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.
Return of The Sack Lunch Bunch (and John Mulaney)
ALSO: The WILD Quibi story - what we learned.
The Sack Lunch Bunch will return with John Mulaney for two more specials (one a holiday special). But if you have dreams of sitting back on the couch and pressing play on Netflix, let me deliver you the cold reality via text and not through song: It won’t be on Netflix.
Those rascals over at Comedy Central outbid Netflix for the specials.
Kid Gourgeous himself, Mulaney, started out his career as an intern at Comedy Central and returns at a time where Comedy Central has just shed many of its longtime executives. The comedy network has been stagnant for a number of years - this feels like a shot in the arm.
Yesterday, Peter Lenkov was the showrunner of the Magnum PI and MacGyver reboots. Today he is better known as the disgraced former showrunner of Magnum PI and MacGyver. CBS has terminated his employment with him in relation to a toxic on-set culture.
Monica Macer will be the showrunner on MacGyver and Eric Guggenheim will run Magnum PI.
Following the conclusion of Mad Men, creator Matthew Weiner has been pretty quiet. There was his Amazon show The Romanoffs, which was a poorly received ego-placating anthology show (it had some good episodes, while others were a bit of a slog). He wrote a book Heather The Totality (It’s a solid, short read that lacked Weiner’s sense of humour - I mostly enjoyed it). And then there was his me-too moment which caused a minor ripple.
I have been curious lately about what he’s been up to. Now we know. Matthew Weiner has been developing a mystery dramedy for FX. The network hasn’t commented, but with Weiner involved it seems very likely the show will go to series.
Yesterday morning I ignored a Vulture article about Quibi. What else could be said about the app at this stage? Oh, what a fool I was.
The main takeaways from this FANTASTIC feature article from writer Benjamin Wallace:
CEO Meg Whitman isn’t big on watching things:
Whitman what TV shows she watches, she responds, “I’m not sure I’d classify myself as an entertainment enthusiast.” But any particular shows she likes? “Grant,” she offered. “On the History Channel. It’s about President Grant.”
Katzenberg gets all of his emails printed out for him. His assistant provides them to him vertically folded.
Katzenberg would routinely bring up the same cultural touchstones: America’s Funniest Home Videos, Siskel and Ebert, and Jane Fonda’s exercise tapes.
When Gal Gadot came to the offices and delivered an impassioned speech about wanting to elevate the voices of girls and women, Katzenberg wondered aloud whether she might become the new Jane Fonda and do a workout series for Quibi. (“Apparently, her face fell,” says a person briefed on the meeting.)
Following its Oscars and Super Bowl ads, market research found 70% of respondents thought Quibi was a food-delivery service.
Apparently this wonderfully oddball mashup of A-Ha’sTake On Me and The Simpsons steamed hams moment took a month to make. Time well spent.
Days of Our Lives will return to production on September 1. When it does, it will be without one of its long-term stars - Kristian Alfonso. She started with the show 37 (!) years ago.
Because soaps are filmed well in advance, the show still has enough episodes banked up to take the show through to October. Alfonso had already recorded her final episode before production shut down.
Kristian Alfonso started on the show back in 1983 and has portrayed Hope Williams for almost all of that time. She had left the show in 1987 with the character killed off. When she returned in 1990, she came back as a character named Gina… but Gina was really Hope all along. It turned out that the evil Stefano DiMera had brainwashed Gina into believing she was Princess Gina Von Amberg. Hope, a Salem Police Dept detective, ended up killing him and wrestled with the decision for years to come.
The biggest show on the planet has been Floor is Lava - Dan and Chris have both watched the show and absolutely bought into its ridiculous simplicity. Obviously, Dan has some criticisms.
Floor is Lava is just one of several big format activity-based game shows on the air right now. Dan guides us through all of the ridiculousness.
Pluto TV - the linear channel streaming service in the US and UK will add even more content from parent company ViacomCBS to its services from next week. Shows to be added: The Amazing Race, Beverly Hills 90210, America’s Next Top Model, CSI: NY, Everybody Hates Chris, Jag, Melrose Place, MacGyver, Sister Sister, Scorpion, Numbers and Moesha.
Not known yet will be if these shows will get their own dedicated channels, or if they’ll just be slotted in elsewhere. A 24/7 90210/Melrose Place channel would be outstanding.