November 29, 2005Technology)
Warner Bros. and AOL are teaming up to launch a broadband network featuring free, on-demand episodes of over 300 Warner Bros. shows, including Pinky & the Brain, Growing Pains, Welcome Back Kotter, Freakazoid and more. The network, called In2TV, will feature six separate channels and be funded by advertising and sponsorship, both instream commercials and surrounding ads. Commercials will be limited to two minutes per half-hour, compared to eight minutes per half-hour on broadcast TV. The network will launch in January.
The web-based channel will have video available in a DVD-quality format called AOL Hi-Q. It's expected that the channel will be offering freebies as a way to hook audiences before moving the shows to a pay-on-demand format. Which could explain why Warner Bros. classics like Pinky & the Brain and Animaniacs have yet to come to DVD (though it appears both are scheduled for a mid-2006 DVD release).
November 15, 2005Buzz)
There's nothing new under the sun, especially in Hollywood. First Sylvester Stallone is considering new installments of both Rocky and Rambo. Then there's the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones saga starring a 63-year-old Harrison Ford. Add to that rumors of another Die Hard movie, possibly starring (gulp) Justin Timberlake as Bruce Willis' son.
And now there's a Terminator TV show in the works. Thankfully it will focus on Sarah Connor and will probably not involved California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.Buzz)
Star Wars producer Rick McCallum talks about the upcoming live action Star Wars TV show (upcoming as in after 2007) and the DVD extras in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, including a scene of Yoda arriving on Dagobah and the first meeting of the Rebel Alliance.
November 14, 2005TV)
With TV shows being sold on iTunes, NBC and CBS jumping into the single episode sales business, the increasing use of TiVo and the continual rise of TV shows on DVD, the future of TV is a big, fat question mark. A New York Metro magazine article explores the possibility, including the intriguing idea of a canceled show being revived by fans subscribing to it. Slate explores similar ground.
In a nutshell, one million fans ponying up $40 for a season of a TV show gives a producer $40 million to work with. At $1.5 million an episode for an hour long drama, that makes it pretty feasible to do a 22-episode season without ever having the show appear on traditional TV channels. Add in extra revenue sources like single download episodes, merchandising, DVDs and syndication or re-broadcast rights and it just might work.
Of course you still need one million fans and the ability to convince them to pony up $40, but it's within the realm of possibility. Whether or not anyone realizes it, TV is changing.Buzz)
Writer and director Joss Whedon, the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity, addressed fans on the Whedon-focused blog Whedonesque. He covered a range of issues, including his reaction to Serenity's disappointing box office numbers ($25 million as of last weekend, though I'm sure Universal will milk a profit once the DVD comes out--I mean, c'mon: The Greatest Game Ever Played hasn't even earned $15 million yet, so they're not doing that bad), a new Buffy comic book that's effectively season eight of the show, and his recent progress on Wonder Woman.
In other Serenity news, the DVD comes out December 20. Whedon also has a comment about the cover (what's with slutty River?):
I know there's been some debate about the DVD art. Just remember it's what's INside that counts, as I used to remind girls in high school constantly. CONSTANTLY - until I realized that I was empty inside. Empty and homely. Man, that's a rough combo.
And that's why I love Joss Whedon.