Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, July 16th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by cold water and sugar-free candies.
The Comcast/NBCU streaming service Peacock launched yesterday and I have a few thoughts. First, the movie selection is very hit-and-miss. The upside is that there a robust selection of "classic" movies. Of the approximately 720 movie titles on Peacock, about 150 are considered classics, with most of them coming from the Universal and Paramount catalogs. Not only is there a classic movie tab, but the movies are also broken down by decades. The downside is that you can't search for films by common genres such as "science fiction" or "noir," which makes random content discovery a lot more difficult.
I'm also struck by how many mediocre movie titles are on Peacock. Yes, there are multiple movies from the "Matrix" and "Jurassic Park" franchises. But there are also a large number of random documentaries and C-level movies originally produced for the SyFy Network. And many of the latter films are also available for streaming other places.
The classic TV catalog on Peacock is also a bit perplexing. Universal has one of the largest TV catalogs in Hollywood and yet almost none of it is available on Peacock. Most of the titles that are there have been widely available elsewhere and the NBC TV Everywhere app has more older titles than Peacock.
SPEAKING OF PEACOCK
I found this paragraph from last night's "Reliable Sources" newsletter a bit perplexing. It's not as if Peacock invented the "Channels" idea. In fact, it exists in large part because of the perceived success of AVOD like Pluto TV.
Also, Viacom can't program an MTV-like music video channel, because they don't own the videos. In fact, that was the primary reason why MTV moved away from videos in the late 1980s. Music labels were beginning to charge for access to the hottest videos and used that access to gain airtime for lesser acts. If you don't own the content, you don't fully control your destiny. Plus, when Pallotta references MTV, I suspect he's more interested in older videos than a channel devoted to Cardi B. and Wiz Khalifa.
NETFLIX RELEASES TOP MOVIE VIEWING NUMBERS
Bloomberg's Lucas Shaw got an updated list of Netflix's most-viewed original movies and not surprisingly, "Extraction" topped the list. The numbers themselves don't matter much, these figures are always pretty mushy datapoints. What matters more is the relative position of the movies and what that might say about the various creative decisions.
One takeaway is that an actor with a strong fanbase starring in a vaguely familiar role can do very well. "Spenser Confidential" received pretty mediocre reviews when it was released. But it ended up third on the list, just behind Sandra Bullock's "Bird Box." Mark Wahlberg is generally a solid actor and has a group of fans who obviously wanted to see him, even if the final product wasn't amazing. It was the same situation with the 2019 film "Murder Mystery." That film garnered pretty terrible ratings, but Adam Sandler & Jennifer Anniston have a good chemistry together and they both have a good-sized fan base.
ODDS & SODS
HBO has acquired exclusive broadcast and streaming rights to the family drama "De Lo Mio." It will premiere on HBO and HBO Max in November.
The David Tennant serial killer drama "Des" has been picked up by Sundance Now. The series is based on the Brian Masters book "Killing For Company," which attempted to get inside the mind of the British serial killer Dennis Nilsen.
A Wall Street analyst has downgraded his rating on Disney's stock due to a "longer" virus pandemic impact than previously forecast. He expects "no film releases in fiscal year 2020," which for Disney ends in September, and "a modest slate" in fiscal 2021.
Netflix will release quarterly earnings after the bell this afternoon. The stock closed at an all-time high last Friday after Goldman Sachs analysts forecast at least 12.5 million total net paid subscriber adds in Q2 vs company guidance of 7.5 million. The downside for Netflix is that the stock will get dinged (and many people will write bad hot takes) if the company beats it's guidance but doesn't hit the new Goldman Sachs estimate.
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:
1) Conjoined Twins: Inseparable (TLC)
"When conjoined twins Carmen and Lupita were born, their parents faced an impossible dilemma: surgically separate them even though only one twin might survive or allow them to stay together forever. The twins are two distinct people with separate personalities sharing not only their body but every moment of their young adult lives. Their inspirational story explores the challenges they face every day as they fight for their independence and prepare to tackle college life away from home."
2) Fatal Affair (Netflix)
Ellie (Nia Long) tries to mend her marriage with her husband Marcus (Stephen Bishop) after a brief encounter with an old friend, David (Omar Epps), only to find that David is more dangerous and unstable than she'd realized.
3) Fire Masters Season Premiere (Cooking)
"Three chefs hit the grills running in the Wildfire round as they fight to make it past the first elimination. The competition gets a bit cheeky in the Crossfire round, and the judges are treated to an open fire East Coast feast in the final round."
4) Indian Matchmaking Series Premiere (Netflix)
Matchmaker Sima Taparia guides clients in the U.S. and India in the arranged marriage process, offering an inside look at the custom in a modern era.
5) Killer Camp (The CW)
When 11 British strangers arrive as excited contestants on a fun new reality show called "Summer Camp," they are shocked to discover they are actually participating in a horror whodunnit called "Killer Camp." Each night someone will be 'murdered' – and they must determine who the secret murderer is before they are killed.
6) MILF (Netflix)
Three best friends in their 40s start relationships with younger men while on vacation.
7) The House Of Ho Series Premiere (HBO Max)
This reality series is a multigenerational family docusoap that chronicles the lives of a wealthy Vietnamese-American family in Houston, Texas.
8) The Secrets She Keeps Series Premiere (Sundance Now)
Based on a novel by Michael Robotham, this drama builds on an encounter between two heavily pregnant women in a supermarket just outside of Sydney. While Meghan (Jessica De Gouw) is an upwardly mobile social media influencer, Agatha (Laura Carmichael) struggles to get by, working a low-wage job without any spousal support. Both have secrets that gradually emerge as their lives collide.
9) 30 Rock Upfront Special (NBC)
This one-off episode is part reunion and part promotion of NBCU's new streaming service Peacock. Which is why a number of NBC affiliates aren't airing the episode tonight.
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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