AT&T has been OANN's main income source for years apparently
NETFLIX orders Edgar Allen Poe horror series / PEOPLE publisher MEREDITH sold to IAC / NBCU gives RON MEYER $20 Million
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on THURSDAY October 7, 2021.
Where this story is a little early stage for me to typically include… but it gave me a major happy #throwback yesterday - ENDEAVOR CONTENT has acquired the rights to make TV properties around the “Mr Men” and “Little Miss” book series. Pretty sure there’s a huge stack of these somewhere in my mom’s basement from my formative years. Probably next to my Has-to-be increasing-in-value stacks of PREMIERE Magazines.
AND: Since this really doesn’t have a thematic home elsewhere in the newsletter today - Jane Lynch is joining Beanie Feldstein in “Funny Girl” BROADWAY revival slated for April 2022. Jane playing Beanie’s mom, “Mrs. Rosie Brice”. TONY winner Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening”) is directing.
ALSO: It was a very busy day in the media business, so break out your glasses if that’s your interest.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
AMAZON PRIME completes purchase of “Hotel Transylvannia: Transformania” from SONY, sets January streaming release
AMAZON’s deal to acquire the pic from SONY for about $100 Million was first hinted at back in August - and my sincere apologies for listing this as an early October release here in a newsletter last week… that was the old SONY theatrical release date that I neglected to remove on my chart 😩. /Variety
ALSO IN MOVIES
NBCU gives former UNI PICTURES head Ron Meyer a $20 Million payout to settle claims about his dismissal last year regarding some chicanery around payouts he made related to an affair in the early 2010s. /Deadline
Mark Cuban’s indie film distributor MAGNOLIA exploring a sale. Library consists of about 500 titles built over the past 2 decades, which bring in about $30-$40 Million a year in revenue.
So, not exactly MGM money… but obviously Cuban sees that Media M&A iron is hot and thinks he can make out with a sizable enough paycheck. /NY Times
IN THE HOLLYWOOD EXECUTIVE SUITE
As expected, former HULU Prez Kelly Campbell is officially the new Prez of PEACOCK at NBCU. Begins in November, reports into NBCU streaming chairman Matt Strauss. /THR
Of note: The person she’s more or less replacing, Gideon Katz, is now ROKU’s SVP of “Product, Customer Journey & Experience”.
The WSJ reports Kelly was frustrated by the frequent changes to DISNEY’s streaming group during the past 2 years which shifted her oversights, but there are also a couple of benefits:
A) HULU will never be International, and PEACOCK is doing that next year via SKY. Having this International experience will be key if say… you want a top exec role at NETFLIX, AMAZON, APPLE TV etc someday.
B) A chance to get in near-ish to the ground floor of building a streaming business that’s about to embark on a huge 2022 with THE OLYMPICS and SUPERBOWL in February to go with that International launch. Plus, ya know - “Saved by the Bell” Season 2 #comingsoon 🙏
Longtime WB TV exec Odetta Watkins goes to AMAZON PRIME as Head of Current Drama series. Will report into Head of Current Series Laura Lancaster. /Deadline
WME sets partners Mike Berkowitz & Allysa Mahler to lead Comedy “crossover” group, to facilitate 360 opportunities for comedy and specifically stand-up talent to do projects across other genres. Kathleen Lewis also coming over from ANONYMOUS CONTENT to work with the group, and WME also promoted Katie Marshall as an agent here too. /THR
📺 THE TV SET
NETFLIX orders new Edgar Allen Poe-based limited series from “Midnight Mass” creator Mike Flanagan
This one’s called “The Fall of the House of Usher” and will be based on multiple Poe works, not just that story. Mike also did “The Haunting of Hill House” and “The Haunting of Bly Manor” at NETFLIX.
8 episode order, no timeline given but… thinking October 2022 is a good bet. /Variety
ALSO: NETFLIX canceled the GenY book-themed romance series “Dash & Lily” after one season. /Deadline
FALL TV Season ratings from Tuesday
NBC’s “La Brea” fell 20% from its series premiere to 5 Million viewers. It’s “Voice” lead-in was about the same as last week with 7.2 Million viewers.
But ESPN won the night with the YANKEES vs RED SOX MLB Wildcard game, getting 7.7 Million viewers total. /THR
ALSO IN TV
Damian Lewis following up “Billions” with SPECTRUM ORIGINALS / BRIT BOX limited series “A Spy Amongst Friends”. Guy Pearce co-starring, 6 episodes - set around the relationship between a British intelligence officer / KGB double agent (Guy) and an MI6 friend (Damian). Now shooting, will hit SPECTRUM ON DEMAND next Fall. /THR
FX’s upcoming 5th season of “Better Things” will be its last. Currently shooting for a TBD 2022 debut, and Pamela Adlon is currently developing new shows as part of her FX deal. /Deadline
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
Heads up: Busy day!
AT&T has apparently been the main financial support for the right-wing OANN cable “news” network
Essentially around 2013, AT&T was actively looking to add another conservative news network to their U-VERSE cable offerings in addition to just FOX NEWS.
OANN’s founder got wind of this and created the network, which was basically funded by carriage fees from an agreement with AT&T (guessing that’s U-VERSE), and very soon after that, also with the much-larger DIRECTV when AT&T bought it in 2015.
According to sworn testimony from an OANN accountant in 2020: Carriage fees paid by AT&T’s cable & satellite entities have grown to make up 90% of OANN revenues.
AT&T clarified that it doesn’t “fund” OANN’s operations or have a stake in the company - it just has a business agreement with them, which is true. But when OANN’s accountant says OANN would be “worth zero” without AT&T, that’s a real fine line ya’ll.
It is worth noting: AT&T made their most recent OANN deal at a time when they were trying to get the TIME WARNER merger cleared during the Trump government era, and after OANN sued them for reneging on a carriage renewal.
But also worth noting… without AT&T’s money, it really sounds like OANN would cease to exist, so take that as you will. If you have 3 mins… click that link, it’s a #GoodRead with even more details.
OANN of course is currently being sued for $1.6 Billion by Dominion Voting Systems… and recently aired the 2+ hour MY PILLOW guy “documentary” on ‘the steal’. /Reuters
MEREDITH magazine publisher (PEOPLE, FOOD & WINE, EW etc) sold to Barry Diller’s IAC for $2.7 Billion
Well - specifically to IAC’s digital publisher group DOTDASH (formerly About.com for any fellow internet olds… or AskJeeves.com if you wanna really show your age 👴).
DOTDASH’s CEO Neil Vogel will now lead the company, which will be called DOTDASH MEREDITH. DOTDASH runs digital brands like TheSpruce, Brides, and VeryWell.
The all-cash deal should close around Dec 1. MEREDITH stock was up 6% in after hours trading, after popping 27% in one day when IAC’s interest was first reported around Sept 24. /Variety
One of those disclosure things - I do some work with MEREDITH although uh… sounds like maybe not so much after December 1st 😳. So hey Just in case anyone is interested in the services of a business / content strategy consultant with… diverse (?) music tastes 🙋♂️.
SNAP institutes new 💰 program to reward SPOTLIGHT video creators
(SPOTLIGHT = their TIKTOK ripoff). The SPOTLIGHT CHALLENGES program will reward the top “3 to 5 videos” made against various themes (#hashtags)… or basically how a lot of TIK TOK already works.
Prizes will range from “$1,000 to $25,000” per challenge… so not exactly the “SNAP giving away $25k prizes” headlines that were prevalent on this yesterday - bit of a “range of payments” here…
This comes not long after SNAP significantly scaled back a program giving away a pool of $1 Million a day to creators of top performing videos, saying it “resulted in too many copycat videos”. Pick a lane SNAP. /THR
AND: With INSTAGRAM announcing new policies toward video on their platform this week… it’s pretty clear that China’s TIKTOK now has every US video-first social media platform in a total panic.
AMAZON’s “stream yourself playing video games” platform TWITCH suffers Major hack
All hacked data was posted online for Free download on 4Chan including:
The service’s Source Code, and the history of changes to it
TWITCH’s 💵 payouts to their top stars/creators as of 2019
AMAZON’s plans to launch a product against a rival company in the space
While TWITCH is a division of AMAZON, they’ve kept their own (apparently weaker) Information Security practices. #goodcall
The thus-far anonymous hacker says they posted it to foster competition in the space, citing the “toxic cesspool” environment that exists on TWITCH.
AND: This data leak was labeled “Part 1” so… yeah. 🤯 /Platformer
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
ROKU made up for its losses yesterday, up over 5%
ENDEAVOR -5% ish, after dropping 6% yesterday.
REGAL Theaters parent co. CINEWORLD -6% ish
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
HBOMAX “15 Minutes of Shame” - Docu from Monica Lewinsky about social shaming, doxxing and cancel culture. Click Here to Watch or Add to Your List
NETFLIX “Sexy Beasts” - Season 2 of the cosplay-inspired (?) dating show. Click Here to Watch or Add to Your List
PEACOCK “One of Us is Lying” - Series adaptation of the popular YA novel. Click Here to Watch or Add to Your List
CBS’s Thursday Night Comedy Lineup returns + “Bull”.
NY COMIC CON begins thru Sunday at the Javitz center. Special heads up for any fellow riders on the 7 train this weekend 👩🎤
If you were sent this newsletter or… just kinda found it:
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
MGM “Cyrano” trailer. Musical of the classic tale starring Peter Dinklage, and directed by Joe Wright (“Atonement”, “Pride & Prejudice”). Limited theatrical release starting Fri Dec 31.
NETFLIX “Locke & Key” Season 2 trailer. Premieres Fri Oct 22
The HBO “Candy Montgomery Ax Murders her friend” limited series “Love and Death” stars Elizabeth Olsen as Candy. (I wrote Elizabeth Moss one too many times yesterday).
Also the MNF game 🏈 this week was VEGAS vs LA not SAN DIEGO… but really gonna count that as half a 🤦♂️ - I mean the CHARGERS will always be SAN DIEGO’s team.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
Ok dipping into another side of Sean’s FALL Music throwback tastes… (see I told ya - diverse!) with this classic deep cut “Sunshine” from ALICE IN CHAINS landmark first album FACELIFT, which came out in Fall of… yikes, 1990 💾.
If you need new tunes:
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