TV Bites With
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
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.
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.
would love to know what you think, sound off on the
boards and let us know what you think!