Eliza Levinson recaps the week in streaming.
Is there a statute of limitations on cancellation? The last few weeks has seen an uptick in announcements or releases of new media from #MeToo’d stars, including Aziz Ansari, Kevin Spacey, and Dan Harmon. I haven’t yet watched Master of None’s third season yet — though fellow Dirt correspondent Kyle says it’s good — in large part because I am languishing under the weight of visa-related ennui and am incapable of watching anything current, which is why I’ve been bingeing Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season 3 on German Netflix and not the Bo Burnham special, Mare of Easttown, or the Friends reunion (sorry). (I personally believe that being depressed in the summertime is actually very punk, like smoking cigarettes in Los Angeles or listening to black midi [loud UK rock] in a Prius, but it’s annoying that whenever I’m depressed in the summer I can’t get this song out of my head.)
Monetize yr fame with a podcast
During my other binge of the moment, the podcast Las Culturistas (hosted by Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers), I’ve also been getting a lot of ads for pods hosted by former stars of popular TV shows, where they talk to former cast members and/or chronologically watch through all of the episodes of the show. Scott Patterson, known for playing Luke Danes on Gilmore Girls, has a podcast called I Am All In, and The Office’s Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone) has a podcast called The Office Deep Dive. Maybe it’s just because Patterson says this in the weirdly halting ad read he does for I Heart Radio, but the launch of these pods feels algorithmically generated, somehow: like, these long-cancelled shows have spiked in viewership during the pandemic, so now additional content is spinning off of defunct titles like a hydra.
NFTs are for people who love large adult son cartoons
I was particularly intrigued to see the latest from camp Dan Harmon because his new show, Krapopolis, is apparently “the first-ever animated series curated entirely on the Blockchain.” This incomprehensible claim, according to The Hollywood Reporter, means that Krapopolis will use NFTs for its “distribution and marketing.”
This comes hand in hand with the announcement by Fox that it is launching an NFT company, Blockchain Creative Labs, which will launch with the release of Krapopolis. There, users will be able to buy “NFTs of one-of-a-kind character and background art and GIFs, as well as tokens that provide exclusive social experiences to engage and reward super fans.”
This is pure speculation, but I wonder if Dan Harmon was chosen as the guy to go with for the NFT and Blockchain of it all because the Rick and Morty fan base has largely proven itself to be, as they say, Extremely Online (see: McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce-gate; see: me flinging myself into the metaphorical Crevasse because I know about this).
Amazon eats MGM
Fox isn’t the only entertainment industry power player shaking things up: at the end of May, Amazon announced that it was buying MGM, a deal which reportedly “stunned” industry members for its closing price, $8.45 billion. (Insiders pegged a fairer price at closer to $5 or $6 billion.) The deal marked Amazon’s largest since acquiring Whole Foods in 2017 (still Amazon’s largest buy to date, closing at $13.7 billion). According to CNBC, MGM declared bankruptcy in 2010 and was then taken over by a number of asset management firms. Once a titan of Golden Age Hollywood, MGM “has been seeking a buyer for several years,” and was, at one time, talking to Apple and Netflix about the prospect of a buyout. The deal will add some 17,000 TV shows and 4,000 films to Amazon’s offerings.
An interesting complication to the deal, as pointed out by Variety, is the role of the James Bond franchise — MGM’s “prize asset” — which is co-owned by Eon Productions, run by the fabulously named Broccoli family. According to Variety, Eon Productions has an “unprecedented level of creative control” over the James Bond franchise, “serving as the final arbiter from the scripts to the casting to the promotional materials.” After refusing to release the latest Bond flick, No Time To Die, via Apple (even after an offer of $600 million), industry “insiders” speculate that the Broccolis are unlikely to go along with a James Bond film premiering on Amazon Prime, preferring a release in traditional movie theaters.
Will virtual concerts still be a thing?
Finally, both Amazon and Spotify are experimenting with live performance streaming, even as the US reopens. On June 17, 2021, Prime and non-Prime members alike will be able to access live performances from Billie Eilish, H.E.R., and Kid Cudi for 30 days as part of the Amazon Prime Day Show. Just a few weeks earlier, Spotify announced that it would be rolling out an entire virtual concert series on Thursdays, which will feature artists like Bleachers, Leon Bridges, and The Black Keys. Tickets will be $15.
These developments come despite reports like this one from Rani Molla at Vox, which quotes Akshay Khanna from StubHub as saying that “demand is roaring back.” The company expects that ticket sales for 2021 in the US will meet, if not outperform, sales from 2019, “given this rush of demand and the increase in the number of events being announced.”
~Catch up on Dirt~
— Chris Harrison, longtime host of The Bachelor and its franchises, will be leaving the show for good. Harrison initially came under fire after minimizing contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s attendance of a party set in the antebellum South, during the time of slavery. According to Deadline, Harrison left the show after “increasingly intense” negotiations between WBTV and ABC, which concluded with the host receiving a “midrange, eight figure payout” (truly) — the Tony Awards will be taking place on September 26, 2021, and will be accessible “half on CBS and half on Paramount+” — Lorde is teasing a new single, “Solar Power,” her first release in four years — Doja Cat has released specifics about her new album, Planet Her. The 14-track album will feature artists including Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, SZA, and Young Thug, and will go live June 25
— this album (Binasu by Kate NV) is very nice for summer vibes — in a perfect crossover of my interests, Bowen & Matt had Trixie Mattel on Las Culturistas — some of my favorit eTikToks of late — The Dinner Party From Hell (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, season 1, episode 9) is one of the best episodes of reality TV of all time: a drunk psychic with an axe to grind, a Malibu mansion, and the “morally corrupt Faye Resnick.” What more could you want? — By Eliza Levinson