I am heading back to the east coast after a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles (okay, Pasadena) where I sat in on the 2016 Television Critics Association Press tour for Netflixs big day of announcements. The TCA’s press tour is where all the networks showcase what they have in store for the next season. This includes actors, producers, directors, etc. sitting on panel discussions and answering any questions these critics have. (In case you arent aware, I have been part of an esteemed group of bloggers for Netflix called the StreamTeam for the past 3 years.)
The TCA is a very established group that covers all things tv and twice a year, they get together for two weeks and listen to the different networks announce their new, upcoming season. Apparently theyre a pretty tough crowd to please because throughout the day, I heard several handlers tell their stars things such as Theyre in a good mood today!, Theyre asking tough questions and so on. For our group to be included with these critics was a pretty huge deal. There were rules no pictures (I plead the 5th on that one), no asking questions, if you head up for the scrum, be discreet and so on.
Okay.. thats the debriefing on the TCA.. lets talk about the HUGE things that Netflix is doing in 2016. This will be the first in a series of posts that I’m doing… so much to cover!!
Netflix is Taking the Gloves Off
First and foremost, Netflix is investing $5 billion dollars to produce over 600 hours of entertainment for the world. 5 BILLION. Yall, thats big money. These guys are taking over the entertainment world and they are pulling out all the stops to do it. Sure, there are some great streaming options out there at the moment, most of which can be found by looking at this guide on StreamingMoviesRight.com, but none of them seem as committed to excellence as Netflix do right now. And its not just the viewers that love Netflix the actors, directors, producers and anyone involved in the creative process loves Netflix. During the panel for The Ranch, actor Ashton Kutcher (who I ran into twice in the lobby.and yes, he really is cute as a button) discussed how networks like CBS, ABC, NBC, etc. are killing the creative process because they have so many rules to follow. You cant talk about this kind of person, or that topic. You have to include this product in your shot because theyre paying ad dollars. He mentioned that when he did That 70s Show, they had 27 minutes of programming time by the time he got to 2 Men? 22. 5 minutes may not seem like a lot of time but think about how much content (and jokes!) can get covered in 5 minutes, so there was always a lot of great stuff getting cut to fit into the constraints. These people get excited when Netflix green-lights their work and its quickly becoming a big badge of honor to be with them.
Having this prestige and control means a lot of things but one that makes the industry a little bit crazy is this one Netflix doesnt disclose its ratings and numbers. They firmly believe that 1) They dont need to.. its their business, not ours and 2) Focusing on numbers takes away from whats important putting out amazing content.
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The Biggest Thing You Can Expect from the 2016 Netflix Season…
More family and teen shows.
Tell me I wasnt thrilled to hear that!! The main reason Netflix brought me and my colleagues out was to specifically cover Degrassi: Next Class and Fuller House. (Ill have a full post on both shows shortly) Recognizing that there is a big gap in shows that cater to families (think 70s, 80s, 90s programming) and the tween/teen age group (teens are their biggest audience and the most avid of binge watchers) you will start seeing a lot more of these kind of shows. Degrassi: Next Class premiered last Friday (1/15/16) and they are already hearing great things from the audiences (catch the trailer here). The other much-anticipated show is Fuller House. Going back to a system that was wildly popular in the 80s and 90s, this format of show is one that Netflix feels is missing from other networks wholesome show that the whole family can watch together and everyones entertained. How many times have you suffered thru a show on one of the other channels that your kids wanted you to watch with them? Some of the shows I watch(ed) with my girls were fine but others (Dog With a Blog anyone?!) made me want to dig my eyeballs out of their sockets. I cant wait to fill you in on all the fun and juicy details on both of these shows but for now, I just have to leave it at this Degrassi is awesome and Fuller House is going to be a great one as well!
Finally, there are even more shows in the works for teens & tweens this year that they wont even talk about yet. Chatting with Brian Wright after the Fuller House round-table discussion, he was almost giddy with excitement at the shows they have in the works for their teen and tween audience members and Im honestly just as excited!
What else? Oh right they had the most amazing photo booth EVAH. Just because there was no panel on House of Cards doesnt mean they wanted you to forget that its an election year for Frank
Hope you guys are as excited as I am for what is lining up to be a pretty amazing year of Netflix viewing. Make sure you check back for the next post as I dish on ALL the great things you can expect to see in 2016!!