Quality-wise, there’s something quite logical about this evolution, especially for those who have watched a promising pilot but thought, “What on Earth are they going to do for season two?”
“All the shows we get compared to are documentaries. We are a work of drama, and that sometimes allows us to go dig deeper. [But] even documentaries aren’t as truthful as you think they are. [If] someone says something in a documentary and you cut to someone else’s face, that filmmaker has made a decision.”
The satirist Bassem Youssef, now in exile after one too many visits from Egyptian security forces, “will host The Democracy Handbook for F Comedy, Fusion’s new digital platform,” as part of the network’s 2016 election coverage. “The series … follows Youssef as he comes to America to learn the lessons of democracy.”
“Ah, passion – the elusive element of TV that networks are still trying to turn into a profit. Research departments try: They can look at tweets, or Facebook posts, or measure exactly how many minutes someone watches a program.” But still…
“Nielsen, the 93-year-old company that has long operated an effective monopoly over television ratings in the United States, is facing blistering criticism from TV and advertising executives who see it as a relic of television’s rabbit-ears past as the digital revolution transforms how people consume entertainment. New competition — notably the $768 million merger this week of the media measurement companies comScore and Rentrak — is forcing Nielsen to evolve.”
“YouTube execs hesitate to compare their efforts to Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, but Red gives the streamer, which boasts more than 1 billion viewers, a foothold in the lucrative paid video business. It also diversifies YouTube’s business beyond its estimated $8 billion-plus in annual ad revenue.”
“It was bizarre. … One of the weird things about it was – I don’t know if you remember this – when Chris Conner walks up to Shapiro’s office, he walks up a spiral staircase. Shapiro’s office had a spiral staircase. It looked exactly like that. That was not something I put in the book. That was not something that anyone asked me. It felt eerie to me.
“The festival threw down a gauntlet. It sent a message to an industry that, to the eyes of many, had failed to uphold with its work the values its members espoused with their politics (or, at least, their campaign donations).”
“The awards season of 1996 was one of the few times that whiteness made national headlines. There were calls for a boycott, questions about whether a black Oscars host and producer should step down, and disavowals of racism by white Academy members.”
“Ottepel (The Thaw) is one of the more fascinating descendants of Weiner’s show. To watch it is to step into a parallel universe where a lot of Mad Men‘s themes reappear in a different cultural context, with different characters and stakes.”
A Q&A with Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers. who insist that they lifted many lines – including “Surely you can’t be serious” and “We need somebody who can not only fly this plane, but who didn’t have fish for dinner” – directly from old dramatic movies.
“Executive producer Marc Platt told AdWeek that corporate sponsors like Coca-Cola forced the show to tone down some of the language. … That’s how Grease Lightning’s ‘the chicks’ll cream’ became ‘the chicks’ll scream,’ and ‘she’s a really pussy wagon’ became ‘she’s a real dream wagon.'”
Out of 1400 (fourteen hundred!) TV shows, AMC ended up being one of the big winners: “‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ are gone, but how would AMC even notice? ‘The Walking Dead’ (19.4 million) is the third-most watched show on all of television. The next-highest cable show? Spin-off ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ (11.8 million).”
“We ask parents all the time: What is your child’s passion? And they come up with all sorts of things: dinosaurs, maps, Harry Potter, Thomas the Tank Engine, Star Wars. We’ve surveyed thousands of people with these challenges and most have some video-related affinity. The passion is almost always one of a video nature. They can stop and rewind the images, slow it down and use them like the Dead Sea Scrolls to figure out social interactions; to hold a mirror up to the themselves.”
“‘I’m not the boasting type,’ said Mr. Christmas, who lives in Los Angeles. ‘With all these people coming up to me to congratulate me, I started blushing a little bit. I was saying to myself, “Cut it out. Cut it out. Just play it cool.”‘”
Nick Jonas is a decent actor, Netflix & Amazon are big players, next year’s Oscars probably won’t be so white and much more.
“‘This is what happens when you have the SAG group — a group of very diverse people who understand the work that we all put in and that we all deserve the same opportunities,’ Queen Latifah told The Times backstage. ‘That’s about it. I feel very positive about this day.'”
“I happen to be female and I’m also gay, another underrepresented minority, and yet, because I haven’t been hired on a film in the last 10 years, I am to be booted into the “emeritus” status and replaced by younger members who are being asked to join in order to help you deal with a publicity nightmare.”
Andrew O’Hehir: “So what we’re talking about here … is not so much a failure of representation as a failure of perception and vision and imagination. By invoking [Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man], Abdul-Jabbar suggests that Oscar voters literally cannot see certain kinds of non-white performers and certain kinds of films.”
“State-owned telecommunications and internet provider Telekomunikasi Indonesia has blocked Netflix from all of its platforms … because of a permit issue and its unfiltered contents.”
The chairman of the Kenya Film Classification Board cited the threat of terrorism alongside the usual sex, drugs and bad words as reasons that his body should be able to regulate Netflix. But the country’s infotech minister says the Board does not have that power.
“The plot of The Little Mermaid, of course, involves Ariel literally losing her voice – but in the five Disney princess movies that followed, the women speak even less. On average in those films, men have three times as many lines as women.”
“Although the sea witch is singular among Disney villains, there is a person behind this character. She is [sic] a real-life Ursula with a crimson mouth, eyebrows sharp as switchblades and a homicidal gleam in her eye. She is Divine.” Yes, John Waters’s Divine.
“The Swedish music-streaming service is planning to introduce video content on its Android app starting this week, followed by the iOS app by the end of next week … Spotify had originally announced the plans to begin distributing videos and podcasts in May, with a lineup of traditional and digital content providers that included ESPN, Comedy Central, the BBC, Vice Media and Maker Studios.”
“What bothers me most is how insulting this is to black people. I’m also shocked at the presumption of the president of the Academy to meet with David Oyelowo to explain to him “what went wrong” because he wasn’t nominated last year for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. I’m sorry, but are we missing the 800-pound gorilla in the room?”
“Not yet 30 when he founded Relativity Media in 2004, [Ryan Kavanaugh] very quickly became not only a power player in Hollywood but the man who might just save it … having come up with a way to forecast a famously unpredictable business by replacing the vagaries of intuition with the certainties of math.”
“Amazon will bring on a theatrical distributor and many suitors are circling. The move follows a trend this Sundance of streamers stepping up with huge offers and outbidding traditional theatrical distributors.”
“In fancasting, imagination is alive and well. In fact, that’s all it is: fans imagine their dream cast for the movie version of some media they love—think comics, books, video games, etc.—on social media to share with their fellow fans.”
“Female characters, while still not the norm, are becoming more prevalent in top-shelf video games. And at USC, there’s been a dramatic rise in the acceptance of women into the game design program. In 2011, USC admitted 15 men into its graduate track and five women. In 2015, those numbers were nearly reversed with 12 women and seven men.”
Is the future of comedy writing by actual humans sort of doomed, or what? (Hint: Probably not.)