"All Hail Google-azon-flix": What TV's Top Players Fear and Covet

6:30 AM 9/17/2018

by Michael O'Connell, Bryn Elise Sandberg, and Lacey Rose

Lena Dunham, Issa Rae and FX's John  Landgraf sound off on megamergers, Netflix deals and more as The Hollywood Reporter offers 10 of the most pressing queries in the industry.

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  • If I could change jobs with anyone for a day, I'd choose …

    AVA DUVERNAY Cindy Holland of Netflix.

    DAMON LINDELOF Megan Amram, because she's amazing and she's about to win an Emmy.

    ISSA RAE Diddy.

    CARLTON CUSE Greg Berlanti. I'd love to know how he manages 15 shows simultaneously.

    MICHAEL WRIGHT (EPIX) Jake Tapper. I know it's news, but, honestly, it sure seems like surreal narrative fiction these days, and nobody does it better. I'd love the chance to ask his guests some questions …

    COURTNEY KEMP J.J. Abrams.

    GREG BERLANTI Any of the many talented folks I work with who can sing and dance — I wouldn't stop doing either for the entire day.

    DAN FOGELMAN [David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss on Game of Thrones — but only for a day so I could know how everything ends. Doing it longer seems too hard.

  • What scares me the most about Hollywood's recent/ongoing consolidation is …

    JOHN LANDGRAF (FX) Quality and quantity are often antagonists.

    LINDELOF That my AT&T phone is going to pitch me its idea for a TV show.

    KEMP Fewer outlets mean less opportunity for new voices and more opportunity for more of the same.

    RAE A possible monopoly over creativity.

    CUSE Hollywood has historically had six to eight studio entities. It's hard for more companies to compete and prosper. Consolidation feels expected.

    PEARLENA IGBOKWE (UNIVERSAL TV) It's just part of the natural business cycle.

    ALAN YANG That they won't merge fast enough for me to direct my dream project, "Batman vs. Darth Vader vs. Tailor Guy From Phantom Thread."

    BERLANTI The disappearance of legacy studios like Fox.

    LEVITAN Nothing. All hail Google-azon-flix.

    BETTY GILPIN Maybe North Korea?

  • The next producer who deserves a nine-figure Netflix deal is …

    LENA DUNHAM Charlie Covell. The End of the F***ing World was deeply fresh and alive. She's a magic weirdo.

    RAE Prentice Penny and Beyonce.

    KEMP Kenya Barris — oh, they already did that.

    CUSE Chuck Lorre. He's really funny and extremely good at what he does.

    JOEL MCHALE Jim Rash, who played the dean on Community and also won the Oscar for [co-writing The Descendants]. And Gillian Jacobs because she is fucking great.

    GILPIN Your barista, maybe? So be nice.

  • Apple's TV push is …

    DANIELS Making me curious. 

    CUSE Going to lead to some really cool new shows. 

    RAE Overdue. 

    IGBOKWE Music to my ears as a content supplier. 

    LINDELOF As exciting as it is terrifying. 

    GILPIN Amazing! I know too many brilliant actors sobbing in pilot-season traffic. More jobs for people who are going to make the rest of us look like frauds! 

    YANG Delightful and long overdue! Please watch Little America, coming out sometime soon on Apple's streaming service. Hi, Tim Cook! (Disclaimer: Little America producers include the author of this answer.)

  • The current industry trend I can't wait to be over is...

    DUVERNAY Diversity and inclusion. I can't wait until it's no longer a trend because it's the norm.

    RAE Reboots.

    KEMP Instagram models getting their own TV series.

    GILPIN The gender pay gap and contouring. I participated in both and felt sad after.

    LENA WAITHE Straight white male showrunners.

    DAVID NEVINS (SHOWTIME) Super PAC-level spending on awards campaigns.

    STEVE LEVITAN LaCroix.

    LEE DANIELS Political correctness.

    NAHNATCHKA KHAN "When will it be OK for insert-male-abuser-here to get back to work?"

  • Why isn't anyone in Hollywood talking about....

    DUNHAM Mental health, addiction and the crushing nature of expectation. In a funny way, of course.

    LINDELOF Trump? I mean, I'm starting to worry this guy may not be qualified to be president.

    GILPIN My tape for Girl With the Dragon Tattoo where I thought I was giving you sexy subtlety but upon viewing after sending I realized I was actually giving you Elaine Stritch rapping a eulogy.

    WAITHE Dime Davis and the fact that the "Teddy Perkins" episode [of Atlanta] didn't get nominated for best writing in a comedy series.

    KHAN How good Vida is.

    DUVERNAY Who the candidate is who can beat Trump.

    CHRISTOPHER LLOYD Social media addiction. If a co-worker is mostly known to you by the top of his head, that is a cry for help.

    DANIELS Me!

  • Can this town please shut up about....

    DUNHAM Synergy.

    RAE The keto diet.

    DANIELS Getting reservations at Craig's.

    IGBOKWE Gluten and dairy allergies.

    GILPIN Perpetuating the illusion that we're all hilarious savant models with somewhere to be when actually we are all rashy, aging depressives hurtling toward irrelevance, so let's all just make eye contact and be on time.

  • The most recent deal that most impressed me was...

    DUVERNAY Berlanti and Warner Bros.

    RAE The Kenya Barris deal. Cha-ching.

    CUSE Greg Berlanti's well-deserved WBTV deal. Even traditional media companies are stepping up on a new level.

    FOGELMAN My buddy Kenya at Netflix. Nice when good things happen to good people.

    DANIELS Mine!

  • The topic that comes up at every industry lunch is …

    LINDELOF There's a new show that I absolutely need to binge in its entirety or else I'm socially irrelevant.

    RAE Diversity.

    KEMP Apple.

    GILPIN Your story about you reminds me of a better, longer story about me.

    NEVINS The midterms.

    BERLANTI Politics and the cruelty, insanity and ineptitude of the worst presidency of my lifetime.

    CUSE The velocity of change in the TV business. It's insane.

    FOGELMAN What's an industry lunch? I eat a salad at my desk and answer emails and spill vinaigrette all over my shirts.

    KHAN What do you think about the merger/LeBron James playing for the Lakers?

    WRIGHT How do you stand out in a churning sea of quality content available 24/7 and compete for viewers with platforms amassing enormous scale? That's the existential challenge for every company whose name doesn't rhyme with "Shmetflix."

  • The best thing to happen to TV in the past year was …

    RAE The "Teddy Perkins" episode [of Atlanta].

    LANDGRAF Diversity and gender parity are actually beginning to meaningfully increase.

    DUNHAM Is Dorinda Medley [of Real Housewives of New York City] an OK answer?

    KEMP The second season of The Crown. Best show on TV. (Or however we say that now. Best series available to watch on a device while connected to the internet and ignoring your loved ones?)

    GILPIN The women in Killing Eve exploded the myth that whispery minimalism is the only kind of good acting. Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are layered genius choice-masters who clearly come to set with 6,000 ideas, all brilliant. Industry guys who show up not knowing their lines who just want to play general drowsy condescension should be shaking in their boots. These ladies are coming for your jobs and should get all of them.

    IGBOKWE The triumphant resurrection of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

    CUSE The continuing fusion of movies and TV. No talent is out of bounds now for a "TV" project.

    WAITHE Random Acts of Flyness.

    YANG Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace — wildly entertaining and impossible to wrap your head around, all at the same time.

    BERLANTI The Obamas setting up shop at Netflix.

    FOGELMAN Easy. Nanette on Netflix. Should be part of core curriculum in schools.

    This story first appeared in the Sept. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.