WARNER MEDIA merging with DISCOVERY
NETFLIX orders BRIDGERTON spinoff / Fall TV cancellations & orders / VENICE film fest goes 100% IRL
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on MONDAY May 17, 2021.
Where… ok admittedly, it’s a lotta Media Biz news today… including some big WARNER MEDIA + DISCOVERY merger details so - let’s start our day calmly at the new Malibu home of the former head of marketing for WARNER BROS, Blair Rich, who put down a cool $6.1 Million for this modest abode with new neighbors Owen Wilson, Chris Martin, and Julia Roberts.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
“Spiral” : $7.8 Million ($11 Million globally)
“Wrath of Man” : $3.7 Million ($15 Million US, $56 Million Globally - $18 Mil from China, $11 Mil from Russia)
“Those Who Wish Me Dead” : $2.8 Million
“Demon Slayer” : $1.8 Million ($42 Mil US)
“Raya & the Last Dragon” : $1.7 Million ($46 Million US)
“Godzilla vs Kong” hit $95 Million mark in the US.
ALSO IN MOVIES
VENICE FILM FEST going 100% IRL this September 1-11. WB’s “Dune” likely to have its premiere there. /Variety
📺 THE TV SET
Will be an origin story for “Queen Charlotte”, Shonda writing the show, no timeline given. /Variety
Fall NETWORK TV cancellations, new show orders
Canceled: “Rebel” “American Housewife” “For Life” “Mixed-ish” “Call Your Mother”. “Black-ish” returning but will be last season.
New Shows (4):
The Wonder Years” reboot - focused on a Black family in the South.
“Maggie” - comedy about young woman who’s a psychic.
“Queens” - basically“Girls5Eva” but a drama, and with a 90’s female R&B trio. Cast includes Eve and Brandy.
“Abbott Elementary” - comedy about teachers at Philly public school.
Canceled: “All Rise” “The Unicorn”
New Shows (7):
“CSI: Vegas” “NCIS: Hawai’i” and “FBI: International” speak for themselves.
“Smallwood” - stars Pete Holmes as a factory worker who turns pro Bowler.
“Good Sam” - Sophia Bush stars in a medical drama about a father / daughter surgeon duo who… don’t get along very well.
“Ghosts” - comedy about a couple inherits a country home… that they find is falling apart and inhabited by previous residents.
Other: “Clarice” and “SEAL Team” likely to become PARAMOUNT+ shows if they get renewals.
“The Voice” only airing in the Fall - no Spring version in 2022.
Thurs night will be all “Law & Order” variants, Wed is still all “Chicago” shows.
No comedies on the Fall schedule (all will air in 2022 - “Mr Mayor”, “Young Rock” etc, as will the final run of “This is Us” episodes).
“Brooklyn Nine Nine” final 10 episode season will kick off after the Olympics in August.
“Good Girls” “Zoey’s’ Extraordinary Playlist” “Manifest” “Debris” and “Ellen’s Game of Games” all TBD, should find out today.
New Shows (2 for the Fall sched, but more were already ordered for mid-season):
“Ordinary Joe” - examines 3 directions a dude’s life may have taken based on one decision in his younger life.
“La Brea” - sinkhole opens in LA, separating a family and putting one half in a different world.
Official news will come today.
NOTABLE OVERALL PILOT PASSES: Sarah Cooper’s CBS comedy, NBC’s “Clueless” show, and Sam Esmail’s ABC drama all not ordered.
Shot out to THR who keeps a pretty comprehensive list here.
ALSO IN TV
Miley Cyrus sets deal for 3 specials at NBCU, the first is a Pride Month special that’ll go on PEACOCK. Also signs first look NBCU proudction deal. /Variety
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
BLOOMBERG had the scoop of the weekend… as AT&T reconsiders it’s TIME WARNER acquisiton, after only about 3 years in. Essentially… AT&T has a crapload of debt ($160 Billion) and needs to start making moves to get rid of it.
And WARNER MEDIA is at the “we need money now… to really start making money in 4 years” phase, with HBOMAX about to go global. So - that doesn’t fit so well with the paying off debt priority. Especially at the same time the 5G wars are ramping up, and AT&T has now slid to #3 Wireless provider status thanks to the the SPRINT/T-MOBILE merger.
AT&T already took the the 2nd worst media deal of the 2000’s off its books when it spun off DIRECTV early this year (AOL/TIME WARNER 4eva #1 on the list), and now - AT&T seems to be taking the same lesson VERIZON learned the hard way, which is to basically uh - stick to 5G. Profits are much better, and Wall Street has never really found a way to value what WARNER MEDIA/HBOMAX brought to the table for the company.
Also it seems this WARNER MEDIA / DISCOVERY combo would provide some tax breaks to help with chopping down their big debt. AT&T would get about $43 Billion in cash and debt relief. They of course paid $85 Billion for TIME WARNER… but hey gotta start somewhere. More details coming today.
NEW TBD COMPANY will be headed up by DISCOVERY head David Zaslav. WARNER MEDIA head Jason Kilar’s role to be defined today I’m sure, and… does Jeff Zucker now stay around in a new role?
Worth noting: WARNER DISCOVERY revenues would be very close to DISNEY’s, and far above that of NETFLIX. Deal not set to close until about a year from now… still subject to government approval.
And just putting this here:
ALSO IN MEDIA
CABLE : About $6.50 to $7 total per subscriber. $3 to $3.50/month per subscriber in carriage payments from cable/satellite TV companies for all of their networks combined, + $3.50 per sub in ad revenue.
$7 ARPU for their Ad-Free version
$10-$11 ARPU for their Ad-Supported version (which has a lower monthly subscription fee, but is getting great ad $$ revenue to offset). Streaming biz is even better for them on the international stage, as European cable companies pay them less.
WALMART looking to enter the streaming box device market? Reports surface that the company will release a low cost $30 streaming device under their ONN brand to compete with ROKU, AMAZON FIRE, etc. /NextTV
Former THR Editor-in-chief Matt Belloni joins news startup led by former NYT, VOX, and CONDE execs, he’ll head up their Hollywood coverage. /Deadline
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
LIONSGATE +4% on Friday… because Wall Street is a huge “Saw” franchise fan obviously.
CINEMARK & CINEWORLD up 5.5% and 9% respectively as some European markets look to re-open their movie theaters this week.
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
A fun live-stream event tonight: NIGHT OF STARS - a benefit for Covenant House, with performances and appearances by Meryl Streep, Ryan Reynolds, Dolly Parton, Audra McDonald, Rachel Brosnahan and many others.
Go here to watch and support at 8pm tonight. https://www.covenanthouse.org/nightofstars (or stream on YouTube or FB).
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
PARAMOUNT+ “Behind the Music” promo. Launches Thu July 29, with J Lo, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Ricky Martin, Fat Joe, and Huey Lewis… who did not make this promo. Pretty cold PAR+.
NETFLIX “Army of the Dead”- Ok not a trailer, but instead watch the first 15 minutes of the movie here. The rest hits NETFLIX this Friday.
AMAZON PRIME “Bosch” final season teaser. Premieres Fri June 25
🕵️♂️ THE WEEK AHEAD
TODAY - TV UPFRONTS begin, NBC & FOX go today.
TUE - TV UPFRONTS: DISCOVERY 7a, UNIVISION 10:30a, ABC/Disney 1p
NBA Playoffs begin. Or at least the new early round, before “full” playoffs start on Saturday.
WED - “RHOBH” new season premiere. (if you don’t know what the letters mean, then you can’t afford it).
TV UPFRONTS: WARNER MEDIA 8:30a, CBS/VIACOM 1p
THU - PGA Championship begins.
FRI - “F9” hits theaters! …in China and Russia.
BUT we get to watch“Pause with Sam Jay” on HBO here.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
New OLIVIA RODRIGO “good 4 u” - Kinda Lorde meets…. 2000s pop punk rock vibes?
If you need new tunes:
Have a fine start of the week fine readers - Email me anytime - just reply to this email, or connect here on LINKED IN.