Welcome to the 182nd episode of TV’s Top 5, The Hollywood Reporter’s TV podcast.
Every week, hosts Lesley Goldberg (West Coast TV editor) and Daniel Fienberg (chief TV critic) break down the latest TV news with context from the business and critical sides, welcome showrunners, executives and other guests, and provide a critical guide of what to watch (or skip, as the case may be).
This week, we’re joined by Chris Estrada, the creator, writer and star of Hulu’s well-reviewed comedy This Fool, for a wide-ranging interview about the series. Dan and I also discuss The CW’s sale to Nexstar, HBO/HBO Max layoffs and answer listener questions in our Mailbag segment.
Here’s how the episode plays out:
1. The CW’s new owner
Did you know the average age of The CW viewer is 58?! Nexstar did as the station group this week officially acquired a 75 percent interest in the younger-skewing broadcast network. This segment explores the station group’s plans for the Mark Pedowitz-led network and what the immediate and long-term impact could be.
2. HBO/HBO Max layoffs
No, all your favorite Max originals aren’t canceled. Despite rumors that 70 percent of Max staff would be eliminated, the total wound up being 70 people — or 14 percent of staff — as Casey Bloys restructures his groups in the latest Warner Bros. Discovery cost-savings move.
In this segment, Dan and I answer questions from listeners and discuss the Better Call Saul series finale, Evil season finale and if there’s any chance Batgirl will leak. Plus what’s the status of that Buffy the Vampire Slayer update? If you have questions you’d like to hear us discuss on a future episode, send us an email at TVsTop5@thr.com.
4. Showrunner Spotlight
Our guest this week is Chris Estrada, the stand-up comedian who created, writes and stars in the Hulu comedy series This Fool. Estrada opens up about reuniting with the creators of Comedy Central’s Corporate to do a series that is inspired by his life growing up in South Central. To hear Estrada tell it, the idea was for the series to depict the Latino and Black community without judgment and to break free of stereotypes. “I didn’t want to look at the world through the lens of identity but through the lens of class,” he says. “My mom was a janitor for 25 years and my father made a meager living as bus boy and doing construction. What if what we’re commenting on isn’t about identity but class issues? About not being able to fix your roof? We wanted to show working-class people the way that they live. That resonates.”
5. Critic’s Corner
As usual, every episode ends with Dan’s thoughts on what to watch (or skip) this weekend. In this episode, he weighs in on She-Hulk, the latest Marvel series on Disney+; Freevee (the former IMDb TV) comedy Sprung; Netflix drama Echoes and HBO’s highly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.
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 us with any topics or Mailbag questions you’d like addressed in future episodes at TVsTop5@THR.com.
Programming note: Dan and I are on vacation next week. Our next episode will be Sept. 2.
How Hulu’s ‘This Fool’ Prioritizes Class Over Identity