EUPHORIA creator and The Weeknd working on new HBO series
SMARTLESS podcast $60+ Million AMAZON MUSIC deal / SOPRANOS prequel trailer / FACEBOOK's new newsletter service explained
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY June 30, 2021.
Where… given that WONDERY is involved in the “Smartless” $60+ Million deal with AMAZON MUSIC (more below in THE MEDIA BIZ), let’s start the day at The Home That WONDERY Bought. Or at least made the downpayment for. WONDERY founder Hernan Lopez just bought this place above the Sunset Strip for $20 Million - then again when you sell your company for $300 Million to AMAZON, you’re probably good for it.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
DIRECTORS GUILD says films must have an exclusive 7-day run in theaters to be eligible for DGA awards
Condition was lifted last year in the pandemic, but now… no.
So - all movies released after June 15 this year that also hit streaming on the same date (or premiere exclusively on streaming) will not be considered.
Yeah… this may change the October “Dune” plan at WB - HBOMAX. /THR
ALSO IN MOVIES
STX sets Kristen Bell true-story counterfeit coupon scam comedy “Queenpins” for Sept 10 theatrical release. Co-stars Vince Vaughn, Paul Walter Hauser, Joel McHale, and Bebe Rexha. /Variety
PAR+ already bought streaming rights in the pay TV window for a price of $20 Million. /Deadline
UNIVERSAL’s “Halloween Kills” will world premiere at VENICE in Sept out of competition as Jamie Lee Curtis gets a Lifetime achievement award. /Variety
📺 THE TV SET
HBO developing show with The Weeknd & the creator of “Euphoria”, Sam Levinson
Called “The Idol” - female singer starts romance with an LA Club owner who… happens to also run a secret cult. As ya do. Weeknd would co-write and star (presumably) as the club owner.
TBD if it gets an official series order. /Deadline
NETFLIX sets new limited series and overall production deal with “13 Reasons Why” creator Brian Yorkey
New 7 episode limited series is a psychological thriller called “Echoes” - 2 identical twins have consistently swapped lives their entire existence (including husbands and children). That is until one of them goes missing. Wait how will we know which one is gone?? 🤔
Brian co-created with Vanessa Gazy (“Eden”) and Quinton Peeples (“Runaways”), no timeline indicated. /THR
APPLE TV+ developing TV show on baseball legend Satchel Page with Magic Johnson producing
APPLE bought the rights to a book on Page, and the series would also look at Negro Baseball League overall. No writer attached to adapt (#openJob) so will be a while before we potentially see it.
Ron Shelton (director of “Bull Durham”, “White Men Can’t Jump”) also among the producers. /Variety
ALSO IN TV
Mrs. Gilmore is coming to Mrs. Maisel! Kelly Bishop (played “Emily Gilmore” on “Gilmore Girls”) will be in Season 4 as a guest star, no specific details avail. “Marvelous Mrs Maisel” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino of course also created “Gilmore Girls”. /Variety
TLC cancels Duggar family show “Counting On” after 11 seasons, as Josh Duggar prepares to go on trial for child porn. /Deadline
AMAZON PRIME orders Season 2 of comedic angels & demons series “Good Omens”, produced by Neil Gaiman. 6 episodes, will begin shooting later in the year in Scotland. /Variety
Awkwafina’s “Nora From Queens” Season 2 premieres on COMEDY CENTRAL Wed Aug 18. Season will stream on… HBOMAX when its over. Season 1 already streaming there as part of a deal struck when VIACOM was selling-off rights to a lotta their shows for cold hard cash over a year ago (“Yellowstone”, “South Park”, etc). /Variety
BBC One averaged 13 Million viewers for ENGLAND vs GERMANY EURO Cup match yesterday, with a peak of over 20 Million. (ENG beat GER 2-0, will face UKRANE Saturday in quarterfinal game). /Deadline
AMAZON’s IMDBTV will stream ABC’s canceled “For Life” in July. Show producer SONY TV has extended the options on the cast contracts in hopes the 2 seasons do well, and IMDBTV wants to pick up a 3rd season by the end of July. /Deadline
ALSO: Movie & TV exec Alison Greenspan, who most recently was a producer on “For Life” died after a long battle with cancer at 48 years old yesterday. I can personally remember reading many accounts of her dedicated work ethic ever since she joined the business straight out of college as an assistant at CAA, and becoming a very well-liked and respected executive over the years… rest in peace Alison.
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
AMAZON MUSIC buys Bateman / Arnett / Hayes “Smartless” podcast for $20-$25 Million a year
However it won’t be entirely exclusive - new episodes will get a 1-week exclusive window on AMAZON MUSIC, and subsdiary WONDERY’s app (where it’ll be ad-free) - then said episode will be available in all the usual free places.
WONDERY will also handle the Ad Sales. 3-year deal overall, so between $60-$80 Million total.
AMAZON MUSIC costs $10/month like it’s SPOTIFY and APPLE MUSIC competitors, or $8/month if you already have AMAZON PRIME. /Bloomberg
ALSO: New AMAZON MUSIC customers now also get 6 months free of DISNEY+ (existing customers will get 3 months free… unless you already have it. But if not - visit this link to redeem/add). /Variety
AND: AMAZON now demanding the right to purchase stakes in some suppliers at below market rates once a certain amount of sales are met.
Basically if we buy $8 Billion worth of your groceries for AMAZON FRESH over 7 years, we can buy 15% of your company at this price… which may be below market, and they also want the right to top any acquisition offer from another company. /WSJ
FACEBOOK newsletter service BULLETIN announces writers for launch, but isn’t a true SUBSTACK competitor. Yet.
Malcolm Gladwell, Erin Andrews, author Mitch Albom and “Queer Eye” personality Tan France are some of the names announced yesterday who will be (paid by FB) to write newsletters on BULLETIN.
While it’s somewhat similar to SUBSTACK (or TWITTER’s REVUE) in that writers can write Free or Paid Subscription newsletters distributed to anyone with a, well, email address (#TheWakeup 👋), and writers maintain ownership of the newsletter and control of their subscriber list… this isn’t a real competitor, yet.
Unlike SUBSTACK / REVUE… BULLETIN is currently only available to writers that FB invites to use it, with no announced timeline to open it up to anyone who wants to do one, or even establishing an application process for people to create one. FB says they’ll do this eventually… but no timeline given.
So essentially - with BULLETIN’s launch, FACEBOOK is once again becoming a Media company, paying select writers of their choosing to write content housed on their platform/tech. /The Verge
WHY IS FB DOING THIS?
New way to increases user time spent on the platform.
Ad revenue potential - can see FB offering tools for writers/creators to insert ads into their newsletters once platform is opened up.
Subscription revenue potential - FB is not taking a cut of subscriber revenue now, but they will starting in 2023. Said cut is TBD. (SUBSTACK takes 10%, TWITTER-owned REVUE takes 5%).
WHY WOULD WRITERS USE BULLETIN vs SUBSTACK, REVUE etc?
Can easily connect/integrate with massive FB ecosystem in addition to matching the benefits of (those eventual) competitors: anyone can sign up for your newsletter, you own your subscriber list, etc.
Thinking BULLETIN newsletters will be given a nice prioritization in the News Feed algorithm especially to people who Like things similar to the topic of your newsletter.
In addition, FB will likely give you promotion methods to existing GROUPS related to your newsletter topic to help increase your subscriber list.
ALSO IN MEDIA
NBA looking to set up a mid-season, 8 team “Madness”-style tournament (winner of each game moves on). Players of ultimate winning team would each get $1 Million. But… the idea needs more teams to sign-on, as it would lessen the NBA season to 78 games. NBA teams take in between $2.5 and $4 Million in revenue per game. /CNBC
NY COMEDY FESTIVAL will return IRL in NYC Nov 8-14. /Variety
Montreal’s JUST FOR LAUGHS festival to hold shows and events in NYC and LA next month featuring Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart, Kristen Wiig and more during its July 15-31 run due to covid travel restrictions. The New Faces show will have a streamed-from-Montreal edition, and one in LA. /THR
Virtual cable bundle YOUTUBE TV adds option to upgrade to 4K streaming for an extra… $20/month. 😳 /NextTV
TWITTER Ad Sales head Matt Derella is leaving the company after 9 years on August 6.TWITTER’s VP of global client solutions Sarah Peronette will take over. No next destination given for Matt, said he’s leaving to pursue life passions and “spend more time with my family”. How has there not been a movie with that title yet… /Variety
NY POST longtime Media columnist Keith J Kelly to retire in late July. /The Wrap
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
LIONSGATE down over 4% but otherwise pretty quiet.
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
A24 “Zola” hits movie theaters - 2 girls from Detroit (Taylour Paige, Riley Keough) go on a road trip to Tampa to make money stripping. ish. Based on a crazy story from a TWITTER feed in 2015.
If you were sent this newsletter or… just kinda found it:
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
WB / HBOMAX “The Many Saints of Newark” trailer. It’s the long-awaited SOPRANOS prequel movie about the origins of Tony as an adolescent. And we kinda knew Ray Liotta had to show up in this universe at some point right? Hits movie theaters and HBOMAX on Fri Oct 1. (Wouldn’t think theaters stand much of a chance on this one 🤷♂️).
SHOWTIME “Work In Progress” Season 2 trailer. The very well-reviewed comedy series returns Sun Aug 22.
PARAMOUNT “Clifford the Big Red Dog” trailer. Hits theaters on Fri Sept 17.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
New H.E.R.- “Cheat Code”, from her brand new album released last week… which has been in my heavy playlist rotation ever since.
Listen to the song here on Spotify or:
If you need new tunes:
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