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.
Raise a glass to Steven Toast. He's back!
ALSO: Ken Jennings to host Jopardy! AND: RIP The Expanse
Steven Toast set to act up in America
Raise a glass to Toast. He’s coming back. After five long years, Matt Berry is believed to be ready to revive his character Steven Toast for a new series that transplants the show from London (as seen in the comedy Toast of London) to the United States.
The new series, which as of yet doesn’t have a network attached, will be set in the US, but filmed in the UK.
If you haven’t watched Toast of London, it is streaming on Netflix and demands your attention.
But in the meantime, Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings will serve as a guest host. Other guest hosts will follow before the proper host is announced. Jennings is the preferred host for a lot of Jeopardy! fans and I’d suggest that having him guest host like this actually removes a lot of pressure off him and the show if the show chooses to go with Jennings as the bona fide host.
Earl Charles Spencer, brother of Princess Diana, turned down a production request from The Crown to film at the Spencer family’s ancestral home in Northamptonshire, England. He wouldn’t want fans of the show to get the wrong idea:
“‘The Crown’ asked if they could film at Althorp and I said obviously not,” Spencer said. “The worry for me is that people see a program like that and they forget that it is fiction. They assume, especially foreigners, I find Americans tell me they have watched ‘The Crown’ as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t. There is a lot of conjecture and a lot of invention, isn’t there? You can hang it on fact but the bits in between are not fact.”
Back in the day, a TV network running a show weekly which then opts to dump all of the remaining episodes on a single night of TV or, even worse: a streaming service… that was seen as the death knell for the show.
But it’s 2020. HBO’s announcement that after the next episode of its rather good youth drama Industry, it’ll drop the remaining episodes onto streaming service HBO Max… that’s actually great news for the show.
WarnerMedia want HBO Max to succeed. They’re going to be throwing a great deal of valuable content on the service to get attention, raise subscriber numbers, and build subscriber retention. Wonder Woman 1984 debuts on HBO Max for this reason in December. The decision to put Industry on HBO Max is a huge show of faith in the show - it’s a sign that HBO view Industry as a buzzy title for younger subscribers.
The fourth season of Search Party (now an HBO Max original) will debut on HBO Max in January. Read: thefutoncritic
Young Rock, which I assume is Young Sheldon meets Muppet Babies, but about Dwayne Johnson, is filming now in Queensland, Australia. Read: Dark Horizons
Fox News has settled with the family of Seth Rich after destroying their lives for a bunch of years. Read: Variety
Dave Chappelle, who has a very lucrative arrangement with Netflix was upset that his Comedy Central show The Chappelle Show was set to stream on Netflix without ViacomCBS paying him a cent. So he asked Netflix not to stream the show and they said yes. Read: Deadline
Inside the thinking of Newsmax
Newsmax has become the hottest thing in US cable TV news. Trump supporters upset at the fair and balanced (*cough*) treatment Fox News has been giving the President (ie reporting that he lost the election) have been flowing over to the far more supportive Newsmax.
CEO Christopher Ruddy has given a fascinating interview with The New Yorker which explains his thinking on the role of Newsmax going forward and whether it will ever evolve into being Trump TV with the big orange taking a role on the air.
Well, he’s an omnivore when it comes to media. He loves all media. There’s no differentiation. He likes to be on all platforms. He did exceedingly well before he became President using all these platforms. I think he probably expects that he’ll be able to do that once he leaves. So I don’t see him tethered or tied down with any one media, and that’s why I don’t think he’s going to say, “O.K., I’m going to make Newsmax my mouthpiece or my platform.” Nor would we find that a good idea, either. I built a solid news organization over twenty years, and we estimate we reach over thirty million Americans each month through all our different outlets.
Why wouldn’t you want that?
I’ve always been committed to being a news organization. And the President’s a political force, and he’s a personality. You wouldn’t want The New Yorker to become the Biden Yorker.