Airdate: The Midnight Sky

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George Clooney’s new feature film The Midnight Sky will be released on Netflix in December after an earlier cinema release.

This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine (George Clooney), a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully (Felicity Jones) and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.

Clooney directs the adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s novel Good Morning, Midnight, co-starring David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir and Tiffany Boone.

Directed by: George Clooney
Screenplay by: Mark L. Smith
Based on the Book by: Lily Brooks-Dalton
Produced By: Grant Heslov, p.g.a., George Clooney, p.g.a., Keith Redmon, Bard Dorros, Cliff Roberts
Executive Producers: Barbara A. Hall, Todd Shuster, Jennifer Gates, Greg Baxter

Wednesday December 23 on Netflix.


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Studio71 To Drop First Scripted Podcast, A Halloween Genre-Bender With Madelaine Petsch

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Studio71, which has increasingly made podcasting a key focus of its business, is set to launch its first scripted serialized show this week.

The company — which is undergoing a massive leadership shift — has partnered with Snarled Entertainment on The Shadow Diaries. The genre-bending series features the voices of Madelaine Petsch (Riverdale) and Kara Hayward (Moonrise Kingdon), was directed by K. Asher Levin, and was co-written by Levin and Zack Imbrogno. Episodes one and two will bow on Wednesday ahead of Halloween.

Snarled Entertainment, for its part, is a podcast and video company founded in 2019 by Gayle Gilman. Its YouTube channel, home to the popular Something Scary animated series, counts over 2 million subscribers. Something Scary also comprises an accompanying podcast.

The Shadow Diaries stars Petsch as popstar Eliza Gold, with Hayward playing a journalist assigned to shadow her childhood idol. But, as she continues her investigation, Hayward’s character discovers that Gold’s comeback may be the sinister workings of a mysterious, potentially demonic group called ‘The Divinity’.

“I wanted to create a narrative podcast that would captivate fans of Snarled Entertainment’s weekly ghost stories, as well as fans of the typical horror genre seen in TV and films today,” Gilman, The Shadow Diaries‘ executive producer, said in a statement. “We’ve loved working with Studio71’s podcast team on Something Scary and their scripted team’s experience with the V/H/S horror anthology franchise made them the best partner for this edge-of-your-seat supernatural thriller series.”

Studio71’s podcast division has launched 30 unscripted series this year, including LaurDIY‘s Wild ‘Til 9 and Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast.

You can check out a trailer for The Shadow Diaries right here.

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MrBeast-Backed Gaming Venture Launches Backbone One, A Controller That Turns iPhones Into Consoles

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MrBeast-backed tech startup Backbone has launched its debut products: the Backbone One, a controller that turns iPhones into handheld Nintendo Switch-esque gaming consoles, and the Backbone app, a suite of content creation and social tools for gamers using the device.

Founded in 2018 by former YouTube/Google product manager Maneet Khaira, Backbone has attracted funding from numerous digital creators, including MrBeast (45.4 million subscribers on YouTube), 100 Thieves founder Nadeshot (3.27 million), Preston (15 million), Kwebbelkop (13.7 million), and Typical Gamer (10.4 million). It’s also backed by Night Media—the talent management agency representing MrBeast, Preston, and Typical Gamer—and Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures.

Backbone’s flagship controller costs $99 and works with iPhone 6S and up. Like most gaming controllers, it offers joysticks, a D-pad, A-B-X-Y buttons, bumpers, and triggers. Users snap their iPhone into the center of the controller, launch the Backbone app to connect it, and they’re good to go.

The company says Backbone One can be used with any game in the Apple Arcade library that is controller-friendly, including popular titles like Minecraft, Call of Duty: Mobile, Hyper Light Drifter, and Dead Cells.

As for the Backbone app, it lets users record and share gameplay clips (with voice commentary) to social platforms, plus play games with friends using a party and voice chat system. It’s also capable of livestreaming to YouTube and Twitch, Backbone says.

“We believe this will not only shift perception of playing games on mobile, but will also recast the entire mobile gaming landscape,” Khaira said in a statement.

You can see more about Backbone here.

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YouTube Adds New Navigational Gestures To Mobile App, Thumbnail View For Video ‘Chapters’

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YouTube has unveiled today several new navigational features for its mobile app, including new gesture-based capabilities, and further additions to its recently-released ‘Chapters’ tool.

In a round-up on its blog, product manager Reid Watson shared that Chapters, which allow viewers to more easily navigate or re-watch sections of lengthier videos — will now include a list view. It can be accessed by tapping or clicking a Chapter title in the video player, YouTube says, whereupon a list will drop down of every chapter in a video complete with accompanying preview thumbnails — with the idea that the visual cues will make it even easier to navigate. (Chapters are created using creator-supplied timestamps, and formerly appeared exclusively via text in video description boxes).

YouTube has also moved certain features around on its player page, including the captions button — which went from a dropdown menu to its own prominent spot at the top right-hand corner of the player (pictured above). The autoplay toggle has also been moved to the top center of the player, enabling viewers to switch autoplay on or off while watching a video — a change that YouTube is testing for desktops as well, the company said.

Users will also be able to switch from seeing how much time is counting down on a video to how much time has already elapsed by simply tapping the timestamp, Watson said.

Finally, YouTube is adding new gestures to its existing offer, which already includes the ability to double tap to fast forward or rewind 10 seconds. Now, in order to enter or exit full screen mode, users can simply swipe up or down, respectively. And, going forward, Watson said, YouTube will roll out new ‘suggested actions’ — which prompt users to rotate their phones or play a video in VR in order to optimize the viewing experience when YouTube deems it appropriate.

The updates are rolling out on both iOS and Android today, Techcrunch reports.

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The 24 Best Modern TV Shows Set in the 1980s

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The 80s were fabulous, what with all the dyed hair, neon clothing, flashy prints, shiny makeup, and lots of hairspray!

Cult classics on the big screen came from the ‘80s too, like The Breakfast Club, E.T., Rain Man, Back to the Future, Footloose, the Friday the 13th, and Poltergeist franchises, and a couple of movies from Indiana Jones.

World history and politics, on the other hand, saw the end of a 38-year Martial law in Taiwan, the end of a 20-year dictatorship in the Philippines, the Reagan administration in America, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Iran-Iraq War, and the devastating Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

With so many iconic moments in pop culture and history taking place in the 1980s, it only makes sense that there are so many modern movies and TV shows that take place in this decade – if not completely, at least in part.

So without further ado, here are the best modern TV shows set in the 1980s!

Stranger Things, Netflix (2016 – present)

In the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the early 1980s, Will Byers mysteriously disappears and at the same time, an unnamed girl with psychokinetic abilities suddenly turns up. Later dubbed Eleven by the group of boys that befriend her – Will’s best friends.

As events in Netflix’s Stranger Things unfold, it’s soon revealed that a scientific research lab in their town is conducting secret paranormal investigations and as an unwitting result, they’ve opened up a portal to an alternate universe they call “the Upside Down”. Eleven, along with Will’s friends, family, and the Hawkins sheriff scramble to find Will and prevent the creatures from the Upside Down from wreaking havoc on their town.

Halt and Catch Fire, AMC (2014 – 2017)

Unless you’re a computer engineer or programmer, it’s not likely that you’re familiar with the titular coding reference in AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. To introduce the idiomatic phrase in layman’s terms, Halt and Catch Fire or HCF is basically a coding instruction given to a computer to stop operating and require a restart.

Considering this was first used in IBM computers, AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire series pays homage to that as the main character Joe MacMillan is at the helm of a project to build an IBM PC clone. The series takes place over ten years and portrays a fictionalized version of the growth of personal computers and the World Wide Web.

The Americans, FX (2013 – 2018)

Following the inaugurations of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West rose to alarming heights and tensions continued to increase. It’s these several years, from 1981 to 1987, that serve as the backdrop for FX’s spy thriller, The Americans.

Allowing for perspectives from both sides of the war, The Americans follows the story of two KGB intelligence officers posing as an American married couple with two children in Washington, D.C., as well as their neighbor who is an FBI counterintelligence agent. The Americans also further explores the relationship and conflicts between the FBI and the KGB base of operations.

The Goldbergs, ABC (2013 – present)

Told primarily through the eyes (and video camera lens) of the youngest Goldberg, ABC’s The Goldbergs is a semi-autobiographical account of showrunner Adam Goldberg’s preadolescent and teenage years throughout the 1980s.

It tells the story of everyday life with the Goldbergs – their overprotective mother Beverly, apathetic but caring father Murray, musically gifted oldest sister Erica, goofy and confident older brother Barry, and of course, youngest child Adam, a pop culture obsessed kid who records his family’s life with his VHS camcorder. So many references are made to pop culture and real-life businesses in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, where the series is set.

Freaks and Geeks, NBC (1999 – 2000)

Freaks and Geeks is one of those gems that was canceled too early but still gained a loyal following, even two decades after it aired.

Lindsay Weir is a gifted high school student attending William McKinley High School in Chippewa, Michigan, in 1980, with her younger brother Sam. In an attempt to turn her reputation from mathlete to rebel, she befriends the school’s “freaks” a.k.a the slackers. At the same time, Sam’s friends are the school’s “geeks” who just want to find a place to fit in. These two different social groups and their various misadventures form the main narrative of Freaks and Geeks.

Red Oaks, Amazon Prime Video (2014 – 2017)

We all remember what it was like trying to plan our futures as college students: checking our options, looking for part-time jobs or internships, and the general anxiousness about the unknown. Well, Red Oaks brings that to life for a young Jewish college student named David Myers.

It’s 1985 and David takes a job at the Red Oaks Country Club in New Jersey while on summer break from NYU. From his colleagues and the country club clientele to his parents, David is getting all kinds of unsolicited advice on how he should be planning his future. Red Oaks is a coming-of-age story of a young man just trying to make the best choices for himself before summer ends.

This Is England ’86 (2010) and This Is England ’88 (2011), Channel 4

This is England ‘86 and This is England ‘88 are the first two miniseries sequels, respectively, of the 2006 film of the same name.

‘86 takes place three years after the original movie and is set against the backdrop of the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Moving on from the skinhead subculture that was central to the movie, ‘86 varies in its references between the mod revival subculture, new wave and psychobilly music genres, and both “chav” and mohican influences.

Two and a half years later, ‘88 takes place during the Christmas seasons and continues the narrative surrounding the main characters as they all struggle through their professional lives and romantic relationships.

Love, Nina, BBC One (2016)

Helena Bonham Carter is such a phenomenal character actress that it always takes some getting used to when she plays someone who’s, well, normal. In BBC One’s five-episode series Love, Nina, she plays George Bulut, a single mother whose character is based on the acclaimed editor of the London Review of Books, Mary-Kay Wilmers.

Set in 1982, Love, Nina is told from the perspective of Nina Stibbe, a 20-year-old Leicester native who moves to Primrose Hill, London when she is employed as a nanny for George’s two young boys. The show is based on (the real-life) Nina’s experience working for Wilmers and taking care of her sons, Sam, and Will.

Deutschland 83 (2015), Deutschland 86 (2018) and Deutschland 89 (2020), Sundance TV/Amazon Prime Video

Similar to the This is England franchise, Deutschland’s seasons are identified by the years they were set in, starting with Deutschland 83 which began, of course, in 1983.

Protagonist Martin Rauch is a 24-year old from East Germany who’s sent to the West as a spy for the German Democratic Republic’s intelligence agency. Though his mission was a success, he was forced to go into hiding, which is further chronicled in the Deutschland 86 sequel. In September 2020, the third sequel Deutschland 89 premiered and still follows Rauch in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Wicked City, ABC (2015)

Along the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles during the early 1980s, the glitz and glamor of West Hollywood is dimmed by Kent Grainger, a serial killer whose main goal – the most dangerous motive of all – is to gain notoriety through any means necessary.

Detectives Jack Roth and Paco Contreras are put on the case and despite their personal history, they use whatever contacts and resources they have at their disposal to try and get this dangerous man off the streets of LA. The stakes are upped when Kent finds his literal partner in crime, and the Detectives form unlikely partnerships with “reporters, drug dealers, and club-goers” in order to solve what’s likely the toughest case of their careers.

Everybody Hates Chris, UPN/The CW (2005 – 2009)

Everybody knows who Chris Rock is, right? Actor, comedian, controversial but hilarious Academy Awards host? Well, it would only make sense then for a show loosely based on his life would be just as funny as his standup comedy acts are.

Everybody Hates Chris is just that, and narrates the Rock’s life as a teenager, particularly when taking care of his younger siblings. Though the timeline in the show (1982 to 1987) is a little off from the reality, the events match up to his past and show the reality of growing up with the racial issues prevalent during that time.

The Carrie Diaries, The CW (2013 – 2014)

The Sex and the City franchise is an absolute classic of this generation, and Carrie Bradshaw is arguably the most recognizable character. After all, she is the narrator of the series and it’s even named after her weekly column! Carrie’s origin story is the main focus of the CW’s sequel, The Carrie Diaries.

A young Carrie Bradshaw is in her junior year of high school in 1984 and just wants to get out of her small town in Connecticut. From an internship at a law firm to choosing a full-time job at a magazine company over college at NYU, The Carrie Diaries shows how she explores the passions that will eventually set the path for her career as a columnist in New York City.

Snowfall, FX (2017 – present)

Los Angeles, 1983: a city wracked with crime and right on the cusp of the country’s first crack epidemic. Amidst the vast changes in the city culture as the drug scene continues to grow out of control, one crime family decides to capitalize on the lucrative trade of drug dealing.

FX’s Snowfall is told through the perspective of various characters involved in LA’s drug scene, all of whose lives will eventually cross down the line. This primarily includes the crime boss’s niece Lucia, the Mexican wrestler “El Oso”, a young drug dealer named Franklin, and Teddy McDonald, a CIA operative.

Mixed-ish, ABC (2019 – present)

Fans of the original Black-ish and its first spin-off Grown-ish have probably already fallen in love with the Johnson family at the center of both shows. Where Grown-ish follows the Johnson’s eldest daughter, the second spin-off Mixed-ish takes us back in time, to when matriarch Rainbow Johnson was growing up in the 1980s.

Narrated by Tracee Ellis Ross, who plays the adult Rainbow, she describes what it was like to grow up not only in a mixed-race family but also one that has just moved into the suburbs from a hippie commune. As they adjust to life in mainstream society, should they assimilate or stay true to their individualities?

GLOW, Netflix (2017 – 2019)

In the mid to late 1980s, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (or GLOW) series was born. It was a women’s professional wrestling promotion that, though initially dismissed as just a novelty that wouldn’t bring in any profit, has since inspired a documentary and now, a scripted original from Netflix.

GLOW features a fictionalized version of the real-life show and tells the story of several women in 1985 Los Angeles who were all struggling to make it as actresses. Their lives come together as the audition for GLOW, but soon find that conventional methods of acting won’t necessarily cut it in the world of wrestling promotions – especially when personal histories could make or break the show.

This Is Us, NBC (2016 – present)

Sure, NBC’s This Is Us is primarily set in the present time, but it’s too great of a show to be left off of this list. After all, several of the show’s flashbacks – a major plot element that really fleshes out the narrative – begin in 1980.

The Pearson family, with parents Jack and Rebecca, is at the center of the show, starting with the birth of Kevin and Kate – the two surviving children of a triplet pregnancy – and the sudden and unexpected adoption of a third son, Randall, born on the same day and brought to the same hospital after being abandoned at a fire station. This Is Us chronicles the childhood of the “Big Three” throughout the 80s to show what turns their lives took to become the people they are today.

That ‘80s Show, Fox (2002)

Despite many of the same members of the creative team from the classic That ‘70s Show, as well as many other similar elements within the show, Fox’s That ‘80s Show is in no way a spin-off or sequel to its predecessor, as their characters or storylines don’t cross.

So, That ‘80s Show starts off in 1984 and centers around struggling musician, Corey Howard, and his budding relationship with colleague and pink-rocker, June Tuesday as they and their 20-something-year-old friends go through life in San Diego, California. The show references many pop culture elements of the decade, including the popularity of vinyl records, fashion, music, and even famous celebrities of the ‘80s.

American Horror Story: 1984, FX (2019)

Fans of the genre will immediately know what horror cult classics this ninth season of FX’s horror anthology series American Horror Story was inspired by. 1984 is set in Camp Redwood, where most of the events occur in – you guessed it – 1984.

Teenage camp counselors have volunteered at Camp Redwood for the summer where they learn about a massacre that occurred years ago by the groundskeeper Mr. Jingles. They find out he’s escaped from the mental institution and soon, the counselors and camp staff start getting killed one by one. It becomes clear that Mr. Jingles isn’t the only killer out there. Sound familiar? Yes, AHS: 1984 takes inspiration from the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises, of course!

Dead of Summer, Freeform (2016)

In the same vein as the previous show, Freeform’s Dead of Summer takes place at a summer camp that holds dark secrets. In 1989, we meet the young teenage counselors of Camp Stillwater, described as an “idyllic Midwestern summer camp” – certainly a beautiful camp that’s the perfect backdrop for first love, secret trysts in the darkened forests, and…killing people?

It certainly seems that way when the darkness within the campgrounds awakens and things at Camp Stillwater take a turn for the worse. What started as a blissful summer before the dawn of a new decade turns into a complete nightmare. Either way, it’ll definitely be a summer they’ll never forget.

The Haunting of Bly Manor, Netflix (2020)

The long-awaited Netflix horror original series and the second installment in their The Haunting series, The Haunting of Bly Manor, was just released – and just in time to make it onto this list, too!

Through the narration of a guest at a wedding in 2007, she tells the story of an American teacher living in London in 1987. Dani Clayton is hired by a wealthy man as an au pair for his orphaned niece and nephew who resides in the family country home, the eponymous Bly Manor. Though she’s haunted by the ghosts in her own past, suspicious events begin to take place throughout the mansion, and before long, Dani begins to see the ghosts of the manor’s past as well.

Pose Season 1, FX (2018)

FX’s Pose tells a story that we haven’t often seen on our TV screens before, but certainly, one that we should know.

In the late 1980s in New York City, the African-American and Latino LGBTQ ball subculture was on the rise. If you’re unsure what that is, think RuPaul’s Drag Race, but some 30-odd years ago: events where participants from “Houses” (i.e. basically your chosen family) compete across a variety of categories for prizes or trophies. Amidst this rising culture, Pose also interweaves the part of New York City that showcased the social and literary scene as well as the rising “yuppie” corporate culture.

The Deuce Season 3, HBO (2019)

In this gripping HBO original, we trace the roots of one of the most lucrative businesses today: porn. With the first two seasons taking place throughout the 1970s, The Deuce’s third and final season takes us forward to 1984-1985, where the mafia is no longer the king of the streets of New York and the underground porn industry in Times Square is being taken over by larger corporations.

Now that VHS exists to further bolster the industry, porn directors and filmmakers butt heads on method: as an art with scripts, a storyline, and theatrics, or as “amateurs” shot with a VHS home camcorder?

Chernobyl, HBO/Sky Atlantic (2019)

In April 1986, one of the most devastating nuclear accidents in history occurred in the north of the then-Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Known commonly now as the Chernobyl disaster, the joint production between HBO in the US and Sky UK titled Chernobyl tells the dramatized version of events from the hours leading up to the accident to the containment and recovery efforts that followed.

It homes in on the perspectives of several people involved, particularly of the first responders who immediately went to the scene to help, only to suffer the effects of radiation later on. Because of some creative liberties in telling the story, however, Chernobyl has received criticism for its “too evil and conniving” portrayal of some Soviet officials.

Black Monday, Showtime (2019 – present)

The October 19, 1987 stock market crash was the worst in the history of Wall Street. And Showtime’s Black Monday tells the story of the employees of Jammer Group, a Wall Street trading firm, in the year leading up to the date that is commonly referred to as Back Monday.

At the forefront of this series is Maurice Monroe, a long-time stockbroker who’s living under a false identity. As well as his colleagues – newbie Blair Pfaff who’s trying to make a name for himself while also trying to please his bride-to-be Tiffany who’s used to getting what she wants. Keith Shankar, a closeted homosexual who’s keen on bullying Blair. And Dawn Darcy, the only woman stockbroker at the firm who’s trying to prove her worth in this male-dominated industry.


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If Gogglebox were a sitcom…

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Whenever I’ve watched Gogglebox favourites Lee & Keith I’m always drawn to the fact that while the insults and bickering fly across the couch there is always unconditional love between them.

And these are the same qualities we find in TV sitcoms. Good ones, anyway.

So it got me to thinking…. what would our families look like if they were the stars of their own sitcom?

With the Season Final screening this week, here’s a little valentine to another great year and a look at what a fictional sitcom might look like for each.

To Have & to Hold.

EPISODE #5: When Keith realises he has forgotten his wedding anniversary yet again, he attempts to surprise Lee putting on his best clobber, cueing up Funkytown and trying to recreate their first date at a Blue Light Disco. But when Lee discovers old love letters from her childhood sweetheart she starts to wonder if it’s time to talk about, talk about, talk about movin’?

Greeks on the Couch

EPISODE #12: Break out the bakaliaros and skordalia! It’s Greek Independence Day and Faye is preparing a feast, but when Anastasia’s distant cousin Spiro arrives from London, three becomes a crowd. But all hell is about to break loose when they discover he has pilfered part of the Greek Marbles into his suitcase. Malaka!

Sugar & Spice

EPISODE #7: When a hot online date turns up for a night of Netflix & chill with Tim, Leanne recognises him from work. To make matters worse, it’s her boss -and he swings both ways. Does she ruin her brother’s night of bliss and possibly lose her job?


EPISODE #22: In the season finale, Jad has to choose between a night on the town with Rick Stein or Miss Lakemba 2014. But Matty & Sarah Marie have their hands full when Bane gets chronic hiccups.  Again.

Meet the Daltons

EPISODE #11. Matt turns over-protective when Milly & Holly bring home new dates and interrogates them in front of his daughters. All he wants is the best for his girls, but all Kate wants is to show them slides of her trip to a Kenyan Safari Range.

Down at Delpechitra’s

EPISODE #16: Patrick Delpechitra wins a contest for the family to watch the Australian Cricket Team in South Africa, but when his favourite team is at risk of losing to the locals, he offers a surefire family tip to help them win the game: sandpaper.

Everyone’s a Critic

EPISODE #9: Mick & Di are horrified to discover their latest art they’ve been selling to a high-end gallery is a fake. But Di hatches a plan to make a switcheroo if only Mick can keep talking long enough to distract the owner. A tall order!


Love, Emmie

EPISODE #15: When Isabelle Silbery tries to choose a wedding venue, mum Kerry baulks at the cost and suggests a garden ceremony with earth colours and a meat-free banquet. But gran Emily suggests to follow in her footsteps: elope at midnight and a skinny-dip honeymoon.


EPISODE #20: When Chantel gets into a war with her neighbour over the recycling, Kaday offers to step in and mediate. But things escalate when she realises its her own father Chantel has berated -and it just went viral on Facebook.

The Elias Bunch

EPISODE #10: It’s parent / teacher night for Les & Danielle, so Jacob is entrusted with babysitting sisters Lily Rose & Ivy. But when he locks himself out of the house the girls get a little sisterly revenge.

Dude, Where’s my Surfboard?

EPISODE #17: While arguing about who has been single the most, best mates Milo & Nic agree to a bet about who can be master of their domain the longest.

Gogglebox season finale is 7:30pm tonight on LifeStyle and 8:40pm Thursday on 10.


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Former StyleHaul Execs Raise $10 Million To Launch Content Recommendation Startup ‘Vody’

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Two former top execs at now-defunct multi-channel network StyleHaul have launched their latest endeavor.

Stephanie Horbaczewski (pictured above) and Jeremy Houghton — StyleHaul’s former founder/CEO and CTO, respectively — have co-founded and will serve as co-CEOs of Vody, a big data startup aimed at enhancing content recommendations for streaming services, Variety reports. The company uses machine learning to search the web — including hundreds of thousands of website and social platforms like Facebook and Twitter — to compile a detailed database of movies and TV shows, which streaming services can then integrate for more accurate content recommendations.

Los Angeles-based Vody is coming out of stealth after two years in development, Variety reports, and has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Horbaczewsk herself, friends and family investors, Clemons Management, and Cacker Capital.

Vody processes billions of data points and then creates profiles for titles, using emotion-based and other descriptive tags. The off-platform perspective that it provides differs from the way that Netflix and other streamers traditionally compute recommendations, per Variety, whose suggestions are determined by the on-platform behavior of similar users.

Vody’s goal is to sell its tech to top streaming services, and has completed trials with Comcast and WarnerMedia, Variety reports. Currently, the company counts 15 employees and has tapped as advisers former Fox Television Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow and former News Corp digital media group chairman and CEO Jon Miller.

Horbaczewski was previously the founder and CEO of StyleHaul, while Houghton was the beauty, fashion, and lifestyle-focused MCN’s CTO. Luxembourg-based media conglomerate RTL acquired a majority stake in the business in 2014 for a reported $107 million, and became its full owner in June 2017. Horbaczewski left the company in June 2018 — prior to its shutdown in May 2019 — to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.

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TikTok Links Up with Shopify For Ad Integration Amid Social Commerce Push

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TikTok and Canadian ecommerce giant Shopify have launched a new compatibility that will enable small business owners to create, manage, and measure their TikTok ad campaigns natively within the Shopify platform.

The new TikTok channel within Shopify — which furnishes access to core functions of the TikTok For Business ads manager — will ultimately be available to Shopify’s roughly 1 million merchants globally. It is currently available in the U.S., and will roll out to other markets in North America as well as Europe and Southeast Asia by early next year.

The integration will allow sellers to track sakes conversions via the TikTok Pixel tool, for instance, as well as to creative native, shareable ads with TikTok’s own creative products. Merchants who integrate will also receive a $300 ad credit to jumpstart their inaugural campaigns, TikTok said in a blog post.

TikTok is launching the integration amid the growth of social commerce and ahead of the critical holiday shopping season. It plans to test additional features in the future that make it even easier for users to discover Shopify merchants across the app, TikTok said.

“We’re thrilled to be the first partner to welcome TikTok to the world of commerce, particularly right now, as our merchants prepare for a busy online holiday shopping season,” Shopify’s VP of product, Satish Kanwar, said in a statement. “TikTok is one of the world’s fastest growing entertainment platforms with over 100 million highly engaged users in the U.S. alone. The TikTok channel means Shopify merchants — even those without a strong TikTok following of their own yet — can connect with these new audiences using content that feels authentic and genuine to the TikTok experience.”

To fete the new collaboration, TikTok is partnering with Shopify on a campaign dubbed #ShopBlack that marks its first co-branded Hashtag Challenge Plus (HTC+) — an ad format enabling viewers to shop a sponsored hashtag without leaving the TikTok app. (While the ad format previously existed, this is TikTok’s first time doing a co-branded HTC+ with Shopify). The campaign will see Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs sharing their stories with the TikTok community from Nov. 10 to 15, with viewers being able to shop products from more than 40 Shopify merchants using the hashtag.

To this end, TikTok notes that posts using #BlackOwnedBusinesses and #SupportBlackOwnedBusinesses have generated over 210 million views to date. And #ShopBlack is the latest venture amid TikTok’s ongoing work to democratize entrepreneurship and elevate the voices of Black creators, the company said.

“As a mission-driven company that employs dozens of artisans in Ethiopia, we’re excited to share our unique journey as a Black-owned business with the TikTok community,” stated Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, the founder and CEO of soleRebels, a made-to-order sustainable footwear brand that will be featured as part of #ShopBlack.

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Assassin’s Creed Live-Action Series in Development at Netflix

  • Post category:Netflix

The world of Assassin’s Creed will expand at Netflix. 

The streamer on Tuesday announced it has entered into an agreement with Ubisoft to develop content based on the international best-selling video game franchise.

The first series in development is slated to be an epic, genre-bending live action adaptation; a search is currently underway for a showrunner.

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Ubisoft Film & Television’s Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik will serve as Executive Producers on the in-the-works project.

Under the terms of the agreement, Netflix and Ubisoft will tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.

“For more than 10 years, millions of fans around the world have helped shape the Assassin’s Creed brand into an iconic franchise,” said Jason Altman, Head of Ubisoft Film & Television – Los Angeles.

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“We’re thrilled to create an Assassin’s Creed series with Netflix and we look forward to developing the next saga in the Assassin’s Creed universe.”

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Peter Friedlander, Vice President, Original Series, Netflix.

“From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

The Assassin’s Creed videogame series launched in 2007 and has sold more than 155 million games worldwide.

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The franchise is one of the best-selling series in video game history.

“Recognized for having some of the richest, most engrossing storytelling in the industry, Assassin’s Creed transcends video games, branching out into numerous other entertainment media,” says Netflix.

Ubisoft Film & Television’s mission is to bring Ubisoft’s award-winning games into new areas of entertainment and to create original stories set in the world, culture and community of gaming.

The division has a slate of IP-based and original film and TV projects in various stages of development and production, including the films Tom Clancy’s The Division (Netflix), Rabbids (Lionsgate), Just Dance (Screen Gems), Beyond Good & Evil (Netflix), the independent feature Werewolves Within, the current series Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet (Apple TV+) and Rabbids Invasion (season 4 on Netflix) among others.

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The latest Assassin’s Creed game, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is set to launch in November and take gamers on an adventure as a viking. 

Netflix recently announced it had a Resident Evil series in the works. 

What are your thoughts on the news?

Hit the comments. 


Continue Reading Assassin’s Creed Live-Action Series in Development at Netflix

Tubular Labs Debuts New Industry-Standard Viewership Metrics For Digital Video

  • Post category:Other

Analytics firm Tubular Labs has rolled out a new set of audience measurement metrics that are intended to serve as a standard across the digital video industry.

The Tubular Audience Ratings are “the first and only deduplicated audience and time-based system for measuring video attention across social media platforms,” the firm says.

Basically, the metrics accommodate for the likelihood that some viewers will watch videos multiple times, on different platforms. They also calculate the total watch time a video receives and the average time each viewer spends watching, down to the second. For now, Tubular can use them to generate measurements for content on YouTube and Facebook; it has plans to add Twitter and Instagram.

This new system has been in development since early 2019. To create it, Tubular Labs formed the Global Video Measurement Alliance (GVMA), a coalition of major media and entertainment companies including Vice, BuzzFeed, ViacomCBS, Discovery, Mattel, Group Nine Media, Ellen Digital Network, Corus Entertainment, Brut, Freeda Media, and Social Chain Media.

The GVMA’s collective goal was to encourage broad adoption of viewership metrics that are generally used to measure the performance of television programs. When the coalition was founded, there was no agreed-upon industry standard for digital video measurement. Measuring performance in views is most common, but social platforms, ad agencies, and other entities tend to each have their own way of calculating views, which can lead to discrepancies.

“[U]nified time-based metrics eliminate the need to be totally reliant on disparate view count criteria provided by social platforms,” Tubular says. “This enables content producers and advertisers to make better investment decisions and develop video partnerships based on audience retention.”

Tubular Audience Ratings “bring parity to the convergent TV arena where media owners and brands need to measure TV and digital alike,” former BuzzFeed president and current Tubular Labs executive chairman Greg Coleman added in a statement.

You can see more about the metrics here.

Visit Tubefilter for more great stories.


Continue Reading Tubular Labs Debuts New Industry-Standard Viewership Metrics For Digital Video