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 Morning Show adds a TV star: Julianna Margulies
ALSO: Say hello to yet another streamer: Discovery+. AND: The future of cinema: Streaming
Julianna Margulies joins The Morning Show
Finally - a role befitting of Julianna Margulies’ star power. Since The Good Wife wrapped up, Margulies has bounced from show to show with some guest roles. Most notably, she was featured in the most recent season of Billions. The thing with Margulies is that she’s a traditional TV star and has all of the luminescence that goes with that. A role on Apple TV+’s The Morning Show opposite Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon? Perfect.
Margulies will play Laura Peterson, an anchor at UBA News.
Discovery has announced its new streaming service called… get this… Discovery+
Today Discovery unveiled its new streaming service. Discovery+ will pool together content from Discovery Channel, TLC, ID, Food Network, HGTV and other networks. Priced at US$5 per month with ads, US$7 without ads, the streamer will deliver 55,000 hours of programming. It launches in the US on Jan 4 with plans to launch in 25 other countries.
There’s also 1000 hours of original content planned for the streamer, using a lot of established Discovery talent. But also new voices like Kevin Hart, David Schwimmer, and Eli Roth. No, really - Eli Roth.
What Discovery+ won’t have is access to the Discovery linear channels. While Discovery is investing in original content, it is keeping a traditional cable linear first strategy. Those channels will stay where they are, with shows only available on the streamer after their seasons finish on linear.
My initial thoughts: My feeling on Discovery content is that it is all disposable, easy-to-watch shows that feel at home in a linear environment - but it’s not the sort of TV that you actively seek out. Certainly not something I’d want to pay five bucks a month for.
To make Discovery+ a must-have streamer, it is going to need some buzzy, substantial, and compelling titles. The audience happy watching the house flipping shows and food travel are already watching via linear. Discovery+ needs to really take some big swings and lift the standard of its programming if it is going to make any headwind against general entertainment platforms like Netflix, which already cater towards food travel and other infotainment with sophisticated big budget productions.
The future of cinema is… being sold to streaming services
More films set for the big screen are now instead getting releases on streamers. Today there’s word that Doug Liman’s new heist/romantic comedy film Lockdown will now get a release on HBO Max in early 2021. That film has a great cast: Anne Hathaway, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ben Stiller, Stephen Merchant, Lucy Boynton, Ben Kingsley, Mindy Kaling and Dule Hill.
Meanwhile Variety have a feature story today about the fate of other films. Word is that Judas and the Black Messiah, The Little Things (a Denzel Washington thriller), and the Tom and Jerry movie may score a hybrid HBO Max / theatrical release similar to Wonder Woman 1984. ie HBO Max in the US for just over a month and on cinema screens in international territories. The Mortal Kombat film (based on the video game) was mooted for a streaming release, but instead that’ll be delayed.
And then there’s Disney films Cruella, Pinocchio, and Peter Pan and Wendy which are likely to land a Disney+ release.
The Variety piece also suggests that the April release of the new Bond film may not be as certain as fans may be hoping.