You’ve been waiting all week, and here they are: Friday Questions!
Berry Canote is up first.
My brother is somewhat of a TV historian, and we often have discussions on the topic of TV history. One question we have often had is why do the broadcast networks keep trying with certain genres, even when it is clear that genre has not produced many successful shows? The genre my brother likes to bring up is that of the legal drama. According to him the failure rate for legal dramas is higher than that for Westerns (a genre the networks gave up on long ago).
Legal dramas work because the stakes are so high – life and death at times. Plus, in this day and age, who isn’t suing someone or being sued by someone?
How do you feel about actors getting showrunners fired? There's been plenty of examples over the years. Sometimes it's down to personality clashes and production issues but other times it's pretty clearly down to the creative direction of the show. Is it right for the actors to make such an intervene in such a way in how the show is written?
Regardless of who’s right or wrong, or who’s the asshole, the reality is people tune into television shows to see the actors they like. So if push comes to shove the showrunner will lose.
The showrunner generally continues to get paid his full salary and collect his full royalties and ownership stake. So there are showrunners who believe me are praying to be fired. As the saying goes: “Who do I have to fuck to get off this picture?”
thomas tucker asks:
I have a great idea for a movie, but I'm not a writer, I'm not in show biz, and I don't live in New York or LA. What do I do with this great idea? (And I'm sure you've never heard this question before, right?)
This question does come up frequently. I wish I had a more optimistic answer. But the truth is execution is more valued than ideas.
If you don’t have a writer to turn your idea into a desirable screenplay or a producer who can attach an approved writer you’re pretty much out of luck no matter how great the idea. And if you manage to somehow beat the odds and get a viable producer to bite, he’ll just pay you a fee for the idea and generally cut you out of the rest of the process.
Sorry I couldn’t more encouraging.
The Bumble Bee Pendant wonders:
Back in the 70s and 80s, Networks always had top notch or at least very popular shows on Saturdays (I remember CBS had the comedy block of MTM, Bob Newhart, All in the Family, Alice and Carol Burnett on Saturdays). I know Saturdays became a viewer wasteland, but now with DVRs/On Demand/Netflix, any show (at any time) can be viewed and become a hit. Do you think the Networks will eventually go back to this?
No. Saturday nights are dead on major networks. Young audiences (all the nets care about) are out on Saturday night and if there’s something they want to watch they’ll DVR it (I guess we’re now starting to phase out the verb “Tivo”) or watch ON DEMAND.
What some networks have discovered however is that sporting events like college football games work on Saturday night. Sports is the only programming people prefer to watch live. And the bonus there is that they can’t zap through the commercials if they’re watching in real-time. I think two of the networks have college football on Saturday nights.
But Saturday original fare will never return. And it’s only a matter of time before Friday falls too.
What’s your Friday Question?