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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 new major book about Netflix.
ALSO: Whitney Houston is back on tour.
Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings has a book coming out in May. No Rule Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention.
Guess what it’s about.
There’s already a lot of books out about the early days of Netflix, but this will be the definitive word on not only what happened, but the how and why with an eye to how that impacts the ongoing nature of the company. A must read for media nerds (ie every one of you ABW subscribers).
There will eventually come a time where Australia’s TV market (3 commercial TV stations, 1 wholly government station, and 1 mix-funded commercial/government station) will shift from 5 stations to 4. The first to go will be one of those commercial stations and news recently of Seven’s $67 million loss at a time of a TV advertising downturn, sagging ratings, and an expensive Olympics coverage with the looming coronavirus threat has got to have a lot of industry types nervous right now.
I wouldn’t expect to see one of the commercial networks disappear overnight. Companies will be sold to other owners, potentially broken up into different divisions, and probably even shift to focus on different revenue streams (pivot to focus on single genres like sports or news, evolve into large-scale production companies, etc). But it begins with one of the networks taking a massive hit. And that happened this week.
Tim Burrows at Mumbrella has this look at the problems facing Seven right now.
Seven is arguably the least well placed to weather the storm. Nine, now a much bigger multi-media conglomerate since the Fairfax merger, has the market’s confidence thanks to a strong ratings year in 2019. And Ten’s owner CBS appears to be in it for the long term.
Seven, meanwhile, has a high level of debt. In yesterday’s update to the market, it revealed that despite rounds of cost cutting, at the close of its accounting in December it owed the bank $683m. That comes as something of a surprise, considering its borrowings were $653m six months earlier, and the company had been signalling that it was reducing its debt level.
The Shrink Next Door is a Wondery podcast that is to be adapted as a TV show starring Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell.
Also inspired by true events, The Shrink Next Door is a dark comedy following the bizarre relationship between psychiatrist to the stars Dr. Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf played by Rudd, and his longtime patient Martin “Marty” Markowitz, played by Ferrell. Over the course of their relationship, the all-too-charming Ike slowly takes over Marty’s life, even moving into Marty’s home and taking over his family business. The series explores how a seemingly normal doctor-patient dynamic morphs into an unprecedentedly exploitative one filled with manipulation, power grabs, and dysfunction at its finest.
Whitney Houston will be hitting the road again as soon as tour promoters remember where they left her power cord.
A hologram of the late singer will tour with backup singers. I would question what the value of going to an event like this is. Aren’t you effectively just paying for a concert movie with live back-up dancers and an amazing sound system? Maybe that’s enough?
“Whitney didn't dance a lot, but when she did do her little moves, they were so perfectly Whitney," said Fatima Robinson, who choreographed the show. “We did lots of studying her behavior in her videos. We would study her movements, and find the best moments in some of the live videos that just really embody her.”
The show still features plenty of dancing, via four backup dancers and two moving backup singers, all of whom occasionally interact with the hologram.
But Houston mostly preferred to let her voice do the work, and that part of the show works seamlessly, through a blend of studio takes and live performances. Close listeners may think they're hearing the album version of a hit before it swerves into seemingly spontaneous moments that give it a live feeling.
Neil Dudgeon stars in the show Midsomer Murders. He’s happy to continue starring on the show for as long as he finds the show about murders fun:
“I’m in a very fortunate position. I think it’s such a great show that, one always assumes – when you’re an actor you always think, whatever job I’m doing, it’s going to end next week and that’ll be it, I won’t work again.
“But no, I think that as long as ITV want to make it and people want to keep commissioning it, as long as people want to keep watching it, it’s a great show to do. So I can’t imagine why I would – I think if I stopped doing Midsomer, I’d kind of stop doing things entirely. It’s like Dr Johnson said about London: when a man is tired of London he’s tired of life. I think when an actor’s tired of doing Midsomer he’s tired of acting.”
Ja’Net Dubois, the Good Times star and performer of The Jeffersons theme song Movin’ On Up has died at the age of 74+.
“She wrote that song as a promise to her mother, that when she obtained a certain level of stardom, that her dream was to essentially have her mom live in a deluxe apartment,” Ms. Gupta-Fields said. “That was written and sung as a gift to her mother, Lilian DuBois.”
Ms. DuBois felt that she had lived the song herself, she told Jet Magazine in 1992. “I moved my whole family,” she said.
“I bought her a house, bought her a mink coat,” Ms. DuBois said of her mother. “I did everything, retired her. I did everything I ever promised her.”
Doc Savage is a pulp novel hero. Every couple of years comic book publishers make an effort to bring the character to comics, but it is always met with indifference by the market and the books are promptly cancelled.
Now Sony Pictures are working on a TV series based on the character. I’m sure this will work out just fine for them.