DISCOVERY axes most C-suite WARNER MEDIA execs
AMAZON gets Anthony Mackie action pic / PEACOCK seals MLB deal / NETFLIX buys Rob Lowe comedy series
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on THURSDAY April 7, 2022.
Where its MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL opening day! And a forecast of a brisk high of 52 with 100% chance of rain here in NYC where the season was supposed to open with the RED SOX vs YANKEES… which has now been pushed to tomorrow.
Gotta love Mother Nature postponing the first game of a season that started with a strike (BREWERS vs CUBS will now be the first game today at 220p)
AND: Speaking of schedule changes - THE WEEKND and SWEEDISH HOUSE MAFIA are replacing YE at COACHELLA.
ALSO: Robert Kirkman & “The Walking Dead” producers lost their 5 year-old legal case against AMC, accusing the network of cheating them out of profits. Initial series showrunner Frank Darabont famously won $200 Million last year in his similar 8 year-long case against AMC 💰💰.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
AMAZON STUDIOS picks up Anthony Mackie, Priyanka Chopra Jonas project
Action adventure pic called “Ending Things” - An assassin who wants out of the biz tells her business & personal partner that it’s over… but changes her mind about the personal part as they team up for one last job.
Spec-script purchase, but no director on board yet. /Deadline
A24 greenlights next pic from director Joe Talbot (“The Last Black Man in San Francisco”)
Called “The Governesses”, starring Lily-Rose Depp, Renate Reinsve (“The Worst Person in the World”) and Hoyeon (“Squid Game”).
About governesses who upend the house they work in by inspiring the imaginations of the boys they care for and the bohemian couple they work for, and then abandon them for “erotic adventures”. /Variety
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📺 THE TV SET
NETFLIX buys comedy starring Rob Lowe & his son John Owen
Called “Unstable”, about an introverted son who goes to work for his eccentric father to “save him from disaster” at his biotech research company.
Victor Fresco (“Santa Clarita Diet”, “Better Off Ted”) is showrunning, and co-creator with the Lowe’s. /THR
AMC orders “Orphan Black” sequel series
Called “Orphan Black: Echoes”, will be set in the world of the show but with all new characters - centers on a group of women who “work their way into each other’s lives to unravel the mystery of their identity and uncover a wrenching story of love and betrayal.” 🤷♂️
Will air in 2023, the show last aired in 2017. /THR
ALSO: AMC is developing a new series for Bob Odenkirk, based on the book “Straight Man”, about an English department chairman in a severely underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. Scripts are ordered, will see if it gets a series order. /Deadline
#funfact: The series is co-created by Paul Lieberstein, aka “Toby” from “The Office”.
APPLE TV+ sets Noomi Rapace, Jonathan Banks for space series “Constellation”
Noomi plays a woman returning to EARTH after a space disaster, where she finds certain elements missing from her life - thankfully not a daily entertainment business newsletter - and sets about exposing the truth about a hidden history of space travel.
Banks is playing a physicist with secrets. Guessing they have to do with that hidden history thing. Michelle MacLaren (“Breaking Bad”) directing the first 2 eps. /Deadline
ALSO IN TV
APPLE TV+ adds Jessica Williams to Jason Segel, Harrison Ford series “Shrinking”. She’ll play a therapist who works with Segel & Ford’s unconventional therapist characters. James Ponsoldt (“The End of the Tour”, “The Specacular Now”) will be the lead director. /THR
NETFLIX’s “Locke & Key” will end with its upcoming 3rd season. /THR
APPLE TV+ renews “Severance” for 2nd season. Season 1 finishes up tomorrow. /Variety
APPLE TV+ sets Angourie Rice (“Siobhan” in “Mare of Easttown”) as Jennifer Garner’s co-star in “The Last Thing He Told Me” limited series, based on the book. She’ll play Jen’s stepdaughter whom she forms a bond with as they try and figure out what’s behind the disappearance of their husband / dad. HELLO SUNSHINE producing. /Deadline
HULU casts a Christine Ko 2fer (she plays “Emma” in FX’s “Dave”) - she landed roles in “Only Murders in the Building” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” upcoming seasons. /THR
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
DISCOVERY clears out most top-level WARNER MEDIA execs
CFO Jennifer Biry
Chief Comms & Inclusion Officer Christy Haubegger
Chief Human Resources Officer Jim Cummings
Chief Revenue Officer Tony Goncalves
General Counsel Jim Meza
Chief Technology Officer Richard Tom
Marketing notably off this list… although as DISCOVERY has no experience selling scripted TV Series or Movies, figure that “integration” will be a bit less black & white.
They also don’t know how to make said TV and Movies… so also staying are all Creative heads (Bloys, Emmerich, Dungey), Games head David Haddad, and apparently International head Gerhard Zeiler as well in a bit of a 🤔 as DISCO has a strong international biz as well. Although HBO’s is stronger and more well established, save for Sports.
BUT: Any areas dealing with traditional Cable TV (Affiliate Marketing, network carriage dealmaking etc) or linear TV ops could likely be an area of “activity” next, given DISCOVERY and Zazlav’s long history and overlap in that business.
DISCOVERY promised $3 Billion in cost savings in the next 2 years. And you know where “cost savings” usually come from first in a combination of 2 companies…
Word is a Zazlav-led town hall is being set for about a week from now. /Variety
PEACOCK makes the MLB Sunday afternoon baseball games thing official
Will stream 18 exclusive games on Sundays starting May 18. 🧢
All games will start at 1130a or 12noon, so maybe try and hold off until the 2nd inning to start the Summer Baseball day drinking 🍺. /Deadline
ALSO IN MEDIA
AMAZON MUSIC raising prices by $1 in the US for PRIME subscribers. Now will be $9 a month as an add on to a PRIME subscription (without it - it’s still $10 a month). Also going up to $5 a month for just one AMAZON device (a FIRE, or an ALEXA etc). Prices start May 5. /MBW
FaZe Clan doing original programming for AMAZON’s TWITCH. The first will be a weekly, 3 to 4 hour (😳) “SNL”-style variety show live-streaming on… Thursday afternoons 🤷♂️. Will feature FaZe members & other social media creators as well as guest TV, Film, Music and Sports celebs so… interpret that as you like 🥸. Launches this June.
The other show they’re doing is a “Big Brother” type show. So… basically copies of long-running NBC and CBS shows - Creator culture really is revolutionizing video content 🤯. /Variety
Merch & trading card company FANATICS gets $27 Billion valuation in latest $1.5 Billion fundraising round, incl $320 Million from the NFL. Their new NFT and gambling endeavors are spurring the bonkers valuation. Of course they are. /Sportico
The BE REAL social app that the college kids are increasingly digging sounds kinda fun. HOW IT WORKS:
You and your friends (“followers” or what have you) each get a notifier once a day, when you have 2 minutes to take a pic(s) with your phone to post whatever you’re doing at that exact time, with no touchups etc. And then you can kinda chat with each other (I think) at that time, kind of like unified check in time with friends. /Bloomberg
So… kinda the spirit of INSTAGRAM… back when we used to actually like INSTAGRAM (BTW anyone else’s feed now look like this? pic, AD, AD, pic, Follow this account that… you won’t want to follow, pic, pic, AD?). FACEBOOK is really trying hard to make up that $10 Billion in lost APPLE privacy change 💵.
ALSO: A new study showed that INSTA didn’t act on 90% of abuse sent to female public figures via direct message, despite the messages being reported to “moderators”. 🤬 /WaPo
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
ROKU -6% ($119.33)
ROBLOX -6% ($45.89)
VIMEO -6% ($11.44)
and was a generally down day for most stocks.
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👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
HBOMAX “Tokyo Vice” - 3 episodes today, 2 episodes a week thereafter - STREAM HERE
OF NOTE: The show is on STARZ in many west European countries (drops there May 15) - these HBOMAX originals don’t fall under the SKY HBO output deal in the biggest countries there (UK, GER, FRA, etc), and thusly HBOMAX has no presence there (save for SPAIN). That SKY deal still has 2 more years to go.
NETFLIX “Jimmy Savile : A British Horror Story” 2 part docu - STREAM HERE
THE MASTERS starts, very likely with Tiger Woods (at least for the first 2 days #makethecut), but without Mickelson for the first time in 28 years, and likely also without defending champ Hideki Matsuyama due to a neck injury.
ESPN today and tomorrow at 3p - careful of those 20-30mph predicted winds tomorrow fellas - and CBS Sat and Sun afternoons.
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
NETFLIX “Operation Mincemeat” movie trailer - WWII pic about the true story of a UK ploy using a dead body to deceive the Germans about a large attack, which apparently spawned the creation of MI5. Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald and Jason Isaacs among the cast. Drops Wed May 11 (also in limited theaters)
HULU “Captive Audience” docu series trailer - About a famous family from the 80’s, where one son was missing from 7 to 14 years old but returned (spawning the NBC miniseries “I Know My Name is Steven”). But it then looks like his older brother grows up to be a killer… or something to that effect - hence the multi-part series here. Premieres Thu Apr 21
HULU “Crush” movie trailer - YA pic about a high school girl with a crush on the traditional hottie cheerleader-ish type girl, and the tomboy athlete type girl. Premieres Fri Apr 29.
HBO “The Baby” series trailer - UK Horror comedy series about… killer babies? Really not sure what the conceit is here. Clearly. Premieres Sun Apr 24
AMAZON PRIME “The Wilds” Season 2 - Premieres Fri May 6
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
BROTHER CANE “Got No Shame” - This goes out to my fellow 90’s rock folks - heard it this weekend for the first time in many years, and definitely brought me back to a time when these guys… well lets just say they had a moment. #needsMoreCowbell
If you need some new tunes:
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