Few Viewers and Network Executives Scratch Their Heads (Good article!)

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Ray Chuang, Oct 22, 2003.

  1. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    Bill Carter
    New York Times
    October 22, 2003

    Read the full article here

     
  2. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    from the article:


    Amen to that. Just like the music industry, it sounds like the television industry is trying to blame everyone but themselves because no one is buying their substandard product.

    And I wonder if TV-on-DVD is having any effect? Personally, I've drastically scaled back my TV viewing over the past couple seasons (and I am within that male 18-34 year old demo) because I know, sooner or later, I'll probably be able to get the shows I want on DVD. That means watching them on my schedule, on my HT, with pristine picture and sound, and without commercials or network station bugs on the screen.

    So what's the point in watching the original broadcasts?
     
  3. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    In some respect I agree with you about TV on DVD. I had already decide I would buy all 10 years worth of Friends and likewise about a dozen or so shows. I've even picked up series set I didn't plan on due to word of mouth. So if I miss an episode of Friends or Angel I know (a) I can catch a rerun, and (b) I'll wind up owning it anyways.

    But it pisses me off that NBC or Fox won't give shows like Boomtown or Andy richter a chance at that we will probably never see these released on DVD because they don't feel there is a market for them.

    I don't believe sampling (ie. Neilsen ratings) is an acurate picture of who's watching what. I think people were nuts for not wanting Tivo, Replay TV, or the cable companies be able to record peoples viewing habits. The networks would get a much better picture of what we are watching and maybe some of the shows we like would still be around. It's sad that if a show has 8 million loyal viewers it isn't succesful enough to last.
     
  4. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    The reason why I don't watch, is that there isn't anything on the networks that is "Must See" with me anymore. I could miss it all, and I wouldn't cry over it...

    Jason
     
  5. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    I like to sample some of the new shows each year to see which is a must see every week and to tell you the truth, besides Karen Sisco, there arent any.

    TV is boring and Networks choose to fill the air with shows like Fear Factor, Survivor and Joe Millonaire. TV executives have left their brains at the door and they wonder why people are tuning out in droves.

    I too am enjoying O.C that premiered in the Summer because it's fun. Sure, it wont win any awards but it's nice escapist fare.

    Really the only night that I am watching new TV is Wednesday for Angel and Smallville and Thursday nights for CSI. The other nights, theres nothing worth watching on and whent there is, theres 2 or 3 others things on at the same time.
    When there does happen to be gem among them, the networks pull them without giving them a chance, ie: Miracles from last year and Boomtown.
    Networks rarely ever think of something original anymore and when they do they dont give it enough time to grow.
    Remember Cheers or X-files? They took more than a year to become a hit. This rarely if ever happens anymore.

    Another things is scheduling. The paring up of TV shows like Joe Millionaire and Skin? Together? Huh? Are we talking the same audience here?
    A better fit would have been O.C and Skin.
    So what will happen. They will probably pull Skin, which wasnt bad, after a few weeks and also wonder why O.C is not performing well against shows like CSI and Will and Grace.
    These people not only dont take chances, they dont care enough about the audiences.

    It's gotten to the point where, like someone mentioned, I will watch DVDs instead. I spent all summer watching shows on DVD I had not seen before, the first season of Smallville and the first three seasons of B5. A good way to escape the the mediocrity of Reality shows.
    Nuff Said!
     
  6. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    The nets have screwed themselves on this one, as everyone has pointed out. Not only are there a dozen too many reality shows on the air on any given night, but one show is exactly like another. How many police/lawyer procedural shows are there? CSI, Navy CIS, CSI: Miami, Third Watch, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, L/O: Criminal Intent, L/O: Special Victims Unit...and those are just the ones I came up with off the top of my head. Each show has the same characters in the same situations doing the same things. There's nothing revolutionary or new to be had.

    People need to be entertained while being challenged. Either of those will work on its own for a while, but will ultimately fail. Joe Millionaire might be entertaining, but it's not challenging. Meet the Press can be challenging, but hardly entertaining to a great many people.

    We have dozens of options now every night when we turn on the tube. Everybody has their own signature shows: Queer Eye, Justice League, Sopranos, Nip/Tuck, Queer as Folk... The latter three would never make it past network censors because of nudity, profanity or violence. The nets are too concerned with making money and not concerned enough with pushing the envelope.

    I make it a point to watch five shows a week, down from double digits two years ago: Enterprise, Friends, ER, Will and Grace and Simpsons. Other than that, I'm dipping into my DVD's or *gasp* having a life of my own. Imagine that.
     
  7. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Just get rid of the network logos (or just have them on for 10 seconds MAXIMUM during an entire show!) and I'll start watching some shows again.
     
  8. MartinTeller

    MartinTeller Screenwriter

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    The networks are creatively bankrupt. We've got shows entering their 10th, 11th, 15th seasons that ran out of steam years ago. It seems like every new show is either a) crime-related drama, b) family-based sitcom or c) "reality" television. It all looks the same to me. I have no inclination to give any of these carbon-copy shows a chance. How many @#&%#*% Law & Order spinoffs are there? ONE season of CSI and it already gets a spinoff? There's only so many crime scene stories to tell, people! And when a truly unique show surfaces (*cough* Firefly *cough*) it gets canned.

    The only new show I've been tempted to see is Joan of Arcadia, but I just haven't bothered to check it out yet. The only show I watch on a regular basis is Angel.
     
  9. Michael Hughes

    Michael Hughes Second Unit

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    This topic and the comments are dead on. There is no more gambling and no original thought. When there is an original thought that person gets it nbeat out of them with going to the mat on and on and on again (Bocho, Kelley, Bruckheimer, Wolf) with the same formualtic crap.
    You have to seek out decent shows on cable now like Dead Zone, Monk and The Shield. Networks are clearly afraid to take chances. One CSI was enough, One L&O is enough. Honestly do we need another cop show? Law Show, Hospital Show? Ugh. And the sitcom's days are over as we know it, it has become a dinosaur.

    What viewers are looking for is challening, fun and edgy shows. Yes the OC was a nice pleasure, birng more like it. I am sure 24 will be a shell of itself this year, it already made a cop out in the season finale thinkning about next year instead of finsihing the season.

    And even HBO is struggling, Carnivale and K Street are not nearly as watcheable and interesting fare as 6' Under and Sopranos.

    More creative folks, more chances, lets politics and buddy system. Just because Bocho and DEKelley and DWolf made a good show in the past doesn't mean they can make a good show in the future. Sometimes an artist only has one or two good books, or good albums in them.

    We need to hear from more diverse, interesting and funny voices. Let's get the networks to take off the chains and stop wheeling out the same old garbage.
     
  10. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    Scrubs. Give it a chance. Best show on American TV right now.

    I think I heard this on SNL, CBS was going to rename The Early Show to CSI: The Early Show. [​IMG]
     
  11. MartinTeller

    MartinTeller Screenwriter

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    I beg to differ. I've given it two chances and I thought it was terrible.
     
  12. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Same here. I've probably watched a dozen episodes since it's been on. Just another typical NBC filler show as far as I can see.
     
  13. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Of course everybody has their own preferences. I think that there are plenty of creative shown on that don’t attract an audience immediately, get changed to be more like the shows considered ‘mainstream’ and then (probably) dumped.

    Boomtown is a perfect example. There is almost no way that it would attract a big mass-market the way it was originally programmed. It was different enough that most people had to learn how to watch the show. But before that happened (and to be fair, it might never have attracted a big audience), the format changed to be much more like most police procedure shows. With nothing much to distinguish it from most of the others.
     
  14. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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  15. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Networks have, in many cases, been taking chances on good shows. That is, they're takign enough of a chance to make a few episodes, but not enough to let it play out. The market has gotten stretched thin enough there's no room to let a show build and audience. The WB and USA seem to be doing this right, but very few other stations. Shows have to get audience from their pre-pilot ads because nothing is allowed the time to get audience by word of mouth. That's probably the main factor contributing to this problem as the current syystem does little to reward good shows.
     
  16. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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  17. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  18. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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  19. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    There are two things that this says to me:
    1. The horribly inaccurate and corrupt Neilsen system, which has stood in for any real measurement of what the whole of the country actually watchs, is finally starting to show the cracks.
    2. That the producers of certain shows must be giving blow jobs to the network execs.[/list=1]The second one in particular. Why are they going to play around with the timeslots for Skin, which started on prime Monday real estate to begin with, while shows that managed to hold a solid base even in scheduling hell (see: every new series Fox has premiered on Fridays since the X-Files) get left to die?


      I do agree that network television is, with some amazing brilliant exceptions, derarative and boring. But it's been like that for years, and this season's arguably better than last in that they've cut the reality crap fat. This leads me to believe that the network numbers can't be accurate.
     
  20. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Agreed. The networks haven't had a clue for years. But even the variations right here are amazing.

    I watched 3 episodes of Scrubs before I decided that I couldn't stand it any more.
    Never seen CSI, but watch all of the L&O. The actors help to make/break a show too, but the writing is a major factor here. There aren't too many writers in Hollywood that are over 30. They insist on keeping them young, while the median age of viewers is getting older.

    Cable does play a part but some shows are not on at the right time in order for a viewer to switch and take advantage of them. MTV's 'Undressed' was on at 8PM on the West Coast - 11PM for the East Coast, and some cable networks change for DST, and some do not, but it is much easier watching most reruns than it is watching an unknown new show on the networks that could be canned in a week.

    Firefly was a perfectly good example of how to screw up a new show. They didn't put the 'Pilot' on first, and then wonder why the ratings are down.

    Finally, those Neilson ratings. They can't be correct now. Maybe 20 years or so ago, but things have changed so much, and the networks are all set on a 'hair trigger' now. One dip and the show is gone.

    True, it is all about making the $$$, but all of the networks need some major shakups before they are going to even get a clue about what they are doing wrong today.

    Glenn
     

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