Monday, August 10, 2015
Is there "Too much television?"
As an example he blamed the voluminous amount of programming for the failure of the FX comedy, THE COMEDIANS. He said it was “an outstanding creative achievement, we just couldn’t find substantial audience to sustain it.”
Sorry, but when an audience tunes in, is disappointed, and doesn’t return don’t blame the better shows the viewers watched instead.
And when he says “it’s impossible to maintain quality control” does that mean he doesn’t have a large enough staff to give notes?
Let me say a few things:
But what’s wrong with too much competition? Especially in an age where mega conglomerates (like News Corp.) are swallowing up everything. Competition is a GOOD thing. It pushes people to make better products. And in the case of scripted television, it means more jobs for more people.
Why is there more competition? Because the audience is tired of watching reruns or movies no longer in release. Remember when FX started? They aired MASH nine times a day (I personally loved it). USA aired WINGS twenty times a day (I was fond of that too). If these networks could get away with just showing reruns and reaching their advertising goals they would. There’s original entertainment because viewers demand it. We’re sorry it’s more expensive than GOLDEN GIRLS reruns.
The other thing to consider: YOU select the shows that get on the air. I know networks make the argument they can only choose what creators bring to them (and that is a valid argument), but most networks these days have “brands.” Most networks pre-determine what content they’re looking for. Writers are creating shows based on what you tell them you want. Again, the irony here is that FX does a better job of selecting shows than most networks.
But in general, networks need to select better shows. Once upon a time, networks would air their unsold pilots in the summer. They don’t do that anymore. Why? It was embarrassing to them when people thought some of the shows they didn’t select were way better than the ones they did.
Let’s be real. Pilots are selected not just based on quality. That’s only one factor. More important factors are do the studios own them, are they highly promotable, are they fiscally attractive, are there commitments that need to be honored?
When Grant Tinker was running NBC he believed that if a show was really good, the audience will eventually find it. I think that’s even more true now. We can DVR shows, we can watch them On-Demand, and on-line. Through social media we also have the means to spread enormous word-of-mouth if a show warrants it. THE COMEDIANS would have a following if it was a better show.
Thanks to all the competition on all the networks and delivery systems we have TRANSPARENT, and Amy Schumer, and ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, and DOWNTON ABBEY, and LOUIE. I want to see MORE competition, especially on your network because you do it as well or better than anybody.