The WGA Writers Strike has had many consequences, many intended, some completely unintended. To understand what one of the MAJOR unintended consequences is, we have to take you, the home viewer, into the murky backrooms of how stuff gets on TV. From the time a writer gets an idea to the time a pilot is made and accepted for airing on a network and a schedule is set for the network, comes a glitzy insiders showcases, innocuously called The Upfronts, where all the new programs are paraded “in front” of advertisers and local affiliates, kind of like a Strip Club for programming, where instead of waving singles, they get advertising minutes and/or the blessings of local programmers from all over this great nation. Like a salesman with an expense account, these “locals” are wined and dined, say perhaps having a burger with Hasselhoff or perhaps a quiet personal Meet and Greet with Tina Fay, all leading up to the big September Kickoff, when the
3 um 4 major networks slap you in the face, like a 3 day old carp, with everything they can.
Well, it looks like this may be the end of
dumb down rethink how it opens a new season, by copying what the cable networks have been doing for years, bringing in shows whenever they want across a yearlong spectrum. In April NBC will announce its slate of new programs for the YEAR and an “Advertising Party” to be followed by local Dog and Pony Shows across this great land.
What does this mean for you , the viewer, or shall we say” consumer”? This means no show will have a secure slot and time or start and finish. For shows that don’t catch the viewers’ eye quickly, this may well mean a quick demise. It can also mean the end to the structure of a series, allowing it to grow. It is important to remember that MOST of the longest running shows did not fare well at their startup, and the grace period given to these shows has given us many classics.
What dies that mean for Sci-Fi Programming? It means get the buzz early or die on the vine. Anything that doesn’t fit into neat little advertising boxes will now have ZERO CHANCE of surviving on the Major Networks. And now that more and more cable stations are being gobbled up by networks, that philosophy should trickle right down on you.
Nice going, NETWORK IDIOTS!