Will Smith and ‘Fresh Prince’ Cast Reunite to Tape Special for HBO Max

Will Smith released two first-look photos at the 30th anniversary Sept. 10 taping for the upcoming “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reunion special from Westbrook Media.

Will Smith and Janet Hubert

Smith was joined by series regulars Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid and Alfonso Ribeiro as well as recurring co-star DJ Jazzy Jeff for a reunion on set in the Banks’ home in this one-time special.

Surprising the rest of the cast, Smith revealed that he sat down Sept. 9 with Janet Hubert, who originated the role of Aunt Viv, for the first time in 27 years for a reunion and a candid conversation.

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As previously announced, the special will include music, dancing and more special surprise guests in honor of the series that ran for six seasons and 148 episodes.

Produced by Westbrook Media, the reunion will launch exclusively on HBO Max around Thanksgiving. HBO Max is the exclusive SVOD home of the full original series library in the United States.

Disney+ to Bow Reboot of ‘Doogie Howser’

Disney+ will bow an updated reboot of “Doogie Howser, M.D.” tentatively titled “Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.” in 2021.

The re-imagining of the popular ABC series has been picked up to series and is scheduled to go into production later this year. Kourtney Kang (“Fresh Off the Boat,” “How I Met Your Mother”) is set to write and executive produce for 20th Television.

Set in modern-day Hawaii, the 10-episode comedy follows Lahela “Doogie” Kameāloha, a mixed race 16-year-old girl, juggling a budding medical career and life as a teenager. Guiding Lahela (and also complicating things) is her family, including her spit-fire Irish mother who’s also her supervisor at the hospital and her Hawaiian “Local Boy” father struggling to accept that his daughter is no longer his little girl.

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“Thirty years ago, a young medical prodigy took the world by storm and left a lasting impact on pop culture,” Ricky Strauss, president of content and marketing at Disney+, said in a statement. “Kourtney and the team at 20th Television have created a very modern take on this beloved property which will resonate with our global Disney+ audience. We can’t wait to introduce the world to the new ‘Doogie.'”

“‘Doogie Howser, M.D.’ is beloved by everyone at our studio, so we knew that if we were going to reinvent it for a new generation, we had to have both the blessing and participation of the Bochcos and a creator with a fresh, new take that made us lean in,” Carolyn Cassidy, president of 20th Television, said in a statement. “Kourtney’s vision for the character is so inspired, we’ve been dying to collaborate with Melvin and Jake again, and Disney+ is exactly the right home for this idea. We couldn’t be more excited.”

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Running for four seasons on ABC from 1989 to 1993, “Doogie Howser, M.D.” starred Neil Patrick Harris as a kid genius doctor.

“Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.” is written and executive produced by Kourtney Kang and produced by 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios. Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar will executive produce and Dayna and Jesse Bochco will produce the half-hour comedy series.

Interpret: Apple TV+ $9.99 Bundle With Showtime and CBS All Access Could Boost Growth

Apple’s bundling of Apple TV+ with CBS All Access and Showtime for just $9.99 per month, announced in August, could be a savvy move, according to research firm Interpret.

Apple TV+ alone is $4.99 a month.

Interpret’s New Media Measure shows that Apple TV+ has room for growth with the bundle method. Among current Apple TV+ subscribers, only 7% subscribe to Showtime streaming and 13% subscribe to CBS All Access.

“Both CBS All Access and Showtime were already available in the Apple TV channels lineup, but considering that Showtime costs subscribers $10.99 monthly and CBS All Access subscriptions go for $5.99, Apple is banking on the bundle approach as too irresistible for content-hungry fans — not unlike Disney+ offering a bundle with ESPN+ and Hulu,” according to Interpret.

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‘Raised by Wolves’ Top Rising Show, ‘Lucifer’ Again Top Binge on TV Time Charts

HBO Max’s “Raised by Wolves” was the top rising show, while Netflix’s “Lucifer” was again the top binge on the TV Time charts for the week ended Sept. 6.

Top rising show “Raised by Wolves,” which hit screens Sept. 3, follows two androids tasked with raising human children on a virgin planet. Meanwhile, coming in at No. 2 on the chart was another sci-fi series, Netflix’s “Away,” which debuted Sept. 4. It stars Hilary Swank as American astronaut Emma Green, leading an international crew on the first mission to Mars. She must reconcile her decision to leave behind her husband (Josh Charles) and teenage daughter (Talitha Bateman) when they need her the most.

Season five of top binge “Lucifer” hit Netflix Aug. 21. The fantasy series follows Lucifer’s exploits on Earth. No. 2 on the binge chart was perennial sitcom favorite “Modern Family,” while taking the bronze was Netflix’s “Trinkets,” season two of which debuted Aug. 25. It follows three teenage girls who find themselves in the same mandated Shoplifters Anonymous meeting and form an unlikely friendship. The series is based on the young adult novel by screenwriter Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith (Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s the Man), who serves as creator and executive producer.

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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 service. 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 network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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 Top Binge Shows Week Ended Sept. 6 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Lucifer” (Netflix) — 5.51%
  2. “Modern Family” (ABC) — 2.25%
  3. “Trinkets” (Netflix) — 2.15%
  4. “The Umbrella Academy” (Netflix) — 2.02%
  5. “Cobra Kai” (YouTube) — 1.70%
  6. “The Office” U.S. (NBC) — 1.60%
  7. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.51%
  8. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.41%
  9. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.10%
  10. “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS) — 1.08%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended Sept. 6 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Raised by Wolves” (HBO Max) — 99.9%
  2. “Away” (Netflix) — 99.9%
  3. “Sister, Sister” (ABC) — 99.7%
  4. “Top Model Poland” (TVN) — 97.1%
  5. “Grand Hotel France” (TF1) — 96.1%
  6. “A.P. Bio” (Peacock) — 91.7%
  7. “Hotel Paradise” (TVN) — 90.4%
  8. “The Boys” (Amazon) — 88.8%
  9. “Les Marseillais vs. le reste du monde” (W9) — 84.9%
  10. “The Hook Up Plan” (Netflix) — 82%

Apple TV App on Vizio Smartcast TVs in U.S. and Canada

Vizio customers in the United States and Canada now have access to the Apple TV app on SmartCast TVs.

For a limited time, eligible Vizio SmartCast customers in the United States can sign up for Apple TV+ and receive three months free.

“With the Apple TV app coming to Vizio SmartCast TVs, customers can enjoy an even broader range of exciting entertainment, including the popular and award-winning Apple TV+ service,” Mike O’Donnell, chief revenue officer of Vizio, said in a statement. “Knowing the important role the TV has in the home, Vizio continues to expand the entertainment available for consumers to discover.”

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Vizio SmartCast TV users can select the Apple TV app icon from the SmartCast Home screen and sign in with their Apple ID to subscribe to Apple TV+.

Customers can also subscribe to Apple TV channels, such as Showtime, CBS All Access and Starz, and watch online and offline, ad-free and on demand, directly on the Apple TV app. Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share subscriptions to Apple TV channels using their personal Apple ID and password.

Additionally, Vizio SmartCast TV users can browse the Apple TV app to buy or rent more than 100,000 movies and TV shows, including titles available in 4K HDR and with Dolby Atmos, as well as access their library of movie and TV show purchases from Apple.

Vizio customers can also enjoy Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities on SmartCast TVs. With AirPlay 2, Vizio customers can stream, control, and share their favorite content directly from their iPhone, iPad, or Mac to their Vizio SmartCast TV. HomeKit allows customers to easily and securely control their SmartCast TV using the Home app or by asking Siri on their Apple devices.

A Drive-in Premiere for ‘The Boys’

Amazon Prime Video Sept. 3 hosted a drive-in screening of “The Boys” season two ahead of its Sept. 4 premiere. Stars Antony Starr, Jack Quaid, Erin Moriarty, Karen Fukuhara, Shantel VanSanten, Claudia Doumit, Langston Kerman and Abraham Lim arrived at Level 8 at The Grove in Los Angeles to celebrate the new season. Guests arrived in their cars through Lucy the Whale, who makes a special appearance in the third episode of season two. Ahead of the drive-in special screening, guests were invited to a socially distant pre-party in their cars, where they had their pictures taken at the drive-through photo op activation, danced in their cars to the music of DJ Michelle Pesce, and enjoyed Umami Burgers, Popcorn and Swedish Fish. Before the two-episode screening, fans enjoyed a pre-taped introduction from the cast and executive producers Eric Kripke, Seth Rogen and Evan Greenberg. A special encore drive-in screening for cast and fans is also being held Sept. 4 and is at full capacity.

The first three episodes of season two premiere Sept. 4, with new episodes available each Friday following, culminating in a season finale Oct. 9. The eight-episode Amazon Original series will be available exclusively on Prime Video in more than 200 territories around the world.

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Based on the New York Times best-selling comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, “The Boys” is an irreverent take on what happens when superheroes — who are as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians and as revered as gods — abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. The Boys continue on a quest to expose the truth about The Seven, and Vought — the multi-billion-dollar conglomerate that manages these superheroes and covers up all of their dirty secrets.

HBO Max Offering Discount

HBO Max Sept. 4 is bringing back its “Save for 12” promotion, allowing new and returning customers to sign up for HBO Max for $11.99 per month (discounted from $14.99 per month) for a year (a $36 savings).

The limited-time offer is available to new customers as well as returning subscribers whose accounts have lapsed, through Sept. 25.

“We are always looking for ways to enhance our customer experience, so as we head into fall we felt it was the perfect time to pair the incredible lineup of original programming available on HBO Max with an offer that provides customers with even more value,” Andy Forssell, EVP and GM of WarnerMedia and direct-to-consumer, said in a statement. “We are lucky to work with the level of talent that is part of our WarnerMedia family, and with series like ‘Raised By Wolves’ from Ridley Scott and HBO’s ‘Lovecraft Country’ from Misha Green, J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele, there is truly no better time to get HBO Max.”

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To sign up for the offer, customers can visit HBOMax.com, select “Get the Deal” and complete their sign up.

In addition, new and returning customers who sign up for HBO Max on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV and via Google, Hulu, YouTube TV, Xfinity, RCN, Grande Communications and Wave are also eligible forv“Save for 12” promotions operated by those partners during the available window.

Zack Snyder’s ‘Army of the Dead’ Will Also Get Prequel and Anime Series at Netflix

Zack Snyder’s new zombie action heist film Army of the Dead, scheduled to debut on Netflix in 2021, is spawning a film prequel and anime series at the SVOD service.

“I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to partner with Netflix again as we expand the Army of the Dead universe with both an international prequel, as well as exploring the visually dynamic world of animation,” Snyder said in a statement. “It’s been a great collaboration and we are thrilled that Netflix sees this as as big of an IP as we do.”

Army of the Dead follows a group of mercenaries into a zombie infested Las Vegas who try to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted. It stars Dave Bautista,  Ella Purnell, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, Huma Qureshi, Omari Hardwick, Tig Notaro, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Matthias Schweighöfer, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder and Samantha Win.

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The anime series, “Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas,” chronicles the origin story of Scott (Bautista) and his rescue crew during the initial fall of Vegas as they confront the mysterious source of the zombie outbreak. Snyder will direct two episodes of the anime series. In addition to Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Tig Notaro, Omari Hardwick and Ella Purnell will reprise their roles in the anime series.

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Shay Hatten, one of the writers of the screenplay for Army of the Dead, will write the prequel as well as the anime series. The prequel will be directed by and star Grimme Award winner Schweighöfer and will follow his Army of the Dead character Ludwig Dieter.

“It has already been a great pleasure to be part of this wonderful ensemble around Zack Synder — a fascinating project. I am happy that it is now being developed on so many different levels,” Schweighöfer said in a statement.

NPD: Online Video Consumption, Engagement Leapt in Q2

Free, transactional and subscription video all grew significantly in the second quarter versus the same period in 2019, according to NPD Group data.

The market experienced “growth across just about every way you can consume video,” said NPD’s John Buffone during the online OTT.X summit Sept. 1. (The summit continues today; to register click here.)

Transactional VOD alone jumped by 57%, while subscription VOD grew 42%, Buffone reported.

Sales of TVs and streaming players (“largely driven by Roku”) also grew by double digits during stay-at-home orders, he said, while sales of DVD and Blu-ray players also saw a jump in sales “for a while.”

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The most frequently used services in April 2020 (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, CBS All Access, Amazon Prime Video) are gaining the most ground, NPD research found. Among that group, 87% of Netflix subs said they use the service at least weekly, with 80% saying the same of Hulu, 70% of Disney+, 68% of CBS All Access and 64% of Amazon Prime. During April, 48% of Netflix subscribers said they were using it more often, compared to 57% of Disney+ subs, 42% of Hulu subs, 40% of CBS All Access subs and 39% of Amazon Prime subs.

A third of SVOD users said that exclusive content made them subscribe or watch more because content was not available any other way, he noted.

‘Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special’ to Bow on Apple TV+ for Holidays

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special, an exclusive holiday program from multi-platinum, multi-Grammy award-winning artist Mariah Carey, will debut globally on Apple TV+ this holiday season.

The special — combining music, dancing and animation driven by a “heartwarming” story, according to Apple — is set to premiere on the heels of the 25th anniversary of Carey’s No. 1 holiday anthem “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and will feature Carey and a lineup of guest stars.

Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. The Apple TV app will be available on Sony and Vizio smart TVs later this year. For a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can get one year of Apple TV+ free. The offer is good for three months after the first activation of the eligible device. For more information, visit apple.com/tvpr.

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