Friday, May 22, 2020

Fri-Yay: Will HBO Max Work?; ABC Announces 2020-21 Season Programming

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

HBO Max

by Vincent

Next week is the official launch of HBO Max, the latest in a rapidly increasing streaming service wars that's emerging between the major media companies. HBO Max enters a market already pretty crowded by Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon, along with other recent launches like Apple TV, not to mention HBO's own HBO Go (which isn't going away despite the launch of HBO Max, somewhat confusingly.) But can HBO Max carve out its own niche in an increasingly crowded streaming market? It is debuting with a pretty impressive line-up, with shows with large established fanbases like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, South Park and Rick and Morty soon to call the streamer home, along with upcoming originals such as the third season of Search Party (moving over from TBS following two critically acclaimed seasons), a handful of upcoming DC superhero-based projects (an area Netflix couldn't quite make work with its Marvel agreement ending after just a few years). Still, I have some reservations about HBO Max's success.

HBO Max, in a lot of ways, seems like a direct competitor to Netflix, seeming to aim for their mix of high-brow series with mainstream fare. That's different than something like Disney+, which was purely aimed at families and younger audience and has done a good job cornering that demographic. But there's really nothing separating HBO Max from the already-established trilogy of streamers other than their streaming library. Having Friends especially is an admittedly a big get. There's also not a clear brand for HBO Max, and the marketing has been slightly confusing. A lot of people might simply assume HBO Max is some sort of HBO Go extension, but there's really nothing particularly "HBO" about HBO Max other than the fact that you can get it through an HBO Go subscription. Still, in the increasingly competitive streaming wars, a brand for a service is very important. Netflix's brand has basically become "the streaming service" (it's widely the most used and being on Netflix almost gives way to a popularity boost in and of itself). Disney+ has a very strong brand thanks to its Disney content and its family-friendly approach. Hulu (which is now owned by Disney) is becoming Disney+'s more mature and experimental cousin (sort of what FX is to Fox). Amazon and Apple TV+ don't have great brands either, but they're also owned by billion-dollar conglomerates and are treated more as side projects of those mega corporations. But what is HBO Max? The branding so far seems to be "where you can watch Friends," which honestly might be enough given the popularity of Friends, but I remain skeptical. At the highest price point of any streamer ($14.99 a month following the initial $11.99 early deal puts it slightly above Netflix and ad-free Hulu, and well above Disney+'s $4.99 a month and Hulu Basic's $5.99 a month), it's hard for me to see too many people who aren't giant Friends or Big Bang Theory fans rushing to sign up for a subscription. Still, having two of the biggest sitcoms of the past 30 years on your service could be enough to buy the service time to carve a niche for itself. Whatever happens, these are interesting times for streaming services. With this and the launch of NBCUniversal's Peacock later this year, it'll be very interesting to see whether consumers are okay with throwing more money at an increasingly number of streaming services, or if they're okay sacrificing some of their favorite shows and movies for a smaller streaming bill at the end of the month.


ABC

Having just solidified its position as the No. 1 network in entertainment among Adults 18-49 for the first time in four years, ABC is announcing its 2020-2021 programming slate, which includes renewals for 19 series and two straight-to-series orders from its current crop of pilots – David E. Kelley's thriller Big Sky and the multi-camera comedy Call Your Mother (formerly My Village) from Kari Lizer (The New Adventures of Old Christine) – as well as the previously announced alternative series Supermarket Sweep with Leslie Jones. Nineteen series were renewed yesterday: American Housewife, The Bachelor, black-ish, The Conners, Dancing with the Stars, The Goldbergs, A Million Little Things, mixed-ish, The Rookie, Shark Tank, Stumptown, 20/20 and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. They join previously announced renewals of America's Funniest Home Videos, American Idol, The Bachelorette, The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19 and the series order of Supermarket Sweep. Schedule to be announced at a later date.

Series that didn't make the cut for 2020-21 were Emergence, Bless This Mess, Single Parents, Schooled and Kids Say The Darndest Things. As for the new series pick-ups (so far): From visionary storyteller David E. Kelley comes Big Sky, a thriller created by Kelley, who will write multiple episodes and serve as showrunner in its premiere season. Private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) join forces with his estranged wife and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana. But when they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken. Natalie Alyn Lind and John Carroll Lynch also star. In the comedy, Call Your Mother from Kari Lizer, this multicamera comedy follows an empty-nester mom who wonders how she ended up alone while her children live their best lives thousands of miles away. She decides her place is with her family and as she reinserts herself into their lives, her kids realize they might actually need her more than they thought. Kyra Sedgwick stars.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, January 23

Danger Force - "Vidja Games" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Danger Force and Captain Man get hooked making celebrity greeting videos to start raking in cash, but when making celebrity videos turns into a popularity contest, they accidentally send out a video that reveals their secret identities.

Side Hustle - "KidDING! Dongs" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The Dance Dance Altoonisburg competition is coming up, and Lex, Presley and Munchy are excited to take part, but when an old friend from Lex and Presley's past surfaces, friendships are put to the test.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 18)

Friday, January 22

  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Watch Bryan on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Daveed Diggs (Central Park/black-ish) - Daveed is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • George Lopez (Lopez/Saint George/George Lopez) - George chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about The Resident on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Jason talks about Our Friend on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Isaiah Crews (Side Hustle) - Isaiah talks about Side Hustle on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (September-January)

Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
09/15 - South Side - Season 1
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
11/26 - Man with a Plan - Season Four
12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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