Friday, October 20, 2006

SHARK GETS FULL SEASON, RUNAWAY GETS THE BOOT

Some more notes from TV land.

Shark gets a full season order from CBS. This follows the CW giving a full season to The Game. Overall that's six shows getting orders for the full season.

The CW has given the boot completely to Runaway, no new episodes, nothing. Meanwhile, The Futon Critic reports that FOX's new show Vanished is going to wrap up its season after thirteen episodes. So that show looks to be as good as dead, just like Kidnapped. They never say "cancelled" anymore, but that's what it is. Basically.

Now it's time to rant about NBC which, on the heels of its big NBCU 2.0 report about its restructuring has made a few changes. First, the big news is they are sticking with Friday Night Lights despite its awful ratings performance. They have ordered nine new episodes, in fact, thanks in part to the good scripts and reviews. And they are bumping Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip from its regular Monday airing to give Friday Night Lights a shot in that time period.

I think this is a vote of confidence by NBC in Friday Night Lights, and sort of a desperation move, too. They've totally given up on Kidnapped, and I don't think they see much of a future for Studio 60, that show simply has too many detractors. But Friday Night Lights is getting rave reviews and this week the ratings for the show actually went up. So they figure that of the three "big budget" shows, this is the one that might have the best chance to survive. So they are going all-out to try and save it, by giving it a HEROES lead-in. If it works, it'll stay on the air. And if it fails, well, all three of these shows will get the can. Simple as that. At least give NBC high marks for trying to keep a quality show on the air, but they need help.

They have also ordered 10 more episodes of the cheap game show 1 vs. 100 which airs right now on Friday nights. Interesting what they had to say about their big plans for the NBC schedule. They are planning to turn the 8 PM/7 PM Central hour over to the game shows and the reality shows. So expect to see Deal or No Deal, 1 vs. 100, America's Got Talent, The Biggest Loser and The Apprentice at this hour in the near future.

To which I am tempted to say: "and you wonder why they are doing so awful". But they have already tried the big-budget dramas at NBC, real high-calibre stuff, and look where it got them: the dumpster! Meanwhile, look at ABC. They have Dancing With the Stars going on, and they are killing everyone at 8PM. CBS is winning Thursday nights in the aggregate because of one single solitary show: Survivor. And look at how FOX is doing without American Idol. Their ratings are terrible right now, all their dramas are getting killed (except for HOUSE, of course.) NBC has decided to give up the fight and put up their biggest hit show Deal or No Deal in the 8PM hour to try and build up the rest of the lineup. I don't like this move to more reality shows and cheap junk, but who can blame them.

People are suggesting this move to more cheap reality trash is the beginning of the end of network TV, and that the network TV model is outdated and so on. I don't see this as the end of the networks- instead, this is the end of Hollywood. This is bad news for the agents and for all these writers and producers if cheap junk like reality shows are allowed to carry the day on TV. How are these folks going to be able to produce hit shows seen by millions and then have them downloaded or sold in DVD sets if they can't get them on TV?! Pilots cost money, and that's what these networks essentially are there for, to cover the experses!! They buy the shows, and that's how these shows get off the ground and get distributed in the first place. Whether you want to admit it or not, these producers can't expect to ever survive solely on downloads a la iTunes. They need the mass audience and that's why these producers need these TV networks and cable networks or as a last resort, the syndicators. They're an essential part of the equation for them to make the maximum amount of money. But apparently NBC doesn't need them.

This isn't the end of the networks- in fact it's a return to the way they did things in the 1950s, when they carried game shows and reality junk like Truth or Consequences and This is Your Life at night. NBC is going cheap, just to stay in business. Sadly, I think this is a sign of things to come, folks. Get ready to watch lots of cheap game shows every night courtesy of those cheapskates at NBC.

Back to baseball for me---- over on FOX.

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