A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
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.
Always Be Watching - 18 October 2018
ABW is by Dan Barrett who has been thinking a lot about 'Cheers'.
The big news story of the week: The great Caroll Spinney will retire this week after playing Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch on Sesame Street since 1969. He’s responsible for two of TV’s most enduring, iconic characters and is unquestionably one of television’s great performers.
“I always thought, How fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets?” he said. “Playing Big Bird is one of the most joyous things of my life.”
Spinney retires at age 84 and will continue to appear at conventions and serve as an ambassador for all things Muppets. He’ll be succeeded by Matt Vogel as Big Bird.
Yesterday Aussie broadcaster Nine held its upfronts - among the shows announced was a revival of the beloved 1998-2000 light drama Seachange and a local adaptation of reality show Lego Masters. Here’s a clip of the UK Lego Masters series:
SVOD giants Netflix and Amazon have reportedly driven up the cost of acquiring premium Korean drama. This has resulted in dedicated niche streamer DramaFever shutting down, effective immediately. The lesson: Niche, targeted streaming services can’t operate alongside large general entertainment platforms if they don’t have access to first-window premium titles.
Not familiar with DramaFever?
DramaFever offered an ad-free premium option that started at $4.99 per month, touting a lineup of over 13,000 episodes from 60 content partners across 12 countries. The content — which spanned K-dramas, other Asian TV shows and movies, and Latin American telenovelas — also has been available to watch on a free, ad-supported basis. DramaFever’s programming was translated into English, Spanish and Portuguese and available on the web, mobile and connected-TV devices.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon. You know what that means: Lot’s of TV about the event. One of the more interesting productions is the PBS doco series Chasing The Moon, which will feature a number of interviews with those involved, including Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The series has been bought internationally by BBC for the U.K., Arte for France and Germany, and SBS in Australia.