Day: April 23, 2020

Super-streamers go to the Max

Let’s consider this the ultimate name-dropping.
HBO has just sent a reminder that it’s super-streamer, HBO Max (shown here with “Game of Thromes,” will arrive May 27. That brought my knee-jerk reaction:
What terrible timing, I figured. Disney+ has grabbed more than 50 million subscribers during this stay-at-home phase. Max will arrive just as we’re finally leaving home and strolling into the sunshine.
Will yet another super-streamer succeed? As the HBO name-droppers put it: “Ross, Rachel, Penny, Sheldon, Rick, Morty, Princess Bubblegum, Big Pussy, Mr. Big, Chandler Bing, Elmer Fudd, Diana Prince, Jon Snow, Dorothy … Bruce Wayne and (more) certainly think so.” Read more…

Music-from-home trend takes big jumps

TV’s music-from-home experiment is taking some big jumps: A virtual “American Idol” (see separate commentary here) began Sunday (April 26);  a virtual “Voice” begins May 4.
That continues a trend that has included six primetime specials with music from home. Most recent was a Disney singalong and then a global marathon, with six hours streaming and then two more simulcast on three networks.
Some moments — including Jennifer Lopez doing “People” (shown here) — have been wonderful; some have been modest. To her credit, Billie Eilish has done three of these; in each, alas, she was barely audible. Read more…

It’s farewell (again) to a pioneering comedy

“Will & Grace” – once a pioneering gem – is saying goodbye … again.
Its first series-finale was in 2006. People cheered and wept; Debra Messing took home a souvenir – the office door that had the name of her character, Grace Adler. (NBC later billed her for $220, she has said; she didn’t pay it.)
For the next decade, the actors were busy elsewhere. Messing and Eric McCormack each starred in a couple series, Sean Hayes became a producer (“Hollywood Game Night,” “History of Comedy,” more), Megan Mullally saw her husband, Nick Offerman, go from obscurity to fame.
Then they returned for three more years. The show has gone for so long that we might forget how revolutionary it was. Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, put it in perspective: Read more…

Virus specials: Abby & Alicia & more

For the cable news people, coronavirus specials have become the new normal.
CNN keeps having a “Coronavirus: Fact or Fiction” town halls, with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta – two terrific fact guys – in charge. Now it has variations with Alicia Keys and (really) Big Bird.
Fox News has also jumped in. Here are the latest examples; for each, the times are three hours earlier PT: Read more…

Best-bets for April 25: Cute critters and “SNL”

1) “Born Wild: The Next Generation,” 8 p.m., ABC. If you missed this Earth Day special Wednesday on cable, catch a quick rerun. Robin Roberts hosts, cutting to scenes worldwide. Chris Hemsworth (yes, Thor) shows us rescued koala cubs in Australia. National Geographic and ABC reporters look for other newborns, including monkeys in Sri Lanka (shown here), whales in Hawaii, lions in Kenya, seals in Canada and black bears in Minnesota. Read more…