Cue the violins.
Network viewing is way down following the Writers Strike. ABC alone is off a whopping 24% since they began their “Welcome back” or “Welcome home” or “Your little friends have returned” or whatever the hell their campaign slogan was. Meanwhile, the number of people watching television has gone up 2%. So people are watching. They’re just not watching YOU.
Even bulletproof hits like GREY’S ANATOMY and ER are taking big hits. AMERICAN IDOL’S numbers are also down (even with the most talented group of performers since Bucky Covington). One time big hits like HEROES are in the shitter (The hell with the goddamn cheerleader. Save YOURSELVES.)
Trying to put a good spin on things, networks are saying that a few new big hits next year and the viewers will all be right back.
They didn’t come back after the 88 strike. Collectively, the four of you couldn’t come up with even one breakout hit last year. And this year you’ve made fewer pilots and many of those are just “presentations” (cheap approximations of what the shows might look like). You don’t have as many existing hits so launching these new shows will be harder. And to make matters worse, your competitors (the dreaded cable) are rolling out new shows far more interesting than yours (like AMC’s MAD MEN).
And here’s the thing ABCCBSNBCFOX– it all could have been avoided.
When the AMPTP chose to push the WGA to strike, believing they could corner them into taking a bad deal, they did so fully aware that this network erosion could occur. It did in 88 and there were fewer options for viewers in those days (no internet, no GRAND THEFT AUTO, no pillates). The deal you finally struck could have been settled long before November 1st. The season could have gone on uninterrupted, next year’s movie slate would have rolled out as planned, and much financial hardship would have been avoided. Same deal. Same terms. And you would have had the Golden Globes to boot.
Why do I bring this up now?
Because the SAG contract is up in a few months. And from what I’ve seen your negotiating tactics with them are the same you used with us. Stonewalling. Blaming the other side. For everyone’s sake…even YOURS… negotiate in good faith for once and reach the deal now that you’d make in October. Otherwise, IRON MAN 2 might not come out until 2014 and GREY’S ANATOMY will lose in the ratings to BIG BREAK KAANAPALI on the Golf Channel.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Cue the violins.