Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by orange juice and pasta salad
THE CHALLENGES OF CREATING A GREAT USER EXPERIENCE
Traditional cable might be expensive and have a customer service experience that puts the average DMV office to shame. But one thing it does have is a consistent user interface experience. Plug in any cable box from nearly any cable company and you'll find a familiar interface. Programming grid, DVR, on-demand and all of the other features are easy to navigate and comfortable to users.
That's not the case with newer virtual cable offerings and streaming services. It's not just that using Hulu Live TV and Sling are completely different experiences. It's that most of these offerings don't include some of the features people most want to have available. The ability to create individual viewer profiles might seem like a no-brainer, but a significant number of services don't offer it. Including Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video and CBS All-Access. And why it is so difficult for services to include a button that allows you to remove a program from the "continue watching" que without watching the entire program? It's frustrating to watch a show for ten minutes, decide you don't like it and then have to see it in your "continue watching" section until it's eventually pushed out of the que. Netflix, Amazon, CBS All-Access, HBO Max....the only service I can think of that does offer the option is Philo, which included a removal button in their most recent tweak of their interface.
I'm fascinated by the UI issue and I know companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on focus groups and UI testing. But despite all of that, we still end up with services that don't offer features that seem obvious to anyone who has ever been a customer.
SOME KINDA, SORTA INTERESTING HBO MAX VIEWING DATA
Parrot Analytics is a firm that gauges how popular TV shows are based on social media, fan ratings and piracy. And according to a new report from them, “Looney Tunes Cartoons," a new take on classic characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, was the most in-demand show when AT&T Inc.’s new HBO Max service debuted on May 27.
While that is an interesting data point (although like all efforts, the method of gathering the data is a bit mushy), I think it's important not to read too much into the data. Like in this paragraph, for instance:
On the other hand, the new service doesn’t have many of the water-cooler hits that the cable network was famous for. “Love Life,” its most popular new show for adults, has pushed past Elmo to become the second-hottest new series on HBO Max in recent days, but still hasn’t built anything close to the buzz that Disney+’s "The Mandalorian" generated when it debuted in November.
There are two problems with this take. I think it's fair to say that "The Mandalorian" is a very unusual success and comparing new programs to its level of success is like saying "Sure, Netflix's 'The Witcher' was popular, but it's no 'Game Of Thrones.'"
Secondly, given that HBO Max still isn't available on Roku and Amazon TV devices, it's not clear how accurate service-to-service comparisons are at this point. Speaking of the unavailability issue, I worked around the lack of Roku access to HBO Max in my household by watching it on our Xbox.
BLACK LIVES MATTER...BUT BUSINESS IS BUSINESS
Major corporations publicly embracing Black Lives Matter - including some media companies - have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to members of Congress rated "F" by the NAACP over the last two years:
In a tweet posted Sunday afternoon, Amazon said that it stands "in solidarity with the Black community — our employees, customers, and partners — in the fight against systemic racism and injustice." While the Black community got a tweet, 137 members of Congress rated "F" by the NAACP received $389,500 from Amazon. During this election cycle, Amazon, through its corporate PAC, donated $290,000 to 112 members of the House rated "F" by the NAACP. Amazon also donated $99,500 to 25 members of the Senate with the same failing grade.
Here is a rundown of the new shows premiering today....
1) Body Cam Season Premiere (Investigation Discovery)
Taking viewers on the ultimate ride-along, this series gives viewers their own eyewitness look at the life-or-death instant decisions of policework, as told by officers’ own body camera footage. Offering an immersive portrayal of life on the streets, it engages a unique storytelling technique combining the body camera footage with first-hand accounts to virtually place viewers in harrowing moments as the suspense builds and the tension rises. Each episode tells multiple stories of those who vowed to protect and serve in unflinching detail, offering viewers their own personal perspective of officers in life-threatening circumstances.
2) Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Premiere (USA)
The second installment of the "Dirty John" anthology series is based on another epic true tale of love gone wrong -- a story that spans the 1960s to the '80s, through the breakdown of a marriage that Oprah deemed one of "America’s messiest divorces" even before it ended in double homicide.
3) Fuller House Season Five, Part Two Premiere (Netflix)
Jimmy and Steph bring their new baby home and dive headfirst into the world of parenting. But no worries: They've got a houseful of hands to help.
4) House Hunters: Comedians On Couches (HGTV)
In a four-night event, America’s favorite contactless past time—watching and commenting on House Hunters—gets a fun new twist when seven popular comedians deliver hilarious, no holds barred, color commentary on classic episodes of the hit series. Together via videoconference, the entertainers will call out the victories and agonizing defeats caused by paint colors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and open concept spaces.
5) I, Sniper (Vice)
The immersive, eight episode docuseries is a gripping recount of the infamous Washington, D.C. sniper case, with unprecedented access to the people at the heart of the story; the surviving shooter himself opens up in a series of powerful phone calls from his supermax cell at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia and allows for an examination of the circumstances that led a teenager on the path to become a mass murderer. I, Sniper also features never-before-heard interviews with survivors, victims’ families and investigators, including the lesser-known stories of those brutally impacted by the killers prior to their arrival in Washington, D.C. This is the definitive account of one of America’s most infamous crime
6) Outdaughtered Season Premiere (TLC)
This season, Danielle and Adam Busby realize the only thing more challenging than raising five babies is keeping up with five rapidly growing toddlers! As the quints race out of their "terrible twos" and into the dreaded "three-nagers" phase, gone are the days when Olivia, Parker, Riley, Ava and Hazel could be contained in strollers, playpens and cribs. The Busby babies now have five strong and different personalities, and they’re guaranteed to make their opinions known since the quints are now talking up a storm!
7) True: Rainbow Rescue (Netflix)
True and Bartleby venture to the other side of the Neverending Rainbow to bring back Dillydally — a brave explorer who's the Rainbow King's best friend!
8) The Truth Behind Joe Exotic: The Rick Kirkham Story (Investigation Discovery)
In his self-proclaimed last interview regarding "Tiger King," TV producer Rick Kirkham opens up in an explosive tell-all to expose the truths behind what he saw at the G.W. Zoo and his time with the eccentric figure, Joe Exotic. In this one-hour special, Kirkham shares insights into how his nightmare began, and how he faced his point of no return just three months after being hired to produce Exotic’s internet show. Kirkham knew he struck gold with the quirky cast of characters and captured all the content he could for his own reality show. But, after a fallout with Exotic, Kirkham found his entire collection of footage ravaged by an arson fire, a criminal act which has yet to be prosecuted. After yet another fire plagued his home in the U.S., Kirkham knew he had to flee for his safety and settled down in a small village in Norway to escape it all. Now, Kirkham is ready to reveal his side of the salacious saga once and for all and will unveil exclusive footage from some material that survived the fire.
For a rundown of all the new episodes of television premiering tonight, click here.
TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.
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