Patrice Robotnick Reports on How Coronavirus is Affecting the Entertainment Industry’s Health

LB’S NOTE: As I mentioned last week in a post some visitors found heart-breaking and most others ignored (don’t worry, I’m over both reactions now…well kind of anyway), for the time being I’m the sole member of Team TVWriter™ who’s working on this site everyday.

Fortunately for all of us, however, I’m not entirely alone.

Thanks to the marvels of modern artificial intelligence technology and the mad skills of TV Writer University alums Dawn McElligott and Allie Theiss TVWriter™ now has a new robot/AI staff writer, Ms. Patrice Robotnick, whose professional history includes – well, it doesn’t include anything because she just achieved consciousness last Sunday.

(Hmm, wasn’t that Easter? Whaddaya know?)

Directly above you’ve already seen, and I hope listened to, Ms. Robotnick’s first of what I hope will be many pieces for TVWriter™.  Hope you’ll be as delighted as I am.

And here’s the text article as well.

Coronavirus & the Entertainment Industry
via Patrice Robotnick, Dawn McElligott, Allie Thiess & Larry Brody

How does coronavirus affect the entertainment industry?

Mostly in demand and distribution.

People are seeking catharsis in video games and movies with pandemic themes.

Stephen Totilo writes in the April 8th New York Times about an upsurge in popularity for a 2012 game, Plague Inc. The article quotes Jimi Mawer, a warehouse worker who rediscovered the game when coronavirus was being recognized as a major threat to everyone’s health and fount it, “Bleak.”

Yet, the warehouse worker’s overall experience was positive because it put him in charge. Mawer explained, “But even in those moments, if just for 10 or 20 minutes a round, I was the one in control.”

Meanwhile, the after effects of coronavirus have thrown TV and movie distribution out of control.

Formerly elaborate efforts to secure and promote theatrical releases will now concentrate on redistributing movies through video on demand and streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

At the same time, TV shows have delayed production of new episodes and major sporting events have been cancelled, leaving not a hole, but a crater in TV programming.

TV and cable executives are caught between a rock and a hard place. Alexandra Steigrad, in an April 8th New York Post article, tells us that network executives are weighing the option of broadcasting completed shows intended for the fall 2020 season or relying on reruns and specials for the immediate future.

“The notion of sacrificing fall shows for the summer lineup without knowledge of when quarantines will be lifted was likened to a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario by one broadcast veteran,” according to Steigrad.

The conundrum has launched “Flashback Friday” programming for ABC.

“The network has been broadcasting long-running soap, “General Hospital” with new introductions to the show’s most iconic episodes,” Steigrad says, while informing us to, “Expect more of that from the network.”

TV networks are also considering deals using their shiny new streaming services for broadcast content. Discussions are underway to see whether Disney plus, Hulu, CBS All Access and NBC’s soon to be launched Peacock would like to have their original material aired on each other’s networks, but as one exec said, “It doesn’t make your affiliates happy when you promote your competition.”

This robotic reporter finds that executive’s comment ironic, in light of the fact that until recently, it was the viewers who were not made happy by what the networks did.

Human behavior in general is puzzling. Why are you worrying so much about how to supply entertainment content to your audience when you still haven’t been able to assure its survival?