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.
It's Dune day. Sucks it might get delayed.
ALSO: The Walking Dead cancelled. AND: Kardashians cancelled.
It’s a huge day for news, so let’s get cracking…
Wonder Woman delay? Could it impact on Dune?
Warner Bros is getting twitchy. It has launched Tenet globally and, this past weekend, into the North American market. Some people labelled the $20m US haul as "soft", but that take was without some of the biggest markets: New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Cinemas in those cities are still shut and it doesn’t look like they are opening anytime soon. A problem for Tenet. But a bigger concern for Warner Bros is that they have an October 2 release for Wonder Woman 1984 scheduled.
Warner Bros are rumored to want to push the film back. But November has Disney’s Black Widow scheduled. And then in December WB has Dune.
If Disney blink, expect Wonder Woman in November and Dune to retain a December release. If not, Wonder Woman will likely take Dune’s slot, pushing that film back.
By 2024 films seeking Oscars will need to meet two of four diversity inclusion standards both on screen and behind the camera.
There’s something about this that feels a little funky to me. I’m very much in favor of introducing quotas through the industry to boost representation. This is especially important at the executive level.
But, there’s something about imposing creative diversity demands that feels a little hinky. It isn’t as though the Oscars represent the most-watched films within Hollywood. Many titles are broadly unknown to the bulk of movie goers.
This doesn’t result in the widespread industry change that might be desired.
Chop off The Walking Dead’s head and another two will grow in its place. The next season of The Walking Dead will be the series last. With a 24-episode season ordered, one batch of 12 episodes will air in 2021 with the final batch of 12 in 2022.
But the end of the show after 11 seasons will not be the end of the franchise with two new shows announced. 2023 will see a direct spin-off with a show starring the two remaining OG cast members Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride. The new series has been co-created by chief content officer Scott M. Gimple and Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang. The other show will be an anthology series telling one-off stories set in TWD universe.
Head of original programming at Netflix, Cindy Holland, is out at the streamer after 18 years with the company. Her role will be subsumed by Bela Bajaria who had been responsible for all of the non-English language originals on the service.
The irony is not lost on me that Netflix is losing such an important executive in the same week that head honcho Reed Hastings is out promoting his new book on building the culture of Netflix - a company that has a unique approach to transparency about wages and performance. Might I recommend checking out episode one of the Netflix season of podcast Land of The Giants which explores the culture fairly succinctly.
So, why is the show ending? The answer begins and ends with broadcaster E! and the fact that a cable TV channel doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Kardashians at this stage. For E! it is about the fact the show has diminished in ratings. A $100 million deal for a show that pulls in 810,000 viewers per episode? That’s a lot.
For the Kardashian family, being on TV doesn’t give the audience that they can command on other platforms. TV no longer yields influencer status.
“Their relevance is not on TV, their relevance is on Snapchat and social media,” said Eunice Shin, a partner at brand and business consultancy Prophet. “They are absolute brand marketers, and that’s what they exist for. They don’t necessarily need television to do that.”
Something to keep in mind with this news about Keeping Up With The Kardashians: linear cable television is scaling down right now. The large companies that own cable channels are restructuring their TV business in a way that puts the emphasis on streaming video, leaving the cable channels less resourced as they drain what revenue is still available through their declining years.
WarnerMedia’s recent executive and staff restructure was about pooling together resources so that the channels are no longer individually managed and operated.
E! owner NBCUniversal hasn’t been so drastic in its moves yet, but keep in mind that the decision not to proceed with more Kardashians comes just weeks after it cancelled several long-running shows like flagship E! News. Going forward, don’t expect to see much big ticket expenditure coming out of E!
Don’t expect this to be the end of the Kardashians on TV either. They’ll be gone from linear, but don’t be surprised to see them appear on a streaming platform like Netflix alongside the Goop show.
“Dick, you’re fired”
MGM is developing a Robocop prequel TV series that will focus on the career of young promising OCP exec Dick Jones.
Here’s Robocop screenwriter Ed Neumeier:
There’s the idea of doing things about business and law enforcement in the city of Detroit a minute-and-a-half in the future, it would be a way to do all sorts of stories about business and tech, Silicon Valley, corporations, snakes in suits, cops, all that. It’s a wonderful rich tapestry.
They’re planning yet another “-ish” series with Oldish in development at ABC, spinning off Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis. Analysts report that the US ABC network will be 87% “-ish” branded shows by 2025, solving on-screen diversity issues. Source: Variety
Sacha Baron Cohen has reportedly filmed a Borat sequel. Source: Radio Times
Workaholics stars (and director) Blake Anderson, Adam Devine, Anders Holm, and Kyle Newacheck are launching a podcast called This Is Important. Source: Deadline
Sorry you have to hear this, but Jay Leno has a new TV show on the way. It is a revamp of Groucho’s You Bet Your Life. Source: thefutoncritic
Rick Moranis sighting
My Blue Heaven star Rick Moranis may be reclusive these days, but important projects will bring him back. Projects like appearing in a commercial with Ryan Reynolds to promote the Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place stars’ telco.
PBS launches live linear streams
In a bid to remain relevant in a streaming world, PBS is bringing live linear streams to its apps.
I’d suggest that the smarter move for brands like PBS would be to launch branded linear channels on platforms like Pluto TV and Peacock TV. If you can’t compete as a branded destination, the better move would be to be seen as a premium channel within a linear multichannel streaming platform.