John Grisham is coming to TV. It was always going to happen, but the surprise here is that this is happening in the most interesting way possible.

ABC Signature are producing, for Hulu, The Grisham Universe. It will start with two shows based on Grisham books - The Rainmaker (made into the Matt Damon film) and Rogue Lawyer (a 2015 book), with both series running concurrently. Characters and storylines from both will weave in-between both shows, but audiences will be able to watch both shows independently.

It all sounds structurally interesting. Hopefully the shows are good too.

The CBS-owned Australian broadcaster 10 has launched its subscription streaming service 10 All Access. The platform, a re-badged CBS All Access, will cost subscribers AU$9.99 per month and offers a content selection that is not too dissimilar from the US version of the platform. 10 All Access will also give subscribers access to the 24/7(ish) news service CBSN.

My initial thoughts on the new service:

  • There’s some interesting nostalgia titles. Melrose Place, BH 90210, The Fugitive, etc has some novelty.
  • I’m very happy there’s finally an Australian streaming service that has Cheers.
  • The originals on offer are a bit average. New episodes of the two good titles (The Good Fight and Star Trek Discovery) are elsewhere. Tho, the first 2 seasons of The Good Fight are streaming on 10 All Access, which is good.
  • CBSN has potential, but isn’t much of a selling point yet. No mention of the Entertainment Tonight integration into CBSN.
  • I had hoped for fast tracking of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, but it’s not there (as it is with CBS All Access. It’s on 10play, but days late. 10 All Access is missing all the daytime and nighttime shows that CBS All Access provides access to.
  • 10 All Access may eventually establish a reason to subscribe, but my credit card remains in my wallet for the moment.
  • Also… ten bucks a month for what’s on offer? CBS All Access is already tough to justify when you consider what else you can stream for roughly the same cost each month at Netflix/Hulu/Amazon. A scaled back streaming service is even harder to justify.

People freaked out yesterday when it looked like Friends was leaving Netflix. But, rest assured, Netflix will be there for you and it’s going to cost them a cool $100 million to do so. Previously they were paying $30 million each year for the show.

The deal comes as WarnerMedia is set to launch its own streaming service to compete against Netflix. So, while Friends is locked down for 2019, WarnerMedia will be looking to have some marquee titles on its yet-to-be-properly-announced service. I wouldn’t expect to see Friends there in 2020.

HBO’s My Brilliant Friend will be back for season 2.

The trailer for the BBC/Netflix adaptation of Watership Down is online. It debuts on 22 Dec with 4 x 1 hour episodes.

Hulu is close to having 20 million subscribers in the US, but they are looking to scale up dramatically to double that number. This explains their recent promotion to offer 99 cent per month subscriptions over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.

CEO Randy Freer:

“We need to get to 30, 40, 50 million homes,” Freer said. In order to get there, Hulu is rolling out customer-acquisition initiatives like a recent offer of 12 months of service for 99 cents a month, which proved “far more successful than we anticipated,” he said.

He also spoke about international expansion plans:

International expansion remains a “question mark” for Hulu, as Freer put it. While Netflix has waged a hugely expensive campaign to span the globe, Hulu has largely stuck to its U.S. knitting. “We’re a little late in some markets,” Freer said. “Some markets are complicated. It’s a hard problem to solve from an investment standpoint. But we’re excited about some countries.”

Freer is also anticipating far fewer linear cable channels in the next few years, expecting it to drop from 300 or so down to 10. An industry bloodbath, but it’s probably about right.

“In the next decade, it’s not going to be about scheduled [linear] networks,” said Freer, speaking at the BI Ignition conference Tuesday in New York City. The survivors will be cable networks “that have been able to build a brand” that resonates with consumers, but most of the TV nets that are around today probably won’t exist, he said.

And finally, Fox have sold some of their properties for international remakes.

How I Met Your Mother is being remade in China, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing is getting remakes in India and Vietnam, Awake has been sold into Russia, and This Is Us is heading to France and Holland.