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.
First look at a new Paul Rudd TV show. ALSO: Why Jennifer Aniston almost left Friends after 1/2 a season!
Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett who has a case of the TGIF's today
There’s only one actor more welcome on my screen than Paul Rudd. And that’s Paul Rudd. While there isn’t a trailer for it yet, Netflix today released some promotional photos for his new show Living With Yourself.
The show is about a man who is “struggling in life” and turns to a “novel spa treatment” for help, only to realize he’s been replaced by a “new and improved” version of himself—meaning Rudd will play both cool/better Paul Rudd and lame/uglier Paul Rudd.
Australian streaming service Stan yesterday posted its earnings as part of parent company Nine’s annual report.
Its streaming business Stan booked an earnings loss of $21.3m in the year, despite delivering its first earnings contribution of $500,000 to Nine in the second half of the 2019 financial year.
Stan’s costs jumped 23 per cent to $178.4m, while its revenue rose 62 per cent to $157.1m, on the back of 200,000 new subscribers this year and a $2 price increase in March.
Nine expects Stan to move “strongly into profitability” in the current year, but stopped short of provide any specific forecasts ahead of the arrival of US entertainment giant Disney’s streaming offering, Disney+. Stan’s one-year content deal with Disney is also expected to end in December.
For Stan it was always about playing the long game - increasing on subscription revenue year on year until eventually reaching profitability. But, with high profile entrants now starting to enter the market en masse, there are obvious questions…
Apparently Jennifer Aniston was close to being legally obligated to leave Friends midway through its first season due to a role she previously shot on another sitcom for CBS.
“‘Muddling Through’ had already shot a half-dozen episodes, none of which had aired, and CBS, after some dithering, ultimately chose to put the show on its summer schedule, in the relative dead zone of Saturday nights. Hearing the news, [Warren] Littlefield turned to [Preston] Beckman, NBC’s scheduling guru, with a two-word order: ‘Kill it.’
Beckman returned with a crafty suggestion for eliminating ‘Muddling Through”s prospects. Beckman was sitting on a trove of unreleased original TV films adapted from Danielle Steel novels. They were practically guaranteed to attract a substantial, and substantially female, audience. If they were to be scheduled opposite ‘Muddling Through’? Well, no show about an ex-con motel manager and her daffy family was likely to provide stiff competition for Steel’s glamorous romances.
Beckman would schedule the Steel movies for the first few Saturday nights Muddling Through was on the air, with repeats scheduled for the weeks that followed. It was a necessary sacrifice, giving up some of the ratings the movies might have garnered on another, more attractive, night in exchange for eliminating a rival to potential future Thursday-night success.”
The details are chronicled in a new book that looks back at Friends 25 years after its debut.
Friend of Always Be WatchingWenlei Ma has a piece at News.com.au suggesting that people will soon be paying more to watch TV and that some people are resenting it.
The narrative about how streaming TV will soon be resembling pay TV kind of bugs me a bit because it misses the point a bit on why pay TV sucks (beyond the paying part) and how terrible the TV experience used to be.
TV was great in 1996 - some of the best ever free-to-air TV shows were at their peak - Seinfeld, Friends, ER, NYPD Blue, Newsradio, Homicide: Life On The Street, Chicago Hope Murder One, and so many more. It was great that we could watch them all for free. But, at least from the perspective of someone in Australia, we were watching shows months, if not years after their debut. And unless it was one of the biggest shows on, the shows were often dumped to irregular timeslots, with episodes jumbled into the wrong order, or not screened.
Even at this time, my family used to rent a lot of videos from the local video rental store. Two Friday night rentals at $7 bucks each. Cost = $56 a month.
Cut to 2006 - Event reality TV had taken its hold in Australia. The number of import shows had diminished with many shows not even broadcast. TV was great if you wanted to watch Big Brother 5 nights a week. Not so great if you wanted to watch The Sopranos unedited or at a decent time of the night.
At this time I was buying a lot of movies and TV shows on DVD. Approximate cost = $50-60 a month.
Today - Most shows I want to watch are available on streaming platforms and the costs are much the same. Plus shows are available on demand without me spending time going to the store. They’re there for me day and date with the US, in HD. Plus, the quality of shows across the board is consistently very high.
The L Word: Generation Q
Goliath - season 3
Lego Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar
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