The Watchman: ‘N.Y. Times’ Goes ‘Weekly,’ ‘Queen of the South’ Goes Easy

Senior content producer Michael Malone's look at the programming scene
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The Weekly, from FX and The New York Times, has begun. The series offers a closeup of a Times story, showing exactly how the reporter and editor get a truly impactful narrative together.

The day after episodes premiere, they stream on Hulu.

'The Weekly'

'The Weekly'

The Weekly is something of an extension of the Times podcast The Daily. “Television felt like the next frontier for us,” Sam Dolnick, NYT assistant managing editor and Weekly executive producer, said. He hopes The Weekly will “reach lots of new people who don’t necessarily read The New York Times, or think The New York Times is not for them.”

The Times folks pitched the show in Hollywood, and Dolnick said FX emerged as the unlikely partner, since the network isn’t about news or unscripted. “We ended up really connecting with them in the room,” Dolnick said.

John Landgraf, FX chairman, noted how reading the newspaper is an intellectual experience, and sought to make the series an emotional one. Dolnick calls him “our key ally.”

The Times is pumped to also have Hulu on board. “It would be crazy to sit out the streaming revolution,” Dolnick said.

The Weekly launches at a time when President Donald Trump speaks frequently of fake news. Viewers will “see the lengths reporters go to find stories, and the lengths they go to to get the stories right,” Dolnick said. “When you see that kind of journalism up close, I think it’s really hard to dismiss what these reporters do as fake news.”

And season four of Queen of the South begins on USA Network June 6, another chapter in the saga of trafficking kingpin Teresa Mendoza. After three seasons in Dallas, the new one is set in New Orleans. Everyone got a kick out of shooting in the Big Easy.

"Queen of the South"

"Queen of the South"

“It’s hard to fake cities for other cities,” executive producer David Friendly said. New Orleans is “a little more mysterious, a little more dangerous. It’s a great place to set the show.”

Season two of La Reina del Sur, which translates to, yes, Queen of the South, is under way on Telemundo. Friendly said there is much respect for what’s going on over at Telemundo, as that series does 65 episodes per season. Both touch on a similar theme: “The American Dream turned upside down,” Friendly said.

The unofficial motto for season four of Queen? “Heavy is the head that wears the crown,” shared Friendly.

His highlight of the season comes early, when Mendoza, played by Alice Braga, flies around on a Ducati motorcycle. “It fits the show like a glove,” Friendly said. “I think we’re opening with a bang.”

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