Coronavirus Rocked the Entertainment World; Now, CBS Is Bringing Back Family Fare to Sundays

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that the entertainment we’re used to consuming has changed in the time of the Wuhan coronavirus. And I’m not just talking about the addition to television schedules, a little over a week ago, of the glittering, Hollywood fundraiser for the World Health Organization (WHO).

It also goes beyond the obvious changes, like live programs switching to remote settings, or shows with audiences going without, before going remote, too.

And the disruption hasn’t been limited to tv. It spread to the movie business, too. Our nation has 5,500 movie theaters. While it’s true that many blockbuster releases were delayed until the fall (or even 2021), much-anticipated titles like Tenet, from Batman Returns and Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan, is set to open July 17, and followed closely by the live-action Mulan on July 24, then Wonder Woman 1984 on August 14, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The Free Press also shared a Variety story on Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, reopening theaters Monday, April 27, which shows there might be roadblocks to theaters opening so quickly.

Movie theater circuits believe that it reopening won’t just be like flicking a switch. AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas, Cinemark and other chains have furloughed or laid off almost all employees, and locations across the U.S. have been entirely shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. It would take longer than a week, insiders say, to re-hire staff and then train them in proper safety procedures.

You may have heard that one of the categories of businesses Texas Governor Greg Abbott okayed to reopen through his executive order are movie theaters. But, according to Texas Monthly, none of the major chains in the Lone Star State – AMC, Regal, Alamo Drafthouse, and Cinemark – will be opening over the weekend.

Returning to the boob tube, it seems network executives are picking up a trend among viewers: they want familiar content — the kind of thing you can watch with your family. And that was what won the primetime ratings Tuesday: a Grammys Prince special which originally aired back in January. In fact, it aired twice last week: Tuesday and Saturday. (I watch it both times, by the way. It was fantastic!)

Now, CBS will be showing five weeks of family fare in the form of five, blockbuster movies. And it’s quite a list of movies

Remember when I reported on HBO getting a big bump for its streaming platforms?

As with the limited time offer of the free, 500 hours of HBO’s streaming content (which, Variety reported, ends this week), CBSViacom may be hoping for a bump, too. According to Decider, an expanded version of CBS All Access, expected to soft-launch later in 2020, would allow viewers to stream on-demand content from CBSViacom’s channels.

And it’s also dipping back into favorites territory for viewers, according to a CBSN press release, by airing Paramount Pictures films, which it’s dubbed “Sunday Night at the Movies”:

May 3- “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”

May 10- “Forrest Gump”

May 17- “Mission: Impossible”

May 24- “Titanic”

May 31- “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”

The movies – combined – have won 22 Oscars., and will air from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern and Pacific Time, except Titanic, which starts one hour earlier, Decider reports.

So, pop up some popcorn, gather up the kids, and enjoy the movies.