Better call Netflix? Streaming platforms poaching top TV talent

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Sunday’s Primetime Emmy winners will take home shiny trophies and bask in congratulations, but their biggest payoff could come in a call from Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) or Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

In recent months, the two streaming networks have lured the makers of pioneering shows from broadcast and cable networks with big cash offers and promises of creative freedom.

“Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and the like are really putting their money where their mouth is,” said Melissa Rosenberg, a former writer on Showtime’s “Dexter” who moved to Netflix to create the dark superhero show “Jessica Jones.”

“They’re paying creators, extraordinary actors, and for the budgets of shows equal or better than basic cable or network TV,” she said.

Some of television’s biggest names have deserted network and cable for streaming.

Netflix enticed Shonda Rhimes away from her longtime home on Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) ABC, where she developed hits like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.” It also landed filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen for a western anthology series after their success with a TV spinoff of their movie “Fargo” on FX (FOXA.O).

Amazon lured Matthew Weiner, who put AMC on the map with his Emmy award-winning “Mad Men,” to develop an anthology series called “The Romanoffs.” It also has brought on Robert Kirkman, the man behind the basic cable network’s current most-watched show, “The Walking Dead,” to create new shows.

Netflix, which received 91 Emmy nominations this year, has a shot at winning its first best drama series award with supernatural mystery “Stranger Things” or British royal saga “The Crown,” whose reported $130 million budget is the most expensive TV production ever.

Hulu’s critically acclaimed “The Handmaid’s Tale” could bring the joint venture streaming platform its first major Emmys.

STILL IN THE RACE

Cable and traditional television are still forces to be reckoned with, though.

FILE PHOTO: An Amazon.com Inc driver stands next to an Amazon delivery truck in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 21, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

“Traditional media companies are scrambling, saying: ‘How do we beat back so much money being thrown at TV?’” said Peter Csathy, chairman of media and technology advisory firm CREATV Media.

“The challenge is about compelling storytelling and keeping talent amid those forces,” he added.

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