Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, August 3rd, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by coffee and sinus medicine.
THE RETURN OF THE XFL
A group led by actor/producer Dwayne Johnson is buying the assets of the XFL for $15 million. The fledgling league filed bankruptcy proceedings earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league games did okay (but just okay) in its rookie season, but there was a lot of room for growth with the audience and the concept:
The XFL aired on ABC, ESPN, Fox and Fox Sports 1, for several weeks in February and March before COVID-19 shut the league down. According to iSpot.tv it, pulled in $53.1 million in advertising revenues over five weeks of play.
The biggest advertisers for the league are Geico, Progressive, Lexus, Red Bull, Subway, Liberty Mutual, Verizon, Carfax, Roman, and Wendy’s.
This strikes me as one of those deals that people will point back at in 5 years as one of the shrewdest deals in recent sports history. Johnson and his team know how to promote sports and already have experience in the genre with established TV shows such as "The Titan Games." There is an endless pool of talented players who can be signed to modest contracts and the audience is already familiar with the name. Plus, Johnson is a relentless promoter of his own projects. And in a world where networks are still vying for new live sports opportunities, there is a big upside for this deal. Success isn't guaranteed, but it's a good bet when all you're having to pay to buy-in is $15 million.
I can easily see a hybrid deal for the XFL with either NBC Sports/Peacock or CBS Sports/CBS All-Access. A combination linear televised game schedule along with a dedicated streaming hub could be a winning idea for both sides.
MSNBC CHANGES UP ITS DAYTIME SCHEDULE
Variety's Brian Sternberg is reporting that cable news channel MSNBC is making some changes to its schedule, which includes giving "Meet The Press" host Chuck Todd more of a streaming presence:
Starting in September, Todd will launch a weekly political program on both live-streaming outlet NBC News Now as well as NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming-video hub, just in time to dovetail with what is likely to be rising interest in the 2020 presidential election. Todd will also start anchoring pre- and post-event programming around big political-news nights, starting with the Democratic and Republican conventions later this month, and, in coming weeks, around debates and Election Night.. NBC News plans to create an additional production team for the anchor’s streaming initiatives.
The increased streaming responsibilites will also lead to some changes to MSNBC's daytime schedule. Chuck Todd's "Meet The Press Daily" will move to 1:00 pm ET, Ayman Mohyeldin will move from overnights to a 3:00 pm ET timeslot and Nicole Wallace's 4:00 pm ET "Deadline: White House" will expand to two hours.
SPEAKING OF HULU
Last week, I posted some thoughts about the new Hulu interface for its Roku app and how it is prioritizing the "Continue Watching" tab. But like most other streamers, Hulu hasn't had a way for customers to remove a title from that category. Which is annoying if you find yourself constantly being reminded to watch a program you hated after watching it for five minutes.
Diving deeper in Hulu over the weekend, I discovered that there is now a way to remove titles from the "Continue Watching" tab, although in typical Hulu style, it takes an extra couple of clicks more than should be the case. You have to click into the title, click the not-at-all intuitive "settings" link, which at least for now only includes a link to remove the title. But before that actually happens, you go to another screen which explains to you again what you're doing. It's an improvement, but also not at all intuitive.
QUIBI RANT #342
I know I keep ranting about Quibi's half-ass promotional efforts. But honestly, I don't understand what they're doing. They have two new shows premiering today & neither of them is even mentioned on their public web site. Which is especially astounding, given that one of the shows is their high profile (for Quibi standards) reboot of "The Fugitive."
ODDS AND SODS
There are a bunch of media company earnings numbers coming this week. On Tuesday, Disney reports its Q2 numbers after the stock market closes. Discovery and Sinclair reports Wednesday morning and on Thursday, Gannett reports earnings before the stock market opens and News Corp release its earnings after the close.
The free, advertising-supported streaming service Pluto has recently added a bunch of Spanish-language programming from Caracol Television. Pluto is available across South America and already has a substantial number of Spanish-language movie, TV and music channels.
Dish Network, which most recently picked up Boost Mobile as part T-Mobile buying Sprint, just bought Ting. The company isn't huge but is often near the top of the Consumer Reports cellphone company rankings.
Here is a rundown of the small number of new television programs premiering today:
1) Immigration Nation Series Premiere (Netflix)
This multi-part documentary provides an in-depth and inside look at ICE and the other parts of U.S. law enforcement that handle immigration into America. It's a brutal look at what happens, with a number of scenes that will leave you angry and saddened by the casual cruelty of the process.
2) Sex Next Door Series Premiere (Quibi)
See Quibi rant above.
3) Street Outlaws: Farm Truck and AZN (Discovery)
In "Street Outlaws," the duo of Farmtruck and AZN are synonymous with crazy antics and wacky builds. They have a new series coming up on Discovery, but in the meantime, they've put together a two-hour self-shot look at what will be coming up when their new series resumes production.
4) The Fugitive Series Premiere (Quibi)
See Quibi rant above.
5) 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards (Logo)
The 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues.
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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