Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Problem with Primetime Network Television Today

Since the beginning of the 2004 Fall Primetime Television Season, television as we know it is no more. What happened to the days where shows would run for seven to ten seasons or more like, " NYPD Blue ", " Beverly Hills 90210 ", or " Friends " ? We are now lucky if a show will last for more than three full seasons. In this digital age of Personal Computers, IPhones, and DVD players we are all so easily distracted that television ratings have declined and now with having over five-hundred channels to choose from it is no wonder that shows are not given much of a chance nowadays.
I believe that these Television Executives need to lower their expectations. They need to realize that much has changed over the last ten years and now with DVR's it has become increasingly easier and easier to record a program that people will watch shows when they want to and not when they are forced to. Worrying about what show follows the next ( the lead In ) should no longer be an issue. With a lot of people having dual tuners nowadays it is easy to record two different programs at the same time. It is said that if you play back the show within the same day that they are included in the ratings but lots of people can and will watch it the next day or days thereafter. They may not realize just how many people are watching their show; but when they want to. Just because a programs ratings aren't as good as let's say, " Desperate Housewives " is, it doesn't mean that the show needs to be axed and moved onto the internet or in some cases just cancelled altogether.
With Premium channels getting increasingly more popular nowadays, and having hit shows like, " The Sopranos ", " Weeds ", and , " Curb Your Enthusiasm " it is no wonder why people are leaving network television. Standards and Practices can care less what people say or do on these channels since it is not network television. The quality of shows has much improved since years past and they are given more of a chance to gain an audience instead of being cancelled after only three episodes. It is also a nice bonus to watch commercial-free television; saves batteries on the remote to not have to hit fast forward on your DVR!!
I can sit here and list at least a dozen shows from this past season that have either been cancelled or are just plain out not returning without ever coming to a conclusion. I look at it like reading a book with lets say twenty chapters. Can you imagine after reading only the first five chapters the book was taken away from you, never to be seen again and it was the one and only copy?! It has become increasingly more disappointing to me every season that I have now decided to no longer watch any new shows on network television. Around this time every year we see all of the promos for all of the upcoming programs to hit the air waves in September. Well, I am tired of being suckered in, only to be let down time and time again. Now I am not saying that Premium channels do not have their fair share of blunders but compared to network television it doesn't even come close to comparing.
To conclude, I believe that it is in the network executives best interest to take all of this into account. If they can somehow realize that the ratings that they used to expect from only a half way decent show have all but vanished, therefore lowering their expectations on Premiere shows, then maybe we will not go to the Premium channels so quickly. Now I am not saying that there have not been some crappy shows produced lately, but there have also been many more that were at least half way decent that were never given their chance to blossom. Taking a show off of television and placing it on the internet is just a cop out. Besides, who would want to sit on their computer chair and and stare at a sixteen inch screen rather than being on their comfy recliner or couch, laying back and watching television on their thirty inch high definition television?! So I ask to not to expect ratings that once were and to give series premieres more time to gain an audience; you may be surprised to see ratings increase if only given the chance.

SomGuy.................callin' it The Way I See It