Inside Streaming - December 5th, 2019

Inside Streaming (Dec 5th, 2019)

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1. The merger between CBS and Viacom officially closed on Wednesday. The two companies had already been corporate siblings under the ownership of the conglomerate National Amusements. The new company, known as ViacomCBS, will be led by Shari Redstone, who has actively pursued the merger since 2016; it will control the CBS network, Paramount Pictures, publisher Simon & Schuster, and a number of cable channels, such as Comedy Central, MTV, BET, and Nickelodeon. Notable ViacomCBS properties and franchises include "Mission: Impossible," "Star Trek," and "SpongeBob SquarePants." ViacomCBS has no plans to launch its own destination streaming platform (though it owns several, including Pluto TV and CBS All Access), but will focus on providing licensed content for third-party platforms. For example, Paramount currently produces "Jack Ryan" for Amazon, and "Dead to Me" for Netflix. – NYT

2. Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux will star in a five-episode HBO limited series about the Watergate scandal. Harrelson and Theroux will portray Nixon aides E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, respectively, in "The White House Plumbers," which is in part based on the book "Integrity" by Egil “Bud” Krogh and Matthew Krogh. The two actors will also executive produce the series, which was created by former "Veep" writer/producers Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck. Harrelson previously appeared in the first season of HBO's "True Detective," while Theroux was the lead on the landmark HBO series "The Leftovers." – VARIETY


A CHRISTMAS PRINCE: THE ROYAL BABY: The third film in Netflix's holiday comedy franchise once again stars Rose McIver and Ben Lamb, as the new King and Queen of the fictional country of Aldovia. But before Queen Amber gives birth, the royal couple must renew an ancient truce with another faraway kingdom. [Netflix]

V WARS: Sci-fi horror series, based on the comic books by Jonathan Maberry and Alan Robinson, about a viral outbreak that kicks off a war between humans and vampires. Ian Somerhalder, Adrian Holmes, and Laura Vandervoort star. [Netflix]

GREENLEAF: The drama series, which airs on Oprah's OWN cable network, returns with a fourth season. The story follows members of the wealthy and influential Greenleaf family, who operate a megachurch in Memphis. Lynn Whitfield, Keith David, and Merle Dandridge star. [Netflix]

HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: Original comedy-drama series from Norway starring Ida Elise Broch as a perpetually single woman who searches for a boyfriend to bring home for Christmas, after lying to her family about having one. [Netflix]

APACHE: LA VIDA DE CARLOS TEVEZ: Eight part scripted drama series from Argentina based on the childhood and early life of soccer star Carlos Tevez. [Netflix]

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO: Jimmie Fails stars in this acclaimed 2019 indie drama film that's partly based on his own experiences trying to reclaim his childhood home in San Francisco's Fillmore District. [Amazon]

THE MOODY'S: This debut Fox comedy series, about a dysfunctional family's Christmas reunion, is based on an Australian series of the same name. Denis Leary, Elizabeth Perkins, Jay Baruchel, Francois Arnaud, and Chelsea Frei star. [Hulu]

KILLERS ANONYMOUS: In this 2019 crime thriller, a support group for killers tries to determine which of their members is responsible for a failed assassination attempt on a US senator. Gary Oldman and Jessica Alba co-star. [Hulu]

4. The Netflix-produced Taylor Swift documentary "Miss Americana" will debut at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The film looks into the life, background and cultural significance of Swift and her music. It will screen at Sundance on January 23 and then arrive on Netflix sometime in the spring. "Miss Americana" was directed by Lana Wilson ("After Tiller," "The Departure") and produced by Morgan Neville and Caitrin Rogers ("20 Feet From Stardom"). Swift briefly referenced an upcoming Netflix project in a social media statement regarding her ongoing legal dispute with former label Big Machine. – COLLIDER


This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Sony PlayStation console, which has officially been named the all-time best-selling home video console brand. (This number does not include handheld gaming devices, only standalone consoles.) An estimated 45 million units have sold since the very first PlayStation consoles went on sale in Japan on December 3, 1994; other countries followed soon after in 1995.

Breakout game titles in that first year included "Ridge Racer," "Battle Arena Toshinden," and "King's Field," but at first, the PlayStation lagged far behind rival consoles from Nintendo and Sega. A lower price point (PlayStations sold for $299, as opposed to $399 for the comparable Sega Saturn console) helped to popularize the new system, as did the arrival of a number of breakthrough games and characters, such as Crash Bandicoot, Parappa the Rapper, and Spyro. The PlayStation also became the leading console for role-playing games, including Square's mega-hit "Final Fantasy" series.

The PlayStation 2, which launched in the year 2000, was the first Sony console to include limited online features. In 2011, the company introduced the Sony Entertainment Network, which brought together online gaming and streaming entertainment through a central hub. The company currently has plans to introduce a fifth PlayStation in 2020.

6. Hulu's animated "Tigra & Dazzler Show," based on the Marvel Comics characters, has been put on hold following the dismissal of showrunner Erica Rivinoja and her writing team. The show is one of four animated Marvel Comics adaptations coming to Hulu, along with series based on Hit-Monkey, M.O.D.O.K. and Howard the Duck. The characters will also appear in a team-up series called "The Offenders," but the delay on "Tigra and Dazzler" will not impact the crossover plans. Rivinoja -- who previously wrote on "The Addams Family" and "Girls Trip" -- and her team had completed multiple scripts and outlines which will now be abandoned in favor of a new creative direction. The show will center on "woke" best friends Tigra and Dazzler, who are attempting to gain more attention for their valiant deeds in a Los Angeles that's overrun with heroes. – THR

7. Billboard reported that singer Billie Eilish earned $25 million for an upcoming Apple TV+ documentary about her life. The film, a collaboration with Eilish's label, Interscope Records, has already wrapped production and was apparently shopped to multiple possible distributors. Eilish has been named Apple Music’s Artist of the Year and performed at the company's inaugural Apple Music Awards on Wednesday. – BILLBOARD

8. "Watchmen" episodes are drawing an average of 7.1 million viewers to HBO, across all TV and streaming platforms, making it a bonafide hit for the network. These numbers are good enough to make "Watchmen" the most popular debut HBO series of 2019, and the network's most-watched freshman series since "Big Little Lies." According to Nielsen, Sunday's episode -- titled "An Almost Religious Awe" -- drew the most viewers since the show's premiere, with 779,000 people watching live and 1.2 million views across all HBO platforms. The show has not yet been renewed for more seasons. – VARIETY

9. This week's episode of "South Park" -- titled "Basic Cable" -- sent up Disney+ and commented on the ongoing streaming wars. The episode -- the second to last of the show's current 23rd season -- was a one-off dedicated to supporting character Scott Malkinson, and ended with a mock ad offering to sell the streaming rights for "The Scott Malkinson Show." The number featured in the ad actually connects to a real phone service in Fairplay, Colorado; fans who called were greeted by recorded messages from "South Park" co-creator Trey Parker, optioning a variety of fake shows. The episode focuses on Malkinson's father, who works for the cable company and refuses to upgrade his family to Disney+."South Park" airs on Comedy Central; "Basic Cable" is now available to stream on Hulu. – THR

Lon Harris is the writer and editor of Inside Streaming, and was the very first person to ever write an Inside newsletter. He lives in Los Angeles, California, and also writes about TV and film for Fandom, Screen Junkies, Rotten Tomatoes, Gamma Ray and others. He competes on The Movie Trivia Schmoedown as "The Professor." You can follow him on Twitter @lons

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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