Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #940: Random Drippings From My Brain Pan

Time for three tiny tales and the lessons that they may teach us...


...Clark Productions that is.  The British commercial broadcaster ITV has expressed interest in buying the television production company  founded by producer and American Bandstand host Dick Clark. 

Now you're probably wondering why two pretty big TV networks are so keen to buy a production company that's comparatively small when compared to the major studios.

CBS has its reasons, and while ITV has similar reasons, it also has a reason that's uniquely its own.
Most commercial broadcasters buy their shows from production companies and studios through what's called a license fee. That fee pays for the episode to be made, including salaries, and gives the network the right to premiere the show on their channel and rerun it at least once following a pre-agreed payment schedule depending on their contract with the producer. The key is that during this airing period the network keeps all of the revenue made from selling advertising on the show.

After the initial airing, the production company/studio that owns the show can then license the show to local stations, cable networks, and home video outlets, and pocket all of the profits from these sales.

The networks looked at the money being made by producers and studios and said "me too." They started their own production divisions or bought their own studios, and started giving those divisions prime spots on the network's schedule.

The results have been mixed at best.

That's because it denied what made network broadcasting successful: variety.

I'm not talking about old-fashioned variety shows, but a variety of shows, in different genres, and different styles. The competition between studios, and independent production companies meant that there was a steady supply of new ideas crashing against the rocks of narrow TV network mindsets, and eventually a few drips of something good will get through.

When the networks tried to monopolize their schedules with stuff from their own studios suddenly the competition moved away from the networks to cable channels.

The broadcast nets are opening their door slightly to outsiders, but are also hoping to freshen their blood by buying smaller companies that have track records and libraries.

ITV shares those reasons with CBS, but it also has one of its own: America.

Purchasing Dick Clark Productions gives ITV a foothold in an English language TV market that's way bigger than the one in their native England. ITV exports a lot of shows to America via PBS and cable networks, and it can expand their place in this market.

Let the bidding war begin!


The interns who are suing Fox Searchlight over being unpaid interns on the movie Black Swan are expanding their suit to include all interns working for the 20th Century Fox movie/media empire.

Do unpaid internships suck?  

Are they over-used by greedy studios? 

Of course, but I wrote about this story before, the aggrieved interns seem to have missed the point of internships, and I don't think they're suit is really going to change anything other than make them unemployable in the movie business.


Fox is letting the rights to the Marvel superhero Daredevil lapse, and, come October, he'll be back home with Marvel Productions and Disney. 

This development fizzles out rumors that Fox wanted to hold onto Daredevil so much they were willing to trade their rights to elements of the Fantastic Four to keep it, and could potentially put the kibosh to director Joe Carnahan's proposed 1970s period action flick for which he made this sizzle reel...

Personally, I don't think Fox was too keen to keep Daredevil. Their movie version with Ben Affleck as the blind crime-fighter did okay, but it wasn't a major blockbuster domestically, and they probably weren't too keen on rebooting it as a 70s movie.

However, there is a silver lining to this.

Right now Marvel/Disney/ABC are developing a series with Joss Whedon that would share the same fictional universe as their successful movie franchises, while not necessarily being a direct part of them.

Daredevil's a perfect fit for television. He's a "street level" hero, dividing his time between fighting traditional comic book costumed villains, ninjas, and normally dressed New York city mobsters, not massive alien invasions, world destroying disasters, or giant bug-eyed monsters.

That makes him affordable for small screen weekly adventures, that don't have to result in massive changes in Earth's geography that then must then be included in the movies for the sake of continuity.

The franchise also has a large supporting cast of friends, foes, and fellow travelers, extended story and character arcs, and frequent elements of personal tragedy. All things Joss Whedon has a good track record with.

Now I'm not predicting a Daredevil TV series here. I'm just saying that I think it would be a pretty good fit.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah,

    Good fit. He could cast relative unknowns to keep the cost down. Hire some guy with decent parkour guy to double DD and Bob's your uncle. But I don't think it's likely.

    I haven't seen Avengers so I can only go on his other stuff but his action is kind of static until Serenity. Maybe budget held him back?

    There is Favereau (sp?) who could use some retrenching in lower budget stuff. He could write and direct.

    Rainforest Giant