Netflix: ‘The Night Agent’ Ups Second-Week Viewing Hours 28%, Easily Topping ‘Murder Mystery’ Movies

The original series “The Night Agent” showed no signs of weakening viewership, finishing the week ended April 2 with 216.4 million hours streamed across 93 countries on Netflix’s charts. The tally was up more than 28% from the 168.7 million hours streamed during the previous week’s premiere. The series, starring Gabriel Basso as an FBI agent thrown into national conspiracy with ties to the White House, now has more than 385 million hours viewed since launching. 

Season four of “Love Is Blind” added 47.6 million hours viewed to finish No. 2 on the English-language TV chart. Netflix is set to stream its first live reunion special, Love Is Blind: The Live Reunion, from Los Angeles on April 16 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

New titles on the English TV chart included South African thriller “Unseen” (24.3 million hours viewed), docuseries “Emergency: NYC” (18.2 million hours viewed), comedies “Wellmania” (14.5 million hours viewed) and Rob Lowe’s “Unstable” (11.36 million hours). Meanwhile, Season four of “You” (18.2 million), season three of “Outer Banks” (11.3 million), and “Wednesday” (12.2 million hours viewed after 18 weeks) maintained their standing on the chart. 

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The highly marketed original movie Murder Mystery 2, co-starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, debuted at No. 1 on the English-language movies chart with 64.4 million hours viewed across 91 countries — marking the second-biggest opening weekend for a comedy film on Netflix. The sequel buzz helped return the original 2019 Murder Mystery to No. 2 with 24.7 million hours viewed. Other movies returning to the chart included Luther: The Fallen Sun with 12.7 million hours viewed and The Magician’s Elephant with 6.33 million hours viewed.  

Among non-English-language movies, Korean actioner Kill Boksoon topped the chart with with almost 20 million hours streamed across 82 countries. Hindi-language thriller Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga (17.3 million hours), Polish drama Johnny (6.9 million), Vietnamese action-adventure Furies (3.7 million), four-time Academy award winner All Quiet on the Western Front (3.4 million), Italian romantic comedy Still Time (2.9 million) and French drama In His Shadow (2.5 million) all returned to the chart.    

Finally, the Turkish thriller “Who Were We Running From?” topped the non-English-language episodic program chart with almost 36 million hours streamed across 78 countries. The Korean drama “The Glory” added 26.7 million hours (now No. 5 on the Most Popular List with 430.5 million hours viewed to date), while the Spanish thriller “Sky High: The Series (8.6 million hours), season two of the Spanish reality series “I Am Georgina (17.2 million hours), the Korean romantic comedy “Crash Course in Romance” (10.9 million hours), season two of the Brazilian “Invisible City” (7.8 million hours), and the Spanish drama “Wrong Side of the Tracks”  (7.2 million hours viewed) all remained on the chart. 

Netflix, Fox Nation Air ‘Murder Mystery 2,’ Roseanne Barr Comedy Special Ads During NFL Conference Championship Games

Netflix spent big advertising its new upcoming original movie Mystery Murders 2, again co-starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, on the NFL’s nationally televised NFC and AFC Championship Game broadcasts Jan. 29 on Fox Sports and CBS Sports, respectively.

Netflix claims the original Murder Mystery was its most-popular original movie in 2019.

It’s not immediately clear whether the trailer for sequel, which is set to debut on Netflix March 31, also streamed on Paramount+, which was live-streaming the AFC title game between the victorious Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fox Sports also aired the trailer for Fox News Media’s branded SVOD platform Fox Nation’s upcoming comedy special Roseanne Barr: Cancel This! on the NFC title game between the victorious Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. The one-hour program, which makes its debut Feb. 13, marks Barr’s first return to a stand-up comedy TV special in nearly 20 years.

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Barr’s comedy special was filmed in front of a live studio audience in Houston at the Cullen Theatre and features Barr’s signature comedic take on a variety of topics, from her experiences growing up Jewish in the Mormon citadel of Salt Lake City, moving to Texas, and raising her privileged brood. In conjunction with the special, Fox Nation will release Who Is Roseanne Barr?, an in-depth look inside the life and career of the comedian.

No word yet whether Netflix or Fox Nation plan to air their content ads during Super Bowl LVII, featuring the Eagles and Chiefs squaring off in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 12 on Fox Sports.

Apple TV+ Renews ‘The Morning Show’ for a Third Season

Apple TV+ announced that Emmy, SAG and Critics Choice award-winning series “The Morning Show,” about the goings on at a network morning show, has been renewed for a third season.

Starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, directed by Mimi Leder and produced by the studio Media Res, Hello Sunshine and Echo Films, season three of the drama will be showrun and executive produced by Charlotte Stoudt (“Fosse/Verdon,” “Homeland,” “House of Cards”).

Apple TV+ also announced a new, multiyear overall deal with Stoudt for scripted television series. Kerry Ehrin, who developed “The Morning Show” and served as showrunner on the first and second seasons, will serve as consultant on the third season, as well as continue developing new series for Apple TV+ under a previously announced overall deal.

“It has been thrilling to watch ‘The Morning Show’ go from strength to strength over the past two seasons, exploring topical storylines that have resonated with audiences around the world while also being incredibly addictive and entertaining,” Matt Cherniss, head of programming for Apple TV+, said in a statement. “We’re excited to see where Charlotte takes these extraordinary characters in season three and to watch the magic that Jennifer, Reese and our awe-inspiring cast continue to bring to the captivating world of morning television.”

“I’m excited to be joining forces with Apple TV+ and ‘The Morning Show,’” said Stoudt in a statement. “The cast, led by the phenomenal Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, are truly to die for. Kerry, Mimi and Michael, and the teams at Media Res, Hello Sunshine and Echo Films, have created an irresistible world that is equally delicious and provocative.”

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Picking up after the explosive events of season one, season two found “The Morning Show” team emerging from the wreckage of Alex (Aniston) and Bradley’s (Witherspoon) actions, to a new UBA and a world in flux. Along with Aniston and Witherspoon, the cast includes Billy Crudup, Steve Carell, Mark Duplass, Nestor Carbonell, Karen Pittman, Bel Powley, Desean Terry, Janina Gavankar, Tom Irwin and Marcia Gay Harden, as well as new additions for season two Greta Lee, Ruairi O’Connor, Hasan Minhaj, Holland Taylor, Tara Karsian, Valeria Golino and Julianna Margulies.

Developed by Ehrin, who will serve as consultant on season three of “The Morning Show,” the series is executive produced by Michael Ellenberg through Media Res, which also serves as the studio, along with Aniston and Kristin Hahn through Echo Films; Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter through Hello Sunshine. Leder also serves as executive producer.

In its first season, Crudup’s performance as Corey Ellison earned an Emmy win in the Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category, in addition to a Critics Choice Award. Aniston’s performance as Alex Levy earned a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series. The series also received nominations from the Television Critics Association for Outstanding New Program and a TV Choice Award for Best New Drama.

CEO: Apple TV+ Looking for Original Content, Not Re-Runs

Apple’s foray into subscription streaming video via Apple TV+ is all about original programming — not expensive re-runs. That’s according to CEO Tim Cook in response to a question during the Feb. 26 shareholder meeting about why the tech giant hasn’t gone after well-known catalog fare such as “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory” or “The Office,” among others.

“We love ‘Friends.’ Who doesn’t love ‘Friends’? It’s not what Apple TV+ is about, it’s about original programming,” Cook said. “It doesn’t feel right for Apple to go out and take a rerun. It doesn’t feel like Apple.”

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AT&T’s WarnerMedia Entertainment reportedly paid $85 million per year for five years ($425 million) securing the exclusive streaming rights for “Friends” away from Netflix.

NBCUniversal paid more than $500 million for streaming rights to “The Office,” while Netflix paid about the same for “Seinfeld.”

Apple TV+ launched Nov. 1, 2019 with 24 original series, including Golden Globes winner “The Morning Show” for Jennifer Aniston. Other series include “Home Before Dark,” “Amazing Stories,” “Truth Be Told,” “Trying,” “See,” and “Dickenson,” starring Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee).

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“We’re going to be focused on original programming,” Cook said, adding that Apple TV+ is off to a “rousing start” without elaborating additional details, including subscriber numbers.

Apple giving away a free year of the service with any purchase of an Apple hardware product.

‘Friends’ Cast to Reunite for Special on HBO Max

The “Friends” cast will be reuniting exclusively for an untitled unscripted special for HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer offering debuting in May 2020.

The subscription streaming service will cost $14.99 a month.

Series stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer will return to the comedy’s original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank for a celebration of the show. The unscripted cast reunion special, along with all 236 episodes of the Emmy-winning series, will be available to subscribers at the launch of HBO Max.

“Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together — we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire Friends library,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max and president, TBS, TNT, and truTV, in a statement. “I became aware of ‘Friends’ when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. It taps into an era when friends — and audiences — gathered together in real time and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans.”

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Ben Winston will direct the special and will executive produce along with “Friends” executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane. Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry, and Schwimmer will also executive produce the special.

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To get caught up on original “Friends” episodes, sister WarnerMedia network TBS recently announced that for the next four weeks every episode of “Friends” will air on TBS and livestream on the TBS app, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additionally, the network has curated an experience for fans offering the best of the series on their digital platforms.

Netflix Expands Adam Sandler Production Deal

Fresh off the release of Murder Mystery, Adam Sandler’s most popular Netflix film to date, the SVOD behemoth extended its deal with Sandler and Happy Madison Productions to make four more films.

Netflix said subscribers have spent two billion hours watching Sandler films since 2015 — the year The Ridiculous 6 premiered.

“Whether you know him as Sandman, the Water Boy, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Nick Spitz or simply Adam, one thing is clear: our members can’t get enough of him,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, said in a statement. “They love his stories and his humor, as we saw with Murder Mystery. So I could not be more excited to extend our partnership with Adam and the Happy Madison team and deliver more laughs around the world.”

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Sandler is currently starring in Josh and Benny Safdie’s critically acclaimed Uncut Gems, which is being released in U.S. theaters by A24. The film was released globally (excluding the U.S.) on Netflix on Jan. 31. Sandler was named Best Actor for his portrayal of Howard Ratner by the National Board of Review, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, Boston Society of Film Critics, Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, St. Louis Film Critics Association, Austin Film Critics Association, AARP Movies for Grown Ups and is nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

Sandler was Emmy nominated for his Netflix original comedy special 100% Fresh and for his “Saturday Night Live” hosted episode this season. Murder Mystery, which co-stars Jennifer Aniston, won The People’s Choice Award for Best Comedy of 2019.

Later this year, Sandler will star in the Netflix family film, Hubie Halloween alongside Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Maya Rudolph, Rob Schneider, Kenan Thompson, Steve Buscemi, Michael Chiklis, Tim Meadows, Noah Schnapp, Paris Berelc, China Anne McClain and Shaquille O’Neal, and has animated feature film that he will write, produce, and star in as a voice actor in the works at the studio.

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The Ridiculous 6 was the first film Sandler made with Netflix, followed by The Do-Over, Sandy Wexler, The Week Of, Murder Mystery and stand-up special “100% Fresh.” Additionally, Happy Madison has produced Father of the Year and the upcoming The Wrong Missy.

Sandler, whose films have grossed more than $3 billion, dominated box offices around the world with such films as Grown Ups, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Billy Madison, Big Daddy and The Waterboy. In 2014, the multi-hyphenate actor, writer, producer and occasional singer-songwriter set his sights on conquering the streaming world and his films have found enormous success on Netflix.

Sandler began his career as a stand-up comedian and joined Saturday Night Live as a writer and featured player before founding Happy Madison Productions. He went on to star, produce and write numerous films which went on to become box office hits.

By the Numbers:

  • 2 Billion: Since 2015, the year The Ridiculous 6 premiered, members have spent more than two billion hours watching Adam Sandler on Netflix.
  • 83 Million: The number of households that picked Murder Mystery in its first four weeks on Netflix.
  • #1 Most Popular: Murder Mystery was the most popular title on Netflix in the U.S. last year, and its most popular film. It was also the number one most popular title in eight other countries including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Singapore and UAE.
  • 6: The number of films Sandler has made with Netflix: The Ridiculous 6, The Do-Over, Sandy Wexler, The Week Of and Murder Mystery. Family film Hubie Halloween will be released later this year.
  • 22 Years: Last year, Sandler released his first stand-up special in 22 years, “100% Fresh,” which The New York Times said found “pitch-perfect emotionalism” and reminds everyone why he’s so beloved and one of the funniest comedians of our time.

 

A Casualty of Streaming Wars, ‘Friends’ Sees Spike in Disc, Digital Sales

“Friends” is giving the transactional side of the home entertainment business a very happy new year.

The landmark sitcom that helped birth the TV DVD category nearly two decades ago is once again a top DVD and Blu-ray Disc seller — and this time the sales boost is also being felt in digital sales, commonly known in the industry as “electronic sellthrough.”

The catalyst: the disappearance of “Friends” from its longtime exclusive on-demand home, the Netflix subscription streaming service. With streaming wars accelerating, AT&T, which owns the Warner Bros. studio that produced “Friends,” made plans for the show to come off Netflix once the license expired Dec. 31, 2019, and reappear on its own streaming service, HBO Max, which is launching in May 2020.

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In the meantime, “Friends” is only available for on-demand viewing on disc and for digital purchase or rental — and that’s led to a significant spike in sales.

Jeff Brown, EVP and GM of Television and Animation for Warner Bros.’ home entertainment division, said sales began to rise shortly after the announcement in July 2019 that “Friends” would be leaving Netflix at the end of the year.

Through the end of 2019, he said, sales of the season and complete series sets more than tripled. And since the official departure of “Friends” from Netflix on Jan. 1, Brown said, sales have spiked even higher, on both physical and digital formats.

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“Not bad for a 20-year-old TV show,” Brown said. “The discs really started selling well in the summer, when we announced the show was coming off Netflix and we launched a 25th anniversary promotion — but the digital really took off after the first of the year, once the show was off Netflix.”

The top seller is the complete series set, which Warner re-released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in September. The package contains 10 seasons’ worth of shows, or a total of 236 episodes. On Amazon, the complete series set retails for $69.99 on DVD (40 discs), and $109.16 on Blu-ray Disc (21 discs).

Bundles of all 10 seasons also are available digitally through other retailers, like Apple iTunes and Walmart’s Vudu. They, too, are leading sales.

Individual season sets are also available for purchase on disc and through digital retailers, including Amazon Prime. DVD season sets sell for $13.19 on Amazon, with digital season sets going for $19.95. Consumers who want digital versions also can buy individual episodes at $1.99.

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During the five months in which “Friends” is absent from the streaming world, Brown said, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will mount a “robust” promotional campaign he hopes will drive sales even higher.

 

Netflix Unveils its Top 10 Programs in U.S.

Netflix via Twitter unveiled the top 10 most popular series, films and documentaries released on the service in the United States in 2019.

The feature comedy Murder Mystery, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, topped the overall list. It was also the top movie.

The lists are based on titles released on Netflix in 2019 and are ranked based on accounts that choose to watch 2 minutes or more of a title during its first 28 days on the service this year. The service noted that titles released this month may incorporate viewing predictions.

The top 10 most popular releases:

  1. Murder Mystery
  2. “Stranger Things 3”
  3. 6 Underground
  4. The Incredibles 2
  5. The Irishman
  6. “The Witcher”
  7. Triple Frontier
  8. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
  9. “The Umbrella Academy”
  10. The Highwayman

 

The top 10 most popular series releases:

  1. “Stranger Things 3”
  2. “The Witcher”
  3. “The Umbrella Academy”
  4. “Dead to Me”
  5. “You: S2”
  6. “When They See Us”
  7. “Unbelievable”
  8. “Sex Education”
  9. “13 Reasons Why: S3”
  10. “Raising Dion”

 

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The top 10 most popular movie releases:

  1. Murder Mystery
  2. 6 Underground
  3. The Incredibles 2
  4. The Irishman
  5. Triple Frontier
  6. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
  7. The Highwayman
  8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  9. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  10. Secret Obsession

 

The top 10 most popular documentary releases:

  1. Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
  2. Our Planet
  3. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
  4. Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce
  5. Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
  6. Abducted in Plain Site
  7. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
  8. The Family
  9. Street Food
  10. Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k This Up

 

For more Netflix U.S. top 10s see the Twitter thread.

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Apple Makes Golden Globe History with ‘The Morning Show’ Nominations

Upstart Apple TV+ made history of sorts becoming the first SVOD service to receive Golden Globe nominations (“The Morning Show”) in its first year of service.

The service received a Best Television Series — Drama nomination in addition to dual nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama for stars and executive producers Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. The series also stars Steve Carell.

The awards will be presented at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5, 2020.

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Apple TV+ ($4.99) launched Nov. 1, representing the tech giant’s foray into OTT distribution.

“The Morning Show” explores the cutthroat world of morning news and the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Told through the lens of two complicated women working to navigate the minefield of high-octane jobs, while facing crises in both their personal and professional lives.

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The nominations are also the first drama TV actress nominations for both Aniston and Witherspoon. Aniston is now only the fourth person in history to receive Golden Globe nominations for both TV Comedy and Drama, Lead Actress.

“Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for today’s historic nominations,” Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of worldwide video, said in a statement. “[T]oday’s nominations are a true testament to the powerful storytelling that went into ‘The Morning Show,’ as well as all of our Apple Originals.”

Despite reported struggles gaining consumer traction (in comparison with Disney+), Apple said “The Morning Show” is resonating with audiences globally.

“We cannot wait to continue exploring the world of ‘The Morning Show’ into season two,” said Jamie Erlicht, Apple’s head of worldwide video.

“The Morning Show” streams exclusively on Apple TV+ on the Apple TV app, with new episodes premiering worldwide every Friday. The season finale premieres on Dec. 20.

‘The Mandalorian’ Gives Disney+ Early Streaming Edge Over Apple TV+ Programming

The streaming wars have begun and early returns suggest Disney’s $6.99 branded subscription streaming service, Disney+, scored the first programming hits in comparison to Apple TV+ ($4.99).

“The Mandalorian,” the Disney+ exclusive “Star Wars”-themed original series, generated nearly 20 million “demand expressions” on its first day of release (Nov. 12), according to Parrot Analytics. That was nearly five times the first-day “demand” for the high-profile Apple TV+ series “The Morning News,” with 4.3 million “expressions” on Oct. 30.

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“Morning News” features Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell’s return to episodic TV. The series also stars Reese Witherspoon.

Parrot, which compiles its weekly proprietary “expressions” yardstick across social media posts, chatter and related metrics, disclosed the data to Business Insider.

The data does not necessarily reflect actual viewership numbers, including time spent streaming programming. Disney and Apple have not disclosed that information.

“Mandalorian” from producer Jon Favreau, bested Apple’s entire original programming slate, which includes “For All Mankind” (11.6 million expressions); “Dickinson” (8.4 million), and “See” (6.2 million).

It remains to be seen if “Mandalorian” bested Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which has topped Parrot’s digital originals chart for 20 consecutive weeks.