TV/STREAMING . . .
What Did You Think Of the Legion Series Finale? Legion has come to an end, and what an end it was. The final episode of the FX drama promised the end of the world and brought it with strange family reunions, fire fights, and an extended musical number, which is about the simplest and least useful way we can sum up what just happened. Basically, the world got saved, and so did David (Dan Stevens), whose parents tried again and did their best to give their son a happy childhood, so he wouldn't grow up to be quite so troubled and angry. ("I've always wanted to become a teacher," dad Charles Xavier/Professor X said.) The whole thing ended with adult David and Syd disappearing from existence, looking forward to starting over. (Eonline)
Wendy Williams' fans can breathe a sigh of relief -- she's shutting down rumors about her show shutting after its upcoming season. The daytime TV host was hanging with another host, Andy Cohen, on his SiriusXM show Monday in NYC. Afterward, we asked her point-blank if she can put her fans' minds at ease by addressing the show's future. Wendy turned as she got into an SUV and pulled a Mark Twain on us -- meaning, she essentially said rumors of her show's demise have been greatly exaggerated. According to a recent NY Post report ... some of Wendy's staffers were secretly looking for jobs because there's nothing guaranteed after season 11, which kicks off next month. Wendy says that's news to her and insists she's not going anywhere. BTW ... Wendy revealed on Andy's show she knew about Kevin Hunter's double-life well before paps even knew about it. Seems she had been on Kevin's tail ... cause she insinuated she had proof he was stepping out on her. She also explained why she didn't dump Kevin when she knew way back when. (TMZ)
The first queer reality TV show is here and it's everything we needed in our lives. More of this please. We're living during peak reality TV times, and yet every show presents the same formula. Slim, heterosexual bikini-laden girl meets gym-obsessed heterosexual lad with bulging biceps and they wander off into the sunset together. And on it goes. Sure, it's entertaining, but this tried-and-tested reality show set-up is perpetuating unrealistic stereotypes that simply do not reflect the times we're living in. But that is all set to change with the sucess of TV's first ever queer reality show Are You The One. The MTV dating show has been running for eight seasons, but in its latest iteration, they aired the first sexually fluid season. True to the reality TV dating formula, a group of singletons are chucked together in a villa on a tropical island in the hope of finding true love. But the key difference is that all contestants are sexually fluid and dating experts have already pre-matched couples based on their compatibility. The contestants then have to complete a series of challenges to figure out the pairings, with a million dollars at stake if they guess correctly. Unsurprisingly, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, with the show exploring the complexities of gender and desire in a way that's so rarely portrayed on mainstream TV. It dives head first into LGBTQ dating issues, from polyamory amongst both genders, to "masc to masc" culture within the gay community. In one episode, non-binary Basil confronts his crush Jonathan for denying a romantic future between them due to Basil's femininity. Jonathan instead turns his attention to their muscular housemate Justin, leading Basil to question why Jonathan cannot look past the physical. This scene perfectly demonstrates the growing distaste for the effeminate within the gay community, and despite its prevalence, it hadn't been broadcasted until now. Are You The One is finally challenging the heteronormatic perspective on dating by reminding us all that desire comes in all forms, regardless of gender and sexuality. But, like all gripping reality shows that have us glued to our screens, it serves up all the drama, debauchery and romance. Yaaas! (British Glamour)
Netflix's Dubbing Stars: Meet the Hindi, Russian and Japanese Voices of the Streamer's Hits. A look at five stars dubbing stars translating the streamer's hit series for a global audience. Netflix's unprecedented global expansion -- the streaming giant now has more than 152 million subscribers, the majority of them outside the U.S. -- has been accompanied, almost unnoticed, by a similarly unprecedented push into dubbing. Netflix's research shows viewers who stream a series dubbed into their own language are more likely to finish it. The majority of viewers, worldwide, for Netflix's German-language mystery series Dark, or the Brazilian dystopian drama 3%, watched dubbed versions. To meet the dubbing demand, Netflix has ramped up its operations -- it currently works with some 125 facilities worldwide to dub into -- and out of -- some 31 languages. But, as with any show, the real magic is in the casting. For its marquee series, Netflix matches up the world's premiere voice actors with its on-screen talent. The Hollywood Reporter spoke to five dubbing actors -- from India, Japan, Spain and Russia -- about the challenges of being the foreign voice of a global star. (Hollywood Reporter)
Why Disney's $13 Streaming Bundle May Be a Double-Edged Sword. Offering Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ together takes direct aim at Netflix's standard plan -- but it also could hasten cord-cutting and "hurt" Disney as it negotiates new carriage fees for its (still very profitable) linear channels. Disney's upcoming streaming service will "be treated as the most important product that the company has launched" during his 14-year tenure, crowed CEO Bob Iger during an Aug. 6 call with Wall Street analysts. It's a bold proclamation, and it comes with major repercussions. It's also the closest Iger has come to publicly declaring an all-out war with Netflix. That same day, Iger said Disney+, set to launch Nov. 12, will be bundled with ESPN+ and Hulu, which Disney controls, for a mere $12.99, about what most Netflix subscribers pay for that singular service. Such a low price not only sets the stage for a battle with streamers but also with cable and satellite TV bundlers -- a potentially awkward position given that Disney's Media Networks division, made up of ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN and others, is a primary contributor to its bottom line. "The rollout will affect pay TV negotiations. How could it not?" says analyst Jimmy Schaeffler of the Carmel Group. "Nothing will be negotiated without the cloud of Disney+ hanging over meeting rooms." Media Networks is Disney's largest business, but it is forecast to grow just 14 percent over the next five years as cord-cutting takes its toll, courtesy of streamers like the one Disney will launch, says Michael Morris of Guggenheim Securities. In the same five years, Disney's smallest segment, Direct-to-Consumer and International, is expected to surge 140 percent to $29.3 billion in 2024, nearly matching the $32.7 billion expected from Media Networks. "The perverse outcome is that these competing services and bundles will encourage more cord-cutting," says Michael Pachter of Wedbush. "Fewer cable subscribers means lower retransmission rates." At $5.99 a month with ads, Hulu has attracted 28 million subs, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said Aug. 6, while ESPN+ at $4.99 monthly has 2.4 million. For an extra $2.01, consumers should flock to the upcoming bundle. "Subscriber growth at these services will be key to investor enthusiasm," says Morris, despite them being a loss-leader, for now. McCarthy said to expect the DTC segment to lose $900 million in the current quarter alone, while research firm eMarketer projects Disney+ to go from a less than 1 percent market share in the U.S. at the end of 2019 to more than 9 percent by 2024. "It definitely strikes me as a risk," adds Steven Birenberg of Northlake Capital Management. "The new bundle plus Hulu Live TV can encourage cord-cutting and hurt Disney while it negotiates." Disney's growth may come largely at the expense of Netflix and investors have been factoring that in: Between April 11, when Disney+ revealed its $6.99 price and Aug. 6 when it announced the $12.99 bundle, Disney shares advanced 22 percent while Netflix stock fell 16 percent -- much of the decline coming after reporting July 17 it had suffered a quarterly loss of U.S. subscribers for the first time in its history. "Will Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu hurt Netflix and its ilk? Yes, it will -- significantly," says Schaeffler. "The folks at Netflix, and their shareholders, should be very worried. Their lives are about to change." Also, on the horizon are services coming from NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia and Apple, and CBS acting CEO Joe Ianniello said Aug. 8 that CBS All Access will launch kids programming this year, further pressuring Netflix while also encroaching on Disney's domain. "It has nothing to do with Disney, at all; it has to do with the data and research," Ianniello told investors. "This is a natural progression for us." Ianniello said CBS All Access and Showtime OTT will have 25 million subscribers by 2022, up from about 8 million now. Disney projects as many as 30 million Disney+ subs by 2024, which "will mostly come from Netflix's 60 million U.S. subs," says analyst Laura Martin of Needham. "We project Disney will win, and Netflix lose, the U.S. SVOD battle." Perhaps. But at what cost? (Hollywood Reporter)