Netflix Make Record Deal For The Blacklist

While an announcement of new streaming rights is hardly a surprising topic for Netflix to get into, it is believed that their newest one has cost them the most financially.

the_blacklist_promoWith the recently-confirmed acquisition of streaming rights to NBC crime drama The Blacklist, it is rumoured that Netflix have paid a huge average of $2 million per episode for the chance to broadcast the show to subscribers, breaking not only their own company records, but unsurprisingly given their position a record average fee paid in the streaming industry as a whole for a TV series.

The gleeful recipients of this money will be series production studio Sony Pictures TV, who will have received $44m in total for the 22-episode first season if the reported figures are correct.

The previous record holder in the ‘per episode’ category was The Walking Dead on AMC, which AMC were paid $1.35 million per episode for, again by Netflix.

The critically-acclaimed series, which stars James Spader and Megan Boone (pictured), held strong ratings and record-breaking time-shift and DVR performances. Looking to cash in further, Sony are believed to be planning to sell syndication rights as well, taking total earnings for each episode above current market leaders Elementary on CBS (with $3m for each installment). With a second 22-episode season to come beginning 22 September, Sony aren’t about to get blacklisted from banks anytime soon…

Amazon Transgender Original Series Given Premiere Date

Whilst Netflix continue creating, releasing, and promoting their range of original content, one of their closest streaming rivals Amazon are doing likewise, with Amazon Instant Video announcing a release date for their latest project that is less than a month away.

transparent_titleSet to launch as a full 10-episode series as of 26 September, new comedy series Transparent , created by Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under), will look to break further boundaries in the entertainment industry with a lead character that is transgender.

That character, played by Jeffrey Tambor, will be the focus of the show in which his family react to and live their lives following the father’s revelation of being a transgender person. ‘Fellow cast members are set to include Amy Landecker, Gaby Hoffmann, Jay Duplass, and Judith Light as regulars, and Carrie Brownstein, Melora Hardin, and Rob Huebel in recurring roles.

Speaking of Transparent’s upcoming inagural season, Soloway stated: “I am beyond excited to share Transparent with the world through Amazon. They’ve been so supportive through this incredible process. Artistically, it’s been a dream come true. I absolutely got to make the show I wanted to make.”

Set to premiere initially to both US and UK audiences, Transparent was first confirmed for its first season in March by Amazon separate from their more common Amazon Studios ‘viewer pilot’ process, so while there have been no test audiences to trial the concept with, will this comedy become a successful and barrier-knocking format? At least the length alone should mean the subject matter is treated more delicately than other shows have managed:

QBracelet Plans To Charge Into Fashion Market

Whilst Google Glass or something similar is the technology product that is most likely to be seen around a person’s forehead, and a smartwatch for a wrist, that still leaves one other wrist ripe for a technology format to claim as their own in the industry, and one company have staked their claim with a new product announcement.

qbracelet_openQBracelet, the name of the company and of their future flagship ‘wearable accessory’, hope to have the next big thing for portable devices, as they look to merge fashion and functionality by selling large bracelets to consumers… with the additional feature that it works as a mobile device charger.

Currently available for American pre-orders in both micro-USB and Apple Lightning compatible form from $79, the QBracelet is claimed to be a dual-functional accessory that is able to deliver ‘an additional 60% of power’ to a user’s handset, according to HUH Magazine, with an easily-portable means to carry emergency power stored within the wristwear.

The developers of the product stated: “We look at the world around us differently, and identify opportunities to improve it. Through creativity and hard work we create products that are elegant, effortless and extraordinarily useful. With cutting edge technology, smart design and remarkable beauty at the heart of everything we do, we aim to bring simplicity and creativity to every aspect of life.”

With the idea sounding good yet niche on paper, will a surge of silver bullet to the pinnacle of the wearable technology industry? QBracelet in action can be seen below to aid your early judgments:

The video description adds: “The QBracelet is a stylish bracelet designed for both men and women that has the ability to charge smartphones and other electronics. Lightweight, elegant and crafted from the highest quality materials, the QBracelet comes in brushed and matte black, polished and matte silver and polished gold. The QBracelet comes in two configurations, micro-usb for Android or similar devices, and an Apple Lightning connector version for Apple devices. The QBracelet is available in sizes small, medium and large.”

Though their chances look promising at present, the QBracelet would have plenty of competition in the niche wristwear technology market if someone were able to project Google’s augmented reality methods through an anime-inspired arm-based item:

Sherlock Plan Devastation For Season 4

A show that perhaps embodies the idea of ‘British Berevity‘ more than any other, BBC and PBS series Sherlock, currently on 3 seasons and 9 episodes, have announced some vague details regarding the content of their next season.

sherlock_bbcThe mini-series, which will have a 4th season early next year preceded by a Christmas special, is already secured in for a 5th as well, and executive producer Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) has claimed that it will be better than the critically-acclaimed previous ones.

Speaking at the Primetime Emmy Awards this week in which Sherlock was the joint-second most successful show on 3 awards, Moffat noted that there is a ‘devastating’ storyline planned for the special and next 3-episode season.

He said of the ambiguous idea: “We practically reduced our cast to tears by telling them the plan. Mark [Gatiss] and myself are so excited with what we’ve got coming up, probably more excited than we’ve ever been about Sherlock… Honestly, I think we can [go better than the last season].”

Moffatt also made a statement regarding the honours won this week on the NBC awards show (which were for Benedict Cumberbatch as ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie‘, Martin Freeman for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie‘, and the show’s season 3 finale “His Last Vow” with the ‘Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special‘ category), and of how they hope it will boost the shows’ profile in their current markets: “We were just starting to think that that phase of our lives was dying down, because as shows get older they don’t win as often – just like people. We’re delighted that we’ve made it here and hopefully this gets more people watching. That’d be great.”

Whether the format can become more critically-acclaimed as planned will have to wait until this time two years from now for the more formal recognition, but only mid-January 2016 for the audiences to react to the latest addition to a modern adaptation of a classic character:

Ricky Gervais Makes Netflix Superfan Commercial

While his cannot technically be considered to be in the Netflix original category, English comedian Ricky Gervais is still ingrained enough in the online streamer’s realm of exclusive programming in the USA (through 2-season Channel 4 sitcom Derek) to be asked to be the focal point of a new commercial for them.

ricky_gervais_netflixFollowing hot in the hoof footsteps of esteemed 90′s actor BoJack Horseman, Gervais’ spot for the service sees him audition for roles on leading Netflix programming including House of Cards, Lilyhammer, and Orange is the New Black.

It is clear, though, that he is out of place in these shows (the attacks on his accent not quite as justified), and fortunately he also realises, ending with the tagline “…maybe I’m better off just watching.”

An official video description of the advert summarises: “Ever been so engrossed in a show that you just want to be in it? Ricky Gervais knows the feeling. Start your one month free trial and get sucked into the entertainment of today featuring award-winning original shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Derek and Lilyhammer only on Netflix. Start your free trial at netflix.com.”

While Netflix is growing fast enough for many people to know about what they have the chance to see, will this cross-over commercial help make more of those people aware a little quicker? Below is the trailer in full, complete with the obligatory ‘outtakes’ video:

Friends Fans In New York Have Central Perk

Perhaps in the mould of Secret Cinema but without the ‘secret’ or ‘cinema’ parts, a tribute to former hit sitcom Friends is emerging in less than a month in New York City (USA).

central_perk_friendsFans of the show, or just passers-by, will be able to drop in on a pop-up store version of ‘Central Perk’, a coffee shop that was a favourite hangout of the characters in the 10-season NBC show. Based in the Manhattan area of the city, the month-long run of the shop (from 17 September – 18 October) is being designed in part of celebrations for the 20th anniversary Friends‘ premiere in 1994 (on 22 September), the start of a run that lasted through to 2004, 236 episodes later.

The Central Perk store as with most of these things will act mainly as a memorabilia stop, with the area taking the form of a recreated set that also incorporates museum-style prop displays and cast pictures, complete with the less-protected orange couch that is claimed to be the authentic piece used notably on the show, with the show’s development studio Warner Bros. encouraging that pictures be taken there.

Meanwhile, Eight O’ Clock Coffee, one of the sponsors of the event, are offering a ‘limited-edition special blend’ created to celebrate the show’s 20 years, one of many cups that will be served for free, with even more promotions and special events designed for 29 September, American National Coffee Day.

With big luck for fans of the show, that coffee might be served by actor James Michael Tyler (who played barista “Gunther” in the show), set to make a number of special guest appearances throughout the month, along with weekly musical performances at the venue including original song ‘Smelly Cat’. Additional show-based services at the store will include giveaways and contests, with Friends box sets and coffee packs amongst prizes to be won, and ‘Friends-themed merchandise’ for sale.

Located at 199 Lafayette Street, SoHo, Manhattan, the city’s latest attraction will have plenty of visitors for the free drinks alone, but will it help to continue to pave the way for immersive production-based experiences?