Netflix Releases ‘Dark Crystal’ Promotional Featurette

Netflix has released a new behind-the-scenes video to promote its upcoming series “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,” which premieres on the SVOD service Aug. 30.

From the Jim Henson Company and director/executive producer Louis Leterrier, and based on Jim Henson’s 1982 film The Dark Crystal, “Age of Resistance” tells a new story, set many years before the events of the movie, and realized using classic puppetry with cutting edge visual effects.

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In the video, the voice cast and creators discuss returning to Jim Henson’s creation almost 40 years later and getting the chance to expand and enrich the world.

The video can be seen here:

More information is available at

Netflix Orders Family Comedy Series From Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps

Mike Epps and Wanda Sykes are set to star in a new Netflix comedy series “The Upshaws.”

The multi-camera comedy centers on a working-class African American family in Indiana.

Sykes, a 2019 Emmy nominee for variety special and writing for a variety special on Wanda Sykes: Not Normal, will star, executive produce and serve as co-showrunner. Epps (Dolemite is My NameOnly One Mike) will star and executive produce.

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Regina Hicks (The L Word, Generations Q, Central Park, Insecure) will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Dan Spilo (Sunnyside) will serve as an executive producer. Page Hurwitz (Wanda Sykes; Not Normal, Tiffany Haddish Presents They Ready), a 2019 Emmy nominee for Wanda Sykes: Not Normal, will serve as an executive producer. Niles Kirchner (Only One Mike) will serve as an executive producer.

Netflix to Bow Unscripted Lifestyle Series With Organizers to the Stars

Netflix has begun production on a new lifestyle series featuring Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, the duo behind home organization company The Home Edit.

Known for their design-centric approach to arranging and organizing, the New York Times bestselling authors will take on the homes of big-name celebrities and everyday families, according to Netflix. The series follows organizers Shearer and Teplin as they transform the lives of their clients by conquering clutter with their signature style.

Each hour-long episode features two organizational projects shaped by the duo.

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The eight-episode series is executive produced by Molly Sims, Hello Sunshine’s Reese Witherspoon, Charlotte Koh and Cynthia Stockhammer; and Critical Content’s Tom Forman, Jenny Daly and Jon Beyer along with Tess Gamboa Meyers, who will serve as showrunner.

The series joins another lifestyle show about organization from Netflix, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.”

‘Stranger Things’ Spends Eighth Week Atop Parrot Analytics’ TV Demand Charts

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on not only Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended Aug. 17, but also the data firm’s overall list of TV series from any platform, including broadcast and cable, for the eighth straight week.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

For the week, “Stranger Things” registered 152.6 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was down 9% in expressions compared with the previous week.

Rising a spot to No. 2 was Amazon Prime Video’s dark superhero adaptation “The Boys,” which registered 56 million expressions, down 10.3% from the previous week.

Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” dropped to No. 3. Its demand expressions dropped 32.4% to 48.9 million.

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” rose to No. 4 with a 5.6% increase in expressions to 36.3 million. The finale of season three was released Aug. 14.

DC Universe’s “Titans” dropped to No. 5, with expressions down 9.8% to 32.9 million.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

‘Orange Is the New Black’ Remains Top Binge, ‘Sacred Games’ Leads ‘Shows on the Rise’ on TV Time Charts

Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” topped TV Time’s “Binge Report” for a third consecutive week, while the service’s “Sacred Games” came in at No. 1 on its “Shows on the Rise” chart for the week ended Aug. 18.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program.

The seventh and final season of the Netflix’s prison drama “Orange Is the New Black” dropped July 26.

Three other Netflix series came in at Nos. 2-4 on the binge chart. The Spanish period drama “Cable Girls,” the fourth season of which hit screens Aug. 9, took the No. 2 spot. The serial killer series “Mindhunter,” season two of which dropped Aug. 16, came in at No. 3. And “Lucifer,” a perennial binge favorite about the lord of hell’s exploits in Los Angeles, landed at No. 4. Meanwhile, NBC’s classic sitcom favorite “Friends” rounded out the top five binge series.

Top show on the rise “Sacred Games,” season two of which dropped on Netflix Aug. 15, is an Indian thriller centering on a troubled police officer in Mumbai.

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Aug. 18 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix) — 3.30%
  2. “Cable Girls” (Netflix) — 2.56%
  3. “Mindhunter” (Netflix) — 2.44%
  4. “Lucifer” (Neflix) — 2.25%
  5. “Friends” (NBC) — 2.24%
  6. “Money Heist” (Netflix) — 2.14%
  7. “Stranger Things” (Netflix) — 1.91%
  8. “Glee” (Fox) — 1.53%
  9. “The 100” (The CW) — 1.52%
  10. “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) — 1.49%


Top Shows on the Rise Week Ended Aug. 18 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Sacred Games” (Netflix) — 98.5%
  2. “Mindhunter” (Netflix) — 92.3%
  3. “The Terror” (AMC) — 79.8%
  4. “Succession” (HBO) — 69.1%
  5. “Sintonia” (Netflix) – 65.9%
  6. “The Family” (Netflix) — 65.7%
  7. “The Naked Director” (Netflix) — 53.2%
  8. “Fear the Walking Dead” (AMC) — 45.9%
  9. “Pennyworth” (Epix) — 45.5%
  10. “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” (Tokyo MX) — 39.6%

Finding the Key to SVOD Success

Original content has been the star on SVOD services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, with upcoming services Apple TV+ and Disney+ teasing originals in celebrity-filled press conferences. But catalog content is an important supporting player.

Certainly, originals can attract eyeballs, said the NPD Group’s Kathi Chandler-Payatt at last month’s EMA summit. She noted that while both original movies and episodic shows are a small percentage of content on Netflix, they garner an outsized share of viewing.

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Still, originals aren’t the only shows that keeps viewers subscribing, noted Screen Engine/ASI’s Mark Orne at the event. Subscribers often stay with a service based on go-to backup shows, mostly long-running hit comedy series, such as “The Office,” “Friends,” “South Park” and “Family Guy.” It’s why Disney+ streaming “The Simpsons” from its Fox acquisition is a smart move, he noted.

No wonder WarnerMedia pulled “Friends,” and Universal “The Office,” from Netflix for their upcoming services.

Indeed, speakers on a consumer panel at the EMA summit said that they like to stream while doing other activities, such as cleaning a room, not the kind of thing one can do while viewing a gripping original. One even noted she likes to go to sleep to certain familiar shows.

Meanwhile, a few hits might not be enough to keep viewers subscribing, as consumers are willing to pay for a month or take the free trial, watch and cancel, or share passwords, Orne said.

While they may like the occasional title equivalent of a gourmet meal, consumers also like to binge on titles that are comfort foods. SVOD services that can offer a wide menu may be the winners in the OTT race.

‘Haunting of Hill House’ Due on Disc Oct. 15

Paramount Home Entertainment Oct. 15 will release the Blu-ray and DVD of The Haunting of Hill House, the first season of a Netflix horror anthology series.

The three-disc Blu-ray and four-disc DVD sets will include all 10 episodes, including three extended director’s cut episodes.

Based on the Shirley Jackson novel, The Haunting of Hill House tells the story of five siblings who grew up in the most famous haunted house in America. Now adults, they’re reunited by the suicide of their youngest sister, which forces them to finally confront the ghosts of their past.

The Blu-ray and DVD will include exclusive commentary by creator and director Mike Flanagan on four episodes.

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A second season called The Haunting of Bly Manor, based on Henry James’ 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw, is slated to debut on Netflix in 2020.

Netflix to Produce Danish Series Based on Novel From Creator of ‘The Killing’

Netflix will produce its second Danish original series, “The Chestnut Man,” based on the debut novel by writer Søren Sveistrup (“The Killing”).

The series will debut exclusively on Netflix worldwide. Production is slated to begin in Denmark in 2020 with the executive production team SAM Productions, which is also behind the coming Norwegian Netflix original series “Ragnarok.”

Netflix made the announcement at the Copenhagen TV Festival.

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“The Chestnut Man” is set in the quiet suburb of Copenhagen, where the police make a terrible discovery one October morning. A young woman is found brutally murdered in a playground and one of her hands is missing. Above her hangs a small man made of chestnuts. The ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned to the case, along with her new partner, Mark Hess. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man — evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and was presumed dead — the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung.

“Netflix has shown a strong, genuine interest in my book and I’m excited about the deal and confident that Netflix will be the perfect place for ‘The Chestnut Man,’” said Sveistrup in a statement.

“We are looking very much forward to bringing Søren’s amazing international bestseller to the screen, and we are very excited and proud to announce the continuation of our good collaboration with Netflix,” said Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen, executive producer at SAM Productions, in a statement. “The novel has been translated into 28 languages and it’s being published in more than 50 countries, we are therefore thrilled to be able to release this original Danish story, in the Danish language, worldwide with Netflix as our partner.”

“After the success of ‘The Rain,’ we are excited to announce our next Danish Original which will be building on the great tradition of Nordic Noir,” said Tesha Crawford, director Netflix international originals Northern Europe. “We were instantly compelled by the strong story and Søren’s voice. We are happy to continue the collaboration with SAM Productions and are looking forward to bringing ‘The Chestnut Man’ to our global audience.”

“The Chestnut Man” is a character-driven thriller drama and has its roots in the Nordic noir genre. The series is composed of six, 50-minute episodes. The launch date is yet to be announced.

Disney+ Sets Key International Launch Dates, Pricing

The Walt Disney Co. on Aug. 19 said its much-ballyhooed new subscription streaming service, Disney+, will launch in Canada and the Netherland on Nov. 12, the same day it launches in the United States.

The international rollout continues a week later with a push into Australia and New Zealand.

Initial pricing is similar to the United States, where the service will bow at what some analysts call a “Netflix-killing” low price of $6.99 a month.

In Canada, monthly subscriptions will cost CAD$8.99 per month or CAD $89.99 per year. In the Netherlands, subscriptions are 6.99 euros per month, or 69.99 euros per year.

In Australia, Disney+ will cost AUD$8.99 per month or AUD$89.99 per year and in New Zealand, the subscription price will be NZD$9.99 for a month and $99.99 for a year.

The Walt Disney Co. said more international territories will be announced on later dates, and that it expects to stream content through Disney+ in most major global markets within two years.

Disney also announced it has struck global agreements with most major platforms to distribute the Disney+ app across partner mobile and connected TV devices.

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At launch, consumers will be able to subscribe to Disney+ directly or via  in-app purchase and start streaming from the following partner platforms and devices (dependent on country):

  • Apple (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV, and fully integrated with the Apple TV app; customers can subscribe to Disney+ via in-app purchase);
  • Google (Android phones, Android TV devices, Google Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices);
  • Microsoft (Xbox One);
  • Sony / Sony Interactive Entertainment (PlayStation 4 and all Android-based Sony TVs); and
  • Roku (Roku streaming players and Roku TV models).

Last week, Disney+ said it has tapped former Luke Bradley-Jones, a former Sky executive, as SVP, Direct to Consumer, and general manager of Disney+ for Europe and Africa, starting in 2020.

Also last week, Disney struck a new distribution deal with cable giant Charter Communications that “contemplates Charter’s future distribution of Disney’s streaming services, including Hulu, ESPN+ and the soon-to-be-launched Disney+,” according to a press release issued by Charter.

Disney+ is targeting 60 million to 90 million subs globally by 2024.

Netflix Teaming With Kevin Smith on Animated ‘He-Man’ Relaunch

A new animated version of the “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” franchise is on the way from Netflix.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith Aug. 18 told fans at Power-Con, a “He-Man” convention being held over the weekend in Anaheim, Calif., that he was working with the streaming service on a new anime series based on the Mattel toy line that first launched in 1982.

The show, called “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” was described as “a wholly original story set in the epic world of Mattel’s … He-Man toy franchise.”

Smith, will serve as showrunner and executive producer of the show, teased that the series would pick up unresolved storylines from the 1980s era of “He-Man,” when the characters were featured in the popular animated series by Filmation.

“I’m Eternia-ly grateful to Mattel TV and Netflix for entrusting me with not only the secrets of Grayskull, but also their entire Universe,” Smith said in a statement. “In ‘Revelation,’ we pick up right where the classic era left off to tell an epic tale of what may be the final battle between He-Man and Skeletor! This is the Masters of the Universe story you always wanted to see as a kid!”

According to Netflix’s description, the series takes place “after a ferocious final battle forever fractures Eternia,” He-Man’s home planet. “It’s up to Teela to solve the mystery of the missing Sword of Power in a race against time to prevent the end of the Universe.”

The animation will be provided by Powerhouse Animation Studios, the team behind Netflix’s “Castlevania” anime series.

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Netflix’s lineup already includes “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power,” based on the She-Ra character that was introduced in the classic animated series as He-Man’s sister. A third batch of “She-Ra” episodes bowed on Netflix Aug. 2, bringing the episode total to 26.

Development of a live-action “He-Man” reboot by Sony Pictures has reportedly stalled.

Smith’s next film, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, a return to his “View-Askewniverse” franchise, is due in theaters Oct. 15.