An interesting production has been the new reality show The Real Love Boat. Two versions of the show were made at the same time with different contestants and hosts - one version for CBS in the US and another for Channel 10 in Australia. Both networks are owned by Paramount Global and produced by Eureka.

Both have tanked in the ratings. CBS drove 2.4 million viewers with a 0.3 share - it ties with ABC show The Rookie: Feds as the lowest rated series launch this season. Meanwhile down under, 278,000 viewers tuned in.

Why is it landing with such a thud? The execution of the format is poor. Reviving a cheesy 70s-era sitcom, but reformatted as a reality dating show? I get it - that could be interesting. But the creative wasn't right.

The attraction for this is with older viewers who remember The Love Boat with the necessary rose-coloured glasses. But there's a disconnect between the viewers and what was realised on screen. Almost all of the contestants were too young to have even seen sequel remake series Love Boat: The Next Wave, let alone have any knowledge of the original. Why not show older, mature people on boats looking for and finding love. Heck, that's largely what the original show was about anyway.

Instead, it lacked authenticity.

Pluto TV is finally en route to Australia

Following rumors of a 2022 launch (sparked largely from comments saying as much by Channel 10's Rod Prosser, the Paramount Global owned network announced at its upfronts yesterday that Pluto TV will launch in Australia in 2023.

It'll be a stripped-down version of the behemoth of a service available in the US. But, like the UK version, it'll quickly grow as more third-party channel providers sign up.

Pluto TV Fast Channels coming to 10Play in 2023
Announced at Thursday’s Upfront, Paramount has revealed that in 2023 a selection of Pluto TV FAST channels will launch on 10 Play.

I'm a big fan of what Paramount has done with Pluto TV. It's a great lean-back TV offer that plays nicely into the strength of broadcast linear TV (a curated-ish range of viewing options available to flick through at any given time) with the strength of digital (niche options with viewing flexibility offered at scale). I'll be very keen to see what 10 do with it on day one. Also, to ABW readers who work at 10 (I know there's a few of you) - reach out and have a chat with me about Pluto TV. There's no greater advocate for it in Australia, I promise you.

Speaking of, if you want to better understand what Pluto TV is, I wrote up this explainer a year or so ago:

Pluto TV: Explainer
Going linear for fun and profit

Play it cool, Netflix

You should never seem too keen. Play it cool and don't profess marriage on the first date. Eagerness isn't hot.

Case in point: When the Tolkein estate was hearing pitches from all the big media giants trying to secure the rights to Lord of The Rings, they got a bit freaked out by the scale and ambition of Netflix. The streamer didn't just pitch a series - it came to the Tolkein folk with an expanded Marvel-style universe of ideas. And it freaked the Tolkeins right out.

Sources say HBO pitched the estate on retelling Middle-earth’s “Third Age” — essentially remaking Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy, which grossed $3 billion and won 17 Oscars. The estate has its gripes with Jackson’s adaptations (the late Christopher Tolkien, the author’s son, said they “eviscerated” the books) but wasn’t interested in treading the same ground. Netflix pitched doing several shows, such as a Gandalf series and an Aragorn drama. “They took the Marvel approach,” said one insider to the talks, “and that completely freaked out the estate.”
‘The Rings of Power’ Showrunners Break Silence on Backlash, Sauron and Season 2
Two first-time showrunners who landed TV’s biggest series give THR a behind-the-scenes tour as they navigate challenges even scarier than Mordor — from “patently evil” online trolling to massive industry expectations.
  • Amazon Prime Video's Outer Range has been picked up for season 2. Read: Deadline
  • David Nevins who heads up Showtime is leaving the company, reportedly frustrated by the management style at parent company Paramount Global. Showtime has really thrived under Nevins creatively. Read: Deadline
  • Rob Wade, a former Dancing With The Stars showrunner, is the new President of Fox. Read: Indiewire
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery will get a short cinema run ahead of debuting on Netflix. Related point: I've been seeing a number of Glass Onion ads on the side of buses whizzing past me. That font makes it impossible to know what you are looking at without pre-awareness. Protip to marketing folk: Make sure your fonts are easy to read at a glance if you are planning outdoor campaigns. Read: The Verge
  • Mare of Easttown director Craig Zobel is negotiating to direct a number of The Penguin episodes for HBO Max. Read: Discussing Film
  • Charlie Pickering will replace Chris Taylor for the return of the Australian Would I Lie To You. Taylor was the one regular on that show who didn't need replacing. Read: Variety
  • Channel 10 in Australia has greenlit a local version of UK comedy format Taskmaster. The format recently failed in a US adaptation. Knowing Channel 10, it'll be stripped to 12 hours a week in 90 minute episodes. Read: C21

Do you yield? The Super Mario Brothers Movie teaser was released this morning. It would be nice if Chris Pratt sounded even a little bit Italian. The film is released April 7 (which means my daughter might be old enough to have this as her first cinema outing, thereby making it less creepy that I'm off to the cinema to see a kids film).

Mindy Kaling's Velma animated series is coming soon to HBO Max.

The eagerly anticipated (by me) Fleishman Is In Trouble debuts 17 November on FX.

Run Sweetheart Run debuts Oct 28 on Amazon Prime Video.

Oct 30 is when White Lotus will have a second season for you to tell people is "the best".

Slumberland debuts on Netflix Nov 18. The kids fantasy film stars Jason Momoa.

Nov 4 is when you can see Jennifer Lawrence film Causeway on Apple TV+.

I like the style of this. Oni: Thunder God's Tale debuts on Netflix Oct 21.

That's it for today. And the week. Live long and prosper. Or however you weekend.