Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #365: How Do You Measure Success?

Welcome to the show folks...

Fred Silverman, former bigwig from all of the original three big networks, has some concerns about the upcoming Jay Leno hosted variety show. This concern comes from NBC's alleged inability to set up a way to measure if the show is successful or not.

Now you'd think that the simple premise of the show making money or not is the way to measure success, but like most things in Hollywood, it's more complicated than that.

The show will be cheap to produce in comparison to scripted television dramas and comedies, so the profit margins could easily be very generous even if it doesn't hit it big.

However, there's a catch.

You see while scripted drama and comedy are expensive investments, they are much more likely to have long term profitability than a week-night variety show.

Scripted shows can be rerun indefinitely as long as they have the sort of stories that continue to catch people's interest. A daily variety show, with much of the comedy being up-to-the-moment topical in nature, doesn't rerun all that well outside some interest on the novelty-nostalgia front, and even then it's only individual episodes, or even segments deemed re-watchable. Even in the relatively new frontier of DVD box-sets, no one is going to drop good money for an entire season of the show, just to see the blooper where a thrown tomahawk hits a cardboard cutout in the gonads.

It's these long-term revenue generators that truly decide how successful a show really is. They are where the real money is made, and I don't really think that Jay Leno's show has the legs for them. In order for it to be truly successful and make up for the loss of these revenue streams, Leno would have to completely dominate his time slot, not only against the other networks, but cable as well, each and every night without fail. It can't be merely profitable from ad revenue, it has to super-duper profitable.

But don't worry, even if only one person watches it, they'll declare Jay the "King of Prime Time." Because even if you don't know if you're making it, you can at least declare yourself the winner.

No comments:

Post a Comment