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.
New head of streaming at Disney+
ALSO: Has Comedy Central given us its last good laugh?
Looking for a sign that the world is starting to get back to normal? Netflix streaming quality is improved across parts of Europe. Previously the streamer had reduced its bit-rate to relieve the pressure placed on broadband infrastructure in a number of territories across the globe.
Kevin Mayer, Chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International (ie the fellow in charge of streaming at Disney and responsible for what is currently it’s most important product Disney+), has quit to become the new CEO of TikTok. Recently Mayer was not chosen to lead Disney following the kinda-sorta departure of Robert Iger.
Replacing Mayer? That would be Rebecca Campbell. From the outset, she seems like an unlikely choice for the role. Much of her career is built on the work she did in local broadcasting, running individual stations, and running the ABC Owned Television Stations Group.
There seemed to be something prescient about filmmakers like Sofia Coppola and Spike Lee directing straight-to-streaming movies this year for Apple TV+ and Netflix, respectively. With cinemas shut down, it is great to see that such respected auteurs will have their movies available.
Today we get the trailer for the new Spike Lee joint, Da 5 Bloods. I’m especially excited to see Delroy Lindo appearing in this. It feels like Lindo is on the cusp of having a pop culture break-out.
Actor Ken Osmond, who played Eddie Haskell in iconic series Leave It To Beaver, has died at age 76. A cause of death is unknown. Source: Variety
Amazon and Netflix are resuming production in France. Upcoming shows Voltaire, Mixte and Arsene Lupin will both resume filming. Source: Variety
Matt White, head of sports at Network 10, has departed the network. The news came on the same day that the network shut down its online editorial site 10 Daily.
Last week in ABW I noted the trend of US TV networks buying second window TV shows to plug holes in schedules because of COVID-19 related production delays. There’s now a term being applied to these shows: “gently used”. I love it.
Sony, which just sold Spectrum series LA’s Finest to Fox is now shopping some of its other gently used shows:
Still, indie studio Sony TV is shopping second window rights to other shows including Spectrum's Mad About Yourevival (which every broadcast network passed on before it landed at the cable provider) and, per sources, other "gently used" series like YouTube's Karate Kidsequel, Cobra Kai. Movie rights are also being floated after ABC and CBS both revived themed nights for features to decent ratings returns.
Is it pretty much over for Comedy Central? Once the hot, go-to place to see up and coming comedy talent, it has been stagnant in recent years. The heat has instead moved over to entertainment destinations like Netflix and podcasting which has broken and grown new comedic talent.
Comedy Central’s last big break-out success was Broad City and it hasn’t been able to launch a successful late night show to replace The Colbert Report since that wrapped five years ago. The lone island of success seems to have been 2019’s Awkwafina is Nora From Queens which was a ratings success, but didn’t have a lot of cultural cut-through.
Last month it scaled back its talent and development team. The future of Comedy Central is reportedly: movies, animated projects, and unscripted shows.
Read more about the current state of play at Comedy Central: NYT
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