Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, June 18th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by Gatorade.
TIKTOK'S RACISM PROBLEM, PART TWO
I wrote yesterday that TikTok was facing criticism over a group of videos in which users are pointing to their ovens and describing them as "Jewish Bunk Beds." I had heard from several readers who told me that had reported the videos to the company and received no response. Even worse, the videos were still live even though they clearly violated TikTok's community behavior policies.
Late yesterday, I received a comment from TikTok and here is it in full:
Thanks for reaching out.
The content you're referring to has been removed for violating our Community Guidelines, which do not permit hate speech. More on our policies: https://www.tiktok.com/community-guidelines
Also, if you're able to share more, I can have our team look into them.
While I'm happy TikTok did remove the videos (and it appears some of the others have disappeared as well), I still wonder why no action was taken until I wrote something about it. As I said yesterday, I'm sympathetic to the challenges of trying to police the behavior of millions of users. But someone should have looked at the videos following the initial complaints. And given that all the videos I saw had the same #Jewish #bunkbed hashtags, it should in theory be pretty easy to create a que that just scrapes up every video that includes both of those hashtags.
SOME EPISODES OF SEVERAL CBS ALL-ACCESS ORIGINALS COME TO PLUTO TV
I noted in a piece from late yesterday that the AVOD service Pluto TV had launched a week-long "Star Trek" channel. This was notable for a couple of reasons. Primarily because it marked the first time that any episodes of CBS All-Access Originals had streamed in the U.S. outside of that subscription service. The "Star Trek" marathon includes three episodes of "Picard" and one episode of "Star Trek: Discovery," which I have to say is a pretty smart programming move. CBS All-Access also highly promoted a "Star Trek United" campaign on social media yesterday, offering to give a dollar to Black Matters Live organizations for every person that used the hashtag #StarTrekUnited.
One interesting aspect of the social media campaign is that even though "Star Trek United" was also the name used on Pluto TV's marathon, the social media posts only mentioned CBS All-Access.
BEYOND THE BELTWAY
MSNBC still hasn't publicly finalized plans for the 7:00 p.m. primetime hour of programming formerly occupied by Chris Matthews. The hour was originally rebranded as a Coronavirus news wrap-up, but in recent weeks it's evolved into a catch-all of pandemic and political news. It's often hosted by Steve Kornacki, but other random MSNBC hosts have cycled through as well.
Kornacki does a great job as the anchor and I've heard some MSNBC execs would like him to take over the hour permanently. But given that he is also the network's public face of polling, there are real concerns about his ability to do what is essentially two full-time jobs going into the November elections.
But I have another suggestion. Brand the hour "Beyond The Beltway" and find an anchor based in an unlikely location outside the traditional Beltway/East Coast/Southern California axis. We work in a time when anchors can work from anywhere, so why not use some of NBC's talented local TV journalists?
Current MSNBC primetime anchors like Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes have had a lot of success in recent months focusing on local news stories that have national relevance. This is going to be even more of a trend as the pandemic continues to ebb and flow in unexpected places and the November elections draw closer.
An hour-long news program that uses the current technology to enhance and drive news coverage feels like a winner to me. I won't bore with all the details, but I am free to do some consulting...
Here is a rundown of the new shows premiering today....
1) A Whisker Away (Netflix)
In Studio Colorido's second feature-length film, a girl with a funny nickname is desperate to get closer to her crush. Her solution: turn into a cat.
2) Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story Of Roy Cohn (HBO)
Originally scheduled to air June 19, the film takes an unflinching look at the life and death of infamous attorney Roy Cohn, who first gained prominence by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in what came to be known as the “atomic spies” case. The documentary draws on extensive, newly unearthed archival material to present the most revealing examination of Roy Cohn to date. Director Ivy Meeropol (“Indian Point,” HBO’s “Heir to an Execution”) brings a unique perspective as the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg; having spent much of her life feeling both repelled and fascinated by the man who prosecuted her grandparents, obtained their convictions in federal court and then insisted on their executions
3) Cleanin' Up The Town: Remembering Ghostbusters (Crackle)
The documentary that explores the making of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II from the filmmakers own mouths.
4) Karma Series Premiere (HBO Max)
Karma takes sixteen contestants, ranging in age from 12 to 15, completely off the grid, away from parents and the normal comforts of home, to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges, with the laws of karma setting the rules. This adventure competition series, led by YouTube host Michelle Khare, will test the mental and physical stamina of its young contestants as they unravel how their social actions impact their success in the game. Focus, giving, humility, growth, connection, change, and patience are the path to becoming the "Karma Champion." But more importantly, the players learn one of life's most profound lessons: "What you give out, you get back."
5) Scare Package (Shudder)
In this anthology, Chad Buckley is a lonely Horror aficionado, spending his days overseeing a struggling video store and arguing with his only customer, Sam. When an unsuspecting applicant arrives, Chad sets out to teach him the rules of Horror; weaving in and out of hilarious segments geared toward the ropes and tropes of terror.
6) Snapped: Killer Couples Season Premiere (Oxygen)
Season 14 kicks off with a case that became the focus of national headlines: Kelsey Bereth, a young mother who was brutally murdered in Colorado by her fiancé, Patrick Frazee, and his former girlfriend, Krystal Kenney. Through exclusive interviews with Kelsey’s family friends and the investigators who broke the case, a treacherous web of deceit unravels. The season also features special episodes that explore certain themes such as "First Love, First Kill," "Murder in the Family," and "Underage and Full of Rage."
7) Summer Camp Island (HBO Max)
Based on the critically acclaimed short screened at Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and SXSW, the series follows best friends Oscar and Hedgehog as they learn that their camp is on a magical island, and that instead of making potholders–they'll be making friends with monsters and yetis. The counselors? Well, they’re witches. And the cabins? Those were built by aliens. The moon? OK, it is the same 'ole moon, but here, he talks. As Oscar and Hedgehog spend their summer days having strange encounters with mystical creatures, they begin to discover their own magical potentials.
8) Syfy Wire's The Great Debate Series Premiere (Syfy)
Transformed from the stage for the SYFY screen, the half-hour, late-night series features a rotating group of nerd-tastic, nostalgia loving celebrities who go head-to-head each week to hash out fandom’s burning questions. These notable genre enthusiasts show off their comedic improv chops, don their best geekdom cosplay and debate the hottest questions in the galaxy such as: Who’d be a worse boss, Darth Vader or the Joker? What is THE best movie snack? What would a therapy session with Super Mario look like? And many more!
9) The Bureau Season Five (Sundance Now)
JJA (Mathieu Amalric, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Quantum of Solace), Director of Internal Security, has taken over managing the office as Marie-Jeanne (Florence Loiret Caille, The Little Bedroom) has opted to get out of the office and test her fieldwork skills on the ground in Egypt. The DGSE will be shaken up by rumors published about Malotru’s (Mathieu Kassovitz, Amélie, The Fifth Element) fate: is he dead or alive? What role did DGSE and the CIA play? The leaks bring back old demons for JJA, increasing his paranoia and worrying his closest collaborators, Sisteron (Jonathan Zaccaï, Robin Hood) and Ellenstein (Jules Sagot, You’ll Be a Man). His obsessions are joined by a new agent, Mille Sabords (Louis Garrel, Little Women), who tries to approach the Saudi secret services while investigating the sacrificial victim Paul Lefebvre. Another collateral victim of Malotru’s disappearance: César (Stefan Crepon), the genius geek, who infiltrated the best cyber-attackers of the FSB who are now preparing a large-scale operation.
10) The Day After I'm Gone (Mubi)
Yoram, a 50-year-old veterinarian in Tel-Aviv, is forced to re-examine his relationship with his young daughter after she attempts suicide. He decides to take her on a journey to visit her mother’s family, a process of self and mutual discovery in a primordial desert land enveloping the Dead Sea.
11) The History Of Home Series Premiere (Curiosity Stream)
Unlock the door to an entertaining journey around the world to explore the past, present, and future of what makes our houses...homes. Narrated by Nick Offerman.
12) The Order Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
At Belgrave University, the bad blood between werewolves and magicians reaches a breaking point — until a greater evil threatens to destroy them all.
For a rundown of all the new episodes of television premiering tonight, click here.
TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
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