Thursday, 17 May 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #900: Spawn Of You Asked For It

A reader asked me a question on my piece about the upcoming CBS fall schedule that I think is worthy of a little discussion...
Rainforest Giant here,

We tried to get into Blue Bloods. My wife and I both like Tom Selleck but it was boring. Amazing Race is like watching a car-pedestrian accident scripted by 'The Real World' producers. Never seen The Good Wife or The Mentalist.

Looking at CBS offerings all I can assume is that they hate new ideas.

I can't see why 'Made in Jersey' even made it on the air. Maybe the development people thought the audience would get it confused with 'Jersey Shore' and tune in by accident.

We tried to watch 'Hawaii Five-O' we love Jame Caan's kid and the Korean chick from Battlestar Galactica is a fair enough actor even if she does need to eat a sandwich or two. But the bad guys nearly always conformed to 'Law and Order' standards. I tried to catch the episodes with Mark Dacascos. But I never did, now after the scandal in the cemetery, I quit recording the show altogether.

Are the former 'Big Three' just limping along until somebody puts them out of their misery or do they make enough money to actually stay in business?

Again, this is Rainforest Giant not 'Manly Hardnipples' or whatever.
Okay, you're comment/question thing brings up some fundamental points about the CBS network and most importantly, its corporate identity.

Each network has its own identity. These identities can change over time, especially as management changes, but they form the foundation for the programming choices they make.
ABC has essentially become the network for female audiences over the past decade with their success with soapy dramas, family comedies and women-skewed reality shows. 

NBC used to be the place for "Must See TV" but that identity has since shifted to one of confusion, incoherence, and trying to penny-wise their way to the top. The new owners from Comcast are having trouble forging a new one, and probably have a few years left in the wilderness before they can pull it off.

Fox's identity is of being the button-pushing bad boy of the TV world. Home to the trashiest reality shows, and some of the more oddball dramas and comedies aimed at younger audiences.

The CW is basically a network for teenagers and wannabe teenagers.

CBS stands for the Columbia Broadcasting System, but if you were to go by its corporate identity it's more like the Comfortable Broadcasting Situation

It's not so much that they hate new ideas, it's that they're doing pretty well with the old ones, and don't see any reason to change that. Their procedural dramas and sitcoms dominate the ratings, and the network overall is the most profitable of the big mainstream broadcast networks.

Why should they rock the boat when that boat is full of money?

While they've taken hits in both audience and influence, the mainstream broadcast networks are not completely out of the picture just yet. They are big corporations who already own big chunks of the cable universe, and have the resources to be a major cultural force for a little while longer.

This could change as new systems will allow consumers to pick and choose individual channels, and maybe even individual programs according to their own schedule. This would require a radical evolution of the networks and how they do business, and we'll have to see if they're capable of doing it.

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