Always Be Watching - 18 September 2018

Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett on not enough sleep

There is a fight on for your streaming dollar - already viewers attention is being divided between traditional broadcast TV services, subscription/cable TV, OTT services like Netflix and Amazon, etc. But soon, add Apple and Disney into the mix and you have huge global players who can outspend a lot of the smaller services.

But what about the consumer technology to access the streams? The devices we connect to our TV sets to watch the TV? The Recode Media podcast this week has a great chat with Peter Kafka interviewing the CEO of Roku. This is a company who are finding a niche alongside Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV hardware with its own streaming box. They’re making a play for viewers who don’t want to spend much money on services and are happy to watch advertising in exchange.

On a related tangent, Amazon are reportedly looking to launch Hifi speakers to complement their Alexa personal assistant speakers. Roku have similarly launched its own line of speakers. Why is this a big deal for TV watching? Roku and Amazon want to make TV viewing experiences sound better. These speakers will no doubt sync nicely with the their TV streaming boxes. Once you buy the speakers that work with your TV streaming box, it makes it much harder to switch platforms. This is how they get you.


Tom Arnold has a new VICELAND show starting this week - Hunt For The Trump Tapes. He’s been saying for months now that Celebrity Apprentice producer Mark Burnett is hiding incriminating tapes of Trump. At an Emmys party overnight, Arnold claims Burnett physically attacked him. Now he’s filed a police report.

My favourite part of this story? Survivor host Jeff Probst apparently tried to break up the fight, as per citizen journalist Alyson Hannigan.

alyson hannigan@alydenisof

Jeff Probst tried to break it up…CRAZY!!!

September 17, 2018


Meanwhile ex-wife Roseanne will be sitting at home while the spin-off series of Roseanne goes to air in the coming weeks. She claims her character is going to be killed off by an opioid overdose.


Is there a possible reboot of Saved By The Bell in the works? The head of NBC says yes in an extremely lengthy interview that’s worth reading in full (he talks about the future of NBC amid streaming service competition and other things that makes it a must-read). But, on the subject of Saved By the Bell:

We’ve been developing it and we’re not there yet, but maybe. It’s an intriguing notion. That would be a different kind of [reboot] because you can’t just go back to that cast and say, “Let’s pick up where we left off!” We’re working on a new version of it, but nothing’s imminent.

Oh, and he talks about the Frasier reboot:

I don’t know where it’s going to progress, but we said we’re interested in hearing what you want to do with it. Kelsey’s fantastic and I think it’s a completely new take on the show with that character in a whole new universe. I’d be happy to hear what comes of that development. It’s one of the great shows of all time.

And he was asked about TV revival movies rather than doing full series:

I don’t know, maybe an occasional one? Everything is more expensive to produce than you want it to be. First, you look at what it’s going to cost to make the movie, and you’re going to have a rating that’s going to probably not cover that cost by any stretch. If [Netflix is] willing to buy it for a chunk of money after [it airs on TV], that would help, but you’re not going to take a reunion movie and make a lot of money on it by selling it one by one to markets around the world. So it’s not a real business model and you can’t scale it. That said, if somebody came to me and said, “We could do one two-hour movie of fill-in-the-blank …” I’ll say it just to bait you on it, because I dare you not to write about it, but The West Wing, which everyone wants us to reboot and will probably never happen — I say that in capital letters and underlined! — but if Aaron Sorkin said, “I’ll do one of those and I can get that cast back together,” of course you do that.


Yesterday I watched the first episode of new Amazon series Forever. I found it incredibly charming, but couldn’t quite work out exactly what the series was about. Apparently, the entire first season has in place multiple misdirects before it properly reveals itself. If you like Master of None on Netflix, you’ll probably find quite a bit to like here, which is co-created by Master of None co-creator Alan Yang.


Oh, also, the Emmys are on in a few hours. I’m expecting wins for The Handmaid’s Tale, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, and have my fingers crossed for Ted Danson to be given a statue. Mostly, I just think that it’s a travesty that JK Simmons was not nominated for his work on Counterpart.