Monday, March 8, 2021
COVID can stop anything...except an awards show. 'Tis the season.
As the Golden Globes proved only a short time ago, it's difficult for even the most talented hosts to pull off an entertaining three hour show celebrating the finest in the industry. Ratings are low for a reason.
Where did this awards show obsession come from, and why did viewers stop caring? It wasn't COVID...it was accessibility. Back in the day when the Oscars got numbers that rivaled the Super Bowl, that viewing experience was a unique one. The red carpet provided the only access to the biggest movie stars. They were not "just like us." And it worked.
These days, a quick internet search provides photos and the latest dirt on your favorite entertainment celeb. With so many ways to become famous, it's difficult to stand out from amongst the crowd. And it's not all that special anymore. Awards shows fight an uphill battle when you can jump on Tik Tok to be entertained.
This weekend's awards shows have actually managed to change with the times - The Grammys and The Kids Choice Awards. Ratings might not show it, but these extravaganzas have never been about who wins or loses. They're all about entertainment, the reason that we watch TV in the first place.
Nickelodeon saw an opening 34 years ago and ripped a page out of the MTV (remember that network?) playbook. Create an awards show for the kids demographic and advertisers will jump right in. Not only that, any celeb in TV, movies and music that yearns for this audience will show up too. Win-win-win.
Childhood Nick star Kenan Thompson hosts KCA 2021 which will still have the slime and meaningless trophies for those hyping their latest projects. The vibe will be light, kids will scream, and a surprise A-lister will show up (probably for their own kids who are Nick fans) to be slimed. It's always about the spectacle and never about the blimps.
When it comes to the EGOTs, The Grammys were first to recognize its format desperately needed to change. A host's monologue was followed by tons of gramophone presentations for all genres of music with some performances scattered in. If you waited a couple hours, maybe you saw your favorite band perform a hit. That had to go.
Trevor Noah hosts the 63rd annual presentation which shifted back from January to March. With all due respect to Trevor, it doesn't matter who the host is. The Grammys have transformed into a 3 hour concert featuring all types of acts. You can thank Dick Clark and his American Music Awards for the programming nudge. That meaningless awards show emphasized the value of a big star performing rather than making an acceptance speech.
The Grammys learned that lesson. If you're not up on today's music, there's a tribute to a legendary artist. New musicians team with old ones. Eventually Trevor and some music stars will get to the awards, but they really don't matter. It's all about the music...as it should be.
Awards shows simply need to keep in mind that most of us read about who wins the next day. We are stuck at home courtesy of COVID, so please...entertain us!
(Shows Premiering That I'm Not A Fan Of But You Might Be!)
The Masked Singer (FOX) - One of the stupidest premises I've ever heard premieres its 5th season on Wednesday. Who's the dummy now?
Stay Out Of The Fucking Attic (SHUDDER) - Now that's a title. Thursday night.
Monday, March 1, 2021
Paramount+ arrives this Thursday.
You know, the giant mountain climbed by all those characters from CBS, Viacom networks and Paramount during the Super Bowl. It is the first major streaming network rebranding since HBO Max, but Paramount opted for the plus sign instead (another Apple innovation Disney also chose to follow).
Paramount+ is not a great name, but it's better than its predecessor CBS All Access which no one ever understood. It's a much better name than Peacock, which still reeks of "marketing genius" and zero practicality. This one was in the cards when Spike got rebranded as The Paramount Network. Everything is in a name - just ask Netflix.
But what exactly is Paramount+? When CBS and Paramount merged in 2019, it made sense to gather their properties under one roof. A major network, plenty of cable channels, and the Paramount film library is a worthy depository of content. After watching the confusing launch of HBO Max, Paramount had time to do this the right way.
CBS All Access had potential but a ridiculous price point for what it offered. If you are a Star Trek fan, it's bliss. It featured The Good Wife follow-up The Good Fight which stands on its own as a provocative watch. But everything else was CBS reruns, a few originals, and it felt pretty underwhelming.
If you currently have CBS All Access, all you have to do is go to Paramount+ with your existing login. That's it. Your account automatically transfers. Lesson learned from the HBO Go Now Max disaster.
If you're new to the service, there are separate plans a la Hulu for limited commercial or ad-free viewing (ad-free includes download capability). If you sign up annually versus monthly, you'll save a few bucks. The code PARAMOUNTPLUS gets you 50% off for a full year which is the way to go.
Here are some Paramount+ pluses. All the CBS shows in one place plus Star Trek originals, The Good Fight and Chappelle's Show. A deep dive into old CBS programs is on the table as well. On the movie side, new releases will be offered shortly after theatrical release as will old school franchises like Star Trek and James Bond. They promise live sports like the NFL and plenty of soccer.
This one is all about taste. If you have an affinity for any of the titles above and are excited about the next Mission Impossible film, Paramount+ could be for you. Any streaming service is worth a shot during its first year at a price point where they're giving it away. Break out your climbing gear and give Paramount+ a shot. Worst case, you just jump off the mountain into a sea of other streamers.
(Shows Premiering That I'm Not A Fan Of But You Might Be!)
The Voice - Season 20 features Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Nick Jonas in the twirly chairs.
VICE - Season 8 of this gritty news magazine premieres on Showtime this Sunday. The news is too depressing for me to watch.