Fast Five: Film and TV News
August 5, 2019
Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Fast Five. If you’re thinking this may lead to that elusive copy of the Fast Five script, apologies in advance. This is not that place. Here for a mix of major and under-the-radar TV news that’s hot off the press? You’re definitely in the right place for everything your co-workers will be talking about around the water cooler this week. Unless you work remotely. In that case, here’s a bunch of stuff you can yell at your cats.
1. ON MY BLOCK STARS GET THEIR SALARY RAISES
When On My Block topped 13 Reasons Why to take the top spot on Netflix’s official “The Shows We Fell in Binge with This Year” list for 2018, it was only a matter of time until the stars looked at the $135,000 an episode that the 13 Reasons Why supporting cast earns and started asking for a piece of that pie. And ask they did. To the tune of $218,000 an episode. Negotiations came down to the wire, but new contracts were agreed upon right before the season three table read. When asked for a comment, Netflix said, “Conrad, you’re not allowed to make up quotes in your first article.” Or maybe that was my editor. I always get them confused. The five main kids will get $650,000 a season, up to $1.05 million if the show runs until season five. So, look forward to Netflix canceling it later this year and then never revealing how popular shows are if they star underpaid actors.
2. CBS ALL ACCESS PREPARES FOR THE STREAMING WARS
Having established itself early on as the only big-four network not cramming shows onto Hulu, CBS took that time to launch its own streaming service on the back of brands like Star Trek, The Good Wife, and The Twilight Zone. This head start helped them round up roughly four million subscribers who pay good money each month to complain about Star Trek: Discovery, a number that may help them stay competitive next year when every media company in the world launches its own OTT service. To stay ahead of the pack, CBS All Access made some moves at the TCAs last week to solidify itself as the home of CBS TV Studios shows.
According to Deadline, The Man Who Fell to Earth received a series order after Disney demanded an ownership stake to order it at Hulu. CBS remembered it owned its own competing service and just casually slid the show in there. It also picked up streaming rights to CW’s upcoming Nancy Drew. Now that the output deal with Netflix has come to an end, CW shows will be sold individually to the highest bidder. Completely coincidently, those highest bidders will end up being HBO Max for all Warner Bros. TV shows, and CBS All Access for all CBS TV Studios shows. What are the odds? We’ve already seen this happen with streaming rights to Batwoman and Katy Keene (both Warner Bros. TV shows) going to HBO Max (A WarnerMedia company). This is an interesting gamble because the second-run popularity on Netflix helped shows like Riverdale and All American get a second season and, as is the case with Riverdale, increased viewership on CW once the show returned. Will the coveted teenage demographic discover Nancy Drew over the summer on CBS All Access? Of course they will. Kids today are all about Snapchat and Tik Tok and CBS All Access.
3. DISABILITY REPRESENTATION TAKES A STEP FORWARD
The Ruderman Family Foundation, a group that strives for accurate representation of people with disabilities in film and TV, gave its official Seal of Authentic Representation to two more TV shows. Both This Close and Ramy were honored for casting actors with disabilities in speaking roles with a minimum of five lines. Since the foundation began giving out its seal earlier this year, only six shows have reached this benchmark. Previous recipients include The OA, Speechless, NCIS: New Orleans, and Special. It’s an important distinction that the actor must have a disability, not just the character. So shows like Superstore that feature able-bodied actors playing disabled characters do not count.
Another big step was CBS’s development announcement of Pretty. The show will star and is based on a story by actress Santina Muha, who has been in a wheelchair since she was five years old. It will follow a woman who moves to Los Angeles to follow her dreams of becoming the next Oprah. I imagine hilarity ensues, as it’s sold as a comedy.
4. DIRECTV NOW IS DEAD. LONG LIVE AT&T TV NOW
Over the past year, DirecTV Now has raised prices, cut channels, and lost subscribers. It seems AT&T has had enough and now every cord-cutter’s most complained about streaming TV package will be rebranded as the larger bundle to the much skinnier AT&T TV. The difference is that AT&T TV will only work with the official AT&T TV streaming box, while AT&T TV Now will work on devices like Apple TV, Roku and Fire Stick so it can still compete with YouTube TV and Hulu TV. So which internet TV service should you choose? Considering they all seem to cut channels and raise prices every couple of months, the answer will depend on how much tolerance you have for corporate shenanigans before you say, “to hell with it” and just watch your favorite show when the entire season is available on Netflix or Hulu.
5. WHAT IS THE COST OF AN EMMY NOMINATION?
That’s the question that industry analyst Kill the Cable Bill attempted to answer with some basic mathematics. By dividing the amount of Emmy nominations by the amount of money spent on content—or the other way around, numbers were never my thing—the group determined how much each Emmy nomination cost HBO, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. Hulu’s nominations cost them $125 million each, Netflix’s cost $120 million apiece, and Amazon Prime’s cost $106 million each. HBO was at the bottom with $16 million per Emmy nomination. Probably because they don’t release 300 shows a year. Netflix has been going Emmy crazy recently, trying its hardest to get that coveted Best Series Emmy after losing to shows from competing streamers like Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Its odds this year come down to how much you believe Russian Doll and Ozark can upset Veep and Game of Thrones.
Written by: Conrad SylviaConrad Sylvia is the creator of the The Week in Television, a private industry newsletter that recaps the week's television news in a humorous and unique manner. Throughout the years he has developed projects for studios and production companies and continues to provide freelance research on the current television landscape and international marketplace. He is also a fan of drinking in the bathtub. A full tub if he's happy, an empty tub if he's sad.