Peak TVLatest News and Opinion
Posted Thursday 6/14/18 at 4:24PM EDT
Warner Herzog to direct Fordlandia TV series about Henry Ford's failed utopian city in the Amazon
The acclaimed German filmmaker will help tell the story about Ford's 1920s experiment of trying to bring the American suburb into the heart of the Amazon. It is based on Greg Grandin’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The potential series doesn't have a network home.
Posted Thursday 6/14/18 at 1:46PM EDT
19 female TV executive produces showed up for "An Evening with Female Showrunners"
The Post screenwriter Liz Hannah quickly assembled last night's event in a matter of days in response to the backlash over Variety's TV writers' panel that initially featured only one woman and 11 men (which Variety later rectified). The female showrunners discussed everything from inclusion to mentors to sexual harassment. According to Deadline's David Robb, "there were so many female executive producers gathered at Twitter’s offices in Santa Monica last night that they had to be arrayed in rows in two back-to-back hourlong panels, and there was a fair amount of networking and drinking during a brief intermission in between."
Posted Wednesday 6/13/18 at 7:04PM EDT
Judd Apatow worries about Peak TV quality control with over-extended showrunners
“A danger of the situation is a lot of people are over-extended and where’s the quality control?” he said of TV producers making multiple deals, in a chat with Variety. “It’s hard to make one TV show, and I don’t know how people do it.” He adds: “I have to focus on not extending myself to a place where I can’t do my best work because I need a deal where I have to deliver 11 series. That’s not a place I can create from. I feel like I wouldn’t do a good job. (Although) I could make 11 sh*tty shows.”
Posted Wednesday 6/13/18 at 3:30AM EDT
Arrested Development's quiet return shows how much the TV landscape has changed in five years
The controversy over Jeffrey Tambor's behavior may have played a role in the lack of buzz for Season 5 of the Netflix series. But the revival-heavy TV landscape that Arrested Development helped usher in five years ago may have also played a role in its muted return, says Keith Phipps. "Now, Arrested Development has returned to the TV world that its fourth season helped create, but it doesn’t seem to be creating much of a stir in that world," he says. The cast's disastrous New York Times interview, says Phipps, "undoubtedly helped squelch enthusiasm for the show’s return and cooled goodwill toward the cast members who defended him. But even without it, the premiere of new Arrested Development episodes in 2018 isn’t the event it was in 2013, for reasons beyond the show itself. Given the splintering of the TV landscape, the sheer number of familiar properties being adapted or rebooted, and the intense marketing that goes into turning streaming-service fare into appointment viewing, the premiere of virtually any TV show in 2018 can’t be the event it was in 2013. Even the shows that can unite a fractured viewership are either scheduled to end soon (Game of Thrones) or engaged in a seemingly irreversible decline (The Walking Dead). There’s more great TV than ever right now, but the medium is moving at warp speed. There’s more to watch than ever before, and more that’s worth watching, but unless a given show makes a splash on social media or earns a vocal fandom willing to stump for it, it’s hard to see the impact of any new arrival."
Posted Tuesday 6/12/18 at 1:37PM EDT
Ethan Hawke to play abolitionist leader John Brown in a limited series he's co-writing
Hawke is co-writing the Blumhouse TV project based on James McBride's 2013 book on the 19th century abolitionist leader titled The Good Lord Bird. Hawke considers the book one of his six favorites. The project doesn't yet have a network home.
Posted Tuesday 6/12/18 at 1:37PM EDT
Meet the "TV Tourist" who vacations where her favorite shows are set
Catherine Baab-Muguira is such a big fan of The Office she traveled to Scranton, Pennsylvania for a vacation even though the NBC comedy was filmed in Los Angeles. "Some people play golf or rock-climb," she says. "I get a little obsessed with my favorite shows, sometimes so obsessed I even commit some light trespassing. I’d say this is one of the pleasures of our era: The golden age of TV has given us a golden age of TV tourism. You can visit sets and settings that take you closer to this bit of popular art you love, so that later you can re-watch it in a fresh way, newly immersed. In the last few years, I’ve gone to Utah Mormon country because of Big Love, the Florida Keys because of Bloodline; Monterey, California, because of Big Little Lies; and Breckenridge, Colorado because of CNN’s High Profits." She adds: "Visiting a filming location gives me an added layer of appreciation for the show itself—its mood, its characters’ motivations, its carefully cultivated atmosphere. When I return to these series, it feels like my viewing experience is suddenly in 360 degrees."
Posted Monday 6/11/18 at 9:19PM EDT
How Netflix tries to prevent its original shows from getting lost in its avalanche of content
“These myths that the competition puts out there, and the media fuels, are absurd," says Netflix's vice president of product Todd Yellin. He says Netflix shows get more viewership than if they existed on another platform. Nevertheless, Netflix is investing $2 billion a year to promote its new series. Yellin also points to Netflix's fabled recommendation engine that brings viewers to new content. "We are able to unlock audiences for titles that you wouldn’t expect," he says. "That argument applies as much to a big Shonda (Rhimes) or Ryan (Murphy) show as it applies to an indie film or documentary we’re also putting up on the service.”
Posted Monday 6/11/18 at 8:19AM EDT
Inside Netflix's "binge factory," which has upended television by replacing demographics with "taste clusters"
According to Josef Adalian's deep dive into Netflix, the streaming service relies on "taste clusters," described as "predicating programming decisions on immense amounts of data about true viewing habits, not estimated ones. It has discovered ways to bundle enough niche viewers to make good business out of fare that used to play only to tiny markets." “Nothing is too niche,” says Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “It’s just relative to what it costs. We can put a smaller show on the air and support the economics through subscriptions, but it’s not infinite. Eventually, there’s opportunity cost.” Adalian adds: "Mysterious though it may seem, Netflix operates by a simple logic, long understood by such tech behemoths as Facebook and Amazon: Growth begets more growth begets more growth. When Netflix adds more content, it lures new subscribers and gets existing ones to watch more hours of Netflix. As they spend more time watching, the company can collect more data on their viewing habits, allowing it to refine its bets about future programming." Or as Sarandos puts it, “more shows, more watching; more watching, more subs; more subs, more revenue; more revenue, more content."
Posted Thursday 6/07/18 at 12:59AM EDT
TV shows need to quit with the solemn musical sequences: "I’m here to watch a show, not listen to your Spotify favorites"
"I cannot watch any TV show anymore without having to sit through a music video no one asked for," says Drew Magary, pointing as his prime example the two solemn extended montages on The Americans series finale. "This is horsesh*t," he says. "I’m here to watch a show, not listen to your Spotify favorites. Television shows have been burning airtime for YEARS now by overstuffing episodes with endless, maudlin sequences set to the Coldplay imitator of your choice," like Snow Patrol. Magary adds: "I say this as someone who enjoys music. Why, sometimes I even enjoy music and television together. But when you allocate a significant portion of your show to a solemn dirge from some coffeehouse gremlin, it starts to feel like a very big crutch. Even worse, it’s wholly unnecessary for a drama like The Americans, which already does such a good job establishing suspense and unease on its own. The music, which is meant to raise the emotional stakes, often ends up taking me out of the story instead."
Posted Wednesday 6/06/18 at 1:56PM EDT
The Executioner's Song may become a limited series
Norman Mailer’s 1979 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is being developed as a potential limited series. Mailer's book chronciles the final nine months of convicted killer Gary Gilmore, the first person to be executed after the death penalty was restored in 1976.
Posted Monday 6/04/18 at 9:38PM EDT
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is spending its final season skewering Peak TV
Co-creator Robert Carlock explains that the Peak TV mockery is in the tradition of him and Tina Fey targeting show business with 30 Rock and Broadway in a previous Kimmy Schmidt season.
Posted Friday 6/01/18 at 11:47PM EDT
Does The Americans' series finale signal the end of TV's Golden Age?
Wednesday's series finale "marks the end of an era," says Matt Brenn. "It is the last of the cycle of truly great cable dramas that began with The Sopranos, The Wire, and The Shield, passed through Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Justified, and concluded—in the course of another auspicious year-or-so—with the final bows of The Leftovers, Halt and Catch Fire, and now The Americans. I suspect that we may soon see this as a point of demarcation. The 'Golden Age of Television' is officially over."
Posted Thursday 5/31/18 at 9:13PM EDT
In the Peak TV era, Emmy voters are being inundated with hundreds of screeners
As awards marketing consultant Richard Licata explains, “what I fear is happening in this new golden age of TV, with its hundreds of choices, is the Emmy voting body has become so overwhelmed with programming that they are unwittingly keeping under-the-radar shows, performances and craft artists from getting any gold. The white-noise curse has set in.”
Posted Thursday 5/31/18 at 9:13PM EDT
Americans are still watching an astounding amount of TV every day
Viewership hours peaked in the 2009-10 season with Americans watching 8 hours and 55 minutes of TV a day. But Americans still watch a lot of TV, averaging about 7 hours and 50 minutes per household per day, which is more than they watched in the 2001-02 season.
Posted Friday 5/25/18 at 10:33AM EDT
Here are the Top 10 best-written shows currently on TV
The Americans, Veep, Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are among the shows whose "writing has lingered with me in some way," says Tim Goodman. "Not just funny jokes for the comedies or standout emotional scenes for the dramas, but something cumulative where story construction, dramatic tension, intelligence, relentlessly creative humor, poignancy, thoughtfulness and believability, among other fine traits, left a mark."