We look at the shake-up in late night TV and other 2014 show biz stories to come. Plus, how producer Ian Collie adapted his documentary about Mary Poppins author PL Travers into the Disney film Saving Mr. Banks. Lots of controversy in the adaptation of a documentary and primary documents and interviews.
Banner image: P.L. Travers, courtesy of Essential Media
Hollywood News Banter
Michael Schneider of TV Guide Magazine and host of KCRW's The Spin-off joins Kim Mastersand John Horn of the Los Angeles Times to discuss the entertainment news stories they're anticipating in 2014.
Was George Lucas Right? Will the movie theater experience become an expensive rarity with most films heading to the small screen? Will people pay $50 for a premium theater experience...at the movies. Once upon a time they spent the equivelent for theater ushered seating and a VIP environment. Lucs sees the trent toward event movies, but in 2012 and 2013 the big films were not the tent-polls they once were. Will the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and only the wealthy can afford to go and see a film. Maximization of releases, new platforms (direct on demand, early blue ray release, Internet distrigution) and high percentage rathe rthan dollar return on films may become the televised movie theater experience.
-The Consumer Electronics Show opens tomorrow in Las Vegas. The industry is less involved than in previous years, but will still be there in force. Among the promised "virtual reality gaming" (VP has been promised since the 1970's). More than 26,000 new products will be unveiled this week. most flop commercially. Waiting for bugs to be worked out, brand names, a demand from consumers and reasons to spend on the product if consumers are happy with what they have. Or novelty products with no shelf life using the latest technology. WiFi, media convergence, "thinking" appliances, and communication between devises may dominate the new product roll outs. 3D is weakening, but a new competitor for going the the theater will see a heavy showcase, with several differing systems to bring theater quality video projection to the home, promising Super HD, Enhanced HD, Theater HD and Real-D/TV.
- An uncertain future for late night TV. With Jimmy Fallon replacing Leno and Seth Meyers taking his show, how will these late night changes impact the TV landscape? Has society moved to Fallon's more abrasive comedy and away from Carson-Leno content interviews and harmless jibes and respect for guests? Have we been "talk showed" out? What about Letterman and an increasing field of alternatives in the same time slot? And is news dead with the end of Dateline? Where will Leno land. He does not have a no compete when his contract ends. Jimmy Kimmell at ABC is gaining the key sought after 18 to 40 audience. Arsineo Hall is doing OK, but no where near his former heights. Meanwhile a key audience, young men, are watching "Adult Swim", dating or playing video games.
- With MBA types taking over top jobs at movie studios, what sorts of movies will Hollywood be making? Do we need the suit in the job? Will this mean a move away from story and creative to statistical analysis, delivering product, delivering it with guaranteed profit or calculated loss. What happens to the patron of the arts who are seeing studios dropping independent distribution arm sand turning the into genre arms of the studio.
WGN America and Discovery are entering the first run high prestige programing niche. Amazon, Hulu, You Tube, Blockbuster and even X-Box/Microsoft are now competing with Netflix model of prime original programing. Time-Warner have new leadership who say they will "update" their brands, leaving behind the niche targeting specific format networks, as has Comcast-Universal-NBC and Viacom. Webisodes, You-Tube, and short format entertainment are appealing to decreasing attention spans and younger audiences. So can anyone crystal ball the future of Hollywood when it comes to movies, television and programming traditionally classified under those umbrellas?
Saving Mr. Banks' Producer
Ian Collie is an Australian producer whose TV documentary, The Shadow of Mary Poppins, was the inspiration for the feature Saving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson as author PL Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. That film tells the story of how Travers' greatest invention -- Mary Poppins -- became a Hollywood film. Collie talks about the process of adapting Travers' complicated life to the big screen and how the script ended up on the Blacklist before finally getting the green light from Disney. Collie is also executive producer of the upcoming Fox TV drama, Rake, starring Greg Kinnear. Collie, who had produced the original series for Australian television, discusses the appeal of making a series in his home country, whose format could then be sold to American TV.