Netflix Had a Busy Sunday at TCA

Netflix worked overtime Sunday (July 29) at the Television Critics Association’s Summer 2018 Press Tour announcing two unscripted series, upcoming launch dates for four series and first-look trailers of other pending titles.

The TCA Summer Press Tour runs through Aug. 8 with studios and distributors – notably digital – announcing new fall content launches.

Netflix, which is spending $8 billion on original content this year, announced new cooking series, “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”, which begins streaming Oct. 19; “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” both bowing Oct. 26; “The Kominsky Method” (Nov. 16); and “Chef’s Table” Season 5, which launches Sept. 28.

Based on Samin Nosrat’s best-selling, James Beard Award-winning book, “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” bills itself as the essential guide to the basic elements of good cooking.

Baker and artist Christine McConnell welcomes viewers into her home in “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell”,baking, sculpting and sewing delectable confections and hauntingly disturbing decor with the help of her colorful collection of creatures.

“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” starring Kiernan Shipka, re-imagines the original “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and, of course, witchcraft.

Oscar winners Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin star as two friends in “The Kominsky Method” tackling life’s inevitable curveballs as they navigate their later years in Los Angeles, a city that values youth and beauty.

Tony Danza returns to the small screen as “The Good Cop”, a lovable yet not exactly honorable, former NYPD officer who never followed the rules.

Other titles include the Aug. 17 release of Matt Groening’s animated series “Disenchantment,” teen shape-lifting series“The Innocents.”

Other content announcements included limited series, “Madam C.J. Walker,” starring and executive produced by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer; “White Lines” from the producers of “The Crown” and “La Casa de Papel”; and limited series, “Maniac” launching Sept. 21.

The SVOD behemoth also officially announced the second season of “Ozark,” co-starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as ethically-challenged parents on the run from organized crime.


CEO: Showtime ‘Punching Above Our Weight’ Competing with Netflix

Showtime, along with HBO, once ruled the edgy episodic programing market – a position increasingly under siege by subscription streaming video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

As a result, CBS-owned Showtime now finds itself trying to stay competitive with Netflix, which is spending $8 billion on original TV shows and movies this year. It launched a branded SVOD service in 2015 – now more than 2.5 million subscribers.

Speaking March 12 at INTV confab in Jerusalem, Showtime CEO David Nevins the onslaught of over-the-top video and episodic programing has resulted in Showtime “punch[ing] above our weight” in an effort to keep up.

“It’s a deluge right now, particularly from the streamers — Netflix more than anything,” Nevins said, as reported by Variety. “They’re still in high-growth mode. They’re not trying to deliver earnings.”

Maybe, but Netflix is delivering earnings. The streaming pioneer generated $627 million in profit on revenue of more than $11.1 billion in 2017. It now has more than 117 million subs globally.

Nevins contends that while Netflix is chasing headlines signing marquee content creators, Showtime is targeting curated programing such as “The Chi,” “Our Cartoon President,” “Homeland,” “Billions” (returning March 25), “I’m Dying Up Here” and “The Affair” (returning June 17), “Ray Donovan,” and pending “Escape at Dannemora,” from Ben Stiller, and “Patrick Melrose,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, among others.

“There’s a counter-narrative that’s beginning that’s helpful to us,” he said.

Speaking in January at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, Nevins said Showtime has the budget to attract top talent in and front behind the camera. Referencing the New York Yankees, he added that unlimited spending doesn’t guarantee success.

Indeed, Showtime in 2017 had its biggest ever year of subscription revenue growth and, on a percentage basis, the best sub growth in 16 years.

“But we are … maintaining our margins,” Nevins said. “We are spending more money because we are generating more revenue.”