Tune in Tonight: HBO recalls MoviePass debacle

Looking for another tale of corporate greed? Of too much too soon and mindless bling turned to worthless compost? Look no further than the new documentary “MoviePass: MovieCrash” (9 p.m., HBO).

The rise of digital culture has created many brilliant apps and platforms brokering new and undreamed-of opportunities. Need a house for a weekend getaway? Consult AirBNB. Want to hire a car? Need to find a parking space in a crowded urban center? There are apps for that.

In many cases, these brokerage apps took a cut, but provided a hitherto untapped bonanza of customers. That was the logic of MoviePass, a service that offered customers a Netflix-like subscription to actual movie theater seats. For roughly 10 bucks, customers had an endless supply of options. Some might take advantage of the whole enchilada, like Homer Simpson at an all-you-can-eat buffet. But more were likely to go to a few movies a month. And the service was designed to fill theaters at a time when the movie-going habit was in decline.

“MoviePass” interviews the founders of the company that soon became the fastest-growing subscription service since Spotify. Wall Street loved the idea, and soon the founders and operators of MoviePass were shoved aside by bigshots who saw it as a cash cow ripe for exploitation.

In true Hollywood fashion, lavish parties became the norm. The corporate operators essentially created a cash bonfire, blowing through $250 million while ignoring the nuts and bolts of an operation with little margin for error. “We didn’t have extension cords in our offices,” says one employee as she watched the unchecked spending at festivals including Cannes, Coachella and Sundance. Bad customer service resulted in toxic word of mouth, and the company cratered within a two-year span.

“MoviePass” talks to both the creators and destroyers, the dreamers and the exploiters behind a wild tale of corporate overreach and brazen fraud. A must for those who enjoyed the many documentaries about the rise and fall of WeWork, Theranos and everybody’s favorite dumpster fire, the Fyre Festival.


— “MasterChef” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) enters season 23.

— Coverage of the 96th Scripps National Spelling Bee Semi-Finals (8 p.m., Bounce). The finals air tomorrow.

— After a delicate fertility procedure, a nervous mother gets a funny feeling in the 2024 shocker “My Child Has My Doctor’s Face” (8 p.m., LMN, TV-14).

— The sons of a tycoon (Humphrey Bogart and William Holden) become rivals for the affections of their chauffeur’s daughter (Audrey Hepburn) in the 1954 romance “Sabrina” (8 p.m., TCM, TV-G).

— Inmates at California’s San Quentin prison, some serving life sentences, prepare to run a marathon in the 2023 sports documentary “26.2 to Life” (8 p.m., ESPN2).

— A massive highway crash floods the wards on “Chicago Med” (8 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

— CBS repeats “Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday Celebration” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-PG). Hosts include Jennifer Garner, Chelsea Handler, Woody Harrelson, Ethan Hawke, Helen Mirren and Owen Wilson.

— An emergency forces the firehouse to share quarters with another company on “Chicago Fire” (9 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

— A crisis prevention team faces unprecedented events on “Chicago P.D.” (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

— A new excavation in the wealthy quarter yields evidence of a bakery, a laundry and a rich family’s villa on “Pompeii: The New Dig” (10 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings).


After a plane crash, a FedEx engineer (Tom Hanks) becomes stranded for four years on a desert island, accompanied by a volleyball named Wilson and memories of his girlfriend (Helen Hunt) in the 2000 epic “Cast Away” (7:30 p.m., Freeform, TV-14). An inspiration of sorts for ABC’s fantasy drama “Lost.”


“The Price Is Right at Night” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) … On four episodes of “The Conners” (ABC, r, TV-PG): Jackie receives unsolicited advice (8 p.m.); Becky’s awkward introduction (8:30 p.m.); Bev has a moment (9 p.m.); Mark matriculates and adjusts (9:30 p.m.) … “Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) … Blumhouse is in the house on “Shark Tank” (10 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).


John Leguizamo and Laura Coates appear on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS, r) … Jimmy Fallon welcomes Robert De Niro, Chelsea Handler, Ms. Lauryn Hill and YG Marley on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC, r) … Jennifer Connelly, Indigo Girls and Jay Weinberg visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC, r) … Taylor Tomlinson hosts “After Midnight” (12:37 a.m., CBS).