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 TV Bites With Neena Louise

Why Network TV Bites

by Neena Louise

Anyone who's ever read a column here at TV Bites knows how much I despise the Big Three networks (CBS, ABC and NBC). I've been informed, however, that some fail to understand why. Well, to the uninformed and unenlightened (do you even WATCH network TV?), allow me to explain:

They are so incredibly greedy, greedy, GREEDY!

Greed has taken over the airwaves, and the networks make absolutely no apology for it (in fact, they seem proud of it). All they care about is ratings and money. They don't care that there are good quality shows that have small, loyal audiences (lower ratings = less money = cancellation). I still don't understand why, when a good show is premiered, it's canceled after only a couple of airings, due to low ratings. Even letter-writing campaigns, which used to work with the networks, no longer have any effect (there's no money in letters, after all). It's so rare that a new show is actually GOOD, why don't they give it a chance to find an audience? Surely a blockbuster can carry a lower-rated show until it's determined whether or not it is a true bust. The networks have enough money to allow this, but choose not to. Gotta make that money RIGHT NOW and as much as possible - the more the better. Nothing else is more important (pu-LEEZE).

They do the damn Shuffle every time you turn around

Have a show you like? Can you find it? It seems that, other than megahits like ER and Friends, television shows are moved again and again and again. Sometimes it works (observe The Practice), but more often it's just plain annoying and often rings a series' death knell. I still don't understand why they are moving Will and Grace to Thursdays. It is a bona-fide hit...why move it at all when it's doing just fine where it is? Just to get BIGGER ratings (read: more money)??? I'm actually less likely to watch a show that's moved. Moving a show around over and over just angers me, since I know the networks are doing it simply to make more money. It goes back to the "leave it alone for a while and let it find an audience" thing.

They don't care about their viewers

I have asked many a question of the Big Three networks and have received not a single answer. Not one. I have telephoned, written and e-mailed and not a peep. Ok, so this isn't Entertainment Weekly, here, but I AM an avid television watcher. Don't I count? Don't my readers count? Am I/are we not "average" television viewers in their alleged "key demographic" (I'm convinced this means nothing)? I don't have money; I don't have clout; therefore, I don't count. Well, hmph! Be like that, then. I have cable.

They bitch and moan about lower viewership, but do nothing to change it

All they do is complain about how fewer people are tuning in, yet they keep making network television less attractive to viewers. What is THAT? I've always been under the impression that the networks regard their viewers as stupid sheep, and their whining about how we are not tuning in just reinforces this notion. Can't you just hear them?: "We are putting out such GREAT shows, but Americans are too stupid to like them." They ought to think about why their European clones are doing so great. WE are not stupid...THEY are stupid for not being smart enough to come up with a good concept on their own. THEY are stupid for assuming they know what we want (but don't bother asking or listening when we speak). THEY are stupid for not being able to differentiate a true dud from a potential hit. THEY are the stupid ones.


'Nuff said.

I think network television's time has passed. They should stick to news and sports and leave the entertainment to cable and satellite. Cable/satellite relies heavily on what viewers want (if a viewer doesn't want it, they won't order it, after all) and makes good money by paying attention. The Big Three don't have a clue, don't WANT to have a clue, and seem totally incapable of GETTING a clue.

I hope that clears things up.  
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