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.
Why did Michaela Coel say no to Netflix?
ALSO: Why Hamilton won't win an Oscar.
The hip show of the moment is HBO’s I May Destroy You - a dramedy about a young writer played by series writer-creator Michaela Coel. The auteur created the show based on her personal experience of being sexually assaulted during the making of Chewing Gum, a series that took Coel to global attention via Netflix.
Considering that Coel became so well known thanks to her show on Netflix, it was a curiosity that her new series is on HBO. According to a profile, Coel said that Netflix offered $1 million, but she turned the deal down because they wouldn’t allow her to own any percentage of the show’s copyright. When her agents at CAA pushed her to take the deal, she ended that relationship too. As per Coel: CAA “would be making an undisclosed amount on the back end.”
I’ve seen the first few episodes of I May Destroy You. It deserves the hype.
The number one movie at the US box office over their Independence Day long weekend? 1984’s Ghostbusters. It pulled in $550,000 over the three day weekend. That money comes from a small number of theatres that are open, but largely a network of independent drive-in theatres.
In Australia cinemas started re-opening last week. While I went and saw 1989’s Batman (playing in 35mm at the Ritz - it was great), the biggest box office success of the weekend was The Personal History of David Copperfield. The top 20 films took a total $2.5 million.
Following public backlash, Australian politician and Trump wannabe Pauline Hanson has been dumped from a regular segment on The Today Show. Nine, which broadcast the show, feigned surprise that her comments did not meet with public standard. Not sure where they’ve been for the past 20+ years of Hanson in public life.
The dumping of Hanson isn’t really a deplatforming. She’ll continue to be seen on the network inevitably. This just frees her up to spread her ideology elsewhere.
Australian TV networks are looking to be excused from local content obligations in order to continue broadcasting, as per licence agreements. Controversial take: Let’s let them do it.
But, when we do it… let’s negotiate with each network on how much local and children’s content they will provide and open up the opportunity to competing companies that would also like to enter the Australian broadcast sector. These networks are using valuable spectrum owned by the tax payer. They aren’t owed the opportunity to continue broadcasting in perpetuity.
If the competition from online streamers is so intense, with existing broadcasters so committed to providing quality first-run Australian content, surely these local broadcasters won’t find any competitors who would offer a better deal to Australian viewers…
Netflix dramedy Dead To Me will come to an end with its third season.
The Office supporting actor Leslie David Baker played Stanley on the show. He has launched a kickstarter to film a new series that is in no way related to The Office *cough* which will feature a man post-retirement named Stan.
"After enjoying his retirement in Florida, carving wood, enjoying the white sand beaches, and dancing to old disco, Uncle Stan (Leslie David Baker) gets a call from his nephew Lucky in Los Angeles asking for help with his two kids and running his motorcycle/flower shop," the Kickstarter reads. "With his business failing, his kids growing up without enough attention, and on the brink of losing his patience with the cast of characters he has working in the shop, Lucky is going to need all the help he can get from no-nonsense Uncle Stan."
Support and share! I’m very excited to share this show with all of you! Here’s your first teaser!July 2, 2020
The Office supporting actor Brian Baumgartner will host a 12-part series for Spotify about the origins and evolution of The Office (US). He’ll interview Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, and Angela Kinsey, as well as creator Greg Daniels, executive producer Ben Silverman, and other behind-the-scenes creatives. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant will also feature, as will celebrity fans like Billie Eilish.
There’s a rush to secure African-American talent in Hollywood right now. Demand is unprecedented. Studios are trying to secure talent, while streamers and networks are all doing what they can to curate black-themed content on their services. They’re trying to catch up to the current cultural moment.
But, in the same way that the entire entertainment industry has been chasing Netflix for the past decade, the industry is again on the back-foot here. For the past five years Netflix has been heavily invested in commissioning content with African-American audiences in mind. It goes back to a 2015 memo:
In the summer of 2015, Black employees at Netflix produced a memo and PowerPoint presentation to make the case that the company was missing an opportunity with Black audiences. They argued in the documents, which I obtained, that Netflix risked missing a boom defined by “Empire” at Fox and “Black-ish” and “How to Get Away With Murder” on ABC. At the time, the memo estimated, only about two million Black households were subscribing to Netflix — 5 percent of its total subscribers. It said that Black households were a $1.4 billion revenue opportunity and that few of Netflix’s top 100 shows, popular across other groups, were resonating with Black audiences. The memo cited “the (lack of) depth in our Black content catalog,” and said Netflix was spending more money on programming for British people and anime fans than for Black Americans.