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Old 03-23-2008, 02:16 PM   #21
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Default Re: The Future of Scripted TV = Not Much?

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Originally Posted by qualitycontrol View Post
It seems as if the majority of viewers DO NOT WANT good programming. Those that do get cable put in.

Broadcast has to walk a fine line.
Development, Arrested.
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Old 03-23-2008, 02:37 PM   #22
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Default Re: The Future of Scripted TV = Not Much?

In all fairness, excluding HIMYM, NBC actually has the four best comedies on network television (Scrubs, Earl, The Office and 30 Rock). And they're just as good as Always Sunny, Californication, Weeds, Curb, etc., regardless of the FCC or corporate meddling. AD and 30 Rock even turned it around made it funny.

And when you look at HBO's history with comedy (Lucky Louie, The Comeback) I don't know they're really all that successful. FX and Showtime have hit it out of the park with with Sunny, Californication and Weeds, but they aren't exactly flooding the market and you could argue that Californication and Weeds aren't even straight comedies.

As far as drama is concerned, network television is probably done. If Winnie Holzman was shopping My So-Called Life today, would she even bother pitching it to ABC? With HBO, FX, Showtime and now AMC providing creative freedom and greater security who in their right minds would take a drama to the network?
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Old 03-23-2008, 03:27 PM   #23
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Default Re: The Future of Scripted TV = Not Much?

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And when you look at HBO's history with comedy (Lucky Louie, The Comeback) I don't know they're really all that successful.
The irony with cable channels like Showtime and HBO is its shows don't have to be successful hits to keep them on. This is not only because there are no advertisers that need appeasing, but original programming (comedies and dramas) for subscription cable channels primary goal is to keep people subscribing to the channel itself.

Have you ever noticed that these series start right before your monthly/yearly subscription ends and finish up after you renew it (or not)?

This is on purpose to make sure viewers want to keep subscribing to whatever subscription channel is airing the particular program.
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Old 03-23-2008, 05:59 PM   #24
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Default Re: The Future of Scripted TV = Not Much?

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Originally Posted by Nadum View Post
In all fairness, excluding HIMYM, NBC actually has the four best comedies on network television (Scrubs, Earl, The Office and 30 Rock). And they're just as good as Always Sunny, Californication, Weeds, Curb, etc., regardless of the FCC or corporate meddling. AD and 30 Rock even turned it around made it funny.

And when you look at HBO's history with comedy (Lucky Louie, The Comeback) I don't know they're really all that successful. FX and Showtime have hit it out of the park with with Sunny, Californication and Weeds, but they aren't exactly flooding the market and you could argue that Californication and Weeds aren't even straight comedies.

As far as drama is concerned, network television is probably done. If Winnie Holzman was shopping My So-Called Life today, would she even bother pitching it to ABC? With HBO, FX, Showtime and now AMC providing creative freedom and greater security who in their right minds would take a drama to the network?
I completely agree with you on drama and that a few of NBC Sitcoms are semi-decent (compared to what is on at some of their competitors), but I think if you took a survey of people and asked them to stack up current versus their past hits, most people who had seen both would say that the current shows aren't in the same league. Scrubs and the Office were good (but after running a while seem somewhat predictable/repeatative, personally I dont watch Earl (I find even the passably funny parts are telegraphed), and IMHO only 30 Rock seems like it might be in the same league as their past shows. I don't think anyone expects them to be in the same neighborhood as any of the Larry David shows, but it would be nice to see them at least to aspire to something that clever again. Probably not likely!

In general it seems like when broadcast tries to draw audiences to new scripted shows, they are using a lot more gimmick premises in recent seasons to create a quick buzz/draw, rather than putting on shows that tell stories that engage the mind a litlle (but still are an escape), through characters that people get hooked on seeing. IMHO that formula seems to have largely left the building on the broadcast side, while in general cable hasn't had the same problem. With the amount of programming that still comes from broadcast, you hope that they do better, but it seems like folks like Zucker have run up the white flag and decided that it is too hard to reach the same level as their predecessors.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:49 PM   #25
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Default Re: The Future of Scripted TV = Not Much?

I'd agree that not only the business model has changed, but pop culture has changed as the success of reality TV combined with the lack of success of scripted network TV shows in combination with the audience's expectations for scripted TV in the Sopranos to post-Sopranos world and all this has gone a long way to muck up network development and programming.

If I were a new an old showrunner I'd be shy of developing something for network TV given a CYA-commitment-phobic-censor-phobic-stockholder-phobic approach to development and programming. E.g. Quarterlife. Look at the first seasons of most sitcoms: joke-filled vs. character developed. First season dramas also formulaic, characters still developing and in search of an over-arching story. Cable TV from TNT to Showtime that would be my "Texas tea." Imagine trying to pitch/develop the X-Files for today's Fox.

Who watches scripted network anyway? All right, I do, White male, 30's. Family Guy, Lost, The Office, 30 Rock, Damages, Mad Men. Eventually I'll get Showtime. But I watch more out of a comfort-seeking habit.

Zucker. Wow, though. Someone's overcompensating.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:28 PM   #26
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Default Re: The Future of Scripted TV = Not Much?

Zucker passed on Battlestar Galactica. It's now a tentpole for Scifi. Very dumb.

They destroyed SNL. Their news division is completly useless.

This is all I need to know.

If I was on the GE board I would vote to completly restructure or sell it off.
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