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.
The Mandalorian s2 trailer
ALSO: RIP CBS All Access. Hello Paramount+. AND: Apple debut Fitness+
Probably the thing most people will be interested in today: the trailer for The Mandalorian season 2. It debuts Oct 30 on Disney+.
Goodbye CBS All Access - hello Paramount+
CBS All Access is undergoing a revamp and rebrand as the recently re-formed ViacomCBS company retools its business for the streaming era.
The service will be branded as Paramount+ both in the US and internationally.
Internationally ViacomCBS had different versions of its streaming product out in the market. In Australia we have had 10 All Access, due to ViacomCBS’ ownership of the local Network Ten. Paramount+ is the name already used for ViacomCBS’ streaming products in Latin America and the Nordics.
I always look at this sort of news from the perspective of you, the audience. Depending where you are in the world, your interest in this service will vary. Because here is what is so unique about Paramount+ - international subscribers are going to get a way better deal.
The revamped Paramount+ in the US isn’t going to be all that different to the existing CBS All Access. Already in recent months the service has had an influx of movies to the service as well as shows from the Viacom cable brands BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. That content influx will continue with plans to offer a library of 30,000 TV episodes and movies.
New original productions will include:
The Offer - a scripted limited event series based on Oscar-winning producer Al Ruddy’s extraordinary, never-revealed experiences of making The Godfather. The 10-episode event series is written and executive produced by Michael Tolkin (Escape at Dannemora and The Player). Ruddy will also serve as executive producer, and Emmy-winning producer Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) will executive produce and be a writer on the series.
Lioness - a spy drama created by Taylor Sheridan (“Yellowstone”) with Sheridan, Jill Wagner, David Glasser, David Hutkin, and Bob Yari set to executive produce. Based on a real-life CIA program, LIONESS follows a young Marine recruited to befriend the daughter of a terrorist to bring the organization down from within. The series is produced by Paramount Network and 101 Studios.
(I wouldn’t expect to see either until well into 2021).
Cryptically-phrased is that Paramount+ in the US will become the home of “Showtime premieres,” which I think is their way of saying the first episode of new Showtime series will also debut on Paramount+. But not the full season.
But it is outside the US where things are more interesting.
While in the US the company will keep Paramount+ and its premium drama service Showtime apart (premieres aside), internationally it will all be part of the same service. In Australia Showtime will leave streamer Stan, which held the Showtime output deal, with new Showtime series debuting exclusively over on Paramount+.
There’s no reason to assume that much of what is on Paramount+ in the US won’t be available internationally - a lot of the titles on the platform are older library titles that aren’t tied up with exclusives elsewhere (inevitably there will be a handful of titles like new episodes of Star Trek Discovery, Picard, and The Good Fight which are tied up already, but those kinks will smooth themselves out).
Larry David - Jewish women over 60 insist you cover up
Apple unveils bundle. And Fitness+.
Apple has today announced some new hardware (iPads, Watches, etc), but the interesting news for ABW readers is the new bundle announced that brings together its various digital services - including Apple TV+, Music, Arcade (its video game service), iCloud, News+, and its upcoming Fitness+ service.
The Australian pricing:
What is Fitness+, I hear you ask?
This is Apple taking on streaming video fitness platforms like Peloton, but designed to be used with the Apple Watch.
There are 10 different workout types available, including cycling, treadmill, yoga, core, strength, rowing, and HIIT routines, and there’s a program built in for absolute beginners. You can select workouts based on their duration, and Apple says it plans to add new workouts every week.
Disney is considering its options with its two big upcoming releases. Black Widow, due in November, is expected to be pushed back. Meanwhile the new Pixar animated film Soul (which looks great) may get a Disney+ release instead of theatrical. Source: Variety
The New York Times has a great feature taking a broad look at the current situation with theatrical movie releases. Read: The NYT
“From a cash standpoint, we can see this thing through way into next year if need be,” Mark Zoradi, Cinemark’s chief executive, said by phone. The company, based in Texas, operates about 5,977 screens in the United States and Latin America. “The fourth quarter is getting our feet back on the ground. Next year is a transition year. 2022 is back to a sense of normality.”
Alex Trebek’s role is not in jeopardy
Jeopardy!host Alex Trebek will remain the host of Jeopardy!- the addition to the show of GOAT Ken Jennings won’t change that.
New series EP Mike Richards:
“If you sat in my morning meetings with Alex as he was going through the shows and the clues and then you watched him host the show—he’s the host of the show.”
“We’re not shopping. He’s our guy, and he’s our guy till he tells us he’s not our guy, and then we can have a different conversation. I just don’t think it’s appropriate to have that conversation until Alex comes to me and says, ‘OK. This is my plan.’”
The show has been quietly taping new episodes for the past month. COVID-changes to the production include:
A redesign of the contestant podiums to separate them.
No audience or guests.
Approx 10 Jeopardy! staffers, camerapeople, and grips just offstage make up the whole crowd.
Applause that viewers will hear has been added after.
The Clue Crew will read clues from local American locations.
Announcer Johnny Gilbert turned 96 this summer and will record from home.
Everyone in the studio has to wear a mask. The only time the masks can be removed is during filming by those on screen.
Players must provide negative coronavirus test results upon arrival. They must also look after their own makeup and microphones.
Timed for us at a point where we’re all nostalgic about air travel is this interesting docuseries debuting in Australia on SBS on Oct 14.
Australia Come Fly With Me is hosted by actor Justine Clarke and brings together pop culture and the history of flight, exploring how flight enabled changes in Australian life. The opportunities and tensions created by air travel are the context for struggles between sexes, sexualities and cultures that reflect and foreshadow changes that would follow on the ground.