'TV's Top 5': Amazon, Starz Strategies Decoded; Josh Schwartz Talks 'Alaska,' 'Gossip Girl'

Outlander_Forever_Josh Schwartz_Split - Getty - H 2019
Aimee Spinks/Starz; Colleen Hayes/Amazon; Presley Ann/Getty Images

Welcome back to TV's Top 5, The Hollywood Reporter's TV podcast.

In every episode, the weekly podcast — hosted by The Hollywood Reporter's West Coast TV editor Lesley Goldberg (that's me!) and chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg — will feature five topics that are top of mind in the TV industry and go inside the latest headlines, as well as provide a critical guide of what to watch (or skip, as the case may be).

Coming to you from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where the Television Critics Association summer press tour is still under way, Goldberg and Fienberg dive into some of the big headlines to come from the semi-annual confab. This week's five topics are:

1. Amazon's cancellation spree, explained. At TCA, Jennifer Salke announced two early renewals — and axed a whopping five shows (including critical favorites Forever and Patriot). As the retail giant and streamer takes a "curated" approach to originals, this segment explores how those cancellations are part of Amazon's attempt to carve out its larger strategy. The analysis begins at the 4:32 mark.

2. Starz's new "premium female" programming mandate. What's "premium female," anyway? Why is this "strategy" short-sighted? Plus, why are Outlander fans furious at chief operating officer Jeffrey Hirsch? Plus, why did the premium cable network cancel Now Apocalypse and Counterpart? The segment begins at the 13:42 mark.

3. CBS takes two steps forward and one step backward. Speaking at TCA, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl and his top lieutenant Thom Sherman fielded questions about the network's, ahem, lackluster track record with inclusion on reality hits like Big Brother, while also defending their decision to renew Bull. While the network's diversity and inclusion behind the camera and onscreen is improving, this segment examines the problems that continue to persist at the broadcast network. The discussion begins at the 20:37 mark.  

4. Showrunner Spotlight: Josh Schwartz. This week, we're thrilled to introduce a new TV's Top 5 segment focused on the showrunners behind some of TV's biggest and most-anticipated shows. This week, Schwartz joins us to discuss Hulu's Looking for Alaska, HBO Max's Gossip Girl revival, his thoughts about revisiting The O.C. (and Chuck), the state of showrunner overall deals and so much more. The spotlight interview starts at the 27:09 mark.

5. Critic's Corner. As always, every episode ends with Fienberg offering his thoughts about what to watch (or skip). This week, he weighs in on HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show and attempts to discuss Fox's new take on Beverly Hills, 90210, among others. Tune in starting at the 53:26 mark.

Hear it all now on TV's Top 5. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. (Reviews welcome!) You can also email Goldberg and Fienberg with any topics or questions you'd like to be addressed in future episodes at TVsTop5@THR.com.

TV's Top 5 is part of THR's roster of podcasts, including Awards ChatterScott Feinberg's weekly in-depth (and award-winning) interview show focusing on the most interesting talents of the Oscar and Emmy seasons; genre reporter Josh Wigler's Series Regular; crafts expert Carolyn Giardina's weekly series, Behind the Screen, which explores the top artists and technologies creating film and TV magic; and Seth Abramovitch's monthly series, It Happened in Hollywood, which revisits indelible moments from 90 years of THR's entertainment history. Other podcasts are in the works.