WBD preps to layoff up to 900 people in Sales group
Free PEACOCK will end for COMCAST subs / APPLE TV spends $2.5 Bil on US Soccer / NETFLIX sets Kidman, Efron, King for rom-com
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY June 15, 2022.
Where let’s pour one out today for BTS, who announced they’re going “on hiatus” to focus on solo projects… following in the footsteps of the greats from N-SYNC to NKOTB to ONE DIRECTION and I guess 98 DEGREES? (not really sure who chose the hiatus there 🤷♂️).
So we’ll see which one becomes the Harry Styles… and who goes the Joey Fatone route. Although while I can’t name you one person in BTS, I feel confident in saying they don’t have a Joey Fatone.
AND: “Topdog/Underdog” is returning to BROADWAY in October for a 16 week run, with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Corey Hawkins in the lead roles.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
NETFLIX sets Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and Joey King for a rom-com
Untitled pic, co-written & directed by Richard LaGravenese (“P.S. I Love You”). About a young woman, her mom and her movie star boss dealing with “complications of love, sex and identity.” Yeah that’ll do it.
Will shoot this Summer. /THR
AMAZON PRIME pic adds Billy Bob Thornton to Kaley Cuoco - David Oyelowo thriller “Role Play”
It’s about a married couple whose lives get thrown for a loop when some secrets about their respective pasts come out. Billy’s gonna play a mysterious stranger… and pretty sure he didn’t have to read for it.
Shooting this Summer. /Deadline
ALSO IN MOVIES
SEARCHLIGHT sets Sept 30 limited release for “See How They Run” 1950s UK mystery pic 🕵️♀️ with Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell. /Deadline
UNI - DREAMWORKS sci-fi pic “Distant” moves from Sept 16 to Jan 27, 2023. Anthony Ramos stars as an asteroid miner who crash-lands on an alien planet who must survive harsh environs and alien creatures to reach a crew member (Naomi Scott). /Deadline
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📺 THE TV SET
IMAGINE and THE WASHINGTON POST sign production deal
Covers both docu/unscripted and scripted projects based on stories from the WAPO archives, but no initial projects specified. /THR
ALSO IN TV
NBA FINALS Game 5 pops to 13 Million viewers on ABC Monday night 🏀, about 2 Million above what Games have been doing. Game 6 is tomorrow night. /TheWrap
NETFLIX renews The Lincoln Lawyer for a Season 2. /Variety
Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady leaves his NETFLIX deal (no shows resulted there) to return to WBTV in a first-look deal. /THR
ROKU renews animated series Doomlands for a Season 2. /Variety
IN HOLLYWOOD BUSINESS AFFAIRS
PARAMOUNT puts head of International biz Raffaele Annecchino “on leave” starting immediately, no other info given. He reported directly into Bakish and was based in Madrid, and his 3 direct reports will cover Raffaele’s role on an interim basis. /THR
LIONSGATE signs output deal with FOX’s TUBI for 30 new (essentially) “direct to DVD” pics and 200 titles from the LGF library. /Variety
UPFRONTS deals wrapping up, looking like +8-12% ad price increases this year for 3 of the big 4 - but no word how WBD’s reported approach of holding out for closer to 20% is going. /Deadline
Maria Zuckerman departing as head of TOPIC STUDIOS after a 3 year run. No word where the former longtime HBO exec will land next. /Deadline
ICM TV Lit agent Ariel Meislin leaves to start & head up NYC office of KAPLAN / PERRONE ENT as a manager. /Deadline
Jerry Bruckheimer raises TV prez KristieAnne Reed up to CEO of JBTV, replacing outgoing longtime head Jonathan Littman. /Variety
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
APPLE TV sets exclusive 10 year global deal to stream MLS Soccer games
While not Cricket money… it’s said to be a $2.5 Billion deal ($250 Mil a year), and starts with the 2023 season ⚽️.
Every match will be streamable in a special add-on subscription MLB hub on the APPLE TV app, and MLB will get a cut of subscription fees. Service price TBD.
APPLE TV+ subscribers will get “a broad selection” of games as part of their subscription, including the League Cup.
Some matches will be made available for free to all (approx 2 a week), a la their current Friday Night Baseball games.
MLS is also looking for a linear TV partner for some games as well. /SI
The 2021 Season averaged about 360k viewers a match in the US, and while it’s a global deal… one wouldn’t think there’s too strong of an appetite for American “Soccer” around the world. /ESPN
WBD begins massive voluntary layoff process in Ad Sales division
Looking to cut their Sales workforce by up to 30% as the next lever to pull in getting the $3 Billion in promised cost savings in the WBD deal so… guessing this won’t stay “voluntary” for very long.
The group has about 3,000 heads globally so almost 900 people will soon be out of a job. Will see how many land at NETFLIX 👇. /TheInformation
ALSO IN MEDIA
NETFLIX has held talks with ROKU and COMCAST so far about handling the Ad-tech & sales thing for their forthcoming Ad-supported product coming later this year. No word if those ROKU talks broadened out to…. other topics 🤔. /TheInformation
COMCAST will end free PEACOCK PREMIUM (with ads) for their Cable & Internet customers “at some point” (that’s their “Xfinity X1” and “Flex” customers) according to NBCU CEO Jeff Shell. /Variety
NY TIMES will include THE ATHLETIC as part of the overall NYT digital subscription price (not keep it as a separate add on $$). /Axios
SPOTIFY bought the voice AI company that re-created Val Kilmer’s voice in “Top Gun: Maverick”. So - think “host-read” ads for podcasts where the host… doesn’t have to do anything. This could get interesting, in a SkyNet kinda way 😳. /Tubefilter
TASTEMADE made a deal with PINTEREST to produce 50 series for the platform (each with approx. 20 episodes). No timeline / duration indicated.
They’ll also produce livestream programming for something called PINTEREST TV… which I’m just gonna assume is something like a digital video / cord-cutter equivalent of HGTV. /Axios
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🏦 STOCK NOTES
Relatively quiet day after the Monday chaos.
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH
NETFLIX “God’s Favorite Idiot” - Melissa McCarthy series - STREAM HERE
HULU “Love, Victor” Season 3 - STREAM HERE
ABC / ESPN NHL Stanley Cup Game 1 - COLORADO vs TAMPA BAY - 8p.
And yes… if it goes 7 games that means there will be Hockey until the end of June.
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
HULU “Only Murders in the Building” Season 2 trailer - PREMIERES TUE JUNE 28
NETFLIX “Persuasion” movie trailer - Based on the Jane Austen book, about a love triangle with Dakota Johnson choosing between 2 suitors… one of them is a guy who resurfaces as a hottie after she got rid of him years ago, and the other one is Henry Golding. Doesn’t life always work out that way? PREMIERES FRI JULY 15
PARAMOUNT+ “All Star Shore” trailer - Assembles… stars (?) from various global MTV “Shore” shows and other reality shows for drinking games and whatever else happens on these things. But kinda curious if the name “Sh!t Shore” was already taken? PREMIERES FRI JULY 29
NETFLIX “Squid Game: The Challenge” casting announcement - If after watching “Squid Game” your first thought was ‘Where do I sign up??’, then I’m thinking we’d be a bad hang together… but hey - NETFLIX has you covered! Competition series based on the show is now casting.
It’s LIONSGATE & ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS (not ROADSHOW) who teamed up to buy the Sigourney Weaver / Kevin Kline pic “The Good House” this week.
Those of you who’ve read The Wakeup for a while know it just wouldn’t be me if everything was 💯 for my first Ankler email.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
Just a shout out to the amazing soundtrack work on HBO’s “Winning Time”as I rewatched some episodes over the past week - this use of FLEETWOOD MAC’s “Tusk” in the season finale was particularly phenomenal.
If you need some new tunes:
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What’s wrong with hockey until the end of June? Scared the ice is gonna melt?😜🏒