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.
Is the end of The Simpsons nigh? PLUS: a new SVOD + Kung-fu movies!
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett, who put the spring in Springfield.
Will Disney cancel The Simpsons? This is what Variety are suggesting. A straight-out cancellation may prove to be far more lucrative than continuing to make new episodes.
The Simpsons was always a loss-leader for the Fox TV channel. It cost more to air than advertising would cover. But, 20th Century Fox produced the show, so while the channel lost money on it, the studio made more money off it from selling it into syndication, on cable, and globally.
Fox and 20th Century Fox will soon be two completely different companies, so that incentive is no longer there.
Contractually, Disney are restricted in the deals it can strike to on-sell The Simpsons while Fox is still broadcasting the show. A cancellation means the many years worth of Simpsons can be monetised with greater flexibility.
My guess on how this will shake out: Disney will strike a deal with Fox that keeps new episodes on the air past season 32, but with the ability to put the Simpsons catalogue on its upcoming streaming service.
Anthony Scaramucci has already been evicted from Celebrity Big Brother. Poor guy can’t seem to catch a break…
The company seeks to capture 18- to 35-year-olds during their “in-between” moments: on the train to work, waiting in line at Starbucks, boarding a flight. Yet its business model is to sell these youthful viewers subscriptions in an era of ubiquitous free video. “Trying to create what’s essentially ‘lean back’ content, even if it’s shorter, and delivering that to mobile platforms exclusively is a nonstarter,” says Paul Verna, a video analyst with the consulting firm eMarketer. “The people who are going to be the audience for this have no idea who Jeffrey Katzenberg or Meg Whitman is. They don’t care, and they don’t want to pay.”
Quibi will launch by the end of the year and my general feeling is that yes, there may well be a market for a premium short-form video service, but for all the star-power of Quibi, nothing really sounds like it is all that compelling.
Chris Rock narrating an Animal Planet spoof? Lena Waithe hosting a doco series about sneakers? Justin Timberlake interviewing other singers? It all sounds like okay content if you stumbled upon it, but it doesn’t sound distinctive enough to get me through the door.
There will be scripted web series too, with both Antoine Fuqua and Guillermo Del Toro producing. But… I’m yet to see a scripted web series that has wowed me. I feel like serialised dramas need at least 20 minutes to begin to deliver a fulfilling experience.
It feels like the idea is right, but let’s see the execution. It seems a little wonky to me from this far out.
Video game streaming service Twitch doesn’t just stream video of people playing games - it also has event streams of quirky TV and movies. From 4-8th February, Twitch will stream 44 Shaw Brothers Kung-Fu movies.
“We’re excited to introduce cult classic movies from the 70s and 80s to our fans on Twitch for the first time,” said GammaRay COO Do Duong. “Kung fu has influenced filmmaking, hip hop music, and pop culture, so we’re thankful to Celestial Pictures for access to their Shaw Brothers action titles, and to Twitch for using their service to introduce a larger audience to the kung fu phenomenon.”
It’s a full-trailer for Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, launching 15 Feb.
I’ll be back with one more this week that has some viewing highlights and maybe a few news articles. Maybe. It’s been a tiring week.
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.