploring what might happen in a sequel, there’s a great in-depth chat with writer Greg Rucka (he also wrote the comic the film is based on).