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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.
Harry Potter - a TV series? Get outta here!
ALSO: WWE Network merges with Peacock. AND: The 50 best cult movies of all time.
Get ready for Harry Potter: The Series
Harry Potter, the series of books written for children in mind, is about to be adapted once more - this time as a series for HBO Max.
Warner Bros are denying that there is a project in the works. It will be interesting to find out if this will re-adapt the books as a series, or whether the plan would be to just further extend the world of Harry Potter. I would assume the plan would be to do both…
A Harry Potter live-action TV series is in early development at HBO Max. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that executives at the WarnerMedia-backed streamer have engaged in multiple conversations with potential writers exploring various ideas that would bring the beloved property to television. Sources say broad ideas have been discussed as part of the early-stage exploratory meetings.
Fans of WWE wrestling will be well aware of WWE Network. For the past 7 years, the WWE has operated its streaming service that is an absolute one-stop-shop for fans with new and library content, along with access to pay-per-view events.
In the US, that is coming to an end with a deal signed by NBCUniversal. The app will shut down, but all of that content will instead be available to paid subscribers of its Peacock streaming service. It’s actually a pretty good deal for WWE fans as they aren’t losing access to any content, but can now also access the Peacock library as well. The cheapest subscription is ad-supported for $5 a month.
WWE Network will launch on Peacock on March 18 and will offer both on-demand programming as well as a 24/7 channel within the streamer. Pay-per-view events including WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Fastlane will be available through Peacock, as well original series like Steve Austin Broken Skull Sessions, in-ring shows like NXT, NXT UK and WWE 205 Live, archive programming and documentaries like WWE 24. Peacock will also be the home of replays of Raw and SmackDown. Beginning in 2022, it will release one documentary from WWE Network each year.
What about outside of the US? The WWE Network app will continue on as it always has across 180 countries.
Fast tracking the COVID-19 vaccine for the Hollywood elites
Hollywood isn’t just about paying their way into university placements for their kids. It’s also about getting the vaccine before the plebs too.
It’s also clear that power and wealth, which allow many in the Hollywood community to afford on-demand doctors and access private planes to engage in vaccine tourism, have enabled them to get shots more safely and efficiently than average citizens. It illustrates the gaping chasm that exists between haves and have nots in this country when it comes to healthcare.
Frankly, I believe anyone cutting queues at this time should be named and shamed.
Over at The Ringer they have assembled a list of the top 50 cult movies of all time. And the list is fun and ticks the right boxes for the most part (not sure why La Haine is on the list, but whatever).
My only criticism of the list is that it is just too US-centric. I struggle with a list of the best cult movies that doesn’t include the UK’s Withnail & I, or the Australian film Turkey Shoot.
Aussie sports streaming service Kayo has formally announced its plans to offer some sports for free through its subscription-app. Shifting to a mix of ad-supported sports and subscription makes a lot of sense - not all sports drive subscriptions and there are a number of sporting codes/leagues that don’t want to be behind a paywall.
I’m not sure about the ‘Kayo Freebies’ branding.
The first live Freebie will be the Supercars race the Mt Panorama 500 starting February 26. Selected A-League and W-League games will also be available as Kayo Freebies with more Freebies announced in the coming weeks.